Tuesday, 4/15/08                                                                                Day 73

It blew hard from the north all day. It's late in the season for Northers.  At 10:00am, Mom, Josh and I went to the Laundromat and did laundry and school, and left Dad alone for another conference call.  While at the Laundromat, we met Sonja and Charlie, an older couple on s/v Un Sea Sing (pronounced "unceasing"), and we talked with them for awhile.  After doing laundry, we found out that Dad was making a wonderful late lunch of redfish (frozen from Venice, LA, see 3/1/08) and shrimp (frozen from Morgan City, LA, see 2/15/08) Bouillabaisse Soup.  As there was plenty, we invited Sonja and Charlie over for lunch.  They came and we ate and visited until about 2:00pm.

After lunch, and until dinner, we just hung out, worked, played, and did school on the boat.  Mom made four updates for the website.  Josh and I made a huge battle with our toy soldiers.  It stretched across most of the floor.  We started doing something else, though, and the battle was never completed.  Dad did work.

Mom got our beds made and I have come out of my 8 day exile (Dad just says I was "displaced").  I have to move all my stuff back into my cabin, get re-accustomed to my surroundings (very different from sleeping in the salon), and set things back up.  (Mom says I am exaggerating.  Who cares.)  It is past 9:00pm and I'm tired.  Good Night!

Wednesday, 4/16/08
                                                                        Day 74

Today wasn't all too interesting.  Until after lunch, all we did was play, do a little school, and, for Mom and Dad, work on stuff.  After lunch, we ran errands in town.  Half of the bike ride was into the wind (very hard for me, even though the bike I had today was the best of the ones I've had on the last 3 bike trips), but we were flying for the other half.

We went to the store to get milk, eggs, onions, beer, and rum and to the Batelco Office to try to get Dad a cell phone for his conference calls.  It turned out that the Batelco office was closed, even though there was no sign saying that (the only sign said M-F 9-5, lunch from 1-2), and we waited for 15 minutes on the office's front step until a man told us that they weren't open today because the lady who works there had to go to Bimini today.   When we got back to the marina, I went with Dad back to the woodshop where he got the centerboard wood (see 4/14/08) to give the guy some beer as compensation and ask for another piece of wood.  We did not get one.  The whole trip took 1 hour and 35 minutes and was sort of successful.

At 4:30, we went to the Straw Bar for a cruiser's happy hour.  Dad and Bill (from s/v Indemnity) organized it to talk all about sailing places in the Abacos, and specifically to talk about whether to leave for Great Sale Cay tomorrow or Friday.  Most people brought food to snack on.  Josh and I dug in the sand while the adults visited and looked at charts.  About 6 ½ inches down, we found a 2 inch deep strip of black sand.  All the other sand is white.  We gathered some black sand and surface sand to send to Ms. Tracy, our hair cutter back home who collects sand and asked us to send her samples of cool sand.  I also found a bunch of charcoal and drew pictures on small rocks I found.  I got dirty (super, super dirty!!) and had fun.

Nothing else important enough to mention happened today.  We just hung out and kept secure from the 20-30 knot winds of the Norther.  I think we will leave on Friday for Great Sale Cay, Abacos, Bahamas.

Thursday, 4/17/08
                                                                                Day 75

Today was good, even though we didn't do much today.  I spent most of the day working on the website, which we are updating again. It is incomplete, but is still great, and we'll finish sit soon.

Later in the afternoon, we took a break from the website, and Bro and I sailed Independence.  It started as just Josh, but he wasn't doing well at all, and I jumped into Independence to help him.  Then, Josh kind of freaked out as we had more problems, so he climbed into our motorized dinghy, Justice, which Dad had pulled up alongside.  Then I took it away by myself, quickly getting under control and sailing back and forth through the basin.  I'd speedily sail across the basin, and then would tack and head back.  I even maneuvered around a fishing boat, a mini-motor yacht, and a sailboat that were either leaving or entering the marina.  I had fun and then we went back to working on the website.

Even later in the afternoon, we stopped working on the website and went to the beach to borrow a Hobie Cat and a kayak.  Dad and Josh went in the Hobie Cat, so Dad could teach Josh, and Mom and I went in the glass-bottomed kayak because we really liked it.  We saw a bunch of coral, sea buns, a little fish, a sand dollar, and a sea anemone.  We got in before Daddy and Josh, so we took pictures and movies of them.  It was fun.

After that, we decided to check out of the marina and take showers.  While Mom and Dad were paying the bill, Josh and I played on a huge sand pile that we think came from the dredges that are dredging the basin.  There were literally millions of shells, and we picked 3 nice ones and 2 of our 5 whelks to keep.  We might try to make one into a whelk horn (like a conch horn, but made from a whelk shell).  My shower was cold, but that doesn't really matter.

After a tortelloni and green been dinner, we went back to the website stuff.  Dad went to start the engine, but it won't start.  If it doesn't start, we can't go to Great Sale Cay with all the other boats.  Wait.... It's exactly 9:45pm and Dad just got the engine to start.  Yeah!!!

Friday, 4/18/08
                                                                                Day 76

Today was an almost perfect mini-passage/daysailing/island hopping expedition.  The winds were strong enough to sail, if they were coming from the right direction.  We motor-sailed to Great Sale Cay, Bahamas from Old Bahama Bay Resort and Yacht Harbour, West End, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas in light seas with only one kind of big problem.

We were towing Independence, but we had not put the slot cover (that's what I call it) in the centerboard slot, and she was taking on a lot of water.  Dad tried to get into Independence while we were moving, but swamped her and fell into the water up to his knees, all while hanging onto the rail for dear life.  He ended up launching and then getting into Justice to pump out Independence, all while we were sailing.  He put the slot cover in the slot and then he re-hoisted Justice and we continued on.

On the second of three problems with Independence, Dad noticed that Independence still had at least 6 in. of water in her that he must not have been able to pump out.  This time, we hove to to fix the problem.  At first,  Daddy tried using a bucket with a rope to scoop water out, but after that didn't work too well, he had me (tied to Liberty so I could not fall in) climb into Independence to pump all the water out.  I pumped her dry.

We went on our way, but Dad realized that Independence was still taking on water (this time it was leaking in through the drain valve) and he figured we couldn't tow her anymore.  So we hove to again and Dad dropped Justice from the davits and hoisted Independence in her place.  Justice, our inflatable dinghy, tows just fine.  However, Independence did not have the right hooks to be hoisted properly, so Dad had to rig something.  He wound up making a type of sling from rope that he put around the stern of Independence to keep her steady on the davits.

That worked out, and we continued on to our destination, Great Sale Cay, our last stop before the Abacos.  We did school on the way;   Dad made a really yummy tort with stewed tomatoes and goat cheese;   and Josh and I played downstairs (beating each other up through a wall of pillows for fun) and made birthday cards for Dad, whose birthday is on 4/20/08.

We arrived at the anchorage at around 5:45pm, the 3rd in our group from West End behind s/v Kokopelli Too and m/v Second Abode, and ahead of s/v Un Sea Sing, s/v Indemnity, and s/v More Patience.  We are settling in, drinking Pina Coladas (virgin for Josh and me) and starting projects.  We will stay here for at least tomorrow, and will probably try to sail Independence (it looks like a good place), go to a pretty beach, and try to snorkel.

I've got to go.  There is a beautiful sunset and there might even be a green flash.  Life's great.

Saturday, 4/19/08
                                                                                Day 77

We got up early this morning and got done with school fast (8:00am precisely to around 11:30am).  Almost all the boats left this morning, including s/v Un Sea Sing, s/v Indemnity, and s/v More Patience.  By noon, there were only 4 boats left in the anchorage:  us (s/v Liberty), s/v Kokopelli Too, m/v Second Abode, and m/v Lionheart.

After lunch, we went to the beach.  Josh and I went in Independence and Mom and Dad followed in Justice.  Bro and I started sailing and we did okay, but then Josh started going crazy with the tiller and getting scared with my decisions (even though Mom and Dad were telling him to trust me) and then he quit.  Dad pulled up beside us and Josh climbed into Justice.  I sailed all the way to the beach, where the water was shallow, and beached Independence.

At the beach, we found the ruins of an abandoned U.S. Air Force Missile Tracking Station that someone had told us about.  We found a bunch of cool shells, including tons of Zebra Ark Shells, some sort of olive (a type of shell), and a Long-Spined Star shell.  Dad even found some kind of complete and beautiful bonnet (another type of shell).  Mom found Josh a hermit crab and later found a sea bean.  We all played bocci ball on the beach and had fun.  I sailed back without Joshua, but needed to be towed by Justice a little because the wind was wrong.

Greg and Betsy from s/v Kokopelli Too came over at 5:30pm for cocktails and appetizers.  Mr. Greg made me laugh a lot.  They are very nice and are going to Allans-Pensacola tomorrow, the same place we are going in a few days.  That's great.  Life's great!  I'm tired.

Sunday, 4/20/08
                                                                                Day 78

Today is Dad's birthday.  He woke up in the morning and told us that the winds were good to sail to Allans-Pensacola Cay.  Mom agreed with him, so we got ready to leave.  We had mentioned to Greg and Betsy last night that today was Dad's birthday.  As we were all leaving, they sailed up next to us and sang Daddy "Happy Birthday."

We sailed most of the way (even though we were only averaging 3 kts.) because Dad likes to sail.  Though we were trolling fishing lines the whole time, we only got 2 bad bites.  The first bite was a chunk of rock/coral because we had a lure that sunk too deep.  At the last second, the rock/coral chunk snapped the line!  The second bite was definitely a fish.  It kind of had the fighting tactics of a big barracuda - take a long run and then just supply a smaller amount of fight.  It did just that, but spit the hook (another thing 'cudas do a lot) while I was bringing it in.

As we approached Allans-Pensacola Cay, the wind was pretty much on the nose and we turned on the motor.  I was up on the bow and could see the bottom, which was pretty cool.  We spotted a pod of dolphins that we think were bottlenose (but we can't be sure) playing a ways off.  They didn't come to our bow like they sometimes do.

AS we came into Allans-Pensacola Cay anchorage, I saw some sea buns, coral, sea fans, and maybe a sea cucumber from my spot on the bow.  I went snorkeling with Dad to dive on the anchor once we got it down.  The water is not deep here and I could easily dive to and swim around the bottom.  I found a live Inflated Sea Biscuit on the bottom (which I identified using a book my grandma and grandpa gave us and which is also called a sea bun when it is a dead skeleton) and I showed it to Mom and Josh.

While Dad and I were diving on the anchor, Mom called s/v Kokopelli Too, s/v Un Sea Sing, and s/v More Patience and invited them over for a little celebration of Dad's 45th birthday.  Dad got presents from them (which we did not expect at all).  Mr. Greg and Ms. Betsy from s/v Kokopelli Too gave him a roll of toilet paper (something made best in the U.S.A for sure, something they said they brought way too much of for their 10 week trip, and something cruisers never seem to have enough of).  He got a bottle of good red wine (or so Mom and Dad say;  I don't know) from Ms. Micah who is single-handing on s/v More Patience, and Mr. Charlie and Ms. Sonja on s/v Un Sea Sing gave him home-made brownies.  Dad fried plantains (ooooh yeah!! Soooo yummy!!) and we all enjoyed Dad's 45th birthday in the beautiful anchorage of Allans-Pensacola Cay, Abacos (yeah!! We're finally here!!), Bahamas.

Dad says we are going to stay here awhile.  That sounds fun because we can explore, snorkel, swim, play on the beach, and fish from the dinghy here!  Life is grand!!

Monday, 4/21/08
                                                                                Day 79

Early this morning, Mom and Dad decided that bad weather was coming and we needed to move to Cooper's Town, Great Abaco Island, Abaco, Bahamas.  We would explore Allans-Pensacola a little first and then sail on to Cooper's Town in the afternoon to be in an anchorage that protected us from SW winds tonight.

After an hour or two of school, we dinghied to the island to see the signing tree (now a signing forest).  We trudged through a small, partly overgrown path across the island , being very careful of poisonwood (a plant that will give you a rash worse than poison ivy if you touch the leaves or bark), to get to a very rocky shore on the cay's Atlantic Ocean side where all the signing trees are.  The rocks were sharp and we were without shoes.  We didn't bring anything to sign or sign with, but we will when we return here when we come back North.

At the edge of the rocks, we walked down a skinny beach.  At the end were more rocks with lots of snails on it.  There was a Fuzzy Chiton on the rocks too.  It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen!  Back on the beach where we left the dinghy, we found 2 Five-Toothed Sea Cucumbers.

We came back to the boat in a light rain and had lunch.  The rain stopped after lunch and Daddy, Bro and I went dinghy trolling.  Up until the very end, nothing interesting happened.  Then, just as we were coming back to the boat, a big fish hit Josh's line.  He tried to fight it, but couldn't, and Dad thought we might have hooked the bottom.  He took the pole and reeled a bunch before handing it off to me.  As soon as I got the pole, the line started to zip back and forth, and I yelled, "We have definitely got a fish!!!"  I reeled it almost all the way in, before Josh complained that it was his fish, so he should bring it in, and I was told to let Josh finish it off.  He brought our 9lb., 27 ½ in. Mutton Snapper (a big one form that species) up to the side of the boat where it splashed around and got us all wet.

By 3:30pm, the anchor was up and we were sailing to Cooper's Town.  We were under full sail, running down wind, making between 5 and 6 kts.  We arrived at precisely 6:00pm at the little (there are only two roads), very colorful (I don't know if there are two houses the same color), nice (everyone says "hi") town.  S/V Un Sea Sing also came here and they invited us for cocktails.  They served durian chips ( a fruit from Thailand where their daughter's family lives) which looked like regular chips, but tasted like pistachios.  We talked and looked at their boat for a long time.  It has been a late night and I'm tired.  G'night mon!
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