Saturday, April 04, 2009

Manjack to Green Turtle to Guana to Marsh Harbour ...

April 4 - We left Manjack Cay on March 31, a dreary day with flat seas, and we motored at 2300 rpm the 4.14 nm to Fisher's Bay on Green Turtle Cay in an hour.  We got a nice spot just off New Plymouth settlement and went into the Pineapple for a sundowner, where we had a good time talking with some other cruisers.

Next morning, we readied to leave for Guana Cay, which would take us through the Whale Cay channel ... out on the Atlantic for a couple of nautical miles, then back into the Sea of Abaco.  We left, under sail, and enjoyed a wonderful 25 nm sail in just under 5 hours, averaging 5.3 knots, maxing 7.9 knots, and catching a Blue Runner Jack coming out the Whale Channel into the Atlantic ... about 14" and it provided two very nice fillets which Penelope deftly managed to prepare, and for which I deftly managed sushi rolls for two meals +.  Excellent!!

We arrived at Fisher's Bay, Guana Cay, and had our first failure to anchor on the first try, primarily because the chain got jammed and we dropped it in grass, which did not hold.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Rick Clayton, Sojourner, a Catalina 380 from Houson, Texas, appeared and led us over to a spot of sand.  A retired cop, Rick seemed to take great pleasure in helping out folks, whether they appeared to need it or not, and led several other boats into good anchoring spots. 

After we were set, he told us there was a cruisers' potluck at Grabbers that evening ... just bring in a dish (anything), buy your drinks at Grabbers and enjoy.   Before we got things ready, we got a hail from Sojourner: was that our dinghy that Rick had snagged and was saving from drifting away.  Yep, it sure was.  How embarrassing!

The cruisers' potluck was fun, I baked some biscuits (regular and banana nut), and we had a good time, meeting some U.S. cruisers as well as a couple from Germany who keep their boat in the Bahamas.  Rick's wife, Linda, didn't come in, as she's recovering from  ear infection that keeps her in during the evenings.

The next morning we arose thinking about heading off to Marsh Harbour, and when I went to pull in the fishing line I had sitting on the bottom, it had been pulled way out.  As I tried to pull it in, it appeared to be caught around Sojourner's anchor line, but I didn't see how, since only a few feet were out and barely reaching the bottom.  Then I got a hail from Rick ... he was pulling my line, which he'd found wrapped around his anchor line.  He cut it, I reeled it in, he saved the swivel, and Penelope solved the riddle.  When she awoke during the evening, she thought she heard the fishing line going out.  She looked but saw nothing and went to back to sleep imagining it was a dream.  Alas, a bottom fish had snagged the lure and bait, made off with it, and in the process wrapped it around Sojourner's anchor line, whence it broke and the fish was free.  Must have been pretty good size ... the leader was 30 lb +.

Anyhow, once the line was freed, Sojourner headed off to Treasure Cay, we repaired our line, put on a new lure (one I'd gotten in Oriental), and set off for Marsh Harbour.  We had to beat most of the way on tacks with 17-25 knots and maybe gusts up to 30 knots, but we managed the 17.4 nm in 4:30 hours.  When we got just inside the North Man-O-War Channel and tacked back to Marsh Harbour, we still had our fishing line out, and lo-and-behold we hooked what appeared to be another small Jack, but while reeling it in, it jumped the hook.  Great fun, but too bad.

We sidled into Marsh Harbour in early afternoon, dropped anchor very close to where we had been when we left a couple of weeks before, and spent the afternoon and evening relaxing and reflecting on life ... 94.80 nm sailing over the two weeks.  Not bad, and lots and lots of fun!  The only sad thing was that the screen cover on the forward cabin overhead hatch fell a bit prematurely and caught P. on the upper lip.  Poor, poor Penelope! 

April 3, Friday, and Penelope had to leave for Florida.  We lingered, but I got to the taxi stand for the airport at 1:30 ... she went to the airport, and I went to the Out Island Internet office to figure out why I kept getting kicked of their net (which I'd paid for).  Turns out my antenna from Engenius needed a  new driver, but the driver wouldn't work on Windows Vista (another big reason to not buy Microsoft based computers ... I'll get an Apple for sure, next time).  The ultimately solution was a ethernet based Engenius system, which I decided to get.  And, it works beautifully, as though I have DSL on the boat.  Good decision.

Now I'm in Marsh Harbour for four or five days.  My Raymarine C-80 was fixed and shipped back, and I picked it up on Thursday afternoon, when we got back in, only to find that Raymarine had shipped it back without some of the keypads on it and without screwing the whole facing unit back on to the main chassis.  The problem really should have been covered under warranty, but they refused to do that, and then this ... truly unbelievable incompetence.  At the moment, the shop here that represents them is dealing with it, but it's not their fault.  It's really a corporate screw up, and I suppose after the past couple of years of corporate greed and ineffectualness, one shouldn't be surprised if every large American company has floated up to the level of ultimate stupidity ... the Peter Principle at work on a massive scale.

Today, P. gone, I've caught up on email, uploaded a bunch of photos covering the crossing to the Bahamas from North Carolina to Flicka, arranged to do laundry tomorrow at the Marsh Harbour Marina, wiped off salt from all the stainless steel, and visited with Brian and Sheree Harvey on the schooner William H. Albury.  With Yahoo messenger and Skype I've also been able to talk to friends and, most important, to Penelope.


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