Farewell to Nemo
17 April 2019
Farewell to Nemo
We decided to stay one more night in Marineland. Some crazy weather came through last night. The boats were heeling at the docks. Don saw 44 kts. on his meter. Today is market day. We loaded up on fresh produce, bread and pastries. The marina gave us free passes to Marineland Dolphin adventure, so we spent the afternoon there.
Don and Judy have decided to skip St. Augustine and go offshore from Mayport inlet at Jacksonville. We are not in a hurry, so we plan to stop in St. Augustine. We said our"goodbyes" and saw Nemo off at 8a.m. We left the marina at 8:40 a.m. It was a nice short day to St. Augustine. We arrived at the fuel dock at 11:40 and were in our slip at noon. We spent the afternoon strolling around the historic district and had a Sangria at a little cafe on a balcony overlooking the crowds of tourists. We took an evening walk and ended up at O.C. White's for dinner. We sat on the patio and enjoyed the music.
Based on the weather predictions we decided to go offshore, leaving through the inlet at St. Augustine and travel to Charleston. The next good window looks to be one or even two weeks away. We left the municipal marina at 8:45 a.m. and went through the Bridge of Lions on the 9 o'clock opening. The inlet here has just been dredged. We talked with Don. They got an early start too out of the Mayport inlet near Jacksonville. We agreed to check in with them at noon. We knew that the tide was starting to come in already, but we didn't expect such a rage. It was a little calmer once we cleared the channel and got into deeper water. The winds were higher than predicted and on our nose. The winds were supposed to clock around to the south but never did. The seas were confused with the wind and waves in opposing directions. Between the time we talked to Don again at noon and 2 p.m. the conditions continued to get worse. We decided to go in at the Mayport inlet and Nemo headed in at St. Mary's, Georgia. The St. John's River was busy with tugs, ferrys and ships. Luckily there was one spot left for us on the dock at Sister's Creek and a couple of nice guys to catch our lines. Captain Carl did a fast 180 degrees and slipped right in between two other boats. The tide was ripping down the dock. We met some of the other people on the dock. The couple behind us with three boys are on a Shannon 28 from Maine. One was climbing the rigging. They are making there way back from the Florida Keys and will be leaving their boat in Deltaville to sell. They're looking for a bigger boat. We had BLT's on raisin bread for dinner and watched a few old episodes of Friends. There is some nasty weather coming Friday. Looks like we will be crawling along the ICW. On the bright side, we can see some of our favorite places in Georgia!
Ft. Pierce to Marineland
13 April 2019
We spent three nights in Ft. Pierce waiting for some weather (wind and rain) to move through. There was a lot of wind but not much rain. Brenda took us all to do some provisioning for our trip north. We had some delicious bbq ribs at a place that she recommended for lunch. Brenda came back to the boat with us and we enjoyed a glass of wine together. We talked with cruising friends on S/V SeaQuell, Utopia, and Monarch. They will all be spending some time in Urbanna this summer. It will be fun to see everyone again. Judy and I enjoyed walking around the historic district by the marina at Ft. Pierce. We stopped by the Manatee center and shopped at the gift store.
After fueling up and pumping out, we left the fuel dock at Ft. Pierce marina at 7:40 a.m. It was clear with light S.W. winds.
A huge ray flew out of the water into the air just ahead of us. There were lots of dolphins and pelicans on the Indian River. The homes along the waterway here are beautiful. Some clouds rolled in and we had a few sprinkles of rain after lunch. The winds shifted to the East. Nemo anchored near Cocoa Beach and we rafted up with them at 5:15 p.m. We played a game of dominoes after dinner.
We left our anchorage at 7:30 a.m. We motored to New Smyrna Beach. Traffic was backed up on the NASA Causeway Bridge. There were buses and campers crossing over to get a spot to view the rocket launch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. We could see the rocket on the launch pad in the distance. Haul Over Canal was busy with fishermen and kayaks. We saw manatee, dolphin, skates and jellyfish. We tied up to the New Smyrna Beach free dock at 4 p.m. and walked to town for dinner. We had drinks and pulled pork nachos at Yellow Dog Eats. Then we walked through town and found an opening at the rail road crossing to watch the rocket launch at 6:30. We had a great view of the rocket and the boosters as they fell away. Then we walked to the Corkscrew for dinner. We called it a night and returned to the boats.
We left the New Smyrna dock at 7 a.m. The weather was clear, sunny and hot! The winds were S-S.E. at 5-10 knots. The wind picked up just enough to put
out the head sail for a bit on the Matanzas River. Butterflies have been traveling with us for days. We arrived at Marineland Marina at 3 p.m. We all had dinner on Bay Breezin'. We were tired and so we called it an early night.
Snakes, Turtles and Butterflies....oh my!
Judy and I went for a walk to the beach and returned 5 hours later. We read about a place called Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. It was only a 30 minute walk down the A1A highway from the beach. The city built a beautiful, wide sidewalk for pedestrians and bicycles. There were condos and beach houses part of the way. Then there was a stretch of natural area that was full of wild flowers and wild life. We saw snakes, a large snapping turtle and zillions of butterflies. I kept my eyes peeled for alligators! We finally reached our destination. Washington Oaks is on the National Register of Historic Places. What a beautiful place it was. It has a rich history from orange groves to the homeplace of Owen and Louise Young. He was chairman of G.E.,founder and chairman of RCA. She was a self made millionaire, manufacturing lingerie and table linen in the Philippines, at the age of 19. They built a winter home, an office for his photography interest, a green house, art studio and formal gardens. We walked the half mile of trails through these beautiful gardens with lush tropical foliage, fountains and roses. After visiting the greenhouse and the gift shop, we walked back to the marina. It was 5 miles round trip. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry. After a delicious meal on Nemo, we called it an early night ...again!
08 April 2019
We untied our lines from the dock at Treasure Cay marina at 9:35 a.m. for the last time this season. It is always bitter sweet to leave this beautiful place.
We spent our last week squeezing in a few more of our favorite things while preparing for our departure. We snorkeled the wreck just outside of Treasure Cay one day and then went to The Bahama Beach Club for fish wraps, burgers and beers. Judy and I spent more time beach combing and we floated on the Sea of Abaco for hours. On the last Sunday, we enjoyed the beautiful voice of a six year old Bahamian girl who sang for us at church. We had waffles at Cafe La Florence for the last time, and said "good bye" to Florence and Captain Forty. We shared one last pizza with Don and Judy on pizza night at Tipsy's and we rode our bikes one last time before packing them up.
The marina is almost empty now as most cruisers are heading north. The resort has been getting ready for the high season. The marina will be full again with sport fishing boats in the summer. The weather is clear with light winds and flat seas as we left the marina just ahead of S/V Nemo. There is not enough wind to sail, so we are motoring. We transited through the cut at Whale Cay. There were some large swells in the Atlantic as we cut out and back in again to the Sea of Abaco. Green Turtle Cay was off our starboard side at noon. We had a light lunch on board and soaked in the beautiful scenery. A few dolphin swam along with us just before sunset. Conditions remained calm with light winds with 1 foot waves. A few anchor lights were visible as we passed Great Sale Cay just after dark. We have enjoyed the light of a full moon on previous passages, but with just a sliver of a moon this time, the night is perfect for star gazing. After dark, the waves continued to build. Carl and I took turns at watch and we each managed to get in a few hours of sleep. Sunrise was a welcomed sight. We were having scrambled eggs, toast and coffee for breakfast as we left the Little Bahama Banks at 8 a.m. There were flying fish all around us. Their silver scales sparkling in the sun. As we got into the deeper waters of the Atlantic, the waves got a little higher with larger swells. Large schools of flying fish continued to streak by us for hours. In the Gulf stream, our speed increased to nearly 8 knots. We had to slow down a bit to avoid the wake of a container ship that crossed in front of us. We surfed the big waves into Fort Pierce. We thought we had timed our arrival at the inlet at slack tide, but the current was still running out as we were going in. With the addition of large waves against the current, this made for a wild ride in! We arrived at the city marina around 6:00 p.m. Clearing in through customs has been made easier now with a new phone app. Yep, there's an app for that! The first leg of our journey home, from Treasure Cay to Fort Pierce, was 186 miles and took 29 hours. We will spend a few days here before continuing our trip north.
Time For A Cool Change
18 March 2019
We have been busy with visits from friends. Cecelia and Andy were here last week. We had a nice week with lots of beach time and dancing. We also enjoyed a day sail last Sunday with lunch on board Bay Breezin'. Don and Judy have had guests too. Last week they had son Nathan and this week,son Seth, his wife Becky and their son Zane. They invited us to explore some new places with them and I am ready to get out on the water for a few days. Let's go!
We left Treasure Cay at 9:30 a.m., with Nemo following. It was mostly sunny with S.E. Winds at 10-15 knots. It was a beautiful day with a cool breeze. This is a welcomed change after a few days of running the air conditioner. Spring has arrived and is quickly warming into summer-like weather. Bird songs are in the air. Hummingbirds and butterflies are everywhere and the curly tails are getting big and fat. The wind is on our nose, so we motored all the way to Hope Town on Elbow Cay. There are about 40 boats anchored outside. Nemo anchored out and we went in the harbor. The moorings are full, but there is a slip available at the Lighthouse marina. It is 1:30 p.m. when we are tied up. Don, Judy and crew come in on their tender. We get our in the water and follow them across the harbor to the dinghy dock at the Sailing club. We all walked up the charming streets to the ice cream shop. Rum raisin, chocolate and coconut ice cream made in Nassau were the flavors of choice. It was delicious! Don and Judy take us all up to the Reef Bar and Grill for rum drinks. The view of the reefs on the Atlantic side is beautiful. Set jumped in the pool and then we headed down the steps to the beach with our snorkel gear. The water was calm and the reefs were full of small reef fish and beautiful coral. I saw a Parrot fish and a Bluehead Wrasse. Judy swam with a couple of rays.
After drying out a bit we walked back to the other side of the island and rode back across the harbor to our boats.
We were up at first light. We took a walk up to the lighthouse. I climbed to the top for a few pictures. I never get tired of seeing this beautiful old lighthouse. After a stop in the gift shop, we returned to prepare for departure. There was a huge manatee hanging out by our boat. He was drinking the fresh water that someone left dripping over the side. He kept using his flippers to scratch his nose where the water was tickling him. There was a large remora fish attached to him. Everyone stopped by to take pictures. We departed the marina at 10:00 a.m. Nemo was weighing anchor as we came out of the harbor. We followed them down to Tahiti Beach at the south end of Elbow Cay. The skies were clear with light S.W. winds. We anchored out and took our tenders in to the beach. There were lots of boats and people in the shallow water and on the beach. We walked the beach for an hour or so and as we were leaving, a "food truck" type boat arrived. The "Thirsty Cuda" was selling lunch and drinks. We took off across the water to Lubbers Quarters Cay. We had plans for lunch at Cracker P's. Cracker P's filled up quickly for lunch. We enjoyed Bahamian beers, burgers and grilled chicken, with slaw and peas and rice. We rode back to our anchored boats and headed north to Marsh Harbour. We followed Nemo into the harbor. They anchored and we rafted alongside. We rested a little and then put the tenders in to go to dinner at the Jib Room at Marsh Harbour marina. There was a buffet of Bahamian style grouper, steaks and grilled chicken with baked potato, steamed vegetables, tossed salad and bread. We shared brownies and ice cream with rum sauce for dessert. The entertainment started at 7:00. The music was accompanied by a couple of guys playing the saw and maracas. They had an assortment of saws and encouraged the audience to try playing them. Seth and Zane both played along. There was dancing and then they set up the limbo stick. The kids, and a few adults had fun trying to see how low they could go! Zane could really do the limbo! Then, when it was as low as it could go, they lit it on fire and a man did the limbo under it, almost flat on his back, while lighting his cigarette. It was a great evening. We managed to find our way back to the boats without too much trouble in the dark!
We slept a little later this morning. As soon as Carl suggested Jamie's Place for breakfast, we were all ready in a flash. We took our dingies into the dinghy dock by Mangoes and walked to Jamie's. It was closed! It was Sunday, but we hadn't even thought to check ahead. We walked across the street to Abaco Resort and marina and ran into someone who told us that breakfast was better at Colors by the Sea. He was headed there, so we followed along. It was a great recommendation! We had omelettes, pancakes, bacon and grits. We got our exercise and we didn't need to eat the rest of the day! We got back to the boats and we untied from Nemo to head back to Treasure Cay at 11:00 a.m. We arrived back at our slip at 1:30 p.m. After dinner we met at the gazebo on the beach for drinks and a game of Mexican train dominoes.
22 February 2019
Rusty and Wanda decided to rent a power boat. It is the fastest way to see more of the Abacos. We introduced them to Captain Forty and they hired him to take us on a tour. We left Treasure Cay at 9 a.m. this morning. It was cloudy and really looked like it might rain on us. We headed into the wind and towards the darker clouds. It was a lumpy ride as we passed Marsh Harbour. It was about 10:30 a.m. when we arrived in Hopetown on Elbow Cay. Hopetown is one of my favorite places in the Abacos. The sun broke through the clouds and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. Captain Forty dropped us off at the ferry dock and we made our way down the narrow streets. We walked over the hill to the beach. The sand is pink! We stopped for a scoop of homemade coconut ice cream. Yum! After taking lots of pictures of cute cottages and lush tropical foliage and flowers, we stopped in the museum and a few gift shops. I breezed through a yard sale and found a few treasures. Then I hurried to catch up with everyone. We boarded our boat and left Hopetown at noon. Our next stop was Man O War Cay. We got off the boat at Albury's Sail Shop. They used to make sails here, but now they make all kinds of bags. Wanda and I made our purchases and Captain Forty joined us for a stroll along the waterfront where we saw boats being built. We stopped at a fabric shop and I bought a Man O War burgee. Then, we were off to Orchid Bay on Great Guana Cay. Captain Forty recommended The Sunsetter restaurant at the marina for lunch. We invited him to join us. We all enjoyed our lunches of salad, burgers and lobster over looking the Sea of Abaco. It was after 2p.m. when we left Orchid Bay. The Captain took us on a tour of Bakers Bay marina. It was fun to get a peak at the homes of "the rich and famous"! We all got a little wet on the ride back. It was just a little salt water spray. Not a cloud in sight! We were back in Treasure Cay at 3:30. After fueling up, we asked the Captain to show Wanda and Rusty some of the canals behind the marina. He showed us a large motor yacht that he is delivering to Hopetown next week. We waved at his son as we passed by his boat. Carl and I met Captain Forty when we first came here 4 years ago. He is Florence Sawyer's husband (of Cafe La Florence). He was the Captain of the 'Treasure Queen', a sight seeing boat here back in the 1980's. He had a long career as a boat delivery Captain from the Bahamas to the U.S.. We learned more history of the Abacos and enjoyed hearing his personal stories. Thanks to Captain Forty for a perfect day on the water!!
31 January 2019
Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbour
Wednesday January 30, 2019
We left Treasure Cay at 10:00 a.m. this morning. What a beautiful day. We have had a week of rainy, windy weather. There were several days that we didn’t even get off off the boat. It feels so good to be out with the sun sparkling on the water. Nemo is in front of us as we leave Treasure Cay. I saw a green turtle and then a beautiful spotted ray. The winds are light. It is almost low tide and the water is so calm it is easy to see all the way to the bottom. We are motoring to Marsh Harbour. It is 12:30 when we arrive at Mangoes Marina. This is our favorite little marina in Marsh Harbour. It has only one dock with 29 slips. First things first.....it’s lunch time. We headed across the street to Wally’s. This is an historic restaurant that we have heard about but never tried. It was time. It is a beautiful old two story Inn with lush gardens. We sat outside and enjoyed fresh snapper, conch burgers and plantains. After lunch, Judy and I started our shopping spree with the boutique there. Then on to Iggy Biggies, Island Girl and last but not least, Mangoes Boutique. We made a few special purchases and just had fun looking. Don and Carl were on the search for an engine part. They didn’t have any luck. We met up back at the marina and decided to make drinks to have by the pool. Afterwards we walked to Snappas for happy hour and a light dinner. After all the walking....and all of the rum drinks....we were all ready to turn in early.
We woke to partly cloudy conditions. There has been a change in the weather. The forecast looked like we had a few good days before the next front arrived, but it has arrived early. We decided to cut our trip short and try again next week. Judy and I walked to Maxwell’s to pick up some provisions. The supply boat came in yesterday so there was a nice selection of fresh produce. Carl and Don walked to Jamie’s Place for breakfast. We were all back just before the rain started about 10 a.m. I quickly put my groceries away, put on my foul weather gear and helped Carl with our departure. The rain stopped but the wind was kicking up. The waves were hitting us broadside and one large wave really pitched the boat. The gas can for the dinghy, that was tied under the captains seat, slid right out of the open transom. It happened so fast we didn’t know what went overboard at first. Carl quickly turned the boat around to try to retrieve it. It was floating upside down. I crawled down the stern of the boat with the gaff. It took several tries, circling back around, before I was able to get close enough to hook it. It turned out to be a good man overboard drill. It was 1:00 p.m. when we returned “home”. We saw wind gusts to 28 knots. Don and Judy were waiting to catch our lines when we got to our slip. After an afternoon nap, we joined Don and Judy on Nemo for dinner and a game of Yahtzee. The rains were torrential and the winds were howling after we were back safely aboard Bay Breezin’. What a difference a day makes!