04 July 2012 | Solomons Island, MD
04 July 2012 | Hampton, VA
04 July 2012 | Atlantic ocean outside VA Beach
04 July 2012 | Georgetown, SC
26 June 2012 | Charleston, SC
21 June 2012 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
16 June 2012 | Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas
15 June 2012 | Great Guana Cay, Bahamas
15 June 2012 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
15 June 2012 | Marsh Harbor, Bahamas
13 June 2012 | Great Guana Cay, Bahamas
13 June 2012 | Treasure Cay, Bahamas
13 June 2012 | Marsh Harbor, Bahamas
06 June 2012 | Little Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas
06 June 2012 | Eleuthera, Bahamas
03 June 2012 | Little San Salvador, Bahamas
02 June 2012 | Cat Island, Bahamas
28 May 2012 | George Town, Exuma Bahamas
27 May 2012 | Conception Island, Bahamas
27 May 2012 | George Town, Exuma Bahamas

A place we call home - Spring Cove Marina

04 July 2012 | Solomons Island, MD
After much discussion and consideration about which marina in Maryland to call home for a while we decided it would be the Spring Cove Marina in Solomons Island, MD. We love Solomons Island with all its small town charm and quiet setting. Solomons, as the locals refer to it, is at the month of the Patuxent River and a popular cruising stop along the Chesapeake Bay. The marina is near the historic town, great dining, museums and shops and offers a courtesy shuttle for a ride into town or you can use one of their many bikes. We had a second home in Solomons for 10 years so we kinda know our way around town and it's about a two hour drive to DC.

It's good to be back and I'm looking forward to seeing and catching up with family and friends. We had six wonderful months cruising the Bahamas before coming back so the guys can get ready for college in the fall. We couldn't visit all of the islands this time so there will have to be another trip in the future to see the rest. I'll miss the simple life and all the great cruisers and Bahamians we met along the way.

We enjoyed exploring the islands, the beautiful waters and all that goes with making family memories! The food and rum wasn't bad either. John did a terrific job of keeping us safe while still having fun and at bringing the precious cargo home!

I hope you enjoyed the blog and traveling through the Bahamas with us. I brought something back for you. An easy recipe for Bahamian Mac 'n' Cheese that was one of our favorite foods served with most meals. The recipe can be found at the end of this blog.

Wicked Witch clear, for now!

Bahamas, Mac 'n' Cheese
• 8 ounces, weight Elbow Macaroni, Uncooked
• 1 Tablespoon Minced Green Pepper
• 1 Tablespoon Minced Onion
• 1 Tablespoon Minced Celery
• ½ whole Minced Jalapeno Or 2 Bird Peppers, Minced
• 1 pound Cheddar Cheese, Grated
• 1 can Evaporated Milk (12-ounce Can)
• 2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten

Preparation Instructions
Cook macaroni according to package directions.

Mince or finely dice the vegetables, and let them cook with the macaroni for the last couple of minutes. (put the veggies in a strainer and dip the strainer into the water).

Drain the macaroni and veggies and dump them into a greased 8×8 or roughly similar sized baking dish. Mix the cheese (reserve a little to top the casserole with) into the hot macaroni, and stir. Whisk the eggs into the evaporated milk, and pour this over the macaroni, mixing it in a little.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes, then take it out, top with the reserved cheese and place back in oven for another 15 minutes or until it is set. Take it out of oven and let it rest for a few minutes, then slice into squares to serve.

This can be served hot or at room temperature for a buffet. It also freezes well, and is pretty portable for picnics or to take along a chunk for lunch at the office.

Just when you thought it was safe.

04 July 2012 | Hampton, VA
By the time we entered the Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk poor John was running on fumes from the lack of sleep dealing with the storm the night before. It's a busy area so John needed to be at the helm to guide us through the heavy boat traffic with all the freighters coming and going at Cape Henry.

Once we were through the Cape Henry area John put the sails up taking us over the tunnel cruising at about 7 knots. Just was we cleared the tunnel he noticed that the main fuel tank was reading empty and within seconds the engine started to sputter and stalled! John looked at me and said, "we have a real problem" and at the time I was on the phone talking to John's Mum and calmly said, "can I call you back we have a little emergency to deal with".

John couldn't understand what happen to the engine because we still had fuel in one of the tanks but suspected there was air in the fuel line. The boat has two fuel tanks that should maintain a consistent balance of fuel between the two tanks but for some reason that didn't happen. Maybe because the boat was keeled over on its side while sailing and the tanks were unable to equalize who knows but now the engine won't start and we're in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay!

We couldn't stop talking about how bizarre it was for this to happen now that we were back in the States after cruising in the Bahamas for the past six months without a hitch! John and the guys tried everything they could to get the air out of the fuel line. They pumped and primed the fuel line for hours. Finally John placed a call to BoatUS for a tow but put that on hold after getting an estimate for how much it would cost to tow us to the nearest marina that could work on a Perkins engine. The guys continued to use the internet to look up suggestions for fixing air in the fuel line while John searched for a nearby marina.

He found a marina off Back Creek in Hampton, VA called, Bell Island Marina and was told by the owner, Marty, that he could work on the engine but because it was Sunday won't be able to get us a tow until Monday. Rather than lose another day waiting for a tow John got creative. He and the guys put the outboard motor back on the dinghy and tied the dinghy portside at the stern of the boat then used the dinghy as a tug boat of sorts to power the boat forward for about six miles to the marina. It was a funny sight to see a 50' sailboat powered by an unmanned dinghy.

Russell, who works for Marty, even gave us an escort to the marina using a Sea Doo. He would let other boaters along the way know that we were without an engine and needed space to get the boat through the channel. How sweet was that!

After getting the boat docked and shore power hooked up we were all sitting around talking to Marty and Russell when John decided to try to start the engine again. It took two tries before the engine fired up! (I think she was exhausted from the Atlantic Ocean trip and needed a rest). Shouts of joy rang from the cockpit and John got a big smile on his face.

We celebrated by going out to dinner with Marty, Russell and his girlfriend Amanda. We had a great time with our new friends and had lots of laughs over dinner!

Dark and stormy!

04 July 2012 | Atlantic ocean outside VA Beach
The first couple of nights on the Atlantic Ocean were okay with the second one being the bumpest riding with four to five foot seas. Doesn't sound like much but it's scary watching the dinghy (yes we had to tow the dinghy) riding the wave up behind the boat hoping that the wave doesn't smack it down on the back of the boat. My body never really adjusted to the "shift" schedule of being up for four hours and sleeping for four hours. I wasn't interested in eating much either. I prepared a couple of salads before we left but because of the motion sickness couldn't stand the thought of eating or cooking for that matter and mostly ate breakfast bars. Although, John did tempt me with the chicken couscous he made the second night that everyone enjoyed.

By the third night the water had very little wave action quite pleasant after the night before. John and I were enjoying the sunset in the cockpit thinking what a good decision it was to take the Atlantic route home instead of the ICW.

We changed the shift schedule that day to a two hour schedule - two hours on/off with Owen being the first to take the watch. By the time Evan took his watch at 11:00 pm the boys were looking at a line of very active thunder clouds on the horizon. Evan woke John up to let him know what we were facing and to find out if we should change course to avoid the bad weather ahead. John opened on eye to say that there was no other option but to head right for the storm and rolled over to go back to SLEEP!!! Me, on the other hand, I was unable to sleep knowing we were approaching a storm and had to go up on deck to take a look for myself.

OMG right in front of us on the horizon was quite a light show with long bolts of lightning reaching down to the water from the clouds. Fear started to creep into my body from the thought of lightning striking the mast. Once the heavy rain came John was up on deck to check out the storm and then came the winds - gale force like being in the middle of a tropical storm with lightning hitting the water all around the boat. As we all stood at the top of the companionway huddled together under the dodger watching the force from the winds move the boat sideways losing all visibility beyond the stern of the boat. All I could think was please don't let us get hit by a passing freighter!

The worst of the storm took about five minutes to pass over us but it felt like forever and when the visibility returned what do I see way off in the distance but a huge freighter traveling parallel to us. Way too close for me!!

It took several minutes for everyone to process what had just happened and to be able to find their voice to speak. After coming to our senses the guys realized the boat had been knocked off course and quickly jumped into action getting the boat back on course taking us far away from the path of the freighter. John later made fun of me because I had pulled out the ditch bag just mintues before the storm hit. So much for the shift schedule as there was no way anyone was going back to sleep after that episode and with more storm clouds ahead.

Tides, extreme heat and bugs oh no!

04 July 2012 | Georgetown, SC
After a relaxing stay at the City Marina in Charleston John wanted to move on up the ICW before the weather turned bad. Really I think he didn't want stay because he knew I would go shopping in Charleston. The first day we got stuck at the second bridge a couple of hours into the trip because of high tide and the boat was unable to make it under the bridge until low tide six hours later. We anchored off to the side until low tide and once John felt the water level was good took the boat to the other side of the bridge. It was getting dark so we needed to anchor again for the night. Not much progress that day.

The next morning we didn't get up in time for high tide that ended at 6:00 am forcing us to stay put and wait for the next high tide five hours later. High tide arrived we made good progress up the channel once we started moving enjoying the scenery along the way.

I thought this was an interesting view of the bridge in Charleston from the ICW it looks like two sails in the distance.

We found a nice anchorage for the night just outside Georgetown until it was dusk and then the bugs came out!

Just as we sat down to eat dinner hundreds of mosquitoes decided to join us and we became easy prey for their dinner and staying with us all through the night. There was no escaping them especially since we don't have screens in the windows!

The next day John looked at the weather and with extreme heat forecasted in the triple digits for the next few days and the thought of another night fending off mosquitoes decided it would be better to head back out to the Atlantic Ocean. We made our exit back to the Atlantic Ocean at Georgetown, SC for the next three days until Norfolk, VA then travel up the Chesapeake Bay to Solomons Island, MD.

The crossing from the Bahamas to the States.

26 June 2012 | Charleston, SC
Well, we made it back to the US of A! Just beating Tropical Storm Debby by a day that was crossing FL heading towards the East Coast. It was good that the storm was a slow moving one.

We arrived on Saturday, June 23 at 4:30 pm in Edisto, SC. What a lovely spot to make our reentry into the States and I can see why they called this area the Lowcountry. The rivers are surrounded by tall bog grasses that stretch as far as the eye can see.

The trip over was not bad thankfully and once we crossed through the Whale Cay Channel into the Atlantic Ocean we were able to motor sail on average 7-8 knots for the rest of the day. The early morning of day two, Evan put out fishing lines and by 6:30 am the lines were whizzing with fish pulling in two large Black Fin Tuna. It was only the third fish John has caught during the entire trip so he was quite pleased. Owen was sleeping in and missed the opportunity as did our boat buddy.

After sailing all day without another hit on the fishing lines it was just before sunset when all three lines started to whiz with fish taking the lines out. What a sweet sound that is and everyone gets excited at the possibility of catching the "big one". Evan and Owen pulled in their Dolphin catch but John wasn't so lucky snapping his line and loosing the fish. Oh well, we got two of the three Dolphins so we'll be eating some good Tuna and Dolphin for next few days.

We made it through the second night but the ride was a bit rocky at first with the water smoothing out just after midnight and the air was quite warm which was nice. It felt great! The night was busy with freighters in the distance which kept everyone on alert making sure we didn't get too close or worse be on a collision course with one of the passing ships.

On day three we were in the Gulf Stream by the time the sun was coming up.

The water was nice and flat like a pond making conditions perfect for fishing and the guys were filled with excitement from the possibility of catching some big fish like more Dolphin, Tuna or even a Marlin. Unfortunately the guys caught more fish but nothing we could keep bringing in one Barracuda (I think they're following us) and several Little Tunny.

About midday I noticed on the horizon an object approaching that looked like a sailboat mast in the distance but soon realized it wasn't another sailboat it was actually a Navy super aircraft carrier, #77 aka USS George H.W. Bush out of Norfolk, VA. I later learned that it's a Nimitz-class supercarrier that is one of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service. No wonder when John got near the boat to tried and hitch a ride a voice came over the VHF radio informing us to "stay clear" and enjoy the show. What a display we got too we watched and heard several jets coming and going off the deck of the carrier.

We left Edisto, SC where we entered the States and dropped a hook for an overnight stay and headed for Charleston, SC on Sunday to check in with US Customs. I fell in love with Charleston with all it's southern, city charm.

I definitely would like to come back to Charleston and spend some time visiting all the plantations, museums, shops and restaurants. Oh yeah! With Debby heading up the East coast John wanted to start moving up the ICW before the bad weather was able to delay our departure.

Last days in the Bahamas.

21 June 2012 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
We enjoyed a farewell dinner at Mangos in Marsh Harbor which was their special of the night, stone crabs and plantain crusted grouper with roasted pumpkin. Excellent! Somehow Owen managed to cut his thumb open on one of the stone crab shells and had everyone at the restaurant running around looking for a band aid.

We arrived at Green Turtle Cay on Wednesday, June 20 after spending a couple of days at Marsh Harbor preparing and provisioning the boat for our trip back home. John checked and double checked everything on the boat, the guys changed the oil and transmission fluid and I prepared a couple of salads to enjoy during the trip if anyone felt like eating.

We are scheduled to depart on Thursday, June 21 arriving somewhere in South Carolina on Saturday, June 23. We spent the first night in Green Turtle Cay anchored off New Plymouth Settlement. During the day we went ashore to find a bar that John had visited during his first trip to the island back in the 80's called "Blue Bee Bar". We were surprised and happy to see that the bar was still there and in operation.

We had a lovely walk through town while trying to find the bar admiring the beautiful homes with a quick stop at the memorial garden.

We finished the tour at Sundowners for cocktails while the guys played pool.

The last night before leaving the Bahamas we got a slip at The Bluff House in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay. The marina was nice and the people were friendly but the marina could use a few upgrades to the showers and slips. I guess it really didn't matter as we had too many last minute boat chores to do before we could all relax and enjoy the amenities at the marina.

The marina was running a special deal for boaters where all restaurant charges would be applied as a credit to the slip charges during the stay. Nice, so the guys made sure the dinner bill would run about the same amount as the bill for the slip. After dinner John tried to negotiate a better deal with one of the owners that if he could get the cork out of the wine bottle without breaking the bottle or using any thing other than a napkin that the stay would be free. The owner was impressed when John got the cork out but sadly no relief on the bill.

Before leaving John met with our boat buddy, Alex, his wife and a couple that joined them as crew for the first time to discuss the crossing. Yes, we have a boat buddy for the crossing which will be nice and they're on a 49' Beneteau as well named Restless. The weather looked good with favorable winds so the plan was to try to make it to Beaufort, SC but we would have to wait and see what the conditions would be like before making a final decision.
Vessel Name: S/V Wicked Witch, 1997 Beneteau 50
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau/Moorings 50
Hailing Port: St. Thomas, USVI
Crew: The Inkley's - Captain John and Robin (aka Wicked Witch)
John has been sailing since he was seven in the UK. After college he spent time as a Charter Skipper in the Mediterranean. Robin was introduced to sailing after meeting John. Together they spent three years sailing a Columbia 36 on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, MD. [...]
The boat is located at Solomons Island, MD and we'll be blogging about our cruising experiences on the Chesapeake with family and friends. S/V Wicked Witch - the hull was designed by Bruce Farr & Associates, long-standing specialists in racing yachts combined with substantial design input from [...]
S/V Wicked Witch, 1997 Beneteau 50's Photos - Main
Started the trip back home on June 25, 2012 up the ICW at Charleston, SC. Had to take a detour back out to the Atlantic Ocean to Norfolk and entered the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Final destination Solomons Island, MD on July 2, 2012.
20 Photos
Created 4 July 2012
June 20, 2012 Leaving Abaco, Bahamas for the US.
19 Photos
Created 20 June 2012
June 4-15, 2012 and Patsy and Bob are with us for 10 days sailing around the Abacos Cays.
32 Photos
Created 15 June 2012
We arrived in Little Harbor on Mother's Day, May 13 and will be cruising the area with visitors until we head home the end of June.
37 Photos
Created 6 June 2012
May 5, 2012 anchored at Rock Sound and Hatchet Bay on our way up to Spanish Wells
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Created 6 June 2012
10 Photos
Created 1 June 2012
We arrived at Cat Island on April 28, 2012 and spent a few days anchored in Bight and Fernandez Bay.
44 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
An annual event at George Town.
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Created 28 May 2012
We spent a couple of nights at Conception Island with our friends Al and Sue that we met in George Town.
26 Photos
Created 27 May 2012
Great Exuma Island with most of the photos taken while in George Town.
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Created 28 March 2012
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Created 23 March 2012
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Created 15 March 2012
Photos from our stay in Northern Exuma
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Created 7 March 2012
The end of our sailing trip in Eleuthera included anchorages at Governor's Harbour, Pineapple Cay and Rock Sound.
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Created 7 March 2012
February 16-18, 2012 Nice overnight anchorage and walking trip to the beach on the other side of the island.
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Created 18 February 2012
February 11-16, 2012 Hatchet Bay was a man-made entrance into a landlocked pond. Great protected harbor with a small settlement to visit.
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Created 18 February 2012
February 10-11, 2012 Both overnight anchorages making our way to Hatchet Bay.
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Created 18 February 2012
February 8, 2012 Spanish Wells, Eleuthera is known for lobster - 75 percent of the nation's annual production is exported to markets worldwide from here.
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Created 18 February 2012
Our first stop in Eleuthera after leaving Nassau.
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Created 18 February 2012
Pictures from West Bay and Nassau.
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Created 28 January 2012
Pictures from our stay at Chub Cay.
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Created 27 January 2012
Pictures from our stay in North Bimini, Bahamas
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Created 15 January 2012
Days leading up to our departure from Ft Lauderdale and our arrival at North Bimini
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Created 13 January 2012
Bringing in the New Year at Key Biscayne, FL
23 Photos
Created 9 January 2012
Pictures of our days diving and provisioning the boat.
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Created 25 December 2011
Our first overnight stay on the boat and away from the slip was in Key Biscayne, FL. Beautiful area and John was finally able to get the boat out and see how she would hold up.
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Created 24 December 2011
Pictures of the boat at the Playboy Marina getting refitted for our cruising trip and living aboard while in a slip at Las Olas in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
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Created 24 December 2011
Reflecting with family in 2011 leading up to our departure.
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Created 24 December 2011