MARCH 23-24, 2012
"Living Well" and "Gratitude" left Nassau at 8:00 this morning after showers and a quick trip to Starbucks (for breakfast rolls for traveling). This is one of those LONG DAYS we don't enjoy, but must endure occasionally. Takes 30 hours to reach Miami from Nassau traveling at 6 knots. We actually did better than that and traveled at about 7.2 kts. We rounded the unlit light at North Pass still in daylight about 4:30 pm then on to the Bahama Banks, past North Rock (just North of Bimini) around Midnight, then on to the U.S. We entered between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami and turned South when we were out of the Gulf Stream. "Gratitude" turned North to Ft. Lauderdale to go dinghy shopping. We arrived at Dinner Key Marina in Biscayne Bay at Coconut Grove about 2:00pm on Saturday. Secured the boat to a mooring ball, checked in, walked to a bank, then to Monty's for dinner, then trip to Fresh Market and back to the boat and collapsed for the rest of the night about 6:00. ( a 36 hour day).
NOTE: We had just reached American water when our phone rang and it was our friend Bruce Moreman from Indy calling to talk. He has better tracking skills than the U.S. Coast Guard...we were still wet foot.
03/21/2012, New Peovidence, Baham
MARCH 21, 2012 WEDNESDAY HURRAH FOR SPRING !
The winds were still strong, 18-24 kts, but they were good for sailing a beam reach today at 7.5 to 8.3 kts and we arrived in Nassau about 3:30. We secured the last two slips at the marina. Steve and I had pizza for dinner and spent time catching up with the computer. It is nice to be back where there are conveniences.
Looks like a good weather window to cross from Nassau to Miami Friday and Saturday so we will rest Thursday and then move on West.
See you in the USA.
03/18/2012, Exuma, Bahamas
MARCH 18, 2012. Sunday
Today is Kevin's Birthday so we made one of our few phone calls to the States to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. Then we moved the boat to Hawksbill cay. This is an island we have not visited before, so we did some exploring.
Monday we did more exploring at an old ruins that had been a settlement for the loyalists (1785-1830). After dinner we all went to 'Gratatude " for dessert and to watch the sunset...another green flash evening.
Tuesday we moved again to another new Cay...Shroud. This is a very different island than the others as this is a mangrove island with a creek that runs though the island. Van, Lauren, Steve and I dinghied through the creek, out to the sound to watch the waves break on the shore. There was a good wind with big waves as a storm was trying to blow in, then we had to get back to the boats...oh and we were all in our dinghy as we are providing services to Van and Lauren until we get back to the states where they can buy a new dinghy. ( Their dinghy broke loose on a return trip to George Town from Conception Island, about two weeks ago during a storm, and it was lost.) It continued to blow the rest of the day but we all had "Happy Hour" on GAIA and said our good bys as GAIA will be heading to Highborn Cay tomorrow and GRATITUDE and LIVING WELL will go to Nassau.
03/15/2012, Exumas, Bahamas
MARCH 15, 2012
We did go to church on Sunday. Quite an experience. It was Gethsemane Baptist. Lots of music, all the people had musical instruments of some type except us. The minister walked in with shoes on, but at some point in the service they were lost and he walked out bare footed. The ladies really dress up to go to church, very fashionable.
We are traveling with two boats. Both have Brewer designed hulls, one (GRATATUDE ) is a Brewer and the other ( GAIA) is a whitby model. They are almost alike in style . Both ketches ...that means two masts. Van and Lauren are on"Gratatude." They are from Vermont. He is an attorney and she is a nurse. Patrick and Lisa are on "Gaia II". They both grew up in Indiana. Patrick went to Purdue and was an engineer and helped design parts of the international space station. Lisa is a graphic designer. They live on their boat full time with their cat Dobby.
On Monday we had lots of wind but Tuesday was good so we moved to Sampson for a few days. We were able to do some minor catch-up...laundry, e-mail, groceries real showers, etc. We stayed until Friday morning and then moved North to Cambridge in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. It is a short trip, about 2 hours, so in the afternoon we led a tour to Rachael's Bubble Bath as we were the only ones who had been there before. . We were joined by another couple, friends of Patrick's and lisa's. IT was just as much fun as the first time we had been there. The water swirls around in the sound and then comes blasting over a small wall and forms a strong current with lots of tiny frothy bubbles. And Patrick and Lisa came prepared with a bottle of Barefoot Champaign that was really good. We all had dinner on LIVING WELL. (grilled chicken; salad with mango, lettuce, nuts, cranberries; couscous with peas; squash; and pumpkin bread. YUM!
ON Saturday the 6 of us went to the " Sea Aquarium." It is a natural bowl shaped area that is full of many different types of sea life. Great for snorkeling. We saw many wonderful fish and even a lobster and a sea turtle. After a good afternoon nap we met with other cruisers on Sunset beach for "Happy Hour".
03/12/2012, Black Point Settlement, Exuma, Bahamas
MARCH 10, 2012 Saturday
Yesterday was the last day of Regatta. There were activities; small sailboat races, dinghy races, rowing races, kayak races, sand sculpture, beach art, model boat races and a dance last night. We have had 3 days of high winds (25-30 steady with gusts 35+) and some of the events were cancelled (poker run) or delayed, but it has still been a great Regatta. Steve will really miss playing volleyball every day and I am going to miss going to Beach Church and singing in the choir. It was amazing to go to church outdoors, under the Australian pine trees, barefooted in the sand, with small children hanging in the trees and dogs underfoot. The way GOD may have intended.
We said our "Good-by" for the year to Brian and Lynn as they have decided to stay on in George Town for a while longer. They have a full year to travel and the winds are not favorable for their "cat" to travel. We left Stocking Island at 6:00 this morning traveling with Van and Lauren on GRATITUDE who are dinghieless and Patrick and Lisa on GAIA. We traveled with GRATITUDE earlier this year from Marathon to Miami. There was a short weather window to 'get out of Dodge' ( oops, I mean George Town) before the winds pick up again. So we ran north about 50 miles to Black Point, a well protected harbor.
This also puts us on the inside, not in the sound, so the water is more protected and we can run up the island chain in better conditions. We have one month before Dawn and the girls come to visit and we want to get positioned in FT. Meyers Beach to start their visit.
Tomorrow is Sunday and we will all go to one of the local churches that Lauren is familiar with and then in a day or two if the weather is good we will move up to Sampson Cay. There is a grocery and REAL SHOWERS there (it has been over a month since I've had a shower not on the boat). We have also planned to have dinner on Gratitude, mahi-mahi that Van caught, and I'm making my cranberry pie for dessert.
Steve and I had a great sunset experience tonight. Yes, there really is a "green flash" just as the sun's last rays touch the ocean.. There needs to be a clear unobstructed view of the sunset at the water line, and usually there are clouds in the way, but tonight it was perfect, and it really is green. We have only seen this once before.
NOTE: The softball game was a blast. The Cruisers (GEESERS) played the local team, which just happens to be the Bahamian National Team. And they were really good...lots of home run hits. They had to get 6 outs on us for our 3 on them. Some of their older retired players came and played for us and some of the Bahamian children played for them, just to give us a chance. It was crazy. On one play our batter hit the ball and our entire dugout ran the bases with the runner to confuse the other team. Lots of laughs and funny drinks too.
03/08/2012, George Town, Exuma, Bahamas
Well, after a week of great competition and spectating we got three days of excessively high winds that kept us boat bound. Today we managed to get off the boat and to George Town community to send a fax and check emails. We had to have some papers notorized and faxed and get some groceries. The wind is still blowing over 20 but the dinghy floats well even though we will probably get wet going back. There is always tomorrow.
We should be, weather permitting, leaving and starting North in the next few days.
See you soon?
03/03/2012, SandDollar Beach, George Town, Exuma, Bahamas
FEBRUARY 24, 2012
We are still in George Town, having so much fun we haven't had time to work on the blog. Our typical day starts out with breakfast on board "Living Well", while listening to the morning harbor happenings over the local cruisers net on the radio. Work on board for a while then off to Volleyball Beach for the afternoon to play Volleyball. Good,old fashioned, fun volleyball. We usually play until 4:30. have happy hour, then go back to the boat for dinner and are in bed by 9:00. If we don't want to play Volleyball there are other choices, on the same beach...scrabble, basket making, dominos, art, yoga, bocce, etc. On Sunday there is Beach Church and I have even been singing in the choir. It's fun to attend church barefooted. And it really is a recognized church.
MARCH 2, 2012
This week has been different because we are in the midst of REGATTA .Brian, Lynn, Steve and I, competed in the coconut challenge on Wednesday. It was a hoot. We were in a dinghy (minus it's motor) with 4 flippers, 4 PFD's ( life jackets) and a bucket. The PFD's were worn on our body (Tied behind us, to get them out of the way), the fins were on one hand each,( to paddle with), and the bucket was to splash the other boats. Our goal was to gather coconuts that were floating in the harbor. The committee had dumped 1100 coconuts at the start of the event...It was really fun. We gathered 56. There were 27 teams competing. The next part of the challenge involved throwing coconuts backwards, over our head and two of our teammates catching them in a plastic bag. And the third part of the challenge required each team member to throw 2 coconuts over a volleyball net to a target in the sand. Our team did very well on all 3 challenges and we finished exactly in the middle of all the teams.
On Thursday, this week Brian, Lynn, Steve and I competed in the In Harbor Regatta Race on "Midori". It is a 32 foot, PDQ, Catamaran. We were the last starters and the last finishers, but we did finish. The course markers even beat us back to shore, but we had a great day for sailing and a lot of fun, even though Steve broke Brians boat (a rope clamp) before we started. We also went to the party after the race at the St. Francis resort which was almost as much fun as the race.
Today is Friday and the boys played in the big Volleyball tournament. There were 7 good, 9 player, teams and they all played 6 lead-up games and the top two teams were in the final game. Steve was a team captain and Brian was on the same team, just by chance. They lost their first and last games to the same team and came in 2nd overall, winning a nice bottle of good red wine each. I was an official but DID NOT officiate any of the games Steve's team competed in, however, I do get to share the wine.
Tomorrow (Saturday) B &L and Steve and I will go across the water to town for breakfast, a real American breakfast (right), not Bahama style fish and grits. Then Lynn and I will do laundry while Brian runs fresh (RO...reverse osmosis) water back to his boat and Steve runs errands. We are looking for mail from the U.S. that has not arrived yet, but the Post Office is not pen untilOnday. The whole mail thing just isn't very reliable here.
If we get back in time I will bake something for a cooking event...probably cranberry pie (what can I say...they give nice prizes.
On Sunday we will be going to a Regatta Softball game, the cruisers play the local Bahamian team. Lots of fun, beer, and Hotdogs.
Next week we will be in the Poker Run contest...We will run our dinghy all over the place to local restaurants to pick up cards and try to get the best poker hand. I am also working two more events, the dinghy sailing event and a model boat race (kids event). There really is something for everyone here during the 2 weeks of Regatta.
We will probably start back North after the Regatta depending on the weather. It is supposed to get very windy for the next several days. Let you know when we leave.
02/15/2012, George Town
FEBRUARY 15, 2012
Today is Wednesday, we arrived in George Town (yes it really is two words) Thursday evening and anchored near monument beach. This is a very interesting area. The harbor is about the size and shape of Lake Monroe (big side), with beaches all along one side and the village of George Town on the other. So if you want to go to the store you dinghy to one side...or if you want to play volleyball you dinghy to the other side, depending on where you are anchored. Oh, and the current and winds blow right down the middle, so you Will get wet. Lots of fun!
Last night we move to Sand Dollar Beach to be near where the action is on Volleyball Beach. There is a small Bar there called "Chat and Chill" (which has an I U T-shirt proudly displayed among the hundreds of others). Near the beach there is a small stand that makes fresh conch salad as you watch. There are 3 regulation volleyball courts, nice Australian pine trees to offer shade, chairs, swings, hammocks, picnic tables, beer stands ...all the comforts of home. We are going to hang around here for a few days. There will be a Regatta here March 1-3 and it would be nice to see.
02/08/2012, Farmers Cay
FEBRUARY 8, 2012
Off to Little Farmers Cay for another 3 hour cruise. We walked the island visited the yacht club and had Lunch at "The Ocean Cabin", owned by Terry Bane, a world traveler and philosopher. He was very interesting and entertaining to talk with...very intelligent and verbal. He and I really seemed to click and he was catering to my every need...and the food was good too.(Lobster or cracked conch, slaw, Peas and rice, and Mac and cheese...The mac and cheese here is amazing!). Back on the boat, after dark, the "CAPTAIN C' came in to the harbor. It is the delivery boat for many of the islands. It carries the food and packages and people from one place to another. Every island we have visited recently has been waiting for the ship to re-supply the groceries. We were able to watch the unloading...on the water, in the dark, into small boats. We also saw them pick up and load two small (@24-26 ft ) sail boats that were being sent to their own islands. These were from the island family regatta that was last week on Farmers Cay. It is called 5 F...First Friday in February Farmers Festival. We chose not to attend because of the Superbowl. It has food, contests, games, art, music and, of course, boat races