Headed for George Town

Well, it is early for this but we are underway to George Town, Great Exuma today. The wind blew hard for the last 5 days and we got itchy feet, I guess. Several friends had planned to head south. We had decided not to go. Then, in the morning, we looked at each other and said “Why not!” So, we tacked our way south to Cave Cay yesterday, had a nice snorkel and headed out before 8 this morning. We are only 35 miles out of our destination, so should arrive in the early afternoon. As another cold front with high winds again, is expected later today, we want to be tucked in securely.

Because we didn’t plan this, we need to get to a store before the winds arrive. On board right now, we have only 3 eggs, one tomato, some carrots, romaine, and a few multi-grain rolls that I baked. So, if we get there early enough, we will anchor near town, dinghy in to the store, stock up and get rid of garbage. Then we will head for Sand Dollar Beach to anchor down before the front.

Once the winds die down again, we hope to head further south to Long Island and the Jumentos. The later are a series of very small islands on a shallow bank. Lots of fishing, shelling, lobstering etc but also lots of sharks and no shelter from cold fronts. And no grocery stores. So, the larder must be full before this adventure.

Winds today are calm but the seas are rough. Thus this letter will be brief as it is time for me to go topsides for some air!

Hugs to all, Heather & Murray

Rain!!

Man, did it rain! I have never seen it like that. Last night we had rain squalls one after the other with accompanying thunder and lightning, of course. A nearby islander reported 2.5 inches of rain fell last night. I can believe it. Our dinghy was nearly half full. The cisterns on the islands will be brimming today.

We sailed down to Black Point the other day, to do laundry. They have a new facility there and it is the only one in the upper Exuma chain. It is well maintained and has huge windows overlooking the turquoise waters of the anchorage. Or there are benches were you can sit and wait for things to dry and watch the dinghy traffic go by. What a treat it was to have clean clothes, sheets and towels. We hated to get anything dirty by jumping in the dinghy and going to windward. But, that night we did go out to dinner and Murray enjoyed a “stew fish” with peas and rice and coleslaw. I had chicken, with the same side dishes. It was a nice evening.

Then it blew hard for a day and we were stuck aboard, listening to music, playing sudoku and reading books. The following day found the wind subsiding and we ventured ashore for a walk and phone calls. As we are expecting some company in March, we are taking advantage of the opportunity to order a few parts that we need to replace broken things. By late afternoon, the rain started. Between storms, we visited with friends and shared some snacks and laughs. When it seemed to be settling in for the night, we said our goodbyes and dashed for home.

Today, there is NO wind and we are motoring north towards some protection for the next big blow, due on Sat. We will stop at Sampson Cay, do e-mail on-line and buy some fresh veggies and eggs. Then tomorrow, we will find a hidey-hole and hunker down again. The water temp has really dropped due to these last few storms and is now just over 70F or room temp for the Celcius people. Brrr. But, we must get in snorkeling tomorrow as it will be too cool and windy for the next few days.

Otherwise, not much happening here. How are things in the frozen north? Keep warm and write when you can.

Hugs, Heather & Murray

Christmas in Staniel Cay

Hello everyone,

We hope that your holiday season has been a wonderful one with lot of friends and family to celebrate with you.

Ours was spent here, in this little piece of paradise called Staniel Cay. On Christmas Eve, I organized a cruiser beach party where we shared snacks and drinks while the tropical sun set over the anchorage. By the glimmering firelight, a cruiser sang “O Holy Night” and many people wiped away a tear when she finished. Then, everyone sang some carols with the children and I read my “Week Before Christmas” poem. When the fire died down, everyone departed to their boats with calls of “Merry Christmas” echoing around the anchorage. A lovely night.

On Christmas Day, a front was expected to pass by. Pre-frontal activity arrived mid morning with lots of rain and a shifting wind. Our anchor alarm went off and we were dragging toward another boat! Quickly, we dashed on deck, hauled anchor and re-set it to the new wind direction. Were we soaked! But, it was fresh water. A neighbouring vessel ( the one we were dragging towards! ) had invited us to dinner. When we arrived, they had the air conditioning on! It was lovely as it was a very hot and humid afternoon. After a lovely dinner and enjoying pumpkin pie in the cockpit, we saw nearby lightning. Time to cut the visit short.

1005-1076sThe next few days were spent snorkeling, beach walking and visiting. On the 30th, a fund-raising auction was held at the Yacht Club. I donated some of my red pepper jelly ( raised $25! ) and we bought a bag of books and a box of canned goods. Some beautiful items had been donated but prices went sky high. On the 31st, the ‘C’ class Bahamian boats raced and cruisers were given a chance to be aboard. Murray raced on Smashy. The name was maybe prophetic as he did hit another vessel and the buoy during the race! I will try to attach a photo. Fireworks happened at midnight but we were long asleep by then.

1005-1084sOn Monday, the 2nd, the Cruisers Regatta was held. The wind blew at about 15 kn and everyone had a wonderful time. Most of our crew had jumped ship to race their own boats so we took aboard a local couple. Dave Moxie owns a ‘C’ class boat and is captain of a 90+ power yacht. Ellen is a dentist in Nassau. Again, I will try to attach a photo of the crew. Don Wilson, from Next Exit, was very glad to see more crew arrive as he and I were the only ones left. The race was a trianglar course, approx 2 miles per side, that we went around twice. It was a neck and neck race but we managed to get second place. Last night, the awards ceremony was held and every participant received a basket of goodies from the organizers. Then they brought out the food! Roast pork and chicken, with peas & rice, macaroni and coleslaw. I could not finish it all. There was dancing in the street but we were exhausted from all of the activities this week and headed back to the boat before 7 pm.

Today, we are hidden in Oz again with two cold fronts expected before the next weekend. Oh well, time to relax and read some of those books that I bought.

So, that is what is happening in our life. How’s things up north? Write when you get a chance, as we love to get your mail aboard. All of the best for 2006!

Hugs, Heather & Murray

PS This was too large to send out the usual way, so we delayed it until we had access to the wireless connection at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Buy a beer and use the wireless – good deal!