We said goodbye to the Bahamas a few days ago and crossed over to St Augustine where we've spent the last couple of days hanging out waiting for a good forecast to head north. We've enjoyed our time here and were glad to move around after a few hot days underway. On the last day, we had a swarm of lovebugs come visit our boat while still well offshore. They like white and our deck was just perfect. It became a sort of nightmare as they piled up on every surface including us, doing it the whole time! But we kept our cool and took turns taking refuge inside the boat, then pulled up to the dock to wash them away. What a mess. We took 3 showers that day since we were so grossed out. I now really dislike love bugs!
Turns out there's great biking here at Anastasia state park because the beach is wide & long with firm sand. A ways out there was nothing but us, the birds and about a hundred discarded bagels, for some reason. We did a bunch of sites in town too like the distillery, and enjoyed walking under all the big old trees. We got to really feeling sunbaked in the Bahamas and craving shade. Its hard to find when we're underway and we sometimes use the shade of the sail on deck.
The weather did finally improve in the Bahamas and we had several days of light conditions which allowed the four of us to explore some really beautiful anchorages in the Exumas Land & Sea Park. We walked trails together, snorkeled, sailed and hung out on each others boats. There was a lot more life on the reefs within the park and the water was a mix of colors that is crazy beautiful.
Jon & I spent hours in the water poking around in the shallows, drift diving the cuts and exploring some of the deeper reefs. I love doing this together and it brings back so many memories of all the beaches & drift dives we've done over the years. Being in the park meant there was lots to see. We sure can't hold our breath like we used to and were recalling that our deepest free dive was to the bottom of a blue hole somewhere in the Bahamas which was 50 feet. A tap & go but still, how did we ever do that?
Lobster season is over and the females are carrying their eggs under their tails. We usually don't get to see this because we're not here in this season. In the park the lobsters are so big and unafraid they just walk around in the open. On one snorkel we came upon two in an argument, and Jon had to break it up!
All four of us were really missing the overall brilliant color & corals of the Pacific and also we were wishing there were more nudibranchs on the Atlantic side since we enjoy looking for them when lo & behold Jon found one. It belongs on the Pacific side though and according to the ID book, a few have come over in ship's ballast tanks and set up shop in Florida & the Bahamas. Nice to see one though.
I had to lift my fins for this reef shark that came over to say hi and we had nice views of several eagle rays and lots of turtles too. Most of the time we had a big barracuda following us around like a dog, not wanting to miss anything. Fun times.
As soon as we all got our snorkeling and pretty anchorage fix we felt ready to move on to our next respective chapters. Jon & I are anxious to get back to work on the RV build and get busy on the projects (well not really) we need to get done on our boat as well. We plan to put Evergreen on the market this summer as we feel ready to dive into a new lifestyle in the truck. We have been adjusting to this idea for quite a while and feel OK with it now. We hope to find someone who wants to pick up where we left off.
Our fridges were pretty much empty of produce so the dinners together were getting interesting- time to set sail for Publix! We are now restocked again- phew!
So another passage awaits tomorrow, two more nights underway, 4 days. Might be our last one for awhile. Should have a nice moon and good wind. As we were bucking current the other day and moving at 5kts, we joked that we have run marathons and a 50k faster than that which translates to: we can run faster than we can sail at times! Except for not as long, but still. We'll try to push that out of our mind. If all goes well we'll be back in our slip by Sunday and look forward to going out for a nice dinner next week for our silver anniversary!