March 1999

Moving On

Hi everyone,

It’s about time to leave George Town and move on up the chain. Depending on weather, of course, the plan is to head up the Exuma Islands stopping at the cays that we missed on the way down. We will cross to Eleuthera and Royal Island and then head up to the Abacos. Connections may be few and far between, so don’t expect to hear from us for a while.

Life here has been good – other than the cost of groceries. I can’t get used to paying $4 for a bag or pretzels or nacho chips! Canned good also are outrageous – $4.50 for a large can of orange juice, $ $1.80 for a can of peas or corn. We tried to bring as much as possible with us, but eventually the cupboards are bare. Flour is reasonable – $ 2.50 for 5 lbs. I have got sourdough starter in my frig and bake bread several times per week. Another cruiser made soda biscuits! I was going to get her recipe, but I think that’s a bit silly!

We have recently had settled weather and have ventured outside with the dinghy to snorkel and fish. A rather large shark cruised by us, so we decided to fish from the dinghy. Caught a grouper on the line – about 5 lbs. Murray cleaned it and then put the carcass on a hook and dropped it overboard. About an hour later, he heard the line zzing out and grabbed his reel. A major fight ensued with the fish trying to dive under the boat and Murray reeling him in. Eventually, he had about 3 feet of a nurse shark out of the water alongside. The shark was 5 or 6 ft long, but we didn’t really want to land it. Murray let out a little line and the shark broke free. Entertained the anchorage for a while.

We will fish again later today – we had to come back and make more lures after yesterday’s trip. Two lures lost and no fish. But some days are like that.

We have heard that spring is on the way up north. The ice went out of Port Stanley harbour a few days ago. Dave Tilley said it was ready for us to bring the boat back (. I DON’T THINK SO ! ) A contact this morning said the crocuses were up in Sarnia. So soon it should be warming up. Boat work will start – waxing, painting and all the rest of the preps. Have fun!

Well, not much news here. Life is pretty quiet.

I will write again when possible.

Keep well.

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA

March Update

Hi everyone,

We are still in George Town and enjoying ourselves!! The regatta winds up today with the award ceremony.

We raced the two races on Windswept IV. One race was held in the harbour with a Bahamian start. Boats lined up at anchor with sails down and horns blew for each class. When our horn blew, we pulled the anchor and sails up, and motored ahead to the start line. Motors off when the start line is close. We were first over the line for our start and also first to the first mark. But that didn’t last. A Cardinal ’46 slowly caught us and we diced it out for a while. The second time around the course, they got away from us. We crossed the line second in class, but may be bumped down on corrected time to third. It is very close.

The second race was Around the Island on Friday. Lots of wind – 20 kns. We would have to tack out the opening in the reef!! The Cardinal dropped out as that was not something they wanted to do. The start was calculated so that you started on a your handicap for the event. We started 54 mins after some boats and others started 60 mins after us. That way the boat to finish first WINS. But, it was a reach both ways up and down the island with only a short beat out the reef. We didn’t have much chance. But we had lots of fun. There is also prizes for catching fish. We had 3 fishing lines in the water at one point, but no fish. We passed several boats in our class and got third place.

During the racing,other boats broke forestay, backstay and steering gear! The wind wasn’t that strong, so we were surprised. We broke nothing and no one got hurt. Although we caught the wind generator with the fishing pole! We had eleven crew in the long race. They all got wet, but that’s all!

Someone asked questions about how we do this e-mail stuff. I write the letters on board. Then we put the computer in a big zip-lock, then a backpack and carefully load it in the dinghy. Then we head for shore. Murray hands me the backpack after the dinghy is secured to the dock and we look for someplace to connect. In the Bahamas, Batelco ( Bahamas Telephone Co ) will sometimes allow connections. Or other stores may. We ask around until we find the local spot. Hike to there, and if they are open, unpack the computer. We pay approx $2/min to connect to a Juno number in Florida. We cannot receive photos, attachments or greeting cards. We do not have internet access, but only e-mail. But, it allows us to stay in touch with everyone.

Here in the George Town area are several beautiful reefs on which we have been snorkeling. A group of us will make a day of it, with a picnic on a deserted beach. We move the big boat frequently, depending on what we want to do. In fact, other boats have commented on that. Most boaters put the hook down and stay put for 2 months or more. We move to town if we want to go out late at night, or down to Elizabeth Island if we want to get away from the crowds. We have no problem pulling the anchor and moving somewhere else!

Life is busy though. So far, we haven’t even made it to the Rake & Scrape on Monday nights. Cheap rum, cold beer and hot music!! Sounds like my cup of tea. Maybe this week – depending on weather. It is not a nice trip across the harbour when the wind is blowing hard. It is a 1.5 mile run from anchorage to town! There are pot lucks on the beach, cocktails here and there, and all the town activities also. Laundry needs doing and grocery shopping can take hours. Every time you move a half a block in town, more friends are bumped into and it is time to chat and catch up on news. One afternoon, it took us almost 2 hours to move a block! Then, water must be fetched, both drinking and utility water. The drinking water is bought for $!/gal. The tap water here we use to wash dishes and us, but don’t drink as it is quite salty.

And then, boat maintenance. The rule is ” a boat job per day ” to keep up with repairs. When company visits, we fall behind. Today we did 6 jobs already and have fuel, water and e-mail yet to do.

Dave & Micky Tilley, from Port Stanley, visited for a week recently. They returned to the land of snow and ice before the races started. But Dave had cleaned the whole bottom of the hull – removing grass and barnacles. I am sure it contributed to our speed in the race. Thanks Dave!!

Last night, the local businesses sponsored a dinner for the cruisers. Free food and booze! Everyone was there,as you can imagine. Over 400 boats spending $$ locally is a big influence on the local economy. And they appreciate it.

The cruisers also built a new stage in the park, with lights and a sound system! It was used for the Talent Show on Tuesday night. I had an idea for an act, but didn’t have time to put it together. Perhaps next year, if we are here.

Well, the captain is hungry and need his lunch. Our best to all.

Heather & Murray Rand

PS Did laundry this morning and thought I would relate my experience to you. The machine filled fairly quickly and the clothes washed fine. But after 30 mins the light for the rinse cycle was still on. I opened the lid to take a peek and saw the water was entering at a fast DRIP, DRIP ! I waited patiently for another 30 minutes. STILL not full of water. After another half hour, I borrowed a bucket from a boater on the dock and carried bucket loads. The tap in the bathroom would not accomodate the bucket under it, but someone had left part of a Clorox bottle with which I filled the bucket. It took at least 6 trips with the pail to fill the washer! Finally, the rinse cycle started. I had been there 2 hours and had managed to get my clothes washed. Forget the dryers! I put the clean clothes in a garbage bag ( to protect them ) and we loaded the dinghy and headed back to the boat. The wind was up and the waves were awful! Waves were crashing into the dinghy and over my head every couple of minutes. I had a death grip on the garbage bag, as I didn’t want to get the clean clothes salty again already. After a 15 minute dinghy ride, we got the laundry to the main ship and strung the clothes-line out. After a few more hours, the laundry was finally dry and folded. Life in the islands!

aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA

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