S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Sunday, January 29
N 24 degrees, 05.87 minutes
W 076 degrees, 24.22 minutes

We made just a short trip today, from Big Major's Spot to Black Point, five miles south. The big draw here is that Back Point is a relatively large settlement, so the store is better stocked, and there is free water at the dock, and a place to put trash, and a laundromat. We scooted on down here this morning, knowing that a lot of boats in Big Major's were heading here also, and hoping to be the first to arrive at the laundromat.

At noon we dropped anchor next to a boat from Duxbury, MA, and another Tayana from Boston (we've met the Duxbury residents before, and it turns out that they know the Days from Wilmington). I had a huge bag of laundry ready to go as soon as we anchored, and we rushed into the dinghy dock.

But it's Sunday. The laundromat is closed. So we decided to find Lorraine's, a local restaurant that gets rave reviews, and treat ourselves to a meal off the boat.
On the way there, we passed a bunch of people fresh out of church. One lady, dressed to the nines, in a purple suit, and a spectacular hat, took a liking to Jill, giving her a big hug and saying (we think) "I love you. Come see me tomorrow and I'll show you some things. I love you." Jill chose to not be weirded out, and hugged back.

The door to Lorraines was open and Lorraine was there, still in her suit from church, and there was some commotion in the restaurant, as another cruiser was trying to get a wireless router he'd donated to Lorraine to work. Dean was called in to assist.

Lorraine's is an interesting place. It's pretty casual, and it's well known among cruisers for its book exchange and free Internet access, and for the coconut bread made by Lorraine's mother (I ordered one for tomorrow). Lorraine also has a bar, but she's not much of a bartender. Guests are encouraged step behind the bar to help themselves to drinks, keeping tabs on index cards until they're ready to pay.

As this is the Bahamas, and as it is Sunday, and as there was this whole Internet project going on in one room, and more people kept showing up and getting involved and starting tabs, there was never any rush, and then things got a little sidetracked. Several of the Canadian cruisers could not get over Dean's close resemblance to Formula 1 superstar Jacques Villeneuve (is that true, Roger?). We all had to look him up on the Internet. Then there were stories and more rounds of drinks and stupid bar tricks, and Lorraine left to change out of ther church clothes.

I think we finally ate lunch at about 4 o'clock. No laundry, no water, no trash. Just a buzz. And when we started to think about leaving Lorraine's, a huge rainbow appeared outside, and it started to rain. So we stayed a little longer.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Big Major's Spot

25 January
N 24 degrees 10.995 minutes
W 076 degrees 27.496 minutes

We left Warderick Wells with heavy hearts. The place is just magnificent.

We could snorkel over coral a few hundred feet from our mooring, and we saw all kinds of colorful fish, including a few large spotted eagle rays, a three-foot Nassau grouper, various jacks and tuna, triggerfish, angelfish, parrotfish, and an enormous spiny lobster. We then dinghied to another spot with lots of beautiful coral formations and saw still more fish we couldn't identify.

That night, at a bonfire on the beach (with free punch supplied by the dive boat that came in that evening), we spoke with a resident (who's lived and volunteered at the park for the past 3 years) about the problems the park has with poachers. Basically, the wardens have to catch poachers in the act; they have to see people fishing and find fish on board. Naturally, when the poachers spot the wardens, they simply dump the fish over and deny everything.

But we have a date to keep, and a front was preparing to move through, so we left, and stopping at lunchtime at Soldier's Cay to see something called the seaquarium. We anchored Delilah off the island and took Digby over. I had my snorkeling gear on before Jill and went in. I was immediately surrounded by colorful reef fish next to a wall of coral. Serious Jacque Cousteau moment. They were all around, within inches of my mask. I couldn't help but to hit fish with my swim fins because they swam so close. It was breathtaking.

And then I saw the shark.

6 feet long. 10 feet below me and about 30 feet away. Jill was not yet in the water, so I lifted my head out and said, simply, "shark." My heart was racing. Admittedly, it was a nurse shark, but when one's biological instincts take over, there's not much one can do. I watched it slowly swim into the distance.

Just south of the seaquarium we left the park's boundaries, and we had our fishing rods ready to deploy. We lost our most reliable lure to something big enough to snap our 80 lb. test line. Using our other line, we caught a blue jack for dinner. It produced just enough food for two. I've heard that many people won't eat jacks, but we thought it was delicious.

The big draw here in Staniel Cay, aside from a grocery store the size of a smalll shed, is Thunderball Cave, famous for its appearance in...guess which movie. You can snorkel into the cave when the tide is right, and the water color is supposed to be maginficent.

Jan. 26 addendum
We are just back from snorkeling at Thunderball. Now we will have to rent the movie to see where we were according to James Bond.

It was amazing inside the cave, which has a few skylights to keep it bright. On the floor of the cave the coral is flourescent orange, and the smaller fish flock around as they are used to humans. Dean's favorite fish so far is a small (2 inch) black fish with bright blue polka dots. Mine is the triggerfish. We will need to buy a fish and coral guide so we will know what we are seeing, I think.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Monday, January 23, 2006

Beaten Up

Sunday, 22 January, Warderick Wells
N 25 degrees 23.68 minutes
W 076 degrees 38.10 minutes

We left this morning expecting a fairly quick sail. 14
nautical miles should take 3 hours or so. Winds were
brisk, but we thought we'd be OK on the Exuma Banks,
because we would only be in 25 feet or so of water,
and we'd be fairly sheltered from the ESE winds as we
sailed down the lee of the island chain. Ahhh, that
was a misconception.

The waves were only 5 feet high or so, but they were
choppy and confused, with a very short period in
between waves. A LOT of waves came up over Delilah's
bow, and a few made it all the way back to us and over
our dodger (the canvas and plastic windscreen for the
cockpit). Our starboard anchor was shaken off the bow
roller. Twice. That meant I had to go forward to the
bow, which was digging into these waves, and get
submerged while I fixed it. Then the pole holding the
wind generator came out of its base.

I have salt crystals on my face.

Our bed got drenched via a small leak in the forward
hatch. 3 pillows, our mattress, our sheets, our
comforter, and half a dozen books are wet.

We reckon we had 30 knots of wind at times, close

Our neighbors from Hawksbill Cay (S/V Eira), who made
the trip as well, came over to commiserate. Jill said,
"It's time for rum!" and who am I to argue?

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Another day in paradise

January 21

We're still in Hawksbill Cay, and we had a wonderful
day. We started by dinghying to a beautiful, deserted
beach, where we walked the shore and then read for a
few hours. Later, when a catamaran anchored off the
beach (and catamarans, having shallow drafts, can go
very, very close), we went to another deserted beach
for more of the same. Then back to Delilah to relax.
Then back to the closest beach for sunset drinks with
the other two boats in our anchorage. One of the kids
on another boat pointed out a shark swimming lazily by
about 20 feet off the shore, reinforcement of the
wisdom that one should never swim at sunset.

This, then, is what we were after all along. Tomorrow
we will sail ten miles further, to Warderick Wells,
which is still in the Exuma Park, and is therefore
home to great numbers of birds, lizards, fish, etc. We
hope to see the resident four-foot barracuda (Bubba),
and his two shark pals (Boo Boo and The Harbormaster).

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Exumas at last

January 20, Hawksbill Cay
N 24 degrees 28.08 minutes
W 076 degrees 46.12 minutes

On wednesday, the weather moderated enough for us to
sail from Rock Sound, where we had spent a full week
and attended (and hosted) our first cruisers' happy
hours, to Norman's Cay in the northern part of the
Exumas island chain. Norman's used to be the
headquarters for a major drug smuggler in the 70s and
80s, and when we entered the southern anchorage, we
saw the remains of a half-sunken airplane that had
been ditched twenty years ago. Ashore are the ruins of
a few houses with some very 80s wallpaper still
clinging to the interior.

Norman's has a large area of protected, shallow water
to explore, with a number of mangrove patches and
great beaches, and we took the dinghy all over the
island. At one point, when we were in only two or
three feet of water, we watched a ray, five or six
feet across at its widest point, swim out from under
our dinghy.

Norman's is sparsely inhabited, but we had read that a
small restaurant was open several days a week near
some rental villas on the island, and that they served
great hamburgers. We made our way over to the western
part of the island for a late lunch.

We beached our dinghy, Digby, near more ruins from the
drug running days, scrambled through an old garbage
dump, walked along a gorgeous, empty, miles-long
beach, located the old airstrip, which is still in use
for charter planes, and finally found what looked like
MacDuffs, hoping they were still serving lunch. Except
there was a sign next to the villas explaining that
MacDuffs was gone. Private property. Registered guests
only. Blah, blah, blah.

The current moves very swiftly through Norman's Cay,
and the wind was moving through very swiftly as well.
All that was fine, except when the current switched
direction and was going against the wind. Delilah
didn't know which way to point, so she did a bad job
of it. No sleep for us.

This morning we got up (no need to say "woke up") for
the 6:30 weather report, and hearing that we'd have
more of the same for the next few days, we make our
way out of Norman's Cay and over to Hawksbill Cay,
which I read has great beaches.

The area in the Exumas starting immediately below
Norman's, and including Hawksbill, is all part of the
Exumas National Land and Sea Park. The islands and the
water around them are parkland, so fishing and shell
collecting are not allowed. The water is very clear,
the islands are all ours, and the snorkeling reveals
some very large fish who seem to know better than to
swim outside the park's boundaries.

We anchored near four other sailboats (three of which
we'd seen at other anchorages but had net met the
occupants), dinghied ashore, did a little snorkeling,
and then climbed to the top of the bluff to take in
the magnificence of the island and the water
surrounding it. This view, the sun, the green and aqua
water, and the white beach were just what I had in
mind to put up with all those winters on the boat in
Boston Harbor. This is exactly the kind of place I
imagined we would go when we first bought Delilah
almost five years ago. And we are really here. Wow.

All of the other sailors around us in this anchorage
are near our age, and all but one are making this
journey for the first time. It's a bit unusual, as
most of the people we've met up to now are retired and
have made the trip to the Bahamas and back a number of
times already. We had become used to being the
greenhorns with an old boat and lots of inexperience,
so it's intersting to talk to other people for whom
this is also brand new, and whose boats aren't
necessarily loaded with the latest equipment.

Toward the afternoon, without planning it, everyone
wound up hanging out on the beach and talking
together. One of the sailors went back to his boat and
reappeared with a cooler full of drinks, and we had
happy hour on the beach while the sun went down. I
wouldn't dream of leaving here tomorrow to go anywhere

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hemingway's Hideaway

Today in the checkout line at the grocery store, a headline from a local paper (three days old but still for sale) caught Dean's eye. The Compleat Angler Bar and Hotel, an old Hemingway haunt in Bimini, across the street from the marina we stayed at for two days, has burned to the ground. The owner's son was last seen fighting the fire, after rescuing the hotel's lone guest.

We stopped into the Compleat Angler while we were there, and we spent time in the front room looking at the walls full of pictures of Hemingway next to mammoth fish; Hemingway and his boat, Pilar; Hemingway with local boxing champions, whom he beat; tall tales about Hemingway in Bimini; and selections from Hemingway novels. I don't remember if I took a picture of it, but I'm pretty sure I kept putting that chore off.

The place had wooden floors and dark paneling on the walls, some old couches in a corner, and an overgrown yard that could accomodate overflow crowds during high season. It felt like a lodge, a bit of an old boy's club. When we stopped by one night, a band was playing a Van Morrison cover, and everyone who was not standing at the bar was dancing. There was room for twice as many people, but because the place was broken up into several rooms, it didn't feel empty.

The house and the crowd closely resembled a party in one of the old Amherst fraternity houses that have been converted to dorms, minus the stink of cheap beer--mainly because beer isn't cheap in the Bahamas, no matter what brand you buy.

We decided not to stay long, because in order to enjoy he atmosphere, we'd need to join in, staying a couple of hours and ordering fruity rum drinks and dancing, as though we didn't have to get up before dawn for another twenty-four hour crossing, to Nassau. The place had been around since 1935. It was a landmark in Bimini, probably one of it's biggest tourist draws and certainly it's biggest bar. But it wasn't difficult for us to leave that night because we took for granted that we'd be back.

Yet another example of how putting things off might come back to bite one. We were only there once, but we'll miss it.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Monday, January 16, 2006

More on Rock Sound

Yesterday the hot news among the seven or so cruising boats anchored near us was that the price of diesel had gone down 80 cents a gallon at Dingle's Motor Services. That was the good news. The bad news is that Dingle's is not a place where we can tie Delilah up next to the pump: it's across the street from the dinghy dock. See our earlier blog from Nassau for a description of what hauling six full jerry jugs is like.

We also filled our water tank by jug today--and paid 40 cents a gallon for the privilege. Water is scarce here, and what we paid for is salt water that's been treated through reverse osmosis to make it drinkable. We don't expect water to get any cheaper as we head south, so we are careful not ot use more than is necessary every day. Needless to say, hygiene is not what it should be.

After all the errands, we set aside this morning to walk across Eleuthera to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean side, a couple of miles away, stopping first at the bakery to reserve a loaf of sandwich bread, which we would pick up on the return trip, and to say hello to Julian, the baker, who always has plenty to say.

We found the beach down an unmarked dirt path at the end of a long road, and we were the only people on it. The sand was powdery and white, and the long shorline had excellent reefs for poking around, but farther up the beach, beyond the high tide mark, sat all the world's plastic, thrown up there by the ocean during storms, along with old fishing nets and a selection of single shoes. Plastic is insidious, as it resists proper disposal, doesn't degrade, and floats, so you'll find pieces of it on any wild shorlines, as well as in the ocean, miles from land. It is too bad recycling plastic is not paricularly profitable; the residents of Eleuthera would be rich.

The walk back from the beach was starting to seem a lot longer and hotter than we remembered when we heard a car pull onto the road behind us. We didn't signal it, but I knew it would stop anyway. Offering rides to people is a common courtesy here.

A white Cutlass stopped beside us, and an ancient Bahamian woman with an enormous straw hat was tucked behind the steering wheel, chewing on a scorched ear of corn. She motioned for us to get inside.

The car was about twenty degrees hotter inside, and I started sweating immediately. The driver had on long sleeves and pants in addition to her hat, and she commented on the hot weather, but she didn't roll down the window any further.

We told her about the johnnyckae we'd tried for the first time, and she said, "It's good with souse." The radio was playing rather loud reggae music, and I wasn't sure I heard her corectly, so I murmured something that could have been taken as agreement. We've been eating it with chocolate frosting, of course.

According to my dictionery, souse is pickled pork trimmings, but I prefer the description for souse and scrapple given by Chad Holley down in Greensboro: "When they're done butchering all the useful parts of the pig, they sweep the floor..." Makes you want to run out and buy a packet, eh?

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rock Sound, Eleuthera

N24 degrees, 51.911 minutes
W076 degrees, 09.793 minutes

We are glad we decided to stay in Rock Sound today. We had some rain showers last night, and watched a beautiful lightening storm off in the distance. At dawn it looked like things were going to clear up, but the rain has started again, and we can hear thunder rumbling in the distance.

Rock Sound is at least a mile across, but the water from one side to the other is only 6 to 10 feet deep, so it's the same aqua color thoughout. Without any wind this morning, the surface is flat, and and it's even more beautiful in the silvery light that comes through the clouds.

This is our first rainy day in the Bahamas, and thouh it makes taking the dinghy ashore a little damp, it has also rinsed a lot of salt off the boat and the dinghy. Now we have very little excuse but to clean inside the boat. In between bouts of air guitar, Dean is dusting our woodwork and sweeping the cabin sole (floor) as I take care of the extremely urgent task of updating the blog.

Yesterday we walked around the town, and though it's not as pretty as Governor's Harbour, the people are very welcoming, and Dingle's motor Services, a local business, has taken it upon itself to be a great resource for cruisers, building a dinghy dock, holding mail, offering Internet service, and helping us find anything we need on the island.

We also paid a visit to the local baker, Julian, a large and jovial man who bakes to order. We bought a johnnycake, which is like a yellow cake but rather dry with some additional spices in it--I thought I could taste anise. We're told every recipe is different, and the measurements are vague. You put in whatever looks right. So Ireland and Eleuthera have something in common with their baking.

We also visited the "blue hole" in town. These blue holes are on land, but are allegedly bottomless, and many people believe they are connected to the ocean somehow. Whatever. It looked like a dirty lake to me. I prefer swimming off the boat.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

The Paparazzi Have Found Us

January 10

We liked Governor's Harbour enough to stay two full days. The town is so small that we were able to walk through it all in an hour or two, in addition to sending email and picking up a few groceries. Most food is much more expensive on the Out Islands, but there are a few surprises, like cheap European and New Zealand butter and locally baked, delicious coconut bread. The only problem will be controlling ourselves around a fresh loaf of bread and all this butter. It's calling to me from the galley now.

We've also been trying some of the local foods, though there really isn't much one could call local. Most stuff is shipped over from the U.S., and very little produce is grown locally. I did buy a can of mackeral in tomato sauce, which we haven't opened, and a can of pigeon peas in coconut milk, which were not the lovely green color promised on the label's picture, but a scary brown. They did taste good. We've also bought lots of rum mixers, but all this stuff, even stuff with the Bahamian flag on it, was grown and canned elsewhere.

We decided to stop for lunch at a small restaurant with seating in a garden that overlooked the bay--and Delilah. Within a few minutes a woman approached us and asked if we lived on the island or were visiting. It turned out that she was a travel writer from the New York Times doing a story on Eleuthera. The poor thing only had three days to do it, though Eleuthera is more than a hundred miles long. No time for snorkeling or collecting shells or concocting rum drinks: "Shall we try the guava and pineapple today?"

The writer took our names and asked us a few questions, but it wasn't quite the grilling we got for the Globe story, so who knows if we'll be in the paper or not. It doesn't really matter, as we'll never read the story. In Nassau the Times daily was $4.50. It'd probably be more here, and a few days old, if it came this far at all. That's fine with me. I had my fill of newspapers while at Harvard.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Wednesday, January 11, 2006



05 Jan 2006 1640 hours
Royal Island, Eleuthera

You can find us on Google earth at this lat. and long.:

N 25 degrees 39.902 minutes
W 076 degrees 50.838 minutes

Don't believe a word we write when we tell you where we are headed "tomorrow." It seems that we never do get there.

We are not at Allan's Cay. In fact, we are not in the Exumas. We are anchored in a tiny harbor on an island off northern Eleuthera. We went north, not south. Why? Weather, that's why.

Every morning at 0630, this guy named Chris Parker gets on his SSB radio and gives a forecast for the Bahamas (4045.0 MHz USB). He's really quite good, and has made a little business for himself, forecasting the weather for cruisers and then answering weather questions for people who pay for the privilege of calling him with specific questions. The rest of us cheapskates get to listen in for free.

This morning Chris gave a weather report that caused us to change our minds about where we would go. The forecast called for 20-25 knot winds with gusts to 30 from the west (and northwest, and north) tomorrow as a front moves through from the U.S. It turns out that there's not great protection from those winds--which will oppose some strong currents--in the northernmost Exuma islands, and we would be in for a few days of rolling around at anchor. But we're in a really protected anchorage now, and it turns out that we aren't the only people who thought of it. Since we got here a half hour ago, four new boats have arrived, and there were six boats here when we anchored. Fortunately, there is room, and unlike Nassau Harbor, there is some nice sand. Dean dove down and set our anchor well, so we will sleep tonight.

And tomorrow, if it's not too rough on the north shore of the island, we will snorkel on the reefs (which means, I suppose, that we will do something else entirely).

One thing is certain: it's 4:30 now and time for our second round of cocktails.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Rock Sound

We're now in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. We like it so much we might stay for the weekend. More later...

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Monday, January 09, 2006

Governor's Harbour

09 January 2006
N 25 degrees 11.751 minutes
W 076 degrees 14.851 minutes

We left yesterday morning for a short sail to Mutton Fish Point, a trip that necessitates motoring through Current Cut. Current Cut, as the name implies, is a narrow passage through the western side of Eleuthera into the Bight of Eleuthera. We are told currents can exceed 6 knots, so we timed our arrival for slack water (when the tide is about to shift direction). Even so, when we got there we were motoring into 2 knots of current. Not so bad, right? However, the fiendish aspect of the Cut is that, once through, one has to make an immediate, sharp, right-hand turn or one risks running aground. Just to spice it up, a string of rocks lies deceptively close to the turn. Guidebooks warn against straying too far from the rocks and not turning quickly enough. The astute reader knows exactly where this is headed. For the denser reader, I'll spell it out: we ran aground. Not hard aground, as it was sand, but hard enough to scrape yet more bottom paint off the good ship Delilah.

The good news is that Jill was able to see a number of starfish and stingrays swimming below the boat.

After that adventure we were able to raise the sails and race along toward Mutton Fish Point at a glorious speed of 6 knots. It's been a long time since we had the sails up! We were getting ready to trade Delilah in for a trawler.

Because the sailing was so good, and the sun was out, and the wind was brisk, we decided to alter course and head further south, to Hatchet Bay. This Bay is actually a pond with a VERY narrow passage to the ocean blasted out of the bluffs. We arrived at about noon, dropped our sails, and motored into the pond.

Blech. The pond water is thick and dark, and we have become accustomed to being able to see the bottom, even in twenty feet of water. There were a few boats in the anchorage, but some of them looked like they'd been left behind, and the town was empty. We had also read that a few cruising boats had problems with petty theft. We changed our minds again.

Governor's Harbour is another 15 miles south of Hatchet Bay, so we raced down there to arrive before dusk. With about two miles to go, one of the two fishing lines we'd been trolling behind the boat started to zip out. Fish on! Dean started reeling in, fearing we'd caught the hook on a bit of submerged net--again--but there was actually a fish on the end. Thanks to our new fish guide, we were able to identify him as a cero mackeral, about two feet long and beautiful. Tasty, too, though I fear that I'm going to run out of recipes before I run out of mackeral. I made the mistake of cooking the whole thing before realizing that it had enough meat to feed six. Tonight we are having fish loaf, which works well with precooked, oily fish. I expect that it will taste better than it sounds.

We are staying in Governor's Harbour today to explore, check email, etc. We have been having trouble receiving mail through pocketmail, however, so be patient. We will try to fix it today, but we may lose some messages.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Villa for Sale

The front has passed, and the wind has moderated, and our anchor did indeed drag after the front brought an abrupt wind shift. Fortunately, I was on deck already, so we (Dean) were able to reset the anchor and let out a lot of chain without any harm done. Regardless, we both had a sleepless night worrying about every litle noise we heard. We have pretty much decided that, after this, we will swap our bruce, which has a large surface area, with the CQR, which has sharp edges and had always done well in New England, but has failed us a few times since we hit Florida, and make the bruce our primary for the Bahamas. Yes, Ian, you told us so!

But on to the more fun stuff. We finally went ashore on Royal Island today to take a look at the ruins of a plantation that was built there in the 1930s. It was pretty eerie, as the island had taken over again. We could still see the walls and beautiful tile floors in the buildings, but the windows and roofs were gone.

Dean, who was already rather creeped out by the thick woods and was nervous about trespassing on this unoccupied island, found the skins from a couple of snakes who had used the roof beams of one old building to help with their molting.

That was the end of exploring the ruins. We decided to follow the old, partially paved path to the northern side of the island, which has a little beach (filled with trash washed up on shore and also left by careless people) and the remains of an old concrete dock. The water on the north side is shallow for quite a distance out, and we could see huge breakers on the horizon where the ocean piles up on shallow reefs. This is where I thought I might snorkel, but it is still a bit too breezy and cold for that.

Dean found a beautiful conch shell, about the size of a coconut, washed up on shore, intact but with no conch still in residence. I took it back to the boat as a souvenir. The outside of the shell is tan and white with complicated whorls and spires along the top. The inside is shiny and smooth and goes from cream to bright pink as it curves in on itself.

Tomorrow we will head south to Eleuthera, and the wind looks promising for a great day of sailing, and some fishing, with luck.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

No worries, mon!

We seem to be adjusting well to island life. After a long weekend of lassitude (nothing is open over the holiday weekend), we pulled ourselves together for a day of running errands: grocery shopping, dumping trash, filling our water tanks, doing laundry, applying for a reciprocal ham license for Dean, and all the things we cannot accomplish on a deserted island.

Shortly after sending off a blog that claimed we were heading to the Exumas first thing in the morning, we were overcome by our accomplishments today and decided to stick around Nassau one more day. We haven't had the Bacardi Factory tour, after all, and what's the hurry? The iguanas will still be waiting on Allan's Cay when we get there, and the ruins of a bigtime drug smuggler's lair, complete with plane wreck in the harbor, will still be on Norman Cay a few days later.

Lest you think we actually accomplished very little today, let me tell you what it means to run errands, island style. Note that this is a partial list.

It rained last night, so first I had to pump water out of the dinghy--or, actually, first I had to dive into the harbor to rescue the hand pump after it bounced out of the dinghy when I tried to drop it there. Then we had to gather our trash and two loads of laundry, dinghy to a nearby marina, climb up a ladder to the dock with our burdens on our backs, pay the marina to take the trash, walk half a mile to a laundromat, wait for all that to wash and dry, walk back to the dinghy, load it up, and motor back to Delilah to unload and eat lunch.

While we were on the boat, a newcomer to the harbor hailed us for advice on how to stop his runaway motor. We didn't have to shout back suggestions for very long, as he had put out an absurd amount of chain for such crowded conditions in ten feet of water (Dean will have to explain one's swing radius another day, as it requires a knowledge of trigonometry), his boat was swinging dangerously close to us anyway. He didn't seem to notice until we were about a foot or so away from him.

This event caused us to realize that the harbor had become quite crowded lately, so we scrapped the plan to up anchor and motor over to the marina for fuel and water. There was a good chance that our spot would be taken when we returned, and since our ground tackle has held remarkably well so far, why mess with it?

We left the other sailor to sort out his anchoring problems, and reloaded the dinghy with four five-gallon jerry cans for water. We went back to the dock, locked our jugs to the dinghy with a bike chain, walked a mile to the nearest grocery store, suffered sticker shock (they have a ton of items you would find in the States, but Pop Tarts, for instance, cost $5.29 for a small box), lugged the groceries back to the dock (this last step would not have been necessary if we could figure out the bus routes), loaded those into the dinghy, which, thanks to a falling tide, was now five feet lower than the dock, filled the five-gallon jugs, handed those down into the dinghy, motored back to the boat, handed everything up three feet from the floor of the bobbing dinghy to the deck of Delilah, put the groceries away, fashioned a water funnel out of an old apple juice bottle, poured each of the jugs into our water tank, and then loaded them back into the dinghy to repeat the procedure t!
wo more times.

Are you ready for the math? A gallon of water weighs 8.337 pounds. A jerry can of water weighs 41.685 pounds. We filled four cans 3 times, which means that we (Dean) lugged 500.28 pounds of water back to the boat this afternoon.

Along the way, at the dinghy dock, some other guy collared Dean and made him take a boat battery off the dock and put it in his (the stranger's) dinghy. We still don't know why the guy couldn't do it himself, but Dean was too shocked to do anything but comply.

But I did not mention my most important errand of the day: epicurean research. To that end I can confirm that neither of the Dunkin' Donuts stores in Nassau carries vanilla kreme doughnuts. The pineapple-filled was a risky second choice, but it was quite good.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Exumas next

We're done with Nassau, and hope to sail to the Exumas tomorrow. We'll probably hit Allans Cay, a deserted island full of iguanas, then move somewhere with good protection from the west, as a front will be passing through later this week. The many uninhabited islands and parklands in the northern Exumas mean we might not be able to post anything for a while, or to read email.

Here in Nassau we came across a familiar sight: Rookie, one of Boston's inner harbor ferry boats! I've seen it docked in Charlestown many times. We're told that the new owner got it for a steal. I took a picture of it in the clear water with palm trees behind right before they painted over the old port's name.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Exumas next

We're done with Nassau, and hope to sail to the Exumas tomorrow. We'll probably hit Allans Cay, a deserted island full of iguanas, then move somewhere with good protection from the west, as a front will be passing through later this week. The many uninhabited islands and parklands in the northern Exumas mean we might not be able to post anything for a while, or to read email.

Here in Nassau we came across a familiar sight: Rookie, one of Boston's inner harbor ferry boats! I've seen it docked in Charlestown many times. We're told that the new owner got it for a steal. I took a picture of it in the clear water with palm trees behind right before they painted over the old port's name.

Sent via PocketMail
Email Anywhere