Thursday, March 28, 2013
1330, March 28, Cam Bay, Great Camanoe Island
Yesterday was another big day; but don't worry, I'll catch you up on all the action.
Despite the rockin' party the night before in Anegada, we actually ended up sleeping OK. The music, while loud and obnoxious, didn't last all that long, so we managed to drift off to sleep around 11:00.
We were up bright and early yesterday a.m., and heading for the channel markers out of the Anegada moorage by about 0830. We had an easy motorsail back across to Marina Cay, with light winds on our nose. We got some good pictures of Galeaux (Rich and Kim's boat) en route. We are getting much better at sailing this boat, and we actually felt like we knew what we were doing coming back. No troubles raising sails, tacking, or anything. Just good, straight up sailing. Sara and I make a good team – she is really good at trimming sails to make us go as fast as we can, and I seem to have a better grasp of the boat systems, engines, etc., so between the two of us, we have a solid system. Hope neither one of us falls overboard (at least until we can get the kids trained up). Actually, they are all learning things, too, and Alexander is now great at coiling lines and helping to furl and unfurl the jib. Christopher has been helping with sail trimming and grabbing mooring bouys, and Katie is a great help keeping everything shipshape.
Once into Marina Cay, we grabbed a couple of the last mooring balls, and marvelled at how quickly the moorage filled up, then overflowed with boats anchored everywhere. We definitely were seeing how busy these Islands can get on an Easter week.
We set out to explore the Cay and its surroundings. We checked out Pusser's general store, but managed to resist purchasing any more T-shirts. We then dinghied up to Cam Bay (where we are now) on Great Camanoe Island, and had a great snorkel in the warm water inside the reef. Despite the fact that there were probably 50-75 boats a few minutes south of here, there were only 4 boats anchored in this small bay. I took the 5 minute walk across the island to Lee Bay, and there were only 5 boats in there, too. It is starting to look like the best way to avoid the crowds here is to anchor out, anywhere there isn't a beach restaurant and a bar.
The highlight of snorkelling Cam bay was seeing my first stingray (or skate – I'm not sure which). In fact, there were lots of rays all over the bottom of this bay, filter feeding off the sand. I'll have to look up exactly what they were when I get back to the land of internet. Sorry, no pictures, but I did get a video which I can show you if you want.
After snorkelling, we headed into Pusser's restaurant (apparently "Pusser" comes from the old term "Purser", who was the crew member on a British Naval vessel responsible for doling out food and supplies. Since the naval standard for such things was often higher than what a sailor could get ashore, eventually the phrase "It's Pusser's!" became used to describe something that was of good quality, so that is what they named the restaurant and store here). Ironically, the service in Pusser's was so bad it was laughable. Sara and Katie and I showed up a few minutes after Rich, Kim and the kids had all ordered drinks. Rich told us when they ordered 9 drinks, the bartender's response was "That is going to be a lot of work." As she delivered the drinks, Sara and I asked if we could order a couple more. She held up one finger, in the universal sign for "Give me a minute", and walked back to the bar. Quite some time later, she came back, and Sara ordered a Corona, while I ordered the same strawberry/mango smoothie Christopher had, since it looked pretty good. With an exasperated look, the bartender said "Why didn't you tell me before – it is a small blender, and I could have done them both at the same time!" She stalked off, while we were protesting that we had tried to ask, but she wouldn't let us. A few minutes later came back with my drink, and a Coors Lite for Sara. We didn't have the heart to tell her Sara had actually asked for a Corona. It was really pretty funny. But it did keep us from buying anything else at Pusser's.
After drinks, it was back to the boat to fire up the charcoal BBQ (I still haven't figured out exactly how to make that work well. Propane is sure a lot easier on a boat – lights right away, no problems with the wind, and provides a reasonably even heat). Despite my fumbling to get the coals lit, we eventually had another great boat dinner of steak, potatoes, and fresh vegetables that some enterprising hippies had sold us from their dinghy after crossing over from Trellis Bay. In fact, they were doing a great business in the moorage. They mentioned to us that it was the full moon party in Trellis Bay that night, and despite being fairly exhausted, after dinner I rounded up a crew of kids and Kim to go and check it out.
We motored across the open channel to Trellis Bay in the dark, but the full moon was so bright, it hardly mattered. Just to be safe, I also had my super bright Lupine headlamp, which looks like a car headlight, and my handheld GPS to guide the way (in the form of my iphone running Navionics charts – better than any chartplotter I have used on a boat yet).
The party was in full swing when we got there, and it was cool to see the burning art they had set up on the beach. The kids found a climbing tree, and we did a quick tour around the party, but before long, we were all tired enough that we headed back across the bay and settled in for bed.
This morning, we were up early again. Today was to be our last day with Rich and Kim, and the kids were a bit sad about it. It has been great sailing with them, and certainly is helpful having another set of ideas around an unfamiliar boat in unfamiliar territory. We were ready to slow down our pace a bit though – we have a bit more time than they do, and we could feel their need to see and do as much as possible in their last few days, while we felt like we were all wearing out a bit, and needed some quiet Caribbean relaxation.
We actually said goodbye to Rich, Kim and crew at Marina Cay, then had a relaxed breakfast of pancakes, followed by a meeting of our crew to decide where we would go next. We felt we needed to get the kids more involved in destination planning, since so far, they have pretty much just been along for the ride, and we were getting the sense they really had no idea where we were at any given time.
As a group, we discussed the pros and cons, and decided to head over to Monkey Point on Guana Island to snorkel, as we heard from several people it was a great place to go. When we got there, there was a fairly big swell coming in from the North, but we were lucky to find an empty National Park mooring, and picked that up. Lo and behold, after being there for a few minutes, up drove Rich, Kim, Kara and Graham in their dinghy. There had not been any free moorings when they motored past, so they had anchored in the next bay and dinghied in to snorkel.
The snorkeling, unfortunately, didn't live up to expectations. The north swell made the visibility really poor, and there seemed to be lots of small, stinging creatures in the water (maybe jellyfish?) which we didn't really see, but we all felt. So after another goodbye at Monkey Point, Galeaux set off for Diamond Cay, while we backtracked into Lee Bay.
Lee Bay was empty when we got there, and we considered anchoring, but there was a fair north swell into there too.
So, off we set right back to where we started the day, then through the Marina Cay anchorage and up to Cam Bay. Once in here, there was only one other boat, and the beach was as beautiful and quiet as it was yesterday. We've all had lunch, and been for a snorkel, and are settled in for our old tradition of "quiet time" after lunch, which really works well with getting kids through long busy days.
One other thing of interest happened today so far. As we were motoring along this morning, I noticed that our fresh water pump was on, and wasn't going off (it usually just flicks on for a minute to pressurize the system, then goes off.) I thought maybe one of the kids had left the water running somewhere, so I just flicked it off at the panel. Later, when Sara went to run some water, she noticed the same thing, and she heard water leaking under the sink. Sure enough, a small piece of hose connecting two larger hoses had burst, and was leaking our precious fresh water everywhere. Fortunately, we already were near the bottom of our first tank, so we didn't lose too much. Anyway, the interesting thing, for people that know me, is that I managed to wedge myself in under the sink, undo the hose clamps holding the connector in place, pull it out, cut off the split part, and put it back into place, all in about 10 minutes. So far, the plumbing seems to be fixed, and is working without leaking again. Not bad for someone who doesn't really know anything about plumbing. Also, not bad for a tool kit on the boat which consists in it's entirety of a single flat head screwdriver and a wrench. Hopefully we won't have to fix anything bigger than that on this trip.