Unchained

22 May 2008 | At sea
11 May 2008 | St. Maarten
05 May 2008 | British Virgin Islands
30 April 2008 | Off Vieques, P.R.
30 April 2008 | Ponce,P.R.
30 April 2008 | Ponce,P.R.
30 April 2008 | The Atlantic
08 April 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
08 April 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
31 March 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
31 March 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
29 March 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
29 March 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
19 March 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
17 March 2008 | Luperon, D.R.
17 March 2008 | Luperon
15 March 2008 | Turks Passage
15 March 2008 | Caicos Banks
04 March 2008 | Mayaguana, Provodenciales
04 March 2008 | G'Town, Conception, the Acklins

Final leg

19 May 2010 | Indiantown, FL
Bill
We anchored off Chub Cay after a thirty five mile crossing from Nassau and stayed for an extra day because of forecast twenty five knot winds for Tuesday (5-11). We met a 40' sailboat there with a honeymoon couple aboard. It was a crewed charter with only one man as crew and it cost $5000 per week. Hummmm? We had planned to go Great Isaac for the crossing to Lake Worth but it was still windy and there is no protection there so we opted for Bimini and anchored off the NW coast near Paradise Point. Late that night a boat anchored behind us but in the morning it had already gone. Beautiful sailing day, wind from the East and reasonable seas. We got a call on the VHF from a boat telling us they had heard us talking with Chris Parker (weather guy) at 0630. It turns out they were the boat behind us and now they were about two miles ahead and headed for Lake Worth also. His wife caught a 36" Mahi Mahi and he caught a big Tuna. I caught seaweed. We had dolphins playing on our bow for over an hour and when we got into the Gulf Stream we recorded 8.4 knots on the GPS for an hour and a half. I even saw a 10 knot reading once. We were doing about seven knots through the water and the Stream accounted for the additional speed since we were headed north. We both went into Lake Worth to anchor in a beautiful spot and went to bed early. We followed them in because they had been here several times before. It's always nice to have a little local knowledge when you go into a new location. Rhapsody, the boat from Bimini left about 0600 since they were headed all the way up to Brunswick GA. to store their boat. We left about 0700 and headed out the inlet into wind at 25 knots from the East and 6-8 foot seas with an occasional 10 footer. Quite an adrenalin surge for our last day at sea. Fortunately it was a little less than four hours to the St. Lucie inlet but then I was reminded what I liked the least about Florida boating. Shallow bays and lots of very fast boats. We tip toed our way across the bay with 5.8 feet reading on the depth gauge at times before entering the St. Lucie canal. It was a pretty steady eight feet all the way to the St. Lucie lock. The lock master tosses you two lines tied to the top of the lock wall which you hold on to but don't tie to your boat. Then he opens the upstream lock doors about 12-15 inches and lets the water fill the lock. The same is true for emptying the lock. He opens the downstream doors a little and lets the water out. I wonder if TVA knows about this method. About twenty eight miles up the canal, flashbacks to the Tenn/Tom, we passed a railroad swing bridge that was open and a mile further we turned into Indiantown Marina, our final, final destination. By the way, there are alligators in the marina and manatees. We are now spending three to four days unloading, repairing and cleaning Unchained before we haul out. The picture with this update is of the truck we rented to haul our stuff home. Can you believe ALL THAT was in the boat with us and that doesn't count all the stuff that stays on the boat. This could be the last blog update...BUT I will have to blog the unloading of approximately thirty five cubic feet of STUFF from Unchained and I plan to write an additional update telling of our trip from Knoxville to Marathon, FL when we came down since I hadn't started the blog at that time. January on the Tennessee River with out a heater is interesting. Stay tuned.

Through the Exumas

17 May 2010 | Bahamas
Bill
We left the Volleyball Beach anchorage off Stocking Island at 0815 on Monday morning for a leisurely motor sail through the Conch Cay Cut into Exuma Sound and north about thirty five miles then back into the Exuma Banks side through the Galliot Cay Cut and anchored in the protected waters behind Big Galliot Cay. We were at anchor by 1430. There is a current there and the boat sat at the anchor rode pointed away from the anchor! The combination of an East wind and a West current had the anchor chain running from the bow, under the boat and off behind us. By 1600 or so the current lessened and we swung back into a normal relationship with the chain. At 0230 Tuesday morning however, the boat again turned away from the anchor when we had the same conditions at the twelve hour tide change. Interesting but it makes for poor sleep. The anchor was set very well and there was really nothing to worry about but it is still an uncomfortable feeling. This morning we left Galliot Cay and motor sailed north up the Banks to an anchorage at Big Majors Spot right next to Staniel Cay. This was only about twenty one miles and we took our time leaving to let the tide come up some. Still we made 90% of the passage over eight to twelve foot water. The Bahamas are known for being shallow or as sailors refer to it "Skinny water". We are now anchored off of Pig Beach. There are wild pigs here that swim and are often fed by cruisers. People have warned us not to get too close or the pigs will try to climb into the dinghy and sharp hooves and air filled tubes don't mix. These pigs must meet a lot of cruisers because they are HUGE. I could probably put my arms around one and my finger tips would still be two feet apart but I wouldn't try that. I was going to use a picture of one of these pigs for the blog but #1 the picture I took wasn't in clear focus because I had to keep circling him to keep away and #2 I felt guilty because we had lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and we both had BLTs. The picture will be of our contribution to the pile on Boo Boo Hill at Warderick Wells (HQ for the Exuma Land & Sea Park). We are making short hops and took a layover at Big Majors Spot and Warderick Wells to enjoy the last weeks of our cruising life. Tonight (5/8) we are at Shroud Cay, only a three hour trip from Warderick Wells and spent most of the afternoon winding our way up a tidal creek through the cay. It was a nursery. A shallow mangrove swamp with lots of juvenile examples of aquatic life including young two and three foot Nurse sharks, Barracuda and lots of queen conchs. We went in at low tide and had to walk the dinghy some (African Queen?) but were able to motor out slowly as the tide rose. We leave tomorrow morning for Nassau and points west. The Trade winds are returning this week and we should have fifteen to twenty knot winds pushing us across the Banks. Less than a week left and by the way, we had a great Green Flash tonight. There are very few sailboats in the Exumas now compared to the January we came through in 2008. I guess almost everyone has already headed home. (5-10) In and out of Nassau. Expensive, noisy and crowded. We are anchored off Chub Cay tonight and will wait out 25 knot wind tomorrow before heading across the Banks on Wednesday and the Gulf Stream on Thursday. I am sure this update will be sent from Lake Worth, Florida. The cell phone will work again.....Oh Darn!

Leaving G'town

02 May 2010 | Georgetown, Exuma
Bill
It's Monday (4/26) and we had family arrive Saturday evening. We met Sue's brother and his wife at the airport and got them settled into their hotel. Sunday morning we brought Unchained over to the town side of Elizabeth harbor, picked them up and returned to Sand Dollar beach for some hiking ashore, snorkeling and relaxing. We returned to the town side that evening and anchored in Kidds Cove. We had considered sailing Sunday but the forecast called for increased winds until late afternoon and the forecast was correct. We had two friends due to arrive about three pm today but the weather in the SE U.S. was horrible last night and we found out their flight from Fort Lauderdale was cancelled for today. We got back to the boat about 7:45 after dinner at Eddie's Edgewater and it started thundering and lightening about eight. The wind had been increasing all afternoon and now (9pm) a constant heavy rain has set in. Several boats have been following the storm cell on radar and it looks like we are due for more. We watched one cell move across us on our radar but we knew the storms that hit Florida last night were headed toward us. We expect the front to pass over Georgetown around 2am and the forecasts show peak winds around that time. I guess I'll be up on anchor watch most of the night. We are in about eight feet of water with almost eighty feet of all chain rode out so we feel very comfortable. Ten to one ratio anchor rode should handle more than we will see tonight. Thunder and lightening are fairly unusual here and pretty much nonexistent in the Windwards and Leewards. Sue and I both like to watch storms but we prefer to do it ashore without a fifty foot lightening rod above us. Hopefully there are taller and more attractive masts around us. (5-1) We have now finished up a wonderful week of visiting with some family and friends. We snorkeled, sailed, ate local foods, shopped and relaxed. All four of them depart this morning and the weather is perfect. There is no chance of another flight cancellation. Not that we want to get rid of them, we are just glad they won't have to deal with that long and uncomfortable experience again. We are headed off to do laundry and get more diesel preparing for the Monday morning passage to Cave Cay. It is about thirty five miles and will give us a nice five or six hour trip. We plan on taking about nine or ten days to get to Nassau. It should be five sailing days with layovers in some of our favorite spots. We picked up a buddy boat for the trip north but today they informed us they had to wait till Wednesday for a new chill plate for their refrigeration unit. It is a beautiful Beneteau, that has had transmission problems also, and they are in a hurry so they may catch us before we get to Nassau. It is getting pretty real that we will be Stateside in a little over two weeks. Two of our cruising friends have sold their boats in the last 45 days and we realize Unchained won't be returning to the sea with us aboard after we get to Indiantown, FL. If a new owner wants her delivered to the Virgin Islands, that could be arranged. Any crew want to volunteer? The picture is of the gang with us this week at the Chat & Chill at Volleyball beach on Stocking Island.
Vessel Name: Unchained
Vessel Make/Model: 38' Beneteau
Hailing Port: Knoxville, TN
Crew: Bill & Sue Shafer
About:
We have been sailing about ten years (lots of schools and bare boat charters in those years). Sue grew up in Midland, TX and Bill in Knoxville, TN where we have a home. We are members of Concord Yacht Club in Knoxville (Great people & very supportive). [...]
Extra: Unchained is a 1991 Beneteau Moorings 38 which was designed as a charter boat. We had to make many modifications to make her a reasonable long distance cruiser. She is light and small but very capable.