Just Relax travel blog

Beach Cruising, Odysee & CU@C having a pot luck supper

Sojer Day celebration. THis occurs every other year. Celebrates Man O War...

Mr. Albury making rope. It takes several to do this. THe fiber...

Here John is helping stretch the final product. There are 3 strands...

A close up of Mr. Albury threading the strands.

Sojer Day sign with Sue and Sue

Original Hole in Wall light. A man had been saving it since...

Queens Blvd. THis is the main street in MOW

We go to church with the Grahams. Preacher is from Georgia near...

See write up about this sign

Mr. Albury building one of his boats.

This golf buggy was donated by a Chic-Fil-A franchise back home to...

Our mooring

MOW Harbor from our dink

We leave Great Guana Cay on 4/1 for Man Of War. We were going to Treasure Cay to anchor, but since heavy rains were forecasted and 35 kt winds, we decided to go here first so we would have a town to walk around, and also we have friends staying here on their boat. We end up staying here until 4/8. The trip over only takes 1.5 hrs. During this time, we pump out the holding tank. Sadly, there are only two, that we know of, marinas in the Abacos that have pump outs and they are at private marinas. Thus, we have to pump out in the seas. We make sure we go off shore at least 3 miles, which is the law in the USA, and we think that is a good law. Some live aboard boats over here have a treatment system that helps, but it is not perfect. Almost every day that is calm, one will see a boat leave a harbor, and shortly later come back - obviously going to pump out. We can go almost three weeks between pump-outs and much longer if we are at a marina since we would use their facilities as much as possible. Weather for this trip was 10-15 kts from the north, so it was very nice. Still cloudy however. The rain that was forecasted came in droves. We had it for two straight days, and the winds really howled, but we were in a good protected anchorage on a mooring ball that belonged to a boater that let us use it. We got to quickly go and see our friends who we first met in 2006, Sue and Paul, who spend around 7 months/yr over here. We saw them last year in GA and have kept in touch all this time. Paul is needing more eye surgery and hopefully by our next posting, we will hear things went well. Getting doctor care is not easy here with a doctor only visiting the out islands maybe once per week. Most islands that have more then 200 or so folks on them have at least a part time nurse. Paul will get his surgery in the USA. Odysee introduces us to some of their friends over here, and we quickly, of course, arrange for our first get together - and it was fabulous. A nice preplanned supper with cloth napkins and the works courtesy of the boaters. The first 3 days, we had excitement at our anchorage in addition to weather. Day one, we watched a sail boat (of course it was a sail boat - LOL) come in a and Sue was watching to see if she could learn anything by watching them grab a mooring ball. Then I hear her say, why would they run over it? John says,"because they do not know what they are doing?" Yep, they snagged it, but got off with little difficulty. They decided to move on. Day two another sail boater snags the same ball in the same manner (Sue is till watching trying to learn - LOL). Well the results were not so good. Two hours later, three divers later, they got loose. They decided to stay on this ball. The next day, when they left, we'll be a monkey's uncle, they ran over it again. Fortunately after about 5-10 minutes they got off of it and were on their way. John then asked Sue what she learned. After picking himself off the floor, she asked,"any more questions"? We took the walking tour of this island of about 200. This takes about 1 hr. Man O War is famous for boat building. One of their boats was even in the 1976 bi-centennial parade in New York. The Albury family, who original settled here are famous for thier boats and get anywhere from $50K for a simple 24'center console-type boat (sans engine and amenities). Actually the first settler was a woman who married a young by of 17 when the boat he was on ship wrecked here. They fell in love almost immediately. The tradition continues with the family. We spoke of pumping out. Another challenge on these small islands is trash. There is a dump here where we take our trash on the dink. It is quite an ordeal they have to go thru here. There are three dumpsters that have to be barged out every week - no where to handle trash here, so everyone on the island is careful to not generate too much. We take so many things for granted in the states. Another thing is electric power. It goes out at least once per week on many of the islands. It went out twice while we were here. While it does not bother us since we are using the boat's generator to keep the batteries up, we do get an occasional WiFi signal which would then go out. The WiFI tower is powered at a private house that has no one living there full time, so when power goes out, someone goes over and re-sets it, eventually. We take at least three trips/day in our dink either to town, or over to Odysee. Ice cream store opens at 7:00 p.m., so we go there of course a few times. Paul takes the three gals in their dink to the "Low Place" to shell one morning (low tide) and he comes back to the boat and the guys hang out until it is time to go pick them up. They have fun, and Sue W. loves this, but she is sad that she got no sand dollars. We are ready for bed every night by 9:00. Believe it or not, relaxing is tiring - LOL. But one thing we always do before bed (if it is clear) is to spend some time out looking at the stars. It seems we can touch them. On Thursday, we listen to the regular broadcast on the VHF radio at 0815. Since there are no regular radio or TV stations over here, volunteers man the radio each morning with local information and weather. This process is run nice and we learn much of water conditions around the islands, and boaters can call in to ask questions, or if someone needs help, they ask if anyone has a part, or knowledge on how to fix something ("anyone know anything about a 1938 ammonia HVAC system?"). Also, boats report their comings and goings at this time. Well, the rains came as forecasted on the VHF and did they?! Our hatch in the master berth leaks, so John frantically is stuffing foam in it. It works, in a manner, but we cover the bed in plastic and make the best of it for the night. The next day, he replaced the weather stripping with new that he had. How does he know to have spare weather stripping?! April 6 was Sojer Day here. They celebrate their heritage every other year, and this tradition was started only about 6 years ago. The island just got it first museum, and it was a focal point of the celebration along with ribs and chicken and home made ice cream. The celebration began on the eve with a night of praise and thanksgiving. A craft show and most local historical locations open, many of them homes. Opening ceremonies were held at the outdoor volleyball court and chairs were volunteered from buisnesses and homes since there is no venue for such events otherwise. Eleanor Pinder, later Albury, settled here in 1820. She had 13 kids and thus Albury is the name of many here. It is interesting some of the key dates in history here. For example, they list all the significant hurricanes, but small ones like Sandy are not listed - LOL. 1876 brought the first artificial light here (kerosene). 1895, the first school. 1904, the first camera. First clinic - 1953. They did not have electricity until 1959. Sunday we go to church with the Grahams and listen to Pastor Randy Crowe. He is active with trying to establish a much needed orphanage on Andros Island, which is many miles south of here. Even though it is huge (140 miles long), there are only about 8,000 living there, and it is not a tourist place like many other places are. No lumber yards, hardware stores, etc there. Every nut and bolt has to be shipped in. See pictures for the sign which was recdntly dontaed. It was painted by some American boaters. Even something as simple as this is a chore, because not only did it have to be made, it now has to be arranged to get it to Andros. www.Islandoutreach.com. Odysee has a satellite dish on their boat, so Sue and Sue, both big Nascar fans are glued to the TV for the afternoon. Sue G is a Carl fan, Sue W, Jeff, and the boys like Jr. We eat all afternoon while watching. beach Cruiser comes over later in the day and finishes installing the new WiFI booster on our computers for us, and now we can reach marginal towers around the islands. It works pretty good, but we have to point it at the tower, but generally that is not hard to figure out where the signal is coming from. We wrap up out time here with some minor provisions ($1.25/can of coke, so we bypass that, $4.00 for a bag of chips, OK. $7.50 for a pint if ice cream - no. Next stop, Hope Town, about an hour south of here on 4/8. While we are not ready to leave, we feel we must if we are to see more of the beautiful islands, but we plan to return to MOW. The week went by sooooo fast.

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