Another cold front passed over us early this morning bringing dark clouds and a little rain. Fortunately, the squalls went further north and the high winds predicted earlier stayed away. We listened to Chris Parker’s weather forecast this morning on the Single Side Band (SSB) receiver. It looks like the winds will continue throughout the week but from a good direction (N, NE.) We’ll discuss with the other boats when we should leave the park to forage for fresh food, fuel, water, etc. Merlin has a water-maker and will give us fresh water if we run out. Lady of Lorien also has a water-maker but it’s not functioning and they need to get parts for it–hopefully via a friend who wants to visit them.
On Friday we went back to the beautiful little beach a little ways from the North anchorage for snorkeling and exploring. Skip stayed aboard relaxing (which means listening to the baseball channel on XM) The water was choppier than the previous day and my snorkel kept getting water in until Angie helped me out with a better clasp to hold it up. I saw many different types of colorful fish and coral. I didn’t stay out too long because it was rather rough. We explored the little island and found crevasses in the rock where the water surged underneath in almost a breathing pattern. Tina gathered stray plastic and bottles to bring back to the park office for disposal. I found pearly pink conch shells and took pictures (Sorry Judy, no shelling in the park. I’ll find you a conch shell somewhere!) Dinner was a ‘bring your own’ grill night on Merlin. Skip made a big pot of mushroom pea risotto–yummy!
All day Saturday was windy and chilly. We stayed on the boat–reading, doing puzzles and relaxing. In the evening was the weekly cruiser’s gathering on the beach. It was chilly and windy all day but that didn’t stop cruisers from gathering for food and drink! Skip didn’t really want to go but both Bailey and I needed to get off for a while! A few people showed up and we stayed until the sun set and we were too cold. I heated up a can of soup and doctered it up with hot sauce and spices.
On Sunday, we hiked back to the beach on the far side of the island where we found the large lump of latex. Mike wanted to bring it back with us but it was too big and, after further analysis, he decided that it wasn’t latex but parrifin wax. Tina and I gathered as much plastic debris as we could carry in 2 trash bags she brought along. There’s more plastic than a whole army could possibly pick up–very sad. We tried to pick up the biggest pieces; ones that weren’t likely to break up or decompose. I found an interesting item–a red plastic tag dated 1997-98 and stamped with control numbers and Florida Dept of Environmental Protection. I later sent them an email and they said that it was used in a fish tagging program in the 90’s. They referred me to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to report finding the tag. I’ll have to see if they respond. Although we’ll never know what happened to it, it would be interesting to find out what kind of fish it was attached to.
We hosted ‘game night’ on Moondance and taught everyone how to play Farkle. We also played one round of Mexican Train where Ed and Mike debated the ‘official rules’. Maybe we need a ruling on the rules like the host boat gets to decide which ‘official rules’ will be followed!
Yesterday (Monday–Groundhog’s Day!) we woke up with good intentions of going ashore to volunteer at the park for the day but never quite made it there. We were both moving slowly after not sleeping very well. In checking through my remaining supplies of food, I found that the potatoes were sprouting new life forms. I scraped off the budding sprouts and made potato salad. I also made my first loaf of bread! For some reason, I’ve always been intimidated by using yeast. Can’t explain it but I’ve never attempted a recipe that uses yeast. After studying the cook books (best one was a gift from Sue O.) I mixed up the dough and let it rise. I made lunch and we went ashore with Bailey to eat on the beach. The little yellow birds called bananaquits are pretty brazen when food is around and we had to carefully guard our food. We spent some time visiting with Mike and Angie on the porch of the park office as they had volunteered to splice mooring lines. That morning we heard on the radio that a boat had wrapped the mooring line on its prop while leaving. The line had to be cut to get them off. Several lines needed to be replaced because the mooring fields were booked for the night with arriving boats. It was fascinating to watch them weave the heaving lines through to make a strong loop on the end of the line. It requires skill as well as strength!
The bread dough had risen while we were away so I cut it in half and formed a loaf. Since I only have one bread pan, I experimented with the other half of the bread. I rolled it out a bit, spread brown sugar and cinnamon, rolled it up like a jelly roll and sliced it to form 4 buns. While the bread was in the oven, I sat in the back of the cockpit reading while a very curious small shark circled around for the longest time. Joe invited us to his boat for spaghetti so I proudly brought my first loaf of bread for dinner. It was pretty good! After dinner, we watched Groundhog’s Day, of course!
We ate the cinnamon buns for breakfast and they were good–maybe a little overcooked. I will also add more sugar next time.
While writing this post, I heard the preliminary discussion on the radio about whether or not we should leave tomorrow for Staniel Cay. We’ll talk more later as we check weather sources. If we do decided to leave, I’m taking a long, hot shower (anticipating water refill soon!) I might even give Bailey a cockpit bath…