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Sunday, 3/15/09                                                                                Day 407

You'd be surprised at what we've got here at Bitter Guana Cay, where we spent most of today.  After breakfast (peach & oatmeal pancakes
J) and a subject of school, we went into shore to explore.  We would have done so this afternoon, but Dad wanted to leave the semi-bouncy anchorage. Josh didn't feel the rolliness, and Ma & I barely felt it, but whatever.  Black Point is nice.

We went to the beach to look at the island's iguanas, huge cliffs, and ocean path.  The iguanas (or, as we like to call them, iggy-uanas) were cool.  They are the same type as on Leaf Cay, Exumas.  Oddly, here, if you throw a rock, iggy-uanas come chasing after it.  They probably think it's food.  Lots of touristas come here.  We went on a path to the rocky Exuma Sound side of the island.  It wasn't that cool.  Dad, Josh & I built a Gohlkes Family Cairn.  It was over 5 ft. tall!  That was a bit cool. 

Mom & Dad walked off down the beach while Bro & I explored the cliffs and caves.  We went all over.  That was fun.  We climbed all over the face and inside huge bowls full of limestone powder and up onto clifftops much higher than Liberty's 65ft. mast.  I bet it was 100ft. high, easy.

We also saw white-tailed tropic birds flying around Bitter Guana Cay.  That is a treat because they only come to shore to breed and only come to certain cliff-like spots.  They were flying all over, swooping down to fish all around our boat.  We saw them once before at Powell Cay in the Abacos and Mom really likes them. 

After our explore, we came home and did school.  In the afternoon, we moved to Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay, Exumas.  We went into town to get internet, eat out for the first time in over a month, find a place to do laundry, and explore town.  We found it all and ate at DeShamon's Restaurant.  We are on island time, and our food came an hour or two after we ordered (even though we were the only people in the restaurant).  But the food was good!  I had BBQ-ribs, and they were the best!!  It came with corn-on-the-cob and a baked potato which were also really good.

Another thing that happened tonight was a space shuttle launch.  The shuttle Discovery went up at around 7:30pm.  In DeShamon's, someone came on the VHF Channel 16 (every house & business in the Bahamas has a VHF radio) and said to go to Channel 12 to hear mission control for the launch.  That was awesome.  We heard mission control tell the shuttle to accelerate to 1800mph!  That is SUPER FAST!!  Think if your car went that fast!!  When we left DeShamon's at around 8:00pm, we saw a single cloud in the sky that was literally glowing silver.  We found out that it was exhaust gasses from the shuttle, extremely high in the atmosphere, above the curvature of the earth, being lit by the sun that had already set.  That was weird/cool/eerie!  That was the last thing to happen today.  We'll do laundry really early tomorrow and leave Black Point before lunch.  So I gotta get to sleep now if I'm gonna get any before we do laundry.  It's already 9:35.  I'm the last light on.

Monday, 3/16/09                                                                                Day 408

Today was so long, it's hard to remember what happened this morning.  You'd guess it'd be something cool, like an explore, to match the cool rest of the day, but it wasn't at all.  We did laundry, which was a very good and needed thing.  But, that starts "The Pathetic Story of Laundry Morning."  I have yet to write it, but it is a simply pathetic account of this morning, starting at just before 7:00 when I was forcibly removed from my bed, after all my sheets and blankets were stripped from around me, to when we heave-hoed all the heavy laundry bags, very carefully, down into the salon.  Sad - yes.  Crazy - yes.  Making anyone feel sorry for me - NO. 

So, as I said, I was forcibly removed from my bed after everything around me had been stripped off my bed.  I had to choke down a bowl of oatmeal in a mere 10 minutes, while getting things all together.  Than Josh and I lugged the bags of clothes/towels/sheets upstairs and into the dinghy.  We sat on the laundry (as much volume as ourselves) and splashed our way into the dock, where we (somehow) got the bags 6ft. up onto the dock.  We then lugged about as much laundry volume as our own volume, a piece, around to the Laundermat (that's how they spell it
J) door.  We arrived just before 8:00, and the Laundermat (opening time - 8:00) opened at about 8:15.  We spent that time listening to Dad's boring military-style battle plans that involved strategically taking  washers in the Laundermat (even though we were the only ones there), but with calmness, respect, and "minimum" (aka - NO) violence or bloodshed. L  We marched in "according to plan" and got the washing done.  Bro & I read and watched CNN during the down-time.  We got all the dryers in, and Ma, Dad, & Josh left to do internet work and left me with the last two dryer loads.  I read and talked with other cruisers, and folded all the towels, etc.  Finally, Ma got back and re-folded all the towels and got everything ready to go.  Then we lugged it all back to the dink, down the ladder, across the harbor (splash, splash, splash), onto the boat, and down to the salon (with extra carefulness 'cause of all the neat stuff).  That is laundry morning. L J L

After that big hassle of laundry, we picked up the anchor and had a pleasant sail down to Bay Rush Bay, Great Guana Cay, Exumas.  There we met up with Tauá again.  We sailed along at a nice rate in the sun and spray, enjoying ourselves.  I read my book and did some school and hung.

We arrived in Bay Rush Bay with 5 other boats, including Tauá.  Also with us were a catamaran with a German couple - friends of Tauá, Demon di Midi - friends of ours from George Town, a sailboat with some people we've now become friends with, and a huge trawler.  We had planned to go to the Dripping Cave with Tauá, but then we invited the other four boats.  We showed 'em up to the caves, and had a good time.  The three kids swam in the lake.  The water was freezing!  I saw no cave shrimp this time.  That's probably because I brought  dip net and forgot a flashlight.  Next time.

We went down to the back bay on the ocean side and explored like last time.  I turned over every rock I could get my hands on and found two bearded fireworms -green variation (my first fireworms ever!), a rose lace coral brittle star, a banded arm brittle star, green porcelain crabs, warty anemones, a West Indian sea egg, rock boring urchins, and red-ringed clinging crabs.  It was just awesome finding that stuff and showing people.  I've never found fireworms before and they are cool!

We went over to Tauá for dinner and cocktails.  Dad couldn't come immediately because he had work to do.  Claudia has a Nintendo DS.  We played Mario for most of the evening.  I like video games.  I'm angry that I'm not allowed to have them.

We had a good evening and got home late.  I read some and almost finished my 1000pg. book.  Mañana.  We have no plans for mañana.  Gute Nacht. J (German for Good Night)

Tuesday, 3/17/09
                                                                                Day 409

Today was such a great do-nothing day.  We did do something, but not much.  There was practically no wind all day, and it was hot.  Josh and I did school.  Then we just hung out until about 3:15.  That is when things started to happen.  All the boats left Bay Rush Bay except for us and Tauá.  We went to the Dripping Cave again, but this time to go swimming in the ice cold water.  We all brought masks, snorkels, and underwater lights.  It was cool to snorkel and hang on cave columns, swim over stalagmites and under stalactites, watch the cave shrimp, dive deep and look into the deep (over 200ft.) crevices and holes, and swim in relative darkness.  It was real neat!

Back at Oven Rock, we hung for a while.  We climbed Oven Rock and saw a large osprey nest on top.  Mr. Peter and Mr. Walter went off to see a wreck.  We left eventually.

Tauá came over for a large hors d'oeuvres dinner.  We had crackers, clam dip, oyster dip, foccacia bread, conch fritters, and peas 'n rice.  Peas 'n rice (pigeon peas, like black-eyed peas, in dirty rice) is a traditional Bahamian side dish.  Dad got the recipe from the Bahamian owner of Adderly's Friendly Grocery Store in Black Point.  It is good!

Claudia, Josh, & I played Legos all evening.  We created a giant ship that uses most of out Legos.  It is awesome!  It is about 2ft. long and 1/2ft. wide and we are going to add a bridge, airplane landing platforms, extender wings with guns and stuff, etc.  But Tauá had to leave around 9:00.  They are leaving tomorrow for George Town.  We are leaving for Lee Stocking Island.  We have to pick up a friend of mine who is flying into Barraterre on Friday.  That is 3 days from now!  I cannot wait!  We'll see  Tauá again in a couple of weeks and go to the Jumentos with them.  We've had good times with them, but we're not saying goodbye forever.  But just goodbye for tonight.

Wednesday, 3/18/09                                                                        Day 410

We had a nice day with a fairly uneventful and pleasant sail from Great Guana Cay down to Williams Cay, Exumas, today.  We raced Tauá to get anchors and sails up and head out.  They beat us because they have an electric anchor windlass.
L  We did sail out faster than them. J

On our passage south, Bro and I did school.  I did most of my work downstairs, but I got queasy and went upstairs for my last subject.  We caught 3 things on our lines and kept none of them - 2 Mahi-Mahi and a Canadian sailboat.  I'll start with the Mahis.  Dad was changing a fishing lure and had unclipped it, but was still holding the long leadered lure in the water.  All of a sudden, a school of Mahi Mahi came up and Dad, who is trying to keep them from biting, actually gets one on that lure!!  Our other line zings, so I come upstairs and see Dad practically holding a Mahi!! He yells, "Chris, grab the gaff!"  I can't unfasten it in time and Dad loses the fish as he tries to pull this wild, non-tired fish over the rail.  So we turn to the other pole, and I put a big, real nice pink squid on the first line.  Dad successfully landed a nice Mahi and Josh gets it wrapped in the fish towel to calm it down.

Now we continue to the sailboat.  After the school leaves and just after we land the fish, s/v One Day comes within 200ft. of us!  That is way too close!! Our line bends and goes slack.  His keel or prop clipped our wire leader and we lost that nice squid.  While trying to figure out what is going on with the sailboat off our stern, the Mahi on the back deck flops over the side.  Dad just grabbed the fish towel, but the fish was already gone.
L  We called One Day and he said, I quote, "I didn't think you'd be dragging lines that far back."  That far being 175ft. or so.  We all thought to ourselves, "We do if we want to catch fish!"  He apologized , but I wonder why he was so close.  It is quite upsetting to think that a boat that was much too close (in all that water in Exuma Sound) was the cause of the loss of a nice fish and a nice lure. L

Without any more success, we pulled in through Adderly Cut, past Lee Stocking Island, and into Williams Bay at Williams Cay, Exumas.  Who do you think met up with us at that practically deserted (there was one other boat) anchorage?  Whisper.  Whisper who?  Whisper is the 27ft. sailboat home of an ex-Skadden paralegal and her husband.  They and Dad have been e-mailing for the last 3 ½ years (they've been cruising for 2 ½ years), but they've never met.  We went over to their boat and talked with them (Kristin and Hans) and their guest (Elaire) for a while.

We went exploring afterwards.  We took a trail up along the ocean cliffs and up and down over cliffs/hills towards a big beach.  We also took a detour to explore an old, dried up salt pond, like the one on Thomas Cay in Pipe Creek, Exumas, but it was only crusty on the top and very muddy below and we sunk into it, so we quickly got out of it.  We decided not to continue towards the beach so that when we come back with Erik in a couple of days, we'll have something unknown to explore.

Whisper came over for dinner and cocktails.  Dad made a cracker plate and they brought a bean dip and tortilla chips for snacks.  I got to be a water-taxi service so that they didn't have to row over here (their outboard is broken).  That's fun!  Dad made pasta with pesto/goat cheese sauce for supper.  Yum yum!  We stayed up talking until 9:30.  They are salty old sailors, just that they're not that old.  They're salty youngish sailors.
J  I got to taxi 'em home. J  We've had a good evening with 'em and we might see 'em again, but we're movin' on.  We have to go to Barraterre tomorrow to pick Erik up on Friday, 3/20/09.  Erik comes in 2 days!  Yippee!! J

Thursday, 3/19/09                                                                                Day 411

Today was definitely full of great fun.  As planned, we left Williams Cay this morning for Barraterre.  We made a stop at Rat Cay to go hunting on Childrens Bay Cay's southern end.  We got a Nassau grouper and our largest lobster yet - a 4-5 pounder!  All the reef was deep.  There was nothing under 15ft. and most was at least 20-25ft.  Using a portable depth sounder, I successfully completed my deepest ever free dive - 26ft.  I am so proud of myself!
J  We saw some big fish on that deep reef.  We saw two grouper of over 3ft. in length, a hogfish of the same size, and the biggest schoolmasters I've ever seen!  We went for all of them, but shot none of them because they were too deep and tucked away good.  We plan to come back tomorrow afternoon with Erik and fish with poles.  We hope to get the big 'uns!

We left the very rolly anchorage at Rat Cay and navigated the sand bars into Barraterre.  It was very shallow and we just made it in.   We anchored in less than 6ft. of water.  We went to town later in the afternoon.  We arranged a taxi to the airport tomorrow and got groceries.  Norman, the taxi driver, is also the owner/chef at the Fisherman's Inn Restaurant.  He is currently running the business out of a little shack because the Inn burned down.  He is now re-building the Inn out of cinderblocks and concrete and some rebar.  He's really nice.

We did some walking around the little town (that practically no cruisers and no tourists ever come to).  It has one main road and some side roads.  There are two bars, two convenience stores with hardly anything on the shelves, a nice dock, a restaurant (the Fisherman's Inn), and a Batelco tower.  It's a nice little town.  I like it.

We had an early supper of grouper and leftover ravioli in lobster sauce.  We used the head/body meat and lobster stock.  Dad boiled the head and body (after picking out the leg meat) and made 2 ½ liters of lobster stock.  We saved the tail for tomorrow with Erik.

After supper, we played cards.  We played Hearts, which Josh won, and Spades, which Mom & Josh won.  Josh did well.  I can't wait for tomorrow!!  Erik comes!! We are going to have such an AWESOME time this week!!!  Whoopee!!

Friday, 3/20/09
                                                                                Day 412

Today could have super-great, but instead it was just real-good.  Erik got in today, all the way from Pearland, TX!!  He flew in on the flight from Ft. Lauderdale, FL that arrives at 2:15.  But, it didn't arrive until 6:15!! That super-stinks.

While waiting for Erik to come in, we all hung out.  I spent most of the day working on fishing stuff.  I helped Dad fix all 3 of our pole spear rubbers, make 3 bottom fishing rigs, sort a tackle box, make ballyhoo rigs, make shackle-on weights, and rig 4poles.  The second, fourth, and fifth of those things was in preparation to go bottom-fishing at Childrens Bay Cay Cut this afternoon when Erik came, which never happened.
L L  That awesome fishing trip got cancelled because of some stupid maintenance on Erik's plane that took 4 hours!

At 2:00, before leaving with Mr. Norman to go pick up Erik, we called his Mom.  She told us that his flight was delayed until 6:15.  So, we hunkered down and played Hearts for the next couple of hours.  I won and Mom lost.  I shot the moon once.  I'm good, even though I'm in experienced.

At 6:00, we went to get Erik.  Mr. Norman picked up Dad and me right at the dock and we went to the airport.  At the airport, we also met with Mr. Charlie (Kaya) to exchange his stuff that wound up on Gotta Life with our propane tank that we had left with Nice 'n Easy in George Town.  We all got our stuff back.  When we picked up Erik, I almost missed him.  He's about 6in. taller and his voice is much lower than when I last saw him.  He's still the same guy though

On the way hone, Mr. Norman got pulled over.  The cops said he was driving in the middle of the road.  One cop said Norman was drunk (all 3 cops appeared to know him well).  Norman said he has a cataract in one eye, so he couldn't see that well with the sun in his eyes.  After the cops stopped following us, there was a lot of cursing from Mr. Norman.  Finally, Dad had to take control and get directions from Mr. Norman and drive home.

We had yesterday's big lobster for dinner.  With steak, rice, and a tomato salad, it was superbly delicious.  Erik is already having a good time.  Tomorrow, we'll either go fishing at the Childrens Bay Cay Cu or go fishing for Mahi offshore between Ray Cay Cut and Adderly Cut.  That'll make up for today's lost trip.  It'll be grand!

Saturday, 3/21/09
                                                                                Day 413

Now, I'll try to make this entry quick because I have to start a game of Risk, like now.  After supper (and after this), Erik, Josh & I will play Risk.  Dad is not allowed to play, for if he does, he will most certainly win (like every other game of Risk I've played in my 12 ½ years of living).  It's about 6:30 now, so we'll play for 3hrs or so and then finish tomorrow.

Early this morning, we left Barraterre.  The sky was dark, the waves high, the wind strong, and the water murky.  I got discouraged that we'd ever be able to do anything with Erik.  It was too much to go outside to go fishing, so we just sailed up to Leaf Cay, just north of Lee Stocking Island.  There we ate a brunch and went to the awesome beach.  We saw the iguanas, found shells, saw the tide pools, etc.  In the tide pools, we found a blunt-spined brittle star, 2 West Indian sea eggs, 3 long-spined sea urchins, numerous furry chitons, West Indian top snails, rock boring urchins, other snails, and one decorator crab.  I got poked by a diadema (long spined urchin).  The spines are SHARP!  It gave me a little blood blister type thingy-ma-bobby.  It hurt for a while.  I just kept playing and forgot about it.

Erik, Josh & I explored through the brush to the dry salt pond.  It was really cool, like any other salt pond.  We are going to the Norman's Pond Cay salt pond tomorrow.  We also made an arsenal of sandballs!  Then we shattered them in a mock game of stick ball.  Erik and I also swam all over the cove that extends from the beach.  Eventually, we left.

We moved the boat over to the research center at Lee Stocking Island.  Dad baked bread.  We ate an early dinner and now for Risk.