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April 2010

 

Week One:

This week the weather has improved. However, at the beginning of the week a tornado touched down at Lucaya on Grand Bahama where many of the club boats had gone. All the reports that we received told horrific stories of the power of the storm. 3 people were killed and much damage to homes and club boats. The storm came over us at Boat Harbour but it was just windy and raining by the time it got to us.

Both Andrew and Vanessa are ill with colds and slowly getting better. We think Andrew picked it up in England.

Many of the club boats have now left, leaving just a few of us to enjoy the best weather for months. We are starting to get ready to return to the USA. Andrew has purchased enough rum to get us back to Maryland.

Jim and Judy had a cocktail evening at their rental house.

Wilma (John Henry) waving goodbye.

Tally Ho almost the only boat left on the dock.

 

 

Week Two:

The weather has been great, but Vanessa has been sick! Go figure! ....We have taken the boat out several times, once specifically for Andrew to dive down and check the bottom and the running gear prior to setting sail back to the USA. Everything looks fine with very limited growth and even the zincs on the prop shaft are still in place. However, the Chart Plotter display has gone wrong AGAIN. Fortunately we now have a backup for position but alas we will not have radar on the way back across the Gulf Stream where we have to cross the shipping lanes and it may be at night. Another potential problem to navigate around. We should be used to this by now.

On Easter Sunday, Andrew's birthday, we went to Nipper's on Shade Mor (Bob & Judy's boat) where they had an Easter Egg Hunt on the beach and in the ocean. It was a great family day, and whilst there we saw our friends from Treasure Cay, Patti & Emery and their family and friends.

Late in the week we took a road trip with Raggedy Ann (Dick & Ann) to Treasure Cay with various stops along the way. It was a pleasant break from the norm. We visited Carl and Helen Jacobs at their new home. What a super job they are doing building it from scratch. Their position in Joe's Creek is wonderful with beautiful views of the Sea of Abaco and a lovely beachfront. We had lunch on the beach and saw several more friends whilst there. Wherever we go there's somebody we know. Small world!

The week has flown by and our minds are concerned with our return home. The only trouble is that the weather is now turning and we expect another week of adverse conditions. Plans for a slow meander around the North of the Whale are fast diminishing. We shall sit tight and wait for good weather.

 

Wide shot of the Egg Hunt at Nippers

Nippers on Easter Sunday

Grabbers for lunch on Guana Cay

The trip over to Guana on Shade Mor.

One of our favorite beaches.

 

Week Three:

We just can't seem to get off the dock. Well, that's not quite true, we did take the boat out for a quick jaunt to test the autopilot now that the chart plotter is no longer with us. It seems to be functioning so we'll keep our fingers crossed. We were supposed to be up in Treasure Cay by now but the winds are forecast to be blowing for the next three days and their anchorage is full, so we are staying at the "Country Club" and enjoying a good nights sleep.

We've had a couple of nice group dinners this week. One at Simon and Stephanie's apartment and a potluck in our park. We also rented a car and drove down to Sandy Point for lunch at Nancy's. It was well worth the 50 mile non-scenic road trip.

We're preparing for our intended departure this Friday. That means - loads of laundry, grocery stock-up, all diesel cans reattached to the boat and dismantling the bikes for the long trek home. We've spent 5 months here and haven't wandered too far this year, so it's quite an upheaval!

The marina is filling up again with fishing vessels and sailors coming in for the races. Waddy (and Connie) on Running Tide just arrived. The last time we saw him was in Reedville in October. Small world!

rocks around the electric pilings to ward off fires.

One of the many Portuguese Man of War jellyfish washed up on the beaches this year.

Nancy's.

Nancy's restaurant. Sandy Point.

View from Nancy's - looking towards the Disney Island resort.

Vanessa & Delores, the cook, at Nancy's

Pickle Ball

 

Week Four:

Time to disengage from the dock and set sail. We spent 5 months at the Abaco Beach Resort this year and it's hard to break away, but we miss our family, and it's time to head North. Whoops, the jib has fallen apart and it definitely needs to be repaired!  Despite the ripped jib, we still had a great sail to Treasure Cay to visit our friends, Patti & Emery. They recently bought a condo there and invited us to dinner along with their friends, Scott & Mary Lynn, and Brad & Karen. It was a fun evening and we all made plans for our Whale crossing the following day. All four boats left Treasure bright and early on Saturday morning and the Whale was calm. Phew!!!! One hurdle done, one more to go!

We stayed a couple of nights at Bluff House marina on Green Turtle Cay. Immediately got the sewing machine out to fix the jib. The following day we took a dinghy expedition to Manjack and Fiddle cays. Wish we had more time to visit, perhaps next year! Emery and Vanessa were checking the weather constantly and it was decided that we'd do an overnight run from GTC to Ft. Pierce. The weather conditions were looking quite good for fair winds (10 - 15k) clocking SSE to SW then W, and only a slight possibility of showers and thunderstorms. So at 8 am on Tuesday we departed with sails up and motors running. For part of the day we could kill the engine, but for the most part we motor sailed.  The moon decided to go to bed at midnight and the clouds promptly hid the stars so we were in pitch black for 6 hours. Of course that's when all went downhill. Emery's radar was showing nasty squalls and lightning all around. We kept dodging the really bad stuff, but we hit plenty of rain. The lightning was spectacular and terrifying at the same time. We could only see Honeywinds stern light and hope that the radar was picking up everything. The  wind was clocking all over the place. We even had North winds. (Definitely not forecast). As daylight approached we were rocking and rolling, but wouldn't put the sail up for fear of a storm. Eventually all calmed down and we approached Ft. Pierce with the current pushing us in the inlet and only a light West wind. By 2:30pm Wednesday we were anchored by the North Bridge. Boy, did we sleep well that night. Honeywind went to a marina to check in.

We got up early the next morning and went straight to Vero Beach to await the arrival of the repaired chart plotter. Of course we had our shopping fix. After 5 months in the Bahamas and only limited grocery supplies it was such a treat to spend money at Publix!! (food shop) Ah, the joys of sailing.  At cocktail hour we were joined by Honeywind and their crew, Mike and Karen, to celebrate our arrival back in the States. Then our friends from HSA1, Lynn  and Larry sailed in and joined us. Then their friends, Bobbie and Wayne (Barefoot) dropped by and we had a fun evening on Tally Ho.

Now we're on the move again and racing for home.

Ripped sail

The "Dont Rock" rock.

Fish by the boat at Bluff House

Honeywind takes the lead

Bye, bye Great Sail Cay. The last land for a 100 miles.

OK, this is night sailing!

Lynn, Mike,Karen & Patti

Andrew, Emery, Larry

Waiting for the bus at Vero.

Week Five:

We didn't get our package (chart plotter) until noon, so it was a late start out of Vero and we anchored for the night at Palm Shores. a new anchorage for us. It's only protection is from the bridge and you anchor North or South depending on the wind. Not pretty but it worked. The following day we wanted to get somewhere with good protection as the weather forecast was for strong storms/tornados approaching. The wind was so good we turned off the engine and sailed, however, when we wanted to turn the engine back on it wouldn't start. Andrew went below and found the engine compartment full of water. A clamp had broken and a pipe was loose. He pumped the water out but still no engine. We called Tow Boat US and were escorted into New Smyrna Municipal marina. Fortunately a mechanic was living there and he jumped aboard and asked us to try to start the engine......Murphy's Law....it started first time! We of course had already paid for the slip, so we stayed. the following day we got ourselves tucked into the Cement Plant anchorage and awaited the storms. It's a super spot with lots of wildlife, alligators, raccoons, turtles, herons, pelicans  - we saw them all. The storms were moving all around us and some managed to find us, at night of course! 

We left at 5:30am in the dark so that we could get through the badly shoaled Matanzas inlet before low tide. That accomplished, we were to meet up with Honeywind and go out to sea for a couple of days. Well, Honeywind unfortunately went aground just below the Bridge of Lions and had to sit there for 5 long hours. Our plans thus changed we continued up the ICW. We wanted to anchor at Pablo Creek (another new spot for us). The trouble is that the current there is fierce and we were too nervous, so we continued on to Ft. George and spent a pleasant night there.

Honeywind caught up with us the next day and we anchored together in the Amelia river. En route the day before we had sailed in some breezy conditions and heeled over quite far. Unbeknownst to us, the captain had left a hatch open and a significant amount of sea water had flooded in. We lost a TV &  DVD player. The water had soaked several manuals, tools, all of the captain's clothing and blankets and some bedding. The list goes on!!!!! We spent our time in the Amelia river doing laundry and drying out whatever we could.

We left early on Wednesday and began our overnighter in the ocean from Fernandina Beach to Charleston and beyond there to anchor in Minim Creek. The first hour of sailing was great, SW winds and 7/8 knots on the meter. Then it changed and we motor sailed for the rest of the journey. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and almost flat seas. 36 hours later we were at anchor.

A good nights rest and we were off again. This time we went 2 hours up the river and stopped at the Harborwalk marina in Georgetown. Laundry, groceries,  a day of sightseeing and an evening of theatre were on the agenda. 'Twas a  welcome break.

 

Haulover canal

How much laundry is there!!!!

Fort at Fernandina Beach inlet.

Honeywind ocean sailing.

Tally Ho ocean sailing.

Follow the yellow (pink) brick road.

Ooh company!

Sunset, and we still have hours more to go!

Back on the ICW.