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Sunrise: Chasing the dream
Life filled with adventure, both actual and spiritual.
Now, we have arrived
Bill
03/15/2012, Warderick Wells, Exumas, Bahamas

Everyone who goes on deck wears a tether.

Two years ago in January we arrived in Warderick Wells for the first time. We had heard stories about how beautiful it was... and it was more so. So, since then we have dreamed of returning. And here we are.

We left Shroud Cay feeling that we could have spent a week there exploring all the lagoons, creeks and beaches. And we wanted to catch up with some other boats... because of kids and because they have similar long term plans as we do...

The day started with a spectacular beam reach sail with genoa alone. water so clear the boat appeared to float over the sandy bottom. The little green islands with white sand beaches were ringed with torquise water... we really it is beyond description...

We watched squalls moving north of us, thinking of the rain that must be falling on Shroud Cay. With the main out, with a single reef, we tacked the last couple miles toward Wardwick Wells... A squall loomed... I thought, "better reef again"... by the time I was at the mast it was clear that a reef wasn't going to be enough... While I dropped the main, Lara saw 30 knots of wind. As she fired up the engine and steered, I furled in the Jib. The wind continued until we were safely on the mooring then dropped to a comfortable 15 knots.

We met yet another little girl when we went to shore...

24 23.819'n 076 37.962'w

03/15/2012 | Uncle Readie
One nice feature of the Sailblog position Google Earth map is that it shows your whole history, so the "peace and quiet" post from two years ago is readily accessible. This time it looks like you're about a mile west of Waderick Wells, rather than right offshore like you were then.
Can we say more shades of blue
Bill
03/13/2012, Shroud Cay

We took a short sail today... a few hours to Shroud Cay. Now sailing "on the banks" the sailing is like sailing on a lake. There is no swell and there are lots of boats sailing every direction This spectacular cay is part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. A reserve that was formed in 1958 to help preserve a breading ground for Bahamas fish. This Cay has lagoons and streams that can be explored. We went to the beach just inside the opening to one of the streams. At the beach we found more kids! A four year old girl and a little boy.

In the photo, (which I will post when we can) Isobel and Bill swim to Tribe to say hi. Isobel has been saying that when she grows up, she will be able to swim over the Tribe... The kids off Tribe, who are 8, 12 and 14 are in the water all the time and have been been over to our boat and Isobel would like to be able to do the same. Now she has some motivation!!

24 31.697'n 076 47.752'w

03/14/2012 | Green
I lost my first wedding band at Shroud when the anchor shackle pinched me. Months later on the return trip, we were looking for it while a low went by... And the hurricane hunter flew over, shortly followed by an eye wall. It went on to form Tropical Storm (and later hurricane) Erika. Our weather at the time was fine. We like Shroud a lot! The ring went overboard to the SW of the well if you want to look for lost gold.
03/20/2012 | Cindy Skidmore
Now that is some beautiful water...I am glad to see that all is smooth sailing even if it has been rough waters...The Skidmore's miss you guys and hope you will stay when you are passing back through...Give Isobel a big hug from me, bugsy and copper :) Love you guys!!!!
Exumas at last
Bill
03/11/2012, Fraizer's Hog Cay

With the forecast we were expecting a nice broad reach, which is a very comfortable point of sail... we had dreams of doing projects and laundry underway. instead the wind was just off our nose and we were again motor sailing on a close reach. Some squalls came up just as we anchored giving us a huge hose down. That was welcome as we had coated the boat in salt spray. We really look forward to the next few hunderd miles of down wind sailing.

Isobel found it comfortable to maintain child's pose and fall asleep...

03/12/2012 | Uncle Readie
I thought Frazer's Hog Key was in the Berry's? Google Maps shows a nice channel anchorage between Roberts and Pimlico Cays. Is that where you are? The significance of the names doesn't escape me.
03/12/2012 | Uncle Readie
My mistake. I didn't notice your coordinates have you further south off Highbourne Cay. The marina there looks nice.
Sponges on the beach
Bill
03/11/2012, Highborne Cay

We are happy to be here at Highborne Cay one more day. Isobel is with her friend spend a long time on the beach making castles, burying each other and making cars around each other. Lara hunted for shells and Bill took a walk down the beach to look around the north point of land.

One thing that is notable here, and that we saw in Chub Cay also, is the amount of sponges washed up on the beach. thousands and thousands. We wonder if Hurricane Irene ripped them off the reef and that they are still washing ashore.

The wind is still blowing 20 to 25, and yet it is so comfortable tucked in here behind the land. And so nice to have a beach right here. The water is soooo clear and of course an incredible color of blue, well, many shades of blue. We have found that cameras just don't catch the amazing color. We have taken photos which we will post when we have an internet connection. This post, as well as the last one and probably the next few are via SSB.

SSB stands for Single Side Band Radio. This is a High Frequency (HF) radio that allows us to send and receive brief emails, receive weather information and talk with other boats all over the Atlantic and Caribbean seas. Every morning at 6:30 am Caribbean Weather Center transmits from Central Florida weather for the Bahamas and the Caribbean. We have signed up with him, so we can ask specific questions about weather that relates to our route. After his net, we chat with other boats we know that might be as far away as Panama (limited by the radio frequency)

In emergencies we can also talk with the US Coast Guard and the Maritime Mobile Network. For instance, when we were in the Bahamas two years ago and the earthquake struck Haiti, we were able to talk to someone on the MMN who was based in Minnesota... he was able to talk with ships around the Bahamas and Haiti.. and relay to us that we had nothing to worry about as it related to Tsunamis.

Often we find other boats in the anchorage (now there are 20) who don't have an SSB. We use the VHF radio to update them on the weather we have heard. The VHF, standing for Very High Frequency, radio will connect with other radios within line of sight. Most sailboats put their antennas on top of their masts which make the range about 25 miles. Shore side radios at the USCG and Bahamas Defense Force are on very high towers which increase their range. We occasionally hear a USCG transmission here, even though we are hundreds of miles from the Florida coast.

24 42.975'n 076 49.889'w

sketchy internet and scary posts
03/10/2012, nassau Bahamas

A neighborhood girl came over to play. Origami!

There has been some questions about recent blog post being scary because they end fast... or incomplete or poorly written.

First, if we are in a bad situation I would not be writing on the computer. Even the horrible rolly polly conditions we were in at Chub Cay made it a challange to even think about being creative on the computer...

The reallity is that in the Bahamas the internet is sketchy at best. Most of it is by satellite uplink. A lot of the equipement here (on the islands) is in poor repair as the entropy here happens more quickly than elsewhere because of the salt air and UV. Because the economy has been down by 80% since 2008 much of the infrastructure has not seen any maintenance. On top of all that much of the power here is from small diesel generators... which often fail for the above reasons.

So, while the rest of you are upgrading to 4G devices we are going back in time and technology.

Remember that we are now in a land of lots of other cruising boats, many that we know, so if there is any problem we have lots of help around. Even boats that don't know each other jump to help others because we all know that we are "in this together". Currently we are hanging with a family from south Africa on a big catamaran, we have seen friends we met in Oriental with a steel boat... they are from Holland.

So, if you don't hear from us or if there is a sketchy post... we are fine. If there is a serious problem, we have tones of safety gear on board, including EPIRBs (2) which at a flip of a switch will send out an international distress signal with our name, and id number and location within 100 yards. This is satellite based system that would notify the US Coast Guard as well as the "local" search and rescue organization. At that point the USCG would start by calling Teri to see if she might know where we are and make sure it wasn't a false alarm (as something like 90% of them are).

We have life raft with emergency food and water, emergency water maker, radio, etc... And more other stuff than I care to write about. So, everyone relax, we are safer here than many of you are driving on the highway or walking around your cities... not to mention bits of rockets falling on the east coast...

25 04.702'n:077 18.670

03/10/2012 | Uncle Readie
Well, if you can ask us not to be scared, maybe we can ask you not to use scary-sounding sailing terminology with us landlubbers. If I'm not talking to a physicist, I don't say I'm "collapsing the wave function", I say I'm "taking a measurement". Try typing "crashing to windward" into Google and see who was "making up scary stuff".
03/11/2012 | gil
No worries mate. Good to hear from you whatever the chop. Keep the entries and photos coming.
Reprovision
03/10/2012, Nassau Bahamas

We dinghed ashore with our friends off Tribe to buy some groceries and other small stuff. Internet here at Starbucks (yes they are here). We will download another book for Isobel and a new navigation app for the IPad. We will relax today and sail south to maybe Allen's cay tomorrow.

Another boat from NH is anchored here and we chatted with them about there 5 years in the Western Caribbean. All very exciting to us

crashing to windward
03/09/2012, Nassau Bahamas

I took the opportunity to test out a new refueling concept that would use underway when there is some boat motion. You can't tell from the photo, but the boat is rolling almost from rail to rail in the swell that is wrappng around the point. The system works really well. Brings back memories of the 1970s fuel shortage...

Well, we wouldn't have done it if we hadn't been so miserable. Last night especially was so rolly in the anchorage that it was hard to move about the boat and impossible to stay in our berths without lee-cloths or pillows.

So we crashed to windward for 5 hous under a reefed main sail to give us stability. We were happy to anchor at the east end of Nassau Harbor where the water was calm.

For dinner we had steak! The steaks had been delivered to us by the tender of a big motor yacht in thanks for Sunrise being a relay when they were stuck on a sand bar and trying to call their mother boat. This kind of thing is normally done as standard. Everyone helps each other out here, so we were surprised (and happy) to receive the gifts!

After dinner we collapsed into bed exhausted...

03/09/2012 | Uncle Readie
I'm writing this at a point where it looks as if your post has been truncated, ending with "so we crashed to windward". That doesn't sound good on it's own, but when Google showed it had something to do with capsizing the boat, it was worse. The fact that you're posting suggests the worst is over, but I'm anxiously waiting to see what the full story is.
03/10/2012 | Bill Calfee
Everything is fine. Poor Internet. More later
Moving for Weather
Bill, clear, windy
03/05/2012, Chub Cay, Bahamas

Isobel helps with the laundry. She can run the dryer all by her self now.

Fraizer's Hog was a great spot for the front to come through... but (as we thought) it quickly became very clear that it was not the place to spend the next few days. Forecast is for 20 with gusts to 30 and squalls to 40... so we have moved to the lee of a little beach on Chub Cay. We plan a beach outing and maybe an exploration...

The water is crystal clear and although right now it is cool since there is a breeze
25 24.571'n:077 54.606'w

03/05/2012 | Uncle Readie
Roll on Caribbean Summer! I'm guessing the girls would like cosmopolitan Trinidad to bypass the hurricanes.
03/06/2012 | ellen
Beautiful pix of you and Izobell on the beach. Now that is why you go cruising!! Enjoy. Peace.
03/07/2012 | Megan and Pat
So glad to hear you had a nice Gulfstream passage and are in the Berry's! We think of the crew of Sunrise OFTEN here on the Night Cloud. We are heading back through the canal to the Caribbean within the month... heading back home for a job opportunity. Maybe we can liaison at some point on the trip?! Take care and be safe.
03/07/2012 | Megan and Pat
So glad to hear you had a nice Gulfstream passage and are in the Berry's! We think of the crew of Sunrise OFTEN here on the Night Cloud. We are heading back through the canal to the Caribbean within the month... heading back home for a job opportunity. Maybe we can liaison at some point on the trip?! Take care and be safe.
Now we are in the Bahamas!!!
Bill
03/04/2012, Fraizer's Hog Cay

Well, here we are in the Bahamas, Frazer's Hog Cay to be exact.

Our first beach outing on Fraizer's Hog Cay in the Berry Islands.

We had an uneventful crossing of the Gulf Steam on a pretty day with light winds out of the SSE. We sailed a bit and started the engine when we recalculated our ETA on the banks. We decided that it would be a good idea to get a few hours sleep at anchor just east of Bimini , which was a wonderful idea. We had a very peaceful dinner at anchor and the only sound was the gurgle of the water in our scuppers as we barely rocked. We went to bed early and woke at 3 am to pull the anchor and head out (so we had time to reach the Berry Islands before dark.)

Crossing the banks was motor sailing on a close reach in light winds the wind was supposed to clock around to the south but it never did. We napped, read, did little projects, the girls painted . When we reached the Tongue of the Ocean the wind was on our nose rather then the forecast south so we gritted our teeth and motored into the 4 foot swells, reaching the Berry Island Club in Frazier's Hog Cay by 5:30 pm. We tied up to a mooring and had an early night. The sand shallows protected us from the SE winds.

Bill was given a ride to the airport to clear in by a local guy, Howard who, with his brother owns 600 acres on the island. It was an interesting drive with commentary about the local road conditions and goings on at the "club". Once back on the boat we realized how wonderful it was to not have the pressure of "getting ready to go". Although there is still the project list there is no urgency to buy those last minute necessities. We have what we have and we are thankful for all of it.

Next we are getting ready to weather a strong NE wind that will blow for a few days this week. Our current plan is to move to the SW corner of Chub Cay where there is a cove that will protect us from the NE winds.

25 25.319'n 077 50.207'w

03/04/2012 | Shawn c/o Papillon
So glad that y'all have finally made it! You missed some very strong winds today at Dinner Key so glad you have made it there safely. We hope to follow you in about a year! Can't wait to hear more about it soon.
03/05/2012 | ellen
Congratulations!!!!! So glad you had a nice uneventful crossing. You have all worked so hard to get there and beyond. Can't wait to see some pix. Peace. ellen
lunch with Ruack
02/29/2012

Isobel spend the morning with the kids on Ruack. Beach... then lunch back on the boat with her buddy Mave

03/01/2012 | Uncle Readie
Bon voyage! I know you guys aren't the strict schedule type, but any planning info would be appreciated, even if only something like "back in the US by July".
03/01/2012 | Green
Hopefully this comment finds you in the Bahamas... As you are headed to Hati, am I right in assuming that you will be following the thorny path? If so, be absolutely sure not to miss Big Sand Key in the Turks and Cacos - often the last stop before jumping to Hati or the DR. While there, the beach combing is outstanding as is the huge natural arch on the south side. One of our favorite places in the world.

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