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Alibi II
The Soda Emporium

No, not it's real name, just what Bobby likes to call it. This is another favorite project.

Blue Chip

Mario has been in business for 54 years and never had a sign. Bessie actually did this one despite a complete lack of artistic ability.

Mario is a sweetie. He looks out for and feeds folks in the area. And we usually have to argue with him because he doesn't charge enough.

We all scream

This is one of my favorites from the sign project. Francie from Barefootin did the background, Monika from Maracuja did the lettering.

Getting ready for Exuma regatta

There's Rupert's Legend going back in the water. Billy, Bobby from Barefootin and Gabe from Maracuja have spent the better part of the week helping Emile get her in shape to race.

Billy is in the dink behind, Gabe is on the boat with our little buddy Cohen.

Launch was not smooth. Joaquin did damage to the end of the ramp in the water. it hasn't been noticed before this as only shallower draft boats have been launched since the storm.

End result was about 5 hours of waiting on tide and shoving her around with dinghies to get her free of the trailer. Once freed, about 10 that night, Emile pushed her with our dinghy, 5 of us on the Legend, to his anchor spot about 3/4 of a mile away. Actually a pretty cool cruise.

Our latest project

We have been making signs for businesses that lost theirs in the storm. While it's not quite as strenuous as building walls and clearing debris, it's a lot of fun.

We also made the benches in this pic for a little take away named Guava. We have been using all salvaged materials and donated paint.

Monika from S/V Maracuja (middle in the pic) is a very talented artist. She has done the best parts of our projects but also inspired the rest of the gang creatively.


One of our favorite little places. With Michelle from Bali House.

Jack and Ann visit Long Island

Good friends from chilly Virginia came for an all too quick visit. We fear we may have run them ragged.

We stopped at Seaside in Deadman's. Jack was on a quest to try conch salad as many places as possible. Seaside was deemed the best.

They fly out tomorrow and we're back to work parties and delivering relief supplies.

Beach clean up in Clarence Town

We had a great turnout for a day of picking up trash, raking and hauling branches and other debris from this hard hit section of Long Island.

Once we had a new beach party site

It was clearly time for a beach party and bonfire, and by all accounts this one was exceptional.

Giving new meaning to bench tested

While the boys built new tables and benches, the girls build a new firepit and collected wood, then were called upon to test whether Brad's design would hold up.

Second work party of the day

After delivering and sorting school supplies we retired to the beach to selfishly focus on our boater party site.

In previous years we had hauled beach junk over from the Atlantic side to make tables and benches. As the last boat leaving the harbor last year we really should have tossed the 'furniture' up in the bush. It previously survived a few seasons in place but last fall Joaquin washed everyrhing away.

Fortunately, this time we have Brad the Builder from What's Next. He's the fellow in the foreground in the red shirt. He designed and led the building of new tables and benches from wood we salvaged.

School supplies

Rob and Holly on Hampshire Rose finally arrived on Long Island with a boat load of relief supplies. We delivered non-school items up south yesterday.

Today, school supplies were delivered to the tourist office, which has been the collection point for boater deliveries. Lest you think that boaters believe 2 Buck Chuck constitutes relief supplies for school kids, rest assured the boxes are filled with appropriate materials. Francie from Barefootin and Dawn from the Tourist Office, along with Holly and Rob sorted a roomful of crayons, pens,pencils, notebooks and other great donations.

We're planning a delivery day for Thursday. We're very much looking forward to visiting the schools, although as much as we stop to see the kids in Mangrove Bush we may be one some kind of watch list.

What a day!

Went up south with Francie from Barefootin' and Tammy from Dos Libras to do laundry in Hamiltons.

On the way, we stopped to see Les, who rebuilt our engine last summer. When not doing mechanic things, Les does fences and digs graves. He's been inordinately busy this winter as the island has seen a higher than normal number of deaths.

Over the last week or so we've stopped to see him as he worked on this one. He first dug the hole, in this case digging through rock. Then he drops in a form, made of wood with a metal frame. Next he pours cement between the wood and the sides of the grave. Once the cement is hard the forms are removed, the cement sanded, painted and limed. The after burial, a cement cover is placed over the grave.

After the grave visit and laundry, we stopped by Mangrove Bush primary school as it was getting out. Wish we'd gotten a picture there. Our young friend Caden was calling kids over to meet us. We probably had a dozen very polite, adorable kids, ranging from about 8 to 13, introducing themselves and telling us who was whose cousin. As we left that visit, we noted that at home we probably would have been the objects of suspicion, hanging around the school yard.

All was well until on the ride home we ran over glass resulting in a flat tire. Upside, almost immediately we had 4 cars stop to help. We got back safely and tire will be dealt with tomorrow. Downside, he who was back on the boat was not happy and assumed the flat must be related to the gender of the driver.

Rebuilding the ball field

We continue to get out helping anywhere we can. In the past week we have gotten an amazing response from cruisers coming through Thompson Bay.

We have averaged 12 to 14 people in our efforts to clean up the regatta site and assist local homeowners and businesses.

Today we went up to the Bahama Youth Network tp work on their Oasis Youth Center. In addition to yard cleanup and mowing, all the baseball equipment (which was soaked in saltwater because of flooding) was cleaned and one dugout destroyed by the wind and water was rebuilt.

Here's the gang raising the dugout roof.

Billy the chick magnet

More fun at Seaside

Dancing at Seaside

Went down to Deadman's Cay, on a whim, to Seaside Village with our friends Jason and Michelle.

Met up with the Knowles brothers. Oh geez.

What a fun night. Here are Bessie and Emile dancing.

Work Party at Midway Inn

One of our favorite hangouts Long Island is Midway Inn down in The Bight, which suffered a great deal of damage from Joaquin.

We put a call out to the cruisers for help and got a great response. A dozen or so showed up. In short order we stripped the interior paneling and insulation, which had been soaked with seawater from the flooding.

We look forward to helping more and seeing Midway reopened as soon as possible.

Southern Comfort back in the water

For 3 1/2 months, since Hurricane Joaquin, much of the surviving Long Island fishing fleet has been up in the bush. This week, thanks to efforts of the Rotary Club and the Long Islanders Association in Nassau, a professional team arrived to move the boats back into the water.

Working at the fish house

The best part of our winter so far, has been getting out helping with hurricane recovery.

Emile (center in photo, Jimmy from Destiny is on the right) lost both his fishing boat and his fish house. As we did with the fishing boat, we went down to salvage materials that could be reused. This time there were other boats in the harbor so we were able to recruit some help.

In the right hand corner of this photo, you can see a cement structure, all that remains of the fish house, it is about one eighth of the original. That was a freezer, one of several, from which we were to salvage the wood shelving.

We made quick work of that before Emile arrived. Oops, that wasn't the right freezer. The one we were to do was thrown about 100 feet up into the bush. Fortunately the freezer we dismantled had been flooded, so we hadn't done more harm than good.

We were able to hack a path to the correct freezer and salvage that wood. After which, in typical cruiser fashion, we broke for beer.

And in usual Emile fashion, he is smiling. Mind you, here's a guy who lost his fishing boat - essentially his livelihood - and his fish house, yet maintains the attitude that he's a lucky one. Because he and his family survived and their home was fine, he holds that they have been given a second chance at life and best not waste it. Fortunately, he now has another boat and is back out fishing.

It is folks like this that make us believe, no matter how much we do or give, we get more from our efforts than they do.

Sleep Over

Our buddy Cohen likes to sleep over with the puppies.

He's one of the smartest kids in his class, one of the top Bahamian Opti sailboat racers in his age division, track and basketball superstar and obsessed with fishing. Also excellent at fetching beer from the hold of his daddy Emile's race boat, Rupert's Legend.

Since we're so bad at fishing, he wanted to check out our gear. First he rewound Billy's reels and restrung his lures. Then he wanted to see the rest.

After taking a look, he says, "You have all this gear? You seem like a man who has a lot of equipment and doesn't know what to do with it. "

Capt Ryan

Our friend Emile's boat did not fare as well as some of the others. She was tossed clear across the road by the storm.

The day before they broke her up and took her away for burning, we helped Emile strip her.We took every usable hose clamp, section of hose and anything else that could be salvaged.

Alibi II done reach

Finally made it back to Long Island. By ourselves up in Thompson Bay, our usual spot in front of St. Joe's church.

Went to hear some rake n scrape up in Bunches with Penny and John. Was great to catch up with Long Island friends, including Gloria pictured here with Penny.

Pulling it all together

In this photo, projects are almost done. New upholstery, dyed towels to protect it, wood treated, counters, cupboard doors and all storage lockers painted. Floor still needs a few more coats of Waterlox (hence the blue tape on the floor hatch).

Also bought a 44 pound Rocna anchor and new chain, deep cleaned exterior fiberglass and stainless, scrubbed and waterproofed all canvas.

At this point, we're ready to turn our focus to provisioning and collecting/purchasing relief supplies for our friends in Long Island who got hit hard by Hurricane Joaquin.

Salon table

Our wood table was not in horrible shape, just needed refinishing. But since we were changing up the interior, it got a new look. Chalk paint, sand dollar stencils, vintage Keys and Bahamas photos and 6 coats of Polycrylic.

Above the counter

Billy found this piece in a junk shop, not horrible, just beat up plain wood. It got milk painted, lightly distressed, graphic added and coats if Polycrylic. Also, DC light installed underneath for counter light.

Now it's the perfect utensil, flatware, stove lighter, apple cider vinegar, and rum rack.

Old galley counter

1970s faux wood laminate counter. We thought we would have to rip out and replace. On a lark, decided to try sanding and painting. Who knew?

To the right, the icky old dark plexiglass cupboard sliders are visible. Also thought those would need to be replaced but lo and behold they too were successfully sanded and painted.

New galley counter

37 year old laminate painted with 2 layered colors of Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint then distressed. Vintage Keys and Bahamas pics added with photo transfer medium. Finished with 8 coats of Polycrylic.

We wanted a distressed look since she's an old boat and only going to get beat up more. So no worrying about new dings and chips, they just add to the je ne sais quoi of Alibi II.


Dyed cloth sewn into settee pillows with vintage island pictures.


The most fun during our interior rehab was dyeing fabric and sheets. The dyes came from a great California company called Dharma Trading that makes very high quality, natural dyes and has excellent customer service.

We used Japanese shibori resistance techniques and tropical colors to make pillows and towels to keep the settee upholstery protected.

Boat projects

This year we arrived back in the States in early September. Decided to visit the west coast of Florida by boat for the first time and ended up in Apollo Beach.

After 8 years full time on the boat and rebuilding the engine in the salon, Alibi II was overdue for deep cleaning and sprucing up.

One of the first projects was the interior wood. A full week of sanding later, we were ready to treat the wood.

After a lot of research and reading, we decided to use Waterlox, a product that is mostly tung oil with a bit of resin in it.

We were delighted with the ease of application and the results.

Leaving Long Island in the morning

Sadly, the time has come. We're off in the morning headed to the west coast of Florida where we'll visit sister Kiki and redo our interior. We also have a 44lb Rocna waiting for us there and are getting new chain, so we got that going for us, which is nice.

Pups are surely going to miss their daily outings to Flat Cay, as will we.

Good news on the Gordon front. Here is the update we received last yesterday from Nassau:
Dear All,

I just got off the phone with Dr. Sands of the Central Animal Hospital.

Dr. Sands has informed me that Gordon is now in his care at the hospital, and that contrary to what we had been told at The Bahamas Humane Society, Gordon's left leg shows no sign of a fracture, and that the dislocation of his spinal column between the L1 and L2 vertebrae is not a condition that would require "pinning", as that is a procedure used to mend a fracture.

Gordon is to be "crated" for at least five days, and is being given a course of anti-inflammatories, as well as having his abrasions tended to, and whatever else he may require. Dr. Sands's main concern is whether or not there may be any nerve damage, which will only be known after a few days on course of strong anti-inflammatories.

I was very pleased to hear Dr. Sands refer to Gordon as a very happy dog, and one who he believes has every chance to lead a very happy life, whether it be on two legs or four.

I will be given status updates every day, and shall pass them along when I receive them.

If permissable, I will go see Gordon on Thursday, and will pass along a few snaps of Gordon The Lucky.

I would like to thank everyone for their help. It is quite clear that both The Bahamas Humane Society and The Central Animal Hospital felt the full weight of your efforts.

Best regards and fingers crossed,

Philp and Lisa are the amazing couple who brought Gordon to Nassau and have taken care of his treatment. We very much hope he will be back home here on Long Island when we return in December.

Getting ready to go, at last

At long last,engine repair is complete. And she sounds wonderful. We are so fortunate this happened here in Long Island. We have been the recipients of so much kindness and assistance, it truly warms the heart.

The last few days have only reinforced our deep affection for this island and these people. Last week our friend Keith called to offer us 'trans' (Bahamian for a car) as his wife Anne abandoned him for a grandkids fix in Florida. What a treat to have a car for a week.

We finally got down north to see our friends Stacey and Guy's place in Cape Santa Maria. Very cool property with two cottages on it that they are doing an amazing job fixing up.

Saturday was farmers market, followed by exploring up south with Stacey. At the south end of the island is a gorgeous beach in Gordon's where we came across the sweet puppy above. He was injured and emaciated but friendly and of such a delightful temperment. A joint effort with a couple from Nassau who first noticed his injuries resulted in Gordon, as we named him, arriving in Nassau today and being seen immediately by a vet.

His injuries are significant but there is a chance he will make it and another friend here on island has already been in touch with the Humane Society about adopting him . Stacey wrote a nice piece on Gordon

On Sunday, we attended services at St. Peter's in Weymms. It was the first service with our new pastor Father Richard Wood. We were very sad to see Father Chester Burton be transferred back to Nassau and were a bit skeptical about who could fill his shoes but Father Wood is fantastic.

Then yesterday afternoon our friends Desi and Jerry had us up to their house for a pool party cookout. Wonderful time. Their place sits up on top of the hill so you relax in the pool with a panoramic view of Thompson Bay.

Needless to say, it was a great, busy weekend. Now, boat is stocked, bottom is clean and we'll sail on Wednesday or Thursday

Engine last started sometime in May, we think

After several agonizing weeks trying to diagnose our engine troubles, it was decided that we would rebuild. Turned out we had 2 bad exhaust valves, pistons appeared to have suffered exposure to seawater and one stuck valve.

We are delighted, not to need it done, but to be doing it here in Long Island. Without too much difficulty we were able to track down a rebuild kit from Kumar Brothers and a new head with valves from a grain farmer in Missouri.

Lightspeed Shipping once again made the shipping a breeze. And Les Cartwright from 'up South' in Berrys has been doing the work. He also entertains us with stories of Long Island history and has enlightened us on bush medicine. Yes, this picture is in the salon. That's where all the magic is happening.

At this point, we estimate that the total cost of this rebuild, shipping and all, will be just about $3200. That's probably less than it would cost us in the States.

We have shipped so much with Lightspeed that they want to put us in their next newsletter.

It is fairly quiet here now and we are the only cruising boat left in the harbor. In a couple weeks even the fishing boats will be gone once lobster season opens on the 1st of August.

We have delighted in getting to know better and spend more time with our Bahamian friends. Farmers market is still going on each Saturday and we have ben enjoying attending Anglican services with our friends Des and Jerry on Sundays.

Update from Salt Pond

Been awhile since we posted. Have had a great few months shuffling between Ragged Island and Long Island and attending both the Family Islands and Long Island Regattas.

Now struggling with some engine issues. We are just glad it happened here in Long island - easy to get part flown in (Lightspeed Shipping is great and reasonably priced), lots of local help and if we end up needing professional assistance there are 4 very good mechanics we can call.

We have no idea how long we will be here or where we'll head next. Will try to be a bit better about posting but intend to be more informative rather than just putting up more party, beach, drinking pics, which we may have been guilty of in the past. Besides, you can find enough of those already on the internet.

This picture is of our friends Cameron and Emile's raceboat, Rupert's Legend at Family Islands Regatta. They were kind enough to take us out a few times. More accurately, they needed bodies for a shake down so we weren't tapped for our superior racing skills.

Moonrise party

Penny (pictued) and John from Fairhaven kindly 'carried us' (her term for giving us a ride) up to Miller's for the moonrise beach party that is a regular occasion for Winter residents in this part of Long Island. A great time, as always.

Greetings from Long Island

We are currently in Thompson Bay, having arrived a week or so ago. Cleared in at Morgan's Bluff as usual. This year we went down to Middle Bight, Andros and from there, across the Decca Channel to the Exumas.

Will probably look to jump down to the Ragged next week. Have had a great time here catching up with friend. This pic is from a New Year's pig roast up in Wymms. Note, Billy is already sporting his full winter beard.

Polynesian night

Billy and Samantha from Shambala showing off their pareos.

Hey Lee, this should look familiar

Last winter when we ran into Lee from Krasna in Long Island, he was looking to lighten his load. Since Billy is hard pressed to pass up a deal, we picked up this spinnaker for $50. Tried it out this past weekend on our friend Gdub's boat with a delightful sail on the Gulf side.

This should put Billy's woes in perspective

As Bessie was biking out to Pigeon Key on the Old Seven Mile Bridge, she noticed a sailboat perilously close to the bridge about 1/2 mile off shore.

Coming closer, with an ominous screech/thunk, this pretty Tayana 37 hit the bridge and promptly got tugged under by the wicked current that runs there.

Eventually the boat was pulled off by 3 Sea Tow vessels but we still haven't heard exactly how this happened.

Bessie and brother Dennis

In honor of Bessie's 50th, her brother Dennis dug our some great old photos. Here they are at 320 Cooper, circa 1965. Thanks Den!

Catching up with Holly

Fun time at Kiki's Sandbar in Little Torch. Had a great time catching up with Holly (who we first met years ago in St. Augustine) and her parents down in Big Pine.

We first visited this place a few years back with Gail and Steve when it was Parrotdise, which closed a few years back. It's a great location so we were glad to her it had been reopened.

Birthaversary 2014 on the African Queen
06/28/2014, Key Largo

50 years old, 3 years married, on a 102 year old boat.

Manatees in Marathon

These three friendly critters have been hanging around the harbor for a few days.

We got back on the 1st, having run from Hog Cay Cut, Little Exuma to Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, 370 miles in about 78 hours. We were on track to get here in 73 hours until the wind quit. 330 miles were delightful, the last 40 a slog.

We had intended to take a few more days in the Jumentoes but on a lark took a right at Flamingo and just kept going. We ran south of Andros toward the Cay Sal Bank and on through. This route was a short cut from our previous years' but saved about 90 miles. Although most of it is uncharted we had no difficulties and plan to use this route again.

So we are back on the ball for a few months and Billy is back to work on Monday.

No natural talent

Some people are just not born scullers. Bessie participated in the Sands Beer ladies sculling race at the Family Islands Regatta. Didn't win but came away with a case of beer for the effort.

We came to G'town for a 5 days after a number of weeks in Long Island. The regatta was a hoot and we got to spend some time with friends from LI and Ragged.

On Sunday after the regatta was over, we did a short day to Hog Cay Cut (15 miles) to spend the night and catch the rising tide through the cut first thing in the morning.


How about this bundle of cuteness? Ani is the daughter of our friends Ashley (in background) and Ren on Nila Girl. Both are freedivers and instructors - Ash being 10 time national record holder and 10 time world record holder. Some crazy depths in the hundreds of feet.

This was taken at the Long Island mini-regatta which was a great time. Thanks to Stephanie on Rode Trip for the photo. Steph and her husband Brian are a great couple we met last year. They are our heroes - on a 32 Westsail, without a watermaker or fridge. Since we saw them last year they traveled from here down to Jamaica, over to Bermuda and from there sailed all the way offshore to Maine. This year they are headed to Panama and eventually to the South Pacific.

As usual, we are greatly enjoying our time in Long Island and staying longer than planned. There is a neat group of Thompson Bay regulars and folks on land who we enjoy catching up with. The vibe here is very laid back and lacks the cliquishness that we find in some other areas.

We'll stay here another week or so and then head to the Acklins. Later, back to the Jumentoes before eventually crossing back to the Keys in late April or early May.

Fun times at Hog Cay

Spent several weeks in the Jumentoes with new ftriends and old, including Marilyn from Discovery (pictured here) and her husband Karl.

Now in Long Island for a bit before we head to the Acklins.

Made it to Ragged Island

A week or so ago. Not much more broke on the way. Will post more when we get our internet set up figured out.

Heartwarming holiday post ftom Billy

12/23/13 1821hrs. Arrived Long Key Bight
Strong ESE wind and Gulf Stream waves
Abandoned trip to Morgan's Bluff, Andros
Oh, and the wind speed indicator quit, Bessie's Kindle died, bilge pump failed, a shackle broke on the new davits dumping the dink in the drink, the head stopped pumping, the new can opener broke and a handle of Sailor Jerry's shattered soaking the v-berth in rum.
Merry f@#&$ ng Christmas!
And I threw up.

PS from Bessie - In this pic I'm thinking he's either waiting for the sky to fall or asking the Lord why he has forsaken him - which might make a bit more sense if the picture wasn't upside down but on this device I can't get that to work either.

12/24/2013 | Bill
Ho Ho Ho ....Merry Christmas
12/25/2013 | Cap'n Ron & BadassKass
Merry Christmas ! We are heading south in an RV to see if you are still on the hook (leaving 12/31).
Apologies to all who we neglected to say 'bye' to

If current forecast holds, we are off at o dark thirty tomorrow. Headed to Morgan's Bluff, Andros.

Between work and getting ready we had very limited time to see or talk to folks. Don't know when next we'll be able to update.

Best wishes to all for a happy and safe holiday season.


After nearly losing dinghy and solar panels in a rough night last season, we decided we needed sturdier davits. Welder Dave (pictured here with his lovely assistant Paige) built us these bad boys out of 1 1/14 inch aluminum.

12/20/2013 | Jim
Great idea on the new davits. Enjoying your blog.
Salty Paws
More swankness

Thanks Gary on Shameles for help teaching Bessie how to tile - and for doing half the work for her.

Somebody needs to be updating this blog!

And their name probably begins with B.

It's getting to be time to go, so Alibi 2 is getting some cool updates. First new upholstery.

Weekend with the girls

Spending a rainy Delaware weekend with the old gang.

12/11/2013 | Ron
Looks like life is treating you well !!

Are you "hot" or "cold"? We may be paying you a visit.
Happy Birthday Billy!!!

Here is the birthday boy getting ready to enjoy a Breakfast of Champions from Sweet Savannah's Bakeshop here in Marathon.

This is the first Billy's bday not in Annapoils- no party at Anne and Marcel's, very sad.

Billy and Mom

Had a fabulous time at niece Becca's wedding. It was wonderful to see Billy's mom, all the Storm siblings and a passel of nieces and nephews.

Congrats Mrs. Bouchard!

Sympathies or kudos to Mrs. Bouchard, we're not sure which. Silly woman retired from the Senate and two days later took a job working for Governor O'Malley.

We were delighted to have the chance to catch up with her and Michel, as well as most of the Annapolis gang, but very sad to have missed Anne and Marcel who were out of town.

Headed north for the weekend

Niece Becca is getting married so we are way up on the mainland for a few days.

Hounds are staying on land with our friend Stacey. This pic is at the traumatic 'walking out the door leaving them in a new place for the first time' moment. It appears they have worked through any separation issues.

08/14/2013 | II the Max
Hey thanks for the drive by, great seeing y'all - you'll be "mist", get it... Always fun to hear the continuing adventures of the Alibi II crew. A and M will know we were by when the see the NA beer in the fridge. Take care!!
Sunset at Crane Point

We went with Kathy and George from Ishmael to Crane Point Museum and Nature Center for an astronomy evening. We did get a bit of planet gazing before the clouds rolled in. Seeing Saturn through a high powered telescope is absolutely astonishing.

Since we had to wait until dark we had the chance to view sunset from the point on Rachel Key.

07/09/2013 | Wayne
Great pic!! We miss seeing you guys and can't wait for our next trip down to sunny Florida.
07/29/2013 | Stormy-Heather
Wow What a sunset !!!
Time to 'fess up

Okay, we admit it! We are not on our way back to Annapolis.

We are very sad to not be spending the next few months with friends and family there, but for a few different reasons we have decided to stay in Marathon until we go to the Bahamas in November or December.

This decision is fraught with danger as many know, blasting Billy out of here could be problematic. If he had his way he would have moved here in the 60's and never left. If he gets obstinate other Bahamas bound cruisers may be asked to detour here to help drag his ass out of Boot Key Harbor.

In the meantime, Bessie has returned to work at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center and Billy is once again driving the short bus for the Guidance Clinic.

We have been experiencing unusually bad weather for the Keys in the last two weeks with frequent high winds and heavy rain. Down at the Visitors Center everyone is looking for indoor activities, of which Marathon has very few. We have been sending folks up to the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada (that is a fun word to hear the tourists pronounce.)

This antique diving helmet is on display at the Chamber- that's Jeanine on the left and Tina on the right, both Chamber staff. When Bessie worked at the VC two years ago, the average age was somewhere north of 70. As you can see by looking at these two, the average age has fallen by about 50 years. So now guess who's the old lady.

Look who I found!!

Kathy from Ishmael and I drove to Naples for a Trader Joe's fix. On a whim I texted my old friend Long Tall Sally from DC to let her know I was in her hometown. Crazy thing, she happened to be visiting home and we were able to get together for the first time in 5 years.

What a hoot!!!

And, yes, we actually drove 5 hours to go to Trader Joe's. No, we do not think that is nuts.

05/27/2013 | Mike & Linda
Just sayin' hey! Glad you caught up with Sally, and... got my shirt - Thanks B&B, we missed y'all last night. Just a low key get together on the deck. You may have made the right call - weather is still on the chilly side here.

Love to you both - M
No, they are not Gus and Jake

Just a little bit of fun from the iPhone app Weather Puppy

No visit to Marathon is complete

Without a stop at Keys Fisheries for the Stone Crabs claws and a little goofiness.

New T105s

We got back to Marathon on the 17th. Again from Cal Sal to the Keys we had a fabulous run. Seas were a little rough crossing the stream but otherwise a great passage.

This year we ran 373 miles from Ragged Island to Marathon in 75 hours, averaging just about 5 knots. We were able to sail the entire way, running the engine for a total of 11 hours, however for most of those hours it was not in gear, only running it to charge the battery. Total time actually under power was less than 3 hours.

Our time last year was 97 hours for a slightly greater distance with average speed about 3.8 knots, with the engine running 37 hours.

Now at last, the hand can be withdrawn from the forehead as we now have new batteries. We bought 4 Trojan T105s to replace the 2 Trojan L16s we put in three years ago. Got a great price from Aargh Golf Carts here in Marathon. About $30 less than the dealer in Miami and they delivered to the marina.

No Erin, we do not pose them

Our friend back in DC, Erin McKeon, used to accuse us of posing the hounds. Because they are so funny it is hard not to take their pic, maybe a little too often but . . .

As far as posing them, if we were capable of that they would probably be a whole lot better trained.

This is a typical Jake pic, one of his nicknames is Tilty Head. And we don't put them next to each other, they do that.

Trip from Ragged and stop at Cay Sal

This year we made the run again from Ragged Island to the Keys. Last year we followed the Old Bahama Channel to the Nichols Channel. The chart shows a favorable current using that route but our experience was the opposite and for much of the trip we were struggling to do 3 knots.

This time we took a more direct course, across to Cochinas Bank to the Cay Sal Bank. It might have been the best passage we have ever made. Had winds behind us the whole way and averaged over 5.5 knots sailing wing on wing with mild seas.

Again this time we stopped at Cay Sal. First we cruised by the Anguilla Cays on the eastern edge of the Cay Sal bank about 50 miles away from Cal Sal itself. The Anguilla Cays were much larger than we expected but with the exception of a couple little beaches on southernmost cay, there was not way to access the islands and explore so we continued on to Cal Sal.

On our first visit, as we approached the island we could see what at first appeared to be a structure then as we got closer looked more like the rusted out hull of an old boat. We did not explore that section last year but did this time. Turns out it was the rusted out remains of an old quonset hut. In addition, we found a small cement structure.

We have since tried to figure out what it was used for and how old it is. There are remnants of old radio equipment and big fuel drums. One conspiracy site suggests that it was part of a old CIA anti-Castro operation.

Here is a link to a video some guys shot walking around the quonest hut.

While that stuff was all interesting, we had a mission at Cay Sal - coconuts. (note the shadow of the coconut palm in this pic) We added a couple dozen more to our supply. We could have gotten all the conch we wanted, very easily, but after husking coconuts we were too tuckered out to think about cleaning conch.

Once again, we thoroughly enjoyed Cay Sal. Except for the lack of protected anchoring we could stay there for weeks. One or two nights of being tossed around and getting no sleep was enough, so on our third day there we pulled to hook around 5 PM to start the 72 mile sail to Marathon.

Alibi II's Ginger Beer recipe

After experimenting with a half dozen different recipes, we came up with our own. Thought we should post it as it has become our most requested recipe.

Ginger Beer

In a glass or ceramic jar, mix
2/3 to 3/4 cup grated ginger
juice of 1 lime
1 cup honey
1 quart boiling water
mix together and let stand until lukewarm and then add
2 teaspons yeast that has been proofed in a half cup of lukewarm water
with a tablespoon of honey

Mix and let sit at room temp for a day in glass or ceramic jar or bowl
covered tightly with lid or plastic wrap.

After a day, strain and store in frig. You can store in a plastic jar but
should use glass or ceramic for the brewing.

If you prefer, you can use brown sugar or agave syrup instead of honey. While you need to use a real sugar initially for the fermentation, we have had luck using Stevia for additional sweetening after brewing.

You may find you may need to add more sweetener or lime juice as your
taste buds dictate. Same with the ginger, play with the amount the first
few times you make it until you get the flavor to your liking. We use
more than two thirds but less than three quarters of a cup.

Can be stored in the frig for up to a week. In theory anyway, here on
Alibi II it is usually consumed well before that.

Sunrise Easter service on the beach

We have had a fun and action packed few days. Another great Long Island Breeze happy hour on Friday, sunrise beach service on Sunday, a garden party on Monday followed by the Long Island mini-regatta. In very Bahamian fashion, the racing boats did not show but the party went on.

Now we definitely need to finally leave Long Island, either that or check into the Betty Ford. Many thanks to our new land friends Penny and John from Fairhaven for organizing, hosting and including us this weekend.

We hope to leave tomorrow to get tucked in somewhere in the Jumentoes before weather coming on Friday.

Bush Crack!!

Yup, that's right Bush Crack. It is not the greatest of beer but it sure is fun to order.

Here are two Bills enjoying a Crack at Long Island Breeze. As you might guess from the picture, Bill from Margareta is a hoot. We had a ball hanging out with him and his wife Margaret in Long Island.

Oh no!!

A certain pessimistic worry wart was right - bad stuff is bound to happen. Here we are in Long Island and we need new batteries. Since the duty on them would be a whopping 72%, we are weighing options right now.

The optimist favors not using our fridge and reducing our perishables to what can fit in the Engel. Run that we have solar and/or wind and turn everything off at night. Then replace the batteries when we get to Marathon. The pessimist thinks we need to head back right this very minute as everything is bound to break down any time now. However, said pessimist fights a daily battle with inertia, hence our third week here in Thompson Bay.

The only thing that is certain is the hand on forehead.

Happy Hour at Long Island Breeze

Yup, we are still in Thompson Bay for a few more days until we head to the Jumentoes/Raggeds. It's been a few weeks and we have not had a great window to move to the Acklins so will probably put that off until next season, as we plan get down here earlier next year.

Also, we admit it, we really like Thompson Bay/Salt Pond - love the place, love the people. Here is Bessie with two of our Thompson Bay faves - Bill from Margareta and Ashley from Nila Girl. Ashley has set the world record for free diving three times, in November diving to 223 feet on a single breath

Trying to teach an old dog

Here, one of the Bahamians has coaxed Billy out to the dance floor at Eddie's in an attempt to teach him a few new dance moves.

We missed you, Jack and Ann!

In our view, the very best thing about a stop in G'town is the rake n scrape band that plays on Monday nights at Eddie's Edgewater. During Jack and Ann's visit here last year they got hooked.

Naturally, during their visit to Eleuthera, finding some good rake n scrape music was at the top of their wish list. Unfortunately, that was not to be as there is none in the Bahamas that even comes close to Eddie's. So we were delighted that our short stay here included a Monday night. As usual, it was one of the highlights of our winter.

And yes, the fellow on the right is playing a saw.

Another big blow

After a great few days at Lee Stocking Island, we headed down to G'town for fuel and groceries. Got stuck for a few days due to big winds out of the NW. Fortunately, in the Red Shanks anchorage, although we did once see winds of 41.9, we were well protected and had a fairly easy time of it.

The funniest story we have heard all year

Pictured above is our friend Clark. We have not seen him since our first year cruising - pic from that year on the left, this year on the right. Since then he has changed a bit - now a single-hander, lost a few lbs.

He leaves his boat in Titusville, FL when he is home in Canada in the summer. When he got back to the boat this fall, as part of his getting ready for the winter he visited the barber shop across the street from the marina for a haircut.

The nice lady cutting his hair was not a native English speaker. She asked a number of questions - 'are you on a boat?', 'where are you going?' and 'are you with your wife?' etc. He answered 'no, I'm alone but I would like a crew.' ' A crew? You want a crew?' she asked. 'Yeah, a crew' he answered. Next thing he knew, the clippers came out and his hair was gone.

03/07/2013 | gail larcher
court date?
Little Farmers

Easing our way south, we stopped in Little Farmers Cay. We have always anchored on the west side, but during a walk around the island we happened to bump int o Roosevelt Nixon who owns Little Farmers Yacht Club. Our friend Clark was convinced he couldn't get his boat over on the east side, but Roosevelt was able to convince him otherwise. We are happily anchored in nice sand on the east side and came into the yacht club for happy hour.

We are here for a few days but uncertain how soon we can move as the weather is a little iffy.

Cuteness in Black Point

We spent a few days in Black Point where we always visit Lorraine's Cafe. Last year, this little guy was running around in diapers. This year he is obsessed with Gangman Style and plays the video repeatedly on the computer and dances along.

04/09/2013 | Gail Larcher
No, you can't keep him
Post Blow Party

The day after the big blow we got together the the other 3 boats camped in Little Bay. On the left is Jim from Skycastles, Clark from Seabattical I is next to him with Ken and Barbara from Plumpuppet in the middle.

The Big Blow

We rode out weather on Saturday with 3 other boats in Little Bay, just around the corner from Black Point.

The forecast called for SW and then W winds in the 20s gusting to 30ish during the day, clocking to the NW and then N overnight. While most of the boats in the area sought westerly protection we decided that we would rather face the worst during daylight and not worry during the night.

Thanks to Skycastles for these pix. They actually look worse than it was. Sure it was not exactly comfortable but it wasn't horrible either and by 9 o'clock the worst of it was past.

03/25/2013 | Bill
lol. Nice photo. You guys really ought to consider Pipe Creek next time. stay safe. Oh, it snowed here today....hard :(
Happy Birthday Tootie!!

Sorry so long since the last post. We have been internetless for quite some time. Since we last posted, sister Tootie (on the left in this pic) gave us one heck of a scare ending up in ICU for a week or so. Thankfully she is better and out of the hospital and turning 50 today.

We are now in Black Point, having sailed to the Exumas from Rock Sound, Eleuthera. Our original plan was to head to Cat Island, but weather and timing forced a change. We will weather a big blow this weekend in the Exumas and then resume making our way south with the goal of reaching the Acklins in the next few weeks.

05/17/2013 | Kiki
great picture!!
A Too Short Visit

Jack and Ann left us yesterday after a lightning fast (so it seemed) visit to Harbor Island in Eleuthera. Pictured here, with George and End (on left) who we all met during last year's visit to Georgetown.

We have been very pleasantly surprised by Harbor Island. There is an intimidation factor in that one needs to hire a pilot to navigate the route from Spanish Wells. However, we have saved the track on our GPS and will attempt the return trip on our own.

Also, it is a pretty swank place, so we were not expecting it to be as comfortable or affordable as other Bahamian islands. And while there are plenty of places with very high prices, we have found a number of very reasonably priced eateries. And a bar that has the lowest beer price we have ever found in the Bahamas.

In addition to touring the island and dining around, we had a fabulous dinner at George and Enid's house with a wonderful group of their friends who we will see again tonight.

We will leave Harbor Island tomorrow, but have made no decision yet on how we make our way south. We could do more Eleuthera cruising, visiting spots on the way down that we missed on the trip north, and then onto Cat Island. Or go to the Northern Exumas before going to Cat. Time and weather will tell.


While it doesn't make up for the lost mahi, this little mutton snapper was a nice catch and made for some good eating.

We caught this on the way from Hatchet Bay to Spanish Wells. We are now in Harbor Island awaiting a visit from Jack and Ann.

01/24/2013 | Steve and Gloria
Nice, Bill, Nice
Wish we were there, see you in the spring
That's Teddy

The fat dog.

He belongs to Rose, who owns the Northside Restaurant in Rock Sound. She is a sweetie and this might be one of the coolest places we have been in all of the Bahamas.

This is the beach just down the hill from the restaurant. Usually, Teddy will be up on the deck with you begging for some petting.

Do you think . . .

that they are lined with pink silk?

Caving in Rock Sound Harbor

We spent a little over a week in Rock Sound Harbor. Ended up meeting some folks, Walter and Erin on Santosha, that Billy met years ago in Annapolis.

Had a great day of caving and wandering over to the ocean side for dinner.

Speaking of things we love

Here is our under-the-sink installation of the Katadyn 40E watermaker.

Billy has posted a link on the favorites section to a site with great info on every conceivable thing you could need or want to know about the 40E. This site is incredibly helpful as is the site's author who is great about answering emails and providing guidance.

The Breathing Mobile Washer

The previously mentioned, much loved and soon to be replaced laundry dealie is worth a post of it's own.

You will find a link to the website over there >>>>>> in the "Favorites" section on the right. You really should check this thing out. Really. We're not kidding. Only $24.95 including shipping. It will be, without a doubt, one of the best purchases you ever make for your boat.

Not only does it make it so much easier to do laundry, it gets clothes cleaner and uses less water. And it's made by a cool little start up company in Idaho, just the kind of folks you want give your business to.

We just wish we had heard about it sooner or had the sense to buy two!

01/07/2013 | Gail
Then you would have 2 overboard!
We are the only boat in Rock Sound Harbor

So I guess we can't offend anyone with our Clampett ways - laundry everywhere and Billy detritus all over the deck.

On another note, this year we seem to have trouble holding on to things. First, on the run from Morgan's Bluff, we lost the laundry dealie and a support for the davits. Next went one of our spears at Highbourne - the one we liked better, of course.

And then there was the fish.

Yes, THE fish.

It is not an exaggeration to say that we caught a mahi as big as Bessie. After fighting him for 20 or so minutes, Billy was able to land him on the foredeck.

Oh, the excitement - fish flopping, pups howling and 2 adults with no flippin clue that they needed to do something immediately otherwise the fish would just flop right off the boat. Which he promptly did.

Yup, a whole winter's worth of mahi, gone in a flash. Didn't even get a pic. And the damn thing took the lure with him.

Don't even ask Billy about it. He can't talk about THE fish.

01/07/2013 | Gail
Ah, the big fish that got away. What ARE you supposed to do after you land them, anyway? Club them?
05/17/2013 | Kiki
...and not even anybody nearby to tell your fish tale to!haha
PS having great fun reviewing your blog now that I got my I-MAC up and running...
New Years at Highbourne Cay

Yikes 2013 already!

Today we are sitting on the beach recovering from beach party/bonfire that lasted until 3 AM.

We got here a few days back after clearing in at Morgans Bluff. Got the time we asked for and the customs officials had not gotten word of changes that raised the cost of our cruising permit. $150 saved woo hoo.

Trip across the banks started out fine enough but ended poorly with thirty plus knot winds, broken davits and the loss of our new, used only one time Breathing Mobile Washer. That loss was due solely to stupidity. The Breathing Washer is a simple yet brilliant device for doing laundry in a five gallon bucket. It will be sorely missed. On a positive note, new watermaker is working like a champ.

Since we last visited Highbourne it seems to have become a megayacht playground. Last count there were eight. One had what appeared to be a spectacular candlelit beach party last night complete with fireworks.

Morgan's Bluff

We found Willie's Water Lounge to be a much livelier place this time around. It might have something to do with the fact that there are new owners and they keep actual hours.

Gus, as usual, does not understand his place in this world.

Merry Christmas

And Happy New Year from Gus, Jake, Bill and Bess.

(Happy Hanakkah and l'shana tova to Mrs. Bouchard!)

12/25/2012 | Mike & Linda
A Merry Merry to y'all...

From us, M & M say hi to the boys...
12/27/2012 | Gail Larcher
Are you there yet?
01/02/2013 | Tessa Evason
Puppies are so cute in their Santa hats. Happy New Year from me & Jeff!
Last day before crossing

Kathy and George from Ishmael drove all the way up from the Keys to spend a day with us in Miami. Here, we found an old favorite restaurant, el Pub in Calle Ocho.

We are off first thing tomorrow morning. Headed to Morgan's Bluff, Andros to clear in. From there we will make our way to Eleuthra where we will spend much of January.

12/23/2012 | Kiki
You guys look great!!

And the prize for Most Creative Holiday Use of Bahamas Beach Junk goes, not surprisingly, to Gail.

She has used floats we collected in the Raggeds with some conch shells and other beach detritus to decorate her front yard.

First beach run of the season

And, boy, did the pups enjoy it!!

05/17/2013 | Kiki
IS it my imagination or does it seem that these dogs are AGELESS??
How is it they still have so much energy?
Fort Matanzas

After finishing the bottom in Green Cove Springs, we did a two day run to St. Augustine with Lee and Holly.

We spent a couple days in St. A with Lee and his compadres, where we were treated to an oyster roast and a night on Skip's 60 foot schooner. Then it was time to move on.

But exhausted by the St. Augustine hospitality, we only made it 20 or so miles down to Fort Matanzas. That was a thoroughly enjoyable stop. Good, easy anchoring, nice beach close by and a free Park Service shuttle to the 18th century Spanish fort.

This photo shows the soldiers' quarters.

12/24/2012 | Gail
whose coats are those?
This one is for you, Christy

It was our good luck that Lee from Krasna happened to be in the area when we hit North Florida. He has been in the Virgin Islands and points south for the last few years.

Here he is featuring one of his signature photo faces, standing next to his legendary Honda. It has over 300,000 miles on it and and resembles, according to Christy from Veranda, a sneaker.

That's a good lookin' bottom

We took the boat to Green Cove Springs to paint the bottom this year. We were very impressed with the marina there, very friendly, helpful staff and reasonable prices.

05/17/2013 | Kiki the picture above the caption,it would appear that BILLY is the highly acclaimed"helpful staff"and"reasonable rates"he he
Sure we would like a little more room, but . . . .

How about this little beauty we came across anchored in Factory Creek in Beaufort, SC?

11/19/2012 | BH
This is why some folks should not be allowed to own tools. Though it does have a certain "je ne sais quois" about it... Enjoy being warm again!!
11/30/2012 | Mike
Hey, where are y'all? Post an short we are here update... The message code was made for me "wduh"
Love that Stono River current

We have only ever gone this fast headed north in the Gulf Stream and once under tow.

First fish of the season

From Beaufort. NC we attempted to run offshore to St. Mary's GA. The first day was great - temps in the 70s, calm seas and even this little tuna jumping on our hook.

Second day, not so great. Cold, rainy and lumpy. So we pooped out and came in at Charleston, SC.

12/01/2012 | Steve S
Hopefully the first of many. Have a great trip...and season!
And then it was off to Morehead City

Where we caught up with Sue and Bob from Ragtime.

How we know them, well that's not a story that Bessie will put in writing, but let's just say that there was beer and a dinghy and a certain #@%$&*# DC harbor patrol officer involved.

They are also former CYC regulars and winter Marathon residents. As always, we had a great time - see you guys in the Keys!

Oriental, NC

We had a fabulous, action packed visit in Oriental.

There were showers, laundry, dancing, a visit to Marine Consignment of Oriental, a field trip to New Bern for Geezer Day at Harris Teeter and even, as shown in this pic, a trip to the tiki bar. Yes, the tiki bar in 40 degrees!

Many thanks to Kim and Steve of Fine Lion (on the right) for their hospitality and hot water - we will miss you guys this winter. Also, great to catch up with Gretchen and Chris from Alchemy, fingers crossed that you might be able to head south soon.

Cap'n and crew

Those overnight passages can be exhausting.

Finally on our way!!!

Yup that arrow points south.

After waiting out Sandy we lit out of Annapolis and ran overnight to south of Norfolk. This year we decided to take the Dismal Swamp since we hadn't done it in a few years. This pic is taken in the Deep Creek lock.

Billy and chicks

'Nother party pic, showing the birthday boy is not doing too bad for a geezer on Medicare!!

10/04/2012 | Heather Storm
Wow Bill !!! Life Is Good !
But it hasn't been all work

With Billy's birthday just a few days away, we took advantage of a Saturday night off to throw a b'day cookout. Only problem was driving rain and 45 mph winds pretty much nixed any outdoor plans.

Once again, Anne and Marcel stepped up - this time graciously hosting twenty-some odd people on about 7 minutes notice.

Here Billy is showing off the 'man cake' - so dubbed by it's baker and decorator, Jeff from Inamorata. Nice job Jeff!! And thanks.

09/12/2012 | Gail Larcher
AND some of those 20-odd were particularly ODD
More better boats and dogs

Yet another hound pic to show off boat improvements. In addition to the teak and the stainless, the topsides fiberglass has been fine sanded to remove stains and discoloration, then waxed. Yes, wax on Alibi II. Previously unthinkable.

Also note, as this picture shows, the canvas has been completely rehabbed. We have also sanded and treated the companionway steps and the interior floor as well as the interior walls. In this picture you can also see that Billy's Fred Sanford-like junk collection on the cabin top has disappeared.

Still in progress are the sanding and repainting of the ports as well as sanding and polishing the big aluminum rub rail.

Has it really been three months since we posted?

Sorry about that, but we have been kinda busy. Bessie has been working two jobs since we got back and Billy has been working for the boat show since August 1st.

In addition, the JackFisherization of Alibi II has been going on. If not obvious from the context, Jack Fisher keeps his boats bristol - therefore the verb created from his name would mean hours and hours and hours of backbreaking work resulting in a very spiffy old boat.

Although this photo appears to be yet another of the hounds, if you look carefully you will notice real varnish on the teak and a shine if not a actual sparkle on the stainless bimini frame.

Dinner with the B's

Longtime friends of Bessie know that Suzie and Bill B have been like surrogate parents to her for many years. Between their extensive traveling and our cruising we have had too few occasions to spend time together in the last 4 years.

So we were thrilled that they were able to swing through Annapolis for dinner on their way from BWI to DC. The only downside of cruising is not having enough time with folks we love - like the B's, love you both!!

Another fabulous Edwin McCain show

Been back about two weeks and Bessie has been working like a dog. Doing woodwork on boats by day and waiting tables at night and on the weekends. So for a much needed change of pace, she joined Robin (Edwin's very proud sister) and Anne for a show at Ram's Head.

Edwin is touring with the full band this summer. And despite just returning from a grueling 3 day trip to Asia, he was as great as ever. Be sure to catch him if you have a chance.

Dinner at Davis'

Another one of our Annapolis 'must do's' when we get back is a visit to Davis' Pub. There we caught up with Christy and Bill from Veranda, Dawn and Ron from Dawn Treader and our land-based support network, Marcel and Anne.

Speaking of The Boatyard

Here are Bessie introducing her friend/Boatyard colleague Erin to the joys of dinking and drinking. Pretty difficult to figure out who exactly is the bad influence here.

Up the creek

Arrived back in Annapolis on the 23rd. This year, rather than taking a slip we are anchored up Back Creek, just a short dinghy ride to 4th Street so Bessie can get to work at The Boatyard.

Back in the ICW

Weather has not cooperated for us to make another run outside so we are stuck in the ditch for the rest of the trip. Here's Billy running the boat from the bow - dark 'n stormy in one hand, remote for the autopilot in the other, crew at his side.

10/04/2012 | Heather Storm
Boy - I want Your Job! Nice crew...even if a bit scruffy....

In addition to making great time from Marathon, we had delightful weather and pretty good luck fishing - 3 mahi and this one tuna.

Marathon to Charleston

We made the run from Florida to South Carolina in 99 hours. As this photo shows, we were flying for a good part of it. Okay, we weren't doing 9 knots the whole time but were averaging well over 7- which for us is lightning fast.

This one is for you Mark Rey

Bumper sticker spotted at Porky's Bayside in Marathon - our old favorite watering hole.

Used to be it was our first stop when we hit town. This time it took us five days to get there. Sadly, we sold the VW yesterday and so decided to do one last happy hour tour before she goes to her new home.

For all those who have mocked Bessie for her vehicle choice, you should know that she was a hot item on Craigslist. She sold in 36 hours and we got our asking price. So mock no more - especially you Billy.

04/20/2012 | Gail Larcher
Are you at marathon City Marina? I am looking for you on the Web-cam. Big trawler at the dock...
04/20/2012 | Bess and Bill
Yup, we are. If the camera pans the mooring field, look to the left.
Back in the Keys

After a couple great days at Cay Sale, we made a 20 hour run to Marathon arriving a sunrise. Aaaah, showers, laundry, internet!! We'll be here for a few more weeks and then start the trek north.

Layover at Cay Sale

Despite mixed reviews from other boats, we decided to return to Marathon via the southern route. From Ragged Island we ran south of Andros back to Florida.

The chart suggests that there is a favorable current for a good chunk of the route just north of the coast of Cuba. Unfortunately, we found that not to be the case and seemed to be fighting about a knot of current for much of the trip.

As a result, what we expected to be a three and a half day trip became four and a half days. After three days it became clear that we would not get across the Gulf Stream before the wind came around to the north. To avoid that ugliness we decided to stop a Cay Sale to hide out. Lacking any protection it was pretty rolly but otherwise a really cool place with plenty of conch and coconuts. And this really neat driftwood.

Another view

One more of the new structure at Hog Cay.

Hog Cay Boat and Bocce Club

Upon our return to the Jumentos we found some major construction had occurred in our absence. A Puddlejumper designed 'club house' was erected a Hog Cay.

Nice job.

Christmas came early

Yup, that is a brand spanking new Yamaha 15 and a very happy owner. It's so fast that pups are now afraid to ride on the bow and instead huddle together under the seat.

Since our last post from the Jumentos, we scooted back to Georgetown for a couple days for fuel, water and groceries. Then moved on to Thompson Bay, Long Island. We hoping to be able to get to Crooked Island and the Acklins but the weather did not cooperate.

Current plan is to leave Long Island in the next few days, go back to the Jumentos and try to fill the freezer with conch, then start making our way back. We hope to be in Marathon in time to do taxes. We'll stay there for about two weeks while the autopilot goes for a trip to New Hampshire for repair. Then the big trek to Annapolis getting back by late May.

03/22/2012 | Gail Larcher
YAY! You're coming home!!!!
03/27/2012 | Steve Stanforth
Hey guys let us know when you will be coming thru Charleston!! Also chech out the very dangerous situation in Marathon the power lines at the enterance to Boot key have saged and your mast will hit!! I will let you know if I hear anything more.
Beach party

An afternoon work party to construct a fire pit, food table and benches was followed by a great evening of music around the fire at Double Breasted Cay.

03/19/2012 | John & Fran
Where are you now? we are in Marsh Harbor.
Waiting for a window to go home.
View from the ridge

This is a view that we will never tire of, the anchorage from the top of the hill at Hog Cay.

02/21/2012 | Gail larcher
Steve will be in Abacos next week!
02/22/2012 | Harold & Val
Glad to see that you made it !!
Hope you're having a great winter.
Can you see it??

The green flash is not a myth!! We have seen it a number of times but this is the first time we were able to capture it. It may be a bit hard to see in this photo - we were not able to blow it up to the point that that the flash is obvious.

Apparently, a green flash is the result of sun light bending through a very humid layer of air which increases the index of refraction.

This pic was taken from Hog Cay where we have been for a week or so.

Ragged Islands at last!

After a wonderful one week visit with Ann and Jack, we lit out of George Town in the wee hours last Sunday.

We made it to Hog Cay Cut just in time to ride the high tide through. Bill was a little nervous as it can be a little tricky but we got through with no problem and were in Water Cay in the Jumentoes by mid afternoon.

We have been wanting to visit here for a number of years and are thoroughly delighted to be here. Since the ride into town is so long and we only have internet in town, we we not be updating too frequently.

This picture is one of the walls outside the school here, a condensed history of the Bahamas.

Cool pic

Jack sent us this one today, Alibi II from their room at the Peace and Plenty.

01/19/2012 | Karen and Ralph Mauthe
Hi Bess and Billy! Wow time flies! Congratulations on getting married. That is fantastic news! We have sold Five Islands in Panama in May and are back in Calgary doing the work thing!! Take care!
01/21/2012 | Bess and Bill
No no, say it ain't so! Hope you guys get done with that work nonsense and get back out on the water soon. Thanks for checking in.
01/27/2012 | Linda
Enjoy your wallowing -- getting ready for the Commodore's Ball back here!
Visitors from the frosty north

We are back in G'Town this week for Ann and Jack's visit. Since they had to take a year off from cruising, they came down for a fix. We might be exhausting them with our frantic relaxing. This pic is from a day at Flip Flop Beach - lunch, beach walking and wallowing.

Who knew?

Here on Alibi II there has always been one big reader, Bessie. Billy would pick up a book only as a last resort - say, if the internet was down.

Well, that has all changed. Sister Kathy and her husband Charlie gave us a Kindle as a wedding present. All of a sudden, Billy is the big reader on the boat averaging about a book a day. Pretty cool.

Thanks Kathy and Charlie!

01/12/2012 | Bill
The shits goin' down Bessie
01/12/2012 | Steve and Gloria
Billy looks like a cruiser for sure
Look what Ken did

El Gran Jefe back at the Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport put Bessie and a big ugly conch on the front of the menu. Isn't that a hoot?? That's cute Mikey G. in the background.

On a more serious note - our condolences to poor Ken, he is as blue as his Lions shirt after his team lost yesterday.

Hey Marth, I got your coconut water here

Yesterday's coconut collecting added another seven to our stockpile and got us a new Cat Island friend.

We were attempting, very inexpertly, to husk the nuts on the beach. We might still be there now if not for Fordis, who came along and gave us a lesson in coconut husking with large rocks. He ended up opening most of them for us, so we took him to the Blue Bird for a beer.

The Hermitage, Mt. Alvernia, Cat Island

This is one of the coolest places in all of the Bahamas. This pic is near the top of the mount, you can see the last few of the stations of the cross, some of the stone steps and the Hermitage itself.

Description 'borrowed' from another site - The Hermitage sits atop Mount Alvernia in New Bight, Cat Island. Mount Alvernia is the highest point in The Bahamas at a dizzying 206 feet above sea level! The Hermitage was constructed by Father Jerome Hawes. Father Jerome was a Catholic priest and a trained architect who lived from 1876 to 1956. He spent the last 17 years of his life on Cat Island and in addition to constructing the Hermitage also constructed a number of other churches throughout the Bahamas include two in Clarence Town, Long Island. The first was built by Father Jerome when he was an Anglican priest serving in Long Island and the second was constructed by him after his conversion to Catholocism.

Note to Tootie - you would love the history, but also the feeling that you could squint and pretend you were in a scene from the Holy Grail.

One more from the Hermitage

I love this place!!

01/06/2012 | Bill
The coolest thing for me was the fact that it looks SO BIG from the water and when you get up there you find out its all an illusion......definitely a cool place.
Jake loooves coconut

We're not the only ones living large, the hounds can't get enough coconut either.

Living large

Yum, fresh coconut and whole wheat bread right out of the oven.

In the last year we have all but eliminated sugar, white flour and processed oils. Mostly we avoided breads and sweets altogether. This winter we are researching and experimenting more with recipes that use whole grains, honey, agave or other wholesome sweeteners and coconut or olive oil. We will post the ones that we really like.

So far, this is our favorite new bread recipe. The original version called for evil white flour but we find it works well with whole grain flour. It is also very, very easy and has a wonderful crustiness to it that makes it great for dips as well as sandwiches.

3 Cups Whole Wheat Flout
1 Teaspoon Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Corn Meal (optional for crunch)
1 5/8 Cups Water

Optional - Add 1 Tablespoon honey and a shake of cinnamon if you want a slightly sweeter bread.

Stir all dry ingredients well in large bowl and then add water. Mix until it hangs together. The dough will be sticky, no kneading required.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 12 to 24 hours. Dough is ready when the top bubbles.

Turn dough onto floured surface. Dust lightly with flour and turn into itself a few times. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours. 1/2 before the 2 hour rising time is up, place covered baking dish or pot in oven and turn on to 450 degrees.

After 2 hours rising, shape loaf into a ball, dust with additional corn meal or whole wheat flour and roll into hot pan or baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes with lid on. Remove lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Cat Island

We arrived here on New Year's Eve and due to rain, high winds and laziness we did not get off the boat until today. We are slightly ashamed but now very well read.

Here is Billy in front of the Armbrister Plantation ruins with Alibi II visible in the background.

Conception Island

Here is Billy on the cliff on the east side of Conception Island.

After spending a week in George Town, we headed over to Conception for a few days where we did some exploring, had a beach party and did more wallowing with Fine Lion.

From there we headed to Cat Island, dropping the hook around 6:30 PM on New Year's Eve. We'll stay here in New Bight through the next front coming in a couple of days, then take a week or so checking out the rest of the island. It is 48 miles long with 60 miles of beach and plenty of ruins to explore.

In mid-January, we will head back to George Town for a much anticipated visit from Ann and Jack of Pura Vida. In late January, we expect to head to the Jumentos for a couple of months.

01/04/2012 | Harold
Glad you guys had a good trip, it looks like your having good weather also. Enjoy!
Things we love about the Bahamas

We love the gorgeous water, the beautiful beaches, the wonderful Bahamian people - and of course the fact that we met here makes it pretty special.

We also love seeing old friends like Doug on Bad Boy and we really love 'walk arounds' - which are 3 for $5 Kaliks at the John Marshall liquor store. Here in the Bahamas you can just walk around town drinking beer, like it's a free country or something!!!

Lunch at Flip Flop beach

This pic is for all my friends back in DC, having their working lunches at the 116 or brown bagging it at their desk . . . . or is that just too mean?

Hello Mr. Sand Crab

This is Gus and Jake's reluctant new friend.

12/22/2011 | Gail
we will be at the pier in Nassau next week reprovisioning. You can't miss us. We're on a PowerBoat called The Enchantment of the Seas
New old wind generator

After thinking/researching wind power for three years, last winter Billy finally decided to go with an Ampair. Fortunately, there was a guy in Marathon selling a good used one last February.

Now, after only eight months of thinking about installation, Billy got around to putting it up. Here is the happy Ampmiser at work.

Westies on the run

Gus and Jake are thrilled to be back in the Bahamas. This is their first day on the beach, where they ran themselves ragged.

Back in the Bahamas at last

Doesn't Alibi II look just perfect in this place?

We arrived at Highborne Cay after a 48 hour run from Miami, with a brief stop in Morgan's Bluff, Andros to clear in.

The first 24 hours, crossing from Miami to Morgan's Bluff, was fairly mild and uneventful, the following 24 were anything but with winds in the high 20s and 5 to 7 foot seas. But, with several days of big winds expected we decided to rough it for one night and get somewhere more comfortable than Morgan's Bluff to hole up for a few days.

In the process, we lost touch with some of the other boats we had expected to meet up with for Thanksgiving. No worries, we had the beach to ourselves for three days and eventually we met up with friends down the road.

Thanks Jack and Ann

Just before we left Annapolis, our friends on Pura Vida gave us two bottles of excellent port as a going away present. They gave very specific instructions that we were to enjoy this port at anchor and think of them.

So here we are on Ishmael toasting Jack and Ann with George and Kathy of Ishmael, and Christy and Bill of Veranda.

11/26/2011 | Ann
Ah, perfect! Excellent drinking group to share port with. Glad you connected the Verandas with the Ismaels. And thanks to Ben for taking the pic. Wish we were there drifting and catching the sunsets with you all!
The danger of feeding strays

We connected with our friends Ron and Katie in Amelia Island. What we thought was to be a round of drinks turned into a two night stay at their gorgeous house.

They put us up in a great little apartment over their garage, turned us loose on the laundry room and kept plying us with food and drinks. Heck, Ron even washed the puppies - what's wrong with these people!

11/15/2011 | Bill
I need their address....
11/16/2011 | Cap'n Ron
Thanks for telling me about your "blog" (such an uncomplimentary name for something) - anyway -- it was GREAT rambling through the photos/comments.
Flooding in Oriental, NC

We had intended to stop in Oriental, NC only for an afternoon to look for parts at the marine consignment shop, but high winds and high water forced a two night stay.

Here is a view of the Oriental waterfront yesterday afternoon.

Family Dinner

After a wild overnight run down the Chesapeake, we stopped in Virginia Beach for a day. Had a chance to catch up with Bill's kids, thanks to their mom Judy who hosted Sunday dinner.

Here are three generations of Storms - with only Billy the 5th, Cherie and their kids missing.

Thanks Judy for a great day!

Two days and counting

Farewell drinks a Davis' Pub with some Boatyard colleagues before we head south later this week.

As much as we are looking forward to getting out of Dodge, we will miss our fabulous friends here in Annapolis. See you guys next summer!

Our new favorite place

Larry and Suzanne took us to Donnie Mac's Trailer Park Cuisine in Boise, ID - what a fabulous place!!

Here is the YouTube video from Guy Fieri's show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives

10/24/2011 | Wayne
Donnie Mac's is closing! I guess the damage casued during your visit was just too much for them - here's the info:
Bitner vineyards

We attended a wonderful gathering of the former Craig staff hosted by Ron and Mary Bitner at their vineyard in Caldwell, Idaho.

The Bald Boys from Boise

We're out in Idaho for a few days visiting Larry and Suzanne. Billy and I had a chance to have lunch with Mike T. and Kenny the B who Bessie worked with back in the day. Oh, the stories!! Our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard!!

09/01/2011 | Anne
Yea! Looks like so much fun!
A great friend

A few weeks back we ventured into DC for a former Craig staff lunch and an evening of music with the girls. We had no idea that there was also a gathering that evening for Bessie's dear friend Matt - who she hadn't seen in 3 or 4 years.

As you can tell from the photo, it was a gorgeous evening on a fabulous rooftop in downtown Washington. We got to spend time not only with Matt but also as a lot of DC and Idaho friends.

It was a party we wouldn't have missed for anything. Thanks Dirk and Patricia K for making such a special evening happen.

Sailing with the girls

Laura, Sue and Robin made the big trek out all the way from DC for a sail - what fun!!!!

Road trip continued

From NY we ventured east to Colrain, MA where sister Tootie lives with her husband Paul and the twerpy critter pictured here aka Oliver. Uncle Cousin Marty made the big trek out from Boston for the day.

Dining el fresco with Mom

In July, we drove Billy's Mom up to the quaint village of Chatham, NY for her summer sojourn with sister Jan and her husband Bill.

A different kind of birthday party

Our friend Mrs. Bouchard likes to joke about when Bessie went to the Exumas and, rather than bringing back a t-shirt like most people, brought back Billy and a boat.

So it should not surprise her that rather than just having cake and ice cream for her birthday we had a wedding.

Hey, there's no one who didn't see this coming, right?

07/08/2011 | Wayne
Congratulations! 15 years ago when I first met Bess I would have bet money that nobody would ever get her to the alter -- just way too much energy for any one man to handle. But then came Bill -- the perfect match (and the fact that he had a boat didn't hurt). We're very happy for you both.
07/12/2011 | Bess and Bill
So Wayne-O, don't mean to get all technical you on but that's not actually an alter - it's the bow of a boat - maybe not quite as big a hurdle, huh? XOXO, Bessie
Happy Birthday Sallie!!!

On Sunday we visited Chesapeake Beach for a beach and crabs birthday celebration for Sallie. Got to catch up with the old gang and meet a few new friends. Had a great time and hope this will be the first of many outings with the girls this summer.

If you have never been there, Brownie Beach is well worth the visit - and Abner's Crab House was pretty good too.

Who's that??

Thanks to Cheri for this oldie but goodie - here's Billy on his Tartan, sometime in the '80s maybe?

Back in 'Naptown

Back on Back Creek and back to pics in bars. Here we are catching up with Marcel and Anne at Davis' Pub on our first night back in Annapolis.

This year we have a slip next door to where we were last year. Christy and Bill on Veranda are just a handful of slips away as are Bob and Terry on China Rose - so our little cruiser neighborhood that we so enjoyed last year is also back.

06/01/2011 | Mike
Hey, great to see y'all the other night - btw: Here's Mike and Rebecca's blog site -
Almost back

From Marathon to Annapolis, we traveled 1350 miles in 15 days and used only 60 gallons of diesel. We're pretty happy with that.

Instead of going right into Annapolis, we eased our way back out of cruising mode by anchoring one night over in Cadle Creek off the Rhode River so we could visit with Gail.

Grandpa Billy

On our way through Viriginia Beach we had a chance to catch up Storm kids and grandkids. Had a great time and can't wait to see everyone again.

Rack time

Somewhere off the coast of South Carolina in the middle of the night Bill and Jake were able to catch a few ZZZZs.

05/18/2011 | Deborah Streeter
Nice that Billie can sleep! Confidence in the mate!!
05/18/2011 | Bill
Boys need their sleep
Cumberland Island

After a 75 hour run from Marathon to Fernandina Beach, we took a day off and hung out at Cumberland Island, GA. Miles of gorgeous beach and only a dozen other people. Puppies thoroughly enjoyed themselves.


Photo taken about half an hour after this boat waked the hell out of us. As you can see, it is firmly aground with the tide going out.

05/18/2011 | Deborah Streeter
There IS a God!!!
05/18/2011 | Bill
I hope you did your best to compound his dismay...
05/23/2011 | Gail
06/10/2011 | Zephyr
Sometimes the smallest things can make your day! I've wished the same on a few power boaters, but have never seen the results.
Score one for the sailors!
Bye, bye Burdines

Last stop before leaving Marathon was at our favorite fuel and burger joint

One last night out

Since we're getting ready to head north, we had a farewell gathering with Mara and Bill on Puddlejumper at Castaways - where we happened to run into our good friends Cassie and Sarah. Yes, Marathon is a very small town.

Clearly Puddlejumper Bill does not mind being stuck in the middle of 4 girls.

Hey, where are you guys going without me??

Jake, not happy about being left behind.

Katie, Wayne and Lily came to visit

Last weekend some dear friends from Idaho were here, glad to be away from Boise where it was snowing. We hadn't seen Katie and Wayne since the summer of '08 and had not yet met little Miss Lily.

Had a great time - did some roaming around town, relaxing at the beach and, big surprise, happy hour. This pic is taken at Lazy Days.

We had a great time - thanks for visiting!!!

Sombrero Beach

View from the beach towel

Puddlejumper finally got here

Happy hour at the tiki hut with Bill and Mara.

Catching up with Kokomo

Roland and Leta from Kokomo rolled into town the other day after 4 months in the Bahamas. We have been having a great time catching up with them, inlcuding an evening roaming around Marathon hitting our favorite haunts. This pic is at Salty's Waterfront Grill at the 7 Mile Marina.

03/30/2011 | Anne from Annapolis
Don't you look terrific! Miss you terribly!
03/30/2011 | Anne from Annapolis
And the very diaphonous shirt set of by Billy's Banlon. Got it goin' on.
Speaking of Howard Livingston

Here he is with his famous outboard powered blender. For more info on Howard, click on the link in our favorites.

Harold and Val, sorry you missed it, we were thinking of you!!

Seafood festival

We had a great time volunteering at the 35th annual Marathon seafood festival last weekend. Great food and great music. Here Billy and Ann from Pura Vida take a well deserved break to listen to Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24.

Dinghy drift

It's been about 2 years since we've been to a good dinghy drift, last one for us was in the Bahamas. Since they never seem to do them in Boot Key Harbor, we thought it was high time to get one going.

We had about 8 boats participate and a good time was had by all. So good, that we are going to make it a Monday night tradition. Here is the link to the City Marina webcam ( so if anyone (or Gail) wants to check on us Monday after 5, they can. The webcam changes view every few minutes, so some patience may be required.

Here is a link to a video one of our neighbors made of last week's gathering

NOTE - both links are also on the side bar under favorites

03/07/2011 | Jacob
Boy does that look super fun. I've never heard of a dinghy drift before. (I've heard of rafting).

Anyways. Great blog... glad we found it! Enjoy your travels. We're following from Yacht Blogs.
First train to Key West

Today we went to Bahia Honda State Park to see the reenactment of the first train ride to Key West.

We wish we thought to take pix of the reenactment itself or the gorgeous beaches at Bahia Honda. Alas, we did not. Instead we have yet another picture inside another Keys pub - this time No Name Pub in Big Pine Key with Jack and Ann from Pura Vida.

We have heard several estimates of the number of dollar bills on the ceiling and wall of the No Name - supposedly somewhere from $75,000 to more than $100,00.

Sammie came to visit

Our old friend and Capital Yacht Club neighbor, Sam McKay, came down for a visit. Those who have visited CYC will remember Sammie as she of the houseboat decorated with pink flamingoes.

02/21/2011 | Erin
Oh, I so wish I could have been there, too! Bob, the girls, and I are going to be in the Bahama in two weeks, want to come see us?
02/22/2011 | Gail
Maybe Erin and Bob will bring the girls by for an overnight on their way to the Bahamas!
Dion's corn dogs

One of our late night traditions (mind you, late night here is around 9 o'clock - also known as boater's midnight) is to stop at Dion's, which is in the Mobil gas station convenience store. They are known for their fried chicken, but we think their corn dogs are fabulous.

This is just further evidence that cruisers are like people who have reverted back to some college or high school life form. We wear flip flops, carry back packs, drive around in old VWs, are constantly on the search for cheap beer - and, yes, sometimes get our best meals at gas stations.

Impromptu girls outing

Last Saturday we participated in a pirate treasure hunt in the harbor. Since it was cold and rainy - and the event only lasted 45 minutes - and we were already on shore, a group of us (Kathy from Ishmael, Ann from Pura Vita and Tammy from Osprey) decided to head down to the bookstore for a Tim Dorsey book signing.

Who is Tim Dorsey you ask? A Florida author known for writing humorous crime novels featuring recurring character Serge A. Storms. Or, as Tammy says, the guy who writes the Tim Dorsey books.

Turns out that Mr. Dorsey is not quite so funny in person and seemed somewhat indifferent to our attendance at his event. Since we were already out and about, and since Porky's happy hour starts at noon on Saturday . . . . well, you can see where this is going.

Our favorite bartender

As evidenced by previous posts, our favorite local hangout is Porky's Bayside, so it should be no surprise that our favorite bartender might be found there. This is Cassie, a recent arrival from Alaska, who is a one woman instant party.

01/30/2011 | Doug
Hey Bess! Keep up the postings. I like to live vicariously through you
An outing with Ishmael

Our nieghbors George and Kathy from Ishmael joined us for an outing at Porky's, which not only offers the best happy hour prices and bbq in Marathon, but the best in local color and characters.

Celebrity sighting in Marathon

While Clarence Clemmons sightings are frequent here in Marathon, celebrity visits are something of a rarity. President and Mrs. Carter visited earlier this month and Johnny Depp was reportedly seen in town as well. At our favorite stomping ground, Porky's, we spotted none other than Travis Tritt, pictured here with Bess and Kathy from Ishmael.

Okay, it is in fact a big fat lie. This is just a local whose real name we either did not care enough to find out or we did not remember (it was happy hour after all). We're not really sure that the Travis lookalike appreciated our attention but he was a pretty good sport about it.

Conway girls

Bessie and her sisters got together for a weekend over on the west coast of Florida. A lot of hilarity ensued. Mummy would have called it a silly session. With luck this will just be the first of many.

No green flash tonight

This is a pic of one of the fabulous sunsets we experience down here in the Keys. This shot is taken from Burdines, no, not the department store, but a way laid back restaurant at the west end of Boot Key Harbor.

Yes, we are still in Marathon. Bessie's work situation is now a little up in the air since she injured her rotator cuff lifting heavy things. It's just not getting better and looks like she'll have to take it easy on her arm for a few weeks yet - this over 40 nonsense stinks.

So we're just playing it by ear right now and enjoying having the luxury of hanging out together.

Back in Marathon

We arrived in Boot Key Harbor last week and Bessie went back to work at Sunset Grille this week.

So far the weather has not been great, lots of wind and cool temps. Today we are waiting on the big blow that is supposed to kick up this afternoon - winds of 25 to 35 with possible gusts to over 40.

This little guy attached himself to our dinghy line this morning - cool huh?

12/14/2010 | Mike & Linda Bouchard
Be happy, it's bitter cold here. A frosting of snow on the docks here this morning, gusts to 40 and 20 degrees. If we could I'd haul the boat and stay at the house - on the positive the Reverse Cycle is keeping up - don't want to see our electrical bill. My new quote: If you want a white Xmas - "Move to Vermont!"

Merry Holidays to y'all

M & L and the "pooches gracias"
12/17/2010 | Gail Larcher
Very cool, I have never seen a seahorse out side of an aquarium.. Or dried up in a shell shop
Bottom's done, we're on our way

After 10 days in the yard, our bottom is repainted and various other projects completed. Lit out of there on the 22nd for Vero Beach. While we missed the big Thanksgiving gathering we did have a chance to catch up with a lot of friends, old and new.

After 4 days in Vero, we are now on our way to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale from there to hop out to the Keys.

While in St. A, we made a few trips to our favorite restaurant the Back 40. Here we are with Holly who works there - you may be a little too much of a regular when your server has you over for dinner and laundry. We're looking forward to seeing Holly again when she visits the Keys this winter.

11/15/2012 | Wendy McGregor
Hi Bill and Bess. I'm currently sailing with Holly from Trinidad to Florida. In Nassua right now and we looked up your blog. Well done, it was fun searching for her photo
Catching up with Lee

One of our favorite things about St. Augustine is catching up with Lee on Krasna. This time he was a day behind us as he was asked to sail on the schooner Lynx from Charleston to St. A.

Since the Captain, First Mate, Second Mate and many of the crew were women, Lee was literally low man on the totem pole. Here he is tending to fenders upon the ship's arrival.

For more on the Lynx, check out the website

Yay!! St Augustine

On Tuesday morning we were able to shed our long johns for the season and by afternoon were in shorts in St. Augustine, Florida.

We met up with Veranda and Savage Son for happy hour - two for one drinks plus free pizza!!! can't beat that with a stick.

Good thing we got some playtime in, tomorrow we get hauled and will spend the next week working on the boat - so we might not look this happy in the next set of pics.

11/25/2010 | Mike & Linda
Happy Thanksgiving boater friends... best wishes to you and enjoy! Btw: Linda is wearing her Tiara while cooking in honor of B-day month.

See ya...
Our annual Ryan photo

On our way through Wrightsville Beach we checked in on nephew Ryan. Per his mother's request, here is this year's pic of Kathy's baby (sorry Ryan, her word not ours.) As always we had great fun with him.

Perhaps a new tradition

Gail, Steve and the Bouchards came out to the boat for farewell coffee before we left. Thanks for the visit guys, see you in May!!

11/15/2010 | Gail Larcher
a motley crew
Another Annapolis summer gone

Yep, we're outta there - but just before we left, we took the boat around to the Rhode River for our traditional last evening at Gail's.

Anne joined us for the first leg of the trip and then we feasted at the Old Stein in Edgewater. Yes that is nice delicious German beer in front of us - and oh the jaegerschnitzle and spaetzle and red cabbage, yummmmm.

Goofing around with some Boatyard colleagues

It appears that in recent months have we made no mention of the fact that Bessie has been working this summer at the Boatyard Bar and Grill here in Annapolis.

She has really been enjoying it, especially working with some great, funny characters - such as with Adrianne and Jess, pictured here.

This is her last week as we hope to head south in a matter of days, but we'll be back in Annapolis, and Bess at the Boatyard, come May.

10/26/2010 | Gail Larcher
Where are you now????
11/08/2010 | mike
are you two every going to stop fleeing the cold to update your blog... jeez - fire up that old laptop.

Take care,
Veranda's last night in 'Naptown

Bill and Christy on Veranda pulled out early Sunday morning. To mark their last night we joined Jeff and Tessa from Innamorata, and Terry and Bob from China Rose at Davis' Pub for dinner.

See you guys in Vero!

At the boat show

Thanks to Tory Salvia from the Sailing Channel for this pic from the last night of the sailboat show. One of our favorite things about the show is the 'boat parade' on the last night - when they break down the docks and all the boats leave at once.

Bill is working for the show this year. The powerboat show is this coming weekend and he'll work after that doing breakdown. As soon as he is done we'll start the trek south.

Taking the big boat down river

In late September we moved the trawler from CYC to Fort Washington.

Here Billy takes a turn at the helm, wondering 'what the heck is this other engine for?'

Our crew

We brought Stanforth along for the ride, here he exhibits his top boating skill. Fortunately, in addition to drinking beer, he is pretty helpful getting into Fort Washington in the dark.

Bessie at the helm

On the trip down river - a little bittersweet to drive the old boat, not sure if or when it might happen again.

Birthday bash continued . . .

Here is Bessie with Leo, an old friend she first met in Montana way back when. It was truly a delight to see him again - it's been a few years.

The birthday boy

Here is Bill with Ladonna at his birthday party on the aft deck of the Mary Morgan. We had a great gathering of good friends and good wine.

Haven't you ever wondered . . . . .

During the evening out with the girls, we found ourselves at an Irish bar frequented by bagpipers in kilts - so given the opportunity, Bessie decided to check on the oft asked question of kilts and what lies beneath. Wouldn't you look too?????

Out with the girls

Bessie got to see the girls for a night in Old Towne Alexandria - here are Eliza, Robin, Laura, Sue, Jen and Sallie hitting the town.

The Watertown News

We arrived in St. Augustine just in time for the arrival of the very first edition of Lee's paper, the Watertown News. He did great job - it really looks fabulous. In only 6 weeks he was able to write or get written all the copy, get almost 40 businesses to advertise and do all the layout himself. It was very cool to be there to see the very first papers hit the streets.

Visiting with Lee

The purpose of our stop in St. Augustine was to catch up with our old friend Lee from Krasna. We last saw him here in late November. Rather than heading further south, he is staying in St. A and has actually started a newspaper.

This is taken at the small marina where he lives. He is barely recognizable with all his crazy hair cut off. The other gentleman is Bob, he is an old friend of Lee's who is a woodworking genius and owns the marina where Lee lives.

We truly enjoyed getting to know Bob and greatly appreciated his hospitality, letting us stay 6 nights.

And hello St. Augustine

We made great time coming up from the keys, only 3 1/2 days to St. Augustine. Pups spotted the beach as we came in the inlet and got pretty excited - Jake is saying "Please, can we? can we?" They love nothing more than to be let loose to run on a good beach.

Goodbye Marathon

We pulled out of Boot Key Harbor in early July, headed north once again. Here the boys, in new life jackets, look wistfully back at the beach.

09/16/2010 | Pauline
Love this photo! Too cute.
One last CA pic

Here we are with sister Martha, her fiance Pete and niece Tara with her friend Chris.

Hanging out with Anne in CA

Here is Anne, looking great despite being completely immersed in Conways and their nonsense for a whole weekend.

And still more Conways

Here all are 13 of the next generation - all together for the very first time. Very cool.

Conways, Conways and more Conways

Here are Bess and her 8 siblings in Santa Barbara for brother Donald's wedding.


Another highlight of the California trip was catching up with Marcel and Anne. Funny enough, Bill and Marcel just happened to be wearing the exact same thing - right down to the blue Keen's on their feet.

We will start to post with more frequency as we are headed north bright and early tomorrow. We are headed to Annapolis for a few months - so we look forward to catching up with all our DC-VA-MD friends and family.

07/07/2010 | Chelsey
At first I thought that was Mike Ware. I was so confused.
07/19/2010 | Gail
I thought they were the waiters
07/22/2010 | The BH
OK, it's been a few days now... where the heck are you?
Bess and Tara

We have been remiss in posting lately - that silly work nonsense has been to blame.

In June we traveled to California for older brother Donald's wedding. The highlight of the trip was getting to visit with niece Tara.

Hasta la vista La Buena Vita (and Cliff)

Well after a very fun winter with Harold and Val, La Buena Vita left last week.

Val's brother Cliff, having grown accustomed to sun, fun and leisure days reading in the cockpit, has gone to Texas and back to work.

We're not sure when exactly we will see Harold and Val again as they intend to do the Caribbean next year.

Before they left we spent a day dining around Marathon. This pic is taken at Porky's, one of our favorite places.

The tree growing up through the restaurant should give you some idea of the ambiance of the place.

05/28/2010 | Erin
OMG! Can we trade lives for just one day -- please!
Aaah, three whole days off!!!

With the winter season ending here in Marathon, things at work are slowing down until Memorial Day. As a result, Bessie was able to swing a few days off.

So today we got to act like cruisers again - sleeping in, exploring in the dinghy, swimming and stopping for lunch at Burdine's. Here we are with Harold and Val from La Buena Vita, Val's brother Cliff visiting from Texas, Dick and Larry from Ula G - and, of course, the hounds.

Tomorrow's agenda includes snorkeling, swimming and 25 cent wing night at the Hurricane.

05/06/2010 | Allison Shulman
So great talking to you today! You look great and you sound like your having a ball! Next time your in the DC area, give me a ring :)
05/20/2010 | Mrs Larcher
I like Beechnut now
Curry night on La Buena Vita

Bessie with Harold and Val after a delicious curry dinner - thanks Val!

A day at the beach

Upon our arrival in Marathon, we were delighted to find that our friends Harold and Val from La Buena Vita were here for the season. They are leaving us in a few weeks, but we have been delighted to be able to spend time with them this year. And they often entertain poor Bill when he is abandoned while Bessie is at work.

Today we took advantage of a day off to go to the beach with Harold and Val - and to scrape the growth off of the the bottom of the dinghy.

Sleepy hounds

Looking pretty good with their new haircuts - they went to the beauty parlor for the first time in two years.

04/30/2010 | Linda
OMG = you broke down and got them professional dos! Good job!
Date night

On a rare night off, we went to Frank's Grill for dinner. It is the best Italian food we've had outside of the North End of Boston.

Mark Rey did you note the chianti in a basket?

04/20/2010 | wayne
i've said it before, and i'll say it again -- i hate you guys!!! actually, you know we love you but i am so very, very jeolous of your tan and lifestyle.
Tara and the Boss

Totally unrelated to boats or sailing or island life - proud Aunt Bessie was delighted to get this picture from sister Martha along with an update on her niece Tara and her worldwide travels as makeup artist for Lady Gaga.

This is a picture of Tara with Bruce Springsteen. She had dinner with him and his 3 sons and, of course, her boss, Lady Gaga. Tara is now in Australia, next Japan then to Sweden, France, Germany, Belgium and then back to the UK.

Isn't she gorgeous!?! We love that girl to pieces.

04/06/2010 | Gail Larcher
Hey! That looks sorta like Bruce Springsteen
04/12/2010 | Linda
I love Lady Gaga -- and she's coming to DC!
Snackin' our way around the Keys

During Gail and Steve's 1 1/2 day visit, we ate our way through about a 40 mile stretch through Marathon and down the lower keys.

This photo is taken outside of Parrotdise in Little Torch Key. Part of the ambiance outside the restaurant includes a dismasted sailboat and this old Range Rover. I don't actually think they intend for people to get in the vehicle, but you go ahead and try to stop Gail from doing something.

03/26/2010 | mike
Don't laugh I used to drive one of those in Chad - a 1968 Land Rover Series II right hand drive without any doors. The Sahara is harsh mistress for learning how to shift with your left hand. Miss a gear and it can cost you 2 - 4 hours of digging yourself out.
04/02/2010 | Gail Larcher
Maybe big Mike can get it started.
How come Gail gets to be the mermaid??

In their short time here in Marathon, we took Gail and Steve to Keys Fisheries twice.

As you might be able to guess, it is one of our favorite places. The seafood is fabulous and it's a great place to catch the sunset over the Bay.

Plus, there is this great photo dealie.

Sunday Funday

The previous post with Gail and Steve makes reference to Sunset's weekly pool party/cookout called Sunday Funday.

Here, John and Vern take a break from grilling lobster, chicken and burgers to pose for a pic.

John is the big boss, owner of Sunset. Vern, who helps us out on Sundays, actually made the grill in the lower right hand corner. It's a pretty impressive grill, of welded diamond plate.

In the background you can see the cornhole games going on. Sundays have a particularly festive atmosphere with live music on the deck and a colorful cast of characters in the pool.

Gail and Steve came for a visit

The past two years, our first guest upon our return to Annapolis/Washington has been Gail. Since we are not headed north this year, she was forced to make her annual first visit down here.

In this pic, Gail and Steve join us at Sunset for Sunday Funday.

Driving across the 7 Mile Bridge

Here we are in Bessie's dream car, a 1985 VW Cabriolet convertible, crossing the big bridge.

We acquired this new vehicle a couple weeks back and have named her Julia - pronounced Hulia. You can see a little bit of the Hula girl on the dash board, her name is Julietta - pronounced, of course, Hulietta.

If you come visit us, you'll get to ride in this dream car too.


Yesterday was the last day at Sunset South for some of the North Carolina gang. In this pic, Courtney and Meredith ham it up in front of the Sunset Grille sign.

Just because it's kinda cool

Yet another picture from Sunset Grille with the 7 Mile bridge in the background.

Sunset at Sunset

Bessie blowing the conch horn at sunset.

Marathon Seafood Festival

Bill volunteered for the Marathon Seafood Festival this past weekend. Here he is working in the the lobster and crab tent.

Some of the gang from Duck, NC

We have made some great new friends among the contingent of North Carolina Sunset Grille folks who came down to open the Marathon restaurant.

Sadly, many of them are abandoning us soon - so we were delighted to have an evening out at Castaways with Meredith and Penny before they head north on Monday.

03/19/2010 | Meredith
It was so fun to hang with you guys!!! I'm sure we'll find a way to meet again!
Just how cool . .

. . .is this place where Bess is working??

Here is the view from the table in the previous post, looking out at the 7 Mile Bridge.

To back up and fill in more info on this whole job/working thing - Bess had been considering, since the earlier ugliness with the mast, seeking gainful employment because being industrious is good for both the soul and the cruising kitty.

After making a few inquiries around town, to no avail, one day we were cruising around on our bikes down toward the 7 Mile Bridge. We were ready to turn around and head back, but on a whim took a little side road that led up past the Pigeon Key visitor center and down to Knight's Key. There at the bend in the road was this great looking thatched roof building with a sign out front saying "Sunset Grille opening February 12."

We wandered inside to find the place bustling with all the activity one would expect in a place only 3 days from opening. Bess asked for an application and a few days later found herself a working stiff - and really, really enjoying it.

Now she comes home every night with cash that is handed over to Bill for safe keeping. He says this makes him feel like a pimp and that maybe he should buy a white velvet hat with a purple feather.

03/03/2010 | Linda
down in the Keys a white hat with a purple feather would just make him look like a Key West native.....
Gathering at Sunset Grille

We were delighted, upon arriving in Marathon, to find that Val and Harold from La Buena Vita, who we met last year in G'town, were here.

They, along with Bob and Meagan from Destinations, joined us on the deck to inaugurate the sunset blowing of the conch horn at Sunset Grille.

Apologies are in order

Yes, we have been remiss in not posting lately.

We are currently on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon - in the heart of the keys.

Unfortunately, we do not have gobs of snorkling, beachcombing or other fun-in-the-sun pics to post as we are too cold!! Finally next week we should see some temps in the 70s and 80s.

In the meantime, Bess has taken a job waiting tables at the Sunset Grille and Raw Bar on Knights Key at mile marker 47.

This picture shows an evening view from the back deck of the Sunset Grille - that's the Seven Mile Bridge on the right. Not bad, eh? (as our Canadian friends would say.)

02/23/2010 | wayne
I have no pitty for you at all. Temps here in snow covered Idaho have only reached the high 30s all week. It had been warmer, but turned off cold this week. This weekend's forecast is for more snow.

At least the days are getting longer. Sunset is now around 6:30 and we are all just so thankful for the extra hour and a half of sunlight.

So take your sunshine, 70 degree weather and palm trees and stick 'em where the sun doesn't shine -- aka Idaho.

love you both.
Sunset on Long Key

On our way to Marathon, we anchored one night at Long Key, on the ocean side of Channel 5. We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset.

Billy and the kids

Just before we left Dinner Key, Happy Hours - a boat headed to the Virgin Islands with 2 little girls - hosted a gathering on their 45 Antigua. While the rest of the adults were outside enjoying beverages, Bill was playing fun dominoes with Avery.

Visit to Everglade City

We spent a day with Bill and Mara from Puddlejumper over at Everglade City. And we have to admit it, Stanforth was right, it is a great place.

While there, we spent a delightful afternoon kayaking on the Barron River.

Two happy boaters in the Keys

After our day trip to Elliott, we are back in Coconut Grove for another week. We'll get a few more provisions and then head down to the Keys, taking it slow and trying to find as many quiet, uninhabited places as possible. That will give us other things to focus on in our posts besides the mast.

Just one more

Another shot from Elliott Key

Alibi II at Elliott Key

Doesn't that two masted girl look pretty!! Yeah, it will be a while before we are over the excitement of having two masts again.

Swim dogs are back

The boys finally got their first beach outing of the season when we spent a day at Elliott Key with Rusty and Bob from Summerwind.

Sadly, there are millions of dead fish on the beaches in the keys from the deep freeze. And it's predicted that there will be a second wave of deaths because of the weakened state of the remaining fish population.

To our unsympathetic friends up north

For weeks we have been hearing whining from the north about snow and cold, an not one lick of sympathy for our plight in the frosty south. When we finally made it to Ft. Lauderdale and then Miami, it was with temps in the 20s at night and 30s and 40s during the day - without heat or much in the way of winter clothes.

Here is Bill, wearing about every stitch he owns, trying to stay warm. We haven't quite thawed out yet but it's getting better.

Alan Jackson's boat

Every time we go through Jupiter, Bess has to take a picture of Alan Jackson's boat Neon Rainbow - here is the latest version. Sometimes Hullbilly is docked right next to it, but not this trip.

A proud two masted boat owner

Bill is clearly happy about leaving our one masted ketch status behind.

And on to the boat

Here are the Mack Sails guys restepping the mast

It's about time!!

Here is Alibi II's mast arriving at Cracker Boy Boatworks in Ft. Pierce. Isn't that a beautiful sight!!

01/26/2010 | Gail
Since it's Christmas and all

Okay, this is probably pretty cheesy and I fully expect to get flack from Veranda (Bill more so than Christy) - but I put this pic up because we are still pathetic and mastless and now have a sick puppy (Gus has Lyme disease) and we really, really, really wish we could be there at Pipe Creek.

Yes, we stole this photo from Veranda's blog and no, this is not what Stuart is like. But aren't we allowed to dream a little in honor of the birth of Christ?

Today we are going to a cruiser potluck here are Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart. It's a new marina with plenty of moorings and very nice facilities.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that we may be two masted again sometime next week.

Merry Christmas everyone!

12/25/2009 | Bill
The only way Pipe Creek could have been nicer was if you, Bill & the hounds could have been here with us. Good news about the possibility of the mast being ready. We vote for Marathon.

Our best to Gus, Christy & Bill
12/27/2009 | mike, linda & pups
Cheers and Merry Xmasika,
We miss you, the sun finally came out today and it's going to be 50. So count your blessings - I'm going to put the ice eater in and set up PVC for shrink wrap over our bimini (we need to get another few years out of it. 2 ft. of snow ripped one zipper even though I cleared it hourly. Enjoy Fla... and we'll keep in touch. Morgan says to Gus, "it's no big woof, take your drugs and you'll be fine"

M & L and the pups
Still mastless, week 2

So it appears that our mast will be ready sometime next week and we can be on our way again.

Came back to Vero for a few days to pick up mail, do laundry, etc. Today, back to Ft. Pierce.

Once the mast is ready, we will head south. Bess wants to spend the bulk of the season in either Marathon or Key West. Bill wants to consider Stuart.

The good news is that crossing over to the Bahamas is now a maybe. If we did it would be later in the season March or April.

In the meantime, we're not sure we can read Veranda's blog anymore - makes us sad and envious at the same time.

But we're getting by and having a good time, as pictured above - last night we gathered on Duet with Sea Fox X. A delightful time was had by all.

12/19/2009 | II the Max
Bessie, Bill,
Boat issues or not, you're not dealing with a foot of snow and still coming down hard - wind at 20 - 40 Mph (oh joy!). As you know we are not all that big on the whole "White Christmas" unless it's white sand beaches. Just thought we would drop y'all holiday wishes - hope Santa bring's you a repaired mast and goodwill for Xmas. The kid's did have a good time romping in the snow today.

Take care, think about the 12 -26" of snow you are not enjoying.

Mike & Linda
It's been a while since we posted

But with good reason.

A couple weeks back, on the way to Vero Beach for Thanksgiving, we had an unfortunate incident that resulted in a busted shroud and a dented mast.

Poor little Alibi II now has one mast as we sit in Fort Pierce trying to decide on our options.

On top of that, we are now seeing droves of friends on their way south. We can only wave wistfully.

It appears that we may be spending a winter in Florida, and Bessie may get a job. We just have to figure out exactly where.

The upside (there always is one) is that it appears there are a good number of abandoned boats sitting in yards in Florida, so we might just spend the season going from yard to yard in search of the perfect project.

12/09/2009 | Gail Larcher
Of all the times to forget the camera!!

After a day or so at Cumberland Island, we did a short hop up the St. Mary's River to explore the town of St. Mary's.

While there we found ourselves in Seagle's Saloon, where Miss Cindy Deen the Porno Queen tends bar.

We did not have the camera, so the best we could do is capture the image above from one of Miss Cindy's business cards.

The other side of her card says "Come on into Seagle's Saloon for great cocktails, some tender lovin' trash talk, and good southern sassin' from bartender Cindy Deen."

It is worth mentioning that Lee wandered in before we got there. He asked Miss Cindy first about the price of a burger and then about the famous cruisers' Thanksgiving. She let him know that the Thanksgiving event is not for the homeless. Now he's REALLY considering a haircut.

More from Cumberland Island

This photo shows some of the amazing plant life on the island.

Exploring Cumberland Island

This week found us in the southernmost part of Georgia.

We explored Cumberland Island with Lee from Krasna - as you can see from this picture, he is working on improving his photo face.

Race hounds

We just got this pic from a race in Georgetown in February.

Spa Creek Reunion

Last night Krasna arrived in Factory Creek (Beaufort, SC) where we are currently holed up with Veranda waiting out this weather.

Since the gang has not been together since we left our Annapolis summer anchorage, Christy and Bill hosted a celebration.

Kudos to Bill from Veranda for figuring out the camera timer - now if we could just figure out something appropriately humorous to write about Lee's expression.

11/12/2009 | Jack's mom
Glad your safe . Mikey and I are very jealous. We will be there one day. Nice place to be waiting out the weather.
11/13/2009 | Gaul larcher
Lee looks like he is ready for someone to punch him in the face.
Good to hear from you!
Good morning

Somebody sure looks glad to see the sun come up. And we were able to get into Charleston before the weather got too bad.

11/12/2009 | M&M's Dad
Hunker Down... hope that the worst of this has passed y'all by now. The rain is pretty steady here, and the foundation work has slowed again. Great pix - it is so great to be able to cruise vicariously through you two. No worries we'll hold down the status quo here. M&L+ M&M send woofs to the boys
11/12/2009 | Bess and Bill
Jake could sure use Murphy's help with this dolphin thing. Every time he turns around there are more of those demons that he needs to bark at - it's exhausting!!
Overnight to Charleston

We ran all night Sunday from Cape Fear to Charleston. Had nice weather and a fairly calm ride.

Visiting with Ryan

Here is Uncle Billy goofing around with nephew Ryan in Wrightsville Beach. We had to post a pic this so his mother could see that he is doing well. See you again in a few months Ryan. XOXO

You knew it had to happen

Yup, the pup pix return. Here are two happy hounds traversing the Dismal Swamp.

Jake is getting some much needed rest for once we get out of the swamp the demon dolphins show up. He now spends the bulk of his time on high alert, looking for the creatures from the sea that torment him.

Locking through

As you can see, it wasn't the warmest of days. We have at least a week before we get warm.

Robert's conch garden

We were disappointed that the usual lock tender, Robert, was not there when we passed through. He is a delightful, happy guy who practices playing the conch horn during the boring winter months and actually won a contest in Key West.

Here is a shot that shows his palm trees and collection of conch shells given to him by cruisers. This shot does accurately capture the number of shells he has.

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