Vero, Crossing, GTC, MOW
25 March 2019 | MOW
Kathy Payne-Davis | cloudy warm
Warning! This is a loooong post. That’s what happens when you haven’t posted for 2 months because all your days are warm and sunny and filled with activities!
We spent our usual 1 month in Vero- visiting the condo friends, seeing old boating buddies, meeting new boating buddies (Horizon and Unicorn), weekly jaunts to Mr. Manatees, walks, bike rides- a wonderful way to start the winter! We also waited for parts, our and others that we would transport to friends in Green Turtle Cay, our first stop in the Bahamas whenever we get a good weather window. Those elusive weather windows are few and far between after the first of the year and we tend to wait in Vero instead of Lake Worth. Finally, in February it looked like one was shaping up, according to Chris Parker and all the weather gurus. Our rafting partner in Vero SV Horizon wanted to make their first trip to the Abacos, so we agreed to buddy boat with them, Unicorn and Autumn Borne. We opted for the route to leave Ft. Pierce, head south and hang a left around Jupiter, crossing onto the bank at Mantanilla Shoals and then continuing on past Great Sale to Green Turtle Cay. We left Vero around 9:30 and out Ft. Pierce on the ebb tide. The wind was light, the seas were smooth and we were happily motoring south. The Gulf Stream was a little closer than we thought and by afternoon our speed slowed as we were on the edge of it, so we moved closer to shore. Somewhere north of Jupiter, I was at the helm, mosing along through some patches of still water with grass floating. Earl was napping until there was a bump and the RPMs dropped. Ooops, something on the prop???? Yep, throttled back and shifted to neutral and the Captain took the helm. I hoped there was no damage that would curtail our trip and had visions of the big guy stripping down to his uns and jumping in with a knife in his teeth. After some back and forth maneuvering, the RPMs returned to almost normal, so we figured it was some grass that we picked up and continued on, without letting the other folks know why we were hanging back. Of course, the wind picked up and was on the nose, but was on the nose, but eventually when we changed our angle, we could sail. The gulf stream was not as strong as we thought so we made our turn to the east, before our designated point. AB had already discovered this earlier and decided to stay in the stream crabbing east several miles behind the rest of us. We continued to check in with each other every hour once it got dark and we were in the stream. This part of the trip turned out to be quite lumpy and the auto helm did not want to participate so Earl hand steered for hours. As we approached the bank, we were 10 miles from AB and heard about some of their issues- a coolant pump failure that meant sailing only for them and a diversion to Great Sale to fix it. You’ll have to read Dean’s blog for the rest of the story! Obviously, we agonized a lot about should we stay or should we go. In the end, we continued on.
By daybreak we were passing the north end of Great Sale and heading to GTC, where our buddies on Five Flip Flops had secured a mooring ball for us at Donny’s in Black Sound. We managed to coincide our arrival at high tide, grabbed our mooring lines, waved to the folks having a party on the dock and crashed until the next morning! We love GTC and have a busy routine when we’re there. More of visiting with old friends, some who own a home on the island (Max and Maryearl), the usual suspects in the harbor and at the dock (missing Escape, since they sold her in January), trips to the beach and Manjack, fresh greens from Chris’ hydroponic garden, regular walks to town, cracked conch at the Wrecking Tree (THE BEST), ribs at Two Shortys, Friday nights at the liquor store and dancing at Pineapples with Kevin. Whew, it’s hard to keep up the pace. I’m always grateful for a rainy day to rest!
We had plans to meet up with Mike on Irish Wake when he launched her a few days after we arrived, but by the time we got to Leeward, he and his brothers had already moved to Treasure Cay. He was honoring the memory of his beautiful wife Karen Lee that passed in January after a 2 year battle with cancer. We said a word for her on St. Patrick’s day and have fond memories of Irish coffee with her and friends. RIP sweet lady.
A highlight of the stay in MOW was a visit from one of our oldest and dearest friends Tim. Tim’s adventure getting to GTC bears repeating. This is how travel in the islands happens! Tim flew into Marsh Harbor and had to get to Treasure Cay in order to get the ferry to GTC, so before landing he announced to his fellow travelers “Ahoy Maties, I’m heading to Treasure and would like to share a ride with anyone” If you don’t share a ride the taxi fee is $80, so luckily he had some takers. A group of 5 traveling for a wedding, said sure join us! Once in Treasure, he caught the ferry (an hour earlier than we had planned) across the bay to GTC. Once on GTC, he tried calling us on our BTC phone, texting on both- we got the messages the next day… After an hour at the ferry dock, the ferry captain said he’d call us on the VHF radio. We weren’t on the dock but Donny heard the call so he responded and said Seeker is on one of my moorings so I’ll come pick him up in the golf cart. Yay Donny! When they got back to the marina, someone on the dock said Seeker had gone over to Leeward to pick up an ALIV modem, so Nancy on Innovation (a fellow Georgia resident) brought Tim by dinghy to Leeward and we met them at the dock just as they arrived! So… plane, taxi, ferry golf cart, dinghy- typical travel in the Abacos!! We had a great visit with Tim and it was fun for him to see a different island this year and meet some of our cruising buddies. Dalmation got in to Black Sound while he was here.
The day after Tim left turned out to be a good day for moving south through the Whale Cay Passage and for folks heading back to Florida. GTC emptied out and a parade headed in both directions. We came thru the Whale (uneventful passage- the best kind) and anchored outside of MOW. After spotting Minx on AIS they dropped off friends and came and anchored out with us and AB. Great visit with them and AB. Today we are on a mooring in Man O War Cay in the beautiful and quiet eastern harbor. We’ll be here for the next 3-4 weeks. Robert and Karen have rented a place here for a week in April so we’ll get to share this boat life with them! Then before we know it it’ll be time to head back to our beautiful mountains and enjoy the rest of Spring and our friends and family!
Final Projects and Cumberland Island
14 January 2019 | Sister's Creek- JAX
Kathy, blustery and cool
Well, that “awhile longer” turned into a month, while we waited for a back-ordered windlass. Then Lewmar didn’t ship during the holidays, then they were closed for inventory… then we ordered a Muir windlass from Sailorman in Ft. Lauderdale and had it within 3 days. So 1 day after receiving it, Earl had it installed and running. So smooth!! (Earl and the windlass) It’s a beauty and for 2 Boat units it should be $$! While we waited on the windlass, we tackled a few other projects, painted the nonskid on the decks with gelcoat and a few smaller things. It looks soooo much better!! Of course, we also went to our moms for the holidays and a wonderful time with both families. It’s always a crazy, chaotic, fun, loving time with our big families.
So, we finally launched at high tide on January 12th and headed straight to Cumberland Island (a whopping 6 miles away) for some decompressing. And Cumberland did not disappoint. The next morning, we were treated to a rainbow after a small front went through. Then we heard and saw a pair of loons calling to each other. We always see them in Canada but this was a first in GA. I guess they’re wintering over here. Because of the shutdown, there was no one on the island- no ferry shuttling tourists. We did see a NPS boat at the dock each day, just checking on things. We had a beautiful sunny afternoon walking the trails and exploring the empty beach. Then happy hour on Seeker with the crew of Autumn Borne. A perfect day. Today we left a little after low tide and headed towards St. Augustine. Passed a bald eagle on the shore in the Amelia River and when we got to Sister’s Creek, there was only 1 boat on the free dock so we pulled in for the evening. It’s always full when we’ve passed before, so it was a treat to see it empty. The nice folks on an American Tug grabbed our lines and helped us dock. Once we got AB secured, we stood in the sun and swapped stories. A great start to the season! Tomorrow St. Augustine and then on to those 70+ temps in Vero!
Back to Seeker
10 December 2018 | St. Mary's GA
Back to Seeker
We left Cherokee on November 10th after seeing Kris Kristofferson in concert on the 9th. It was good to see an icon before it’s too late. Then on to Fayetteville for Mom’s 89th birthday. She is one amazing lady and it was good to celebrate with her and all the siblings. We knew we would be coming back for Thanksgiving, but we got down to Seeker to open her up and unload the car. Unfortunately, we were welcomed back to a mildewed boat, even after SunPac (mildewcide containing formaldehyde- Let the boat air out!) a dehumidifier, and Damp Rid- no contest for the wet hot GA Summer! So, a thorough wipe down with vinegar to start with and then on to the projects. The list is always extensive with the expected projects- wash and wax the hull, paint the bottom, clean and wash everything, re-install the bimini, sails, enclosure. Then there’s the not so expected- Earl just checked the mixing elbow in the engine and it needs replacing, so he’s crammed into the engine compartment grunting and twisting and turning… We missed Grant and Libby (Nightingale) and Bennie and Lisa (Rhiannon)- they launched before we got here, but got to spend a few days with Chris and Christine (sv Simpatico) before they launched. And we drove down to Green Cove Springs and had lunch with Pierre and Micheline (Troika) before they headed back to Quebec. Then Autumn Borne hauled out here to paint their bottom so we’ve had plenty of socializing! St. Mary’s is famous for their Thanksgiving celebration and we spent a couple of days visiting with cruisers before we headed to the moms for Thanksgiving. Now to wrap up some projects so we can get Seeker in the water where she belongs!
Not so fast! A masterful job (by ME) to refurbish the rusty anchor chain, lots of wire brushing, treat with a phosphoric acid called Ospho and then painting with a cold galvanizing paint by Rustoleum and our chain looks great. Unfortunately when we went to raise the chain into the anchor locker, the windlass spun fast then came to a grinding halt. Looks like the gears are shot, so once again E spent 2 days in a cramped space trying to get the old windlass out. Lots of grunting and advice from others it finally broke free. Several phone calls and emails to Lewmar, and we have a recommendation for a replacement. It won’t be available for a few days so it looks like we’ll be here for awhile longer… There might be one or two other projects (ya think??) we can work on if it warms up enough to get outside. We remind ourselves that it’s not snowing like at home so trying not to complain!