Friday, March 13, 2015

Video: Episode #4 - Exploring the Bahamas - Stocking Island

On this episode, we set out for a couple of days of exploration. First we take the trail to the windward beach and head south until it ends and the labyrinth of trails begin - where beautiful views can be had atop gorgeous rock cliffs.  But we also spent a day on a hike to the Salt Monument by the northern part of the island.  And in between we accomplish a little work on the boat and watch the 2015 Georgetown Regatta from our own front seats. Video footage taken from February 25 and March 5, 2015.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dean's Blue Hole - Long Island, Bahamas

Road Trip!  We finally decided to break down and spend a little money on a rent-a-car so we could make the short trip up the highway to Dean's Blue Hole.  I figured that since we were within 4 miles of it, and its the deepest salt water hole in the world, maybe it would be worth it.  Also, I heard that there was a cliff that you can jump off if you only had the balls to do so.  Plus, while we had the car, we'll go ahead and head up to the Sea Wind Grocery Store to do a little provisioning.  

All went as planned, and by 10:30 am we were pulling damn near right up on the beach to the Blue Hole - nobody was there and you can see our rent-a-car in the background on some of the pictures.  The free-diving platform was affixed and we heard the influx of participants and spectators will start funneling in closer to the end of this month as competition starts April 1.

But looking off into a 663 foot hole is a little weird.  Not that we haven't been diving before - hell, we've dove a wall in Cozumel that dropped off to over 1000 feet.  But for some reason, a hole is just different.  And after we got a little used to it, the boys started jumping off the cliff, and suckered me into it also - although I did take the one a little down from the top.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We Outdid Ourselves!

I know I just posted the great day of cruising we just had en-route to Calabash Bay at the north end of Long Island...but on the way down to Clarence Town two days ago we outdid ourselves.  Although it was a little rough going at times - waves sometimes up over the 6-7 foot range hitting us from the port bow direction, and we had trouble keeping the wind more than 40 degrees on our nose - we were able to land this (to us) massive Mahi-mahi.  But the big challenge in actually getting her on board was the fact that we were at full sails when she hooked, and we had at least one motor running (can't remember if starboard was on or not.)  

Justin was first to the pole and quickly realized that tightening the drag would result in a snapped line (we used to think 40 lb. test was plenty) was singing! He could feel and hear the line stretching.  So she kept taking it....and taking it until we started to get concerned that she'd take the whole spool.  We also realized that if we had any chance of getting the fish in the cockpit, we had to slow down, so Brandon and I pulled in the jib and I turned into the wind enough that we were able to putter along at about 1.5 knots. 

She went to the opposite side of the boat as a last resort
Brandon trying to sneak the gaff in


As Justin continued to reel her in, she would tease us by jumping out of the water in an attempt to shake loose the lure.  Then when she got close to the boat, she made a last ditch attempt by going to the opposite side and half way up and around the starboard hull - Brandon had to go to the steps and pull the line aft so she wouldn't tangle in the prop and rudder.  

But the last move was to actually gaff her as she was much too heavy for the line and pole to remove her from the ocean - and so far, its something we haven't been successful at doing.  But after a couple of tries, Brandon was able to gently hook the gill and hoist her up onto the boat - a great team effort in all.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bagged 3 Mahi-Mahi en-route to Long Island

Today we decided to head over to the north end of Long Island in preparation for island hopping further south.  The problem is that starting this Tuesday wind from the east will be up over 25 knots for about a week, so wherever we are is where we'll be for awhile.  So its hard making the decision to leave Georgetown when we know wind like this will be hitting us soon.  When you're in Georgetown, you get comfortable - it has everything you need: American television (all four major stations!!), grocery stores, internet, and safety in numbers.  And after waiting for our anemometer (wind instrument) to come back from Raymarine for over a month now, fear begins to creep in because beyond Georgetown, you are kind of on your own.  Do we leave? Or do we stay?  

But today, I made the decision to go ahead and set sail for Calabash Bay on Long Island - the wind was minimal and the waves were non-existant as the waters west of Long Island are still protected from the Atlantic Ocean - seemed like a good idea to peak out and get a little salty.  And sails like this can be very productive - you get to dump your tanks and we make water the whole way replenishing our diminished supply as we're not comfortable making water in Elizabeth Harbor.  We also let out both fishing poles - a couple of Penn's we picked up at a Key West pawn shop.  And when you travel in 2000 feet of water you might just snag a Mahi or two.  

TWO fish ON!!!
We're perfecting the "Swing-to-the-Cockpit" maneuver 
And that's what happened - we hadn't had them out but about an hour when the first monster Mahi hit.  And unfortunately for us, once again, the big one got away - we have not seemed to master the art of getting these bad boys into the safety of the cockpit before they shake that lure right out of their mouth.  Major bummer!  We devise another plan and put both poles back out again.  Lucky for us, there are more Mahi in these waters and within about another hour, we got another hit - a baby, but still a nice one.  We can at least look forward to a nice Mahi dinner - we've been redeemed a little.  


Happy Times!

But the real excitement came after about another hour, the small Penn reel got a hit and Justin ran to it to pull it in and Brandon ran to the other reel to bring it in so Justin wouldn't get tangled in it.  But as soon as Brandon started to reel, his lure was also hit - now we had TWO FISH ON!!!  For some reason, both fish went to port and Brandon found himself making his way around the solar rack with a big Mahi on (he knew what it was because it kept jumping out of the water.)  Lucky for us, we were able to finally get big Mahi inside the cockpit before they both shook their lures and we have finally been redeemed from the two big ones that got away!

The baby that we caught after the big one got away