Another year in the Bhamas
30 November 2011 |
Here we are again after six months of no blog.
Since I last posted, we had a wonderful cruise home from Fort Lauderdale Florida to Vancouver BC last April. We stopped at ports in Columbia, went through the Panama Canal, stopped in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico and California. We had a great 16 day cruise and enjoyed seeing many places we have never been before. The Panama Canal is quite something. They are now twinning it, so we got to see how they are doing it.
We had a great summer in BC and decided that we like camping so much that we bought a Dodge Ram, full cab pickup truck and a travel trailer. We only used the trailer once and took Paul, Lauren and the kids with us. We all fit very well and had a great weekend.
November 30, 2011
We officially started our winter in Florida on October 30. We flew into Fort Lauderdale around 9pm. We rented the smallest car they have and of course they did not have it, so they gave us a brand new Jeep - nice. We started on our way to our friend's home and ran into torrential rains, so we had to drive slowly and arrived at Jim and Nancy's around 1am. They were so good to stay up for us. We stayed with them for a week in their guest cottage. We were spoiled rotten, what a beautiful home and gracious hosts.
We met a lot of our friends at the boat yard, mostly from Nova Scotia, Glory Days, No Justice, Old Sam, Sea Fox Ten from Ontario and our friends from Minnesota, Blue Bay. It was just like old home week.
We worked on the boat for a week and were launched around November 8. We took off the next day and headed for Stuart, Fl - a place we love. We stayed there for about a week and a half. We met friends who were still there from April and also met Tom Cail from Nova Scotia (a friend for many years). Sapphire and Fine Lion came to Stuart and we had a great reunion. We left Stuart together and made our way to Lake Worth (West Palm Beach) and stayed one night there, then continued out on the ocean side down to Miami. On the way down we saw three huge ocean turtles, millions of jellyfish (why the turtles were there), dolphins and a sailfish along with the usual flying fish.
We anchored beside Fisher Island in Miami (Opra Winfry has a place here - we thought we may be invited to dinner, but I guess she didn't realize we were there).
The weather looked good to cross the Gulf Stream the next day, so off we went. It was the first window for a while, so there were a lot of boats crossing. We had a great crossing and motor sailed the whole way in 28 hours to Nassau. We decided to go to Nassau as we wanted to get a SIM card for the computer so we can get internet down here. (I am using it now, but the strength is not great, so there may not be pictures)
We had a pretty uneventful crossing except for two buddy boats that were a little weird. They couldn't be apart from each other and kept coming on the radio, "where are you - flash your lights so I can see you). There is a whole ocean out there and they ended up crossing within 75 ft of Verandah and then yelling at them for getting between their two boats. One of the boats has no radio or instruments in the cockpit, so they had to go down below to see any details and they also had no auto pilot, so guess where the boat went - anywhere it wanted. Later that night I had to get on the radio and ask them to back off of me. They were on my starboard side and so close I could see what they were wearing. Crossing the banks at night, you don't want anyone close to you, you never know when you might have to swerve to avoid a local fishing boat with no lights etc. etc. These people were a disaster. That was the only problem except our autopilot belt broke part way across and we didn't dare stop out there to fix it, so we had to hand steer for quite a few hours. Oh yeah, our fan belt on the motor broke too, but Barry was able to replace that very quickly. Other than that the engine ran like a charm.
We arrived in Nassau in the morning and had slips reserved, so there was no problem there. Customs came on board and would only give us 90 days as apparently customs is only authorized to give 90 days while Immigration can give whatever they want. That is not so bad as it takes us up to February 24th and we can come back to George Town to get more days then. We walked downtown to find the local telephone company so we could get SIM cards for our computers. We were very tired, so we stopped at the Green Parrott for lunch - what a great meal - it was the US Thanksgiving and the others we were with are all American, so that was their Thanksgiving dinner. Fine Lion, Sapphire and Verandah were with us. We managed to get our computer up and running, but Sapphire and Fine Lion had some issues with theirs. Barry and I were tired from the trip over, so we hopped a local bus and went back to the marina. Since we discovered the local bus, we took it to the MALL (and it was a real mall). The bus took us through a lot of Nassau that we would never have seen otherwise. We took the bus the next day to the Straw Maket in downtown Nassau and had fun walking around there. We stayed here for three days then decided that was enough. We took off for the Exumas and had quite a rough crossing, but landed in Highbourne Cay. We decided the next day to move up to Allens Cay where the iguanas are - we really like it there. Sapphire and Fine Lion don't like it there, so stayed in Highbourne.
Barry managed to get some boat chores done our first day here, he hooked up the water maker and we always cross our fingers with that one, but it worked great, so with all this wind, and free power we are making water.
We had 25-30kt winds last night and it was a little bumpy, but the anchor held great. We are staying here again today and plan to move to Sampson Cay or Staniel Cay tomorrow.
Barry went diving and got a couple of lobsters and some conch. There is a local fishing boat here with us and I felt sorry for them and baked them some sticky buns. They in turn gave us some cleaned conch, so we had cracked conch for dinner our first night in the Exumas. The weather is windy, but still really warm.
That's about it for now, will hope to post more often.