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Berry Islands Club
02/11/2013, Frazier's Hog Cay, Bahamas

We sailed from Bimini to Berry Islands Club on Fraziers Hog Cay, Bahamas on Friday along with our friends Keith and Ida aboard S/V Cheers. We anchored in the middle of the ocean on the Great Bahama Banks, where there is shallow ocean water as far as you can see in every direction, for several hours in the middle of the night so we would arrive at our destination in daylight. The wind has been blowing 20 - 30 knots for the past 2 days and we have been tied up to a mooring ball between islands. It let up this morning so we could get to shore at the Berry Islands Club, where Howard started the generator so we could access internet. Fraziers Hog Cay is separated from Chub Cay by a river and mangrove swamp. We are going for a 5 mile hike to Chub Cay and then back again today. Tomorrow we are going by dinghy around the island and up the river where we are told the bay and river are full of turtles and rays. We might even jump in and snorkel with them. No phone service for us yet, we will probably be getting that set up when we get to Nassau in the next week or so.

Hello Bimini
Katie, fabulous
02/06/2013, Browns Marina, Alice Town, North Bimini

Mezzaluna left Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL at 9:31 EST Tuesday headed for Morgans Bluff, Bahamas. Given the wind, wave, and weather conditions and forecasts at that time we were hoping for a mid afternoon arrival on Wednesday at Morgans Bluff on north Andros. While looking at the stars and steering northeast on the Atlantic the weather dictated a course change in the middle of the night and and we had a fast, fun ride north on the Gulf Stream to Bimini. We arrived safely in Alice Town, North Bimini after an uneventful motor crossing. Had a bit of a harry time getting into the slip at Browns Marina due to very strong currents but all ended well and we are securely tied up. Friends we met in Charleston and traveled through Florida with until just before Christmas are 4 slips away so they greeted us at the dock and we had breakfast together in the cockpit of Mezzaluna. We've had showers, are officially checked in, and our Bahamas flag is flying of the starboard spreader so now we are off to do a little exploring.

Good Bye Boot Key Harbor
02/04/2013, Marathon, Fl

The weather window is open and the boat is full of beer so if all goes well with Jeff's last minute work on commissioning the water maker we will be Bahamas bound by daybreak Tuesday morning.

Beamer has New Chaps
02/04/2013, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon FL

We have been hanging here in Marathon, Florida for nearly 6 weeks entertaining visitors from the north, working on boat projects, making new friends, and waiting, waiting, waiting to get winds from the right direction so we can scoot across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. With time on my hands and a designated sewing area available in the large work building it was time to pull out the Sail Rite sewing machine and get busy on a few projects. I've been collecting articles from sailing magazines and checking out dingy chaps on every dingy sporting a pair so I could make a stylish set for Beamer. Stashed in the aft cabin were the clear shower curtain needed to make a pattern, sunbrella fabric that I scored for more than half off at Sailors' Exchange in St. Augustine, and a few miscellaneous supplies. Jeff assisted with carting the heavy sewing machine and supplies back and forth from the boat to the workroom, designing the pattern, cutting out fabric pieces, ripping out stitching when redesigns were required, and biking to stores to pick up more items as needed to complete the project. Suggestions, ranging from good to ridiculous, along with ongoing encouragement were offered by other boaters checking out the projects in the work building. I kept the Sail Rite whirring for parts of seven grueling days in the sewing sweatshop, through design and redesign, so the dingy would be protected from the uv rays and have a longer life span. Finally, with Beamer dressed in classy sea foam green chaps, complete with oar and painter pockets, we popped Yueinglings , splashed a bit over the bow , and made a toast to celebrate work well done.
I said, "Absolutely NOT," when Jeff suggested I make coordinating sets of leather chaps for us wear in the dingy....

Boat Shoppers Visit Boot Key
01/21/2013, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon FL

We had a quick weekend visit from our friends Greg and Stephanie Moll when they found an internet listing for a boat they were interested in buying a few mooring balls away from us in Boot Key Harbor. After having Inspector Jeff take a look at the vessel to be sure it was in good enough shape to warrant a trip from Milwaukee they booked a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, rented a car and made the journey down the Keys to Marathon. Although they decided the boat wasn't quite what they were looking for after checking it out, fun was had by all as we sampled the local cuisine, jammed with the cruisers at the City Marina Tiki Hut, and basked in the sunny weather.

Florida Favorites: Palm Trees and Turtles
Ciara, guest blogger
01/20/2013, Marathon, Fl

I went to visit my Great Aunt Katie and Uncle Jeff in the Florida Keys in January. After the plane ride from Kansas City to Fort Lauderdale I had my face sticking out of the window while we drove down the Keys. I had never been to Florida before and it was nice to feel the warmth on my arms in the winter.

I couldn't stop looking at the palm trees! They were everywhere! I was obsessed with palm trees. Seeing as I live in a landlocked state, I don't have any tropical trees. I had never seen a palm tree in person and they were so cool. It wasn't until about two days after we arrived that I got to touch my first palm tree. It was surprisingly softer than I thought they would be. It felt kind of like fabric. Every day I would be within touching distance of a palm I would touch it or hug it. I'm kind of a nature freak. Just a little bit though.

While in Florida, Katie, my mom, my sister and I decided to go to the turtle hospital. It was the best thing in Florida, besides the palm trees. Once we got to the turtle hospital my sister and I headed straight for the merchandise whereas Katie and my mom were reading information on the turtles. When the tour started we watched a presentation on the different types of turtles. I learned that there are five different types of sea turtles: loggerhead, green, hawksbill, kemps ridley & olive ridley. After the presentation was over we headed towards the pool where the turtles were. On the way we were stopped so we could look at Stella, who was to be released soon! We were looking at all the turtles and I couldn't stop smiling. They were all so cute! I wish they could be my pets!! I took close to two hundred pictures of them. It seemed like we weren't even there for an hour when we had to leave. That made me sad because I didn't want to say goodbye to the turtles!

Besides the seafood and the salt water, I liked Florida. The salt water was definitely gross. I'd rather live somewhere with fresh water. I'd visit Florida again, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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