Shake and Break Part 11 - June 2, 2015
Well, we left you in a state of suspense over the potentially severe
, torrential rains, and other unknowns. The "break" part here is
still the surgeries for broken bones entailing our return to the US, as
nothing broke aboard Flying Pig in these few days.
As I write this, our schedule is still flexible, but we've not gotten
anywhere near the Gulf Stream
, one of the potential terrors after our last.
However, both the wind
and rain turned out to be much less than originally
, due to the disintegration of the low expected to provide all the
was moderate, and so was the rain. However, there were a few heavy
periods over the 6 hours or so (compared to the 24 forecasted hours) it came
down. I got out the deck
brush to do final touchups; Lydia had already
cleaned before, particularly in the anchor
chain area up front; it stains
due to the chain's galvanizing starting to go on the section we use all the
time. Likely sometime soon, we'll end-for-end it to give the currently
untouched end a chance at some work.
In the Bahamas
, we are usually anchored in 8-15' of water
. However, our bow
is 5' over the water
, so when we calculate how much chain to put out, we
have to go from there. As our comfort level in general is at 7-1 scope
times the distance from the bottom to the bow roller), it means that the
100-150' section gets all the work.
We replaced this 300' chain in our refit
, so when we turn it around, that
end will be new. But I digress...
With a clean deck
in the pouring rain, I waited 15 minutes for a thorough
rinse, and opened the aft tank fill and put out our chamois-type cloth
material bunched to make a dam which guided the water into the tank. We
originally thought that the density and duration of the rain probably meant
that we didn't get very much, but removing the cap when it was over showed
that our tank was only an inch or so from the top. Once again, Mother
Nature has blessed us with her abundance. We're still working on the
forward tank, but there is no possibility that we'll run out of water before
reaching Vero Beach.
So, fully laden, the next day I said my goodbyes to the Cruisers' Net, where
I'd been the anchor
for the last many days, and headed northward in the Sea
. As mentioned, I try to meet the folks who advertised on that
segment of the net, so we stopped, first, in Settlement Harbour near the top
of Great Abaco
We wanted to visit Nippers, a world-famous location atop the hill down the
center of the Cay, drop in on a prior advertiser, Grabbers, and say hi to
Troy at Dive Guana, my weatherman on the weekends, and a regular advertiser.
just outside the marina in Settlement Harbour, the next morning
Troy pulled up to our boat before the net started (I was a listener by that
time) and told us of a large green turtle just off our bow; it had been
killed, apparently the prior night, either by being hit by a power boat
perhaps, as the rumor went, bitten by what would have been a very large
shark, as the shell was easily 2' across, and had totally split from flipper
to flipper. It was a beautiful animal. We gave Troy a boat card, thanked
him for his service
to the Cruisers' Net, and finished our coffee before we
went in to shore.
Nippers was the usual treat. We walked the beach for a couple of miles, then
had one of their signature drinks, the "Frozen Nippers"- a rum
is kept chilled to the level of slush - as we looked out over the ocean and
the two pools below the elevated gazebo where we were served. The owner has
been in poor condition for the last few weeks, and we asked after him and
gave the staff our boat cards.
Down the hill, we walked over to Grabbers, a hostelry and open
bar/restaurant, next to their pool. The manager wasn't in, but we had an
extensive discussion with the bartender/waitress, and later, with another
bartender/waiter. They obviously hire good help there; the woman commuted
on the ferry
from Marsh Harbour on the weekends, and worked a full time job
during the week. Their burgers were massive, and handmade from very lean
beef, to the degree that they somewhat collapsed/broke out the sides of the
already oversized bun. The fries overflowed the ample plate, so by the time
we'd left, after THEIR version of a frozen rum
drink (the Frozen Grabber),
we were stuffed.
Back to the boat, where the ferry
came immediately across our bow every
couple of hours, we had another restful night at anchor. We've laughed at
the occasional times where there has been no wind to kick up the water, or a
passing boat to lift
us, that we're very much happier in a bed
Coming up to Settlement Harbour was a windless ride, as was our departure
out through the Whale Cay Cut, source of much angst among cruisers, as it
can be very nasty in the right conditions. However, it was merely a roll
from the swells off the Atlantic, as we motored northwest. We've motored
more in the last few weeks than we normally do in months, as usually we wait
for the right wind before moving. Our apparent wind in this trip was 0
knots at 120° on our port side; our forward motion meant that there was
probably about a 5 knot
breeze had we been trying to sail.
However, the schedule imposes, as we have to be in Vero Beach by the 9th, to
move Lydia's mother from the skilled nursing facility, where she's been
recovering from her shoulder and wrist surgeries, back to her
independent-living cottage, so we motored on.
We bypassed Green Turtle Cay for the island north of it, and actually
bypassed Manjack Cay, as well, parking behind Fiddle Cay, the island
between it and Powell Cay, for a brief visit ashore to do the beach thing.
We wandered around in the grassy bottom near shore, finding abundant sea
biscuits, a filter-feeder which, when it dies, leaves a behind beautiful
shell, about the size of a very large puffy sandwich roll. We also found an
immature conch shell which had its resident die a natural death, leaving
behind a work of art.
As we were heading back to the boat in Flying Piglet (the dinghy), we saw
what we thought was a nurse shark. As we altered course to get a closer
look, the shark swam on in a leisurely fashion, and we eventually pulled up
right beside him as he swam a couple of feet down.
Imagine our surprise to see that this was actually a tiger shark, with his
vertical stripes. We had the pleasure of accompanying him for several
minutes before he reached the grassy dropoff, where he descended out of
Back at the boat, we put the sea biscuits in heavily chlorinated water to
soak. Our previous experience showed that this got rid of all the
accumulated growth, leaving behind a pristine, odorless treasure. We'd
clean them up the next day, rinsing them in fresh water, and put them out to
dry in the brilliant sun.
The day was yet young, so, as we had to skirt the sand bars, anyway, getting
close to Cooperstown across the bay, we decided to stop briefly, throwing
the hook very close to the municipal dock
at 11:15. Inshore we went, to
check out the various differences we'd seen in our chart book compared to
the last time we were here in October 2009.
You meet the nicest people when you are a cruiser, and take the time to
engage the locals. The first was a grandmother with two very small kids
sitting on a porch. We waved, and then got to talking, and walked across
the lawn to chat.
The story shortened was that soon we were enveloped in more locals,
including two young men
who were certain that they were among the little
crowd of boys whose bikes I fixed on the last time through. What a small
members appeared, and other discussions revealed that Sophia
was the owner of the take-away shop on the property, which is another story
altogether; shortly: Their family
owns the entire block - like a plot - on
which all of their homes, stretching between the two main roads in town, and
on 4-5 lots frontage on the main roads, are sited. Anyway, we got to
talking about fishing
, and she offered to make us a conch salad to take back
to the boat...
So, we left to do our tour while she did the preparation. This area was
completely wiped out, other than the two churches on both ends of town,
Floyd, in 1999. We learned from Everett Bootle that it was
just now that the vegetation was recovering from the salt water
reached far inland.
We also learned that he is a 7-th generation Bootle; his umpty-grandfather
was the first settler there, in 1847, and is who the highway which runs the
length of Great Abaco is named after - the S.C. Bootle Highway! A trip
around town reveals that there are many more references
to him, including
the local school
We also visited the 1-year new library which has both books
and a computer
lab, staffed by a knowledgeable lady in a municipal uniform. This is a
major community in Great Abaco, having 500 children
in the school
which graduates high school. Most communities have to send their
high-schoolers away, as there aren't enough of them to warrant full time
We made our way back, and had the kids
there promise to send us an email
we could send them the pictures of the bike repair party from our previous
time, using our boat card's addresses. Sophia came out with a carry-out
foam container, with a plastic spoon in it. I asked her how much I owed
her, and she said that it was a gift, in thanks for our visit. Opening it,
I saw that it was absolutely crammed with conch, along with all the usual
accompaniments. Lunch was GREAT!
On that high note, I'll leave you, again. What happens when we again cross
the bay? Until next time, you'll have to Stay Tuned!
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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When a man comes to like a sea life, he is not
fit to live on land.
- Dr. Samuel Johnson