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.....

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