Posts

Conch-y Tonkin

Image
Ever since I met Ken, which was 2 years ago, he has told me of the Bahamas and all of it's wonders.  Now, beyond my wildest dreams, I am here....not at work.  Like the great Jamie Lawson song, "I Wasn't Expecting That" but here I am.  One of the treats of this paradise is the ability to collect conch, a tropical marine mollusk with a robust spiral shell which may bear long projections and have a flared lip.  The flared lip is what it must have to make it a legal size to collect.




 Ken told me of how he would walk the sand flats in search of this delicacy of the sea and then how to release the "meat" from the shell therefore providing a sumptuous basis for a great cruiser's meal.




 He had collected enough conch on his Bahamas cruise in 2016 to bring some back in the freezer so I was able to experience this delicacy in Covington, La.   He prepared it for me in several ways: conch salad is made with raw conch and peppers, onions, lots of citrus juice (like a…

Star Fish Beach

Image
It's not the official name of the beach but the one that I gave it.  As we approached in the dinghy, we could see huge, very beautiful orange colored star fish all over the seabed.  Every now and then we saw the "babies", tiny ones that looked just like the big ones and fit in the palm of my hand.  I only held them long enough for the photos and then I returned them to their homes in the sand.  Just beautiful and a wonder to behold...







So, as in my previous blog, since they call it like they see it in the Bahamas....I decided to name this beach, "Star Fish Beach".  We have been at anchor in this area for a few days and the winds have been so fierce that launching the dink was not an option.  But today provided a break and we went for it.  So glad we did as we were rewarded with an awesome experience walking the beach as well as the sand flats where I found my first conch!


Home is Where the Anchor is.....

Image
When you are living on a boat and moving through the seas, you don’t really have an address. You must “bloom where you are planted” (my angel of a mother used to tell me that) and therefore in my case as I live aboard a 50 ft. Trawler, my home is where the anchor is. Currently, the anchor is dug in pretty nicely just off of Coachroach Cay (I know, doesn’t sound very romantic).We are here waiting for the ever elusive ‘weather window’ so that we can traverse down to the Exumas.I had this epiphany about home being where we are anchored and on that very same day we had to work tirelessly untangling said anchor.There was a large section of the anchor chain that had “hockles” and we were tasked with untangling it.
This chore fell mostly to the Captain but as the first mate I had a role as well. All 275 feet of the anchor chain had to be let out and then sections of it untangled and then hauledback into the chain locker in the bow.Without going into too much detail it was a grueling task and …

Some observations...

Image
Well we've been in the Bahamas now for 4 days and have made some friends on another trawler heading pretty much the same way we are going. Today we are on a mooring ball (we caught it on the first try!) near Chub Cay.  Winds are are bit blustery so we will stay here and finish up some boat projects and move on towards Nassau hopefully by Monday. So..... Some observations to date....
1. Not all mooring balls are particularly good for "mooring". After one night of being supposedly moored, we have untied and are now securely anchored. My captain spent a very unrestful night being awakened constantly by the anchor alarm. You see  even though we weren't anchored he still set the alarm for the spot where we were moored, so as the mooring ball was being dragged across the sea floor his alarm was going off (I slept right through it all, thank goodness I'm just the 1st mate). Anyway, he decided it wasn't worth another night's lack of sleep, so we pulled away and …

Playing Catch Up

Image
Here I sit, with a cold beer and Chex Mix to nibble on and am first going to apologize for the long hiatus since my last blog.You see, cruising for me is such a new experience that I am still working on keeping a schedule (pronounced “shed yule” for my British friends).If you can imagine not having any daily requirements in your life except for making the coffee in the morning (the time depends....are we moving today or just hanging out?), helping the captain with ship chores (we put up a big a.. solar panel while anchored at Cape Sable Beach), and maybe doing a bit of 5 gallon bucket laundry (see picture of my blue plunger thingee).So in between those tasks I might do some sun bathing, fix breakfast and lunch (The captain does dinner....Yippee), see to the doggies’ needs which typically means getting my little Allie to make Tee Tee on her green eco rug, and driving the boat every 2 hours that we are underway during the ‘shed yuled’ ERC’s (you remember what that is, yes?).So what I am…

A 3 Day Wrap Up

Image
Leaving the Tampa Bay area our next goal is to get to Marathon and Boot Key Harbor where we will get some boat chores done, reprovision groceries and collect our Amazon orders.  Boot Key will be our "layover" as we await another good weather window before heading to the east coast and our staging area for the next big crossing which could be Rodriquez Key or Angle Fish Creek depending on how long we can run that day.  From there we will cross the Gulf Stream and anchor at Gun Key or possibly farther.....depending.....You can make a plan but everyday when you get up and check the forecast,  Plan B is always on the table.
Our first day out of Egmont Key provided me with a glimpse of tropical weather.  Ever since we left Bay St. Louis on the 14th it has been COLD!  Some mornings waking up to 20 degrees, wearing sweat pants and jackets somehow didn't seem right since I am on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Well, you have to get there first I guess.  And leaving in January pretty …

The Crossing

Image
So, I am sure you've used the word 'crossing' in many ways....crossing the street, cross my heart, crossing an intersection....etc. Now, for me, that word has a whole new connotation. It now means, 34 hours of nonstop running across a body of water with only 2 hour intervals of rest.
YEP, that's what we did after we pulled up  anchor in Pearl Bayou near Panama City, FL. until we finally anchored (for the second time-more on that in a bit) at Egmont Key which is the Pilot Boat station for Tampa Bay.  It was not a rough crossing (Except for a few hours of beam seas in the afternoon) so that was definitely a good thing and even better was that there were no other boats on our radar during the overnight hours.  That means that while the captain was resting down in the stateroom I did not have to dodge any targets on radar.  As a 'first time first mate' I can't tell you how happy that made me!  I was able to keep an eye on the radar and gauges and just let the Nav…