Grenada to the USA via Cuba and Bahamas

Travels in the Caribbean

15 May 2019 | Cumberland River
05 May 2019 | Vero Beach
06 March 2019 | Hobe Sound
03 March 2019 | Warderick Wells Bahamas
21 February 2019 | Warderick Wells Bahamas
16 February 2019 | Little Bay, Great Guana Cay
09 February 2019 | Sand Dollar beach, Georgetown
30 January 2019 | Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana, Bahamas
19 January 2019 | Marlin Marina,Santiago de Cuba
18 January 2019 | Marlin Marina,Santiago de Cuba
10 January 2019 | Isle a Vache, Haiti
05 January 2019 | Puerto Real
26 December 2018 | Boqueron Bay
19 December 2018 | Off Isleta marina
13 December 2018 | Sunbay marina, Puerto Rico
04 December 2018 | Porto Ferro, Vieques
04 December 2018 | Puerto Ferro, Vieques
27 November 2018 | Christianstadt, St.Croix
18 November 2018 | Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
14 November 2018 | Whisper Cove Marina

Georgia

15 May 2019 | Cumberland River
Ian Sales
We did walk over to the Atlantic beach at Vero, but it was a line of real estate, accountancy practices and investment houses, along with a few high end boutiques; just our sort of place. The following morning we fuelled and watered up and left for the 35 mile ICW trip to Mellbourn. It was nice to escape from the ubiquitous no seeums and a new pest, the love bugs. These are two non biting flies that are mating on the wing and are around in swarms, but only for a couple of days. Most of the bridges are now 65 ft clearance so there are no delays and we anchored for the night in a large anchorage on the East of the ICW at Dragon Point. The next day we were off to Titusville where we planned to pick up a municipal mooring ball , rent a car and have a day at the Kennedy Space Centre. We were a little concerned over the depth in the mooring field but found one that gave us 2.5 metres at LW so were good to go. The next day we duly went to the space centre and spent a very interesting day there seeing the shuttle, a life sized Saturn V and several documentaries on the various NASA missions and the future. The next stop was to be New Smyrna and we chose an anchorage that promised enough depth and space for a comfortable night. This worked out OK but in 20 knots of wind there was not much manoeuvering room when anchoring, but we managed to stay afloat. Our plan was then to go out into the Atlantic through the Ponce de Lion Inlet (he seemed to get everywhere) about 5 miles north of our anchorage and then travel two days an nights to Charleston. We left at 1300 and cleared the opening bridge between us and the inlet OK and set sail for the North. Overnight when I checked the weather we decided to stop at the St Mary inlet on the Georgia side,about 100 miles up from Ponce de lion, due to impending storms and high seas...where did they come from? So we came in to the inlet, a very deep and wide inlet because just up the river is one of the locations for the US Trident nuclear Sub fleet. We followed the North shore and anchored off Cumberland Island to wait out the thunderstorms. Looking at the weather it was clear we would be here for a few days as once the storms had passed by close of play Monday, the winds turned to come from the North until Thursday. We met a Swedish couple who were OCC members and we booked onto a Cumberland Island tour on the Tuesday. The tour was really interesting, seeing the history of the island from before the Civil War all the way through to the '50s. The involvement of the Carnegies post Civil War and the fate of the slaves who worked for the original plantation owner after the war.The guide looked like Jimmy Carter and sounded like Bill Clinton and was excellent. Today Wednesday we are having happy hour with another OCC couple who were on the tour, having traced a water leak on the engine which had me fearing the worst, and changing the engine oil as the hours keep clocking up after all the ICW motoring. We plan to stay in Charleston for a week and get a few small items sorted and have a good look round, this will be a marina berth or slip as they say here. The photo is of the anchorage on the Cumberland river, the island is about 25 miles long and about a mile wide and has,allegedly, an 18 mile Atlantic beach with no buildings behind it.

On the move again

05 May 2019 | Vero Beach
Ian Sales
Writing this whilst on a mooring just off Vero Beach City Marina, watching the lightning flash, the rain pour down and listening to the thunder, we reflect on the trials and tribulations of the past week. Things started well with a flight from Heathrow to Chicago that was only one third full, so very relaxing and we were glad we hadn't paid extra for seats as everyone could virtually sit where they liked. The internal flight from Chicago to West Palm Beach was only an hour and a half late and we took an Uber to where our hosts lived and went on board. All was OK except the engine battery and all the house batteries were flat, luckily we had torches (flashlights) so could find our way around inside and get a nights sleep. Why were they all flat? good question I have always left the house batteries on with only the auto bilge pump switched on and the solar panels connected, and we have had no problems in the past. This time I think two of the four house batteries had failed and had drained the system, I think this because when I tried charging them all, these two were quite hot. As for the engine battery, in our rush to leave (ironic as we had been here over a week before we left) I had left the engine battery switched on and the windlass switched on, and as the water maker is connected to the engine battery there must have been a small leak that drained it down. So after much agonising I replaced them all which was made all the easier by having access to our hosts car. The generator battery which was isolated was OK. The next problem was the battery charger itself, while waiting for the new batteries I had it on to charge the old and it would start then switch off, so we never really got any of the batteries up to full charge on it. Only useful in marinas or with the generator we decided to replace it with one from home when we come out again, and with travelling North up the ICW there will be plenty of motoring to keep the batteries charged, We were also advised by George our host to have a diver clean the bottom and the prop as they would be badly fouled having sat in the canal for about 9 weeks. He knew a guy, who did a very good job, even cleaning the waterline on Thursday, and we prepared to leave Saturday. The weather forecast was the same for about the next week, sunny in the morning with thunderstorms in the pm and evening, so we felt we just had to go for it even after a really fierce storm on Friday afternoon while we were doing our final preparations and stowing all the provisioning. At 10am Saturday we slipped our mooring and said goodbye, 40 mins before High Water and more confident now we joined Boat US which offers the towing service if you get stuck or break down. We were keen to get on as we only have about 5 weeks before an OCC rally on the Chesapeake, and it would be nice to get away from the mangroves on the canal and the no seeums which had eaten us alive at times. We transited the canal without touching, I had even taken on only half a tank of water , and turned into the ICW to head North for Vero Beach. We plan to stay here for three nights and take a well earned (or not) rest after a very hectic 6 weeks in the UK refurbishing the flat in Bedford and actually accepting an offer. We covered the 38 miles in just over six hours of uneventful motoring and only had one opening bridge to pass, and at least now the batteries have had a good charge. Finally a big thankyou to our hosts the OCC port officers for Florida and the Bahamas, Nancy and George Marvin, and we hope to meet more port officers as we head North.

Up the creek

06 March 2019 | Hobe Sound
Ian Sales
On Monday morning we left Lake Worth and proceeded North up the ICW, intra coastal waterway. We passed under one fixed bridge, clearance 65 feet and I calculated we only need 55, and we were under with no problems. Then we had to pass 7 lifting bridges, trying to calculate distance and speed so we arrived just before opening( every half hour either 15 or 30 minutes past .) The last three were on demand opening and at the first a yacht had hit the bridge and lost the top of its mast, so we had to gill about waiting for the bridge engineers to give it the all clear. After 20 minutes we were through and arrived in Hobe Sound where we anchored a mile past our destination in Peck Lake. There we saw OCC members Anne & Johnathon who were having outboard trouble and our hosts were helping them to sort it. We agreed Johnathon would travel with us to the canal the next morning while Anne dinghied to the dock to help with the lines.
Ar 0830 we set off to arrive about 15 - 20 minutes before high water. I had dumped most of our fresh water and was towing the dinghy to lighten the boat as much as possible. We had dinghied to the dock on Tuesday for a recce which helped the confidence levels. We lined up at the canal entrance and slowly made our way down. We had been told there were 2 shallow humps to pass but as it happened we did not touch and arrived st the dock. I then had to do a 50 point turn si we docked facing out of the canal. This went OK and we docked to everyone's great relief, especially mine.
Our hosts Nancy and George welcomed us in although George is incapacitated with his look eg injury (Surgery Thursday).
We went with A&J to some chandleries and had lunch, swapped stories before a nice dinner with Nancy & George. All in all a very good day

Across the Gulf Stream

03 March 2019 | Warderick Wells Bahamas
Ian Sales
The weather forecast suggested a good time for crossing the Gulf stream would be the following Friday, so as conditions were light winds we left our mooring on the Sunday morning and had to motor up to our next stop at Highbourne Cay. There is a marina there with fuel and a small shop for some light provisions. There is a good anchorage on the west of the cay and we intended to dinghy into the marina and "Jerry Jug" the fuel in 5 cans, The fuel dock looked a bit shallow for us. So we anchored off the cay OK and the next day went in to get the fuel, dump the "trash" and do a little hyper expensive shopping. NB Fuel here is twice the price of that in Florida, but if you need it you need it! We expected the marina to be full as the pilot said you should definately make a reservation as boats called here going to and from Nassau and the North West. As it happened it was virtually empty and had we gone in for a night it would have cost about $100 a night....ouch!! Come Wednesday we set off for our 2 day trip to Florida, comfortable in a benign forecast. We had to cross the Exuma bank to New Providence Island, Nassau and decided to take the easy but longer route avoiding the coral heads in depths of 3 to 6 metres all the way across. Then at New Providence we had to wriggle through some narrow passes between rocks and islands to escape northwards into deepr and hazard free water. We had managed to sail most of the way but did the wriggling under engine, especially as we werent the only boat around. As dusk came so did the showers and only once clear of them at night did we start sailing again. By dawn we were up at he northmost Berry Island and then turned North West up the New Providence Channel on a direct course for The Lake Worth Inlet. About this time the wind picked up and started coming from the North West, right on the nose, so we had 12 hours of bashing in to 15-18 knots plus gusts to 22 and only making about 2 knots over the ground. I was calculating when we would arrive and hoping we would get in before dark on Friday. In the evening the wind eased and veered to the North, not ideal for the Gulf Stream crossing, but it was forecast to become very light, and anyway we were committed so on we went. By dawn the wind had eased and our speed had picked up and we made our way across the stream with no problems, just a little swell. We arrived at Lake Worth Inlet at about 10am Friday and after negotiating the channel we anchored in about 3 metres not far south of the channel. On the Saturday we went over to a marina on the west shore so we could check in with customs. We were told we had to use the APP but when you log in it sends a code to my UK phone which we did not have with us, so back to the boat and then back again to customs, 1.5 mile round troip across the lake. Luckily there is a 4knot speed limit which is enforced so not too much wash. |This time the clearance worked and we then legged it a mile to the supermarket. It seemed a lot further and a guy we met while at customs just dropped in the conversation that he was going to take an Uber to somewhere. I downloaded the App while in the supermarket, entered my details and called one to take us back to the marina with our shopping. To my great surprise one turned up within 2 minutes and the thing was less than $10. We had ameal at the marina and then returned to the boat. We have now heard from our hosts and will leave tomorrow to be near their canal entrance for 9.30am Tuesday which is high water, then we will see if we can get in, so heart in the mouth stuff as I am not exactly sure of our draught. Between now and then we will try use most of our fresh water to lighten the boat a bit. We have 7 bridges to pass on our way up so Monday should be an interesting day, as should Tuesdsy!!

Waiting for weather

21 February 2019 | Warderick Wells Bahamas
Ian Sales
We left Little Bay and motored in light airs to an island called Big Majors Spot where we anchored on the west coast near to the beach where the pigs are kept, who will swim off the beach for titbits. Not to your yacht but to your dinghy a few metres from shore. Here we were among the superyachts, and one came and anchored near us called Blue Guitar. A classic gentlemans yacht with a funnel built by Camper and Nicholsons in 1967. A previous owner, or possibly the current owner was/is Eric Clapton,there was a family on board but no jamming in the evening!. Photos to follow when we have internet. We went to the beach and saw the pigs swimming around and scoffing any food offered although there are rules about what you can and cannot give them. Our next stopping place was Warderick Wells which is in the Exuma National Park, you have to call the day before to try and reserve a mooring ball (buoy) , and they put you on the waiting list. Slightly nerve wracking as if there are none free there are no other places to go with decent shelter. However we left early and sailed up there and at 9am checked in on the VHF to be told to call when nearer. Eventually we arrived and were allocated a mooring but had to pass a huge catamaran to get there, and he was swaying on the falling tide. The deep channel is narrow and as we tried to miss him we touched, reversed off, spun around then had to go out and re enter the mooring field. This time we passed the other side of him and were OK and picked up the mooring. About 10 minutes later he left!. Its an idyllic location here at $30 a night but when the wind is against the tide the boat runs over the buoy and is a bit unsettling till you get used to it, a bit like visitors buoys at Itchenor. So we are chilling here waiting for a weather window to either move north before crossing to Florida or just doing the 240 or so mile in one hit. We have to cross the north flowing Gulf Stream so cannot have any wind with a northerly element in it. Needless to say we are watching the weather keenly and listening to the 0630 broadcast by Bellamy WCY.

Away at last

16 February 2019 | Little Bay, Great Guana Cay
ICS
We had meant to leave Georgetown on Wednesday but although the winds were light we had rain and squalls with a forecast for more. We just moved the boat over to the town side of the anchorage and dinghies in to town for provisions, but no fuel as the pump was down. Thursday dawned with more rain and having had a 35 knot squall overnight we decided to wait till Friday when the squalls would have passed and there would be light winds. A 35 knot squall is no joke as the wind picks up very quickly and the visibility drops to near zero as the rain hammers down. All you can do is hope the anchor holds and none of the boats around you drag, it becomes a tense half hour. Luckily the holding was good in sand and with 40 metres of chain in five metre depth we were OK. I hate to think what the 40-50 knot variety are like, hopefully we won’t have to find out.
We left on Friday and made good progress, and after a little agonising decided to push on to our furthest target, mainly because the anchorage was much more tenable. So we made the cut, which is the entry between cays with 45 minutes before sunset, and even in light winds the current was strong against us and we crept in flat out at 3 knots, then on to a very nice anchorage at Little Bay on Great Guana Cay.
We have booked our flights home because to leave it to the last minute would cost a fortune, although you would have the certainty of being back in Florida. Now we have to be back by a certain date whatever the weather. We had a stroke of luck on where to leave the boat as the OCC Port officers for Florida and Bahamas offered us their mooring while they are away, let’s hope we can get up the canal to it as it’s shallow although others with a similar draft have made it.
Tomorrow after a days chilling and swimming, we will move a few miles north where the pigs swim out to you and the James Bond Thunderball grotto resides. All this is inside the bank, where the depths range between 2.2 to 5 metres, but at least we don’t have to go back through the cut into the Atlantic.
Vessel Name: Lucy Alice
Vessel Make/Model: Oyster406
Crew: Ian & Glenda Sales
Lucy Alice's Photos - Main
3 Photos
Created 6 March 2019
16 Photos
Created 1 February 2019
Photos in and around Cuba
26 Photos
Created 17 January 2019
33 Photos
Created 5 November 2018
3 Photos
Created 12 January 2018
No Photos
Created 26 March 2017
Barbados upt o the North and back down to Granada
19 Photos
Created 15 February 2017
Passage to Barbados and observations thereafter
11 Photos
Created 3 November 2016
39 Photos
Created 7 August 2016