Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Race

This is what Paul does in his spare time.
Our basement is the bilge where random legos and Monster High School girl parts tend to fall.

We have some good shots of the race.  The kids enjoy watching for about 10 minutes then they are ready to go back to the boat or beach.
This is how they balance the boat

This shows the amount of sail compared to the size of the boat

Regatta! Fun!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The National Family Island Regatta

We saw the first race of the regatta today.  It was the dinghy class with small sailboats.  They all start at anchor with sails down.  Some of the boats with two people aboard did well because one can raise the sail while the other pulls the anchor.  Some boats just had one person so they were a bit slower to start but able to catch up because they were lighter.  We have seen several strategies but the one that worked the best was the boat that put their anchor way out in front of the starting line and pulled it up fast to gain speed while the sail was raised.  
This is the 60th annual race and they race small dinghies all the way up to A class sloops.  The harbor is full of excitement and everyone is happy.

We were able to find the bread lady which turned out to be the bread husband and it tasted great.  Bought it yesterday and it is already gone.

Another odd thing happened to me (Staci).  While swimming with Samantha beside our boat today I was attacked by a white crab.  It is one of my biggest fears to get bitten by something in the water, that and sinking but everyone handled it well.  At first I thought that Samantha had scraped me with her toe nail then I realized as I looked back behind us as I got scratched again that is wasn't Samantha.  Samantha was calm and got back on the boat while I panicked because I didn't want her to get pinched.  My recent nick name on the boat is "Melodrama Momma".  I have to say I earn that nick name daily.
No big injury except a small scratch of the skin by the pinchers but I wonder what I did to piss off the crab?

Nicholas and Samantha are loving the beach but are now trying out the kayak once in a while.  One person walked by as Nick was on the kayak and said to Paul he was handing over the keys to the car a bit early.  We all laughed about it but Nicholas didn't quite get the humor of it considering he just turned 5.
Nicholas says "whew! that is a lot of work"

For those of my PT fellows.  I thought you might get a kick out of this vendor sponsor.

One of the larger sloops being off-loaded from the big mail boat.

This is Nicholas's classroom.  The navigation station is now known as the 5 year old classroom.

This is the 6 year old classroom.  We have a great time.

The first race we just saw today from our dinghy. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hiking near Georgetown

Some people have wondered what we do to keep ourselves busy each day.  It is pretty easy to fill a day with a lot of activity here.  Across from Georgetown are some cool hiking trails that seem to go on forever.  The other side (the ocean side) of the island is not that far of a walk and is covered with shells at low tide.
The views are beautiful and the kids are keeping up.  One thing to watch for is low hanging branches from trees.  Ouch! They hurt when you get smacked right in the forehead.  Lucky for me that is where I head the ball during soccer so it didn't knock me out.
After a Kalik (pronounced "Click") the most wonderful Bahamian brewed beer, I was fully recovered.  Maybe it is the alcohol content or the salt water but we are all having great days that are full of fun.

Samantha can now do a forward summersault in the water after a week of being jealous of Nicholas for showing her up with his forward and backward summersaults.  Today she even did a head stand and found a Bahamian $1 bill down in the sand.  Talk about buried treasure.  There has been talk about using it to buy an ice cream when we get into town.

We are also busy cleaning up the boat to make sure our future guest (Quinn) will be extra comfortable.

More later....

Shambala is the third boat out in this picture.

We started out anchored near the Chat and Chill or otherwise known as Volleyball beach but have now moved to the  place pictured here called Monument beach.  It is the next beach down and the water is more calm fore sure. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

George Town, Great Exuma

We are now in George Town at the southern end of the Exuma chain of islands. For a lot of cruisers this is as far south as they come and spend the whole winter here. The harbour is not very crowded now. A lot have started their journey back to the States or Canada. However, there is a race here next week called the Family Island Regatta where native boats come from all over the islands to compete and the harbour will fill up again. The boats are traditional Bahamian sloops and have massive mainsails. Here is a picture of a past race:

Should be cool to see. Our friend Quinn is arriving on the last day of racing for a 10 day stay.

Speaking of Quinn, a funny thing happened today. We were sitting in our beach chairs on Volleyball Beach while the kids played in the water. A women who was vacationing here walked by and asked if we had been here before. We told her we had just arrived yesterday by boat and she wanted to hear our story. When we told her we were from Littleton she said,"No way. We lived in Evergreen for ten years until my husband, who works for Century Link, transferred to Louisiana." He walks up and I say, "we have a friend ,Quinn, who works for Century Link." He says, "oh yah, I know Quinn. He worked under me for a few years."
Small World...

Here's another good story:

After we left Staniel Cay we headed to a settlement called Blackpoint where we did some laundry and got wonderful homemade bread. We stayed there two days and then moved south about five miles to a place called Jack's Bay to get to a more secluded anchorage where we could make water and not have to worry about everybody around us discharging their heads (toilets) overboard. We anchored and I jumped in the dinghy to go check out a reef a few hundred yards from the boat. I looked at it through the looking bucket and was heading back to the boat so I decided to open up the throttle. As I gunned it to take off I hit two big waves, the boat boat bounced over them, and our 4 month old outboard went flying off the transom and straight to the bottom. F#*K!!!
I immediately threw the anchor out and put on my mask and fins to find it. I dragged the dinghy along until I was on top of it and dove down to tie a line around the handle.
I was barely able to get it back aboard. It weighs 84 lbs. and trying to get it over the side of the dinghy almost swamped it. I then swam back to the boat towing the dinghy and got the motor back aboard Shambala.

I immediately drained the motor oil and about 2 cups of seawater came out with it. I washed the exterior with fresh water and then took the carburetor off and completely disassembled it to clean and dry it. I then put it all back together and added fresh oil. We lowered it  down to the dinghy and it started right up. I ran it for a few minutes and then hauled it back onto the boat to change the oil again. More water came out but not much. I repeated the process four times and by the fourth draining of oil there was no trace of water at all. I treated the whole motor and all the electrical connections with a really good anti-corrosive water dispersant spray we have.  

We've run the motor quite a bit since the incident and it seems to be perfectly fine. I've changed the oil two more times and it's as clean as can be.

We had been towing the dinghy behind us for the four days preceding the disaster and the pounding of the waves must have loosened the clamps that hold it to the transom. From now on as soon as I clamp the motor on I put a padlock through the clamp handles so they can't turn. And no more towing the dinghy with the motor on it.

We keep a handwritten log of everyday we are underway. I always write about what we did or saw that day and up until the day before the above incident the log entries ended with "another great day." As I wrote that the day before, I thought to myself,"will I every have to write 'it was a bad day'?" Well my question was answered the very next day. The log entry ended with "It was a f%^&ing horrible day".
But in the end it all turned out fine. Live and learn.
Our own little island beach at Blackpoint

Sign post on Volleyball Beach

Put-in-Bay, Ohio is right off of Port Clinton,OH where we
started our trip

Monday, April 8, 2013

Staniel Cay

We left Warderick Wells and sailed down to Obrien's Cay. There is a great snorkeling area called The Sea Aquarium Coral Garden where we snorkeled. Another cruiser gave us a bag of cooked rice to feed the fish with and it was amazing. The sergeant majors and yellowtail snappers were in a feeding frenzy with Samantha and I right in the middle of it.

We then moved on to Staniel Cay which is the first real settlement we've seen since Nassau. We treated ourselves to a meal at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club where there were about eight nurse sharks swimming right below the dinghy dock.  Just off Staniel Cay is the Thunderball Grotto which is a cave that you can snorkel into and it opens up into a large cavern with a couple of holes in the ceiling where the sunlight shines in. It gets it's name from the James Bond movie (Thunderball) that was filmed here.

Just to the west of Staniel Cay is a cay called Big Major's Spot. There are pigs that live on the island and as you approach the beach in the dinghy they swim out to meet you for handouts.
The swimming pig

We always find the ice cream

rental cottages at Staniel cay

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Exuma Land and Sea Park

We are at Warderick Wells in Exuma Land and Sea Park on a mooring for a few days. We are expecting a little weather on Friday so we are just going to stay put and explore the island and surrounding waters. The snorkeling is great here because the entire park is a "no take zone". Samantha has real gotten hooked on snorkeling while Nicholas is going in with a mask but hasn't figured out the snorkel yet. Monday and Tuesday we dove on a plane that crashed in the 70's off of Norman's Cay and Samantha loved it. There we're two stingrays about 6 feet long below us but it didn't bother her at all.

The sailing has been great with 10-15 knot winds everyday. We only have to use the motor to get out of the anchorages and then we sail for 10 or 15 miles to the next island and beautiful beach.

Yesterday we went out in the Exuma Sound (deep water) to fish for a couple of hours. We only hooked  one fish who peeled a bunch of line off the reel but we lost him on the way in.

Skeleton of a Sperm Whale who died from eating plastic

Boo-Boo Hill
People carve or paint there vessel name on driftwood and
 leave it here for good luck.