Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fresh Creek

We headed south to Fresh Creek with Chinook Winds following and anchored out just behind the barrier islands. We had good sailing and , on the way, a Mahi accepted our invitation to dinner. I reeled it in--my first. Yesterday we came into the creek and docked at the Lighthouse Marina so that we could do some laundry and get a few supplies and introduce Marion and Boyd to the "hogfish" at Hanks Bar. Today it was pretty wavy but we dingied out and snorkeled on the Porites coral reef. No sharks--that's good.

Tomorrow we will head for Highbourne Cay and the Exumas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Morgan's Bluff

Yesterday we went back to the reef and snorkeled all afternoon. I found a beautiful area of staghorn and elkhorn and lost myself in taking photos. Something made me glance up and I noticed about 6 reef sharks swimming around like a gang of punks. They were VERY interested in me and would come up close then veer away. I started swimming towards the boat shooting pictures and looking backwards but they just followed for a while then I guess got bored and swam off.

Today we are heading for Fresh Creek.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Morgan's Bluff

We said good-bye to Chub Cay Wednesday morning and headed to the north end of Andros. We had some wind but ran an engine so that we could use the watermaker--it worked!! While Bill was reading on the deck he saw a sailfish right beside the boat. Bill had a Mahi on the line but it shook off the hook before we could get it on board.

Before anchoring at Morgan's Bluff, we stopped near Joulter's Cays where we had luck spearing a fish before. Unfortunately there were no big fish to be found other than the resident queen triggers but we had a good snorkel. In spite of the stop we anchored in the Daylight!!

Surprisingly, Chinook Winds was already anchored there. We had met Marion and Boyd in Bimini and had spoken to them on the radio in the morning. Their plan was to go to Nassau. They decided it was too far. They already made arrangements to go to the farms to get produce in the morning so we tagged along. Shalom, our driver, took us down the Queen's Highway to the Mennonite Farm then, on the way back we drove by Lowes Sound, a fishing village.

Yesterday we hung out on the boat since it was a bit too windy to go out to the reefs. I snorkeled around the harbor and did a little kayaking. Keith, on Dolphin Leap, came in during the early afternoon and announced over the radio that he had caught a Mahi that he needed help eating. Of course we accommodated him.

Today the wind switched position so we, Marion and Boyd, and Keith headed out in our dingys to find some reefs. The first place we went to was mostly hardbottom with a small stand of elkhorn coral. We then went further out where we saw waves breaking and found a beautiful healthy reef that was perfect for snorkeling.

Morgan's Bluff is the fabled lair of the pirate Capt. Morgan. There are some caves that are reported to be his hideout.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chub Cay Update

The plan is to remain at Chub Cay today and travel to Andros tomorrow. I am experiencing internet difficulties, particularly with uploading photos so please bear with me. It appears that I can write (but I really want to post pictures).

Chub Cay is a private upscale resort. They are not too friendly to riff-raff in small boats and charge $100 to shop at their store. Therefore there is nothing to do on the island. There is some nice snorkeling and shallow diving in the area, though, and we visited Mama Rhoda Rocks yesterday. This is a moderate-relief reef with a diverse although sparse coral coverage. It used to have a nice stand of staghorn coral but it appears that it has recently died and just a few living branches remain. There is some nice elkhorn, and, as I said, a fair number of other species of hard and soft corals. Large schools of fish drift in and out of the rocks and coral--grunts, goatfish and small snappers are thick.

The water was chilly (thank goodness for wetsuits) and the cool breeze chilled us to the bone when we got out. I got some good underwater pictures but Bill's video camera was found to have a loose connector so it did not work. Along with that we had some trouble with the dingy motor but we finally got it started (all in a day's boating). Bill cleaned out the carborator when we got back (ethanol gas clogs it up) and now it is fine. The stern enclosure was nice and warm. Later we investigated some rocks to the north. This area was mostly shallow hardbottom with some patchy rocks and corals. I stuck my head in the water to survey and soon spotted antennae sticking out of a small ledge. Of course we did not have the lobster gear in the boat (we were actually looking for conch) but I had a pair of gloves and the dive flag post served as a tickler. So I went in and grabbed the biggest one--probably borderline legal size-- so I let him go. next time I will have the equipment on the boat! Other heads and ledges came up empty. No surprise since there are several lobster fishermen that work this area.

Today is breezy but warmer, I've had my breakfast, and I am ready to get in the water again!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hanging out at Chub Cay

Late yesterday morning we set sail for Chub Cay. This was a long leg but we had perfect sailing weather and used the engines only for leaving and anchoring. Made 7-8 knots most of the day and it took us about 10 hours to make the trip (a long day and another night anchoring). Today the cold front has brought a chill to the air (Oh I think its in the 60's) with a cool breeze. I am quickly acclimating to the warm climate.

Now the wind is still blowing but I finally got into the water this morning. Kitty was very worried about me in the water. She could not figure it out and went in to tell Bill about it. Just snorkeled around the boat but found a large hermit crab with 2 big anemones on its shell, many starfish and a small flounder. The bottom here is sand and seagrass littered with conch shells which provide shelter for small fish and critters. Later on today or maybe tomorrow we will go over to Mama Rhoda Rocks where there is some coral. Bill is finishing his 1000+ page novel so we won't be doing anything until that's done.

Friday, January 13, 2012

We Made it to Bimini

Although finding fuel took longer than we expected, we decided to cross to Bimini late Thursday morning. We passed Biscayne lighthouse and set out to a glassy smooth sea. The crossing was very uneventful with no wind until the last couple of hours. I was a bit nervous about finding anchorage in the dark but Nixon Harbor provided a clear entry and good holding in spite of some wind later during the night. It was a very rocky night and neither of us got much sleep.

Sunrise over the clear blue water was beautiful today as usual and we proceeded to Alice Town where we checked in with customs. Today we are docked at the Bimini Blue Waters Marina. I am ready to get in the water!

Changes in Latitude—Part 2

Sunday we left Dragon Point heading to some point south where we can cross to Bimini. Sundays's anchorage was in Ft. Pierce. From there we went out the inlet and anchored in Ft. Lauderdale Tuesday night. We picked up a part for the generator on Wednesday but when we got back we found that a gust of wind had blown us off anchor. Thanks to a couple of sailors the boat was re-anchored. In anticipation of windy weather and know knowing that the holding was not good enough we decided to head to Miami where we arrived late Wednesday night. Miami was also better for last minute provisioning.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's a Boat!

We left Port Canaveral the Friday before Christmas just as soon as we could get the lower unit installed. It was sooooo good to be back in the water. We headed out the inlet for a test run then came back through the locks and motored back down to Dragon Point. However, when Bill checked the lower unit oil level in the morning we were distressed to find that there was only about 1/3 the amount of oil that we expected to find. OOOPPs!! Looks like the mechanic forgot to fill it up so we made arrangements to have an oil analysis for metal particles. This would tell us if any damage was done to the lower unit. Damage would require we go through the whole repair again!!! Of course with the Holidays, the analysis could not be done until after the first.

Oh--well, in the meantime, we celebrated Christmas with our families, took Bill's nieces and nephews for a boat ride, and went to the Melbourne Yacht Club New Years Eve party. I did some kayaking in Crane Creek while we were docked at MYC. Found several manatees up the creek and had 2 approach the boat.

Friday afternoon we finally got word that the oil analysis was good and we were relieved and excited about continuing our trip, however now we had an issue with the generator. That needed a new water pump and temperature sensor. We found the new pump but had to bypass the sensor and hope to find one on the way south.

What Next?

It's a Boat