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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.
Presidential welcome to DC
Lisa & Dave
06/18/2007, Washington DC

Very cool... Today we were visiting the Washington Monument when a bunch of Secret Service Agents requested us to leave the immediate area. After about an hour wait we witnessed the president's helicopter landing on the lawn. As you can see, we got a picture of him waving. There were several folks in the crowd that were extremely disrespectful towards our President . I told the kids that not everyone agrees with the President, but the position is a position of honor and should be respected. If we don't like what he is doing, don't vote for him. Sticking up your middle finger takes away from your credibility even if you are free to do so.

We have been very busy moving north and have not had much time to update our blog. I will try and catch you all up. We have just arrived in Washington, D.C. and will spend a week touring the nations capitol. In the last two weeks, we have covered a lot of ground. First we met up with our friends Beach Magic(BM) in Beaufort, N.C. where we spent a couple of days provisioning and picking up our mail. On the 5th, we departed Beaufort with BM and headed for Oriental, N.C. where we spent two fun days. What a great little boating community. We spent two days on a dock with access to hot showers (we have hot showers on the boat, but still need to refrain from taking 20 minute showers) and a pool. We enjoyed a great dinner out with BM to celebrate Norman's and Max's birthdays. From there, we moved onto the outer banks and a town called Ocracoke, which lies about 20 miles south of Cape Hatteras. Another beautiful spot, which is well- known for it's great sport fishing. With easy access to the deep waters of the Atlantic, recreational fishing boats are everywhere. It continues to amaze me how much money there is out there. The following day we moved north along the outer banks and headed to Manteo, which is located on Roanoke Island. We spent a couple days here enjoying what this beautiful town had to offer. The kids enjoyed some bridge jumping until they spotted a water snake just below them. Lisa did some research and believes it was not a cottonmouth. But, they got out of the just in case her research was wrong. Next it was up the ICW and onto Norfolk, VA. While there, we caught the last day of the Tall Ships. They were magnificent. Especially at night when they strung their lights. Our stay in Norfolk was cut short when a North East front was predicted with winds running 15-20 knots. You don't want to be heading up the Chesapeake with winds out of the N or NE. So we departed earlier than expected prior to the front and ran the 70 miles up the bay to the Potomac prior to the front hitting. When the front came, we sailed the first 50 miles up the Potomac before the winds died. The next two days, we motored slowly up the river to DC fighting a 1.5 knot current the entire way. I was surprised how desolate the Potomac was with very little development or life of any kind. We finally made it to DC on the 16th where we expect to spend the next week. With the temperature forecasted to hit 95 degrees for the next three days, we are starting to think we should have stopped here back in October when we were heading south.

Back in the USA
Dave & Lisa
06/04/2007, Beaufort, NC

"Gator, Lisa fed him right off the back of the boat in SC and yes we still have Dallas"

Happy Birthday to Darleen, Mom, Denise, Debbie, and Amy.
A special Happy Graduation for our niece Courtney! We are proud of you!

After visiting Manjack & Pensacola Cays, we moved on to Great Sail Cay which would be our jump off spot for the states. We departed Great Sail on May 29th along with Beach Magic and headed for Beaufort, North Carolina with an arrival date of June 1. The forecast was looking good for a four-day passage. Winds were finally settling down to 15 knots with seas expected in the 3'-5' range. Well, like all forecasts, they always look good on paper, when we hit the gulf stream the winds had gone ENE, which is never a good thing. When the winds have a northerly component, it builds up the seas in the gulf. The first night was a rough ride and there was very little sleep with the winds building to 20 knots the seas continued to build. By sunrise, we were looking at 6-8' seas on the beam, which did not make for a comfortable ride. Throughout the 2nd day, we continue to head north with the seas subsiding a little. The crew was starting to wear down not to mention getting extremely board. When the ride is that uncomfortable, you can't do much to pass the time. No reading or watching DVD's, this may cause extreme nausea. Lisa and I split up the watches and after Lisa's watch, the seas were building against the 3 knots of current from the Gulf. It was 22:00 hours and we didn't want another sleepless night. So, a collective decision was made to exit the Stream and head into Georgetown, South Carolina. As soon as we were within 60 miles of the coast, is settled right down. We arrived in Georgetown, anchored and were in the first restaurant we could find. A cold beer never tasted so good!

Now we are making our way back up the ICW and expect to be in Beaufort, NC on Sunday, June 3rd. It is so green here! South Carolina and North Carolina are beautiful. Even though they have brown water. We saw some people swimming in this water and only 10 miles earlier, we had seen an alligator and a water snake. I guess everywhere you go, there is something in the water that keeps you alert. While in Beaufort, DJ will be shrimping as much as possible. After traveling through this area last fall, we really appreciate revisiting our favorite spots. Especially the ones with shrimp!

The latest storm, tropical storm Barry, has sent us gale-force winds and our sleep patterns have yet again been thwarted. Maybe sleeping in a house won't be so bad. That is, if we can find a place to live. Dream Catcher has a new owner! Does anyone out there have a rental in Dover, NH or a job? Will work for food!

Delays
Dave
05/22/2007, Green Turtle

Another day in paradise... Dave and Norman at the world famous Nippers on Guana Cay.

The weather isn't looking any better for another 7-10 days. So, we have decided to take advantage of this extra time and visit the last of the remote islands in the Abacos. That means no more internet until we get to the states. We will continue to travel with Beach Magic and any other boats we meet up with in the next week or so. Our blog will be updated with the details of our crossing once we hit the good old USA.

No worries family, we have Saint Christopher riding along.

Waiting on Weather
Lisa
05/20/2007, Green Turtle

This is a picture of Nicole and her friend Lauri Ann from Beach Magic.

The weather has been unusually active for May all over the Atlantic. Already, a named storm and many other lows are popping up, creating worry and keeping us in the Bahamas. We have followed our friend's blog on Tabitha. Eric is solo-sailing from Florida to England. He has experienced some very unpleasant weather due to the unexpected activity out there in the Atlantic. There have been several calls on the SSB for missing vessels and there is a US Coast Guard presence here looking for missing vessels. It is very important to file a float plan and make contact with any passing vessels. Just in case.....May is usually the most enjoyable sailing month. Not this year. Is this a sign of things to come this summer? Sorry if this seems ominous, but these are the things we need to think about.
Just a quick note, Marteen on Beach Magic has been tutoring Lisa in French. DJ is naturally picking it up from the kids. Nicole isn't interested in learning a new language, just like her dad.

In Guana
Dave and Lisa
05/19/2007, Guana Cay

The photo is of Lisa at Nippers on Guana Cay. It is rare to have Lisa in any pictures.

We arrived in Guana Cay a couple days ago after spending four days in Marsh Harbor provisioning for the next two weeks. At which time, we hope to be in the states where prices are a little more reasonable. Marsh Harbor is a great place to stock up and wait out weather but there isn't much else to do there; just lots of shopping and restaurants, which our budget doesn't allow. There is a lot of music at night to 'rock' us asleep as the neighboring clubs celebrate it being Friday (or Tuesday, it doesn't really matter). Also in Marsh Harbour, there was an attempted boarding of a vessel in the middle of the night when we were there. A little too metropolitan for our liking. So when things settled down a bit, Beach Magic and Dream Catcher headed out for Guana Cay. On the way over, we decided to take a detour to Fowl Cay for an afternoon of snorkeling on a beautiful reef. While there, we swam with a turtle, witnessed a nurse shark sleeping on the bottom and saw a three-foot parrotfish. This may be the last snorkeling opportunity for us before our return to the U.S. We enjoyed the crystal clear emerald waters and quiet beach.

With only a couple more islands to visit in the Abaco Island chain, our time here is winding down. We really need the weather to improve so we can cross to the states. The official hurricane season begins June 1st and our insurance company requires that we be north of Cape Hatteras by June 1st.

Man overboard ??
Dave
05/12/2007, Hope town Abacos

This is a photo of Dave and Nicole chilling and taking in a good book. Yes...that really is Dave reading, not just a prop. This is what happens when you remove the TV from the kids.

After leaving Eleuthera, we headed for Spanish Wells where we spent several days on a mooring. Here, we waited out a low-pressure system off the coast of Georgia that was whipping up the winds to near hurricane force and creating seas in the 20-30' range. This is the same system that a couple of days later had been named the first tropical storm of the season, Andrea. The impact to us was large seas and swells in the 10-15' range from the North, which is the direction we are headed to cross to the Abacos.
We are finding the more we travel north, the more we feel like we are getting closer to the US. Everything is brighter, bigger and busier with tourists arriving from everywhere. While here, we enjoyed a dinner out which is always a treat and Lisa, being the brave one, had a Turtle sandwich. Spanish Wells was a very enchanting island with golf carts being the prime means of transportation.
The seas finally settled down on Thursday. With good sailing winds promised, we departed Spanish Wells for the Abacos. It wasn't the greatest of sails with barely any winds, which meant motoring the entire 60 miles. The highpoint of the trip was the 3' Dorado we hooked. But... with every high comes a low, and the low point was Dave falling overboard trying to land the fighting beast. Thankfully, Lisa had slowed the boat down to help bring the fish in, so it was just a matter of me swimming to the boat. Easier said then done, I was a little stunned when I hit the water (13,000' deep) so I didn't react as quickly as I should have. Nor did I give a thought to the injured fish that I had been brining in. Can you say chumming the water? Not to mention I didn't want to loose my hat or sunglasses, so I took the time to make sure they were secured. When Lisa yelled swim, I finally snapped to it and started swimming while she backed the boat up to meet me half way. Safely aboard, I was pleased to find out DJ still had the fish on the hook. We brought it in with no additional drama and enjoyed it for dinner. You can image, everyone on the boat was a little freaked from the Man overboard drill, but pulled it together and on we went.
We arrived in Hope Town in the Abacos yesterday; we were surprised how much we missed the hustle and bustle of a touristy town. It reminded us a lot of Martha's Vineyard. We will spend a couple days here, then it is on to Marsh Harbor where we will do our final provisioning prior to our departure from the Bahamas. We have a couple more weeks in the Bahamas then it is time to head back to the states. Our current plan is depart the Northern Bahamas and catch the Gulf Stream north to Beaufort, NC. This is a 560 -mile run which should take about 72 hours depending on winds. More on that to come.

A touch of paradise
Lisa
05/03/2007, Eluthera Island

This is a picture of DJ and Nicole sleeping out under the stars with the Beach Magic kids. What a life!

Happy Birthday Gary and Ken. Happy Mother's Day to our moms and to all of our sisters and friends!

UPDATE: New Pics posted in Photo Gallery
We arrived this afternoon in Eluthera after five days in Little San Salvador. Little San Salvador has been purchased and renamed by the Holland-America Cruise Line. So now it is a private island named Half Moon Cay. It is a gorgeous island. The island has been set up with private cabanas, a water park, a stable for 20 or so horses. There are only a handful of workers to manage the island when the ship isn't in. The day before the cruise ship came in, the island became alive. It is instantly transformed from a sleepy island to a commercial resort. There are 50 or so employees that are brought in from the neighboring island. Everything is set up for the masses and the water park springs to life. Those of you who know DJ will know that he can get just about anything from anyone. So... he became friendly with the horse trainer and the kids from Beach Magic, Lauriann and Maxim along with DJ and Nicole were able to ride the horses. What a treat! The cruise ship arrived with 1000 plus people. We thought we could blend in, however, we have deep tans and all of the cruise ship occupants were various shades of white and pink. Just like cruise ship style, they had a beautiful buffet. So the Dream Catcher crew along with the Beach Magic crew got into our pirate mode and joined in. The kids kept commenting on the large mountain of fruit. We all filled our plates with fresh fruit before moving on the main courses. They served some desserts, but we all preferred the melons! We stuffed ourselves! After gorging ourselves, we layed under the caserina and palm trees while listening to the Reggae band. We actually felt like we were on vacation. Although the guys really wanted a cold beer, they couldn't get one since the island only takes your cruising card. Bummer! At the end of the day, the cruisers were headed back to the ship and the employees tried to round us up, when we had to confess that we were on different ships. They smiled at us and told us to have a nice evening. Next stop....Eluthera for the election

Heading North
Dave
04/23/2007, Fernandez Bay, Cat Island

This is a picture of the Hermitage in New Bight, see if you can spot DJ

We left Georgetown for the final time and have now turned north. It was tough saying goodbye again to all our friends and the kids had a particularly difficult time. Prior to our departure, I received some help from Jean on Blackberry Ramble in repairing our main sail. She put in a long day in the hot sun and her help was greatly appreciated. We had first met BR in Annapolis and then again in Beaufort for Halloween. We sailed to Cat Island, which is about 55 miles North East, and what a beautiful sail we had. One of those rare perfect sailing days that you hear about. The winds were from the West at about 15 knots, with the seas only 2-3 feet. We had expected the winds to switch to the north but they never did, which was good for sailing but not so good for anchoring. With very little protection from the west, we changed our anchoring plans and headed for Smith Cove. Smith Cove is a very tinny anchorage with room for only 1 boat. We needed to set two anchors because there was not even enough room to swing on 80' of chain. The following day, we moved over to New Bight where we caught up with our friends on Beach Magic who we hadn't seen since we left Mayaguana a couple weeks back. New Bight is well known for the Hermitage that was built by Father Jerome on top the highest point in the Bahamas(200 ft). The steps leading up to the hermitage depicted the Stations of the Cross and were truly amazing. The amount of work that was put into each one was inspiring. The view from the top was nothing but breathtaking. We could see why Father Jerome picked this spot as his final resting place. Lisa and I found a mango tree during one of our walks and luckily, they were in season. We took about a dozen for the ride. Lisa made a mango salsa. Yum. After spending a couple days in New Bight, we moved a couple miles north to Fernedez Bay where Beach Magic tells us there is some good snorkeling. After a couple days here we will move to the northern part of Cat Island than over to Little San Salvador.

Happy Birthday to Courtney, Jack, Dad, Laurie ann

Home for Easter
Dave and Lisa
04/14/2007, Dover New Hampshire

This is a picture Nicole took of us in Turks and Caicos. We are standing on the hill that shipwrecked sailors of the 1800's spent time looking for a rescue boat. It is a great view of the island.


After spending a couple days in Georgetown securing the boat and making plans for our cat Dallas, we caught our flight back to NH. Wouldn't you know it, mother nature wasn't done with winter and threw one more snowstorm down just when we were leaving the airport. It was tough enough getting acclimated to driving again, let alone in a blizzard. I must say it was a beautiful sight. We had a crazy week in NH catching up with family and friends as well as spending some quality time with Jack. The kids even had an opportunity to visit their school and say hey to friends. It was nice being home and seeing everyone, but it was difficult getting used to the constant barrage of news, the dry air which reeked havoc on our skin, and the kid's constant need to watch TV and Instant Message their friends. As I type this, I am looking out over a beautiful bay filled with clear turquoise water and pristine undisturbed beaches. The topography is quite a contrast from New England. The truly great thing about going home, is coming back and realizing that this will only last a couple more weeks. So, we are now acting like vacationers. We pumped up the raft for lounging in the water, which is 80 degrees. Swimming and fun is the number one priority. We have been exploring the island much more than the previous visits. We are feeling the pressure of returning to land life soon, and we want to get in as much as possible before returning to the superficial world. Speaking of the superficial world and the land of abundance, prior to our departure, we took advantage of the cheaper food prices and filled three suitcases full of goodies for the trip back to the boat. DJ's friend Celine from Red Beans watched over Dallas while we were gone. She was a wonderful help and picked us up at the docks upon our return. Thankfully she has a center console skiff that could hold all of our belongings. The friends we have made here have made this feel like a second home. It is amazing, the 360 turnaround we have made since the first time we reported in about Georgetown. I guess it is like everywhere else in the world, you have to be patient and look for the greatness of a certain destination.

We love you Helen
Dave & Lisa
04/02/2007, Georgetown

Picture: Our beautiful friend Helen. We will miss her more than words can say! This was taken in Martha's Vineyard. The last time we saw her.

We left Turks & Caicos a couple days ago after eight days of rain, the most we have seen since we left NH. While there, we said farewell to our friends on Side by Side and LeoCat who were heading to the Dominican. It was especially difficult for Nicole who became close to Parker and had a real hard time saying good bye. We vowed to stay in contact and meet up again in a couple years when they return to New York. The night before we were to depart, we received a very sad message from my parents about our dear friend Helen who was loosing her struggle with cancer. The doctors had decided there was nothing more to be done. Helen and Jack spent the first few weeks with us on our journey. Lisa and I both new we needed to get home ASAP. We decided to get back to Georgetown where we could leave our boat safely on a mooring. Also, we needed to have someone keep an eye on our cat, Dallas. With several friends back there, we knew Georgetown was the best place to fly out of. Now, we just need to get there. With 250 miles to go, we strategized on a route that would bring us from the Caicos to Mayaguana, to Acklins Island, onto Long Island and then to Georgetown with no need for overnighters. There was something churning in the Atlantic that was kicking up large sea swells and the winds were forecasted to be 25 knots. Higher then we like to sail in. Traveling about 60 miles a day, we would get there in four days. The seas have been larger than we would like and found it hard to believe that we are getting accustom to them. A year ago, you would have never caught us out in 10-12 foot seas. Today, on the way over to Long Island we were running downwind and blew out our main sail in about 25 knots of wind. The worst thing is Lisa had suggested I change our point of sail to avoid accidental jibe, but I knew better and because of that the sail blew out at the seam. Boy, do I hate when she is right, it usually winds up costing me money or a whole lot of work. Oh well, my momma always said I had to learn everything the hard way. Lisa is a very patient woman.

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