Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Does Our Boat Suddenly Seem So Small!?!?!

Sorry for the long delay in a new post. I am slowly coming to appreciate just how slow the Internet connections are here in the Bahamas. That and we have been really having a great time ever since Colin, Natalie, Freya and Callan , as well as Alan and Spencer arrived for their charter. I just have been too busy to spend time on the computer! Anyway, here is a an update on the past 2 plus weeks days.

So we have lately been hanging around Hope Town , enjoying the pace and exploring. We did a day trip about 6 miles south of Hope Town to Tahiti Beach and had a great time wandering around and swimming off the boat.

As you can see from the pics and videos, "Charlotte-Ann" was the perfect boat for this spot. We only need 18" of water to float (O.K, maybe about 20" right now), but we can get in shallow enough that the kids can step off the back of the boat.

Following another night in Hope Town, we made our way to the anchorage in Marsh Harbour a day before the arrival of my cousin and his wife and kids. As mentioned earlier, they were flying in from Oman to charter a Leopard 40 catamaran for 2 weeks. Our sail from Tahiti Beach to Marsh Harbour that day was one that both Lisa and I agreed was the best we have ever had on Charlotte-Ann. While we we still at anchor we put the mainsail up. We then lifted the anchor without turning an engine on, put the jib up and sailed the entire 12 miles to Marsh Harbour at nothing less than 7 kts.

The next morning we took care of a few boat jobs we had been neglecting. Lisa and Delaney did a bunch of work inside the boat while Mitchell helped me do an oil change.

That evening we treated ourselves to dinner at Snappa's restaurant in Marsh Harbour (very disappointing), then met The Mitchells in their hotel room at about 1930hrs. It was great seeing them, but they had been in-transit for about 19 hours so after a quick visit we left them alone and dinghied back out to our boat.

Colin and Natalie had a meeting with the charter company at 1000hrs, so we watched the kids while they learned what "not" to do with their boat. I also managed to refill our 4 water jugs while we were there (Thanks Moorings). Hats off to my family as we had just gone through our first 30 gallons of freshwater since last filling up on Christmas Day!! The remarkably efficient use of water can be attributed to both our heightened awareness of water conservation and our somewhat compromised hygiene standards!

After all the preliminaries were out of the way, Colin and Natalie moved "Island Girl", their home for the next 2 weeks, out to the anchorage. All loaded with groceries, fuel and water, we were joined that night by the crew of "Estella". Brian and Aimee were sending their daughters back to the States the next day, so this was the last night (but not last time) that Delaney and Mitchell would see the girls.The next morning we had a beautiful motor trip on the Sea of Abaco over to Hope Town. As you can see, the water was like glass, not getting much over 10' deep the whole trip.

We put the boat on auto-pilot and the four of us lounged on the foredeck while the Beach Boys were cranked on the cockpit speakers.

We had a nice night on a mooring ball in Hope Town. At noon and 1800hrs one of the churches plays a few songs with the church bells, the music softly carrying across the harbour. Then as the sun sets, the last manned lighthouse in the Bahamas starts it's nightly routine. Did I mention how much we love Hope Town??
The next morning we were off again to Tahiti Beach. Brian and Aimee joined us, leaving their boat behind in the harbour.
The weather was terrific, the kids had a blast in the water and on the beach. Mitchell even managed to set-up the badminton net, something he hadn't done since back in July on the Erie Canal.

We even ran Natalie up the mast so she could get a few pics.

See what I mean about how small our boat is!!! Although the Leopard is only 6' longer than our boat, you can see how much wider it is. With 4 double cabins and 2 heads, plus 2 HUGE water tanks, she really was quite a step-up from our poor little Gemini!! .So once again we had a fantastic time at Tahiti Beach, with a nice motor trip back to Hope Town. Brian and Aimee even got subjected to some Tragically Hip on the stereo on the way back.

The next day we took "Island Girl" out for a sail and a little snorkeling at Mermaid Reef just outside Marsh Harbour. Although the coral wasn't as impressive as Hope Town, there was were alot more fish, as well as a few spiny lobster. Actually, they were some of the smartest lobsters in the Bahamas because they decided to make their home on a protected reef where it's illegal to take any animals. We also saw a lion fish, an invasive species (and quite poisonous) ,something we didn't realize until we arrived in the Bahamas.So now it was time for Uncle Alan (my younger brother) and his son, Spencer, to arrive from Toronto. They were flying into Marsh Harbour, where they then caught a ferry (20 min.) to Hope Town.

The next day we attempted to sail up to Treasure Cay, but unfortunately the wind was right on the nose, fine on the leopard 40, not so much on "Charlotte-Ann". We turned around and stayed another night in Hope Town. Colin and Natalie had a great sail on Island Girl, and Spencer went snorkeling for his very first time.

Waking up to a nice southwest breeze, we had a terrifc run up to Treasure Cay. To be quite honest, the anchorage at Treasure is pretty disappointing, more "South Florida" than Bahamas. And yes, as you can see in the pics, the beach is beautiful, but is just didn't feel "Bahamian" like Hope Town. On the plus side, for a $10/night anchoring fee you get full access to the beach, free Wi-fi, a heated pool and hot showers!!!

So that pretty much covers the first week with The Mitchells's and Uncle Alan and Spencer. I was hoping to get the past week included in this entry, but the winds are really picking up and I need to get back to the boat (Colin and Natalie leave in the morning, I am on their boat taking advanatge of Wi-Fi, shorepower and free water, Lisa and the kids are anchored in the harbour).

Tomorrow is a provisioning day and I hope to get another entry done. We are not sure where we are heading next. We'll just wait to see which direction the wind is blowing.

All the best to everyone.

Mark, Lisa, Delaney and Mitchell.