05 May 2014
22 April 2014
02 April 2014 | Meeks Patch
12 March 2014 | Cave Cay Marina
03 March 2014 | At volleyball beach
27 February 2014 | Behind Lee Stocking Island
13 February 2014 | Highborne Cay
11 June 2013 | In my kitchen
08 May 2013 | Dry Tortugas
04 May 2013 | Key West
01 May 2013 | Boot Key Harbor
14 April 2013 | Bluff House Marina on Green Turtle Cay
14 April 2013 | Bluff House Marina on Green Turtle Cay
06 April 2013 | Mangoes Marina in Marsh Harbor
15 March 2013 | Half Moon Bay, Little San Salvador
04 March 2013 | Thompson Bay, Long Island
15 February 2013 | Rat Cay
31 January 2013 | Exuma Cays Sea and Land Park
20 January 2013 | Chub Cay
14 January 2013 | Dinner Key mooring ball

Back in the USA

05 May 2014
Showering in a rain storm in Sarasota
Have we ever been on the go the last several weeks! We spent a day and a half at Great Stirrup in the Berry Islands after leaving Little Harbor in the Abacos. Several cruise lines also stop at this spot for the day. Instead of calling the cay "Great Stirrup", they call it "Coco Cay". From 10 am until about 4 pm, there are endless sea-doo tours. Each tour has about 20 sea-doos, and each cruise ship (the day we were there, there were three ships at anchor). That means there were about 60 sea-doos buzzing around the anchorage all day long. What fun! Once the cruise ships cleared out each day, though, the anchorage was as quiet as could be.

From Great Stirrup, we travelled directly to Miami, about 22 hours (April 24/25). The Banks were like glass that day, so the motoring was fast. By mid afternoon some wind came up, and we ended up having a great overnight sail across the Gulf Stream. We checked in with Customs and Immigration, and met up with Nina's brother who joined us for the trip to St. Pete. We anchored outside Hurricane Harbor for the night, and then headed for Rodriguez Key the next morning, then Marathon the next day. We fished over those couple of days, but only caught sea grasses and a half of a fish (that had been eaten by another fish!).

From Marathon, we travelled almost directly north to see Little Shark River, about which we'd heard from other cruisers as being a very special place. This was our no-travel day, as we explored the Shark and Little Shark by dinghy.

From the Shark, we then spent a day travelling to each of Sanibel, then Pelican Bay, then Sarasota and finally St. Pete. In Sarasota, we got our anchor down just in time for a HUGE thunderstorm. It was great, because we were so hot and sticky. We all had wonderful showers of really cold rain water. See the photo above!

We did no overnights during our trip around the Florida peninsula, but had some long and some short days.Just for future reference, from Miami Government Cut to St. Pete was about 7 days. It would be great if we could cut some time from the trip by going through the Okeechobee Waterway, but our mast is too high to take that route. we're back in St. Pete, getting Sunkissed "ready for bed" so to speak: painting teak, polishing stainless, packing things away, investigating plumbing updates, an extra solar panel, etc. Busy, busy, busy! But for sure, we will make some time to visit with the family members in town here.

Abacos Adventures

22 April 2014
Petr and Nina on Man-O-War Cay in front of the lignum vitae
As I write this entry, I note how quickly the time has flown in the Abacos. We've been in the Abacos for just three weeks, one of the weeks with our friend, Petr, who joined us from Toronto.

The weather we experienced during the last several weeks was unlike any other weather we experienced. We had two cold fronts (one in Marsh Harbour and one Hope Town) and a TROF which all made for more cloudy, squally, and windy weather than we'd seen, this year or last. Unfortunately for Petr, he experienced quite a bit of this inclement weather. Am I complaining? Certainly not! It means there was just a bit more rain, in which the boat was cleaned, and sun protection wasn't a big issue!

The Abacos are a great cruising ground in "the protected Sea of Abaco" as the cruisers' net host says daily. All the hot spots are a day sail (or less) away from one another. We visited Little Harbour at the southern end of the Sea of Abaco with Harmonium and Haven for cheeseburgers, beer, and a tour of the sculpture gallery. We also stopped at Lynyard Cay, snorkeled at Sandy Cay, anchored at Tiloo and Elbow Cays and collected shells at Tahiti Beach, climbed the iconic lighthouse in Hope Town, shopped for Androsian batik fabrics on Man-O-War Cay, ate, drank, visited with friends and did laundry at Treasure Cay (where we also said goodbye to friends continuing to head north), and enjoyed cruiser get togethers at the Jib Room in Marsh Harbour. Although The Bahamas has the most beautiful beaches, we rarely "go to the beach" as in sit in beach chairs under a towel, etc. We did have a wonderful beach afternoon with friends at Treasure Cay. John, Petr and I even tried a friend's stand-up paddle board...not as easy as it looks!

I'm writing this entry from the cockpit as we motorsail our way from Little Harbour in the southern Abacos to Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands. From there, we will make our way to Miami, our Bahamian adventure for this year almost done.

Marking Time by Cold Fronts

02 April 2014 | Meeks Patch
Walle Larsson at the Eleuthera Jazz Festival
I see that it's been three weeks since my last blog, but I have a confession to make. We count the time not by the calendar, but by the weather: it's been four cold fronts since my last blog. A cold front down here is not really cold, just windy and sometimes squally. We hunker down at a dock or in an anchorage during a front, then make our way along between the fronts. The timing seems to be about one front per week that we can count on.

During the third week of March we had a visit by my brother and sister-in-law in the Staniel Cay area. What a great week! We were on a mooring ball at Cambridge Cay for that week's front. We spent most of our time in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park enjoying snorkeling, hiking, swimming, drifting on "noodles" down current, exploring caves and grottos, and of course, meeting with the pigs on Big Major. Good activities, good weather, good friends, good food, good conversations...all-in-all it was a fabulous and memorable week. See the new you tube video links for the Go Pro videos my brother made.

As our visitors flew home, we knew it was time to leave the Exumas and head northeast to Eleuthera. On March 24 we made our 40 mile open ocean passage to Rock Sound, Eleuthera, tucking ourselves into its well protected anchorage before the next front arrived. We spent three days in Rock Sound during the front: reading, defrosting the freezer, provisioning, and attending a cruisers' get together on the beach.

After the front, we moved north up the west side of the island to Governors Harbor and stumbled upon the Eleuthera Jazz Festival ( We went to a couple of terrific concerts on the Thursday and Friday. It's pretty surprising that a small town, population of maybe 1,000 could even have a festival of this sort. It seems that there are a couple of expat musicians that live here (one of them is Canadian), who have lured their buddies down here in the middle of winter to help fundraise for the local library. The sax player we spoke to from Winnipeg was so grateful to be able to be away from the five feet of snow in his yard!

We couldn't stay for the entire festival as the next cold front was approaching, and we needed more shelter than Governors Harbor could provide, so continued north to Hatchet Bay for the next three nights. We took the opportunity to rent a car with friends Steve, Mary and Colleen, and drove the one two lane road "spine" north to Harbour Island, a place we were reluctant to bring Sunkissed to. It was a great day, with a picnic lunch on a pink sand beach, daredevil golf cart driving by our friend Steve, my introduction to a wonderful drink called a mudslide, which is like a milkshake made with Baileys, vodka and ice cream(Dairy Queen take note!)

Once the front passed, it was time to move again, and yesterday we had a lovely slow sail from Hatchet Bay to Meeks Patch. The excitement for the day was passing through Current Cut, a narrow inlet where the current approaches 5 knots, and there is very little slack's either coming or going! Since there are no tide tables for this specific area, all tides are given as plus or minus time from the Nassau tide times. Looking at our chart plotter times, our Explorer Charts, looking at tide times on the internet, talking to a captain from Spanish Wells and talking to others lead me to believe our "sweet spot" of going through the cut was 11:30 am which we thought would be close to slack. We crossed through at 11:45 and the max current was 2.5 knots. The boat that passed through the cut at 11:50 saw 3.5 knot maximum current. The boat that passed through at noon saw a maximum of 4.7 knot current. Our conclusion after all this is that the tide (for that day anyway) at Current Cut was about 45-50 minutes after Nassau, even though most info we had said it was 1.5-2 hours after Nassau. At any rate, the cut is fairly straight and easy, so although we were going fast, we never sensed any danger.

Shortly after the cut, we anchored off Meeks Patch, where we are now. It's a great anchorage in a NE-E-SE wind, with a short dinghy ride to visit Spanish Wells. Tomorrow the wind and waves should be favourable for our crossing from the north end of Eleuthera to the southern end of the Abacos, about a 10-11 hour sail door to door, or should I say anchor to anchor.

Elements of boat maintenance

12 March 2014 | Cave Cay Marina
John fixing one of the heads
One of the activities that consumed quite a bit of John's energy while in George Town was fixing the aft head. It was working, but it was stiff to pump, and no matter how much we cleaned it, it STUNK! So John decided to take the head apart and replace all the seals and gaskets. It was amazing how much sand-like material was lodged within the head. Our friend Phil said that the repairs should have taken "about 45 minutes"; however, it took several hours over two days to accomplish this task. Now, though, we have a better appreciation for the importance of muriatic acid, vinegar and oil in head maintenance. John enjoyed fixing the first head so much, that we have asked my brother to bring another repair kit next week so John can fix the other head! Now THIS one may take only 45 minutes!

In George Town

03 March 2014 | At volleyball beach
Battery/electrical seminar on the beach
It's a happy Monday morning here in George Town. We had breakfast, then dinghied over to volleyball beach for a core exercise class. Now John is at a battery/electrical seminar while I read a book, blog and wait for him. Then we're over to the other side of the harbour into town to get rid of our garbage, fill up our two 5 gallon water jugs (for showers), renew our BTC data plan for another month, and do a little grocery shopping. Tonight we have dinner with Phil and Krista (from ABYC) who we have finally run into!

The only real excitement over the last few days has been the boat that was anchored upwind of us. In the course of three days, it dragged anchor twice (with no one aboard one of the times). For the time no one was aboard, it was great to see an army of dinghies scream over and try to slow the progress of the boat and try to "steer" it away from the boats it was looming towards. Yesterday, the owner decided to take a mooring ball in another area. Good move, I think, until he gets some more effective ground tackle!

The regatta here is over now. All we were able to take part in was the closing dinner/dance. We ran into our QCYC friends from Allure, Tapas and Silver Fox, as well as ABYC's Harmonium Cays. Last night we met some new friends on Firecracker, Glass Slipper and Sloop John Dee, introduced by our old friend, Steve, from Slow Flight. There were some amazing homemade pizzas served! I'm enjoying this life with everyday things to do and few plans! Life is good!

First Mahi of the Season

27 February 2014 | Behind Lee Stocking Island
Highborne Cay feels like such a long time ago, but it’s only been 10 days. In that time, we anchored for several days at Norman’s Cay, right beside a sunken aircraft from the drug smuggling days in the 1980’s. Cocaine would fly from the Medellin Cartel to Norman’s and then on to Florida and South Georgia.

From there, we spent about a week in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a series of cays belonging to the Bahamas Trust. We moored at Shroud Cay, and dinghied up a tidal creek and then hiked up a hill to Camp Driftwood, a DEA lookout for the activities on Norman’s. From the vantage point on the top of Shroud, they were able to take photos of all the planes and gather a complete record of all the activities at Norman’s. We spent three days at our beloved Warderick Wells, hiking and snorkeling. Then a day was spent at another park cay, Hog, and another at Cambridge.

After the ECLSP, we continued south, ending up in Staniel Cay for a few hours to take on water and grocery shop. Last year when we were at Staniel, the store was empty, as the food provision boat only comes once a week. When we went the other day, the store still had quite a few things; however, there were several people behind us at the door to enter. So I went into survival mode. I imagine I might have looked like someone on the game show that has to fill their shopping cart as quickly as they can and they get to keep the items. I just grabbed whatever I knew we needed. At least John had the presence of mind to pick up a grocery carrier. I, on the other hand, had my arms full of milk, tomatoes, lettuce, yogurt containers, etc.

From Staniel was a short sail to Black Point. We are anchored there so we could do our laundry at the famous Rockside Laundermat (sic). They bill themselves as "voted by cruisers to be the best laundermat in the Caribbean". It's funny how important things like doing the laundry become. While the laundry was in the washers, John and I even stepped over to the restaurant across the street for a fresh snapper sandwich. Yummy! So yes, it was a good experience!

The highlight of the past week, though, was yesterday. We decided to fish as we were doing the Exuma Sound route from Black Point to Lee Stocking Island. There were big discussions about whether to follow a specific depth line, etc. At any rate, awesome news, John caught his first mahi of the season! It was 42 inches, 13 ½ pounds, and yielded 22 portions. John was very excited!
Vessel Name: Sunkissed
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 40
Hailing Port: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Crew: John and Nina
About: John and Nina are leaving their home port of Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club for warmer climes.
Extra: Enjoy!
Sunkissed's Photos - Main
13 Photos
Created 5 May 2014
35 Photos
Created 5 May 2014
1 Photo | 21 Sub-Albums
Created 5 April 2014
3 Photos
Created 5 April 2014
7 Photos
Created 5 April 2014
10 Photos
Created 2 April 2014
11 Photos
Created 2 April 2014
19 Photos
Created 25 February 2014
29 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
9 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
7 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
40 Photos
Created 14 April 2013
7 Photos
Created 19 March 2013
15 Photos
Created 5 March 2013
31 Photos
Created 4 March 2013
19 Photos
Created 6 February 2013
20 Photos
Created 1 February 2013
21 Photos
Created 9 January 2013


Who: John and Nina
Port: Toronto, Ontario, Canada