Parka on the Loop

1986 Niagara 35 Encore

22 January 2018
20 January 2018 | Provo, Turks and Caicos
04 January 2018 | Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas
03 January 2018 | Clarence Town Long Island
25 December 2017 | Palm Cay
27 April 2017
19 April 2017
18 April 2017
18 April 2017
18 April 2017
16 April 2017
12 April 2017
08 April 2017
05 April 2017
04 April 2017 | Allan Pensacola
03 April 2017
31 March 2017
30 March 2017

Weathered In

22 January 2018
Windy 33C
The forecasts are all confirming gales are blowing in so we have decided to stay a while. A call to Customs and Immigration from Bob, (South Side Marina owner) is all that was required.
We spent the morning on a short tour to find fresh fish. We made a couple of stops but apparently there is no fish coming in today.
Bob recommended that we go to Boogaloo"s for lunch and it did not disappoint. Cracked conch served at the waters edge.

Turks and Caicos

20 January 2018 | Provo, Turks and Caicos
A few days turned into a week. Everyone in the marina was anxious to go. Two guys on a Dufour 46, Spencer and Matt were delivering their boat to Puerto Rico and decided to leave at 2:00 AM on January 9th.
We thought the weather was good as well so at 09:40 we had slack tide and left the marina with 12 knots south east wind. Leaving the channel was ok but once out we had gigantic swells and 20 knots on the nose. We were unable to make any headway with the sails and the motor so made a decision to head back to Cape Santa Maria. The swells were at least 5 meters and the seas sloppy in between. We logged 52 miles back to Cape Santa Maria and decided to anchor just north of Calabash Bay. The highlight of the day was when we were anchoring. I looked over the bow and there was a dolphin. If I hadn’t looked I could have easily bonged him on the head with the anchor. I started letting the anchor down and he moved about 20’ away but was obviously watching the whole anchoring procedure. As the chain laid out he stayed right beside as it hit the sand. Totally amazing watching him.
The wind was off us but the swells coming around the Cape made for an uncomfortable night so the next night we motored over to Calabash Bay. It was a much quieter anchorage. The wind was still in the 20 knot range from the east so we stayed another night. As soon as it got dark a line of intense thunderstorms started blowing through the anchorage and lasted for 12 hours. Line after line went through overnight making for a sleepless night as the occasional squall brought winds straight into the anchorage, along with rolly seas.
January 13th we finally saw an opportunity to leave and left Calabash Bay at 09:02 am.
We sailed 116.9 miles to Attwood Harbour on the North East corner of Acklin Island. You enter the Harbour through a cut in the reef and anchor in about 8’ of tourquoise water. There is an amazing sand beach. We were greeted by a beautiful four foot marlin who came up beside Parka and hung out in the shade.
After Attwood Harbour we sailed to Mayaguana. It was a 66 mile run so we chose the designated anchorage on the west side of the island as it was the closest. As we approached it was clear that we would have to anchor almost on shore just before the waves broke. That was because we were in over 300’ of water until almost on shore. It seemed too risky so we continued to the northwest corner of the island where a catamaran was already anchored. It was dark when we arrived but enough light to see that we were going to have to drop the anchor very close to breaking waves. The breaking waves on the east side of the island were curling around the point and making large rollers. That combined with breaking, crashing waves a few feet away made for a sleepless night.
We left early at first light and sailed around to Abraham’s Bay. It is a shallow Bay two miles wide and five miles long. It has a reef the entire length of the bay on the east side and the Island of Mayaguana on the west. We anchored closer to the reef for protection from the ocean waves. It was time for maintenance so David dove over the side to change our zincs. Halfway through the job he very quickly exited the water as there was a reef shark close by. Once the zinc was changed we did an oil change and started checking around the motor. The alternator belt was loose and upon further inspection we saw that the bolt holding it in place had sheared off. There was no way to get the sheared bolt out with the tools we had so David made a wedge to hold the alternator in place. There are no mechanics or marinas in Mayaguana so we decided to head to Turks and Caicos. It is a long run so we got up at 2am and left at 3am. The wedges held so we could start the engine and motor about 2 miles out from behind the reef and into deep water. We sailed on a close reach to Sapodilla Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. We made it just before the sunset and anchored for the night.
At 9:00am on January 18th we motored to South Side Marina and checked in with Customs and Immigration shortly after arrival.
We rented a car as you need to drive for groceries and supplies. The do-it centre had the bolts that we needed and a neighbouring boater had the tool we needed to remove the old bolt.
The grocery stores here are well stocked but at a much higher prices than stateside.
We have been to a couple of restaurants, Groupers and Da Conch Shack. Both had excellent fresh fish.
Da Conch Shack was pretty interesting as there was a guy who walked into the sea towing a kayak then about 75’ off shore he dives down and starts throwing fresh conch into the kayak. In less than 10 minutes he brings in about 30 conch cleans them and off they go to the kitchen. It doesn’t get any fresher.
Looks like we are here for a while as the weather is forecasting rain and high winds.

Weathered in

04 January 2018 | Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas
We were planning to possibly leave today or tomorrow but the wind is in excess of 20 knots and seas are 7'-10'. We have no desire to fight the sea!
We took a walk this morning to the grocery store only to find that it is completely blown apart with no walls just the counters and freezers remaining. There was a very sad looking dog sitting out front who appeared to be waiting for someone to return.
We continued to the Catholic Church that is clearly visible from sea. It has a great view of the harbour.

Happy New Year!

03 January 2018 | Clarence Town Long Island
Boxing Day we left Palm Cay with sunny skies and calm seas. We took a path between the Yellow and White banks and avoided the coral heads that we had to dodge last year. We anchored at Highbourne Cay in crystal clear water with about 12 other boats. The sunset was fantastic.
December 27th we left Highbourne Cay at first light on our way to Warderick Wells. There were a few clouds around and a fresh breeze making for a very relaxing sail. We were watching a few clouds that appeared to be filling in and sure enough a squall hit with 20 knot winds on the nose. We dropped the sails but the squad was over almost as quickly as it began.
We arrived at the Warderick Wells North mooring field and took our assigned #11 mooring ball. This place is a must see as the mooring balls follow a line of deeper water with shallow waters on either side.

We took a hike to Boo Boo Hill.
The story of Boo Boo Hill is that a schooner sunk off the island many years ago and all souls onboard were lost. No bodies were recovered and it is told that when there is a full moon their ghosts gather on the hill and sing hymns. There are also blow holes in the rocks and when there is a strong wind and large waves the sound coming from the holes sounds like ‘BOO!”
We stayed at Warderick Wells two nights then left for Blackpoint Settlement. We anchored in the large bay then took the dinghy to Ida’s. This woman is amazing! She runs a first rate laundromat, store for snacks, boat supplies and souvenir tee shirts, plus she makes awesome conch fritters and cuts hair while your laundry is being done!
I went ashore for fritters while David cruised around in the dinghy. What he didn’t know was a shark was following him at every turn! The barely visible black spot behind the dinghy is the the shark.

When we left Blackpoint Settlement the tide was ebbing. We were moving from the Exuma Banks side of the Islands to the Atlantic Oceann side where the water is thousands of feet deep. As the tide ebbs going through the Cut was a real ride. We were motoring at about 5 knots and just as the cut narrows the tide increased and shot us like a slingshot out into steep 5’ waves. This is where the outgoing tide was meeting the ocean swells. It was a bit of a wild ride lasting about 10 minutes. Good thing all the hatches were closed because we had a very wet ride!
Once out of the cut we had nice gentle swells and a light air motor sail to Leaf Cay. We anchored closer to sundown and took a quick dinghy ride to see the Pink Iguanas.

Dec 31 we left Leaf Cay and motored to Emerald Bay Marina and took a slip for New Years Eve. It was so quiet we had lights out at 10 and only heard some mild cheering at midnight.
We left New Years Day and crossed over to Cape Santa Maria on Long Island. Another exceptional bay, white sand beach, lush vegetation and a monument to Columbus just around the corner.
We moved on for a long day down to Clarence Town Long Island. We had planned to go to Rum Cay but there are reports the marina is closed from damaged. We couldn’t confirm so went to Clarence Town Instead.

Merry Christmas

25 December 2017 | Palm Cay
Merry Christmas to all! We spent a very relaxing Christmas Eve docked at Palm Cay Marina.
Our adventure started back in November when Parka was launched after the eye of hurricane Irma passed within 30 miles of the Boatyard. We were very lucky as the only minor damage was a scuff on our dinghy. We had never experienced hurricane season before so we listened to the Marathon Boatyard team and removed or tied down anything that could possibly move. We built a wooden cradle for our dinghy and tied it down with 100' of line. It is actually the cradle that saved our dinghy. As it started to float away the cradle caught on a post .
When Irma hit there were reports of 150-180 mph winds and a sea surge of several feet. The water came over the Overseas highway and flooded the boatyard. Not all boats were as lucky as us and their stands were washed out from under them and the boats tipped over. Our launch was delayed by 2 weeks while the mess was sorted out, insurance adjusters came etc.
As soon as I was allowed to transit the Keys I came down to see Parka. I could not believe the devastation. Trailer parks completely obliterated, roofs torn apart and homes collapsed. Miles and miles of debris piled at the roadside awaiting pick up.
In just a few short weeks most of the debris is gone.
We said our goodbyes and left MBY December 19 on what was supposed to be a perfect crossing. We left at noon with a light North east breeze that was supposed to turn east. Unfortunately soon after dark we had NE wind at 19 knots right on the nose. The north component of the wind was fighting with the Gulf Stream giving us steep 3-5' waves. What was supposed to be 21 hours took us 26. We arrived at Biminiin good light and hot temperatures in the high 20's. Bimini was as remembered. Super friendly people and very clean.
We didn't stay this time as we are trying to get further south. We left Bimini at first light and sailed to Nassau.
We called in to Harbour Control at Nassau and were given permission to anchor in the Harbour. It was almost sundown so we set the anchor and enjoyed the view and activity of the Harbour.
The next morning we motored around the south east tip of the island and checked in with Palm Cay Marina. We are going to be here until tomorrow then we will move on to the Exumas.
Merry Christmas!

Home overnight!

27 April 2017
We have been spending our days prepping for hurricane season by removing and securing everything onboard.
Dizzy is looking a bit frail so we decided not to fly him home. We thought the stress would be too much for him. So I flew home two days ago, picked up the truck and I am driving back to Florida now. I will be back tomorrow so Dizzy can ride home in the truck.
Vessel Name: Parka
Vessel Make/Model: Niagara 35 Encore
Hailing Port: Pell Island Georgian Bay; Registered Midland, Ontario Canada
Crew: Joanne and David
About: David is a retired OPG Stationary Engineer. Joanne is a Registered Nurse retiring July 2016. We have been upgrading Parka in preparation for the Great Loop commencing August 2016 from Georgian Bay.
Parka's Photos - Close to Completion
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