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Cruising with Kids: S/V Dream Catcher
We've sold the house, bought the boat and will homeschool our children for the next year or two aboard our 43' Sailing Catamaran. Follow the adventures of the Daniels' family as they cruise the caribbean.
Rules, rules, rules
Dave & Lisa
01/02/2007, Georgetown

Happy New Year everyone. For New Year's Eve, we had a bonfire on the beach with a couple of the other families. We shot off fireworks and roasted marshmallows. Next we went to a party at the St. Francis Hotel and Marina with all the other cruisers. DJ made it to midnight Nicole wasn't feeling up to par so she crashed early. DJ has made some new friends on a couple of other boats and doesn't seem to be around much anymore. At one moment he is off learning to kite board with Logan from Trek, comes back for food and then is off sailing a Hobbie Cat with Fred from Polika. The kids are really enjoying their time here. Lisa and I have mixed feelings. On one hand it's great because the kids are entertained and have plenty to do, on the other, we don't want to get stuck in one place too long with so much more to see. After being here for six days, we are all ready starting to think about moving on. Originally, we were planning on spending a month or two here. Now, we are thinking of visiting some of the more remote islands once we get some good sailing weather. Of course the kids don't ever want to leave. Don't get me wrong, we like it here but with only one year available to us we want to see more.

Lisa and I started playing volleyball a couple days back and have enjoyed getting some exercise. The one thing that does take some adjustment is all the rules in the anchorage. The majority of the cruisers that are down here have spent so many winters here they have created a mini-USA with rules and politics. We are continuously informed of these rules since we are newbies. They are usually delivered with a nice smile just to inform us of what is expected of us while we stay in their "town". We have been informed of: no throwing scraps overboard, no cleaning fish off of our boat, what kind of firewood we should burn, returning chairs after using them, where to put our garbage, time limitations on where you can leave your dingy, how to hit the volleyball, most of it is complete commonsense. They treat us as children. Most of the younger cruisers joke about it and let it roll off our backs. We all came here to get away from politics and rules. Some of the cruisers have forgotten that. I know it sounds like we are complaining, too bad, then don't read this.

Georgetown or bust
Lisa
12/29/2006, Georgetown, Exumas

We departed Staniel Cay on the 26th with another catamaran, Le Cat, and headed for Little Farmers Cay. This stop was recommended by our good friends Jack and Helen back in Dover. They have been down here before and brought us back a beautifully carved Bahama Mama. The kids decided they wanted a sculpture for a souvenir so we visited JR's carving shop. He remembered a boat coming from NH and he thought he might have a boat card somewhere from them. See Jack and Helen, you two are unforgettable (we already knew that). JR didn't have enough change on hand so his wife took us to the general store to make change. Charelle then took us for a tour of the island. The 26th of December is Boxing Day and is celebrated in the Bahamas, so everyone was off of work. The residents were sitting outside on their homemade benches playing dominos, enjoying beer and swapping lies. They invited us to join in the festivities, but we were tired and knew we had an early start the next morning. We sailed from Farmers to Georgetown with a forecast of 15-knot winds from the North. Once we were out in the ocean, the winds were blowing 25 knots. Luckily we reefed in before we left the anchorage. The seas were quite big 8-10 feet, however they were following seas which made for a more enjoyable sail. We were going 11 knots at one point. It was exhilarating.

Once in Georgetown, we found a great anchorage right next to Volleyball Beach. The kids can swim to the beach or take the kayak. We went across the bay to check out the town and provision. There is a supermarket with a nice selection. On our way out of the market, we saw Charelle from Little Farmers. She gave us all big hugs. We will definitely stop by Little Farmers on our way back.

Dave spent his birthday tinkering on the boat. He worked on the refrigeration which seems to be an endless thorn in his side. In the afternoon, we lounged on the beach and layed in the hammocks. Tough Day. Dave also went hunting with DJ and Robert from Le'Cat and they brought back an interesting looking fish. We will eat it tomorrow.

Nicole made another friend today from Island Siren. She is 11 and from Key Largo. Her name is Katie. Tonight, the kids from several boats played flashlight tag on the beach. Both DJ and Nicole have made several friends and we haven't seen much of them the past two days.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Thank you for the well-wishes on our blog. We love hearing from you.

Merry Christmas
Lisa
12/24/2006, Stanial Cay, Exumas

Merry Christmas!
I woke up this morning and I could feel the warm wind through the hatch and I could hear the birds singing and suddenly remembered that it is Christmas Eve and we are in Paradise. I can still hardly believe it. There are about 25 boats in our anchorage and we are celebrating this evening with a bonfire on the beach. Everyone will bring some food for the celebration. I was able to score some egg nog last week and I have kept it in the freezer. That will be a nice treat tonight.

Some of our family members will be happy to hear that I was able to convince the crew to go to a Bahamian church service this morning. What a great way to submerge ourselves in the culture. They had us stand up and introduce ourselves and blessed us. They made us feel so welcomed. The hands were clapping and the drums were keeping rhythm with the Amens. It was a wonderful experience. I have never heard Joy to the World sung with such enthusiasm!! We really enjoyed ourselves. (Nicole and I wore flip flops to church)

Earlier this week, we dove on Thunderball Cave. We had to swim through holes in order to get to the heart of the cave which opens up to the sky. This is the cave filmed in the James Bond Movie. The children have become fabulous swimmers. We have seen so many beautiful fish. Every fish that we were lucky enough to see in the Atlantis Aquarium, we have been fortunate to see in the wild. I have been doing a lot of swimming and I am finally strong enough to pull myself into the dinghy without assistance! On a daily basis, Dave and DJ go hunting with the guys. We have buddied up with another boat that has boys. Yeah for DJ! Yesterday, Dave and DJ went "hunting" for fish. They came home with two lobsters!
The picture is of DJ and Nicole before we went to church today. There wasn't anyone to take a picture of the four of us. They both have been amazingly healthy since we left. The sun and fun has been good for all of us.

Merry Christmas to all of you. We hear that the weather back east has been mild so far. Love, hugs and kisses from the Bahamas.

Another birthday wish: Trent - Happy birthday old man


It is starting to look like Xmas
Dave
12/15/2006, Highborn Cay

A couple days ago our friends on Tabitha arrived at our anchorage. We last saw them in Miami and they have two girls ages 8 and 11. It was great visiting with them and the kids really enjoy having other kids around. Yesterday we dropped the kids off at the beach and they had a great time swimming, fishing and playing with the many Iguanas that roam Leaf Island. A little later Dave, Eric(Tabitha) and DJ went hunting for the nights dinner, while the Lisa and Sue stayed back and caught up. We checked out many coral reefs looking for the elusive Lobster and Grouper. I missed a shot at a Grouper as did Eric, and did spot a Lobster but it hid deep in a hole before I could line up a shot. We hit pay dirt though when it came to the Conch. We managed to bag seven large Conch when we located a reef in a far away place. So it's Conch fritters and Conch chowder on the menu for tonight. The fun part is the catching the not so fun part is the cleaning, but after you do several it gets a little easier.
Today we will be headed a couple miles south to Highborn Cay where we are looking forward to getting a meal ashore as well as getting some well-needed supplies. One thing I forgot to mention is we decorated our home for Christmas. We had brought a small tree with us as well as some decorations and the kids really got a kick out of it.

Jurrasik Park
Dave
12/12/2006, Allan's Cay

Today we arrived at Allan's Cay(key), which is our first stop in the Exumas Island chain. The winds have been blowing none stop so we spent the last seven days anchored off Rose Island, which is located a couple miles outside of Nassau. The anchorage provided us with protection from the North and East winds, which like I said have been no stop @ 20-25 knots. But that didn't stop us, we spent allot of time snorkeling and were able to score our first conch, which Lisa turned into delicious Conch fritters. Nicole enjoyed some water skiing, while DJ mastered getting up on the wake board. I tried water-skiing but couldn't get my big butt out of the water. Our 35 mile trip down from Rose Island to Allan's was probably one of the bumpiest we have experienced so far. We new it would be bumpy, but their reaches a point were it is time to move on and you just go for it. Of course there was no risk to safety just an uncomfortable ride for all. This was also our first time eyeball navigating over coral heads. They were very easy to spot with the sun overhead and was not a big deal as the guides may have lead you to believe.

Cleared in
Dave
12/05/2006, Atlantis

We arrived in Nassau yesterday and cleared customs at the beautiful Atlantis Marina where we spent last night. This was a big splurge for us, but we wanted to do something special for Nicole's birthday. This place is truly amazing, not to mention a little pricey. The trip down from Chub Cay to Nassau was a great sail with winds blowing out of the North @ 15knots. We averaged 9 knots for three hours; though the seas were a little bumpy, and get this, we crossed water that was over 9000' deep. Don't want to drop anything overboard here. This morning we celebrated Nicole's 11th birthday and she just loved opening all of the birthday cards from our family back home. She wanted me to pass on a big thanks to everyone for making her feel so special. At this time, I am waiting for the laundry to dry while Lisa has taken the kids to check out the many pools and water slides. This will probably be the last chance we get to use laundry machines in a long time so I really don't mind. Not to mention that it is some alone time... Later today, we will have to leave the life of "The rich and famous" and move to an anchorage outside the island. From there, we will start our journey down the Exumas, which is where we will spend the majority of our time over the next five months. So like I mentioned before, it will be a while before I can post another update. Take care all and thanks for sticking with us.
Happy Birthday to Uncle Sam and Cousin Dan!
Merry Christmas to all of you following along on our journey.

We made it across
Dave
12/03/2006, Nassau

Yesterday we completed our big crossing to the Bahamas. The winds were not optimal for sailing so it was another day of motoring. With winds out of the East @ 10-15 knots we beat into the 2-4' seas, occasionally there was a 6' thrown in for good measure. It was a long day but the crew handled it well. (Dramamine for all) We arrived at Gun Cay cut around 3:00 and we decided to keep on moving for a couple more hours prior to anchoring for the night. Or so we thought... We had been trolling with two lines out all day long, when all of a sudden... one line went zzzziiiiinnnnggg, then the second also went zzzziiiinnnggg. We had two fish on at the same time. We all sprang into action, Lisa at the helm to slow the boat, DJ on one rod, and me on the other and Nikki grabbing the Gaff. OK it was a little crazier than that. Anyways, you get the point, as we brought the first fish in we realized it was a good size Barracuda with huge teeth. There was no way I was going near those teeth, so I wimped out and cut the line. As you may have guessed the second line was the same thing. This time we decided it wasn't a good idea to loose another lure so we gaffed it and I removed the hook after most of the fight was gone. Oh wel,l it was fun anyway even though there was no free meat out of the deal. After all that, we decided to anchor for the night. With the water temp @ 81 degrees the kids wasted no time in jumping in the beautiful clear water. Many people have told us the water in the Bahamas is so unbelievably clear, we cannot even begin to describe it. Nicole described it as being in the sky and floating above the earth. After spending the night at Gun Cay, we started out early to get across the Great Bahamas Bank and on to Chub Cay were we would anchor for the night. It was a 75-mile run with the last 15 in the dark while running up against a one knot current the entire way. The banks are pretty cool with an average depth of 10'. The winds were still on our nose so we motored for another day.

Time to go
Dave & Lisa
11/28/2006, Miami Beach, FL

This is our last day in Miami. Tomorrow, we are moving to our jump off spot for the Bahamas. Possibly Saturday we will have a window to cross so this will be our last posting from the US. It looks like we are going to try and clear customs in Nassau at the Atlantis resort. If all goes well we will be there for Nicole?? s birthday. I think the kids will get a kick out of the resort. Not to mention that Lisa might want a little time in spa.
Today we spent most of our day tracking down the last of our spares and filling the propane tank, while the kids enjoyed a movie (Happy Feet) with some other cruiser friends who really needed a kid fix since theirs are grown up and gone. We had a very long dinghy ride into downtown Miami. As soon as we got off the dinghy, we wondered if we had landed in Cuba. Everything was written in Spanish. It was hard to believe we were in America. When we got back to our dinghy, two iguanas were guarding it. Very cool.
While in Miami, we have enjoyed tubing and swimming in the 75 degree water. Until…. We saw a Portuguese Man of War in the water. They are actually very beautiful, unfortunately dangerous. So we now need to do a complete search of the water before we play.


Happy Thanksgiving
Dave
11/22/2006, Fort Lauderdale

Today we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and boy is it cold. Last night the lows were in the low 40's. Lisa checked the weather in NH and felt much better when she saw the highs were in the low 40's with a low expected of 19 deg. During the day it is in the low 70's, but on the water, it can be chilly. We should be here for about five days completing some last minute tasks prior to crossing over to the Bahamas. Once completed and we get some light winds, we will move to our jump off spot just above Key Largo. We will sit in Key Largo and wait for a good weather window. For those who do not know what we mean by waiting for a weather window, let me explain, for the rest of you…. skip over. Since we will be crossing the Gulf Stream that runs south to north, we need the winds out of the south also for the smoothest ride. If the winds were out of the north, they would oppose the Gulf Stream and create some very large waves.
Yesterday, we were in West Palm where we met up with Uncle Joe. He picked us up and we went back to his house for the day. The kids enjoyed his heated pool and were able to run free on the golf course.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

5..4..3..2..1
Lisa
11/17/2006, Cape Kennedy

We rented a car with a couple of friends on Symmetry and drove to Cape Kennedy, NASA. There was a scheduled Delta Rocket launch of a GPS satellite. It was pretty neat to be so close to a launch. There was a lot to see at NASA. We learned a lot about the space and aeronautic program. It seems as though most of America has lost interest in the space program. After visiting Cape Kennedy, we will always watch televised launches. This visit was very inspirational. Here are a couple of tid bits the kids picked up during their visit. They each wrote a paper about NASA.

"The Russians were the first to orbit the earth” and "the Space Shuttle is taken out to Pad 39 on a crawler. It goes speeds up to one mile per hour" DJ

" I learned there is no wind on the moon, so you will be able to see 30 year old boot prints” and " on the moon you weight 1/6th of your weight” (mom likes that!) - Nicole

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