Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nothing To Do?

We woke today to find that there was nothing scheduled on our calendar. This is a rarity during these days of March Madness. The northwest wind was howling so instead of kayaking we decided to take a walk on the trails over by the Hope Town Inn and Marina. I figured that while we were there we would stop and reimburse our friend Jacqueline for the Harbour Rats shirts that I sold at the previous night's party. She was home and we also asked her to join us on our walk. The trail to the Sea of Abaco has been cleared more than it used to be, until we got to an area where a couple of Haitian workers were digging up and sifting dirt for landscaping at the marina's new villas that are being built.

After that we discovered a whole new cleared road, which we are sure that even more houses will be built on. It ended up being a big circle. We like the lookout tower that has been there for a very long time

The view here at this cleared lot is spectacular up on a ridge, but very windy in the winter since it faces the west.

After walking back to the marina, I said that I wanted to stop and see what was happening at the Abaco Dinghy workshop. We were just in time, since they were closing for the season and they had just completed their final project for the year...the restoration of the Winer Malone dinghy. If you recall, I did a post back in February of 2015 about Winer himself coming to visit Dandy and our boatyard manager Craig's dinghy, which was named in honor of Winer. Click HERE for the link to that post. This dinghy was restorable but took almost two whole seasons to get to the point where it would float.

The guys do amazing work!

Instead of bringing the boat back over to Craig's house by land on a trailer, they decided to launch it, and Dave, Will, and I brought it over to the pond behind the boatyard with our skiff.

Until tomorrow when it can be hauled back out of the water, so Craig can complete the detail work (like floorboards, seats, etc.), it is floating regally on the little mooring Dave put in just for reasons such as this. It really was a monumental event.

Nothing to do? Ha! That never seems to happen. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Comings & Goings

With so many visitors to Hope Town, our marina, boatyard, and onsite liquor store have really been stocking up with items. Yesterday, when the freight boat arrived, they delivered the biggest order we have ever seen.

Both sides of the dock building were stacked with provisions and even a brand new outboard. I don't know how they reached the top of the pallet load of items on the left.

Then later it was time to bring this inflatable back to Marsh Harbour. I'm glad the worker didn't ride in the boat the whole way onto the freight boat. We really had to wonder why the boat owner didn't just wait until calm weather and bring it over himself.

This weekend we had an opportunity to buy a new queen size mattress from a private person who buys them from Nassau periodically. We had to pick it up in Marsh Harbour on Sunday, but the tide happened to be low, which made it a bit difficult to get it into Walkabout, especially since I'm still not much help when it comes to moving things like that. The timing worked out well though, when PJ, who was working the fuel dock in the morning, missed the ferry back to MH and we said we would take him there. He jumped at the chance to get back and enthusiastically volunteered to help with the mattress. When we got to the very high public dock (with no ladders), he jumped out of the boat, grabbed the mattress out of the seller's truck and carried it all by himself on his head back to the boat! I wish I could have grabbed my camera, but I was keeping the boat off the dock. Then Dave and PJ had to lay down on the mattress together to test it before PJ jumped all the way down in the boat and secured it between the two front seats. It was all really quite funny. We made it back to Hope Town and when we got here, two friends were arriving and helped get it back up our dock and those 17 stairs to our apartment.

What a challenge...I just hope that we never have to replace the refrigerator!

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Dave and I were spectators for the Homer Lowe Regatta this weekend. This competition brings in sailors from Nassau and Freeport to race along side of our Abaco adults and junior sailors. There are three classes...Sunfish, Optimist Prams, and 420s. Dave knew he couldn't be competitive against the Sunfish racers, so we went out both days in Walkabout.

On Saturday the winds were so light that the races were postponed until after lunch, but not before everyone floated around waiting for any kind of wind zephyrs to come up.

These guys in a 420 decided to play around and try to get their boat to do wheelies. It was hilarious to see the boat's bow come way out of the water when they went over some of the boat wakes.

The race committee tried really hard to find the wind, but it never materialized enough to begin a race (we ended up towing the only female Sunfish racer out to the course and then back again to her dock).

In the afternoon, a light southeast breeze came up and they managed to hold a three race series.

On Sunday, the conditions were much better with 10-15 knots of west wind. Between the waves and wakes, it was quite rough out on the course, so I didn't get to take too many photos. We however helped reset some of the race marks when the wind shifted, so we did our good deed for the day. The starts are always fun to watch...

Competition was fierce, especially for the 420 boats at the windward mark.

While at the windward mark, we tried anchoring to stay in one spot. We couldn't get the anchor to hook up, until suddenly it did. When we went to move, we found out we had hooked one of the underwater power cables. Yikes! Luckily Dave shook the anchor and it fell back to the bottom with no harm done. We were afraid we would get back to Hope Town and find the power was off. 😉

Even the 4 junior sailors in Optis had a good close race at times. It was encouraging to see them out on the course.

In the end the Abaco competitors won first place in all three classes! What a great couple of days on the water and a chance for Dave to watch the 'pros' and get some hints as to how to make his Sunfish go faster during the regular races.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Above and Below

This is a super busy time of year in the Abacos with Spring Break scheduled for different weeks in different states, plus soon it will be Easter vacation. The harbor and the settlement have been bustling, along with our marina, boatyard, and store. We have enjoyed being up on our porch watching all the activity and so few people look up to see that we are there. This inspired Dave to make this sign that is so true...

The boatyard managers laughed when they saw the sign and said they just want to be up with us at this time of year.

Down below, in Dave's work area, he has been busy collecting 'broken' outboard engines that no one wanted because they thought they weren't repairable. Naturally Dave was up to the challenge and all are now running! He has loaned a couple to friends who were awaiting repairs on their own motors here at the boatyard. He even made the stands for them out of old pallets that were headed to the dumpster. You all know how he loves to re-purpose things...

I just hope that Dave doesn't plan on buying more boats to put all these outboard motors on! 😉

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

This Is Better

Our friend Wendy sent another photo of the snow. This time it is our house, and this was before the latest gigantic snowfall. Are we sure it's March?
If I look closely, I can see my wheelchair ramp hiding behind the bushes.

I definitely like THIS better. Lunch with members of the HTSC that braved the wind to go to Cracker P's on Lubbers Quarters. No more wheelchair, crutches or canes needed! Soon I'll be power walking...instead of power limping. Notice all the stairs I had to traverse too.

Those are the ocean waves breaking in Tilloo Cut across from the restaurant. Walkabout has been indispensable this season. 

As an added bonus the Harbour Cats Trio entertained us (a play on Harbour Rats that the cruisers are called). Hopefully soon I'll be dancing too!

We sure are glad that we decided to stay in Hope Town later than usual!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Helping The Cause (Guest Writer... Dave)

This crew was recruited to move 4 pallet loads of used schooner rigging. The spars and rigging had just made the journey from Kingston, Ontario. Dave Wright, on my left, is spearheading the restoration of the Bahamas Tall Ship, WILLIAM H. ALBURY, built in 1964. The rigging was salvaged from a wrecked schooner on Lake Ontario. The William H. is 70 ft. long overall. and made of wood right here on Man-O-War Cay. It was a masterpiece and showcased the talent and resourcefulness of the shipwrights/builders on Man-O-War Cay.
 David Wright was able to procure every piece from the deck up. Here is a pallet load of masts, booms, hoops, and standing rigging that will be modified to fit the William H. It made the journey from Canada on a flatbed tractor-trailer to the Port of Palm Beach where it was loaded on the freighter Duke of Topsail for the trip to Abaco. From there it was lightered aboard the Carib 3, and unloaded at the lumberyard wharf in Man-O-War.
 Our crew of 18 moved about 5 tons of misc. rigging, sails, and spars by manually slinging it. We felt like the Egyptians building the pyramids!!  This was a priceless find by Dave Wright, who drove his 1928 Ford Model A to Canada from Massachusetts to survey his find and arrange to get it to the Bahamas. His vision and tenacity will get this schooner sailing again. There were 3 of us from Hope Town who helped with this part of the endeavor.
 The entire project is done on a shoestring budget. The shipping and duty fees had to be paid for but the bill of used materials and the workspace was donated. These guys are resourceful. It might look like a load of junk, but this is valuable stuff if this ship is to sail again.
 After the move, I ran tours out to the boat. This group had the journalist from the Abaconian newspaper on board. The William H. is moored in Eastern Harbor, minus the rig. Walkabout is tied alongside. I would have no idea where to start this project. David found the William H. in Jamaica where it was at the end of it's service life and left on a mooring to die. He cobbled it together for the motor trip of 800 miles back to Man-O-War. He acquired it 4 years ago for the past owners bar bill at the local watering hole. $200 and it was his.
 This was once the flagship of the Bahamas and has been through many owners and lives in its 54 year history. A lot has been done and there is a lot to do. A wooden boat is never finished anyways, and this is no exception. It is a special feeling to be on deck and wish that this ship could talk.
 Dave Wright is a tireless storyteller and promoter. He will tell stories and play his mandolin to any audience who will listen. The ship is a strong inspiration to all who learn the story. He is 76 years old and the ship keeps him going. I admire him for his vision.
 Two views looking fore and aft. Forward is an ancient yachtmans anchor. Yours Truly at the helm. The LADY DI is tied along the starboard side. This is Dave Wright's personal mode of transportation. It is a 22 ft. Man-O-War built cruiser sailboat. This guy has saltwater in his veins!!
I have no doubt that this project will sail again. I only hope David W. can be around to see it through. The project is immense and there are many unanswered questions about the logistics of the restoration, future, and actual use of the ship. You can't help but to be inspired by the story and the project.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tradition vs. Modern

We never know what we will see cruising by our porch at the entrance to the harbor. We often see the Abaco Rage go by as it heads out to the cruising boat races. Recently the crew took out all the junior sailors so they could have the unique experience of sailing on this traditional wooden boat that was locally built.

On the other hand, we are seeing more and more of these huge yachts coming into the Hope Town Inn and Marina. We have seen them up to 112 feet long.

What a difference!