Earlier today I awoke as usual listening to the marine weather forecast. When I heard of the light and variable winds I decided it a good day to stay put in our anchorage at White Point off Great Guana Cay in the Exumas and do a little hull scrubbing. The poor Glass Slipper has been sporting an Intercoastal Waterway beard for some time now. The tannic in the ICW leaves a brown stain just above the waterline and on most of the bow and it's a devil to scrub off. A flat calm sea, a little time spent hanging out over the edge of the dinghy with a scrubbie, and a lot of elbow grease was in order. I did the transom first as it was a quick win and as I began to tire of doing the sides I could go back and encourage myself by looking at my completed work. Coleen helped by floating around on a cushion with her own scrub brush and enjoyed being in the water. After her attention wandered, I sent her off to start her school work.
After lunch I graded her cumulative science exam and she was thrilled to get a 96. I was thrilled too as she had failed the previous science test which was all about weather, a rather important topic in this lifestyle. The consequences of failing the weather test was of course a hands on project. For the past 3 weeks, she's been responsible for recording weather observations at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.each day, along with her own weather forecast. She's become very good at identifying clouds and her forecast, well it's as good as anyones :-)
We celebrated her good grade by having beach school. We loaded up the dinghy with our gear and books, and she swam to the beach while I followed in the dinghy. We soon set up camp and began to write and solve math problems in the sand, played a few games, hiked, snorkeled and before we knew it the day was gone. By the time she swam back to the boat, with me following again, it was 6:30! I managed to get our eggplant curry dinner on the table in the cockpit just as the sun was setting over the water. Another awesome, busy day and even the dog was too tired to beg scraps.
So far we've had a lovely time in the Exuma Cays. We spent several days anchored off Big Majors as we met a family returning from the Caribbean who has daughter Coleen's age. They have an awesome sailing dinghy (the benefit of having storage space on a huge catamaran) and Coleen learned to sail it under the sweet guidance of her new friend. She had a awesome time and decided that dinghy sailing is way more fun than sailing the Glass Slipper. Time and again they would tip the boat over and then quickly right it again and sail away in just a couple of minutes. How they managed to do it without losing their hats is beyond me. One time they tipped it over and found three nurse sharks under them as they worked to right it, but I'm trying not to think about that.
We also enjoyed snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, lots of reefs and couple of caves in the Exumas Land and Sea Park. Our days were so filled between school lessons, snorkeling on the reefs and dinghy sailing Coleen was dropping into bed exhausted. One day we were in the water snorkeling for almost 3 hours. I was so tired I could barely move when we returned and had to pass on the next days snorkel, deciding it is possible to have too much fun. We even had a fun game night aboard Liberator one evening. Best of all our friends Tom and Sue aboard Andante met up with us while at Cambridge Cay. It was so good to see them again. We enjoyed a couple of evenings of fun with them, including finally having our belated Easter ham dinner. Unfortunately Tom was under the weather, and then I managed to get sick too. We missed an awesome sailing day with an almost unheard of west wind and smooth seas, while I languished on the settee. I managed to get moving yesterday, although I still didn't feel great, but of course then we had little to no wind and even though I flew the big asymmetrical sail most of the day we barely managed 3 knots. Still it was a glorious day, a calm, slow sail was just what I needed as I was still on the mend, and in the end it brought us to this beautiful anchorage. All good!
With any luck we'll have a little wind tomorrow and will continue our journey south.
P.S. I forgot to mention a rather harrowing event that happened on our way from Big Majors to Cambrige Cay. It was supposed to be an gentle eight mile downwind sail. Instead something screwy happened when I went to set the whisker pole and it got caught and somehow bent the track. I couldn't take it up or down at that point. After much cussing and a general fit, I finally decided to hell with the whole wisker pole. I would have thrown it overboard if I could have got it unstuck. I decided to try my hand at flying the asymmetrical for the first time on my own. It's a colorful, giant sized, yellow and white sail, made out of parachute type fabric that's meant to be used in light wind. It has a special device to keep it under control while raising or lowering it called a "sock", which is some of the best money I've ever spent. Anyway, it took me a little while to sort it all out, but soon I had the sock raised, and I was back in the cockpit to handle the sheet. Coleen was on the bow ready to raise the sock and let out the asymmetrical at my command. For whatever reason Prince was on the bow too, I think he was still trying to stay out of the way after my recent tirade about the whisker pole. Anyway, just as we got the sail flying I saw a small sailboat, maybe 22 feet, headed straight for our bow, just a few feet away. That boat was heeled over so far I could see the keel and it was moving fast. I yelled at Coleen to sit down quickly and hold on, and did a quick jibe to turn the boat. The guy at the helm of the other boat put his hands up to his face in surprise. They never even saw us until then. Of course, our quick jibe wrapped the asymmetrical around the forestay in a bit of a mess, and even with the sock it took us a while to sort it out. I've never been so close to being in a collision!