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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! 

3-18 Carolilnes Ring

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 time.

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. . . . .

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