Happy 8th Month Anniversary! Eight months ago we left the docks at Muskegon already. It’s amazing how time flies! We have seen so many things and experienced so many since then! I am writing this from our boat in Georgetown, Bahamas, and am surrounded by blue waters, palm trees, sunny skies and amazing scenery all around. We wish we could take all of you with us, but there is only so much room on our boat!
Jason and Patti Flier were with us the past couple of weeks and they flew home Monday afternoon to make the transition from here to 13 degree weather in Michigan. Brrr! It was such a delight to have them with us and we miss them already. Kristi, our youngest daughter, was with us for five days prior to their coming and we miss her so much already too. And of course we continually miss seeing Lisa, our oldest daughter, and her husband Ryan (and our grand dog, Better) too!
Last Saturday, Feb. 23, we woke up to sunny skies at Lee Stocking Island and headed south around William’s Cay, Children’s Cay and out Rat Cay Cut. We had to head east out into Exuma Sound in order to get to Georgetown as there was no way to go “inside,” so off we went. The prior few days’ wave heights were projected to be in the 5 – 7 foot range with winds into the mid-20’s out in Exuma Sound, so we definitely didn’t want ot go out there then. Saturday, however, the winds were supposed to be settling down a bit and the waves moderating as the day progressed, so we were looking forward to that. Rat Cay Cut apparently is a pretty easy cut, or passageway between the islands, into Exuma Sound, and it proved to be no issue as we went through it.
We were hoping the waves would be in the 2 – 4 foot range, but the further we got out the larger they were. Thankfully the waves were more swells than chop so even though they were certainly in the 5 – 6 foot range, with occasional 8 footers, it was manageable as we didn’t bash over them, but just rode up and down the waves. We had put our mainsail out so this helped stabilize the boat as well. We had agreed if it was too rough out there we would head back in Rat Cay Cut, but because there were swells instead of chop we decided to keep going. The wind was pretty much in the 14 – 16 knot range, so it wasn’t outrageous.
Because we werehad the mainsail out, and with the wind coming across the boat at about 40 – 50 degrees off the bow and the sail sheeted way in, we were able to maintain a relatively good speed of 6.0 knots despite the waves, so we were quite happy about that as we wanted to get out of the waves as quickly as possible. As you probably surmised, we were indeed motor sailing as it would have been more difficult to maintain our heading and speed without the motor.
We left the anchorage at Lee Stocking Island at 8:00 am, put the mainsail out at 9:00 am, cleared Rat Cay Cut at 9:20 am, and by 12:00 noon we headed into Georgetown channel. By 1:00 pm, we had our anchor down by Volley Ball beach in Georgetown after traveling 29 miles. Although the boat did well in those waves, we were glad to get the anchor down!
That evening we decided to get off the boat and went to Volleyball Beach where Jason and Patti treated us to a wonderful rib dinner at the Chat ‘N Chill restaurant. After our return to the boat we once again played cards into the night sharing laughter and fun. I think we pretty much played cards every night and are now professionals at Uno and Phase 10!
Sunday, Feb. 24, was Jason and Patti’s last full day with us and we started it off by attending Beach Church at Volleyball Beach. After church Jason and I headed off to find a boat called Alpha I who needed help with a starter solenoid that wasn’t working. We had heard about it on the morning 8:00 am Cruiser’s Net and Jason wanted to lend a hand. Come to find out it was an incorrect electrical connection, but in order to find that out Jason successfully took the whole solenoid apart before finding the issue. I just stood back in amazement as Jason took this on and figured it out. For those of you who don’t know, Jason owns an excavating company and has worked with loaders, engines and bulldozerss all his working life, so this solenoid issue was not anything new to him. But I was impressed at how he wanted to help and how efficiently he went about it.
We returned to our boat from Alpha I and headed off to a wonderful lunch at St. Frances Resort nearby. They had a deck overlooking the anchored boats and it was an utterly delightful place to sit and relax while enjoying a great meal.
Upon returning to the boat Jason offered, to help me change our two fuel filters on the boat. I change them every 200 hours of engine time, so it isn’t often, but I always get nervous (like that’s a new thing for me!). We last changed it in Charleston, SC, and it went alright, but it seems like it takes forever to bleed the fuel line after I change the filters. Well, as Jason knows his way around diesel motors, he was able to show me how to change the filters without introducing hardly any air into the lines, and to fill the filters with diesel before screwing them on. Then, without even bleeding the line I started the motor and it fired right up. Well, it quit once, but after hitting the manual thumb-pump lever only about 20 times it fired up again and stayed running. How cool is that?! Sharon and I had hand pumped it anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour in our previous filter changes, so this was great! Thanks, Jason!!
That night we once again played a rousing game of Uno surrounded by other boats, water and a star filled sky twinkling above us!
Monday, Feb. 25, was the day Jason and Patti had to leave and fly back to Michigan. We moved the boat over to Kidd’s Cove on the other side of the channel for easier convenience to Georgetown and all too soon it was time for them to go. Hugs and tears were shed and soon they were winging themselves back up to their winter wonderland. As it was once again about 80 degrees and sunny when they left we did kid them about the 13 degrees and snow back in Michigan, but they went anyway. J
The next few days were spent re-stocking up on provisions, laundry and general cleaning. But we also took our time with it as we felt a rest was needed after having a busy few weeks with guests aboard, so we got in a lot of reading and naps. We ended up moving the boat on Tuesday afternoon across the channel again and down to Monument Beach as it is not nearly as congested as Volleyball Beach. It is a bit farther away from the busy-ness of the other boats which allows us more space and solitude.
Oh, I should follow up on Sharon’s blue bag she thought she had lost. Two weeks ago I wrote about the email we received from the gentleman who had found it on the dinghy dock at Georgetown and still had it. Through emails he was able to get it to our MYC friends, Bob and Diane, as he was leaving, and on Tuesday we got it back! Sharon was excited to get her phone and driver’s license back, and today we received her new credit cards. Yay!
Our plan now is basically to chill out here maybe for another week or so. There is a strong cold front projected to arrive next Wednesday with an even stronger secondary front the next couple of days after, so we think we will just stay put here in our protected anchorage until that is over and we will then head out. We will head north up the Exuma Islands chain again and at some point jump east to the Eleutheras and eventually head up to the Abacos. We’re not sure of the time table of where we’ll be when, but that’s the plan for now. We are looking at maybe heading back to Florida sometime in May or so. We’ll let you know!