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Sailing with the Princess
The Beautiful Exumas
Bill
05/18/2012

Sassy watching Cathy paddleboard

This blog has been a challenge as internet connections run on island time.....real slow. They actually tell you to have a sip of your Kalik Beer (The beer of the Bahamas) while waiting for the connection and continue to sip as you wait. Eventually the connection will seem a lot faster

We have been extremely active between bicycle riding, walking, snorkeling, diving, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming and eating all the local fish, conch and lobster that Tommy and his Bahamian dive buddies catch or spear. Tommy, Cathy's brother, joined us in Nassau the day before we left for the Exumas and he has been a delight to have aboard on our travels south.

I am off to get a couple more Kalik beers for dinner and upcoming internet connections and Tommy will make Bahama Mamas for he and Cathy, the main ingredient being coconut rum. Cathy has been sleeping real well since the introduction of Bahama Mamas aboard Moonlight Shadow

We finished two plus delightful weeks in the Exumas before heading back to Nassau so Tommy could catch his flight back to the SF Bay Area. We made stops at Highbourne Cay, Exuma Park at Warderick Wells, Compass Cay and Staniel Cay. We have had very active and full days and enjoyed the uniqueness of each stop. Snorkeling at Exuma park was fabulous as we saw some beautiful reefs, lots of fish and several lobsters. Since you are not allowed to disturb or take anything out of the park, we were not able to add to our freezer of fish. The signs at the park say "only take photos with you and only leave foot prints behind".

Our last night in the Exumas at Highbourne Cay we had a great Bahamian buffet put on by the locals as the only restaraunt on the island closes on Mondays. That night one of the mega yachts treated everyone in the marina to a wonderful fireworks show. Not sure what they were celebrating but it was a fabulous display.

Upon arrival at Nassau, we were able to restock the boat with provisions, give Moonlight Shadow a good washing and enjoy some great conch salad before Tommy departed for home.




Nassau, Bahamas
04/26/2012

Our last evening in Bimini.

I am in the process of redoing a blog that I just lost as my allotted hour of internet time at Starbucks ran out. This will be a blog in progress as I will update and add to it each morning before out departure south to explore the Exumas.

Yes, I said Starbucks. There is paradise in paradise. Starbucks is located directly across the street from our marina. You get one hour of internet time with a purchase.

We arrived in Nassau yesterday (4/25) after two overnight sails from Marathon to North Bimini and then an overnight sail from North Bimini to Nassau thru the shallow Great Bahama Banks. We were weather bound for four days in Bimini between the two sails. We enjoyed Bimini. A very laid back community that survives almost entirely on cruisers and sport fishing stop overs. Lots of golf carts & scooters running about with very few services available besides small stores and restraunts/bars-bars and more bars.

Cathy has been cooking some great and healthy meals. We did provision the boat with several weeks of supplies before leaving Marathon and will try and do some added reprovisioning before we leave here at the next weather window. I walked to the store yesterday (about 1.5 miles away). The main store that cruisers normally used was directly behind the Starbucks. However, it closed a short time ago. Not sure what short time ago means in Caribbean time.

Today is our first opportunity to wash all the accumulation of salt off the boat as the marina has a adequate supply of R/O water. Cathy did a great job of getting Moonlight Shadow desalinized. It really sparkles again.

Waiting for a new weather window to start our travels south to the Exumas. High winds and rains expected for the next several day.

Sunday 4/29. Yesterday was lots of wind and rain, rain and more rain and today is same. Approximately 25 knots of wind and rain, rain, rain. Watched a movie yesterday, completed a few chores on boat and read novels. Bless those Kindles and we are sure glad we loaded them with books before we left. Weather reports indicate we should be boatbound for several more days.

To be continued.........

Republic of TX-Conch Republic-Bahamas
03/30/2012

Cathy looking gorgeous and sexy for our anniversary dinner.

January and February were spent enjoying Marathon, catching up on boat and household chores, volunterring, exercising and enjoying visits from friends and family. Cathy worked on her sewing projects while I changed our aft water tank and waxed Moonlight Shadow. Bought and sold anchors and mounted new anchor hardware. Cathy helped me with flushing air conditioner lines and mounting fresh water cans on deck. All major projects completed for our Bahamas trip in April

Our friends Ron and Scottie from League City and Cathy's Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Frank from New Jersey came for visits in February. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing life aboard Moonlight Shadow along with showing them Marathon and Key West.

After celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary in Marathon on March 3rd, we put our boat in the yard for new bottom paint and left the Conch Republic for the Republic of Texas. We stopped for family visits in Pensacola and Biloxi and arrived in Leage City ready for visits with family and friends, doctor appointments, tax preparation, financial review and Cathy doing her best to help the Texas economy with a whirlwind shopping spree.

We have enjoyed wonderful visits with family and friends and our doctors say we are healthy and physically fit to resume cruising. We have filed our taxes and acquired provisions, supplies and clothing for our trip to the Bahamas. We were also able to downsize our storage locker

We were excited to stay with Brian and Elisa in their new and beautiful home and we took a short side trip to California to see Trent, Julie and the grandkids. It was exciting to be able to see two of Devin's high school baseball games. Devin pitched the first game and played shortstop the second game.

This Sunday we will have a family poolside BBQ along with several birthday celebrations. On Monday we will start our drive back to the Conch Republic (Florida Keys) and get Moonlight Shadow back in the water. We will have about a week to get the boat ready for our travels across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. Our goal is to get to Nassau by April 18th as we will pick up Cathy's brother on the 19th. Tommy will fly to Nassau from the San Francisco Bay Area to join us for three weeks of sailing, diving and exploring in the Exumas. We plan to stay approximately two months in the Bahamas before returning to Marathon for the balance of the summer.

We will have limited phone conact while in the Bahamas but will try and keep the emails and Sailblogs coming on a regular basis whenever wifi connections are available.


04/03/2012 | Christina
Cathy, great anniversary photo!
love, Chris
Christmas, New Year's and the Green Flash
Bill
01/01/2012

We had a very busy, different and most enjoyable holiday. Although we missed seeing our family and friends and sharing the spirit of the holidays with those we love, we were captivated by the tropical holiday warmth shared by our dockmates.

On the Tuesday before Christmas we rented a car for the day and drove to Key West for a day of exploring, touring and looking at Christmas lights. Our first stop for the day was an educational tour of the Mel Fisher Museum which contains the jewels, gold, silver and artifacts from the sunken Spanish Galleon the "Atocha". A fascinating story of perseverance to locate and retrive the cargo and ship. We walked the docks and shopping areas in Key West and drove around to look at the Christmas lights and displays on our way home.

We rode our bikes about 100 miles over the holidays as we completed some last minute shopping, went to the gym for workouts, bought groceries & boat supplies, attended church and went to the beach. We took several dingy rides with Sassy to the beach and explored the mangrove canals and surrounding islands.

On Christmas Eve we attended a wonderful Christmas Cantada at our church and then on Christmsas day we joined 5 dockmates for an enjoyable dinner buffet at a local golf and boating club. See photo of group after dinner.

We toured Christmas lights in Marathon and we went with friends, Chris and Rick, to see a lighted Christmas display in the gardens and gounds of their Catholic Church that was absolutely fabulous. Chris also was a performer in a Key West presentation of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoats". We carpooled to Key West with several other dockmates to have dinner and see the performance. Chris did a great job and we watched as husband Rick presented her with roses and then we all toasted her performance with champagne.

Over the holidays we took several bike rides on the Flagler Railroad bridge to Pigeon Key. An approximate 2 mile ride that has a beautiful view of turquoise water and various islands throughout the Keys. We were able to see several sharks, various fish, a manatee and a giant sea turtle on our rides.

On New Year's Eve we grilled on the boat and watched early local fireworks. Cathy got up at midnight to watch more fireworks from different areas in the Keys. We watched the sunset on the Atlantic side of the Keys and just as the sunset is almost complete if the skies are clear and the atmospheric conditions are right there is a "Green Flash" in the last split seond of the sunset. This was Cathy's first "green flash" and my second.

As we start 2012 we wish everyone a most blessed healthy and prosperous New Year and we hope all your ocean sunsets have a "Green Flash".

Christmas in the Keys
12/11/2011

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas in the Keys. We arrived in Marathon after a beautiful two day sail with an almost full moon anchorage in Rodriquez Key off of Key Largo. We have settled into our marina and we were immediately greeted by friends and dock mates from last winter. We were also greeted and entertained by a very large manatee that spent about an hour swimming and feeding next to our boat.

We have been busy washing and scrubbing the salt and grime that had accumulated on the boat from our travels south along the eastern seaboard. We now have a beautiful, shiny and clean boat. One of our former dock mates took us to the local Publix market for provisioning, another loaned us their car to pick up Christmas decorations and we have already riden our bikes a good 30 miles or more to get our boat license renewed, attend church, go to the beach, mail Christmas cards and presents, pick up boat parts and buy groceries. Tonight we are going to attend a Christmas concert. We have certainly been busy the first four days back in the Keys.

Since we left Galveston on February 25th we have traveled approximately 2583 nautical miles and we have used 420 gallons of diesel fuel. We have been in and out of 6 different states multiple times and 17 different ports or anchorages. We have attended wonderful churches, met new and interesting friends and dock mates, explored interesting historical sites and have been blessed to see some of the most fascinating communities of this great country. We have seen some of the most interesting wild life and have been blessed with experiencing some fabulous sunrises and sunsets along with memorable all night sails under gorgeous full moons and skies full of millions of stars.

2011 has certainly brought us some great memories, reunited us with old friends and blessed us with meeting so many new and interesting friends and dock mates.

We will miss our family and friends during the holidays. However, you will all be in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers at this special time of the year.

12/13/2011 | Nicki
Good job guys running up & down the east coast. Sounded like a great time. I know y'all will enjoy the Marathon this winter. Happy Holidays!
National Hurricane Center
Bill
12/04/2011

After our arrival in Cocout Grove we were fortunate to be able to meet with old friends from League City, Bill and Donna Read. Bill and Donna moved to Miami about four years ago when Bill was promoted to National Hurricane Director for NOAA weather. Saturday they chaffuered us around Miami and Bill gave us a personal tour of the NHC. It was a truly fascinating experience touring the facility and meeting some of the staff. It gives me a very positive feeling on hurricane forecasting after seeing not only the computers but all of the forecasting tools and the dedicated staff under Bill's leadership.

Afterwards, we were able to pick up some provisions, see the new Marlins stadium and have lunch with Bill and Donna at a waterfront cafe. Hopefully they will be able to join us in Marathon this winter.

We walked thru downtown Coconut Grove (Cocowalk) one evening to see the Christmas lights and decorations. Looking at the decorations in almost 80 degree weather with all the palm trees in a very tropical setting falls a little short of creating a tradional feeling of Christmas. The weather has been fabulous, although a little windy.

I met a long time former business associate, Connie Fox, on the docks. He asked us about our dog while we were out walking one evening and then we both recognized each other. Connie lives on his boat in the marina. It had been about 20 years since I had seen him. Connie then treated me to lunch last Friday and we were able to catch up on old times and associates.

Cathy, my personal barber and dentist, has been busy. While in Ft. Lauderdale my front cap broke again and I was able to get it rebonded when we got to Coconut Grove. The dentist said if it broke before I could get a new tooth to just super glue the cap back on. My cap came loose again that night, so Cathy applied her dental school skills and my super glued tooth is doing quite well. Shortly therafter she cut my hair. Wow! What a woman.

If the weather projections hold we will leave here early Tuesday AM for Rodriquez Key (Key Largo). We will anchor there Tuesday night and then sail into Marathon on Wednesday. We will then spend the next three to four months at Marathon Marina. We are looking forward to getting active in the local community and the Methodist church.

The attached picture is from the media room at the NHC.

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