Finally out of the States
Sunny, humid, high winds predicted
02/16/2013, Nassau, Bahamas
Hard to believe but we are here, happy and healthy! Left from Lake Worth, Florida on Saturday, Feb 9 and motored to Lake Boca on the ICW. It was a beautiful day spoiled only by waiting fot 17 bridges!! Weather window ahead, so we left the next day and got to Maule Lake, just past Fort Lauderdale. Going through Port Everglades was nerve wracking. It was full of cruise ships, freighters, tugs, and lots of Sunday warriors bombing around on all sorts of craft.
At Maule Lake our only company was a dozen derelict boats. We dinghied in to the state park and wlaked to Walgreens and West Marine. Needed to buy a new grill. There is no way this first mate will spend a year without the relief kitchen on the rail!
Motored down through Miami which was CRAZY. Boat show was coming up, and all sorts of yaachts were being delivered. The waterway is quite wide through parts there, so every power boat had TO GO AT FULL THROTTLE. Going past the city was beautiful with the terrific skyline and the sun glistening off the glass walls. Stopped to fill up with fuel and water at the state park marina near Government Cut. Then found a spot in No Name Harbor. We were surprised at how tiny it was! Just a little pocket for 12 boats at most. There is a state park there as well, but we left at first light , so couldn't go ashore.
Finally, Tuesday,February 12th, we got out into the ocean and heaaded east. The first few hours were pretty rough with wind versus waves and a lot of spray and pounding. After 3 hours or so, the wind shifted and the waves settled dow. We motor sailed across the beautiful sapphire blue water. The whole day we saw 2 freighters, one small pleasure fishing boat, 3 Portuguese man of war, a a dozen flying fish. Just the way I like it! The approach to Bimini was suppposedly dredged and buoyed.
Well, there were 2 buoys, but they were for South Bimini Resort, though they did give us a point to turn to port. Of course, it was low tide. We could see shoal and coral and breaking water. Nothing to do but forge ahead. I was at the bow and kept telling Jeff, "go left", but he thought that was too shallow. Well, it was just shallow and we bumped; no biggy. Stopped at Bimini Blue Water Resort. Ironically, the same place we stopped 9 years ago.
Bimini got a glowing write up in the Waterway Guide, but Jeff and I were underwhelmed. Tried to eat out to celebrate my birthday and the restaurant was closed. Next day, tried to find the "best" conch salad; walked almost to road's end and still didn't find it. Of course, there is little in the way of signage so who knows. The people are really nice and the views are delightful. Met some folks who were game for crossing the Great Bahama Banks and heading to Nassau.
So, on Thursday Valentine's Day, we set off. What a day!!. After we turned through the Gun Cay Cut the sails filled and we made 7 knots all day.
We were doing so well, that going through the night would have meant a nighttime landfall in Nassau. We agreed to stay overnight on the Banks. Something we'd heard about for so long. Well, been there done that, as they say! It was very windy, we pitched and rolled most of the night, except when we were being rained on! At 5 am we gave up and took off for Nassau.
Susan/ Beautiful, Sunny, 70
01/24/2013, Wellington, FL
It has been a long time since I updated this blog! We had a very nice holiday visit in Rhode Island.
During a scheduled annual check-up, Jeff's MD recommended a visit to a dermatologist. He discovered a melanoma on his chest. We were all set to fly to Florida, so we left RI on January 8th. Our dear friend Ann Dunphy got him into her dermatologist's office and they excised the spot ASAP. We have been staying with her and her daughter Bailey since then. We are trying to contribute as much as we can, but still feel like freeloaders (this happened 8 years ago on our first cruise to the Bahamas!). We are so grateful to them.
The boat is snug on a mooring up in Stuart. Sunset Bay Marina is a very nice spot with docks and moorings, great facilities and staff and good security. Jeff installed our new single side band receiver and antenna and they work!! I made some more sunshades for the cockpit and they fit. We caught up on the cleaning and provisioning.
While here we have gone to see Pink Martini play--they were fabulous! We have gone to John D. MacArthur State Park to the Nature Center, and toured Palm Beach. I have restarted my walking/exercising. My knitting is back on track and we have been cooking and freezing some meals to put into Meltemi's freezer.
The upside of this delay is that I will be here when my dear college friends arrive on the 27th for a reunion here at Ann's home!! We will have a ball as usual, catching up on news and reliving our youth, and eating and drinking. Can't wait!!
When we get the all clear from the doctor, we will be leaving on the first weather window. His last comment to Jeff was "You're cured", so once the stitches are out, we will boogey. Hoping to update you with more salty stories soon!!
Susan/ Cold, Dark and Damp
We've been very busy relaxing! Spent almost a week at Vero Beach, affectionately known as "Velcro Beach"--once you're there, it's hard to leave. We rafted up with our friends Alex and David from s/v Banyan. The mooring area was very pretty and full of dolphins; we enjoyed seeing them in the morning, corralling food fish near our boats and feasting.
Vero Beach offers a free bus that takes you out to the beach as well as to shopping and other areas. There is nothing you can't find here, from West Marine to Chicos! There isn't a lot of other stuff going on other than movies and the beach. The weather was gorgeous, but still to windy for swimming.
As usual, there was a cruisers cocktail get together complete with guitar music.
We met lots of new people here as well as catching up with old friends. Shopping and laundry are really convenient here. We took a trip on the bus to Lowe's and that was a bird's eye view of the "real" Vero. Just another town with every chain store and fast food restaurant and a very diverse population.
Our next trip took us to down the Indian River.
The ICW gets very wide here though the "magenta Line" (for non cruisers, that is the deepest, recomennded travel channel) is very narrow and the shallow parts are visible from the boat. On the shoreline, there is a lot of beautiful vegetation and the homes are more modest than palatial.
A quick stop at Eau Gallie was fine for an overnight with a very convenient dock and a great bakery for PIEs! There was a quaint downtown, vintage 1930's and lots of art galleries. The Seven Seas Cruising Association was holding a gam that weekend, but the agenda was a repeat of Annapolis, so we kept on south.
The trip to Manatee Pocket, near Stuart and the St, Lucie River, was quite challenging, with many red and green marks and poor visibility. Once inside, there were several large marinas with houses and restaurants ringing the very protected harbor. Some fancy driving by Jeff got Meltemi into a snug berth at the Hinckley Yard. We were the poor sisterships to our fellow dockers, but the staff was great. A cursory cleaning of the cabin was all we did before renting a car and heading to Ann and Vic's home in Wellington, FL.
We visited for several days, catching up on news. We took the Tri-Rail train to the Ft. Lauderdale airport from West Palm. Very convenient and only $6.50 each!! The flight home was less easy!! At the check-in counter, we learned that our flight wa delayed--oops, no--CANCELLED. A nice ticket agent re-booked us on a non-stop flight leaving in 45 minutes. Lucky us. Except that by the time we got thru security and up to the gate, it had been delayed 4 hours, No 5 hours, no 7 hours; we finally left at 12:15 am. Poor Chrissy picked us up at 3 am. Thanks Chrissy!!
The next three weeks will be spent visitin family and friends at home and celebrating the Happy and Blessed Christmas season.
Merry Christmas to all and A Happy Healthy New Year!!!
12/04/2012, Cocoa, FL
It finally happened-we reached warm weather! Actually slept with the hatches open and have rolled up our plastic enclosure. Pretty soon we will retire the fleece!! Enjoyed staying in Titusville Municipal Marina for several days. We rented a car and toured the Kennedy Space Center (in the cold rain!). It was really fascinating and the movies they showed kept the pace moving. They have a real Saturn rocket in one building--it is enormous. Was nice to hear many foreign languages being spoken and it seemed a hit with all. Got out too late to visit the National Seashore, but did see many new birds on the approach road.
This is an important point--when any of you plan this trip, we really feel leaving earlier than 9/29 would be advisable. We did an extra delay 'cause of Sandy, but once daylight savings ends, the days get very short. You leave with the sun in your eyes and end with the sun in your eyes--that is when it's sunny (ha, ha) Seriously, steering and watching for marks is really tough with the low angle of the sun.
The last few days we've been having great weather AND we actually sailed for about 2 hours. A beautiful reach down the ICW, jib only, 9 knots and no tacking! Wind angle was perfect and we didn't need to worry about sliding over to the 3 foot spots.
Cocoa is charming. Lots of artist studios and restaurants and shoes (I know some of you would love that!). Found a great knitting store and a Zumba studio. Having friends over tonight to teach them Mexican Train. Then tomorrow we're off for a short day, 20 miles, after Zumba. Can't beat this life!
More Oldest City
Susan/ Cloudy, windy, 65
11/28/2012, St. Augustine, FL
Well, since this is the oldest US city, it only figures that there is a lot to do. We have visited several beautiful museums, been to the restored lighthouse, and seen the variety of architecture over the years, from Spanish to English to Robber Barons! Somehow, the "excess" here fits in better than say Newport, and really belongs. The trolley took us out to the beach area which is pretty densely developed, but maintains lots of trees and again, isn't tacky.
We have become spoiled very quickly with great weather, so decided not to leave today as planned in this wind and yuk; we will visit the 400 year old Castillo and do laundry.
I've also enjoyed eating out more than usual with the great variety of restaurants. Last night we had genuine French cooking-mmm. Today we will hit the Spanish Bakery early, before they've sold out of bread!
Now that we are in Florida, we have plenty of time to get to our layover dock at Manatee Pocket and still visit a few places new to us.
Susan/Beautiful, sunny, 72
11/27/2012, St. Augustine, FL
After the extended party at St. Mary's, we took a quick hop to Cumberland Island , GA which is a National Seashore and historic site. What a magical, peaceful place! There are miles of walking paths shaded by live oaks with their Spanish moss drapery and low palmettos everywhere. A short hike across the island took us to the Atlantic and miles of beautiful beaches. We cut back west to the ruins of Dungeness estate and saw wild ponies. Dinner on board s/v Pandora with Bob and Brenda topped the day.
Next day back to the "ditch" and some pretty scenery as we finally entered Florida. Spent overnight at the Sisters Bridge anchorage and then rode the current to St. Augustine for an early afternoon arrival on Sunday at the Municipal Marina. A reasonable $20/night for a mooring near the Bridge of Lions.