Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Our most recent Hope Town Sailing Club regatta was quite an exciting race. It took place just after a cold front passed and the wind and sea built throughout the day. I think that Dave and I had more fun than anyone, since we were the crew on the mark set boat. After setting the race markers, we followed the boats around the course, taking lots of excellent photos of everyone. The 22 foot Boston Whaler that we were in was borrowed from one of the boat rental businesses, as the owner was the person scheduled to the job that we did. We volunteered to replace him so that he and his crew could go out and race on Hope Town's wood Class A sloop, the Abaco Rage. The 28 foot Rage was built in 1980 here in Man-O-War Cay, and more information on the boat and Class A races can be found in an Abaco Life article by clicking here. These native Bahamian sloops are raced on a national level in three different size classes.

What an exhibition the Rage put on, especially when sailing downwind and then jibing back upwind.

They certainly needed all of the crew that they had for weight and leverage out on the wood prys, to offset the wind in the huge sails.
The crew placement is extremely important regarding the stability of the boat. The prys are slid back and forth so the crew and weight can be on the high side of the boat. Meanwhile, while everyone is scrambling to get to the other side (one crew member broke his foot during the race!), the sails are filling with wind and sweeping across the deck and into the water. At one point it looked like the boat was going to broach, but eventually recovered.

An added challenge to the day was when the Gemini Catamran that was the race committee boat for the day, had engine problems and wouldn't start.
That was a big problem since 81 year old Diane (who won our Press on Regardless Award last year) had to move her boat to the windward finish line. Good thing thing Dave was close by to fix it. It really tested my boat handling capabilities, to drop him off and pick him up on her boat that was swinging around in the wind, and pitching up and down in the 3 foot choppy Sea of Abaco. Not to mention that I was driving an unfamiliar skiff. Everyone was impressed (including me) when I did it without hitting her boat or killing Dave in the process. All Dave kept saying was, "If your mother could see you now!"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wreck of the U.S.S. Adirondack

We finally made it out to snorkel on the remains of the U.S.S. Adirondack that was wrecked on the reef off Man-O-War Cay in 1862, just six months after its launch. Since this was a wooden ship, there is not much left of it after 149 years underwater. The Adirondack was a three masted, steam auxiliary schooner of approximately 220 feet. She was commissioned by the Union Navy to blockade the Confederate ports during the Civil War. Hence, it had numerous cannons of varying sizes, and that's what we got to see on the reef. Dave counted seven of them strewn around the bottom. When we anchored in a sand patch nearby, I jumped in the water to see two of them (about 10 ft. apart from each other), just below us.

Several smaller cannons were piled together on the reef line, right in the breakers.

Dave also found an engine connecting rod...
...what we think is part of an engine boiler...
...and unknown pieces of wreckage.
Also still left is the anchor capstan, which you can still see where the holes are that large wooden spokes were inserted into, and the crew could manually winch up the anchor and chain.

Click here for the link to the Adirondack's history.

The reef surrounding the wreck was quite spectacular also.

Many thanks to Jay and Hasty and the crew of Turnbuckle for allowing us to tag along and find this historical spot.

Another successful mission accomplished!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

Before we had our last cold front and thunderstorms, we took advantage of the calm weather and headed out to the ocean reefs. We tried to find the wreck of the Adirondack (which still has several large cannons showing), but did not have the proper GPS coordinates, so that was a lost cause. Instead, we motored to the Fowl Cay Preserve and found a centrally located mooring ball to hook up to. The moorings have been placed in deep water next to each protected coral head, so boats don't anchor and damage the reefs.

The day was perfect for snorkeling, but the water was a very brisk 72 degrees. We had a snack and to my surprise, when I put crumbs overboard, a large school of Yellowtail Snappers just about jumped into the boat.
Dave quickly donned his snorkeling gear and went below to see the frenzy.
Then he snorkeled around in the crystal clear water, which we haven't seen the clarity this good since we went to the Exumas several years ago.

You can click on each picture below to enlarge them and see more detail.

What a fun day at sea!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It has been a rough week for internet connections, ever since the 3 hour thunderstorm we had with the arrival of a cold front.

Too top it off, with the cooler temps we have been organizing and cleaning the storage areas of New Horizon, and while getting into a small area near the floor, my knee went out on me. Luckily, I was sitting on the floor right next to the drawer that has my knee brace and folding cane in it, so I could get up on to the bed. Slowly it is improving, but the stairs to all the different levels are challenging. The aft stateroom and head are on one level, then the main living area is on another, then back down to the galley, or up into the sundeck to get fresh air. Whew! Then with no internet to keep me occupied, I have exhausted my book collection.

Oh well,"this too, shall pass." Then I will write about MOW and the fun things we did in the meantime.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birds of a Feather...

Flock together...on our boat!

We woke to funny noises above our heads in the sundeck, which is right over the aft cabin. I looked out the door to see these two sparrows having a great time preening, chirping, and of course pooping on Dave's work bench. They probably thought, "What a great place to roost out of the wind and weather." Too bad it was only 6:45 A.M.! Even though they were cute, hopefully they won't make a habit out of this early morning visit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Change of Address

We've moved! We are now living on a mooring in the main harbor of Man-O-War Cay for the next month.
It is about 5 miles north of Hope Town, so we can take our little skiff and go back whenever we are needed and the weather allows. All our committments and chores are under control, so we thought we would go on 'vacation', and that's exactly what it feels like.

All the out islands have a different character to them, and Man-O-War (MOW) is the is the exact opposite of Elbow Cay where Hope Town is located. Hope Town (HT), which is appropriately nicknamed 'Hollywood', is known for its nightlife, booze and loud music, whereas MOW is a dry island and there are no bars. The residents are very religious and there are three churches on this small industrious island. We have to adjust our sleeping habits now, since in HT we couldn't get to sleep until very late (or use earplugs) with the loud music blaring over the harbor. Now, come sunset, there is silence, but at daybreak this boatbuilding capital of the Abacos comes alive.

I will blog more later about our stay and experiences in MOW, but I did write a post last year about a walking tour of MOW, and to see it, click here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Another year has come and gone, but we had a great night to say good bye to 2010 and celebrate the arrival of 2011. It started last evening with a fun and interesting cocktail party with some of the sailing club members at the gorgeous beach house rented by our new friends Syd, Helen, Doug and Sue. The views are spectacular from this round house named Wynne Rae, and you can see it on this link by clicking here.

At midnight there were fireworks over the harbor, but it took some time to get them all shot off due to technical difficulties. They were still quite impressive, especially the ones that spray out from the shore. It was like having a grand finale for 10 minutes at a time, with intermissions in between.

Following the fireworks there was supposed to be a Junkanoo parade through the settlement and there were even festive route signs throughout the streets. I was just too tired to go over to join the crowds and lively music, but Dave wanted to be a part of the scene, as did our 81 year old cruising friend Diane. The two of them went to shore to walk and dance with the ornately costumed musicians and drummers. Hundreds of people waited, and waited, and waited, but no one showed up!

By the time Dave got back to the boat I was fast asleep with my earplugs in for noise. What a surprise to hear about the Junkanoo this morning, and as we were talking about it and wondering what happened, a famous book came to mind...'How The Grinch Stole Christmas.' We had a great laugh saying if Dr. Suess called them the Who's in Who-ville, that makes them the Ho's in Hope Town! Immediately Dave put his overactive brain to work and came up with this great poem, which was read on our informative Cruisers Net this morning:

The Grinch Steals Junkanoo

The Whos down in Whoville
Had this happen to them
The Grinch stole their Christmas
like it hadn’t of been.

Now the Ho’s down in Hope Town
Were in the same plight
No one knows how it happened
Was it the day or the night?

They’d come near and far
To our magical land
To celebrate New Year’s
With their toes in the sand.

Our Junkanoo parade
It just wasn’t to be
Yet the Ho’s were all ready
And dressed to a ‘T’.

I saw the last ferry
Leave the post office dock
Inside was the Grinch
It was past one o’clock.

New Year’s Eve came and went
The weather was great
For the Ho’s down in Hope Town
Junkanoo would just wait.

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!