Dawn Patrol

11 March 2015 | Black Point Settlement
04 March 2015 | Staniel Cay
21 February 2015
11 February 2015 | Bimini, Bahamas
03 February 2015 | John Pennikamp Park
02 February 2015
26 January 2015 | Key Largo, Fl
12 January 2015 | Daytona Beach
11 January 2015 | Marinland
05 January 2015
23 October 2014 | Ocracoke Island
22 October 2014 | Ocrokoke
20 October 2014
17 October 2014 | Manteo,MC
07 September 2014 | Kill Devil Hills,NC
27 April 2014 | Manteo NC
13 March 2014
08 March 2014 | Marineland
07 March 2014 | St Augustine, Florida

Black Point Settlement school

11 March 2015 | Black Point Settlement
This morning was a school day! Neither Townes nor Connor were too excited when we told them yesterday of our plans to have them attend school today. All the convincing we could do about what a great cultural experience it would be fell short on them. Townes was a good sport nevertheless, agreeing to get “dressed up” in his nice shirt, belt and khaki shorts. We all met at the dock and walked over together, an American and a Canadian family, taking their kids to a Bahamian school. They both were accepted without fanfare. One boy got a desk out for Townes and another got him a book to read. We enjoyed a private moment when we saw the title ”Snoopy’s first word book” Townes graciously accepted it and began “reading”.

We got the schedule from the teacher and agreed to meet at 12:00 for lunch. With the boys safely tucked away at school, we had the morning to catch up on boat projects and do some more exploring. We made a picnic lunch and walked over to retreived the boys. They both complained about how easy the school was. Townes brought home a worksheet that I’d say was a second grade level. The lobbying to not go back for the afternoon started. Fortunately Cindy and Ron were also set on having Connor go back for the remainder of the day. The parents prevailed eventually but it was touch and go. We later remarked that if either of us has capitulated than the other would have as well and they would have not gone back. We picked them up at 3:00 and thanked the teacher for having them participate. One girl commented “he’s very smart” After school we got a coke and hiked up to the blowhole as a treat for sticking it out!

Keeping the Pigs at Bay!

04 March 2015 | Staniel Cay
We spent a few days in Staniel Cay, home to the famous “Thunderball Dome” grotto featured in the James Bond movie with the same name. Great snorkeling and still pretty well preserved despite boaters anchoring on the nearby coral reef.

One of the features of the area is the Swimming Pigs on Big Majors Island. These wild pigs have gotten used to boaters (I think too used to) and swim out to boats anchored off the beach looking for a handout. As you can see in the picture some people venture too close and get more than they bargained for!
Unfortunately visitors are no longer content to observe wildlife from a distance but feel they need to get up close and personal. We got a few laughs watching the people who got off their boats onto the beach get chased around by 300 pound wild sows. It gets difficult when one jumps into your boat—especially if you have an inflatable dingy and are boarded by sharp hoofed Sus scrofa.

Shadow did his part though—standing on the bow of Dawn Patrol he proceeded to bark when they approached driving them off to a safe distance.

The Gulf Stream crossing!

21 February 2015
We left Miami at 4h00 am. Our family got up at 3:30 to hoist anchor and dock to take Shadow to do his business. We discovered that our mast light was not working. I was on lookout for ships, buoys, and obstructions going out of No-Name Harbor.
The skyline of Miami was lit up as of the power of one hundred billion fireflies all shining their lights. Most of the time all you heard was the drone of the engine then occasionally you would hear the drilling of a passing airplane over DP. DP soon had her jib and main up and was sailing. I went ahead and took a cat nap, just after I woke up the sun rose. It was not the most extravert sun rise like I hoped it would because the cloud where out. Later we did our talisman tradition of spreading pops ashes. During the crossing we encountered 2 freighters crossing in front of us. We were soon sailing across the Gulf Stream! After a few hours, Bimini was in sight! We were the first boat to arrive in port before the brigade of boats come streaming in. Dad cleared customs easy no problem! Dad did a blog on that too. We are in the Bahamas!

The Courtesy Flag is Up!

11 February 2015 | Bimini, Bahamas
After crossing the Gulf Stream in nearly perfect conditions we've arrived in the Bahamas! Soon after tucking safely into the harbor in Bimini winds picked up to near gale force overnight. This morning we woke to ocean swells of 8-10 ft. and the harbor entrance impassible.

Once arriving in the Bahamas, the yellow "Quarantine" pennant goes up the mast until you check into Customs. Clearing Bahamian Customs was a cinch! Captain Paul had to walk several blocks to the local customs office with the paperwork to check in. Shadow had to wait on Dawn Patrol (holding it after an 8 hour sail!). As luck would have it I got the new girl at Customs and when it came to Shadow's "permit to import a live animal" she disappeared for what seemed like forever to check with a superior. Finally she returned and wielding the Official Bahamian stamp started imprinting everything in sight. Twenty minutes later I was on my way back to the boat, although I admit to a stopover and the local spirits store for a liter of Bahamian dark rum for a mere $9.95!

Once back on the boat, the quarantine flags comes down and we raised the Bahamian Courtesy Flag off our yardarm. We're here!

If the day couldn't get any better--a local johnboat appears off our stern with two local fisherman with a boat loaded with conch and fresh lobsters. We bought half a dozen conch, $6 as the fisherman cracked them open right before our eyes! Fresh conch salad for dinner--what a treat!

Great to be in the crystal clear Bahamian waters--now waiting our next weather window to head east to the Berry Islands!

The View from Above

03 February 2015 | John Pennikamp Park
Today was a day to go up the mast. Light winds and calm seas, I donned my harness, gathered some tools and had Susannah winch me up the mast (backed up with a set of climbing jumers on a second halyard in case she might be thinking of cashing in the life insurance policy :). After replacing the navigation light at the masthead, I had a chance to snap a few photos from above. The water was so clear you can see the bottom. A few birds flew by beneath me--looking down on the birds even!

Snorkeling Grecian Rocks

02 February 2015
Great day on the reef. Yep, still in Florida!

There's Beauty in Adverse Weather

26 January 2015 | Key Largo, Fl
Paul, photo by Townes
Awoke before dawn to get the weather update--looks like a no go at least until end of the week. The wind cranked today to 30+ and the Gulf Stream is running 10 ft.
A good day to homeschool, catch up on boat maintenance--I even managed to go up the mast to install a wifi antenna. Best of all it works great--can receive signals over a mile away!

Townes caught this beautiful sunrise out his berth window. You've no doubt heard "red sky in morning sailors take warning". We can attest to that.

Headed for Bimini—So how did we end up south in John Pennekamp Park?

23 January 2015

We had completed all of our preparations, stocked the boat, refueled, and checked the weather—(actually the checklist ran several pages, but I will spare you the details). It looked like great weather for a crossing and even the Bahama weather guru Chris Parker said it was a go.
The only problem was the weather forecast 3 days out. While we could cross the Gulf Stream Wednesday, it looked very likely that we would be holed up in Bimini for 5 days as some severe weather moved into the Bahamas. Townes was lobbying heavily for going to our favorite spot, John Pennekamp Park!! We considered the options and decided to head South to Key Largo.
Tucked inside Largo Sound we moored in beautiful sparkling clear water. The next few days will be time for some well-earned chillaxing time with SUP-ing, windsurfing, snorkeling and of course boat projects!
Next plan: Possible passage Saturday morning...
Vessel Name: Dawn Patrol
Vessel Make/Model: Gemini 105 MC
Hailing Port: Manteo, NC
Crew: Paul Manning, Susannah Sakal, Townes Manning
Paul and Susannah own and operate specialty coffee shops in the Outer Banks of NC. The Front Porch Cafe roasts all of its coffee in house and has been serving coffee to locals and visitors since 1999. Visit us at www.killdevilcoffee.com. Townes is a 10 year old with a passion for sailing. [...]
Extra: We would love to hear from other sailing families!

At the end of the rainbow

Who: Paul Manning, Susannah Sakal, Townes Manning
Port: Manteo, NC