Saturday, December 19, 2015

Weather picking up


The wind picked up after midnight, just as predicted.  Boy, don’t I love saying that.  Prediction that works is an awesome thing and something we seldom saw on Cape Cod.  Actually you could almost guarantee the opposite of whatever the weather prediction was.  The only exception to that was Don Kent, a weatherman that Bob remembered from his high school days in Norwell and who was the weatherman for WQRC Hyannis when we moved to the Cape.  Don knew Cape weather and his were the only predictions that I would ever trust.

Bob's Beach on a windy day

 Winds from the north at 20 knots are ripping the grommets out of our used Bahama flag so down it came until the winds calm or I can repair it.  A walk over to Radio Beach this morning allowed Bob his daily salt water immersion ritual despite the rough water and churned up sand in the waves, his shorts, his pockets and his ears.  I stayed safely on shore and was steadily sand blasted as I walked the beach looking for elusive blue beach glass.  

Back at the boat we doubled or tripled up on all the dock lines and settled in for the day to avoid the winds.  And I thought Northeasters only happened in New England!  Clifford, a marina employee, was wearing a winter jacket and watch cap though we were still in shorts and t-shirts at 73oF.  It was still nice on the fore deck right in front of the pilot house which was south facing and therefore in the lee.  Ed and Maureen came over for a tour and Maureen showed me her jewelry making skills with sea glass and wire wrapping.

Bob's Beach, ever changing.

After another walk on the beach we had a surprise.  The whole beach terrain had changed drastically from this morning with cliffs of sand rearranged by the high tide to a sloping beach.  Only staying a short while, we returned to the boat to prepare our donation to the evenings potluck put on by the marina for all the boaters. 

The potluck was well attended and a very nice time as we met more people and tried to remember more names.  The Canadians all sat at one table and soon there was nothing but French to be heard by them.  What a wonderful thing to be bilingual.  Bill and Francine came over to our table as neither of them spoke French.  During dinner the wind picked up even more and was producing white caps off the stern of our boat.  Prediction: 30 knots with higher gusts but it seems pretty steady at rock and roll!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nates Bakery serving coconut bread

With a busy yesterday, first thing this morning I went online and figured out the best way to get to Boston.  For $2.00 I can get to South Bimini on the water taxi which docks a stones throw from our slip.  Another $3.00 will give me a ride to the airport.  Of course we could take the dinghy down and save $2 but I’d much rather pay the money.

We visited Maureen’s boat Manatee and got a tour of her Sailrite sewing machine.  Only 2 years old, it was made of sturdy metal with a stainless steel wheel addition which enables it to be powered by hand if electricity is not available.  Sweet machine.

Bob and Peggy on Radio Beach

Next we had to visit Radio Beach for snorkeling before the winds get here and makes snorkeling lumpy, bumpy, and generally downright unsafe.  On the way home we walked north into Bailey Town in search of Nathan’s Bakery where we secured a loaf of coconut bread, eating a third of it on the return trip.

Nates Bakery, noted for coconut bread.

Of course we had to stop for lunch at “A Taste of Heaven.”  Along the way we met a young couple off a sailboat who were having lunch at a seaside picnic table and exactly copied their choice for lunch (only thing on the menu) which was takeout of spicy rice & beans, coleslaw and crayfish salad (lobster). It was washed down with pineapple soda, a first for us.  

The evening:  relaxing on the aft deck with dinner followed by a glass of cold white wine.  Having refrigeration is nice.  The rain came at 7pm just as predicted.  The mosquitoes drove us inside at dusk but after about 30 minutes we were back outside again with no bugs.  Life is good.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Browns Marina

The main city and the main road.

Bob went snorkeling today, a prerequisite for each day here I think, and I went wading and sat in the shade of beach side trees as I had not brought my snorkeling gear with me.  Bob, on the other hand, has snorkeling gear permanently attached to his body.   

Just up from the beach was CJ’s Snack Shack, open from 7 to 11, and where we can attest, one can get a delicious fish sandwich and conch sandwich with fries.  We can also recommend the Bohemian Punch Soda.  Across the street is a pink public restroom with the Men’s Room on one side, Women’s on the other, a shaded walk through in the middle and two outdoor freshwater showers on the backside of the building.  A couple of women and their kids sit in chairs in the shaded area all day, their job to keep the restrooms clean though the building didn’t appear to be particularly clean or the restrooms to have any use. Keeping toilet paper in the stalls is not one of their jobs.  Plan accordingly.

Bob's Beach
The bicycles came down today and we rode to the northern end of the island where there is a resort where one can buy condos.  All the buildings, roads, round-about, and shopping areas looking fresh and new but no one was there.  There were clothes on sparsely filled racks, open doors giving view to rooms filled with empty bar stools and a view of the bay, but all very sterile looking.  It gave me a very freaky feeling like I was in Twilight Zone in full color. 

Mail boat that didn't make it.

One of many shattered dreams.

We found the Casino Ferry Office after asking several times only to discover that they have no printed schedule.  Several people gave us the schedule verbally but the boat changes times and skips days and it didn’t take me more than a few minutes to decide that it probably was not the best mode of transportation to take to the Miami Airport.  In addition the cost was $120 one way.  I’d rather fly.
The return trip to Brown’s seemed very fast.  

We passed three conch piles where divers were cleaning conchs and we stopped at one of them.  John the diver showed us how and where to make an opening in the shell with a hammer, slip in a knife to cut the muscle attachment, and with a simple shake remove the whole animal, clean and eat, all in less than 30 seconds, less the eating part. 

Conch without it's house

Returning to the boat five goats crossed the road in front of us.  They stepped out across the street like they were on a mission and immediately set to work on grass and weeds in a yard on the bay side.

Several more sailboats came in today, a flood of them coming ahead of the approaching weather front.  More sailboats left today, moving on ahead of the approaching weather front.  Whenever a boat leaves or arrives other boaters are on the dock to help with the lines, fend off, or just be warily watchful.  More stable neighbors are Scott Miller and Mary (formerly of Falmouth, Edwards boatyard and Falmouth Scientific employees respectively) on ______, Ed and Maureen on _____________ and Dan and Judy on Quest, a Hatteras, returning visitors to Browns who were full of information about the marina, people they knew and island.  They also had a 19 foot center console dinghy they towed and used for fishing, a deep fat fryer, table which could seat 8, and a case of excellent tequila.  Life is good!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

7 miles east of Biscayne Bay to Brown Marina, Alice Town, Bimini, Bahama

At midnight, 25 miles west off the coast, we could still see the sky glow from Florida and a new glow from Alice Town to the northeast.  With minimal light from a crescent moon this was the first time I have seen star glow reflecting on the ocean; actually I think it was Jupiter glow as the planet rose in the east.  The crossing was a breeze with less than 2 foot seas and no more than 10 knot southeast winds.  We stood 3 hour watches, 3 hours on and 3 hours off, through the night.

Arriving outside Alice Town channel we waited for two boats to exit.  The second one was Lou and crew who we had met at both Stuart, FL and Mathews, VA and who had stayed in Bimini last night and were on their way to Nassau today.  After tying up at Brown’s Marina we discovered surprise guests aboard, two very dead fish on the aft deck.  The water here is BLUE, WARM, CLEAR, AWESOME and two fish less!

Flying the yellow Quarantine Flag, we filled out Customs paperwork provided by the marina and Captain Bob trooped ½ mile to check us in.  Of course it was a little bit different than the forms we had downloaded and filled out.  He has promised not to return without an empty umbrella drink!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Miami to 7 miles east of Biscayne Bay

Sauntering along at 5 knots with nothing to dodge but fishing boats, it was a slow day.  We just needed to be least 20 miles south of Miami so that the Gulf Stream could carry us north as we crossed to Bimini, a mere 50 miles east of Miami.  The weather window is holding out through Thursday and we will start the crossing at dusk in order to arrive in Bimini on Wednesday morning.  We are too slow to ensure a daytime crossing from Miami and not far enough south to have left for Bimini early this morning.