Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hopetown to Vero Beach and Home 2017

Hopetown to Vero Beach and Home to NH

Saturday, April 8, 2017.  It cooled off quite a bit last night as the wind swung into the north.  It was 65 degrees when we woke up this morning, sunny, no clouds, wind N @ 5 -10.  We were up early scouting the anchorage for available moorings as Greenstone and Saber Tooth are on their way here.  Dream Catcher is departing about 9:00am, so that is one, but we were unable to locate a second one.  We offered Dream Catcher’s to Avalon, who sat in a slip at the marina last night, but they had found one already (Blue Jacket’s).  So, we will try again tomorrow morning.  The high tide is early in the morning, so boats get moving to get out of here with the high tide.

Hopetown Light

 Baila is going for a bike ride and picnic with the kids down to Tahiti Beach (at the south end of this island (Elbow Cay).  Lisa declines that opportunity, but instead goes to town to visit with the artists she met yesterday (Hermann and Ann).  While there she also visits the Straw Market, owned by Muchies’ (the ice cream shop) daughter Chaka.  While she is off, I continue to try to finish the blog so it can be published.  It would not be so much work if I would do a bit more often.

At 9:30am John and Nora (Saber Tooth) and Bob and Judy (Greenstone) arrive by dinghy.  They have anchored just outside the harbor.  Lisa goes off to town with them and has lunch at the beach bar at the Hopetown Harbour Lodge, followed by ice cream at Munchies.  Check out the picture of John with blue lips after eating Cookie Monster Ice Cream!

We are planning to meet Jeff and Patti (Avalon) at the Hope Town Inn and Marina at 5:30, so we invite Saber Tooth and Greenstone to join us.

Melissa (Wind Dancer) came by for a visit.  Wind Dancer is a Catalina 445 and we have been crossing paths with her for 3 months now.  Lisa conducted a boat tour of Rhiannon and we invited her to join us also.  Her spouse (Ann) is back in the US this week with a terminally ill ex-husband.  We invited Melissa to join us this evening also.

At 3:00pm, Lisa and I go back over to The Jib to pick up the painting.  It will make a nice addition to our sailing art at home.  Another quick grocery stop and then it is time to head over for cocktails and dinner.  Jeff and Patti have also invited Galileo (Larry and Gerry) so it is quite a crowd at the bar (11 in our group).  We pretty much had the place to ourselves for dinner and the food was very good and the drinks (Gombay Smash) were too.  Nice evening. Back at the boat by 8:00pm.

Oh! And the updates to the blog and a bunch of pictures got published today!

Sunday, April 9, 2017. Palm Sunday. It was cold last night, we had to put blankets on! By 10 am it is sunny, 75 degrees, puffy clouds, breezy, wind Southeast @ 15+.  65 degrees when we got up this morning.  Lisa went to church with John and Nora (Saber Tooth) at the Methodist Church.  Later in the day we walked the beach, almost no shells here and so far this trip we have not found many sea beans.  Peter, who we have met in Vero a couple of times now, sent us a bunch of information on sea beans, so we will pass that along – click to this link for more info www.seabean.com

We had dinner on board.  Afterwards, Saber Tooth came for a game of Mexican Train.

Monday, April 10, 2017. Sunny, but very windy today South 15-20.  OK for moving around the Abacos, but not so outside.  We went for a walk on the beach with Avalon.  Fiona (their English Cocker) loves the beach and the water.  We stopped at Munchies for ice lunch, followed by ice cream, visited the Straw Market and then back to the boat.

Later, we went to Lighthouse Marina and purchased some fishing stuff (filet knife, lures, etc.).  Not that we fish that much, or catch anything, but just in case.

We were going to fill the jerry cans, but found that the gasoline one had split.  The plastic ones tend to expand and contract because of the fumes from the gasoline.  This one is five years old, so we can’t complain too much.  Lighthouse Marine has some, so we dinghy back there to get a new one.

Dinner on board.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017.  Cloudy, windy and rain overnight. Cloudy and cool (65 degrees) this morning.  We cleaned the boat (long over due).  Lisa took laundry to the marina and dropped it off (they have a wash and fold service).  We walked the beach and Lisa snorkeled with the folks on Baila.  Ice cream at Munchies.  On the way back to the boat, we stopped at Moon Dance and Melissa gave us a tour.  It is new Catalina 445.  Very nice!

Dinner with Saber Tooth, Greenstone, Moon Dance at Capt. Jack’s.  Jordan (a waiter) remembered us for past years.  Baila, dorenavent and some folks with kids who have a house in Hopetown were also there.  Nice evening.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Showers overnight and early this morning, then partly sunny, windy, NE 20+.  We decide to stay one mare day in Hopetown. Baila comes for a visit.  Lisa is going to stay with the kids and do make-up and other “girl things” this evening so Brad and Lynn can have a night out.  Lisa and the girls all seemed to really enjoy the evening.

I went to dinner on Greenstone with Saber Tooth and Moon Dance there also.  Nice evening there too.

Thursday, April 13, 2017. Off the mooring at 10:10am.  Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, wind NE@15.  Greenstone, Saber Tooth and Avalon have already left this morning heading to Man-o-War Cay.  We wait for our turn on the fuel dock to fill with fuel and water.  We purchase 7 gallons of gasoline (for the dinghy outboard), 12 gallons of diesel and 76 gallons of water. Yes, you have to purchase potable water over here – unless you have a reverse osmosis water maker on board (which some boats do).

10:45am we are underway with the foresail out, making 6+ knots.

12:20pm, we spot dorénavant anchored in the cove north of Old Scopleys Rock by the beach.  We tried twice to get the anchor to set with no luck.  We went east/south a bit to Dickies and anchored with Saber Tooth and GreenstoneAvalon was enjoying the sailing so much, they continued on the Great Guana Cay.

We dinghied into town and walked the town with Greenstone and Saber Tooth.  We visited the hardware store (quite a good one), the sail shop (where they make bags and other items out of sail cloth – rumor has it you can still get canvas and sails repaired there), the grocery, and the Painted Fish gift shop, where Lisa purchased a cover-up for the beach and I got a new shirt (not a T-shirt this time). On the way back to the boat, we spotted Odyssea (Paul and Sue) who we met in Brunswick before we departed on this trip.  They have spent the winter here on a friend’s dock.  Sue makes baskets out of pine needles and is the person who got Lisa started do it.

Man-O-War Cay
Dinner on board tonight.

6NM today.  26°36.83’N  077°00.71’W

Friday, April 14, 2017.  Cloudy, wind NE 20-25+.  A bit rolly where we are anchored.  We dinghied over to the “low cut” where dorénavent is anchored.  There is a narrow strip of rock here connects the eastern half of the island with the western half.  There is a “road” just wide enough for a golf cart.  It’s not obvious how they got the materials for the big houses on the western half from the government dock on the eastern half of the island. We walked across to the ocean side and then down the “road” to the beach.  Lots of houses here, but few people.  With this NE wind, the surf is very rough.  We went for a swim on the south side of the beach which is protected from this wind.  Lisa and Nora snorkeled out to Old Scopleys Rock.  When we got
2:00pm Anchor up.  Wind NE 15-20+.

4:00pm Anchor set at Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay.  We walked the town with Saber Tooth and Greenstone, stopping a Nippers Beach Grill to get new t-shirts. Almost no one at Nippers today.  You might remember this is where we had Lisa’s birthday party a couple of years ago. We stopped at Grabbers (on the other side of the island on the bay where we are anchored).  Avalon joined us (Saber Tooth, Greenstone and us) there and we had drinks (frozen rum punches) and dinner (Lisa had conch salad and I had grouper fingers).  It was well after dark by the time we got back to the boat.  A long, busy nice day.
L to R: Benny, Judy (Greentstone), Lisa, Bob (Greenstone)
Nora and John (Saber Tooth) at Nipper's - Great Guana Cay
8NM today 26°40.12’N 077°07.15'W

Saturday, April 15, 2017. The wind is still very strong out of the NE.  Partly cloudy with rain showers on the horizon.  We walked to the beach with Saber Tooth and Greenstone, then walked the main road around the harbor.  We met the pastor of The Gospel Chappel and he invited us to Sunrise Services tomorrow (Easter), as well as the regular service at 10:30am.  We made a stop at the grocery, Grabbers for a Pink Sands, and then back to the boat.  The Pink Sands is a grapefruit radler (mixture of grapefruit juice and beer) that is yummy and has become one of our favorites – I know, we have so many favorites that it is difficult sometime to choose.

Us at Grabber's
We found a couple of nice conch shells which will make nice horns when cleaned up.  Dinner on board and then Mexican Train with Saber Tooth and Greenstone aboard Rhiannon.

Sunday, April 16, 2017.  Easter. Cloudy at 8:00am, wind NE @ 15-20.  It clears to partly cloudy by 10:00am.

10:30am We attend the Easter Service at The Gospel Chappel with Saber Tooth.  It was a very nice service with lots of music.  More sedate than the Easter Services we attended at Black Point and Staniel Cay the previous two Easters though.  Lunch on board, then  a walk on the beach with Greenstone and Saber Tooth.  Nora found a heart sea bean.  One of the few this trip.  We met Avalon again at Grabbers.  Had a Pink Sands and Lisa got a conch salad to take back to the boat. 

6:00pm We all met at Greenstone (Avalon, Saber Tooth and us) for appetizers and drinks.  I made a gallon of Goombay Smash – another favorite.  Nice evening.

Monday, April 17, 2017.  Tax Day in the US – except New England.  There it is Patriot’s Day and the running of the Boston Marathon.  Sunny, wind NE 10-15, puffy clouds.  Heavy rain clouds to the south over Great Abaco Island.  We listened to the weather on the cruisers’ net at 8:15am, looked at the weather models and decided to cross “The Whale” today.  We are also looking at a possible passage from Great Sale Cay to Fort Pierce Thursday night and Friday.  We will see how the weather shapes up for that. “The Whale” is Whale Cay and to continue toward the USA you have to go through a cut on the east side of the cay, outside in the ocean for a couple of miles, then back into the Sea of Abaco through a very narrow cut on the west side of the cay. In calm weather it is not a big deal.  In stormy weather it is very dangerous and many boats have been wrecked there.  Today, it is rolly, with sea swells following the NE wind, but is not a difficult passage.

10:00am Anchor up.  Motor sailing down wind (sort of) at 7 knots.  Avalon left early and is giving us reports along the way.  Saber Tooth and Greenstone are with us.  The Whale sounds manageable. 

11:00am Negotiating through the Whale.  It is very rolly with big ocean swells, but we are making good time and it is an uneventful passage.  Great!

12 noon Avalon is at anchor in White Sound by Green Turtle Club which is where we stayed for a few days last trip with Jeff and Carly.

12:40pm Anchored in White Sound at Green Turtle Cay, close to Avalon.  Because it is very shallow here, Greenstone (who draws 6 ½ feet) and Saber Tooth (who draws 7 feet) elect to anchor just outside the harbor.

15NM today (seems like a lot more). 26°46.79’N  077°20.19’W

We talked to Paul at Rivers’ Edge Marina in St. Augustine today.  He will have a spot on the dock for us when we arrive and a spot if we decide to leave the boat there for the summer.  We like St. Augustine.

Saber Tooth came by to pick up some movies we loaded onto a memory stick for them.  We are still having issues with the sound on our new computer.  We will have to call HP when we are somewhere that we have internet and phone.

Dinner on board.  Pork tenderloins (very tender), broccoli, baked potato, fresh tomato.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Sunny, high thin clouds, wind NE 10-15.  We dinghy over to New Plymouth (the main town on the island).  We walked the town. Lisa bought a very pretty dress at Shamon’s.  We stopped at the two groceries in town and bought a few things including some yummy looking banana bread.  We met Jeff and Patti (Avalon) at Harvey’s Café for lunch.  It’s a local place, new last year, good food and reasonable prices.  After lunch, we dinghy back to the boat, raise the anchor (it is now high tide) and motor the three miles over to Manjack Cay.  Lots lof boats anchored here staging to cross to the USA.  There are about 20 other boats here including Saber Tooth, Greenstone, Avalon, Easy Living, Moonraker.

3NM today.  26°48.92’N  077°21.89’W

Dinner on Saber Tooth with Greenstone.  Stir-fry vegies, wahoo tenderloins, rice, cold slaw and the banana bread for dessert.  More Goombay Smash.  Yummy evening.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017. 7:00am.  Sunny, puffy clouds, 75 degrees, wind East @ 15.  We had a couple of brief showers overnight, but they seem to have dissipated.  The forecast to cross to the USA looks good for tomorrow night and then begins to deteriorate after that.

8:00am  Anchor up, headed to Great Sale Cay.  Greenstone and Saber Tooth ahead of us.  Avalon left an hour ago.  About half the boats in the anchorage and moving this morning.  Wind 15-20, but pretty much right on our stern.  Fore sail out sailing at 6.5 to 7 knots.  Very nice!

Headed for Great Sale Cay
One of the nice conch shells we found to make horns from stinks.  Whew!  I got out a pick and poked around and about half of the conch itself came out along with some maggots and muck.  I rinsed it out in a bucket of seawater, then bleach, then hot fresh water – no more stink,.

12:00 noon More clouds than sun, wind still East 15-20, still a nice downwind sail at 6+ knots.  We can see 6 sails ahead of us and 3 behind.  We are passed by 4 power boats – a couple of sport fish going fast and a couple of trawlers not making much more speed than we are. We see 3 sail boats pounding eastward into the wind and the waves.  When they climb over the waves we can see their whole bottom.

1:30pm Talked to Surprise on the VHF.  He has been traveling along side us for the past 2 hours.  It is a CSY42.  They are headed to the Gulf Stream today and then on to Charleston.  Long trip with no stops.  Wind now East at 20+, seas 4 feet – still downwind.

3:15pm  Little Sale waypoint and we turn south toward the anchorage at Great Sale Cay.  Avalon on the VHF says they are just putting the anchor down.

4:40pm Anchor down in Northwest Harbor, Great Sale Cay. Sunny, high thin clouds, wind East 20-25, 75 degrees.  The wind is supposed to calm down, but so far has shown no indication of that.  It is nice and flat in the anchorage though.

Sunset at Great Sale Cay
57 NM today, 8.7 hours, 6.6 knots average all under sail.  26°58.70'N  078°12.90”W

Dinner on board, sausage and rice.  Early to bed.

Thursday, April 20, 2017. Sunny this morning, still windy E@20, high thin clouds, 80 degrees already.  Several boats left last evening to cross to the USA, even though the weather still called for winds East @ 20 and significant waves in the Gulf Stream.  This morning several more boats left heading to West End (on Great Bahama Island) for a crossing tomorrow.  That will make for a long day today, then a pre-dawn departure tomorrow to make an incoming tide on the Florida East Coast.  Our plan is to leave after dinner this evening and go overnight across the Banks, arriving at the east wall of the Gulf Stream about day break tomorrow.  Arrival planned in Fort Pierce at 2:00pm tomorrow – travel time to Fort Pierce 16-18 hours. If we are “on schedule”, we will head north in the ICW to Vero Beach arriving before dark. Autumn Borne (Dean and Susan), our mentors during the first two years of cruising are at Vero Beach.

We added fuel and water to the tanks from the jerry cans, cleaned the knot meter (you can remove it from inside the boat) and got everything ready for a long passage (put all the “fallables” away).  We cooked the last of the lobster and had a very nice lunch, the remainder will go into a lobster salad.  We did more route planning, looking at other places to exit the banks to the Gulf Stream.  We talked with Greenstone, Saber Tooth, Easy Living, Escape and Avalon about tonight’s departure.

Lisa made a nice dinner of grouper, rice and vegies.  At 7:30pm, we raised the anchor and sailed off into the sunset (literally).  With us are Saber Tooth, Greenstone, Avalon, Escape, Easy Living and All the Way There.  Wind is East at 10-15, seas about 2 feet, motor sailing downwind at 6.5 knots.

Underway from Great Sale Cay
11:00pm Passing Mangrove Cay to the south. We are on a more northerly course now headed toward Little Bahama Bank to get the seas to be following (off our stern) instead of quartering (off our left rear).  Quartering seas make for a very uncomfortable ride. 

Friday, April 21, 2017. 4:30am Wind still pretty much East @ 10-15.  Lots of stars out and the moon finally rose at midnight.

8:00am We are on the edge of the Gulf Stream.  As predicted, the seas are confused. 4-8 foot roller from the NE at 9 second intervals and 2-4 foot waves from the SE, with a 2 foot chop on top of all of that.  The wind has turned SE @ 10-15 and we are trying to stay downwind to keep the ride as comfortable as possible, but we are still being tossed around quite a bit.  Skies are clear, 75 degrees.

1:00pm We are pretty much out of the Gulf Stream and the seas have settled somewhat.  Land is in sight. 

2:00pm Fort Pierce inlet.  Saber Tooth and Greenstone are already inside.  Saber Tooth has to stop at Fort Pierce to check in with Customs and Immigration.

2:30pm We enter the inlet.  It is rolly and rough and there is a significant cross current at the outer edge of the breakwater.  Nothing unusual for this inlet, but we make it inside ok.  Escape and Avalon are through the North Fort Pierce Bridge headed to Vero Beach. 

3:00pm We pass through the North Fort Pierce Bridge and call Customs to check in.  Having a Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) number and having previously filed a float plan on-line makes checking in a 3 minute phone call.  Nice.  Easy Living is entering the inlet.

5:00pm We arrive at Vero Beach City Marina.  The moorings are all taken so we raft (tie alongside) Autumn Borne.  We haven’t seen them since last season.  You may remember that we traveled with them quite a bit the first two years we were cruising. Escape here, as is Avalon (in a slip).

6:00pm Greenstone, Easy Living and Saber Tooth arrive.

6:30pm Group dinner at Riverside Café (just south of the marina). Greenstone, Saber Tooth, Avalon, Autumn Borne, Escape, Mike and Bev (did not get their boat name) and us.  Quite a crowd.  Nice evening, good company, good food.  Everyone exhausted and early to be.

Saturday, April 22, 2017. It looks like rain.  75 degrees and very muggy. We have been looking at Craigslist for a vehicle.  We need one to drive home and while Hertz has an $8 a day rate if you drive the car north, we need to replace a vehicle when we get home, so we thought we would look here where they do not use road salt. We found a 2007 Chevy Trail Blazer with only 42,000 miles and the seller was kind enough to bring it by the marina for us to look at.  After driving it (drove very nice) and examining it (looks great) we discover rust under all the doors, and on the frame.  We find out the vehicle actually came from NY, but has been a Florida a while.  If we wanted something with rust we would wait until we get home to buy something. 

Lisa did laundry and I worked on this blog.

Dinner was at Saki, one of our favorite Thai/Japanese restaurants here.  Saber Tooth, Greenstone, Avalon and us.  Probably our last time together this season.  Nice dinner, good food and company.

Sunday, April 23, 2017. Cloudy, murky, rain over night.  Humid, 75 degrees. Saber Tooth and Greenstone leave heading toward St. Augustine, where they will again leave the boats for the summer.  Lazy day, reading and visiting with Avalon and Autumn Borne. We also spent more time online looking for a vehicle.

Monday, April 24, 2017. Cloudy at 8:00am, but clears to partly cloudy by 9:00am. Wind SE@15-20.  We picked up a rental car from Hertz so we could go car shopping, run errands, etc. We spent the morning walking the beach with Jeff and Patti (Avalon). I found a heart sea bean.  Avalon has not ever found one and they do not have one on their boat, so this one was a gift to them.  Superstition says you should have one on the boat and it will keep the boat from sinking.  We are not superstitious, but we do keep some on the boat, just to be on the safe side.

We had lunch at Casey’s (like an outdoor diner).  The food is always good and the prices are very reasonable.  After lunch, Avalon cast off and headed toward Titusville, where the boat will spend the summer.

3:00pm  Majestic Phoenix  (Phil and Joanne) arrives and picks up a mooring.  You may remember we have traveled with them off and on for the past three seasons.  The last time we saw them was in George Town, and Last we heard, they were having transmission issues.  Great to see them.

6:00pm Dean and Susan (Autumn Borne) come to dinner.  Lisa made chicken, rice, carrots and salad.  Nice evening.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  We have several vehicles we want to look at today, all SUVs. We originally wanted a small pickup like a Chevy Colorado or a Nissan Frontier, but almost everyone we have found (used) has been two wheel drive.  Not too useful in NH if we happen to be there is the winter.  The first is a private sale of a 2010 Cadillac SRX.  Normally, not on our list, but it only has 36,000 miles and look like new.  We suggest that we have a dealer go over the vehicle to make sure it is as good as it looks.  We also ran a Carfax and a complete service history.

We had lunch at an iHop, both Lisa and I wanting breakfast.  Then we trekked out to the Hyundai dealer to look at 6 different used SUVs they had advertised, 3 Hyundai Santa Fes and 3 Kia Sorrentos.  All of them were priced right (so we thought at the time) and all had low miles and are in beautiful condition.  We settled on one and the dealing began.  First they told us there was no warranty, we would have to buy a warranty.  The original warranty on these vehicle is 10 years or 100,000 miles, but it is not transferable.  The transferable part is 5 years or 60,000 miles if the vehicle is certified (which means you pay money to have that happen). OR, you can buy an extended warranty. There is also a $999 dealer fee for handling the paper work, prepping the vehicle and getting the Florida plates.  The dealer refused to reduce the price of the vehicle from the “advertised price”.  While they kept telling us what a great deal they were giving us, and that they needed to sell more cars because the end of the month was coming – and that they would do anything to make us happy, they kept adding $ to the cost.  It’s nice to know some things don’t change.  In 50 years I have been buying cars, the same stuff is still going on inside the dealership sales office. The Cadillac is looking better all the time.

When we got back to the boat, Last Boat (Nelson and Ondra) and Gertie (Dan and Dawn) arrive.  You may remember that Nelson and Lisa rescued a pelican in Marathon on our first trip.  Both boats are also good friends with Autumn Borne.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017.  Beautiful morning.  75 degrees, wind SE @ 15, big puffy clouds. Majestic Phoenix heads north to Titusville, where they will leave the boat for the summer.  We go the beach with Autumn Borne.  We did not find any sea beans today, or even good shells.  We all had lunch at the Sunshine Grill on the beach and then went to Country Citrus for orange ice cream.  Delicious.  Someone has taken the old line citrus of Indian River and upscaled it, put a store on Ocean Avenue in Vero and a selling the normal citrus products, plus ice cream, key lime pie and other goodies.

Pete comes by and cleans the bottom of the boat and checks our zincs.

Dinner was again at Riverside.  This time with Last Boat, Gertie, Autumn Borne and us. Nice evening.

We get a call from the owner of the Cadillac.  The dealer has completed his check and he is emailing us a report.  Other than needing a brake fluid change, the vehicle is great.  Nice to know we can stop car shopping.

Thursday, April 27, 2017. Sunny, 80 degrees, wind SE@20. Lisa spent the day at the beach with Autumn Borne, Last Boat and Gertie.  Lots of swimming and bocce ball.  Very red when she got back to the boat.  I made a list of maintenance items for the summer for the boat and worked on the blog.

We had dinner at Mulligan’s on the beach with Stan and Judy, who now live here in Vero.  They a former cruisers that we met in Salem, MA, in 1987.  After dinner we walked the ½ block to Country Citrus to introduce them to the orange ice cream. Great friends, nice evening.

Friday, April 28, 2017. Cloudy, wind SE @ 15-20, 80 degrees, showers overnight.  By 10:00am, it has become partly cloudy.  We met James (Cadillac owner) at the bank and did the payoff of the lien on the vehicle and signed a purchase agreement and a bill of sale.  Florida does electronic titles on vehicles and it takes longer for one of those to clear than it does a paper title in NH.  We need the “clear” title to get a temporary tag so we can drive the caddy home.  Once he delivers the car and the title, we will pay him the balance of the purchase price, hopefully next week.

We went to Lowes and got sun shade to cover the boat while we are gone.  When we returned to the boat, we said our good-byes to Last Boat and GertieLast Boat is headed to North Caroline and Gertie to New Jersey.

We had dinner on board (leftovers from all those restaurant outings).  Later we went to Cravings for ice cream.

Saturday, April 29, 2017. Sunny, wind SE 10-15, 80 degrees.  7:40am knocking on the hull.  Autumn Borne is departing, heading toward Catskill, NY, where they will summer.  We get the lines separated, transfer the mooring attachment to our boat and give hugs good-bye once again.

Lisa and I walked two different beaches this morning, one north of the marina and on south almost to Fort Pierce. We did not find any sea beans at the first, although Lisa is now collecting “flat” shells for a mosaic and we found those.  At the second beach, we found one hamburger bean and one bay bean, lots of “golf balls”, mostly broken and lots of almonds (very common sea bean we don’t collect – but usually indicate the presence of others). Lisa also found a “common spirula” which is a spiral air chamber inside a squid that helps them maintain a certain depth. 
Sea Beans: Heart Bean, 2 Golf Ball Beans, 2 Hamburger beans, 1 Bay Bean

We had lunch at Casey’s  (shared a giant BLT) and then drove to Sebastian to drop off the fishing rod we bought in George Town that needs a new guide.  We stopped at a nursery and looked at plants, most would be “annuals” at our house. We stopped at Walmart and bought oil for the engine and the generator (we will change it before we leave the boat).  We also bought some steaks to grill for dinner.

7:00pm by the time we returned to the boat.  Steaks, zucchini, baked potato and Brussel sprouts for dinner.  Nice.

Sunday, April 30, 2017.  Rain overnight, very humid.  Feels like a cold front passing.  Wind now shifted East at 20+.  By 10:00am it has cleared to partly cloudy.

Monday, May 1, 2017.  Mayday. Avalon is at Titusville and sent us pictures of the SpaceX launch. Very cool.  Lisa and I walked the beach and found another hamburger bean.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017.  Ordered the starboard rear fixed portlight from Catalina. We drove up to Melbourne and spent the afternoon with George and Bev Major.  Lisa calls them “aunt and uncle”, but they are really very good friends of her parents since George and Bruce (Lisa’s father) were in the military together.  Bev made pulled pork and potato salad.  We brought desserts from The Fresh Market and wine.  Very nice way to spend the day.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Sunny, 80 degrees.  Breezy.   We moved the boat from the mooring to her summer home in a slip at the dock. Lisa spent the day cleaning the deck, topsides and canvas. I changed the oil, oil filter and fuel filter on the main engine and the generator.  Checked over both engines.  We will wait to change the raw water impellers until the fall.  We ordered new opening portlight seals and lenses (the Plexiglas part) from Lewmar.

Thursday, May 4, 2017.  Warm and sunny.  80 degrees.  Wind relatively calm. We spent the afternoon at Stan and Judy’s hanging out by the pool.  Stan grilled a chicken and we had a very nice dinner.  After dinner, the skies darkened and two lines of thunderstorms moved through.  Very windy before the rain.  Lots of lightening.  After it passed, we drove back to the boat.  The night turned out calm and clear.

We heard from Down Time (Roger and Connie).  They have just arrived from Norman’s Pensacola (Abacos) after a 32 hour passage and are at Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce.  We plan to drive down and see them tomorrow.

Friday, May 5, 2017.  We saw Laurent and Henrick (age 2) (dorénavent).  They came in yesterday after crossing from Great Sale Cay.  Laurent said it was a “pretty rough crossing with confused seas” (sound familiar).

We got a call from the bait shop in Sebastian.  The repair of the rod is complete, so we drive up and get it.  The guy put on 2 new rollers and a new guide, as well as a butt cap and charged us $25.  I have no idea how you do all that work for $25!  We had a late breakfast at the Country Café in Sebastian – a local place serving great food and then back to the boat.

Our son Jeff called, he has a new job in the admissions office of the University of Utah and is excited about it.

We drove down to Fort Pierce and met Roger and Connie for an early dinner at The Cove, the restaurant at Harbortown.  It was great to see them.  The last time we saw them was in George Town.  They are headed outside tomorrow to Jacksonville, where they will leave the boat for the summer.  Maybe we will get to see them again on the way north.

Lisa met Baila (Brad, Lynn, Anna, Izzy, Avery) heading out from the dinghy dock with a load of groceries.  We have not seen them since Hopetown.  They crossed over with dorénavent yesterday. That’s one of the great things about Vero, you see lots of people coming and going and lots of folks you have met before.

A week has passed since we paid off the loan for the car we are buying.  Florida has electronic titles, and the bank “released” the title as soon as they posted the payment.  If the titles are all electronic, why hasn’t the state “released” it on their end?

Saturday, May 6, 2017.  The wind has switched to the NW@20.  It is only 60 degrees this morning.  It is 51 degrees in St. Augustine.  Rain most of the day, but clearing in the afternoon. We went in to do laundry.  Brad (Baila) was there also.

Sunday, May 7, 2017. Clear and windy, 75 degrees. We walked the beach south of town. Lots of people on the beach.  We went to Home Depot and bought sun shade material which we will use to cover the boat for the summer.  We also stopped at Harbor Freight, which is always fun, then a stop a Walmart for some supplies. We had lunch at Nino’s Corner (calzone, aka Stromboli). 

Orient Moon (Terry and Leslie) came by to visit.  They are at Morningstar Marina just to the south and came calling in their dinghy.  Last time we saw them on this trip was George Town.

Dinner on board.  The last of the Wahoo from Lighten’ Up (Spanish Wells)).  Yum.

Monday, May 8, 2017.  Clear and cool, 65 degrees. The title for the car has been cleared by the State of Florida.  We will pick it up tomorrow.  We saw Orient Moon on the gas dock this morning and went over to say “good-bye for now”.  They are headed north to the Chesapeake. They left us a pound of shrimp they had vacuum packed and left in the freezer from McClellanville.  Hopefully, we will see them again next year.

We walked the beach and found another hamburger bean.  Yea!  One of three found on this trip.  We had a late lunch at Casey’s Place. We began going through the boat, getting rid of excess stuff and packing for the trip home.

Lisa spent the afternoon making jewelry with the girls from Baila (Anna, Lizzy and Avery).

NOTE:  The next day Baila went to Walmart and bought all kinds of jewelry making stuff for the girls (Anna mainly).  I was out and about in the car and picked them up there and gave them a ride back to the marina.  Two days later, Anna was in the boaters lounge making jewelry and showing off what she had already made and she sold $57 dollars worth to several women who loved what she is doing!  I told Brad he should encourage that and perhaps that could pay for more extended cruising!
Anna really is talented with the jewelry!

We had dinner at the Polo Grill (Ocean Ave.) in Vero with Stan and Judy.  Great food and company!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017.  Sunny and warm today.  Wind SE @ 15.  80 degrees.  We drove down to Fort Pierce and picked up the paperwork for the car.  Then on to the St. Lucie County Tax Collector to get the temporary plate for the car (so we can drive it back to New Hampshire). You would think that  we were the only people who had ever requested a temporary plate to take a car purchased in Florida out of state. Once we had the plate, we headed back over to Hertz to turn in the rental car and pick up the Cadillac.  The person selling us the car is the manager at Hertz, so he made us a great deal on the rental while we were waiting for the paperwork.
Us and the "new" Caddy
On the way back to Vero Beach we stopped at Lenzi’s Diner (on Route 1 in Fort Pierce) and had a late lunch.  Lisa had fish and chips and I had breakfast. The fish is prepared with corn flakes and is very crunchy and delicious.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Lisa’s Birthday. Sunny and warm, 80 degrees in the morning, but no wind. We removed the foresail, folded and stored it for the summer.  We picked up the dinghy with the spinnaker halyard and put it on the foredeck, then Lisa gave it a good cleaning and waxing.  I downloaded a bunch of pictures for the final edition of this year’s blog.

In the afternoon, there was a birthday celebration at the pavilion for Lisa.  Lots of folks stopped by.  Pete managed the grill.  There were many children (dorenavént, Baila and two other boats), which Lisa thoroughly enjoyed. There was even a birthday cake!
Happy Birthday Lisa!
Thursday, May 11, 2017.  Another warm sunny morning.  We took down the mainsail, folded it and stored it below for the summer.  We began to pack the car for the trip home.  I ordered replacement parts for the opening ports.  There are six and they are beginning to leak just a bit around the seals.  Pete will work or repairs over the summer. We had cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres aboard Pemaquid, an Oyster 485 (my dream boat).

Friday, May 12, 2017. Sunny, 80 degrees. The car is fully loaded.  We complete the cover for Rhiannon and get everything stowed away.  We completed a final load of laundry and went over the “to do list” with Pete, who will be looking after the boat and doing some projects over the summer.  We had a nice dinner at Sake with Stan and Judy and Pete (Grace).  A very nice last evening in Vero.
Covering Rhiannon for the summer
 Saturday, May 13, 2017.  After good-byes and making we sure have everything we want to bring home, we depart Vero Beach City Marina at 9:40am.  It is cloudy and it looks stormy on the horizon.  After a long day of driving, we stop in Florence, SC for the night.  It rained hard and often as we passed through Georgia.

Sunday, May 14, 2017. Mothers Day. We had the free breakfast at the hotel and departed at 9:00am.  The weather is clear and cool.  Wind NW@15-20 and cool, 60 degrees.  Lots of traffic on I95, so we divert to Route 301, which is better, but seems to sprout 10 new stop lights each year.  Getting around Washington DC is never easy.  We arrive at Jim and Judy Foster’s (Tug-a-Long) at 4:00pm.  We went out to dinner at a local crab shack, Sea Side.  Because it is Mothers’ Day (and because it has great crabs) the place is jammed.  We all had Crab Imperial, which was delicious!

Monday, May 15, 2017.  It is very cool this morning, 55 degrees, brrrrrr!  Too soon to be this far north!  We all went out to breakfast at a local diner, Johnnie’s .  A great breakfast is always the best way to start the day. 

We are on the road at 9:30am. We make very good time around New York City, but then once on the Merritt Parkway through Connecticut, we hit all the “after school taking the kids to soccer, dance, baseball, etc.” traffic.  By 5pm, we are on Route 9 across New Hampshire.  There is snow piled along the side of the road east of Keene.  Some friends (Kathy and Ken), who live in this area, sent us pictures yesterday.  They got 5 inches of snow! Now we know it was too soon to leave the warm climes of Florida!
We are home at 7:30pm. Another voyage completed.  Time to start planning for the next!

Our yard full of "wild flowers"

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spanish Wells to Hopetown 2017

Spanish Wells to Hopetown 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017. Sunny, cooler, wind gone east 10-15.  Very pleasant night, low humidity – quiet too!  We checked out of the office and we said good-bye to Leroy and the guys on Lighten Up. 

8:30am, we are off the dock.  Wind is SE @ 10-15 as we round Gun Point and head north through the reef towards the Abacos. Talked to Baila, Dorenavent and Avalon.  All are headed toward Lynyard Cay today.  Both sails out, making 5.5-6.5 knots.  We put out both fishing lines, one using a squid lure and one using the cedar plug Dennis (Lighten Up) gave us.

10:30am We hear on the vhf that Dorenavent has caught a “red tuna” and Baila has missed what he thinks was a sizable Mahi.  There are big ocean rollers (about 6 feet – occasionally to 10 feet) coming in from the east but spaced well apart, with about a 2 foot chop on top. Not unbearable, but right on our stern right-hand (starboard) quarter (called a “quartering sea”). These “rollers” come all the way from Europe!  As long as there is sufficient wind to push us through these seas, the ride is not too uncomfortable.  Occasionally, the wind dies off to about 10 knots and we tend to “wallow” in these waves.

3:40pm Land Ho!  Great Abaco Island off to our port.  The cut at Lynyard Cay is 10 miles.

5:00pm  Main sail down as we approach the cut.  We pulled in one fishing line and found the lure was dragging a bunch of sea weed.  We were told later that we should pull in the line every hour or so to make sure this does not happen.  Also, we need to get the lure farther away from the boat.

6:10pm Anchor down at Lynyard Cay.  Baila, Dorenavent and 5 other boats here.  Avalon managed to get a mooring in Little Harbor (which is usually full and has a very shallow entrance).  Pete’s Pub and Gallery is there.  A traditional beach bar and grill and the sculpture foundry of Pete Johnston.  www.petespub.com

When we pull in the second fishing line, we find that the line is cut/broken and the lure gone.  Maybe we backed over it when we anchored?  We have to remember to mind these lines and get them aboard sooner.

Wind is SE @ 15+, mostly cloudy, but flat here behind the cay.  Dinner on board.  Lisa made Shedherds’ Pie. 

54NM today.  26°22.00’N  076°59.06’W

Tuesday, April 4, 2017.  Sunny, 75 degrees, wind has gone more to the south, so the current anchorage is providing little protection.  There are storm clouds over Great Abaco Island, but not over the cays.  We see this often, where the heat of the land forces the air to rise, forming clouds (in summer thunder storms), but over the out islands (cays) the skies remain clear.

Lisa dove on the prop to make sure we did not have a lot of monofilament wrapped around something.  No, but she did find a bit of line stuck in the line cutter.  Another learning experience.

8:40am  Anchor up and we head for Hopetown.  It is dead low tide and we are finding that the shoals on the chart are larger than shown.  We did not go aground, but we did have to make a couple of tactical dodges we did not plan on.  Pretty much everywhere in the Abacos is shallow.

11:30am Inside Hopetown Harbor.  There are lots of moorings without a boat but with a float or a “bottle” which we are told indicates either a reserved mooring, or one paid for, but the boat has gone elsewhere for the day (snorkeling, fishing, over to Marsh Harbour shopping, etc).  This is the first time we have seen this (especially the “reserved mooring”).  In previous visits here, the moorings were always “first come first served”.  We saw a catamaran leaving and were able to pick up his mooring as soon as he dropped it.  Donny, who came by to collect for the mooring, says the “reserved thing” is new and really does the mooring owner no good as the moorings are full all the time.  It is a convenience for the boat owners, but they have to commit for at least 3 days.  Some of the “reserved moorings” are paid for by the charter companies over in Marsh Harbour so their customers are guaranteed one.  There are also more people staying the whole season on a mooring.  The boat next to us has been here seven months! There is a 60 foot catamaran here that is on one mooring, but “covering” two others! The net result of all this is that available moorings on a “first come first served” basis are now hard to find. 

Robyn is here and “tags” an empty mooring with a bottle.  Dorenavent comes in for that mooring.  Baila elects to anchor outside of the harbor so they can use their water maker tonight.

Dream Catcher is on the mooring next to us (Bo and Joyce).  We first met them in 2014 crossing Albemarle Sound in North Carolina (heading north).

Dinner on board, fresh wahoo from Lighten Up.  Yum.  After dinner we went with Dream Catcher to Munchies for ice cream!

19NM today.  26°32.32’N  076.57.57’W

Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Sunny, still breezy, wind East 15-20, sunny, no clouds, nice and flat in this protected harbor.  Today we walkjed the beautiful beach here finding no sea beans and few shells.  There were lots of kids, though.  Baila was there (3 kids), Dorenavent (2 kids), Robyn (2 kids) plus about a dozen more.  Lots of squealing and giggling in the surf. 

Later in the day we had a visit from Bev on Wind Dancer.  We have seen them many times during our trip this year, but had never actually met her and Ann.

Dinner was at Capt Jacks.  The food is always good, the sunset today was spectacular.  We sat with the adults from Baila, Dorenavent (which in French means “From Now On”) and Robyn, while the 7 kids had their own table.  The kids were well behaved and a nice time was had by all.  Lisa had a fish taco and a beef taco and I had grilled shrimp.  We ordered a blooming onion for the table.  None of the kids had ever had one, but they devoured this one!

We heard from Saber Tooth.  The made the crossing from Spanish Wells with 6 other boats and are at Lynyard Cay.  Hopefully, we will see them again soon.

Thursday, April 6, 2017.  Another nice morning.  Wind has gone more to the south and the humidity is up.  It is supposed to be 80 today with clouds later in the day. I made a bunch of calls gathering information about marinas and boat yards, trying to decide where to leave Rhiannon for the summer.  Our insurance will now let us stay in Florida for the summer.  It looks like we will be at Ortega Landing Marina in Jacksonville and then haul out at Sadlers Marine center to have work done.  Both are very highly recommended by several people we know.

Lisa went to the beach to the pool at the hotel/marina with Baila and then we stopped and said hello to Wind Dancer.

Baila came for dinner – on the grill lamb chops and pork chops plus green salad and pasta salad.  Cookies for dessert.

Friday, April 7, 2017.  Storms and rain over night.  Nice to get some of the accumulated salt rinsed off Rhiannon.  Wind has gone into the west beginning its normal “clock around” after a front passes.  It is cooler today – 70’s, but the skies are clear.  Lisa went to the beach with Dream Catcher and I am working on this blog.

When we were last in Hopetown, we bought some note cards which have copies of paintings done by a local artist.  Lisa met the artist and his wife today.  They have a home/studio here that originally belonged to her parents. Hermann and Ann Schadt.  He will take one of his paintings that we has digitized, print it on canvas, add paint so it looks original and then add your boat to the picture.  Whe have a chart at home that Rhiannon was add onto as well as a painting of the boat done by Jim DeWitt.  Lisa commissioned Hermann to do one of his for us.  He will have it ready tomorrow if we send him some photos of Rhiannon to work with.  We made a stop at the grocery (the Blue Store). When we got back to the boat, it is a beautiful day out and the light is good for photography, so I took a bunch of pictures with the Nikon and then edited them and sent them off to Hermann.

Dinner was aboard Dream Catcher with Bo and Joyce, joining us were Rex and Reba on Moonraker (a trimaran).  They know Chris and Margaret, who we traveled with for 3 months last year (they were aboard the trimaran Jaz).  Nice dinner and a very pleasent evening.

George Town to Spanish Wells 2017

George Town to Spanish Wells 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017.  Wind shifted South 15-20 overnight.  Once again bumpy in the anchorage.
7:50am Cloudy, murky, wind Southeast 15-20.  Anchor up.  Lots of boats leaving heading north or south (to the Caribbean).  We are sailing north at 7+ knots.
10:00am Rain showers, wind Southwest 15-20.
11:00am showers clear.
1:00pm Wind now West@15.  Traveling with Heaven (Randy and Ellen).  Randy was helping another boat with their wind generator, when the brake gave way.  One broken finger and 57 stitches in his right arm after he was air lifted to Nassau.  He is on his way back there to have the arm checked and hopefully the stitches removed.  Be careful around those spinning blades.
2:00pm Wind West @ 15. Motor sailing into the wind to get to the cut at Little Farmer’s Cay.
2:45pm Farmers Cut.  Wind and tide going in the same direction – west – the same direction we are going so the transition through the cut is easy.
3:00pm Anchor down at the anchorage on the SE ide of Little Farmers (in between Little Farmers Cay and Big Farmers Cay).
45NM today. 23°57.45’N  076°18.94’W
Dinner on board. Pam and Jerry, who are coming to visit, will be coming on Friday instead of Thursday due to weather in the northeast.  We heard Saber Tooth on the VHF.  Hopefully, we will see them soon.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017.  The Ides of March. Wind NNW 15-20.  It blew NW all night.  There is lots of current in here, flowing between the islands and in and out of the cut.  During the night, the boat anchored beside us was actually going in circles on the outgoing tide (6 hours). The bow pointed in every direction, it swung from 50 feet from us to well over 200.  I do not know why the action did not pull his anchor out.  We have never seen a bout do that at anchor.  None of the other boats here did that, they all laid with the current.  Maybe he was stuck in an eddy???

Anchor up at 9:00am.  Nice to get away from the crazy boat making circles!  As we motor North into the wind, we are head on into 4-6 foot seas.  Not much fun, but we are only going 8.5 miles!

10:45am Anchor down on the south side of Black Point (Castle Beach – so named because of a house there that looks like a castle.  It was originally going to be part of a new development (marina, resort, golf course) that went bust in 2006).  The wind is supposed to shift into the North and then Northeast, which it does by late afternoon.  The anchorage in the lee of the land is calm even though the wind is howling.
8.5NM today.  24°04.83’N  076°23.22’N

Thursday, March 16, 2017. Wind North @ 15-20, but comfortable where we were anchored overnight. 7 other boats here, cloudy 70 degrees – cool night. Anchor up at 8:45am – motoring North into the wind.  Not as rough as yesterday, but Rhiannon is covered with salt from the spray.

11:00am Anchor down in the cove west of Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  A little choppy here but not bad. We are close to the airport and town, so it is a good place to pick up the Janas tomorrow.  We hear Saber Tooth, Green Stone, Summer of 42, Baila, Robyn, and Mariposa on the VHF.  They are all over at Big Major – about 2 miles north.

11NM today.  24°10.26’N  076°26.80’W

Friday, March 17, 2017. Wind NE, cloudy, cool 68 degrees. The mailboat came in last night.  It is the first one in over a week because of the high winds.  The shelves in the stores were all pretty bare.

9:00am.  The Janas arrive on Watermakers Air. There is a dingy dock across from the airport.  In addition to the runway and a parking area, the airport has a small terminal building, and a covered pavilion, which is the waiting area.  Because these flights are technically a “charter”, they fly into the “executive” terminals in the US, so there is virtually no security to deal with.

11:00am We all go to the grocery, then the liquor store for wine, then to Staniel Cay Yacht Club for lunch.

3:00pm We move Rhiannon 2 miles north to Big Major Spot.  We anchor close by Saber Tooth and Nora brings us cookies! We love Nora’s baking!

4:00pm Lisa, Pam and Jerry go to see the swimming pigs, the attraction here at Big Major.  People come from all over to see the “wild pigs” swim for food. I made dinner (Chicken Lillian),  Still cloudy and cool, 75 degrees, wind NE @ 15+.  Flat here in the anchorage.

2NM today.  24°11.12’N  076°27.64’W

Saturday, March 18, 2017. 8:00am Cloudy, wind NE @ 15+, cool 65 degrees, very cool overnight.  We heard Destiny IV US on the VHF. (;00am, we talk to Exuma Park and were able to get a mooring in the north mooring field for tonight.
9:45am, anchor up, wind still NE @ 15+, but the sun is trying to peak out.  We have a nice sail north to Warderick Wells at 6+ knots.
1:15pm on mooring #5 at Warderick Well (Exuma Park). We made our way to the park office and checked in, renewed our membership for another year, and introduced the Janas to Sherry, the ranger working the office.  We all piled back in the dingy and went for a sight-seeing ride along the coast of the island south past Emerald Rock and then back to the boat.
20NM today.  24°23.88’N  076°38.01’W
Lobster, potatoes and fresh broccoli for dinner.

Sunday, March 19, 2017. Partly Cloudy, still windy, NE @ 15-20.  Still cool 65 degrees.  We went to the office to buy some internet time (only communications available here in the park) so Pam could check email.  We then walked up Boo Boo Hill and showed Pam and Jerry the blow holes and the oile of signs of boat names left by cruisers.  The tradition is that you write your boat name on a piece of driftwood to appease the spirits that inhabit the island.  Lisa and Pam then walked the length of the island and Jerry and I went back to the boat.  Outbound was here.  First time we have seen them this season, so Jerry and I stopped by for a visit.

Dinner on board – pork chops cooked with sage, potatoes and carrots for dinner.

Monday, March 20, 2017. Sunny, 70 degrees, wind down a bit NE @ 10-15.  Jerry made everyone breakfast, nice!
9:45am Off the mooring and sailing south to Cambridge Cay (still part of the park) at 6+ knots.  We entered Cambridge Cay anchorage from the south at mid-tide and the lowest water we saw was 6.7 feet.  Saber Tooth is on their way here, but he draws 7 feet, so we let him know the water depth.  They opt to go around to the north entrance, which has more water.  The tide is only 2 feet today.
12:45pm Anchor down south of the mooring field at Cambridge inn 13 feet of water (the moorings are all taken, but there is plenty of anchoring space). Pam made lunch for all, salads and sandwiches.
1:45pm  I try to fix our “marriage savers” (2 way radios we use when anchoring or docking).  On one of the head sets, you can speak but can’t hear. While I work on that, Pam, Jerry and Lisa go to the beach.  Turns out to be a broken wire inside the headset.  I was able to re-solder it, now it works!
Dinner on board.  Lisa made pasta. Saber Tooth and Greenstone have anchored nearby. 
11Nm today.  24°17.93’N 076°32.33’W

After dinner, Pam and Lisa went to visit Saber Tooth and Lisa borrowed their paddle board, her first time on one.  She was rescued by Bob on Greenstone.

Tuesday, March 21, 2016.  Beautiful morning,l 70 degrees, no clouds, wind East @ 10.  We went over to the small islands at the west side of the anchorage and snorkeled.  This is a great spot because you can anchor the dingy in water shallow enough so that folks can get in and out of the dingy and yet you are only 50 feet from the coral islands where there are lots of brightly colored fish, turtles and fauna.  We also saw a large barracuda (probably 6 feet).  Luckily he went his way and we went ours.  They can be unpredictable and move with great quickness.

While we were gone from the boat, Nora and John left more cookies and a set of fins that will fit Jerry (size 14).

Dinner on board, left over Chicken Lillian (always better a day or so after original preparation).

Wednesday, March 22, 2016. Cloudy, cool morning, wind East @ 5-10.  Clouds clear by 9:00am, beautiful. 9:30am We all go ashore and because the tide is out, we have to walk the last 20 yards to shore.  Pam commented that it reminded her of a scene from a Brooke Shields movie (the water colors, the sand, the green island, gorgeous!).  We walk across the island to Bell Rock and then walked the beach on the east side of the island.  We found several whole welk shells, but no sea beans.

12:00 noon. Lunch aboard, then the anchor is up and we head out the north entrance, around Bell Island and over to the northern tip of Cambridge Cay.  We anchor in a small cove there, out of the waves and the wind at 1:30pm.  We dinghy to shore and walk east up a sandy creek to Rachel’s Bubbles.  At the east end of this creek is a pool (which feeds the creek). This is pool is clear and deep.  There are rocks and coral between this pool and the ocean.  The waves hit the rocks and the water, spray and foam come over the rocks into the pool.  When this happens lots of bubbles appear when the white water hits the calm water of the pool – hence Rachels Bubbles.  Not sure who Rachel is?? Besides being fun to watch and swim in, it is a beautiful spot and the weather is perfect.  The waves are just right to produce the desired bubbles and the water temp in the pool is over 80 degrees. When we get there, a “school ship” full of students is leaving and we have the place to ourselves for the hour we are there.

3NM  24.16,78'N  076.31.51"W

3:30pm Anchor up and we head south along the west coast of Compass Cay and then south back to Staniel Cay.

5:30pm Anchor down just west od Staniel Cay Yacht Club, pretty much the same spot we were in when we picked up the Janas on Friday.
11Nm today.  24°10.26’N  076°26.80’W

6:30pm Dinner at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  We did not realize that you have to make a reservation for dinner and pick you entrée ahead of time.  However, they allowed us to eat in the bar area (which we like) and pick items from the lunch menu.  Very nice evening, including key lime pie for dessert, nice ambiance and great company.  We will misss Pam and jerry when they leave tomorrow.

Thursday, March 23, 2017. Clear, 75 degrees, no clouds, wind east @ 5-10.  We all went to town, dropped off trash, went to Isles General and the Blue Store for groceries (the Pink store is closed).  There has not been a mail boat in a week, so the shelves in the stores are pretty bare.  Pam and Jerry got packed and we all went in to Stanbiel Cay Yacht Club for lunch.  The club will give folks a ride to the airport (1/2 mile), Pam and Jerry leave their luggage at the hotel office.  After lunch, we said our good-byes and head back to the boat.  We intended to go to the fuel dock to fill up fuel and water, but there is a line of boats waiting, so instead, we fill the fuel tank from jerry cans.
2:50pm, we lift anchor and head south 8 miles to Black Point.  A cold front is coming tonight (seems there have been a lot of those coming this far south this winter), with winds predicted from the East and Northeast.  Black Point should be a good anchorage for this front and we can do laundry and get a hair cut.
4:15pm Anchor down at Black Point.  Wind has built to East @ 15 with stronger winds predicted.  Pretty flat in the anchorage.  Dinner on board, the last of the Chicken Lillian.
Robyn, Dawn Treader, Baila, Providence, Saber Tooth, Greenstone and about 20 other boats here.
9 NM today.  24°06.06’N 076°24.07’W
Dinner on board – the last of the Chicken Lillian.

Friday, March 24, 2017. The wind built over night, 25- 30.  At 5:00 am there were gusts over 40, howling! Even though we are in the lee of the island, we are about ½ mile from shore and there are 2 -3 waves rolling through the anchorage.  Because there is little current here, we are sitting into the wind and the waves, which makes it a bit more comfortable. Rain, heavy at times and lightening as the front passes.  Six boats broke loose and two of them were trying to reset their anchors in amongst the other boats – dangerous and foolish.  The others went somewhere else and were not here when the sun came up.  I don’t think anyone thought the wind would build to that level.  When the wind was that strong in George Town, we lifted the dingy out of the water.  We should have done so last night.  A couple of the boats in the anchorage lost their dinghys overnight.

8:00am Wind still at 30+.  Rain.  We spent most of the day reading.  Too dangerous to try to go about in the dinghy.

6:00pm Some breaks in the clouds.  We are anchored close by a big boxy catamaran.  It is swinging crazily from its anchor, but his anchor is holding.  Maybe we will try to anchor away from the kinds of boats in the future.  There are a lot of positives to these catamarans – mainly living space, but they a large and have a lot of windage.

Saturday, March 25, 2017.  More wind and rain overnight.  Clear at 8:00am and the wind is 20 NE.  It is flat by the shore and the wind is supposed to die down during the course of the day.  We took a bunch of laundry in to wash.  We had one of Miss Ida’s pastries for breakfast.  There is no one here but us until noon.  We have never seen the place empty before.  I had a shower and a haircut and Lisa went down the road to Miss Florence’s to learn how to plat palm fronds so she can make straw items like the natives.  She took Miss Florence some material that she uses to line the inside of the purses she makes (actually, Down Time brought it over for Lisa from a Walmart in the States). Lisa also delivered cinnamon, raisins and vanilla to Miss Peermon, Lorraine’s mom (of Lorraine’s Café) which she uses in making her famous Bahamian bread.
We had lunch at DeShamon’s with Providence, Carrie Mae and three other boats while the last load of clothes went through the dry cycle.  The food was ok and the wait long.  Greenstone dropped off their guests at Staniel today and Saber Tooth is dropping off theirs tomorrow.
6:00pm The wind has built back to 30.  Dinner on board.

Sunday, March 26, 2017. 8:00am Wind East @ 20+, 70 degrees, sunny, but dark clouds on the horizon.  We talked to Saber Tooth and we decide to head north back to Big Major.
9:50am Anchor up.  Nice sail north to Big Major Spot.
11:30am  Anchor down close to Saber Tooth.  We had a 27 knot gust on the way here this morning, but it id flat in the anchorage.
3:00pm Only puffy clouds.  Wind down to 15+.  Lots of boats here.  Saber Tooth, Greenstone, Summer of 42, Sea Turtle and about 20 others. Lisa went snorkeling along the east edge of the anchorage with Nora and John (Saber Tooth) and Bob (Greenstone). I spent the afternoon getting at least one layer of salt off Rhiannon.
9NM today.  24°11.09’N  )76°27.54’W

Monday, March 27, 2017. Blue sky, puffy clouds, wind down to East @ 10.  Lisa is not feeling too well this morning, upset stomach.  I took the dinghy over to Staniel Cay.  Dropped the propane tank off to be filled and bought some groceries at Isles General Store, dropped off trash, and filled water and fuel jerry cans at the club fuel dock.
3:00pm Lisa is working on an eye splice in the new line she brought back with here when she returned from Fred’s funeral.  Earl (Seeker) taught us how to do this last year, but it has been a year.  The one I tried to make is a mess.  The new line is to replace the one we put in last year as the outhaul for the main sail (the rope you use to pull out the sail).  The current one is too fat (1/2” diameter) to go through the sheet stopper.  The new one is 7/16” and should pass through the stopper easier. While she is working on this, I went back to town, picked up our now full propane tank and more water in Jerry cans.
Lisa feeling better.  Dinner on board.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Sunny, puffy clouds, 72 degrees, wind east 8 – 15. Beautiful morning.  Lots of boats moving both north and south.  Greenstone and Saber Tooth headed to Norman’s Cay to dive for crawfish (lobster). Baila and Robin headed for Shroud Cay.

We called and made a reservation at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven for Friday.  We talked to our insurance agent (for the boat). It is frustrating dealing with them.  The past two renewals have gone right down to the wire before they get the coverage finalized.  The policy renews April 1.  We hope to leave the boat in Florida this year if we can get the insurance to agree.

9:30am Wind East 5-15.  Both sails up, motor sailing north. We see several mega yachts heading north at speed.

Noon Wind E < 10.  75 degrees. Puffy clouds. Saber Tooth, Greenstone, Night Star and Summer of 42 headed to Normans Cay.  Baila, Robyn to Shroud.  VHF conversations with both groups about water depths at approaches and anchorages.

2:40pm Anchor down at Shroud Cay south of the mooring field.  Baila here.  Sunny, 80 degrees, wind E 5-10, puffy clouds – perfect!

38NM today.  24°31.68’N  076°47.76’

Cook out aboard Rhiannon with Baila – chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta salad and salad.  Cookies for dessert.  The kids (Anna, Izzy and Avery) watched the movie Wall-E.  Nice evening.  At sunset there was conch horn blowing by the kids (Avery too!). There are at least two dogs on the island and they are barking almost continually.  We are told that they cross over from Pelican Cay at low tide (across the flats) and then get stranded when the tide comes back.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Beautiful, sunny, wind East @ 10, puffy clouds, anchorage flat.  10:00am Lisa and I go dinghy exploring up the mangrove river at the southg end of the island.  This ends at a beach on the east side of the island.  There is another river at the north end of the island that is very similar and one in the middle of the island that connects to the north river.

Almost to the other side of the island we meet the dogs. There are three of them.  They look very skinny, but are extremely friendly.  We scurry back to the boat and get some chicken soup and fresh water.  After feeding and watering the dogs we walk the beach on the east side.  Not many shells and no sea beans.  We have three companions on the walk.  If we knew they were healthy and not full of critters, Lisa would have brought all three back to New Hampshire with us.  We bid them good-bye and hope they find their way home.

We had a late lunch aboard.  A tender about 30 feet long from one of the mega yachts came to the beach on this side of the island and set up for their guests (tents, beach chairs, towels, a rug).  They then went back to the yacht and brought the guests ashore.  During all this, they apparently forgot the tide was going out and stranded their 30 foot center cockpit tender in a sandbar.  It was 8:00pm before they could get it off!

Lisa went paddle boarding with Lynn (Baila) and the kids used our 2 person inflatable kayak.

Dinner on board Baila. Pasta.  Nice evening.

Thursday, March 30, 2017.  7:00am. Another nice morning. Sunny, wind East @ 10, no clouds, flat in the anchorage.

7:40am Anchor up.  Good-bye to Baila.  They are headed to Rock Sound on Eleuthera (center of the island due east from here) as are Saber Tooth and Greenstone.  We are headed north to Spanish Wells (at the northwest tip of Eleuthera).  Hopefully, we will see all these folks again in the Abacos.
8:30am Fore sail out, wind East @ 10.  Motor sailing at 6.5 knots.  We need to be a Current Cut by 6:00pm to make sure we can go through with the tide and not against it.  The tide through the cut runs up to 4 knots!
9:30am Passing Highborne Cay – wind now 14, boat speed over 7 knots – sailing – both sails out.  Occasionally, with a good gust we are hitting 8+ knots! Lovely!
Noon Wind now Southeast @ 10-15.  Average speed has dropped to 5.5 – 6.  Still a nice sailing day!
We received an email from our insurance agent saying we should be all set with our insurance.  The only issue is the price on the binder is $350 more than the price on the quote.  She will check to see why.  Now we need to decide where we want to leave the boat for the summer.
3:30pm Sails down, motoring, wind 8-10 directly on the stern.  1 hour to Current CUT.
4:40PM Current Cut – tide is still favorable.  We are registering 10.6 knots through the Cut.  Once through the Cut, we experience the same phenomon as last year.  The wind on the south side of the cut is coming from the SE, on the North side it is coming from the West.  It must wrap around the island.  We decide to continue on to Meeks Patch, and island just south of Spanish Wells.
6:10pm Anchor down on the east side of Meeks Patch.  The anchorage is flat, wind Southwest @ 10, sunny, no clouds.
63NM today.  25°30.91’N  076°46.61’W
Dinner on board.  4 other boats here.

Friday, March 31, 2017. Partly cloudy, wind South @ 15, 75 degrees.  Spent the morning working on communications (plumber for one of our rental units, boat insurance, summer home for Rhiannon, bills, etc).
2:00pm Anchor up and we head in to Spanish Wells (one of our favorite stops).
3:00pm Leroy (Dockmaster) is on the dock to take lines and greet us at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven.  All of the construction we saw over the last two years is complete and the place is beautiful.  The marina has been dredged and where we ran aground 2 years ago trying to get into a slip, we now have over 7 feet at low tide.  Lighten Up is here.  That is the sportfish we met last year.  We had Dennis and Bart to dinner last year (they were waiting for the owner to arrive) and they gave us some freshly caught Wahoo.  Jeff and Patty and Leona (cocker spaniel) on Avalon are here too.  We have been crossing paths with them since we left George Town.
5NM today. 
25°45.37’N  076°45.37’W
Dinner at Buddas and then we walked to Papa’s for ice cream, both favorites of ours.

Saturday, April 1, 2017. Clear, wind South @ 10.  80 degrees.  Today they are having a “Birthday Party” at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven to celebrate the re-opening after the construction.  This is being done by the restaurant, which is franchised out.  We rent a golf cart and get fuel and groceries (great grocery store and much cheaper than in the Exumas). We go to Robert’s Seafood and get some lobster and grouper.  They have it flash frozen and vacuum packaged.  Nice for the boat.  We pick up some gifts to take home and stop at the shell shop to drop off a license plate we brought for Daryl Sweeting, who collects them.  He wasn’t there and no one was home so we left it in a hidden spot and left him a phone message.  We stopped at Bernard’s Fish Pier to get some fresh fish, but they only had lobster.  Oh well, lobster will have to do.  Turns out Bernard is Daryl Sweeting father.  His grandfather was there too (he makes the conch horns) and his mother!  Met the whole family!  We had lunch at The Gap restaurant.  It is a locals’ place and the food was excellent and the prices reasonable.  Lisa had the Catch-of-the-day sandwich and I had a chicken plate with cold slaw and squash casserole.  Excellent!  The local politicians were there campaigning and it was interesting to listen to their political issues.  Many of the people on Spanish Wells think Trump was a good choice for the US.  Time will tell.

Yesterday was the last day of lobster (crawfish) season in the Bahamas, so all the fishing boats are coming in today and unloading lobster, stone crab and fish.  At every dock there are family member waiting to greet the returning fisherman.  Reminds you of Gloucester.

6:00pm.  The wind dies off and the black flies (midgies, no-seeums) are out in force.  Dinner on board tonight.  The “party” at the marina/restaurant is still going strong.  Mostly young locals.  The have now set up music at the pool and there are 30-40 people in it.  At 8:00pm a DJ starts with the loud rap/hip-hop music and that continues until 2:00am, when the action moves back to the pool until 3:00am.

Sunday, April 2, 2017. Sunny and warm, 80 degrees. We gave Rhiannon a bath, filled the water tanks and worked on correspondence.  We met with Mike and Kaysey on Canallun to talk about their upcoming trip to Key West and out trip to the Abacos.  Shared a beer and some cheese with them and had a nice visit.  She is a chef from New Orleans and he is a doctor from DC.

Dennis (Lighten UP) was fileting a wahoo and showed hoe its done.  Looks easy, but you have to have a razor sharp knifer! We had cocktails aboard Lighten Up with Dennis and Bart, who are waiting to meet friends of the owner and take them out fishing for a week.  They reviewed our fishing tackle and made some recommendations, made us some leaders and gave us a cedar plug lure, which they say works great.

Avalon, Moon Dance and November Rain all departed today.  Avalon headed to Royal Island then to the Abacos tomorrow.  We saw Laurent and Claudze (Dorenavent).  They came in by dingy, but are anchored out at Meeks (where we were Thursday night).  They too are headed to the Abacos tomorrow.

Dinner on board, then we set up our two rods and reels as per suggestions from Lighten Up.

Click on this link for pictures of George Town to Spanish Wells

Want more pictures? Click on this link!