Friday, 5/8/09                                                                                Day 461

I am going to start out today's entry by talking about our snorkeling trip at Double-Breasted Cay's north side, and exploration of Loggerhead Cay.  This occurred today after school - today's excursion.  Mom and Dad had checked out the Double-Breasted side earlier.  We got to the reef and realized that the tide was too low, and we could only snorkel here at slack high tide (Mom and Dad already experienced a bit of current here).  We were going to try snorkeling anyway, but Dad forgot his mask and Josh was missing something or other too, so we decided to come again tomorrow morning, but we still went to Loggerhead.  That was great!  There were cliffs that Bro and I had fun climbing.  There were lots of pretty shells and sea urchin skeletons, so Ma had a blast shelling.  I got to photograph the oystercatchers that flew all around us.  I got some great shots.  Dad just explored like usual.  We had a lot of fun exploring.  Exploring is probably my favorite thing we do cruising.  Practically everything we do is exploring in some way.  I should see the dictionary definition for it.

Now for a quick paragraph on the rest of the day.  We did school.  Mom and Dad walked on the beach.  After our exploration, we just hung out.  I read my book and helped Ma with shell cleaning.  Sharkey and Sharkette came back again.  Dinner was corning game hens.  They are like whole chickens - delicious critters.  Josh wants me to watch Bonanza with him, so adios!

Saturday, 5/9/09
                                                                                Day 462

We started a great today really great.  We got up early and went diving just before slack high tide, which was between 8:00 - 9:00 am.  We went to the coral heads between Double-Breasted Cay's NW side and Loggerhead Cay.  It was fairly pretty, but the vast amount of fire coral all over the place made it difficult to dive without getting stung.  I got stung twice, once on my hand and once on my arm.
L  We also went to a reef on the NW side of Loggerhead.  It was different than the other place, like a big tabletop of rock sloping down, with the life all around the edges.  The first spot was like a big aggregation of coral and reef all built up where the life lived in and around.  I liked spot #2 better.

A small trawler showed up last evening, so we went and said "Hi."  They are an older couple on Zucchini who are going through the Jumentos very quickly.  They've covered most of the islands, including Ragged Island and Duncan Town, stopping for one day in each place.  They left the Double-Breasted Cay area later this afternoon, restoring our sense of desertedness and tranquility.  After saying hello to Zucchini, Bro and I did a short day of school.

The biggest, best thing all day was my shark encounter.  I finally convinced Mom and Dad to let me get in the water with Sharkey and Sharkette to photograph them.   The first time I got in was the best.  They didn't exactly realize I was there at first, and I got a number of good shots quickly.  Then, Sharkette, the only one who really took any interest in me, started to become curious and began swimming towards me.  I quickly scrambled out into the dink.  For the next 3 or 4 times I got in before calling it a day,  Sharkette would sense me and would circle and start coming towards me almost as soon as I got in the water, and I would jump out of the water into the dink.  Dad joked that the sharks would tear me up and he'd bury what was left of me on the beach in a one quart Tupperware container!  It was only somewhat funny.
L  I plan to do this again sometime, for I only got 3 or 4 good photos and one good movie.

You'd think that was a full day, but we still did three more things!  We went and explored the oceanside path that Josh and I discovered on 5/7/09 while sailing Independence.  It was a rugged and rocky trail.  We stayed for a while, but, in my eyes, didn't do much.  Josh and I played atop the sandstone cliffs, chasing Mom and Dad below.  When we came back from the other side of the island, Josh and I sailed in Independence.  Bro is a really good sheetman, but is utterly hopeless at the tiller.  He likes doing the sails, as I like the tiller, but he gets upset when I don't let him do the tiller.  I don't know what to say.
L  We chased Sharkey and had a lot of fun.  We also saw Big Pappi, but didn't go after him.

The last thing we did was play Hearts after supper.  Mom won the game.  She says she is new and not very good and kinda doesn't understand it, but she is good!  While playing, we got an interesting surprise.  Mr. Phil, his cousin Ty, and a friend Robert, all from Ragged Island, showed up.  Phil saw our mast, recognized the boat, and stopped by in his sleek, new fishing boat.  We talked with them for a while, and Phil convinced us to come into Duncan Town tomorrow.  We will move Liberty to Hog Cay in the morning and dinghy in in time for church at 11:00.  Oh, man, today was great, yesterday was great, and tomorrow will be great!  Life is great!

Sunday, 5/10/09
                                                                                Day 463

Happy Mother's Day!!!  Like planned, we raised anchor early and made our way out and around Margaret Shoals to Hog Cay.  I made Ma, and everyone, a delicious egg breakfast.  Josh gave Mom a necklace of limpets that he made with my help.  Mom had a happy, happy, happy, happy, happy Mother's Day.  Yeah!

We got the anchor down at Hog Cay and were in town by 10:45.  Church was at the Church of God of Prophecy again, and service was a lot like the Easter service.  The pastor made everyone get up and say something, be it at least "Happy Mother's Day."  We were welcomed warmly as returning visitors.  Mom brought Rice Krispie Treats, just like she brought chocolate chip cookies last time.

After church, we went to the Bonefish Lodge for internet.   I got 8 e-mails and sent14 in reply.  E-mail is an awesome tool!  We also stopped in and said, "Hi" to Phil and his family.   He is a real good friend.  One of his kids is just Josh's age, so we invited them all to come down to Double-Breasted Cay when we get back there and we'll play and have a good time.

The last thing we did was borrow a golf cart from the lodge and go see Percy's bar in a DC3 airplane.  Percy is a big figure in town, and we saw him last time we were here and also at Regatta.    We had to drive on very rocky roads, across the airstrip to get to his place.  We met Marvin, Percy's brother, who told us about the place and that the restaurant/bar is closed because Percy's house burned down and the building/plane is being used as living quarters.  It was kinda cool.

Surprisingly, all that took all day, and we got home at 5:00 or so.  We had an early supper of burgers and played Sorry to end the day - a great day for Ma for sure.  Later, Dad and I went and made some caramel from Mom.  Being in town all day, we couldn't make it then, and it has to sit for three hours, so we'll give it to her in the morning.  Now I go to sleep.

Monday, 5/11/09                                                                                Day 464

Fun. Yup, that's today.  We went into town in the morning for a cool and unique experience.  We went to the Ragged Island All Age School.  Robert, the friend of Phil who was with him two nights ago, and his wife teach all 11 kids from ages 5 to 14 and grades 1 to 9.  There are only 12 kids that live on the island.  The twelfth is a little 4 yr. old girl.  She will enter school next year.  We brought some books that we have finished reading and some pens, pencils and supplies to donate to the school.  They seemed very appreciative.

The school is three buildings:  the main schoolroom where most work is completed, a lunchroom, and a computer lab.  The main building is split up into classroom type areas by the use of black boards on stands.  Each child is taught individually because there is only one 9th grader, one 7th, two 6th, three 5th, two 3rd, and two 1st graders.  We met all the kids and I hung out a bit with Myron, the 9th grader and the other three kids in 6th and 7th grades.  Josh played around with the younger kids.  Everyone was very nice, and they invited us to stay for lunch, which was cooked by one of their moms and was tasty.

Eventually, we left them to do their school and we went to the Bonefish Lodge to do internet.  After all that, we went to see the last sight in Duncan Town - the salt pond.  This is a large salt pond that is still in use to harvest sea salt.  Everyone in town has a plot.  It looked like the whole area was covered in snow and ice.  We got to harvest salt and we got some (already dried) to keep and give to friends.  It was way cool.

We got home in the mid-afternoon.  The dinghy motor wasn't working right, so we didn't plane home.  We raised anchor and sailed 3 ½ hours back to Double-Breasted Cay.  Now, Dad is making supper and we are at home in our own peaceful little world!

Tuesday, 5/12/09                                                                                Day 465

The morning started with a big dilemma.  Chris Parker, the weatherman, predicted a tropical wave (big thunderstorm from Africa with the potential to turn into a tropical storm and then a hurricane) to hit our area of the Bahamas tomorrow evening and cause bad weather until Saturday.  The big question was - do we wait it out here, or do we try to cover 40mi (8hrs.) today to go to Water Cay and 70mi. (14hrs.) tomorrow to get to Cat Island.  The latter is practically impossible, going 70 miles in one day, plus having to go through Hog Cay Cut on a high or rising tide.  We decided to stay.  YIPPEE!

After that, school started late.  We did a long day and got done around 1:30.  Then Dad went tot eh second spreader to make a video camera movie of the area.  It was my idea, but Ma wouldn't let me do it.
L  I hope it turned out good.  After Dad, Josh and I got to go up to the first spreader.  I've been to the top of the main mast before, but we weren't allowed to go past the first spreader today.  I got to go twice because, after Josh went after me, he couldn't put the mast steps down, so I went up again to do that. J J  I love it up there. It is sooo fun! J

For the rest of the afternoon, Ma, Josh and I went to a pretty beach on Margaret Cay.  The sharks never showed up, not did Phil and his family, who were supposed to come meet us here today.  We did four main things on the beach.  The first was collecting sea beans.  We found a bunch of nice hamburger beans, now nicknamed the bacon cheeseburgers of the sea.  It's kind of weird, though, that we only found them on one third of the beach.  The rest had none.

Secondly, we explored the rocks with Mom and played with sticks.  I dueled Josh with swords, staffs, and a "drain pipe."  The "drain pipe" was a 10ft. long bamboo log that I used against Josh as a battering ram, helicopter blades, and ankle basher, a "tim-ber" pole, etc., etc., etc.  It was slow to heave, but was a fun weapon, but I had to put it down when I accidentally bashed Josh too hard.

For our third thing, Josh and I played karate with some bamboo.  We'd take a piece of bamboo and one person would hold it while the other kicked it, karate chopped it, kneed it, bashed it with their head, etc.   It was fun, except when the stick was too hard to break with your flying hand or head.  Ouch! J

Lastly, and best of all, the three of us built an awesome sand castle.  It was a whole big medieval civilization.  We had a palace with a flag, surrounded by four towers, a wall and a moat with one entrance.  From that entrance, you had roads that went out past the king's field and another going to the village.  The king's field was four big pastures/plantations with a tower in the center.  Down the road was Merlin's tower, an evil-looking building with barren wasteland all around.  Josh also made a well (it actually went to water J), a cathedral, and a sheriff's office.  At the end, when we had to leave, we created a story to destroy everything.  Josh made a good excuse for the villagers to rebel, and they attacked (and destroyed) the sheriff's office.  The king ordered Merlin to cause lightning to strike the homes of the rebel leaders.  Then the villagers destroyed Merlin's tower.  The dead wizard was therefore unable to stop his lightning storm, so it destroyed the tallest things, like some castle towers, the cathedral, and the tower in the field.  Next, bull weevil came to decimate the fields.  Lastly, the lightning storm became a hurricane, ending all civilization.  Too bad for the king and his kingdom.  God must have a good time planning out the world.  He can do whatever he feels like, like us with our sandcastles.  I hope God doesn't wake up in a bad mood. L J

We spent a quiet evening on Liberty.  Dinner wasn't worth mentioning.  I've got a new good book which is driving Bro nuts!  He always wants to play with me right when I'm reading.  I think it's a really good past time.  I hope the sharks come tomorrow.  That's what I think of most.  It was just sooo wicked awesome!!

Wednesday, 5/13/09
                                                                        Day 466

We had to leave Double-Breasted !!
L  Boo hoo!  Boo hoo! L  That was the worst part of today, by far.  We left for Raccoon Cay, Jumentos. L  But there were lots of other fun things today.

For starters, practically as soon as I woke up, we got ready for a snorkeling trip.  We went back to the reefs between Double-Breasted Cay and Loggerhead Cay.  It was as nice as always.  I spent a long time taking photos.  I got a lot of fish shots.  I found and got a ton of pictures of a cowfish (possibly a trunkfish) that I've never seen before.  It is not in our books and I think it could be a new species.  No one else agrees.
L  They never believe you can invent or discover anything new to the world.  I say that's nonsense.  People from all parts of the world and all classes of people have discovered things.  Even kids!!! J  We also tried to snorkel off the NE tip of Loggerhead Cay, but it was too rough.  Only Dad and I got in for about 5 min. before Ma freaked out and we had to move on.  We snorkeled once more on the spot on Loggerhead's NW side.  I found a cool area off to the side of the main reef that had four lobsters!  Too bad they're out of season.

We got home and did a little school.  Then we went to the oceanside to get some wood for one of Dad's projects.  If found two new flip-flops.  The ones that Erik brought have fallen apart again (3rd time, and they're only a month and a half old), so I found two that don't match that I can wear.  It's cool.  Then we got Independence and hauled her up on deck.  We won't be able to sail during the next few days and then we'll go offshore.

Next, we moved to House Bay, Raccoon Cay.  It's a nice place.  Nearby is west Pimlico Cay, which Dad snorkeled around while we played on the beach.  Josh and I build major sand castle civilizations.  We had five nations and a dozen or two castles.  We made villages, roads, Indian huts, canyons, etc.  It was awesome.  My favorite nation was the APZ (Allied Phylum of the Zanganeeze).  That was four castles and an Indian gang with all their villages.  Why Phylums?  That's because a joke came up about kingdoms and phylum instead of states.  The Zanganeeze were the Indians.  We worked on our castles for most of the time.  We did explore some ruins with Mom and Dad.  They were cool.  Just two walls and a window remain.  You can see that the building blocks for this old building were concrete, conch shells, and some limestone blocks.
J  Didn't hold up too well! J

This evening, we were joined by a live-aboard dive boat.  These people currently have a group from the University of Miami on board studying stromatolites.  It's kinda cool what these dudes are doing.

We had steak for supper.  I love that stuff!  Yum, yum!  Ooooh, delicious stuff - steak is.
J  End of day, end of journal.

Thursday, 5/14/09
                                                                                Day 467

All right - I know my journal is much too long.  Today was so simple and almost boring that I am going to see if I can write this in no more than one page.  The weather was pretty glum today.  The sky was usually cloudy, it was fairly windy, and the occasional squall came through.  If this was the whole tropical wave, then the wave wasn't much.  But I don't think it is.  This evening, we spotted lightning and the wind was picking up.  The lightning spooked little brother Josh so much, our not having seen it in months at least, that he is insisting on snuggling with me.

As for our day's affairs, we did school.  Dad went hunting, but got nothing.  After lunch, we moved the boat up one bay to Spanish Well Bay.  It is much smaller, deeper, and more protected than House Bay.  There are lots of stingrays here too.  

We went ashore to look for the old Spanish well that is said to be on the beach, but we didn't find it.  During our search, one of the flip-flops I found broke.  Gonna have to find another one.  Back on Liberty, we hung out.  I, finally, got to do some serious website work with Ma.  The live-aboard dive boat left, so we are alone again.  Hey, I'm done and have one line to go!  End of day, end of journal.
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