2 March, 2016

Hey, Mon.  You Okay?

Nighttime at Emerald Bay Marina.  Tomorrow evening, Andy and Jody come in, and it’s Sayonara to bloggin’ for a week while we play with our old cruisin’ pals.

We ended up staying at Cambridge until Saturday the 27th.  Friday was windy but sunny, and we ended up spending the day on the Girl doing boatchores.  Suz worked on income tax jazz-what a laff, we got no income, while I spent the day in the bilges tightening up hose clamps everywhere I could find them.  We had Lynn and Larry over for blackened Mahi, Beet rosti, and Acorn squash with cranberries.  Lynn supplied the Key Lime pie.  Their stint as hosts for the anchorage was ending on the 29th, and they were thinkin’ thoughts of starting to head back north for the summer season of, can I say   it? -work.  He captains a tour boat in Tobermory, Ontario, and she serves as Mate.  Although we wanted to stay, it was time to move on, and as Saturday morning dawned bright, warm, and almost windless, we dropped the mooring and headed to Staniel Cay, only 12 miles away.  Along the way, we spotted the motoryacht “Rushmore” holding station on the Bank, waiting to enter the marina at Compass cay.  She belongs to some “friends friends” from East Lansing, and we had been instructed to look for them while in the Exumas.  Well, we hailed them on the VHF several times to no avail (they must not have had their radio on).  Oh well.  We anchored off Big Majors Spot Cay (no typo) by noon, and dinghied in to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  We did a recon walk, hitting a couple of markets for future reprovs, and checked out Staniel Cay international airport.  The bar at SCYC called us, and we sat on the porch in rocking chairs, and watched a small part of the world go by.  We figured we’d eat as long as we were there, so had an unremarkable late lunch, (early dinner) there.  Blindsided by a severe case of “dumb#ss”, we returned to the tender landing only to find our seven hundred pound dinghy sitting high and dry on the beach at low tide.  By the time that we had the boat floating again, we had run out of daylight, so the following morning we ran over to the beach where the famous “swimming pigs” resided, checked them out (and got rid of some garbage), then went back into the channel by the Yacht Club to check out “Thunderball Grotto” (so named for the James Bond movie sequence shot there).  We didn’t get into the water, but it didn’t look nearly as cool as the grottos back at Rocky Dundas.By 1026, we had the anchor up, and were headed to Black Point, on Great Guana Cay.  Since we had been delayed at Cambridge by unfavorable wind direction, we opted for a quick “drive by” to check things out prior to our guests arriving.  We arrived at the anchorage outside black Point by 1200, and got the hook down in 26 knot winds under sunny skies.  We checked out Lorraine’s Bakery and Restaurant, and had lunch, while availing ourselves of her very good Internet connection.  On our way back to the Girl, we ran into Bob & Peggy (Knot 2 Fast), who had been here for a couple of days since leaving Warderick Wells.  When we got back to “Alizann”, there was another Krogen, “Morse Code III” anchored next to us.  We had been told a month earlier by some other Krogen pals that the folks on “MC” wanted to get in touch with us, as they wanted to head to the Panama Canal with us next year.  After the hook was up at 1445, The Admiral called them on the VHF, and had a nice chat.  Hopefully, we’ll see them again this season.  By 1635, we were anchor down (for the last time) on the lee side of Little Farmer’s Cay.  Our plan was to head out into the Exuma Sound (Atlantic Ocean) through Little Farmer’s Cut in the morning, as the water on the Bank (and out of the wind) was pretty shallow from here south to Great Exuma (and Georgetown, where we were picking Andy and Jody up).  Our charts told us that there would be a fair amount of current exiting Little Farmer’s Cut.  On the ebb tide in the morning, with the wind out of the northeast, (opposing the outgoing tide), the conditions would be just right for a “rage” in the narrow cut.  The good news was that we figured that slack current would be just an hour or so after daybreak, so if we got off by first light, we’d be at the Cut at just about the right time (I keep sayin’, “better to be lucky than good”).  Once out, we hoped that the seas would be calm enough to fish in the deep bluewater on our way to Lee Stocking Cay, where we’d spend the night before heading to Emerald Bay on Great Exuma.

Well……we were anchor up at Little Farmer’s just after daybreak, and out of the Cut with no problem. Seas were 2-4’ on 5 second intervals, but on our port quarter, so not too bad.  No sooner did I get a line wet than we reeled in a 12 kilo, 40” Wahoo (that’d be 26 ½ pounds, folks).  Next came a 30” Mahi.  We got another Mahi that absolutely dwarfed the thirty incher up to the side of the boat, but couldn’t get a gaff in him before he straightened out the hook and swam away.  Dude, this was our kinda fishin’!  We lost 7 Ballyhoo baits on hits that spun the reels out, but didn’t hook up well.  We also lost one of my favorite cedar plugs that I had skirted with a yellow and Chartreuse silicone squid to something BIG.  This guy hooked up, and was zzzzzzzzzzzingin’ the reel out bigtime.  He was close to spooling out 400 yards of eighty-pound test Spectra line, when I had to dial up the drag to keep him from emptying the reel.  The 5-foot rod was bent to nearly 90 degrees.  I couldn’t even get it out of the rod holder for fear of losing the whole shootin’ match.  All of sudden-nuthin’.  I reeled in a couple hundred yards of line with nothing to show but the bitter end.  I’m tellin’ ya, I can’t break this line by hand, and this dude just laughed at it.  Needless to say, we skipped right past Lee Stocking and kept ripping them up.  We ended the day with the Wahoo, the Mahi, and a couple of small Tunas.  The Admiral made me stop fishing, ‘cause she said the freezers were full already.  This was all in about 5 hours time.  We arrived at Emerald Bay Marina at 1428, and tied up in the “cheap seats”-no water, no electricity.  At $.40/ gal, we can make water cheaper (at today’s fuel prices, around $.10/gal.).  We’ve also found that at marinas with metered electricity, the usage billed to us on their meters seems awfully high (in fact, when we do the math, their consumption figures far exceed what the Girl could possibly use when all of her systems are go, go, go).  This offseason, we’re installing a kilowatt meter (lotsa $$$, but we think that the return will be worth it).  We spent the rest of the afternoon fileting and vacuum bagging fish (I’m REALLY slow at this stuff).  We ditched the ice, and some nonessential stuff, so there was room in the freezers.  At 1730, I was all set to go up to the clubhouse for the marina-sponsored “Happier Hour” (‘cause your already happy) featuring food and drinks, but the Admiral insisted that I take a shower.  I thought that the odor of fish blood ‘n guts was kinda manly, but she didn’t see it that way.  Well………we almost missed out on the goodies.  The marina here is dominated by a gang of Quebecois sailors, and let’s just say that they put piranhas to shame.  Two stacked plates at a time is the norm for a trip to the sparse buffet.  Later, Suz would hear stories about their behavior at the Superbowl party that weren’t pretty.  Oh well, we had food back at the boat.

Tuesday morning, I washed and started waxing our trusty little ship, while Suz did laundry at the FREE laundry room (replete with state-of the-art washers and dryers).  In the afternoon, we rented a car and headed into Georgetown to reprovision our fresh veggies and fruit.  I’m just sayin’, but picture a guy that drives 4 or 5 times a year getting into a car with a right-hand steering wheel and driving on the left side of the road.  A couple of Xanax would have served Suzanne well.  Okay, back to the matter at hand.  The supply boat leaves Nassau on Monday, arriving here at night, and stuff is on the shelves by Tuesday afternoon.  By Wednesday, it’s slim pickin’s until the following week.  Sooo……. Ya gotta get there.  We learned last year that you just CANNOT look at prices here.  If you need/want it, get it.  No matter that things are 2 1/2 to 4 times the price of the same item in the States.  Next, a trip to BaTelCo.  Suz had re-upped the data on our Ipad and phone, only to have them quit working altogether.  The nice lady there got things sorted out, and us up and running again (until next time).  Satellite phones are on the list for next year.  On the way home, we stopped at the butcher shop to pick up some lamb chops, as A & J love ‘em.

This morning, we did some more waxing and cleaning rust off of our stainless steel stanchions (a never-ending job) and office work after another trip to Georgetown.  (Yeah, we had to go back-yesterday we got to the post office to mail some stuff home, only to find a handwritten note on the door, informing all that “Until further notice, the post office would be closing at 1:00 P.M. daily”.)  That’s island life.  After turning in the rental, we walked over to a nearby resort, Grand Isle, and treated ourselves to lunch by their pool.  Having taken many vacations like that in our former life, we marveled at how much our lives had changed.  The wind has died, and the flying teeth are now out in full force.  We had been surprised by the lack of no see ‘ums this year-guess it’s because it’s been so windy.  I’ll take the wind over these voracious little buggers anytime.  A & J will be here tomorrow, so I’ll probably talk at ya in a week.  In the meantime, we think we’ll head back north and revisit some cool spots with our old playmates.


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