Hello everyone

We departed the Berry Islands on Feb 8th, headed for Nassau. On the way, Murray caught a lovely mahi mahi, about 36 inches long. It was incredible to see the shiny golden fish leaping and spinning on the end of our line. He tried hard to shake the hook but Murray managed to land him safely in our cockpit, where his bright colours faded quickly.

In Nassau, we anchored across from Nassau Harbour Club and loaded all of the laundry into the dinghy. Murray dropped me off at Nassau Yacht Haven for the laundry while he obtain fuel to top up our tanks. Just before everything was dry, the rain started. A deluge!! Mur had gotten drenched already and we sat waiting for a break in the rain, before making the dash to our boat. With clean sheets and a gentle rain splatting on the deck, we slept well that night. In the morning, bright and early, we walked to the nearby grocery store. There we found empty shelves, empty freezers and few staff. But there were enough fresh vegetables to re-stock our larder, so we just made do with what was available. While at the mall, we stopped by Logo Book Store and spoke to the woman who buys the children’s books. We showed her “The Pig That Couldn’t Swim” and she was quite impressed with the quality and subject matter. In fact, she took some books on consignment.

Back at the boat, we hauled anchor and motored to Shroud Cay and anchored again for the night. Our friends on MarNel had returned from the Berry Islands to West Palm with a broken watermaker and arrived back in Nassau that evening. By radio, we arranged to meet at Norman’s Cay the next day. It was a slow drift northward to Norman’s but we had all day to cover a few miles. After a visit with other friends, we donned dive gear and headed out. In just 30 minutes, Murray got a lobster, a fish and two conch! Food for several days. MarNel showed up later that afternoon and we fed them a dinner of grilled mahi mahi.

The cold front was expected soon and the winds built from the SW, causing the anchored boats to ride up on their anchors or even spin around them as we did. With the wind and current opposing, the boat developed quite a heel, even while we sat still. The cold front hit in the dark, of course. I got up at about 11 pm to use the head and checked outside, just in case. There was a boat right beside us! Only feet away! What the heck? I called Murray and looked up the name of the vessel that had been in front of us ( I wrote it down earlier ). When I called him, he said that he was going to put out fenders and monitor the situation. What??? And he never called us to inform us???? Perhaps he couldn’t read our boat name in the dark? His anchor chain appeared to be passing about midship below us, therefore he was unable to haul anchor. So, we said that we would. By now the wind is blowing 30 to 35 knots and it is very dark. But, we did a super job. Murray hauled anchor while I kept some forward motion by going into and out-of gear. Then we headed away from everyone and dropped the hook again. It caught immediately and we were back in bed, with the drag alarm re-set for our new position. In the morning, that vessel dragged once again and tried once more to impact us. Fiberglass magnets must be installed somewhere aboard.

The wind finally abated but we had had enough of Norman’s Cay. Both MarNel and us hauled and sailed off on Feb 13th, further down the Exuma chain. Shortly after 1 pm, we dropped the hook outside Sampson Cay. It was a glorious sail with the winds picking up so that we had a double reef but MarNel needs lots of wind to move that big cat. They were charging along but we still beat them in by about 30 minutes.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we joined some friends for lunch, at Sampson. That lunch went on for hours as we caught up on past adventures and future plans. MarNel went into Pipe Creek the next day while we proceeded to Staniel Cay and Big Major Spot.

In Staniel, I made contact with Bernadette Chamberlain to discuss the next book and whether she has time to work on those illustrations. We also delivered more books to the Yacht Club and some to Isles General.

Now another cold front is expected this weekend and we have taken shelter in Oz, our old hang-out. The lovely sand beaches beckon and I try to swim each day. Early next week, we will head to Black Point for laundry and to re-connect with friends ashore before turning northward once more.

That brings you all up-to-date with happenings aboard. Hopefully all is well with you and yours.

Murray & Heather