The First Mate's Journal

Where to next?

Great Lakes to The Bahamas

Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
05 November 2009 | Deltaville, VA
16 October 2009 | Deltaville, VA
26 May 2009 | Deltaville
25 May 2009 | Deltaville
24 May 2009 | Fishing Bay (N37*32.418 W76*20.203) to Deltaville
23 May 2009 | Great Bridge VA (N36*43.285 W76*14.508) to Fishing Bay VA (N37*32.418 W76*20.203)
22 May 2009 | Buck Island, NC (N36*16.034 W75*57.520) to Great BridgeVA (N36*43.285 W76*14.508)
21 May 2009 | The Alligator River Bridge, NC (N35*53.847 W76*02.024) to Buck Island, NC (N36*16.034 W75*57.520)
20 May 2009 | Alligator River Bridge, NC
19 May 2009 | Alligator River Swing Bridge, NC
17 May 2009 | The Pungo River, NC (N35*33.715 W76*28.557) to Alligator Swing Bridge, NC (N35*53.874 W76*02.024)
16 May 2009 | Eastham Creek Anchorage NC (N35*17.680 W76*36.514) to The Pungo River, NC (N35*33.715 W76*28.557)
15 May 2009 | Town Creek Marina, Beaufort NC (N34*43.519 W76*39.898) to Eastham Creek, NC (N35*17.680 W76*36.514)
14 May 2009 | Town Creek Marina, Beaufort, NC
13 May 2009 | Taylor Creek, Beaufort, NC (34*42.860 76*39.831) to Town Creek Marina, Beaufort, NC
12 May 2009 | Mile Hammock Bay (N34*33.163 W77*19.528) SM#244.5 to Taylor Creek, Beaufort, NC (34*42.860 76*39.831)
11 May 2009 | Wrightsville Beach NC (N34*12.441 W77*47.965) SM#283.2 to Mile Hammock Bay (N34*33.163 W77*19.528) SM#244.5
10 May 2009 | Shallottes Inlet, NC (N33*54.913)SM330 to Wrightsville Beach Anchorage (N34*12.447 W77*47.953)
09 May 2009 | Bull Creek, SC (N33 36.667 W79 06.228) to Shallottes Inlet, NC (N33*54.913)

Dolphins to see us off...?

28 April 2009 | Great Sale to Mangrove Cay, Little Bahamas Bank
Mostly Sunny, 80*
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

After listening to Bria give Chris Parker's weather report this morning, then searching unsuccessfully for our spare auto helm belt (we don't have one), we picked up our anchor, let out the Yankee and set course to Mangrove Cay, the half way point between Great Sale and West End on Grand Bahama. West End is our last stop on the Bahama Banks before we cross the Gulf Stream back to the U.S. It struck me that while I miss people back home, I'll miss our little boat when we have to leave it and the sense of freedom that I've come to know while living on it.

I started thinking about this last year. It seemed like it took us so long to get here. First in actually realizing that we might be able to make such a trip; second in planning to make it happen; then at long last, taking the plunge and actually releasing the little hummingbird spirit in us to fly from the north, southward to the warmer climes. It made me feel sad as the realization struck me - we're heading north and westward - away from the beautiful aqua waters, back towards home. This time wasn't enough. I'm not sure what I'm returning for. I'm not sure what I'm returning to. It's strange to think that living in 36 ft of space, on a floating piece of fiberglass and wood, could be at times confining, at times comforting, at times scary, and exhilarating. There's a sense of freedom that I've found here that I've never experienced before. I'm not sure I can put it into words, but I don't want to lose it. I don't want to give it up. It was such a gradual change. A letting go if you will. It will be interesting returning home. Another change of pace, another change of space. Unfinished business, unfinished pieces of life. I started getting glum when Wayne yelled "Dolphins!" "Grab your camera - they're swimming all around the boat and in our bow wake!"

I dashed below for my camera, thinking they'd be gone when I got back up topside, and ran to the bow. Sure enough, they were criss crossing under the bow and swimming along beside it, leaping in the air, and diving down under the boat to splash back up on the other side. I giggled, and had to contain my laughs of joy for fear of scaring them off. It was hard getting them in my camera sights, I was so busy, grinning like a fool, jumping up and down and pointing them out to Wayne (at the helm, trying to keep the sails from flogging as he watched too). Most of them were out of focus, but I got a couple decent shots. I was so elated to see them. It's been a while since they joined us. Then I was so sad again. I can only give this up if we can continue the journey again, after hurricane season. This can't be the end, only the beginning. As the song goes: "How many dreams does a lifetime get?" "Surely I haven't been through all mine yet..."

Mangrove Cay... it's more mangrove, less Cay, but a protected area from the east winds hopefully. I look around and see nothing but water surrounding us, and a little patch of mangroves in the water clinging to shallow marl mud. It offers us a resting place to spend the night. This may be my last night to blow the conch horn at sunset. The plan for tomorrow is to find a marina at West End to fuel up and fill our water tanks and get ready for a weather window to cross. Our last night this trip on an isolated little patch of Cay surrounded by.... Nobody...
Vessel Name: Kolibrie
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield 36
Hailing Port: Jackson
Crew: Wayne & Pat
About: Back in Michigan for Hurricane Season 2009...
Extra: Our boat is a Bayfield 36. Not the fastest little thing, but a nice little cruiser that we like to call home.
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas

Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson