Monday, February 21, 2011

Movin' on

We were anchored at Long Island for 3 weeks and loved it… but it was really time to move on.  Our engine, Yan Diesel, had significant issues but after he was fixed by a brilliant, local mechanic, Les Harding, we ran up against some winds that held us in Thompson Bay.

Yan's exhaust manifold

We went to a buffet dinner at Tryphena’s, beach combed looking for sea beans, rented a car again, bought fruit at a farmer’s market, had happy hours and dinners with buddy boats and could have stayed another 3 weeks.  It is such a lovely place.

Thompson Bay Inn - cool beers

Glen visiting the neighbours
Long Island straw weavers

Tryphen's cracked lobster
Unloading our empties
But, Uncle Bob and Cousin Todd are coming to visit and they are flying into the Abacos – 225 miles north – arriving in less than 2 weeks.  So we were anxious to set out.  We left our friends on Kolibrie in Thompson Bay for Calibash Bay at the north end of Long Island.  When we had travelled this route south weeks ago and crossed the Tropic of Cancer, Long Island Larry, a dolphin, had greeted us and rode our bow  for awhile.  As we headed north this time, at about the same spot, a dolphin (Larry?) joined us again for a ride – maybe escorting us out of the tropics?  We had dinner in Calibash Bay with the crew from Quest and celebrated the 2nd birthday of Quest’s ship’s dog.  The evening started out rocky and rolly but we set a stern anchor that put our nose into the swell.  Pam said things were great until 3 am when the stern anchor pulled loose.  Ever intrepid Glen slept through the whole thing.

Barry the barracuda getting dental work... and back into the water
We set out for Cat Island early the next day, knowing that the winds were going to be on our nose (a close reach) and that the open ocean waves (next stop Africa) would be big.  Pam put on her dentist chair face for 5 hours as we pounded through 8 to 10 foot seas.  The boat would occasionally leave the water and slam down into a trough, shaking the fillings in our teeth.  Eventually, we got into the lee of Cat Island and things quieted down significantly – however Cat Island was getting it’s first rain since December and we got drenched.  Actually, that’s not a bad thing because the salt that had caked on the boat from the crossing was all washed away.  With less than a mile visibility, our anchorage came into [/caption]

We anchored near the Batelco tower in New Bight, Cat Island and Glen immediately turned on the TV.  At Farmer’s Cay we had learned that some of the newer Batelco towers carry digital signals.  We were rewarded with an afternoon of Ellen, the local Bahamas news and other important work by the major US television networks.  Oh, bliss!!!

The next morning we set out to hike to the Hermitage – where Father Jerome spent his final days.  It is on the highest point in the Bahamas and we were exhausted after climbing this significant acme of some 206 feet.  We are going to Wikopede (doesn’t act as a verb like google) Father Jerome when we get decent internet.  Amazing guy.  He rebuilt many churches on Long Island and Cat Island after coming from England and then travelling to Canada and Australia.  He chose the hill on Cat Island as his retirement home.  He died in the 1950’s.

The hermitage

Cat Island itself was something of a star early in the 20th century.  It supplied produce for all of the Bahamas, had a railway (the only one in the Bahamas) to transport the produce and has several plantations left over from the plantation owner-slave days with many of the owner and slave homes still standing.  Great place!  Very quiet.

After our hike we walked a mile or so to the local grocery store.  We have suffered an emergency shortage of red wine and so were thrilled to see that Chile ships even to remote Cat Island.  The local Roman Catholic priest was more than pleased to give us a ride back to our dinghy with a case of red wine when Glen explained that it was for communion on the boat!  Not long after unloading our wine, a group of 5 Spotted Eagle Rays passed by the boat.  We were anchored in only 6 feet of beautiful clear water and it was easy to see their spots as they went by.

You can call me Ray...

At sunset we headed to shore with new Canadian friends from the Bayfield 36, Mad Cap.  Not much was happening but we did find a beach shack that sold us reheated conch fritters, chicken and pork dinners and Kalik beer.  As we were finishing, a local “Rake and Scrape” band started playing their music.  Not sure of the origin of the name but one man played an accordian while a young woman scraped a saw with a screwdriver and the third member of the band played a drum, which needed heating over a beach fire of burning Styrofoam and pine needles to get the right sound.  A few other locals arrived and the domino table was busy.  We heard that there was to be more music down the beach starting after 9 but that is past our bedtime so we would miss it.

We be jammin'

Back to the boat in the dark where we had a glass of communion wine and watched the Archie Reunion movie and CSI Miami on TV.  Occasionally, as we swing on the anchor we lose reception but we did learn who the killer was and if Archie chose Betty or Veronica.

After listening to the music from shore ‘til after 1 am, we leapt out of bed at 6:30 to listen to Chris Parker’s weather and then remembered that he doesn’t broadcast on Sundays.  By 7:30 we were waving good-bye to our new friends on Mad Cap and Sea Fever and setting out for Little San Salvadore – renamed by the cruise lines as Half Moon Cay.  We had a brilliant sail, averaging more than six knots over the 35 or so miles.

Little San Salvadore has a great beach and after the cruise ship left at 2:30 we walked the length of it.  Beautiful beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas... ootmbbitb.

We settled in for the night just as the surge started and we rocked and rolled until we couldn't stand it and jumped up at 5 AM and took off.  Two cruise ships were on their way in but we blew out, heading for Rock Sound in South Eleuthera.  We've gone for a walk, seen the local inland Ocean Hole - another cenote and found free internet at the South Eleuthera Mission.

So, here we sit, putting final touches on this installment of the Roger Family Sailing Adventures!


  1. Not all smooth sailing, You're a long way off?!! glad you know what you're doing. such fun, HalfMoon Cay ~ we were there.

  2. I'm trying to make a mental list of all the places to choose from if we come visit you next year. Jaru has made the Dominican Republic sound very nice, Singing Frog seems quite fond of St Lucia, and now Long Island has made the list too!

  3. So good to hear from you guys. You are having some amazing adventures. Abbotsford will be so boring as a destination for you. Hopefully you will never run out of red wine again.

  4. Were hoping to run into you guys in Georgetown again since we're still here. Have a great trip north, and if you run across Tybee Time on their way south, say Hi for us!

  5. Hi Glen and Pam - - - Been meaning to drop you a line since I got home and am finally getting around to it. I so enjoyed meeting and socializing with you two on Long Island. I have so many fond memories of my trip and you folks figure prominently. Thanks so much for your hospitality and wonderful good humor (and to Glen for your excellent "wrong side of the road" driving skills)! Please get in touch with me if you come to Friday Harbor, OK? I would love to see you again. Drop me a line so I can send you a couple of my photos. Love to you.

  6. Ah ha - caught in the act of swimming over to our boat! It was interesting to note later that we saw sharks in the water (not Glen). Miss you guys!


Please sign your comment so we know who you are.