We have enjoyed our time in Bermuda, it is a lovely spot, but we are anxious to get going. It will be about a two week passage to the Azores so you should here from us at the end of June.
Thursday, June 09, 2016
This is the weather chart we were looking at last week, not something a sailor likes to contemplate. The disturbance to the north of Bermuda was tropical depression Bonnie and the PSBL (possible) tropical cyclone turned into Tropical Storm Collin. Collin passed 350 nm north of us and we experienced two days of pretty yucky weather. We moved anchorages, as did most other boats, across the bay where there was more protection. We had sustained winds of 35 with gust up to 45 knots with a day and a half of rain. Our anchor held wonderfully, we just had the worry of a Amel 53 dragging slowly past us in the middle of the night and possibly snagging our anchor. The boat did not hit the shore but got pretty close and they managed to reanchor in the morning a long way from us. Whew!
All is well now, Collin has gone and it is bright and sunny once again and we will move back to the anchorage closer to town in a few hours.
We are currently at three and a half weeks of waiting time for our new sails. I am running out of patience and our good buddies Kind of Blue are departing tomorrow for the Azores. I think I will head up to the sail loft this afternoon and ask for an update on the expected arrival time of the sails.
We took the bus over to St David's Island last week. It is the next island in the chain from St. George. We visited the lighthouse. It is still working and we were able to walk right up to the top and go out on the ledge. We were very impressed with the wooden steps and bannister inside, I think in all the other lighthouses we have visited the steps have been metal.
We explored around the rest of the island visiting the battery that protected the main entrance to the harbour.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Bermuda Day, May 24, 2016
In Bermuda their national day is celebrated on the anniversary of the Queen's Birthday. We had a saying in Canada when I was a kid.
The 24th of May
Is the Queen's Birthday
If we don't get a holiday
We'll all run away
In Canada, it has morphed into May long weekend, we have a holiday on the closest Monday to the 24, and it signifies the beginning of summer for most Canadians. Here in Bermuda they celebrate the holiday on the 24th no matter what day of the week it is. We went into Hamilton the capital to watch the Bermuda day parade. We found out that the day was not so much about the parade as being there. As you can see in the picture everyone had put up tent tops and brought chairs. They came down the night before to set up and on the day the family showed up with enough food to last all day.
The parade www very spread out but there were some great floats and the dance groups were very co-ordinated.
Friday, May 20, 2016
We went to visit Fort St. Catherine, that was built on the northeast coast of Bermuda. It was built right next to the beach where the first settlers came ashore in 1609 when their boat was shipwrecked. The settlers were bound for Jamestown, Virginia, the leader Sir George Somers claimed the island for Britain and it was settled permanently three years later.
Yesterday we took the bus down to the other end of the island to "The Dockyard". This is where the British navy worked to repair it's warships through the centuries. The Dockyard was built first by slaves and then by prisoners. Once the jails in England were full in the 19th century, (you could be jailed for minor thefts, such as stealing a loaf of bread, or just for being Irish), they shipped the prisoners out of the country and one of the places they ended up was Bermuda. It was often a stopping place before being sent to Australia. ANYWAY, these prisoners constructed the Dockyard. They lived on rotting hulks of old slavers. These boats were no longer seaworthy but sat in the harbour with no masts or sails on them and were used to house the prisoners.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
30 degrees 22 minutes north
072 degrees 46 minutes west
If you draw a line directly south of the tip of Long Island NY that intersects with one from the northern border of Florida, that is approx. where we are. 434nm to go to Bermuda.
Yesterday, I was a very proud sailor! We had overcome a calamity, something that probably would have made us turn around and limp back to port ten years ago.
When we left the United States, Barry and I had a discussion about whether or not our sails would get us across the Atlantic. The genoa was made in New Zealand and we had the main made in Australia. That was approximate twenty five thousand nautical miles ago. Barry uncharacteristically thought they should last while I had my doubts. There have been numerous rips and tears lately which indicates they are becoming brittle, the sun and the wind have worn them out.
We had some very squally weather as we left the Bahamas, thunderstorms with big winds, which after their passage left us with big seas and very little wind. That meant the sails were slatting about ( that is a very salty term which means banging back and forth, inflating as the boat rises over a wave and then deflating with a big slap on the downside of the wave). Well, the main just could not take it and it tore right across the sail about 2 feet from the top. We managed to get it down, luckily the line that runs up the back of the sail was still in one piece so I could pull the detached bit of sail down by the very thin line! It was at dusk when this happened so we had no chance to repair it right away. We sailed under genoa alone and at some point we tacked it and Barry noticed a big horizontal rip in it. OH NO, both of our major sails out of commission at once, YIKES. The genoa was rolled in and we fired up the iron jenny and motored on. We talked about going back to the States and ordering a new sail, we were about two hundred miles away, and while we were waiting for a new sail our weather window for crossing the Atlantic would slip away, June is hurricane season and we have no desire to tangle with one of those.
At dawn I rustled Barry out of bed and as we had very little wind we were able to drop the genoa without a problem. I washed both sides of the sail around the tear to get the salt off and let it dry. Then we taped it up with our newish sail tape which sticks really well and put the genoa back up. Sail tape held and we were able to turn off the motor and sail again while we contemplated our decimated main.
It had separated on a seam across most of the sail, not bad, easily fixed, but then there was a tear which included a part right where one of the slugs was sewed on. The slugs attach the sail to the track on the mast and are a point of great strain, NOT GOOD!
We both problem solved for about ten minutes and came up with a good repair plan. Remember that we are still sailing, the boat is heaving around and we are sitting on the cabin top underneath the boom, with a huge mass of sail jammed around us as we try to maintain our seats while we get tossed back and forth. We taped one side of the vertical seam and Barry sewed it for additional strength, I taped the slug back onto the sail and then reinforced it with 2 inch wide webbing on both sides so that it would not tear off again. We taped the foot long rip and reinforced it with sail material on one side and sewed it as well.
Sewing by hand through tape, two piece of thick webbing and sail material is a real pain. There is something called a palm which is a round piece of indented steel which is attached to leather strapping which goes around your hand that is used to push the needle through the material. I had to push with all my strength to get the needle though all this. This great force can lead to broken needles if you are not careful so we have a good assortment of various shapes and sizes of needles on hand.
We finished all this at sunset, we had worked all day on it only taking breaks while two thunderstorms had passed over us. When the threatening clouds got close, we would stop sewing, gather up all our tools and put sail ties in three places on the sail and lash it down to the boom or whatever ropes we could. The first storm was vicious with driving wind and rain, soaking us to the bone, it lasted for well over an hour, living the dream indeed!
We tussled with raising the main, getting it halfway on and figuring out there was a twist in it. Down she came, we flaked it on the deck and raised it again. When we had it almost up Barry was unable to get it any higher and we discovered the halyard was caught around the stair at the top of the mast. We had to lower the whole thing for the second time, untangle the halyard and haul it back up. Barry got his workout for the day. I was so proud and happy when I felt the boat leap ahead as the wind once again filled the main, that I shouted with pure joy. It is 36 hours later and the fix is still holding, YIPPEE!
Combined, our knowledge gleaned from a sail repair class taken eleven years ago through the Bluewater Cruising Association and our experience in fixing numerous other rips and tears made it possible to turn a calamity into a proud moment. I remember buddies of ours, David and Linda from Toketie, BCA members of the fleet of 2006, described a similar situation, when they crossed from Tonga to New Zealand. Now I truly understand and appreciate their accomplishment in repairing their torn main. All I can say is YEAH US, sail on!!!
Later as I was about to wind in the winch Sydney had claimed for his perch, I had to touch his tail feathers in order for him to move. After the second light tap he fluttered off to the other side of the dodger where he took up residence on a line. He was still with us at daylight when Barry was once again on deck and we were doing a sail change. Barry actually lifted him up and deposited him ( with the barest of peeps from Sydney) in the back of the cockpit in hopes that he would fly off and continue on his journey. He continued to perch head tucked under a wing when we were done taking in the sail so Barry moved him back under cover in the cockpit.
He finally decided to leave mid morning and I was sure we had seen the last of him as he beat up into the sky. Last evening he arrived once again. I had actually seen two or three swallows winging their way across the sky an hour earlier but I was very surprised to see Sydney once again. I knew it was him by the cock of his head and the proprietary air he assumed as he once again took possession of the main winch.
Why, who, where, how come?? Where is he headed? Perhaps to his summer quarters in Canada. Who is he? I looked in my bird book and I think he must be a southwest cliff swallow, they summer in Canada to Mexico and winter in south Brazil to central Argentina. Why did he stop? Any port in a storm. How come he allowed us to handle him? At first I thought he must be injured but once he flew away I cannot figure out why he would allow us to touch him. Any bird experts out there please e-mail me at email@example.com to let me know the answers to my questions, PLEASE.
by swimming about.
The water is such an amazing colour. I wanted to go snorkelling here so we took the dinghy through this narrow pass between very small rocky islands. I got in the water and held on to the dinghy as we were pushed around by the current. There were lots of fish moving about, I saw a skip jack darting about looking for a meal and then on the way back in the dinghy a beautiful spotted eagle ray glided by. A day later Barry pointed out a turtle lolling about in the water with one flipper sticking up, how appropriate, we were headed for Green Turtle Cay.
We spent five days exploring some unihabited cays, having no contact with other cruisers, making short day hops from place to place. We had an ear glued to the weather reports, as always, and once we heard that thunderstorms were forecast with possible gust up to 50 knots we headed for shelter. We managed to get the last available mooring at Green Turtle Cay and are we glad we did. The predicted thunderstorms appeared with an impressive display of lightening and the boat right in front of us, who had anchored close to a mooring field and whose owner left the boat, dragged her anchor about 50 meters and rehooked right next to us. The owner finally reappeared back at his boat and managed to get his anchor reset, once again directly in front of us. Luckily no other boats dragged during the very windy gusts.
Green Turtle Cay is about 25 miles west of where we left the Bahamas, two years ago. We sailed up to the Chesapeake that year, this year our goal is somewhat further to the east. We are going to brave the infamous triangle and head for Bermuda. We were able to check out of the Bahamas in Green Turtle Cay and we found some fresh fruit, veggies and yogurt to top up our provisions for the voyage.
New Plymouth the main town on GT Cay was a joy to explore. The streets were extremely narrow and everyone drove around in golf carts, I did not see a car. The older homes were very well kept and I loved the gabled windows painted with bright tropical colours and the frangipani and wisteria growing in the yards. We planned to spend more time in the Bahamas but there was a good weather window for our crossing to Bermuda so we left.