28 May 2017 | Oriental, NC
15 April 2017 | Allans-Pensacola
05 April 2017 | Lynyard Cay
20 March 2017 | Salt Pond, Long Island, Bahamas
14 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
23 February 2017 | George Town, 🇧🇸
08 February 2017 | Shroud Cay, Wardrick Wells, Cambridge, Staniel Cay, Black Point
01 February 2017 | Allan's Cay, Leaf Cay
29 November 2016 | Coca Florida
11 November 2016 | Wapoo Creek, Charleston, SC
28 October 2016 | Donna and Jerry's House, Oriental, NC
21 October 2016 | Deltaville, Va.
24 September 2016 | Worton Creek
23 September 2016 | Cape May
17 September 2016 | Haverstraw Bay
12 September 2016 | Niskayuna, NY
08 September 2016 | Sylvan Beach
31 August 2016 | Chaumont Bay
Hanging Out in Oriental, NC
28 May 2017 | Oriental, NC
Sunny, Hot, Light Winds W 10-15
Okay, so it has been a while since I posted anything on our blog. I apologize for my delinquency. We did make it back to the US safely. We had one minor glitch while making our ocean passage from Great Sale Cay to Beaufort, NC. We had been motor sailing a lot due to the lack of wind and big swells in the gulf stream, so Ron decided to check the oil level. To do that we had to shut off the engine. Which we did and the oil level was fine, however, the engine did not want to restart. It finally started, but we were concerned. We really needed the engine power to get us through the large ocean swells. We were lucky it started and decided we needed to have our favorite boat yard, Deatons Yacht Services, help us figure out why it wouldn't start.
On a more positive note, a really cool thing happened during our ocean passage. A little bird decided to stay with us for a while. He was really friendly and was happy to drink water from my hand. He also sat on my head and shoulder. Eventually, he took a nap down by my feet. He must have been really tired. After his nap he drank some more water, checked things out in our cockpit and even came up and perched on my finger. It was sad when he left us. I hope he made it safely to his final destination.
We made it safely to Beaufort, NC on April 20, along with Blue Jacket our buddy boat. We also met up with our friends Karen and Jerry on Persephone. We took a slip at the Beaufort Docks Marina and then took care of business. We contacted customs and they came to our boat and checked us in to the US. During our visit in Beaufort, we spent some time walking in the quaint town, shopping at the many clothing and accessory shops, eating at the various restaurants and went to the Saturday Farmers market. I just loved it there. It was a great way to ease our way back into the US.
A couple of days later we left Beaufort and went to Oriental, NC where we or I should say, our boat has been since April 23. We decided to have our fuel tanks replaced, which means we are having new ones made. Our fuel tanks were made of black iron which can corrode over time causing sediment in the fuel and possibly leak if they get too bad. So instead of waiting for a problem, Ron decided to have the tanks replaced with aluminum. So needless to say, we are living on the boat here in NC waiting for the new tanks to be built and installed. We have been keeping ourselves busy. Last week we rented a car and went back to Baldwinsville, NY to see our grandsons play their instruments in their spring concert, perform in the play Peter Pan and watch them play Lacrosse in a tournament. It was so great to spend time with our family. Of course we love spending time with Erica, Robert and Enzo ,the dog and of course having some wine with my friend Anna. It was fun catching up with the morning school bus stop crew as well. I can not believe how much all of the kids have grown since we last saw them in December.
So, I will let you know when we are on the move again. In the meantime we are enjoying ourselves in Oriental. We have made several friends and love running in the mornings, riding our bikes around town, and visiting with new friends. We are presently doing the boat chores that we normally do back in Chaumont Bay, NY so that we can just have fun spending time with friends and family when we get back . Hopefully, we will be back sometime in the beginning of July.
We hope you are all starting to enjoy the warmer weather.
15 April 2017 | Allans-Pensacola
Partly Sunny, Occasional Squalls, Winds 15-20 ENE
While anchored in the lee of Lynyard Cay we took the dinghy two miles into Little Harbor which is located on Grand Bahama. This is where Gordy lives. Gordy is the person that responded to my call for help over the VHF last year when Ron had his medical issue. We were looking forward to seeing him again this year. The ride over to the harbor was to say the least very challenging. The swell from the cut was easily 3-4 feet. In addition to this swell, we had to deal with the bounce back off the rock wall located at the opening of the harbor. We had swells coming from two completely opposite directions which made it one of the most difficult times we've had getting someplace in the dinghy. While ashore, we had lunch at Pete's Pub with our friends Donna and Jerry from Blue Jacket. After lunch, we visited the art gallery and toured the foundry which is renowned for its "lost wax casting in bronze". Here is where they make life size marine bronzes and jewelry inspired by local motifs. Later in the day we met Gordy at the Pub for happy hour. It was great catching up with him. By the time we headed back to our boat the winds and ocean swell had laid down making our ride home much easier.
The following morning we sailed to Marsh Harbor, which is also located on Grand Bahama. We went into Mangos Marina where we stayed last year. We have not been in a marina since January. The first thing we did was take a long warm shower. The next day we gave the boat a good cleaning, inside and out. Then it was time to do laundry and walk to the local grocery store to provision the ships stores. Our friends Mary Beth and Joe bought some fresh stone crab claws which they share with us and their dock mates during happy hour. That was a real treat. Later we reciprocated by having lobster fettuccine for dinner on our boat. Needless to say, our waistlines continue to expand. The next morning, we went on a dive charter with Captain Keith. Mary Beth, Joe, Ron and I had the boat to ourselves. We did two dives, both were fabulous. The first dive we saw rock formations that resembled the following: an armadillo, Darth Vader's helmet, and an ostrich. Oh and of course we swam with the two groupers Gidget and Gulliver. Gulliver was friendly enough to let me pet him. When Ron and I dropped down for the second dive there was a 5-foot reef shark swimming directly below us. I was just a little apprehensive, but soon realized he was of no threat to us. During the dive, Captain Keith lead us through many swim throughs and over beautiful coral heads with a variety of fish. That evening we went to the Jib Room for dinner with Blue Jacket and Sapphire. Another couple, Pat and Susie joined us as well. We were entertained by a DJ who also performed "Rake and Scrape". "Rake and Scrape" is music accompanied by a saw and various percussion instruments. They encouraged the audience to participate as well. It was a lot of fun.
We left our slip the next morning and sailed to Man of War Cay. We anchored outside the harbor and took the dinghy into shore where we walked around the island. The island is the home to the Albury Brothers Boat Building company. Here they build sturdy round bilge deep-V fiber glass outboard boats which are renowned in the Abacos and Florida.
After a couple of days, we had a great sail to Green Turtle Cay. We rented a golf cart with Donna and Jerry and toured the island and had a nice lunch at a local restaurant. Ron as usual had"Cracked Conch". He never seems to be tired of it, and as he says, "I can't get this back at Lake Ontario".
We are currently anchored at Allans-Pensacola Cay where we are preparing for our 570 mile off shore passage from Great Sail Cay to Beaufort, NC. To prepare for this trip, I have been preparing meals and Ron has changed the oil and filter in the engine and has done other safety preparations to voyage off-shore. This passage will take us about four days. The plan is to leave Monday morning and arrive in Beaufort sometime on Friday.
As I am writing this, a squall is coming through and one of the boats has dragged anchor and is drifting out of the bay. People are trying to call him on the radio but he isn't answering. Ron took the dinghy and went out to see if he is okay. Everything is fine and he is motoring back in to re-anchor.
The next time you hear from us we should be stateside.
Entering the Abacos and Heading North
05 April 2017 | Lynyard Cay
Sunny, Light Winds 11-15 ESE
After leaving Long Island, Bahamas, we sailed to Little San Salvador which is an Island owned by a cruise line. We anchored in half moon bay and spent the night along with sailing vessels Sapphire and Blue Jacket. In the morning, a cruise ship came in and anchored just behind us. It was quite the sight. Needless to say it was time for us to leave so, we pulled up the anchored and sailed to Rock Sound , Eleuthera. While there, we did some chores like laundry and filled our propane tanks. Once the chores were completed had a nice lunch at the Wild Orchard restaurant. In the afternoon, we toured the town and walked to the Blue Hole which is inland and has lots of beautiful fish swimming round. The next day we, did a shorter sail to Governor's Harbor, Eleuthera. We were skeptical about the anchorage because of our experience last year when we drove through with a rental car. At that time, it appeared to be a rough and uninviting harbour. However, to our surprise this year, due to the favorable wind conditions, the harbour was peaceful and pleasant. Walking around the town was a treat. We started by visiting the historic library where Ron bought a T-shirt sponsoring the "Eleuthera Jazz Festival". Being a retired music teacher and lover of Jazz he liked being able to support jazz in the islands. The homes in this community are simply breathing taking. Each is painted with bright yellows, blues, purples and greens surrounded with a variety of beautiful flowers. The next day we finished our trip to the top of Eleuthera Island by stopping at the community of Spanish Wells. We could tie the boat to a mooring in an incredibly protected harbour. Because it was at the end of the fishing season the docks were bustling with activity as each boat was unloading it's catch to refrigerated containers. The next day a container ship came in and loaded the refrigerated containers to take to market. While on the island our sailing friends Donna and Jerry introduced us to a cruising couple that now live on the island. Jean and Bob welcomed us into their home that evening for a fun filled happy hour where we learned more about the island and what it is like living there. Mary Beth and Joe from s/v Sapphire joined us as well.
We are presently, in Lynyard Cay the gateway to The Abacos islands which are the northern most islands of the Bahamas.
Long Island, Bahamas
20 March 2017 | Salt Pond, Long Island, Bahamas
Sunny, winds 15-18 Gusts 20 NE
We are now in Long Island, Bahamas. The Island is 80 miles long and four miles wide. To get a full blow feel for the island and to see the sites, one needs to rent a car. So, that is exactly what we did on Friday, March 17. Since our friends, Donna and Jerry from Blue Jacket have been here many times, they offered to be our tour guides. MaryBeth and Joe from Sapphire came along as well. We started our tour in Salt Pond. This is where we have our sailboats anchored, which is the prettiest harbour on the island. Next we drove to Clarence Town on the southeastern side of the island. We saw many beautiful and historical sites starting with the beautiful twin churches located on the top of a hill. The twin 40 foot towers are well-known landmarks on the island for helping boaters find their way into the islands harbour. Then we moved along to see “Deans Blue Hole” which is the world’s deepest known salt water blue hole. It is 663 feet deep and enclosed on three sides by a natural rock amphitheater and on the fourth side by a turquoise lagoon and powder white beach. We just happened to be there the same timed as William Trubridge from New Zealand who broke his own free diving world record in that very hole. He and four other divers came to practice for an upcoming competition this April. He is a very nice guy that lived on a yacht for ten years and the sea was his playground.
We saw many other sites that day, such the Columbus Monument. It was the third island Christopher Columbus and his crew landed on in the Bahamas in 1492 prior to reaching America. We also visited several marinas and resorts. We had lunch at Anita’s take away and met more fellow cruisers. It was a fun packed day.
The following morning, we went to the farmer’s market where we bought fresh homemade breads, fruits and vegetables. In the afternoon, we went exploring in a cave located on the shore line just up from where our boat was anchored. It was really cool with bats hanging from the ceilings, and stalactites and stalagmites forming on the ceiling and floor of the cave. I should also mention that it was very dark in there as well. My nice friend Joe made sure he scared me by throwing some small pebbles over my head. Others have placed small plastic skeletons around the cave as well. I must admit it was just a little eerie even without the theatrics.
Last night we took our dinghy to “Tiny’s Hurricane Hole” where we did some laundry and had drinks with other cruisers and local folks. It is a new beach bar and grill with a thatched roof patio. We had a great time.
This evening we are going to a happy hour bonfire with other cruisers anchored in the harbour. The plan is to leave in the morning and move to Calabash Bay which is on the northern end of the island. From there we will go further north to Cat Island. I am looking forward to more adventures that I can share with my friends and family.
Jumentos to the Raggeds Back to George Town
14 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
Sunny, Winds SW, 20 K
It has been a while since I have had internet service, so I apologize for this long winded blog entry.
On Saturday, February 25, we left George Town Bahamas to fulfill our goal of going to the Jumentos Cays and Ragged Islands. We got up at 5:00 AM, pulled anchor at 6:00 and along with Blue Jacket, 2 Outrageous and Grace V. headed to Water Cay which is the beginning of the Jumentos Cays. Unfortunately, there was no wind, so we had to motor. It was a long 10-hour day. I was so excited, I didn’t mind that we had to motor the entire trip. The clarity of the water was unbelievable. I counted 15 starfish that were laying on the bottom of the ocean floor. While standing on the bow of the boat, I saw two ocean tigger fish, a school of snappers, and a large grouper swim by. We arrived at Water Cay in the Jumentos at 4:20 PM along with Grace V, Blue Jacket and 2 Outrageous where we anchored the boat and took a long-awaited swim to cool off. Our friends from Grace V surprised us with some fresh buns that they baked during the day long trip. The buns were a treat that we enjoyed with our dinner that evening.
The following morning, we left the banks and went out into the sound as we headed to Hog Cay in the Ragged Islands. We motor sailed from Water Cay to the Nurse Channel. Once we entered the channel, we turned off the engine and enjoyed sailing the remainder of the day to our anchorage at Hog Cay. The next morning, we went scavenger hunting on the ocean side of the Cay. There are many treasures that make their way to the shoreline for cruisers to find. Amongst these treasures are “Sea Beans”. Sea Beans come from trees and vines that grow along tropical shores and rain forests all over the world. The seeds fall from the plants into rivers and creeks that flow into the ocean and make their way to beaches thousands of miles away. I was so happy to find my first sea bean. It was just sitting there on the beach waiting for me to pick it up. My friend Donna from Blue Jacket is what I call “A Sea Bean Magnet”. She found at least 15 beans that day. Me, I found 6 and that was okay. I have been looking for these beans for months, and now I am finally started to find them. There are many types of these beans. The types that I have found on Hog Cay are: the heart bean, the pearl and the hamburger bean. In my research of sea beans, the beans I found originate in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Another treasure I found on the beach is a green heavy ball, used as a float for commercial fishing nets. I used the float to make a sign to hang in the Hog Cay Yacht Club. The so-called Yacht Club consists of a thatched roof hut on the shore line of the beach. It is a nice hut used by cruisers and locals for special occasions such as Valentine’s day parties that are put on by the local Bahamians, to simple potluck dinners or sundowners. We simply love it here. Thank you to those who developed this special place.
On March 1, Ron put a reef in the main and headed out into the 20-23 knot winds for a spirited sail to Ragged Island. After we dropped the hook we had lunch and then headed into the island community of Duncan Town with our friends Jerry and Donna from the S/V Blue Jacket. It appears everyone in the town knew Jerry and Donna. After a 40 minute walk up a long hill we stopped at a local bar and met LaToya. Of course, Donna and Jerry knew the owner of the bar who is LaToya’s mom, Shelia. Next it was on to the little gift store “Gifted Hands” where we met Marjorie, then to the local food market where we met the sweet owner Maxine. Our last stop was to the town’s Administrative Office where Donna and Jerry were greeted with a hearty hug and we were introduced to Charlene. Here we were brought up to speed on all of the goings on at Ragged Island. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. After heading back to our boats we went over to Blue Jacket for a wonderful dinner and a game of “Sequence”. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
The next day we took the dinghy to a beautiful patch of coral and did some conch hunting. To call it hunting is a bit of a stretch, it is more like gathering. After the “gathering” we headed back to shore and Jerry taught Ron the fine art of conch cleaning. Imagine holding onto the insides of a greased giant snail and trimming away all of the nonedible parts. Once all that is done, you beat the meat with a tenderizing mallet until the meat is almost transparent. You then drag it through beaten eggs, flour and spices. Now it is ready to drop it into hot oil, fry it up and enjoy. It is called “Cracked Conch” and is simply incredible.
Later, in the day we headed back North to Hog Cay where we joined Grace V and 2 Outrageous. We also met another couple Gregg and Dahleen on S/V Xfill. While sitting out a cold front, we had many fun filled days of sundowners at the Yacht Club, snorkeling the beautiful coral heads and hiking and shell hunting on the pristine beaches. Our sundowners consisted of hanging out at the tiki hut enjoying pot luck dinners including a pizza party, sign making, playing games and ending each evening sitting in front of a warm bonfire.
On March 9, we continued working our way North to Racoon Cay along with Grace V, 2 Outrageous and Blue Jacket. Ron was invited to go lobster hunting with friends of Jerry and Donna’s. Their names are Bob and Vickie from S/V First Look. I went snorkeling with the rest of the gang. That evening we were invited to sundowners on Blue Jacket along with First Look. It was interesting listening to their stories of how they first met and their 10 years plus of cruising experiences they shared while traveling together off and on.
The following day we went North to Flamingo Cay where Ron speared his first lobster. He was quite proud of himself. Of course, we had a lobster and steak dinner to celebrate. Oh, I must also mention that we saw our first “green Flash” in Flamingo Cay. The green flash is an optical phenomenon that you can see shortly after the sunsets. It happens when the sun is almost entirely below the horizon with the barest edge of the sun-the upper edge -still visible. For only a second that upper rim of the sun will appear green in color just as the sun disappears into the water. Ron and I saw it for the first time after over a year of looking for it. And, now we are true believers.
I must say that while in the Jumentos, I am getting quite a collection of shells, sand dollars, sea beans and sea biscuits. Ron is getting concerned that we are running out of room on the boat for these ocean treasures. Most of my treasures will be shared with our grandsons Ethan and Eli.
Is it now March 13 and we had to say “good bye” to the Jumentos and head back to George Town to do some much needed laundry, refill the water tanks, replenish our fresh foods store and fuel up for future passages. We are not sure if we will start heading further North to the Abacos Islands or go south east to Long Island, Bahamas. Time will tell.
In the meantime, we hope our friends and family are doing well. We miss you!
Continuing Our Journey South to George Town, Bahamas
23 February 2017 | George Town, 🇧🇸
Sunny, Winds 20-25 SW
My last blog entry was back when we were in Black Point here in the Exuma Islands. Since then we have continued to move south. On February 9, we left the main anchorage in Black Point and moved to an anchorage just south of the Island to Little Bay. We were anchored there along with our friends from Grace V, Mar-a-Lago, Oopsea and Civil Twilight. We went to shore that evening and made a bonfire. Soon other cruisers came to shore and shared the warmth of the fire and took the opportunity to meet new friends.
A couple days later we left the anchorage and moved further south towards Musha Cay along with Grace V. It was a warm sunny day with the winds blowing from the East at about 17 knots. It only took a few hours before we found an anchorage in front of David Cooperfield’s place. Later that day, Tim and Karen from Grace V, led the way as we took the dinghies to an area off Rudder Cay where we were told that David Cooperfield sunk a piano. Taking advantage of Karen’s knowledge, we immediately found the dive sight. To our surprise, we found ourselves looking at a sculpture of a mermaid sitting at a grand piano in 15 feet of water. The mermaid is quite beautiful with lots of detail. The sight has become the home of a variety of fish and coral, making it a great snorkeling adventure.
The following day we pulled anchor at 8:00 along with Grace V. It was partly sunny, warm with winds NE at 13 knots. We timed it so that we would go through the Galliot cut during a flood tide making the passage as easy as possible. The waves were about 2 feet when we went through the cut. Once we made the turn and headed directly south the waves built up to 4 feet. We put up the main, the head sail and finally the staysail. We were moving along at a nice pace of 5.2 knots SOG. We arrived at the Lee Stocking cut about 30-40 minutes later than planned. Therefore, the tide was ebbing making our entrance just a little hairy. The boat sort of rocked from one side to the other a couple of times while we pushed our way safely into the cut. We anchored in front of the abandoned Research Center and immediately put the dinghy into the water and began exploring our new surroundings. Later that day Tim and Karen showed up with a huge lobster that Tim caught. We were lucky enough to be invited to their boat for dinner where we feasted on fresh lobster, steak, broccoli and potatoes. Thank you. Tim and Karen.
On Valentines day, we pulled anchor along with sailing vessels Grace V and Mar-a-Lago. The winds were light making the cut very easy to pass through. After a few hours of motor sailing, we finally made it to George Town where we anchored in the bay at Crab Cay. We chose Crab Cay so that we could sit out the next forecasted cold front that was to bring strong west winds. That evening we had sundowners on S/V Mar-a-Lago along with Grace V. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we shared a bottle of champagne and feasted on a cream cheese appetizer that was in the shape of a heart. You can see from the pictures in the photo gallery of our blog, we have been to beach church where Ron sings in the choir, we have spent a couple of evenings in town enjoying the Rake and Scrape music performed by the local Bahamian bands, we enjoy playing volleyball on Volleyball Beach, hiking and running on the island trails and I have been learning new types of basket weaving.
We plan to continue enjoying ourselves here in George Town as we move from anchorage to anchorage depending on the direction of the wind. Our next adventures will be to go further south to Long Island and the Jumentos. If time allows, we will go to our final southern destination the Ragged Islands before heading back north to the Abacos Islands and eventually making our way back to the US.