March 17-18, 2013
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY!!!!! Dang - don't think I have anything green
aboard to wear. Oh well - I'm half
Irish, that'll have to be good enough!!!
Off to an early start for our crossing to the Abaco Islands
today. Took care of Sailor and normal
morning stuff by 6:45, preparing to convoy out of here by 7:15. Upped anchor right on time and headed on, our
convoy consisting of M/V Boot Scootin, M/V Gemini Dream, S/V Tomorrow's Dawn,
and S/V Sea Misty. Boot Scootin did an
excellent job of leading us thru the "Devil's Backbone" - this is a
very, very skinny section of water that MUST be navigated perfectly to keep
from running aground on some nasty, hard reefs.
Got thru it all with zero problems, and headed on towards Great Abaco Island.
We reached our destination and got anchored just off Lynyard Cay by 2
p.m. The sailboats, running slower than
our 2 motor vessels, will catch us and anchor probably about 2 hours later.
On Monday, we all gathered together and had a late lunch at
Pete's Pub - a fun little place that also had a gallery of bronze sculptures
done by the owner's father. Nice
stuff! Had a wonderful time here, and a
great lunch. Met Caroline - I believe
Danny has lost his "ring game" championship title to her. She actually scored off her forehead!!! Very funny!
And the tip jar on the bar even had to have its own picture
recorded. I won't say much about it here,
nor will I mention what Dave did with it.
There's some things that are better left to the imagination! Let's just say Dave's imagination and sense
of humor are quite like Matt's - scarily so. . . . .
March 19, 2013
Left our anchorage about 10:15 and took a short voyage north
to Hope Town. Tried to get into Hope
Town Marina, but they were full up. Tied
up at the Lighthouse Marina at 12:45 and had to wait for the dockmaster to
return from lunch (about 1). Spoke with
him to see if he could find room for us (they only have 6 slips here!), and he
was able to squeeze us in. We're on the
waiting list next door (Hope Town Marina), and we reserved 2 nights here at
Lighthouse in hopes something will open up there. We walked over to Hope Town Marina - a
beautiful facility, recently expanded and new buildings/facilities added. They've got a bar and restaurant too, which
Lighthouse Marina lacks. We spoke with
the dockmaster here, Sam, who said to contact him in the morning to see if
anything became available. Had a nice
late lunch here and a couple of beers, then back over to the boat for some down
March 20, 2013
Spoke with Sam this morning and he said he had 2 boats
leaving today, so we'll be able to move over to that marina this morning. Took care of the dog and related morning
duties, then went for our 10 minute cruise to our new slip at Hope Town
Marina. Took the Marina's
free shuttle (boat) across to the town of Hope
Town itself to walk around the town. Visited a couple of little shops, did lunch
at a local restaurant, and did a little minor provisioning at the local grocery
store. Called for the shuttle who came
in a matter of minutes to pick us up and return us to the marina. Back at the marina, decided it was time to go
hang out at the pool to cool off a little.
Of the 2 pools available, naturally we chose the one with the swim up
bar! Went and got drinks in the pool and
went to take some pool bar pics when a woman came up and offered to take our
picture all together. She came down
around the other side of the bar, took the camera, and took "a" picture
- and then proceeded to say she "couldn't see anything". I looked a little closer and suggested she
turn the camera around and try again.
(Hee Hee!!) Upon checking the
pictures later on, sure enough, we got a close up picture of her as she was
concentrating on taking our picture! Got
to chatting with her for a while, she's been here more than a month
already. Told us we were the very first
people to be actually sitting at the pool bar!
(Must have started something - saw others using it later on!) She also told us some insider info about the
local lighthouse. We were planning on
going to see it anyway, but we know it's only open during the day to walk up
and look around. Then comes the insider
scoop: Sam (the dock master) is also the
Lighthouse Keeper, and if you talk to him you can probably get permission to
join him in the evening when he goes up to light it up! So - off to find Sam! And sure enough - we joined him just before 8
p.m. and walked up the 101 steps to the top.
He gave us a little history of the lighthouse - it's 150 years old and
still operates in the same way as original.
The weights that spin the light weigh in at about 18 tons and ride on a
bed of mercury. The light runs on
kerosene - like a kerosene lantern. It
takes about 10 minutes to get all warmed up and for the lights to actually fire
up. He then cranks the weights by hand
to get them to start turning the light - much like winding up a grandfather
clock. Took him probably about 5 minutes
to finish the crank job. Now the lights
shine out about 18 miles to keep mariners navigating successfully. Now Sam has to come back up every 2 hours
over night to crank it up again to keep the lights spinning. He is 3rd generation Lighthouse Keeper, and has
a cousin (also 3rd generation) who shares the job with him. Except the cousin is currently away on
vacation, so it's all up to Sam right now!
Hell of a job! Last crank is at 6
a.m., then he gets to rest a little 'till he has to return to his dockmaster
duties at 10 a.m. It was quite an honor
to join him up there - something that won't be forgotten.
March 21, 2013
We're gonna stay here at Hope Town at least 'till Saturday,
awaiting yet another weather front to finish its fun. Had one heck of a storm last night - heavy
winds (heard they were up to 70 knots just off the island), tons of rain, and
lots of thunder and lightning. At least
the boat got a good fresh water rinsing!!
Hanging out, went back into town again today for lunch - went to a restaurant
overlooking Hope Town Harbor. It's really kind of small, but packed with
boats. Those not in the marinas are
mostly on moorings, with a few anchored here and there where they could squeeze
in. Back over at Hope Town Marina, we
wandered up to the bar in the afternoon to hang out and enjoy the boaters'
gathering. Heard Boot Scootin calling us
on the radio - scrambled to grab our handheld radio to talk to them. They and Tomorrow's Dawn are just pulling in
- unfortunately their search for mooring balls was unsuccessful, and they
really couldn't find decent anchoring room.
So they headed outside the harbor to anchor for the night. Later on we were just finishing a yummy rib
dinner on board, and they showed up at our boat having come in by dinghy. Perfect timing - about 7:15: I told Diane (an avid amateur photographer)
about the Lighthouse and Sam, and they high-tailed it over there. We finished cleaning up from dinner and
followed them on over. They made it just
in time to go up for the lighting with Sam - and from all the flashes we saw
from below when we got there, Diane had a great time with her camera!! Afterward, we got the marina shuttle to come
pick us all up (rather than walking the dirt & stone road back in the
dark), and we all sat up at the bar for a while to shoot the breeze. And speaking of breeze, it started getting a
bit cool, and they didn't have sweaters and had to dinghy back out to their
boats, so we split up by about 9. One
more fun day behind us!!
March 22, 2013
Our last day here at Hope Town - gonna be moving on in the
morning. Daniel and I went back over to
the Lighthouse this morning to get some daytime photos. Very picturesque! Met up with Dave & Dianne today - they,
along with Mike and Jean, rented a golf cart late yesterday to explore the
island. They have it 'till 4 this
afternoon, but will be leaving earlier than that, so they turned it over to us
to use when they were done. We had time
to drive around the island (Elbow Cay) and had some explorin' time
ourselves. Grabbed some beautiful views,
and stopped at a few places we had been at last time we were here. Found the cottage we had stayed in, called
"Hidden Cove". Still looked
just the same! Fun afternoon, had lunch
and a few island drinks before returning the cart to it's designated location
and catching the shuttle back over to our marina. Boot Scootin' and Tomorrow's Dawn left today,
but we'll be catching up with them over at Marsh Harbour.
March 23, 2013
Up and at 'em, though not too early. Have a very short trip today (only 8 miles),
so we weren't in a hurry. Pulled out of
Hope Town about 10:30, heading into seas that were a bit bumpy, with a healthy
breeze to back 'em up. Pulled around
towards Marsh Harbour, and (of course!) the steering
decides to go on vacation - again. Well,
Matt's always saying that steering's overrated, so it shouldn't be too much of
a problem. We're heading into Harbor
View Marina - radioed in and got our slip assignment, found the slip and backed
in without too much ado, despite the wind.
Lovely marina, very nice facilities - plus security (a locking gate),
which is a definite plus. The people
running the place are (once more!) so very nice and welcoming - it's a pleasure
dealing with them. We're gonna probably
be hanging here for a while due to (sorry for sounding like a broken record on
this one) bad weather coming in. Boy -
we are so lucky we're not on anything close to a schedule with the way this
weather's been. It feels like we get a
day to travel, then have to find a hole to hide in for at least a few days for
weather to pass, then start it all over again!
Oh well, at least it's in a pleasant location again! We'll manage.
Besides, I'm thinking a little rain with thunderstorms and wind, with
temps in the 70's, is still better than snow, ice and freezing temps! Sorry - just had to throw that in. . . . .