“What are you going to do for ‘the big blow’?”
After we dropped off our friends in Blackpoint, Paul and I planned on anchoring there for a night to do laundry and get some groceries and water but the wind had picked up, so we turned right back around and returned to our anchorage from the night before near Staniel Cay. This has to have been one of the hottest days on the Floridian so far. Paul and I had to jump into the water throughout the day to avoid heatstroke. At dinner we soaked our feet in the cold water left in the cooler from the ice!
That day I posted a pic on Instagram (@svfloridian) and another cruising couple (@wickedsaltywes and @katecapuzzo) commented that they were nearby so we dinghy’d over to meet them in person. Wes, Kate and their sweet as pie Yorkie, Lola, have made their way from Situom, Massachusetts in their boat, Parity. There was a westerly “Big Blow” coming in a couple days so everyone was deciding where to anchor for protection. Expecting to sit tight for a few days, we were stoked to meet new friends. They turned out to be awesome! Really good people. Over the next couple of days we did a little diving (in between the ugly weather), had them over for dinner, and shared doggie play dates at the beach (Lola full-on swims in the ocean and relieves herself onboard…I was hopping these traits would rub off on Foxy). They have a YouTube channel called Wicked Salty (www.youtube.com/wickedsalty) with great videos of their voyage. They have documented their journey ever since purchasing their boat and even have a video of Wes jumping through the ceiling into the Thunderball Grato we visited in our last post. They inspired us to start vlogging some of our journey so we hope to post some videos soon.
On Wednesday we noticed a guy buzzing around on his dinghy looking a little frantic. We waved him over and asked if he had lost something which he replied, “Yeah, I lost my wife.” They had been on the West side of the island to see the pigs and the winds almost capsized their dinghy. His wife and dog were onshore and she told him she’d just walk to the other side. That had been 2 and ½ hours ago! The four of us decided to help him so we dinghy’d to shore and into the brush from the East side hoping to run into her. We covered ourselves in mosquito spray and started walking screaming her name, “Mauggie! Mauggie!” We soon realized how crazy this whole situation was. No way someone would trek across this island but now we had done just that. Paul brought his ipad with the Garmin app but it doesn’t help you find your direction at such a slow pace, only your location. After about 20 minutes of crawling through tree limbs and weaving around limestone holes in the ground, we were completely turned around. Scary thing is, I could have sworn we were facing West but we could hear the others screaming north of us though we knew that were searching south of us. How could this be? We learned over the radio when the police boat spotted Mauggie and her dog. We were happy for her but now fearful for ourselves. The sun was about an hour from setting when Paul and I realized we were lost. Every direction was like a wall you have to squeeze around so you can’t walk a straight line. I was desperate to find open ground. Clausterphobia was creeping in. We were sweating bullets, so much that the Ipad wouldn’t respond to Paul’s wet fingers. We were in a bad spot and we knew it. We were both trying to keep calm and just push on. Had to beat sunset and the bug spray was almost gone. Mosquitoes were swarming us. When we finally made it back to our beach where Wes and Kate were, we just dove in, clothes and all. It had been rough. It was the first and last time I will be voluntarily on a hike without a trail. I learned my lesson that day.
Our last night with Kate and Wes, Paul put out some lines our last night together and they caught a Nassau Grouper and a big jack! The next morning before taking off, I did a quick trim on Lola using the clippers I have for Foxy and we dropped off some bait for them to catch some fish aboard Parity. We are crossing our fingers for them!
Our newest goal was to get 50 miles south to Georgetown by Tuesday at the latest (when Paul’s cousin Pete arrives). We are low on water, have a pile of laundry and haven’t seen the inside of a grocery store since Rock Sound. There was a weather window Friday so we took off south to Lee Stocking Island (about half way to Georgetown).
We got to Adderly Cut just in time to ride in with the tide. It started sprinkling as we followed along the South West side of Lee Stocking Island to our anchorage below Perry’s Peak (the highest point in the Exumas). The island is also known for the Caribbean Marine Research Center that closed in 2013. We were back in our kind of place: no one around but a sailboat here or there. Once again, this place was a completely different “paradise” than all the rest. I felt like I was in the Godzilla movie. The beach is bright white and narrow. About 10-15 feet back from the beach, a large lush wall stands straight up in the sky. The next morning we hiked the trail to Perry’s Peak. It’s an easy hike. A thin trail with palm frons laying around and gorgeous views. This is an anchorage I hope to come back to. Spend a week or so.
By afternoon we were off further South, 22 miles to Georgetown. Paul changed the Racor and in-line filter before we left. Exiting the Adderly Cut was interesting. Floridian pushed through big waves slushing us. Our shower bags (weighted with 5 gallons of water each) were tossing around like beach bags. We put out the sail and were averaging 7 knots. We made great time but just as we were turning into Conch Cay cut, our engine died. This has been a reoccurring nightmare for Paul and I. Even after we had our fuel tank emptied and cleaned, when we are in rough seas, debris is tossed up and pumped into the in-line filter which stops up the fuel flow and cuts our engine. We kept the sail out, I drove and Paul changed the filter again. We restarted the engine just in time to anchor with the Northern group of sailboats. We were happy to be safe and sound, but the fuel problem was back. It’s a bad feeling when you can’t rely on your engine. Especially when you have to cover strong current. Paul decided to try something new: remove the in-line filter. It does it’s job well (keeping debris from our engine) but gets stopped up too easily having the potential to put us in a very dangerous situation by cutting off. For now we will rely on our Racor which can hold a little more debris before clogging. I pray this works, and we don’t have to revisit the stress of a stalling engine again.
The first couple of days here at Georgetown were constantly covered in drizzle and clouds. We were on the northeast end of the anchorages right off a great beach for Foxy but a couple miles from stores. Rainy days mean it’s time for maintenance, personal and boat-wise. I attempted to highlight my hair (on the boat!) using a kit my amazing friends brought with them during their visit in Staniel. Roots can’t lighten in the sun when you’re constantly wearing a hat. I’ll give the highlighting results a C. Paul took the rainy time to change the oil. The next day when he was running the engine to check things out he noticed we had a rapid oil leak. He took the lot of the day and removed the walls on either side of the “engine room” and found the compromised area: a rubber seal in a fitting. He made a new ring out of a rubber seal he had stored away by resizing it with a knife and some sealant. It fit and it worked! No more oil leak!! We went to sleep that night praying the sun would come out in time for Paul’s cousin, Pete to arrive.
The next morning we couldn’t believe our eyes. The sun was out, the deck was dry and the birds were chirping. We moved anchorage closer to the dinghy dock and did 5 runs with the water jugs to fill up. We were super low. One of the nicest thing for travelers to experience is a welcoming community. I don’t know Georgetown very well but I felt very welcome here with the free water right at the dinghy dock. I can’t tell you how nice this is. Thanks Georgetown!
Rabbits and Piglets and Fish, Oh My! Next Post »
Welcome to Sandals (By Guest Editor Peter Hoffheinz)