Slowly, but surely, making our way north.  But seriously, hail??? 

I just checked my boat log to see what our progress has been the past few weeks.  We’ve only traveled 14 out of 21 days, mostly due to weather or adverse winds and seas.  (The weather winner was after a very long day up to Annapolis, we tied up at our friend’s dock and within a half hour had a thunderstorm and hail!) Of those 14 days, we rose and pulled anchor before sunrise 10 days and moved 10-12 hours north.  The days we had to stay put were frustrating but we did manage to see some good cruising friends in Charleston, Carolina Beach and Annapolis – the best part about the boating life!  We FINALLY got a good forecast for a string of days to get us down the Delaware to Cape May and up to Atlantic City.  Unfortunately, today’s forecast fell apart overnight and we are “stuck” in Atlantic City (Shitty) for another night to allow seas to subside for our 82 mile sail up to Sandy Hook.  In this 24 hours of waiting Dan will surely show me weather updates 100 times – let’s just hope it’s looking better going forward.

Here’s some pics coming north:

Offshore sailing from St. Augustine to Fernandina photo courtesy of SV Kismet
Florida bridges
Step around the pelicans!!
Overnight to Charleston – looked so lovely but the last 6 hours had winds in the high 30’s on the nose and big seas. Of course it was in the wee morning hours so you couldn’t see them. Made for a pretty dreadful ride!!
When in Charleston we are in a rut… We always go to our favorite restaurant – SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) and order the same thing – Shrimp n Grits. Perfection!!
Clever Pumpout boat names in Charleston😁
Seagull Sunset
Did I mention it’s been chilly? Been putting on the layers .

So the hope is to be home by next weekend. But who knows what the weather guessers will say?? Hopefully no more hail!

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Bahamas🇧🇸 to Vero Beach, Florida🇺🇸 

So, our crossing weather was definitely worth the wait!  We left Green Turtle Cay at 7am with a mix of sailing and motorsailing across the Bahamas banks and Gulfstream.  A quick check-in on the Customs Re-entry app in Fort Pierce Inlet, then onward to a mooring in Vero Beach arriving at 12:30pm.  That’s a 180 mile trip.  We actually got to sail for 6 hours which was really a treat.  And did I mention it was a full moon that night?  Just like having a big spotlight on the water!  Dan got the fishing rod out as we got closer to Florida and soon the reel squealed – fiesty fishy! He wrestled it in and got it into a joint compound bucket.  It ain’t easy dealing with an angry fish in a sailboat cockpit surrounded by an enclosure!  Dan’s nephew confirmed that like our last fishing attempt, he had once again pulled in a False Albacore (not great eating and you had to bleed it out right away???  Really?  On a sailboat?)  So after a quick victory photo, we put him back in the Atlantic.  

Our intentions in Vero were to reprovision as quickly as possible and get back on the trek north.  We did catch up with some cruising friends in Vero.  Debra, on MV Mandalay, surprised Dan with a belated birthday celebration.  It was so good to see her and John!

There has been a lot more wind this year both in the Bahamas and back on the East Coast.  We have taken advantage of these windy days getting some decent sailing up the ICW.  We also had days of motor sailing and avoiding the shallows.

Had a romping, reefed down sail from St. Augustine to Fernandina on the outside along with sv Kismet who took our pic!

From Fernandina we did our overnight up to Charleston, which I’m still recuperating from and will fill you in on the next blog! 😧
Still in Charleston waiting for, you guessed it, wind to calm down….

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And Off We Go!⛵️ 

We’ve been in Green Turtle Cay since the first of the month.  Our intention was to see a bit more of the island and be heading back to Florida after a week.  Well, little did we know that it would be more than two weeks before the wind and seas would settle enough to consider crossing.  But it looks like “good things come to those who wait”.  The forecast looks really good for our sunrise departure tomorrow.  We’ll be out overnight to Ft Pierce Inlet and hopefully be in Vero Beach Friday afternoon.  Did I mention it’s supposed to be clear skies with a full moon??  

Here are a few pics from our stay at Green Turtle Cay:

So cross your fingers, say some crossing prayers and the next blog I’ll let you know the conditions we actually encountered!  

Bye for now Bahamas!!⛵️🌴😎🇧🇸

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Bahamas Besties!!

“There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!” 

Irish Proverb …

I met my two best friends in junior high.  How would I have known that 50 years later we would still be close?  These are friends that you can go long periods without being in touch but when you get together it’s like you never left one another.  I was fortunate enough to have both of these friends visit us in the Bahamas this month.  Shelley, with her husband Aaron, from NYC and Linda, from Tampa, FL.  The weather wasn’t perfect but we made the best of it snorkeling, beaching, wining & dining:

Beautiful day out on the water
Taking a “look bucket” look
Sunset dinner at Firefly
Dark chocolate is NOT something you buy in the Bahamas. Thanks for the resupply, Shelley!!
Gillam Bay treasure hunting
Thats some good wahoo!
Vacation drink🌴
Man O War sunset

Dan and I had such a good time sharing our piece of paradise.  It makes me so thankful to still have my junior high besties!❤️

We are currently on a mooring in Green Turtle Cay, north of our winter base at Hope Town.  We were hoping to cross back to Florida this week but there really is no wimpy weather window.  Looks like we’ll be here another week or so – there’s worse places to be stuck!😎🌴🇧🇸

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February fronts come and go!

A beautiful week, a windy week – such is winter in the Abacos! Our lowest temperature this year was 66 so I’m not complaining. We get out hunting any day the wind is down. The pics below are from a day we were out on the heads, barely got a sprinkle but the sky was black and it was a deluge in Hope Town

The visibility was amazing!
My job is to stay close to Dan in case he brings up lobster and also to watch for those “big fish”.
Can’t believe we didn’t get drenched!
Good one!
Slipper, also known as Shovel Head lobster. Really delicious but creepy looking.

So we’ll blow around here a few weeks, enjoy visits from my two besties and then start heading back. Can’t help myself – gotta leave you with yet another beautiful sunset🌴😎⛵️🇧🇸

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Windy January

Yesterday was the first day this season that we didn’t leave the boat. As predicted, the wind started cranking around 4am and blew 25-35 kts for about 24 hours. We were on our mooring in our safe little harbor but certainly not a day you’d venture ashore in the dinghy unless you really had to. We did boat chores, corresponded with friends and family, played Rummikub, napped, made popcorn and watched a couple episodes on the tv. I even made pizza which I only do about once a season as it takes about a 1/2 hour to get my propane oven up to 350 and another 1/2 hour to bake – it was worth it to warm up down below when temps went into the lower 60’s. We absolutely had nothing to complain about as there was a blizzard hitting home on this same day. My sister said there was about 18” of snow! Today the wind has let up, it’s in the 60’s and we don’t have to shovel!!😁

My winter attire

I’ve been volunteering up at the Hope Town Primary School since we arrived. They had been entirely remote until last week when students arrived back in person with a hybrid schedule. Unfortunately for me, they don’t have permission for anyone but their teachers to have contact with the students so it doesn’t look like I’ll get a chance to work with them 😩. In the meantime, I’ve been helping a local woman get their media center back in shape (it hasn’t been used since Hurricane Dorian). Lots of sorting and organizing. Dan and I made them a book shelf out of scrap wood one weekend. It is difficult and expensive to get materials here on the island. Storage is always an issue up at school. Many people would like to donate books but they have nowhere to put them.

A little Dis and Dat from the Bahamas in January:

Pink sky in morning – what does this bring sailors?
Sunsets with conch blowing Dan
Always out hunting for these guys
Dan heading out for an ocean swim

February will be a fun month for us. We have good friends coming to visit and when they leave it will be about the time we begin moving north in the Abacos and start looking for a window to head back to Florida. But for now, I’ll throw on a sweatshirt if need be and some socks with my sandals!🇧🇸🌴😎

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Happy New Year!!

I think we all celebrated the dawn of this New Year with hope and anticipation of good things. We had dinner in the cockpit with two friends, they left by 8 and we were in bed by 9 – party animals!!🎉.

The weather between Christmas and New Years could not have been more beautiful. Sunny day after sunny day, temps in the mid to upper 70’s and gentle breezes. Really perfect for this time of year. Spent lots of time out in the dinghy exploring and in the water hunting and swimming.

Snorkeled around a Blue Hole down at Lynyard Cay

Just another beautiful sunset!

Dipping off the transom at Man O War Cay

We had some of the clearest snorkeling days in the past couple weeks. We also have some tails for the freezer, including one from big guy!

Still avoiding the covid cooties but it’s a bit easier when you can be outside each day! Hope your new year is off to a good start. 🇧🇸🌴😎⛵️

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Merry Christmas, Bahamian Style!!🎄 

When you’re sitting in shorts and bare feet it can be difficult to get in the Christmas spirit.  I have my gallon ziplock onboard that includes all of our holiday items – a pathetic little tree, some lights, our Santa hats and even a couple holiday dish towels.  It certainly doesn’t take long to decorate.  

Here’s a bit of what we’ve been doing in this month leading up to Christmas:

Sunset happy hour on the beach with new and old friends
Field trip on a powercat with other cruisers to Man O War Cay for some better groceries 
When there’s a full moon, we gather at sunset with drinks and snacks to share, tie the dinghies together and drift around the harbor.  I think we had about a dozen that night with boats joining in as we went by.
A real treat was to be invited to go south to Tahiti beach on a center console boat.  It was a beautiful afternoon and “The Thirsty Cuda” was anchored off the beach.  You walk or swim out, according to the tide, and order some of the best fish  and burgers in the Abacos!
Our wonderful local Bahamian friends, Monica and Richard, did a lot of fundraising and set up a skating rink in the Community Center for kids which was open the past few weekends.  The skates are all donated as was the rink (which is made of a hard plastic similar to cutting board material). There were lots of falls, like with real ice, but they also could use some sled like walkers to help to keep their balance.  A snow machine that shoots out tiny soap flakes helped to set the mood. They had so much fun!  Dan & I worked a couple nights in the kitchen making popcorn and handing out refreshments (we let the teenagers make the cotton candy so we wouldn’t come back to the boat covered in sticky sugar).  There was a visit from Santa and each child received generously donated gifts.  

And with the harbor and boat decorated we’re starting to feel the spirit!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you’re able to gather safely with those you love!!🎄🎁🌴😎⛵️🇧🇸

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A Bit of Winter Paradise🌴

What can I say? It’s beautiful in the Bahamas! We typically wake up to morning clouds and many days, a brief shower. But then out comes the sun and temps are in the 70’s and low 80’s. My kinda weather! Only we, and the Canadians, swim here in the winter – Bahamians think it much too cold.

Morning rainbow
I go up to the newly rebuilt school most mornings. They’re still teaching remotely so I’m mostly unpacking and organizing.

Dan usually has boat chores to keep him busy and in the afternoons we’re out in the dinghy, poking around looking for lobsters. He’s had some good luck and I’ve already made some curried lobster sandwiches, lobster pasta salad and have one for the freezer. Certainly helps with our food supply.

Wow!! That was a big guy!
One day he brought this guy up to say hello

I’ve been enjoying my walks here. I usually walk the dirt road up to the north end and treat myself coming back via the beach. Constantly have my eyes to the sand, watching for sea glass and sea beans.

So many decisions!

When we spot the local fishermen coming into the harbor, we hop in the dinghy and meet them at the marina to see if they have anything to sell. They typically catch snapper, wahoo, mahi mahi or tuna (our favorite).

The next few weeks we will try to get in the holiday spirit – a bit tough while in shorts. There are more cruisers coming into the harbor each day which gives us more friends to come out and play with !

And the there’s the flowers❤️🇧🇸
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We have arrived!

People always ask us how long it takes us to get to the Bahamas. We left Mystic on September 15th, crossed and arrived in the Bahamas on November 13th, so basically 2 months. But in reality it’s about one month of travel days. The rest of the time we attended a wedding in NYC, stayed with good friends in Annapolis, spent an extra night in Norfolk to see family, spent a few days in Charleston and St Augustine because we enjoy those cities, hung out in Vero Beach for two weeks loading the boat to capacity and of course, spent extra days waiting for good weather. So it could be done in a month but we’re cruisers, what’s the hurry??

On November 13th we got a weather window that looked pretty decent to cross from Lake Worth inlet to Great Sale Cay, Bahamas. With health visas all set, we left that morning around 6:15 and started the slow slog across the Gulfstream and on to the Bahamas banks. With a bit of an East wind on the nose, it wasn’t a bad crossing, just slow. We were anchored around 11:30pm and went immediately to sleep.

Predawn anchor up
Goodbye West Palm Beach, Hello Bahamas!

Next morning it was up and off to Spanish Cay to clear in to Customs and Immigration. Unlike other years, the Customs woman was already there and we were able to clear in pretty quickly and get back underway. As we’re now checked in and in no hurry, we took advantage of a light breeze and sailed to Manjack Cay where we anchored for the night.

You fly your yellow quarantine flag until being checked in, after that, up goes our Bahamas courtesy flag until we check out

When we leave this area there is always concerns about getting around Whale Cay on our way to Hope Town. If it’s been blowing or stormy it can get in a rage, preventing passage around. Fortunately, things had been pretty settled and we were able to do this section the next morning.

Always there to greet us!
Dan didn’t waste any time getting in the ocean
And I couldn’t wait to get my feet on the ground for a long walk and some sea glass hunting!
The beauty of Hope Town. Signs of rebuilding but a long ways to go post Dorian.

We were very excited to arrive safely to our mooring in Hope Town after 2 months. After leaving here a year and a half ago, post Dorian and during the beginnings of COVID, spending time at home and a winter in Connecticut, we are happy to be back in turquoise waters, warmth and sunshine for the winter!

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