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.
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