What’s for dinner?

This guy is actually not on the menu.  There’s lots of chickens running free here on Green Turtle Cay but in one of many mysteries, the locals don’t eat them, don’t take the eggs but don’t name them either.  They seem to have arrived at a state of peaceful coexistence. 

Ok what’s to eat?

There are coconut palms all over the island, many on private property but many are not.  I saw a couple of guys in a pickup truck with a pole saw driving around harvesting.

  I love coconut.  Ends up there’s 2 kinds, green and brown.  Who knew?  In the image above the left most coconut is the green one but this particular one is dried out.  The small round guy in front is what’s inside the big brown ones and the insides of that is shown below.  The green ones have a soft custardy meat and lots of coconut water.  Takes some effort to get the husk off the nut.  We’re talking machete here.

Boat food.  Cookies, pasta carbonara, crepes, fried squid, pretzels.  We eat pretty good on the boat.

The shore menu is tasty too.

Corned beef and grits, chicken souse.  Good stuff.  Also a scene from the cruisers Christmas pot luck.

Junkanoo

 

New Year’s day is celebrated in the Bahamas with the Junkanoo festival which was held January 2nd in Green Turtle Cay.  Colorful, musical, fun and crowded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bahamas

I’m here!  But first, the lead up.  Linda came to St Augustine and we explored there together for a couple of days before moving south.  She was all set for an ocean voyage and to do her first overnight watch but we stayed inside and mostly motored down the ICW.  We had an awesome time at her daughter Colleen’s and marveled at the beautiful backyard there.  Eventually we got to Vero and I was there several weeks on my own, getting ready and procrastinating.  I realized what I really wanted to do was to head for the Bahamas but I had a good deal of anxiety about the crossing, customs, getting around there, getting supplies there and on and on.  And Vero isn’t named Velcro beach for no reason.  Life is pretty easy there.  Nice beaches, free bus service, good marina.  When I finally left Skylark was moving about a knot and a half slow and couldn’t make full RPMs.  I stopped at Ft Pierce to check the engine and give it a think but couldn’t see anything wrong.  There was no way I was taking Skylark to the Bahamas like this.  I stopped again about a mile later, the tide was against us and we were barely moving anyway, anchored, on went the wet suit and I checked the bottom and the prop.  The bottom was OK except for the spots on the keel that had rested on the blocking but the propeller looked like a coral reef.  I had used the spray on anti foul and it didn’t work at all so I scraped as much as I could, got it pretty clean and moved on.  That did the trick.  

Two days to Lake Worth and I was thinking to leave Wednesday 12/20 or Thursday 12/21.  The weather didn’t look great for Tuesday but I anchored facing the inlet as there was east wind and no swell, if that changed I’d need to move but from this spot it would be super easy to get out the inlet at night which I thought I’d be doing.  I was thinking to do the approximately 10 hour crossing at night to arrive at the shallow water of the Bahama banks in the early morning but then I reasoned I wasn’t going to see much anyway with the sun in my eyes.  I also figured that the route I was taking was well traveled and any hazards would be well known so when I heard Chris Parker at 6:30 AM Tuesday say that Tuesday was a great day to cross I jumped at it.  I needed to secure a few things so didn’t get out the inlet until 8:00 AM.  I set a course for a point south of the area I wanted to land in the Bahamas and let the current push me north.  The crossing is a bit tricky although most of the problem is having the patience to wait for the right time to go.  The gulf stream current can run up to 4 knots and any appreciable north wind will create very large steep waves.  Very uncomfortable boating.  The prevailing wind is from the  northeast in the winter, this is modified for varying periods by cold fronts coming down from the north.  The wind will shift south, then southwest or west, then blow hard from the northwest then back to northeast.  You can sail across in the southwest or west but you want to be settled before it shifts north.  Since I didn’t know how things were going to be on the Bahamas side I wanted a day or two of insurance after arriving so if I needed to turn back or couldn’t find an anchorage or broke down or….whatever.  It ends up I had a moderate north wind, mostly under 10 knots, a couple gusts to 15 and was thinking I made a mistake going that day but it was fine.  I arrived at my waypoint on the banks at 5PM, in daylight which surprised me as I had allowed an extra hour or even 2 for the trip.  Once I entered the shallow water of the banks the sea was glassy smooth.  No waves and no swell.  The water shallows from over 2,000 feet to 20 in the space of 1/4 mile so the big waves can’t get on the banks.  I doubt it’s like that very often but I was sure happy to have had an easy trip.

There’s lots more to come, Junkanoo was held on Green Turtle Cay on 1/1 and I have lots of pictures but very slow Internet so I’ll post them when I can.  It’s been blowing 25-30 all day and will continue for another day or 2 so everyone is watching Netflix or whatever and I barely have a connection.

 

St Augustine

 

I took my time moving down the ICW to Oriental, NC to wait for Rob to arrive on 10/31. Hung out with Erich, who we met in Georgetown on the eclipse trip.  Ate a few meals together, worked on the boat a little and just enjoyed Oriental together.  Rob was curious about real estate in Oriental so we wandered into a real estate office and a lovely agent offered a tour of the town. Very pretty town and everyone was super friendly.  I mean waving at pedestrians from their cars and everything.

Eric

Rob and I sailed from Morehead City to St Augustine, about 400 sea miles mostly through beautiful clear blue water. No wind to start and then a fairly boisterous downwind run.  We motored the last 40 miles or so.  Should have taken our time and sailed as we had to fight the tide in the inlet and it was substantial.  

Bridge of Lions

This guy is guarding the land approach to the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine. 

Castillo de San Marcos

The old Spannish fort.  Massive and quite impressive with a view straight out the inlet.  I’d hate to be on an enemy ship struggling through the inlet with those cannons firing at me.

 

St Augustine light house

Rob rented a bike in town and I rode my folding bike to the St Augustine light house.  Looonnng climb but holy shoals what a view.

 

Lots of stairs

 

View from the lighthouse. Click for a great view.

 

 

Ray Wiley Hubbard

We heard there was a free Ray Wiley Hubbard concert so we Ubered over there.  Wow was that a great time.  Funny guy, amazing presence and terrific music.

 

These guys were cool
Dinner out our first night ashore

 

Flooding carb and broken cord

The carburetor on the outboard was flooding.  The NEW carburetor on the outboard was flooding.   Since the motor then became hard to start, I’d be pulling on the starter cord like a madman and it finally broke at the dinghy dock.  With the tide against us the mighty Rob rowed us home to Skylark.   Go Rob!  When I took the carb apart the next day I discovered a small rubber plug had come out unnoticed.   This wasn’t the cause of the problem but I needed to know where it belonged so we asked Google.  We found a blog entry from a guy with the same problem on the same motor and written around a year ago in the same anchorage we were in.  What’s the chances of that?

Flagler College

 

Skylark at mooring St Augustine

 

Linda is meeting me here on Nov 16.  The marina would only let me stay on a mooring for a week so Skylark is now anchored south of the mooring field.  It’s been super windy here and the tidal current is very strong and I’m still a bit spooked by the experience up near Bellhaven but I’ve got a decent spot and two anchors down.