Friday, February 25, 2011

Here, There, and Everywhere

We returned to Marsh Harbor once the winds decided they weren’t calming down at Man O War and ended up spending a week at anchor there. We took the opportunity to enjoy Valentine’s day at Snappa’s with a meal I didn’t have to cook and enjoyed the sunset casting a beautiful glow on the harbor as we listened to a local artist belt out songs we knew all the words to. There was some final laundry and provisioning to do the following day in preparation of leaving, and on the 17th we topped off of the fuel and water tanks and headed out. We anchored up on the outside of Hope Town so that we could make the run at high tide down to Tahiti Beach the next morning. We had spoken with Kathy & Earl aboard s/v Seeker about the possibility of them coming over to anchor with us so Dirk could take them out to teach them the correct ways of conch trolling as I think they misunderstood just a wee bit our instructions before. So as not to have Earl end up missing fingers or having prop marks on his forehead Dirk explained that one needs a rope longer than 2 feet tied to the back of the dinghy while trolling with a person in tow. It was a successful trip and the guys came back with dinner in the boat. A quick lesson on cleaning and Seeker took off to make it to Man O War for the night as Dirk & I settled into a quiet evening.
Almost a full moon on our anchorage

The next morning we were joined by Ace & Suzie from s/v Ace’s Wild which are also from Panama City FL. We were all planning on attending the Cracker P’s full moon party that evening so we anchored up at Tahiti beach which is a short dinghy ride across from Lubbers Quarters. Once we dropped the hook at Tahiti we made a bee line for the beach to enjoy yet another beautiful day full of sunshine. First order of business was for Dirk to climb a coconut tree, retrieve two green coconuts and make us a coconut and rum cocktail. Rum in a fresh coconut and Tybee Time at anchor behind

After all it was 5 O’clock somewhere. We ended up playing several games of beach Bocce ball which I had never played before but turns out I really enjoyed. A bit of beach combing, and then back to the boat to clean up so we could make it in time for sun downers at Ace’s Wild. We were joined by Jose’ & Bill from Caper who would end up travelling with us for a couple days along with Ace’s Wild and Big Toot. At about 7 we climbed in the dinghy and headed in to Cracker P’s, but first we made a stop at Hobbs and Heidi’s boat m/v Big Toot. We met them last year and had a blast with them so it was nice to meet up with them again. A bit of time getting reacquainted while the full moon rose and it was off to Cracker P’s for what promised to be a good evening. Ace, Suzie and us having a great time

The following morning my aching head told me that we indeed had a good time. There were places to go and things to see so we pulled Tybee Times anchor and headed to Snake Cay followed by Ace’s Wild, Caper, and Big Toot. We were here last year and the entrance to the dinghy trail has a fairly deep hole where spotted eagle rays like to fly around gracefully and feed. We arrived right as the tide was going out and the current was pretty rough but we found if you stayed close to the wall you could swim upstream than drift back, cross over and do it again and again. We didn’t see as many rays as last year but we did manage to see lots of sea life and it made for a great snorkel. one heck of a starfish found by Dirk

A pretty big Lion fish I spotted

The only photo I managed to get of the Eagle Ray

Snake Cay is a nice day anchorage but not so good for the evening because the holding isn’t that great so after the snorkel and dinghy ride through the marsh we headed back to our boats, pulled anchor and sailed across the bay to Tiloo Cay where it was just us four boats in the anchorage. We decided that happy hour would be on Big Toot because they were the only one that had a boat big enough to hold everyone. We all contributed a bit of food and we had a wonderful spread to choose from.
I love sun downer parties

Lots of great conversation led into lots of jokes and eventually led us to playing charades. Some very hard things were played but yet we managed to get them all and the game ended up in a tie. We women showed the men that we couldn’t be beat. We soon found it late and we all soon departed and headed back to our own boats. Tybee Time as the sun went down behind her

The following morning we picked up anchor and headed even further south to Lynyard Cay which is the jump off point for the crossing to Eleuthera. Thanks to Ace's Wild for snapping this great photo of Tybee Time under sail.

We were due to have up to 20 knot winds so Big Toot headed on in to Little Harbor but due to the tides and knowing that we could not get in we elected to stay on the Outside. Dirk, Ace, Bill & Suzie ended up going conching as Jose’ & I decided we wanted beach time. Several hours later they returned with their limit each. It was a good day not to be a conch. Conch trolling, the art of pulling people behind the dinghy to cover lots more ground while looking for conch.

After what seemed to be forever the men returned from cleaning the conch at the beach. Of course a lesson on how to make fritters and conch salad was taken and a nice meal was had. The following morning we pulled anchor in order to make it into Little Harbor on high tide and settled onto a mooring ball right in front of Pete’s Pub.
A bit of cleaning up, and it was off to enjoy a wonderful lunch and to partake in Pete’s signature drink the Blaster. The saying along with the drink name is “Why walk when you can crawl” That about sums that up. After lunch we took a stroll on the beach as it was nearing low tide and I scored several pieces of very nice sea glass which I have been practicing turning into jewelry.
Some pendents for necklaces above
Above is the prized piece of glass that Dirk found for me last year in Hatchet Bay that I turned into a necklace.

Later on we were invited to have dinner aboard Ace’s Wild and Ace said to wear something pirate related as that was the theme. If we didn’t have anything he would hook us up. Well since we have been cruising I have had pirate costumes stashed under the v-berth and so it was time to knock the dust off of them and put them to use. We arrived to dinner with our knives drawn and ready to collect our booty.
It was a fun evening yet again eating our fill. Thanks go to Ace & Suzie for a great meal and conversation.
Of course pirates bring their own conch horns for the evening
The next morning it was time to say good bye as we were heading back to Lynyard Cay and Ace's Wild to Hope Town. What a great fun filled week it had been but it was time to move south and tomorrow seemed the day to do it. Apparently everyone else thought so too as there were about 20 boats in the anchorage. Dirk hit the reefs that afternoon and returned home with 1 lobster and one mangrove snapper and after cleaning the catch we hit the beach for some beach combing and returned home with a nice selection of sea glass. We had an early dinner,watched a video, and turned in early as it would be an early departure for us the following day. Up at 5:30 and having pulled anchor we were underway at 6:02 along with 6 other boats taking off at the same time. Once we all made it out the pass we all settled into our own routines, setting sails and kicked back to enjoy the perfect crossing that it appeared we were going to get. We heard on the radio from the boat in front of us that they had spotted whales off their starboard side so of course we scamper about to see if we can also spot them. There ahead off to the right we indeed saw the spray from the blow holes and once I could get a better look I sorted through my books and think that they were dwarf sperm whales as they can be found in the Abacos quite a bit according to the cruising guide. We weren’t able to get close up to them and wouldn’t dare to anyway. I have seen the video where the whale crashes on deck of the sail boat. No thanks…..It was however our first whale sighting and was cool to see. It was a totally wonderful day with what worked out to be a beautiful sail the whole way with only a few minor adjustments to the sails. Once we started to hit the shallow water of Eleuthera Dirk finally got a hit on one of his four fishing lines he had out and pulled in a small Bonito. He got tossed back and and before Dirk could get all the line out again he got another hit which turned out to be a small shark.It took us a while, but we managed to get him off the line and back into the water without injury to anyone. I didn’t realize sharks went for lures but maybe this one struck before he thought too much. By the time we got him back in the water it was time to pull the lines in as we would be making our turn at Egg Island and into Eleuthera. Nine hours after we started we had arrived. A few of the other boat broke off and headed into Royal Island but us and one other continued onto Spanish Wells where we were to pick up a mooring ball. I'm glad we decided to continue on as Bandit, the mooring ball operator only had two balls left and we and the other boat got them. Sleep came early and easy that night and we awoke to beautiful skies, warm weather and are now anxious to continue south. We will be here for a couple days then head on down to Hatchet Bay. We enjoyed it there last year and are looking forward to going back. In the mean time we continue to meet lots of new cruisers and make new friends.

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