Friday, 5/15/09                                                                                Day 468

Today, we did slightly less than yesterday, but, because of the second to last event, I'll probably write more.  We stayed put in Spanish Well Bay, Raccoon Cay all day, leaving the boat only once.  After school, we, once again, just hung out.  I did more website.  Josh and I played some computer and other stuff up in our cabin.  We ate a late lunch of homemade pizza.  My dad makes good pizza.  We finished the meal off with apples and the last of the caramel, and a big, family philosophy discussion that also included political, economic, and world-wide affairs.  Dad's good at that stuff, and it's quite interesting.

Now for the best thing.  We left at 5:30pm to snorkel around West Pimlico Cay on a mid to falling tide.  This is a little island that forms the southern side of House Bay.  We snorkeled all the way around to see the island's 4-6ft. deep rocky wall, covered in sea life, and the sailboat wreck in the same place.  The wall was full of critters.  I saw only a few fish, but four species of anemones, at least four species of feather dusters and plume works, two species of gobies, multiple crabs and shrimp, algae of all sorts, etc., etc., etc.  See my Dive Log for a more detailed list of critters. The wreck was also cool.  I took lots of photographs.  I would sit still, holding onto a rock close in, and would wait and watch as the critters would come out.  Oh, it was terrific!  I wish we could go back there sometime, but we won't have time, with the weather and all.

After showering and cleaning up from our dive, we settled down for the evening.  We drank hot chocolate, ate pineapple-coconut rice, and played Spades.  Mom and I got beat by over 300pts., but we had some fun.  Neither of us played very well tonight.  I had lots of good hands, but always got us set.  Mom did not have good hands, but couldn't properly play her bad hands.
L  We need to play some ERS.  That's my game.  I am king at it.  I'll see about it next time.

Dad and I have just ended one of our philosophical discussions, so I'll go to bed.  I'll probably read my book - The Swiss Family Robinson.  It is a good read and a classic.  I say, that's it for now.  End of day, end of journal.



Saturday, 5/16/09
                                                                                Day 469

We had a pretty cool day.  School like usual.  My geometry was devil hard, so that was the only subject I did today.
L  We hung out for awhile after lunch, then got off the boat to explore.  On Raccoon Cay, there is an inland blue hole.  We don't know what formed it, but it might have been a salt dome.  That is what formed the blue holes in Belize and Louisiana - collapsed salt domes. We went through a little trail in the brush to get to the place.  It was very peaceful.  We don't know how deep it is, but it was deep enough to let a rock fall down out of sight.  It was kind of creepy, so we didn't go in, even though we brought our snorkel gear.  I was thinking that it would be cool if you set a little cottage adrift on the "pond."  It would be neat.  I liked that place a lot.

The sun was very hot, so we went diving out in that bay (one up from Spanish Well Bay).  I snorkeled around a rock, like yesterday, but this was a little rock with fewer critters.  It was still cool.  At the end, Dad called us out to a different reef to see a giant Loggerhead turtle.  It was about 3 ½ ft. long and 1 ½ ft. wide.  When I got there, it got spooked and started swimming away fast.  Josh caught up and saw it, but Ma was just too late, and she got grouchy.
LThe turtle was awesome, though! J

Back at home, we had pasta for supper and settled down for a quiet evening.  Josh and I watched Bonanza. Tomorrow, we are going to leave for Water Cay, up north.  The day after, we will start an overnight passage to Cat Island, Bahamas.  We will do this to get north fast.  We need to be in the Abacos by the end of May and in the USA by the beginning of June.  So - that's the current plan.  It'll probably change by tomorrow! J  End of day, end of journal.



Sunday, 5/17/09
                                                                                Day 470

There is really not that much to tell about today.  We traveled 40nm from Spanish Well Bay, Raccoon Cay to Water Cay, both Jumentos.  The weather wasn't bad, nor were the seas rough, but after a while of going through the 20mi. unprotected stretch between Channel Cay and Man-O-War Cay that is open to the ocean, school ceased to occur.  Lunch was really yummy, a special treat - none other than yogurt.  In the Bahamas, it costs $4 to buy just one little container of yogurt that would cost just 60¢ in the USA, which feeds barely one person when eaten with pretzels or ½ a PB&J sandwich.  Mom splurged back in George Town and got us each one.  Today, I indulged in my bit of cherry yogurt, along with pretzels, another little treat, but a staple for Ma.

After making very good time (averaging a little more than 6 ½ kts.), we arrived in the Water Cay anchorage at a reasonable point in the afternoon.  We were the only cruisers, though anchored alongside us were two of the real big commercial fishing boats from Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, and one other tiny motor craft (barely a boat!) from Nassau.  The latter, which was no larger than Liberty, had over a half dozen Bahamian guys on board and two beaten up little skiffs towed behind.  We traded with these men for some fresh fish and conch.  For 2/3 of a bottle of Gold Rum, we got seven lane snappers and a whole mess of cleaned conch.  These fishermen are always so generous.  I am very thankful.

After supper, we played Uno to end the day.  Our plans are to leave tomorrow morning for Cat Island.  I hope we do that all fine.  End of day, end of journal.



Monday, 5/18/09
                                                                                Day 471

"Today was just crappy."  That's quoting my father.  The day sure wasn't good from my point of view.

Three good things happened in the entire day.  Yeah, just three.  First, we had taquitos for breakfast (good thing #1).  We had a big squall hit us this morning.  The wind hit 30kts. and brought driving rain.  We don't have a rain catcher anymore, but we'd have filled the tanks.  That put off the start of our trip, but, intent on leaving, we raised anchor about two hours after planned - and that was still in bad rain and 15-25kt wind.  We started school at that point.  As we went into more open (yet still shallow) water, the waves got bigger and bigger.  Soon enough, I was queasy and stuff was flying everywhere.  As I put my book away, I found the bookshelves wet, as well as books.
L  I was told to put all the books in danger on the downwind side of the saloon floor.  That only made the place more of a mess, for a few upwind containers had already emptied their contents on the sofa.  Upon going upstairs, the first thing I saw was big rollers pitching the boat around.  Next I was told to either a) go downstairs and lay down on the couch, or b) stay in the cockpit, huddle silently in a corner getting wet (it was still raining and the bimini was leaking like a sieve).  You might be surprised that I chose B because I was in desperate need of fresh air.  In a few minutes, I returned below with Josh.

After some yelling, getting hurt, and having stuff break, Mom and Dad decided in a very loud "discussion" that we should just try to get the heck out of the mess and return to Water Cay.  So we turned around, and, being on the opposite tack, now had stuff fall from the other side of the boat, now the upwind side.
L L  What could I do?  Nothing.  Nothing in the slightest.  So I just hung out below.

After much more of what is described above, plus 2 or so hours, we (re)arrived at Water Cay.  Everything looked exactly as it did this morning.  We practically anchored on the same waypoint.  The anchor dropped with more yelling and getting injured.  Dad gets wounded a lot, and bad weather doesn't help.
L

Finally, everything quieted down and we drank some hot chocolate.  That's good thing #2.  Yeah!  We cleaned up and hung out.  Dinner was only o.k.  We tried to end up with cards, but even that went badly.  Josh was fooling around and knocked over Dad's red wine.  Oooooh!  Dad got mad and started packing away the cards and saying we should all just go to bed.  I almost got beaned as he chucked the deck of cards into their home.  A little later, Dad proposed we finish our game of Hearts.  We did, but it was not as fun as it could have been.  That's the last good thing.  Not much, huh.  That's today. L L  End of day, end of journal.



Tuesday, 5/19/09
                                                                                Day 472

Today, was hugely different than yesterday.  We did leave Water Cay today, but ended in George Town!  After listening to weather on the SSB, and seeing the conditions outside (blue skies with some clouds and not windy, but a lot of swell from a wind shift), and knowing that we gotta get gone, we raised anchor and headed out.  The passage was really good, our sailing along with a gentle swell and a nice breeze.  Bro and I did school.  Around lunchtime, we got some mild squalls, but just a little rain and a little more wind.  Nothin' much.

At about 4:00, we went through Hog Cay Cut.  High tide was at 4:30, so we were fine getting through.  Ma and I still went up on deck to read the water colors.  We saw three turtles!  Lat time we were here, we saw one, but three is amazing.  I think the first two were green sea turtles, whereas the last one looked like a hawksbill.  They were very cool.  Josh was downstairs playing computer at the time, which is too bad.  He'd rather do that than enjoy the sun and watch turtles swim around.
L  I like it a lot. J  Maybe I shouldn't care about him like I do. L J

Two  hours later, we ghosted into Kidds Cove, on the George Town side of Elizabeth Harbor.  We dropped our anchor as the sun sunk below the horizon.  Mom brought us all the way into the harbor.  We showered and ate after dark.  Good day, yup.  End of day, end of journal.



Wednesday, 5/20/09
                                                                        Day 473

George Town.  The only reason we're here is to fix some stuff, provision, and wait for weather.  There aren't even enough boats here to do anything - two at Monument Beach, two at Sand Dollar Beach, six at Volleyball Beach, and another half dozen or so here in Kidds Cove.

Today was both laundry day and part-hunting day.  Josh stayed with Mom at the laundromat, while I went hitchhiking around Great Exuma Island with Dad.  We walked out of town, sticking our thumbs out when a car went past.  Finally, a Bahamian guy, introduced as David, picked us up in a beaten up van full of junk.  He had to undo a bungee cord to open or close the door, and I was crammed in amongst batteries, gas cans, etc.  He took us down to the Napa store.  To get from there to Darville Lumber, we jumped in the back of a pick-up truck without a tailgate.  We had to go back to Napa, and we bummed a ride from a regular old guy in a regular old car.  He was kind of complaining to Dad about how you can't pick up the younger guys because they smoke too much weed.  I guess Dad and I don't look like big weed smokers.
J  To get home, we hitched a ride from a Napa flatbed.  We were just going to sit on the flatbed, but the guy let us go in the cab.  He actually took us way past our stop but we just got our exercise.

We were mostly successful in our errands out of town.  We met back up with Mom and Josh and went to get lunch.  Other than laundry, they bought a week of wi-fi access and got propane, and sea beans from the land next to the Esso station.  A trip to Exuma market and some water jug runs finished our day in town.

Back at home, we worked on the internet and the website.  We are going to try to publish it onto the web!  It is sooo far behind, but now it'll be better!  I have to create another Update Hub for the website.  It's going to be a coral reef, and it'll look great.  I got a ton of e-mails.  I am sending/receiving eight at a time, sometimes!
J  It's a fun way to keep in touch. J  J I can't wait to get it all done!  Good supper tonight.  I had a nice day.  End of day, end of journal.



Thursday, 5/21/09
                                                                                Day 474

Today was fairly good.  It was a stay at home all day kind of day.  We worked on a lot of website.  We got it almost 100% ready to publish tomorrow.  We've made new updates, added new journals, updated pages, etc.  It is sweet!  We did a little bit of school and played some, but my day was dominated by the website.

There had been major excitement since a bit before 3:00 this afternoon.  A giant, freakish thunderstorm came in.  It's raining cats and dogs all over George Town and Stocking Island.  It's kind of scary because lightning is striking all over. Nothing has hit our boat, but we've seen it strike over by Regatta Point in town and over on the land nearby.  The winds are hitting 40kts., and it's just freaky.

We did end today with a good supper - Ghanaian Peanut Soup (an idea of mine), and Chicken Curry.  Delicious.  End of day, end of journal.
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