leeonsea

small world sailing

I Have Built Bread

 

July 15, 2007 at 02:59 Comments (0)

I’m Sinking!

I’m Sinking!

Well, I’m back in Nassau, never made it to George town which has upset me a bit but needs must. My ‘Stuffing Box’ has developed a bit of a dribble.

Don’t know what the outcome of this will be as yet, it is possible to replace the packing which wears out while the boat is in the water, you just get a bit wet. If not I’ll have to haul out which will be a pain.

It was a good trip and I don’t mind being back in civilization again, I have AirCon! A few things have come to light on the trip which I’d like to sort out so another trip to the USA might be called for, we’ll see.

For now, I’ve just bought a chocolate bar and some coke for the Rum so it’s OK to be back here.

L.

July 14, 2007 at 02:11 Comments (0)

Bugger!

N24.11.33 W76.27.55

What a grump I’ve been in today. It started badly, the anchorage I slept in last night had a god awful swell that kept me awake rolling round. I slept (or tried to sleep) in the cockpit last night bracing myself against the rolling motion of the boat.

Setting off at 8am I encountered winds on the nose and currents to boot. My Southerly progress was painfully slow at only 1.5knts at times.

I was ready to throw in the towel.

In the end I swung round and headed north, there was nothing for it. I had a good sail despite the swell that persisted and am now anchored back in Big Majors Spot where I was two nights ago with a new plan.

Tomorrow I will head east, the winds have been easterly today so this might not work out, but I will try to make a landfall at Cat Island, I was going to go here on my way back north anyway. I think with a bit of luck I can have a look at the island and get a angle on George town. If I can’t, I give up, you cannot make a sail boat sail directly into the wind and if the wind is coming directly from your intended destination then you cannot go there. I’ll just have to wait till Christmas when the prevailing weather is more northerly.

Lovely evening, the anchorage is much more protected from the swells on the banks so I’m much more comfortable and will sleep well tonight.

L.

July 9, 2007 at 00:56 Comments (0)

Black Point

N24.04.78 W76.23.11

Today I’m anchored at the northern end of Jacks Bay. I wanted to see what was described on the chart as a Castle. Alas this turned out to be some rich American’s holiday home and not a real castle at all.

A mile further down the coast was something that occurs all to often in the Bahamas as far as I can see, an unfinished development. This time a Marina, half finished buildings and half excavated dry marina floor present themselves to you as you walk ashore.

I’m appalled the authorities here allow this sort of thing to happen but more appalled that, knowing what I know about Bahamian authority now, they where probably instrumental in the collapse of the project.

These out islands have very little going for them in the way sustainable living land, there is no soil for instance and there isolation would make trade of any sort difficult to cultivate. So they rely almost solely on tourism to support the out island communities. A well found development, usually staffed by Americans, is at worst a blot on the landscape and at best harmonic with the natural surroundings.

These developments that are allowed to stall and falter are worse than all, they are building sites left unfinished and unattended on otherwise pristine Paradise type beaches. This particular development has cut gravel roads all over the coast line connecting it to the nearby township of Black Point. The rusting hulks of diggers and trailers are all over and the beach is covered in building blocks and rubble. How can one of the most idyllic corners of the earth be allowed to be abused so?

It’s a real eye opener.

On the plus side I’m anchored in a beautiful blue bay with some of the nicest sandy beaches I’ve seen so far. As long as I don’t look north, all will be well.

L.

July 8, 2007 at 01:43 Comments (0)

Staniel Cay 2

N24.10.98 W76.27.54
Staniel Cay

Odd day, at 11 this morning I uped anchor and headed for the main harbour. Once through the channel now on the flood tide I anchored off on a sand bank but it was blowing a bit and the bank had a lot of grass on it so the anchor didn’t take well. So I uped anchor again and headed closer to the marina in the hope that the land would offer better protection from the wind and the sea bed would be less grassy, neither was the case. The anchor was holding though so I decided I would go ashore for some provisions and a look about.

The ‘Public Beach’ as it was signed on which I landed was filthy, trash and junk and a dead bird, this looks good I thought. As I wandered into the village most people ignored me and I felt unhappy to be there, most peoples yards had large piles of junk in them, these people just don’t look after what they’ve got. I wandered up the hill where the Pilot book says there is a store and tried the door, it wouldn’t budge but there was loud African protest music coming from it so I guessed someone was about. I found an older stout black lady sitting in the shade and asked if the store was open. She looked, waited, sat and eventually moved off her behind summoning me with her finger. To say she was not happy, it seemed, to be serving me is probably the understatement of the century and I feel like I was thourally ripped off with the few meager provisions I picked up, I did get my bug spray and I did pick up some home made Banana bread which she indicated she had made with a grunt. I also picked up an apple as a special treat.

These are not your normal corner shops, these are rooms in peoples houses given over to the a store. The provisions are scarce and dam expensive. There was no fresh bread, meat, fish or veg.

I went back to the boat without stopping to look about at the village, a mangy dog went by as I was walking back and I felt I’d had enough of ‘Civilization’.

I still had to get rid of my rubbish so I dropped that in the dingy and thought I’d try my luck at the Island Store, which the chart book said offered trash collection for a small fee. The one main dock on the island had a small cargo ship offloading and it transpires this was the stores they had been waiting for, I didn’t hang around to find out what had been brought in and besides, I doubt I could afford it. I did get coke for the Rum though and I did get rid of the rubbish.

I’d been looking forward to a walk round Staniel so I’m disappointed it was such a dump and the people so unfriendly. Odd when you consider the entire country is so dependent on tourism. Then again if you were living in relative poverty and the only source of income was rich gits in big power yachts (there are 7 in this anchorage tonight) then you’d probably be miserable too.

In the end as there are no good anchorages near the settlement anyway, I opted for Big Majors Spot. As I came round the headland I was surprised to see so many boats, weaving in and out of them to find a good spot was just like being at home. The most number of boats I’ve anchored with so far is two. There must be over a dozen here.

Back in the dingy I took a long ride back round the coast to ‘Thunderball Grotto’ as made famous by the James bond film. I’d emptied the contents of a small can of mixed veg into a ziplock bag and shoved this down my shorts, donning flippers and snorkel I entered the cave. Quite spectacular, an underwater entrance opening out into a large cave with a hole in the roof letting in sunlight, totally cool and instantly made the visit worth while. Up to that point I’d wished I’d not bothered. Removing the bag from my shorts I emptied the contents and was engulfed by all manor of beautiful fish going absolutely crazy. It was so cool I can’t tell you, highlight of the trip so far.

On the way back I called in at the beach off which I’m anchored. Big Major wasn’t there but his spouse was and she came out to great me in the Dingy. I have pictures of swimming pigs! Tomorrow I will take big Major my apple core.

L.

July 6, 2007 at 00:38 Comments (0)

Staniel Cay

N24.11.58 W76.27.22

Disaster! I’m out of Bug spray! Little buggers are everywhere, particularly the flys which I hate.

Today I left Cambridge Cay and the company of Brain and Diane who have been very good to me showing me all the nice Coral dives. A slow motor south against the wind has led me finally to Staniel Cay. Unfortunately I got here on a full ebb and was unable to motor against the surprisingly strong current to the Cay proper so for tonight I’m anchored off ‘Little Majors Spot’ a small island just north of the Cay. My ‘Parking’ has been quite precise, after an hour the keel started to bottom out, just nudging the sand every now and again, fortunately the tide is now flooding and where on the up and up.

Tomorrow I will motor the mile or so round to the ‘Thunderball Grotto’ and anchor there just off the Cay, they have bins here which is a blessing as I need to get this rubbish off the boat, it’s beginning to hum! No wonder theres flys.

The night before last at Cambridge, one of those beautiful lightning storms happened again only this time it happened right over the Cay. Not so nice when your in the middle of it all with incredible winds and swell, thunder that was vibrating the boat. It rained very hard and because of the wind I had to take the canvas down, as a result I was very wet so I got my shampoo and had a shower….nice.

The weather today has been lovely, though as the summer wears on the heat keeps rising, it’s now 7 in the evening and still 30C. I don’t notice so much now except for when there’s no breeze and you just sweat uncontrollably.

Let you all know how I get on with the swimming pigs.

L.

July 5, 2007 at 01:59 Comments (0)

Exumas

N24.18.20 W76.32.50Cambridge Cay.

I’m being entertained by the most spectacular light show I have ever seen,
not just lightning, this is bright white to deep orange and a ‘strike’ can
last well over a second illuminating the night sky in a globe of light some miles north of here.
Quite an amazing sight.

Today I sailed from Warderick Wells on the Atlantic side of the Exumas to
Cambridge, here I met again with Brian and Diane and they invited me on a
Dingy run a 1/2mile south to the Rocky Dundas. These two volcanic formations
make up the southern most tip of the Land and Sea park and boast some
fabulous snorkeling and caves. Sargent major fish and Angel fish are two
that I’ve learn t today, the former being most curious to our presence,
swimming in small shoals around me and the later being a vibrant blue and
yellow, most beautiful. I have much to learn however, so many fish and Coral
to learn, truly spectacular.

Anchored now to the west of the Cay it has been a good day, a nice motor
sail in light SW winds and a chance therefore to charge the Batteries, I’ve

discovered I cannot live without a fridge, the food goes off so fast and gets
covered in little white weavels, horrid. I had a good snorkel and a short walk
on the Cay to Bell rock on the Atlantic side. Bell rock is a little wade across
from the beach and a short climb to some stunning views of the surrounding area.Tomorrow I’m heading north to the Coral garden at O’Brians Cay and a promise
of a small sunken plane also to check out.

In the Office at Warderick Well (Like all the Marinas here) they have a book
exchange, I have managed to read three books in two days, so when I went to
pay my dues I took a book to exchange, I found a book by Pamala Stevenson,
Billy Collonys wife about a trip she took retracing the voyages of Fanny and
Robert Louis Stevenson in the 1800’s. They traverse the Pacific taking in
all the Islands and I must confess the though appeals to follow the same
route, I have itchy feet!

I’m going to stay here a day or two, the weather has improved from a very
wild and stormy morning yesterday back to some nice clean clear sunny
weather, much to see and do.

O’Brians Cay
Crazy madness this Coral Garden was, truly awesome and beautiful. I saw Parrot fish and Nassau Grouper. The Sargent majors were swimming round me so close I could almost touch them, but at the last minute with a flick of the tail they are out of reach.


Some large Jacks came by which apparently make excellent eating and I’m sure if I’d wanted to I could have reached out and picked them out the water there and then. There was also a sandy colored Ray, quite small skimming along the bottom.


On the way back we anchored on the sunken plane and dove on that too, quite brilliant. A single prop upside down in about 15ft of water, windows still in tact, tail missing and anything of value had long since been pinched. Quite spooky.


Just as we got back in the Dingy a Nurse shark came by, I didn’t get back in but I did don my mask and put my head underwater, quite beautiful and stunningly graceful.


I took a few pics with my camera in it’s aquapack, it’s not really designed for underwater shots and you can only begin to get an idea of how staggeringly beautiful it all is. I’ll post these when I get to Staniel Cay.

L.
July 2, 2007 at 23:56 Comments (0)

Diner

N24.23.70 W76.38.12

Just had a lovely diner with Brian and Diane, a florida couple here on vacation.

The Coral garden was wicked.

L.

June 30, 2007 at 05:53 Comments (0)

Exuma Land and Sea Park

Welcome to Warderick Wells, home of the Bahamas Exuma Land and Sea
Park.
(Taken atop BooBoo Hill looking south)
 
What a wonderful place this is, as part of the Bahamas National Trust this
park covers over 176sq miles and was set up in 1958. Warderick Wells Cay
sits in the middle and houses the Parks HQ. There is no airstrip and no
ferry boats or power boat trippers from Nassau, no regular tourists of any
kind, it’s here solely to be for itself and the only way to get here is in your own boat,
how cool.I arrived last night after a frustrating sail here from Normans Cay. The
wind was not in a place that was useful to us and was steadily building
backing and generally getting in the way. A fantastic rain storm saw me
collect 2 gallons of water, I could have collected more but didn’t have any
additional containers. My hunter gather instincts in full effect and I saved
myself $3 to boot.

The Park runs a No Take Zone, meaning no fishing of any kind, nothing taken
onto or off the islands. I saw one notice with the motto ‘Take only photos,
leave only footprints’ which I quite liked.

There is a statement in the chart book which says ‘if you see plastic or any
other debris, pick it up and take it to the Park HQ for disposal’
Unfortunately when walking on the Atlantic side of the island today I would
have needed a large skip to pick all the plastic off the beach, so much
flotsam. It really drives home what a terrible mess we are making of this
earth when even a site protected from human habitation of any kind for
nearly the last 50years shows so many signs of human intervention.

Anyhoo, they have trails marked through the vegetation, beaches and cliffs.
I don’t mean nice leveled walks, I mean pioneering trails, the odd branch
cut off, a tree removed but generally just a mark every hundred yards or so
by a pile of rocks or spray painted on a palm. Other than that, completely
wild. Each trail connects a beach or other point of interest, I saw may
small lizards, birds and a small brown rodent I must find out the name of
tomorrow. The Atlantic side was wild and windy today, with spray blasting
off the volcanic cliff faces, but cross over the island to the west side and
your back in Paradise with wonderful white sand beaches and clear clear
water.

(BooBoo Hill Trail sign across ‘Banshee Creek)

(Across the Creek and Up the Hill, none of the other trails were this well marked)
On one of the trails I came across ‘Davis Plantation Ruins’ little more than
3 single room dry stone building ruins, some walls still sporting plaster,
dating from 1780’s with two dry stone wall traversing the island east to
west, one of which is still very much in tact and forms part of the trail.
Incredible to think that a group of settlers tried to make their fortunes on
a rock in the middle of no where.
(Murpheys Hideaway, one of many weathered holes in the rock, though this one had a ladder – Cool)Heading back to the boat I came across a Crab, big, in a rock pool eating
his dinner so I had to stop and play with him for a while, I don’t think he
was too impressed as he buggered off. Also these little shell crabs that
just tuck themselves up inside their shells when they hear you coming,
generally on the side of a hill so when they do they just roll away, very
funny.


(Many Larry Lizards on the Island)
Tomorrow I’m going snorkeling in the Coral garden here and I found atop Boo
Hill a huge amount of little home made plaques of boats that have passed
through so I want to find a little drift wood and make one for ‘Half Price’.
(Just one shot of three, there must be hundreds of these planted on top of BooBoo Hill)
(The sign says – Termite Mound, Do Not Disturb – Unfortunatly the termites have eaten it! LoL)
(One of the less well marked trails – still not the worst)They have Internet here !!! via Satellite I think and as this wind is going
to continue to blow for a day or two yet, I’ll post this blog and some pics
tomorrow. It’s cost $15 a night to moor here though and in the interests of
keeping it all lovely no anchoring is allowed, blowing the budget!

Ah well, Staniel Cay in the next few days, swimming pigs, Thunderball
grotto, Laundry! (bliss) and if I make it by Sat (which I wont) Rock and Roll band at the
Yacht club! This is livin ;o)

L x.

June 30, 2007 at 05:01 Comments (0)

Exumas Day ??

N24.36.15 W76.49.24
What Day is it? I’m sure I don’t know, time passes by.

At Normans, only a few miles south of Allen’s, very nice beach. As I was setting up for the night I heard an announcement on the VHF for a Rock and Roll band at Staniel Cay YC this Fri, Sat. So I have a reason to be somewhere for the first time in a week. We’ll see what the wind is doing tomorrow and try and get further south, I can come back to all the bits I miss. There’s a Nature reserve I’m just on the edge of so am going to try and get there tomorrow I think, things to see and do there with a park office and bit and pieces. About 20miles, but I’m not motoring any more, it’s horrible and noisey, if the winds not blowin, I ain’t going.

L.

June 26, 2007 at 02:15 Comments (0)

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