Monday, 6/1/09 Day 485
We did leave first thing this morning for Marsh Harbour. We did skule and stuff underway. On the way, we stopped at Tahiti Beach, a favorite stop from last season. We stopped for just long enough to walk along the long dry sand-spit and collect some shells. We got a few that will be good for our hermit crabs.
25 miles, 5 hours later, we came into and anchored at Marsh Harbour. We immediately got to work. Mom and Josh handled internet stuff, while Dad and I jugged diesel. As soon as that was done, we took off to the grocery store. Maxwell's Grocery Store, the big and nice one, burned down, so we had to go to Price Right. They're the equivalent of George Town's Exuma Market and Shop Rite. We got four bags of provisions, just enough to last us for passage, and then we were off.
For multiple reasons, we decided not to go offshore tonight, and to just spend the night over at Great Guana Cay. Our hermit crabs are doing wonderfully. All six are in prime condition! Underway to Great Guana, I improved the obstacle course and made a new, awesome thing from Legos - a maze. I made a Lego maze with dead ends, winding passages, and two exits! It is so cool! Mom thought it would be a nice idea, and it totally is!
We settled here into Great Guana, had steak and potatoes for supper,and are now turning in. A nice day today sure was. End of day, end of journal.
Tuesday, 6/2/09 Day 486
I know we didn't do much today, I know I'll somehow end up writing a page and a half on it. I do have big handwriting, but that just can't be it. What the heck! It is what it is. There's no changing it. I guess I just have my Dad's writing genes. He's a lawyer, so he writes a lot. For the website, he writes 6-8 page updates! J J L Besides, Mom says I'm a good writer and I shouldn't change anything. J So here goes ...
We left Great Guana Cay this morning, but not in the direction we originally intended. Chris Parker said that if we left offshore then, or in the next 48 hrs., we'd hit very bad weather off the coast of the Carolinas. So, we have decided to work our way north and make the best of it, travelling to Allans-Pensacola today.
To get to the northern stretch of the Abacos (Green Turtle to Walker Cay), you need to go around the Whale Passage, a few miles of offshore sailing around Whale Cay. So, our being at Great Guana Cay, and wanting to go north, we had to go out and "around the Whale." Dad's idea was to continue offshore to Allans-Pensacola so we could fish. Josh's idea was to stop 20 miles short of there at Manjack Cay, one of our favorite spots. Both ideas were good ones, so we sailed and fished our way to Manjack Cay. We did skule. No fish. we arrived, had lunch, and watched the other boats come in while we did internet. Our friends on Toucan Dream pulled in - we saw them here at Manjack last year too.
We planned to go diving on the outside and go up the mangrove creek. The weather got rougher, so the former was cancelled and the latter put off. We did go up the creek later. We saw (pretty much) 3 turtles, 30 fish, 300 mosquitoes, and 3000 jellyfish. I actually saw 4 turtles, a good deal more than 30 fish, but not exactly 300 mosquitos bit us, though we got swarmed. 3000 of the upside-down jellyfish is probably an exaggeration, though they seemed to cover most of the sandy bottom. I liked the baby tortugas a lot more than anything else. They were so cute!
Our hermit crabs had some changes today. For starters, the maze was destroyed. It was a bit broken up, hard to handle, and not as amusing as expected. Second of all, we still have six crabs, but they are six different crabs. We put in four new empty shells, and our pets were all over them. One particular shell had all their attention. It turned out that that shell was inhabited by a hermit crab! Over the course of the afternoon, much commotion went on in the Hermie Bucket, and at the end of the day, we found one hermit crab dead, Shuri Jr.'s shell empty, and a new power in the Hermie Bucket named Monsieur Stowaway. Josh claimed Monsieur Stowaway as his, though my analysis makes me believe that Shuri Jr. killed the old inhabitant and took his shell. Ma gave me Kermit instead. J
Like I expected, I've written 2+ pages on nothing. J It's just me. New plan -
To Allens-Pensalcola tomorrow
To Mangrove Cay the day after
Leave for Beaufort NC the morning after
Arrive Beaufort, NC 3-4 days later
That's our current situation! End of day, end of journal.
Wednesday, 6/3/09 Day 487
Okay, so we're following our plan well enough. We spent the morning going to Allans-Pensacola Cay. We were able to get there by lunchtime. Underway I did skule. We were also able to fly the spinnaker, which was great.
Right after lunch, we went to see the APYC (Allans-Pensacola Yacht Club; aka the signing trees). We wanted to see what was left of our deer antler sign. Ma guessed that someone would have taken them. She barely even wanted to go back. She was so right. They were gone! Some #@*%@ took them right off!! Who knows why that person took and destroyed our awesome sign, the disrespectful scoundrel, but the antlers had disappeared!! Mom was just much too correct on that matter. L L
We decided to just forget about our sign and walk on the beach. It's a very pretty beach, so we enjoyed it. Dad, Josh, & I wanted to go hunting on the outside,, but it was a tad bit too rough. Dad promised that we can go early tomorrow morning, around 6:30 or 7:00.
We hung out for the latter half of the afternoon. Dinner was terrific lamb chops. We gave the scraps to the hermit crabs, but they seemed to prefer the green beans! I don't get it! J L There was also a seagull that practically landed on our bimini top. We threw him scraps too. All these creatures are really cool. J
Now for a Hermie Bucket update. It was a sad day. When we anchored, Josh & I noticed that the leaf (providing shade as a lean-to with a stick) had fallen against the side, and Monsieur Stowaway and Kermit the Hermit were missing. They must have climbed out, and they probably fell overboard because the "crabitat" was on the downwind side of the cockpit. L But, on the way to APYC, I found a big crab in an Atlantic Hairy Triton shell. I named him King Triton the Titan, and placed him in an old cup that I found while we walked on the beach. Somehow, he got out. Dad didn't give us any time to search because a squall was coming. Also, Dad found Godzille the Lesser, a crab a bit larger than the others, and Josh got Fritz the Small Fry, a hermie smaller than any of our crabs. So, that's today's report. End of day, end of journal.
Thursday, 6/4/09 Day 488
Today was only okay. This evening has gotten me angry, sad, and aggressive. I personally feel like everyone is always mad at me for something or another. I know I'm at least trying to be nice and do good things to and for people, but everyone seems to always be mad at me. This evening I got yelled at a bunch, got angry about a hermit crab problem, got grounded, and ended up cursing everything. To make things worse, my messed up tooth that's been coming out in pieces has been bleeding on and off all day, making me constantly spit blood. Yeah! L L We did play Sorry as a family, and it kind of cheered me up.
As for the rest of the day, we did go diving in the morning. Unfortunately, we got two conch, and that was it. Dad missed a hogfish and I couldn't get a shot at either a huge mutton snapper or an even larger cubera snapper. L
We left Allans-Pensacola as soon as we got back from hunting and cleaned the conch. We went to Great Sale Cay, not Mangrove Cay. We were actually thinking about going to Carter's Cay, but we chose not to do so. By continuing on to Great Sale, we arrived in mid-afternoon. Ma, Josh & I went to the beach. We found lots of pretty shells, including oysters and whelks. The find of the day was a common fig shell that Ma and I both saw at the same time. I found a second, slightly more broken one later. Another thing was the finding of four more hermit crabs - Swyrble, a find of mine and a giant; Topsale (a play on words from the island), one the size of Godzilla and Ma's; Franz, a tiny crab for Josh; and Helmet, another normal sized one. Back at Liberty, we decided as a group that Swyrble was too big and had to go. Then at the last second, I said I didn't want to get rid of Swyrble - my crab - and that why don't we get rid of the tiny, useless Franz. Everyone just got mad, I cursed Swyrble as I dinghied him back to the beach, and we ended up where I started this entry. End of day, end of journal.
Friday, 6/5/09 Day 489
Today at Great Sale Cay was quite great, but we didn't sail to any other cay (play on words!). We hung out because the weather was bad. The squalls just kept hitting us all day. The first half of the day didn't matter because that was skule, but the afternoon was just too blech to be true.
Today's Hermie Bucket report is short. When we woke up, there were only six crabs inside the "crabitat," and the big leaf was against the side again. L We raked the sand, but Zed, Godzilla the Lesser, and Topsale turned up missing. Not much later, Dad found Godzilla crawling over the bimini, so we were back to seven, but the other two were never found. It's too bad because this was Zed's sixth day. L Here's what has happed to all of our crabs that have been the residents of our prospering "crabitat".
So, that's what's happened to the crabs of Hermie Bucket.
At 4:45, after trying to find a break in the rain for most of the afternoon, we got off the boat to go explore. Just zipping around in the dink, with the wind on your face, was fun. We went to Curry's Creek, a mangrove creek here at Great Sale. On the charts, it looks like a shallow, mangrove-surrounded, box-like cove that it the start of a bunch of mangrove marsh that covers most of the interior of the island, but it actually does have a number of creeks heading into that marsh. We explored up 3 or 4 of those creeks. The first was an odd mix in depths, from inches/ankle-deep water to 3 - 3 ½ ft. Surprisingly, the edges were deeper than the center. We found a big power boat (like a Bahamian fishing boat) tied up in the mangroves. We let it alone and went another way. Up that creek, the others three in my family saw two turtles and a young shark (around 3ft. long). I glimpsed a turtle and the shark, but didn't get a good sighting. We stopped going up that creek at a point where the current was ripping through a narrow spot with lots of mosquitoes. We went out and into another creek with tons of jumping minnows. We joked that each inch-long fish was a baby dolphin. J That creek quickly got narrow, shallow, and buggy, so we left. Also, we got to go up another tiny creek further south, but it wasn't much.
We had brought our snorkel gear along, though it was too late to get in anyway. We dinghied up to Little Sale Cay where the snorkeling spots were supposed to be. We found no coral or rocks and an inhospitable coast. Too bad. It looks like our last diving spot was yesterday at Allans-Pensacola Cay. We're probably leaving for the U.S. tomorrow.
While dinghying around, we'd randomly go over large areas of silty, cloudy, stirred up water. Dad said they were fish muds. He read in the guidebook that they don't know what they are, but they might be caused by shoals of feeding bottom-dwelling fish. One has consumed the waters around our boat, and we anchored in a huge one yesterday. Usually, it'd be clear, but it's all stirred up now. Crazy!
We showered overboard and turned in. Dad made fried rice and we watched the movie Stuart Little. We are leaving offshore tomorrow for Cape Fear, NC or Beaufort, NC. The passage looks good. I kinda want to go back to the States. I need a change of scenery. It won't be long 'til we're there. J End of day, end of journal.
Saturday, 6/6/09 Day 490
Today was mildly dull. That's a good thing every once in a while. After one last trip to shore (to burn trash and do one more shelling trip), we departed around mid-morning. We were filled up on a breakfast of Blini, Russian raised pancakes. I found the recipe in the Joy of Cooking, but we never made it because you add yeast and let it rise for an hour or two and have to whip egg whites. The whipping we have to do by hand. Dad got up early and started cooking around 5:00am. I helped for the last bit once I woke up. We ate the poofy pancakes (the final batter had a lot of air - whipped egg whites and yeast risen dough) with syrup, though they were better with just butter. They have a distinct yeast-like flavor and are meant to be savory, not sweet. The cookbook says they are traditionally served with caviar and sour cream. I really like these alternative pancakes.
We left and sailed away. Great Sale Cay was our last Bahamian landsighting. The first half of the afternoon was pleasant. Then things went downhill fast. The blue sky started to get cloud, and those clouds built higher and higher. They started to get black and dump rain, closing in on us. A system of squalls 25 miles long developed, with the largest one dead ahead. We tried to dodge them, but it didn't work. The seas built, and the winds with them. Whitecaps. The next thing we knew, it was blowing so hard that the waves (which were breaking over the bow) were getting their tops blown off. Seaspray was flying. We had too much canvas up - the mizzen, half the jib, and a reefed main. We healed way over. The wind generator sounded like an airplane. It was the worst I've ever heard it. It was scary for us all, especially Josh. He was sitting in the corner crying, with Ma both working and comforting him. I was the most calm of us all, giving Mom a smile when she asked how I was, helping whenever I could, and giving words of comfort and encouragement to everyone who needed them (all four of us). Dad went up on deck to drop the sails. A wave swooshed up so we couldn't see him for a second. Fortunately, he was clipped on. Scary. L We're all right, though. The entire time Dad was doing this, he was losing his pants (bathing suit). I couldn't help but laugh to myself. J
We got through that storm okay. I was able to get Josh all good by playing a fish guessing game downstairs with him. Later, more clouds came, but the wind died. I said to Dad, "You know, I'd trade two periods of 15kts. for a period of 30 kts. and a period of calm." Dad just said, "I wish what we had was 30kts." "Why? What was it?" I inquired. "Much, much more," he said. It was a ton, but we don't know exactly because our wind meter is broken. In the squall, our wind indicator broke too, so now we go by feel. J L J
Dolphins showed us offshore. 5 of them showed up, riding our bow wake. We weren't allowed to go on deck to watch them because of the weather conditions. Not nice, to say the least. It was still cool that they showed up.
We ate leftover gumbo for supper and set up a night watch schedule. Dad & Josh are going 'til about 9-10, then Dad will go 'til about 2 when Ma & I will take the helm. That might not happen tonight because more squalls are showing up. It's 9:13pm currently. Hermie Bucket is secured downstairs and fine. I've got to go. End of day, end of journal.
The Night of 6/6/09
Last night when I finished my journal, I had to go up in the cockpit because of squalls. They surrounded us, and the lightning was creepy. It would flash 360° around us, and illuminate the clouds and water and us, but bolts were uncommon. At 10:30, I was seriously tired and creeped out, so I went to sleep. There was only a drizzle of rain and no increased wind, so I could do down. I conched out one hour after Bro. I slept poorly, waking up a lot with the big swells. We entered the Gulf Stream offshore in the middle of the night. I had to build a makeshift leeboard out of some pillows. ¾ of the time, the pillows would hold me. At 4:30am, I decided to head upstairs. Dad was still at the helm. I got him to let me wake Ma up so he could sleep. That was 4:45. He slept in the cockpit until sunrise, and then went below.
Sunday, 6/7/09 Day 491
In the relatively early morning, Mom & I rested on and off and hung out. Josh woke up, and we played backgammon. Dad got up around 9:30, and we changed course, raised the spinnaker, and put out the fishing lines. We were in the middle of the Gulf Stream all day with two ballyhoo and a squid skirt (handline) trolling, but couldn't get a single hit! Being in the Gulf Stream with a 3.5 kt. current, we made between 7 and 10 kts. all day! J That's a ton! We're flying!! J
It's passage, so I hung out all day. I did a bit of skule, spent way to much time wondering why we couldn't catch a fish, read my book, played backgammon, etc. Dad was able to come up with some chicken salad and beans for lunch. Mom was able to up the meal with Doritos chips. Those are good, and I hadn't had time in forever! The beans were a bit mushy, so after lunch, I took some of them and turned them into bean dip by adding a little bit of this, a little bit of that. It was pretty good in the end. For dinner, Dad baked a simple pizza (the weather was nice and calm enough to cook) and also made some kolaches for breakfast tomorrow. The pizza was cook looking and delicious, so I called it Papa's Powerfully Perfect Poofy Pizza. J Try saying that three times fast! J
Also, I got to look at some weird algae stuff under a microscope. We were travelling throught these weird patched with goldish/brownish particles just below the surface. I pulled a bucket of water up and found out that they were little green pieces of algae in all shapes and tiny sizes. Maybe phytoplankton, but I don't know the size. Also, there was a little sphere (approx. 1cm in diameter) of translucent goo with little blue dots. I think it was a fish egg sack. It fell apart when I picked it up, but I got to view one of the little blue specs under my microscope. I'm pretty sure it was an egg of an underwater creature. Cool.
This evening, I helped Dad with the sails and now am turning in to nap. I'll sleep an hour or two and then stay up with Ma (now asleep) for the first half of the night.
The Night of 6/7/09
After about an hour and a half of sleep, I got up with Ma. We stayed up from 9:30pm to 1:30am. We read, talked, played backgammon, and had fun checking the instruments. I finished my book (The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, by Mark Twain). The weather was fine, but we had to motorsail. For the first hour, lightning flashed in the distance to the east, but nothing came of it. At 1:30, I was just 100% ready to go to sleep for an eon and a half. I had been awake for 21 hours (4:30am to 1:30am) with a break of barely 2 hours of sleep! I've got a good right to be tired!! I'm just glad I could be a helpful crew member.J