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The Exumas May 31, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Part of our daily catch...

We are at Highborne Cay in the Exumas.  Here are some notes from the past couple of days plus a photo.  More photos can be found by visiting my Flickr site from my sidebar:

Tuesday, May30, 2006

We decide to go south to the Exumas today.  Our first stop for fuel is a no-go.  Seems the dock attendant had taken the fuel keys home with him and no one could find the duplicate set.  After waiting a half-hour or so, we move on to the next dock and take on 213 gallons before leaving Nassau Harbor.  We have about a 2 hour run across a shallow bank before reaching the northern end of the Exuma Sound.  The weather is beautiful… almost dead calm.  As we enter the sound and deploy our fishing gear, Tommy spots a bill-fish, heads for it and circles.  Within a few minutes, Ralph hooks, and lands a nice Dolphin.  No sooner do we have the lines back into the water, when there is another strike and I grab the rod.  It’s another nice Dolphin and a fighter at that.  I have him on our smallest rod and get several long runs and jumps before bringing it to the boat where it manages to free itself just before the gaff.  On well… there are more fish out there.  Perhaps we will have better luck with the next one.  As the day goes on, fishing slows.  It is a couple of hours before our next hit and it’s Tommy’s fish.  We are just off Allen Cay and had been zigzagging on and off the drop-off when something big hits.  After a long fight, it turns out to be a giant King Fish… probably close to 50 pounds.  At first we thought it was one of the elusive Wahoo’s we have been trying to catch but it is a King.  That was the last fish before we call it a day.  Tommy calls ahead and makes reservations for a slip at Highborne Cay Club Marina.  After docking, we use their cleaning station to clean the fish.  It is an interesting spot.  Located just at the entrance to their rock enclosed marina the waters around the station are swarming with large Sharks, Jacks and a few large Snapper and Grouper… all looking for a handout.  The trimmings from our cleaning effort create quit a commotion.  The birds have first shot, the Jacks next and if both of those miss it, one of the Sharks usually prevails.  We turn  in early after a supper of Frehitas.  Tomorrow we hope to do better with the fish.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It’s another beautiful day.  Our plan today is to troll back over the waters we tried yesterday and travel back to Nassau this afternoon.  Not long after we clean the Highborne Cut, we have our first fish on.  It is a beautiful Dolphin which we boat after a long fight.  Shortly there after , another strike…  It too is a large Dolphin.  Two fish in the boat and we are less than an hour out of Highborne Cay and the day is early.  We had a second strike at the same time but the fish bit the leader and took our lure.  A short time after this activity, we have another double hookup.  This time we are successful and boat both fish.  These too are very large Dolphin.  We have a dilemma… four fish and only three will fit in the ice cooler.  We decide to head back to Highborne Cay, spend the night and try our luck again tomorrow.  Let me tell you, cleaning four of those big fish is an afternoon’s work.  These are not your little school Dolphin, these are all four monsters.  However, they are all cleaned, vacuum sealed, and in the freezer (which is filling fast).  I save out some of the fish and broil it for supper serving it with baked beans and Texas toast.  Tomorrow we will try again but expect to actually end up in Nassau this time.  Incidently, the Sharks at the cleaning station had a feast too.

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A “Down Day” May 29, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Yesterday, (Sunday), we did pretty much nothing.  We did get some laundry done and Ralph and Tommy went on seperate walking tours of Nassau while I remained onboard trying to figure out what's going on with my computer.  Day before yesterday its battery charging circuitry started acting up.  I have had problems with it before and still have yet to figure out what's happening this time.  However, we have two other computers onboard so I will still be able to post whenever we dock near a "hot-spot".  Ralph and Tommy are out for breakfast this moring and I am using Tommy's computer to post this.  More later…

Nassau May 27, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Entering Nassau Harbor

We make it to Nassau today. The following are some notes I made over the past few days. Additional photos can be found by linking to Flickr from my Flickr sidebar.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It is an overcast day with some dark clouds to the east of us… in the direction we need to travel if we are going to Chub Cay as planned. The only weather we can get reports scattered showers over south Florida, but nothing for the Bahamas. There is no wind to speak of so around 0930, we decide to go ahead. We will be crossing the Bahamas Bank for most of the 85 mile trip to Chub Cay so we won’t get much fishing today. As we turn east through the Cat Cay cut, it starts to sprinkle but still no wind. Actually, the seas are almost flat and will remain so for the whole trip today. We do get light showers off and on all day but otherwise it is great cruising. We arrive at Chub Cay around 1630 and, as expected, we are unable to raise an answer from either the Chub Cay Marina or the Berry Island Club. Both outfits are being remodeled and were supposed to be open for business this spring, but considering “Island Time” it doesn’t surprise me that they aren’t. There is a decent anchorage just outside and west of the Chub Cay Marina entrance that we choose for the night. There are a couple of sailboats already at anchor and before nightfall, we will be joined by several other sports fishing vessels. Not a bad spot except for the noise of a dredge working on the channel into Chub Cay Marina. We also notice extensive construction ongoing on the island. Several new, large homes and what appears to be an elaborate club house are nearing completion. It looks like it will be a class act once completed but I suspect it will loose much of its charm as a lazy, laidback fishing commuity. I suspect the finished produce will look much like any golf or yachting community in the States. For supper, I warm up the Ropa Vieja to serve with Yellow Rice and Corn-on-the-Cob… this was after the Bahama Mamas of coarse. We have a pleasant night with some surge (rolling) but all sleep well.
Friday, May 26, 2006

Today we will fish the waters around Chub Cay and near the north end of Andros. It isn’t long before we are spot a large bunch of feeding sea birds. However, trolling through them doesn’t seem to work. We do pick up a small Barracuda but nothing else all morning. Early afternoon, while trolling near several other boats we were checking out, Tommy hooked and landed a nice Dolphin in the 20 pound class. Before the day is over we will pick up one more small Black Fin Tuna, but all in all, fishing is slow. We return to the same anchorage off Chub Cay well before dusk and I get the dubious honor of cleaning our catch. The birds love it though. Have you ever noticed when cleaning fish, that no matter there are no birds in sight, once you have cut into the fish there they are… yelling “feed me, feed me”. Out here, it’s not only the birds, but before long, we have several sharks circling and looking for handouts too. Not a good time for a swim. For supper, we have hotdogs with potato salad and slaw. Ralph is successful in latching onto someone’s Wi-Fi so I was able to get a post up to my Blog.

Saturday, May 27, 2006
The plan today is to troll east to Nassau. It’s another beautiful day. Light to no wind and the sun is out. While still in sight of Chub, my reel sings out… really sings out. By the time we get to it, more than half of its 700 plus yards of line is off the spool. This is a big fish and it is sounding. Because of this we suspect it is a big tuna. With the drag “full-on”, I am still loosing line. Perhaps I need to readjust the gross drag settings for the reel, but that will have to wait until there isn’t a fish attached to the other end. A slow process of regaining lost line ensues. The fish remains deep never coming to the surface. Ralph, on the controls, has to switch between neutral and forward to keep the line from going under the boat. I gradually recover the line eventually bringing the fish close enough to identify. It is a Blue Marlin… probably 5-6 feet in length. I little one… Tommy brings it to the stern and releases the fish. It is my first Marlin…ever.  Now, all of us on this trip have caught a Marlin; Ralph and Tommy on a previous trip and I catch one on this trip. We continue trolling and before long, we have another strike. Same rod again… Tommy brings in another nice Dolphin. That makes three for this trip so far. We hook one more large Dolphin but it gets away before Tommy decides we should bring out lines in and head for Nassau to find dockage. There is a large black cloud approaching us and he figures it will be better not to have it hit as we are entering Nassau Harbor. We arrive around 1530 and find dockage at Nassau Harbour Club… the same place we stayed our last trip. After cleaning the fish we clean up a bit and go to the Outback Steakhouse for supper. Ralph and I return to the boat and Tommy takes a side trip to the Treasure Island Casino.

Arcon at Bimini May 26, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Here is the photo of the Arcon I promiced a few days ago but couldn't get posted.

We Arrive at Chub Cay May 26, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing, My Trip Logs.
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Yesterday we arrived at Chub Cay in the Berry Islands early afternoon.  The Chub Cay Marina where we usually stay is being renovated including dredging the entrance.  We have had to anchor outside but the weather is good and we had a comfortable night though a bit noisy because of the dredge nearby.  I am posting some notes I made yesterday and will report on our fishing trip today later.  Ralph's computer is the only one that can get online here.  More later…

Wednesday, May24, 2006

After breakfast, we leave Alice Town to spend the day trolling in the Bimini area hoping to hook into a Wahoo or two.  We troll south toward Cat Cay.  It is another beautiful day but the fishing turns out to be slow.  We have trouble deploying our outriggers so we attempt to troll 3 flat lines off the stern.  I rig the center to run deep and short with 48 ounces of lead and run the two outside lines on the surface and long in the hopes of keeping them apart.  It’s not to be though… the outside port line tangles and wraps with the center line giving us a two hour lesson in perfecting our untangling technique.  If this isn’t enough, when the tangle is out and I release the centerline back into the water, it tangles with a piece of floating grass and wraps back upon itself creating another exercise.  A good bit of our fishing time is used in straightening out these snafues.  We do, however, pick up a nice Mackerel of the 6-8 pound category.  I am not completely sure as to its identity but I think it is a Cero though the oval yellow spots on its sides are smaller than I usually see and its back is colored an electric blue similar to what one would expect on a Dolphin.  I am fairly certain it is neither a Spanish nor King.  None the less, it is a beautiful fish and gives Ralph a good fight.  As we slowly troll back towards Bimini for another night, we intercept a distress call from a vessel east of Cat Cay.  After several minutes and no one else answering, Tommy does.  It’s the motor sailor “Bold Pursuit” and it’s dead in the water six miles east of Cat Cay and looking for a tow.  They state that they are a 65 foot, 100 ton, steel-hull vessel and that their single engine “just stopped”.  This seems a little large for the Arcon to try and maneuver near the tricky waters around Cat Cay so Tommy suggests trying to relay the message back to Bimini and possibly better equipped assistance.  At this time we are about to arrive at Bimini and Tommy has no problem arranging for assistance and we loiter outside until both parties are in contact and help is arranged.  Tonight we will try the new Bimini Sands Marina on South Bimini.  It turns out to be a very new and modern operation with numerous slips with floating docks… fifty, sixty or more I would guess.  It is a full service marina with everything from tennis to a small restaurant.  They also claim to have Wi-Fi but we have problems staying online.  Other amenities include showers and a nice swimming pool.  Prices aren’t bad either… $44/night for the Arcon plus $10/night for power. 

We Are In the Bahamas (Bimini) May 24, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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We arrived a couple of days ago but have been staying at a marina that didn't have internet access (Bimini Blue Water). Tonight we decided to try the Bimini Sands Marina on South Bimini where they do have Wi-Fi so I will be posting stuff I jotted down over the past few days.Monday, May 22, 2006

During the night our power generator (gen-set) shuts down for no apparent reason. It is a pleasant evening with very little breeze dieing to almost nothing before daylight. The first thing is to figure out why the gen-set shut down. It is a new unit and this the first time it has really been used. Indication is that the cause of stopping is "under-speed". After starting it up again and once again having it stop, Tommy adjusts its idle speed up a bit and that seems to have cured the problem. While checking this out, Tommy notices a slow oil leak on the oil sensor alarm for the port engine. This is probably the cause of that engine using more oil than does the starboard engine. We will have to find a replacement sensor in the islands. In the meantime we will need to keep our eyes on it.We head out into the Atlantic through Caesar’s Pass around 0900 and it is as calm as I have ever seen it for a Gulf Stream crossing. We have a smooth ride to Bimini arriving around 1400. It takes almost 2 hours to clear customs after which we just hang around the docks. We had planned on doing laundry, but considering "Island Time", it’s a little late for that. Alice Town (main settlement at Bimini) is empty… very few boats are in the harbor which we pretty much have to ourselves. We have no problem getting a berth at Bimini Blue Water Resort. $0.75/ft plus $15/night for electricity and $0.50/gal for water is the going rate. We notice that diesel fuel at the docks is $3.90/gal. This is at least one dollar more per gallon then we were paying in the Keys. After the Bahama Mama’s, we head over to our marina’s hotel for dinner. Ralph has Cracked Conch, Tommy has the Seafood Platter and I choose the Chopped Steak. Food is good but nothing special. Prices are reasonable for Island fair. Tomorrow will be a laundry day so we will probably spend another night in Bimini.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tommy is up early and wakes me as he walks around my bed on his way to the stern and off the boat. (I sleep on the fold-out couch in the salon) It is barely daylight and I try to get back to sleep with no success. Ralph is still asleep as I fold my bed and start the coffee. A look out the window shows a mirror calm harbor. There is not a breath of air moving this morning. Shortly, Ralph joins me and when Tommy returns from his early breakfast, we leave for ours. Afterwards, Ralph rents a golf cart and he and I take our laundry to the only laundry mat at the other end of town. While we do the wash, Tommy replaces the leaking oil sensor with a plug as he is unable to locate a sensor here on Bimini. Until we get a replacement, we will have to closely monitor oil pressure on the port engine. Tommy also tries to rework one of the outriggers but decides to wait until we return to Tampa. As I have indicated earlier, this was to be a down day. After the laundry is folded and stowed, we kick back. We spend part of the afternoon enjoying the nice pool at our marina and then walk down to the Bimini Big Game Fishing Club for supper. It has a nice restaurant/bar located upstairs right on the water next to the docks. Tommy and I order baby back ribs and Ralph has the fried grouper. Everything is great… food, atmosphere and even their choice of music. On our walk back to the boat we chat with some fishermen who say they caught several Wahoo between Bimini and Cat Cay today. We decide we will give that a try tomorrow and either return to Bimini or the marina at Cat Cay tomorrow night.

Fishing off Marathon May 21, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Marathon Fish Collage

It is late Saturday evening and I am sitting here listning to music relaxing after finishing supper thinking about todays activities.  After breakfast, we pull anchor and head out into the Atlantic to try our luck at a fishing hole called "The Humps" several miles offshore.  We are not the only ones with that idea and this being a Saturday, we have plenty of company when we arrive.  It is a beautiful day with a light breeze… enough to make it comfortable without roughing up the seas.  We see several billfish jump and watch as a few are cought by other boats.  We don't catch one, but do catch saveral Black Fin Tuna and one Dolphin (fish) before trolling back to the save anchorage we used last night.  After cleaning the fish I make the Ropa Vieja I started yesterday and we had a good, though late supper.  It was after dark before I started cooking.  It's midnight as I finish this post and everyone else has gone to bed so I think I will just post a couple of photos we took today and also call it a day.

 

2006 Bahamas Cruise May 20, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing, Uncategorized.
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We leave Tampa on the 17th around 11:00am heading south to Marathon where we are today.  We will be here for a day or two before crossing the “Stream” for the Bahamas.  When I am unable to get online, I will continue to make notes for posting when I can.  Here are some notes I made over the past few days as we traveled down the West Coast of Florida:

Wednesday, May 18, 2006

Our 2006 trek to the Bahamas starts around 11:00am today as we leave Tampa Bay.  The wind is fresh but not enough to give us any trouble in the bay.  Because of fuel considerations, we are planning on taking it slow this trip.  We do decide to take the ICW today though as it will be a little rough offshore.  The crew consists of Tommy, Ralph and me.  Our 4th member changed his mind at the last minute so there will be just the 3 of us this year.  We have an uneventful trip this first day and decide to anchor out in Sarasota Bay for the evening arriving there well before dark.  For dinner, after enjoying a couple of Ralph’s excellent Bahama Mamas, I prepare and serve a Taco Casserole with lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream for trimming.  The stress of getting the boat ready for this trip is telling and we all sack-out early.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We have a breezy comfortable night and enjoy sleeping without the air conditioning and generator noise.  However, we are anchored just off a bayside park in downtown Sarasota and several times during the night we are serenaded by an angry, female (vagrant?) telling someone just how unhappy she is and then once again this morning by kids playing and yelling at each other (as they walk through the park to school?).  We fend for ourselves for breakfast and then take the opportunity to rig the outriggers with new tackle purchased for the trip.  We depart and enter the Gulf through New Pass a little after 10:00am.  It is choppy but we decide to go outside today in order to do some trolling as we head south.  Fishing is slow and we see neither fish nor birds all day.  In fact, we see very few boats either.  I suspect the fuel situation is keeping a lot of fisherman and boaters at the dock.  We have following seas all the way to Naples where we pull inside Gordon Pass to anchor for the evening arriving around 7:00pm just in time for Bahama Mamas.  For dinner, I serve Yellow Rice and Chicken with a tossed green salad and chocolate almond ice cream for desert.

Friday, May 19, 2006

We all slept good last night with a light breeze to keep us cool.  Once again we are were able to do without the AC.  We travel up to Naples proper and fuel at the city dock where we take on around 100 gallons of diesel.  By 0900 we are once again underway and heading south.  The winds have dropped from yesterday and it is comfortable going.  No bate or birds however.  We set a course directly for Marathon and arrive a little after 5:00 pm without having seen nor caught a fish.  For supper I fix beans, franks, slaw and potato salad. I also boil a flank steak in preparation for fixing Ropa Vieja for tomorrow night’s dinner.  Another comfortable night sleeping…