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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Two Vegas In The Keys Again

Perhaps in our decisions to wait for a calm crossing we past up a couple of days that would have been better.  Then of course sailing one handed surely meant we needed to wait.  Our 8 day wait gave us almost flat seas across until within 10 miles of the US coast.  We had the same plan as last time... head toward Miami and take the counter current back as the gulf stream pushed us to far north.  Not a big deal and it keeps us from having to check in at Port Everglades.  Yes we considered taking the Lake Worth route.  As we neared to coast we were hit with 10-20 gusting over 20 from the south (what happened to that forecast SE wind?).  Now battle the wind or take the long way.  After about 30 minutes banging into the waves we took the long way.  Miami by too far north and down the ICW to dodge island.  (Instead of spending the day getting a LBO we chose to spend the day just checking in again).

Almost flat Gulf Stream

Sunset over Hollywood FL

The next morning we pulled anchor and went all thew way around to the ICW instead of waiting for low tide (4hrs) to sneak under the bridge.  The flashing  blue lights kept us from going by the cruise ships instead we took the route by the freighters.  Never ever again!  Damn Hatteras and Sea Rays!  Never again!  I thought the miserable mile and south of it was bad!  If ever again we will go out farther south.

Look  familiar?

"Judy Ann's Revenge, Judy Ann's Revenge, Gemini Dreams channel 16"  After moving to a working channel and introductions I commented that she sure looked familiar.  Turns out she used to be Wee Happy our buddy boat from our first cruise to Bahia Honda and the Dry Tortugas.  We were pushing hard motor sailing trying to make Rodriguez Key by sunset after getting a late start.  By the time we were closing in on Rodriguez JAR had sank into the horizon behind us.  

Sunset over Rodriguez,  Judy Ann's Revenge arrived a couple hours later.

Resting at anchor as we leave at daybreak.  
Maybe next time we will be able to get a Cheese Burger in Paradise with you guys

Wasting Away Again In Alice Town

Largest outrigger canoe I have seen, around 45 feet

After the little ordeal of 9 3/4s we spent the next 8 days wasting away in Bimini.  The flights to Nassau had crashed the cruising budget so we surfed the internet to occupy our time.  We chose to forgo the Homecoming Festivities that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.  Our biggest adventure was the daily trip up to CJ's that went like this...

Anchorage next to Bimini Big Game Club

Day 1
"Conch fritters?"
"No conch fritters"
"See you tomorrow."

Day 2
"Conch fritters?"
"No conch fritters"
"See you tomorrow."

Day 3
"Conch Fritters?"
"No conch fritters, but they be here in 30 minutes."
"See you in an hour"

As we topped the hill and turned toward CJ'c
"Corey!  They's back for them conch fritters!

Waiting past all those "Salty" crossing days had one good thing at least.  We finally got our last conch in the Bahamas.  We are heading out tomorrow (time delayed post).

Duct tape fixes everything

 While spending the night on board s/v Liberty recapping the adventure we talked about recycling all the WWII plane engines into Bahamas aircraft.  They jokingly said "probably held together with duct tape.  I deleted accidentally the better location but if you look close you can see duct tape evidence.

The next step in sailboat navigation, drones?

It is so hard to take his picture

Catnip! Catnip! more Catnip please!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Nine and Three Quarters

... What happened in reality was the dinghy hit the water. I yelled for Ayrton to slow down as the dinghy started taking on water from the bow wake of Gemini Dreams. Then the dinghy nose dove into the blue water in front of BBGC.  Fu$& that hurt!  WTF!  OMG! ...

As the boat slowed the dinghy lifted it's nose only partially full of water as it was still attached to the halyard. Skipping across the water dangling on the line all by it's self as I was no longer holding the line. Damn my finger hurts!  It must have really got caught. Favoring my hand I turned to the next job, the anchor. Reaching down releasing the pin and stop to lower the anchor and have it ready to deploy was done one handed. You don't get to be this old without a few fingers in the door and other traumas so life must go on.  

As we passed the last pier at BBGC I turned to Ayrton and continued with the final anchoring measures.  It was at this time I finally took a moment to check on my injured hand. WTF!  I was looking at what was remaining of my left ring finger. At this point there was bood running down my hand. My finger looked like a hotdog cooked too long in a microwave and rather short in length. Fu$&!  Oh damn I still have to get us anchored!

s/v Liberty

"Ayrton stop the damn boat!"  Was all I could get out. With his imediate response I dropped the anchor in feeding the chain out as best I could with less than two hands. Once the marker for 70 feet past I wrapped the chain on the front cleat and helded on. It pulled tight and we were now turning to the wind. "Ayrton I need a paper towel I ripped my finger off!"  With out missing a beat there was a towel presented to me just in front of my bloody hand. He was next requested to get the dinghy ready NOW! As we had to get to shore.

"Bimini Big Game Club, Bimini Big Game Club, Gemini Dreams channel 1-6".  "Bimini Big Game Club" was the response.  "This is Gemini Dreams.  We just anchored in the anchorage.  I ripped my finger off and need to know where the clinic is!  I am trying to get to you dock!"

We were met about half way across the dock by two of the staff trying to rush us on. The anxiety and heart rate were getting the best of me as I walked to the street arm held high and my other hand as a tourniquet. First across the street but no keys, then to the ice parking lot and off we went. Horn blowing and driving like a James Bond thriller. We were soon down past Stewart's at the clinic.  

From the time we entered the clinic time normalized. I relaxed. Being in industrial work for so long things like this are all too normal. Sorry Gerry but all I could think of now was I'm going to have the "Cromier" hand. Three nurses attended washing, evaluating and dressing what was left of my finger. "You will NEED to see a doctor..." WHAT?  It will be days before we are in the States.  Fly to Nassau what?  Suddenly the blur is returning. For two hours I had three secretaries (nurses) trying to work out options for me. 

To keep things in line I started to prioritize.  First Ayrton had to stay with me. Second I needed antibiotics. Third at this point I couldn't make my self cauterize the wound so this was not an option.  Forth I lost the tip of the finger overboard so I was not having replaced. Fifth was the boat and the damn cat. I also needed to feed Ayrton somehow. Everything else was trivial.  Ayrton and I started a list of things to do and things to take. One of the nurses drove him to BBGC to handle the list. With calls in to the hospital at Nassau, the airport, the US embassy and Bahamas department of tourism everything became clear.  There were no more flights to the US today but there was one last flight to Nassau. Almost $200 bucks for us one way. All the adrenalin must have worn off now because the lights started to glow and things were as I said at the time "weird" I was sweating and cold, time for an IV.  At 4:30 we boarded our flight to Nassau.  Neither of us had eaten yet!

Once on the ground we were greeted by Bahamas tourism at the gate and they had a cab ready but did not cover the fair. We were rushed right by the Wendy's and missed our last chance for food.  Once at the hospital after a cab ride through the back alleys of Nassau we started the process of being processed. Things were slow at first but eventually the person Bimini called found us and things started to progress rapidly. We went straight from X-ray to expedited confusing part of the staff. I tried to arrange some chips or soda for Ayrton but nothing ever materialized as he was whisked away to the "family room" and away from the population. 

My native Nassau doctor arrived and reviewed the options.  I explained to her my background and current circumstances as a cruiser and told here take the safest route to treatment as it would be days before we were able for medical attention in the states.  A few pricks of a needle, some wire cutters and some thread later I was ready to go once the new IVs were done.  I was released to find Ayrton entertaining as usual, deeply in conversation with a retiree as she was also in wait for others. I love to get compliments on my son. 

li'l Liberty

Our first mission out of the hospital was food it was now 9:50pm. There was no way to make it the half mile or so to McDonald's before they closed at 10. We went off toward the east thinking that somewhere between here and s/v Liberty there would be something open.  Seizing the moment I flagged down the police unit as it drove by only expecting to ask if Defense Force operated 24 hours. Suddenly we found ourselves waiting on a second patrol car that took us to where Liberty should be but could not get access to the water as everything was closed. They next took us to the cruise ship dock to talk to Defense Force about a ride out. Which became another ride to the central Defense Force dock near the Green Parrot and BASRA. After explaining our story for about the fifth time since we left the hospital they agreed to take us out.  It was after 11pm now

We boarded the patrol boat and headed to the east anchorage.  As we arrived we identified Liberty resting with one boat between us.  As we motored gently up to the starboard side of Liberty I knocked on the hull. Even yelling out "Ben it's just Wes!" Didn't calm the audible panic below deck after a knock with blue lights flashing. After a few expletives and we will be right there. Ben slide the hatch open. "Ben it's Wes everything is alright".  With a big thanks to the Defense Force we are glad to be on this side of an encounter with them. It was about midnight as we wolfed down a few cookies and a can of chili!

We want to thank Ben and Darren of s/v Liberty for the 37th time for allowing us to spend the night and for feeding us. We talked of things since we last were together and plans from here but most of all we slept well. 

The next morning started off with eggs and pancakes, we love you guys, thanks so much. Followed by musical dinghy rides and the search for a pharmacy.  We took a moment at Rubis to search the internet for buses to the airport. It looks like bus 10 goes within a mile or two and at 2 dollars instead of 30 for a cab that was our plan. I had four prescription totaling 100 dollars.  After discussing what meds were already on the boat with the pharmacist I took the antibiotics and rejected all the others.  We passed a couple of local places I wanted to eat so we could check the weather and mail at McDonalds. (We can both eat at Nassau McDonalds for $8.97) on the way I asked a driver on bus 10 about the airport and he said take bus 12 instead. (Bus 12 goes almost the same route as 10 but has a stop right at the end of the airport drive. ( key words. Bus 10 12 Nassau airport how to get to from end of drive $2.50). 

Once at the airport it didn't take long to find out it is Homecoming in Bimini!  The flight is full and we are now on standby. We found a tourism agent but he was not able to do anything. No other airlines are going today. Sitting and regrouping I was just about to email Liberty that we may need another night when I jumped up and ran back to the counter. Oh a new person,  I explained being on standby, my hand, Ayrton etc as she checked on flights for tomorrow. All booked, it's Homecoming. My disappointed anxiety filled look must have sparked something in her as she asked if I was paying with cash or credit. This surprised me so she had to repeat it and explain she currently had two seats but I had to pay right now before they were booked elsewhere. I payed down 200 dollars and she checked me in immediately so as she put it there could be no questions.  So for the next two hours we played on the most aggravating internet we have ever been on. 

Going through the check in I had some guy try to take my billfold but chose just to retrieve it and continue on as we didn't want to loose our seats. We ended up departing an hour late due to being overweight. That was two stories within a story but of little consequence.  All I can say is any pain killers in my system were gone by the time we hit 10,500 feet cruising altitude. My finger felt like it was in a fire.  I also had a fever meaning either infection or I had caught Ben's virus during the night.

It was good to be back home on the boat, trying to get home with only nine and three quarter fingers.  with our little adventure we missed the window to sail across the Gulf Stream.  It now looks to be over a week before we can make the trip.


Ben and Darren   Thanks again

No this is not a post about hogwarts, quidich, train, magic, wizards or Harry Potter.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Dark Side Of The Moon 2014

We finally left Nassau today with light winds motor sailing down wind with a NE side swell. Ten hours later we entered the Northwest channel. We were watching the clouds percolate from the Berries and Andross being blown across the Bahama Bank toward Bimini.  The sun was fading but to the north we watched the clouds drop funnels aimed at the water below.  Funnel after funnel they stretched down but never making it past half way.  There must have been a dozen or more attemps but the air would warm before making it to the electric blue waters. 

Borrowed photo

During our funnel show we turned the motor off and settled the sails for a long night. After dinner Ayrton crashed for the evening and I relaxed in the cockpit with the tiller pilot keeping us on course. Sometime after 2am I looked up at the moon and could see an eclipse just on the edge of the moon.  After it was about one quarter shadowed I woke Ayrton to see it.  At 3:04 I woke him once again. He returned top sides without an issue an saw his first total eclipse of the moon.  The eclipse lasted for almost an hour and a half. As I sat there starring at the surface of the moon randomly obscured by clouds so thin they made it twinkle the view was like watching coals smolder in the fire.  I kept watching wanting to see the first light as the sun once again struck the surface of the moon. But I must have dozed off a few minutes.  The next time I looked up about a cresant was glowing brightly. 

NASA explanation

When Ayrton awoke in the morning he was excited to see Bimini up close. As we turned at the north end of Bimini we met the deep water impact of a southern breeze.  Casually motor sailing once again tacking back and fourth to stay close to the island an keep out of the big waves just a mile off shore but not so close that we were in the breaking waves near shore. We left the main up entering the channel to help keep Gemini Dreams stable in the tide vs following seas battle. Once past Lands End bar the rolling seas lost their fight and we only had to motor against the tide. 

Vinyl explanation

Ayrton was at the tiller as I lowered the mainsail and tied it down. The dinghy was on the bow making anchoring almost impossible so as we approached the Bimini Big Game Club docks I untied the dinghy anch flipped it over on the deck.  This is no small feat with even the little Walker Bay as it takes up all the room on the bow.  As I lifted the dinghy up and over the life line I expected it to settle a couple feet above the water. What happened in reality was the dinghy hit the water. I yelled for Ayrton to slow down as the dinghy started taking on water from the bow wake of Gemini Dreams. Then the dinghy nose dove into the blue water in front of BBGC.  Fu$& that hurt!  WTF!  OMG! ...

Nassau 2014

We finally anchored in Nassau harbor.  Just as we expected it is an easy place to spend money.  We will give a few highlights on our adventures here.  

About a hour after we anchored on day one here we heard yelling.  Repeatative yelling, so we took time out from Doctor Who to see what the issue was. Seems the owner, manager or the person who thinks he is in charge of Nassau Harbour Club (not to be confused with Nassau yacht club) controls the water east of his dock. He insisted that we relocate farther east.  Not to start issues we moved eastward about 400 feet. Not long afterwards a Canadian flagged boat dropped their hook in our previous spot. We waited. In about 20 minutes the shouting started from the dock. Not achieving his goal it wasn't long before the Defence Force showed up, and escorted the raving dock guy over to the Canadian boat.  They moved also.  Then the third boat anchored too close to his dock but was about 100 feet farther north. He stood there deciding his plan on the end of the dock. Perhaps giving in for the night as we never saw the Defense Force and they never moved.  

Of special interest to other cruisers we want to mention the presence of the Defense Force in the harbor.  One young couple on s/v Frodo has been boarded 3 times, another boat (forgot name) was boarded twice.  The three boats in the western part of the west anchorage were boarded yesterday ( Saturday).  We did not see any boardings today but were away from the boat for 6 hours.  Also we never saw any boardings in the east anchorage, well other than that one time with the dock guy. 

 The biggest news is the 40 footer tied to the Defence Force dock.  A couple in their 70's have been arrested and their boat seized for drugs. This of course is anchorage rumor and we have no hard facts other than a very nice yacht is tied to the Defence Force dock.  

Also on thr rumor mill is a story of a catamaran being forced out of the harbor during the last blow after being boarded and the cruising permit being revoked. Remember this is anchorage rumor among cruisers. 

One comment from all the cruisers was the fact that the Defence Force was always polite and even removed their firearms when boarding the boats with children. 

Fort Montegu standing guard at the west pass for almost 300 years

At the Montegu park we found the local fish market and all the missing conch

We continued on after the seafood market walking all the way out to Marathon Mall.  It wasn't with out a mission.  A blooming onion was waiting on us at Outback. We will just say it didn't hit the spot as it was not what we are used to. 

Atlantis in the background. 

s/v Liberty Clipper

Scenes from downtown. 

Straw market

Some items are actually made here. 

Wood carvers work on the west side of straw market. 

The seafood shanty town on Potters Cay has party time Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We didn't attend but They partied until 2am Saturday.  Wednesday the party is at Atlantis beach across the harbor ending in fireworks. Thirteen was really happy about the fireworks. It took us a while to find him making sure he didn't go overboard in the flight fom the noise.

The busiest always but we were refered to the first maroon building later. 

Cat nip!

Light house at the east end of the harbor. 

There are six of these monsters here today.  Two are Disney cruises.   

Harbor scenes

Sunset across the fuel dock

ESSO still exists here escaping the Sun Oil company lawyers

Prices prices prices. Little Debbie snacks are manufacturer labeled $1.99 but have a sticker of $5.50 at the Fresh Market.  Anjeo is $17 here vs $24 at Staniel Cay. 

Beauty in the outskirts of the beaten path.  Nature acts independently of the financial situation of the property.

 We have walked over 30 miles this week in exploring the area.  

We thought about heading out yesterday but the seas were just bigger than we go out in (8-10). We did move from the east anchorage to the west anchorage after our look out of the harbor.  One thing to be aware are the new Bay Street Marina docks extending out into the anchorage. No one is using BASRA for a dinghy dock but must use Bay Street for $5 a day.  The internet at the Green Parrot has yet to work even in the dinning area. There is no gas at BS and the two stations on the section of Bay Street do not take credit cards. 

The west anchorage is littered with debris.  We know of a refrigerator, tree branches, piling, a cubic yard of concrete and a very heavy iron frame the tide wrapped our anchor around.  We found this out when we tried to pull the anchor this morning.  It was so heavy that I could not pull it off the bottom. Time for the snorkel gear in 15 feet of water as Ayrton idled forward against the current to relieve the tension.  Everything went as planned and we were free.

We looked at the conditions again today after finally getting the anchor up.  With 5-6 feet as an average we still saw every 8th or 9th wave around 8 feet and steep. Not wanting to ride the 40 miles across deep water with the boat being hit abeam by these giants and gusts over 20, we are once again walking the strip and surfing the internet.  We will hang out for a couple more days and take the lighter wind across.  No need to press on if it's not fun. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014


There is a thin red line from ships channel to Georgetown
Just past paradise, not a crab pot insight

Conch holes and smugglers planes
Lobsters, conchs and big old groupers

Sunrise come and sunset go
Mother load of diamonds in the midnight glow
Where do you drop the hook on I-Exumas
Water 77 shades of blue

One foot seas and a 12 knot breeze
Cats, Packets, Megas and Vegas 

Plantations,  grottos and holes that blow
Driftwood on the hill, dragons on the beach

Sunrise come and sunset go
Mother load of diamonds in the midnight glow
Where do you drop the hook on I-Exumas
Water 77 shades of blue

Twenty five dollar cheeseburgers and a six dollar kalick
Old friends, new friends, memories I through a lens

Dancing on the hook and dragging through the grass
pigs in the water, dolphins on the grill, Saterday night parties

Sunrise come and sunset go
Mother load of diamonds in the midnight glow
Where do you drop the hook on I-Exumas
Water 77 shades of blue

There is a thin red line from ships channel to Georgetown
Just past paradise...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two Steps Back

After spending a couple weeks in Staniel Cay we were ready for a change.  We really wanted to make George Town this year but the SE wind meant more time waiting.  Instead of beating into the wind for days we decided to make a stop at Nassau on the way back.  

We moved from our little anchorage of the last two weeks back over to Big Majors for one last evening. Liberty arranged a beach party with a few other cruisers in celebration of their first month in the Bahamas.  Departure morning came with Liberty returning to Staniel for Phone issues and us pulling anchor about 20 minutes later headed toward the Exumas Land and Sea Park.  

It was an awesome day sailing with us dropping the anchor at Normans Cay completely on the other side of the park.  

We spent two nights here waiting on Liberty to join us but the dust from the constuction started to weigh on us.  Even the output from the solar panels seems to be diminishing.  With all we could take and still not a single conch from Normans this year we headed off to Allens.  Later we chose to stop early for water and an order of those wonderful wings at Highborne.