Amarone II

CS Merlin 36 built in Ontario Canada

03 April 2014 | San Augustine to Fernandina
02 April 2014 | Now in Daytona
31 March 2014 | Melbourne Fla
30 March 2014 | Vero Beach
26 March 2014 | West Palm Beach
24 March 2014 | North Lake Worth
22 March 2014 | West End, Grand Bahama
19 March 2014 | Gree Turtle
17 March 2014 | Green Turtle Cay, Abacos
13 March 2014 | Treasure cay
05 March 2014 | Hope Town
02 March 2014 | Hope Town
24 February 2014 | Marsh Harbour
19 February 2014 | Little Harbour, Abacos
17 February 2014 | Hatchet Harbour
15 February 2014 | Alice town
13 February 2014 | Alice Town, Eleuthera
09 February 2014 | Rock Point Settlement - Eleuthera
07 February 2014 | Black Point Settlement, Big Guana Cay
30 January 2014 | Georgetown

1 day left and a long one

03 April 2014 | San Augustine to Fernandina
15 knots and 80 clear skies
All good things must come to an end.

We will do the final leg of the return home tomorrow early given that we have 55 NMs to go likely a 10 hour day. Up early at 6 and at first light we are off. A bit of a tricky passage tomorrow since we have to go through 2 buoys on the ocean side before re-entering the ICW. Studied the charts so I am ready.

We left Daytona this morning in time for the 8:15 bridge and hovered in from of it for 25 minutes otherwise the next opening was an hour later then you lose your day. Got in at 3:30 and at the mooring ball at 4 after topping off the diesel.

Gosh one day left to this 6 month trek and it will take us many months to absorb it all.

Great moments:

Fort Lauderdale in Sylvia lake and all of a sudden Phil and Krista show up in their dink and we had a great dinner and reunion

South Beach where we spent almost 2 weeks and had Christmas with Haven, Milevasions and Harmonium. Phil and Allan liked their 2 gallon margaritas.

No name Harbour where the B2B fleet was tagged by Krista (Biscayne to Bimini), we had insufferable meetings regarding weather and the "Crossing" and I recall Krista saying....ENOUGH.

The B2B fleet was comprised of Amarone II, Harmonium, Haven, Luna, Mar-A-Lago, Eleamor Q, Mandella, Magnolia, and Millevasions.

Next great moment was the arrival and the week we spent in Bimini, the B2B fleet gathered for New Year's and we celebrated our crossing and togetherness.

Norman Cay will always stay precious, we sat out our first real big blow in the dead of night and enjoyed Happy Hour on that island with just one palm tree.

Black Point, gosh what an incredibly friendly and accommodating community with showers, laundromat and groceries all in one little building.

Then I have to move to Eleuthera and Harchet Harbour where again we were greeted like family and a great place to sit through another blow.

Abacos, well Little Harbour, Tabern Cay, Hope Ttown, Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Sale Cay.

More about expectations in my next blog.

Woohoo we are almost home

Bruce and Claude

2 days to go before boat haul out

02 April 2014 | Now in Daytona
Coolish 20c
Another long day of motoring in calm waters, which is good given the length of the lakes we have to cross. Tried a couple of times to set the Genny but the breeze was on the nose.

We saw tons of dolphins and manatees all the way through and what moments those are, but it is a long and silent voyage. I call it mind numbing.....hours and hours of motoring with little to see. (50 miles per day), 8 hour days of motoring, imagine motoring Lake Ontario West to East in the centre of the lake day after day. Yikes, what a shock.

If you recall I did a burgee exchange (LOCCA) with Halifax River Yacht Dlub and we were greeted like kings today....drinks T the bar erc.

Nice moments for sure.

Another 2 days of 50 miles per day and then Our best friend Amarone 11 gets to sigh and say .....gosh - who are these guys telling me what to do.....LOL

Hugs to Jane and Brian, Carol and Bunky,

Miss you guys

Countdown to Fernandina

31 March 2014 | Melbourne Fla
No wind and 25c
We are on a mission.
Get the boat back to Fernandina and then on a truck

The difference with our sailing buddies is that they have no set timeline for arrival anywhere.

Most have sold their houses and other assets and the boat is home. A few of us have not done so and therefore we have the opportunity to move at our leisure.

Exceptions are Mar-A-Lago and Eleamor Q and Luna where we have something to go back to. We look forward to launching Amarone II in 3 weeks in cold weather.

It has been a journey with great friends and we are happy to have made it. Trust me, it is not a trip for the faint of heart. Hard work, Hard planning, second guessing the weather experts, then dozens of hours navigating to wherever you are going, and the constant anxiety as to whether the right decision was made.

Thanks to Prudence and her sailing insights, Kindred Spirits

Coming home

30 March 2014 | Vero Beach
L&V 26c
It was a sad morning when we left Stuart. Our friends Jane and Brian were on deck waving us away. Jane invented this little wave that we share, a two handed wave almost like the guys that direct aircraft to their docking zone but much faster. We parted company exactly 3 months to the day (dec 29) in No Name Harbour.

You do not separate after 3 months without having a sense of loss. The same happened with Bunky and Carol when we separated. Gosh I miss these friends already.

So now Claude and I are on our own moving our way North with a fantastic forecast in the offering. Today was tedious, we had 20 knots on the nose for 30 miles then the winds abated around launch time and we arrived on schedule at 3 this afternoon.

Interesting little point, when I called in at Vero Beach to go to the gas dock, the guy "Hey Bruce, welcome back" really wow I was so impressed and we are alone on a mooring ball given that the last time we were 3 boats on 1 ball.

We leave tomorrow am for Eau Gallie or Dragon Point which is a great anchorage in a very protected cove, then on to Titusville.

We plan to be in Fernandina, keep our fingers crossed, a week today then prep the boat for transport and on the road home by the 13th or so. Dying to soak in my hot tub.

The weather forecast mis absolutely delicious for the next 7 days most we will burn diesel to take advantage of it. Loaded up today with water and gas and diesel for the last time?

Special thanks to Jane and Carol and Brian and Bunky for their friendship and presence throughout. Could not have traveled with better people. Almost forgot Prudence and Mickey and Minnie, Prudence has a vote on the boat, she is a little mascot that has a say in every sailing decisions. I regret that Prudence never met Mickey and Minnie but that is such a wise process to have a third vote on boat movements, many times we thanked Prudence.

See you all soon

Bruce Hannah
US cell: 904 206 1628

Another adventurous night

26 March 2014 | West Palm Beach
Very cold 15C, cold
We were nicely anchored in North Lake Worth when all of a sudden Claude wakes me up rather brutally saying that the boat was sinking, this was at 11.15 pm. We had a big list to starboard. Immediately we looked at the bilge and the lazarette yet no water. I then turn on the instruments to find that we were in less than 6 feet of water. During the night a cold front came through and shifted the boat into shallow water. We were hard on the bottom and there was nothing we could do except go back to bed and wait for high tide then move the boat to deeper water which we did at 7 this morning. Kinda strange, felt like we were heeled over in 15 knots of wind yet we were stationary. Luckily we were 15 minutes from low tide so this was as far as we would list

We hailed Mar-A-Lago because of their proximity to us to advise them of our situation because if they swung with a wind shift we could have collided given that we would not be shifting with the wind. They were very re-assuring and were glad for the heads-up.

Good grief, we did laugh about it that night as the boat slowly righted itself.

Today we are dealing with a cold front and winds out of the North. We plan to leave tomorrow am and head to Stuart and enjoy that really great town that is boater friendly. By the way, Brian on Mar-a-Lago informed us that the yellow estate on the East side is Jack Nicklaus' house and that Tiger keeps his mega Yacht across the way. We are in between maybe that cash will stick to us!!!!!!!

Given that Calude and I had no more than 2 hours of sleep, an early dinner and early to bed will be a luxury. No more drama please.

See you in Toronto is a few weeks.

Claude now has his former role, got confirmation today. Great news

And I have been appointed to the Institute of Corporate Directors for York region as a committee member overseeing governance, planning and more. Really excited by this but our first meeting is April 2nd and I have to figure out how to attend the meeting.

The adventures continue.

Bruce Hannah
US cell: 904 206 1628

Crossed the big pond

24 March 2014 | North Lake Worth
Raining, no wind and 24C
The West End is a beautiful resort and marina but very pricey at $2 per linear foot plus $22.5 per day for power and a mandatory water fee of $15 per day, and the prices get jacked up for high season on April 1.

Our stay there was interesting to say the least. Not that we were caught up in anything, but other boats were. Per my last blog, we traveled 48 nms from Great Sale Cay to West end Grand Bahama on Friday because of weather uncertainties. Chris Parker advised that the only good opportunity to move boats across the Gulf was either Saturday or Sunday. Windfinder and other similar sites gave Sunday a better crossing than Saturday. So after many deliberations with Brian and Jane, we opt for Sunday and are we glad we did.

On Saturday morning, boats started leaving as early as 2am more at 3 and others at 4 including a 125 foot mega yacht. Of the 6 or so boats that left, 3 came back including the mega yacht. Brian was listening to VHF 16 and the chatter was "I did not sign up for this". Our decision proved to be the right one almost.

If we did not leave Sunday then the next window was 6 days away and at $125 per day and no town to speak of, we would have gone stir crazy and empty pocketed.

Claude and I were up at 5:15 to prep the boat for a departure at 6:45. While I am top side, I could incredible profanity and yelling and screaming, I thought it was a drunken family feud but we were told that one of the sailboats that left at 5 am wrapped a line around their prop and they were heading for the rocks inside the harbour. If I were the spouse on that boat getting that kind of incredible abuse, I would have booked a flight out of there and immediately filed for divorce. As we left the harbour at 6:45' we saw the boat anchored in the harbour and they looked glum. I really felt bad for her.

Once we hit the open Atlantic it was toss and tumble with very confused waves running at 4 to 5 feet with 10 knots of wind from the SW. Since the wind howled during the night I was really not wanting to be out there but once there, it was not as rough as I expected. (I had put on my Scopalamine patch before bed time 8 pm and I was fine). We got knocked around quite a bit nu the boat had been secured so nothing tossed except us and I did not OSS my cookies which was a great relief.

9 other boats left that morning with most boats going to a fort Pierce while 4 of us headed to Lake Worth. As predicted, the waves started abating 2 hours into the journey and once off the Florida coast, they became negligible. Still not for the faint of heart.

We finally arrived and we are comfortably anchored at North Lake Worth after 11 hours of motoring in very weird seas. We all looked forward to a few beers and to relax. I was in bed at 9 and slept all the way through to 7:30.

As an after thought for all would be crossers - there is TOO much hype around the crossing. Sailors make it sound like having to reach the last few miles to the top of Everest. The Gulf Stream ain't Mount Everest and if you have a good boat and are prudent in reading your weather, then it should not be an issue at all. Avoidance of Northerly winds is the mantra but not the law. It is no different than sailing or motoring to Cobourg which is about the same distance. Who goes to Cobourg with a strong Easterly? No different on the Gulf don't go in a Northerly.

We are thrilled to be in Florida and making our way North.

We had to clear customs in person which was a shock given that we have our Nexus and Boat Registration number which is almost a guarantee of clearing customs by phone but the lady on the phone could not find our number, so we had to show up in person. It took one hour to get a taxi this morning to go to customs and once there we had a minimum 3 hour wait, we met with boat buddies namely Clarity and Sea wings V. Once we got to the customs office, the officer took our Nexus card and passport and BR number and came back saying we can leave and that we are totally cleared. Every one else took at least 45 minutes with an agent. Anyone planning a trip South get your Nexus and BR number totally worth the $55 for 5 years.

So we come to the end of our journey and we do so with mixed feelings. Glad to have done it, would we do it again? No. What did we like, Abacos for sure (Little Harbour, Black Point, Treasure Cay, Marsh Harbour for provisions), the Exhumas, Waderick's Wells, Cambridge bay, Hatchet Harbour in Eleuthera and Great Sale Cay for the absolute wilderness and nothingness.

Did not like Spanish Wells in Eleuthera (a completely white society where the locals are worker bees), Black Sound in Eleuthera where we did not even leave the boat. In the Abacos, I refused to go to Man-of-War where only whites are allowed to live there and the locals must leave the island at night and are not allowed to even sleep on the island (apartheid?).

It was a great trip, we have met great people and look forward to the journey North.

Bruce Hannah
US cell: 904 206 1628
Vessel Name: Amarone II
Vessel Make/Model: CS Merlin 36
Hailing Port: ABYC - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Crew: Bruce Hannah & Claude tremblay
About: Claude has been sailing for 20 years and I am remiss to say (without giving away my age) that I have been sailing for 50 years (I really started as a tot).
Extra: Bahamas phone number 242 473 1067 Email, Courriel:
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Amarone II's Photos -

Amarone II

Who: Bruce Hannah & Claude tremblay
Port: ABYC - Toronto, Ontario, Canada