Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!
The crew moved a whole two miles from the north end of Green Turtle Cay to the south end on Thursday.
The week was mostly consumed with three issues:
This week’s adventure did answer the questions of:
Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.
This week’s video shows the crew exploring Green Turtle Cay. Along the way, they found sharks circling a fish cleaning station, people feeding turtles squid, and a few pigs. The skipper also took a spin around the island. Enjoy!
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
This week’s adventure has been circulating around when the electricity is going to come back on. Then when the power is on, the question is for how long before it trips again. The rolling black-out of two hours with electric and four hours without electric has become somewhat predictable, until it is not.
On a lesser note, but probably a more important note, the skipper has been monitoring the rise of the holding tanks and has become concerned about how to empty the two tanks.
Per international law, you are not allowed to dump your holding tanks into the water unless you are 3 miles from shore. Also, in the US there are many areas that prevent dumping the holding tanks into the water even if you are greater than three miles from shore. Consequently, the marinas all have pump out stations where a large pump connected to your boat via a hose sucks the waste out of your holding tanks.
But as the crew has discovered, things are different in the Bahamas. Here, they believe that the solution to pollution is dilution. By law you are still expected to go out three miles from land and use your onboard systems to pump your waste into the water.
The skipper has been busy learning how the systems work and verifying that the systems will indeed pump the waste overboard. He has traced the hose lines from the forward holding tank, thru the pump, to the seawater overboard valve. He has tested the pump, and all is working fine.
He traced the system of the aft holding tank also but discovered that the pump is froze up and will not even turn by hand. With no spare pump, this prevents a problem. The skipper will monitor the tank level and will have to put the aft head (toilet) out of commission before the tank reaches capacity.
Ah, life in Paradise comes with a cost.
Lastly, the skipper is self-studying the Hebrew language while he is out on his adventure of a lifetime. One of the tidbits that he has discovered is that there is no word in Hebrew for our English word – coincidence. According to Jewish Rabbi’s, if a word does not exist in Hebrew there is a reason – and that reason is that the concept does not exist.
The skipper buys into this philosophy and does not believe in coincidences, but he does believe in divine intervention and FOG (Favor of God.) See if you can identify a number of incidents this week that some might consider strange coincident, or a the skipper says, FOG.
Since the power had been coming on at 1300, the Admiral decided to cook the big meal of the day in this ‘power window’ while she could use the stove top burners and oven. She got everything ready to make her famous chili cheese enchiladas. At 1330 she was still waiting on the power to come back on. At 1400 still waiting. At 1500, she scrubbed the idea of enchiladas and the crew had a late lunch of the usual, ham and cheese sandwich.
Interesting, it has now been 12 hours since the power was on, I wonder what is going on now?
A large ship showed up early in the morning on the fuel dock and began transferring fuel to three separate 10,0000-gallon tanks. They have the emergency diesel generator secured while they move the fuel. Consequently, the whole resort, stores, restaurants, and cottages are all without power. Oh, and did I mention that the water plant for the island was also down this morning. Life is certainly interesting and unpredictable in the Bahamas.
Someone remind the skipper to top off his water tanks onboard, if and when the water is restored.
With no power available and the sun poisoning diminished, the crew decided to venture out and go walk the Ocean Beach. The white sand beach was pretty but there were no shells. The reef is just off shore and prevents the shells from washing up on the sand.
One interesting discovery was an old coral reef on shore that extended some 100 yards and was easily 20 feet above sea level. It should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that at some time in the distant past that this reef was a thriving underwater community.
If this was your only observation point you might conclude that the earth was in a cooling trend and the ocean water is lowering due to the cold and ice formation. Oh wait, that is not the current media propaganda message. This old coral reef I am standing on, 20 feet above the water, must not be real. Maybe the crew should just head back to the boat.
The power was down last evening and most of the night but was on when the crew awoke. The dock scuttlebutt is that the part flew from Germany to Texas, then to Marsh Harbor and has been installed. Maybe the area will experience some reliable power production today.
Well, that was overly optimistic. Yes, the power is back off. For how long? Who knows. On the brighter side, the crew took a walk to Cocoa Bay and found a couple of sea turtles. There were two guys in the water feeding them squid. It was fun to watch the turtles swim around and feed. After the guys got out of the water a shark showed up swimming around. That was certainly good timing.
At 0700, the Admiral’s coffee maker came to life and brewed her two cups of hot coffee because the timer was still set after a night of power. She got up and was enjoying the first cup when, well you probably guessed it, the power went back out. She darted from the sundeck into the galley, quickly found the thermos and poured the second cup of coffee in the thermos to keep it hot. The skipper just laughed. You don’t normally see the Admiral move that fast in the mornings. A second cup of hot coffee must be important. Especially since you never know when you will get power back.
The skipper took a bike ride around the island this afternoon. On his ride he found this sow with eight piglets.
The crew moved from Green Turtle Club on the south end of Green Turtle Cay to the Leeward Yacht Club on the north end of the Cay. Adagio, last seen at the West End, was tied up on the face dock. There was also a White Flagged Looper, The Good Life, in the marina. The Captain of The Good Life was a retired sailor from the USN. The skipper and Captain swapped a few good sea stories and the skipper learned that the Captain was a ‘Spook’ in the Navy.
But more importantly, the skipper learned that the crew was from the state of Washington and they plan to cruise thru the Panama Canal and take the boat home up the west coast once they cross their wake in Hilton Head.
The Admiral and skipper have been kicking this idea around themselves to see if they could make the San Juan Islands. Since our crew has been to Maine, cruising thru the Panama Canal and up the west coast would complete what people refer to as the Big U.
Early in the morning, the skipper had a conversation with a boater from Vancouver that was very funny. The woman talked about how her husband, children, and mother had come to Green Turtle Cay back in the 80’s. While visiting they were down at the Green Turtle Club on a charter boat. They were at anchor in White Sound. The woman (mid 30’) and mother (mid 50’) decided to take a dinghy ride ashore to procure a spot on the Brendal dive boat to do some reef snorkeling. While they were approaching the dinghy dock the woman noticed a man (mid 40’s) that appeared to be nude standing on the dock. She got her mother’s attention and said, “Hey mom check out the nude guy on the dock.” The two women admired the guy, but as they got closer they realized that he had on a bathing suite that matched his dark body. They booked their snorkel adventure and returned to the mother ship. To their surprise, on the day of their dive the man with the brown swim trunks was their snorkel tour guide. Turned out, the man just happened to be Brendal, the owner of the dive shop. The women could not have been happier. In fact, they were so enamored by this guy that they booked a few more snorkel tours.
Over the years the two have had a running joke about the ‘naked man’ on the dinghy dock. So last week when her and her husband cruised into Green Turtle Cay, she insisted that they return to the Green Turtle Club. To her amazement Brendal was still there running his business, looking as good as ever. The woman snapped his picture and sent the pic to her mother with the caption – Brendal Lives!
The skipper relayed the story to the Admiral and they both got a good laugh from the story.
Later that evening, the crew got invited by the crew next slip over for a dinghy ride over to Pineapples, an outdoor bar that was to have Bohemian live music on Friday night. The crew accepted and headed across the sound to Pineapples. A young man named Kevin McIntosh got setup with a keyboard and mic and began to provide the live music. About an hour into the music, a second person showed up with a guitar and joined the performance. While the guitar player was setting up, Kevin mentioned that the man was non-other than Brendal. That caught the skipper’s ear, so he leaned over and informed the Admiral that the guy playing the guitar was Brendal. She looked the guy over and said that there was no way that could be the same Brendal from the women’s story. The skipper said yes that is him.
Between songs, the skipper went up to the guy and confirmed that he was the original owner of the dive shop Brendal. The Admiral was still not convinced. Her main issue was that the guy in the story would have to be in his 70’s and that there was no way that guy was 70.
The next morning, the boat on the starboard side of Still Wates II was having her hull cleaned. The diver just happened to be Brendal’s cousin. After the cleaning job was done, the Admiral approached the diver and asked him about Brendal. The diver confirmed that the guitar player was indeed Brendal and that he is currently 72 years young. While the Admiral was a bit taken back by the news the diver made a comment that the seawater keeps you young.
The skipper was on the sundeck mid-morning when he could not believe what his eyes were seeing coming down the dock. He took a second look, and sure enough, that was a large tank on wheels, a portable pump out station. The marina had just acquired the device and were looking for willing participants to test the machine. The portable pump out created a surreal excitement amongst all the boaters. Who would have ever thought a nasty, dirty, pump out tank carrying human waste would create such a buzz.
The owner/manager was pretty proud of his new toy. He claimed it was the only one in the Abaco’s. The skipper was just glad the new toy was here and not somewhere else. Still Waters II was the third boat to use the new toy and got her aft holding tank pumped out. That is right, the one where the pump is froze up and cannot be drained overboard. The hose from the pump could not reach the connection for the forward tank on the boat. But hey, one tank is empty and that is a big deal.
The skipper has learned a little bit of the history of Green Turtle Cay. One of the more interesting story lines has a connection back to the Treasure Coast and the Treasure Coast museum the crew visited just a few weeks back.
You may recall that the Spanish Queen lost the Queen’s jewels, along with much silver and gold off the coast of Florida in a storm in 1715. Well there was an enterprising young sailor who decided that this was just too good of an opportunity to pass by and he started his pirating career by attacking the survivors of the shipwreck. This new Pirate, Charles Vane, stole much of the silver and gold that the survivors had managed to salvage. Vane decided to make his home port Nassau and spent his time attacking French, Spanish, and English ships off the coast of Florida and hiding out at Nassau.
As usual with a successful pirate career, the countries did not take to kindly to their ships getting plundered so an all-out effort was made to find and capture Vane. They finally discovered him holed up at Nassau, so the good guys created a Naval Blockade so that he could not get out of the harbor. Running low on supplies Vane finally made a daring escape. He set one of his ships on fire and set it on a course to ram one of the large ships with cannon anchored in the middle of the channel opening. In the ensuing chaos of trying to not get rammed by the flaming ship, Vane was able to slip by the blockade in a smaller ship. Vane moved his home port to Green Turtle Cay and continued his pirate ways. At one point, Vane sailed all the way to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina to meet with Blackbeard. Vane attempted to get Blackbeard to join forces with him and move down to Green Turtle Cay.
Blackbeard decided to meet his fate at Ocracoke, so Vane returned to Green Turtle Cay. On one of his pirate excursions, his fleet was struck by a large storm that left Vane shipwrecked and alone on an island in the Bahamas.
A would be rescuer stopped at the island because of its known fresh water supply to re-provision his ship. Vane tried to hitch a ride with this ship but the Captain recognized him and would not let him aboard due to fears that Vane would start a mutiny and take over the ship.
A second ship made a stop at Vane’s island and allowed the desperate man aboard. Vane used a fake name and no one onboard recognized who he was. As chance would have it, the two ships Captain’s knew each other, and they just happened to cross paths at sea. The first Captain noticed Vane on deck and warned the second Captain of who his passenger really was. The second Captain immediately had the man subdued and placed in the brig.
The second Captain delivered Vane to the authorities in 1719 where he waited two years for his trial and eventual hanging. After he completed the two-legged jig from the end of the hangman’s noose, the authorities placed Vane’s body in chains and left him hanging to warn other would be pirates of their eventual fate at Gun Cay.
Though Vane was not a farmer, he did learn about the First Law of Agriculture – you reap what you sow.
The crew will head back north and west starting on Thursday. They plan to stop at new anchorages as they work their way to Freeport on the Grand Bahama Island.