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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Week that Was Dec 25th - Dec 30th,2012

Time travelled:  5 hours, give or take
 Nautical miles: 30.7
 Docked at:  Compass Cay Marina

No connections are available.
That’s the message. You know there is absolutely no sense in wasting time with the Troubleshoot because is just is not going to help!  Been there and wasted the time trying. It is just an exercise in frustration.
While in Bimini we did get cell phones and a data package. We made a few phone calls on Christmas Day from Highbourne Cay but once we left there the signal has been non-existent.  As a matter of fact we have never been able to get the data working – not just us but everyone else too. No connections are available!!

Christmas day was lovely. It started aboard Quest with the Moore family tradition of egg nog and brandy. Del would have been a bit disappointed that we chose to buy it pre mixed and without nutmeg but hey we did the best we could. In hindsight our only error was the fact that we only bought one bottle.  Judy made the Querrey family traditional breakfast of “strada”.  It is a delicious layered combination of bread, egg, cheese and sausage. It was very tasty by itself but Dan and Garth added Vermont maple syrup just to top it up. A winner recipe I will have to get.
After breakfast we all jumped into Con – Quest and went exploring.  We went all the way up to Allan’s Cay and as we approached one the beaches all of these iguanas started coming towards the shore. They are looking for handouts.
Allan Cay Iguanas

We did not venture onto land and moved along our merry way. We came across a dive/bar outpost. There were two dogs and a few people but basically it was deserted and looked to be a place where day trips out of Nassau would stop.  The scenery was magnificent, the water so clear that you can see the bottom and pretty shallow at times! We stopped back over towards Highbourne and walked the beach, gathering a few shells. Zeke had a blast as usual.
If she can't see my right ear then she can't put the medicine on it!
Speaking of Zeke, he is currently in sick bay. He has something going on just under his right ear – looks like a dog bite – we took him to a dog park a few days before we left Stuart so it could have happened there or he got stung by something in the water in Bimini.  So, we started him on amoxicillin and are doing our best to keep it clean and dressed. Hopefully the salt water is helping as it does appear to be getting better. I tell ya he is a high maintenance dawg!
Once back on land we all got ready for Christmas Dinner at the marina restaurant, it was served buffet style and it was tasty but the scenery, the sunset, and the company where better than the food.  All in all it was a simply wonderful day.

December 26th Boxing Day
Up at the crack of dawn and in the car to hit the malls and stores for the after Christmas bargains.  Fur coats, leather coats, sweaters, shoes, everything is on sale at a fraction of the before Christmas price.  If nothing else you would always come home with a ton of Christmas wrapping paper ready to go for next year.  Well, at Highbourne Cay there was nothing happening, when there is only one store there really is not much sense in having a sale. We tried and tried to get an internet connection but no luck. Around eleven we went up to pay our bill, and took our computers to see if we could get a signal closer to the tower. Low and behold we were connected – not for long but we did get a connection just long enough to see if anyone had sent us Christmas greetings or bills.
We departed Highbourne Cay around noon and slowly made our way south. We traveled eighteen nautical miles to a mooring ball at Hawksbill Cay.  We had arrived in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. The Bahamian government set aside 176 square miles as a land and marine protected area. It is a “no take zone" so we can look at the shells and the lobster but the spear and the shell bag can’t come out. Zeke is allowed on the beach area but not on the paths. That’s cool , it is not his territory and it is probably safer that way for all creatures, including his majesty.
Our first mooring ball!

This is our first ever experience of being connected to a mooring ball. We have read about them and seen them but never actually had the opportunity to use one. Before we left Stuart Judy and I went to West Marine and I bought a super extension boat pole just for this occasion. Before we left Highbourne Marina Dan came over and went through the process of setting up lines and what to we were prepared! Garth gingerly brought Algonquin up to the port side of the ball while I reached over with the boat pole and grabbed the float. Then hand over hand I hauled up the line looking for an eye. Humm ...nobody told me just how heavy this line was going to be, nobody mentioned the years of growth and slime on the line and nobody told me that there would be creatures living on the line!!! AHHHHH, a huge crab jumped from the line and sea life was everywhere. The other thing was that the line I had decided to use for attaching to the ball did not fit the cleat so I used our usual docking line which was too long and too heavy. So, I got the line up and decided half way through the process to switch lines – Garth came out once he saw I had the mooring line and helped.  It was not the most graceful or well executed landing but nobody was videotaping it for a “how to” show.  We will get lots more practice down the road! By the way the big crab that landed on the deck when the sea scrum encrusted line came up ....Garth got his miniature Maple Leafs hockey stick and with a gentle wrist shot he hurled him off the boat and back into the ocean.

Hawksbill Cay Mooring Field

We dinked to the beach, went for a walk then had cocktails and burgers aboard Algonquin. All in all just another beautiful day in paradise.
And you wonder why we have to vacuum every day!

December 27th, 2012-
We woke up to a blowing wind and very dark clouds on the horizon. You could see where the rain was and where it was heading. It was like a snow day ...hunker down, sit by the fire, and enjoy a good book or a movie.  Well, on a boat, it is the same thing, hunker down, grab a good book and watch the weather move around you.  Only difference is the degrees.  By 11 o’clock the bad weather had moved on and the sun was shining.
 Idyllic begins to describe this little bit of paradise. There are only four mooring balls here and a huge beach. We went over to the beach and walked the length of it, had lunch, played in the water and read our books.  That was the extent of our day. We went over to Quest for cocktails then back to Algonquin for a BBQ dinner. Our evening was spent watching an old James Bond movie – Die Another Day ( I think) Just your average day in paradise!!

December 28th 2012-

Hawksbill Cay 911
Garth called Quest first thing this morning to see what the plan was as we had kind of thought we would like to spend another day here. Dan and Judy were on the same wave length.  As we were starting to cook breakfast Dan called over to say that they had had an exciting half hour – Judy was cooking breakfast and smelled wires burning. Dan ran down, confirmed the smell and then ran back up to the pilot house and turned everything off. After looking and smelling throughout the galley and generator room it turned out to be the thermostat for the air conditioning unit in the crew quarters! Scary, it’s a boat and it is just one more thing added to the list of things to do. Garth cooked a big breakfast of bacon and eggs and we headed for the beach.  When we arrived Dan and Judy were snorkeling over on the reef so we set up our chairs. Shortly after Dan and Judy came back to the beach we were all sitting there and noticed the couple from one of the sailboats paddling their way around the corner. The wind was against them and they are our age so paddling like that for a long time probably was not the morning exercise they had planned. Dan and Garth jumped into Con and sped off to see if they needed help or were indeed trying to get some exercise. Turned out they needed help and Con towed them back to their boat.   The day wasn't even half over and already a fire had been adverted and a rescue at sea had occurred!

Towing the dingy past Algonquin
Just another rescue!

Around four o’clock Judy called to say that they were getting a signal with their phones.

The lengths we go to just to stay connected!

  Garth quickly plugged in our Bahamas phone and charged it enough to make a birthday call to Brumer all know Brumer...she lives in Tucson, loves cinnamon buns but can’t get them there so we send her pictures every chance we get.  
Dan and Judy came over and we indulged in the last dozen of our Bimini lobster tails. Yummy sums up the feast.

December 29th

24 nautical miles
Moored at: Cambridge Cay AKA Little Bell Island

Ha, well getting off a mooring ball is certainly a piece of cake – you untie one line, let it go and pull back on the side attached to the cleat then move over to the other side and repeat! Does not get any easier!!
As we pulled away from Hawksbill we passed the two big yachts that were anchored near us. The first one was Mucho Mas, not too shabby, and the big boy was Pegasus – the 75th largest yacht in the world. Note the blow up slide coming down from the second level! Different snack bracket I’d say.

Pegasus,our neighbors for the night! 

We only travelled a short distance but had to go through a cut and it was a little rough on his majesty. We arrived at Cambridge Cay just before noon and got onto the mooring ball with no problem. There was very little growth on the upper part so it was not as heavy. I picked up the eye first time and had the lines all red ready and set up. Piece of cake!

Sunset at Cambridge

Mustang Sally - our neighbors!

 Shortly after we arrived at the mooring Garth, Dan and Judy went snorkelling. Zeke's ear is getting a little better but it is still weepy and wet. The salt water seems to sting it a bit so we decided to try and keep him out of the water altogether for a few days. Tomorrow we will go to a marina for New Years and hopefully by the time we leave he will be healed up. I on the other hand have broken out in a rash and think it is from the sun so am staying under cover for a few days. Zeke and I will hold down the fort while Garth the only healthy one takes off and explores this little piece of paradise.

December 30th

6.5 nautical miles today

The wind picked up around 6:30 am and we decided to leave and make our way out of the cut and towards Compass Cay - it was literally just around the corner. We waited longer in the bay for boats to leave than it took us to get here. It is a very small marina but a very popular place. The docks are packed. We are paying for wifi by the meagabyte so I will hold off posting pictures until later. Right now I am off to do a load of laundry! 

Posted a few pics as it does not seem to eat up many megs??