Bookmark and Share
Alibi II

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.

So, here we go again!!

Once again here we are at the beginning of the Dismal Swamp. We love the Swamp!!

30 hours is a looong run

Who wouldn't need a nap??

We pulled the anchor around 9:30 on Thursday morning and arrived in Norfolk about 2:30 or so on Friday.

Bill, just barely out of a sick bed, got some much needed shut-eye somewhere around 4:00 this morning. Poor Lee, on Krasna, was by himself a few miles behind us the whole trip with no crew to allow for a nap - so we probably won't see him again this evening.

We'll start down the Great Dismal Swamp sometime tomorrow and hit Elizabeth City, NC by Sunday. A few days later, Oriental and then (Ryan watch out!) we're headed to Wilmington - probably be there sometime late next week.

11/10/2009 | Gail Larcher
where are you now?
Thanks for everything Gail!!

We appreciate all you do for us!

You, Anne, Marcel, Deeanna, Mark, the Bouchards and the rest of our 'land support' network.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

11/03/2009 | Gail
you are welcome
Speaking of send offs . . .

We had quite the Annapolis gathering on Saturday - first lunch at McGarvey's, which bled over into an evening at Acme Bar and Grill.

Here is a picture early in the farewell marathon - George, on the far left, was wise enough to leave while it was still light out.

Thanks gang for making the big trek up to 'Naptown.

When the leaves start to change

We start to leave . . . . . and then change our plan.

Our Sunday departure was delayed by a cranky GPS, which was replaced by Monday, just in time for us both to get hit with the flu.

So after two and a half days of moving only to grab the Nyquil bottle for another slug, we finally pulled to anchor on Thursday morning.

Fortunately, our sick days were miserable and rainy - but by departure day we had nice clear skies and balmy weather for a 30 hour run to Norfolk.

Thanks to all for the series of send offs, we need the winter just to recover from departure parties!

Last minute preparations

Since we now have less then 48 hours until we pull the hook and head south, Bill is busy with a few last minute projects.

Here he is pictured putting new insulation in the fridge. Not a terribly exciting project, but a funny picture that highlights the thrill and glamour of the cruising life.

10/27/2009 | Chelsey
I can't believe I didn't manage to see you all summer. It was a wild few months. Keep in touch and best wishes.
Back stage after the Sister Hazel show

Sue got stuck outside holding the coats, but we three had fun!

A night out in Baltimore

With Laura, Sue and Robin

One last party on the aft deck

We are leaving Mary Morgan in the capable hands of Deeanna and Mark this winter. Of course the turning over had to be marked with festivities of some sort.

In this picture are, from the left, Marcy, Larry (Suzanne is on the phone), Steve S., Bill, Deeanna, Mark and the back of Puddlejumper Bill's head. There was a lot of wine and a lot of laughing.

See you guys again in the Spring!

Parti Québécois

Michel avec Marcel à la chez Bouchard.

A few weeks back we spent a delightful evening at the Bouchard's. As pictured above, the full membership Greater Annapolis French Canadian Brotherhood showed up.

Sister Martha came to visit

It's been a while since we updated, because it was a very busy month or so. Visits from siblings, road trips across the country and up and down the east coast, plus two boat shows.

Here are Bessie and her sister Martha down in DC a few weeks back.

Pizza with the Critter

Yet another pic in another restaurant. This one in Colrain, Massachusetts with Dennis, Stephanie and the critter, nephew Oliver. Hey kid, how can you eat pizza with no teeth??

Lunch with Marty

Here we are with Uncle Cousin Marty at Fiorella's in Newton. This is one of several stops on our whirlwind Massachusetts tour with brother Dennis and his wife Stephanie.

We're not sure how many years since we have spent time with Marty, but had a great time catching up and promise not to let so many years pass before the next visit.

The inimitable Mrs. Bouchard

How in the world did we get this far along with the blog without posting a photo that included Mrs. Bouchard? (pictured here in black, with cleavage)

Also in this shot from Bill's b'day bash are Christy from Veranda and Steve S.

Bill's birthday

We had a fabulous birthday party for Bill at Marcel and Anne's last night.
Great food, lots of laughs and great friends.

Here are Christy, Bill and Anne. Look at that smilin' guy, 62 sure looks good on him!!

09/13/2009 | Ken & Linda
Happy Birthday Bill! Ken is right behind you, 11/30...he's already applied for his SS :-) Glad to hear you'll be heading south again travels! Big hugs!
09/14/2009 | Mike
A very good time was had by all...
09/17/2009 | Don Engler
Bessie - Thank you so much for your blogsite and pw. When I met you at Fawcetts I didn't realize how easy blogging could be until I went onto your site. We have one now:
thank you so much & I hope we see you again!
Send off for Bill

This week Bill is being a dutiful son and brother. He flew out to Oregon on Wednesday with brother-in-law Charlie to move his mother back to Maryland.

So Tuesday night we had an inpromptu gathering of cruisers at McGarvey's in Annapolis. Pictured here are the folks from Mandalay, Krasna and Duet. A fun time was had by all.

Thanks to Gail for the photo.

Bess is not thrilled by Bill's absence but getting by. No sobs have been heard coming from the top of the creek - especially since she was told by co-worker and boat neighbor Lenny "There will be no whining in Spa Creek."

Travel safely Bill and Charlie.

Edwin McCain concert

Went down to DC to meet up with the girls and go see Edwin at the 9:30 Club. The show was fabulous - but then again, Edwin is always great.

Thanks to Laura for the picture. Yes, Robin and Bess both look silly, not surprisingly, it's Bess' fault for making a goofy comment. But Larry, Edwin and Bill look great.

It's bad enough that Bess has to have her pic taken with the ever-photogenic Bill on a regular basis, but then to have to stand between him and Edwin looking all buff . . . . not good, not good at all.

For more on Edwin or to see if he's playing near you check out

Bill and Bess plan to see him next in November in Wilmington, NC. when we stop in Wrightsville Beach during the trek south. The girls are opting to do a silly-ass Broadway weekend or some such nonsense, so I guess we'll have to round up some cruisers and nephew Ryan for that show.

We went to sister Sharon's wedding

But we failed to charge the camera, so we don't have any pictures of the big event.

While we were in Hagerstown, the hounds went to stay on Veranda with their friends Molly and Tucker. We stole this photo from Veranda's site - you can find a link to it in our favorites.

Apparently at some point during the weekend the clippers came out so that Molly and Tucker could get groomed. At the very sight of clippers, Gus and Jake hightailed it to the bow for safety.

Molly has written a definitive and highly entertaining guide for dogs making the transition from land to sea. Her book is available from and can be found here:

Aaaah, back on the hook

After several weeks tied to a dock over on the South River, we threw the lines and headed over to Spa Creek.

Here is Alibi II in her summer home. In addition to a gorgeous anchorage we have a very convenient dingy dock and easy street parking.

We also have a wonderful little neighborhood with Veranda and Krasna anchored nearby.

07/15/2009 | Robin and Cheryl
Isn't it great being out at anchor? NO fender squeaks or other peoples halyards banging. Does that put you closer to work? Walking distance?
Visiting with Suzanne and Larry

Even though Bess gets hives at even the thought of venturing into DC, we made the trip down this week since Larry and Suzanne were in town from Idaho.

Had a wonderful visit and got to see Suzanne for the first time since before we left in the fall. We hope we don't have to wait so long to get together again.

07/12/2009 | Suzanne
Larry and I actually had the thrill of riding in the bunny rabbit. The paint job is original. The interior is original. The shocks are original. the radio is gone. It does get from place A to place B, though and it was great to see you both! Thanks for the laughs!
Dinosaur Land and a new car

Here we are in front of Dinosaur Land in Stephen's City, Virginia.

We went out that way to pick up a new (for us) car - just a beater, a get-around-town car for the summers.

Yes, that sweet ride we are leaning against is a 1981 VW Rabbit Diesel. She sure is a beaut and no we will not sell it to you even if you beg.

Unfortunately, the guy who was supposed to buy the Mazda flaked on us, so we are temporarily with two cars. Flippin' people from New Jersey!!

07/07/2009 | gail
that sure is a big dinosaur
07/08/2009 | Gail Larcher
Oh. I get it. The car is a dinosaur
07/09/2009 | Richard & Ashley Johnson
It was so great seeing you two last night. That car rocks! Let us know when you want to get rid of her. BTW does she have a name? I am thinking "Sarah"?
07/09/2009 | Bess and Bill
We're thinking either Bunny or Tryphena (despite strong protests from Veranda) - but sorry Ritchie, Sarah is not in the running.
Can you stand one more?

okay, okay - we WILL stop the Hounds in Cars series after this one

07/05/2009 | wayne
DON'T STOP!!!! We love seeing the dogs.
Just because it's funny

We put up this pic of the hounds in the back of our friend Anne's car. We don't think this is what she had in mind when she loaned it to us.

06/25/2009 | Deb
Hounds looked much happier in the Bahamas. Glad your back!
A night out with the old gang

Here we are at Jenny's, the restuarant above the Capital Yacht Club -- Jen, Linda, Sue, Robin, Bess and Laura had a blast and laughed a lot.

Back in DC

We had to run down to Washington for a couple days and had a great time seeing old friends - it was a delight to catch up and drink wine with Mark and Larry.

06/21/2009 | Wayne
Just like the old days!
Mark looks the same, never very trustworthy.
But Larry looks like he's lost weight -- what's his secret? I need to know!
Glad you're home, but I miss the pictures of all the sites in the islands.
06/23/2009 | Bess and Bill
Don't worry Wayne, in a few months we'll head south to take more island pix. B&B
07/05/2009 | wayne
HEY, we were watching the 4th of July fireworks in DC last night and was thinking -- maybe next year we'll go and Bill can take us out on the river by the Lincoln Memorial and watch them from the water. What do you think?
Going through old pix

And we found this one of Sue, Laura and Bess - it's an oldie but a goodie from last summer's sailing on the Bay.

We don't always take the right picture

Today we spent the afternoon over at Gail's house, in the back yard, cutting the tips off 21 conch shells to make horns. She was at work, so we had the run of the place.

Did we remember to take a picture of the conch horn project? Of course not.

Instead, we have this lovely photo of us with Gail and Steve at the Old Stein in Edgewater. One of Gail's, and our, favorite haunts.

How windy was it?

In the Exumas this year?

Well, on the right is our 2007-2008 Bahamian courtesy flag. Alibi II entered the Bahamas on New Years Day 2008 and left on April 1. You can see that this flag is nearly intact.

On the left is our most recent flag. We cleared in on December 29 and left in early April. About same amout of time, but because of high, constant winds this year, the flag is only about a third of its original size.

What's the first thing??

That you would do after six months away?? Well, very first thing was laundry - but a very close second was ribs!!! From Adam's Rib, of course. Oh, and a haircut - as you can see, Bill no longer looks like a hippie.

Here we are at Adam's Rib, with Anne - who was our very generous, yet absent laundry host.

We're delighted she's back to hang out with, but somewhat relieved that she and Marcel were not there to see the seemingly endless amount of laundry that we ran through their machines.

After being back a week or so, we almost have our act together. Laundry is done, boat is kinda organized and Bess is working at Fawcett's.

We haven't decided yet if we will continue posting or discontinue until October when we head south again. Bess suggested that maybe we feature boat projects over the summer. This was met with a loud groan from Bill who said "But then I would have to actually DO projects!"

So, we'll see.

05/22/2009 | Bill
I agree with recording the boat chores list. Bill, at least you'll be able to prove you did em' later. Otherwise some of us might believe your both just laying around in your clean undies eating ribs....
05/22/2009 | Bess and Bill
You're supposed to wash the undies too?!?! Blast it!! I guess we better head back over to Anne's house.
05/24/2009 | Steve Stanforth
Bill if you run out of chores give me a call we still have a few to get done before October
Back in Edgewater

And our very first visitor, second year is a row, was Gail.

Here she is sporting her new hat, woven from Sandollar Beach palm fronds. Hmmm, where'd she get that?

05/12/2009 | Richard & Ashley Johnson
Welcome Back!!
05/12/2009 | Dan W.
Welcome back. Are you driving the water taxi yet?
05/13/2009 | MB
Hey, it's the old welcome back - reality check...

Just one last adventure before the dock. At least there wasn't a tanker involved... right?

We'll see ya's this weekend,

Cold and rainy

And out of rum - yet Bill was still able to keep a smile on his face through most of our Chesapeake all nighter - well, until the fuel clog - that changed everything.

Bleary eyed

And freezing. This was taken Monday night as we ran all night from Norfolk to Edgewater - it was miserable.

And since we shipped all our winter clothes back, we had to make do with beach towels as blankets.

Why did we head north??

This is what our first glimpse of the Chesapeake looked like. Really made us wonder why we left the Bahamas.

Nothing Dismal about it!

Here is a shot taken Sunday as we traversed the Dismal Swamp. The fall ride through was equally as gorgeous, we were not able to capture it then as our camera was broken.

What kind of delinquent?

Defaces US government property on a lock wall? Well, his name begins with B.

How far??

Here is the mileage sign from the South Mills lock.

Locking through

At the South Mills lock on the Dismal Swamp route. Ah, the happy boater in the shorts has no idea how miserble and cold he will be in one day's time.

Visitng with nephew Dan

While in Elizabeth City, we had the chance to spend time wth Bill's nephew Dan, who is a Coastie.

Unlike a week earlier when we forgot to take pix of our visit with nephew Ryan in Wrightsville Beach, we did remember to get photos of Dan, his wife Angie and kids Sierra, Buddy and Connor.

After a fun evening Friday with Dan and Angie, they brought the kids over Saturday morning so we could meet them. All three thought the boat and the dogs were great fun. 7 year old Sierra is an avid reader and, as it turns out, a natural conch horn blower. Buddy is a very sweet boy who is bound and determined that he can crack open that coconut. And Connor is a tough little toddler who is just plain funny.

We hope to catch up with them again soon before they move to Alaska this summer.

We love Elizabeth City, NC

This is a pic of us with Elizabeth City Mayor Steve Atkinson.

We posted this picture, even though Bess looks like a goober and Bill looks like an hippie, because this guy is so enthusiastic about boaters - as is everyone in Elizabeth City it seems.

They host a wine and cheese party for the boaters weeknights at 4:30 and the Mayor gives them the rundown on everything to do in Elizabeth City. He was helping grab lines when we pulled in yesterday. They call Elizabeth City the Harbor of Hospitality, and yes Christy, we did get a flower this time.

Scottie and Kim, this is where you need to come on your summer cruise - and then do the rest of what they call the Carolina Loop - here is a link to the website

05/09/2009 | Bill
Tsk, tsk,tsk...still hanging out with politicians.

Seriously, we love Elizabeth city as well, great people there.
TTYS, Christy & Bill
Really Gus??

You looked all over this boat and the only place you could find to sit is right on top of the chart?

Bill's face shows about how much he appreciates Gus' seat selection.

And here is Revel

The aforementioned Springer 35, beating us in the around the harbor race in March.

That's Alibi II in the background.

Here we are in Charleston
Gus and Jake

Just hanging out.

Alibi II stopped for a day at Dophin Cove Marina in Charleston to visit with Revel - more specifically Clay and Dianne from Revel, a 35 foot Spriger that beat us in every race this year.

We met Dianne last year when we stayed at the marina and got to know her husband Clay this year in Georgetown.

We probably should have gotten a picture of Clay and Diane or maybe the Charleston waterfront. But we didn't, instead we got a picture of this pretty blue bench at Dolphin Cove - which, by the way, is a great marina on the Ashley River.

It's very hard work . . . .

. . . . .this cruising thing.

Here is Bill toiling away, driving up the ICW in north Florida - note the remote control for the autopilot.

Who knew that the natural male tendency to hog the remote could translate into navigation skills??

Nothing really interesting to report

This morning we left out of Cocoa, Florida and will end our day just north of Daytona Beach. Nothing major going on, just sloggin' up the ICW but didn't want to wait too long to post again.

We loved Cocoa, it was more artsy than we expected and Bill got the senior cit discount on the beach trolley. (Conways will recognize the expression 'senior cit').

Today finds us traversing the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon, which is the trailer park/fishing camp section of Florida. We prefer it to the mansion/mega yacht section down in Miami.

Today we also encountered our nominee for best bridgetender in all of Florida, and the nominee is . . . . . Mr. Titusville Bridge - friendly, efficient and just plain likeable.

'Bout three more weeks until we get back to the Chesapeake.

You better hope we have more interesting stuff to report down the line or the dreaded puppy pix may return!!

04/22/2009 | gail
Hurry up
04/23/2009 | Joyce
Good to hear from you! Hope your trip North is an easy one. Stay clear of the fires in Myrtle Beach!
And just a few minutes later

Here comes the moon

04/10/2009 | Bill
Holy shit you guys slipped out the back door fast.....jeez, you'd think you were dodging a bar bill or something. We wondering where you went....We're in Eleuthera, should make the Berries by Wednesday and back to the states after about 10 more days. Don't let Bill sneak past Vero Beach........You'll enjoy it. Take care....
One last Bahamas '09 sunset

'Til next season.

04/11/2009 | Bill Storm
Dad, we are glad you coming back. Call us when you get phone service.

Love ya,
Besides, we were getting pretty tired

As this pic shows, captain and crew need a big rest after working so hard this winter. Ooops, sorry to those reading this from their desks.

Well, you knew it had to happen soon

Yup, we turned north a week or so ago. Bopped our way up the Exumas, across to Morgan's Bluff in Andros and then last night ran all night to Florida.

After a brief rest here, we'll begin the schlep north.

Here are pups taking a last look at that pretty water.

Basket weaving, it's not just for hippies anymore

Dan, hold on to your hat - Wayne, please be sitting down - yes, Bessie, your little gun-toting right wing friend has now taken up weaving baskets from palm fronds.

Let me explain, it's all Gail's fault. You see, she wanted a hat from the straw market. So last year we bought her one. But it didn't cut it - apparently it was too frou-frou or something.

So this year I sent her pix from the straw market. No go, nothing was good enough. According to Gail, she needed something more quote-unquote rustic.

What the hairy?!?!

So I had to learn to weave.

Here are my first few projects. We hope that Gail finds them rustic enough. Why do we induldge her brattiness? We don't really know - I guess she just scares us a little.

04/03/2009 | Richard & Ashley Johnson
I must say your first three projects are real works of art! What’s the next step “Underwater” hat weaving? I hear that’s tricky.
04/03/2009 | Katie Hammon
Wow - Bess- I'm very impressed. I think you have a new calling.

By the way, you look super tan and skinny in the next pic down. Sailing life is agreeing with you.
05/31/2009 | Erin
She scares me, too.
And we even won a prize

For the boat parade, which was a fabulous boat tour and snorkling.

Here is a pic of us at Ray's (who owns Exuma water sports and hosted the tour) secret beach.

Who says we missed the boat parade?

I know that one of the great disapointments of some of our friends in DC was that we did not stay long enough to do the Parade of Lighted Boats in December.

However, as evidenced by this photo, we did not miss out altogether.

The very first event of the 2009 Georgetown Cruising Regatta was the Sail Pass and Review.

We did not have store bought flags like the other boats, so Bill hung our most colorful clothes on the boat.

Lo and behold, guess which boat won??

04/03/2009 | Dan W
You don't need no store-boughtin' stuff.
04/04/2009 | Chelsey
The only thing missing is the pink feather boas I have come to associate with the Parade of Lights.
Oh no!!!!!

Our computer has died . . . . . . . so you might not see any new posts for a while. Keep your fingers crossed that we might find someone who can fix it.

03/10/2009 | Richard & Ashley Johnson
Thats NOT good. What did it do?
03/10/2009 | Gail
Hey! Get that thing fixed! You got lives back here depending on you!
Dinghy drift

One of our favorite gatherings took place last night - as you can see, Gus took advantage of the opportunity to do some boat hopping.

03/05/2009 | Gail
Floaters. Bunch of floaters
03/06/2009 | Wayne
I am SOOOOOO jealous. It freakin' snowed here in Boise the last 3 days straight! And here you are in the sun. When can we come visit? Love you both, good wishes!
03/13/2009 | Dan
Did you guys celebrate Rama-Dan?
04/02/2009 | Bess and [email protected]
Dan, this year we celebrated Dan-bration instead. And you??
More from conch horn class

Here is Bess at conch horn making class. Cruisers like to blow the conch horn at sunset. We are making several so we have some to bring back. We'll bring one for CYC so maybe they will bring back their sunset ritual on the deck with a conch horn instead of a cannon.

03/05/2009 | Linda
OMG -- just like the craft classes Goldie took in Florida!! Now she's into painting at the Gardens of Traville -- I can check and see if they are looking for craft instructors this summer!!
04/22/2009 | Nicole Case
Okay - I've had enough of these pics of you weaving hats and now Conch horn making class??? What happened to my federal power partner in crime?? Truly happy to see you tan and happy. We're settling in here in Oregon . No warm beaches or conch horn making classes here but we have a few coyotes, an owl, frogs, ducks and now I hear a woodpecker out back somewhere! miss you!
Yep, it happened

We've gone total G'town geriatric camp, here is Bill at conch horn making class.

Old white people dancing

Saturday night at Chat n Chill, Rockin' Ron's Croc hop.

02/24/2009 | Gail
I wish I were one of those "old people dancing"
02/24/2009 | Joyce
02/25/2009 | GAIL
hey! is that me in there?
02/27/2009 | Rich Johnson
Where are you Bess? hehe
03/06/2009 | wayne
I have personally watch Bess dance -- not a good thing!!
Laundry Day 2

And here is Bill taking care of the drying.

02/19/2009 | Rich Johnson
I think Bill got the better deal with drying. You guys look great with those tans. Boy I wish I was you!
Laundry Day

Ah, it's a glamorous life we lead. Here is Bess, the washing machine, doing the laundry.

02/18/2009 | Miss Hunter
Bessie- your way of doing laundry is clearly the BEST. You found your version of the Fish Shack. Good on you! Love ya bunches! Miss Hunter
02/20/2009 | dennis
That water looks awfully blue to us poor schlubs at work. More pics of funny rodents.Is that a solar panel on the deck ? DC
02/27/2009 | IItheMax
It's good to see you two hard at work for a change!!! Glad to see that you've found a way to keep each other busy. If you get a chance check out Bill and Pam's blog they're in Antigua and doing well.

Take care - we're living vicariously through the blogs.

Mike & Linda
03/01/2009 | Bess and Bill
I hope Morgan and Murphy are also living vicariously through Gus and Jake!!

Yup, we have been keeping tabs on Bill and Pam too.

Georgetown Harbor Race

Yesterday we participated in a fun race around Elizabeth Harbor. We did not win, but we did beat the one boat that beat us in the Long Island race, so Bill is calling it a victory.

As you may recall, we met after last year's Valentine's Day race, which Alibi II won, so it was pretty special for us to be back here for the event.

02/16/2009 | kathleen
Hey there, Bess! I just wondered through you blog - love all the amazing pictues. I slipped on ice running a couple of weeks ago - broke my wrist! Favorite yoga pose is now lame-dog! UGH! I want a sunburned nose and a rum drink, too! much love - k
Me, make trouble??

You can't possibly believe that!!

02/17/2009 | Linda
I believe it!!! I know you....

Here is a picture from a Junkanoo event we attended at Regatta Park in Georgetown. It featured a talk on the history of Junkanoo and a brief performance, which was just fabulous.

We went with Willie and Sara of Daisy, who we first encountered while locking through the Dismal Swamp waaaaay back last year. They are 19 and taking a year off from college to go cruising, which I think is just fabulous. Why didn't I think to do that?

More about Junkanoo, it is a street parade with music, which occurs in many towns across The Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year's Day. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in Nassau, the capital.

Junkanoo was celebrated in various parts of the Americas, and variants of the word's orthography may be found in each place - Jonkonnu or John Canoe in Jamaica; John Kuner in North Carolina; and John Canoe in Belize.

Junkanoo groups "rush" from midnight until shortly after dawn, to the music of cowbells, in costumes made from cardboard covered in tiny shreds of colourful crepe paper.

Race to Long Island

It's been a while since we posted. We left G'town last Thursday. About 40 boats raced to Long Island. We did well and had a great time.

Long Island is a wonderful place. We have gotten around some but there is much more to the island that we need to see.

Here is a shot of some of the other boats in the race - you can see what a gorgeous day it was.

02/10/2009 | Gail
Did you win the race?
Dinner and a haircut

Michelle and Clark from Seabattical I joined us for dinner tonight. We made Bill's Favorite Chili Pie and in return Michelle gave haircuts to Bess and the hounds. She did a pretty good job, huh?

In case you are interested in the chili pie, here is the recipe.

Put some chili in a big iron skillet or other oven safe dish. It can be homemade or store bought - we like to add a little cinnamon like they do in Cincinnati.

Over this, sprinkle chopped onions and shredded cheese.

On top, blob corn bread batter, homemade or mix.

Throw it in the oven at 400 or 450 degrees until the bread is done and you like the looks of it. 20 to 30 minutes usually does it.

Allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes and serve with sour cream on the side.

It is ridiculously easy yet a real crowd pleaser. If you don't believe us, try it yourself or fly down here and we will make it for you.

02/03/2009 | Scott
You guys look, great, like the haircuts!
02/04/2009 | seabbatical 1
Nice hair cut, if I don't say so myself.....I'm glad that the SOB's can see now also. Hopefully we willsee you again tomarra!!
Please forgive me, Lord

I could not help myself. This is a picture of our current neighborhood crank who I call The American Speedo. Not only does he commit the obvious swimwear offense (usually reserved for Europeans), but he has poor flag etiquette, flying the American flag above the Bahamian courtesy flag. Shockingly, this individual in single.

He hollers at anyone who tried to anchor near him. After we dropped the hook not too far away he drove around the boat in his dinghy going full speed with a menacing scowl. Bill and I bravely hid below.

On Saturday night a very pretty sailboat attempted to anchor within his hollering range a while after rum thirty. When the poor beleaugured boater decided to pull the hook and head elsewhere he had to pass through a gauntlet of cockpit cocktail parties. It was very funny to hear the comments aimed at them everything from "Go get back there" to "Hey man, I think your anchor is dragging."

But the view from the back porch . .

Is clearly much better than that featured in the previous post.

02/02/2009 | Bill
Sand Dollar?
02/02/2009 | Bess and Bill
Yup, get here. We're headed to Long Island later this week but look forward to seeing Veranda somewhere down here, sometime soon.
02/11/2009 | Gail
I am useing this as my screen saver at work. Isn't that sad
Pups finally got a bath

They look pretty good and weigh about 2 pounds less after we washed all the sand off of them.

02/06/2009 | Anjanette
They are so adorable!!!

It is freezing cold in DC.

Miss you!!

We have been trying for months to get a good picture of the hounds doing their launch from the dinghy. At last we got Gus mid-jump. This picture does not accurately capture how flippin' funny it is when they jump, but it is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Homemade pasta

It's not all just hanging around, drinking rum and watching sunsets. Today we made pasta from scratch. Inspired by the Naked Chef, we used the recipe and instruction from his book Cook with Jamie ("just brilliant") and employed a pasta maker we acquired from Scott and Freddie back in DC. (Speaking of DC, anyone note the Frager's T-shirt?)

Here Bill is helping by strewing pasta wherever he can to dry. Way at the top of the photo you can barely see where he has run a pvc pipe across to serve as a drying rack. Yep, pvc pipe - proving once again its invaluable versatility.

06/05/2009 | Scott
I recognize that Pasta Maker! Looking good!
Beach party

This is not a great shot, but it shows the crowd and the scene for this evening's festivities - a bonfire beach party on Hamburger Beach.

I brought my potato pizza dealie, which is easy to make but insanely yummy. It was gone in seconds.

Start with the base which I make using our friend Anne L's Ridiculously Easy No Rise Dough Recipe:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
Knead for 5 minutes, let rest for 5 minutes.
Roll out, pinch the edges so there is a little lip. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes at 400 degrees.

Fill with some mashed potatoes, enough to just fill the shell, sprinkle first bacon bits and then shredded cheddar over the top. Put back in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty. Serve with sour cream.

The dough recipe can also be used for thin crust pizza or tarts.

02/01/2009 | s/v seabbatical 1
Nice pics Bess, wish I had my camera out just then!! I'm sure I'm there!!
03/19/2010 | Meredith
I Love this photo!!!
Another day, another sunset

We have been remiss in not posting any shots of the wonderful sunsets we enjoy every day.

This shot shows our boat right under the sun from our current favorite beach spot.

We found Puddle Jumper

Came around a corner in Exuma Market and there, before our very eyes, was the long lost Puddle Jumper, Bill Johnson.

In this picture we are enjoying a stop at La Shante in Little Exuma - yummy cracked conch, great rum punch and delightful company.

01/27/2009 | Ritchie Johnson
That's Awesome! Hope you all are behaving yourselves. Tell Bill & Bill Ashley and I said hello!
If you've got it, flaunt it!

Bill says he's secure enough to wear this little number that I sewed. He's a big fan of Fatty Goodlander, whose father liked to wear a pareo, so we're trying variations on that theme.

Keep in mind, there is rum in that glass, which may have something to do with his attitude. And we'll see if this post is allowed to remain up for any length of time.

01/23/2009 | Bill
To late to remove it. It won't do any good. We've seen it and made copies for use at a later date......
One more pic of WestieFest

I can't help it.

02/01/2009 | s/v seabbatical 1
borrowing my pics........I totally understand, I am a real good pic taker~>>>>>>>m

Jake and Gus found some new friends at Sand Dollar Beach. Archie and Marie (pronounced the Scottish way - Mah-rie).

Here is Jake (the birthday boy, he is 4 today) leading a good round of Mad Dog.

If only Wags, Tattie, Morgan and Murphy could be here!

01/23/2009 | Linda
Wow! For a minute I thought I was looking at some good trick photography :-)
Glad you guys made it and the pups have miles and miles of beaches to explore
Big hugs...
One more from Clark's Big Walkaround

Here is Bill with Clark and Michelle from Seabattical 1.

We have confirmed that, despite appearances, Clark is in no way related to Scott Berg.

Clark's Big Walkaround

Forementioned new Canadian friends from s/v Seabattical1, Clark and Michelle, organized a walking tour of Black Point while we were there. Here we are with Geraldine and Wayne from s/v Intuition 1, more Canadians. Marcel you would fit right in down here!


As I mentioned, it got cold last week. How cold? Look at these guys, dressed for snow.

Black Point

Here we are at Scorpions in Black Point - photo credits go to our new Canadian friends from Seabattical 1.

As you can tell from the layers, it got a little cold last week - it was all the way down into the 60s and pretty darn windy.

Bill loves Black Point because they have the nicest laundromat in all of the Bahamas.

It's not all fun and games

While at Staniel Cay we did have a mission. As part of the Seven Seas Cruising Association's Operation Bahamas Project we brought five boxes of school books from the US to the Staniel Cay All Ages School.

Here are 11 of the 14 children who attend this K-8 school. It is usually 11 boys and 3 girls but today two of the girls and one boy were out with the flu.

They were a delightful and well behaved group of children. The teaching staff is comprised of a couple who emigrated from Guyana two years ago.

We look forward to bringing them more supplies and visiting them again next year.

01/22/2009 | Mark and Deeanna
We are soooo jealous. It is a balmy 22 degrees here this morning with electrical breakers expecting to trip at any moment.... Send us warmth.
Love to you both, Deeanna and Mark
And on to Staniel Cay

After perfecting cracked conch in Allen's Cay, clearly we were done there. Next stop, Staniel Cay.

Staniel holds a special place in my (Bess') heart. As some folks know, about 3 or 4 years ago I jumped ship at Staniel when (long story) cruising with some crazy folks (no, I won't name names) and met those crazy Okies, Linda and Ken VanTreese. The very same Okies I was visiting last year when I found Bill.

So once you have some cleaned conch

You have to do something with it - here is Bess' first attempt to make cracked conch. We were mighty happy with the result - and any visitors will be too - Gail Larcher, have you bought your ticket yet??

Exumas at last

Five days of laziness at Morgan's Bluff finally ended and we headed east - two days crossing to the Northern Exumas and at last we were there.

We found a great spot at Allen's Cay, took the obligatory iguana picture and then proceeded to laze around for another 4 days.

Somewhere in there, in a shocking burst of energy, Bill found 5 mature conchs and taught himself how to clean them. Here is a picture of the genius at work.

Crossing continued

Due to higher winds and rougher seas than expected, what could have been a 9 or 10 hour crossing ended up about 15 hours. So rather than continuing across the Bahama Bank and going to Morgan's Bluff in a straight shot, we anchored our first night at Gun Cay.

We snuck the pups to the beach for a walk the next morning before heading out - so after just promising not to put up more pictures of them, here is just one more. As you can see, they were so happy to be on the beach they felt like dancing.

01/12/2009 | Nicki & John S/V Seychelles
We are loving the pup pictures. Don't stop posting them! Being a former Westie family, we have been able to reminisce our time with "Salty" on the beaches of Southeast Alaska. Enjoying your blog. Thanks! N & J S/V Seychelles
Backtrack and update

Now that we have a good internet connection and plenty of time, we need to recap the last few weeks - the crossing, Andros and the Exumas so far.

As noted earlier, it seemed that Christmas Day would give us a decent weather window - not fabulous, but decent. Turns out the forecast was not exactly accurate. Instead of easterly winds of 10 to 15, we never saw winds of less than 20 right on the nose. And predictions of seas 1 to 2 feet near shore and 2 to 4 offshore, nope, not right about that either. Bill says they were 5 or 6 feet, Bess swears she saw 8.

It doesn't look so rough in this picture, but it was - and the water really is that blue.

01/12/2009 | Gail
YAY!!! you made it. How sick were you? Dis the Scop work? I feel a little queazy looking at the picture!
Yay internet

We have just arrived at Big Majors, around the corner from Staniel Cay and will have internet for the first time in two weeks, except for brief time last weekend.

So we will do some updating over the next few days - we need to backtrack a little and cover the crossing and activities since - but we will try to cut down on the puppy pix a bit.

In Allen's Cay, we did take the obligatory iganua picture.

More later . . . . . .

01/11/2009 | Bill
Bout time you guys turned up. We were almost starting to worry.
01/30/2009 | Sam
Is this one of my lost boyfriends that isn't hiding in the cuddy? Maybe not, but I did see his brother on the Metro during the snow storm.
This is the sound of jealous hitting the keyboard.
Eastward Ho!
01/03/2009, West Bay, New Providence

We have just dropped the hook after a day's sail from Morgan's Bluff, where a one day stop to clear in turned into 5 days of laziness, interupted by a few projects..

Clearing in through Morgan's was easy and the people there, delightful. Their major industry is agriculture - grapefruit, tomatoes, cabbage and a host of other produce is grown there.

Here is a picture of our new friend Willie, who owns Willie's Water Lounge.

For most of our five days in Morgan's Bluff we were the only boat in the anchorage. New Year's Eve found us completely alone in the harbor. Willie's was closed and there was not another living soul around for miles.

On our last day there, we ventured over to the next town, Lowe Sound, and enjoyed our first conch salad of the year at Rex and Rosie's, a beach place owned by a delightful couple. Rosie explained that she first fell for Rex when she saw him coming out of the water carrying two big conchs.

Tomorrow we will head to Allen's Cay, at the far north end of the Exumas, known for the rare igaunas that call it home. They scamper out to greet the dingys coming to shore and expect handouts, with a stated preference for grapes. We don't think Gus and Jake will be making that trip to the beach.

Swim hounds

Gus and Jake have happily made the transition to Bahamas living. They really enjoy the twice daily trips to the beach and end up running so much they sleep most of their days away.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season.

From Bess, Bill, Gus and Jake

Next stop, Morgan's Bluff

Tomorrow at dawn we will leave Biscayne Bay and head east into the the Straits of Florida, across the Gulf Stream and through the Great Bahama Bank to Morgan's Bluff, Andros, about 150 miles from here. We expect to arrive sometime Friday afternoon.

Morgan's Bluff was named after Captain Henry Morgan, the 17th-century Caribbean privateer from Wales. Local lore has it that his treasure, which has ever been found, is hidden there somwhere in the wide system of subterranean limestone caves, which are complete with stalactites and stalagmites.

Captain Morgan, the rum named after him, portrays Morgan as a pirate, however Henry Morgan was offended by that characterization as he considered himself to be a privateer (one whose nation paid and licensed them to attack and plunder an enemy's shipping).

12/30/2008 | Linda
Are you sure Morgan's Bluff isn't named after Princess Morgan of Selby Bay? You might want to double check!!
Not today, I guess

It does not look like the weather will cooperate for us to go anywhere today. National Weather Service forecast is "East winds around 20 knots with frequent higher gusts. Bay waters choppy in exposed areas." Similar forecast for tomorrow.

Thursday however, is looking good for a crossing over to Gun Cay, south of Bimini.



So, given the weather, looks like we will skip the Keys for now and head across the Gulf Stream later this week. Woo hoo, a Bahamas crossing for Christmas!

12/23/2008 | Pauline Festa

Congratulations and good luck with your new venture! I am so jealous. The weather here is sooooo cold. I can't wait to meet Bill!
Happy 2009! You are off to a good start.


Some said it would never happen

Ha!, to all those who said Bessie could not live without the Crackberry. Here she is mailing the BB and keys to the office back to DC.

This was one of a few last minute errands before we leave in the morning. We had expected to be on our way by now, but finishing up the transmission install and subsequent alignment, plus restowing everything, has taken longer than expected.

Of course any possiblilty of departing will depend on the weather. We have not yet gotten enough information to decide whether we will move south down to the Keys or, if we have a good weather window, head over to Bimini.

12/31/2008 | SAM
Oh my Gaaawwwd....I bet you are still dreaming of the Blackberry.....No? Woman, you are as bold as your Devil's spawn, Jake.....a lot neater, but you share your boldness and brash disregard for authority.
Enjoy the Islands.
Happy New Year!
01/01/2009 | Wayne
I still can't believe it! What have you done with the real Bess? Actually, I'm full of envy and only wish I could mail back mine. We hope you had a great holiday and wish you smooth seas!
Belligerence and remorse

Take a look at these faces.

Gus, on the right, at least feels something resembling regret for trashcapades while we were gone.

But Jake, who is the brains of the operation and most likely instigated the raid, appears largely unconcerned - almost challenging us to do something about it.

12/22/2008 | Tom Vail
We sail with a Westie and a Scottie, so love to see your two boys! They will keep you smiling always.

Merry Christmas
The Disciplinarian

Sure Bill, yeah, you are going to give those puppies a sound thrashing after that trash incident. Can you see the terror on their faces??

A happy, sad moment

To my absolute delight, tonight I got a call from the "girls," my gang back in DC (this pic shows some, not all, of the gang - plus two stray guys and handsome Bill in the back right.) They were including me by phone in the annual Christmas gathering at Rosa Mexicana.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that friends are a huge part of my life - leaving DC was easy, leaving my friends in DC was very hard. I'm not sure it has really sunk in yet that calling Robin for a quick bite at Jenny's or schlepping out to the latest, greatest hot spot that Sue has found or going to a concert with Laura - all those things I took for granted over the years - those times are past.

Now, fishing Linda out of the Potomac in December, I think we all agree that once was enough on that.

Anyway, the "girls" are a very special part of my life - an amazing group of individuals, of every political leaning and from every region of the country, who are all smart, funny and incredibly accomplished.

It still amazes me that we were able to regularly get this group together for a such wide array of activities - not just eating and drinking but sailing, skiing, the rodeo, spa outings (not enough), baseball games, Edwin shows (of course), Sue's personal favorite, snowmobiling - and THE event of the year, the Parade of Lighted Boats.

So raise a glass (or three) for me. I really miss you guys. But save us some time on your summer 09 calendars, we'll be back for sailing in the Bay.

One more of the girls
12/18/2008, From last summer in Annapolis

As you can see, the girls love Bill too

Thanks Linda!

mmmm...25 more minutes to homemade pizza...Thanks Linda VanT for the recipe!

Here it is
Pizza Dough Recipe - Makes 1 crust

2 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. lukewarm water
1 pkg. dry instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/2 tblsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tblsp. olive oil

In large bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Mix with whisk. Let stand until yeast starts to grow. Add salt, olive oil and 1 c. flour and mix well. Add remaining flour and mix well. Knead dough on lightly floured surface, adding additional flour if needed until dough is no longer sticky. Place dough in large lightly greased bowl and cover with towel. Put in warm place to double in size (about 30 minutes). When doubled, punch down and roll out to fit pizza pan.

Bake 450 - 500 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes

12/18/2008 | Linda VanTreese
That looks fantastic!
A nice surprise

Today we heard from our friend Katie Hammon, who kindly sent along this pic from our trip to Idaho last summer - along with huge news that a baby Hammon is on it's way.

Woo hoo Katie and Wayne!!

He's baaaaack

Bill finally decided to shave. He's leaving the beard behind with the cold weather.

Apparently, we are boring

I just checked on our friends Bill and Christy's blog, and it put us to shame. We are so pathetically boring by comparison. And not funny at all. Do they really have lives that much more interesting than us? Dammit, I hate being a piker.

So I guess I will try to ramp up the text - I just figure no one (except sister Martha) would want to read that much and that they are all really just waiting until we get to the Bahamas to see pix of blue water and huge lobsters that we caught with our bare hands. Aren't they? or am I really that bad at assuming everyone thinks the same as I do.

Okay, well here is (surprise, surprise) another picture of Bill Storm and the boys. Bill is completely absorbed in Nigel Calder's diesel book as he gets ready to do his big transmission install.

Behind him you can see my goal shorts. They are size 8s from about 4 or 5 years ago. They are placed there, right above the lockers where all the food is stored - something of a reminder. As it turns out, the 'it just falls off you when you're cruising' diet really only works if you go offshore a lot without scopolomine patches - thereby spending entire nights face down on the floor clutching a trash bag for when you lose the ginger shaps that were supposed to help settle your stomach. Sure, if I did that every night from Annapolis to Miami my goal shorts would already be too big. But it really is not my idea of a fun time and who knew that Bessie was that much of a weenie??

Anyway, after that exhausting burst of activity, crafting four whole paragraphs, Bill and I will go back to doing what we do every afternoon, sitting around, doing nothing and drinking rum. In the morning, we sit around, do nothing and drink coffee. I'm not sure that schedule will give us much material for future posts, so you might just welcome the blue water and big lobster pictures after all.

Christmas came early

For Bill anyway, here he is with his new transmission - is that a happy guy or what?

I'm ready
12/15/2008, Dinner Key - Dinghy shot

I tell ya' - any second now, I'm jumping

12/15/2008, Dinner Key - Island B

And I'm in

Pretty cool moon tonight
12/15/2008, Dinner Key, FL

Just wish we could get a better pic

Update from Dinner Key, Florida

We finally got warm a week ago. Pulled into Miami last Thursday and dropped the hook at Baker's Haulover, about 14 miles north of where we are now.

Friday morning we headed out to the the last few miles to Dinner Key (we were headed here to see Ken and Linda VanTreese - the very same Okies who picked up a stray Bessie in Staniel Cay two or so years ago) - anyway as we approached the first bridge, Bill felt some slipping in the transmission and we couldn't seem to get any oomph out of the engine.

He had been thinking that the transmission might be nearing the end of its expected life, so we were glad that it happened here in Miami rather than in the Bahamas. Bill is waaay cool - he figured out how to pull the tranmission by himself - and it was neither easy to access or to figure out.

In the end, it is not nearly as bad as Bill (aka Suzie Sunshine for his ability to expect the worst in every situation) predicted. Turns out it will cost less to put a new one in than to rebuild the old. But the supplier is shut down for inventory this week, so early next week is the soonest we'll be able to get it. Thanks to the folks at Transmission Marine Inc, we should be all set sometime next week.

So for now, we're just hanging out relaxing.

Out in the hood
12/12/2008, Dinner Key, FL

Here is a pic from the boat - that's Biscayne Bay bridge in the background.

Most of the transients either get a slip at one of the marinas or a mooring nearby. We, however, are out with the real people (real what? we're not sure yet) in the anchorage.

Out here you may see a boat that you think is abandoned, but it may well be someone's home. Someone who most likely thinks that 8 o'clock in the morning is a fine time for a Budweiser.

I love the beach!!
12/12/2008, Dinner Key - Island B

stuff, stuff and more stuff
12/12/2008, Dinner Key, FL

Since we are waiting on a new transmission, everything from the cockpit storage lockers is out - so our Clampett look has been taken to a new level.

However, we think it gives us some status out here in the 'hood.

Hi Marty!!
12/11/2008, ICW

Greetings from the crew of Alibi II!!!

This is much better

Pups in the sun

so, back in Wrigthsville Beach

We had the chance to visit with Bill's nephew Ryan, who was nice enough to drive us around so we could get a new camera - here's our first photo with the Canon PowerShot SD1100. We had just dragged poor Ryan out to the boat in terrible chop so everyone except the hounds is pretty much soaking wet.

12/02/2008 | Linda
ok, so I found the site -- your housekeeping skills seem to have declined a bit -- must be the lifestyle - less cluttered mind more clutter elsewhere..... have fun and stay in touch!
We don't like offshore!!

Gus and Jake huddled below while offshore

12/08/2008, taken at Tod's Landing, Rhode River MD

Here is a shot, right before the camera died, of all the bow junk - this is before it was all loaded to give the boat that Appalachia-meets-the-cruising-life look. We have yet to see another boat that even comes close to matching our Clampett look.

S/V Alibi II
09/24/2008, Bear Neck Creek off the Rhode River, MD

Updates coming soon!! With lots of pictures and stories - all good, we hope.

We'll leave the Chesapeake Bay later this year hoping to cross over to the Bahamas early in the new year and get to Exuma by February at the latest.

Check back and drop us a line.

Bess and Bill

09/25/2008 | George
Bill/Bess, I am looking forward to reading about your adventure as I also own an Allied SWII, hull #83, and will be keen to see how it works for some long distance cruising. Finally, someone on a sensible size boat. I always felt 32 was more than enough!
10/23/2008 | Rich
Good for you guys! I wish I could go cruising!! Keep us informed, I am sure it is going to be exciting!

Newer ]


Powered by SailBlogs