Even More Odd Socks

Today on WhataShipIs.com:  Sinking, Silliness, Size, Scotia, Sinks, Styling, and more Silliness.

A Sinking Feeling

Okay, okay it was sort of a dumb thing to do.  But, like most historically dumb things it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I used the dinghy as a wash basin today to scrub a dirty spare sail.  This left several inches of wash water in the bottom of the dink.

Option A) use the manual bilge pump and wear out my arm pumping for several minutes or B) pull the dinghy drain plug when I got her up on plane and let the water run out using gravity.  Option B sounded like less work, so off I went on an errand with the dink happily draining itself on the way.

Enter the unexpected interruption.  Friends on a nearby boat waved me over to chat and, yup, I did not put the plug in.  Water inside the dink slowly rose as we were deep in discussion; 6 to 8 inches deep before I noticed it and inserted the plug. Too much water prevented Option B, so Option A was the fool’s reward.

New Acquaintances from Near and Far

Since George Town is a major funnel point, we’ve met many new people.  Among them are Bob and Patty on Moon Shadow, a Lagoon 400 catamaran whose home port is Prior Lake, MN.  The boat is actually from Florida and is massive compared to Endeavor.  Although Moon Shadow is only 6 feet longer, it is almost 10 feet wider!  She weighs almost 3 times our boat.

Nova Scotia natives Rob and Barbara, on Riff Raff, joined us for sundowners on Endeavor and cemented our resolve to visit Cape Breton in Nova Scotia on a future trip. They live in Baddeck, on Bras d’Or Lake and offered assistance when we visit.  I’ve read much about the area and it is on our bucket list.

No Reaction

Luckily, I appear to have no lasting effects from the Sow nipping my butt a few weeks ago at Staniel Key:

Little Squirt

Water on Endeavor only exists by hauling it from town or the occasional rain storm.  To conserve water, we use a squirt bottle next to each sink.  It is surprising how much water goes down the drain when the faucet is used for brushing teeth, quick washes, rinsing dishes, etc.  At home I used to leave the faucet running while brushing my teeth.  Having a resource go from magic to manual has changed my habits.

Ride ‘Em Cowgirl

Peg has developed excellent dinghy technique, taming the bucking bronc with panache.

Turtle Sighting

At Long last, I finally got a good picture of a turtle here at Red Shanks!

Alternative Facts

Seeing as we are out of the country and have an internet connection, I feel we should try our hand at alternative facts and fake news.  We hear it is all the rage back home.  Here goes:

The final resting place of the S.S. Minnow has been located.  It is pretty clear the  media did not cover this story cuz there was a rich dude on board.

Mangroves are long-legged aliens, intent on world domination, slowly.

Local women’s rights protestors have been massing aboard the Pink Shrimp boat, which, contrary to its name, is it is, in fact, a big boat.

On Moss Cay today not a single being berated another for their beliefs or presented an illogical argument*.  The beach found this refreshing, but figures humans will eventually show up and get back to business.

Wine, like money in Washington, DOES grow on trees. This discovery could mean yugely bad stuff for vineyards.

Oh, and Elvis IS alive.  He’s down here running a water taxi service.

Okay, so we don’t have the hang of it yet, We’ll keep practicing!

*Download your free logical fallacies poster at yourlogicalfallacyis.com

Of Ukeleles and Yoga

Pick your poison.  George Town offers not-organized and too-organized.  At one end there is wild beauty and isolation at more remote anchorages, like Red Shanks.  At the other is a bustling, structured cruiser community packed in at anchor around the busy beaches on Stocking Island and next to George Town.  Some of those who favor the outer reaches grumble mildly about the structure in the packed areas.  We tend toward quiet isolation, but have been anchored next to town for the last few days to taste the activities.

Indeed, there is a whole menu of activities:

  • Yoga
  • Water Aerobics
  • Ukulele Band
  • Texas Hold ‘Em
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Beach Church, complete with choir
  • Bible Study
  • Basket Weaving Class
  • Dominoes
  • Horseshoes
  • Cruiser’s chat at volleyball beach
  • Ham Radio License Class
  • Regatta, an annual multi-event week
  • Beach Volleyball, both fun and serious versions
  • The Morning Cruiser’s Radio Net, the source for weather, harbor events and help
  • Charity fund raisers
  • ARG (aka Alcohol Research Group)
  • and much more

Full disclosure:  my second time at Texas Hold ‘Em went less well.  Apparently rookie luck only works when one is an actual rookie.  This time I was the first player busted, earning the “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye” refrain the group sings to the first out.

I think I may have blushed.  What can I say?  You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to…

 

Going to Market

During my 3M career, Going To Market meant the way our product moved from our warehouse to the customer.  Some went through distributors, some direct to the customer, some by government contract, some through retail.

Going To Market here in the Bahamas usually means getting in the dinghy for a fast, hopefully smooth, ride to town.

With the current calm conditions we have moved to the anchorage next to town, reducing our 3 mile dinghy run to a few hundred feet.  The bay is shallow and we find it mostly inhabited by cats.  The bridge entrance to Lake Victoria is at the far right in the next picture.

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Our dink, in going to market mode, is usually stuffed with empty water containers, empty fuel tanks, and a shopper with cash.  The water is free, but for everything else cash is the king here.  We don’t have a lot of expenses, but why pay exchange rates and international credit card fees?

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The Exumas Markets dinghy dock is usually stuffed with tenders, and there is often a line waiting to get the free water, as the fellow on the right is doing.

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Exumas Markets itself prefers to go incognito.  There is virtually no signage to be found.  If we didn’t have a map we would not have found it the first time.  Truly one method we didn’t try at 3M… camoflauging the product.

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Once you find the market, inside is a fairly normal small town market.

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Well stocked with the most important food group of all…

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My new favorite market is an electronics store down the street.  Bay Sound’s Electronics markets a little bit of everything:  electronics, jewelry, knock-offs, taxi service, rental motor scooters and whatever.  I heard they had a fast Wifi connection, so went in to see if I could download an operating system update for my MacBook.  They happily lent me a chair and access to their connection.  Much faster than downloading over our phone hotspot or a shared restaurant Wifi!

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The clerk, Matteo, is into video games and we enjoyed discussing different games.  He prefers sports games.  I tend toward things exploding things.  He’s Xbox.  I’m PC.  Still, we found common ground.  He demonstrated a few newer sports games and I was impressed with the detailed action. May have to try one.  I’d have to learn the rules of team sports, like basketball, football and soccer.  Baseball I know, maybe not too exciting as a video game.

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The only one not appearing to enjoy the market scene was this shivering little pooch. Probably from being the only one in the harbor forced to wear life jacket.  Oh, the humiliation.

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Spidey Sense

“None Shall Pass!”

“Well, okay, we’ll head back the way we came.”

Seemed a correct response when finding a YUUUGE spider web across the trail, made by a YUUUGE spider.

We came upon this Female North American Banana Spider while hiking a remote trail on Crab Cay.  The web blocked the trail and the spider blocked our willpower.

Later we found out the term “banana spider” can refer to two entirely different arachnids, the nephila clavipes of North America and the phoneutria of South America. The former, which spins a web known for its incredible strength, is shy and fairly harmless. We encountered the safer one.

The latter kind, which travels over the ground and hunts instead of making a web, is aggressive and has a potentially lethal bite. Another reason not to go to the Amazon!

The North American variety has a body length between 1 and 2 inches and a leg span of up to 5 inches, making it the largest non-tarantula spider in North America.

Just the thing to meet when bopping along a narrow forest trail, a spider the diameter of a kitten ball.

None of my research indicates Banana Spiders can swim, so we can sleep soundly.

But if one managed to hitch a ride on the dinghy…

Fizzle

While not a fizzle, the front moving through today did not live up to the dire predictions.  The south wind blustered around 25 mph most of the day, then swung west when the front came through.  With the front came gusty winds and lots of rain.  We measured gusts of 38 mph, well short of the predicted 50 or 60.

Our primary anchor handled the direction change and reset solidly.  These simple devices have to set firmly like a hook in a wide variety of sea bottom materials, then reset quickly if the force changes direction. Not a simple task.  If the anchor flops on its side or is clogged with bottom material it may not reset, becoming useless.

Different anchor types have differing sweet spots and because they are so importnt to safety, tend to cause strong opinions.  In fact, engaging a sailor in a discussion about “the best anchor” is as dangerous a subject as religion or politics.

With the expected direction change , captains in our bay picked safe anchoring sites accordingly.  Planning ahead and leaving adequate room paid off for the fleet; the boats swung in unison, with plenty of room between.  If anchors dragged in other parts of the harbor, we did not hear of it.

Though the wind continues to howl, Endeavor and her crew are snug and peaceful.  May you have the same wherever you are anchored tonight.

Clocking

Weather forecasts are seldom spot on.  They tend to get averages right but predicting  a specific event is tricky.

Midday tomorrow a front will roll through; it will either be a minor annoyance or potential danger.  A forecaster specializing in prognosticating for cruisers, Chris Parker, is warning of straight line winds up to 60 mph and torrential rains as the front passes.  Chris tends to present gloomier predictions than other services, but then he also tends to be right.

Elizabeth Harbor is in full shuffle mode, with boats scattering to find protection where they can.  Janis and Harley on Folly have taken a mooring ball in the hurricane hole.  Pat and Lynn on Adamant 1 moved to the west side of the harbor in the lee of the main island.

Endeavor has moved back into Red Shanks, an option not easily available to those two boats due to the shallow water.  We are anchored in the bight (bend) of George Devine Cay.  We moved over early and got our pick of anchoring sites.  The bent cay will provide smooth water as the wind clocks around from south to north.  The big blow will be from the southwest tomorrow.

The day was spent preparing Endeavor and ourselves for whatever comes tomorrow:

  • Everything loose on deck, like the paddle board, has been stowed in a locker or down below
  • The main anchor (35 lb. Mantus) is set on 100′ of chain, with a bridle and snubber
  • Backup anchor #1 (22 lb. Danforth) is set on 25′ of chain and 75′ of anchor line
  • I dove on both anchors to verify they are set deep in clean sand
  • Backup anchor #2 (Fortress) easily available should we need it
  • We are in the front row, so to speak, so having another boat drag down on us is not going to happen
  • Any loose cloth, like the rain catcher, has been removed and stowed below
  • Radios are charged and the boat will be ready to motor should it become necessary
  • We are well stocked with food and water
  • We are well stocked with books, games and movies
  • We have both showered and are wearing clean underwear, because, you know…
  • And, well… Rum!

Bring it.

Monumental Hike

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Across Elizabeth Harbor from George Town is Stocking Island, long and thin with miles of deserted beaches. On the island’s highest point is a tall monument, erected to guide sailing ships of old in to load up with salt. Locals would fly flags or burn fires on the peak when there was salt for sale.

Hence, the phrase “fire sale”.  Actually, I made it up… but sounds right, doesn’t it?

In front is Monument Beach, where we took advantage of the calm weather to anchor with our friends on Folly and Adamant 1.  Those wild and crazy Canadians had us playing Rummikub until we could hardly see straight!

Anyway, back to the hill.  Peg wanted to climb, so we climbed.  Why?  Because it’s there.

The path, or maybe better to say the notion of a path, set off from the beach through jungle conditions.  Very lush and diverse.  Occasionally we would find a marker, but more often staying on the trail was pure intuition.

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The hike marked the first time we’ve seen a palm tree actually growing out of a coconut.  Seriously, we have to look down more often.

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With calm winds, the coral reefs on the sound side were spectacular.  The trail wound around the lower left hill to the beach and then back up along a ridge to the summit.

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The monument itself is pretty bland, but makes a good perch for pictures of the island and Elizabeth Harbor.

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This is the north end of Stocking Island.   The direction we will be heading when we sail north in about a month.

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With George Town in the distance, Monument Beach and a tidal salt pool are visible in the foreground.

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Endeavor at anchor off Monument Beach.

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Looking farther down island the two hurricane holes are visible.  The holes are naturally protected inner harbors where mooring balls have been installed.  This allows boats to rent a ball to hide out from nasty weather, like hurricanes.

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St. Francis Resort, on the edge of one of the holes, holds a friendly Texas Hold ‘Em tournament each Tuesday and Thursday.  $5 buy in and all proceeds go back to the top four winners.  We started with 25 players.  I did well my rookie game, making it to the finals table before tapping out.  The top winner came away with $70.  Good entertainment for $5!

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With a forecast of nasty winds on Sunday/Monday we decided to leave the open beach area and move back to protection at Red Shanks.  En route we saw a pod of dolphins playing.  We are disappointed they are not plentiful here.  This same pod has been sighted up and down the harbor the last few days.

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You Can Call Me Ray

Peg’s jaw dropped.  Literally dropped.  Not a common occurrence, especially sitting at breakfast across our saloon table.  The cause was a large sea ray launching itself out of the water between our boat and the next.  Since we were facing each other, I did not catch the spectacle, but turned around to see the large ripples expanding from where it splashed down.

Seeing rays in “the wild”, and jumping ones, is not common around the harbor.  We are accustomed to seeing rays at Volleyball Beach.  The ones there used to people and mooch bits of conch.  They will let you pet them.  The texture of their skin varies from slimy to sandpaper.  One even tried to give my GoPro camera a smooch.

The calm weather today allowed us to scope out the cut between Stocking Island and Elizabeth Cay.  The cut passes tidal water between the harbor and the ocean.  Accessible by dinghy only at high tide, the entrance dries out to a white sand beach at low tide.  Because of the tidal flow the water clarity is much better than in the harbor.  There I passed this large ray, the first I’ve encountered close up while actually snorkeling.  We eyed each other warily, then went our separate ways.