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April  2009

Week One:

This has been a week of departures and there are few cruisers left in the harbour. Four of the yacht club members left in less than desirable conditions and their boats were quite shaken up we hear. I think the captains were too! Several others decided to wait for better weather and found a two day window in which to brave the "Whale". The docks are quiet without them.

We took a short trip over to Man-of-War Cay for a few hours. In at high tide and out before low! The cay is dry and there's only one restaurant. We hired a golf cart and in two hours we had seen everything, including Judy and Fred on Amarse and Woody and Ellen on Double SS. We left ourselves with plenty of time to go snorkeling around Sugar Loaf cay. Andrew went fishing in the dink and I found a beautiful angular Triton shell. (They are quite unusual).

The final gathering of the RMHYC was a beach party. Both of us were recruited to help with running the "sand skiing" and "leg guessing" games and we all had a fun time. 

The winds are persistent and far too strong for pleasant outings. Actually it's not too much fun at the dock either. We hope it calms down in the next week or so as we are about ready to head back to the States.

Beach Party with Joe, Sigi, Patty and Ray

Andrew in the rental car at Man-of -War Cay.

North end of Man-of-War.

Tally Ho in the harbour.

The end of the main road.

The fire engine...cutie!

Limbo fun.

What is she drinking!

Sand skiing contest.

Week Two:

Another great week ............. Sunday we plan to leave to head back to the US.

We had a connector burn out and had to replace it. Wink cleaned our prop and underneath the wing keel (where they had not painted it with Micron 66 paint ($300 per gallon)) but the rest of the hull is perfect.

We rented a car for 24 hours and went North to visit Patti and Emery, and take a peek at the canal system at Leisure Lee. Then we went down to the south part of the Island - Crossing Rocks, Cherokee Sound and then Pete's Pub at Little Harbor where we met up with Bill and Mary (Harbour Reach). We had a great tour of the bronze foundry there. Randolph Johnston began it and his grandchildren now run it. 

Most folks have now left the Harbor for home - we are almost the last on Dock 4 - our home for over four months.



Another Repair job!

Winks magic machine feeds him air whilst he is cleaning the bottom of the boat.

Crossing Rocks

Longest Pier in the Bahamas- Cherokee Sound. This is rebuilt after every hurricane.

Locals bring home a basket of fish including this hog fish.

Pete's Pub

Andrew Ray Vanessa Bill and Mary waiting for lunch.

Little Harbor - great picture.

Pete's pub is also a foundry using the Lost Wax Process.

A 60 lb Dolphin comes home for the dinner plate.

The 60 pounder being cut up.

Wink and Wilma leaving Boat Harbor for the summer.

Farewell to Joe and Sigi as they prepare to leave Marsh Harbor.


Week Three:

We left the Abaco Beach Resort at 7.30 am Sunday and headed for the Whale Cay Passage which we traversed just fine (wind out of the North).  As we came into the Northern Abaco's we turned off the engine and sailed all day, (East winds at 6 & 7 knots) and all night. We passed Great Sale Cay at around 9pm. From there we headed for White Sands on the edge of the Banks. At 11pm  the moon rose and we weren't completely in the dark, however the winds were now somewhat on the stern and it was getting a little uncomfortable.....this was a sign of things to come!!!  Early the next morning (6am) we came off the Banks. We had managed to pick up NOAA weather from Fox Town so we were reasonably confident with the forecast, but as luck would have it, it changed every few hours and what should have been 2-4 foot waves in the Gulf Stream turned out to be 7 - 9 ft. and very sloppy. We had easterly swells and SE winds. We both felt seasick and downed several Stugeron pills!! The rocking and rolling went on for the rest of the crossing, and then we had to negotiate the Fort Pierce inlet! With a 3 knot current against us and 15 knots pushing us in it was a little (OK, a lot) hairy. However without the push from the wind it would have taken us forever. The water was very confused at the entry, we were tired and we just forged our way through arriving at Faber Cove, Fort Pierce at 4:30 p.m.

The trip set some milestones for us.

1. First full overnighter(33 Hours).

2. Longest non stop passage (195 Miles)

3. Totally alone. No other boat in sight once we were off the Banks!

We spent a night at Faber Cove and then started our journey North stopping at Vero Beach for a Walmart fix and two nights rest. A few of the RMHYC were also there, Lo Kee, Magnum Opus and Sea Island Girl.

From Vero we sailed north up the Indian River and then into Daytona for a couple of nights.


Sunset on the Little Bahama Banks

During the night we took turns at having a nap.

Back on the ICW



Week Four:

Our stay at Daytona was with the Halifax Yacht Club. A very nice place to stop with reasonable rates. We took a 2 mile hike over to Daytona Beach to see all the cars parked in the sand and the throngs (no, not thongs! although there were some of those too) of holiday makers. Not our sort of scene at all. From Daytona we went to Jim and Danette Potochick's house in Palm Coast, where we rafted up to their trawler "Peace". They are members of the RMHYC and were such gracious hosts. We borrowed their car and re-provisioned our grocery supply for the next few days, then we all had a pleasant evening with cocktails aboard Tally Ho. Bright and early on Monday we said our farewells and continued through St. Augustine and dropped anchor in a storm (just before it got bad) at Pine Island. Fortunately things calmed down by evening and we had a pleasant night.

Next stop, Cumberland Island! We've had some rough experiences at anchor there and this time around it was also bad....the captain threatens never to return. The supposedly calm west winds turned out to be 40 - 50 knots at 11 pm. 'Twas a sleepless and bumpy night. Not quite as bad as our Spooner's Creek experience last Spring, but close enough. The following day we went ashore, saw an armadillo nonchalantly walk in front of us and then we were eaten alive by flies so we promptly left the anchorage around lunch time and encountered more breezy conditions 15 - 25 knots all the way up to the Fredericka River. Once there, the mosquito's came out and enjoyed their dinner - US.

Northward bound and ran aground! In what showed on the chart as 42 ft of water?????? Sailor beware...North Walburg Creek entrance has shoaled on the western side, don't cut it close or you'll bump like we did, several times. Luckily it was only a few bumps and we were able to get into the creek in time for the flies to have their supper. Hmmm, there's something wrong here! TOO MANY BUGS. We did walk around St. Catherine's Island (very quickly..bite, bite) and the scenery was like something out of Jurrasic Park.

Early next morning we were out in the ocean again and motorsailed all the way up to Beaufort, SC. It's hot, in the high 80's but we're not complaining. The evenings are nice and cool.

Daytona Beach

St. Augustine. the Bridge of Lions being revamped.

What's this...Rain? We just got into Pine Island before the thunder.

Cheeky armadillo. Cumberland Island

Sunrise over the ocean. St. Catherine's sound.

St. Catherine's Island. Buggy!

El Capitan ....the socks didn't stop the flies!

Great driftwood here

My kinda place.


Week Five:

Well, another week has gone by ...whoosh!!! We have been traveling nonstop and we're now in NC. The weather has been good for moving on. It would have been nice to stop and smell the roses occasionally, but we have new babies to smell instead (that sounds strange but you'll know exactly what I mean if you've ever held babies!) and so we're steamrolling home.

We did another outside passage this week, Little River Inlet to Cape Fear. Not a long haul, and as it turned out not a pleasant ride. Not enough wind and large annoying swells. Still, we are getting more confident and feel we'll enjoy the ocean more when we can pull the rags out and sail. It certainly beats waiting for bridges and being alert for shallows etc. Andrew wants to use his autohelm and he can't do that too often on the ICW.

Although there's great appeal about going on the outside, the ICW also has its charms. We saw many alligators on this trip and the bird life is wonderful. It is more interesting than being in the ocean, but also can be a pain in the neck.

A short layover at Myrtle Beach meant that we could visit with our friends, David and  Mary Kay. Before arriving at the Lightkeeper's Marina where we met them, we had to negotiate the Rockpile and Barefoot Landing.....this area has been affected by a huge wildfire, and on the morning we traversed this stretch of waterway there was thick fog and smoke combined. We had to anchor for about 40 minutes in the middle of the ICW because we couldn't see in front of the boat. It was quite scary. The smell of burning lingered in the cabin for several hours. I can only imagine how awful it must be for the residents there. It was bad enough for us just passing through!

We are now at Spooner's Creek waiting out the very breezy conditions before taking the boat to Oriental and visiting our friends Gary and Pat.

Early morning Stono river.

At it again...Cape Romaine.

One of many gators along the way.

The beautiful Waccamaw river.

Early morning in the Waccamaw.

Where are we...fog/smoke in front

....and it's behind us too!

Aah that's better.

Shrimper in the ocean.

Camp LeJeune, Marines at play on the water.

What's this - knitting!