La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala


IMAGE - Patti in Clarence Town, Long Island. Bahamas

Attached Images:
Mayaguna Cay - landfall in Southern Bahamas - part of the Far Out Islands

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Hogsty Reef - Far Out Islands

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Clarence Town - Long Island - part of the Out Islands

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Rum Cay - Out Islands

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Conception Island - uninhabited Out Island

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Christmas, New Year, Vibeke and her families January Holiday and an active February just flew by..... with many parties, a various get-togethers. The highlights included a helicopter ride over St Thomas with Sue, a game fishing day out with Abrie and Christopher, Monday night movies at Honeymoon Bay, and a wonderful 4 days sailing with Sue ,Christopher , Abrie and some of his visiting family on a 48ft charter Catamaran. We had a long weekend sail over to nearby Vieques in Puerto Rico to meet up with good Aussie mates Roger and Sasha on Ednbal, as they passed through the area. We enjoyed our birthdays and the presents of various fishing gear, and wonderful rod and reel gifts have ignited our interest in fishing from the boat whilst we are sailing along - something we have never really got into before. We had planned to leave the USVI by early February, but various things just got in the way. We purchased a new dingy from Offshore - christened Valentine as she was launched on Valentine's Day; and unexpenctintly our refrigeration system stopped working, after 13 years of not missing a beat - so after a new compressor and thermostat/ regulator were installed we have a new system, which so far seems efficient on the boat batteries and working well. On 27th February we finally upped anchor from Honeymoon Bay - St Thomas USVI, filled with fuel and water, and set sail for the Bahamas - a great start in lovely 15 knots and doing 5 knots. The Bahamas are a 700 mile-long archipelago, and a perfect cruising location for us as we head to the East Coast of the USA. It was great to be at sea again enjoying lovely night sailing with ¾ full moon. Unfortunately by our 2nd day out we had light winds and were motor-sailing and keeping a close eye on the weather as a northerly blow was coming our way. By day 3 we decided to head into LUPERON, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic - due to light winds and the weather forecast. Luperon was an unexpected stopover for us - but it was very interesting to see this excellent hurricane hole. We spent 2 overcast and rainy days here - the boat got a good wash down in the rain showers. On Monday 4th March, after listening to the early morning forecast we decided to leave and get out to sea through the shallow entrance, just ahead of the coming front bringing some good easterly sailing winds. It was a bit tough in a few squalls for the first few hours, and then thankfully we had good sailing with everything up and making much needed miles north - Bahamas here we come. The Bahaman Islands are for the most part, low-lying, rocky limestone Cays surrounded by coral reefs and sandbanks through and around which channels lead into small harbours and coves - much like a necklace of beads. Of the 700 islands and many more rocks and small cays, only about 25 are inhabited with communities, and some whole islands are privately owned by the rich and famous! Many of our sailing friends have passed through these areas, and their stories have encouraged us to enjoy this interesting cruising ground. Most of our navigation will be via our invaluable chart plotter situated opposite the helm position in the cockpit, plus "eyeballing" the depth by colour through the crystal clear water. As these waters are just 50 miles off the Florida coastline we will be mostly with America yachts. We timed our arrival for the morning light on Wednesday 6th at MAYAGUNA CAY - part of the Far Out southern Bahamas Islands. Our first reef entry went OK - shallow at low water- but we just raised our keel. We anchored in 2 meters of clear, clear water with only 1 motor boat and 1 yacht for company in Abrahams Bay. We launched Valentine and headed across the Cay into the 'town' of one street, one shop and one small government administration building. We carried out the formal Check-in procedure - paid the US$300 fee, plus James paid $10 donation to a local charity. It was very helpful to be able to use the Internet at this Administration office, before finding Reggies store, where we paid $us10 for 1 loaf of white sliced bread and 4 apples. To celebrate our arrival in the Bahamas we enjoyed an evening BBQ on the boat in calm weather and amazing surroundings. We enjoyed the splendid isolation of Abrahams Bay on Mayaguna Island, but there was just so much more to see. We left Mayaguna at first light on high water on Friday 8th, sadly the wind was under 10 knots - so we were slowly motoring....and motoring... and motoring!! until we finally reached HOGSTY REEF in the pitch dark at midnight. Not a great time to arrive especially as- the one navigation light on the small cay marking the entry was not working - so we only had the plotter, depth sounder and the radar to confirm our position - although we could hear the birds on the reef - very eerie indeed. The weather was calm - so we dropped anchor and slept OK, but were both up at 1st light to see exactly where we were!! We enjoyed a day of splendid, total isolation at Hogsty Reef. This horseshoe reef looked fantastic on the charts, but in reality was a bit of a disappointment. The wind and waves getting into the reef were too much for us to get out in the dingy to explore, dive or snorkel as we had planned. Instead we motored around in La Aventura for a few miles around the inside the reef for a closer look at the 2 wrecks - the isolation was a little overwhelming. I decided that arriving anywhere again in the dark was not on, and far too stressful - so we left the reef that night at 10pm for a night sail - to be sure that we would arrive off the bottom of Acklins Island lighthouse at first light, and then found some shelter in the lee of the south of ACKLINS ISLAND as the wind was picking up from the north-east. We wanted to explore more of Acklins Island, but in strong north-east winds this was not possible. By Monday 11th we were in CLARENCE TOWN, LONG ISLAND having left the Acklins Island safe anchorage at 5am in the dark, but the exit was easy and we had an exhilarating day sail in boisterous 20-25 knots, and some squalls. We had an excellent run - so rather than anchor at the south of Long Island we continued on to Clarence Town. We made 70 miles in 12 hours - good going for us. The entrance into Clarence Town was challenging with the reefs breaking all around us. James had a close eye on the plotter and the depth sounder, and we have paper charts and a pilot book - so all went OK with the entry. We anchored with 3 other yachts far off the town with protection from the outer reef just 1 mile ahead of us. After a windy night, we launched the dingy and had a day in Harbour Town -it was so good to get off and have a long walk. This little settlement has 2 large churches, a few small homes... and nothing much else! We saw a lot of building works in progress on the main transport dock and to one of the churches and the marina complex - so good work for the locals. Every house and building we saw had damage or tiles missing from the roofs, and a few of the houses had their front porches blow away.... apparently the result of hurricane winds from the season just passed. After quite a walk and hitching a ride to the local Bakery and purchased a lovely fresh white loaf and 2 Bahamian chicken curry meals (because the curry smelled so good). On looking around the marina development, which was under new management and lots of building works going on, we found that they had a good self-service laundry with new machines and dryers at only $us4 per load - so after lunch we came back into the marina to do our washing and also spend the time on the free Wi-Fi whilst the washing was doing its thing- just perfect. We had a day sail on Wednesday 13th - 25 miles to RUM CAY, leaving at 1st light - 7am with 3 game fishing boats roaring out ahead of us. We had very light winds sailing 10 to 12 knots for the first few hours, but we were back out in the Atlantic Ocean swell - so bang, rattle and roll - until we had to motorsail with only the main for the last 15 miles. We anchored alone and thankfully not a difficult entry to anchor off the small settlement of Port Nelson. We laid out 2 anchors to the north - as a big blow is due to come through with a front by tomorrow morning. We enjoyed the lovely clear water for a swim and to check the anchors. The blow came through as forecast - 25-30 knots, overcast, windy and cloudy, so we didn't launch the dingy and explore Rum Cay until Friday 15th. The Marina looked very run down, no water or electricity or any other services- but at least we could dump our rubbish off. Around the marina there were some excellent rock and tree carvings. We walked into the settlement to find one government office, which did every official duty i.e. Post Office, Magistrates Court, Council Office and Police Station. Walking on through the village, everything was closed and there were only a few people about, we did find one store open and got some bread and cheese supplies. I got a great Bahamian souvenir today - a Rum Cay car licence plate. We walked back to the marina via the beach - the sand was so fine, and so white. The anchorage became popular - with 2 yachts coming out to anchor from the marina - so now 4 yachts anchored in the Bay. We enjoyed a lovely 15 miles sail on Saturday 16th from Rum Cay to CONCEPTION ISLAND. We left at 7am with 3 other yachts - we were obviously all wanting to get an early start. We nearly caught our 1st fish today. We saw it fighting and tossing as we reeled it in - it looked like a midsize Mahi-mahi - but it jumped off the line just about a boat length away.......very disappointed! We were alone at Conception Island - how wonderful. We did some afternoon beachcombing and a dingy ride up into the enclosed mangroves where in 1 metre of clear, clear water we watched a big black ray trying to hide from us in the sand and a few very fast swimming turtles. A lovely day, again in splendid isolation. A perfect great sailing day on Sunday 17th -sunshine and good wind for a 50 mile run from Conception Island to GEORGETOWN. A 7am start - lovely 10-15 easterly with a few gust, we sailed all the way, right through the cut and up into GREAT EXUMA ISLAND and anchored off the main town Georgetown. We are amongst the most boats we have been with since the Virgin Islands (approx 200) - apparently this is a favourite 'wintering spot' for many liveaboards. There was constant wind throughout the night. With the extra evening light we are enjoying 'sundowners' at little later, but sadly the evenings are a little chilly for dinner in the cockpit. We explored Georgetown on Monday 18th. First on the agenda was some fresh food shopping, and to dump our rubbish off. We found 2 food markets - one had a 5% credit card charge and the other was just as good, with more of the locals shopping there and no credit card charge - so this was the one for us. The provisioning was easy here, with just a short dingy ride from the anchorage, then access through a short and narrow cut into a fully enclosed lake - Lake Victoria, where a few dingy docks are available. We filled our jerry cans with fresh water from one of these docks- free and readily available. The main dock area had a few little food and craft shops and the lovely grand Exuma Yacht Club. We enquired about fuel here - at $6.00 per gallon we decided to sail more!! Now that we had some lovely fresh bread we enjoyed lunch on-board before heading back into one of the local bar/restaurants - to get on the internet for James downloads and my emails. We had a walk of George Town. The most substantial buildings were the government offices - a lovely light shade of pink. The ladies in the straw market were busy weaving away - but nothing took our fancy. The Bahamian islands all specialise in handmade straw goods, bags, hats, place mats etc, etc. The arts and crafts shops were full of lovely paintings, metal art work and ceramics - all very artistic and colourful. One item that took my eye were small bowls crafted from the pink conch shells. Georgetown was good as good stop for us, fresh food, water, internet - but I don't think we could become long termers there. In the early evening we lifted the dingy back up on deck and got the boat ready for moving on again. The initial islands we have visited over the past 2 weeks are so well named - Far Out and Out Islands. They are all isolated and not developed and little visited by holidaymakers - and yachts just pass through on passage.
We are now continuing to sail north through into the EXUMAS
Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti