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Alibi II
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!

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