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Thursday, May 31, 2007

15 MAY thru 31 MAY 07: St. Augustine, Florida

GPS Position: 29°52'.748N: 81°18'.895W

We left Vero Beach around 0800 and headed up the ICW towards Cocoa, FL. Andie finally got to see dolphin real close and for a lengthy spell, as several of them played in the bow wake of the boat for about 25 minutes. We made Cocoa about 1830 and dropped anchor south of the Rt. 520 bridge. Kim made dinner and we watched TV for awhile before going to bed.

This morning, I got up around 0700 and started the genset to charge the batteries and make a pot of coffee. Halfway through brewing the pot, the generator quit making power (crap!) So, now what's the matter with the generator?!?

We went on up the ICW towards Daytona and I called ahead and made reservations at the Daytona Marina & Boat Works. We went to the Chart House for dinner, but before our meal came, the lights in the restaurant went out. A transformer that feeds the marina complex blew and killed the electric service everywhere.

I wasn’t too worried, as I figured I could replace the capacitor run the genset. When I went to replace it, however, I discovered that the electrical end had sustained a small explosion near the end of the rotor this morning and all of the capacitors in the world couldn’t fix that. Another blown genset? Next Generation is gonna’ love this.In the morning, there was still no power. I got up and started making all of the necessary phone calls of the day. I reserved a car and put in a call to Next Generation Power to report the failure. They were really good about it and said they’d have a unit waiting for me when I got to Jacksonville, FL. Then, I arranged for dockage at the Halifax River Marina next door and moved the boat to our new marina.

With everything secured, we spent the next two days touring Daytona and Daytona Beach and playing tourist with Andie and Havyn. Needless to say, each day was full and we returned to the boat each night dog-tired.

On the 21st, we pulled out of Halifax Harbor and motored on up the ICW towards St. Augustine. The weather was nice, the currents worked in our favor and before we knew it, we were in St. Augustine, FL and in need of a place to stay.

On the south side of the city, Just north of the St. Rt. 312 bridge, we passed a place called the Fish Creek Marina. We got no answer to phone or radio, but saw a couple of other boats tied up to the floating dock. We pulled in, tied on and hooked up for the night. The other boaters there said a Captain Hugh ran the place and he’d be back in the morning. So we stayed and had a quiet night.

Next morning, I went up to find Capt’n Hugh, so I could pay our bill. Hugh charged us a whopping $1.00 per foot (including 50-amp electric and water.) And, we were on our way towards Jax and the River Walk Area of the city.

We stayed at the River City Brewing Co. and Marina, which is located on the south side of the St. John’s River, right in the heart of the financial district.

There’s food, fuel and good dockage here and the permanent residents are very friendly. After docking, I called Next Generation Power and told me I’d have the new electrical end tomorrow afternoon.

On the 23rd, took the tram to the Riverfest Complex and explored its many stores and eateries. Then we walked the streets adjacent to the complex and looked for the many different and colorful Jaguars that cover the city. The, in the afternoon, the new electrical end arrived. It was installed in no time and worked just fine, so once again, we have full power when we're afloat.

On the 25th, it was off to Fernandina Beach. It was another uneventful passage up the ICW and we arrived at the City Marina at 1500. We’ll be here for the next few days and Kim and I are looking forward to showing Andie how much the island has changed since she lived here as a child. I got on line and reserved a car for tomorrow. Then we walked into town and spent the rest of the day visiting its many shops and enjoying the warm weather.

After 3 days of touring Amelia Island, it was decided that Kim would drive Andie and Havyn back to Atlanta, stay for a couple of days and then drive back down to St. Augustine and meet me there. Our one-year warranty runs out soon and I have a few items I need to have corrected before it expires.

Andie, Havyn and Kim all left this morning and headed to Atlanta. I'll miss them all, as the boat will be really quiet without them around. Once they were gone, I headed the boat south towards St. Augustine and my appointment to finish up the warranty issues.

The trip down the ICW was uneventful as the day was beautiful and there wasn't very much traffic on the water. It also helped that I hit all of the bascule bridges just right, so the entire trip only took about eight hours.

I finally made my anchorage in St. Augustine around 1745 hrs., which was just north of the Vilano Beach Bridge, on the eastern side of the GIWW. The depth is 12 to 14 feet in sand and it’s pretty quiet. Shawn is supposed to call me first thing in the morning and give me my entry time into St. Augustine Marine.

Shawn called me about 0800 this morning and said that St. Augustine Marine would have room for the boat any time after noon. I puttered about the boat until 1100, pulled anchor and headed through St. Augustine, towards the marina.

The facility is alive with construction. A new building for boat related companies, a concrete “seawall,” parking lot and associated facilities are all under construction. I checked in with Shawn, registered the boat and was told to make myself at home until all of the warranty work was completed. This is still the best-run marine facility I’ve ever seen and it’s a real treat to be here again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

01 MAY thru 15 MAY 07: Vero Beach, Florida

GPS Position: 27°39'.590N: 80°22'.249W

We left Chub Cay around 0830 and struck out for Bimini. We left in the company of 6 big powerboats and a really fast catamaran. The powerboats quickly pulled out of sight leaving nothing but the not-so-fond memory of their wakes and the cat finally pulled out of sight after six hours of running. We were alone on the Great Bahama Banks.

The wind was in our favor, so we made pretty good time into Bimini. Arriving around 2130 hrs, we dropped anchor on the west side of the island and crashed. I set the alarm for 0230, as both Chris Parker and NOAA reported that the best time to cross would be between 0300 and 1000 tomorrow. When the alarm jolted me awake, I went up topside and checked the conditions. You could have used the ocean as a mirror it was so flat. At 0300 sharp, I pulled the anchor and started across the Gulf Stream for the good ole’ USA.

The weather held for the entire trip over to Ft. Lauderdale and we made Port Everglades at 0930, right on schedule. From there, we traveled inland to the Downtown Riverwalk Marina, which is operated by the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Once settled, I called and cleared us with US Customs. Next, I called and reserved a rental car, so we could do some shopping and go over and report, in
person, to immigration. Kim and I went over and picked up the car, checked in with immigration and then went to Skyline Chili to pig out on Cincinnati style chili spaghetti. Uummmm good!

Over the course of the next six days, we made the usual rounds to grocery stores, Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart to restock the boat after our time in the islands. We drove to Miami Beach and ate lunch at an old hangout of ours from the seventies. We also went to Miami Ink, of TLC fame, but wasn’t to impressed. The word dump comes to mind, but that’s just our opinion.

Our camera broke on our last day in Chub Cay, so we went looking for a new one. We called Patrick, who’s a manager with H. H. Gregg, and arranged for Andie to pick one up in Kennesaw tomorrow and bring it to us. It’s difficult being without a camera.

We rode bicycles to the beach and watched the air show and the Thunderbirds. We also watched all of the strange people that were down on the beach. We’re not sure which was the better show, the people or the planes.

We bought a new mattress for our bed from the Zeno Mattress Company ( the original one had given up the ghost.) It’s a custom made, 8” thick natural rubber,
memory foam mattress that’s more comfortable that anything we’ve ever slept on. All in all, it was a productive six days.

On the 9th, we picked up Andie and Havyn at the airport. She’s a pretty baby and really good tempered, so having them with us for a couple of weeks should be a lot of fun. We spent the next two days showing Andie around Ft. Lauderdale and getting her and Havyn used to the regimen of living on the boat. It wasn't much of an adjustment, so we should be clear to leave here on the12th.

We got up this morning, had breakfast and were underway by 1030. Traveling the ICW on a Saturday still stinks. There are lots of boats with stupid people behind the wheel. The worst thing on the ICW are the jet skis. Kids jumping wakes and circling your boat like Indians around a wagon train just drive me crazy. The only salvation is that Andie and Havyn seem to enjoy the traveling and Andie is seeing more than her share of dolphin.

Tonight, we are on Lake Worth, just south of West Palm Beach, FL, in about 15 feet of water. We anchored around 1830 and had a light dinner. The wind is just right to gently rock the boat, so the baby is sleeping really good and the night should be uneventful.

The morning of the12th, I checked my E-mail and got word from BESO that they are at Soverel Harbor Marina in West Palm Beach, FL. I E-mailed them back and told Chip that we were on the way north and would stop there for the next night or two. It will be really great to see chip and Kay again.

Today is Mother’s Day and we arrived at Soverel around noon, pulled into the marina and found our slip. The marina is nice, modern and clean, but the maneuvering room is very tight. It took us 15 minutes or so to back into the slip and another 20 minutes to get everything hooked up. We have 50 amp service, which means we’ll have A/C tonight.

Once settled, we took Andie and Havyn to meet Chip & Kay and agreed to all have diner together. We then walked around the several shops that surrounded the marina and then returned to the boat to relax a bit before dinner. Dinner was really good and the companionship and conversation were excellent. We went back to the boat after dinner and crashed in the comfort of A/C

The next morning, we said our goodbyes again, as Chip and Kay were leaving for Bermuda. After a late start, we finally got underway around 1100 and getting out of Soverel Harbour was a real bitch. I almost tore the dinghy off of the back of the boat when the wind blew the rear of the boat into the pilings at the slip. I almost didn’t get away, but all’s well that ends well and we sustained no damage.

After leaving the marina, we made our way north up the ICW, accompanied by lots of rain and wind; 22 to 25 Kts to be exact. We finally got a spot free rinse on the boat, however, so it didn’t turn out too bad. We ended up in Vero Beach at the City Marina (no anchoring in Vero Beach, as it’s again’ the law) on a mooring. Hopefully, we can get an earlier start tomorrow and make better progress up the Intercoastal.

Monday, April 30, 2007

16 APR thru 30 APR 07: Chub Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas

GPS Position: 25°24’.630N: 77°54’.317W

Today, we stayed in Spanish Wells and toured St. Georges Cay and Russell Island. The weather is very windy and there is still a chance of rain today. We walked down to the main dock area and rented a golf cart and had a great day driving around the islands. It was really neat seeing all of the improvements that have been made in the past twenty years. Spanish Wells is like an oasis in the middle of the Bahamas where just about any modern convenience or item is available.

We then went looking for a guy we’d known when we lived here in the 80’s. We finally found Roy Pinder, who married a girl from Current, down by the docks. Roy went with us and showed us several tracts of land he owned and gave us some insight as to what’s planned for the area in the very near future. Then, he showed us a completely furnished, three-bedroom vacation home he owns and rents. It’s absolutely gorgeous (contact Roy_LindaPinder@hotmail.com for details.) After the land tour, it was back to the boat and making the boat ready to travel. Tomorrow, we’ll have to move the boat back to Current and it will probably be pretty early due to the tides.

Kim and I were up early on the 18th. I went up and paid our marina bill and then we made ready to go. We were off and running by 0800 hrs and caught the tide
perfectly. We were anchored off of North Beach by 1100 hrs and dinghied in to shore and made the short walk into Current. Kim was able to get her hair cut by Janice Symonette while I stayed and helped Perry with some projects. We had burgers on the grill for supper with homemade French fries. and then it was back to the boat after dark.

On the 20th, we got up early and went ashore. Perry loaned us his car and we drove in to the airport and went to Customs and Immigration to get our cruising permit extended. With that accomplished, we went to Three Island Dock and caught a ferry to Harbour Island. We went and saw the wild horses on the beach, Kim bought some “Androsia” material to make a quilt and we had a great lunch of hotdogs from a street vendor.

Back at Perry’s, we had dinner with the Neillys and Craig Weech. We discussed more politics and pre-election news and watched a political rally on TV. Theo, Perry’s son, was at the rally and we saw him on the TV. Following the rally, it was back on the boat and we were on board right at sunset.

The next several days were a blur of going into town each day, spending time with people and attending the various political rallies held by both parties. Bahamian politics if very emotional, but unlike the US, the campaigning only lasts about 30

days and then elections are held and the whole thing is over. But, while it lasts, it's very exciting and fun to listen to the speeches being made. One thig for sure, it makes no difference what country it is, a politician is a politician.

Today,the 24th, was a fun day. We went in around 1000 and talked Perry into going hunting for Sea Beans. We went toSurfers Beach, south of Gregory Town, walking the last 1.5 miles to get there. We then walked up and back down the 2.5 mile long beach, looking for beans and walked the 1.5 miles back to the car. It was really quite tiring, but we found a total of 12 sea beans of two different types and Perry found another seven.

The next day, we went hunting for sea beans again with Perry and Talliah. We think Perry has caught the seabean bug! We went to a beach just north of Governor's Harbour and were able to get all of the way to the beach by car.

We walked up and down the beach for about four hours, which, after yesterday’s walk, was a real challenge. We found 5 more hamburger beans, 10 more sea hearts and half a dozen, as yet, unidentified beans. The real prize was a double Coconut Bean (not to be confused with the coconut that you eat) that still had about 75% of the husk around it. They are very rare.

On the 28th, we let everyone know we'd be leaving in two days. Then, on the 29th, the weather turned perfect. We almost felt that we should leave today instead of waiting until tomorrow. But, we needed to make the rounds, and say good-bye to all of our friends. Back at Perry’s, we had lunch and then made homemade coconut ice cream. The local kids came out of the woodwork to get a taste and Perry didn’t disappoint them. We stayed as late as possible, but eventually had to leave, as we were pulling out for Chub Cay at 0600 tomorrow. Kim cried and the ride back to the boat was sadly quiet.

I got up early and left Kim in bed, because slipping the boat off of the mooring is not a big deal and didn’t require us both being awake. I started the main engine to allow it to warm up, turned on all of the navigation systems and got ready to go. We slipped the mooring at 0630 and started out of the cut. When we reached Grant’s Dock, I spied Perry on the dock waving a PLP flag and blowing his car horn. Kim had gotten out of bed when we started moving, so we both blew our conch horns in answer to Perry’s car horn. It was a pretty emotional departure.

The trip to Chub Cay was completely uneventful. There was a bit of chop after 0900, but mostly a smooth passage. We arrived in Chub Cay around 1530 hrs, took on 53 gallons of diesel and retired to our slip. After a bite to eat, we went out and walked the beaches until almost dark. We found no sea beans, but it was still a fun walk.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

08 APR thru 15 APR 07: Spanish Wells, Bahamas

GPS Position: 24°06'.025N: 76°24'.166W

This morning, Easter Sunday, we got up around 0800 EDST and puttered about the boat. We had breakfast, cleaned up and made ready to join Chip and Kay on Warderick Wells for more exploration. We dinghied in and made fast to the park office dinghy dock. From there, it was off to see the whale skeleton, hike the several trails that cover the island, visit the blowholes and see the pirate well.

After our hike, we dinghied back to the grottos near our anchorage. We all went snorkeling and explored the many sights throughout the many small reefs in the park. There were many fish, conchs and crustaceans that we had not seen since living in the islands in the early 1980’s.

After snorkeling, we went back to our boat, cleaned all of our equipment and settled back to relax for the rest of the day. We fixed Cornish Hens later on that evening, ate Easter dinner and retired for the night.

We left Warderick Wells with BESO about 0900 and made the 3-hour trip to Highborne Cay. Arriving about 1230 hrs, we anchored, lowered the dinghy and went in to the marina to explore the surrounding area.
We spent most of the afternoon exploring the beaches on both the east and west sides of the cay. Then, we went back to the Marina and had a brew (or two) to celebrate Chip’s birthday. From the Marina, it was back to the boat to get cleaned up for dinner and. following dinner, we made a surprise visit to BESO and dropped off cards and a rum cake to further celebrate Chips birthday. After 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) drinks, we came back to the boat and slept like babies.

We got up, had breakfast, messed around the boat and made ready to move again. We pulled anchor and moved a whopping 1.5 nautical miles to Allan’s Cay, Exuma, anchored and went ashore to see the iguanas. Krikees!!! There are Iguanas everywhere!!! They are of a species that is only found in the Bahamas and these islands are the last refuge of the 1000 or so that live on them. The Iguanas come up to visitors looking for a handout and, in most cases, get it. They are multi-colored and sure of their place as kings of the island.

We spent the balance of the day walking the beaches, exploring the three-island group and marveling at the variety of iguanas that covered the islands. Near sunset, we made our way back to the boat, had dinner and retired for the night.

The next morning, around 0830 hrs, we were hit by a massive storm cell. I clocked sustained winds of 56 Kts and we saw two waterspouts that passed within a half mile of the boat. Several boats broke free from their anchors and struck each other and another sailboat (about a 32 footer) was blown into the rocks, punching a hole in its side and leaving it stranded on the beach of Allan’s Cay. We were lucky, however, and as soon as the storm passed, BESO and us hauled anchor and struck out for Nassau.

We were able to get into the Nassau Yacht Haven, and by 1630 hrs, were safely tucked into our slip. Diner with Chip & Kay rounded out our exciting day and then it was back to the boat for a long, secure night of sleep.

We spent the entire day of the 12th being tourists with Chip & Kay. We went on a bus trip through downtown Nassau, visited every single shop on Bay Street and had lunch at Senor Frog's. As the day ended, it began raining cats and dogs. The return bus ride in the rain was scary, but we arrived safely and made it back to the boat unscathed.

The next day, we said sad goodbyes to BESO and made our way back to Current, Eleuthera. We spent the next two days anchored off of Loretta Lynn’s house on North Beach (25°24’.722N: 076°47’.340W) where the depth and white sand bottom make the perfect anchorage. We then went ashore and spent the rest of the day (and well into the night) visiting with our friends in Current, Eleuthera.

On the 14th, the wind picked up very early in the morning and we could tell it was pretty rough on the other side of the island. I was on the radio at 0800 hrs, listening to Chris Parker’s weather report. Chris says that there is a major storm system advancing on Eleuthera and it will arrive sometime Friday night or Saturday. Well, this is Friday, so, after talking to Kim, we decided to run to Spanish Wells and stay in their sheltered harbour and marina.

We hauled anchor around noon and made our way to Spanish Wells and, after securing the boat, we walked all over St. Georges Island and Spanish Wells. The storm hasn’t hit yet, but it’s hovering to the northeast of us and still advancing; just slower than originally expected.

On the 15th, we dinghied over to to Gene's Bay and met Perry Neilly, who'd driven over to pick us up. Then, it was off to Current for Sunday dinner and good conversation with friends.

Dinner was amazing. There was grouper, conch and crawfish, all done to perfection, served with peas & rice and local vegetables. It made for a great meal and everyone was thoroughly stuffed. After dinner, Kim showed everyone our travel pictures on the computer. In between photos, Perry, Theo and I talked about Bahamian politics and the upcoming election in May. It was a really great evening.

We finally went back to Gene’s Bay around 1800 hrs and dinghied back to the marina. We were back on the boat by 1830 hrs and sound asleep by 2100. The storm, which had held off all day, finally struck around 2130 and there was a short period of 35 Kt wind, followed by torrents of rain that lasted until well past midnight. We were safe and dry, however, so, after the initial surprise, we slept just fine. Tomorrow, we plan to look up some old friends on Spanish Wells and catch up on what they've been doing since our last visit here in 1988. It should be a lot of fun.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

01 APR thru 07 APR 07: Warderick Wells, Exuma Islands, Bahamas

GPS Position: 25°23'.106N: 76°37'.515W

We moved the boat today to Big Major’s Spot, which is about a 20-minute dinghy ride north of Staniel Cay. We left this morning about 1000 EST and made the 2 hour and 15 minute trip from Black Point. Although Big Major’s Spot is only 6 miles away as the crow flies, one must travel about 17 miles around the shallow grounds to get there. We arrived, and were settled, by 1230 and spent the balance of the day cleaning and polishing the boat. Tomorrow, we’ll go over to Staniel Cay, go exploring and mail some letters to the States.

This morning, we were up, in the dinghy and on our way to Staniel Cay and the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We all tied up to the dinghy dock and wound our way through town to the local post office. There, Kay mailed several post cards and we mailed our letters. We did some shopping and Chip and I found a place where a guy was working on a Bahamian Sloop for the forthcoming regatta and watched him work for about 20 minutes. The it was back to the dinghies and over to Thunderball Grotto to do some snorkeling.

The grotto was pretty neat and looked just like it did in the James Bond movie that is its namesake. From there, we went back to the boat and collected some old food items and headed for the beach and the pigs that live there.

As promised, the pigs all swam out to greet us. The one thing we wern't told, however, is stay in deeper water when feeding the pigs! The photo below was taken just moments before the 200 lb. hog vaulted into the dinghy and damn near sank us as he thrashed around in the dinghy, biting everything (including
Kim's finger) in his quest for food. Needless to say, it was quite exciting!

The 3rd, we moved to the Sampson Cay Club Resort & Marina. We arrived about 1115 and anchored out in the harbor. Kim and I went into the marina and explored a bit and met Chip & Kay at the restaurant for an ice cold beer. We then explored the resort complex and walked the docks, looking at the high dollar mega-yachts that were docked at the club. We all went back to our boats, had dinner and called it an early night.

The next day, after breakfast at the resturant with Chip & Kay, Kim and I went exploring the surrounding waters in the dinghy. During our 8-mile journey, we found that we could have dinghied back to Big Major’s Spot in about and hour. We went about three miles out to a pair of islands called Twin Cays and found a small island with a beautiful beach, that had a long defunct bar and volleyball court built on it.

Next, we motored over to an island called Wild Tamarind Cay, which was covered with tourist type homes, a small airstrip and possibly a road.

Then, we went to an island called Over Yonder Cay and found some of the most beautiful anchorages we’d ever seen. The water was a surrealistic shade of blue and you could watch individual fish swimming on the bottom, 60 feet below. What a great spot!! Then it was back to the bar, then the boat, then dinner and bed.

We left Sampson Cay around 0800 and were on our way to Compass Cay. It was another short run, so by 1100, we were snug as could be in the Compass Cay Marina. The Cay is privately owned by a Bahamian gentleman who is very environmentally conscious and the place is clean as a whistle.

Chip, Kay, Kim and I all went ashore and walked the island from one end to the other. There are rental homes, walking trails, an electrical generation station, a recycling center and all sorts of signs to identify the local flora and fauna. But enough of this exercise! We went back to the boat and discovered we have really good Internet here and we plan to spend the rest of the evening answering e-mails and, maybe, working on the website.

On the 6th, we spent another relaxed day in Compass Cay. The people here are so nice and the place is so clean that it's hard to believe it really exists. We went ashore and had lunch at the dock site restaurant and watched the feeding of the nurse sharks in the harbour. It was really quite impressive to watch how tame the sharks seemed. But, I don't think I'd want to try it.
We departed Compass Cay Marina around 1030 EDST and headed towards Warderick Wells and the Exuma Land Sea Park. The total trip will be 13.83 nautical miles, although the ”as the crow flies” distance is only 8.8 nautical miles.

The Exuma Cays Land Sea park is one of 25 National Parks managed by the Bahamas National Trust. In 1986, the Trust made the entire 176-square mile park a no-take fisheries replenishment area. This means that NOTHING can be removed from the park area unless one wants to spend a long time in a Bahamian prison. Not a pleasant thought on any level!

At the park, we were assigned a mooring and BESO is on the ball right next to us. Once moored, we all went by dinghy to the park office on Warderick Wells Cay. We both registered with the park office, where you pay for your stay up front with either cash, check or credit card.

While ashore, we all toured part of the island where the park office is located. Except for the office complex area, the island is unspoiled and everyone is careful to leave it just as nature made it. We also made the walk up Boo Boo Hill and left an obligatory piece of driftwood, with our boat's name on it, on the stack of so many others who came before us.

With this mission accomplished, it was back to the boat and by 1830 we had kicked back and made ready to watch a little satellite TV and relax for the rest of the evening.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

16 MAR thru 31 MAR 07: Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas

GPS Position: 24°06'.025N: 76°24'.166W

It’s the 16th and the storm front hasn’t hit Cape Eleuthera yet, so we took the dinghy and went snorkeling. The water was really rough, however, so we came into the sheltered “creeks” and did some snorkeling there. Then, we walked the beach looking for shells and sea beans. Found shells, but NO BEANS! Then we went on a visit to the Island School, which is an American run school that accepts US students for a 3-month course of study. I wish they’d had something like this when I was a kid.

The front finally ripped through last night and with it gone, Beso and us pulled out of Cape Eleuthera and headed towards Cat Island. I was able to put up the sails and we cruised on south to Cat Island at 7.4 kts, smooth as silk.

We arrived at Hawks Nest Resort, on the south end of Cat Island, around 1600. We rented a slip for the next two nights and prepared to wait out another round of wind and rain. The rates were $2.50 per ft. per night, plus 50¢ per gallon for water, plus $15.00 per night for 30-amp power. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but the place looked abandon, was pretty rundown and there were no ammenities. If it wasn’t for the weather, we’d have left and anchored out somewhere.We left Hawks Nest on the 20th and BESO led the way as we followed the three-hour route to New Bight, Cat Island. We arrived around 1100 hrs and anchored in 10 feet of water on a soft sand bottom, in a beautiful half-moon shaped bay.

We launched the dinghy and met up with Chip & Kay on the beach and walked around the town of New Bight. We went to a grocery and found where the local bakery was located (great pies, sweet rolls and breads) and learned about the Hermitage, built by a monk on top of Mount Alvernia, the highest point in the entire Bahamas. Then it was back to the boat and, as we drifted off to sleep, the sound of rake & scrape and calypso music drifted out to the boat from shore. Now this is what cruising the islands is all about.

The next three days were spent enjoying the town of New Bight and the local people. We all hiked to the top of Mount Alvernia and took in The Hermitage. What an incredible piece of work. We hiked back down and ate lunch at the Blue Bird Restaurant and had wonderful local fare. At night, we’d dinghy in and eat dinner at Monique’s, a take-away on the beach, where she and her husband serve the finest conch and lobster salad you’ll find anywhere, with ice-cold Kalik beer.

All good things must come to an end, however, and on the 24th, we weighed anchor and followed BESO out of New Bight, heading for the anchorage off of Georgetown, Exuma. The trip over was pretty rough due to the wind and wave direction, but we finally arrived off of Stocking Island around 1730 hrs and made our way to an area called Hamburger Beach. As far as the eye could see, there were boats at anchor. More than 500 sailboats, trawlers, tugs and mega-yachts were crammed in off of the island like they were trapped in some kind of a confused nautical parking lot. We’d never seen anything like it.

The next four days were spent visiting the party areas on Stocking Island. Hamburger Beach, Volleyball Beach and Sand Dollar Beach have something going on about 16 hours a day. Each morning, the "Cruiser’s Net" broadcasts the days activities on the VHF radio and the constant noise of outboard motors throught the day attests to the fact that someone is always going to a party somewhere.

We also made the 2 mile dinghy trip into Georgetown and toured the city. We expected a typical Bahamian town, but instead, found a town that could have been in the US or Canada and had almost no “island charm.” Americans and Canadians were everywhere and it was difficult to find a true Bahamian until you walked away from the business district to the outskirts of town.

Before we could leave the Georgetown area, we had to refuel the boat. The only way to accomplish this was to make repeated trips into Georgetown and fill our 5 gallon diesel cans, 20 gallons at a time, come back and empty them into the boat and go back for more. Three trips later, we were fueled and ready to go on the next leg of our journey.

We were underway, with about 100 other boats, on the 29th and making or way behind Beso towards the islands to the northwest. We stayed on the “inside” of the Exuma chain and the water conditions are not to bad. We leave
boat after boat behind as we go further north and the “fleet” thins to no more than three or four boats heading towards Great Guana Cay. To say the water is beautiful is a gross understatement.

We made the harbor at Black Point around 1715 hrs and set the anchor without any problems at all. Over the radio, Beso and us hear that the place to eat in town is Loraine’s Restaurant. We made reservations via radio and dinghied in by 1830 hours. The food here is great, cracked conch, fresh fish, chicken and pork chops. The beer is extremely cold and self-served on the honor system. All in all, a great experience in island dining, We also find out there is a Laundromat in town and it’s spotless with new machines. Tomorrow is laundry day.

We went into town and did laundry and the Laundromat was like new. If your load is finished and you’re not there, the owner takes it out and folds it for you. When you get back, it’s all ready to go.

We went and took pictures of the town and visited with two men who were building hand laid wooden boats for the Family Island Regatta. The craftsmanship is extraordinary! Then we walked along the beach to the north and hiked further north to the east/west channel. We then went back into town, bought some things in the grocery and finally dinghied back to the boat.

We'll probably spend another day here and then head for our next destination, Big Major's Spot, near Staniel Cay, Exuma.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

01 MAR thru 15 MAR 07: Cape Eleuthera, South Eleuthera, Bahamas

GPS Position: 24°50'.126N: 76°20'.607W

Today was cleaning and shopping day. Kim and I washed and cleaned the entire boat (inside and out) and Kim did three or four loads of laundry at the marina Laundromat. It may cost a few bucks, but you can do so much more laundry in a lot less time than on board. In the afternoon, we went up to the Super Value store and got some much needed groceries for the coming week. What a difference we saw between the prices in Nassau and the prices in the Abacos.

Today, the 2nd, we’re going back into town and pick up our son, Patrick, and his girlfriend, Kristen, at the airport. We rode the city transit system to downtown Nassau where we met up with Gary Symonette again and he carried us out towards Cable Beach and the airport to get Patrick and Kristen. Of course, we had to make a side trip to the church where Anna Nichole Smith’s funeral service was being held and make an attempt at going to the burial. There were too many cars, however, and we turned around for the airport to escape becoming hopelessly ensnarled in traffic.

The kids got through customs around 1430 hrs (their flight arrived at 1315) and we were there to greet them. Gary took us all back to the marina and Patrickand Kristen stored their stuff and changed into shorts and T-ee’s. Patrick also brought a bunch of parts for the generator, so maybe we'll have power for the boat. We spent the night touring Atlantis, on Paradise Island, playing the slots, eating at Johnny Rocket’s, shopping in all of the specialty stores and visiting the shark aquarium. It was a lot of fun.

Everyone was up around 0700 EST and we got underway, leaving Nassau Harbour. The sea was pretty smooth and the kids got to see flying fish and porpoise. We were able to raise a sail for awhile, so the passage was pretty nice for a change. We arrived at Current around 1400 hrs and unloaded all of the stuff we’d gotten in the US for Rosie and, in only two dinghy trips, carried it into shore.

We had diner with Perry and Rosie and it was really great. Perry leaves in the morning to go on his last fishing trip of the season, so it was good that he got to see Patrick, his Godson, before he left. Rosie isn’t feeling too well. It may be the flu, so we’re not getting too close.

The next day, I began work on the generator and Next Generation had sent the correct parts for making the repair. I set the pulley with Loctite #290 to lock the bushing and pulley onto the shaft. After 6 hours of curing, the generator runs without failure of the pulley or bushing. We have power!!!

Over the next few days, we toured Eleuthera, harbour Island and Spanish Wells; went snorkeling and saw a rare Hawksbill Turtle. We had a great time and each day was full and interesting. But as always, our time together seemed way to short and, before we knew it, it was time for the kids to leave us.

On the 9th, we got up really early to get the kids to the airport. The weather was crappy and the waves in the cut were really choppy. We made the airport on time, however, and it was really sad to see the kids leave. I miss having Patrick around!

We went back to Current, contacted Chip and Kay and made arrangements to get together at noon and Kim and I took them down island to see the sights. We went all the way to Governor’s Harbour and everywhere in between. It was a really nice day with really nice people.

On the 14th, we departed our anchorage off N. Beach around 0930 EDST and headed through the Current Cut towards Gregory Town. The wind forced us to change our course towards Hatchet Bay to get into the lee of Eleuthera. The seas were 4 to 6 feet across the Bight of Eleuthera, as we wound our way towards Hatchet Bay.

We decided to pull into Hatchet Bay Harbour, as it’s the only secure anchorage between Current and Cape Eleuthera. The entrance is only 90 ft. wide and, from the sea, looks to be about three feet wide. We fought the swells, however, and shot through the entrance into Hatchet Bay. Once inside, there is little holding on the harbour bottom due to the sea grass there. But, there are about twelve moorings in the harbour that are free to the taking. The trick is that there are no lines on the moorings, so one has to hook on as best as one can to secure a mooring site. This took us about 20 minutes but we were finally set for the night.

Kim and I were up and ready to go and finally had the right conditions around 0825, at which point we pulled in our mooring line and headed for the Hatchet Bay Cut at full steam. The cut seemed even narrower going out of the harbour than coming in and there was a westerly swell that almost beat us back to the inside. We burst through, however, without incident and are on our way to the Cape of Eleuthera.

As we neared Palmetto Point, we heard BESO on the radio. Chip and Kay Marsh had been anchored there, heard us and called. We are going to stay with them for a while and see where the wind takes us. But, we’re still going to Cape Eleuthera, but the Exumas may have to wait as Chip and Kay want to go to Cat Island and, what the heck, Kim and I would like to see it too. We’ll discuss it in the Cape and make a decision there as to what to do and where to go.

The Cape Eleuthera Harbour is beautiful. Soon, there will be electricity and water at the slips, but for now, it’s just a safe place to tie up the boat and ride out the wind. With everything snug and secure, we’re off to explore the area around the harbour. We’ll stay here until the storm front moves through and it’s safe to travel again.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

16 FEB thru 28 FEB 07 - Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

GPS Position: 26°04'.538N: 77°18'.998W

The storm came back today, but not as bad as yesterday morning. Rather than stay on the boat, we rented a car and went down island exploring. We found a tower that stood 40 feet above the hilltop and took some photos from its top. Then we went to Marsh Harbor and went to the grocery and hardware store.

Following Marsh Harbour, we went down to Cherokee (what a strange place) where people peek out from window curtains as you drive by and no one comes out and speaks to strangers. We went up in the hills, though, and found some orchids and air plants and took them to give to Rosie. Then, we went back to Treasure Cay, put our findings away, turned in the car and called it a night.

It’s the 20th and due to checking out from the marina and getting some last minute items from the grocery, we got a late start this morning. WindKist and About Time advised us they were going to go ahead to Guana Cay, so they departed about 0800 EST. We finally got underway at 1000 hrs, but we’re not really concerned about the lateness of the hour, as Guana Cay is only about a two-hour sail from Treasure Cay.
The trip over was uneventful and we arrived in Orchid Bay around 1230 hrs. WindKist and About Time were already situated and had reserved us a mooring ball. Gary got in his dinghy and helped us tie up to the mooring. I then shut down all but the most essential electrical items on the boat and we all dinghied in to visit the famous Knipper’s Beachside Bar.

Knipper’s is really neat and is painted in all sorts of bright colors and there is a pool, bar, restaurant and souvenir shop. We walked around and explored until close to sunset. Then, it was back to the boat for dinner and some relaxation. Tomorrow, we move on to Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco Islands. WindKist and About Time are staying in Guana Cay and then heading back to the northern Abacos for the balance of the winter. We’re sorry to leave them, but we need to move on towards Eleuthera.

We departed Orchid Bay around 0930 EST to the sound of conch horns blowing as we passed. Dan and Debbie Skidmore had gotten up and serenaded us as we left the harbour. It was really quite touching and a wonderful sendoff.

The passage to Hope Town was uneventful and we arrived at the above location around 1130 hrs. We are staying at the Club Soleil Marina, which is right under the Hope Town Lighthouse, across the harbour from the actual town. The lighthouse is one of two remaining Bahamian lighthouses that have full time tenders.

Chip and Kay (Beso) arrived around 1000 hrs this morning. It’s really great to see them again and to catch up on the past few weeks. Once they’d settled in, we all dinghied over to Captain Jack’s for happy hour and hors d'oeuvres. It’s another day in paradise.

Today, the 25th, we’re going to a soccer game. We got up around 0800 EST and got ready to go to Marsh Harbour. Chip came over in his dinghy and carried us to the Hope Town Ferry Dock so we could catch the 9:45 AM ferry.

The soccer matches were crazy!!! Absolutely every aspect of every match was gambled upon by the fans on the sidelines and Kim and I saw as much as $2,000.00 change hands on a single bet. The first match ended without any real issues. The second match, however, ended in a huge fight that saw one person being hit over the head by another with a school desk.

After the matches, it was back to the ferry and to Hope Town. It was really an exciting day and Kim and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

This morning, the 26th, there’s a strong south wind blowing at about 17 knots. Kim and I were up at 0800, filled all of the boat’s water tanks, paid the dock master for our stay and left Club Soleil Marina at 11:30 AM. From there we went to Lighthouse Harbour Marina to take on fuel and were on our way.

BESO passed us just as we were finishing up with the fueling. We followed them out of the harbour and all the way to Little Harbour, Abaco, where we hooked onto a mooring for our two day stay here.

At Little Harbour, there are only two things, Johnston’s Gallery of Bronze and Pete’s Pub. At the gallery, one can get beautiful art and become cultured. At Pete’s Pub, one can get good food, Kalik beer, rum and become inebriated. Here, Pete Johnston can be found sipping absolute vodka while entertaining his clientele with wit and commentary on an endless number of subjects. Under an awning made of multicolored T-shirts from patrons past, cruisers enjoy an endless measure of good food, good drink and good times at this southernmost, Abaconian oasis.

Kim and I got up at 0600 EST and got ready to depart Little Harbour. Beso and I headed south, BESO towards Royal Island and us to Nassau. Just past Hole-in-the-Wall, a major storm cell grew off of our nose and engulfed both Beso and us. We saw winds in excess of 74 Kts and waves in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 feet. Fortunately, it only lasted for a short period of time (25 minutes or less) and then the weather calmed back down.

We arrived at the Nassau Yacht Haven about 1830 EST and headed for our slip. Once tied up, we washed off the boat and settled in for a good night's sleep.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

01 FEB thru 15 FEB 07: Treasure Cay, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas

GPS Position: 26°40'.367N: 77°16'.778W

Over the past two weeks, many boats have come into West End seeking shelter from the unpredictable weather. We met Gary and Catharine Johnson (s/v Wind Kist) today and they are really nice people. They have a Hunter 42 and Gary does really great woodwork, so their boat has a lot of storage. Really cool!!!

The four of us got another car today and went back into Freeport and Lucaya and played tourist. After leaving the Old Bahama Bay, you go approximately 15 minutes to get to the local village of West End where we stopped at the local bakery for bread, a piece of bread pudding, and a cinnamon bun for later.

Our main stop was the International Bazaar, with its impressive red Torii Gate entrance. Then, it was on to “Our Lucaya”, which is loaded with nice, modern hotels and where the cruise ships come in to Grand Bahama Island. We saw the pictorial red-and-white striped lighthouse at Lighthouse Pointe as well as The Westin Hotel with its beautiful beach, grounds, flowers, palms and outside pool area.

Then we walked through UNEXSO, circled around past the Dolphin Experience
and Miss and Mr. Pirate statues, toured the Lucayan Marketplace and visited the Arts and Crafts Market with stalls of straw goods, linens, shells and other Bahamian souvenirs. Afterwards, we headed back to Old Bahama Bay Resort to unpack our goodies and rest from our day’s activities.

We spent the day repacking the boat and making ready to sail. We’re supposed to have a three or four day window starting the 4th, and we can’t believe it’s true. We haven’t had a window that big since summer time. Went to the m/v BESO for cocktails. Chip and Kay Marsh are really nice people and their boat is beautiful. The three of us, BESO, Wind Kist and Current Jumper are all going to the Abacos tomorrow.

We got up this morning about 0630 EST and made ready to depart Old Bahama Bay Resort. The sea is like glass and there is a light (4 to 6 knot) wind out of the NE. No one can believe how calm it was on the water today. Most of the day was like sailing on a piece of glass. We arrived at Great Sale Cay around 1600 EST and anchored for the night.

The next day we were on our way to Allan’s Pensacola Cay. The transit today was a repeat of yesterday, calm seas, no waves or swells and the sun shone brightly all day. We followed “BESO” & “WindKist,” arriving at the cay around 1215 EST. What a pretty place this is!

Gary, Catharine, Kay, Kim and I all went shelling together. We spent most of the afternoon on these two beaches, looking for shells. I was very lucky and found a Sea Heart Bean on the eastern shore. If dried, sanded carefully and polished, it will make a beautiful souvenir of the trip.

On the 10th, we departed at 1000 hrs as planned. The wind was in our favor and we were finally able to put up the sails for the entire journey to Green Turtle Cay. We averaged 5.6 Kts on the trip and anchored in New Plymouth Harbour.

Once secure, we dropped the dinghy and went into the town of New Plymouth with WindKist and Beso. We walked around town, went to the grocery and ate lunch at an FNM political rally. We had freshly BBQ chicken and ribs, peas and rice and coleslaw. What a treat!!

We returned to the boat around sunset and made the dinghy fast in its davits. Around 2000 hrs, we started the generator and, after about 15 minutes, lost all electric power. I opened the generator housing and discovered that the electrical end pulley had broken loose and shredded the drive belt. I have an extra drive belt, but the pulley bolt holes are stripped and I cannot tighten them. I'll have to wait until Monday and try to get some parts sent.

Monday, we chose to move on to Treasure Cay. BESO is staying here at the Green Turtle Club and we'll reconnect later. There is a storm front coming and this may be the last chance to make it through the Whale Cay Cut. Once in Treasure Cay, we'll have good phone service and Internet and can, hopefully, make arrangements for generator parts.
We made Whale Cay Cut around 0945 hrs and it took an hour to make the passage through it. The seas became increasingly worse as me neared the other side of the passage, but once we got back in the lea of Whale Cay on the other end, things calmed down to normal.

We arrived at the entrance to Treasure Cay and pulled into the marina about 1150 and docked into slip L-17. WindKist is on the dock across from us. We all explored Treasure Cay and it appears to be really nice. Lots of stores and amenities make this appear to be a good place to wait out the coming storm. We went to the beach club for lunch. Cheeseburgers, real French-fries and really, really cold beer made it a great meal.

The main body of the storm finally moved in to Treasure Cay last night. The wind is in the 30 to 35 Kt range and it’s raining off and on in band after band of heavy squalls, but in the afternoon, it cleared off some. We rented a golf cart and explored the north end of the island. We found half a dozen good coconuts and a whale vertebra. We also met Dan And Debbie Skidmore from S/V About Time. They are from West Virginia and live on their Hunter 42. All in all, a pretty cool day.

Tonight, the 15th, is Pizza night at the Harbour Club. We went with WindKist and About Time to try native pizza. Boy were we surprised. The set-up was just like in a big pizza carryout in the US. Lot’s of toppings, cheese and sauce to make a pizza to die for. We had pizza and cold beer and enjoyed it to the sound of a “rake and scrape” band. Ah, what a night.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

16 JAN thru 31 JAN 07, West End, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

GPS Position: 25°42'.092N: 78°59'.473W

Awoke this AM at 0600 EST and woke Kim. We have made the boat ready to sail and I checked out with the Dock Master. We pulled out at 0735 EST and cleared the West end of Nassau Harbour, setting a course of 308°, we are making for Chub Cay at a speed of 7.6 knots. ETA in Chub Cay is 1305 EST.

We arrived in Chub Cay at 1315 EST and proceeded into the harbour. We then took on 8 gallons of fuel and proceeded to slip #208. This is a beautiful place and they have great tasting water, water pressure and power. If I was to build in the Bahamas, this just might be the place.

Kim and I took a tour of the facility, walked the beach and retired to the boat for dinner and an early bedtime. Tomorrow, I’ll get up at 0600, check us out at the office and we’ll be on our way to Bimini. The weather is supposed to hold through Wednesday, so we just might make Ft. Lauderdale by Wednesday afternoon.

We departed Chub Cay at 0724 EST on a course of 289° towards the North West Channel Light and the US. Our ETA in Ft. Lauderdale, FL is about 0200 EST on
18 Jan 07, assuming our speed holds and we’re not pushed back by the front. It’s a beautiful day with 5 knots of breeze from the East and the sea is like glass. Hopefully, this will hold.

We arrived at North Rock Light, Bimini around 1700 EST. The wind has picked up and moved out of the NE and the waves are in excess of 8 feet. So, we decided to anchor in the lee of Bimini until morning, check the weather out of the US and decide what to do at that time.

We caught a break on the 19th when the breeze dropped off and the Gulf Stream wave height was forecast at only 2 to 3 ft. So, we hauled anchor and were underway by 0630 EST, on a course for Port Everglades, FL. The trip was smooth until about 12 miles off of the Florida coast, when the wave height picked up and made the last few miles of the trip pretty rough. But, we finally cleared Port Everglades Light at 1430 EST and made our way the Bahia Mar Marina.

On the 23rd, the repairman from Next Generation showed up with a new electrical end. He was finished with the installation 1430 Hrs. We ran the unit for about 15 minutes and were able to run everything electrical on the boat without any issues. Good job, except that I’m concerned about the fact that the repairman stripped one of the bolts on the taper-lock bushing for the electrical end pulley. He says it will not be a problem, but I’m not so sure.

There was window of opportunity for sailing on the 24th. The weather said that the best time to cross would be after 1200 noon and then it would get progressively rougher after midnight. So, with the generator fixed, we struck out for the Bahamas. The wind was steady out of the SW so we decided to ride the wind and the Gulf Stream and head for West End, Grand Bahama Island.

We made West End and anchored off of the N shore in the lee of the island. The wind increased to 18 knots, but it was reasonably calm at anchor. In the morning, we made our way into Old Bahama Bay Marina, cleared Customs & Immigration and checked into the marina. We plan to be here for awhile as there are multiple cold fronts moving through from the north and the weather is supposed to stink for a couple of weeks at best.

The marina was bought out in 2001 and completely refurbished. It is really beautiful. There is a new entranceway for the boat basin, including protective rock jetties. There are now up to date wooden docks with tall pilings and metal ladders for easy access.

On the South side, next to the main Resort office, are two restaurants: “Aqua” is the “white-table” fine-dining establishment. Then comes “Bonefish Folley’s Bar & Grill” with Happy Hour from 5-6 pm, Bahamian mixed drinks & conch fritters. The Grill has nice dinners, salads, sandwiches & desserts. Additionally, there is a gift shop, art gallery, laundry, showers, free bicycles and rental cars that can be had by the day or week.

On the 26th, we rented a car from the hotel and spent the day touring Freeport and Lucaya. The island is very different from any of the Bahamas we’ve toured to date as there’s lots of flat land and scrub pine on the island with no really tall buildings or large structures. The only exception is the Port Lucaya complex, which boasts several multiple-storied hotels. On the way back to the Marina, we found a local bakery that had great looking bread pudding and coconut pie. We overindulged and bought some of each. Then it was back to the boat for dinner and satisfaction of our sweet tooths with our newly purchased deserts.

Well, it’s the last day of the month and for the past two days and today, it’s rained cats and dogs. It’s cold (41°-F) and windy (22 to 30 knots), so all we’ve done these three days is lay about and read or work on the web site. There’s a rumor, however, that the weather will be clearing late this coming week, so finally, we may be able to leave here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

01 JAN thru 15 JAN 07, Nassau Yacht Haven, Nassau, Bahamas

GPS Position: 25°04’.538N: 77°18’.998W

It's now 2007 and we're looking forward to the new year. We're also excited about the fact that our middle daughter, Erika, and her boyfriend, Jeremy, are flying into Nassau to visit with us for a week.

The only thing that's put a damper on the forthcoming visit, is the fact that the A/C generator quit working on the 3rd. I've done everything I know how to do, plus talked to the people at the factory, but there's been no success. Oh well, we'll just have to use the main engine and alternator to keep the batteries charged until after the kids leave.

We set sail for Nassau on the 7th and had a really nice day at sea. It only took 5.5 hours to get from N. Eleuthera to Nassau Harbour. We came in past the west end light and were tied up at the Yacht Haven by 1400 hrs.

We spent the rest of the day washing down the boat, filling the water tanks and doing some regular maintenance items on the boat. Then, it was off to dinner at our favorite resturant, The Poop Deck, for a really great Island Style meal. From the Poop Deck, we walked back to the boat for a good night's rest.

In the morning, I called an old friend of ours, Gary Symonette, who owns Bus #10 and one of the routes from Nassau to Cable Beach and back. We agreed to meet Gary downtown and he would run us out to the airport, pick up the kids and carry us all back to the Yacht Haven.

We met Gary as planned and went along with him as he worked the bus route going north towards Cable Beach. Once all of the passengers were dropped off at thier various hotels, we turned up the airport road and headed towards Lynden O. Pindling International Airport.

The kids finally cleared customs around 1330 EST and Gary carried us back to the Yacht Haven. We made plans to all go to dinner tonight, which will give us an opportunity to meet Garys wife, and Gary will be back to pick us up at 2000 hrs.

After dumping their bags, we took the kids to Potters Cay and had lunch at a local take-away called Tony's Seafood. You can't miss Tony's bright yellow building with the fire engine red lettering and the cracked conch and conch salad (hand prepared by Tony to order) are to die for.

From Tony's, we caught the bus to bay Street and went into town for an afternoon of shopping and sight seeing. We walked the length of Bay Street and went into just about every store. Then we went over to the Government Complex and saw Parlement Square with the statue of Queen Victoria out front.

We caught the bus back to the marina and, after showers and changes of clothes, met Gary and his wife in the parking lot. From there, we went to Johnny Canoe's Restaurant, on Cable Beach. The menu was extensive and the food and service were excellent. We all had a great time and didn't make it back to the boat until after midnight.

Kim and I got up early and let the kids sleep in. We went over to the grocery and picked up some needed items and then went back to Tony’s for more conch salad to eat during the trip to Current. We pulled out of Nassau at 1200 EST and by 1300 it was pouring rain with a strong breeze out of the NE. It took 6.5 hours for our return to Current and when we arrived, we anchored off of N. Beach again and settled in for the night.

The weather has been really rough the past few days. Blowy and cold doesn't provide much of an opportunity for snorkeling, but we've spent lots of time down island exploring all of the touristy, and not so touristy, places on Eleuthera. The only swimming that anyone got to do was clear down at Tarpum Bay as the lay of the island made for that area being sheltered from the wind. Then, it was back to Current followed by a scrumptious dinner each night at the Neilly's.

And it was on just such a night when, after dinner, Jeremy proposed to Erika. She was caught completely off guard as she had no idea that he was going to pop the question during this trip. Way to go future son-in-law, ya' gotta' keep 'em guessing! The kids finally departed, via N. Eleuthera Airport on the 14th. We were sad to see them go, but know we'll be seeing them late this summer for the wedding.

We too are departing N. Eleuthera for the US due to the Generator issues. The manufacturer, Next Generation, will replace the entire unit if we can get to anywhere in the States. So, we’ve set sail for Nassau, leaving our bicycles and portable VHF radio with the Neillys until our return. The wind is out of the East at 12 knots, seas are calm and the temperature is around 80°-F.

We arrived Nassau at 1445 EST and proceeded to the Nassau Yacht Haven. This time, we docked on the East end and it was just as good as the West side of the complex. It was good to have water and good power again.