It’s been a while since we’ve found wifi!! Here’s what we’ve been doing…
On Monday (2/9) we were still in Black Point and the wind was still blowing. We found a small beach nearby where it was easy to take Bailey ashore for a run. Later in the morning, we went ashore to Lorraine’s to use wifi and have lunch. Lorraine’s was crowded with cruisers so the wifi struggled to keep up. I managed to check email and upload my last blog entry. After lunch (the cheeseburgers were a ‘5’ on Skip’s quality scale), I visited the laundromat to look for a missing sock. I was surprised to also find some shirts and a pair of jeans that I left several days ago. I must have missed emptying a dryer!! Thank goodness for the odd sock or I probably wouldn’t have gone back to check.
While there, I got a haircut from Ida (the owner). I sat outside looking at the harbor while she gave me a nice trim. Afterwards, I sent Skip over there for a trim. I like having my hair short—I don’t have to mess with it and it doesn’t feel dirty if I go a few days without a shampoo.
We hosted dinner on Moondance where I made another fine batch of ginger wine chicken. The random rum drink of the day was a Dark & Stormy made with ginger beer and rum. With all that ginger, our stomachs were nice and settled for the night! We ended the evening with several rousing games of Mexican Train and Farkle.
On Tuesday (2/10) we took a long walk to Little Bay. There we found yet another planned resort development that didn’t get off the ground. Some land was cleared and equipment brought in and then, nothing. We took Bailey with us and that turned out to be a mistake. He liked playing on the beach with an old basketball we found but on the trip back he was very tired. At one point, he just headed over to a bush and laid down in the shade. He was so pathetic that we took turns carrying him back. A tasty pizza and beer at DeShamon’s was just the ticket after all that exercise!
On Wednesday (2/11), Skip and Bailey bailed out of a walking trip to the other end of the island. I went exploring with the rest of the group on a rocky ‘road’ that ended at a lagoon with no access to the Exuma Sound side of the island. We backtracked to another path that led to the beach. After snacking on chocolate (Joe came prepared!) we headed back to Black Point.
Thursday morning, we filled our 2 jerry cans with water at a faucet provided by the community. I also did another load of laundry (gotta take advantage of every opportunity!) We left Black Point and motored to Little Farmer’s Cay in light winds and beautiful warm sun—my kind of day! Lady of Lorien went back to Staniel Cay to pick up parts for their water maker. We anchored off Little Farmer’s Cay near Onward. Joe asked us on the radio if we were Canadian (I guess we were a little close but not by Rhode River standards!) He picked us up in his dinghy along with Ed and Tina and we went around to the dock on other side of the island. We had lunch at Ocean Cabin (a ‘7’ on the hamburger scale). I had grouper fingers which were delicious. I found the CSC burgee that was originally left by Seaquel and documented Moondance’s arrival.
In the evening we gathered on Moondance for ‘grill night’. While at Black Point a small Bahamian fishing boat came by and offered lobsters for sale. Following Angie’s recommendation, I made sure they were moving before purchasing 2 lobsters. The fishermen cleaned them and gave us just the tails. We grilled them and they were delicious! While dining, a GIANT moth came to visit—must have had a 5 inch wing span and beady little eyes. It looked too much like a bat for my liking. We turned off the outdoor lights and came below for games and dessert.
We got an early start on Friday for the trip to Georgetown. Getting there involves going through a cut to the deeper water in the Exuma Sound. With the calm winds in the past 2 days, the water was just right for the trip. We anchored on the town side of the harbor to make it easier to go ashore for groceries. Most of the cruisers were anchored on the other side near the beaches. We dinghied over to Volleyball beach to look for George and Julie and let Bailey run. Bailey immediately heard the volleyball game and wanted to join in (it was the leash for him after that!) Not finding our friends, we cruised around the anchored boats and finally found Seaquel. We had a brief visit with them as they were getting ready for dinner plans. Since Saturday was Valentine’s Day and they also had plans, we didn’t get to spend much time and promised to get together on our return trip to Georgetown. On the way to Georgetown, Merlin caught a 3’ mahi that they grilled for dinner. It’s hard to beat the taste of freshly caught fish!
Saturday morning we did some grocery shopping. It was the first ‘real’ store since Marsh Harbor. They actually had decent looking vegetables and fruit. We planned to stop at the fuel dock to fill up with diesel and water and then head over to the other side of the harbor near the beaches. It was the perfect opportunity to give Bailey a cockpit bath since he was getting a little funky. We also took showers before filling up our water tanks. Valentine’s Day dinner was great fun. The Chat and Chill bar on Volleyball beach served a buffet dinner of Bahamian-style food followed by music and dancing under the stars. Considering our usual V-day routine of bundling up in winter coats and braving icy weather to go out to eat, this night was hard to beat!
Sunday, we left Georgetown to motor down to Long Island. Only a few minutes after getting underway, we heard the dreaded thumpety-thumpety sound of a broken belt. Sure enough, the #$@& alternator belt broke again. After discussing options, we decided to keep our plans to head to Long Island. Stores weren’t open on Sunday so there was nothing we could do to fix it in Georgetown. There were several places where we could get new belts in Long Island and we could still run our engine using the original low-output alternator. (I’m learning more than I ever cared to know about diesel engines!) We also turned off the DC-driven refrigeration and started using the engine-driven unit which doesn’t draw on the batteries. It’s nice having back-up alternatives!
As we approached Long Island, the wind shifted and we sailed for over an hour into light winds surrounded by clear aqua water—perfect! We joined Lady of Lorien at the anchorage and took the dinghy ashore to explore the beaches. Merlin hosted dinner on their grill along with potent gin and tonics!
Monday, Joe and Ed arranged for us to rent a van on Wednesday to explore the island. It really is a long island with one road going the length. We went ashore to check out the stores and locate belts for the alternator. Skip was able to order them at an auto store and they’ll arrive on the mail boat on Wednesday. With an approaching cold front, the wind picked up and the dinghy ride back to the boat was a little rough. As a squall approached, I put on my swimsuit and scrubbed the boat in a nice little rain shower. The islands don’t get much rain and the boat gets really salty! We stayed on the boat at night and had snacks for dinner (it was a big lunch!) and played Mexican Train and Farkle.
Tuesday morning brought another engine problem–oy vey! Skip checked after running the engine and found oil leaking. With further investigation, he found that parts of the belt that broke got stuck in a place where the oil seal in the engine was affected. Mike came over and helped consult with getting it fixed. The engine gods were smiling on us because after cleaning out all of the pieces and starting the engine no oil leaked. We’ll still have to keep a close eye on it and make sure it runs okay in gear. I asked our friends if we’re more ‘snake bit’ than most and everyone agreed that the first year of cruising is spent discovering all of the boat problems.
Right now, we’re having lunch ashore and using wifi. It feels good to be back in touch!!!