Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Finally on the move

We waited in Staniel Cay area dodging cold fronts till our part was flown in on the 17th. In the meantime We met new and old friends coming and going.
One of Many beautiful sunsets we experienced

One day our friends Val and Ray on M/V Valkyrie decided to put on a little music jam session on the beach. Jim on Pirate provided the propane for the grill and everyone brought what they wanted to cook along with something to share. Dirk had started playing the saxophone last year, so they asked if he would bring it to the beach to play. They had all the equipment, keyboards, guitars and such, Jim provided the tent and Dirk brought his amp and sax. It was a great turn out of old and new friends and a beautiful day on top of that.
Let the entertainment begin
Sing it Janie
Dirk and his first time playing in public
Play it Dirk
What a beautiful day and a full parking lot
Fixing a bit of conch salad
On the 17th our part arrived from Canada to Fort Lauderdale and same day was flown over to Staniel on the 3:00 Watermakes flight. By that evening Dirk had the new replacement part installed and we were making power once again. Everybody decided that since we would all start going in our own directions that we should have one more party on Pirate Beach so one boater provided the fish, another the shrimp and french fries. We all brought the sides and a fish fry we had. Thanks goes out to the men for tending the hot oil and cooking as we socialized. Lots of Corn toss was played, food eaten and conversation had.
Corn toss
Dirk and I with Birgit from M/V Moonrise
On the 22nd we finally managed to pull ourselves away from Staniel Cay. Finally the weather would cooperate for a couple days. We decided to travel the outside route as Dirk wanted to fish and we thought it might be a nice sail. Our goal would be to get to Rudder Cut Cay. On the way we got 2 Mahi, one was decent size, not huge and the other was only half a fish. As Dirk was reeling it in he saw what he thought to be a second Mahi fighting for the bait but it was actually a shark attacking the poor Mahi. Dirk reeled and reeled till we got it in a saved a bit of meat for us.
What the shark left us
With the two fish we still managed to get alot of meat from them. We pulled into The cut and cozied up to the shoreline, dropped the anchor and had a wonderful evening with sundowners on the back deck. We were just south of Musha Cay which is owned by David Copperfield. He has put a statue of a mermaid with a piano under the water by the Ruddar Cay in about 10 feet of water so we decided to have a look see the next morning. This is not my photo, something I pulled off the web but it looked just like this. Dirk had his go pro and took some cool video.
We also explored just a bit before we headed back to the boat showered and picked up anchor to head south to Rat Cay. Several of the boats we had been hanging with the last couple weeks were there also and left about an hour or two before us. On the radio all we kep hearing was fish on, fish on. One in the box, two in the box and so on. We hadn't had one bite.....guess our luck ran out yesterday. Between 2 of them I think they landed a total of 6. Oh well....they kept heading to Georgetown and we pulled into Rat Cay for the evening and anchored with the only other boat there. Dirk decided since he had no luck on the outside that he wanted to try lobstering a bit. We took the dinghy close to the outside but it was far too rough and he settled on finding some conch, which he did, three of them. Back to the boat, clean up, make dinner and call it an evening. The following morning we Headed to Emerald Bay Marina. Its the first one we have been in since leaving our marina in Merritt Island.But first he wanted to back track a bit to the area our fellow boaters caught the Mahi at the day before. No luck except a barracuda which we hate to catch as they are a bear to get off your line. We finally gave up and started heading south again. When we got about a mile north off solider cay we had a hit. I jumped behind the wheel as usual taking directions on which direction to turn. Whatever we had on was big, it kept diving and swimming away as the line just kept buzzing off the reel. What did we have? Dirk fought it for sometime and soon began to tire. He thought at one point the fish got off or tired as it quit fighting so much. When he finally got it to the boat we couldnt believe it. It was a huge Wahoo, the biggest we had ever seen. I held onto the line as Dirk tried to gaff it but kept missing. Finally he got a good hold right in the gill plate right before the hook just dropped out of its mouth. Im scampering around trying to figure out how to help him get this thing on board. He finally heaved it over the life lines and onto the deck. About a third of the wahoo had been bitten clean off by a shark! And were glad it was as we would have never landed it if it were still fighting to the end. As it was, it had just about bled out by the time we got it on board. Dirk was so tired but set to work. He ran below to get his scale but found it was too heavy.
One happy but tired man
Thats a heck of a fillet
We got some nice steaks
He weighed each fillet he got off the sides and they were 20 pounds, when he had nothing but the carcess left it was 30 pounds. So all in all what he got on board was a 70 pound fish. We estimated that had it been whole it would have weighed about 100 pounds. That was one big fish and we managed to get 40 pounds of meat from it. Now what to do with it all, our freezer space is only so large. We ended up giving some away to friends who dont have such good luck when fishing.
We got some nice steaks
I managed the boat as Dirk cleaned up a bit and before we knew it we were at the entrance to Emerald bay. We stop here for several reasons, one, they have 50 cent a foot dockage on the seawall. This is new as you use to have to get the $1.00 slip which is cheap too. The wall is a bit of a walk to the main building but we just dinghed right over. They also have free, yes free laundry which in itself pays for more than a day. You are required to pay for a minimum of three days regardless of how long you stay. We were planning on three anyway. They also have free wifi and a great cruisers lounge with pool table and big screen TV. We pulled in and headed to the fuel dock. Its an easy in and out so we decided to fill the tanks here. It would be the first time putting fuel in since we left our marina. After filling up we headed to the seawall and Dirk did an outstanding job of parallel parking between two other boats.
Dirk enjoying the A/C, free wifi and TV.
The following day our friends Kate and Steve from Blue Summit came in to the marina so they could prepare to pick up their daughter. We decided to rent a car together on the 28th and head into Georgetown to reprovision. Figured it would be alot easier that way then via dinghy. We hit the Exuma Market and the Prime Island Meat Market which had a great selection and if you call them the day before with an order will freeze it for you. Guess they know it taxes a cruisers freezer trying to freeze meat. I didnt have much room but I was craving chicken and beef at this point and got a few pounds of each. When we returned to the marina we put the refrigerated goods away and walked over to a nearby restaurant to have a late lunch where the bartender/ waitress set us up with some incredible rum drinks Bahamian style. Basically, so strong that Dirk went to bed for nap time when we got back to the boat. With the windsbeing so bad we ended up staying in Emerald Bay for about 8 days. The winter fronts keep coming back to back making travel really hard. But it did give me time to catch up on the blog and I managed to was a couple loads a day playing catch up, its a busy place that laundry room. That is unless you get there at 5am which I cant do. After 8 days we decided to untie the dock lines and head for Georgetown, the cruising regatta was over so the chaos should be over. We ended up having pretty high seas to the point we both had to take seasickness medicine. That doesnt happen too often. Lucky for us it was a short trip but the 2 to 3 hours it took felt like an eternity. We finally made it and searched the anchorage for a place to go finally setteling on a spot by Monument Beach ther wasnt much space so like many others had to anchor in the channel. The next morning abot 30 boats were leaving so we found a spot closer to shore next to Moonrise. All the friends old and new from Pirate Beach were here and we met up with them on Volleyball Beach for a jam session that Valkyrie had organized. They had some great talent show up so we decided to do it again a couple days later which would be Dirks Birthday. He turned a milestone 50 and I wanted to do something special but it is hard to organize anything when friends and family are so spread out. I baked him a Rum cake and made him his favorite, Key lime pie. We headed to the Chat & Chill beach for a wonderful array of returning talent and some new. Dirk got up and did several songs. So proud of him as he has been practing a lot and getting so much better. He also seems to be getting a bit more relaxed in front of strangers.
Dirk the Birthday boy
I was planning on taking him to dinner at St. Francis Resort but Val asked if we would like to join them on their boat for drinks. I left it up to Dirk and he accepted the invite. She and Ray invited a couple other boats over and we all threw a little last minute munchie stuff together and met for a great evening with new friends. The next couple days were spent doing last minute shopping and stocking up for the trip south. Now we would have to be patient and sit a bit longer to wait on weather.......

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