We survived the big storm over the weekend. It wasn’t as bad as predicted. Even so, we were glad to be in a secure place. The radio waves were busy as cruisers looked for places to hide. I couldn’t believe the number of people calling late Friday afternoon to see if there were moorings available in the Park—don’t they listen to weather??!!

Skip made all of the arrangements for purchasing a new outboard motor. It’s coming in from Nassau on the mail boat to Staniel Cay on Wednesday. Actually, outboards motors are one of the few items that are cheaper to purchase in the Bahamas. Skip called from Joe and Mike’s satellite phones (we should get one of our own.) They emailed a document that they wanted signed to authorize the credit card purchase. That wasn’t so easy to do without a wifi signal. Those of you sitting at home enjoying your high-speed internet have no idea! We got a wifi password by phoning the office. I packed up the laptop and Angie and I hiked to the other side of the island to get within range of the signal. It wasn’t too bad getting over (considering I did it 3 times in one day!) Our ‘internet café’ was a rock on the beach. I think it’s the most beautiful internet café in the world! I accessed email while Angie held up the antenna (like Lady Liberty!) It certainly was a funny sight.

We took the document back to Lady of Lorien to print it, sign it and scan it. We then went back to the beach to send it. Since the scanned file was a PDF (close to 1 Meg) it took me about an hour to finally get it sent. The signal kept going away in the middle and I had to start again. We called to confirm receipt and went back to the beach later in the afternoon to see if they sent an invoice. This time, I took a cushion to sit on (those rocks were pretty sharp!)

Since we gave up on repairing our outboard, we donated it to Exuma Park. They were very glad to come over and pick it up. They have several guys who work on motors. Maybe they’ll have better luck! Skip and Mike did their best but it was beyond our abilities to fix.

When we first visited the park last month, Joe and Mike had talked to the new management to find out how cruisers could help them get some of the items they need. They are one of over 20 parks supported by the Bahamian National Trust. They have a ‘wish list’ but their priority needs aren’t very clear. Last month they desperately needed a new washer. We were going to pitch in and buy one for them but they did manage to get one. After further conversations, we decided to pitch in and donate a GPS for one of the park boats. Joe is looking into setting up a ‘friends of Exuma Park’ group that could assist the park in getting much needed items via donations from cruisers. Since the park is mainly enjoyed by cruisers, we hope that they will be willing to help out. When donations go into the Bahamian National Trust, they can get caught up in the beaurocracy. For example, the BNT might reduce the park’s budget if they receive donations. Anyway, we’re trying to help out as it’s such a wonderful place for the cruising community.

We’re still enjoying exploring the southern tip of Warderick Wells. Joe’s dinghy is fixed and the patch seems to be holding. We transferred his motor back and now we’re without transportation. (Actually, he’s our taxi driver now!) Skip, Joe and I hiked along Hog Cay and discovered many little coves and beaches. We even got a decent phone signal at the top of the hill and called Jen (Skip’s daughter) in Denver. They were getting more snow! We were excited to hear that Jen and Bill will visit us in the Abacos in early April.

We also visited the southern beaches of Warderick Wells. Yesterday was a perfect day for a picnic—sunny, warm and calm. I even went swimming. Wish I could do that every day. We’ve seen lots of sea life here. I’ve seen a large ray sitting under our boat and when the water is calm there are large (3-4 ft.) fish swimming alongside. There’s a huge barracuda living by the rocks and plenty of healthy young conchs by the shore. They other day I was polishing the stainless and dropped the top of our solar light overboard. I can see it clear as day but it’s too deep to dive for it (where is Ed when we need him??!) Luckily, I have a spare. It’s just a solar yard light—works great as an auxiliary anchor light.

Our plans are to head down to Staniel Cay on Thursday to pick up our new outboard, get groceries, fuel and water. Next it’s Black Point for laundry. We’ll see how the weather looks later in the week. If it will be settled we may head over to Long Island. If not, Cambridge Cay will be a good place to hang out for a while.

It’s raining today so maybe I’ll bake some more cranberry orange scones. They’re a big hit in the anchorage!

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