02/11/2013, Great Harbor Cay
So, we biked all over the island and spent several hours hiking along the beach. By evening my knees were burning. The beach was huge, but the only public access we could find was on the opposite end of the island than we initially
biked to, so on we traveled. Walking along the beach we saw a rather large sand bar leading to some distant rocks so I opted to explore while Don headed back to secure the bikes and collect our backpack. After a half hour workout trudging through thigh deep water I reached the rocks and, you guessed it, the only thing past them was more beach. Turning back I found the only option of getting back was the slog through the sand bar or a swim across the channel (wonder how that got there). The swim was refreshing. Don met me on the other side, he had the foresight to look ahead before blindly following me. He showed me the most perfect pure white sand dollars and green sea urchin shells he had collected along the way. On the trip back he found a couple of the rounded sand dollars, so pretty. Our day ended with a bar b que on the back of the boat, watching the sun set, then early to bed, exhausted.
We elected to stay an extra day here to let the seas calm down - they were reportedly in the 6 ft range. With that in mind, or rather, without that in mind, out we headed in the dingy to explore a 'blue hole' and a submerged airplane just out past the channel. The ride to the blue hole wasn't bad, and it was rather interesting. We remembered to bring mask and snorkel, but forgot the dingy anchor.
02/09/2013, Great Harbor Cay Marina
Coming across the Northwest Providence Channel did not prove as smooth a passage as crossing the gulf-stream. We were tossed about pretty good, almost as much as our last night at anchor in Slaughter Harbor, between Little Stirrup Cay and Big Stirrup Cay. One of the reasons we are spending a couple days tied up here.
Our first night at anchor was fairly peaceful, if a bit windy. We were able to get some much needed rest and enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters. Don dove down to check that the anchor was dug in good. We took the dingy across the sand flats to explore Big Stirrup Cay and wound up walking it over the shallows. Found our first conch, too bad it was only 5 inches, too small to keep. We tried going around the ocean side of the cay, but the wind picked up again and we headed back to Nemo, getting soaked along the way.
Our peaceful anchorage sat between Norwegian And Carnival Cruise Lines drop off points, each having it's own private beach complete with jet skis and parasailing. Wednesday was busy, Thursday was quiet, by Friday the ships were back. We pulled out just as they were unloading their tenders onto the beaches.
We hadn't even finished docking here before we were invited to the Saturday evening potluck. Wonderful group of cruisers. We met folks from Jersey, Maine, Colorado, Ontario...all over really. It's always nice to hear cruising stories and begin new friendships. Fresh conch fritters and jambalaya for dinner was also wonderful.
We hear the lobsters here are huge, and just over in the bay, that's where we are headed tomorrow to try out some spear fishing. Can't wait to check out the beach either, wonder what kind of shells I'll find.
02/06/2013, Port Lucaya, Grand Bahamas
I spent the Sunday evening before we left updating the blog, it didn't take ): Here's the condensed version. Provisioning, laundry, new microwave for one I cooked with popcorn experiment, new microwave popcorn maker like Dad's, sewing projects - dive weight bag, dingy anchor bag, new zippers on old enclosure, oil & filter change for engine and generator, caught on bills, laundry, replace 20 yr old transom faucets ( and all the running around finding those parts), Sue painted new NEMO on faded side decal (Judy will try to duplicate other side), cleaning and organizing. In between we had time to go to Roma's for awesome Italian food with Dad and Mom, attend Crossroads with other Stuart boaters and sample wonderful potluck appetizers. Sunday dinner Dad grilled the best steaks to go with Mom's amazing salad. Pot Lucks at Splash Pool Bar was another chance to meet fellow boaters as was the Tuesday Basket Weaving class. Hot tub with Becky and Robert to celebrate their 1yr anniversary of owning SeaQuell. A last gathering at the Deck for music under the stars with good friends. One last night at Dad & Mom's before they returned me to the boat. Thank you Mom for lending us your car, it made getting the boat chores done manageable. Loved having the chance to visit and catch up, not to mention the frozen yogurt sundaes.
We left Stuart Monday the 4th at noon, on schedule! Buddy boating with Espirit, Julia & Gayle, was so nice. They led and we followed. It took us longer to go down the coast than anticipated so we made the turn towards Grand Bahamas just above Boca Raton (Ft. Lauderdale was our original destination, but wind was against us). The crossing was smooth motor sailing, wind would not cooperate, 129 nautical miles to Port Lucaya where we checked in. Espirit had reservations for Coral Reef Marina so we parted company before hitting land, but reconnected today when they came over to check in. We had lunch, caught up, exchanged photos and cemented friendships. They are staying on Grand Bahamas with friends and family visiting before heading south. We hope to catch up with them again soon. We head out for the Berry Islands by 4:00 pm, another overnight passage that will allow us plenty of daylight to settle into new surroundings. So far it's a grand adventure.
01/27/2013, Loggerhead marina, Stuart, Florida
The past week and half have passed in a flurry of boat projects, family time, catching up with old friends and exploring more of what this beautiful area has to offer.
We left off with Don installing the water maker, which we truly hope works. Will have to wait for some clear blue waters to test it though. Sunday was a busy day that started with an early morning walk with Becky over the old drawbridge to the Stuart Farmer's Market. Wonderful. Back in time to visit with my sister Debbie, who showed up just in time for a field trip to Sam's Club with Susan & Becky for a bit more provisioning. Deb and I headed over to visit with Dad and Mom, leaving Don working away. After frozen yogurt with strawberries Mom helped me repackage and vacuum seal my assortment of meats while Deb and Dad watched the game. I spent the night and Mom and I went curtain shopping Monday while Don routed wire for the Internet, installed more sound insulation in the engine compartment and made a 'looky see' bucket for checking on our anchor while in the clear waters of the Bahamas. We joined Robert, Becky, Susan and Elden for a short walk to 'The Deck' for drinks and live music. Fun time catching up with good friends.
Tuesday started with a basket weaving class for me, something to occupy time on passages, lol. Don cleaned the prop, disposed of the old dingy gas, cleaned the stern lockers and installed a fish finder on the bow (in hopes of forestalling another grounding!). Back to work for me, sewing covers for our spare gas and water cans that will be stored on deck. Made a fruit salad for the potluck dinner at the Splash Pool bar with our fellow dock mates. What a feast!
Wednesday started with our move to the fuel dock so work could be done to the finger pier near our assigned slip. Robert and Becky showed up bright and early to help us off and hiked the mile over to help with the tie up on the other end. We bumped bottom and pivoted but luckily powered off before drifting back into the docks. It's deeper in our new slip, we hope they let us stay until we leave. I continued to sew while Don filled fuel tanks and cans and pumped out the 'head', then scrubbed the decks. A trip to Wallmart for parts and we were back just in time for an invitation to join Robert, Becky, Susan and Elden for dinner. Robert surprised us with dinner at Guanabanas down the coast in Jupiter. It was like dining at the Swiss Family Robinsons tree house overlooking the water, and the food was great! Thanks Robert!!
Thursday continued sewing, this time anchor and weight bags.
01/18/2013, Stuart, Florida
Don is working on the water maker installation, it's 6:30 pm. These boat projects seem to get the better of us and it's sometimes hard to call a halt to them. His latest project was interrupted this morning when we had to leave for Fort Pierce, going to the airport and Homeland Security to complete the process for our LBO (Local Boater Option) in preparation for our trip to the Bahamas at the end of the month. LBO is supposed to make clearing back into the US as simple as a phone call, we'll find out!
We arrived in Stuart last Tuesday, with My Dad and Mom picking us up from the airport. We spent a wonderful evening catching up with them before heading to the boat to start the final round of preparations. Good thing we had a good nights rest because the boat had grown a big crop of green mold on every wooden surface - and we have a lot of those! We were gone 1 1/2 months, guess it was really hot and humid here. Three canisters and three hanging bags of Damp Rid were full of water. We really have to find a solution for this problem, it's taken me 2 full days of cleaning to get back to square one. Don spent his time repairing the life lines and stantion from our first 'fender bender' in Charleston. Watch out for the circular current in the back corner of Charleston Harbor Marina, it's really powerful. Luckily no one was harmed and damage was
minor. The rest of our trip down the ICW was pretty chilly and rainy, next time we'd opt to leave the north earlier in the season, November was too cold.
We stopped at a Farmer's Market on the way back from Fort Pierce and stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies to tide us over until the final provisioning for the trip, which will happen sometime next week. We plan on filling the freezer with a mix of chicken, pork and beef along with cheeses and frozen veggies. It will be interesting to see how close we come in estimating how much we'll need for our 3 month saga. I'm confidant we're fully stocked for our needs as well as the company we will have.....we'll see. Dad helped out by passing on his salt water fishing gear and I plan on using it every day, love seafood. I've also been dreaming of eating fresh lobster every week, we'll see how good Don's free diving is, he does love a challenge! His boys will be joining us in March for a week and I know they won't rest until they've been successful in mastering both the fishing and free diving for lobster. Don had our three propane tanks filled and we'll supplement those with small canisters for the grill (for grilling all that seafood!). We are slowly checking off boat chores. I have been given fair warning that it's time to keep this blog updated so plan on reading more as this adventure continues.
11/14/2012, Charleston, SC
After coming in the Georgetown Inlet we motored down the ICW to the South Santee River where we anchored for the night around 3:00 pm. We had that bend in the river to ourselves and spent a quiet night.
Sunday the 11th we continued on down the ICW around 7:00am. We saw bald eagles, blue herons, and many migratory flocks. We entered Dewees Creek around 2:00 for an early anchorage. The little beach on the turn was full of resting pelicans looking like they were trying to stay warm. A dolphin surfaced just in front to add to the charming picture. We were the second boat to choose this anchorage with one more coming in after us. The marsh was beautiful as the sun set and we could see the lights of Charleston in the distance.
We left Dewees Creek with a dolphin escort, amazing to see them swim with the boat and actually look eye to eye with one as it hugs the hull. Another interesting day of cruising down the ICW. Crossing Charleston Harbor we docked at the Charleston Harbor Marina, right on the harbor across from Charleston.
Our first visitors on this trip got an unexpected taste of living off docks. We were chatting away to Art and Frankie when we rounded the corner of the cement floating dock leading to Nemo and a passing boat threw up a wake. The resulting waves buckled the docks and actually rolled over the surface. Wet feet for everyone! That hasn't happened since. Art gave us a first rate tour of Charleston and followed up with great seafood at Hyman's. A wonderful evening catching up with family not seen often enough.
Sunday we took the water taxi to Charleston and walked the Battery and miles around the city streets just drinking in the beautiful houses and gardens along the way. You would easily need a few weeks exploring to do the city justice. Lunch at Andolinis Pizza of calzones and salad refueled our bodies and also added another layer of history to the day. Black clouds circling the city cut short our sightseeing tour. We made a quick stop at Harris Teeter to provision and made a beeline for the water taxi. We no sooner got on board Nemo and were buttoning up the enclosure when the rain started pouring down. As evening descended we had front row seats to the super tankers departing the harbor. The cruise ship 'Fantasy' loomed like a sparkling mountain as it made it's way past us headed out to sea.
That brings us to today, the day we were supposed to leave. Coastal flooding was forecast with high waves out to sea. Since we are new to the ICW with it's many intricacies of tides and bridges and the wave heights are higher than we are comfortable with out at sea we are staying put for one more day. This will give us a chance to do laundry, update this blog, and a few other boat chores as the wind continues to howl outside.