Well the surgery is done, the lightning damage is done and we are headed south. The only catch is that we are required by the doctors to do the ICW until the end of January.
This trip we have a buddy boat with us from our marina. It is Paul and Joanne on "PJs Nest".
Well we ended up leaving Sunday from Bohicket. The weather forecast really sucked, 10-15 outside and 20-25 knts of wind. So we left around lunch and headed down the ditch for Beaufort, SC. We found a great anchorage just North of Beaufort and closed the day out with a walk of the dogs and first night on board.
The weather report is great, 3-5 and 10-15 knts out of the southwest (guess which way we are headed.) So we motor sail and head for St. Augustine FL. Thirty hours later, here we sit, on a nice little beach just inside the inlet.
Great overnighter gentle 3?? ground swell and bright moon lit night. We love overnighters and this one was really beautiful. It was perfect for the buddy boat with us, they had never done an overnighter before. We got their cherry!!!!!!
They are newbies, as for as sailing goes, so it is kind of neat helping someone live the dream and learn the little bit that we get to experience this trip!!! The wife who is a retired 4 th grade teacher and he is retired hospital administrator. Later it was her watch on her boat and mine on ours. All she could say on the VHF was how dark it was at about 4 am when the moon set. I replied but look at all the stars J
Well we are headed for Cape Canaveral in the morning. Hopefully about 26 hours.
St. Augustine FL ??" Cape Canaveral
Well we got some fuel at Conch House Marina, real easy in and out, and headed south. We had figured out that we would arrive around 4:00 in the morning so we had to kill some time, so we got a chance to do some slow sailing south. The conditions were still real nice, but the wind was on the nose, and the seas a 3 ft. gentle swell. So we just did some tacking and had a blast. And it was another beautiful night.
The auto helm is still broke, even though I smacked it with a hammer and reinitialized. Seems when I talked to Raymarine, it had never been sent in. The shmuck that worked on it basically lied to us L. It seems that I have no power coming out to the motor or clutch. So I am still spending a lot of time at the helm. But oh well it is still a great time being back sailing! Got into Cape Marina at 7:00 and here we sit.
We will head out in the morning for Lake Worth and then turn east and head for West End.
Cape Marina to West End
Cape Canaveral to West End
Well we left Cape Canaveral around 9:30 headed for West End Bahamas. It will be another long trip in front of us, 162 miles. The wind again was on the nose but the seas are still calm.
Then around 2000, the winds turned enough so we could get in some good sailing. The winds were 15-20 so we could really haul ass.
At around 4:30 we made the turn and Bahamas here we come. By now the seas had turned ugly, 4-6 and from every direction. Kinda beat the crap out of us. But the wind was still good so it was easy to make 6-8 knts of speed.
Then after the sun comes up the buddy boat runs out of gas. So I turn around and give them a jerry can full of gas, for the second time. An hour later he gets his boat running again and we are steaming ahead.
While in Cape Canaveral, I find a split ring next to Paul's boat. I give it to him and suggest he look to find where it came from. Well it seems that it was for the lifeline gate!!! And yes he falls through it. And damn near falls over board.
Well when we were 5 miles out we hook a major Dolphin on the lightest rod we have. Diane has the pole and starts the fight. He jumps four or five times before she hands off to me. It is a GREAT fish, about 50 or 60 pounds. Thanks to Shawn (a fellow renegade) for making us the lure, he must have put the magic touch on it. Well we are currently anchored behind West End and life is LARGE.
West End to Great Sale Cay
Getting out of west end was hair raising to say the least. The seas were 8-10 foot seas. It definitely tightened up the butt. Especially knowing there were reefs real close by. But we made it through Indian Cay Cut and pushed on for Great Sale. A cold front had come through, the winds were out of the North, so the Little Bahama Bank was a little rough but the winds were 10-15 so it was a great sail, as our course was easterly, so we covered the 50 miles in about seven hours.
Great Sale ??" Allans Pensacola
We pulled out at 0900 hrs and headed for Allans Pensacola Cay. As we were heading out we had a good conversation with "S/V Black Pearl”, a beautiful boat out of Charleston, then "S/V Xanadu” chimed in, as they were also from Charleston, actually from the same marina as we stayed at. We all chatted for a while wished each other fair winds and sailed off in different directions.
Well there was very little wind so we motored the 35 nm to Allans Pensacola with calm seas and a nice motor sail. We eased in dropped the hook and headed to the beach so the dogs could feel some sand under their paws.
Unfortunately Paul and Joann could not get their hook set but after a number of tries they came out next to us and got it set.
Allans Pensacola to Bakers Bay
We pulled the hook at 0900 and headed south. Another windy day but after all we are a sail boat so wind is good. We were headed for New Plymouth for ice and bread; the fridge is not working right so I want to keep ice on board just in case it dies completely. The seas were on the nose and a little rough, then all of a sudden, the hook on the dingy let loose from its bow ring. Like people say,? hours of boredom and minutes of shear panic. Well this was the panic as the dink hung upside down and tried to beat it self to death. We quickly turned into the wind and lowered the engine end of the dingy and jumped into it and replaced the snap shackle, hoisted it back up and headed south again, no harm no foul.
We made it into New Plymouth by 1400 dropped the hook and headed to Sid's and the Wrecking Tree for lunch and provisions. Paul and Joanne decided to anchor in Black Sound instead of anchoring outside near the Government dock. We had decided to anchor at the south end in Gilliam Bay. The winds were out of the southwest, which made anchoring there not a good idea. After not being able to get the anchor set we decided to push on to Bakers Bay instead.
We made the crossing of Whale Cay Cut easily with a gentle swell and dropped the hook at Bakers. And to our surprise there were three other boats. The fewest I have ever seen in the four or five years of coming to Abacos.
A little windy last night but not bad at all, and this morning we are the only boat here in Bakers. After the net I call Paul and Joanne to check in with them and let them know where we are. Paul informs me they dragged the anchor during a rainstorm and they have decided to go back home. They only made it one week, and only to Green Turtle Cay. I could not ask why, due to poor radio reception!!!! I guess they just were not enjoying the trip
We hung out at Bakers for a couple of days and then headed over to Guana Seaside to say hello to Gerri and Bob and enjoy the pool. We ran into Danny B and Patty B at the bar. We had a good time talking about our trip over and just generally BS. Indigo Moon had let us know that they were in Lynard Cay and heading up to Bakers Bay the next day. So we decided to try going outside to do a little fishing and come back to Bakers for the night. Well the seas were rough and wind on the nose so we decided that this was not worth the trouble so we turned around and headed in. While anchored Tuna Dave was also anchored here and came over for a visit and it was nice to put faces to names. He is a real nice guy and hopefully we will run into them again soon. Later Buddy and Melissa on Indigo Moon came in and dropped their hook near us and they invited us over for dinner.
We head over at around 1830 for dinner. It is a really nice boat, they have done a great job of setting her up for cruising. Unfortunately while cooking on the grill Buddy ask me to hold the light for him. I took one step and stepped through the open hatch and broke the lens in it. After a lot of apologizing and embarrassment, and a band aid all was well except for the broken lens. I offered to pay for it but Buddy would not accept anything. Just an example of the kind of people Buddy and Melissa are, real nice folks!!! While eating dinner Diane spots a rocket launch from Canaveral. It was great to finally see a launch from Abaco.
Baker's Bay to TreasureWe spent the night in Bakers and woke up to a pretty stiff breeze out of the SW and it was beginning to get rocky so we decided to head over to Treasure Cay for the night. On the way we saw a large shark pass under us. Had to be around 12 feet or so. I motored in and dropped the hook. Buddy came over and ask if we wanted to join them for dinner at Coconuts that night. We had a good meal and again a fun evening was had by all.
Hangin in the IslandsMarsh Harbor to Lynard?? s
When we get to Marsh Harbor I notice another Lagoon and anchor near it. It is Roy and Diane on S/V Molly Bloom. Really nice folks. Roy never makes a trip to town without asking if we need anything. He knows the lagoon like the back of his hand, so naturally I have tons of questions. He has tons of patience and answers all my questions. He taught me about the special greese for the dripless among other things. Again both are great people, and we hope to be able to keep in touch and see them again
Well after working on the head for a couple of days all things were good. New y-valve and some major vinegar rinsing and all was working great. Then Diane hails me and says there is something coming out of the inlets in the bowl. I look and sure enough something is indeed coming from the inlets. I pull on it and it breaks off. I flush again and more of these things come out. It seems the pump is working so well it has sucked an octopus into the head. And what I am breaking off is his legs.
First thought is SHIT the only way to get him out is to remove the head and shake it upside down. Then a fellow cruiser , Mary on Agurs Wish, suggests that I suck him out. Shy of sucking him out with my mouth I am stumped. Then it dawns on me to try the shop vac I keep on board. Viola, I put the shop vac at the back of the head where the water comes into the bowl and I hear my culprit hit the shop vac. Life is good again J
Well the final leg is here. It has been a fantastic 6 weeks. We are put back in the water after a new bottom job and new cutlass bearing. It is Thursday and I knew we needed to start heading north. And not wanting to leave on Friday it meant a trip to Marsh Harbor for provisions and say the last good bye to Mary and Jeff on "Agur's Wish". (She was the one who helped with the octopus). And then decide as far as we could make it was Bakers Bay. It is real windy and the whale passage will be better tomorrow.
Today we will sail from Baker's Bay to Great Sale for an overnight. Great sailing and following seas wind on the broad beam then a beam reach all the way. We caught a couple of barracuda and were anchored well before sunset, about an 8-hour day.
At about 1600 the bottom goes away as we drop into the stream. After an hour or so Diane hooks a nice dolphin but I miss with the gaff, bummer. Another hour or so and she hooks up with a large Wahoo, BUT, he crosses the bow and breaks off on the bow roller (again BUMMER). And it seems that the line I am suppose to reel in has fouled the starboard prop, another BUMMER!!!! Now I am required heave to, and go over board in 5-7 foot following seas knife in hand. I have to admit looking down and thinking there is shit down there that would eat me. I cut and remove the line and we are off again.
No stars tonight or wind so we are a trawler with sails. We are basically out here by ourselves. We did not encounter anyone until around dawn. Then a couple of tankers eased by
Still no wind as the sunsets and following seas still are with us. I am starting to get tired at the helm but doing well. Diane fixes a great supper and we heave to and eat dinner and watch the sun drop into the ocean.
Another lonely night and around 0430 I am having a hard time focusing on the compass and Diane does not see well at night so we heave to (more of a drift) and I lay down for a two-hour nap. The radar alarm wakes me up and it's just a buoy about 8 miles out, but time to go.
I start to pick up some radio chatter around 0530, from the other people out there motoring along. Diane is up and coffee is in order, and another day of motoring. I decide it is time for the Gerry cans of fuel and a little more figuring of time and distance and it will be real close.
Around 1300 Diane hooks a 45 lb dolphin and it makes it into the cooler, then about 30 minutes we nail a small 20# Bonita great fight.
Then about 25 miles from the inlet at North Edisto the starboard engine dies. It is either out of fuel or so low that it has picked up some trash. I check the racor and it is all right so I siphon off five gallons from the genset fuel tank, put it in and she fires back up with a couple of coughs and now it is running at 400 rpms faster than it has ever run, go figure,
A wonderful time was had by all, we spent 7 weeks sailing and learned a ton from a lot of people, and had the opportunity to sail our boat in basically every condition. We even got the chance to anchor the cruiser's net. 1400 miles later we are home looking forward to our next adventure
Charleston to Cape Canaveral
Bohicket to Cape Canaveral
We have planned this trip for months. It is the end of May and we are ready. The float plan is for us to go from Bohicket to Cape Canaveral, the hug the coast and cut over south of Ft. Pierce to West End. Then from there we will hit Great Sale, and on to Allens Pensacola. From there we will play it by ear. We have a month to cruise the area and make it back home.
The boat is provisioned and we are ready and anxious. After good byes from our marina mates and we are leaving with the tide. It is 1630; the weather forecast calls for light winds out of the SW with 2-3 foot seas.
We clear the banks and head for open water. A beautiful sunset and we are headed for the islands. Unfortunately around midnight the weather turns to crap. It is raining pretty hard and the seas have built to 5-9 foot seas and are confused and on the nose. Then I lose the Port engine. I struggle all night with one engine to keep headway. I decide to head towards the coast, maybe the seas will flatten a bit.
I get within 20 miles of the coast and am considering pulling in somewhere and wait till first light to work on the engine. But I decide to continue south and will work on it under way.
First light and the conditions are better and the seas a bit calmer. Diane is at the helm while I am working on the engine. I replace the Racor filters and the engines starts back up. I head for the rack with Diane at the helm, both engines running and full sails.
I wake up to the sound of the port engine dying again. I ask Diane our speed and we are still making 8-9 knots with one engine. So I decide to lie back down and get a little more sleep. I wake up to the sound of the sea racing by the porthole; startled, I again ask her what our speed is. Her reply is 13 knts, amazed, I check the winds and they are 15-20kts, she has trimmed the sails a bit and really is hauling ass. I commend her and delightfully lay back down.
Naturally when I take the helm, the wind dies and we are still beating into the seas hard. We are now making a whopping3 knts and no wind in sight. I decide to work on the engine again while it is cool. It starts for a while then sputters and stops. It seems to be starving for fuel. I have tried everything I know to no avail. Beaten and smelling of diesel I just figure we will get it looked at Canaveral. Diane stays up till around midnight then lies down. It is going to be a Lonnnnng slow night!
The seas finally shift when we are off of Jacksonville, we are making terrible time but it was a beautiful night. I hand it over to Diane around 0900 and lay down for a bit. When I wake up Shorty, aka, Diane, has Otto tuned in her feet over the side, and is playing with some dolphins. She has a huge smile on her face! I just laugh and think how kewl is this.
We make it into Cape marina with no real problems. I call a mechanic and he is due in the morning. So after walking the girls (Isa and Matillda), we eat a little bit and hit the racks.Trip totals are 346.7 miles, 68 hours, an average of 5.1 mph, on 41 gallons of fuel.
Lesson learned, NEVER LEAVE ON FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cape Canaveral to West EndCape Canaveral to Lily Banks
We are awakened to the sound of the mechanic knocking on the boat. We make a little coffee, and before we can finish our coffee, the mechanic lets us know our fuel line is blocked. He takes a fuel bulb in the fuel line, a couple of pumps and $75.00 later we are running. I call a fuel polishing service and he will be here early this afternoon.
At about 1400 the fuel polisher calls and cancels on us. So we decide to push on, I purchase a primer bulb and we get out of the inlet by 1430.
A beautiful Florida sunset as we head south. All the condominiums with all there lights are actually pretty from out here.
A good friend, Buddy aka Mudbug, once said ? you are island in the radious of your radar range” and that?? s how it had been for the first two days. Now until we make our turn east we will have the coast to watch.
I am watching some thunder heads coming off shore of West Palm. So I decide to make the turn early and try to either let them get out past me and come and follow them to the Gulfstream. Or get out in front and let them go behind us. Around midnight the plan goes to crap as the storms and us greet. I quickly drop the sails and get the weather gear out. The seas pipe up to 5-7 and we see 35 knts of wind and a ton of lightning. At one point the only time we can see the waves is during the lightning.
The storm blows through and no hrm done. I leave the sails down and we motor out into the stream. The seas are on the nose with 8-10 footers, so we are getting an occasional wave over the bows. While cruising along about 0300, I hit a wave and a flying fish comes through the observation flap in the bimini, and hits me in the head. A true wake up call. Otto is now at the helm and I lay down for a nap in the cockpit. I miss the sunrise completely. I jump up and check every thing out, and find that with making our turn east earlier than we intended, we had more set than plotted. Bummer!!!!! I damn near have missed the Bahamas. But luckily we can still make the banks at Matanilla Shoals, and clear at Walkers Cay. We make the bank around 1200 and decide to drop the hook on the Lily Banks. We catch a Barracuda and a nice snapper as we come over the edge, so fresh fish tonight. At around 1900 we are anchored in twelve feet of beautiful clear water. We have made it to the Bahamas.
Lily to Walkers
We wake to flat cal seas and a light breeze, we drink a little coffee and pull the hook. Walker?? s cay is busy as we pull in; they direct us into a slip. Unfortunately the slip is not as wide as it needs to be. So we tie up abeam to another boat?? s stern. I jump to the dock and clear us all in. We get an ice cream and a dog walk in and we are cruising south. Our anchorage tonight would be Double Breasted Cay. A beautiful motor sail over, we anchor off the southern tip and a quiet night is had by all
Destination today is Moraine for some snorkeling, and will over night there. We sail around the point and ease into the small harbor between the reef and cay. I immediately ?sand us”, a little reverse and we are free. I little snorkeling, a dink to the beach for Shorty and the dogs, we are finally on ?island time”
Marsh harbor to Charleston
We have made it to the beautiful Abacos. Our next destinations were Powell Cay, for an overnight, then stop in New Plymouth for provisions, and then across the Loggerhead Channel and anchor in Baker's Bay. We are planning on attending an Abaco Board Meeting. Which is going to be at Guana Seaside. A beautiful little motel and bar at the north end of Guana Cay.
Guana Seaside is owned and operated by Gerry, Bob, and first mate/bartender/manager, Glen. Bob and Gerri sailed down here from NH, fell in love with the island and bought the motel. Great food and REALLY cruiser friendly people.
Esteemed Board Members
The board meeting was attended by Abaco Skippy, Doctor Ralph, Jerry, Abaco Peach, and Debbie. All would be here for a week or so so we would see them again soon.
We have to pick up Susie in Marsh Harbor soon so we will spend a few nights in Baker's Bay then pick her up and head south. ,Our friends Hillary and Shawn (friends from the marina) were also sailing over. So we had friends coming in from all directions.
Us At Baker's Bay Hillary and Shawn
We pick up our friend Susie at the airport then back to Baker's Bay for the night. We enjoy another beautiful night. the conditions warrant a trolling trip down to Lower Pelican Cay. We don't catch any fish, but we have a great motorsail down and through the North Bar Pass. I tuck us in close to the cay, drop the hook. Another fantastic day!!!!
Lower Pelican Cay
We sailback north after some snorkeling and stopping at Hope Town and Tiloo Banks for overnighters. Then we drop Susie off, really enjoyed having her aboard for a week, and meet up with Hillary and Shawn, who had finally made it to Baker's.
While we are with them we do a lot of fishing and snorkeling at Fowl Cay Reef and on the reef off of the north end of Guana. It is fantastic! They have become very close friends. And we will miss them as the time has come for us to head back.
Baker's Bay to Bohicket
On about or around the end of the month I checked Internet weather and it agreed with Barometer Bob (Abacos cruiser?? s net), that the next four or five days the passage back looked real good. So we said all our good byes and headed north.
We left Baker?? s Bay and headed for Green Turtle for some fuel and provisioning first. Then headed for Allan?? s Pensacola for the first day headed back. Allan?? s had more people than I like so we anchored just north at the next Cay (Umbrella Cay). The second day was to Great Sale Cay for our next anchorage. Other than slaying Barracuda and seeing a blue hole, pretty uneventful. The next morning we head for West End to top off the fuel and get a night 's sleep before turning to 358?? .
We shoved off about 0800 and were in the Gulf Stream quickly with 5-10 knts of wind out of the Southeast and a following sea of maybe 2?? and 3.5 knots of current. Motor sailing making 10-11 was all right. We saw maybe three ships and other than losing all the water AGAIN, and running out of smokes it had been pretty smooth so far
We had lost the autohelm, so some one had to be at the helm constantly. The second night about 40 hrs into the trip a real storm finally nailed us. We were between St. Simon?? s and Savanna and I had been watching the wall of storms building all day. We were about 85 to 100 miles off, so basically had nowhere to go. After catching a Wahoo (45 lbs) just as the sun set . We hit the storms at around 0430.gusts50 knt and rain so hard I could not see to the bow and 5-7 footers over the bows. Three hours later we were still floating and I had found a pack of smokes in my foulies so life was good!!
Dock to dock 51 hours we were back safely in our slip and sleeping FINALLY.
Total days 5/28- 6/30=34 days
Total miles: 1200
We had a BLAST, learned more about our boat and ourselves than we ever imagined!