Feb 15-28, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Feb 15 - (If you haven't been to our site recently, you probably want to go to the previous log to catch up.)  I was off yesterday morning in a quest for knowledge. I must explain, I have been to sailing schools and I have many certifications, however, I still didn't have a reasonable explanation of sail trim. Yes, I've purchased books and I even read them, however, they were presented in such a way that they weren't applicable for our boat. Ok, I may be slow but I'm really not that slow.

Today there was a free seminar on sail trim which was presented at St. Francis by one of the cruisers in preparation for the Cruisers Regatta that is coming up in another month. Stan even had props. Can you believe it, the cruiser even had some props so you could understand what he was taking about. Ok, maybe I should have been able to get this on my own and I'm sure every other Gemini sailor knows all about sail trim but then again, why haven't I read about snatch blocks from the mast or why haven't I heard about moving the snatch block out to the stanchion so the sail shape was right? Today I am questioning everything and I hope I can actually translate the information I have been given to the Gemini. Actually, they were presenting for a monohull and the disclaimer was it wasn't for a cat. Well, I guess we will have to change that. Hopefully, I will learn more and present it here. I'm hoping we can sail tomorrow to try some of the principles.

By the way, thanks again Stan for the great seminar! Stan is on  Vespera which is a Jenneau 46. He gives on-boat sail training in addition to this seminar so if you want to contact him it is stansroga "at" sailtraininginc.com or go to his website at www.sailtraininginc.com


 Welcome to the Georgetown dinghy dock. This is the greatest place because you can get free RO water at the dock. Yes, the Exuma Market has provided this so the cruisers will frequent their market and they can get water along with dinghy dockage as well.

After we landed our dinghy, we then went off to Eddie's for lunch. They have a great lunch and they also have good prices. We had a good time at lunch for Valentines Day and then walked up to the market just to check out their jewelry. No, Deb didn't buy anything. Instead, she is starting to look at jewelry so she can make it herself. Now that's what I'm talking about, make your own instead of buying it. Just think, original Freedom jeweler.

After we got back to the boat, we kicked back for awhile and then headed into the beach where "Rockin Ron" and his wife were providing music for the Valentines Day dance. We met up with Mike and Liz to both say Hi and Goodbye. It seems they may be going back north tomorrow.


 It was a pretty good cruisers party and there were dancers everywhere. It seems that everyone here likes to have a good time! Can you imagine that? Everyone who's goal in life is to enjoy it rather than to be "on top" or to "win" or just simply to be the "top dog."

Overall, the people here in Georgetown are having a great time. Some have been here a short time like us and others have been coming year after year and in turn, bring with them their skills and talents to make Georgetown what it is. Rockin Ron and his wife provide music for some of the events and parties. I guess they just love a great party and have the equipment, such as a P. A., so they can provide enjoyment to others. Of course I had a selfish reason for going to the party. Not only did I want to have a good time, I also needed a microphone stand. Guess what? They can get one for me so tomorrow I'll call and they should be able to pick one up at the storage shed for the Regatta. Now I don't have to make one from duct tape, sticks, and stones.

Food was coming out of Chat and Chill for all of the cruisers and along with that a few beverages. People are starting to have a great time!


 Speaking of having a great time, you have to remember Bill and Christy! We've traveled with them a number of times up and down the east coast. I've always heard that Bill doesn't dance. Guess what? Tonight, Bill was dancing. Of course I was taking pictures. Here is hoping that tomorrow he doesn't drill holes in my hull for taking the pictures.

 Deb was having a good time too! We danced some and talked quite a bit but she didn't just dance with me. She was dancing with everyone who would shake a leg. To the right she's dancing with Bev from Scandia and they were having a great time. I think it is a height thing.....

Today, who knows. I guess we will just have to see.......


 Feb 17 - We have had some wi-fi problems because of changes in electrical and just because we are in the islands mon. This morning we were off pretty quickly. I went to town to dump trash, yes, even on a boat you have to worry about things like that. When I got back, I rushed Deb into the dinghy to get to the start of the sailboat race. I took several pictures during the process. It was a family "race" and it was one where they started people in groups. I don't understand the PRF thing and I'm sure the Gemini loaded down with tons of junk and food would be fine but it doesn't compete with some of the boats that are really racers. Especially in 10 knots of wind. We didn't enter because of two reasons. First, I really didn't know much about sail trim before that seminar I went to and second, I was playing tonight and I have to make sure I'm ready for that. I know, excuses, excuses, excuses. Maybe next time.

I also got a picture of some friends on a Manta along with a Gemini that did enter. Yes, they are out there but with the shorter mast and light winds, they didn't do so well.



While I was out floating around in the dinghy at the race, Deb was ashore getting some jewelry making lessons form Isabel on Cassiopeia. Deb loves to shop for jewelry and I think we now have a compromise. She will get the supplies to make her own and that includes lots of shells from the beach. It should be a great time for her and something she is very interested in. It was well worth the bottle of wine we gave to Isabel for her assistance.

After the sail start, I hung out on the beach waiting for Deb and then went into Chat and Chill to get something to drink - lemonade. While I was there, our old friend from the Capital Yacht Club in Washington D.C.  came in with the people she is staying with. You might remember Bess from our travels up to D.C. in September of 2007. We had talked via email and saw here yesterday but didn't know she would be in today. It was good seeing her again along with her hosts, Ken and Linda.

Who is that woman below taking a picture of? Before I get to that, the other people in the picture are Bev and Arnie aboard Scandia. Bev and Deb are the same size so they naturally hit it off. Arnie was giving me a bad time because I don't know the song, I'm going to Kansas City and since I'm from Missouri, I guess I now have to learn it.

The woman in the background is taking a picture of ME.

I was playing at the St. Francis Saturday night and I had heard there were people that were going to be there. I was hoping for a decent size crowd because that always helps when you are pouring your soul out in song. I just didn't know that there would be so MANY. We rocked. Actually, there was a decent size crowd showing up early - I mean a half hour early to get seats. Then they decided over at volleyball beach that since I was playing at St. Francis they would just all come over and announce the results of the sailboat race there. Ok, we had 50-75 people before this announcement and then another 100 came by. I even had some people trying to distract me.

I started at 4:30 and quickly the place filled up. I did my first set and people were singing along having a great time. I think this was one of my best performances because of the number of people that you will see in just a minute. I now know what they mean when they say you get energy from a crowd.


 I don't know what the deck was rated for but people were everywhere! This is about 2/3rds of them because there wasn't room for the rest. They were inside.

I had a great time playing and only took a 10 minute break in the 2 hours I played and sang. It was a pretty good show and in the end I had people up dancing and having a great time. They must have had a good time because only about a third left after the race results were announced.

Once finished with my second set, I talked to people and then had a glass of wine. My rule is always, never drink if you are playing, it really does make a difference. We had lots of fun and met tons of people.

Tomorrow we will be climbing monument hill and going to the beach. Then we will be moving our boat over closer to town to get fuel, water, do laundry, and pick up a few provisions before we hopefully can head south for Long Island and the Jumentos or otherwise known as the ragged islands.

 Feb 18 - On Sunday we awoke a bit late or should I say Deb did. Regardless we were underway by about 11 am for the trek up Monument Mountain. Now being a guy, I was pretty good. I stopped and asked directions when we got to Hamburger beach. Hooray for Jim. Oops, bad directions! We took the LONG way! The guy that seemed to know exactly what he was talking about, didn't.

Instead we ended up on the Peace and Plenty nature path and it was pretty cool. Cruisers had made signs and identified plants and trees along the path. They even told you what was edible but of course it is winter so there aren't any berry's to eat. Regardless, we kept waking and ended up on the beach side. However, we weren't anywhere near our destination. As a matter of fact, we were a good hill away. Down here they would call it a mountain. After collecting a bunch of shells on the beach we started out again on our quest for altitude. The problem was, we were on a "path" that was the less traveled. Several times we had to turn back because it just ended up going nowhere. It ended up we finally met up with the "main" path and then climbed up the mountain. Cruisers had brought down ropes for the less agile which was actually pretty nice of them. Along the way we finally got a picture of the lizards that are leaving trails along the paths with their tails. They have to have very callused tails! I didn't look up why this monument was installed but I did feel sorry for the people that had to carry the concrete up the hill. I wouldn't have wanted to do it but I'll be it was built years ago and the people didn't have a choice.


As we looked to the ocean side, the view was spectacular. There were white caps in the 15-20 knot winds and it would have been a great day for going north. However, we are still going south. By the way, we are just about at the latitude of the northern beach of Cuba. I wonder when we will open up trade there? Lots of people are heading there but not from the US. It is supposed to be a wonderful step back in time.

Looking to the west, I tried to capture a panoramic view from the monument. Boats are everywhere and as I understand it they will double in the next month for the cruisers regatta. I guess things will get more crowded then!


After the nature hike and lunch on hamburger beach, I brought Deb back to the boat. Next I took off again in the dinghy to say bye to Bess from Washington. We talked for awhile at the St Francis and I headed to volleyball beach just in time to take pictures of some of the contestants of the friendly volleyball funny hat competition.

Now I have to believe all of these people have been here before and they have spent their year planning on winning one of these competitions. the picture to the right is of the finalists. The picture to the lower left are some of the people that didn't make the finals. And, finally, the winners. Lower right is the third place winner Mr. Conch hat. Lower lower left is the second place winner, balloon girl and Ta Da lower lower right is the first place winner, Mr. Light House. All won a Kalick beer for their creativity.

When I got back to the boat, we immediately hauled anchor and went over to the town side and hid behind a little island for protection. We are getting ready to go in at 8 for laundry and provision for our next great adventure. Tomorrow therefore is a work day with money going out. Darn. Regardless, we cut our dinghy ride down by about 10 minutes plus I'm now picking up free wi-fi instead of having to pay for it. Enjoy the pictures.

 Feb 19 - We started off the day on Monday by taking care of work. First, I took Deb in so she could start the laundry. While she was doing that, I picked up some diesel and then some gas for the boat. On the way back, the dinghy quit running. Great! Now I've got a problem, I'm floating around and pulling and pulling. Finally by using the choke and a "special" setting of the throttle, I got it to run again. Immediately I knew I had bad gas and most likely water in the fuel. For 12 years this engine has run without a fuel water separator and I just figured it is because I use it so much. Wrong! I barely got it back to our boat. After unloading, I got out the tools and drained the fuel bowl on the carb. This helped but it still ran rough. I drained it again and went to get Deb who should have been done. She wasn't because the lady that runs the laundry showed up at 8:30 instead of 8. We are on Bahamas time. Since I had time, I took off to find out if they had fuel/water separators. I found one for $150 and another one for $42. I picked the cheap one. Next I picked out what I thought were the right fittings and back to get Deb. We made it back to the boat but it was still running bad. I then decided to just get rid of all of the gas in the dinghy so off I went to dispose of it. I took some more fuel with me so I could mix a new batch of fuel and oil. After draining the tank, the line, and the fuel bowl another time, the engine was back to running perfect again. I don't know if that problem came from the station or from the rains we had although I've never had a problem before. Perhaps it is an accumulation. Everything ran great so I then cut the fuel hose and put in the fuel/water separator. This shouldn't happen again.

I made a couple more trips in for some more gas and carried water so we have all our liquids in shape. Next I checked on our propane tank which I took in to be filled 5 days ago. First, they were out of propane. Now, they have propane but the guy who fills it is off island at a funeral. I was told this morning it might be filled by this afternoon. However, upon checking, this afternoon they said it would be at least Wednesday afternoon. We almost feel we are being held hostage for propane and the perfect weather window opens Tuesday. I should have about 7 days of propane left in my tank for the refrigerator and I also have the 10 pound tank I normally use for our grill that Gary gave me back in Key West. (He found it in a garbage can but it worked.) I checked the threads and everything mated up so I now have enough propane for about 12 days. I'll pick up my tank when I get back. By the way, there are about 40 tanks sitting in there and people aren't all saying the nicest things. Welcome again to the Bahamas. No problem Mon.

Tuesday we are off to Long Island and the Jumentos. Just so you know, the Jumentos are known as the ragged islands and I think it is because they are small and uninhabited. Typically, not very many cruisers go there but there is a group of us heading to Long Island and at least two of us going on down. I'm on a quest to find my friend Gary's airplane he had an accident in down on Flamingo Cay.  In addition, since not as many people visit, the fishing is supposed to be great. Hopefully we will have pictures and great stories when we return. As you can probably figure out, we will not have wi-fi during this phase of our trip so, that means simply that I'll be updating but you won't see it. Sorry. I'm thinking we will be back to Georgetown in about a week. We will see you when we get back.


 Feb 25 -  What a trip so far. We celebrated another sunset in Georgetown on the beach at Sand Dollar with a bunch of cruisers again. Sunday afternoon, we moved our boat over next to the town so we could easily get fuel, water and a few more provisions. That afternoon after getting everything set, we heard this plane and I was able to get the pictures below of the seaplane landing. Back in the day when I used to fly, there was this thing called the hundred dollar hamburger. You took off from an airport, flew over to another one that had a restaurant and then got lunch. Next you flew home and many times there were several planes in the group. By the time you added up all the expenses it was probably a hundred bucks. Well the people in the seaplane, after landing, taxied between all the boats up to the beach to go pick up a hamburger at Chat and Chill on Volleyball beach. I'm thinking this one was a 500 to a 1,000 dollar hamburger.

Monday, we provisioned and then moved back to Sand Dollar for our departure on Tuesday. We are off to Long Island first and it should be with a group of about 6-8 boats.


 We motored out at about 7:30 on Tuesday and headed for the southeast entrance to the harbor. You have to take a specific course because of the coral heads in the area. Fortunately, with GPS, this is now fairly easy. It ended up that we were following that tall ship that I took pictures of last week. He was leaving too so we all just played follow the leader.

After we got out of the harbor, we put out the fishing lines. I only caught a barracuda again but I figured you might be interested in the teeth. You really don't want this guy to bite you when you are taking out the hook!

We were able to motor sail close to the wind today and I used the snatch block off of the mast again to pick up another .4 knots on the way to Long Island. With our cat, you really need all the help you can get going to windward and the snatch block idea has proven itself a number of times.

Below right you can see Long Island off of our port bow. The water here is beautiful aqua colored and fairly shallow.


 On the way over, we found there were  other boats on the way too. I think there were three groups of boats that had decided to go to Long Island today. As we got outside Georgetown, we heard Bev on Scandia announce they were going to try and put together a dinner and wanted to know who might be interested. Deb and I got on the list when there were only about 10 or so people going. Everyone kept calling her and in the end, there were 44 people who wanted to go to dinner that night. The lead boat made a call and it got relayed through a person on shore to the owner of the restaurant. They could handle us. Wonderful, a quaint dinner with 44 people. Bev decided that we should arrive a bit early and have happy hour with me playing. So, people were everywhere, I sang my heart out but this time with no P.A. Oh well, it was fun and I only played about 45 minutes before dinner was ready.

Club Thompson Bay put on a great feast for us. We had Ribs, chicken, lobster, fish along with all the fixings on the side. It was truly delicious and it was only $14 per person for the dinner. Of course drinks were extra. We had a great night and were looking forward to exploring the next day.


 Wednesday we took the dinghy in and found "town" which is made up of a combination post office, hardware and ladies fashion store. In addition, there is a grocery store here that is actually better than the one in Georgetown.

As we were walking along it was hard to miss the tree to the left. This is the way they look and it is alive. Seemed pretty weird to me. We found another one with some great flowers on it that had bloomed and leaves were starting out.

Below is a picture of the grocery store along with a number of cruisers coming and going. Long Island is 70 miles long so you really do need a car here. We ended up taking the dinghy down to another dock about a mile or so further south to head to the marine store.


During our walk, we were able to get some great pictures of the sea from the hills in the area. The views are truly spectacular with the color of the water.

It is also clear that the people who live here take great pride in their homes and landscaping. You can see a couple of homes below. 


 Typically there are about 10-12 boats anchored at this location on Long Island. However, we were in a group that made up 22 boats so on this particular day, the number was easily in the 30's.

We were trying to get some fresh fish and had already been on a wild goose chase but ultimately found the Atlantic Fisheries. I picked up a couple of pounds of grouper and we had some of it a few nights later. It was delicious.

That evening, we all gathered on the beach for a fire and of course more talk and a little drink. We had heard that morning listening to the weather on our shortwave receiver there was to be a full eclipse of the moon that night. This happened to be a big topic of conversation.

I almost forgot. Since I now had my reciprocal license for the Bahamas in hand, I was able to "work" my first three contacts on my ham radio. Pretty cool talking to New York, Georgia and Florida on 5 watts of power. Conditions were perfect in the afternoon and they couldn't believe I was only using 5 watts and out on a sailboat.


 The fire ended up being quite a bit of fun and we were saying goodbye to people we had met and saying hi to new cruisers.

As I mentioned, the talk was also of the eclipse. So, I just had to take way too many pictures of the moon. If you didn't see it, you will now.


 Deb and I were up on the front deck covered in a blanket staring up at the moon for about an hour. It was a great time. As you know, my Aunt Sandy always says, "having a great time, wish you were here."

 Thursday we were off. The weather is presenting us a window of time that allows us to head down to the Jumentos which are the ragged islands. Nobody lives on the islands here and there are warnings in all the guides that if something happens, you are on your own. We were traveling with four other boats and we were heading for Flamingo Cay. I thought the others were going to Water Cay but it ended up they came on down as well. From Long Island, we first motor sailed about 4 1/2 hours until we turned the corner. Now we are in about 15 knots of wind on a beam reach. I put some of my new sail trim knowledge to work and we were moving pretty good for a loaded cruising boat pulling a dinghy. We were making between 5.5 and 7 knots as the wind varied in intensity through the day.

The picture to the lower right shows the waves that were coming at the side of our boat. This was before the winds had built and by the time the afternoon was done they had built to 3-4 feet. Again, we are on a beam reach which means to the non-sailors that the waves are hitting us broadside. I had a board down on the starboard side which helped steady us some and provided more directional control but it was a rough ride. The reason it was so rough is it is shallow here and the waves just can stretch out. Instead they are about as wide as our boat so the ride is rough. Regardless, the boat did great and we were sailing towards our destination.


 We made our 57 miles in 9 hours and 30 minutes and that is from starting to pull the anchor to anchor being set. It was nice to quiet down for the evening!

I cooked a fish casserole from part of the grouper and it was delicious.


 I think I mentioned that we are here on a mission. My friend Gary had crashed a seaplane about 12 years ago on Flamingo Cay. We were here because he asked me to see if I could find it and bring him something back.

Initially, we weren't looking in the right place but ultimately we found the plane. To get there we had to take a path that ended up being very pretty. Rough rocks but it took us inland and we passed some salt ponds. In some of the ponds we saw these shrimp that you see to the lower left and right. I'm not used to seeing shrimp out during the day because they aren't too quick and would quickly be eaten by predators. Since there aren't any predators in the salt pond, I guess they hang out all day and night looking for food.


 We were also seeing numerous lizards. These guys aren't afraid of you unless you get within about a foot of them. That meant I was able to get a few good closeups.

At the end of the path we looked right and guess what we found on the beach. Gary's plane. Someone had already stripped most of it but I did get some things I hope Gary will be happy with. I'm not telling him here because they will show up in a box once I get to the states and can mail them.

You can see the nose on the beach and the plane fuselage is under water here.


 I took a number of pictures so he could see it and have more I'll send on a CD.

Saltwater and time are not friends to airplanes that are underwater. This one showed the signs of corrosion in addition to people salvaging anything that might be salvaged.


 I was able to flip the nose section over so I could get these pictures too. You can see where many instruments have been removed along with anything else of value or desire. Essentially it is just scrap metal now.

We were there at about half tide and are going back on Saturday at low tide to see if there is anything on the fuselage I can get off.

Before I left, I had used my tools appropriately and turned the nose back over for future cruisers to wonder what happened. I actually told the story to a boat named Magic and he had wondered if it had something to do with drugs or a Coast Guard chase. Of course it didn't, just a bad wave on takeoff.


 On the way back, we stopped and took some pictures of the cactus that are growing along the path. These are very pretty and I hope you can see the beautiful flowers that are blooming. I was able to get a couple of macro shots and the one to the lower right was my best. At the time we were getting eaten up by mosquitoes so I didn't stick around long.


 I know I said I wouldn't talk about my anchor anymore but my Rocna, Rocks. The reason I took this picture is you can see a standard anchoring technique when you have surge. The wind is actually blowing straight into my port side and you can just make out the bridle I made up that attaches to the forward cleat on the port side and the rear cleat. The reason for this is that the wave surge is coming from the direction the boat is pointed which is different from the wind direction. This change made it very comfortable to be on the boat.

Below left is a picture of one of those Gecko's that has lost his tail. Oops, I guess someone wanted it more than he was willing to allow to take.

Below right is the entrance of a cave that we are about to dinghy into. Isn't this life so cool. Seeing things you have only dreamed of while being so warm you might actually be sweating if you weren't swimming. Sorry for everyone that is up north. Shorts and tee shirts are pretty cool.

So into that cave we went, you really should go in at about mid tide otherwise you might just drag that engine. When we got inside, you can see the three picture spread I put in so you can get an idea of the vast area of this cave. Sorry, I really don't have the desire on the boat to make them perfect. Regardless, it was really cool with about 5 different places for light to come in and the cave was really interesting. We didn't see any bats however we had heard there were some that lived in the cave. I kept thinking about the possibility of having to get one out of Deb's hair.  
 More pictures of the light rays that were coming in from the top. I wonder how many years it took for the water to wear away at the rock so that the light can come in? I guess time will ultimately take everything down to nothing but isn't it amazing that we are experiencing nature right now at this time and space.  

 This is a picture of the entrance of the cave from inside the cave. After we went through the cave, we took off snorkeling on the south side of the island on an absolutely beautiful reef. Most of it was still alive and I missed a shot of a great grouper.

After lunch, we took off to the north area of the anchorage. We went through a cut and got to the beach where Gary's plane is located. We tried to get there at low tide so we could get some pictures and perhaps some more artifacts. Again, I'm not talking about what we were able to take, but given the corrosion, it is pretty cool and proves it is Gary's plane...... I gave too much away. Oops.


Next we are off snorkeling and guess what? Conch's are everywhere. We found some and everyone else found lots. I kept one because there were already too many for everyone to eat. Now I haven't cleaned a conch yet and went to shore to find out how. Mathew and Gale showed me how to clean conch and I helped on several of them. In the end, I took several and they came back with some more because I volunteered to make Conch salad for everyone that was coming for happy hour.

Also, I had shot a Schoolmaster Snapper and I just had to clean it too. This was my first shoot and it was a good fish. It was enough to feed us for a meal and I could have easily shot more. I just needed to confirm it was edible before I would shoot anymore.

After we were back to the boat, I cleaned up the conch and threw over the small remains. Guess who wanted those remains. Yes, sharks were swimming in the anchorage now. Isn't cruising in the Jumentos cool?

We headed in for happy hour and I had prepared a great Conch Salad. For those that don't know, a conch salad is made up of raw conch, thinly sliced tomatoes, green peppers, onions, goat peppers (I think they are hotter than jalapeno's), lime juice, and some salt and garlic. It is truly delicious. Later we touched it up a bit with some dill and made it even better.

Well, there were some rays swimming next to the beach too since they were also looking for that cleaned conch. I guess we shouldn't have thrown so much in the water given we now have stingrays and sharks swimming right next to the beach and we all have to get back in our dinghy's again.

On Sunday morning, we were headed north. Our salvage operation was over and we are about to run out of propane. We left a propane tank in Georgetown and we are almost out on our second tank. We have that 10 pound tank that Gary found in a garbage bin and gave us that we filled and it works but we are hoping we won't need it. So we headed the wonderful distance of 11 miles to Water Cay. On the way, I saw these dolphins jumping out of the water. I thought is was a show down in Florida. Instead, a group of them must have schooled up some smaller fish and they were coming up from under them and feeding. I really can't believe I actually caught this picture on my pawn shop camera but I did. Fortunately, I had a camera ready.

When we anchored, we were right next to two star fish. They just hang out. I guess they think they are just stars in paradise. This has to be one of the most beautiful anchorages we have been in since we went cruising. The water is so clear, it is amazing!

 After our traditional anchor watch, which is just to see how the boat will react at this anchorage, we took off to do some shell hunting. Little Water Cay is about a mile away and we went there by dinghy. It has a beach that is on the ocean side and we have heard you can find sea beans and good shells.

In addition, there is a blow hole which you see below although not much was blowing today because the winds were down along with the waves.

Deb and Gail were busy looking for sea beans and as I understand it, they float over from Africa. At this point they hadn't found any so I went further a field looking for that elusive bean. Based on the footprints in the sand, someone had already been here so we weren't too optimistic.

 In addition to all the lack of great shells, we where beginning to think we were on a snipe hunt. I spotted what might be a bean wedged between two rocks and after making a tool from a piece of wood, I was able to dig away the sand and get the thing out between the two rocks.

Now I have a sea bean. I think it feels like your birthday, you are a year older but you really don't feel any different.

Deb was hot and already on her way back so I climbed out of this mess of rocks and caught up with her and we went back to the boat. Mathew and Gail stuck around an ultimately found some more beans higher up on the beach. I wondered if they felt any different?

 As we were dignifying back, I saw a shark in our anchorage and I hadn't cleaned a thing. It looked like he was hunting for food along the bank. If you ever wondered if sharks get close to the shore, you shouldn't be wondering anymore!

This one was about 4 foot long and we followed him around for awhile in our dinghy so I could get these pictures. Since I was standing up in the dinghy I was hoping I wouldn't fall out but I would probably scare him for than I was afraid of him. Besides, Mathew told me that their favorite saying when teaching scuba in the Caribbean was, "Don't worry about the sharks unless you are swimming with your favorite ham tied to you." He also told me that the best way to avoid a shark is to stab your dive buddy and the shark will leave you alone. Well, Deb wouldn't be too happy with that now would she.

 Nope this isn't a picture of the shadow of our dinghy. Well, then again, maybe it is. I just couldn't believe how clear the water was here. You can make out all the sea grass growing on the bottom and we are in 7 foot of water right now. Again, it is truly spectacular.

We had the Allisio's over for happy hour and had some great conversations before they went back to their boat. Then I got the boat ready for departure the next morning. I am planning on leaving early on Monday for the trip back to Georgetown. I will be going through the shallow Hog Cay Cut and I want to make it at about high tide which is supposed to be at 11 am. I just need to hit the cut between 10 and 12 to be extra safe. I should be able to make it even at low tide because there is bit over 3 feet of water there and we draw 3 feet with our rudders down. My thinking is, why not use all the tools at your disposal if it is possible. I guess we will see in the morning.

 I was up early as usual and finished the boat preparations and started the engine just before 6:20 am. Engine start is Deb's signal to get up and come out to help by driving the boat while I pull the anchor. Even in calm winds now, we have to motor to get the anchor out. It simply sticks too well for me to pull it out by hand.

We were underway at 6:25 and I had the main sail pulled up as we were leaving the anchorage. There are very light winds today but they were giving us a boost of a few tenths of a knot up to a half a knot. Free energy.

The sunrise was once again beautiful and it is always something to celebrate. This will be our last look at the Jumentos for this trip and many people have told us they were surprised we were able to make it down here on our first trip. To me, it was a pretty easy trip but the weather cooperated wonderfully. Tomorrow night, another cold front is on its way so we will be nicely tucked in up in Georgetown where we will have protection you can't find in the upper Jumentos.

Below you see the pictures as we approach the Hog Cay Cut. To many, this is not a place to go through.


 As Stephen Pavlidis states, "Hog Cay Cut, although being of the trickiest cuts to maneuver through safely, will reward you with the opportunity to cruise the western side of Great Exuma." Ok, when someone prints this in the most respected cruising guide for the Exumas, I pay attention. Deb was worried but I told her that since we have that wonderful Gemini with the shallow draft we would be fine. Of course I was also counting on my timing for the high tide. We approached the cut and rolled in our head sail then slowed down the engine so we would go through it at about 4 knots. What concerned me was a rock that is underwater at high tide. We were early so the rock in the picture to the left wasn't under water. Good thing it is clear water, this one would have cut our hull pretty good and I really don't want to test out that pump I have for that type of occasion.

We got through the bad part and then headed through the cut. You can read the water easily down here and we never saw less than 6 feet of water but then again we were only a half foot from high tide. Therefore, it would have been 4 foot if not for the tide.

You can see Deb below with the headsets on. We haven't used these in 3 or 4 years so I had to change the batteries before we got here. I stood up front and told her which way to steer and she was back there being way too tense. I kept taking pictures and had a great time going through a cut that is considered dangerous. Thanks to the Gemini, it was a piece of cake.


  We arrived back in Georgetown on a beautiful day, set our anchor and then headed into town. I was looking for that propane bottle that just had to be filled since it has been there for two weeks and Deb wanted to go look at jewelry so she can copy it. I first went to see if the tank was ready and to my surprise tanks were EVERYWHERE and none were filled. I explained to the lady that I had left it two weeks ago and finally found it. Not filled. Great! I've become a pretty mellow guy down here in the Bahamas and since I'm about to loose my refrigeration, I simply asked when the propane would arrive. Before I tell you the answer, you have to remember that I was told before we left the propane was here and the guy who filled it was off at a funeral. Now I'm being told that they don't have propane. No problem Mon. Ultimately I was told it should be Thursday. We will be out by then and will switch to the "Gary Tank" and have three to four days before we are completely out. So goes life, we need to defrost the thing anyway and we do have the Engle so if we have to, we will just move the stuff into a cooler and go on. No problem Mon.

Next I tried to price a new dinghy engine. I had problems again with mine down in the Jumentos and was able to fix it but it is breaking too often. I'm thinking it may be time for a new one. Problem is they can't get a 5 hp here because their distributor doesn't carry them. I may have a line on a 6 hp (Paul) but I have to get back to Kentucky and I really don't know if mine will last that long. I will check in Nassau next and see what happens since it would be great to get a 2 stroke instead of a 4 stroke.

We are back on the boat and if you read this, it means I just completed the biggest update yet. We had a great time in the Jumentos and we will hang out here for awhile then we are starting back north. Schedule? Who knows? We are now shooting for being in the States sometime first of April or ?

 Feb 27 - We came back to Georgetown for two reasons. First to avoid the next front and second to hear Chris Parker talk about weather. No, not the fact that it rains, sun shines and there is wind. Rather, Chris Parker is the guru of sailing weather for the bahamas. He has many, many people who pay him each year so they can talk to him about their routes. It ends up that we weren't the only ones going to the seminar. We arrived about 30 minutes early and were able to sit on the ledge of the front porch. Many, many more arrived before it started.

Below you can meet Chris and he has also cruised these waters for years and now has a shore side home as he works a bit more so he can go cruising again. As you can tell from the picture in the middle, we had a full house. He started out explaining the basic energy transfer of weather and then went into many more specifics. I learned quite a bit and really appreciated the opportunity to participate in our morning seminar, lunch, and afternoon seminar too.


 This morning, I went over for a couple of hours to help a fellow Gemini owner with problems he has had on his boat. We fixed his VHF radio, watermaker and also, hopefully, taught him some things about the electric systems on his boat.

Meet Larry and John. Larry has a great wife who will be joining him in a few days but when she isn't here, John comes down and hangs out and has a great time in all the tropical waters where Larry happens to be. They are great people and I enjoyed helping them out. Plus, Larry gave me a very nice gift before I left that was way beyond my expectations.

 Here we are, Deb and I, walking down the street on an island in the Bahamas heading to do laundry and who is walking towards us? Bill Gary. Ok, you might not know Bill unless you are from the marina Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky. Bill and Betty own the wonderful marina. This is such a small world.

Bill and Betty shipped their boat south a couple of years ago and have been bringing it back up the Caribbean islands during the winter. It just happened on this day of this month in this year, we happened along them making their way back to their house in Punta Gorda, FL. After we finished doing laundry, Deb and I joined them on the back of their boat for about a 2 hour catching up conversation. What great people! We had so much fun and are really looking forward to getting back to Green Turtle Bay this summer for some more conversations with like minded people. We should be up there around the middle of July but as in all plans, who knows?

Tonight a front should move through at about 3 am. We didn't get back to the boat early enough to move for north protection but so goes life. We did have a great pot roast tonight in our pressure cooker and will move in the morning. It should only be about 16-18 knots which is only about 20 mph so not a big deal. By the way, I'm playing my guitar again on Saturday night so we should be having a good time again at the St. Francis.


 Feb 29 - For the last two days, I've been working on other people's boats but unfortunately, not being successful. I was unable to find the stray current which was causing accelerated eating of a zinc on one boat and I was also unable to successfully fix an Onan Generator because I eliminated everything except the control circuit board and we don't have one for the second boat. In each case, I taught them quite a bit about their electrical systems but unfortunately what they really wanted was a fix and I couldn't pull that rabbit out of my hat. Darn!

This morning, I also went to an insurance seminar and it seems I made the right decision going with IMIS for our insurance and going with the better policy known as Jackline for people who are living aboard and cruising. It provides exactly what I wanted when I selected it which means I can get expanded cruising areas to include the entire world if I want and also I have personal liability which typically comes with home ownership but since we don't own a home, that was a problem for us. If I messed up and hit a car with my bike, I wasn't covered for what could happen. Perhaps I'm paranoid but I've had a reasonable liability policy ever since someone threatened to sue us when they got their ribs hurt, from their own stupidity, when we were being nice and trying to teach them to waterski. Long story. Anyway, we are happy and saving lots of money over our old insurance with Boat US.

Tomorrow, I have to change oils and take Deb into town for a bit. Then tomorrow night I'm playing at the St. Francis again so I hope we will give the deck a bit of a workout again. It has been blowing 20-25 knots for the last two days and tomorrow it will be back down to 15. Hopefully, people will be restless and will be coming ashore for a good party.

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