Ya Ha Ha Ting

The fun times aboard Liquid Therapy. With - Susan and Brooke Smith

18 March 2018 | Pelican Harbor Yacht Club, Ft. Pierce, FL
16 March 2018 | Sandy Cay Banks
16 March 2018 | Rosie's Marina, Grand Cays, BS
14 March 2018 | Allans-Pensacola Anchorage
12 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club
11 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club
10 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club & Marina
09 March 2018 | Treasure Cay Marina
07 March 2018 | Treasure Cay Marina
05 March 2018 | Orchid Bay Marina
05 March 2018 | Orchid Bay Marina, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, BS
01 March 2018 | Man-O-War Marina
01 March 2018 | Hope Town Marina
25 February 2018 | Hope Town Marina
22 February 2018 | Hope Town Marina
20 February 2018 | Hope Town Marina
14 February 2018 | Harbour View Marina, Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco
08 February 2018 | Hope Town Inn & Marina
05 February 2018 | Hope Town Inn and Marina, Elbow Cay, Abaco, BS
03 February 2018 | Orchid Bay Marina, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Saturday, March 17, 2018

18 March 2018 | Pelican Harbor Yacht Club, Ft. Pierce, FL
Brooke Smith
Passage Sandy Cay Bank - Pelican Yacht Club, Ft. Pierce, FL. USA
80 NM 13.0 Engine Hours
7:00 AM Underway
6:01 PM Docked stern, port side to in slip 5 Pelican Yacht Club

It was very quiet at anchor. Quiet like most of us never have. No street noise. No aircraft. No boats moving. Really quiet. And dark with no moon. The stars were amazing. Did I say it was quiet? I heard faint voices. And, there wasn’t a boat at anchor in sight. I thought the voices were from a radio I had left with the volume all the way down, or one of the iPhones. Or, they were not voices at all. Boats make all kinds of noises when it’s quiet. People have gone mad trying to find rolling soup cans, doors that rattle and noses from places on the boat you cannot pinpoint. But, what I thought I heard were voices. And, then Susan laying next to me said “ Do you hear people talking?” So, it wasn’t just me. I looked around outside and saw no one - ever. Guess we were hearing pirate ghosts. We never figured it out.
Also very bizarre was a drone I believe hovering near us. I was gazing at the stars and thought I was seeing a plane, with navigation lights and some flashing lights. It was quite some distance up and away. I looked at the craft in my binoculars and it was stationary. It finally moved off aways and hovered more. This was no toy drone. I couldn’t hear it at all. It was 12 miles from the nearest land. Military? Maybe? Or UFO. You know we are in the Bermuda Triangle. I keep my AIS transponder on to transmit who we are to all ships, boats or any land station. So, if we were being spied on, I was easily identified. That and the voices without people around - well it’s enough to make you think you are going crazy. I guess extreme quiet and darkness can play tricks on you.

We didn’t sleep too well at anchor. It was almost calm with a slight wind out of the Southeast. We were only a couple miles up on the Little Bahama Bank with really no land protection from waves. Liquid Therapy aligned itself into the oncoming tidal current running up onto the bank. That is fine except, the slight wind was from the stern causing Liquid Therapy to be confused about what to align with. The anchor was not being tugged on at all as the weight of the chain laying on the bottom going to the anchor was enough to hold Liquid Therapy in place with the two opposite forces. So Liquid Therapy rolled a lot from side to side all night long. This of course got worse as the night lingered. I got up and check our position several times to see just what way we were pointed. I’m certain there is a compass inside my head that lets me know when the boat swings around. The anchor alarm was fine too. We were not drifting outside the radius I set for the alarm to come on. Still we didn’t get much sleep. And, then there was the excitement in the big 80 mile run to the US in the morning help keep me awake. I finally got up about quarter of 6 and made coffee. I did my engine room check. I was ready. Now I just needed enough daylight to get off the Bahamas Bank into the deep Atlantic without running aground on the sandbars scattered in our path.

We pulled the anchor a few minutes before 7AM. Sunrise would be 7:20. The twilight was enough to get underway and so we did. I took a few pictures as the sun rose and we passed the “Memory Rock” into the Atlantic we were. We would be on course 300º all the way across to the Ft. Pierce entrance 75 miles away. Susan and I watched the depth meter plunge with me announcing each 100’ deeper until we reached 855’ The depth meter couldn’t read any deeper than that. We would be in 2460’ at our deepest point and well over 1,000’ of water depth until we were about 18 miles from the USA. The water is so deep blue in the Atlantic and the gulf stream too. Pictures just do not capture what the eyes see.

The seas were rolling predominate from the NE. Long slow swells. The very light southerly wind was generating small ripples from the South. The ride was excellent. When we reached the gulf stream there were a little more waves coming from different directions. This was interesting to observe and made me wonder what this would look like on a bad day. We had a nice ride all the way across until we started coming up into the shallowing sea about 15 miles from the US. The waves were building as they met the ever shallowing bottom. This was still nothing to worry about. Again it was just an interesting observation. The waves were hitting our stern slightly on the port side and we would be lifted, surf and then repeat for several hours.

My course to steer to compensate for the gulf stream didn’t work out. Not sure if my calculation was wrong or the gulf stream was running harder with the south wind as it sometimes does. I was steering about 15º more southerly and it did take me about 1 mile further south of my intended track until the gulf stream swept us North. We were in about the middle of the gulf stream when the boat was swept passed my intended track. I then set the autopilot “track” function on and it followed the intended track line to Ft. Pierce. The autopilot steered the boat’s heading as much as 25º to the left to compensate for the gulf stream’s northerly push until we were out of the streams influence. That is not the most efficient navigation, but it works. As we got out of the gulf stream influence the “heading” and “course over ground” equaled out.

We got to the assigned dock almost exactly when the dock master, Vonnie, was getting off to go home. I told her we could dock without her staying, but she was there to catch our lines anyhow. Thanks Vonnie. Yes, her name is Vonnie, not Bonnie. I know how she feels because lots of people call me Brooks, not Brooke.

Susan then call the Customs and Border patrol and told them we were in. We registered with them some time ago and sort of do a self customs check. That way we don’t have to take a cab to the international airport and go through customs.

We were exhausted and the boat is very salty. But we were too tired to do anything but go to Dave’s 24 hour diner, eat corned beef & cabbage and go to bed.

I’m really starting to doubt my engine hour meter. Or, maybe we also went through a time warp. 13 hours engine time and an 11 hour run doesn’t make sense. We run the engine longer than we actually move because it takes time to warm up and get underway and docking sometimes we idle a while. But we certainly didn’t idle for 2 hours. Maybe the alien space ship put us in a trance and used the boat while we were sleeping.

I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Today’s picture is me throwing a message in a bottle at 12:00 noon. We threw one over in 2012 as well. We haven’t been contacted by the 2012 bottle yet. It should be in Iceland by now.

Friday, March 16, 2018

16 March 2018 | Sandy Cay Banks
Brooke Smith
Passage Rosie’s Marina - Sandy Cay Bank
42 NM 8.4 Engine Hours
8:28 AM Underway
3:23 PM Anchored Sandy Cay Bank 26º52.94’N 78º59.26’W

Well, the weather Gods have shown us a window to the USA for Friday-Saturday. I contemplated lots of paths from Grand Cays, the most northern Cays of the Bahamas back to Ft. Pierce and elected to take a southerly route to near Grand Bahama Island. I could have gone just about straight across from Grand Cays. I believe it was 110NM. And, that is too far to travel in daylight. So, I would have to spend the night 40 miles away from Grand Cays and 70 miles from Florida. Anchored still in the Bahamas banks, but with no protection. Instead our passage will be 122NM. That does add about 2 hours of travel at 6 knots. But this angle will be better with the gulf stream and I may gain some of that time back.
Where I am anchored near Memory Rock there is hardly any protection. But West End, Grand Bahama Island is only about 12 miles to the South if the weather kicks up or we have an emergency. And, we are not far out of cell range either to keep tabs on the weather sources. We actually have cell service at the anchorage and Internet. I wasn’t sure that would be the case. So, I’ll be able to post this tonight.

This anchorage is beautiful and so quiet. Of course there is no wind and the sunset was great. We had a nice meal and a little celebratory drink at sunset. There is actually one other trawler anchored about a mile from us. From all the radio traffic it sounds like tomorrow will be the travel day for many boats going home to the US and Canada. Lots of cruisers are Canadians. Maybe more than from the US.
Anyhow, Susan and I have gotten showers and are readying ourselves for bed. I want to get an early start tomorrow.

Today’s picture was taken this afternoon from the fly bridge. We are anchored in some of the clearest waters we’ve ever seen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

16 March 2018 | Rosie's Marina, Grand Cays, BS
Brooke Smith
Passage Allan’s-Pensacola Cay - Rosie’s Marina, Grand Cay, BS
39 NM 8.5 Engine Hours
8:28 AM Underway
3:23 PM Docked Face Dock Rosie’s Marina 27º13.17’N 78º19.47’W

We got underway for a leisurely cruise. But as the day wore on, the wind picked up on our nose and it didn’t look like we would get to Rosie’s until 4:30 or so. So, I added more power to pick the speed up. However, the wind also increased and we ere barely making 6 knots and taking a pounding from time to time. At least the wind was on our nose making us bob up and down instead of hitting us on the side which gives us more uncomfortable rolling. I called Rosie’s several times in-route but never got an answer or an answering machine. As we neared Grand Cay I saw a 203’ yacht, Mine Games, at anchor. I wondered how much fun they were not having with the now 20+ knot wind. I called Rosie’s on VHF channels 16 and 68. No answer. I decided we would just go to the fuel dockhand tie up until we could locate a dock master. This might be a really bad docking if the wind is blowing us in a bad direction. Will not know until I see the docks. And then, there is a guy on the dock directing us and helping us dock. YEA! After getting basically tied up, I always adjust the lines to my liking. The wind was too strong for me to pull the boat forwards with the lines. I had to start the engine, and put the boat in forward to help me with the wind. After getting lines adjusting and cutting off the engine, I took a wind reading. 26 knots WNW it was. We couldn’t hardly walk down the dock without getting blown off.
At the dock masters office we told them we had called them on the phone and VHF. The dock master said they haven’t had phone service since the hurricane and they didn’t have a VHF. There is whole page add in the 2018 “Guide To Abaco” book that gives the phone number and also says Rosie’s Marina monitors VHF ch 68. OH WELL. At least we were docked.

So, we decided to have a celebratory drink at the local bar. Except they didn’t have any wine or spirits, only beer. Susan doesn’t drink beer. The bar was very small outdoors. So, I got a beer and we walked back to the boat. We started noticing that Grand Cay was very, dilapidated - everywhere. We had also read that Grand Cays had gotten a boost after the demise of Walkers Cay. We were saddened by how poor this cay is.
OK It’s Friday morning now. We will be traveling 122NM to Ft. Pierce starting today and anchoring tonight near the edge of the Bahamas Banks and then into the Atlantic early tomorrow. We will be off the grid as they say until we reach cell signal range of the US tomorrow afternoon. I will be setting of our SPOT satellite locator at noon today, and at our anchorage tonight. Then tomorrow I will be setting off SPOT hourly until we reach our slip in Ft. Pierce, FL.

Today’s picture is the limestone shoreline of Grand Cay from our dinghy ride yesterday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

14 March 2018 | Allans-Pensacola Anchorage
Brooke Smith
Passage Green Turtle Club - Allan’s-Pensacola Cay Anchorage
25 NM 5.9 Engine Hours
11:35 AM Underway
4:15 PM Anchored Allan’s-Pensacola Cay 26º59.27’N 77º41.09’W

After our friend, Carter, left to fly home we decided to either go to Spanish Cay or Allans-Pensacola Cay. We opted to anchor out at Allans-Pensacola. I had read about the funny signing trees over on the Atlantic side and wanted to see them for myself. Allans-Pensacola is a nice anchorage and we only had 3 other boats in the anchorage.

It is later in the day and so, we quickly launched the dinghy and headed out for the Walmart sign someone had placed to mark the dinghy spot. Pictures and videos of the Allans-Pensacola Hilton were taken. It cracks me up how much energy people will put at being funny. The path was jungle like with mangrove, small trees and palms. Some looked like poison wood that is very much like poison ivy if you touch them. The trail was not marked with blaze colors like in our national forests, but rather odd things people have left to keep you on the trail. Shoes, floats, flip flops, high heel shoes marked the path. Susan & I chuckled at every turn. But after walking quite some distance we couldn’t seem to get closer to the ocean. We could hear the surf, But we got concerned we might lose our way, get dark and be stuck in the jungle. So, we retreated a little disheartened that we hadn’t made it to the signing trees.

We had a nice dingy ride back to the boat. I cooked steaks on the grill. It was the first time I’d used the grill our entire trip. I had vowed to get rid of it as it is so seldom used. But the seats were good and I guess i’ll keep it.

We are headed to Rosie’s at Grand Cays today. It’s about a 40 mile run and it’s windier than forecasted. So, we will be getting underway soon.

Today’s picture is the spectacular sunset we had.

Monday Morning, March 12, 2018

12 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club
Brooke Smith
Docked - stern in, port side to, slip 34 Green Turtle Club Marina

Looking at www.windfinder.com is like looking into a witches crystal ball. Some things show up clearly only to change or fade away. We are looking into the crystal ball for a weather window to come back to the USA. Yesterday I had a huddle with the Captain of the boat “Lucile”. We both thought next Sunday looked good. This morning that has changed and now Friday looks better. Forecasts more that 24 hours are model guess work. One thing we know is you can’t cross the gulf stream with a Northerly wind blowing against it. And, ideally we would like under 10 knots of wind from some southerly direction.

There are still some places we want to visit on the way out. Top of the list for me is Walker’s Cay. Walker’s used to be one of the top game fishing centers in the world. And, like so many things in the Bahamas was reduced to rubble and not rebuilt after a hurricane. Since 2004 it has been deserted.

I have seen nice place after nice place in the Bahamas in ruins, not being repaired or new construction that was halted. I have seen this on every cay we have visited in the Bahamas. So, why hasn’t Walker’s been rebuilt? It seems to me, that 1 person can be the reason something is successful. And, when the one person dies, so does initiative to keep things rolling. The last 1 person for Walker’s died in 2003. But here is a nice article of how things were in 92 http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1992-06-05/sports/9202120841_1_blue-marlin-big-fish-fishing-boat.

The areas that Liquid Therapy will hang out with are the northern Abacos. Spanish Cay and Grand Cays have marinas. But there are some beautiful uninhabited beaches and cays along the way. We very well may depart the Bahamas from a place called Memory Rock. https://geographic.org/geographic_names/name.php?uni=-2198361&fid=534&c=bahamas_the and head for Ft. Pierce. But when? The crystal ball is not clear right now.

Today’s picture is of me in front of the old jail in New Plymouth Settlement on Green Turtle Cay.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

11 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club
Brooke Smith
Docked - stern in, port side to, slip 34 Green Turtle Club Marina

We had fun today. Carter rented us a golf cart! We took a ride into New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. New Plymouth is the only town on Green Turtle Cay and is at the opposite end of the cay. We did a little site seeing as we drove end. Susan and I remembered some of the places for our 2012 trip. We parked to visit one of the most famous bars, Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar. Miss Emily invented the famous tropical drink, the Goombay Smash that has been often copied, but not quite the same as the original invented by Miss Emily who passed away in 1977. The place is now run by her daughter, Violet who was just as friendly as someone you had known your entire life.

When we entered the bar it was noisy with spring breakers that had been here a while. One of the college girls was having fun with a little Bahamian girl that had a very small soccer ball. The two of them went outside and so did we after being served our Goombay Smashes. The college girl started showing the tiny girl some soccer moves with her feet. Then some of the college guys got into the spirit and more local kids started showing up. The next thing you know we have a girls vs guys soccer game going on. It was so much fun seeing more local kids join in. The spring breakers were sooo nice to the little kids. There was a lot of love and kindness shown to those little children by our college kids. Lots of hugs and picking up the small ones to that were just too small to play. They were having strategy huddles. Oh yea, no supervising parents like in the USA. I’m sure the little local kids are still talking about the fun they had with the big kids from the USA. I was very proud to see our kids behaving like that. It was not the usual stereotypical portrayal of spring breakers throwing up drunk and being generally disorderly. These guys and gals I am proud of.

During a lull in action we backed on out of the side street and toured a little more of New Plymouth until we got to another famous bar called Sundowners. It was almost sundown and this is the place to watch the sun set.
It was too cloudy at 6:15 as the sun set. But we had fun looking out over the Sea of Abaco. We took a few pictures and then went back to Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar for grouper dinner. The vibe had changed. The kids were all gone. The soccer game was over and it was much quieter.
Susan, Carter and I all had delicious grilled grouper dinners. We also had conch & lobster bites for appetizers. We enjoyed everything but had three boxes of too much food to take back to the boat.

It was fun driving back to our marina in the dark the two miles or so. Yes, I had alcohol and drove. That is legal in the Bahamas. Drunk driving is against the law. I was not drunk. Sensibility rules in the Bahamas.

You can read more here about Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar.

Today’s picture is the guys soccer team having a huddle.
Hailing Port: DELTAVILLE, VA
Extra: Headed south fall 2017 to Miami and then the Bahamas
LIQUID THERAPY's Photos - Great Guana Cay
Photos 1 to 8 of 8 | Main
Susan looking for sea glass on the Great Guana Beach
Great Guana Beach scene
Great Guana Beach - another beach picture in front of Nippers
Local chicken that I grilled. Much leaner and smaller than USDA chicken
AH, They use this Irish butter and New Zealand cheeses in many Bahamian dishes. We had the butter on pancakes I made this morning.
So, just how does the tanker truck get to the gas stations. On barge. The roads are only golf cart size. So, the tanker offloads at the marina fuel dock. Diesel went for $6.00 to $6.10 after the delivery.
Havana cigars. Wished I smoked. $12.00 each or $320 per box. Can
Great Guana Beach - tide is starting to come in.