Wednesday, 11 February 2015

We made it to the Exumas!


We have been having way too much fun and therefore I've neglected to keep our blog updated. Our apologies to our followers who have been checking regularly.

We left the Berry Islands Monday December 29th and headed south with the intention of meeting up with our friends Don & Ann who were flying in to spend New Years with friends at the Sand Castle in Black Point. We opted to miss Exuma Park on the way down and spend more time later on as we head north in March.
After 3 days of terrific sailing (one night anchored at West Bay New Providence Island and another anchored in Shroud Cay) we reach Black Point in early afternoon on December 31st, just in time for the New Years Eve celebration at Scorpios.

Sand Castle at Black Point Great Guana Cay Exumas owned by Doug and Jean is truly a labour of love. The Castle is a terrific example of “living off the grid”. Energy from the Solar Panels on each of the four turrets and a wind generator is collected and fed to a huge bank of batteries by controllers designed and built by Doug. Water is collected on the flat roof, stored in a huge tank and is fed to Jeans “bath tub garden” where a variety of herbs and vegetable are grown. We were happy to be guests for delicious dinners twice during our stay and we were treated with a gift of much treasured salad and veggies as we left. 

Jean enjoys an afternoon with us as we sailed to White Point for some snorkelling. 

Don & Ann join us for an afternoon sail and snorkel. (Don shared some of his "favourite hunting spots)

We said goodbye to our friends Don and Ann and our new friends Doug and Jean and happily run into Jacobs Ladder (Judy and Andy) and At Last (Dave and Corrine) who hail from Nova Scotia. We had met them for the 1st time in Oriental and travelled with them from Hilton Head SC to St Augustine Florida. They had already visited Georgetown and were now headed north to spend some time in Eleuthera. As we have some time before we need to get to Georgetown to meet up with our guests we decide that we will travel north with them for a few days.

Judy, Andy, (Libby in on Andy's lap) Dave & Cornine (Corine hiding behind the binnacle) enjoying sundowners on R Kalliste' 

Snorkelling at the Coral Sea Aquaium with Andy & Judy

Lovely underwater shots of the Coral Sea Aquarium courtesy of Andy

An underwater camera just might be our next purchase - Lovely - Thanks Andy & Dave!

R Kalliste' loving the wind!

After months of motoring through the US it sure is nice to see those white sails. Thank you  Jacobs Ladder for the great pics!
Positive Carry - This 142 foot mega yacht was recently advertised for sale for 23.5 million (another casualty of the subprime mortgage fiasco) It has now been purchased by an experienced captain who intends on sailing around the world with his family.

Another example of a Mega Yacht we see fairly regularly 

Need I say more?

Pig Beach at Big Majors Anchorage - The pigs are wild but are used to cruisers coming ashore to feed them. 

The pigs will swim out to your dinghy looking for food but beware their hooves are sharp and can puncture inflatables
Another barracuda - so much for fish dinner tonight

Paul in fine form playing corn hole

Sailing in Exuma Sound on our way to Georgetown

We were rewarded with this beautiful rainbow after a very brief but much needed shower.

This picture is for my sister Linda - this is as close as we could get to Johnny D's island although Paul is pretty sure he saw him go by in a speed boat. And by the way we missed his wedding - our invitation must surely have gotten lost in the mail.


We arrive in Georgetown where approximately 300 other boats are anchored and spend some time exploring the area. We find that Georgetown anchorage has a community all its own with daily updates broadcasted via VHF radio beginning with with anyone needing emergency help, followed by community announcements and then anyone wanting to buy or sell items. There is much to do here from snorkelling, dancing to traditional "Rake & Scrape" music, volleyball, baseball, basket weaving, poker, bridge, trivia, beach parties. There is even beach church, bible study and helping the local children to read. 

After a couple of days we welcome our first group of guests, our very good friends Karen and Dennis from Port Stanley. Loaded with generous and very much appreciated gifts they arrive via Elvis's water taxi. Being cruisers themselves they are very easy guests. Karen pitches in with dinner prep and clean up and Dennis helps Paul with a few boat duties. Although the weather was not the greatest we did enjoy enjoy swimming, snorkelling, beach walks and an amazing concert in Regatta Park.  Below we discover the Port Stanley sign placed on the totem pole at Chat & Chill beach by Karen, Dennis and fellow cruisers who visited back in 2009.

We add R Kalliste' to the Port Stanley sign

Our friend from Erieau Rob Dack arrives (bearing a gift of much appreciated ground Starbuck's coffee) The boys are off to a Super Bowl Party tonight and I have the guilty pleasure of spending the evening reading. 

Another beautiful Sunset

We attend a conch shell horn making lesson - Conch horns are heard all around anchorages in the Bahamas as the sun sets each night. Some horn blowers are quite talented, some not so, but no matter all attempts are welcomed to solute the passing of another beautiful day in paradise.

After building his own, Dack attempts to make his sound - not bad for the first time!

We say goodbye to Dack - he has pretty much seen it all. We have had a variety of weather from hot sunny days with little wind to cool rainy days with howling winds. I think he enjoyed himself - apparently reporting he has had a life changing experience.

Not sure if this is what he meant by his life changing experience

Paul joins in with the Rake & Scrape band  
I didn't know he had such rhythm!

Unusual Weather!

 We understand from experienced cruisers that this year the weather is very unusual. Prevailing winds are generally from the East to South East during this time of year but we have been experiencing strong west and north winds that have played havoc in the anchorage over the past week. Several boats have lost their holding on the sandy bottom in the very popular anchorage just off volleyball beach. Since boats are anchored so close together when one looses hold they are in danger of hitting another or grabbing the anchor lines of other boats and pulling them along with them. And this is exactly what happened on 2 separate occasions. It is amazing to see the community pull together as men jump in their dinghies (including Paul) and race to help. Just yesterday one boat was so entangled in the bow sprit of another that it took an emergency call to Elvis who not only is the water taxi guy but the harbour master. Elvis raced across the harbour to the rescue. We heard a report of a Canadian boat who's anchor let go at Hog Cay just south of here and while the boat ended on the rocks no one was hurt. The boat was pulled off the rocks by Elvis and safely anchored back in Elizabeth Harbour and is awaiting repairs. We have been careful to ensure we anchor safely away from others and we are extremely thankful for our new Vulcan Rocna anchor and 250 feet of chain.  

Soon the Georgetown Cruising regatta will begin. This is a full week of fun activities that include team games and races around the harbour. Paul has signed up for beach golf and we have entered a team for the dinghy coconut race (apparently a blast where 3 or 4 people in a dinghy powered only by a swim fin each races to collect as many coconuts as possible) Report to follow on our next post.