2015-02-26 Cat Island–Adventures

As we departed George Town Harbor I just had to get a picture of this little guy, one of the rarest of rares in the Bahamas. Yes that is a channel marker, the only one in Conch Cut which is the entrance to George Town. In the USA there would be 20 marks guiding vessels into the harbor, in the Bahamas, one!


In full disclosure there is one other, the light on the other side of the channel. I don’t think that one should count though because the “light” can only be used during the day since God only knows the last time it actually lit!!!! Oh, BTW there is the issue of the reef in the entrance between the channel and the light!


As you can see the transit takes us out across the sound so there is only one thing to do…


Get a line in the water!!! We use a hand reel, 100lb test line and a weighted lure that way about  half a pound, and of course leather gloves. We are not after Large Mouth Bass here! We are after Mahi Tuna out here. Any where between 24 and 56 inches is not uncommon.


(Stock Photo)

Windward winch could come in handy


Working hard just waiting for the strike….which never came. Oh well, we are back out in the sound on the way to Eluthera next week, so you just never know….


We anticipated some strong SE wind soon after our arrival so we tucked in next to the town of Old Bight just as tight as we could. We have never been to Old Bight so looked forward to doing a little exploring as soon as the wind laid down.


Color match is no so good in the panorama…


That wind took a solid 24 hours before we could get the dinghy in the water  so as soon as it was safe we were off. There is supposedly a Old Bight Landing along the beach but we did not see it. We did notice a creek entrance so we made a right hand turn into there.


As we entered the inlet we noted the creek continued south and there was a road there as well. As all cruisers know, its easier to dinghy than walk to we stayed in “Blossom” as long as we could.


Sadly after about a 1/2 mile the creek ran out not seeing anywhere to land we went back and landed near the “road.”


BTW, when I said road, I meant the gravel road..We walked about 1/4 of a mile and found the “main” road.


There is a custom on this island if someone dies inside a house, the house is abandoned. There are empty houses all over the place. It sure is different….


I think this is the party my friend Ty would support if he lived here….”DUCK!” Smile


As we were walking, excuse me for saying this but it was getting pretty darn hot. In the distance I saw a sign that said “Cold One.” Yea not that’s what I am talking about! Well actually it said Cold Zone so we continued walking.


In case you cannot read the sign it says “Kings Car Wash.” I bet business booms here once and a GREAT while!


After a couple miles we found Missy’s Take-Away where todays special was Cranked Conk which was delicious! As you can see you can sit on either side of the road depending on how the sun is!


As you can see the sun was getting low in the sky so a nice lady picked us up and took us back to where we left the dinghy.  We arrived back aboard Magnolia just after the sunset> Just had to get a picture of our girl with the beautiful light!


Tomorrow we head to Fernandez Bay to wait out yet another weather front coming through on Saturday!

2015-02-23—Winding Down George Town

Some people depend on that hairy creature to crawl out of a hole and see his shadow to determine when winter is going to end. For us its that first 100 a/h day that makes it clear the days are getting longer. (more sun, more “ampies”). We usea about 138ish everyday so the more solar ampies, less generator run time. We are at about 30 min a day right now.


The upside of running the generator is a warm engine room…where the heck else is the bread dough going to rise?


S/V Second Sally finally made it to the Bahamas so it was great to catch up with Greg & Marie. We anchored a couple miles out of George Town proper in Masters Harbor which was a great escape from the harbor!


The Bahamas have their own music style called Rake & Scrape which strikes me closest to what you would hear in Louisiana…that’s just my assessment and I am surely no music expert!


None the less our friend Prudence had to get out on the dance “floor.”


The Admiral does not generally get to involved in drink mixing but when she does, she certainly excels! A little rum, coconut and mango juice!


We assume many people believe all we do is consume drinks with umbrellas like those above. I am not going to make the ludicrous statement like hardly ever or we come here for the educational possibilities, but the truth is in the middle. Below is the book/movie exchange table. We do a lot of reading, I am currently working on “The Heir Apparent, the Life of Edward VII” (I am trying to take a break from my traditional biographies of famous American Politicians.


This lady is giving a presentation on actions to preserve and protect the local reefs.



There are a fair number of families in which the kids are “boat schooled.” I can only imagine the self confidence these kids will have when they return to a more traditional life.


Of course there is a lecture on batteries and charging systems. I know you may be shocked but there are a few thing to know about how to charge batteries safely and so they last. Most all of Magnolia’s major systems depend on battery power. It’s a really big part of our life out here.


George Town has earned its nick name – “Adult Day Care” as well as its motto “A transitional step to assisted living”


Truth be told, we have spent longer here in George Town than we planned. The last 3 weeks the US has been getting hammered with cold and snow we get those same weather systems as high winds. This pattern seems to be breaking down so we are going to make a move out to Cat Island on Wednesday. Its about a 50 mile sail over some really deep water (ie fishing opportunity). More on that soon!


2015-02-10– George Town Exumas Bahamas

Magnolia arrived in George Town just before a good size “blow” and so we dropped the hook to give us good protection against the expected strong westerly’s.



As you can see, we dropped the hook in the “Kidd Cove” anchorage just outside Lake Victoria. Though not obvious, there is a bridge, more like a tunnel, boat entrance into Lake Victoria. There are dinghy docks inside for the Grocery Store, the gas station and a couple other local businesses. The grocery store docks provides free Reverse Osmosis water which is terrific.


I am not sure there is really any well water anywhere in the Bahamas. A good number of the residences have cisterns where rain water is collected. The other option is RO Water which is converted sea water. Most places in the Bahamas we have to pay .30 to .40 cents a gallon for water. Magnolia carries 135 in her tank plus we keep 25 gallons in jugs for emergencies. Magnolia also carries 115 gallons of diesel fuel in her tank plus another 12 in jugs.


We last took on fuel and water in Nassau when we arrived in the Bahamas last month. We average 5.9 gallons of water per day and .85 gallons of diesel when the engine is running. The generator uses .35 – .60 gallons of diesel per hour as well. That means this day I am hauling 95 gallons of water and another 36 gallons of diesel fuel. Whenever possible we keep the tanks topped particularly when we are outside the USA. Essentially this gives Magnolia a range of over 700 miles and her crew 3 three weeks before we start to stink! BTW, we also generate all our own electricity with generator and solar panels. We use on average 134.6 amp/hrs a day (12 volts) Right now our split is about 60%-40%  (Generator-Solar) but as the days get longer that will continue to move towards solar. Under the category of “Carbon Footprint,” we really don’t leave one.



After the immediate need to get things topped up, then it was time to take the Admiral to a nice dinner ashore!


Over-night, as forecast the front blew in bringing a few showers and lots of wind. Keep in mind at this same time, Boston was getting buried so not feeling too bad.


Of course, with all this wind, and all these boats there are going to be bad things happening. Boats dragging anchor, sometimes into each other. Tangled anchors chains it happens.


Every person on a boat knows that some-days you watch the show and some-days you are the show. The couple below were the show this day. The are in their 80s and have circumnavigated (sailed around the world) a COUPLE of times. Yet they got an anchor chain around their prop.  No fewer than 10 dinghies went to their assistance and got it sorted out. In an usually kind gesture they invited all who helped out for a drinks and appetizers a few days later.


Listening to their years of adventures was more than worth the price of admission. Can you imagine sailing a boat through the Suez Canal? This couple has!! Amazing!


Tuesday 10 February – 14:00 The next front is actually here today and I had to take a break from writing about the last storm to go and help get a big catamaran separated from a trawler who got there anchors tangled. Its blowing in the high 20s and gusting to 35 but sunny. Going to be a long night until this wind and sea lay down!

2015-02-07–Superbowl–Black Point–George Town

Ok, guilty but I am TRYING to catch up. We have been feeling like we are living in the middle of a whirlwind, figuratively and literally! Bare with me while describe the challenging weather we have been facing in the Bahamas…let skip that and say we have had one heck of a windy winter thus far and the long range forecasts only re-enforce that pattern! Its either calm or blowing 25 knts and above, we have given up and as semblance of balance! Here Magnolia sits at anchor off Great Guyana Cay (island), which is where the town of Black Point is located. 


Rockside Laundry and Ida (pictured below) are know throughout the cruising community as the nicest place in the Bahamas to get a haircut and wash cloths. 


Ida gives a mean haircut and the view from her saloon is the best I have ever experienced!


You might wonder why get a haircut when you live on a sailboat? Well I had not gotten one since Vero Beach and I just had to get a haircut to watch my one football game of the season. This year that game was the Super Bowl. Wow what a game…wow what a stupid call for the last play of the game! Smile We enjoyed our evening with our friends Burt & Prudence from Mansfield OH!


Below is the entire 56 mile trip from Black Point to George Town. The trip was a little to long to make in one day in the daylight, a little too short to make as an overnight so just split the trip and stayed inside on the “banks”  the first and out on the sound the 2nd.


The Bahamas Islands as I understand it, sit on plateau and generally those island sit a long the edge of that plateau. The banks (dark blue below, light blue above) are generally about 15 feet deep and well protected. The sound side is literally a cliff that goes from that approximate 15 feet to 4500-5000 straight down. That huge vertical cliff can make for lets say some “interesting” sailing and water conditions along the sound side of the Bahamas.

Out first day trip to George Town we stayed on the banks and decided to push ourselves a little. The sail down from Black Point to Galliot Cay and Cut is straight forward with plenty of water. Once south of Galliot Cut though we are into full on Visual Piloting Rules (VPR) because of the minimal depths, shifting sandbars and the charts that do exist are not very good.


Galliot Cut is at the top of the picture which is where we would normally go out but we wanted to see the less traveled side of the Cays as well. In addition David Copperfield owns a couple of these. Not exactly sure if its Musha or Rudder Cut. Things went well through the most challenging part along Musha and that huge sand flat. Getting down to Rudder we needed a place to anchor so if you see that little triangle shape, that’s where we tried to tuck up close out of the wind. Well sadly the water went from about 3.5 meters to 1, about quick and we touched bottom. (No one was around so those groundings don’t count). It took us about 10 min to get “unstuck” then we slid down a bit to the red blob where we anchored for the night.




As you can see our track took us right along that cliff which happens to be a GREAT fishing area! With great anticipation I dropped a line over side.


Not more than 10 min, I had a hit and called for fish on! That quick and it was fish off as whatever hit, bit right through my wire leader. I have extra lures but no extra leaders so I was “off the field” before the game really got going!


The rest of the trip was boring boring (lost fish)


Coming into George Town is a little twisty but really straight forward. The read like this “proceed down the sound until you are due north of the crashing waves, then turn due south to avoid be smashed onto the rocks, once inside continue SE until you are due north of the house on the hill, (2nd yellow circle) head due south and then SE again until you clear the coral heads to your starboard and then head for the obelisk on the hill (3rd yellow circle.” Yup, that’s the reality of this……


Once again the Admiral brought is into a happy landing in George Town, more tomorrow!