Little Farmers Cay to Sampson Cay, 5/25-5/30/10
With apologies for the lately-flurry of postings - we've got a good internet
connection at the moment, and I'm catching up, finally...
We left you after our circumnavigation of Little Farmers Cay, the second
smallest population of the occupied outposts in the Bahamas. We settled in
for a bit of photo work and 1-2-3s. Lydia's a big fan of Picasa, and, for
that matter, I am, too, but as yet I've not become accustomed to
manipulating it for my purposes. Picasa is a very powerful editing tool, but
it doesn't actually edit the photo. Instead, it saves the changes it's made
in a database, leaving the original untouched.
One downside to it, in my view, is that it has no compression tool (at least
that my son Michael, the ex-Google employee and #1 Google Chrome - Google's
very "thin" [requiring very few resources] browser - app writer, having
developed AdBlock, now with over 1 million users, could find when he was
aboard showing Lydia and me how to use it). Picasa offers lots of web space
for you to display your photo galleries, for free, and humongous amounts for
very small fees.
My gallery, seen in the link below, got full very quickly in my first three
years, and so, despite the administrator's doubling my available space, I've
gotten enormously behind, exacerbated by the need to limit my time at the
computer both for power consumption and available time in and of itself.
The tool I use is Microsoft Photo Editor, which, every time you make
changes, saves the edited file in a compressed version, helpful not only to
the space needed on my gallery but in time to upload.
Michael has shown me how to export my edited files (there's a way in Picasa
to export the modified picture to another folder, still uncompressed, but
it's a bit convoluted), which I'd then run through MSPE for compression
before uploading. However, I'm still a novice on that :**/) so have not done
much about it, for the above reasons.
Lydia, however, spends hours with her galleries, mostly for her own records,
but occasionally uploading them to her page. I'd do the same, but there
isn't the ability to drill down for subdirectories as there is in mine, and
the number of folders (galleries) that would result, in the end, would make
the page unwieldy. As I want to maintain a single link for my galleries,
I'll continue to use justpickone.org.
Justpickone.org is my other son, also a computer professional, who's
developed a tool for folks who need this sort of service on a professional
level, using a user-friendly interface to "web-folio" - his gallery
presentation. In my case, he has a tool which compresses, further, the
several sizes of photos one can see (you can see either the "thumbnail -
about 1/10 a screen's worth - or move through several larger sizes all the
way to the original), for any which are older than 3 months. That's on the
presumption that anyone who needed to see the largest presentation of what
shows up there, usually mostly ways we've managed restoration, repair or
refit, would do that soon after I'd made notice of it, somewhere (usually,
Anyway, as Lydia was doing the last batch of pictures on her machine, I set
to making the "marriage saver" headset which had a broken piece (rendering
it useless) work again. I'd previously attempted various means, all of which
failed, and was about to resort to epoxy, but, in conversation a couple of
days ago, something Lydia had said clicked my mind outside of the box in
which I'd been looking.
Duh! Make the broken one hers, which was fully compressed in length
(smaller head, smaller strap length), make it permanent, and use what had
been hers for mine, with the extensions still in one piece! (AND - any time
I thought it might drop, which is what caused the break on mine, take it
off!!) A drill and a piece of siezing wire later, it was done, so I
reassembled the electronics parts and put it away.
For those who may not have been exposed to it, Cruising Solutions, on the
web and at most major boat shows, have a duplex wireless headset which
allows normal voice level communication between two parties. We use it for
anchoring, when I'm up the mast, if I'm at the Nav station when we're
motoring, and I have to monitor either or both of the Cap'n (a charting
program which has the Explorer Charts on it, very accurate in this region,
particularly in comparison to the Navionics charts which are in the
chartplotter at the helm) or the depth sounder at the nav which doesn't
flake out in extremely shallow water or while backing, as the one at the
cockpit sometimes does. $70 bux extremely well spent!
That done, we set out for Black Point on a rising tide. Unfortunately for
our preferences, there was literally no wind Wednesday, 5-26-10, so we
motored the short way there.
As we went, along the way, we found a usable connection about an hour before
we arrived, and were able to pull down our mail and sent the couple of
messages which were in the outbox. However, once in Black Point's harbor,
despite there being many available signals, all were on the typical router's
default channel 6. As a result, data collisions prevented reliable web
access, though, eventually, emails through our client, Outlook Express, came
Thus, seeing this on any other than [email protected]
delayed. If I have to send it over winlink to my son for posting, it will
appear there timely, but those seeing it in the web forum will notice a
delay until our next reliable connection. At that, we have service in the
harbor where none but the superyachts with their dedicated satellite systems
don't, so we're not complaining!
Once in the harbor, we grilled the magnificent Mahi Mahi our friends on a
sistership, SeaHawk, a Morgan 462, had provided us from their overflowing
freezer. They have had enormously better luck than we in fishing, perhaps
because they're willing to use live (well, frozen) bait in addition to their
lures, have not less than 5 lines astern while they're under way, some
heavily weighted to keep them down, and others at the surface, and, as much
as possible, traveling on the 200 meter line, where, they report, the best
For all that, they, too, have lost a lot of gear to various fish or the
ocean - but I have to say that their reports of fishing put ours to shame.
We'll have to work on that :**/) Anyway, back to the Mahi, we marinated it
in Mojo, an Hispanic sauce, and I grilled it while Lydia cooked up some
veggies and pasta. We all were very happily stuffed by the time we said
goodby to our friends for the evening.
Thursday morning saw one of our rare lie-ins, as Portia was dissuaded from
rousting us at dawn, as is her wont. She normally presents us with a
veritable symphony of vocalizations, loud and demanding, wanting us to get
up and play with her. This time, we successfully fended her off, and
luxuriated in sleeping another couple of hours.
Thursday afternoon, we wanted to go in to pay a visit to Lorraine, the
fabled café owner who provides not only food and drink, asking cruisers to
keep their own tabs when she's not there, but delicious foodstuffs of all
sorts to go with her free internet access. I helped her work out some
issues with her internet café last year, and we became fast friends. We
were anxious to catch up with her about her house fire and new baby, both of
which happened while we were away in the last year :**)) However, the day
got away from us, and we wound up motoring to south of Staniel Cay where, we
hoped, we'd find no mosquitoes (only a couple last night, but that was more
than enough) and promising snorkeling.
It was a very short trip, and our traveling companions elected to stay in
Black Point, so we're anchored in about 15 feet of crystal clear water,
enjoying the 1/2 to 1 knot breeze. The current here isn't troublesome, but
it's there, which means that at the moment, with the wind essentially
astern, and the current on our nose, we're staying still. If either pick up,
we'll move around a bit, but I have out 200' of chain in a very secure spot,
so it will be of little moment to us.
We'll enjoy a leisurely dinner, repeating last night's menu, except this
time it will be chicken, left over from our prodigious stocking-up we did
just before we left. We're steadily whittling away at our stores, and the
waterline (and our depth) reflects that. My recent sounding under the boat
was surprising, given that we seem to have gained nearly a half a foot in
clearance from the bottom!
First thing tomorrow, we'll go exploring, taking our dive and fishing gear
with us. Everyone has told us that the best place to find conch, and to fish
with a line, is in the cuts, and we have several small ones near us. We'll
also check out the coral reef line parallel to the small outcroppings of
rock near us.
Well, one thing and another prevented getting this out until later. We have
to confess that we are thoroughly spoiled, having had many extraordinary
snorkeling experiences. Thus, when we checked out the reef line between
Harvey and Dead Man's Cay, we didn't bother getting in the water, despite
umpteen little spots of potential interest, surely amazing to those not so
jaded. We discovered those by our trick of doing donuts over them, making a
slick (like heaving to does, calming the water) which made viewing simple
There were massive brain corals, huge fans, and other interesting-to-look at
formations, but very few fish, and those formations were widely spaced. As
it was right in line with the tide, a drift snorkel (hang on to the boat
line, and go with the flow) would allow easy viewing of these. However, as
there were no large accumulations, and few fish, we headed, instead, over to
the other iguana sanctuary nearby.
Unlike Allen's Cay's protected island, these iguanas didn't have the sort of
"suit" which we'd observed the ones there "wearing" (their skin made it look
like they were "dressed"), but most of them had numbers painted on their
sides. We presume that to be a function of Shedd Aquarium, which apparently
administers the island. They have a large sign explaining the nature of the
conservancy, including strong language about not feeding them, not from
danger, but to maintain the nature of the place. Likewise, tramping the
interior was proscripted, for their protection, not ours.
Several other boats came while we were there, and, our curiosity and
photo-ops satisfied, we set off to the cut to see if we could catch some
dinner. There were waves breaking just beyond, so presumably there's a reef
there, and, by the time we'd got our poles set, with the tide running out,
we were being carried at greater and greater speed toward them. Goosing the
throttle a bit, we cleared that area, and set the throttle to 4-6 knots. It
took quite a while to clear the island's tip :**)) - but, despite leaving the
lines out all the way back to Flying Pig, we had not so much as a nibble.
Ah, well... The wind here has been essentially nonexistent, and the sun very
hot, so we jumped into the water immediately on arrival back home. Once
cooled down a bit, we set off for Staniel and Big Majors, under (UGH!)
motor, a very short trip made longer only by virtue of the reefs in between
where we were and where we'd end up. Those interested can see our track by
clicking tinyurl.com/flyingpigspot, the "shareme" location of our SPOT
transmitter showing our travels. Clicking on the hybrid will show the
shallows we've avoided in our travels :**))
Once in our new spot, we fired up the WiFi and again were connected, albeit
to a very marginal site with even more marginal throughput. However, it's
entirely adequate for receiving emails (through Outlook Express, Windows
Mail or another client), as it doesn't require the bandwidth web-browsing
Our only real point of interest here was Thunderball Grotto, which, last
time, had been amazing, but this time, we'd use a trick we'd learned last
year, which is to take along cooked rice. We put it in a Gatorade bottle,
with the cap having a 1/4" hole in it, and, by a squeeze, dispense a few
grains of rice. The fish in the grotto are well accustomed to humans, and
not the least bit shy, but suggest some food for them, and you are literally
covered up with fish, to the degree that someone looking at you can't even
Lydia spent the entire day yesterday working on some of the hundreds of
photos we'd taken in the last few days, including the iguanas and fish.
Those interested can see them by clicking the links below:
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - Staniel Cay
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - Thunderball G...
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - South Staniel...
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - Bitter Guana Cay
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - Big Galliot a...
Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - George Town R...
A lovely sleep-in today leaves us, again, late starting, but we're off to
Sampson Cay, sailing, this time, in the light breeze which has finally
arrived. It's only about 5 miles, but the wind looks propitious for the
short sail, and after the last couple of short jaunts, we're anxious to air
out the sails, again! So, we'll leave you here. If anything notable
happens, I'll cover it in the next log. As a reminder, if you're seeing this
in other than my mailing list, the yahoogroups link in the signature, this
is an unusual instance of simultaneous posting. Mostly the couple of places
I put these on the web have to wait until we have a good enough connection,
not always possible at sea. If you'd like to receive them directly, click
that link and subscribe...
Until next time, Stay Tuned!
Skip, all at sea, as usual :**))
Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web
Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups
"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to
make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hand. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in Illusions - The Reluctant Messiah)