Bahamas field trips

January is always the month that we get lots of cold fronts with lots of wind in the Bahamas. We take advantage of the days when the winds are calmer and we can get out of the harbor. Last week we were invited to go with some friends over to Marsh Harbor to Maxwells, the “big” grocery store. We jumped at that opportunity as we had seen very little good produce here at Hope Town. The boat is very cool, kind of resembling a grey Coast Guard boat. We were all successful in our shopping endeavor but it was sad to see the equally devastating landscape of Marsh Harbor.

This past weekend we headed south about 20 miles to Lynyard Cay and Little Harbor. It’s amazing how random Dorian’s path was. There was much less damage and their palms still had their fronds! We enjoyed one of our favorite dinghy adventures back in the Bight of Old Robinson – a trip only to be made at high tide as we learned several years ago… We had gone with friends Al & Michele and John & Carol in our individual dinghies. As we were enjoying the beauty back there, the tide went out and we ended up slogging through quick sand with the guys yanking the dinghies through the shallows like a scene in “the African Queen”. Anyway, it was truly beautiful going through the aqua water, seeing turtles, fish and rays.

Lunch at Pete’s Pub (virtually untouched) was a treat as was sea glassing the long beach at Lynyard.

Everyone is still working hard with the recovery here in Hope Town. Dan goes off on land projects each morning as I head to school. The hum of generators is a constant and many people are still not living in their own homes. The friendliness of the Bahamians is a constant and they are certainly making small steps in the new normal.

The sun is shining, I’m in shorts in the cockpit at 8 am. Life is good on Cutting Class!

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Bahama bloggin’

We knew when we returned from California that we would want to look for the first weather window for crossing to the Bahamas. We had a redeye on Friday night, got in Saturday and quickly grabbed some fresh and frozen foods before heading out of Vero Beach Monday morning. We left at about 7:30 AM, made our way through eight opening bridges and at 6:30 PM we were headed out, in the dark, through the Lake Worth Inlet. It felt good to be underway to Great Sale Cay! The seas were about 3 feet and a bit lumpy, but not too bad. We had to hand steer a good part of the way as the auto pilot did not like that motion in the Gulfstream . We arrived at Great Sale at about 10:30am and immediately crashed.

We took two naps that afternoon and went to bed at 7pm (didn’t exactly make midnight on this New Years Eve😁) With absolutely no human light, the star filled sky was amazing!! We got up and were on our way the next day, New Year’s Day, to try to check in to customs. Certainly a miracle in the Bahamas, the customs agent was at the new Chinese port to check us in. We anchored in the dark that evening over at Manjack Cay and continued through to Hopetown the following day. We had seen pictures of the devastation but nothing could quite prepare you for the amount of debris and damage on the island. No one we know currently lives in their own home. They’re living in whatever has a decent roof.

There are some groceries on the island but not everything that we need. We currently have no milk and have been hunting for that the last few days. We brought plenty of basic foods to get by from Florida and after this wind lays down, been blowing 25 to 30 the last few days, we will probably take the boat to Man O War Cay for a better grocery store.

Water is an issue here. We get drinking water from a cistern at the sailing club. Dan brings jugs over to the marina where are they pump RO water into our jugs and brings them back to the boat to pump them in. You can only do this at certain hours as they only run the generator for a bit while you’re loading water. Did I mention that there is no power anywhere on the island. Everyone is on generators. They run them for a certain amount of hours each day to keep their refrigerators cold or to take a hot shower.

We spend our days helping friends with their house issues. One of our friend’s houses was lifted by a tornado and we are currently helping go through the rubble, finding items that are usable for them.

I have been helping out at school. We only have classes from nine to noon with grades one through five. There are four highschoolers that are out on the deck at the school with their laptops doing a virtual classroom program. Internet is very poor here in the harbor. We’re making do sending a few texts,emails and messages but if I have anything with pictures I have to bring my phone to school and send them from there.

Before the blow began, we did go out hunting for some lobster and Dan was successful. He actually caught one his biggest lobsters ever! Pretty scary bringing that guy Into the dinghy.

So the wind is supposed to lay down around Tuesday. We will be anxious to get out of the harbor for a couple days. January is always the windiest month here and the coolest, that being said it’s been in the mid to high 70s but just windy every day.

Spirits are high here in Hope Town but you can see that everyone is tired from the daily labor of sifting through and moving debris and patching up their homes. There is hope in Hope Town❤️

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Wonderful New Year!!⛵️🇧🇸🌴

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Christmas in Cali🎄

After almost 2 months of hanging out in Vero Beach, it was finally time to leave for our California family Christmas adventure. We usually spend Christmas with our cruising family in Hope Town but this year we flew to see my brother, Steve and his wife, Amy in San Diego for a few days and then on to Upland to meet up with our son, Erik, his new wife, Kati and all of her family for Christmas.

Steve and Amy are great cooks and spoiled us badly! They also arranged for my cousin and her family to come for a gathering. It was wonderful to see them all!

Kati’s mom, Lynne, also welcomed us into her beautiful home and wined and dined us through Christmas. The weather was pretty lousy for Southern California but we made the best of it playing games, doing puzzles and squeezing in some hikes between rain showers.

As much as we love the Bahamas in the winter, NOTHING beats Christmas with family❤️🎄

Family affair! My brother, Steve and cousin, Sara

Will blog again soon now that we made it to the Bahamas. Inter is very poor in the harbor. Happy New Year to all!!😍⛵️🇧🇸

Christmas Day hike with Kati, Erik and Dan B.
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The Holiday Season

Vero Beach Lighted Boat parade

Lighted parade in Vero

Lighting up the cockpit

SYC Vero gathering

Cruiser’s Thanksgiving

So we’ve enjoyed our time in Vero Beach but are SO ready to get to the Bahamas! We leave for our Christmas trip this Friday and return the 28th. Can’t wait to see everyone!

All I want for Christmas is to get back from CA and have good crossing weather! Pray to the weather Gods! Our friends in Hope Town can really use our help, but we’ve got to get there!

Enjoy all the pre-Christmas festivities!!

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Putting on the breaks in Vero Beach, Florida

We were pretty pooped from pushing each day through the long state of Florida. Dan & I admitted to each other that there were days when we woke up and had no idea where we were. So when we arrive in Vero Beach, we can catch our breath and relax.

Had some good sailing on our trip down the Mosquito Coast. We always see lots of cool wildlife on that day through the Haulover Canal.

Vero brings lots of opportunities to catch up with lots of land and sea friends.

We are treated to many beautiful sunsets here!

So here we sit in Vero Beach… The land of free public busses, unlimited supplies and warm weather. We are soooo itchy to move onto the Bahamas but will stay here through the holidays and give them a bit more time to be ready for cruisers who are ready to work.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We have so much to be thankful for. We will spend ours here, potluckin’ with lots of cruisers!💕⛵️

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SC/GA So Beautiful But Sooo Shallow!!!

In our last post, Dan wrote of our “experience” in Charleston.  I am quite good at pretending these incidents did not occur and moving on…  We did connect with two of our favorite cruising couples, Ron and Pam on m/v Legacy and John & Belinda from s/v Be As You Are.  So much fun and allowed me to leave Charleston on a good note!

Except for our very first trip south, we have always done an overnight ocean passage, about 27 hours, from Charleston to the border of Florida to avoid the many shallow spots in this section on the ICW.  Watching the weather, we determined it did not look like our kind of seas out there, so rather than wait it out we decided to head inside which takes about a week for the same distance.  Beautiful scenery but oh so shallow, rushing currents and tides around nine feet.  You REALLY have to pay attention!

 

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Cruising pals😍

Crazy tides

 

Isle of Hope, GA

Sunrise departures to hit higher tides in the shallows

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Car carrier “Golden Ray” on it’s side in a Georgia inlet – they’re not quite sure what to do about this…

Cumberland Island – my favorite stop even when we drag anchor in the middle of the night with it blowing in the 30’s.  Another of those “incidents” I’ve managed to erase from my memory….

We just left St Augustine a couple days ago.  Had a really fun evening with some of our Vlaun family.  Been wearing a hat daily to cover my fat mess hair – FINALLY took care of that issue !!!

Headed south and should be in Vero Beach Wednesday where we will put on the breaks and enjoy Florida for a bit.  Are we snowbirds????

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“Relaxing” in Charleston

So, we were so happy to finally get to Charleston to “relax” after some challenging travel days.  A storm was forecast for last night.  Some weather apps said 10-20kts and some said gusts to 35kts from SE.  The 2nd pic shows that SE is off our port bow with land a couple of miles away but I stupidly thought if tied properly that max 35 kts would be ok.  Around 7pm the fetch from the SE (the opening to the marina) was surging larger and larger right off our port bow.  By 10 pm the boat was surging so much I could see the bottom, almost to the keel when the bow lifted and the red gas tank on the transom was 1/2 underwater and the bottom of the dinghy dropped to within a foot of the dock. The boat was a dangerous bucking bronco and I told Marcia I thought she would break free. She was safely in the empty marina building.  One of the dockhands came down at 10pm to check things. One of my lines had parted and the 2 bow lines were chaffing through.  With help, the bow lines were long enough to move them to fresh areas.  We replaced the broken line and added more lines to carry the load.  One of the massive dock cleats broke and the line went free so we tied a longer line to a distant dock cleat.  By 12:30 AM the wind shifted to the south and the surge started to let up.  By 3:30 AM the boat was out of danger.  I had brought two long cockpit cushions to the Marina building and grabbed two small pillows and some dry clothes along with our important papers and cash.  We both got a few hours of sleep in the Marina building between my alarms to check the boat.  This morning we were fine.  Not a scratch!  The broken dock cleat was on our cockpit floor but did no apparent damage.  Today we will try resting in Charleston, part II.   Dan

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ICW woes…

The Intracoastal Waterway starts at mile zero Norfolk, VA and goes all the way to Miami, Florida.  We do a lot of this inside route but hop outside when it’s too shallow including skipping Georgia by doing an overnight in the ocean to Fernandina, Florida.  The day we left for Norfolk was 93 degrees.  Decided to try the Norfolk Yacht Club which has reciprocity with our club in CT.  It was a gorgeous facility with a fitness center, 2 pools and an air conditioned lounge which we hung out reading in for the afternoon.  Would definitely go back there!  Proceeded the next day past all of our impressive military ships and entered the ICW.

There are two routes south in this section – the Dismal Swamp and the Virginia Cut.  Had a bad experience bumping deadhead logs in the swamp one year so have done the Cut every year since.  There’s a lock and three opening bridges that day ending at Coinjock Marina.

While leaving the next day, we heard a notice from the Coast Guard that the Alligator River Bridge was broken and would be closed indefinitely (this is a big swing bridge you have to go through)  We had to make a quick decision and thought it might be a bit windy but we’d try the Outer Banks route (we’ve done this a couple times but only in good conditions)  It was WAY rougher and windier than forecasted!  Blew in the mid 30’s the whole way to a fisherman’s harbor, Wanchese.  We were very happy to stop that day and waited another day to move on.  We have been out to Ocracoke from Wanchese but found out it got hammered by Dorian and were not allowing cruisers in.  Our only other choice was to go 77 miles, dawn to dusk to  Broad Creek anchorage, just north of Oriental, NC.  As our Brit friend Sue Torgersen used to say, “it was a lively sail!”  We ended up sailing with reefed sails more than half the trip going really fast, for us…

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(Wanchese is a strange place😁.  BTW, Those two horses and two goats LIVE in the basement of that house and came out that door😮)

Spent a couple days at River Dunes Marina catching up, cooking and reading, allowing the winds to calm down.  Yesterday we moved south to Morehead City.  HOPEFULLY, the wind will calm and the seas will settle tomorrow and we’ll go offshore to Wrightsville Beach – another dawn to dusker.

BTW, tomorrow will be a week and that bridge still isn’t fixed!!  Lots of boats sitting and waiting⛵️

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Down the Jersey shore, up the Delaware and down the Chesapeake⛵️

It’s 83 miles from Atlantic Highlands to Atlantic City.  We usually leave around 5am and get in around 5-6pm.  Never seem to get a decent sail but at least the seas weren’t too bad.  Saw three whales, a few dolphin and a very lost pelican – quite exciting!!

Left Cape May at sunrise past the Coast Guard station.  Had wind and current with us all day up the Delaware and into the C & D Canal so kept going to Still Pond anchorage at the top of the Chesapeake.  Managed to get in several hours of sailing and made really good time!!  Another 80 miles!

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Annapolis means fun and catching up with friends time!  We spent four nights there then hopped over to the Eastern shore.  Anchored in a creek south of St Michaels for a couple nights and a night off of Oxford.

Solomons brought us together with Anthony and Annette – m/v Magnolia.  Annette picked me up in her rental and we were off to a beach for some glass hunting.  Always great catching up with them!

As we make our way to the bottom of the Chesapeake and before we enter the ICW, we pull into Hampton, VA where Dan’s sister, Beth and hubs Rich come and pick us up for a couple nights in their beautiful Williamsburg home.  Two days of family, laundry, provisioning, comfy bed and lots of hot running water – they really spoil us!  Oh yea, and then there’s Rich’s grilled salmon!!!

In a couple days we’ll be entering mile zero of the ICW.  October is here but it still feels like summer.  Have to keep moving so we can avoid wearing shoes or sweatshirts😁. Happy fall, everyone!🍁

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And Off We Go!!

Departure date was September 12th.  House was buttoned up, boat stocked and had my last goodbyes with my mom.

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Love my Mama!!!😘

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Grabbed an SYC transient mooring so we could have an easy 6:00am departure.  Plan was to head down Long Island Sound and see how far we’d get before sunset.  Well, the current and wind gods were with us and we made it all the way to Port Washington- so much for taking our time! Erik & Kati took the train from Manhattan to meet us and do the East River the next day.  Their buddy, Peter, also hopped on board for the always exciting trip through the city.  It wasn’t a particularly nice day, but NYC never disappoints!

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After passing Lady Liberty we slogged south to Atlantic Highlands.! Had dinner with the kids then sent them off to catch the high speed ferry back to the city.

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REALLY GONNA MISS THESE TWO😍

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