Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fleeing the Cold

Tuesday afternoon we arrived at Morehead City, after a leisurely trip across the Neuse River and down Adams Creek, to find the waterfront anchorage populated by private mooring balls. The moorings appeared last year and were rumored to be placed by the town—we tied up to one then.  A check on Active Captain (a web site with good information for cruisers) informed us they were private.  We considered tying up to an unused one, but could not find one with a good attachment pendant and; there is always a question of how well a private mooring is constructed and maintained.   Rather than looking for another anchorage, we figured that we could anchor between the moorings.  Holding is good here but the tides and wind switch causing the boat to swing around.  Once the sun went down it got freezing cold and I was ready to get into bed and pile on the covers by 8pm.  I slept well until 2am when I heard the anchor chain crunching so I got up to check it out.  Everything was ok but the boat had changed position due to the tide and wind and one of the moorings was near the bow of the boat.  By 4:30 or so Bill was up too and it was obvious that we were both done sleeping for the night.  The mooring ball now was between our hulls and banging on the hull.  In spite of being rather grumpy I knew there was nothing else to do but pull up anchor and go.  This area is familiar to us and well marked with lighted buoys so we had no problem navigating Beaufort Inlet in the dark.  It was still cloudy so morning arrived gradually all around us with no sunrise as we turned southwest to begin our passage to warmer weather.

So we got a very early start this morning—the cold front  passed and we are out at sea with good sailing. One motor is on at idle to charge the computers but we will soon be able to shut it down.  The seas are choppy but are following us which makes for a comfortable ride.  Samantha was a little disoriented by the early routine but now in her travelling place in the back bunk.  Now at 8:30 the clouds are now white puffies in a clear blue sky.  A pod of dolphins are jumping at the bow.  I just went out to take pictures—not many-it’s cold!  Now I’m going to cook some oatmeal.  What a life!

Thursday was dolphin day.  I was on watch from 2am and saw the first batch come in just after daybreak.  These are spotted dolphins, a bit smaller than the bottlenose dolphin seen closer to shore.  They play and jump at the bow.  I see them through the clear water surfing down the face of the larger waves.  Throughout the day pods of dolphins came and went or maybe they were the same ones fleeing the cold like us.

The wind continued out of the NE at about 10-15 kts and waves were running 3-6 ft. with some chop.  The boat rocked and rolled but it was smooth enough for Bill to cook breakfast.  We  used an engine in neutral to recharge the batteries because the autopilot does overtime constantly correcting for the wave action pushing the stern around.  The weather has not done exactly as was forecast (surprise, surprise) but this is a good thing because the wind has kept up where we thought it would die down today. 

By early Friday morning the wind did die down and become more variable.  Our course was such that the mainsail was being flopped back and forth and we finally had to take it down and motor.  By 10am we sighted Cumberland Island and anchored around noon.  Both Bill and I were exhausted and slept for a few hours after lunch. 

Samantha has become quite a boat cat.  She knows when the engine starts its time for her to grab some food and then hole up in her travelling place in the back bunk. Last year I was concerned that she was not eating or drinking but now she appears at the bottom of the stairs and ask us "why we haven't stopped this boat yet" then goes off to eat.  When she hears the anchor windlass now she knows the trip is over and comes out on the deck to supervise the anchoring.
It is not what I would call warm here but much warmer than North Carolina

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Going Somewhere Warm

We're off again--heading south.  There have not been many warm days since leaving Maine.  I think there was a week right after we arrived in North Carolina but after that the weather turned very cold.  The plan is to head south now as quickly as we can.  The best way to do that is to wait for a cold front to pass which should happen today.  After the front, the wind switches to the north and conditions are great for sailing in the ocean.  So we are now heading down Adams Creek to Morehead City to spend the night; then we'll go out Beaufort Inlet early tomorrow morning.  We should arrive at Cumberland Island, GA sometime Friday.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Maine Experience

We had stayed a bit longer in Maine than we had originally planned. There was a distinct end to the summer weather about 2 days before the end of August.  Despite the cooler weather I braved the cold because we had an opportunity to share this vacationland (as Maine advertises quite accurately) with 2 sets of friends. It was well worth it.  In fact, there is nothing bad I can really say about the weather we had in Maine.  Most days were balmy and the nights were cool.  We had some fog (a Maine experience) and some rain but not much.  The wind was calm, most of the time we woke up to mirror-calm waters, and we were able to do little sailing (actually sailing was kind of stressful because of all the lobster pots) until the end of our stay; but that made for very leisurely passages—the whole trip was very relaxing and I feel finally now that I am getting in the groove of retirement and cruising.  

Maine was amazing!!  Another universe!  I loved the rocky shores, the large tidal range (10-12 feet in some places) that constantly changed the landscape, the seaweeds, the myriad islands covered with trees. Moss-carpeted forests occurred on the smallest of islands.  The smells of the seaweed that could be detected even in the fog when you approach land, the earthy forest smells, the stands of small fir trees that looked and smelled like a Christmas Tree Lot.  The beaches were all different—some were big rocks, some were small rocks sorted to many different sizes from sand to cobbles, shells of periwinkles, some were blue from crushed mussel shells. A few times I put on my wetsuit to look at the sealife.  There were always brilliant orange colors from the Tunicates and the rockweed at higher tides was a forest abounding with large (1.5”) mysid shrimp.  I found lobsters both small and large under rocks and lots of green crabs and rock crabs.  Curiously, there were few fish and most were hiding under rocks. We didn’t even begin to see all of it—we will be back.

Our plan in Maine was to travel to Somes Sound and also to eat lobster and blueberries to excess.  We achieved all goals.  On our way to Somes Sound, the only true fjord in the US (and I am still not sure why), we stopped at several anchorages at Vinalhaven Island, and Deer Island, stopped at Booth Bay Harbor, and Rockland. Coastal Maine is very fishing oriented, as it has been for 300+ years, and it was usually a short dingy ride to the local lobster dock.  Blueberries were a little bit harder to find.  We discovered that we had arrived at the end of blueberry season so we were not able to collect them on the islands as we had hoped.  Bill was very disappointed.  We were desperate near the end of our stay and paid $4.50 for a quart at an expensive market.  On our return trip to Rockland, though, we knew that a farmers market was there on Thursdays—we had just missed it the previous time because we had to walk 4 miles to pick up a part for the propeller (we had lost the zinc and its bolt when a lobster pot line got tangled up in it.  I was praying to find a blueberry stand there and found one that sold 5 pound boxes.  I bagged them up and froze some of them—we had blueberry pandowdy, pancakes, muffins, and pie.  They had 10 lb boxes too but I was afraid that much would not fit in my small freezer--maybe.   In Seal Bay we noticed fishermen collecting steamer clams in the mornings on the shore.  Steamers are a different kind from the cherrystone/quahogs that we usually get.   I got in my Kayak one day and paddled over to them to ask if they would sell me some.  Of course they did—we kept them in a net in the water all day to let them flush then cooked and ate them that night---this was a meal that rivals lobster. 

Somes Sound splits Mt. Desert Island right down the middle.  Much of Mt. Desert Island is in Acadia National Park but there is a village at the end of the sound and a bus service that will take you all around the island.  We rode the bus to Bar Harbor to get some groceries and look around.  Bar Harbor is a tourist town, and during the summer season, is pretty busy and crowded.  

Seal Bay at Vinalhaven Island was one of my favorites.  We chose it because the guide said that it was secluded.   However the day after we anchored a large group came in with 25+ boats.  They kept coming in all day and we considered moving but they told us they would be gone the next day.  They were and I am glad we stayed because we were able to get the clams. We took our friends Judy and Andy there—it is a beautiful place. 

Another favorite place is Jewel Island.  It was the first place we landed in Maine and, because it was close to Portland, we took our friends, Dennis and Debbie, there.  This is a state park, with a beautiful anchorage, many hiking trails and, as I have talked about before, a great tidal pool.  We spent a whole day hiking and, when we came upon a goldenrod flower field, found it populated with hundreds of butterflies.  Most of them were Monarch butterflies that were feeding up for their migration but there were Admirals and a Question Mark butterfly too.  I took a zillion pictures but none of them do justice to the sight.  We also saw many different caterpillars—some quite colorful. 

After we delivered Debbie and Dennis to an airport-bound taxi in Portland, Maine then set our sights south.  There was so much more to see in Maine but the days were getting shorter and the temperature colder (and you know I don’t like cold)—we will be back. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Cool in This Pool

The “Punch Bowl” is a perfect place to look for critters.  At low tide the water is shallow and fairly clear.  Small rocks are all over waiting to be turned over so, of course, I could not resist.  The rain had cleared up by yesterday afternoon and I was tired of processing photos and updating the blog so I got in the kayak and paddled around the north end of Jewel Island despite the fog.  There was a good landing on the sandbar and all I had to do was walk over the bar and there I was.  My strategy was to keep my right hand dry on the camera and use my left hand in the water.  This worked fairly well and I got some fair pictures, however I wanted some good lobster pictures and I could not catch them with one hand. 

This morning was foggy but cleared up nicely and we decided to try snorkeling.  The water was clear and only about 3 ft deep at the most.  I had my shorty wetsuit and hood on and it was not too bad as long as you stayed in the upper 6 inches. Hundreds of Green Crabs scooted around, some eating scale worms.  The sea grass gave the place an aquarium-like atmosphere but there were very few fish.  Snails (mostly periwinkles) were everywhere.  Lobsters of all sizes could be found under the rocks.  Bill found one that was approaching dinner size but most of them were around 6 inches long.  When my fingers were numb we went back to the boat for lunch.  Still determined to get a good lobster picture, I unpacked my camera case and returned in the afternoon to do it right.  The tide was lower and water was considerably warmer (but still wetsuit and hood temperature).  I noticed condensation appearing inside the case so it was time to take the camera back.  It was good to get my gills wet!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Onward To Maine

We gained another learning experience about the mail.  It seems like general delivery in a big city like Norfolk is a bit different than in Oriental or Georgetown.  In our ignorance we picked the wrong post office to sent it to then went on a wild goose chase.  We were scolded by a postal official who claimed that general delivery was being abused by homeless people who really had an address.  Finally we found out that the package had been returned to sender.  On to plan B--maybe we can have it sent to our next destination. So we headed out Chesapeake Bay into open ocean again for the 2 day trip to Rhode Island to visit our friends Andy and Judy.  We met them while waiting for mail in Georgetown, Bahamas.  The wind was calm for the most part and right behind us but we used the sails to boost our motoring speed and use less fuel.  We crossed the shipping lanes for New York harbor during a Saturday night so there was blessedly little traffic.

We arrived at Block Island, RI in the morning.  There was some fog blanketing the Island but we could still make out cliffs and trees.  Block Island is a popular weekend summer vacation spot and many boats were just leaving since it was Sunday.  Our original plan was to stop and rest at Block Island but we decided to suck it up and go the 6 more hours to Andy and Judy's house.  I'm glad we did because we were treated to a great RI clam dinner and now we could really relax.  The islands and shores of Narragansett Bay were beautiful and green. I really expected it to be more urban.  Palatial mansions line the banks and we anchored right across from one (thank goodness Andy and Judy's house was more modest).  Many clam fishermen work these waters.  They appeared very early in the morning raking clams with a basket on a very long pole.  This has got to be hard work and there must be a bunch of clams there to support so many fishermen.

Judy had bikes and kayaks and we spent a day touring the peninsula of Warwick neck.  There was even a blueberry farm down the road where we picked blueberries.  The next day we took a tour of Newport and hiked the Cliff Walk where we gawked at the mansions.  We didn't see any reason to pay to go in them but there was one (being used as a university) that we could look inside the first floor for free.  When we got back to the house Bill found that the GPS chip had been delivered--hurray!

We said goodbye to Andy and Judy that night and left early Wednesday morning.  We motorsailed down the Sakonnet River passing more mansions and small towns on the way then made way across Buzzards Bay Massachusetts.  We anchored near the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal for Wednesday night.  The canal passage must be done with the proper tide and we had it Thursday morning.  Thursday we crossed Cape Cod Bight and anchored that evening at Rockport, MA.  The lobster pots were thick as we approached the coast and we tangled the propeller in one on the way to the anchorage.

Friday morning was foggy and the first thing we had to do was get the propeller untangled.  Thank goodness for radar because the whole day was foggy and it took both Bill and I to watch for boats on the radar and watch for lobster pots.  The fog finally lifted a little at the end of the day and we got our first sight of Maine as we approached the twin lighthouses at Cape Elizabeth.  The lobster pots were thick--they are not set out in orderly lines like the crab pots in NC.  They are scattered all over with barely enough room to fit our boat.  But we made it this time without snagging one and arrived at Jewel Island exhausted. Jewel Island is a state-owned island and a popular boating and camping spot.  We are lucky that the weather forecast has not been good so there are not dozens of boats in this tiny harbor.  We made it to Maine!!!

Yesterday cleared up and after a very cool morning we had a good day of hiking the island.
We met the island caretaker, Vinny, (what a great summer job) who gave us a trail map and told us that we could find baby lobsters in the "Punch Bowl", at low tide.  So we hike across the island to a nice tidal pool filled with seagrass and rocks.  I immediately started looking under rocks and soon found baby lobsters. I could have stayed there all day--maybe a week but Bill wanted to press on.  The trails led through fir and spruce forests, swamps, and fields of ferns and goldenrod in bloom.  We climbed the abandoned WWII spotting towers and were treated to a breathtaking vista of forested islands around us.

When we got back to the boat we were ready for lunch then Bill was ready for a nap.  I got in the kayak and  checked out the dead seal on Little Jewel Island and attempted some seagull pictures. Rocks and seaweed were more cooperative subjects. Then it was time to take care of what we really came here for.  We got in the dingy and went across the bay to a small fishing port.  A guy was on one of the docks was taking lobsters from a pen and was happy to sell us 4.  He also had this very unusual half albino lobster that he had found last week.  So it was lobster dinner last night!

This morning is very foggy and we can hear the fog horns.  I am not sure if this will last all day or not.  We are planning to stay here a couple of days then will be off to discover more.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

North Carolina to Norfolk, VA

The 3 days it took to get to Norfolk, VA were uneventful after our initial leaking water pipe.  We motored up the Intracoastal Waterway which led up from the Bay River through a canal passing by Hobucken, NC, across the Pamlico River to the Pungo River, then through another canal to the Alligator River where we spent the first night.  The mouth of the Alligator River is on the south shore of Albemarle Sound where I did field research on blue crabs and seagrass beds.  The wind picked up that day and we set the sails to test our new shroud plates.  We were happy to see that there was no deck lifting going on there anymore.  I would have been very surprised if there was.  There was not enough wind to turn off the engines but it gave us a boost allowing for the engines to be throttled down a bit.  Albemarle Sound is famous for its choppy conditions and a NE wind set the stage for a 2 ft chop which I remembered to be mighty fun when you were trawling for crabs in an 18 ft boat.  Somehow the ride was a bit better in our boat. 

After crossing Albemarle Sound we travelled up the North River and into another canal.  The second night we stayed at the Midway Marina, since there were no good anchorages in the area, then proceeded to Coinjock Bay (another place I worked in-so long ago).  Another long canal took us into Virginia and to the locks at Norfolk.  We barely made the bridges in time thanks to a delay caused by a fire truck then found that following a barge insured that bridges and locks would open. 

Until we got to Norfolk, the way was through beautiful pristine cypress swamp and pocosin habitat.  Osprey nests were on every other marker and we saw bald eagles every day.  It was a shock to enter the large commercial and military port with huge machinery and ships. 

Our anchorage was chosen for its proximity to a bus system where we could get to the post office. It’s near a noisy highway and navy base where helicopters circle all hours of the day and night.  Bill discovered at the last minute that our GPS card did not have the northern maps.  He ordered one and had it sent to general delivery here.  However that was a good idea in theory but not in practice.  He just found out that the post office he sent it to is only a distribution center and his package has likely been returned to sender.  He won’t be happy tonight!

From here “the plan” is to watch for a weather window so that we can go on the outside to Block Island

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Year Late and a Dollar Short

If you remember back that far- the "plan" last year was to leave for Maine in August--and that was a fantasy.  So we're on schedule-a year late but what's a year when you're cruising?   Getting back to North Carolina from Florida was an adventure.  Three days out in the Gulf Stream and during the night of day 2 its rought, the cat is puking and I am told that the house batteries are in danger of exploding--at 2am 120 miles out at sea.  It was amazing how quickly we carried those two 150lb batteries out to the stern.  We were ready to chuck them but they cooled down and Bill rewired the start batteries so that we could have things like navigation lights--important when you are out there in the shipping lanes.  All's well that ends well.  The next day was flat calm and we got back to NC without further excitement.

Always there are alot of repairs.  The batteries were old and we knew we had to get new ones, the crack in the deck had to be repaired and the shroud plate reinforced--I think it now can take a nuclear blast-- and the bottom needed painted.  That is finally all done and we are on our way to Maine-Finally!

Time to rest and enjoy a relaxing trip.  Its good to get out on the water again.  The Neuse River is calm and the thunderstorms last night cooled the air off nicely (we have been without air conditioning for the last couple of weeks).  A great beginning to a new adventure?

NOT!!!!   We have just discovered unexpected water on the floor.  Bill has looked under the sink and found the drinking water pipe is leaking.  Something else to fix.  He swears (both ways) there is something he has to fix on this %$@#&+! boat every day.  We have gone about 5 miles and we already have today's repair.  At least this one will be cheap.  Bill says he hates boats.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Always an Adventure

THE PLAN was to start out early this morning and get to the Canaveral bridge and locks just after they opened, fuel up, take on water then head out the inlet for a 3-4 day sail to NC.  Sounds simple doesn't it?  As I pressed the windlass button to take up the anchor chain I got no response.  Banged on it a few times before I gave up and admitted that its formerly intermittent operation was now permanent.  So Bill came up with the screwdriver to take the switch off and clean it--not a really difficult task.  However as the switch came off the small parts fell off into the anchor chain hold.  Hoping that they had not fallen down the drain hole, I brought the flashlight and a plug and we soon found the parts--WHEW!!!!  The rest went without incident and the anchor came up.  HURRAY__We'RE OFF!!!

Just as we rounded Dragon Point Bill noticed that the boat was having a real hard time making headway--full power was only giving us less than 5 knots (where it should be 6 or 7).  We both knew what the problem was (I guess we were ignoring this-hoping it wasn't true).  Two weeks sitting in one place had allowed barnacles and skuz to accumulate on the bottom which was slowing us down.  So down goes the anchor and we drag out the snorkeling gear (that I had just rinsed off, dried and put away yesterday), and we get in the water to clean the hull.  The lower units and props were covered with barnacles.  There was also a thick carpet of algae, small encrusting critters, and amphipods (small crustaceans).  First you scrape then you brush.  Scraping the bottom, for me, is the most hated job.  The combination of being upside down and swallowing water makes me nauseous (funny how this doesnt make me sick when I am looking under rocks on a beautiful reef).  Certainly the job was much more pleasant in clear beautiful water but now we had about 1foot visibility brown-green water and the amphipods covered us and our gear as we scraped their tubes off.  In some places I would scrape and brush, look at it again and it was dirty again--I realized that the dirt was crawling--they were that thick.  Finally it was done as well as we could do and we ran to the shower to scrape the amphipods off our bodies.  I hope we got them all or we are going to be smelling like dead shrimp for the next few days.

In any case, we are off again--much faster.  The cell hotspot seems to be working well.  I can write as we travel now, however, once we get out in the ocean we will be out of cell phone range until we get to Beaufort.  I have attempted to post more pictures but there seems to be a problem with the slideshows on the blog.  They just don't appear when I post them.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best Laid Plans and Forecasts

We left Great Sale Cay yesterday morning after Bill replaced the solar panels that were ripped off the day before when the reef lines got caught on them while we were adjusting the mainsail during a squall.  They took a licking and are still ticking--amazing since at one point, one of the panels was hanging off the roof by the wires.  I cant tell you how exciting it was to put them back up there and tie them down during a storm--but--all in a day's boating.  The plan was to take the 100 miles trip home in 2 days.  The first day we would go to the edge of the Little Bahama Banks and sleep until 3 or 4 am then cross to the States.  This would place most of our transit time during the day and also take advantage of calm weather forecasted for Thursday.  We were travelling with 2 other boats who are friends from Florida.

During the sail to the Banks, we stopped at a"Donut Hole" a formation of thick seagrass with rocks in the middle surrounded by sand.  There was a huge aggregation of fish there, snappers, grunts, spadefish, 2 nursesharks, jacks--tons of fish that were also VERY friendly.  I suspect people feed the fish here. I saw a large green moray eel (who was a little more friendly than I cared for him to be) and some very unusual anemones.  This was not a very big bunch of rocks but it was loaded.  Bill tried to spear a snapper but he could only stun them.

I knew this would be my last snorkel , the water was so nice and warm, but we still had quite a ways to go to meet our friends on the Banks.  The wind picked up and we had a good sail but, as we approached, we knew the waves were not going to make for a comfortable restful night. This is quite common on the banks and you either suck it up and try to sleep or continue on.  Taking down the sails and anchoring in the wind was not easy.  Our friends had been there for a while and decided that since they weren't going to get any sleep anyway that they wanted to cross to the States overnight.  We didn't have any problem with this but it would have been nice to know that before I struggled with getting the sails down and anchoring.  So we pulled up anchor, set the sails and sailed right into some thunderstorms--down go the sails-again.  Fortunately the storms only lasted a couple of hours but wind directions changed and confused the seas--which we had really not prepared for (remember--we were going to start in the morning in "calm" conditions). Everything started flying off tables,shelves and counters.  Spaghetti escaped from the box and leaked out the pantry cabinet onto the galley floor.  The whole boat looked like a tornado went through it.  At around 2am, the Kitty came out of the back bunk and WAILED-it was so pitifull and she was seasick.  I consoled her and got her back into the bunk.

Not the best crossing--but we got into Ft. Pierce around 8am, checked in with Customs (they wanted us back-darn!) and will rest up before heading back to Melbourne.  Kittty's find too. She is taking it easy on the deck.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Headed Back to the States

Unfortunately, the poor internet conductivity has made it difficult to use the blog and I have found it easier to post short messages and sometimes a picture on Facebook.  Our travels here in the Bahamas are coming to a close.  I expect that we will be back in the US by the weekend. 

The Abaco Islands are much different than the rest of the Bahamas and much more developed.  We are now anchored in a development much like one you might see in Florida.  Today we will be headed toward Great Sale Cay which will be our jumping off point for the trip across the Gulf Stream to the US.  This part of the trip must be carefully planned with consideration of the weather because the wrong winds combined with the Gulf Stream's current can make for a very uncomfortable and dangerous sail. 

There has been some very good snorkeling and diving in the Abacos and we hope to do a few more dives before we leave.  The water is warm enough now to dispense with the wetsuits sometimes.

I will miss the Island Life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back to the Cold Hard North

Spring was over in Inagua—hot, sweaty, and we actually snorkeled without wetsuits a couple of times, however we reluctantly made one last dive and headed back north to the Acklins.  This time we did not stop at Hogsty Reef and it was a long but good sail to Datum Bay in 6-12 foot seas.  Our boat does the big waves much better than 2-4 footers.  It just rolls up and down with little slamming but you still can’t do much but sit and read a book.  The first thing I noticed was that it was COLD—well… colder.

From Datum Bay it was a short hop to Fish Cay where we found some great beachcombing.  Heart urchin shells were everywhere—I was amazed that so many were intact since they are quite fragile.  The beach was criss-crossed with crab and lizard tracks.  Bill finally spotted a small green iguana hiding under a bush—very unlike the large pink and grey ones in the Exumas, these iguanas were shy—not conditioned to people feeding them.  The curly-tailed lizards were another story, though.  I stooped to take a picture of one and 2 more approached me and continued to run around my feet until I moved on.  On the way back to the boat we snorkeled on some patch reefs. 

Another short trip and we arrived back at Long Cay.  Our stay there before was cut off because we needed to find a more sheltered area across Acklin Bight so that we could change the dingy motor’s water pump.  I took more than 100 pictures (I do love digital) of the flamingos using the longer lens that I had not brought with me last time.  After taking pictures we went ashore and hiked the road to the village of Albert Town on the other side of the island.  The camera ran out of battery just as we landed, but we saw several goats as we hiked the dirt road up hills and down into swamps and salt pans.  The town was supposed to have some very friendly people but it was completely deserted.  No one was there—kind of eerie.  Later on we figured that since it was Wednesday, everyone may have taken the government ferry to Crooked Island to get groceries.  When we got back a couple of fishermen were just coming in—the first people we had seen all day.

Some windy weather was approaching so our next destination was the protected harbor at Clarence Town, Long Island.  We had been to the north end of Long Island in previous years but not the southeastern side.  We anchored next to an inviting island that I kayaked over to early the next morning.  I watched the storm coming as I took pictures of critters exposed and in the tide pools.  Rounded weathered coral was piled among the iron shore and similar piles from another time were embedded in the rock.  I got back to the boat just as the storm hit. 

Clarence Town is famous for its 2 churches built by Father Jerome in the late 1800s, who was first an architect (among several other things including both an Anglican and Catholic priest) sent to rebuild churches after a hurricane.  His churches feature sturdy block roofs.  The Anglican Church there had a partial shingle roof that had been removed by the hurricane last year.  The Catholic Church had a completely block roof and was unharmed.  We picked up some good fresh bread from the bakery and some very reasonably priced produce and did laundry—clean clothes are nice!  We do have a washing machine on board but we have found that our watermaker makes water at a slow rate so we have chosen not to use the washing machine—something to upgrade for next trip. 

We were eager to get to good snorkeling and diving at Conception Island and sailed out of Clarence Town right after the bad weather was over and got there just in time to do some snorkeling at a shallow elkhorn reef we had visited 3 years ago.  Much of the coral was shattered but still live lying on the bottom and some of it scoured and replaced by algae.  Shallow water corals are subject to battering by waves and shifting sand—the facts of life in that habitat—it was a bit depressing but there were signs of regrowth.   On the other side of the island were massive coral heads riddled with large caves and swim- throughs.  Surprisingly few fish were on these reefs where there were many fish on the inside reefs.

A large creek leads into the interior of Conception Island and we were able to take the dingy quite a ways up it through the mangroves.  It was strange to see sparkling blue water in the mangroves where I am used to seeing more greenish water. Small Green Turtles, stingrays and sharks darted out of the way as we motored through.  A trip around the rest of the island was hampered by waves but the sculptured stone sand dunes were spectacular. Tropic birds soared above us, appearing blue from the reflection of the blue water on their pure white feathers. In fact white boats and even the clouds are often that beautiful-water blue. 

When there is no internet access (which is most of the time), we have to depend on weather information at 6am (after the reading of the constitution preamble and morning devotion) from the Bahamas AM Radio Station in Nassau which is inconsistent at best.  Another upgrade for next time will be an SSB radio that will be able to access more reliable weather information.   We had gathered enough information from the outdated internet weather download and the radio though to know that a cold front and low pressure system were approaching and the next legs of the trip would have to be planned around suitable harbors of which there were going to be very few of in our path.    So we decided to head for the southeastern side of Cat Island where we would get shelter from the first impacts of the approaching weather system. 

Indeed the barometer dipped as the thunderstorms rumbled by and the wind kicked up into the 30s.  All day was overcast and raining—the first time we have had this type of weather all trip.  We thought we might leave Monday but, instead decided to ride it out a little north at New Bight.  After a day cooped up in the boat we were ready to get off and we braved the waves and spray to go to town.  We were able to pick up a few items that we had to get back to the boat.  I had hoped that we could hike up Mt. Alverina, the highest hill in the Bahamas where Father Jerome built his retirement home however, it was too rough to return. 

The next day promised to be better—the wind had laid down and we headed out for Eleuthera Island right after sunup.  We knew this to be a long trip but the wind came back up with pounding 2-4 foot waves and unfavorable wind and current direction which made it a pretty miserable passage.  We finally gave up on the sails—tacking only changed the direction of the wind (funny how that happens)—and made the trip longer.  We usually leave one sail up to stabilize the boat but it made no difference when we took them down.  A crack in the deck had been discovered in Clarence Town a few days ago where one of the shrouds (these are the wires on the side that hold up the mast) was attached.  This may have happened during a hard unexpected jibe (when the sail switches sides due to a switch in boat direction or wind).  The manufacturer of the boat said it should be ok but to be careful with it until we can get it checked out. 

We dared hope that Rock Sound would be as quiet and protected as described in our cruising guide.  We were exhausted when we anchored about 10pm and shut off the engines—there was complete and utter quiet and NO boat motion or water noise.  It was very weird and we had the first good night’s sleep in a long time.  In the morning I picked up books, papers, tools, etc that had been thrown around, we moved the boat closer to the town and dingyed in. The restaurant on the beach offered free wifi but it was not working—however there was a beautiful view while we ate lunch.  There is a real grocery store here—something I have not seen in several weeks—all in all a very pleasant place to stay.  Except for one thing—it is cold—62 F yesterday morning. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Filling In

We found good internet here in Matthew Town on Inagua. This is the only town on this relatively large island at the most southern tip of the Bahamas. For the past few days we have been anchored in Man O War Bay (about 10 miles north of the town) which is probably the closest place to Heaven on earth. There is reef just off the stern and it goes on and on--any water depth you wish to dive. The water is clear and blue because the oceanic water is less than 1/4 mile away.

When we left Georgetown I was pretty good about recording what was happening day by day but it didn't last. Here it is--I will try to fill in the holes later.

George Town to Acklin Islands


Kitty gave me that “oh no—not this again” look and headed off to the back bunk when Bill started the engines. We pulled up the anchor just before 8am. There was an organized cruisers rally to Long Island and we passed a few early starters as we left Elizabeth Harbor. The channel is lined with rocks and reefs and the 4-5 foot swell coming from Exuma Sound crashed on the rocks. About 10:00 am we crossed the Tropic of Cancer and officially entered the tropics. There is a cut through the Little Exumas that would give us a straight shot to the southern tip of Long Island; however the tide was not favorable for that passage so we rounded Sand Cay at the very end of the Exumas and met up with our course on the other side. As we rounded Sand Cay the Long Island Rally sailboats made a beautiful sight.

The swell decreased on the banks and the fishing lines were set up in hopes of catching dinner. Not too long and a barracuda hit one of the lines but cut the lure off as Bill reeled it in. We didn’t want a barracuda anyway. I reeled in another one and we gave up fishing until we got into the deeper water. Then we got lucky and Bill brought in a beautiful Cero Mackerel.

Due to having to go around, we realized we weren’t going to make it to our planned destination so we came in closer to shore and anchored in anticipation of a fresh fish dinner. Just after we anchored, a fishing boat approached and asked about where they could get fuel. This made us a bit nervous since we were out in the middle of nowhere and it seemed odd that people would be out here with not knowledge of the area. We directed them best we could to a town about 12 miles south. It was getting dark and I hope they made it. In any case we didn’t see them again.

3-18-12 Sunday

Another long day of traveling—so we got up at sunrise and made way through a morning of small squalls and rainbows. When we passed the tip of Long Island we were “out at sea” with 4-6 foot seas and some 7-8 footers. The boat rides up and down the big waves well--it’s the 2 footers that make for a rough ride. We made good time across the Crooked Island Passage and rounded the tip of Long Cay about 3:00. The water in the bight was an amazing emerald green color. I made up some salsa and baked the fish in it.


We are now in the Acklins, a remote set of Islands grouped around a shallow bight. There are a few small settlements and at one time ships stopped to refuel with coal here. The radio is silent and we have not seen any other boats other than a couple of fishermen in skiffs. We are now truly on our own. After 2 days of sailing all day we took it easy but by early afternoon my gills were getting dry and I was ready to see what was in the water. Unfortunately, the tidal current was swift and I ended up hanging onto a line taking a look at the grassy bottom where I saw starfish, sand divers, and watched several tiny flounder chase each other around. What I wanted to do was take a look at the dark spots where I expected to find patches of coral or rock. Finally the current calmed down and I swam out about 100 yards to the nearest patch. I was surprised to find a very thick grass patch with potholes in the middle. Several large squirrelfish, grunts, tangs and Nassau grouper were squirming in and out of the holes pushing each other out of the way. I have no idea what they were doing. Also I saw 4 lobsters! I yelled for Bill to bring me the gloves and tickler and I found 2 of legal size. We visited several more of these dark patches and found them to be similar. It doesn’t look like we will go hungry here.


Happy Spring! The Acklin Bight is shallow but large and not particularly sheltered from the east wind which happened to go with the outgoing tide. However when the tide changed, the forces of the wind and current worked to position the boat broadside to the waves which tends to roll you out of bed. This happened early in the morning when I wasn’t really ready to wake up but going back to sleep was impossible.

Long Cay has a population of flamingos that we were eager to find so we repositioned the boat closer to the shore we expected to find them. In fact we could see them as a pink smudge just off the beach. We launched the dingy and took pictures but discovered the engine was overheating and barely made it back to the boat. This is not a good place to have boat trouble—no one to help but we were ok. Now we need to find a more sheltered place so that we can remove the motor to replace the water pump—at least we have one. Tomorrow the plan is to travel across the bight to Ackland Island where there is anchorage sheltered from the east wind. We were planning to be there Thursday anyway because the weather forecast was for the wind to pick up.


Strong squalls the night before allowed for little sleep—there was no lightning but the rain came down horizontally in 40mph winds. Anchor held well. In order to have the deepest water possible across the bight, we started at sunrise and crossed to Delectible Bay at Acklin Island with no problem. The wind is still blowing hard but we are better sheltered from the waves and currents. Another boat came in the afternoon.


Got out the kayak today and headed for shore. I first visited the ruins of the government dock. A supply ship was waiting to unload at a landing place a little ways up the island closer to the village. The interior of the island has a lake and I set out to find the inlet. The inlet was barely deep enough for the kayak and the lake was very shallow. I was hoping that there might be flamingos there but there were no birds. I am puzzled by the lack of waterfowl and seabirds in the Bahamas. I saw a few terns on the dock and a heron in flying in the distance—no seagulls—very strange but typical.

While I was gone, Bill rigged up the dingy motor so we can lift it onto the boat for repairs. We will wait for the wind to calm down a bit before we do that. We did put a new water pump on the dingy motor and got it working--Hurray!!!

The next day we headed for Datum Bay at the southern tip of Acklin Island. We found some good snorkeling there but were eager to get on to Hogsty Reef. The crossing to Hogsty was a motorsail crossing because the wind was right out of the direction we were going. Hogsty Reef is an Atoll (a circular reef created from a sunken island)--the only one in the Atlantic--and if you want to be out there in the middle of the ocean, this is the place. I have a picture from the air that I took on the way to Barbados last year. To our surprise, there was another boat anchored there and we soon met Alex and Maria from Austria. They went snorkeling with us and helped us eat the huge lobsters Bill and I caught. It seems that Hogsty Reef had been an exciting place a couple of days before we arrived. A fishing boat came in with a crew that did not really know what they were doing anchored on the wrong side of the reef then they lost their anchor. The coast guard came and picked them up--the boat was abandoned. As we were talking about this we asked what the name of the boat was--Fish Master--This was the same boat that approached us asking for where to get fuel at Long Island. I don't know what the deal was with them. They appeared to not know what they were doing and told the coast guard that they had no food or water.

The anchorage at Hogsty Reef afforded little protection and we had bouncy nights with little sleep. So we think it was Thursday that we crossed to Inagua. We had great wind and sailed at about 8 kts with a reef in the sail. NO MOTORS!!!--Love it! Bill wanted to go into Alfred Sound but it was too choppy so we ended up at Man O War Bay--calm waters and a good night's sleep were welcome. And, as I said--Beautiful!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Snail Mail and Stormy Weather--But there is hope!

The original “plan” was to take a week or 2 here in George Town, reprovision, have mail sent to us then continue on with the truly adventurous part of our trip-south to Inagua. However, 5 weeks later, we are still here by a combination of our mail naivete and some typical spring weather--wind and squalls. We had a couple of really wild days of near 40mph winds where we had to stay in all day, but most of the time we have dealt with it. We've read alot of books--I'm pretty tired of reading about psychopaths and smart detectives but that seems to be what is available at the book exchange. We did discover Carl Hiassen books which are of that genre but delightfully twisted. I have taken up Yoga on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and that has given me a reason to keep track of what day it is. I have made some friends and one day we decided to take a girls lunch out. So I drove the dingy across the harbor to town and we had a good lunch at the Peace and Plenty. The wind picked up during the day and by the time we were ready to go back there were nearly 2 foot seas in the harbor. Needless to say we got wet and my friends did a valiant job of bilge-pumping so we did not sink. The guys just shook their heads. For me it was like sampling at Crab Hole.

Snorkeling has been good here. Bill and I got one good day on the Exuma Sound side and found some nice coral reef but there are many shallow patch reefs in the Harbor that can be snorkeled in just about any weather. Last week someone asked if the ban on spearfishing in the harbor included lionfish. The harbormaster cleared spearfishing for lionfish so one night we had lionfish sandwiches for dinner. I have not seen too many here compared to other places though. We have seen some nice big lobsters but they all have good dens and we come back with only fire coral stings.

There are many hiking trails all over Stocking Island and I have hiked about all of them. The Sound-side beaches are beautiful and a nice mixture of rocks and sand. I have so many pictures of the beaches--they are different every day.

Many people get to Georgetown and stay the whole season or longer. There is a huge cruising community here (right now about 250 boats) and the town is happy to have our economic input. Every morning there is the Cruisers Net where activities are be announced and people can get together.

NEWS FLASH--THE MAIL HAS ARRIVED!!! We will be leaving tomorrow going south. We were going anyway and coming back here but now we can go on!!! So check the SPOT tomorrow we will be moving!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


So here we are stuck in George Town waiting for our mail to come. It was sent priority over a week ago and it took 4 days to get from Jacksonville to Miami. Now it is in Miami getting "sorted?" Bad mistake--someone told us it took 2 weeks to get his mail. Live and learn!

In the meantime, we are enjoying beautiful water and weather and caught a slipper lobster the other day for dinner. We saw 2 huge lobsters yesterday but we were not able to get them-they had good holes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A note on Pictures

Slowly but surely I am getting pictures uploaded. What I have done today is create new slideshows but the pictures will not be available all at once. Keep checking any slideshows from Highborne Cay on for new pictures.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sailing the Exumas

Hello from George Town!! Burrrrr!!!!! It was 66o this morning when I woke up and the wind is still blowing although it has now clocked around to the east which is more protected. We got here Saturday afternoon.

The Exumas are the island chain on the eastern side of the Tongue of the Ocean.
When we left Fresh Creek we headed due east about 54 miles to Highborne Cay at the northern end of the chain. The wind sped us along and a lone dolphin joined us for a few minutes. We anchored at Highborne Cay just before sunset while we watched 2 seaplanes deliver guests to the live-aboard next to us. The next day we took the dingy to Allen’s Cay where there are Exumas iguanas. Boats from Nassau bring people there to see them and feed them grapes and the iguanas emerge from the bushes when they hear boat motors. We went over to a neighboring island which was ruled by a huge iguana. The water was crystal clear and the shallow reefs we snorkeled were beautiful.

Sailing is leisurely once in the Exumas. The islands are close together and for most of the way you usually have a choice of sailing on protected water either on the inside banks or the outside Exuma Sound. Over the next few days (they are all running together now) we Island hopped and snorkeled accompanied by Marion, Boyd and their dog, Zola on s/v Chinook Winds. From Highborn, the next stop was Norman’s Cay on Jan. 30. There is a harbor with beautiful water, a perfect little island, and the wreck of a cargo plane that was being delivered to the drug lord that used to live here during the ‘70s and 80’s. It is said that pilot ran out of gas and didn’t make it to the runway. Shortly after we anchored there was a rainstorm and the wind picked up but we still got a good snorkel at the airplane. It was windy and stormy all night but we were well sheltered in the harbor.

Next stop was the Exuma Land and Sea Park where we took a mooring ball for the night at Emerald Rock. We hiked up Boo Boo Hill and to the blow holes—and, of course did more snorkeling. Then on to Compass Cay where we spent a VERY rocky night causing us to move the boat the next day to a more sheltered part of the island. Marion wanted to see the Bubble Bath, which is a walk up a creek to a basin where the waves crash in and make a bunch of foam. While walking back we surprised an octopus who squirted a big bunch of ink.

Once we got out of the park we could fish again and look for lobster but all we have done is fish and not catch and the only lobsters we have seen were there because they had good holes. It used to be when looking for lobster you had to be wary of long-spined sea urchins and moray eels. The sea urchins disappeared for a while—a disease killed most of them but they are back now. A new impediment to lobstering is lionfish. They are everywhere and hang around holes in the reef where lobsters might live. They are not the least bit shy and do not move when you approach. I have come close to hitting one with an arm or leg before I knew it was there. Bill and I will come up, at some point, with the best way to spear and bring some lionfish up for dinner. They are good eating and my blackened seasoning would be great.

Staniel Cay was our next stop. This has become a very popular spot and many people were there for the Super Bowl Party at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Thunderball Grotto is a spectacular snorkel during low slack tide. This large cave, open at spots at the top, was a scene in the James Bond movie Thunderball. It is surrounded by coral and sponges and friendly fish inside and out. Inside sponges rule but it takes a camera flash to see the bright colors. We also found an interesting drift dive that I later discovered was called Blue Valley by the local dive shop. We just got out of our dingys and held onto the ropes as we drifted by soft coral, Nassau groupers and a large eagle ray. The dive ended at a shallow coral reef where we picked up a couple of conchs. The next snorkel was at a small reef near Fowl Cay where I found an octopus that posed for a picture. It suddenly disappeared and when I asked Bill if he knew where it went he replied that the octopus was hiding from the shark. Sure enough—I looked up to see a 6 foot reef shark—he was not very interested in us though, and just swam by. We did not tell Marion and Boyd until we were back at the boat eating conch salad.

Staniel Cay was the end of the road for Marion and Boyd since they have to be back in Sasketchtuan in April so they headed back to the park and we proceeded south stopping at Black Point to do laundry at one of the nicest Laundromats I’ve been to. Then it was on to Little Farmer’s Cay. The number of lionfish on the small scattered patch reefs there was quite remarkable. Often a dozen would be packed in and around one hole. The one lobster I saw there was not an option because it was surrounded by lionfish.

The winds had been light and from the south so there was not much sailing to be done. We motored between islands charging our batteries and didn’t even bother raising the sails for the trip from Farmers to Lee Stocking Island. It was a good opportunity, though, for making water with our R/O unit since we were now on the Exuma Sound side in deep blue clear ocean water. Still no fish! At Lee Stocking Island we got out the SCUBA gear and dove a beautiful reef just south of Adderly Cut then came on into the mooring balls field just off the CMRC research station. I was lucky to have spent a week working there about this time in 2003. Since then I have always had a piece of me there. The water colors are just incredibly beautiful. Bill wearies of me staring out and wistfully saying “beautiful water”.

I wanted to stay a couple of days at Lee Stocking Island but the wind was so favorable for the sail to George Town and the weather was predicted to be rather poor for the next few days. We glided down Exuma Sound at 8 kts. with no motors. So here we are anchored in front of the Chat n Chill bar, the gathering point for cruisers here. There are about 300 boats in the harbor right now and at night the anchor lights look like a city. Yesterday Bill and I played volleyball—haven’t done that in probably 30 years—we managed not to hurt ourselves. Thank goodness the sand is soft.

There are several things we will do while in George Town in preparation for the next part of our trip that will take us “off the beaten path” to the most southern part of the Bahamas. Internet is somewhat reasonable here so I will try to update everything before we continue.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fresh Creek

We headed south to Fresh Creek with Chinook Winds following and anchored out just behind the barrier islands. We had good sailing and , on the way, a Mahi accepted our invitation to dinner. I reeled it in--my first. Yesterday we came into the creek and docked at the Lighthouse Marina so that we could do some laundry and get a few supplies and introduce Marion and Boyd to the "hogfish" at Hanks Bar. Today it was pretty wavy but we dingied out and snorkeled on the Porites coral reef. No sharks--that's good.

Tomorrow we will head for Highbourne Cay and the Exumas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Morgan's Bluff

Yesterday we went back to the reef and snorkeled all afternoon. I found a beautiful area of staghorn and elkhorn and lost myself in taking photos. Something made me glance up and I noticed about 6 reef sharks swimming around like a gang of punks. They were VERY interested in me and would come up close then veer away. I started swimming towards the boat shooting pictures and looking backwards but they just followed for a while then I guess got bored and swam off.

Today we are heading for Fresh Creek.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Morgan's Bluff

We said good-bye to Chub Cay Wednesday morning and headed to the north end of Andros. We had some wind but ran an engine so that we could use the watermaker--it worked!! While Bill was reading on the deck he saw a sailfish right beside the boat. Bill had a Mahi on the line but it shook off the hook before we could get it on board.

Before anchoring at Morgan's Bluff, we stopped near Joulter's Cays where we had luck spearing a fish before. Unfortunately there were no big fish to be found other than the resident queen triggers but we had a good snorkel. In spite of the stop we anchored in the Daylight!!

Surprisingly, Chinook Winds was already anchored there. We had met Marion and Boyd in Bimini and had spoken to them on the radio in the morning. Their plan was to go to Nassau. They decided it was too far. They already made arrangements to go to the farms to get produce in the morning so we tagged along. Shalom, our driver, took us down the Queen's Highway to the Mennonite Farm then, on the way back we drove by Lowes Sound, a fishing village.

Yesterday we hung out on the boat since it was a bit too windy to go out to the reefs. I snorkeled around the harbor and did a little kayaking. Keith, on Dolphin Leap, came in during the early afternoon and announced over the radio that he had caught a Mahi that he needed help eating. Of course we accommodated him.

Today the wind switched position so we, Marion and Boyd, and Keith headed out in our dingys to find some reefs. The first place we went to was mostly hardbottom with a small stand of elkhorn coral. We then went further out where we saw waves breaking and found a beautiful healthy reef that was perfect for snorkeling.

Morgan's Bluff is the fabled lair of the pirate Capt. Morgan. There are some caves that are reported to be his hideout.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chub Cay Update

The plan is to remain at Chub Cay today and travel to Andros tomorrow. I am experiencing internet difficulties, particularly with uploading photos so please bear with me. It appears that I can write (but I really want to post pictures).

Chub Cay is a private upscale resort. They are not too friendly to riff-raff in small boats and charge $100 to shop at their store. Therefore there is nothing to do on the island. There is some nice snorkeling and shallow diving in the area, though, and we visited Mama Rhoda Rocks yesterday. This is a moderate-relief reef with a diverse although sparse coral coverage. It used to have a nice stand of staghorn coral but it appears that it has recently died and just a few living branches remain. There is some nice elkhorn, and, as I said, a fair number of other species of hard and soft corals. Large schools of fish drift in and out of the rocks and coral--grunts, goatfish and small snappers are thick.

The water was chilly (thank goodness for wetsuits) and the cool breeze chilled us to the bone when we got out. I got some good underwater pictures but Bill's video camera was found to have a loose connector so it did not work. Along with that we had some trouble with the dingy motor but we finally got it started (all in a day's boating). Bill cleaned out the carborator when we got back (ethanol gas clogs it up) and now it is fine. The stern enclosure was nice and warm. Later we investigated some rocks to the north. This area was mostly shallow hardbottom with some patchy rocks and corals. I stuck my head in the water to survey and soon spotted antennae sticking out of a small ledge. Of course we did not have the lobster gear in the boat (we were actually looking for conch) but I had a pair of gloves and the dive flag post served as a tickler. So I went in and grabbed the biggest one--probably borderline legal size-- so I let him go. next time I will have the equipment on the boat! Other heads and ledges came up empty. No surprise since there are several lobster fishermen that work this area.

Today is breezy but warmer, I've had my breakfast, and I am ready to get in the water again!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hanging out at Chub Cay

Late yesterday morning we set sail for Chub Cay. This was a long leg but we had perfect sailing weather and used the engines only for leaving and anchoring. Made 7-8 knots most of the day and it took us about 10 hours to make the trip (a long day and another night anchoring). Today the cold front has brought a chill to the air (Oh I think its in the 60's) with a cool breeze. I am quickly acclimating to the warm climate.

Now the wind is still blowing but I finally got into the water this morning. Kitty was very worried about me in the water. She could not figure it out and went in to tell Bill about it. Just snorkeled around the boat but found a large hermit crab with 2 big anemones on its shell, many starfish and a small flounder. The bottom here is sand and seagrass littered with conch shells which provide shelter for small fish and critters. Later on today or maybe tomorrow we will go over to Mama Rhoda Rocks where there is some coral. Bill is finishing his 1000+ page novel so we won't be doing anything until that's done.

Friday, January 13, 2012

We Made it to Bimini

Although finding fuel took longer than we expected, we decided to cross to Bimini late Thursday morning. We passed Biscayne lighthouse and set out to a glassy smooth sea. The crossing was very uneventful with no wind until the last couple of hours. I was a bit nervous about finding anchorage in the dark but Nixon Harbor provided a clear entry and good holding in spite of some wind later during the night. It was a very rocky night and neither of us got much sleep.

Sunrise over the clear blue water was beautiful today as usual and we proceeded to Alice Town where we checked in with customs. Today we are docked at the Bimini Blue Waters Marina. I am ready to get in the water!

Changes in Latitude—Part 2

Sunday we left Dragon Point heading to some point south where we can cross to Bimini. Sundays's anchorage was in Ft. Pierce. From there we went out the inlet and anchored in Ft. Lauderdale Tuesday night. We picked up a part for the generator on Wednesday but when we got back we found that a gust of wind had blown us off anchor. Thanks to a couple of sailors the boat was re-anchored. In anticipation of windy weather and know knowing that the holding was not good enough we decided to head to Miami where we arrived late Wednesday night. Miami was also better for last minute provisioning.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's a Boat!

We left Port Canaveral the Friday before Christmas just as soon as we could get the lower unit installed. It was sooooo good to be back in the water. We headed out the inlet for a test run then came back through the locks and motored back down to Dragon Point. However, when Bill checked the lower unit oil level in the morning we were distressed to find that there was only about 1/3 the amount of oil that we expected to find. OOOPPs!! Looks like the mechanic forgot to fill it up so we made arrangements to have an oil analysis for metal particles. This would tell us if any damage was done to the lower unit. Damage would require we go through the whole repair again!!! Of course with the Holidays, the analysis could not be done until after the first.

Oh--well, in the meantime, we celebrated Christmas with our families, took Bill's nieces and nephews for a boat ride, and went to the Melbourne Yacht Club New Years Eve party. I did some kayaking in Crane Creek while we were docked at MYC. Found several manatees up the creek and had 2 approach the boat.

Friday afternoon we finally got word that the oil analysis was good and we were relieved and excited about continuing our trip, however now we had an issue with the generator. That needed a new water pump and temperature sensor. We found the new pump but had to bypass the sensor and hope to find one on the way south.

What Next?

It's a Boat