Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spot's Great Adventure

Some of you have heard and some of you haven’t. That is why we are publishing this Special Edition of our blog. Yes, Spot went on a walkabout. Don’t fret, though, she is back in her bed even as we speak. Let me tell you the story the way she told it to me.
Spot’s Great Adventure
It was dark, around 0300 or so, and time for me to do my regular late-night inspection of the boat. I prowled fore and aft, port and starboard, up and down just checking to make sure everything was ship-shape. I noted a couple of deficiencies about which I would have to notify my staff, but all in all everything looked okay. I was playing with my squirrel –just to make sure he didn’t get lonely you understand – and then I looked up. I couldn’t believe it, but I could see stars. That meant someone had left the top hatch open, and that meant I could get outside, and that meant I had to go exploring. Now, up to this point my staff had diligently closed and locked the hatch, but someone appeared to have forgotten. Either that, or pirates were aboard. Yikes! It was up to me to check. I slowly climbed the steps and saw that I could make the leap from the top step all the way to the upper deck. Ready, set, jump … There, I did it. I knew exactly what to say, “One small step for a cat; one giant leap for cat-dom,” I meowed.
I looked around. Nope, no pirates. Whew! I was glad of that. My primary purpose accomplished, I decided that I would do a little exploring. I looked around a little more. When I had been up here before, my staff made me wear a leash, so clearly there was something up here I was not supposed to see or something I wasn’t supposed to do. Oh look, I can slide down the windows to get to the lower deck. I’ll bet no one has done that before. Whee! Oh look, from the lower deck I can jump onto the dock. I have only tried that one other time and then I ended up in the drink. Wow! This is not only exploring, it is dangerous exploring!! I REALLY feel like a cat now!
Ok, here I go … Yes! To paraphrase a great human, “Free at last, free at last, thank the Great Cat Almighty, I am free at last.” I can’t say that. I am a serious explorer now so I have to come up with my own saying. How about, “Watch where you are jumping so you don’t land in the water!” or “A boat, a boat, my cat-dom for a boat!” Okay, so maybe I’ll have to work on that.
Spot's Hidey Hole was in the center of this sail on a
catamaran a few boats down from us.
Exactly how she got there, we are not sure.
Now that I am on the dock, what should I do? Well, I could get back on the boat – but jumping six feet upwards is a lot harder than jumping six feet downwards. Well, my staff usually walks on the dock, so let me try that. Hmmm … This is kind of interesting. Oh, look there is another boat over there. It has two hulls so it must be a cat-amaran. I should go over and introduce myself. Oh look, it has a small opening on the second level just made for cats to explore. I think I’ll go in there.
At that point I must have dozed off or fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, one of my staff was outside calling for me. Hmmm … should I meow in response or should I just let her continue to look. Before deciding the proper course of action I thought I would have some breakfast … except my bowl wasn’t here. Neither was my water. Imagine, it has come to this … just because I went exploring my staff will not bring my food and water to me. I guess I’ll meow and let the humans know where I am. Oh, look a human is coming to get me. That’s good because after all that exploring and having some breakfast, I think I’ll take a nap.
\Signed Spot\
Elsewhere on our Bahamas Adventure we have had some stuff happening. I think we told you last about the winds in Big Spot Major and how we were stuck in the anchorage for several days, then how we went to Black Point to get some bread and do some laundry. Usually, after we leave Black Point we head straight to George Town. This year we decided to make it a two day event, so we stopped after night one at Lee Stocking Island.
One of the beaches at Lee Stocking Island
First, I have to say OMG, it is a beautiful location and it might become one of my favorite in the Islands. The island itself has several hiking trails, one of which takes you to the highest point in the Exuma chain. In addition, there are two or three different beaches that have that enchanting island beauty and at least two superb anchorages with protection from the east and the north. But no, folks, that’s not all. Lee Stocking is the location of the abandoned Caribbean Research Center.  Now, as we learned from the abandoned US Navy Base in Eleuthera, when they abandon something in the Bahamas, they just up and leave. At the Research Center (abandoned in 2011), there are filing cabinets full of files (seriously!); there are books, fiction and non-fiction, ready to be read; there is a dock waiting for boats, mooring balls waiting to be used, and relatively new furniture waiting for someone to sit, lay or otherwise use it. I mean it looks like they left there a couple of days ago and intend to send the boat back for the rest of their stuff. We actually found a photo of the research staff and a thank you letter from one of the former interns. It was kind of eerie! We only stayed one night, but intend to stop back on our way north.
An open filing cabinet at the abandoned
Caribbean Research Center on Lee Stocking Island.
 Inside were letters, strategic plans
for the Center, etc.
While there, we had drinks with Brian and Kim, the crew of the catamaran Freedom. It seems that Brian is a lobster fisherman and catches lobster for dinner. We need to hang around them and learn how he does that!
After Lee Stocking, it was on to George Town. We went to George Town for two reasons. First, we wanted to see our friends Russ and Lori on their boat Twin Sisters. We linked up with them and had drinks the first night, dinner with them the second night and lunch the third day. Russ and Lori like George Town and had spent 51 days there, enjoying the sun, surf and people and they caught us up on all the doings in and around George Town. 
Our second reason for going to G’Town  was to get ready for our trip further  east. We had intended to go as far as San Salvador, then come back through Rum Cay and Long Island. Next year we thought we might go down to the Raggeds. “Why?” you might ask were we going to take that journey.  Because that is the path that some people conjecture Columbus followed through the Bahamas before he ended up at Hispaniola. However, we figured we needed at least seven really good weather days – and we simply could not find them. Actually, the week we arrived in G’Town turned out to be the longest stretch of good weather we had. Yes, it is possible that if we waited longer that we might have been able to find our weather window. But if we waited longer, we would not be able to pursue Plan B.
Plan B is meandering north at a leisurely pace. We went from George Town to “The Marina at Emerald Bay.” There we caught up with the crew of Sequel to … who we had met last year on the way to Marsh Harbor. We had seen their boat along the way at several places, but had not physically linked up until Emerald Bay. We also rented a car. We were going to go sightseeing, but ended up going to an auto store (NAPA), two different grocery stores and driving down the Queen’s Highway, just exploring a little.
Ok, I know you are asking why we went to an auto parts store. Here’s the scoop. I went down to check the oil level in the generator – which I do frequently. Usually, we don’t need oil, but this time we did. So, I took the top off the generator (I need to do that to put oil in) and noticed that the area around the radiator cap was all corroded. In fact, the corrosion appeared to have lifted the cap off the heat exchanger.  I thought that was strange, so I took the cap off and found that not only did the cap itself come off, but so did the entirely assembly to which it was attached! We went to the auto store to buy a new radiator cap, which we did, and tried to get a new neck assembly – which they do not sell. In the event, I used a product called JB Weld to attach the neck assembly and put back on the radiator cap. Because of the way it fit, the radiator cap isn’t keeping a lid on the pressure, like it is should, it is just keeping the water-antifreeze mix from spilling out. Oh well. I am guessing it will cost another boat unit.
After Emerald Bay it was up to Lee Stocking again, then to Big Major Spot, and finally on to Hawksbill Cay. On the way to Big Major, I hooked a nice Mahi, got him up to the boat, and then had my 130# test leader break!!! I can assure you the fish didn’t weigh 130#, so it is pretty clear the line was deficient. Grrrr!!
A picture of Traveling Soul from a hill on Hawksbill Cay
We went to and stayed at Hawksbill for two reasons: (1) Our friends Russ and Lori were there, and (2) we expected and received some pretty significant winds (25 – 30 MPH gusting to 40). We took the opportunity to explore a small part of Hawksbill and it was really unusual. It had a large mangrove/sandy area that went maybe a mile into the island and connected with what looked to be a trail from the north. I wish we would have had more time, but we will certainly try to make some more next year.
Ann’s Notes:   So…waking up and NOT having Spot greet you… I knew right away something was not right. Michael and I looked in all her places that she hangs out in, believe me, on this boat she has a lot of them. The next step, after finding the second deck hatch door open, was to get dressed, grab her treats bag and call her name while walking the docks. Also praying that she was not floating in the water. Several good things did happen, the most important was she was safe and we found her. She also answered my calls with a very strong “meow” so I could locate her. Spot does not like being in the wind and we were in a marina to get out of the wind. She was smart when looking for a safe place to get out of the wind. I found her inside the sail cover, looking out to the dock, on a catamaran.   The owner of the boat heard me calling and heard Spot also, we both looked up and there she was. My light colored cat in his tan colored sail cover.   The lesson I learned is that next year when cruising, she will have an additional tag with our boat name and Bahamian phone number. Yes … she is micro chipped … and Yes she has a tag on her collar with our US phone number. The down side is that the out islands do not even have doctors for humans … forget about Vets with micro chip readers.
We have had a wonderful time exploring some new anchorages. Meeting new friends and spending time with old ones is such a blessing. 
I am hoping that next year we can explore the Columbus route and also have a few visitors to share Traveling Souls with.  Start saving your pennies, friends and family, your stateroom awaits you.
Spot the Explorer
Traveling Soul…OUT

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Eating Our Way Through the Exumas

This is going to be a bit of an unusual blog; unusual because we really didn’t do much except get caught in a wind storm that just wouldn’t quit. Now the wind was from the east, which is good and we were in an excellent anchorage with superb holding, which is even better. The problem is that we pretty much had to stay in the anchorage and we couldn’t even go anywhere safely in our dinghy.  Well, we found something to do – basically, Ann cooked and I ate. But before we get into detail, let me discuss some of the adventures we had before the gale.

The last time we wrote you we were getting ready to cross from Eleuthera to the Exumas. Doing so involves crossing about forty miles of serious (3000+ feet deep) ocean so we had to wait for decent weather. And we really timed it right – the weather was just about perfect. I dragged a line a line behind the boat hoping to catch a fish. About 1/3 of the way across, I did get a strike. I got to the back of the boat, got settled and started slowing the fish down by increasing the drag on the reel. I am not sure whether I increased it too much or the fish just got lucky, but he got away. My line didn’t break, however, and I still had the lure – a lure which I continued to use for the rest of the trip – though it was to no avail.

The Exumas are an island chain in the Bahamas consisting of 365 islands with a population of about 7000. The islands themselves are quite varied. Some are large, some are small; some are inhabited and some are uninhabited; some are lush and some are arid. The one thing they have in common is that, taken together, they provide some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and are surrounded by more shades of blue than E.L James has Shades of Grey. Our first stop in the Exumas was at a particularly beautiful spot – just off O’Brien’s Cay – that we discovered last year with our friends Dave and Joan Wolf. (You may remember that just as we were getting ready to lower our dinghy so we could go snorkeling, the generator broke. This year we have had no generator problems J).

The view from O'Brien's Cay.
After a night at O’Brien’s we reserved a mooring ball at Warderick Wells, an island that serves as the headquarters of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. We have been there several times in the past and continue to be amazed at the beauty of the place. It is nearly impossible to capture these tremendous sights in a single photo because it is not the simple 2x2 or 4x4 picture, it is the fact that the entire horizon is so magnificent. Anyway, while we were at Warderick we also walked up to Booboo Hill and looked for boat signs of our friends – sorry, guys, we didn’t see any.

One of the many views from Warderick Wells.
Before leaving Warderick, we knew weather was coming. We also knew we had to take care of a couple of maintenance items. I think I said in the last entry that we had solved our battery problem. Well, I jumped the gun. We certainly made the batteries better, but I decided – based on advice from the manufacturer – that I would equalize the batteries one more time. To equalize, we needed to be at a marina. There was a second maintenance item. We often check the purity of the water coming out of our faucets and out of our water maker. I have noticed a bit of a decline in the quality of the coming out of our water maker over the past several weeks. I think I can improve its performance by flushing the membrane. Basically, that means putting a hundred or more gallons of fresh water through the system to clean it out. I can best do that at a marina where I can replenish our water supply after I flush. For those reasons, we decided that we would go to the marina at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club before anchoring and preparing for the Big Blow.

The Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Can't you just see Sidney
Greenstreet in one of those Adirondack Chairs?
The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is very difficult to describe. Remember the movies we used to watch where a group of expats, usually Brits, would congregate at the local watering hole? The movies would usually star people like Sidney Greenstreet or maybe even the great Bogey. They were usually set in Africa, sometimes in South America, or once in a while on some exotic South Seas island. Anyway, that is what I see when I look at the Staniel Yacht Club; expats at some local watering hole. Maybe it is because some of the pictures on the wall are of the James Bond movie Thunderball which was filmed in local waters – and the crew used the Yacht Club as the local pub. Now, don’t get me wrong. The SCYC is probably THE tourist destination in the central Exumas and I have no doubt that it makes money hand over fist, that there are more mega-yachts than expats, and I haven’t seen a Sidney Greenstreet lately.

Now, our original intent was to go to some anchorages about which we have heard a great deal, but that we have never used. There are a couple places near Pipe Cay, in particular. Alas, the Pipe Cay anchorages were pretty full so we went on to Big Major Spot. Some of you may remember Big Major as containing the semi-famous Pig Beach where the pigs will swim out to your dinghy for food. Anyway, we picked out spot, dropped our anchor and hunkered down. The first day, winds were 35 – 40 knots, gusting to 45.  On days 2, 3 and 4 they were 25 – 35 gusting to 40. We were beginning to wonder if this was going to be one of those forty day and forty night things that the Lord visits on man once in a while, but it eventually started letting up. The island, though, provided very good protection and while we felt a bit of a chop, the anchorage was generally calm. Even more importantly, Big Bertha, our 110 lb. anchor held very well.

Okay, so let me return to the topic with which I started the blog. What do you do with four days aboard a boat with winds outside such that you cannot leave? Well, you read, play computer games, do a few boat projects – and you eat. You eat especially well if your first mate is one of the best chefs on a cruising boat anywhere. I sometimes kid Ann about all the pots, pans and cooking gadgets she has stuffed into the galley, but I am here to tell you that woman can cook! Here is our menu for the four dinners we had while at Big Major Spot:

·         Thursday: Rack of lamb, seasoned with the perfect mixture of Dijon mustard, rosemary, fresh lemon juice and olive oil.  Served with lightly buttered summer squash and seasoned Israeli couscous

o   Critics comment: This was Ann’s first try at rack of lamb and it was scrumptious. I am serious. I have had rack of lamb at some top-notch restaurants and Ann’s was among the best I have had.

·         Friday: Four cheese tortellini lightly brushed with a mixture of olive oil, butter and parmesan cheese served with salad using Ann’s Grandmother’s special salad dressing

o   Critics Comment: Although it was made with store-bought pasta, I am here to tell you that Ann always makes superb tortellini.

·         Saturday: Baked Eggplant Parmesan: Sliced, breaded, baked eggplant layered with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses served with organically grown fresh Arugula salad from Hope Town

o   Critics Comment: It has been a long time since we have had eggplant parmesan. As an avowed carnivore, I will only eat it when it has lots of cheese and is perfectly seasoned – and Ann has absolutely broken the code on this meal.

·         Sunday:  Lamb Chops served with Provencal-style cassoulet consisting of white navy beans, Italian sausage, bacon, rosemary, bay leaf, onions, and carrots in a white wine sauce. Homemade Rustic bread was also available.

o   Critic’s Comment: Ann’s mother is French and taught Ann the secrets of making a good cassoulet. Ann took that recipe and those techniques and improved them by about 500%. It is to die for. And with perfectly cooked lamb chops? What can I say??

·         Monday: Cornish Game Hens lightly seasoned and basted with butter served with pan-roasted zucchini and succulent mashed sweet potatoes

o   Critic’s Comment: The Game hen was ideally cooked with the perfect seasoning and just the right amount of butter.

·         Tuesday: Pork medallions marinated in a special Bahamian barbecue sauce, consisting of Kalik beer with fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, coconut rum, Worchester sauce, fruit, hot pepper, red wine vinegar, sugar and sea salt.

o   Critic’s Comment: Sometimes BBQ sauce can be too sweet for pork; not this BBQ sauce. Mmmm pork medallions. Mmmm barbecue sauce. Mmmm Kalik beer. What is not to love?

After stuffing ourselves for several days, we moved on to Black Point. There are two reasons people go to Black Point. The first is to do laundry. Ida’s Laundromat has something like twelve washers and twelve dryers – plus the cost is reasonable. There is a second reason. When you go to Italy you think of pasta; when you go to Paris, you think of luscious pastries. When you go to Black Point, you think of Mama’s bread.

Ann’s Notes:  Soooo…my galley may be on the small side compared to my wonderful kitchen in our condo …BUT…I can create some very tasty meals. Plus I know how to provision our boat after five years of practice. Add some windy weather, our dinghy secured on the second deck, and lots of time on my hands, it is the perfect culinary storm for me. I did try a few new recipes and improved upon a few old ones. I did lots of reading and kept busy with my other hobby, cross stitching. I tried to keep Spot busy by playing with her. She can get bored and cause all sorts of havoc if not entertained properly. Since she could not prowl around out on the deck, it was blowing like stink outside and since she only weighs eight pounds, her chances of being blown away were on the high side. We also started to watch the X-Files in the middle of the day. Dave and Joan got the whole TV series on DVD and let us borrow them. I was not sure I would like it at first but I got sucked into it after a few episodes. Go figure … now that the wind has calmed down, we need to do some beach walking, I think you can figure out why.

We have been able to meet up with some good friends when we departed our anchorage at Big Major Spot and moved Traveling Soul to Black Point. As Michael said, the reason we go to Black Point is that they have a Laundromat and a sweet little Bahamian women that everyone calls Mama. Mama is known for her coconut bread and her fresh white or wheat bread. You call her daughter Loraine and put your order in over the VHF radio, and like magic pick up your bread the next day.  We also had a nice Happy Hour with our friends Vic and Gigi on Salty Turtle. Vic had his son, daughter-in-law and six year old grandson visiting them. It is always fun to catch up with those two, they have been cruising the Bahamian waters for many years. They know all the locals and share their cruising knowledge with us. I found something pretty interesting. The grandson during the day went to the local island school and went to class with the island’s children. That will be a memory he will always have while growing up. Also the daughter-in-law was French and grew up in Brittany. I had a wonderful conversation with her, since that is where my mom and grandfather were born. I have many wonderful memories of visiting  my great grandmother and all sorts of aunts and uncles in that part of France.  It was so nice to reminisce and share my experience with another French woman. My mother would be so proud of me, I have very fond memories of the time I spent in France as a child and young adult.

Thanks for following us…

Traveling Soul…OUT

Friday, March 3, 2017


After Spanish Wells we headed south along the west coast of Eleuthera.  Eleuthera is an interesting island in that it is long and skinny measuring 110 miles long, but only two miles across at its widest point. It is actually the site of the first European settlement in the Bahamas. In 1648 one William Sayle convinced a group of London investors – called the “Company of Eleutherian Adventurers” (most of whom never actually set foot in Eleuthera) – to put their money behind a group of pilgrims who wanted to pursue religious freedom in Eleuthera. (“Eleuthera” is a Greek word for “freedom.”) Investors were promised substantial return on "wrecks which shall be recovered upon or near the islands... and also all mines of gold, silver, copper, brass or lead, ambergris, salt; and all rich woods, either tincture or medicaments which shall be found on the island." To make a long story short, the ship upon which the settlers set forth from Bermuda – along with almost all their worldly goods – sank along a reef that is now known as the “Devil’s Backbone” just off the northern coast of the island. They took refuge in the “Preachers Cave” and continued their settlement efforts with varying degrees of success.

That doesn’t describe our efforts, however. We were very successful. When leaving Spanish Wells for the main island, boats must pass through the dread Current Cut. It is a relatively small passage through the group of islands that stretch southwest from Eleuthera. It is called current cut because there is a lot of water flowing through the passage and it is often moving very fast. During the spring tides, it can move at over 10 MPH. For a sailboat whose top speed in 5-7 MPH, this can be a major problem. It can also be a problem for a power boat with substantial engines (like us). However, if one plays the tides and tries to traverse the cut at slack tide, it is not that big of a problem. (Just for your information: Determining when slack tide will occur is more difficult that you might think. Often, slack is at the same time as high and low tide; when the tide stops coming in, it stops for a bit before it starts flowing out – thus it is slack. However, when all the water that can build up during high tide tries to flow through a small opening – like Current Cut – it can’t get through in time, thus slack occurs some time after high or low tide. Here is the catch – no one has thought to make a table of slack tides, so we approximate the timing for slack tide by waiting 30 or so minutes after high (or low).)

After cutting through the chain of islets, we headed down island. We spent the night at Rainbow Cay – a small island just off Eleuthera – but it really didn’t look like it had anything for us to see or do, so we moved on to Alabaster Beach. Wow! It is not as magnificent as Treasure Cay, but it is beautiful. It is about a mile long, 20-30 yards wide, very, very clean and has a bunch of different kinds of shells. Moreover, while we were there they were holding the RIDE FOR HOPE, a long-distance-for-fun bicycling event. Many of you know I really enjoy bicycling when I am not on the boat, so maybe next year I can combine both hobbies – we’ll have to wait and see. At any rate, they had a very festive atmosphere, giving away water and selling beer, wine and other consumables. We only stayed for a little bit, but it was fun and interesting. We also learned that the Bahamas now has at least one “craft beer.”
An old gas pump at the abandoned Naval Base

For years, Kalik and Sands have had a virtual monopoly on beer in the Bahamas. Just about the only foreign beer was Heinekin, so you had three choices. For the same reasons that craft brewing became popular in the States, however, it seems to have become at least acceptable in the Bahamas.  The Pirate Republic Brewing Company makes three different kinds of beer and all of them are pretty darn good – certainly a change from Kalik and Sands.

After learning about the bicycle event, learning about the new beer, and talking with some of the cyclists, we went exploring. We had heard that on the other side of the island there was an abandon US Navy Base. What? I asked myself; what would that be like. We had read that it was only about a 15 minute walk, so we set off. About 45 minutes later, we found the base – and yes, it was abandon. It had started in 1950 as an experimental center and became a full-fledged naval base in 1957.  Over time it evolved into a combination SOSUS (Sound Surveillance System – to track Soviet submarines) base, and part of the Air Force’s Atlantic missile tracking system. It eventually closed in 1980. It seemed like the US just took everything that could be moved and walked away, leaving buildings and infrastructure in place. Since then, it has turned into pretty much a dump as the locals get rid of their large trash there, e.g cars, toilets(!), and trucks.
The pink sand beach below the abandoned Naval Base

Just below the base, on the Atlantic side, there is a magnificent pink sand beach. While it has its share of flotsam and jetsam, it is not as bad as you might think. If the Navy had held on to the property, I would have been glad to take it off their hands J

After Alabaster Beach, we headed down to Rock Sound. We had been here last year, but we liked it as an anchorage in that it had pretty good protection from most directions. It also had an excellent grocery store, a good liquor store, a nice gift shop and a really cool “ocean hole.” The ocean hole is about a mile inland and looks just like a lake or pond – except that it is 600 feet deep and has salt water from the Atlantic, not the sound! It connects through the limestone that is the Bahamas. We tried to take a picture of the fish, but I don’t think it came out very well. Anyway, it is very cool.

After we walked up to the Ocean Hole, I thought it would not be that far to walk to the other side of the island and catch another Atlantic Beach or two. Well, after we had been walking fifteen minutes, a Bahamian lady came by and picked us up. It turned out the beach was much further than I thought it was, (at least an hour’s walk, maybe even longer) but she owned a restaurant on the north side. It was Rosie of “Rosie’s.” She asked us if we wanted to have lunch at her place, and since we preferred to have ride back rather than walking, we did. Below her house/restaurant/inn there was another nice beach. She served us some excellent grouper fingers and a nice, wholesome Kalik beer. Ah, what more could a man want! And yes, after we paid the bill, she did take us back to the boat.

We only anchored for three days at Rock Sound. We moved to a marina for two reasons. First, there was supposed to be a cold front coming through that would involve some fairly stiff winds that would start in the east, go to the south, then the west, etc. Even more importantly, however, we had a boat issue. I had noticed for the past couple of weeks that our batteries did not seem to have the capacity that they once did. Now they are 3 ½ years old, so you can understand how the capacity might decrease. BUT, these weren’t just any batteries, they were Lifeline (brand name), 8D (size), AGMs (type). I am not going to go into detail on battery construction right now, suffice to say that Lifeline is supposed to be the Cadillac of batteries AND they have a five year warranty AND their price is commensurate with their reputation, so I was a little upset when it looked like they were failing after 3 ½.

I had read up on what needed to be done and I e-mailed Lifeline. Everything said I needed to “equalize” the batteries. Over time, battery plates tend to acquire a sulphate coating which hinders the chemical action between the electrolyte (sulfuric acid) and the lead plate.  By equalizing the battery in a controlled overcharge the outer layer of the plate, including the sulphate coating, is blown off, rejuvenating the battery and allowing all the surface area of the plates to interact with the electrolyte. For my Lifelines, I needed to generate 15.5 volts and keep it up for 8 hours. If that failed, I intended to do it a second time, so we thought it better to go to a marina rather than keep the generator going for that long. The only real test we could give the batteries would be after we left the marina. And guess what … it looks like it worked!!!

Doubled-up fenders at the Cape Eleuthera Marina
The marina experience itself was kind of so-so. It was a resort marina, which means among other things that they have swimming pool – and yes, Ann went swimming. It also means they had a pretty good restaurant. Unfortunately, it also means there is nothing else to do within walking or biking distance. We rented a car and went to Governor’s Harbor and a few other places, but we had done the same thing last year – we were running out of things to do. To make matters worse, the weather front did come through and we learned the marina does not handle westerly winds well; in fact, it handles them terribly.

And that brings us to the end of our Eleutheran Adventure. Our next entry will be from the beautiful, ever-changing Exumas.

Ann’s Notes: I really do not have much to report…Michael has covered much of what went on. I think I am learning more than I really want to know about batteries. I do know for sure that I like batteries when they work properly and I do not like them when Michael becomes worried about them. He had been keeping track of amps, volts, and inflow charging. I think he may even have a power point presentation if you are interested. All I know is that several times at night, at random times, my fan stops working, the fan that is next to my side of the bed to keep me cool-ish. So when the fan turns off, I wake up. Michael is testing the batteries. Getting the picture?  My concern over the batteries is much more self-centered, Michael wants the whole boat to run well, I just want my fan to run all night without interruption.
Ann at the marina's swimming pool

Our walks have been pretty interesting. Our standard joke now is that our destinations are “only about fifteen minutes away.” They must be “island minutes” because forty-five minutes later we might be close to our destination. I think any place that has been abandoned is rather interesting, I just wonder what it would have been like to live in that place and what the history is of the location and the people that spent part of their time on earth living there. I feel the same way about old books and photographs. I find it interesting to see how quickly Mother Nature and her plants can reclaim the ground once people move on. I found a beautiful wild orchid growing in the midst of all this rubble. We also saw a small herd of wild goats; they just appeared in the middle of the road.

While at the anchorage at Rock Sound a call went out from a fellow boater. His wife was having some major back pain and really was in a lot of pain. They managed to get her to the local clinic, the doctor’s advice to her was to fly back to the US, start doing Yoga and move off their sailboat. Not very helpful to say the least ... SO…. most cruisers have a pretty good first aid kit on board designed for their personal issues. With all of Michael’s Achilles heel surgeries and my neck (I am fine ... no worries), we have some GOOD pain management meds on board. I also have some Rx strength lidocaine patches that my wonderful friend Joan gave me before we departed, to add to my personal kit. People offered all sorts of help and brought – medication, my Lidocaine patch and a few Ambien – to their boat. I offered Reiki and reflexology, but she needed rest more than anything. I just got a thank you message from her today so I guess with all the cruisers pulling for her and pooling our resources, we helped get her through a bad week or so.

Spot is doing well, roaming the boat while we are at anchor, hunting patches of sun during the day, rolling over to have her tummy and chin scratched and generally loving her time with us.

Thank you for following us…stay tuned…the adventure is not even half over..

Oh…just FYI…the wonderful restaurant called French Leave at Governor’s Harbor, still have a beautiful view but NO LOBSTER PIZZA…Damn..

Traveling Soul…OUT