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.
March 13 - 17th
We left George Town and landed at Lee Stocking Island. We went to the beach and explored part of the island. This is a research center and a no take zone - so no fishing or hunting.
The next day we went to Hetty's Land, just south of White Point on Great Guana Cay. Barry went diving on the coral heads off of the island and got four lobster and two nice fish.
We then went another four miles north to Black Point. We love to land here every once in a while to do laundry, get internet and eat at restuarants.
We met up with Glory Days and No Justice - nice to catch up with our Nova Scotia Friends.
We had dinner on Sapphire last night with Fine Lion and Solitaire. We had fish tacos, pasta salad, home made french bread and the best every brownies with cream cheese frosting.
Today Barry and I went around the point in the dinghy so Barry could try to bone fishing and I could visit with the iguanas and look for shells.
We came into town to do internet and ran into Warren and Diane from No Justice and had lunch with them.
Tomorrow we think we will go to Staniel Cay tomorrow and perhaps go to the Thunder Ball night. This is the Cay where the 007 movie Thunderball was filmed, so they have a big galla evening once a year. Sam the Skull is supposed to meet up with us tomorrow. It will be great to see them again.
Steve's (Fine Lion) son is getting married on Andros then coming over to Staniel Cay March 23rd for a while - last night we were planning the wedding reception that we will have for them on the beach. They don't know what they are in for - should be a hoot.
We will start to head north soon to be in Florida for mid April. The time running out so fast now.
George Town Bahamas
We have been stuck in George Town for a few weeks now. We came here with Sapphire as their daughter and son in law were arriving here for a visit. We stayed about a week then had to leave and head north to do some hunting and fishing. Sam the Skull came with us and Sapphire had to stay behind to get the kids to the airport.
We had a great time in Ray Cay spearing lobster and many types of fish. We got some grouper, school master, grunts, trigger fish etc.
We explored the area for a while. There is the greatest blow hole and private little beach just around the corner - no pictures as the spray from the blow hole would not be good for the camera. We dinghied over to Barreterre to go to the garden that we always like so much, but this year there has been on rain and the garden was almost bare - just a few tomatoes, bananas etc. We walked around the town (probably population 30) and had a drink in the little bar that has been there since 1956.
We stayed here for about five days then headed back to George Town, as Sam the Skull's kids were coming in.
There is a lot of activity in George Town right now as it is the 31st annual Cruisers Regatta. They have many activities if you wish to join in.
They had the dinghy parade, dinghy poker run, coconut harvest (where they dump almost 1000 coconuts into a little bay and the dinghies have to gather them, there are no motors on the dinghies and you use flippers to propel the boat) that was quite fun to watch.
We ran into Savage Son and had lunch with them yesterday (March 3) at St. Francis Resort.
There are many people here that we have not seen for a while, so it is nice to catch up with them. There are around 300 boats in the harbour for Regatta.
We had to get an extension on our visa as we only got 93 days in Morgan's Bluff when we arrived. We managed to get another 90 days although we only need around 45. You just never know what they will do here in the Bahamas.
We have not seen Sapphire and Fine Lion for a while, but should meet up with them next week and start heading North. Our time is running down as we have to be in Florida for April 19th to get the boat ready for storage and then catch the cruise ship on April 26th, leaving Fort Lauderdale.
We had rain here the other night - that doesn't sound like much of an event, except it never rains down here, and if it does its only a shower for a few minutes. This was a torrential downpour for a couple of hours - I had to actually put a sweater on.
We are going into the beach at Chat and Chill this afternoon just to hang around and see what is going on.
Glory Days had us over for dinner on Sunday then we all went to watch the softball game - cruisers vs Locals. The locals can play really good ball - the cruisers - not so much. It was a fun evening.
We met up with Sapphire and Fine Lion yesterday. We went to Eddie's Edgewater in the town of George Town and had a great meal of grouper then great entertainment by a local Rake and Scrape band. They play saws, barrels, drums, etc. - it was really fun.
Sapphire caught a Mahi Mahi on the way here and is sharing some of the wealth with us - can't wait for our first Mahi this year.
We will be parting with Sam the Skull, but hope to meet up with them a little later - they still have their kids with them, so they have to stay here near the airport.
Hopefully something more exciting will happen for my next blog entry.