April 17, 2014

Critter Report

Hello all
On April 4th, we arrived back in the US after a short, but lovely, winter in the Bahamas. The last 8 days were spent in White Sound at Green Turtle Cay. Although we were held there due to weather, it was still an enjoyable time with old friends nearby and new ones to be made.

Rose-throated-Parrot-2In the last two weeks, we have encountered several different critters. Most were birds but not all, so that is why I said “critters”.

The first such meeting was a pair of green parrots that circled the anchorage each evening. They would screech and holler as they flew the circuit and we never knew if they were captives that were allowed out for exercise or wild parrots, on a scheduled fly-over. Research has since shown that they are the Rose-throated or Cuban Parrot, once native to the islands but now few in 

TropicBirdAfter we left Green Turtle, we sailed to Powell Cay and were greeted by another rare sighting. Tropicbirds! Six of these lovely, long-tailed birds were swooping, soaring and chittering around our boat.

RoseateSpoonbill12Back in the US, we motored past a few 
small islands, north of Titusville. Here I
 always find some roseate spoonbills and I was lucky enough to see a couple of these pink birds once again.

And then, just a few minutes later, we saw many manatee! They were in the Haulover Canal and seemed to be playing in the water. I cannot count how many tails and backs we saw in the time it took us to pass this waterway.
west-indian-manatee-picture-02629-293659We never see the actual creature but just a nose, a humped back or the tail as it disappears.

What a week this was! I hope that you enjoy the photos that I found on-line.

Mayday Calls in the Night

Hello everyone

We are still safely anchored in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay in Abaco and the winds have continued to blow hard for many days.

On Tuesday night, with the cold front expected, we left our radio on even once we retired for the night. About 12:30 or so, the very strong winds hit with gusts over 40 knots and the change woke us both.

Murray climbed up on deck and checked the anchor while I perused the nearby boats to make sure that we weren’t in danger from a dragging vessel. Eventually we both went back to bed but mostly just lay there, listening to the wind and the anchor snubber line squawking as it tightened in the gusts. At about a quarter after one, we heard “Mayday, mayday! Vessel going on the rocks! Mayday, mayday!” . We lay there awhile longer but no one responded. So, I went to the radio and answered. We quickly determined that it was a vessel that anchored outside Green Turtle the previous afternoon, with their stern to the shore. Not a good move with the prediction of higher winds. So, when the strong gust hit, they dragged anchor and were quite near to the rocky shore. I got the names of the vessel, the persons aboard and their exact position, suggested that they rig jacklines ( to allow ease of movement aboard when the boat falls over onto its side ) and to don lifejackets. Still, no one in authority had responded even though we stayed on Channel 16 for the whole time. Finally, another cruiser telephoned the police station and they responded. I gratefully turned the frequency over to him and returned to my bed shortly after 2 am. But, we continued to hear the radio transmissions. The policeman drove to a position where he could observe the vessel and told them that they were 30 yards off the rocks and in a area of sandy bottom. The boat was a steel sailboat 58 feet long and 33 tons, so not easily pulled off. The police said that he would return just after high tide with two vessels and attempt to pull them free. And, that task was accomplished just after 7 am the next morning.

Yesterday we met the two persons aboard. The owner of Figment, a Canadian registered vessel, is Barry Thorpe and he has played one of the pirates in three of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He gave me a photo of himself with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. Although I wasn’t able to do much except keep them calm and answer their questions regarding tide and weather, they are very thankful that I was there.

So that is the excitement here. The winds continue to blow hard and another cold front is expected Sunday. Once that has cleared out somewhat, we will head north, towards Great Sale Cay. Probably on Wednesday, we will be crossing the stream to the US. Then, get back to the marina and prepare the boat for summer storage again. The we will mount up in the Land Ark and motor home, maybe visiting friends on the way if time permits.

Keep that snow melting as we will be home soon. Hugs from,
Murray & Heather
holding on in Abaco

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