If time is money and you have more time, Do you need more money?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trolling for fun 5-28

Bimini Big Game Club pool side


Over the Holiday Weekend The Fisher King has had a whirlwind friendship.  He met Ty in the pool and after watching them interact for a long time I just had to approach his parents and say "Thanks!"  The King always interacts with us adults on a great level but getting him to act with those his age has been a challenge.   He doesn't want to attend any home school group time.  He doesn't want to play ball with any of the children we have encountered but for 3 days now he has been a kid again.  Woooo Hoooo!

"In a Minute", The King kept saying "I love this boat"

After a night in the pool at the Bimini Big Game Club we were off the next morning for some dolphin fishing with Ty and his parents.  The bad thing is we didn't catch anything.  The good thing is we didn't catch anything!  So The Fisher King can not blame myself or Gemini Dreams.  Conditions looked great but the fish just didn't care what we though.  We went trolling for nothing.  Later in the day we took a swim break outside of Nixon Bay.  Followed by more conversation and drinks by the pool.  The boys became fish and chased the mermaids with water guns.

Day 3 was beach day for the guys and of course it was followed by more pool time.  Ping pong and more pool time.

 Live music at CJ's just for us.

 The CJ girls

Day 4 was relaxation day and waiting for hours for breakfast at the BBGC, boy their service is beyond island time.  We made the journey to the top of the hill for one last serving of "Fritters and Fries" at CJ's.
We used most of the day to get ready for the crossing tomorrow.  We had been camping out here in the anchorage for almost 2 weeks and things were just tossed all around the boat.  We had to retrieve two anchors and the Fortress was so embedded I almost couldn't pull it from the dinghy!  Actually I had to tie the dinghy to the dock and pull it backwards for several minutes before it let go.  I guess when a 44 foot catamaran pulls down on it it either sets like hell or lets go!  Now with most of the preparations for crossing done (we still need to pull the dinghy) we need to let the guys do the pool thing once again.

Pool shark


Voices In The Rain 5.24

"It was a dreary down town day..."

"Your go!"  As I reached to draw a card I heard "voices".  This wouldn't have been bad except we were at anchor and we were the only boat in the anchorage.  All alone.  Then within seconds the voices got closer and more intense.  As I lay down my cards and looked toward the open forward hatch I could see people.  Before I could get out WTF, BANG!

Were we drifting?  That would not be logical with two anchors and a 35 foot I-beam as a third anchor. Did we crash into BBGC's dock?  Had the lines failed?  Had the chain failed? All of this and more rushed through my head as I was stumbling from the impact trying to make the companion way.  As I pulled my self up the opening I turned to see 3 people at the bow of Gemini Dreams!  A moment later I realized they were standing on a 44 foot catamaran!  Okay where is the dock?  Same place! Where is the shore?  Same place!  Where is the float on the mooring?  Same place! Okay it is not us!  So WTF?

Post collision

Wait a minute I know this boat!  It came into BBGC yesterday and took forever to make the slip.  The captain unable to maneuver it in.  By this time I was on the bow and could see the bow railing was bent up against the roller furling.  There was some other damage but it was blowing around 20+ knots and a few rain drops were falling.  I asked that they call us on Ch 16.  Well actually the first question was " why are you leaving now?"  Why did they leave in the middle of the storm?  I never got a response on Ch 16 so I radioed BBGC and asked for suggestions.  They responded with the Police station is directly behind you.

Look hard and you can see a second ring

In the midst of the blowing rain I rowed over the the yacht club and was trying to figure out the name of the 44 footer.  That was when the BBGC radioed Sundance.  I brought a radio with me.  Seems that as they struggled to maneuver the boat in the channel they decided to anchor.  This is when life really got bad for them.  BBGC informed them they were in a power line zone and suggested they move.  While trying to do so they continued to loose the battle against the wind and current.   This is where I met Mike, the captain of m/v Twilight, a 90+ footer tied to the end of the dock.  He informed me he and a couple of his crew had seen the whole thing.  "The catamaran went out of the slip and turned straight for your boat".  Now with an eye witness I took the advice of BBGC and went to the police station.  Once the report was filed and I was returning I heard The Fisher King on the radio with the Catamaran.  They finally made contact just to say they will make contact later.  Later ended up being almost 4 hours after the crash.

 Fore rail pressed against roller furl

another view, the red line goes to a 10# Fortress that stopped the 44 foot cat in it's tracks.

Later after walking to the straw market in the rain, sitting in the blowing mist to get internet, all to estimate repair cost.  (the internet connection to Bimini Bay was not working in the bad weather and I only hoped the connection would work when I got the the market)   We waited for a while as the rain became too heavy to keep the computer out or walk back.   When we got a break in the rain we made it back to the dinghy and decided to row over the the catamaran.  The storm was passing and the water was getting calm.

Once there we met the embarrassed, highly stressed and currently depressed crew.  It seems the BBGC evicted them for a standing reservation and they had to leave.  Too bad that person never showed up and their slip sat empty all night!  They were currently on ground with one pontoon about 1.5 feet above the other one hoping the next high tide would lift them back off.  I talked with the Captain as the Fisher King talked with the crew.  Once we settled on a compensation amount we wished them the best of luck and offered to help if we could.  We dropped by the police station and closed the report on the way back to the boat.


Neighbors and Passing Friends

It takes all types to cruise the world, the rich and maybe famous, the cash strapped, the socials and the boat hermits.  Then there are the power boats and sailboaters.  Often in home ports these two battle over thoughts, ideas and expectations.  But out here, on the hook, the differences can sometimes go away.

We first saw Tom and Jan on m/v Laughter here in the Bimini Anchorage.  After friendly waves and a few path crossings we finally ended up at the Bimini Big Game Club at the same time and were invited to join them.  It was planned to be our celebration to the end of the Bahamas leg of our journey.  And and excuse to get one more "Cheese Burger in Paradise".  Over the next hour or so we had good conversation.  Once they learned The Fisher King was "boat schooled" the two retired school principles were curious to learn more about him and his studies.  We also talked the infamous topic here in the Bahamas,  the Weather!  There was a good day to cross on Thursday, with the wind and waves both going with the Gulf Stream.

Bimini Rainbow

As the next day passed the weather window SLAMMED shut, reopened, moved a day farther then suddenly a day closer!  Our anchorage had picked up a couple of trimarans over nights.  One of these homebuilt, the closest one.  The captain actually asked if his proximity was alright with us, since Laughter was in his "normal spot".  As the weather forecast changed he and m/v Laughter decided to make a run for the states but we declined seeing heavy winds on the forecast once we got to the states.  Also we chose to play it safe and sit out the next days 30+ knots here at the anchorage.  We received suggestions from the captain of the nearest trimaran on the best holding etc.  He also suggested that where we had the Fortress the sand was thin and it may not hold (we were already on two anchors from some wind a few days before).  We knew the Manson was in deep sand and the Fortress had held so far.  We chose to leave those as they were but to drop back and put out more chain and rode.  We made a 3rd point by picking up the mooring that m/v Laughter was using.  We sat here calmly through the peak of the wind but it was nothing compared to the days we spent at Nixon Bay.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Conchs, Wings and Burgers

We set out to move around the island today and anchor in front of CJ's. This would allow us to tap into the ATM at RBC, the only bank we have seen during our time in the Bahamas. We could get the Fisher King some “kid” food and sliced bread. As the Fisher King took care of his chores in the dinghy I looked down in the calm water and pointed out a Helmet Conch. His eyes lit up and he pointed out another. This is where the “I want to snorkel” came in. As he snorkeled around s/v Gemini Dreams he kept putting Helmet Conch in the dinghy. After a while I got the bug to jump in also. We got some of the largest Queen Conchs yet. We also found a submerged wreck, or partial wreck, that held some small fish. We even took a couple shots at some snapper.  When we were done with snorkeling we decided to catch some barracuda for fun.

The Fisher King and his big barracuda

So instead of hitting Bimini shopping today, we spent it snorkeling. I think we spent 5 hours in the water. At least it was after 4pm when we boarded s/v Gemini Dreams. We quickly got things ready to make the trip across, actually around the island to anchor in front of CJ's. Once there, the bank is only at the bottom of the hill just before you get to the Customs office.

Me with a slightly bigger barracuda I caught on my ultra light with 10 pound braid, lol

So on a late afternoon run we made it to the anchorage in front of CJ's around 6:30 pm.  After using the ATM we ran into Marianne, who we met at the Bimini Blue Water Resort back in March. She and Matt has spent their time in he Berrys. We swapped stories and adventures after Tin and I found some wings and a burger at the Bimini Big Game Club. After all the stories we grabbed another soda and some gum up at Sue and Joy's. It was on the way to S&J's that the “dinghy” alert went off. We left it on the beach in front of CJ's with the anchor in the sand pulled up above what we hopped was high tide. After the incident at Highborne we have added another reason to stress when dealing with our dinghy. As we arrived in the moonless night we could see that Boo Boo Tin Tin was sitting on the beach just as we left her but slightly higher from the water level. From there it was just a short row to s/v Gemini Dreams to catch a movie, Transporter 2 (we saw highlights of Transporter 3 on TV at BBGC).


10,000 Nightmares

We took off from Morgans Bluff this morning. Only having to run the motor just enough to get out of the entrance channel as the wind was dead ahead. We sailed off slowly in the light winds. We were then visited by the first of 3 rain cells. The first passed almost overhead and boosted the light breeze about 5 knots. The second passed to the east of us and barely raised the breeze at all. The third and largest passed behind us and then to the west not giving us an increase at all. The cell went toward the Joulter Cays and just hung out for hours.

Once we made it to the North West Channel our light wind broad reach became a dead down wind passage. With the sails out wing and wing, crawling at 2.5 knots. The third cell still hanging around the Joulter Cays off toward port. It was now just pass noon and the cell was starting to move with us. It was much darker than when it passed earlier or perhaps this was actually cell number 4. Over the next few hours the wind steadily built finally making us hit 4.5 knots. The wind farther out must have been much higher as the waves were growing faster than the wind. By the time sunset came and went we were riding pretty big waves for the bank and the wind was yet to catch up. Every time a big wave would out run us we would go up and slide down the other side as Gemini Dreams flipped the dice as to which side she would settle on. With out a preventer rigged it was hard to keep the boom on the correct side. After about an hour of this in the darkness and two accidental jibes we decided to anchor for the night and ride out the weather. We were 7 miles east of Mackie Shoal. After all it couldn't be any worse than the time in Nixon Bay.

Traveling in a Vega with a hard dinghy on deck, especially on with a RID kit, leaves little room for work. To anchor I have to clip on the harness, untie the bow of the dinghy, lift it up on my shoulder and release the anchor and chain while crouched down mostly underneath the dinghy. (I have since made a secondary plan for anchoring with the dinghy on board. I will keep the Fortress ready to deploy.) After getting all this done and making it back to the cockpit the wind was finally catching up to the waves. At this point I decided it would be better to secure the dinghy bow again as I would hate for the wind to pick it up. With the dinghy secured I realized we were not pointing into the wind. Is the tide really so strong here that 20+ knots will not keep the boat pointed? With all the physical exertion the smell of the Fisher Kings shell collection (a couple in a mesh bag on the side deck) really hit the Earl button. It was at this time popped his head out the hatch and said “You want a Bonine?” I must have been alien green or something. But I didn't hesitate even with as much as I hate the side effects.

Here comes the rain and lightening. We are anchored and hooked up so I went down below to try and stay dry. Good thing we had been able to cook while underway or we would have starved tonight! I crashed into the starboard settee as Tin slept in the port. The lightening increased rapidly as I went over the “stike” plan in my head. “Plugs are in the cubby, turn off all breakers I could and still leave the nav and anchor lights on, the abandon ship bag, the first aid box, a knife to cut the dinghy free, and on and on.” “Wow I'm tired”, oh I took a Bonine. Okay time for some sleep because Bonine makes me a zombie.

Rocka, rocka, bang, bang! Okay I'm AWAKE! What was that? Oh a bottle in the hanging basket. Forget it go to sleep! Rocka, Rocka, flick, scrape! Okay I'm AWAKE! FLASH! What was that? BOOM! Still zombied in the settee I realize it is the Rocker Stoppers that should be in the water helping out! It is raining like mad, lightening all around, thunder clapping, I'm not going out to put them in, go back to sleep! Rocka, rocka, boom bang! FLASH! Okay I'm AWAKE! BOOM! What was that? Lying here waiting for it again so I can decide. I fall asleep waiting. Rocka, rocka, boom bang! Anchor! The chain is jerking tight! Damn I didn't set the snubber or it came off one. I try to evaluate the extent of possible damage. We survived Nixon with only a broken cleat more or less and this is not as bad or as big. Go back to sleep! Rocka, boom bang, rocka, shake, rocka, bang, bang, rocka, flick, scrape, rocka, rocka, bang, ting, ting, shaka, shaka. Go back to sleep! Whistle whirl, whistle. What is that? The wind is bad well over 40 knots! Check anchor alarm, all is good, go back to sleep. FLASH! FLASH! FLASH! BOOM! Grumble! BOOM! Wow! It seems calm below now other than the wind noise. (We are finally pointing into the wind) Check bilge to see if we are taking on water, all good. FLASH, BOOM, WHIR! Go back to sleep! Rocka, Rocka, bang, bang! Damn we are side saddle to the waves again! Go back to sleep! Wake up sleep, wake up sleep, wake up sleep repeat every few minutes!

Dawn came after about 10,000 night mares! The boat was safe but everything that could be in a state of disarray was. We relaunched the dinghy to get it out of the way for retrieving the anchor. We are now towing the dinghy again. The sky was still dark gray especially to the south. With the threat of another round of weather coming down on us I reefed the mainsail and only rolled out part of the genoa. Off we went at a whopping 2.5 knots! Damn I want to go to full sails but with impending doom on the horizon we don't dare. Man I'm tired! No sleep and Bonine, a perfect mixture for a zombie day. After finally passing Mackie Shoal I went to full sails and headed off toward Bimini. I was now hoping for more wind as the sail was slow. About 4 miles out of the North East anchorage I powered up the motor to guarantee we made it by sunset and could have dinner while it was light out. We dropped anchor in the turtle grass and made rosemary garlic parmesan chicken with potatoes and corn.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sailing On A Schedule

Funny thing about this rainbow,  at one time there probably was a pot of gold at the end
Morgans cave is under the left end

Here we are again in Morgans Bluff right on schedule.  A schedule that has nothing to do with wind or seas, but everything to do with internet.  It can actually be taken as a schedule NOT to sail.  We left Highborne with a few days to spare in the schedule to make sure we were within internet to contact a special birthday girl, or two!

When we arrived there was an immediate window to make it to Bimini, but no guarantee that we would arrive in time for the Birthday call to The Fisher King's mom.  So we stayed here happily to put a smile on her face.  Then there were 3 days we could get to Bimini between her birthday and his sister's birthday (and of course mothers day).  Problem was the very light winds made that a maybe also.  So we stayed here until today waiting to call my daughter, I miss her so.  Which this year also puts us on mothers day!   Of course we couldn't let that slip by either.  Now as we are starting to Skype with them all on this mothers day it is all worth it.

To pass out time here we were able to snorkel the windward side of the island but not all the way out to the reef.  We also tried to snorkel the reef just north of the entry channel but the sun and chop would not allow us to see where we were going.  We went snorkeling after the snapper we were not able to get last time, actually hitting him with the sling only to return with a scale.  (note: at that range the sling does not penetrate a snapper).  We have tried fishing with little luck for him also.  We did get one hard hit that was broken off in the wreck since it was on the ultralight with only 10 pound test.  We are not motivated to take the 5-6 mile walk to the nearest village or blue hole.  We have already been to the Bluff and the Cave.  We are running out of "new" adventures in this port that we wish to do.  The bugs have increased over the last two months to a point that sunset is dangerous.

If all goes well we will get an early start tomorrow and head off to Bimini


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly May 2012

The Good... Active Captain.  This site is of great benefit to the cruising captain.  There are first hand experiences from other cruisers on anchorages, marinas and other need to know information.  I could ramble on for days and still not convey how good the information is so I posted a review.

Tom Lochhaas of about.com.sailing here writes a review of 'Active Captain' a website that covers a range of valuable information that your electronic charting system does not provide: 

Tom Lochhaas of about.com.sailing here writes a review of 'Active Captain' a website that covers a range of valuable information that your electronic charting system does not provide: 

Of all the websites and apps providing cruising sailors and boaters with information about marinas, anchorages, and local features, ActiveCaptain is the best. 

All information is easily searchable and integrated with NOAA charts as well as street maps and satellite views to make trip planning easy on your computer or on your iPhone or iPad once underway. With over 100,000 boaters writing reviews and updating information, ActiveCaptain provides the most accurate and current data to make your cruising life easier and happier. 

1. Best online information and independent reviews of marinas and anchorages 
2. User-friendly, intuitive design makes it easy to find desired information 
3. Online searches are fast, with seamless zooming and scrolling of charts and maps 
4. Instantly updated information - always accurate and current 
5. Much better information than other online sites such as Marinas.com and Marinalife.com 

1. Some areas have light coverage and need more user reviews 
2. Less data than printed cruising guides for some anchorages and for facilities and attractions ashore 

*The Guidebook screen for any given location shows icons for information available for immediate access 
*Extensive information about marinas, anchorages, navigation, and hazards 
*Includes growing numbers of locales in Canada, the Caribbean, and other international areas 
*Data integrated in apps for smart devices and in popular navigation software for use underway 
*Website includes additional articles on cruising topics, such as use of mobile devices for navigation 
*Free registration provides newsletters on key cruising topics, such as protecting yourself against the risks of open wi-fi 

Guide Review: 
Cruising used to involve elaborate advance research and stocking the boat with expensive heaps of cruising guides providing information that was often already outdated upon publication. 

Just as chartplotters and electronic navigation over the last two decades replaced navigation by dead reckoning and the need to carry hundreds of expensive charts (except now as an essential backup), online resources have begun to replace printed cruising guides for essential information about marinas, anchorages, and other data needed by cruising boaters. In only a short time, ActiveCaptain has become the best online source of this information. 

The Interactive Cruising Guidebook is the heart and soul of ActiveCaptain. You locate your area of interest via base charts or maps or by a location name search. The chart/map/satellite view then shows information available according to color-coded markers for marinas, anchorages, local knowledge, and hazards - showing all or just those you choose. Just click for the details in pop-up windows. 

Marina and anchorage descriptions include both the essential data boaters need and user reviews and ratings that provide substantial additional information. Local knowledge and hazards information comes from multiple sources, including NOAA Coast Pilots, current Local Notices to Mariners, and boaters familiar with the area. Although this extensive database doesn't (yet) provide as much information about isolated areas and things to do ashore as in popular print guidebooks, it does provide virtually everything a boater needs for both advance planning and last-minute decisions while underway. 

The real strength behind ActiveCaptain is the participation of tens of thousands of boaters who take the time to submit reviews and update locale information. This 'crowd-sourced' data is verified by both the administrators and other boaters, who offer corrections when needed. 

While reviews do include some personal opinion, the sheer numbers of reviewers for most locations result in trustworthy information. Captain registration is free and offers benefits and free products for those who earn points by submitting reviews and updates - but the quality of the reviews suggests most captains share their knowledge from a love of cruising more than these incentives. 

Originally available only online, ActiveCaptain has been integrated into apps for the iPhone and iPad that are downloaded and provide the data even when offline while boating. With the Charts & Tides app, for instance, you can navigate in real-time on your iPhone and access the ActiveCaptain data directly from your live chart view. 

ActiveCaptain is similarly integrated in the MaxSea TimeZero & Coastal Explorer navigational software packages for those using a PC. Together, ActiveCaptain and its navigational partners are changing the way many boaters find their way around the water. 

ActiveCaptain's Interactive Cruising Guidebook has become a valuable resource for changing chart data such as buoys that have been moved, shoaling in formerly navigable water, etc. Information that can be very difficult to access in the Coast Guard's Local Notices to Mariners can be seen overlaid on the NOAA chart with an icon that brings up the detail. 

A yellow Hazards icon differentiates this info from other types, such as marinas, anchorages, etc. Boat captains can also add their own notes and comments on navigational hazards. This is a terrific free resource for those cruising unfamiliar waters. 

As I am starting a sailing cruise into Downeast Maine, I checked ActiveCaptain and discovered a particular channel I transited a decade ago is now choked by lobster pots. Since the boat I'm on has an unprotected prop and spade rudder, I think I'll follow the suggestions of the captains who recommend an alternate route through that area. This is a good example of online 'crowdsourcing' at its best. 

If you sail but don't yet know ActiveCaptain, well, you should! 

In summary with Active Captain being free and Charts and Tides only being $24.95 for each Gulf and East coast you can have all the information on your iPhone for $50.  This would give you access to the data base without needing connectivity!  Just update it before you go.

The Bad... Calcutta fishing gear.  I was lured into the Calcutta brand by marketing and packaging. I have always loved the black and yellow combination.  I think this was due to Body Gloves fleshy marketing in the old Skin Diver Magazines.  The skull and cross bones was the clincher.  With the cruising coming quickly I needed to make a commitment to some fishing gear.  This was the wrong commitment.  I'll start by saying that the high tech shirts have been as expected.  Sized correctly and the stitching has held up.  Now on to the remaining line.
First the 4 fillet knives, stone, apron and wrap just flat out suck!  The stone isn't tethered so a friend sent it to Davy Jones.  The zippers have lost their pull tabs and have broken.  The four knives are very prone to rust and I have gave3 of them away hoping someone with more patience can deal with them.  The apron is still in it's plastic on the way to the trash.
Second are the tools:  A pliers and cutter set that just keeps rusting daily.  If you go for more than a couple days without bathing them in WD-40 they lock up.  We both started out with a set and a spare but most of them have gone out as artificial reefs.  I also have a CNC set and the case is showing the fact that an eighty dollar pair of pliers has be sold with cheap non stainless rings and even cheaper retaining leash.

Third is the fishing gear  it tends to rust much faster than the Yo-Zuri and Williams stuff!  Much faster!  I included a pic of two rod tethers, one from BPS and one Calcutta.  The BPS is still color fast and the stainless caribiner is still working unlike the aluminum one from Calcutta.
Fourth the tackle backpacks are useless as a backpack!  The material rips at the seams either letting go of the zipper or opening to the next compartment inside the pack. We actually saw the Calcutta rep in Marathon and told him his packs sucked but as expected he didn't care!
Fifth is their web site was almost always having issues when I was shopping.  I think it is better now.

The Ugly... Davis Rocker Stoppers.   I purchased these last year when I was new to the boat.   It was a big expense at the time (7*$15.49=$108.43 plus 40 feet of 3/8 line plus two 5 pound weights which all together broke $150.00).  I have used them in several situations ranging from no tide to fast tides.  From multiple boat wakes to wrap around waves I have not found an instance that they were worth the cost.  I did find out they are great tide catchers...meaning they will help to point the boat into the tide.  This is often counter productive to catching the cooling breeze or even worse, being side saddle to the on coming waves.  I currently have 3 in deep storage and 4 on the coach roof waiting for someone to ask "would you like to sell those?"  Problem is they are cheap plastic and have become full of cracks over the last year.  I may just end up tossing them out as they take up too much space.   I would trade all 7 and the line for a couple of cheeseburgers in paradise.  I may find a good use for them yet.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Morgans Bluff WIFI

We have found the issue with our internet connection here at Morgans Bluff.  We did not post an issue last time as we could not offer a solution.  But today, Larry on s/v Restless gave us the solution.  We both agreed that it is very aggravating being able to see the signal but not connecting.  He spend hours last season trying to solve it and finally did.   It seems that the Bad Boy WIFI cuts off part of the Access Point Name.  You physically have to add the "ANDROS" to the name.  The full name should be UNCA-HARVEY-WATERLOOP"ANDROS" and the password is freemonth.  The password is readily given out at the bar to keep cruisers bringing in the cash.  I really mean cash as there is no credit cards taken here in Morgans Bluff.  Not even at the gas station.

List of key words to help out other cruisers with this issue:  Bad boy xteam wifi badboy unable to get help Andros Bahamas connectivity connect sailboat cruising cruisers bitstorm xpress express practical sailor albin vega svgeminidreams gemini dreams s/v unleashed zone problem connecting internet net 

Town meetings without "My Friends..." every few minutes

I am sitting here on the patio of the Bar in Morgans Bluff in a heated but friendly post election debate.  There are few words that transcend all languages like "no" and the "F" word.  With strong Bahamian accents most of the Queen's English is rumbled and garbled but there is no mistaking the two key words.  There have been anywhere from 8 to 12 participating in this discussion.  It is nice to see that the population has strong opinions on their well being compared to what has become of other lands.

I took a moment to check what Google had on the matter.  It seems that the ruling party has been ousted...

Ruling party ousted in Bahamas election

"The Progressive Liberal Party has won the election," said Ingraham, who served as prime minister from 1992 to 2002 and again from 2007. "I do not propose to lead the party in opposition."

Analysts had predicted a close race between the two leading parties in the sparsely populated island chain that is heavily dependent on tourism and earnings from its role as an offshore financial center.

The Progressive Liberal Party faces tough challenges, including tepid economic growth and an official unemployment rate of nearly 15 percent.

The party was ousted amid several scandals five years ago, including claims that immigration officials had expedited a residency permit for late Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith.

Home to about 350,000 people, the scattered archipelago stretching from just off eastern Florida to near Cuba is one of the most prosperous countries in the Atlantic-Caribbean region.

But it is also saddled with a heavy debt burden and a burgeoning crime and murder rate.

In addition to crime, the lackluster economy and oil issues largely dominated the run-up to Monday's vote.

The major parties traded jabs over oil exploration, which is highly sensitive given revenues from tourism and the allure of white sand beaches and azure waters to the island chain's many frequent vacationers.

Analysts say there could be 1 billion barrels of oil reserves in Bahamian waters, offering an opportunity for economic growth. But extensive drilling for oil could come at a cost to tourism.

Ingraham initially vowed he would not approve any drilling for oil if re-elected, but later said he would authorize it once the appropriate regulatory procedures were put in place.

He also sought to cast Christie's party as being closely tied to the Bahamas Petroleum Company, which holds five licenses to explore for oil in the Bahamas. Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party denied any links to the oil company.

(Writing by Tom Brown and Kevin Gray; editing by David Adams and Mohammad Zargham)

What this means to cruisers will yet to be seen but of mice and men.


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Big Fish 5-03

We went to the office for a soda and another session of $5 internet. Only this time we were being charged $10 for the half hour. This was not acceptable so we went on across the island to the windward beach. We found a couple more shells for his collection. After returning to the dinghy we went snorkeling along the west coast of Highborne Cay finding a small grouper for dinner.

We had just finished our grouper, garlic mashed potatoes and white shoe peg corn when the Fisher King said “Rod!” We had put out some of the grouper carcass to possibly catch some grouper or snapper on the reef/rocks not far behind our boat. By the time I got to the reel almost all the line was in the water. I tightened the spool now as I left it really loose when I set it with the circle hooks. As I started to reel the line in it was under the boat and pulling against the keel...

This is when the Fisher King called out “Got a fish!” He had a fish on his rod also. He was so hoping it was another grouper. He loves groupers. When he landed it, it turned out to be a snapper.

Back to the big rod... The Fisher King went to pull the flopper stoppers up and out of the way only to find the line was looped around the line. At this time we traded duties and I untangled the loop as he tried to reel and keep pressure on the fish. Big grouper? Once the line was untangled the reeling became a little easier. Over forty five minutes from the word “rod” passed before we had a large 6 foot nurse shark swimming around the boat. It took another 10 minutes to get the shark up to the hull for a couple of photos and to cut it free.



Highborne Cay 5-02

This could be called the cay that we almost blew right by. On our way to windward we had no real reason to stop here so as the wind became available we sailed off the the Exuma Land and Sea Park. As we navigated our return leg, laden with gray skies and windy days, we were in need of water. So this became our stop for water. The good news is we sailed the complete way from the anchorage in Normans to our anchorage here.

What we found was a perfect little resort. With groceries, dockage and an $18 cheeseburger restaurant. If we were to ever build a Bahamian out island resort it would be similar to this. We stocked up on some buns for the canned BBQ we had on board. Some sliced bread for the Fisher Kings tuna sandwiches. Some cereal for breakfast. A couple of sodas since it had been two weeks without and of course water!

A few photos of the grocer shelves
Well stocked but low on fresh produce today

When we got to the marina we had beached the dinghy and pulled it up high as the tide was rising. We filled the dinghy with our water and groceries after all the shopping and fillings were done. I decided that since it would be at least a week before we were anywhere near free internet we would utilize the option of 30 minutes for $5 and log on in the office. The Fisher King was begging to go to the windward side of the island so he could look for shells on the beach. I agreed to a big MAYBE. So off we went up drive cut out of the limestone hill side. Just past the stop sign is a trail down to the rocky windward side. From this trail you can see the beach way to the north. As we headed toward this destination I got an uneasy feeling about the dinghy and persuaded the Fisher King to “another time”.

Perfect island stop sign

The beach on the windward side

Soda and shells

Go gators

As we walked down the path toward the end of the dock I started to stress. I didn't see the dinghy at first. Then I saw the bad news. The dinghy was flooded in the surf. Our new groceries, water and all the items we normally have aboard were either awash or overboard. The first action was to stop the onslaught of saltwater and sand. Going up the beach was never going to happen so out to sea I went. Setting the anchor to keep it out of the surf. Next was to evaluate the situation better and save what we could. The bread, buns and cereal appeared to have survived. The chips, pringles, were barely hanging on but dry. Good thing we drank the sodas. All the RO water was here!

Now to the equipment inventory. We left our main masks and snorkels on board Gemini Dreams. But our back ups and fins were on Boo Boo Tin Tin. FINS, where is the Fisher Kings other fin? I sent him on a mission to walk the shore to find it. Into the water he went finally surfacing with his fin. Woo Hoo! Later while on his walk he returned with one of my gloves. I think we recovered everything except the baler to bail water. We had to borrow a bucket from the marina to remove the water and sand that was up to the rail. I am sure one day I will have an inspiration as to what else went overboard. I am not sure where the back up blue snorkel is right now.

Fresh catch

Getting the left overs

After removing most of the salt water and refilling with supplies and gear I rowed out to the swim platform and unloaded it all again. We then pulled the dinghy aboard the swim platform and continued to remove the sand. After we had removed the sand we took a moment to find the leak that keeps deflating the forward port tube. After re-splashed the dinghy it was time to refill it once again. After some discussion with the Fisher King I compromised and let him snorkel around the island if he returned the bucket first. After all it wasn't his fault. I could take the shower I wanted later.

I don't know if there is a use fee or not but there is a great dinghy dock inside the marina. There is also a post beach shower between the office and gas pumps.

In other dinghy adventures we (I) had to walk the dinghy through the current (both toward and from the marina) between the tip of the island and the rock . There was just no way I could row against the 5 knots or better current through the cut. The Fisher King wants to make the the beach trip tomorrow for shelling, so maybe we can hit the currents for a ride in and out instead of a battle.

Finally back on s/v Gemini Dreams as I made dinner the Fisher King was back to catching fish. First a remora and then a small grouper on a sabiki rig.

A small grouper caught on a sabiki rig