April 15-31, 2010 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Apr 15 - Wow, I thought that last half month wouldn't end with all the pictures. I do think I overcompensated.

We are still in Marsh Harbour because of the winds but are quickly getting ready to get out of here tomorrow. More about that later.

Yesterday we headed in with some new friends you've met, Nolan and Bre. They were going to introduce us to an artist they have known over the last 6 times they have been over to the Abaco's. To day Don is an artist is very true and to say he is a character is an understatement.

He liked people and his organizational structure around his shop and work areas is one that an artist would understand.

Below you can see Don in his front yard and he is working on three different pieces out here. On top is a swordfish sitting on a table he is building out of a large porthole and leaning up against all of that is a table he is inserting inlays into. To the lower right you can see him sanding on the sailfish's bill.


He is located just off of Memorial Plaza and in addition to his outside display he also uses the lower portion of his house as a display and workshop.

He makes sculptures from wood, or makes plugs that he then pours in bronze, silver, or gold. Right now he's not doing much in gold because of the gold price. He also makes jewelry and most all of his art has a sea theme.

Like I said, Don is a great guy to get to know and he doesn't mind you stopping by as long as you don't mind that he continues on working. Although you can see below he has stopped his Brain Surgery.
This is the sculpture that welcomes you in his front yard. Are you thinking Jaws?
In his backyard, there are a number of banana trees along with a number of other trees.

Then we returned back to the boat and I made my first Mac and Cheese Bahamian style. Deb said it was better than what she had at lunch and we took it into a Bahamian who said don't change a thing. So, you will find the recipe coming up on my recipe page in a day or two. Yum, Yum.


Today we did chores watching the wind blow, did laundry, and that was about it. We are ready to sail tomorrow and should get down to Little Harbour which is the southern most point of the Abaco's. We are going there because there is a foundry down there that does wax loss castings. Something I'm getting interested in and I guess we will have to see what that brings in the way of an education and the pictures. I think they have wi-fi so I guess we will see when we get down there. So far, we haven't paid for wi-fi over here using free connections at either restaurants or what we can pick up on our antenna and booster on the boat.

More in a couple of days.

 Apr 20 - This is actually an update from the 16th-20th.

I took off for a walk the day before we left because the winds were still wrong and they were having a festival in Marsh Harbour. This reminded me of a church picnic we used to help with but still it was a big deal in Marsh Harbor. As a matter of fact the Head Guy, forgot his title was supposed to be there. I didn't arrive in time for the speeches - not necessarily a bad thing - but was in time for some entertainment. These kids were really getting into some music that was supposed to be native to the area. It did have a good rhythm.

Below you can see they had a bunch of displays set up to promote agriculture on the islands. I think this is for both self sufficiency and as a business prospect. It ends up they import tons and tons of french fries and if they just grew potato's and set up a slicing factory they could cut out millions of dollars of money flowing out. They also had the requisite displays of goats, pigs, and even the above ground planter set up as an example.

The guys lower right are the big wigs being taken through the booths and introduced to the people. This was a big deal for each person in a booth.


The police band played next and they were good. I'm telling you the guy playing the trumpet and trombone were very good along with the singer. Great music and feel for who is the focal point during a song. Very good musicians.

Below you can see more of the "big wigs" on tour.

I took this picture of the Albruy model of a half sailboat. The workmanship was beautiful.

That afternoon you can see that we were happy to be out of there the next day. Deb and I have spent too long with the winds here and are ready to go. It seems that when we are in a place for more than 3-4 days we are ready to go. I can't imagine some of the people that spend 4-6 months in Marsh Harbour as a member of the Marsh Harbour Yacht Club. Perhaps that just isn't for us at this time, maybe in 10 years..

We sailed south the next day and headed for Little Harbour. This is the home of Pete's Pub along with the foundry and gallery.

I'll get to the history in a bit but I found it a remarkable contrast in art styles between Don Wood and the are we were seeing here at Little Harbour. I found Don Wood's art to be a bit more eccentric and the castings at Little Harbour more lifelike and with a story in them. An example is the two photo's below. The one of the left is a lion holding onto a fish while an eagle is trying to steel it from the lion. You don't know who won but you can imagine the action and desire for survival. The to the lower right was essentially a bronze casting of the old man and the sea. In both cases, action was portrayed very effectively. Clearly, I'm not an art critic but found it very interesting to note both styles and enjoyed them both.

The pictures below these are of a hammer head shark outside the gallery and then one of a casting in process.

I hope you can read the picture to the right.

We came down to Little Harbour because I wanted to see the foundry. You can imagine my disappointment when it wasn't open. That just didn't stop me however. Instead, I found a way through the rear where it was open and no signs saying death to those who enter.

What I knew was Randolph Johnston had sailed in here years ago and after he was here for a while moved into a cave which you will see later. He was an internationally known artist who was renowned for his lost wax casting in bronze. I wanted to see the way it was done and without a guide, I could still figure most of it out.

One of the first things you have to do is make a plug for a mold and that may be done in a number of different mediums including wax, clay, and a combination of wood covered in plaster of paris. You can see an example of a mold below and the end product to the right.

Then below that you can see a plug from wax of a head and we saw a number of molds made from that plug that were then bolted together and filled with wax. Once you have the wax inside the mold, you then take off the mold and use some combination of silica and water and using many coats, create another mold that can stand the "heat." You know, if you can't stand the heat then get out of the foundry.

Now comes the fun part. All you have to do is to melt out the wax then pour in some pretty hot bronze. Sounds simple doesn't it but I can totally imagine there is more to this than meets the eye. Regardless, when you are finished pouring either the one piece object or two sides that would be joined by welding with bronze rod's it is time for cleanup and finish work. Then of course all you need to do is find a buyer and sell the work. The good thing is that when you have something that sells, all you need to do is pour more wax and repeat the process.

The picture to the lower, lower right is of the kiln which heats things up a bit.

 To the left is a plug of a Marlin which was outside and deteriorating.

One thing I can tell you without reservation is the details in each model are amazing. The other thing I can say is that this foundry would never be allowed in the states because OSHA would shut them down in a microsecond. No chemicals were labeled, electrical violations, safety violations too numerous to mention, but the bottom line was it didn't matter here. Quality work was created and presented with no injuries.

The other thing interesting was that tools and everything were just sitting out. Crime here is nonexistent and that was a very pleasurable experience.

 Randolph Johnston passed away in 1992 but hiss son Pete is also a well known artist. Pete takes care of the art work now along with the Pub known appropriately as Pete's Pub. Pete's son runs the pub now and Pete is full time in the art end of things.

You can see that the pub is a great cruiser hangout and you will meet both the locals and fellow cruisers in the area. Deb had fun playing domino's with some of the locals while we were there.

 Once you pass through the Pub, you will cross a walkway to the Atlantic Ocean. The waves were coming in and we went exploring. We found some sea glass and overall had a great time.  
 To the left and below you can see the cave that became Pete's home years ago. I'm sure they built up a floor but I guess it worked out before the built some structures on the opposite side of the harbour. I was told that the bar is built from the wood from the original sailboat which the family arrived with.
I am pretty certain that Deb would not have been too happy living in the cave although getting fresh air wasn't a problem here.

 I got the last pictures before I went back to the boat and pulled out getting out of there and on to an anchorage about 4 miles north. We then went sea glass hunting on shore and exploring some of the beaches. It all worked out good and we enjoyed the day. Then yesterday as I was getting ready to put the dinghy engine away in the aft locker, the cover slammed down on my back in the wind. What really hurt was the bolt for the latch, with a nut on it but extending down an inch, hit me right on the spine. My eyes crossed and I was seeing a bit double. At that point, I decided we weren't going anywhere. Good thing too because it rained all day after that. I took some stuff and today my back feels better but still.

We left this morning and motored up to Tahiti Beach which is off of Lubber's Cay and set anchor. We plan on exploring the beautiful beach later this afternoon at lower tide. We also discovered a great wi-fi signal and that is why we can update today.

We will probably leave in the morning and head back up to Hopetown.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

 Apr 21 - Yesterday we took off from our anchorage and headed out to lunch. I saw this place called Cracked P's on the way in to the anchorage so we just got in the dinghy and headed over that way. It was obvious they were unique as you read the board for the specials.

They had some great signage on the way in too such as: You're in the Bahamas, slow down, If you are in a hurry, go someplace else, The dogs are fine, it's the chef you have to worry about. You get the idea. Evidently, they named the place after a guy who had a history and part of it was that he didn't have too many clothes and the story goes that he may have been the first nudist on the island.


 From the restaurant you could see our boat. Well, it's out there about 2 miles away. The other thing you might notice is the clouds and they were only about an hour from producing rain. Remember the part that said if you are in a hurry to go someplace else? We almost made it back before getting drenched.

They had these pictures on the wall so I naturally had to take a picture rather than buying them at about 200 bucks each. The one on the left is the entire area of the Abaco's and the one to the right is the primary area we've been cruising within. From the top at Green Turtle Cay to the bottom of Little Harbour it is about 35 miles so you can see why it is so easy to enjoy yourself here. As you look at the map, you can see the red dots. We've anchored at all of the red dots along with a few other places too.

 We anchored off of Tahiti Beach which you can see in the picture to the left. Palm trees and a beautiful sand beach.  

 This is another view but from a different direction. I took the dinghy over and walked the beach then cleaned up the bottom of the dinghy before our afternoon visit to Abaco Inn.

As it turned out, Jorge from Calypso Cat came in and told us that there was music at the bar tonight. We just had to head in - another place we haven't been to.

When we arrived the first thing I noticed was this part from an old space rocket. As it turns out, this floated up on the beach after one of the space shots. Who knows which one but I found it cool with the honeycomb structure and fiberglass that was used for the structure.


 As you can see, the Atlantic side had impressive seas and a beautiful view.

Overall the music was just ok and I was thinking that my friends, John, John, and I could be making some good music over here but that will just have to wait for another day. Next time however, I think I'm going to be a bit more aggressive about finding some places to play.

We arrived back at the boat just before dark and are looking forward to heading a whopping 3.5 miles up to Hopetown again tomorrow. We will check out the winds and see if we will stay one or two days then sail back over to Marsh Harbour as I said to get propane, pick up some water, and also do a bit of laundry before heading on up north to wait for a weather window that will allow us to cross back to the states. Once we get to Green Turtle Cay it will take two additional days to get to West End where we will cross. We will probably hang out at Green Turtle Cay where we can get wi-fi and get the weather looking for the right window to get across. We are short timers now with about 2 weeks before we need to head back and start our trip up the coast.

  Apr 23 - It rained almost all day on Wednesday so we didn't move. Then at 4:15 it cleared and the wind was from the south. Deb said, "Let's go ahead and go to Marsh Harbour." You see we had talked to Scandia and wanted to talk to them about New Bern, NC. I've heard great things from a number of people and we are planning on stopping there on the way up to see the area and get an idea if it should go on our possibilities list for were we might want to settle in 4 or so years. So, we pulled anchor and had one of the most wonderful sails for the next hour and 45 minutes. We had everything from a beam reach on the starboard to wing-on-wing and then on to a beam reach on the port. Great sailing and great sail handling allowed me to sail all the way into the harbour until we were going into the wind. It isn't a good idea to tack through a crowded harbour single handed which is really how I sail.

We got anchored in 4 feet of water and enjoyed the late afternoon sail. Yesterday, I got the propane filled, we did laundry and of course we talked to Arnie and Bev about New Bern. It should be an interesting visit.

I got a notice today about the Gemini gathering up in the Chesapeake but the bottom line is we aren't rushing up there so we won't make it this year. Perhaps another year. I'm planning on making a stop to visit my friends Garry and Shirlene where we might do a bit of work on my outdrive-it sometimes gets some water in it so the seal needs to be replaced. After 4000 hours I can understand why. Then up to New Bern where we will probably stay 3 weeks to a month while also heading back to St. Louis and Omaha to visit friends, family, and of course those annual checkups with the doctors. Then on to New York, Long Island, Cape Cod and probably Boston for the hot part of summer. I guess we will just see how it all goes. Perhaps we will be there for the 4th of July celebration by the Statue of Liberty.

Another front is to arrive on Tuesday but not a big deal except for the wind shift. We will then be on hold until the winds clock around and we can then cross. It could be a week or even two but when it happens, it will happen. In the meantime, I'll try and find some places to get new pictures and stories. That's our update and I'm running out of this glass of wine so I have to post this and get going to the grocery for fresh veggies.

 Apr 24 - What can I say. Marsh Harbour reminds me of those days when you are just out to do chores in a familiar surrounding and you are simply into the day to do the chores. You go through the motions but then what is there? Perhaps we will get back to that someday but for today we are still looking for adventure.

Speaking of adventure, Brown Tips was going to perform tonight at Grabbers in Great Guana. So we took off this morning and we sailed the whopping 9 nm over to our new anchorage. It was another great sail. We then hung out on the boat reading and just hanging out until 6 when he was supposed to start. Then we headed in on the dinghy.

Remember, we are in the Bahamas so when we arrived after the start time there was no music and nobody was there to perform. When asked, we heard that he will be here tonight. In the Bahamas things just start when they start and nobody thinks anything other than that other than those of us that are still thinking that people actually do what they say they will. Well, that may not be totally true, people do what they say they will but not necessarily at the time they say.

To the right is Brown Tip on the right and Nixon on the left. They played the saws with knives which is what a rake and scrape is all about. I'll bet you wish you could see it live! YOU CAN! Watch a short VIDEO HERE. You really have to click on this one. This guy has some moves and a quick knife on the saw.


 Before we left I caught this picture of Freedom out at anchor just before the sun set below the clouds.

Tomorrow we are off to Green Turtle Cay again and should be able to post this update. There is a special at the Bluff House Marina and whatever you spend for dockage you can "spend" for food, drink, and laundry which really makes your dockage free if you were going to spend money with them anyway. We will head in there for three days so we can abuse their pool and just take too many showers. Perhaps we can even wash the boat but I don't know if water is included in the price or not at this time. We will just see.

Since we haven't had internet, we don't know about the outlook at this time. We should tomorrow.

I also wanted to pass on a few observations about the difference between the Bahamas and the Keys. In the Keys it seems as a cruiser you are intruding into the lifestyle of the land dwellers and you have to search for a place to land your dinghy. In the Bahamas docks are as expected as parking lots are in the states. Afterall, most people commute to work by boat, they go shopping by boat, they go out to dinner by boat, they see friends by boat, they go courting by boat, in other words there are public docks on every island and they love to see boaters. Afterall, a boat coming in usually means money is about to be spent. Now if you could only get that attitude in Florida. They have it in Annapolis but not down south. Guess what my intentions are in the future? Not as much time in the Keys unfortunately for the Keys because they don't want our money.

 Apr 25 - We arrived in Green Turtle Cay after a 15 nm sail. The cool part was we were in 15-20 knot winds and we only used our head sail. Only because it was easy but still we made 4.7-5.8 knots. The really fun part was that we were going through Don't Rock Passage again and this time it was at LOW TIDE. What that means is that we would be forced to sail through it because it was possible it would be too shallow for us to motor through. Fortunately, the wind was perfect so we just sailed through with the motor up and the rudders at half way up. It ended up we didn't have a problem because we saw 3.8 feet at the lowest which wasn't an issue for the wonderful Gemini. In the Abaco's having a Gemini is a cool thing because you can go where others may not be able to go.

By the way, thanks Larry from Skipper because he told me just use Don't Rock and you won't be disappointed. He was right. I probably would try to go when it is half tide or higher but today we just didn't have alot of choices.

We arrived at the Bluff House where they have a special at the marina. Anything you spend at the restaurant, on ice, for laundry all gets applied towards the dock rent. If you end up spending the same or more with those services then you owe nothing for the dockage. We spent plenty last time so it was a no brainer for us. Stay at the marina and enjoy ourselves. Pictures tomorrow.

 Apr 27 - Tonight, I played at the Bluff House for 2 hours and everyone had a great time. I love playing guitar and singing and my thumb on my left hand sure appears to be healed. I played for almost 2 hours straight and have not pain. Not only that, I had some great people who enjoyed the evening.

Here is what things look like. We will be leaving tomorrow when we get ready and fill up with fuel. Then we are off for about 30 miles to an anchorage. Then we are moving on to Great Sale which is another 40 miles for one to two nights of anchorage. Then we will move to West End where we will anchor for a couple more nights. It looks like we will cross the Gulf Stream on Monday when the waves are down to 3 feet or less. It even looks like it may be 2 feet or less. I'm really hoping that we get a spinnaker crossing but that may be asking just a bit too much. We will see.

We've met a bunch of people here that all want to stay in touch and we've had a wonderful time. This has been a highlight of our travels in the last year and we just can't wait to continue our voyages and return to this area another spring.

We may be able to update again in about 4 days when we reach West End but I'm not really sure. I know we will be calling Verizon on Monday or Tuesday to turn our phone and broadband card back on so you can expect that we will definitely will be updateing again when that happens. Don't worry and we will have a wonderful trip back to the states.

 Apr 28 - Quick update - Winds didn't shift as much as originally predicted so we aren't going anywhere today. We will wait until tomorrow then we can sail instead of pound up the Sea of Abaco under motor.

I received an email reminding me that I hadn't posted that recipe for Bahamian Macaroni and Cheese, by the way - thanks. So, I did that today on my recipe page or click here and it will take you right to the page.


 May 4 - Sorry, Yes we made it across and are fine. We've had a bit of turn of events which we will explain tomorrow. Sorry, I've been driving all day. More tomorrow along with pictures of some cool stuff in the Bahamas.


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