01/14/2012, Warderick Wells, Bahamas
One of the many extra goodies that came with our purchase of Anastasia was her original hard dinghy. She is a lovely little rowing dinghy with a lapstrake hull to match that of her mother ship. Also like Anastasia she has wooden trim around the edge just above her rub rail.
We chose to leave Cougar behind for the first two seasons because we were not quite sure that we'd have a need for her. We have always had an inflatable, which are essential in the Bahamas for fishing and exploring. And who needs two dinghies? Well apparently we are now among those who do.
Over the summer Maxwell decided to shine his attention on this little forgotten dinghy. The thoughts of rowing around an anchorage romanced him into action. He spent much time repairing her wooden trim from years of neglect. She got all the necessary coats of Cetol and a blue Sunbrella cover over the rubber rub rail to match Anastasia's canvas. We invested in bottom paint anticipating plenty of time in ICW waters, which indeed came in handy. While in Annapolis we purchased a nice set of long oars that make rowing a dream.
Cougar's place on board is inverted, resting on top of the house, just behind the mast. Because she was made for Anastasia from the start she fits like a glove.
We have used Cougar exclusively until reaching the Bahamas this season. It was not until the Berry Islands that we finally pulled our Avon inflatable out from under the table and into action. Each has their purpose but I must confess that I prefer rowing around in Cougar to bouncing at high speeds in the inflatable.
I must say how we arrived at the name Cougar. We toyed around with all kinds of sweet little names like Lemon Drop, Banana and Sugar Snap but none of those seemed quite right. Finally we settled on Cougar. Now I don't want to offend anyone but you are probably right in your assumption. She was old, used and really showing her age but we shined her up, gave her some gloss and bam! You have a Cougar! It stuck.
A Step Across The Stream
01/07/2012, Nassau, Bahamas
Two days after Christmas we decided it was time to say goodbye to Florida and hello to the Bahamas. We departed mid-morning from Biscayne Bay into bouncy seas and winds just forward of the beam. We wanted to make a daytime crossing because we planned to fish and waited until 10:30 for the winds to clock from the southeast. After a few hours at-it the winds did indeed clock and we were beam reaching into glorious weather with high hopes for our favorite cruising grounds. Just then it happened! Our fishing rod went off with a tuna on the other end. Thus setting the tone for the entire passage. We arrived just north of the Bimini islands at dusk and pushed on through the night across the Great Bahama Banks reaching the Northwest Providence Channel Light at dawn. Our nighttime excitement topped off with a non-event frontal passage. We sailed the entire way only adjusting the sails and wind vane as the wind changed directions.
The trip totaled a fast 26 hours ending in Frazers Hog Cay, Berry Islands. The next day we jumped over to Chub Cay to clear customs receiving a 6-month visa. We had heard that some other cruisers have had trouble this season with only getting 90 days. Not sure what the problem is, we asked for 6 and 6 is what we got.
Let me back up and say that we LOVE the Berry Islands and would still be there if we did not run out of gasoline for our dinghy. We anchored in Little Harbour for 4 or 5 days. The fishing is incredible, the beaches are remote and beautiful and we cannot figure out why more people are not there. I guess everyone is so geared up for the Exumas that they pass this lovely chain by without a thought. Not us. We will definitely hit them again on the way back up.
For now, we are anchored in Nassau Harbour. This was something that we were a little leary about but has proven to be no big deal at all. We are in the small anchorage just north of Nassau Harbour Club. There is a free dinghy dock across the narrow harbour where we can safely leave our dinghy with no issues. Even free internet there. On the topic of internet...our Nanostation (wi-fi antenna) decided not to join us for this leg of the journey. Early on the morning we left Florida it jumped overboard in the water and died instantly. So, from here on out we are back to the old way of internet hunting ashore. No big deal, it just means that we can't email in our underwear anymore.
From here we will move southeast down the Exuma chain and beyond. Our fishing total so far: 1 tuna, 1 mahi, 2 lobster, 2 grouper and 4 conch.
Happy New Year & Happy Birthday!
01/06/2012, Nassau, Bahamas
Happy New Year & Happy Birthday
We are welcoming 2012 with much excitement as Anastasia celebrates her 30th Birthday! In a far away land, three decades ago in the Ta Shing Yard of Taiwan, a hull was laid. These builders crafted, in our opinion, a beautiful boat that we are proud to celebrate. Although she is younger than both of us if feels better that we are all now in our thirties.
Newer boats have plenty of razzle dazzle but this ole girl is tried and true and we are pleased to be at her helm.
Sleeping With The Windows Open
12/16/2011, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
You know that time of year, in the early Spring or Summer when it is warm enough at night to leave the windows open? We are there...only it is not Spring, nor Summer. I love not having to close everything up so tight to conserve daytime heat! We can leave hatches and ports open all the time now! Of course there are those midnight "fire" drills when a quick rain storm passes but a fast wash-down is always welcome.
If you haven't seen our facebook page yet, check it out! And if you are inclined, please "like" us! We'd love to hit 100 fans for Christmas! The link is on the right sidebar ---------------> Or search: Sailing Anastasia
12/06/2011, Vero Beach, FL
Wednesday afternoon we said our goodbyes to North Carolina and the cold winter weather. We've had our fill of cold nights for 2011. We made our way out of the Southport inlet and began what would be a 3-day, 3-night passage down the coast. The passage was pretty uneventful: great sailing and little motoring, ending on Saturday in Daytona Beach. The Ponce De Leon inlet was the most exciting, some would say stressful, bit of the whole trip. It is not a major ship channel so it lacks the deep water and well placed buoys we prefer an inlet to have. Also, the wind was out of the east, to our backs as we entered steering west into the start of an outgoing tide. Wind against tide is not a cocktail we enjoy! But all went well; the anticipation was the worst part, as usual.
Entering Florida is an experience indeed. The warm air, the sea smell, the birds, the dolphins, the bikinis and bare chests, the jet skis. What a contrast from where we were a few days ago. Don't these people know it is winter everywhere else! It takes a day or so to get used to it but it is really, really nice to wear t-shirts and shorts again. No more sweat shirts and wool sweaters! We are in the land of warmer temperatures!
From Daytona we traveled to Cocoa Beach where we met up with Chip & Tammy on Cara Mia. From there we pushed onto Vero Beach. We plan to stay here for a night or so, doing laundry and some more provisioning. The municipal marina is a fun place where you raft-up with other boats, sharing a mooring ball. It's a great way to meet other cruisers. We might even pull out our folding beach chairs and sit on the bow listening to Christmas music toasting our change of latitude.
P.S. There is no accompanying photo because our camera has decided to leave us. Hopefully soon we will find a new one!
Not There Yet But Thankful To Be Here
11/26/2011, Wrightsville Beach, NC
A few days late for stating all we are thankful for, but nonetheless we are happy to be on our way. Today in Wrightsville Beach the sun is shining, there is a gentle breeze and the temperature is much higher than it was at our last post. Now, I won't lie and say that if you asked, we wouldn't want to be as far as Florida here at the end of November but days like today make our "lateness" excusable.
On Thanksgiving day we attended the local Methodist church's feast with our friends Martijin, Ana & Mia aboard Rotop. It was a feast indeed. I cannot remember eating that much probably since we enjoyed Thanksgiving with our families.
Thursday night we decided on a quick offshore jump out of the Beaufort inlet toward Wrightsville Beach. The passage was quiet and uneventful under a blanket of bright stars. Around 10AM we entered Masonboro inlet against strong current and by 11AM the hook was down.
this is the 4-5kt current we fought coming in the inlet.
From here who knows? One thing we do know is that the offshore jumps look appealing!
Also, we have added a new gallery to our SmugMug photo site: ICW -> South