Sunday, July 19, 2020
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Monday, June 1, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
We have not fallen off the edge of the earth, although we may be close to it.
We are still in the far southern islands of the Bahamas (the Jumentos) and have been here for about five weeks. As I stated earlier this is a remote area with many small islands (Cays) and few residents. There is one settlement on the far south island, Ragged Island, that has about sixty permanent residents and the only cell tower. Unless we make a special trip down there we are without cell service and Internet. There is a small store that has a few supplies but that is all. We had planned to stay here for a couple of weeks before working our way up the island chain to Central Bahamas and then make our way back to the US. That changed when we found that we are able, using another boats (Bluejacket) Internet, to place a food order from a store in Nassau and have it delivered on the weekly supply boat. That has been a major game changer for the boat that are here. We have about fifteen boats that move around to the various anchorages but base themselves at Hog Cay. This is the social center with a shelter built on the beach with fire pits for evening gatherings.
The Bahamas have put together various protocols to deal with the pandemic including curfews, shutdowns and lock-downs. Every weekend the islands are in complete lock-down starting Friday evening until Monday morning. After conversations with the local Royal Defense Force Officials we are exempt from some of the rules. We are required to have no association with the locals. This is not a problem since there are none on any of the islands except Ragged Island. They do monitor our comings and goings as we move about but are mostly on the watch for boats arriving. Everyone has been here for a month or more so we are able to get together for evening cocktails, watching the sun go down, for a birthday party, anniversaries and for morning water aerobics.
We have moved around a few times, going down to the south end of Ragged to get cell service and to hunt for conch. We have found a small bay that we have been able to collect conch and have been enjoying that fixed a variety of ways. Some of the boat go out fishing but we have not tried that yet, we want to conserve our fuel. We have been doing some exploring with the dinghy to check out the beaches for sea-beans which we have collected quite a lot of and search for conch. We have visited several of the other Cays to add some variety and to get off by ourselves.
We have been keeping busy with some small projects, reading (I am rereading most of what I have on my kindles), and Cori has taken up beach cleaning. For several weeks she has been going across to the ocean side and has been gathering up the junk that has washed up and has been burning it. There is an unbelievable amount of garbage that washes up on these beaches.
The weather has been steady with sunny skies and light winds usually from the NE to SE. We just had another weather front move down to us with winds clocking around giving us a wind from the west which is a problem because there is very little protection from a west wind. The forecast was for light winds but it kicked up a bit and as it continued around we had a night with the boat rolling with anything out of place going flying. By morning it continued around and we again had the island blocking the wind and waves. It was a very uncomfortable night. This week we have had another weather front approach us and we had several days of rain, the first in a long time. The boat is finally clean of salt residue and Cori has started polishing the stainless hardware again.
Our plans are always changing but with hurricane season ready to begin and the first named storm off the east coast we feel that it is time to move on. We plan to make our way north through the Bahamas then make the crossing to Florida or wherever on the east coast depending on the weather.
I want to thank our neighbors on Persephone for the use of their WiFi to send this post.
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Monday, March 9, 2020
While still in St John, USVI we spent a couple of days on a mooring in Lameshur Bay. This is one of our favorites. The view from the boat is forested hills on three sides and the open Caribbean Sea on the other. There are two buildings that can be seen: the roof of the rangers cottage and a research facility at the dock. There are no lights at night other then from your fellow boats, pure peaceful paradise. I did some snorkeling and we hiked one of the trails to the petroglyphs. The hike was a lot harder then I remember from last time we were here, about three and a half years ago.
The next day we motored around the island and again picked up a mooring in Caneel Bay. From there we dinghied into town to do laundry and another burger at Tap and Still.
Saturday, Leap Day. we moved to Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas. After lunch we went ashore and immediately ran into our friends on Peace. We had not seen them since last year when we went on a tour in Dominica with them. We spent a bit of time with them and then hit the grocery store. We stocked up once more with fresh vegetables and added more rum to our collection. Cruzan Rum is made in St. Croix and is inexpensive here. The next day Cori went out exploring one of the islands in the bay in her kayak while stayed and ran the generator to bring the batteries up. There was a small cruise ship in so a number of stores were open so we went ashore again. One of our stops was at a small bar. When we arrived there was one other couple and the bartender. It turned out three of us were from Minnesota, all being happy to not be there this winter. From there we wandered back to the Tap and Still for another burger. They have a really good burger. The next day we went ashore and walked to the Frenchtown district. The streets have French names and the French Bistro had authentic Cajun food and a feel of New Orleans. From there we walked to Crown Bay Marina. Cori wanted to check on her NOAA mark. Back in 2007 Cori's dad was in the islands surveying for NOAA. One of the marks he was able to rename and marked it as Cori. For her birthday that year he sent here the Lat and Long of her birthday present. When we were here before we found it and she wanted to check on it again. It needed a little polishing and she was able to borrow some polish from the mega-yacht that was docked next to it.
From there we caught a bus back to downtown to spend some quality time with Sydney, our favorite bartender at the Tipsy Turtle.
The next morning we pulled anchor and moved over to Brewers Bay. The downtown anchorage was getting rolly. We traded a rolly anchorage to one where the airport runway blocked the swell. The noise wasn't bad, there is a nice beach and it is quiet in the evening and overnight when the airport shuts down. We went ashore and collected more shells.
The next day, Wednesday the 4th, we pulled anchor and motor-sailed to Culebra. Culebra is part of the Spanish Virgin Islands and is a part of Puerto Rico. We were here around Christmas 2016. We just hung out doing a couple of little projects. On Friday we went back in for an early dinner at Zaco's Taco's. It seems to be the thing to do. After that we wandered to another bar for a beer and the view. Checking Facebook I saw that our friends from Dos Libras were at at another establishment. We quickly paid up and walked over. for a visit. We had met them the last time we were here and had not seen them since Grenada last year. They have now sold their boat and are living in Puerto Rico.
The next morning we motored around to the east side of the island and picked up a mooring to snorkel the reef. This is one of the better spots that I have snorkeled and I wanted to check it out again. We spent the night there and in the morning headed off for Puerto Rico.
Our plan is to move from Puerto Rico to the Bahamas and we wanted a chance to get caught up on some projects before then. We also have to wait out some inclement weather. First thing was to fill up on fuel. We were down 3/4 of a tank. My record show that we last filled in Guadeloupe last February before heading back to Trinidad for the summer. We took on 60 gallons, by my records we have traveled 975 miles since then. We do sail as much as we can. Once we were in our slip and all settled in our friends on Blue Moon arrived. We had not seen them since Trinidad last year. They are on their way back to the US also.
Today is rainy and we are taking care of some projects. I have redone the spicing on our anchoring bridle, it had gotten chafed, and I am running the equalizing cycle on our batteries. This is the main reason for going into a marina. I need 110 AC power to get the batteries to full charge and then run the cycle which can be an all day event. Once this is done they should hold a charge better. My records also show that this is the third time in almost four years since we left North Carolina that we have been to a marina.
We will be waiting out the weather for a good window for the jump to the Bahamas, possibly checking out the south side of the island while we wait. Time and weather will tell.