Saturday, January 3, 2015

Man-O-War And Onto Hope Town for Christmas

We left Marsh Harbor, and set sail for Man-O-War. Its a quaint little island where they do lots of boat building and handbag making from sail material. We usually do not go in the harbor as it is very shallow and narrow trying to get in there so we opted to anchor on the outside by Dickies Cay. This would give us a good location to sit for a couple days that would be in good proximity to the reefs on the outside. Good location to hunting grounds is important right now. After setting the hook Dirk decided to take a ride out to the reefs to see if he could  find any food to spear. He did manage to return with a decent size Hog Fish and his first two conchs of the season. I cooked dinner and then we sat topside watching a beautiful sunset slide into the Sea of Abaco. 

The next day was spent relaxing and hunting. I actually had my bathing suit on and was tempted to get in the water. Usually when we get here in the Abacos the weather is usually a bit cooler and the water is too cold to swim. Guess since we are here early this year the weather hasn't done that winter change yet. Dirk did mange to score 3 nice lobsters today and later we had John and Madeleine from Chanceux onboard for sundowners and snacks. I had made smoked fish dip out of that hog fish and boy was it tasty.

The next day we put up the spinnaker and sailed to Hope Town. We werent in a hurry as we had to wait till high tide to get into the harbor anyway. We got there a bit early and dropped the hook to wait. Dirk in the meantime hopped in the dinghy and hit the cut to find a conch for a salad, which he did before returning. We picked up anchor and headed into the harbor. We thought they might be getting full inside as this was the week leading up to Christmas and we wanted to be here for that. There were plenty of moorings still available and we picked one up next to Chanceux. The owner of the mooring came out and we paid him right there. Dirk had worked a deal for $100.00 for the week rather than 
$20.00 per day. We would decide later if we would leave Christmas day or not. The days
passed as we passed the time walking the beach, doing laundry, $20.00 for two loads. 
Ouch....searching the cut for sea biscuits, sea urchins, and of course conch. Lots of hunting was done as well. In the nine days we were in Hope Town Dirk got 11 lobsters, 6 conch, and one huge 10 pound hog fish that gave him a run for his money.

Nice 10 pound hogfish

Check out the mouth on that fish

Dirk showing off his catch

Here is the big boy he got

The big lobster he got had a 10 inch tail and weighed about 2 pounds. He even saw a few
reef and black tip sharks along the reefs. Some scared him, others he scared. He did however meet up with a shark he believes to be a bull. He said it was about 6 to 8 feet and big and bulky. I was in the dinghy and saw him swimming quickly, spear pointed behind him as he flew out of the water like a penguin fly's out to a glacier. I asked if something was chasing him. He said he was done.....
Dirk even found the winds were good enough to try flying the new drone he got. He got wonderful footage of the entire harbor but its too much data to try and upload it to the blog at this point. Perhaps another time. 
One evening we went over to s/v Chanceux for some Mexican Train and sundowners. Dirk decided to whip up some conch fritters and we decided since the lobster were plentiful that we would try some lobster fritters. I don't eat conch but I dove into the lobster fritters dipped in a spicy sauce we make to go with them. Yummy...Peter on s/v Grace pulled into Hope Town on the 23rd and brought us a beautiful sand dollar ornament that he made. I didn't have a tree up this year as it just didn't seem like Christmas but I had to hang this up. Even now it hangs in the salon. What a special treat.

On Christmas Eve Dirk had taken the dinghy out to do some hunting on the close reefs and I stayed behind to get some cleaning and relaxing done. I walked topside to read and found a yellow bag from Santa Conch on the deck. Hummmmmm inside was a pair of sunglasses and a cord to keep the sunglasses attached if they slip off. Lord knows I need these as I have lost two pair of my eyeglasses overboard because I wasn't wearing them. What a nice gesture, and I wonder who it was. 
The gift Santa Conch left
Later that day Madeleine from Chanceux came by and dropped off a little gift for me which I thought was extra thoughtful and she asked if I had dropped off a yellow bag to them. I told her no but I got one too. Next morning on the radio we heard someone say on the cruisers net that they wanted to thank the person who dropped off the gift. Apparently they had given a gift bag out to everyone in the harbor. Wow, who does that? I did find out later who did it as I was approached and asked if we received our bag as one of the elves was worried that the bag blew off the deck as they didn't quiet make a long enough toss to get it in the cockpit and it was pretty windy. I assured Santa Conch it was received and that he could put the elves mind at ease. He asked me not to reveal his identity so I must honor his wish. I did get a chance to thank him personally though.
Our mooring spot, Chanceux to our right
Christmas lights on the light house
And finally, Christmas lights on and light house lit
Another view of the light house
Sign on Vernon's Grocery store 
Dirk flying his drone on the beach
View of the reefs off the beach

Christmas morning we woke up and exchanged our traditional cards with each other. We stopped exchanging gifts several years ago when we realized that our boat needed the gifts more than we did. So basically this year we got a new wind generator and a new Rocna anchor. We love them both. 

You can see the new anchor on the tip of the bow sprit. this was taken when we hauled for our latest insurance survey

I got up, made coffee and homemade white chocolate and cherry scones. At 10am we headed to Chanceux along with a couple other boats and enjoyed egg nog and brunch, of course I brought the scones. A couple hours later we headed back to Renegade and took a nap, could have been too much food, or too much nog. Could have been both. Anyway the rest of the day was quiet and we were to bed early as we were moving on to Tahiti Beach the following day on high tide. It was a short hop down and we found a nice sandy spot to anchor in. We went to the beach once high tide exposed the flats so I could do a little shell hunting. Dirk ran back to the boat to retrieve his drone and captured some awesome video from above. The next morning the winds were so calm that he decided to fly it again, this time from the deck of our boat. That's scary, all the lines that it could possibly hit. I held it till it flew and reached to grab it on the return. In between I don't think I breathed at all. Whew.....we did however get more cool footage and Dirk pulled a still shot out of it showing us at anchor. 
A beautiful calm morning looking north from Tahiti Beach
Photo Dirk took with the drone at Tahiti Beach. Our anchor is sitting in the sand patch to the front right of the boat.
That morning as soon as the tide would allow, our plan was to head over to Snake Cay and then make it to Lynyard Cay to stage for our crossing to Eleuthera. Stay tuned.....

Green Turtle to Manjack

This will be my second attempt to write this post. I have been trying to find a better way to write and store my blogs till I have internet to do so. I thought I found an offline blog site that allows me to add the photos and have it all prepped so All I would need to do is hit upload when the time arrived. I thought I found an app that worked with my blog site until I sat and wrote one day only to realize yesterday when I sat to finish it up my entire post was gone. Aaaaaarrrggghh, now I find I need internet connection to save it. Whats the point. So now I am having to rewrite this post but in the absence of my patience I am not going into as much detail as I did first time around. So, shall I begin...

After we cleared into customs we picked up anchor and moved into White Sound as there was a front that was coming through the next couple days. With the direction of the winds we wouldn't be comfortable anchored where we were. We picked up a mooring from the local dive shop for $20.00 a day and settled in. Next morning Dirk wanted to check out the reefs an island or two up to see how rough it was to hunt. I went along and we made the trip in the dinghy and made the 10 to 15 minute trip. We made it to Manjack and made our way around Crab Cay to go through to the cut. It was obvious that the water was way too rough and there would be no hunting today. We decided to anchor the boat on the backside of the island and do some beach walking. After all we had made the trip up here. Well to make a long story short, as I was beaching the dinghy a wave came in and knocked me down onto the iron shore. I ended up being banged up pretty good with a hand that I could not get to stop bleeding without applying pressure. I probably could have used a couple stitches but I ended up just being very careful, keeping it immobile and dry and clean. I got majorly spoiled for about two weeks from Dirk who wouldn't allow me to do any housework. He made the bed every morning, washed all the dishes, cleaned the cat box even. A girl could get use to this, but I wont. 
Here is the hand, first and second day. Third pic is hand now, still healing but doing great.

This is the hip the day of and two days later. Its doing fine now

Beach at Green Turtle

Little crab trying to hide from us

A useful way to use all the floats that fall off the ships.

On the 11th we let the mooring ball go and headed north up to Manjack to anchor for a couple days. We pulled into the anchorage and dropped the hook in a nice sandy spot. Manjack has given us fits in the past with trying to find a nice anchor spot that we trusted to sleep in. After the anchor was down dirk decided to go hunting as the winds had calmed enough for the reefs to be safe. He returned with 2 nice lobsters. Dirk met 2 brothers travelling on s/v Grace while in Green Turtle and they invited us over for sun downers that evening where we met 2 other couples. Next day Peter from Grace and Dirk hit the reefs and Dirk returned with 4 more nice sized lobsters. We knew where dinner was coming from.
On Saturday the 13th we decided to brave the Whale passage and head to Marsh Harbor as we needed to do some grocery shopping. Remember we left the states without doing final provisioning. We weren't sure if they would be open on Sunday so we anchored the boat noticing how few boats were in the harbor. We had never seen it so empty, but then again, we have never been here so early. We made the short trek to Maxwell's. Its the nicest store in the Abaco's and just about anything can be found, at a price of course. we bought what we could carry in two backpacks and of course an ice cream for the walk back. One more stop at the liquor store for some rum and back to the boat where we put up groceries and had showers before heading into Snappa's restaurant for happy hour and $13.00 hamburgers. They went up since we were here last, but boy it was a good burger. We returned back to Renegade and called it an early evening. the next day was spent relaxing on the boat and that evening we were invited to s /v Chanceux for sundowners. Come to find out John and Dirk were both in the Army stationed in the same location on a couple occasions, knew some of the same people, just didn't know each other. Small world. Our plan was to leave the next day and head up to Man O War for a couple days before heading into Hope Town where we would spend Christmas.