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S|V Firefly...exploring the 'verse.. Know what the first rule of sailing is? Love.
You can know all the math in the 'verse but take a boat to sea that you don't love? She'll shake you off just as sure as a turn in the worlds. Love keeps her afloat when she oughtta not...tells you she's hurtin' 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
Royal Island to Nassau

So glad we went back to Royal Island (Stew got sick again as we got there in the rain from Little harbor the first time). Amazing ruins of a house or old motel made out of stone. Set your imagination on fire how cool it must have been. Haven't had a chance to try to google it yet.
Had a beautiful motor/sail to Nassau the next day. I guess after living at Port Canaveral for almost 2 years at the Ocean Club marina, we didn't find the cruise ships or harbor here to be that busy or crazy. Spent yesterday buying lots of great food ( store across the street is a Publix clone), and found almost everything on our list of boat stuff to buy, even a chart we were missing of Haiti and the west end of the DR. and of course 2 cases of wine and a bottle of Ole Nassau dark rum jumped aboard:)
Today we took 2 buses and saw all of the north and some of the west side of the island: reminded us of a bus we rode on once in Korea. At least this time we didn't actually get in an accident.
Nassau is a crazy place. At the plaza across the street ( very new and modern) there are armed guards planted in several locations and you have to be "buzzed" into the stores. The Marathon Mall was kinda rundown and also had guards posted, decided to take the other bus tour instead of seeing a movie.
The Northwest side of the island was beautiful: really didn't care to go to Atlantis.
So it has been great to get back on track and Stew is on his last day of antibiotics and feeling great.
So off for Allen's Cay in the Exuma's tomorrow to see the iguanas.

02/23/2013 | Dan Kerr
How are you guys doing??? Havn't heard for you in a while. Send a catchup to let us all know everything's OK
Soul Searching

SOUL SEARCHING: wow things have not gone well since we left on our journey early November.
I have had a lot of time to think about a lot of things the last few weeks. The first thing that is most important is health.
We are going to have to really take care of ourselves, not drink the water, and watch what we eat.

I really need to step up and be a real partner in this adventure, not just "Cookie". I have never felt so alone or helpless in my life as I did that night in Hopetown when Stew passed out in the floor and I was all alone. Can I pull the anchor, drive the boat, or even start the dinghy motor and drive it? No. What is the matter with me... This whole thing was my idea. I was the one who took sailing lessons back in Okinawa. Time to get my act together.
We are finally being forced to learn to take things as they come, do nothing sometimes, and realize that this is our life now. I think we are ready to start back on our journey with a better mind set and enjoy each day and each little island with no internet and freezer burnt frozen chicken ( all the stores sell it, haha).

Internet: the internet is an elusive creature here most of the time. Even when you pay for it it is often to busy or not a strong enough signal to do anything. We have started writing the blog on Word so we can just download it later . However pictures are another story; hope to get some on the blog in Nassau.

Just a little note on Spanish Wells. It a a really beautiful little island; the center of the lobster industry here. ( all 3 boats) However, it is not a Blue Zone. We haven't seen any of that fresh lobster. There are 4 little diner type restaurants that all sell the same bad food. It is DRY, no pubs, no alcohol sold here.
The people are not friendly or healthy looking. It is a very strange place.

Each island is the same but different. So far we found Hopetown to be the most enjoyable as far the people and lifestyle. It is a combination of locals who settled there years ago and cruisers who have stayed . Together they have made a very nice community and are welcoming to travelers.

Nassau has 11 real movie theaters at the mall! Only other theaters in all the Bahamas are in Freeport!
Nassau here I come!

02/07/2013 | Mags
Hi Guys,

Courage!! It must feel very difficult sometimes.
Good luck, and sail towards better moments :)

02/07/2013 | Stewart Becker
Thanks Mags,
It's very rewarding receiving inspiration from those that I used to try to inspire. Thanks for the kind words. I am in excellent health now and 10-15lbs lighter. Hope your well and very happy out there poking holes in the sky:)
Stay safe
02/26/2013 | Mags
I am really happy that you feel better, you and your wife must feel relieved a bit now.
Take good care of you!!!!
I am happy in the air, now based in the Shetlands, tiny islands north of the 60deg North! I enjoy it!!!
Hope to see you on the water (Mediterranean sea? Or if you go close to Belize or Guatemala ;)
Bises to both of you
Little Harbor to Spanish Wells

End of Hopetown
A few days later:
Well I will make this short. After several days Stew was still having issues which Dr. Diana determined we should try something else. I gave him some antibiotics that we had brought with and he was eating a peanut butter sandwich four hours later. Four days later he is back to normal and we head for Little Harbor to stage for Royal Island Eleuthera the next morning.

Little Harbor to Royal Island to Spanish Wells, Eleuthera
Little harbor is a beautiful little harbor where the famous Pete's Bar is located. (closed of course). We took Belle into the beach to play and sat on the front of the boat having a glass of wine watching the perfect sunset, ahhhhhhhh
Up at 5 the next morning and it is lightly raining; should have just went back to bed. The chance of showers turned into 10 hours of almost constant water of some sort falling on us.
Right as we got to Royal Island ( a desolate harbor surrounded by rock and scrub bush) Stew hit the wall sick as a dog again. We thought it was a relapse of the flu from getting wet and cold.
Well this is getting ridulous. I gave him all the meds we had accumulated and it was a horrible night.
A day later we made it on into Spanish Wells, he's better , he's again and the nurse says to take a full 10 day round of Cipro (antibiotics). Some kind of intestinal infection. OMG he has been so sick for so long. I know he has lost at least 15 pounds, the hard way.
Feb. 1st.
Ok I think we are on the right track now, but I may never be the same, haha. Still at the marina in Spanish Wells, leaving tomorrow to stage at Royal Island (tide gets really low here) to head for Nassau.

02/01/2013 | Gregory Simmons
That same flu/stomach bug struck Rochester, NY most of January. Lots of people out of work, lots of kids home from school. Never seen it that bad, nor the symptoms so severe. Hope he feels better soon!
02/07/2013 | Stewart Becker
Thanks Gregory, I feel much better now. I'm originally from Hamburg, NY over by Buffalo. Good to hear from someone up there and that I'm not the only one that caught this bug. Kind of scary, I haven't been sick like this for decades.
Thanks again,

Off to Hopetown to wait out more easterlies:
Wow, Hopetown is actually as nice as the guidebook says. Beautiful safe harbor lined with colorful Bahamian style houses, restaurants and bars, and gift shops.
OMG no! Stew is getting sick. We got there Jan 7th and now it is the 13th . He is still down with a headache and stomach problems. We have a really good weather window this week. Hope to be able to make it Tuesday to stage outside of Little Harbor and leave early Wednesday for Nassau.
We hadn't planned on going to Nassau, but it's going to work out better with the wind and we really want to head on over to the Exumas and get on down to Georgetown.
We have enjoyed all the art shows and there are lots of activities here like a softball game with the local kids today. The beach is just over the hill a block away and is really a gorgeous beach with coral reefs just a few meters out to snorkel.
Note: after our anchor dragging ordeal in Green Turtle we will be going to a marina in Nassau as it has a really bad reputation for boats not holding in the hard, polluted bottom.
Wish we cold find a better anchor, not holding my breathe on it though.
Well it is now Jan. 17th and Stew is still sick. We had to take him to the emergency clinic on marsh harbor with the Fire and Rescue boat Monday.
He was severely dehydrated, feverish etc. Great little clinic there and after 3 bags of intravenous solutions and other things he was looking a little better. However by the time we walked to the pharmacy, took a cab to the ferry dock, waited and hour and a half and rode another half hour back to our boat he was not in good shape.
Hopefully all will be ok in a couple of more days.

Grreat Guana Cay

On to Great Guana Cay on Dec. 28th:
Picked up a mooring in this pretty little harbor with 7 mooring balls that were way too close together for most of the boats there.
Walked over to the world famous Nipper's Bar on the ocean side and what a view! Couldn't wait for the Sunday pig roast.
On our way to the pig roast, I turned my ankle really bad. Got some ice and went on to Nipper's, but the wind was whipping from the north and it was freezing! It's a big party that young people come from all over to attend and wear their bikinis, so there was still some bikinis dancing around, haha.
Food was pretty good , but not really a pig roast.
Monday I wake up with a bad sore throat, really!? Now I have a crud cold and a swollen ankle. So Stew decides he need s some attention and tweeks his back so bad he can hardly walk.
By Wednesday the wind had died down and we were able to drag ourselves up and limped into Marsh Harbor to stay at Mango's Marina till the following Monday.
Recuperated, rented a car for the first time, shopped for food, wine, and bought a new start battery at a little car shop way out of town for $180. ( was $531 at the Marine store by the marina).

Green Turtle Cay

We departed Spanish Cay on Sunday Dec 16th for Green Turtle Cay. The wind was 15kts off our nose, so I put up the main for stability but continued to motor the entire way (approx 18nm). We entered White Sound on Green Turtle Cay and dropped our hook just outside of the Green Turtle Club.

We stayed in White Sound for twelve days (probably seven too many). The first five we had a great time exploring the island to include renting a gulf cart for half of a day. We pretty much hit every trail on the island in those four hours (including a couple that we probably shouldn't have); it was a ton of fun. We found all the good beach spots and a couple place that we could take the dinghy to later with Belle. There was a cold front coming through on the weekend, so we decided to stay until Christmas. Especially since Brendal's Dive Company was hosting a Christmas potluck. It was like the 20th annual and supposed to be all the rage...not so much. But we did meet a nice couple there. Aaron and Walter from S/V ? out of Charleston SC. They were the only other couple under 65 and who were also not stampeding the food tables like they hadn't eaten in a month. They too were headed for the Dominican Republic and had some interesting stories. Hope we see them again.

Diana decided (okay it wasn't all her idea but I choose to blame her) to have our mail service forward our mail to the Green Turtle Club, since we would be there for a while. Lesson #1: never have your mail sent somewhere in the Bahamas unless you plan to wait for two or three weeks especially during the holidays. We ended up having the post office in New Plymouth (South end of Green Turtle Cay) forward our package to Georgetown, Exumas if it ever arrives. Not sure if we will ever see it.

Anyway, on the Friday before Christmas, we experienced our first strong cold front immediately followed by our first anchor dragging adventure. It was just after breakfast when I noticed some guy in a dinghy riding around telling everyone that some heavy weather was coming. He didn't stop by our boat, must have thought that from the looks of it, that we had every thing well in-hand. The anchorage was pretty tight with some folks on anchor while others were moored. We didn't have much swing room for the predicted 90deg wind shift thanks to a knucklehead that anchored way to close the other day. I decided to let out another 25' of scope anyway. After taking Belle ashore for her morning ritual, I decided the prudent thing would be to set another anchor to the NW where the winds were gonna be be. So as I was untying the Danforth (44lb Bruce seems like it would take too long) it hit. I looked across the bay (couple hundred meters) and a wall of rain was coming. I jumped out of the dinghy and jumped below already soaked. That didn't matter howeveer because about 30sec after the microburst hit us, my trusty CQR decided to take the rest of the morning off. I started the motor and Diana jumped behind the wheel. It was raining and blowing like crazy but Diana got the bow into the wind and I pulled up the anchor by hand (not enough time for the also trusty SeaTiger 555 manual windless) because we were just a few seconds away from slamming into the Green Turtle Club's fuel dock. I decided that the easiest thing to do was get away from the rest of the boats and head back down the sound to pick up a mooring. That decision was pretty easy since knucklehead was dragging as well and flying close formation off our port stern. Knucklehead quickly got caught up in another boats anchor rode and fell off behind us. Phase two begins...

The last time we picked up a mooring was on Lake Champlain (between New York and Vermont) in 1988. No problem, motor up, hook it with the boat hook and tie off...again not so much. The winds must have been steady over 25kts and gusting above 30. Every time the bow came slightly off the wing, it swung like door, sending the mooring ball under the bow and out of reach. After about 7 or 8 attempts we managed to get it. We are now proficient. The wind blew hard for the rest of the afternoon and throughout the next day. We did enjoy watching knucklehead cut himself loose from the other boat and making four unsucessful attemps to set another anchor. Finally on the 5th attempt, he got a set with his stern about 50' in front of another boat. The other boat picked up his anchor and motored over to the Marina after advising knucklehead of his decision. What a knucklehead!

Anyway, we learned a lot that day:
1. Always keep up with the weather, even if you think your safely tucked in.
2. If someone gets too close...move your boat because their just gonna be knuckleheads!
3. If you think about setting a second anchor, it's probably already too late.
4. After clocking 360deg a couple of times over the past several days, I should have re-set the anchor.
5. It's never too late to read "The Anchoring Hanbook".
6. A Rocna or Manson Supreme will be worth the money if we ever find one.

We learned a few good lessons too:
1. We work well together under pressure.
2. Diana drives the boat better than me (a least sometimes)
3. Hand signals work (so does yelling)
4. Moorings in tight anchorages, when available, aren't for sissy's.
5. It's never too late to read "The Anchoring Hanbook".

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Sailing the 'verse
Who: Stew & Diana Becker
Port: Port Canaveral, Florida
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