The Right Spot at the Right Time

A couple of weeks ago, we visited friends at Man o’ War Cay, Abaco. That morning we had heard on the ham net that a shuttle launch was to take place in the evening. Sitting on the deck at their rented cottage, my heart sank as I saw all of the trees surrounding us. No worries, they said ” we have an observation deck”! After dinner, I watched the time and all of us managed to reach the deck in time to watch the vapour trail of the shuttle , just after launch. It was very dramatic but, of course, my camera was down all of those steps. Thus no photos.

But, the last few days they have been announcing the return of the shuttle with a possible landing here at Titusville. The wind was honking this morning and we were concerned that the landing might be scrubbed. But, after a delay, the landing was set for 3:14 pm. And we were in just the right spot to hear the double sonic booms as it re-entered our atmosphere. Then, Murray’s sharp eyes spotted the shuttle itself as it dropped below the clouds and made its approach to the landing field. No photos again, of course.

But, how lucky are we do have seen it take off and land!

Heather & Murray

Safe Arrival

Hello everyone,

Just a brief note to let you all know that we have safely arrived in the US. We departed from Great Sale Cay, Abaco and landed at Cape Canaveral, FL. It was a rough and rolly ride! I am ashamed to say that I lost my lunch on the way. Murray toughed it out and was the iron man of the trip, as usual. We entered the harbour at 0730, cleared customs and had an early lunch ( no one ate much all night! ) and then cast off, heading through the lock and on into the ICW. The anchor went down at Titusville at about 5 pm. time for a drink, a light dinner and an early bedtime.

Tomorrow, we have been invited for lunch with friends ashore. And then, the shuttle is scheduled to land shortly after 1 pm. The weekend is supposed to be rainy and windy, so we may just stay put.

To prepare the boat for haul-out, we are going to go to a marina that is close to ours. It is Reynolds Yacht Centre and is a lot more expensive then our usual marina. But, as the dock there has been condemned, we do not have a lot of choice. The boat will still be stored at Green Cove Springs Marina. It is scheduled to be hauled on April 10th and, if all goes well, we should be back at our house by April 12th! In time for the Easter Bunny.

Right now it is time for this tired old bunny to take a shower and put her head down.

Hugs,
Heather & Murray

Northern Abaco and Onward

Hello everyone,

We are currently sitting at Manjack Cay, Abaco and have access to the internet through a house nearby with an unsecured wireless. Yeah! That hasn’t happened very frequently this winter. And, since the wind is blowing, I have time to write and catch up with my e-mails.

So, our last message had us heading on towards Hope Town. And that we did, but not early enough in the day. We had a leisurely breakfast and hauled anchor about an hour before high tide. Not enough time obviously as we ran aground opposite the lighthouse at Hope Town. And the tide was still falling. So we dropped the anchor and went ashore to explore. Up to the top of the lighthouse we went with a lovely view of the islands around and our boat, sitting facing away from the wind but quite upright on its wing keel.

Then, dinghy across to the village itself and check out the stores and pubs here. No hurry because it will be several hours until the boat is floating again. As we were in town later than usual, I was finally able to talk to my Mom. Mostly I had been leaving messages all winter and not actually speaking to her. So this was a wonderful happenstance.

Just before dark, we hauled anchor and moved to a spot with enough water for us to float. In the morning, we were off to Marsh Harbour for laundry and supplies. Flextime were having credit card problems and needed to get to a payphone to straighten that out. The lockers full again of food and clean clothes, we headed out in the late afternoon and anchored near Matt Lowe Cay, away from the crowds of Marsh Harbour.

Friends had rented a house on Man O’ War Cay for 2 months and wanted us to visit. Flextime needed to motor for a while to check out a cooling, or rather an over heating, problem. Meanwhile we sailed slowly to Man O War, where we picked up a mooring ball. Our friends, Tom & Kay, invited us for dinner and we had a wonderful time catching up with them after 5 years.

On Monday, there was time to visit the little shops and stores while the tide rose high enough to allow us to leave this shallow harbour. Lola, a local lady, was delivering bread to the marinas and we purchased a fresh, still warm, loaf. Man, it was delicious.

We sailed on, planning to stay at Bakers Bay overnight. But, the waves were rolling in there and making for an uncomfortable anchorage. The two boats opted to continue on, cross over the Whale Cay passage and head for Green Turtle Cay. Dark clouds and rain storms chased us all the way.

In the morning, we went for dinghy exploration of the two protected anchorages, White and Black Sounds, and then on to the town where we enjoyed lunch at Dave’s. As it was St Patrick’s Day, he was giving out shots of Irish whiskey or Bailey’s Irish Cream. By the time lunch was over, no one felt any pain.

The next day, we moved further north to Manjack Cay, ahead of an expected cold front. Since we arrived, the wind has blown hard and it has rained buckets. We have spent our afternoons playing games with Flextime and the evenings watching movies or discs of Thirty Rock.

But, the weather is supposed to clear up. Tomorrow we will return to Green Turtle, a distance of 2 miles, get rid of garbage and grab a few provisions. Then, start positioning ourselves for a crossing on Thursday/Friday from Great Sale Cay to Port Canaveral.

We will keep you informed. Meanwhile, take care and enjoy the arrival of Spring.

Hugs,
Murray & Heather

Abaco!

Hello everyone,

We have done a lot of moving since I last wrote to you. On Feb 28th, we motorsailed to George Town and anchored near “the big city”. Contact was made with the Port Stanley boats and a get-together arranged for later that day. It was great to catch up with all of them and hear of their adventures during their voyage from Lake Erie to the Bahamas.

As another cold front was expected, we departed George Town the next morning, after some computer gliches, and sailed northward to Rat Cay, eventually anchoring all alone in Children’s Bay. The front came through during the night but no one could drag down on us when their anchor let go! In the morning, the Research Centre on Lee Stocking Island announced a tour at 1 pm so we made our way through the shallows and anchored nearby. The tour was very informative and the first time we had seen the Centre in all of our years in the islands. It is a facility where researchers can do projects on subjects related to the ocean. Most of the studies are done in the summer months when the professors have time available from their teaching schedules.

On Mar 3rd, we departed Lee Stocking ( after a collision with a shallow reef! ) and sailed north in the Exuma Sound with all fishing lines deployed. No luck though! Galliot Cut gave us a good entry onto the shallow banks and we continued on north and anchored in Little Bay, just south of Black Point. Friends joined us for cocktails and Randy & Lori from Solemate III stayed for an impromptu dinner party. Murray sailed the boat off the anchor in the morning while I gathered up the laundry and we dropped anchored before 0800 in front of the Rock Side Laundry. Ida made us very welcome, as usual, and my clothes were soon clean and sweet smelling. Lorraine’s Cafe was the next stop where we checked our e-mails and banking using her free wireless. By 2:30, we had hauled the anchor and sailed on, towards Staniel Cay and the Big Major Spot anchorage.

We stayed put for one whole day and caught up on the news with Doug & Connie from High Stepper. We had hardly seen them this winter but made plans to meet in the summer on a road trip.

By March 6th, we were off again, sailing north to Norman’s Cay and then on to Highborne Cay the next day to meet up with Bob & Jane on Flextime. Early the next morning at first light, a small fleet set out for the Fleeming Channel and the top of Eleuthera. Some boats went to Royal Island to continue on to Abaco the next day. Flextime and W4 opted to visit Spanish Wells where we picked up a mooring.

Walking the island streets the next day was an eye-opener for Bob & Jane as this community is so different from the other Bahamian towns that they have visited. The locals are extremely house-proud as is shown by their well-tended, well painted homes. The flowers are incredible and we took many photos. Our friend Wayne Perry ( Little Woody ) is a guide and he led us out to the ocean through the intricate opening in the reef just after dawn. We waved goodbye and set our sails for Abaco.

The ocean was quite flat with a long swell. But, there wasn’t enough wind to sail so the motor went on. We made water and charged everything we could think of as we motored for 8 hrs. The cut at Little Harbour was rolling from the ocean swell but both boats made the transit safely and anchored near Lynyard Cay.

Today we snorkeled at Sandy Cay in the morning and took the dinghies to Pete’s Pub in the afternoon as it was a lovely sunny day. Tomorrow we will head on towards Hopetown to see the sights there.

Flextime also wants to return to the US about the end of this month so the two vessels will travel together for the crossing again.

So, we are only a couple of weeks from the States and access to wireless and telephone service more easily. Then on to the marina to store the boat to return to Canada. And that is a whole other story as the marina pier has been closed. Doing the prep work for storage is going to be difficult or rather, a challenge yet to be solved.

See you sooner than you think!!

Heather & Murray