Thursday, April 27, 2006

Georgetown, Exumas

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Thursday, April, 27, 2006, 19:47 UTC
George Towne,Exumas

Pam Wednesday:

It is Wednesday evening, so it must be time to try to recall the day's events. Fortunately for my memory, the day was fairly calm so I don't have to remember a lot of details!

Don't get me wrong; fairly calm doesn't mean it wasn't fabulous - because it was! It was another wonderful day. We cruised a while, snorkeled a while (while unsuccessfully searching for more lobster - so sad - but lobster season is over, so that should be expected), took a great cruising tour of George Town, and then visited George Town on foot. As much as we love cruising, it's always nice to walk on land again!

The boys (I mean men) were probably disappointed that they didn't get more lobster, but I was just happy to be out there snorkeling and getting some exercise. (I can only sit and relax for so long.)

Our visit to the town (or settlement) of George Town was probably the highlight of the day. They actually had a grocery store and hotel bar that were open! Yahoo! Of course this is because the big sailboat race (the "Family Regatta" as they call is - or something like that) is going on this week in (which is why most everything else was closed on the other islands). We wandered through the small town to the Straw Market where we found all kinds of handmade straw baskets, purses, placemats, etc. They also had numerous t-shirts, jewelry, etc., but Dean and I didn't find anything we couldn't live without. As usual

I interrupt this log entry to tell you that Steve just found another treasure (from Rhonda's treasure hunt game). I felt that he should have donated it to the person slaving over the computer entering the daily log, but he didn't see things my way. Fine!

Okay, as I was saying, as usual Rhonda was the big purchaser. She bought some really cute placemats and a photo album.

Then we found a nice hotel on the waterfront where we could have a drink, and they had really great margaritas and pina coladas. We found someone to take a nice picture of all of us, but unfortunately my camera's auto-focus has died, so I was fiddling with the settings and the pictures didn't take. So sad since it would have been a great picture!

After buying a few groceries and ice (again at really inflated prices) we headed back to the boat. I think that as much as we were anxious to get off the boat for bit, we were pretty happy to get back to our home away from away after being in

Dean, Bill and I went out for one more snorkel, even thought we knew there probably wasn't a lot to see in this area. But I just had to cool off (very hot in town!), and then take nice shower off the back of the boat.

Georgetown, Exumas

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Thursday, April, 27, 2006, 19:49 UTC
George Towne,Exumas

Guest Bill:
Flasha purple headed green noodle wing creature has been spotted near Stevenson Cove heading south toward Georgetown. The seas fish have gathered around to see the sight. Some are curious while other are a little shy. Most just come to have a good laugh at the sight of it. Some I think were trying to teach me that out here you are to blend in with the surrounding and not stick out like a giant purple tree in the middle of a desert. By the way that tree is beginning to shed already. The water is about 80 degrees and very refreshing and the air is also around 80.
We just pulled up anchor and as we are coming to toward the end of the ride, 2 more days I need to move up to my spot at the front port bow. From the ride you get at this spot you are one with the catamaran and the oceans waves. It is the sweetest spot on board the shipbill

Georgetown, Exumas

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Thursday, April, 27, 2006, 19:31 UTC
George Towne,Exumas

Guest Pam Thursday:

We didn't have any particular mission today other than to enjoy our last day at sea, and I think we accomplished that very nicely! Although we keep getting threats of rain, it was another scorching hot day! There was some welcome cloud cover at times, but for the most part it was sunny and hot. We have all had more than enough sun, but it's so nice to sit out front as the boat is cruising/sailing along, so it's hard to go undercover.

Captain Mark found a couple more spots that looked like they would be good for lobster hunting (since these men are still determined to have more to go with the one caught a couple days ago). And the good news is that they speared a couple more! They were small and there weren't as many as they would have liked, but three is better than one! The best part was that Steve was nice enough to let me take a picture of one of them before he tore the tail off and threw the rest in the ocean. Thanks Steve!

As I was snorkeling (and dragging the boat for the great white hunters) Steve spotted a sea turtle and called me over. He was very cute! I followed him for quite a while as he swam around. Then just when I was heading over for Dean and Phil I spotted a larger fish than what we were used to seeing. Then it quickly crossed my mind that perhaps it was a barracuda - yikes!!!!! I swam over to Steve and told him that I think I saw a barracuda. He took a look and confirmed it was true. So I FLEW into the dingy!!! I know that everyone keeps saying that they won't bother us, but I'm not willing to hang around and be the exception! Enough snorkeling for me for the day.

Dean and Steve eventually joined me in the dingy, and we went over to visit Bill who was happy snorkeling a ways off. (He just loves being out there - he is usually the first one with his snorkel on!) Bill continued to snorkel after we assured him that the barracuda was quite a ways away.

Later Dean suggested that I drive the boat for a while. At first I was reluctant, but Captain Mark was great about educating me on the basics of steering as well as the navigation equipment. Wow - the navigation system is amazing! It's somewhat similar to what I have in my car, but much more complex. It shows the water depth at every location, the placement of coral and rocks, etc. Oh, and another screen shows where other boats are located. I spent more time looking at the screens than I did out at the sea. It was kind of nerve-racking at times, but of course Captain Mark was directing me (and was ready to take over at any second!!). Fun fun.

Kayak and jungle hunt to house
Scavenger hunt
Sail -

Georgetown, Exumas

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Thursday, April, 27, 2006, 19:33 UTC
George Towne,Exumas

Bill here again. When we came into George Town yesterday, both sides of the inland cut were lined with sailing craft and yachts. The people seem to be all looking for something in the water. When we went on shore in the community of George Town, we found the same; the people were lined up along the shore looking out over the waters. Even TV cameras were aimed to the waters. I assume they all were looking for the purple red headed green noodle wing creature to float by. The latest reports had it just north of town and also reported that the creature seem to be going through a metamorphous and was now severely shedding its skin. At any rate it seems that the entire southern Exumas Islands were here to spot the unusual creatureor maybe they all were here to watch and or partake in the local Bahamas Islands Sailing Regatta. This is a big event here in the Islands, with many local sailing vessels. While in town Rhonda got to SHOP. She was like in a feeding frenzy, not being able !
to do so for 6 days. Actually she has been a trooper, she was the one that said yes to this trip with Captain Mark when Danette and Phil called and asked if we wanted to go. She knew I would really like this. Rhonda gets sea sick, needs regular shower and bathroom facilities, does not like to get into salt water, does not eat sea food, is afraid of sharks (we have seen 2), and has battled skin cancer. She knew we would have a good time with D & P and it was good to get to know some of their friends. I want to thank them for inviting us, they are awesome people. Both D & P have life long friends that would do anything for each other. At Phil's recent 50th birthday party, this was held in Vegas, more than 25 folks showed up from all over the US. It was wonderful to see the support of loving friendships all had for Phil to bring him over to the other side. I also want to thank Wanda, Steve, Pam and Dean. They have shown us nothing but friendship this entire week, and it has be!
en Rhonda and my pleasure to get to know them. We hope we will have li
fe long friendships with them.

Captain Mark and Straycat has also become part of the family. Mark has shown us many splendid places, while traveling down the Exumas. We have done things and have memories that will stay with us the rest of our lives. Rhonda and I THANK him greatly for this, its been a wonderful week. Safe sailing Captain Mark

The purple red headed green noodle water wing severely shedding creature fooled the community of George Town and took a short cut around all the activity in town as the creature did not want to get ran over by the sail boats. The last spotting was south of town lurking in the blue waters. While looking for a meal of Lobster, 2 dolphins swam past within 10-15 feet. It was a REAL good thing that with the first look the creature had recognized them as Dolphin and not SHARKS. One was larger than the other. The creature figured they were trying to be friendly as they circled a few times. That or the mother dolphin was teaching the baby dolphin to watch out for such creatures in the blue waters of the Caribbeanor maybe they to were laughing hysterically at such a sight, could be that is why their mouths were curled up in a smile. The purple red headed green noodle water wing severely shedding creature just kept on floating south, bobbing up and down as it went off into the distanc!
e out of sightI think I heard it saying it was headed to Kauai and planned on being there by May of 2007. I wonder what it will metamorphous into on its way


Georgetown, Exumas

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Thursday, April, 27, 2006, 18:55 UTC
George Towne,Exumas

Guest Bill here:
Just wanted to tell you a fast story; something that took place yesterday. Steve is the person that reeled in the dinner yesterday.
The Mahi Mahi was at least a 3-1/2 footer. First let me tell you a little about Steve. When you are around him you really need to be on the ball as his mind and sense of humor is always moving faster than anyone can catch up to. When you think you have him figured out and the direction he's headed with his story he takes right or left turns on you. Always the end punch line is funny, but sometimes it takes a bit of thinking before you get it. On this trip Steve seems to be the guilty party of everything that has gone wrong or bad. Weather he is truly involved or not, he will get blamed for it. You heard earlier about the problem with the toiletswill it was Steve that did it and at one time we were down to 1 that worked. Steve was not allowed to come close to that one. By the way we are back to 3 working toilets so I'd say all is going well.well Steve got the fish hauled in and up on the aft deck of the Straycat. He got a hold of the fishes head and stuck it into a 5 gallon !
bucket head first with the body and tail sticking straight up in the air. What Steve had not thought about was the tail fin which was at his face height. Every time the fish struggled Steve was getting slapped in the face by the fin. Maybe you would have had to been there to really see this, but the look on Steves face was of absolute dumbfounded bewilderment and he looks at me and says"I'm getting bitched slapped by a fish"!!!...I for one have not stopped laughing about it.
The cold I came on this vacation with has moved into my chest, and since seeing this I'm exhausted from laughing and coughing at the minds picture of this sight of the fish slapping him and that look on his face.PS: it was a male Mahigo figure.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Musha Cay, Exumas

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Tuesday, April, 25, 2006, 08:03 UTC
Mausha Cay,Exumas

Monday Guest Pam:
We started out the day by going back to Black point to pick up the coconut bread and cheesecake that we ordered the night before. Lorraine and her Mother we waiting for us with the goods! They brought us right into their kitchen (of their home, not the restaurant), and the bread smelled great! I pulled out my camera to take another picture, and Lorraine's mother quickly pulled off her hair cap so she would look nice for the picture. Very cute!

I mainly went along with Dean and Steve to get the baked goods in hopes of getting a preview of Eunice's woven goods. Sure enough, we found Eunice was standing outside her little green house. She was expecting us since she got the word the night before that we would be looking for her! In case I didn't mention this earlier, she is supposedly the oldest person in all of the Bahamas!

Eunice was absolutely darling with her hat and blue dress. She greeted me with a hug and then brought us right into her home. Sad to say that the house was pretty awful (very untidy and in need of repair). But she was fine with us just barging in to see her goods. Unfortunately her supply was low, but I was able to find a cute little basket and a mat. She was clearly excited to have visitors and shoppers. I told her that we would be back with the other ladies on our boat, and she said she would get right to work making more baskets. As we left she said "Have a blessed day".

By the way, I should mention that all of the islanders are very friendly. They greet us with "Good Morning" or "Hello", and are always helpful with questions. Some are hard to understand since they seem to have their own version of English, but most speak very clearly.

We then got back on the boat and had a great breakfast of coconut bread. Very delicious! While we were having breakfast, Captain Mark shared more history of the islands that was very interesting. The original inhabitants were slaves from North and South Carolina. They were brought over here to start farming, but after a couple years it was discovered that the land doesn't grow well. Then they were all set free to be on their own. There is of course a lot more to the story, but that is a snippet!

After breakfast we all went back to the island except Bill, who stayed to clean up after us no doubt. Thanks Bill! We wandered a bit in hopes of giving Eunice more time to make baskets. Rhonda found a cute bag at another shop, and then we visited Eunice. Unfortunately she was just sitting down to start weaving, so nothing new was available. But Rhonda was kind enough to buy a little mat and basket.

Dean, Steve and Wanda had wandered down the road while we shopped, and when they didn't come back for way too long, we knew they had found something interesting. We talked to some locals and they told us about a garden place, so we figured Dean was making Steve and Wanda look at every little tree and plant!

We eventually bought our ice and h

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hog Cay, Exuma

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Saturday, April, 22, 2006, 20:21 UTC
Hog Cay Exuma

Guest Rhonda and Bill from Washington,
here out in the ocean with Straycat III in the Exumas. Today was awesome, but before I tell you about today, let me back up a day or two. First night out, Rhonda and I sleep out under the stars on the trampoline. The gentle rocking of the Straycat must be like what a baby must feel inside the mother's wombsecurity and love. The stars were a wondrous site not having city lights to fade them out. During the night I woke up and could see that the sky was getting bright to the east. I assumed that the sun was coming to take over the night sky. I dozed off again and when I awoke next to my surprise it was not the sun at all. It was the moon and even though it was only half full it was bright and beautiful, what a sight! It also meant I was able to get a little more shut eye. When we all, (there are 4 couples on this sail trip) awoke and got ready to go we travel to the northern end of the Exumas to start our sail down these 100 miles of Islands. To get here we had to power our way 30 miles across open ocean, what a treatI'm one of those nuts that likes to sit up on the front port bow and ride it out. Just like on a bronco horse or a rocking roller coaster, and when the waves come over that makes the ride all the better. Disney could learn from this. At the end of this ride we came into a beautiful cove, snorkeled, and swam. While I was snorkeling I was with a Southern Stingray which came up close to see what I wasyou see when I snorkel I always have my security blanket with me under my armpitsone of the swimming pool noodles. I'm sure it's quite a sight for all the critters to see a 55 year old man with water wings, but hey I at least know I won't drown. These friends we are traveling with really know how to put out the food spread. The first night we had one of the best steak dinners I ever had. Than at this cove we had Cornish game hen dinner. After dinner we had good conversation and once again a beautiful rocking night in gentle breezes as we all sleep. Today we went out on the eastern side of the Islands in the open ocean to fish, the seas were a little rough but what fun it was to ride the waves again. By the waywe are having fresh Mahi Mahi (Dorado) tonight. From the fishing we went sailing, how wonderful it was to cut through the waves without the power motors. I recommend sitting in the front bow side and let it ride. We are sitting in a cove at the moment, Rhonda and I stayed close to the boat swimming around in this absolutely all colors of blue wateryes with our noodles. The rest of the group took the skiff and went to check out a water type park and saw lot's of lobster. Later in out trip I'm hoping that we are fortunate to find more lobster outside of a water park preserve. It looks like our fish of the day is about ready to feed us so will sign off. One more comment before I go. Rhonda and I go to Hawaii every other year and in all those years, over the last 20 years, have I seen the coral and fish life that I have seen in just the last 2 days here, and we have 6 more glorious days to go.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Rose Island, Bahamas

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Friday, April, 21, 2006, 16:13 UTC
rose island Bahamas


This is Guest Pam taking care of the ship's log for the day (or maybe the trip). Our crew just got on-board today (Thursday) from Nassau, and we are off on our 8 or so day adventure around the Great Exuma Islands!. After waaaaay too much grocery shopping today, we finally shoved off to sea!

It was an absolutely beautiful day - sunny, warm (actually hot), with beautiful blue water and white sand beaches. It is actually the closest to Tahiti that I remember!

Our gang consists of:
" Captain Mark
" Phil & Danette
" Dean & Pam
" Steve & Wanda
" Bill & Rhonda

I hope I spelled everyone's names correctly, but if not I'm sure they will get over it. So far so good. Everyone seems to be doing great. It seems like a fun group of people who all like to vacation, play, and eat! Actually that's the only disagreement so far. Of course we all like to eat, but doing dishes is kind of a pain. The guys like to make big meals but then they are done (and you know what that means!). But we did have a great steak dinner tonight - thanks guys!

Anyway, we are looking forward to a great week. The water is warm, the boat is great, and the captain is very experienced, entertaining, and competent.

Not much else to say today, but stayed tuned for tomorrow!!


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

28 Miles NE of Nassau

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Wednesday, April, 19, 2006, 18:18 UTC
28 Mi NE of Nassau

Captains log:
17:45 and I'm about 30 miles NW of New Providence, sea is one foot with light wind on the bows. It's about 85 degrees F and 79 water temp. The sky is high thin cumulus. The forecast is for a minor cold front passage in about two hours although I don't see any sign of that. All systems are in the green.
I came off the banks at NW channel light about two hours ago and saw there, just at the drop off, three pods of pilot whales. I haven't seen them in these waters before so I looked them up in my fish book. They were feeding there and were not as active as the Dolphin I'm use to seeing. These whales were staying on the surface for long periods and they may have been about ten feet long.
My ETA to Nassau Harbor is 22:00 since I have only had four hours sleep in the last twenty four; I know what I will be doing as soon as the anchor is set.
I have guest to pick up at noon so the hustle will be on in the morning.

Mid Gulf Stream

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Wednesday, April, 19, 2006, 13:38 UTC
Mid Gulf Stream

Captains note:
Yes I'm back in the water, headed for Nassau. I just watched the big red orb set over Florida while enjoying a cup of Cuban coffee and listening to Beethoven on XM radio.
There is such a contrast leaving the hustle bustle, noise, dirt, dust, pressure and financial hemorrhage of a boat yard to this, the mid Gulf Stream world. Alone and in silence I'm getting familiar with the sailing characteristics of Stray Cat again, the movement of her and the sea; than getting to know me, the sailor again. The fifteen days on land seemed such a long time.
My mind starts to wander as the pressure subsides. I think about my future, leaving an established charter business I worked very hard to create for unknown challenges and adventures; a bit unnerving. I'm comfortable here, I know people on most islands of the Bahamas, and many are friends who have shared their table, drinks and stories of their vast Island County. There was the long relationship with the blond Bahamian lady standing at the helm on the web site too.
Being comfortable is a good thing, being too comfortable is the antithesis of being a sailor.
Many of you who have sailed with me as guest and friends know my next adventure will be to leave these wonderful islands I know so well to sail the entire Caribbean basin. I don't have a big need to see the Virgins again, too many charter boats, little room to anchor, cruise ships and I think the natives have seen enough tourists.
I'm planning to sail to the Grenadines, Trinidad, some of the islands of Venezuela and Colombia, the ABC islands, generally the islands of the eastern Caribbean. I'll also visit Central America and the Yucatan peninsular.
A real motivator has been the last two Hurricane seasons; eight storms found Florida, three of them went right over the top of me. Right, I get the message, get down around latitude 7 and miss the parade of storms.
Well you have just sailed 80 miles across the big bad Gulf Stream with me; the Bermuda triangle and pirates of the Caribbean. (Captain Ron) You also made it through some bad spelling and grammar.
We are leaving 4,000 feet of water for 14 feet as we pass onto the Great Bahama Banks. The sea is running 5 foot, the wind is now 20kts out of the south, the air temp is seventy nine and we are making about eight kts. It's two AM and I see the hazy lights of Bimini which we will leave to the south at about ten miles.
The other big red orb is just rising out of the sea with a thin cloud obscuring part of its middle; it looks like a Halloween moon. I'm going to prepare for the approach.
Thanks for coming along and keeping me awake.

Oh, if you would like to join me along the way of my next adventure, there will be more detail on the web site in the next week or two. If you do, you will have to stand watch, navigate; set sail, cook, and all ship duties. If you can't do those things, I have been told that I'm a good instructor. The fee will be affordable. Drop in where you like, see a rain forest, water falls; a pyramid.