Yet To Be !
Yet To Be ! 
Also be sure to visit the Gallery page - new photos added each month!

We have survived another hurricane season and cast off our lines once again…

left Brunswick, GA on 11-9-07.

Our most recent postings are first. So, scroll down to the oldest date last read and work your way back to the top!

10/09/2008, Brunswick, Ga. We lost Mac to cancer this month......which was incredibly hard, after Dempsey passed away in May. These losses have broken our hearts and we can't imagine life without our wonderful boys.

07/10/08 Brunswick, Ga. - Well, we arrived home safe and sound in mid May with our friend Terry aboard. Unfortunately, entries in the computer between April and our arrival home in May were lost via a computer total crash. So, when the energy returns, we will try to re-create those from memory. Sadly, at the end of May, we lost our beloved Shar Pei, Dempsey. He had a wonderful life and trip aboard MTB. He is in doggie heaven now for sure. He was a wonderful, wonderful family member and so missed by us all. Mac is so lost without him, as are we.

May 2008 - the daily log on Cindy's computer was lost in a data crash. So, this is the rest of our trip from memory. We went from our favorite town, Black Point, going north on the inside. We spent the next two nights after Black Point anchored on the west side of two different Islands, including Norman Cay. At Norman, we cut outside and had great luck fishing. Terry brought in a number of huge Mahi. Then, we cut back into the west side of these islands and our last anchorage in the Exumas was off of Highborne Cay. From there, at the north end of the Exumas, we cut Northwest and anchored on the south side of Rose Island...just west of Nassau. There we were treated to a wonderful fireworks display n the distance, at Paradise Island. When we headed out from Rose, toward the Berry Islands, we had a really wild, rough ride through the passage at the end of Rose Island. But, once through, the seas were a little more calm. We went up the east side of the Berry Islands chain and ducked in behind an island that gave us good protection from weather that kept us there for two days. Once leaving there, we went north to Great Harbor Cay...which turned out to be one of our most favorite places in the Bahamas. We met wonderful locals who took us on a tour of the Island...had a great meal at the beach front restaurant and found a zillion sand dollars on the incredibly beautiful "Sand Dollar Beach". We loved this island and anchorage but after two days, had to head out. We went north east, toward the west side of the Abacos. Terry was pulling Mahi in so fast, we were amazed. He had them cleaned and ready to eat when we anchored. Talk about a wonderful meal....and fresh fish....wow. The freezer was full of this special delight. We'd made the decision to try the west side of the Abacos route, though we knew it was going to be "skinny". We anchored off one of the islands, after not being able to "hook" our anchor in the grasses in front of the first village. So, we just went north to a sand bar and held. Terry cooked us an amazing Mahi dinner and we had a nice night. In the a.m. we pulled up anchor and pulled out behind a monohull that had followed us into the anchorage. They were nice and kept us informed of the water depths. By late afternoon, we pulled into the anchorage on the southwest side of Great Sail Cay. Ken, Cindy and the pups went to sore to walk. Other vessels were around and more came through the evening. One catamaran came to anchor very close to MTB. After a good night, we were up and out, headed for Florida in the a.m. Unfortunately, it was flat...no wind, no seas. We stayed out on the trampolines and watched the water...it was so clear we could see coral, fish and starfish on the bottom. It was as if we were snorkeling without getting wet. The pups hung out on the front with us most of the day. After doing an overnight trip, we pulled into the Ponce Inlet, hoping to anchor along the ICW. It was low tide and it gets skinny in the inlet. We bumped bottom a couple times, but made it ok. The anchorage at Rockfish Creek was blocked due to dredging. So, we turned back around and headed south through the bascule bridge at New Smyrna. We threw our anchor in a nice place in front of some condos just off the ICW channel. We had a nice night, though it was a reality check hearing traffic and police sirens. Hadn't heard those things for 6 months. We headed out in the a.m. and next we pulled into St. Augustine. We dropped the dinghy, went to town. We stayed two days to re-charge. Then, off we went to Cumberland Island. We love that anchorage. The next morning, though we knew the seas were a little high, we headed out for the inlet cut back to the Atlantic. A fisherman radio'd and said we probably didn't want to go out. We were almost to the inlet, so decided to try it anyway. Nope, too too rough so we decided it was prudent to turn back around. Terry and Ken worked together to time the swells and turn perfectly...what pros they were. We spent one more night at Cumberland. The next day, seas were better and we made the final leg home....to Brunswick. It was bitter sweet. We pulled into our marina and filled the diesel tanks before going to our slip assigned on dock # 11. It was good to be home, but what memories we had. It was so great having Terry aboard with us for the trip all the way home. Arrival was May 19th, 2008.

04/27/08 Sunday – Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas – We had 18-20 knot winds all night and this morning but MTB sat calmly in the great anchorage. We got our east coast TV feeds back since leaving Georgetown so watched the Sunday morning TV shows in the a.m. Terry did dishes from prior night’s great dinner. And, Ken made bacon, eggs, grits for breakfast around 9:15 am. Once of the other cruising boats left, so only 4 of us this a.m. in the anchorage. We had hoped to jump through the Dothan cut and go north on the Exuma Sound for about 15-20 miles this day, but high winds had the east side of Great Guana pretty chopped up. We want to try to give Terry as many opportunities as possible to fish as we sure have enjoyed the dinners! And, we’d like to fill the freezer to have some fish for all of us to take home. It was cooler and less humid this day, so we enjoyed a nice morning.

04/26/08 Saturday, Little Farmer’s Cay to Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas - We took puppies to shore for their exercise and some shelling. Then, after we took them back to MTB we rode Toby around the south end of the Cay to explore possible reefs around Little and Big Farmers Cays. There is a harbor where the ends of Great Guana and Big Farmers Cay are on the east side, and Little Farmers is west of both, in the middle. The people here are amazingly friendly, fisherman coming by our dinghy and others waving at us. We didn’t see anywhere that Terry wanted to fish and decided not to snorkel. Cindy didn’t have shorts. Cruisers are told not to go into the local Bahamian villages in swimwear as it is disrespectful. So, once again we headed back to MTB. On the way back we saw Steve at his plane doing a pre-flight check. He took off shortly after. He owns a round house on Big Farmers and a restaurant in Vermont. We met him on our last trip here with Brendon/Brian. After grabbing some PB&Js for lunch off we went, back to shore again. We walked the beach on the far side of the island and Cindy picked up some empty conch shells from the “mountain” of conch shells harvested and left in a pile. We then visited “JR” the wood carver/shell horn maker, then back to MTB. Ken and Terry blew their new conch horns on the walk, all the way back to the dinghy! The local roosters were confused and we think one fell in love with Terry. Since it was windy, seas calm and weather beautiful, we decided to pull up our anchor and head for Black Point. We pulled out around 2:30 pm, jib and mainsail up, but reefed as winds were 18-20 knots. We had a great sail. We pulled into Black Point and were anchored within two hours. Amazing….on our prior visits to Black Point there were 30+ boats in the anchorage. This day, we pulled in to see only 4 cruising boats, we were number 5. We once again did Dolphin on the grill along with fried Plantains, cheese rice, greens. What a meal…we took pictures of our plates both full and empty!! The evening was cool, an amazing sunset (which was honored by blowing shell horns) and a bunch of gorgeous stars. Terry and Ken played a lot of their favorite tunes and it was a really nice evening.

04/25/08 Friday, departed Georgetown headed for Galliot Cut – Lily Pad pulled up anchor and left ahead of us around 7 am. We had MTB’s anchor up at 8:05 am. Winds were higher than forecast but we had committed to Corstiaan to meet up outside the “cut” and take pictures of each others’ boats with sails up. So, we kept heading out though the seas looked larger than expected. Outside the cut, Lily Pad sailed by our port side and we took pictures of this wonderful 31’ Island Packet with our special cruising buddy, Corstiann, aboard. We only put up our jib as seas were approximately 8’. We were rolling over the waves pretty well due to a 6-9 second interval between each. Terry got a trolling rod rigged and out quickly. He tried a number of different lures. After an hour or so, he had a large Dolphin fish on the hook. He worked to get it to the boat, but at the last minute the 50 lb. (too light) test snapped. Very Very sad as it was a beautiful fish. So, Terry tried a number of new lures. Our speed over ground was around 5 knots, less than Terry likes to see for trolling. But, once our depth decreased and we were closer to the sea “shelf” and with not much time left to fish…aw – Dolphin on! Terry works best under pressure!! This nice fish was landed in our net by Terry, and rode the last hour with us in our dinghy. Once we got through the Galliott cut from Exuma Sound to the much calmer Exuma Bank, Terry started cleaning this nice Mahi Mahi (also called Dolphin). By the time our anchor was down in Little Farmers Cay, the fish was filleted, in zip lock bags and refrigerated. Cool. This night, Terry grilled some fish for us on the grill with lime and fresh cilantro. It was absolutely wonderful and enjoyed enormously.

04/24/08 Thursday, Georgetown, Great Exuma - The day began with amazing beauty and sailboat racing….We watched races from the front of MTB. The, into town to get some gas for the dinghy, local meat pies from the gas station (nope, not the bakery)…souvenirs, groceries, cash from the ATM. We walked around Regatta Point, the shakes, etc. Watched the “float parade”, cars with the Regatta beauty queens sitting on the hoods, waving the Queen’s wave (below the crown, above the pearls!!). Funny parade. Back at MTB, we watched some more racing and enjoyed the wonderful views and weather. Late afternoon, we took pups for a walk on Crab Cay, being “developed” so next trip, this nice beach may be privatized. Corstiaan came for our last happy hour together, bringing yet another wonderful homemade pizza. We enjoyed fish burritos that Terry made, together, along with a few rum drinks. We said our goodbyes, took pictures together as Corstiaan was going south, we north.

04/23/08 Wednesday, Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas, Laundry Day!! We went in and did three loads of laundry this day. While washing, we walked over to the shacks erected for Regatta. They sell everything from Conch Fritters to Gin/Coconut Water drinks. We saw boat racers, local drunks, artists, cruisers and entrepreneurs selling their wares. It was very interesting to see the “locals” having fun and enjoying this wonderful National/annual event. We decided not to leave on Thursday as the winds were to be very light, so we told Corstiaan we would leave on Friday. We watched more of the regatta heats from MTB, with different classes of boats, base on size. Some classes have only a few people aboard, some have a bunch, like 8-10 folks aboard. All boats are wood and seem to only have homemade sails. We took the puppies to shore on the mainland for a walk. Corstiaan brought a homemade pizza over for us to cook for happy hour…yummy!!! (homemade crust as well). Terry cooked fresh fish on the grill and enjoyed yet another wonderful meal together.

04/22/08 Tuesday, Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas. Well, last night was a sad one locally. The crane off loading Regatta boats from the cargo ship crashed, off the side of the ship and took a Regatta boat with it. The Regatta boats are the winners from other island Regattas held all year. They get picked up on the cargo ship and brought to Georgetown for the annual Family Regatta, National Championships. Teams work all year on their boats, spending a great deal of time and money on their pride and joys. To see one crashed into the harbor was not a good sight, so sad for the owners. Two other cranes worked to try to move the crashed crane, then tried just to off load the other boats. We didn’t hear for sure if any other boats were damaged, but did hear that no one was hurt, which was good. The Junior class raced today….all kids, with only one adult allowed aboard. We got up early this day to no wind, no current and a flat anchorage. So, pulled up anchor and headed for the gas dock at the local marina nearby. Corstiaan took our dinghy to the dock and was there to help us with our lines. We had been advised to be prepared to be self sufficient at this gas dock as little local help was typically provided. So, with Corstiann waiting for us on the dock, we knew we did not have to worry. Cindy threw Corstiaan a mid line first, then bow and stern. Terry assured our fenders were properly placed to avoid the precarious protruding bolts we had seen on this dock. Ken did a masterful job getting us in the harbor between the docked boats. We put on 80 gallons of diesel at $5.70 gallon, last having filled up at Cape Eleuthera in February. We topped off our water tanks ($.20 gal), as well. Once filled up and settled up, Ken backed us out of the marina and off we went back out to the anchorage and were re-anchored by 10:15 am. AH, all was great….until the Regatta committee come and told us we had to move. Luckily, we got right to it, pulled up anchor and headed to a good space directly behind us they said was ok. So, we motored over and once again, anchored safely. All in all, due to no wind, all our moving around was pretty easy. We watched several races this day from the bow of our boat. There are three classes of boats competing…A, B, and the biggest boats, Cs. They compete on a harbor circuit about 2 miles long….sometimes once, sometimes twice, depending on the event. It was really neat to see these local handmade sailboats competing. Iin the evening, the partying began….we heard bands, singers and DJs through the night. We left a number of lights on due to the crazy drunk folks flying through the anchorage in boats….too fast. We were a ways back from the main channel so hoped no one would hit us! We also decided to lock up the dinghy this night as we didn’t want any drunk kids deciding to borrow it to go joy riding. Corstiaan made homemade yeast pizza crust and specialty pizzas for dinner. This included conch pizza with conch Terry bought from a local fishing boat anchored next to MTB. Terry got a lesson in bread/dough making from Corstian, which was really fun. Cindy made a black berry cobbler that Corstiaan topped with vanilla ice cream…what a treat! We are already getting nostalgic, knowing in two days, we will be saying goodbye to our sailing buddy. Very sad. But, we figure we will catch up with each other next year possibly in the Gulf of Mexico somewhere.

04/21/08 Monday, Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas. We got up as usual to listen to the weather report. We wanted to get into town somewhat early in the day today, to assure the ATM still had some cash. Ken and Cindy wanted to replenish before heading north. The sailing “kitty” was almost depleted! It is a busy week in town, due to the local “Family Regatta”. Surprisingly, there are fewer and fewer cruisers here each day. We thought that harbor would fill up, but that has not been the case. It seems most of the Canadian boats have or are heading north this week. Terry worked on fixing his sunglasses this a.m. as he needed to re-install a lens with super glue. He loaded up our garbage and recycling, in the dinghy for the trip to town. The cruiser’s net had an announcement that the large 3 masted Brigantine “Mystic” was leaving for Connecticut today. They invited cruisers to visit this day before their departure. It was 79 degrees by 9:47 am and due to light winds, we expected a hot day. The forecast for this day and Tuesday was for light and variable winds. So, we still planned to go into the gas dock and fuel up on Tuesday morning as close as possible to slack tide. We hope for an easy in and out, and the peace of mind knowing we will leave Georgetown with full tanks and no future issues in finding fuel on the way home. Corstiaan will come get our dinghy, take it to his boat. And, having Terry aboard was great help as well. Normally, it can get exciting going into docks with just the two of us. But, when you have extra help to assist with fenders and lines, it is great! The gas pumps at the marina, Exuma Docking Services, has pilings with projecting bolts, and are in between two sections of dock. It is a straight in approach, but a may required backing out if there is a boat on the opposite dock. But, hopefully, it will be an easy deal.

04/20/08 Sunday, Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas – Happy Birthday Mom! Stacey called this morning to let us know that she was home safe and sound. Terry did dishes, swabbed down his berth. We organized the deep freezer, Cindy head in first and feet almost up in the air! Edie Marie and Yankee Zephyr both left this am, opening up the view behind us. Now Lily Pad is the boat closest to our stern. Corstiaan came by around 10:30 am for a visit and needed a fuse for his refrigerator, which we had. We may try to get into the fuel dock on Tuesday, as light north winds are forecast. If we go at slack tide, it may not be too hard for us to get in. It would be good to have full tanks with no worries as we start our journey north toward home. The guys did a bunch of boat jobs this day: changed the zincs, put the sun shade up on back of targa, polished some chrome, installed the gel/shampoo dispenser for o/s showers, and did some cleaning. Corstiaan came for happy hour, brought chips/peanuts. We cooked steaks on the grill, cucumbers in vinegar, skillet potatoes, cornbread, hot choc chip cookies. A good dinner! Called it an early evening. We got to see the local boats practicing out in the harbor. Some locals partied all night near us and kept Terry awake….ah, Family Regatta!

04/19/08 Saturday, Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas – Today, sadly, was Stacey’s departure day.
So, we got up and cooked a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon, bagels, and grits. We got motivated by 10 pm, loaded into Toby with snorkel gear and dogs. We headed off for Red Shanks, an island rumored to have a good reef and beach, about 1.5 miles south of our anchorage in Kidd’s Cove. Unfortunately, the locals are building a bridge from the mainland to Crab Cay (yet another proposed “resort”). It blocked our route, having a sign on an anchored barge stating “no entrance, construction”. So, we just went to another little beach on the north shore of Crab Cay and exercised the pups, and explored a little. There was a path that led to an amazing wood and rock structure, near an abandoned octagonal sleeping cottage. Cindy decided to walk the cement walkway that was lined on both sides with rock. The rock retaining wall increased in height as she continued up the path. It became higher and made walls that were taller than most people, as the walkway continued in a circular formation. Around each bend revealed a surprise. First, Cindy came to an outside shower, then a beautiful porcelain sink set in an opening that looked like a window on the world. She continued following the walkway winding to the right like a circular staircase. Around and around, the walkway finally ended in a dead end niche, encasing a toilet. This was all open air and felt as if you were walking through a park walkway vs. wandering in a bathroom. It was really interesting. Once back to MTB, we dropped off the dogs, got Corstiaan from Lily Pad and went snorkeling at a "spit" nearby our anchorage. There were some interesting fish and beautiful large corals, purples, brain, etc.. Back to MTB once again, we grabbed a light lunch. Stacey got her shower, ate some lunch and when packed up, we took her to shore for her flight home. After hugs from all of us, Corstiaan too, Terry put her in the mini van with Roland Ferguson - cab #1. We picked up a few things in town, including tortillas and rode Toby back to MTB. At the time Stacey was to take off (3:35 pm), we went outside to the back of the boat to watch the skies over the airport. We actually saw Stacey’s jet take off and head our direction. Then, they turned and looped back North toward Nassau/Florida. She had a direct flight to Atlanta and called us about 7 pm to say she was there just fine and waiting for her flight to Greenville. We did some reading until Corstiaan arrived around 4:00 pm and commenced to make us homemade French Fries with a special dipping sauce for an appetizer. Now, that was a treat. We poured rum drinks, enjoyed the fries, but couldn’t convince C to stay for dinner. There were more Family Regatta boats around the anchorage, starting to practice for the races that will begin on Monday. The Family Regatta is a big event for the locals and we cruisers get to enjoy. This is a thing of National pride and results in bragging rights for a year. We find that betting on the boats is a big part of the festivities. The local liquor store seemed to be betting central. There are many events, including racing, concert, pageant, parade, etc. through the whole week. We hope to see the parade scheduled for Wednesday, the 23rd of April.

04/18/08 Friday, Georgetown. The day started early with making coffee, gathering cups and glasses to take with us to “Lily Pad” for breakfast cooked by friend Corstiaan. He makes amazing homemade pancakes, stuffed with cheese, bacon, apple and pineapple. What a treat to enjoy the warmth and comfort of Lily Pad (an Island Packet monohull that weights about 13,000 lbs.) with great friends and great food. Terry went to the village around 11:30 am, returned about 12:30 pm with grouper and pastries. He commenced to cleaning the fish immediately. We weren’t 100% sure what we wanted to do with the conch that Corstiaan had given us. So, Cindy beat it to death (heard that helps make it more tender). Then Terry made a marinade of fresh lime, onion, jalapeño’, garlic and a little buffalo wing sauce. The conch stayed in the marinade all afternoon. We learned at Little Farmer’s Cay that it is not appropriate to harvest a conch unless the shell is large and has a lip all along its opening. But, these came from a commercial fishing boat at the dock, so no worries! Terry spiced and grilled everything for dinner. Man, what a wonderful dinner it was, but bittersweet as we knew it was Stacey’s last night aboard. We had the fish and conch with zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes, grits and herb/butter mashed potatoes. It was good eating, along with a few Rum drinks, as well! Ken has not been drinking the wine aboard fast enough and it will probably be out of date before we get home (box wine)! The problem is that Rum is prevalent, cheap and GOOD in the Bahamas and Ken has become a Rum Head. There is a special affinity aboard for Bacardi Select. Stacey called us outside later in the evening. There was almost a full moon and the light of the moon shining across the water in the anchorage was stunning! It was great she noticed and had us get outside to enjoy the view.

04/17/08 Thursday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas. The produce in the stores in Georgetown was the best (quality & selection) we have seen anywhere in the Bahamas. Stacey bought some great fruit for us to enjoy this morning (mango, pears, apple), which was very much appreciated. The best part was that she cleaned, peeled and cut it all up! Cindy hadn’t really eaten much fresh mango previously, but the one Stacey prepared was great and Cindy is now a mango fan. Terry/Stacey bought and prepared a papaya a few days prior and though it was tasty, mango is Cindy’s new favorite fruit of choice. Everyone was reading or logging, and Terry was “bored out of my mind” so called Corstiaan to see if he had any projects he might help with. When C said “sure come on over” Terry happily jumped in Toby and took off to Lily Pad around 11:00 am. We were sure the two guys would concoct a plan for the rest of our day! The only sure thing was that we had to take the garbage to shore to the dumpster provided for cruisers. Cooler weather came through with the last two cold fronts, so it was nice to sit on MTB and read, etc, only being 75 degrees at 11:30 a.m. Once back from Corstiaan’s we had PB&J’s then all loaded up to head to the beach at Stocking Island to snorkel and exercise the dogs. We found a nice small reef just off the beach with a great snorkeling “hole”…coral, fish, beautiful and so close in. Back to MTB, we changed clothes and went to town for a late lunch, early supper at “Eddie’s Edgewater”…totally a local place and we enjoyed conch and snapper with fries and salads. The local drunk was entertaining and finally the constable came and dealt with his poor behavior. Back to MTB and happy hour aboard with Corstiaan. Family Regatta is next week and the village is really building up with excitement and people. There are old wooden shack like booths being built all along the government dock area and we hear the drinks/food will be amazing.

04/16/08 Wednesday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas – Corstiaan brought us fresh grouper & conch he bought off the dock. What a nice, thoughtful treat. Ken got on the internet, so he was able to pay some bills we found in the mail Terry/Stacey were so kind to bring us. Yea…now Cindy’s life insurance won’t lapse so she better keep an eye on Ken and make sure he doesn’t throw her off the boat! We made blueberry pancakes and sausage for breakfast but couldn’t convince Corstiaan to stay and eat with us. Terry shook out rugs and swept out the cockpit/salon, trying to minimize the billowing tumbleweeds of dog fur. We decided to go to town for rum and veggies for dinner. When back to MTB, we grabbed PB&Js. We called Corstiaan to see if he was ready to go to Stocking Island and walk the Treasure Trail cut through to the Atlantic side beaches for shelling/snorkeling. He was, so Terry rode in Corstiaan’s tender, as it gets crowded on Toby with 4 folks and 2 dogs. It was a wild and wet ride over, as the harbor was very choppy as result of two back to back cold fronts that had gone through in the last three days. Stacey found some great shells, Terry and Corstiaan snorkeled and K/C exercised the good dogs. We got back to MTB around 4 o’clock and the guys all went to Lily Pad to help with installation of his new wind generator. He’s so funny, promised us the first ice cube, once he has refrigeration! Everyone came back to MTB for happy hour and dinner. We ate the fish (grouper) that Corstiaan brought us with grits, veggies skewered/grilled, garlic cheese biscuits, hot chocolate chip cookies. Yummy. We chatted until around 9:00 pm when Corstiaan headed back to Lily Pad, and to bed early. All in all, just another great day enjoying great friends in a beautiful place. We are lucky folks.

04/15/08 Tuesday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas – TAX DAY!! Bummer. This morning we wanted to beat the forecasted afternoon bad weather, so we all took the pups for their exercise early in the day. We rode by February Point, a fancy development nearby. Each waterfront home had an infinity pool, huge patios, wonderful porches and private beaches. Quite a nice place! Then, we took the pups to the beach on Crab Cay for their walk. It is great to do these things with Terry and Stacey, as it is so nice to have their company. We went and filled up Toby’s gas tank, took pups back to MTB, then went back to town to walk around. We visited a few stores but there was a front coming through, winds and dark skies threatening so we decided to head back out to MTB. Winds were gusting in excess of 20 knots and the bad weather kept us aboard the rest of the day. We read and ate, just relaxed and enjoyed having Terry & Stacey aboard. AND, after dinner, they did the dishes, now those are good guests/friends!!

04/14/08 Monday – Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas – All of us jumped on Toby and went to a beach near Peace & Plenty, to walk the dogs. There was an old rock sided hotel there that was being renovated (slowly, the Bahamian way…) so there were just a few workers there and didn’t seem to mind our exercising the dogs on the property. Once back to MTB, Corstiaan visited MTB to tell us he rented a car today, as he had to go get his wind generator at Mailboxes, Etc. near Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay is 20 kilometers north of GT. So, he invited us to be tourists, offering to drive us anywhere we desired on the island. We all agreed we should go find some good Bahamian food for lunch. So, after meeting up at the wonderful dinghy dock in the protected Lake Victoria…he drove us to the top of the island as far as the village of, Rolleville. On the return trip, we stopped and visited Emerald Bay Marina (referred to by the lady manning their radio as “The Marina, at Emerald Bay”! We wanted to check out the approach and placement of their gas dock in case we decided to go there to re-fuel (ah, $5.53 gallon). We went back to a waterfront restaurant overlooking Three Sisters Rocks, we passed on our way north. We had an amazing lunch, wonderful fish and conch, enhanced by the company of great friends and an awesome view of the aqua water and beach surrounding Three Sisters Rocks. On the way back to George Town, it was beginning to rain. We had planned to go visit the dive shop as well. But, Ken wanted to get back to MTB and felt we should just head straight back to the dinghy dock. So, we bid adieux to Corstiaan at the dinghy dock, he had taken his into town separately. The forecasted mild cold front went through midday, and the winds & MTB clocked to the NW by 4 pm. We missed the rain by just a minute or so, coming back to MTB just in time to close all her hatches. We left them open purposefully, so it would stay cool enough onboard for the puppies. We just placed a bunch of towels around the portlights, to soak up any possible rain. Once back to MTB, Stacey read, Ken/Terry took short naps and Cindy updated the ship’s log. Terry was looking for a project when he got up. So, he jumped in the water with a brush, scraper and snorkel gear to work on cleaning MTB’s bottom. Now, that is a good guy! When we were sitting out having drinks/dinner in the cockpit in the evening, a BAT, yes, a BAT, flew in and almost made it into the salon. Luckily, Ken got the doors closed in time. But, the bat swooped in so close he almost flew right into Terry’s chest…yep..that was interesting …. Go figure, a BAT on a boat in the middle of an anchorage. Don’t see that every day!

04/13/08 Sunday – Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas – Overnight, the current opposing the wind caused a great deal of hull slap and was noisy. Cindy actually had to get up to sleep in the salon for about an hour, to sooth Dempsey until he went back to sleep. Spoiled dog. Luckily, the slapping diminished some and everyone got a decent night’s sleep. We had papaya and baked goods for breakfast. Then, the guys took the pups over to Stocking Island to walk on an uninhabited beach. Once back, we decided to go to the Pig Roast at Volleyball Beach, noon at Chat N Chill. So, we loaded up the dry bag with our clothes for the one mile ride back over to Stocking Island. The wind had the seas up some and we knew we were going to get wet. We had a great Bahamian lunch (pork, slaw, peas & rice, macaroni/cheese, and carrots) and a beautiful view. We just sat on the beach under a pine tree in brightly colored Adirondack chairs. We even had our own picnic table…just can’t get much better than that. Corstiaan’s dinghy died in the main channel, on the way back to our boats. We pulled him back to MTB. Stacey grabbed a nap, Cindy updated journals/log and Terry/Corstiaan/Ken worked on cleaning out old fuel, etc. We all hoped they got his motor issues solved as he is a single handler. He plans to leave here for the Dominican Republic after Family Regatta. The guys wanted to make sure he would not have future problems with his dinghy motor when alone. Nothing would be worse than him being out somewhere alone, stranded. We’ll see if the work the guys did today holds and keeps his dinghy problem free the rest of his journey. The rest of the week will be a good test. We had a couple drinks aboard MTB, then a light dinner. Two cold fronts are to pass through, one Monday, one Tuesday. So, we figured the sea states will not allow us to go anywhere for awhile. We had hoped that we could sail over to Long Island for a couple days so Stacey would get to experience a good length sailing “leg”. We’ll see.

04/12/08 Saturday – WELCOME Terry/Stacey Schager to Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas – We did some cleaning and packed up the garbage, loaded into the dinghy. We jumped on Toby, and went into town around 3:00 pm to wait for Terry/Stacey at a grocery store (airconditioned) by the dinghy dock. Their flight was to arrive at 2:55 pm, so with Customs/Immigration and a cab ride to town, we figured we would see them about 4:00 pm. Nope!! Their cab driver (Taxi #1, Roland Ferguson) radio’d us on the VHF handheld about 3:15 pm, to say they were on their way. So, by 3:30 pm, it was hugs all around with these good friends we have known for so many years.We headed back through our beautiful aqua anchorage for MTB. After unloading their stuff, we sat outside in the cockpit, had a few cool toddies and caught up. It meant so much to us that these good friends made this trip and it was so great to have them aboard. We cooked a nice dinner and admired the sea, sky and stars. Everyone went to bed relatively early. Terry/Stacey had gotten up about 5 pm this day to catch their flight from Greenville, SC. What a nice day it was and how special it was to have Terry / Stacey here with us.

04/11/08 Friday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island – Yes, yet another good night’s sleep in this good holding anchorage. Cindy could get used to this settled weather! We got up, did logs, emails, listened to weather. Once we had our breakfast, we started cleaning MTB around 10:00 am. We had damp bath and beach towels we needed to hang out to dry. We don’t dry our towels as it costs so much to use the local dryers, and sun is free. We have clothespins aboard and just hang things on the stainless steel “lifelines” that surround the boat at handrail level. It works great and laundry we hang out is fresh smelling when we bring it in. We made up the guest berth bed with clean sheets, polished the woodwork, removed the things we store in the guest berth (guitar, dog food, etc.) and got the Clorox Cleanup after the bathroom. Our biggest challenge related to cleaning is dealing with pet hair. We’ve tried hosing and sweeping but often not fully successful. So, we leave throw rugs down that we can shake to get some of the pet fur off the boat. Fuzz is the only real negative we’ve found in having our animals aboard.

04/10/08 Thursday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island –
Wow, another peaceful sleep and nice calm anchorage last night. We turned on the generator and watermaker for a few hours this a.m. and also the p.m. We need to top off the water tanks as company will be aboard in two days and two more people aboard, really impact our usage. Bill, the Captain of Auk, came by for ideas about how to entertain the boat owner’s wife and her guests. They will be aboard on the 17th- 22nd. Corstiaan wasn’t on his boat most of the morning. When getting ready to take the dogs for their walk about 12:30 pm, we saw Corstiaan back on Lily Pad. He came over and joined us for the trip to Stocking Island for the exercise tour! Cindy found the head of “Treasure Trail” at the edge of the woods. So, all of us, dogs and people, followed it through the scrub, palms, sand, salt flats and amazingly came out on the Atlantic side of Stocking Island. It was a gorgeous view with beautiful beaches, brilliant aqua water and reefs just offshore. We decided we all had to go back with Terry/Stacey to snorkel. Once back to MTB about 3 pm, we loaded up our dirty stuff and headed into the laundry. Ashore, there was much commotion and we soon saw why. A huge ship box container had slid off the side of the transport semi truck, smushing the entire driver’s side of Taxi #24, a nice shiny mini van. It was a frightening sight and had the driver been in the cab, he would certainly have been killed. Luckily, the cab was parked with no occupants. The container was just not secured properly to the semi bed, the driver was on a slight grade, on a little curve and off the container slid. This resulted in a traffic jam with a policeman directing! Of course, Cindy hadn’t taken her camera in just to do laundry…so yet another cool photo missed! We explored the village more while waiting on our four loads of laundry and were back to MTB around 5 pm. Corstiaan wanted some help with a radio he had purchased and came over around 5:30 pm. Ken made rum drinks and convinced C to stay and eat dinner with us. We threw some hotdogs on the grill and baked beans and green beans on the stove. C left for Lily Pad around 8:30 pm. Earlier in the day he invited us to lunch on Lily Pad at 1:00 pm on Friday. He knew we planned to clean on MTB most of the day, since Terry and Stacey were coming Saturday. How thoughtful! We ran the water maker and watched Idol via the west coast satellite feed at 11:00 pm (dozed on the couch until then). To boo’s, Michael Johns was voted off, and we were off to bed!

04/09/08 Wednesday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island
We really are getting spoiled having this nice and settled weather. We both slept so sound over night that we didn’t roll out of bed until 9:15 am…the latest we have slept in the 6 months aboard. What a sound, restful night we had. About 10:30 Corstiaan came over for our morning trek in search of another good place to walk the pups and visit. We went the mile across the harbor to Stocking Island, east of our anchorage at Kidd’s Cove. We found a vacant, long and beautiful beach there. It was a great place to walk the dogs and swim…just the most beautiful aqua water and white sand one could ever imagine. We even made the dogs swim, though they were very unhappy about it. It was great exercise for them, though we thought Dempsey was going to “stroke out”! Once we wore the dogs out…we dinghied to Volleyball beach and Hamburger Beach (both beach bar areas). We wanted to see them as we have read and heard about both of them from cruisers for two years now…finally we are here! After our little putt around Stocking Island, we headed back across the one mile channel/harbor to our anchorage. Corstiaan went back to Lily Pad to make us something “nice and special” for happy hour. So, we really looked forward to happy hour and 5:30 pm. The dogs were totally exhausted which is good! We made salads for lunch which was very exciting. Fresh lettuce is a delicacy in this lifestyle of ours. And, to have a salad with green pepper and tomatoes was really amazing. Ah, it’s the simple things in life isn’t it?! Happy hour was great. Corsti (as Wanda his wife calls him) said he was worried we would think he was moving in with us. But, we assured him we love his company and when we want to be alone, we’ll tell him to go home! He bought a bag of puppy treats in town and said he will bring our boys a treat each time he comes to the boat. What a thoughtful person, this cruising friend of ours. We are so glad we met him last year. And, to be able to catch up with him again this year is great. I think this may become a ritual. This year he will cruise until August before going back to British Columbia. He hopes to make it to Luperon, Dominican Republic by May 15th as Wanda is flying there to join him for a month. Then they will go to Cuba. He plans to head back to the Turks & Caicos but from there, he is not sure where. His is an amazing adventure, and he has a wonderful and understanding wife in Wanda, as well. We will all stay together around here through the end of the “Family Regatta”. But, then we will go our separate ways, us headed north for home with Terry aboard. Only three days, and Terry/Stacey will be aboard with us! It is so special to us that they are coming. Today was provisions day and we went into Exuma Markets and stocked up on things we were missing aboard. They charged us $7.45 for a can of black olives, but luckily Cindy noticed. Things are very expensive here, but that was over the top. The olives were really ONLY $3.63! Too funny… but what is a pizza without them!? Happy Hour aboard Lily Pad was a treat. Lily Pad is very spacious for her size and has gorgeous woodwork inside. We ate snacks from Indonesia, shrimp flavored and crunchy, very interesting – called Kroeke or something like that! Corstiaan is half Indonesian and half Dutch so he has access to interesting things. We had a great evening aboard Lily Pad! The guys enjoyed good rum, Cindy enjoyed good wine that Corstiaan purchased for her. Thanks so much for a great night!

04/08/08 Tuesday, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island – We slept great as it was calm and peaceful in the anchorage due to little wind overnight. Early this am, we had a small rain shower, but skies/weather cleared to beautiful! So, once we had our coffee, listened to the cruiser’s net, we put down the dinghy and called Corstiaan/Lily Pad. The pups hadn't been off the boat for two days, so they were our morning priority. A few showers were around the area. But, we got the dink down, Corstiaan came over to MTB at 10 am, to ride to a beach with us to walk the puppies. There was one amazing part of his arrival! We were down below, he pulled up, tied his dinghy to the back of MTB, got on our boat and the pups greeted him with wags and kisses…not one single bark at our friend. They ARE getting to be great boat dogs and must know that Corstiaan is a really good guy. We all jumped in Toby, and went to a nice beach at Crab Cay. It was a good place to walk the pups, with great views and it was a nice place to swim. The added benefit was that we had a pretty dink ride to and from as well. We went back to MTB and agreed to pick up Corstiaan at 12:30 pm to do lunch and a tour of the village. C was here before, and left his boat here for the winter. We showered but then, the rains came and we had to wait awhile. We heard a radio report that a water spout was seen at Emerald Bay, about 10 miles north. So, it was about 1:45 pm when we headed to Lily Pad/town. We wanted to confidently (no fear of add’l rain!) re-open all the hatches. The temperature, with our hatches closed, can get up to about 82 degrees inside. Though it really isn’t too hot to leave the dogs inside, it is warmer than we like for them and just not as comfortable. So, we always leave the portlights open for a good cross breeze in the salon. They will sleep the day away, not missing us one bit! But, once back to MTB, they want all our attention, loves, hugs. Mac always brings us a stuffed toy when we arrive “home”…just telling us in his own way that he is happy and wants to show us. We had a great walk around the village and saw all the sights. We all picked up a few groceries and the back to MTB. Corsti came over about 5:30 pm for rum drinks. While he was aboard we saw a water spout in the distance (good!) and took photos of it. TV wasn’t coming in too good, so we went to bed early.

04/07/08 Monday, departed Big Galliot Cay for Georgetown – We heard the four other boats in the anchorage talking on the radio about what a wild night they all had in the anchorage when the tide changed. One boat said their anchor broke loose and they drug around 11:00 pm, so we were very thankful we made it through the night relatively unscathed. We wanted to get through the Big Galliot Cay “cut” that runs from the Exuma Banks (west side of the island chain) to the Exuma Sound (yep, waters to the east side of the island chain) during high tide. So, we got up early, checked the weather and pulled up anchor, heading out about 8:30 am. These cuts are notorious for being dangerous with strong currents, as big waves and lots of water attempt to squeeze into the small openings, raging toward you. We chose a good time, had a good experience and made it through the cut just fine. The seas were still pretty high with white caps in the Exuma Sound. So, we were rolling some, but nothing that disturbed the pups’ sleep on their beds out with us in the cockpit. And, through the day, the seas moderated slightly. We put up sails when the winds turned a little better direction for sailing. But, we fought the wind direction all day, and finally elected to drop both the mainsail and jib, and just motor. It was good timing as a huge squall greeted us at the entrance to Elizabeth Harbor/Georgetown area. We just went in circles outside the harbor entrance for about 30 minutes to let things settle down. Once headed in, we successfully caught up with last year’s cruising buddy, Corstiann aboard Lily Pad on the VHF radio. He actually jumped in his dinghy and motored out to us. We tied his dinghy up to MTB, and he came aboard for the ride into the anchorage. What fun it was to see him again! We anchored only two boats away from Lily Pad in Kidd’s Cove, Georgetown. Once settled, we all enjoyed a celebratory glass of wine, about 4:45 pm. It was so great to see him again and catch up. He told us a 6’ Bahamian Boa constrictor was found aboard a boat in a nearby anchorage on Sunday. They took it off successfully, but wouldn’t that be exciting?! Corstiaan left for Lily Pad around 7 pm, and we cooked dinner. While dinner was cooking, we enjoyed a visit from a dolphin. He circled MTB several times, as if sent from the local Chamber of Commerce to welcome us here. The TV signals weren’t coming in well, so we went to bed early, which was nice as we didn’t sleep great the night before. It was calm in the anchorage and we were spaced well in between the 20 some boats around us.

04/06/08 Sunday, departed Black Point (thought we might have grown roots here, but the anchor did come up!) for Big Galliot Cay.. We couldn’t leave until Ken, the TV addict, watched the Sunday morning news shows though. So, anchor wasn’t up until 1:00 pm. We heard that Charlton Heston passed away overnight, what a career he had. Rum Tum radio’d and expected to be at Green Cay (between here and Andros) around 1:30 pm, a trip of about 45 miles. Cindy cleaned Mac’s ears this morning, not something he embraces, so it was a struggle. But, he settled down just fine afterward. Then, Ken cut both the pups’ nails, something else Mac doesn’t embrace, but Dempsey tolerates! Ken spoke with his sister, Gayle, today. She told him that their Dad’s voice is recovering nicely after radiation treatments on his throat, which was great news. “Dreamer”/Pete called about 10:00 am on their way out of the anchorage, heading north. Hopefully our paths will cross elsewhere someday. From a high of 34 boats in the anchorage, we were down to 8 by 10:15 am this morning. There were a couple of good weather days forecasted so, seemed everyone was moving. We figured we would hit a good deal of traffic from boats headed north out of Georgetown on our way south this morning. We took the garbage to town, went by Scorpio Bar to download our emails and tell Zhivago thanks for everything. We heard from Scott and Zach Wheeler via emails this am. Zach is graduating from high school in Greenville, SC, in early June and there is going to be a party. So, you know we are going to try to get back for that! Ken checked oil levels, filters, etc. and topped off what was needed. We put up the dinghy. Then, we pulled up the anchor and headed out. Off the coast of Big Farmers, we did circles to re-calibrate our wind instrument as we had lost our direction indicator. In front of, us on our way south at low tide, we saw the absolutely most enormous sand bar you can imagine. It went on for MILES…just this huge white strip all the way across the horizon in front of us. One just can’t imagine that much brilliant, white sand as far as you can see. Of course, we turned to the Port side (left for you landlubbers) toward the anchorage, avoiding this amazing bar. Cindy has a handy way of remembering which side is port vs. starboard. Port has four letters, left has four letters, making it easy to remember! We pulled into the anchorage at Big Galliot Cay, which was very nice. Five of the other six boats with us were Canadian. There was a mass exodus out of Georgetown evidently due to good weather today. Most of them are Canadians having to get back north. About 4:30 pm, we had our “sundowner” celebratory glass of wine rewarding ourselves for yet another safe journey. Rum Tum Tiger was going to email us about how they found Green Cay, as well as any information they may have on the sale of their house in NY. So, we looked forward to his email. There was no moon this day, all gone and black. We enjoyed several nights of brilliant moons while at Black Point. We will probably go back to Black Point with Terry aboard, as it is one of our favorite spots. Thanks nice people. Big Galliot Cay anchorage was nice until the tide turned. Then all heck broke loose and just the current (low winds) was turning us in 360 degree circles. It was a real test of our anchor and skill setting it! We set two anchor alarms, slept (sorta) in the salon this night. But, when dawn came and tide had changed again, all was better.

04/05/08 Saturday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay – We both were feeling better this day. Rum Tum Tiger left for Staniel Cay in the morning. They planned to spend the day walking around there, and then anchor out next to Harvey Cay, anticipating an early departure on Sunday morning for Green Cay, the halfway point heading toward Andros. He heard a gunshot early this morning and found that one of the big local pigs got loose and locals chose to kill it, burn off its hair and gut it all at water’s edge. Ah, don’t see that everyday! We were totally lazy this day after not feeling well for a couple days. We heard folks on a boat a few islands south of here dealing with a leg wound (in/out) that resulted in profuse bleeding for the husband. The wife was frantic, said she had 4 children aboard, that the injured Captain was the only one aboard who could run the boat, and crying “Help….. please”. It was very hard to listen to, especially when you are too far away to help. We both have said an injury/illness out here is our biggest worry about this lifestyle. The radio waves were wild, with folks trying to assist with communications to the US and Bahamas Coast Guards, people nearby, etc. We last heard that a helicopter was in route to them and hoped for a good result. Our neighbors, “Dreamer” a trawler with Pete, Maggy from Raleigh, NC and two dogs aboard invited us over for happy hour. We enjoyed their company and seeing the beautiful woodwork in their trawler. Also, we enjoyed spending time with Fanny, their tri color cocker and Princess, their friend’s Min Pin. We got back to MTB at high tide so we took our boys into the beach for a walk. Rum Tum had some positive feedback from their realtor about a possible prospect for their home in NY. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for them!

04/04/08 Friday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay – Well, both of us felt somewhat better this morning and neither of us had fevers when checked. So, that was good news. Though sore throats and scratchy voices persisted for both of us, we seemed to be on an uphill trend toward better health (we hoped). We hung out the two loads of laundry washed the previous night. It always makes Cindy chuckle, seeing our undies hanging out all over the boat. But, that solar drying is amazingly more efficient than our dryer aboard. And, having clean clothes is always exciting! Ken picked up Craig from Rum Tum around 10:00 am and went into Lorraine’s restaurant to use the internet. Their realtor was sending some questions from a potential buyer for their home. Lorraine’s has a really nice, airconditioned room for cruisers with computers and internet connections provided. You can also bring your own computer and use her WIFI. Though the connection is slow, she doesn’t charge a dime, just has a donation jar. Rum Tum’s dinghy was gouged by another dinghy’s motor prop and damaged so they had to patch it. As a result, they were trying to limit its use until they get to Florida and get the new dink they ordered. We made plans to do lunch at Lorraine’s and happy hour at Scorpio. This will probably be our last happy hour with Zhivago before we pull out (possibly Sunday). He is a great guy and Scorpio Bar is such a nice place, also with free WIFI and TV. He has taken good care of us and I suspect we may have to stop back by here on the way north with Terry aboard. Rum Tum Tiger is thinking of heading north tomorrow. They may go to Andros, then cross back to Florida as soon as weather permits. Once they get their new dinghy in Ft. Lauderdale, they may head to Key Largo before turning north, back to Brunswick.

04/03/2008 Thursday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay – We had planned to have lunch at Lorraine’s with Craig/Mary, but both of us woke up not feeling well. So, spoke with Rum Tum about 11:30 and let them know we were going to stay aboard. We hated not getting to spend time with our friends this day. We tried to raise Rum Tum on the radio starting around 5 pm, but with no luck. So, around 6 pm, we took the pups to shore for exercise. We had hoped that Craig, Mary and “damn dog Winnie” could join us. Once back to MTB, we did two loads of laundry and watched a little TV. Rum Tum radio’d around 8:00 pm to check on us. They said they were waiting for an email from their realtor. We were keeping our fingers crossed for them. They are trying to sell their home in New York state, as they now own a home in Brunswick, like us. We know what a great feeling it is to finally get down to owning only one home. It was April 26th last year when we closed on the sale of our big pink house in Greenville, SC. Amazingly, the new owner is still renovating and it has almost been a year! We sure hope we get to see the old place sometime after all the work is done. We heard from our great neighbors, Peggy and Jane Dail, in Brunswick today and all was good there. We are looking forward to getting back and getting to catch up with them. Its funny, we haven’t lived in Brunswick for that long, but it feels like we have been neighbors/friends for years. That means so much to us. And, we can’t express how appreciative we are to them for keeping watch on our home in our absence. We just hope we are able to return the favor sometime.

04/02/08 Wednesday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay – We were up early to listen to all the various weather reports. And, found nothing much was to change, maybe some moderation by the weekend. So, we’ll hang around here a few more days. Early in the morning, Feral Cat/Rich came by and brought us a huge tub of Tidy Cat. He is headed home this weekend and knew he had plenty of litter for the rest of his trip. When Ken found that Feral Cat also had cats aboard, he commented we may try using a combo of litter and sand in our litter boxes, as we were running short on litter. We figured we could pick some up in Georgetown before we make it home. But, Rich said GT didn’t really have any supply, just the pre-filled trays. He wouldn’t let us give him anything for the huge tub. He said he’d collect later whenever he comes through Brunswick! Anyway, what a kind gesture it was, one our kitties will really appreciate soon! Feral Cat headed north around 8:00 am. Jennie Marie/John next to us called early, needing a plunger for a clogged sink, which we supplied. And, just a short while later, Rum Tum Tiger called on the VHF radio, wondering what was for dinner. Rum Tum came from Emerald Bay, and arrived here today! So, Happy hour/dinner was aboard MTB with Craig/Mary tonight. We were excited to finally catch up with these Brunswick friends and “damn dog Winnie”….Mac’s girlfriend. It was amazing that we all left the anchorage at Cumberland Island, Georgia around the same day in November, 2007. And, it took this long to finally meet up in the Bahamas. Ours was a north to route, theirs a south to north route. RTT said they expected to be here around 3:30 pm and asked that we order them some Coconut Bread from Lorraine, which we did. Cindy made pasta salad & thawed a beef tenderloin. K/C picked up/cleaned up some (hadn’t done much since Brendon and Brian left). Neither Ken nor Cindy felt 100% due to sore throats and some congestion. But, both perked up knowing Craig/Mary were coming. By 1:30 pm, the weather was getting windy with squalls here and there around us. A boat, headed to Black Point from Staniel Cay radio’d Karl’s friends on Sonrisa. They said it was very rough with 23+ knot winds and told Sonrisa to stay put. We spoke with Sonrisa yesterday, and they had hoped to come here today. We looked forward to meeting these friends of Karl’s. But, we heard on the radio they were going to stay put today. Had an email from Karl in London yesterday…and in it he mentioned he had already been home for over a month…so hard to believe how time does fly. We were concerned for Rum Tum Tiger and wondered if they might duck in somewhere vs. coming all the way here. But, knowing Craig, figured they’d come on in. Ken read (power napped!) for a couple hours in the afternoon. We had a great happy hour and dinner with Craig/Mary. So nice to be together.

04/01/08 APRIL FOOL’S DAY – Black Point, Great Guana Cay – We heard others in this anchorage talking about seeing 28 knots of wind, when our highest wind registered was only 20.9. So, Ken worked on calibration of our wind instrument, s/v Jennie Marie/John next to us assisted by giving running information on what his was registering. This whole trip we have felt our winds were never quite was being forecast or reported by other boats. Ah, now we know why. In doing so, though, Ken lost our wind direction. Now we have to do some crazy “make two circles” out in open water “point into the wind” to recalibrate the direction feature. It is always something! Anyway, we were showing something over 20+ knots. We were able to go into the local bar (Scorpio) to update the website (and enjoy two hour happy hour…two for one rum punches!). We met Rich on Feral Cat, friends of Craig/Mary on Rum Tum Tiger, and a number of other couples at Scorpio. Cindy befriended a 7 year old boy named Cody who was aboard Sand Dollar with his folks and brother, Noah. They are home schooled and what a cool kid he was. Cindy had a really nice time talking with him. We sure enjoy that place and the owner, Zhivago. We left before 5pm, went to Adderley’s store and bought cereal, canned roast beef, pasta, just whatever was available…no eggs, no lettuce, no cheese. Oh well. Hopefully the mail boat will bring some good stuff on Friday before we leave. We will be here several more days due to weather, looking like maybe Saturday or Sunday departure, headed toward Georgetown. We love everything here, except no fuel is available. We need to be in Georgetown by 04-12-08…so ah, no problem, mon! We went back to MTB and loaded up the puppies to go ashore for exercise. Here it is best to go in at high tide, as the shallows are shallow between here and the shore! Once near the shore, three local Potcakes, all the same size and color started swimming out toward us. Of course, our pups got very excited. Ken steered Toby out deeper and we headed for a beach a little further north. Of course, the Potcakes started running along the beach in the same direction. Out we go back to deeper water, about to give up. Then, we noticee on shore that the cute, romping local mutts had become bored with us and the reddish brown guys all headed off in an opposite direction. Ah, just the simplest thing, like walking our pups can be a challenge! But, a nice walk was had by all us, eventually. Through the night, we experienced the stormiest weather of any we have EVER seen. The winds, lightening, and thunder were so loud that Mac actually woke up barking at them. Cindy was up and unplugging everything. In case lightening hit, she didn’t want computers, TV, etc. to get fried. She put up a drape to help mask the lightening, hoping to calm Mac down some and filled their bowls with dog food. She thought that maybe eating would be a good distraction. And, maybe full bellies would make them more sleepy! The storms came through one after another. Ken/Cindy both slept in between the noise of the storms and anchor alarms pretty soundly, which was amazing. We had about 4 inches of water in the dinghy.

03/31/08 Monday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay - The weather was worsening and we had squalls with rain and high wind of 21 knots. We didn’t see any of the 30+ boats in our anchorage budge. We were just bums, watching TV, doing emails. Thought about the guys this am, as they were to leave Ft. Lauderdale this morning for arrival in Atlanta. Their trip home was an ordeal (Black Point, Nassau, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, drive to Greenville) so we hoped their time aboard made it worthwhile. The Today Show just announced that Kathy Lee Gifford is joining their team for their fourth hour with Hota, guess that is news. A boat in the anchorage is home schooling the four kids aboard. Today was a writing assignment and we heard another boat was going to assist their friends with the lesson plan. It is interesting to hear about other folks’ lifestyles and challenges. Our biggest challenges are keeping the litter boxes clean, making sure the dogs get enough exercise and dodging bad weather. We had to do some banking via phone today which is always a challenge.

03/30/08 Sunday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay – Well, sadly it was departure day for Brendon and Brian. We knew we will miss their company, energy and humor. It was a great week with them aboard. And, we knew all the animals would miss them as well. Mac was friendly and happy having them with us. After a night that included a crazy anchor alarm showing we were dragging (we weren’t, figured just a GPS blip), we got the guys up around 7:00 am. They both finished their packing and ate some breakfast. We spoke to the Black Point Flamingo Air representative, Esther (a.k.a. Abraham) and arranged to meet at the government dock at 8:30 am. She was there in her pickup with two white pvc chairs in the back bed, right on time. The guys jumped in the bed of the truck for their ride to the airport. We saw a plane come in around 9:10 am and depart at about 9:30 am. We assumed it was the guys, so Cindy stood on the back of MTB and waved wildly. It really worked out well having them leave from Black Point, as they didn’t have two departures and landings. If they left from Staniel, they would have landed in Black Point and then gone on to Nassau. The Follow Me TV system was not working so, with bad weather coming, we had nothing to watch. Ken went into Scorpio Bar, used their internet and was able get it reset online. He dumped our garbage as well on the way into town. Bad weather was building in the horizon, so we took pups to shore for a walk in case we got hunkered down for awhile. We text messaged Brendon, and found that Flamingo Air got his cell phone to him in Nassau, and they were safe and sound in Ft. Lauderdale.

03/29/08 Saturday, Black Point, Great Guana Cay – We heard a disturbing weather report this morning that changed our plans. We had thought we would head to Staniel Cay this morning and anchor, take the guys to the airport on Sunday morning. We heard that bad weather was coming in on Sunday with high winds and to continue for the entire week. We found that the guys could catch their Flamingo Air flight here at the Black Point Airport vs. in Staniel Cay. So, arrangements were made for the guys to be picked up at the government dock here at 8:00 a.m. and taken to the airport tomorrow. This way we could keep our good spot, with good holding in the anchorage here. We chatted on the SSB radio with Rum Tum Tiger today for the first time this entire season. They were near Long Island and headed for Emerald Bay Marina above Georgetown. We were pretty lazy today, just watching boats stream in. Everyone had heard that the next week of weather was to be very stormy. The anchorage went from a low of 10 boats earlier in the day to 29 boats by 5:30 pm. About 3:00 pm we walked the dogs on the beach. Low tide was coming and on the way back to MTB, 5 local “pot cakes” (what locals call their mutts) ran out from the shore on a sand bar, headingd for us. They were all the same color, same size and wanted to play with our dogs. They wanted to play with Dempsey/Mac. Cindy tried to “shoo” them back to shore, away from Toby. We held on tighter to the pups and gave Toby some gas to make sure Dempsey and Mac didn’t try to jump off and join them.. In the evening, we heard Feral Cat “Rich” on the VHF so we called them and introduced ourselves. They were in White Point, just below us. At 6:00 pm, the guys blew their sundowner conch shells, a new tradition. We had a couple glasses of wine, and cooked two pork roasts on the grill. We had a great “last supper” together and played Rummy(Cindy won, yet again). The guys did some packing, Brendon got his shower and started preparing for their departure early Sunday.

03/28/08 Friday, departed Little Farmer’s Cay – for Black Point, Great Guyana. Stupidly, we were all hung over. So, we made some breakfast, coffee, chilled out and tried to recover from too much dark rum on previous day. Started thinking about pulling up anchor around 11:40 am, battened down stuff. Anchor was up about 12:05 am and we motored the short distance up to Black Point, Great Guana (no wind). We were anchored by 2:05 pm and took pups straight to the beach as we had pulled Toby vs. putting up the dinghy for the trip. We went to happy hour at Scorpio's then dinner at Lorraine's, meeting and sitting with other cruisers. Brendon had fish, the rest of us barbeque ribs. All of Lorainne’s food is great. We walked back to the government dock and Toby for the interesting trip out into the dark trying to pick the right anchor light a top a mast we thought was ours. Our second choice was MTB, so we were back on the boat at 8:40 pm and watched some TV. Davidson beat Wisconsin in NCAA tournament, amazing. The guys both went to bed around 10:00 pm, with Brendon choosing to sleep on the sofa up in the salon. The pups liked having a buddy sleeping with them. It is amazing how comfortable all our pets have become with having Brendon and Brian aboard. The pets have liked having additional, new love and attention.

03/27/08 – Thursday, Little Farmer’s Cay –
Slept great this night as the anchorage was very calm. Brendon/Brian had arranged to go with a local guide to snorkel, fish, catch conch/lobster. They were up and out with snorkel/fishing guide Hallan Rolle and his grandson at 9:00 a.m. We took pups to shore and saw Hallan bring the guys back around noon. They had snorkled, caught a lobster and harvested some conch. We cooked up their conch/lobster on the grill wrapped in foil with seasons, citrus, butter. Once cooked, we all enjoyed it for a wonderful lunch. Later we went to the Little Farmers Cay Yacht Club (LFCYC) and town. We walked put to JR’s wood shop. Cindy bought carving from JR and though he was totally drunk, he used wood tools to sign the bottom with his name and 2008. He sold each of the guys a conch shell already cut and bored out for blowing like a horn. Kennie, a local guy who worked at LFCYC told us to dump our garbage there for free vs. at the community dock where they charge a fee. We walked about town a little more and then went, back to YC for drinks. This is when the drunk front came in, as we were all over served multiple Rum drinks. Luckily, we were back to MTB before dark. Cindy crashed so no one cooked dinner. The guys went back in, called Ken for dinghy ride around 9:30 pm. Long day, all to bed early....crashed.

03/26/08 – Wednesday, departed Big Major’s Spot anchorage. Both Brendon & Brian looked like lobsters when they came up from their berth this am. Their redness really brightened up through the night. We listened to weather, had some coffee, put some stuff away and pulled up anchor. One of the yachts we’ve seen around the area pulled closer into the anchorage. This morning they looked pretty impressive with the sun shining on their stern, complete with a helicopter mounted on the back. We picked up, put away and got ready to pull up anchor to head for Little Farmer’s Cay.
Anchor was up by 9:59 am and sails up at Harvey Cay at 10:30 am. Winds were strong, seas a little higher than we normally choose to sail into…but not bad, just more motion and noise. Brendon/Brian made “pickle martinis” on the way, interesting. We sailed the 17 miles running about 7 knots and hours. So, we pulled into the chosen anchorage at 1:30 pm. After a couple celebratory (for a good sail) glasses of wine, the guys put Toby in the water and we all went to shore. Ken/Cindy walked the pups and the guys headed off for the Little Farmers Cay Yacht Club for a drink and to find lunch. Once the dogs were back on MTB, we called the guys on the handheld VHF radio to see if they were staying at the Yacht Club. It was their first time using the VHF radio and they sounded like pro cruisers! Ken/Cindy headed back into the village (100 villagers here) and joined them for drinks/lunch. We had fish and conch. After we ate, we walked along the beach (loaded with more live conch then we’d seen anywhere) into the village. We were really welcomed royally. Everyone we met introduced themselves and shook our hands. Truly an amazing, nice group of folks. Some of the folks we met: JR (artisan/wood worker), Leon (beach guy) Roosevelt/Nixon (LFCYC), Kenny (working at LFCYC) Deborah (at the take away restaurant), Hallan Rolle (fishing, tourist guide), Shirley (waitress at LFCYC), Joyce (cook at LFCYC), Nancy (bread lady), Ultimate (liquor store/bar). This was a really welcoming group. Back to MTB and just lazy, eating, TV, reading.

03/25/08 – Tuesday, Big Major’s Spot anchorage – We woke up tired, as the anchor alarm went off a number of times overnight. Winds were sustained around 15 knots and the seas remained rocky most of the day. We weren’t going anywhere, as the weather reports advised not moving. The guys fished, sunbathed, had a couple drinks, napped and read. Through our binoculars, we could see the large swimming on shore being fed by cruisers. It was pretty amazing and they were bigger than we had expected. We radio’d Staniel Cay Yacht Club ant let them know we weren’t coming back to their marina. We heard them getting the boats, who were evicted Monday like us, back to their dock. We arranged to settle our bill when we come back to the area for the guys’ flight on Sunday. The anchorage was full, with more boats arriving throughout the day. We wanted to give the guys a decent sailing experience so figured weather permitting, we’d pull out and head for Little Farmer’s Cay on Wednesday, a sail of about 17 miles. If the weather or winds weren’t good, Plan B was to pull into Black Point on Great Guana Cay. About 3:30 pm, the winds subsided some, so Ken and the guys put Toby in the water and went ashore to feed the wild pigs some apples. Cindy watched with binoculars from MTB as the pigs headed straight for Toby when they landed on the beach. Three big sand colored pigs were waiting for their apples! It was quite a site. The guys walked on the beach a little, took pictures of/with the pigs and headed back to MTB. Brendon said the pigs “stunk”. Once back, the guys did some snorkeling and swimming around MTB, though the air and water had cooled some due to the cold front that went through. They were troupers, though. They found MTB’s front deck was a pretty good dive platform. Brian wanted to make sure he went back home with some color and after today, ….ah, that color would be RED! Ken and Cindy both were really enjoying having Brendon and Brian aboard, being so glad they came to visit. This night was a double elimination on Dancing With The Stars, and an American Idol episode as well so Cindy wanted to watch some TV. We had talked about playing some Rummy, but after a little TV, we all went to bed fairly early.

03/24/08 – Monday, Staniel Cay Yacht Club Marina – We got up and listened to the weather report. It said to expect some rain in the afternoon, so we decided to walk the dogs around 9:30 am. When we got back to MTB, Brendon was up and then a little later, Brian was up and at ‘em. We were eating lunch aboard when the marina folks decided all boats had to leave NOW! There were westerly squalls coming with high winds and boats were not allowed to stay. The weather got really awful and we had boats behind us so couldn’t leave until they did. So, the longer we waited, the more the weather worsened. A guy docked his fishing power boat directly behind us. Cindy told him we were having to leave in that direction and asked him to move. He was a jerk even though Cindy explained we were concerned about getting out in the high wind/current. He still was a jerk, refusing to move so Cindy said “thanks for your compassion”. He thought she called him an asshole and came back down the dock and really got into her face. It was truly wild when we were backing out and luckily we had the guys aboard to help with lines and keeping us off the dock. The guy who screamed at us actually realized just how conditions had deteriorated, helped with our lines and moved his boat! Ken and Cindy didn’t know what they would have done if Brendon and Brian hadn’t been aboard. So there we were ,motoring out of Staniel Cay in high winds, rains with thunder and building seas, looking for an anchorage. We went around to Big Major’s Spot and found a “hole” to pull into and drop anchor. Luckily we hooked on our first attempt. The guys went snorkeling in between squalls, swimming to “Pig Beach”. This beach is where wild pigs hang around on the beach and swim to your dinghy begging for food. But, it was raining and as suspected, no self respecting pigs were out. The snorkeling adventure was flawed, as the flotation “noodles” we gave the guys disintegrated (too old) and the mask Brian was using kept fogging up. We just hunkered down for the night as we heard Staniel Cay wasn’t going to allow boats back into the marina until some time Tuesday. We decided to listen to the weather in the morning and if ok we thought we might sail down to Black Point on Tuesday. The water was crashing up under the boat throughout the evening. We all played Rummy (Cindy won) to pass time after dinner.

03/23/08 – Easter Sunday!! Staniel Cay Yacht Club Marina – Brendon and Brian coming this day around 2:45 pm. Since we were paying a flat daily rate ($20) for electricity, we fired up our air conditioning units in the morning. What a treat it was to have A/C for the first time all trip with no bugs. We enjoyed not being up at 6:30 am to listen to the Carribean Weather Center’s report, as we were safely tied up and weather was not a factor. Ken actually disabled the “weather’ alarm on his watch. We watched the morning shows, drank our coffee and then jumped up to get some cleaning and organizing done in anticipation of having company aboard. Our guest berth had become a storage room, so we had to clean out! We splashed down Toby, the dinghy, in anticipation of going to pick up the guys. We heard the airport was a gazebo by a landing strip, period. Yep, an accurate description! The guys were coming from Nassau by Flamingo Air on a twin engine with five seats and they had an exciting experience. There was a local grocery store with a dinghy dock just across the street from the Airport, so it was an easy task to pick up the guys and get them aboard. The animals had an adjustment period with new people aboard vs. just us but, they did really great. We had lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and it was great. We all just hung out, talked to Jess and then the guys went into the bar after dinner and hung out with the locals. They left SCYC and went to Happy People bar and spent time with some guys on their monohull sailboat, docked across from us. Mac, of course welcomed them loudly when they came back to the boat.

03/22/08 – Saturday, departed Black Point for Staniel Cay and the Staniel Cay Yacht Club Marina, Exuma Islands. (Goodbye Black Point…thanks for your amazing hospitality, we’ll be back!). We got going early, put up Toby the dinghy, and our anchor was up by 9:15 am. The winds were light, not in a great direction. So, we figured it was a waste of time messing with putting sails up and down for a 9 mile trip. So, we just motored to the beautiful Staniel Cay area, marina. The water here is an amazing dark aqua color. We decided to stay here for most of the week while Brendon and Brian were with us. It seemed there was more to do and see here than anywhere we have been to date. Our slip was occupied when we arrived around 10:30 a.m. at SCYC Marina, so they (dockmaster David, helper CJ) tied us up at the fuel dock. We hung out there until a couple big motor yachts vacated, making space for us. Docking is always a worry in new places (don’t know the layout, impact of winds/current, etc.). And, we do it rarely as we normally anchor out everywhere. Having to dock twice in one day was just not very exciting for us, but we do what we have to do. The space we were going to was in a |_| with a huge sailboat already on the port side. So, with strong current and building winds, Ken backed us from our temporary space and pulled around the end of the dock. Ken put MTB in between the beautiful, large (and probably expensive) sailboat and the dock like a pro. We had the help of two great line handlers from the marina – Tess and CJ, great guys. “Imagine” pulled in behind us, a gorgeous motor vessel about 60’ long. They folks aboard were so nice and invited us aboard. The wood work and view from the top deck (with bar) was amazing. Ken/Judy, owners from PA had guests aboard, Joe/girlfriend, and their Captain Ron. Ken and Joe were both formerly employed by Big 8 CPA firms, too funny. So, the two Ken’s had a lot to talk about. We all had reservations in the Yacht Club restaurant for dinner at 7:30 pm (one sitting only!). The meal was great but way too much food. Ken had grouper ,and Cindy had ribs. The meal came with carrot soup (surprisingly good), coleslaw, bread, potatoes, fresh asparagus, and warm homemade pound cake topped with chocolate ice cream. What a treat. We went to bed early, kind of a stressful day, docking twice!

03/21/08 Friday – Happy Birthday Chuck!!! Its our good friend, Charlie White’s. birthday today. Black Point, Great Guana, Exuma Islands. Last (Thursday) night we did a load of wash aboard, washing the cushion covers from our salon couch. We hung them out to dry in the morning and took our sweet pups ashore at high tide, around 9:45 am, walking north on the island and visiting two beaches on the Exuma Sound side of the island. This Easter Friday was wonderful in this friendly, small village. All the anchored vessels/cruisers were invited to church services, picnic, music & games at the school, etc. We learned that no alcohol is allowed to be served on this day anywhere in the village (Bahamian law). We ate lunch at Lorraine's with two Canadian sailboat couples (Benjamin Edward & Victoria). Lunch was great, and with our entrees (K=fish, C=crab salad) we had hot cross buns, macaroni & cheese, coleslaw and, rice/peas...all homemade and all YUMMY. We saw “Skipper” the Springer Spaniel we met in Green Turtle Cay, walk by the restaurant while we were there. Small, small world. After lunch at Lorraines’, we met Willie Rolle, who took us to his home and gave us a tour of “the Garden of Eden” containing amazing driftwood and rock sculptures as well as a huge variety of plants, vegetables, fruits and nuts (almond trees!). Cindy is going to try to make a list of all the plants we saw there. It was incredible. Willie is Lorraines’ Uncle. Afterward, we stopped at the school celebration and bought two slices of homemade pizza for dinner later. Once back to the boat, we did a good cleaning of the kitties’ room as it was getting a little fragrant, and we were having company. We were reportedly just south of a stalled weather front that contained squalls with high winds. Being so close, we wondered what affect it might have on us. We planned pull up our anchor and go to Staniel Cay Yacht Club on Saturday (north about 12 miles). Winds always raise concerns about docking in marinas, just another variable to deal with in our approach to a new place. We didn’t attend the church services, but we heard inspirational music coming from the church near us. We had an email today, and learned that our great friend, Terry, is going to come back with us from Georgetown, to the states/Brunswick. We are very excited and know we will enjoy having him aboard…yeah, extra crew! Michael Alderman emailed today as well and said he may fly down and join us in the states somewhere on our return. We loved Black Point and it was been a wonderful day. We were totally welcomed here. We know we will come back, at least once on this trip, either going N or S. We did another boat project this evening, We took out a bunch of dock lines, measured and marked them. This will help Cindy with the lines, when docking at marinas.

03/20/08 Thursday, Black Point, Great Guana, Weather settled down and we woke to a bright blue, calm morning. Wind high previous night was 15.8. The sailboat closest to us, Mirabar left early am making Cindy happy as they felt pretty close when wind was from the east. Though, we figured someone else would come and anchor even closer. We made a grocery list Wednesday after doing our inventory of provisions aboard. Two supply boats arrived yesterday so we went shopping for the few things we needed…produce, cheese, hopefully pepperoni. High tide was about 9:00 am this morning, so we had our 2 cups of coffee, loaded up the good dogs and went to shore/beach for some exercise. Mac gets so excited when we put on his leash and take the dinghy rope off the cleat. They both love to go for a ride, leaping into the dinghy. So, we have to be sure they don’t jump too soon. Dempsey is still doing his night whining. Ken thinks the old guy needs a Sleep Apnea clinic evaluation! We called Staniel Cay Yacht Club marina to confirm our reservation for arrival on Saturday. Looks like we may have to spend the whole week there due to weather…but we’ll just have to see. The freezer temp was continuing down which is always good to see after we do the defrosting. We had 5 catamarans here last night. In the afternoon, we went into town. We bought cheese, lettuce, crackers, cereal, 2 straw carry alls, and 2 table baskets made by locals. When we got to the dinghy dock, the Policeman asked for a ride back from the police boat mooring. Cindy waited on shore while they went out to the ball and back. He is the policeman for all the Exuma out islands. We went to Scorpio, met more cruisers and used their WIFI connection to check email. All the school children were out on Spring/Easter break and playing everywhere. Back at the boat, we brought in our laundry, folded and put it away. Our anchor alarm went off three times during the night, but just due to swing. About 2 a.m., Ken went out to look at chain and couldn't believe it was so straight...oops, it was the shadow of our mast in the full moon light. Dah.

03/19/08 Wednesday, Black Point, Great Guana – We heard there were 41 boats in Big Major’s Spot to our north, adjacent to Staniel Cay (where we pick up Brendon/Brian on 23rd). It was reported that Georgetown was clearing out as the 18th was the end of Regatta. In our Black Point anchorage, we had 17 boats (4 catamarans!) in the am with a lot of comings/goings through the day. Winds were still 15-20 knots and seas got rougher through the day. We inventoried our pantry, anticipating company. The mail (supply) boat comes here on Wednesdays so produce and store shelves will be re-stocked. The local Bahamian grocery stores have very limited inventories. It is hard to imagine daily living with so few choices. Most stores don’t have fresh meat and labeling is limited. If meat is available, it is typically in the deep freeze, with no clue as to how long it has been there. So, we have come to really appreciate our US mega stores with labeled, fresh product choices. We were well stocked on meat, but needed things like cereal, cheese, produce and snacks. We hoped to buy some straw work here, gifts for folks back home. It is cool to see the straw weavers (men & women) sitting throughout the village doing their work. Ken booted up his computer to play nephew Adam’s CD and song, “Stoned & Lonely” and we listened to the whole CD with our morning coffee. It brings a lot of pride/pleasure to listen to Adam. We were so glad Kim/Anna visited us in aboard in November as they gave us the added bonus of Adam’s CD.

03/18/08 Tuesday, Black Point, Great Guana – The weather kept most folks from moving out of the anchorage, with only one sailboat and one trawler leaving. In good weather, anchorages may turn over almost 100% every day as transient cruisers move north and south. Only a few folks were seen out and about. Winds were high and expected to stay so for another couple days. Like clockwork, the water “taxi” runabout boat headed to Staniel Cay with the normal group of “locals” headed to work. This day they were bouncing off to work in foul weather gear. In the US, we take so much for granted. We just get in our cars and go to work without getting wet! Two other things we’ve learned during our cruising……folks on the VHF radio can be funny, often making us laugh. Additionally, boat names are very interesting. There is a boat in the area that is very “sociable” as they hail/chat with a bunch of other boats on the radio all day. They are from SC and the female aboard has a real Southern drawl. The boat name is SMILES. So, when she calls another boat, their boat name becomes a four syllable word, really drawn out... Sssmmmmiiiiillllles. It makes us smile each time we hear her hailing. Standard hailing protocol in the US is to say the name of the vessel you are calling three times, followed with your vessel name, said once. In the Bahamas, you call the other vessel twice, followed by your vessel’s name once. The Bahamians say their way is more efficient, less time consuming. We’ve mentioned before that the VHF radio is like the old telephone party lines we had in the US. Once you’ve contacted your party on working channel 16, you must switch to another channel to “chat”. So, if someone says “go to channel 5”, we all go to that channel and listen in! Often we glean information about an anchorage we might be considering. More often, we find out who’s having drinks together that night. Care must be taken in what one says! Yep, we’ll do anything for entertainment out here. We defrosted and inventoried the freezer this morning. In the afternoon, we took Toby to the village and went to Scorpio’s for happy hour (3:30-5:00 Tuesday & Friday). We chatted with folks from a couple other boats, enjoying (2 for 1!) yummy Rum Punch drinks made by owner/bartender “Zhivago”. Scorpio is a great place with WIFI, flat screen TV, pool table and dance floor, complete with disco ball. There are some crazy locals who play a very noisy version of dominos, slapping (vs. placing) each domino on the table. WHAP! Man they played fast and were really fun to watch. It was high tide when we got back to MTB so Ken stayed on Toby, Cindy “freed” the dogs from the salon, and off to the beach for exercise. The crescent beach here stays very shallow a long way out from shore. So, at low tide, we couldn’t get near the shore. This didn’t work too well with the pups, so high tide was the ticket. Cindy got a treat today as the unabashed Canadian aboard neighboring catamaran “Scud” took his nude bath in the afternoon. No inhibitions there as he soaped up, jumped off the boat, got out and rinsed off with a jug of fresh water. Most entertainment Cindy had in days.

03/17/08 Monday, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! – Black Point, Great Guana. Well, St. Patty blew in this am with high winds. We didn’t bring a corned beef with us as it would take too much time/fuel to cook. Although, we did have fresh boiled cabbage, and smoked sausage for our special holiday meal. The skies cleared briefly and were blue by 10:00 am, even with the front around us. Although, through the day, the winds and waves built. We just stayed aboard on “anchor watch”, in case our anchor didn’t hold. Cabin fever was setting in and Cindy was getting grumpy. We heard a radio report that one of the swimming pigs (yes, really) at Big Major’s Spot was apparently ill and having problems. They said folks were on their way to try to assist. Sad, as the pigs are beloved by everyone. The anchor alarm went off twice through the night. We gusted to a high wind of 21.8 knots during the day. By the time we went to bed, there were 12 boats in the anchorage with us. We hate that we haven’t been able to get in and explore more of the village and its shops, and meet more locals.

03/16/08 Sunday – Black Point, Great Guana – One week from now, Brendon and Brian will be with us on Easter Day. Cindy is very sad not to have a chocolate Cadberry Easter Egg to celebrate! Dempsey cried much of the previous night and we just don’t know why he has started this. We do know he keeps waking us up, including Mac and the kitties. The next cold front is coming a day later than thought (now Monday) and the resulting NE winds are to be 20-25 knots. Come on anchor, HOLD PLEASE, was Cindy’s battle cry. It was a hot (86), humid quiet day. At dinner Friday, Ed on M/V Suzanne said a CQR anchor (same type we have/use) will not hold in this anchorage and we should get out of here before the front. So, we were paranoid about our holding. Around sunset, we noticed the anchor chain was under MTB and the anchor behind the boat, not a good sight. Also, the anchor was leaning sideways, not dug in as well as we would like. So, again, more paranoia! We visited a blow hole on the other side of the island, on a walk with the pups. This is a hole in the coral/rock that waves shoot water up through for a cool effect. We took our garbage in to the public drop trailer (very cruiser friendly place). When getting ready for bed, we set two anchor alarms this night and left the VHF radio on, as we were very concerned about dragging. Alarms went off at 1 am and 5 am so we gave up, got up and hung out in the salon in the wee hours. No dragging during the night, just swinging on the anchor chain. We were glad to see daylight.

03/15/08 Saturday – Black Point, Great Guana – Our friends from Friday night’s dinner all headed north this am, and we watched them depart through the am. Of course, more boats always arrive in these anchorages, taking the place of departed vessels. The winds were very mild and we turned from SE to S to West through the day. We went to a private beach with an abandoned bar/gazebo/dock overlooking a pretty small harbor south of the village. We just sat and enjoyed the view. The pups enjoyed hanging out in a structure that was not moving! An elderly “local” came and mumbled with a really strong Bahamian accent. Cindy decided he said it was ok for us to be there as long as we picked up after ourselves. We said we always do so and asked if we were bothering him by being there. He YELLED “no, no, no, you ok”. So, guess we were ok! Since it was the weekend, many locals young and old, were seen fishing, gathering and cleaning conch. They must do this every weekend, gathering their food for the week. Roger and Aleida on “Game Plan” called us on the radio from Big Majors Spot, north of us. They said the anchorage was not crowded and told us we should join them. We wanted to stay in Black Point to do some shopping on Monday and get involved with the kids’ after school program. It was so nice of them to call as we both had commented how we had enjoyed their company. We ran our water maker for three hours, working toward topping off the tanks, anticipating visitors next week. Ken transferred diesel fuel from front tank to the back to assure the generator didn’t run out (fuel gauge on the port side still not working despite all Ken’s efforts to remedy the situation). We knew we were getting further south as the temp was higher this day than any other to date on our trip (83.5 inside the salon).

03/14/08 Friday – departed Sampson Cay, Exumas – for Black Point, Great Guana. It was flat and mild winds in the am, Ken tried fishing for awhile. Loaded pups in Toby, went to the big beach NW of the Sampson Cay Marina entrance. Went to SCM’s gas dock and filled up Toby’s tank on the way. A helicopter came close by MTB around 9:00 am and we waved as usual. They then went and landed on a yacht named “Star Ship” (that’s rich). Their “dinghy” was a 38’ powerboat. We decided to depart around midday, just before high tide. We wanted to explore some areas, reported to have strong currents, at slack tide. Slack tide is the calmer time between when a tide stops coming in and is about to start going out. We knew this would make it easier for us to motor through Little Major Spot, Club Thunderball (yes, Bond movie filmed there), and the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Our destination this day was the village of Black Point on Great Guana Cay. Great Guana may sound familiar, as we anchored there in the Abacos earlier this trip. We’ve found the same name used multiple times for islands throughout the Bahamas. We knew we would be back to Staniel Cay on the 23rd to pick up visitors Brendon/Brian at the airport. So, we wanted to motor through and get the lay of the land (ah, water!). Well, we followed the deep water shown on our charts, but we saw a sandbar in front of us and noticed our depth finder dropping. Ken reacted quickly, but we still touched bottom, luckily soft enough to be able to throw MTB in reverse and get off. We decided not to continue through and turned around, and headed out the main channel we used to come into Sampson Cay originally and headed south for Black Point, Great Guana. Wind was on our nose, so no sailing. Yet another cold front (growing weary of these!) was to come through on the weekend so again we needed to get to a good holding, protected anchorage. Black Point has a harbor with good holding just off the village with about 300 residents (a large town by Bahamas standards). The trip down (including the ah, “side trip”) was approximately 12 miles. There are stores (homemade bread), restaurants and bars in Black Point. The locals make great straw products, impressive designs and Cindy picked up a few things. Additionally, cruisers are invited to come to the local school and help with an after school program during the week, 3:30 pm to 5 pm. We hoped weather would allow us off the boat to participate. We have been hermits of late with limited interaction with folks since arriving in the Exumas. We heard today the number of boats in Georgetown had decreased from the highest heard of 290 boats to 190 boats. We have seen a lot of Canadians headed home/North. This is good news and trend direction we like to hear. We pick Terry/Stacey up there on April 12th and hope it will be a nicer visit for us all due to being less crowded. We arrived in Black Point about 3:30 pm and set our anchor. Ken swam out to check it and was concerned as the anchor was lying somewhat on its side. We fired up the engines, and pulled back down on the anchor. Ken went back out and checked it again. It was better but still not “right”. We’ll let the boat settle down, and hope for the best. We went into the very cruiser friendly village and were so impressed. We went into the local bar and had two rum punches and a lesson on how to play Dominos. Interesting. We joined three other really nice cruising couples at Lorraine’s for a good Bahamian dinner, including grouper and rice/peas. We also bought a loaf coconut bread for the boat (YUMMY).

03/13/08 Thursday - Sampson Cay area, Exumas - Another nice night anchored out by ourselves here. For some reason, Dempsey has started whining when he awakens in the wee hours of the morning. We think that daylight saving time is messing up his internal clock. He has always been a little claustrophobic (won’t walk in our large bathroom at home). So, guess he wakes up, misses us and feels lonely. Cindy was getting up to check on him each time this happened. Now we know he isn’t hurt, doesn’t need to go out and just wants us to get up and be with him. We just tune him out, and eventually he lays down and goes back to sleep. This is funny, as both Mac (dog) and Annie (cat) sleep in the salon with Dempsey, so he is not alone. And, he’s been aboard now for 5 months! This morning we heard on SSB radio that Fast Annie broke down during the night and were trying to get help, hoping for Tow Boat US to get them back to Florida. They were reported to be 72 miles north of Mangrove Cay, north west of the Bahamas. It is hard to hear of friends having trouble and being unable to help. We’re not sure what trouble they experienced but Annie sounded ok and getting plenty of help. We heard another boat we’ve seen and during our trip (Wind Chime) had abandoned ship 25 miles south of Little Harbor on Great Abaco. And, its not even a full moon. We went to a small uninhabited island to stretch our/puppies’ legs today. Cindy picked up a few shells including a small, pretty and uninhabited conch shell. The number of conch shells we have seen that were cracked open for the meat and left as trash is amazing. Some islands have huge piles of the shells everywhere. Conch is a major food source on the islands for locals and tourist alike. Dishes such as cracked conch, conch fritters, and conch salad are eaten daily. We had unusual West winds this day. And, though we had no protection from that direction, it was ok as the wind was not strong. The brigantine left this morning, headed north. They didn’t put up their three huge masts of sails, unfortunately. Ken tried fishing this day with a squid we caught at Royal Island. We were surrounded by a handful of small islands, some with vegetation and small beaches, as well as amazing aqua water. We overlooked a popular anchorage at Big Major’s Spot above Staniel Cay. Big Major’s Spot has wild, swimming pigs on their beach that are adored by everyone around! (really!). The beach is actually named “Pig Beach”.

03/12/08 Wednesday, Sampson Cay area – Man, there are boats everywhere here. We have enjoyed watching the comings/goings. Additionally, a seaplane has been by several times. It touched down briefly then off again. The wind and current were light and we could see our anchor chain lying on the bottom as this water is amazingly clear. We slept great, with no anchor alarms going off through the evening, as we hardly moved in any direction. The Brigantine looked gorgeous in the rising a.m. sun. Bailey, our 16 year old scaredy cat is getting more bold. She is coming up into the galley/salon area by herself, even with Mac around. She doesn’t even do this at home, so we are very proud of her and happy she is feeling so comfortable aboard. This morning we heard “Fast Annie” call in for a weather report. These are friends from Dock 8, in Brunswick. They were in Manjack, Abacos and planning their return to Brunswick on Saturday. We look forward to re-connecting with our marina friends when back home. It was a lazy day and we didn’t even get off the boat.

03/11/08 Tuesday, departed Warderick Wells, headed south without a firm plan. We put up Toby, the dinghy, as we were not sure how far we would go this day. Cindy picked a route that had a number of interesting anchorage possibilities, knowing we’d just pick one that struck our fancy on our way south. It was gorgeous this morning and we sure slept great even though it rained several times during the night. Alibi II, on the mooring ball directly behind us, left shortly before we were to depart. This was great, just in case the current pushed us backwards when taking our last line from the mooring ball. So, Cindy was very happy due to having more room behind MTB in this very tight mooring field. Once we were ready to pull out, the current/wind had moved our mooring ball around to the perfect location on our port side. So, once Cindy took the last (of 4!) line off the mooring, the ball moved further off our port bow. So, no worry about wrapping the mooring pennant rope around our prop, YEAH! Also, the deepest water was to our starboard side, allowing Ken to throttle up and motor out with no problem. Our departure was a whole lot more impressive (and easy) than our harrowing arrival! We motored (no wind, and what there was on our nose) for about 18 miles and spotted a nice anchorage near Sampson Cay. We pulled in around 12:30 pm. After lunch, we put down Toby and went to explore. This is probably the most brilliant aqua water we have ever seen. We walked the dogs on a gorgeous secluded beach, did some shelling, visited Sampson Cay Marina and went back to MTB. A boat of fisherman had just brought a huge “pile” of lobsters into the dock at Sampson Cay. We hadn’t taken any money with us…so we were out of luck for dinner…whah!!! We saw a large shark in the marina basin. Ken spent an hour in the afternoon making the local fish laugh. We can fish again, now being outside of the Land and Sea Park. In the park, the rule is “bring only smiles, take only pictures”! The Brigantine with the 6 couples aboard we met in Warderick Wellls (some employees with Ocean Spray) anchored out beyond our anchorage to our stern later in the day. At dark, we admired the anchor lights (one burning white light is required every night) on the 25+ boats anchored south of us at Big Major’s Spot. The moon was out, stars were beautiful, so we enjoyed the ambiance.

03/10/08 Monday, Warderick Wells, Exumas Land and Sea Park – The day was again mostly cloudy and gray but we were able to get off MTB in between the rain showers. We went and walked the dogs, settled up our tab with the office and purchased the obligatory tourist Tshirts. These at least help support the preservation efforts in the 20 miles of islands that comprise this park. We saw the skeleton of a sperm whale, preserved on the Warderick Wells beach. It was the victim of swallowing a plastic bag, and serves as a reminder of how fragile this eco system of ours is. We saw birds, lizards, iguanas, big turtle, and a shark in the park. There were three huge tuna under the boat today. Man, can’t fish in the park….that’s frustrating! The paid Ranger staff and a whole host of volunteers (mostly cruisers) do a great job in this park. We are now paid members so know we will be supporting this beautiful place for years to come.

03/09/10 Sunday, Warderick Wells, Exumas Land and Sea Park – This was a stormy, ugly, gray day. So what else can bums like us do? Watch TV all day….Nascar, golf and basketball. We made a batch of chocolate cookies and a tuna casserole for midday meal. We had a couple sundowners, though the sun never came up. Pups just hunkered down too, no one left the boat this day. The folks behind us left, new guy single handling came in. When we checked our Email, we heard the very sad news that our cruising buddy Karl (Sirona) lost his Mum to cancer on Friday. He made it home on Monday and had a week with her. She was worse than he had expected on his arrival and seems she was just waiting for his reture. It was so good he decided to go home and acted so very quickly. Such a sad situation for such a nice guy. He is in our thoughts and prayers.

03/08/08 Saturday, Warderick Wells, Exumas Land and Sea Park – Because we purchased several days of internet access ($29 for three days - $10 per day), we caught up with Jess/Audrey via yahoo messenger and text messaging. It was great to check in with them. We toured the coral reef that was purported to be the best in the park via our glass (really plex!) bottom dinghy. Though we saw some pretty, varied types of coral and a few fish…we were disappointed compared to what we saw snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands. Colorful fish are few and far between here. We watched some college basketball and golf. About 6 pm, the winds started clocking around from S to W to N and the skies blackened. Ah, the cold front arriveth! We checked around the boat to make sure everything was secure. It was so nice knowing a storm was going to hit us…but we were safe and sound our our beautiful, well maintained mooring ball!

03/07/08 Friday, Warderick Wells, Exumas Land and Sea Park – We got exciting news today that Terry and Stacey will join us aboard MTB on April 12, in George Town, Great Exuma Island. We are so happy they are coming to spend a week with us. We’re trying to convince Terry to stay aboard and do the trip back to Brunswick with us through April/May timeframe. The winds built through the day, a bad front was to come through Saturday evening. We put down the dinghy, retrieved our boat hook from the neighbor, checked in with the Park Ranger and updated the website for the first time in a week or so. All in all a pretty lazy day, just watching boats come and go. We are so amazed at how many more boats we are seeing each day in the Exumas vs. Eleuthera and the Abacos. This is the winter cruising spot of choice we guess. We took the pups to shore and gave them a long walk. They are only allowed on the beaches of the islands in the Land and Sea Park (the rules!). They don’t want the wild life to be disturbed or the fauna to be pee’d upon! Luckily we had a nice long beach just off our mooring spot, so not a problem.

03/06/08 Thursday, departed Norman’s Cay for Warderwick Wells, Exumas. We had our anchor up at 9:00 am and sails were up by 10:00 am. The trip we planned would take us westward & then southeast, trying to catch enough wind to sail toward Warderwick Wells. Warderwick Wells is in the Exuma Land and Sea Park, a preserve similar to Cumberland Island, Georgia. The wind direction changed, so we finally gave up and unfortunately had to motor most of the 28 mile trip in, arriving around 2:00 pm. We were assigned mooring ball #4 and told it was just inside the channel markers. We read that winds and strong currents make the entrance/moorings difficult….man was that an understatement. All hell broke loose. The current and winds made the mooring field absolutely crazy. We finally were able to hail (Cindy yelling HHEELLPP at the top of her lungs) two people in a dinghy to help us. This was after Cindy already lost one boat hook to the pennant (line attached to the ball). Luckily it floated to the boat next to us. The current was so strong, each time Cindy tried to grab the pennant, she wasn't strong enough to get it up and around a cleat. So, the folks in the dinghy came, got one of our lines, took it out to the loop in the pennant and brought it back to MTB. We really looked liked rookies as we had approached the mooring ball numerous times, went aground once, came back around a few times, and scared the guy behind us a whole lot. It was really exciting!!.....sure wasn't like our first mooring ball experience in Hatchett Bay, Eleuthera, that was so easy. The guy/boat behind us was mostly responsible. As we were approaching our mooring ball, we noticed he had way too much line out on his mooring ball and was swinging much too close to our ball. So, we thought we should just go around and try to re-approach the ball. But, when we did, we ran aground. We called the office and they said they would send the Ranger. Ken turned us sideways and the current took us off the grounding, so didn't have to be introduced to the Ranger in a bad situation…thank goodness! So, the dinghy folks really saved us! Cindy was ready to bail out of here to go somewhere else and anchor. But, once we settled in and had several glasses of wine, everything was better. Ah, except for Cindy’s hurt and navy blue little finger, victimized in trying to get the mooring ball pennant up to MTB, oh well! At least we were able to buy a few days of internet access and watch “Idol” without worries about anchor drag.

03/05/08 Wednesday, Norman’s Cay, Exuma Island Chain – Ah, what calm seas/winds, .a wonderful night’s sleep we had Tuesday night. This morning was 79 degrees and spent sending emails and looking at charts to decide our next stop before going into Staniel Cay to pick up Brendon and Brian on the 23rd. We may go to Warderick Wells as it is the main island in the Exuma Land and Sea Park (rather like Cumberland Island in Georgia) and is supposed to be very nice. Today, we went ashore to explore Norman’s Cay a little more. There is a downed air transport plane (formerly a drug runner) in the middle of the Cay’s central harbor and it is a well known diving/snorkel location. The Cay has a landing strip that is surprisingly busy for a Cay with a few vacation homes and three rental cottages. There is a small restaurant here that was formerly called McDuff’s. Now it is called “Norman’s Cay Beach Club”. All morning we heard folks trying to call them on the VHF radio contact them for lunch information, but with no luck. Finally, we just went to shore to check them out…it was the coolest place we have had a drink/eaten since traveling, everything one would expect of a beach place. We met the owner, Stefan and a cruiser who works as their wait staff, Sally. The welcome committee was two dogs, Salt & Pepper – a Lab and a Chihuahua. We walked across the airstrip to the East shore of Norman’s and it was an incredibly beautiful little harbor. There was a dock there, with a fisherman cleaning his day’s catch. Underneath the dock there were two sharks, (one HUGE) and a very large ray. We went back to the boat as it was getting warmer and we wanted to make sure the critters were still cool enough. We haven’t had any problems to date, as the winds keep the salon quite pleasant, rarely over 78 degrees. The children were all great on our return and we settled in for a lazy evening, even watched “Idol”.

03/04/08 Tuesday – departed Ship Channel Cay, arrived Norman’s Cay, Exuma – We had a relaxed morning and decided to head for Norman’s Cay, south about 12 miles. We put Toby up on the davits and pulled the plug to drain about 4 inches of rain accumulated the day before. The splash of the draining water into the sea below attracted a two foot reef shark. It was amazing how fast it appeared. One minute we saw no signs of any marine life and the next minute, voila, there was a shark. Donna/Ray from Pennsylvania, aboard “Jenna Mae” came by on their dinghy to say hello. They said they might head south on Wednesday. We had our anchor up around 10:30 am and put our jib (front sail) out to see if we might catch some wind. We were headed into the wind this day, so we gave up and motored. We traveled down the sea on the western coast of the Exumas (“Exuma Bank”) going by Roberts, Pimlico, Allens, Highbourne and several other cays. We saw many vessels sailing toward us (they had wind!) and commented how we saw more boats this day than we had in all our time in Eleuthera. We pulled in a Norman’s Cay anchorage, on the southwest side of the island, about 2 p.m. There were 7 other boats there when we arrived and a total of 13 by sundown. The Exumas are cruisers’ favored islands for the winter months, so are more crowded. We anchored well away from others in the anchorage as our puppies like to say hello (bark) when hearing voices. The holding here seemed great as the anchor grabbed hard while Cindy was still putting out rode (anchor chain, to landlubbers). We use all chain rode but some vessels use rope, others a combo of both. We usually use a length of rode, between 5-6 times the water depth at high tide, in settled weather. We increase the amount to a 7:1 or 8:1 ratio in unsettled weather. We also have a “bridle” we attach to our rode/chain. It is a “V” shaped rope harness that we hook to our anchor rode once the anchor is set. Then, we let out 5-15’ more feet of rode (chain) after the bridle is hooked. It stays attached in two places on the bow of MTB. This helps reduce the impact of seas/winds that could potentially dislodge our anchor. We/pups took a long walk on the half moon shaped, beautiful white beach. Once back to the boat we had a glass of Merlot and cooked a great dinner. The water was brilliant aqua and crystal clear. We use saltwater in our “heads” and the water in the bowls here was the cleanest we have ever seen. So, guess the toilet bowl brush gets a break!

03/03/08 Monday – Ship Channel Cay, Exuma – Beginning at 6:30 am, we listened to all the weather reports (after having 25 knot winds during the previous night). We called “Jenna Mae” on the VHF radio after the weather reports and had a nice chat with Ray (& Donna). They arrived Sunday pm from Nassau and planned to stay for a couple lazy days. Ken made coffee and cooked bacon and eggs, yummy. We were “buzzed” yet again by the BASRA (counterpart to our Coast Guard) helicopter. They buzzed us at Eleuthera’s Mutton Fish Point and we guessed they were checking to see if we’re drug runners. At least this time they weren’t close enough to make our mast shudder! We cleaned Toby, the dinghy, while still up on the rear davits (where Toby sits when our travel may be rough, or long). Once the sand was out and Toby was clean, we dropped the dinghy in the water. Of course, then the pups were ready to go. They love to ride on Toby! Guess when we get back to Brunswick, we’ll have to take them for rides from our community dock. As mentioned earlier, Ship Channel Cay is private and access ashore is “by invitation only”. We decided to go north from our anchorage to a small beach far away from the only house on the Cay. We respect the rights of the owners of these private islands but had read somewhere that the owner here rarely visited. So, we chanced it, as the pups really needed some exercise and we never let them off their leashes. The dogs are funny when we go ashore. They walk, sniff and occasionally lift their legs on a tree/bush, or two. Then, once back to MTB, they run up to the front trampolines (mesh grids in two sections on our bow) and “do their business”. We have a saltwater wash down hose there, so clean up is quick, easy, & efficient. We are amazed at how they have adapted to this lifestyle. We continue to take “pickup bags” ashore but rarely need to use one. A little Iguana-like creature surprised Mac on shore but Mac ignored him and off he scurried (the creature, not Mac). Once back to MTB, Ken decided to throw in his line to see what he might catch, if anything. He used one of the “yellow squiggly” things a fisherman gave to Karl in Spanish Wells (Karl shared a few with Ken). We thought of Karl earlier this day as he was to be home in London by 10 a.m. their time. We hoped his travels went well and we know his Mom was so happy to have him home. At 12:40 pm, the rains came and it just poured. Showers (without lightening!) are always welcome as the rain gives MTB a nice fresh water rinse.

03/02/08 Sunday – Ship Channel Cay, Exuma – We had a rocky night with swells in the anchorage, it but wasn’t too bad. We slept pretty well Saturday night until the anchor alarm sounded at 5:00 a.m. Sunday. The wind had changed and we had just swung someone our anchor chain. We were relieved we weren’t dragging. There are rocks to our port bow and coral directly on our stern. So, if our anchor let loose, it would be exciting to re-set. Karl leaves Sirona in Davis Harbor Marina and flies out of Governor’s Harbour for London. Safe travels friend! A monohull named “Jenna Mae” anchored behind us, having come from Nassua. We got to see what is happening in the world as we watched TV in the morning. We researched where we wanted to go/anchor next in this chain of islands. Winds gusted through the day as a couple squalls went through. The evening was pretty nice and when we went to bed, things seemed settled. Whew…around 1:30 a.m. – we both work to the roar of high winds. We got dressed, got our fowl weather jackets, and moved up into the salon. We like to be nearer the helm in case the anchor should drag. Winds went to 25 knots but luckily from the direction we had protection – east. We slept well in the salon and by about 5:00 am things were settled again so we climbed back down into our bed/berth.

03/01/08 Saturday – Man, its March! Departed Cape E for Ship Channel Cay, Exuma Islands. “Heartbreaker” pulled out early this morning. We emptied the trash, filled 132 gallons of fresh water, unplugged the metered electricity ($5.50 for 4 nights – love our solar power) and settled our marina tab. Standard practice in Bahamian marinas is to add an additional amount to your bill if using a credit card. Cape E charges 4%, OUCH. A few squalls were around the marina, so we waited for the winds to settle some before throwing off our lines about 10 am. With cross winds and current, it as exciting getting out of our slip. By 11 am, our sails were up, both with double reefs. This means that the size of each of the two sails was lessened, just in case winds picked up. Our trip was about 30 miles this day and mostly west, northwest in direction to Ship Channel Cay, Exuma. We experienced winds of 12-15 with gusts to 20 knots. The seas built to 4-6 feet but were behind us, giving MTB a nice push. Squalls were all around us all day, the skies looked awful and it was cold. We got out our fowl weather gear! By the time we put our sails down to motor into the anchorage, things improved. The water around Ship Channel Cay was a sight to see…brilliant aqua. Though it was pretty rough, we anchored on our first attempt on the west side of Ship Channel Cay. The anchor was successfully down by 4:00 pm and we were the only boat anywhere is sight. Ship Channel Cay is a private island, the first large island in the northern most section of the Exuma Islands chain. All we have heard from other cruisers is that the only place to be in the Bahamas is the Exumas. So, here we are, let the tour begin. It will be hard to beat the great experiences we had cruising Eleuthera by both land and sea. Wow, we can watch TV tonight! A double masted charter CAT crept into the anchorage long after dark, anchoring well away from us thankfully.

02/29/08 Friday – LEAP YEAR! Cape E – Karl brought us a bunch of food he couldn’t leave aboard Sirona when he flies home Sunday. About noon, we helped throw off his lines and said goodbye to our cruising buddy. He called on the VHF later in the day to say he had a rough, choppy and wet sail for the eight mile trip to Davis Harbor Marina. He sounded like he wished he had left Sirona at Cape E instead. Ken worked a long time polishing out the “boo boo” on MTB’s side. It made a great deal of difference. Cindy did laundry in the marina’s great machines. Most machines in marinas don’t work well due to too much use. Cape E’s were commercal quality machines, new and clean which was very appreciated. George/Linda from Heartbreaker (met them in Rock Sound anchorage) came in next to us this day, joining us aboard for happy hour. They, too, had a family emergency and planned to leave the next morning to take Heartbreaker to Davis Harbor Marina as well. This cruising life is really difficult for folks when emergency type situations arise. We haven’t had TV for a month. Ken spoke to Atlantis, a catamaran he noted at the gas dock which had Direct TV. They were getting a signal, so Ken decided we must have a cable problem. This was the case, so we got to watch TV this night for the first time since the Super Bowl.

02/28/08 Thursday, Cape E – Karl heard from home that his mom was having some health issues. So, he decided to leave Sirona in Eleuthera and go home to London. He checked out flights, marina options etc. and decided to move down to Davis Harbor Marina, further south. Cape E required a minimum of 90 days to get at rate break. And, Davis was less expensive. He spent a good bit of the day with us. We had lunch at the beach restaurant (Barracuda’s) and took a long p.m. walk with the pups on the Exuma side of the marina. We did happy hour aboard MTB. Sadly, we knew it was our last happy hour with this good guy.

02/27/08 Wednesday, Cape Eleuthera Marina, Powell Point, Eleuthera, Bahamas – Yeah! We finally had WIFI/Internet access so got to update the website for the first time in a month. Cape Eleuthera is a “gated” community being developed at Powell Point, Eleuthera. The manager, Steve used to run the “Bitter End” bar on Virgin Gorda, which we visited on Ken’s 5-0 birthday cruise to the British Virgin Islands. “Cape E”, as locals call it, has several beaches, two restaurants, a small store and some fully furnished, but not yet sold, condominiums. It is a half moon type marina with mostly pilings vs. face docks, which makes it a little more difficult for sailboats and catamarans to dock. The folks were very nice and took good care of us. When we arrived Tuesday, we met Guido/Hanna, Germans who have lived in Montana for twenty years, from “Adagio”. At happy hour Tuesday, Guido said they had rented a car and invited us, and Karl from Sirona, to tour the entire island of Eleuthera by land. So, we walked the dogs in the morning and about 10:00 am, off we all went. Our first stop was the great bakery we had enjoyed previously in Governor’s Harbour. Then, a stop at a castle in Tarpum Bay – built by an artist for England named G. McMillan Hughes. It was a bizarre place. Next we made a picture taking stop in Gregory Town and went to a cave just north of Hatchett Bay we all had read about. This was Cindy’s first time in a cave, and seeing stalactites & stalagmites was fun. After those stops, we sped north to the “Glass Window”. It is a rock bridge that connects two portions of the island. It was knocked askew a number of years ago by a rogue surge. Many locals will not drive over this road. After stopping, looking under the bridge and seeing the structural “lack” of integrity, we understand why. There are shear, extreme rock cliffs surrounding the bridge proper and it is very unique (and very scary!). The trip north was about 90 miles. On our return trip to Cape E, we stopped at a pink coral beach in the village of Palmetto; had a nice lunch at Buccaneer Café and bought 4 bottles of dark rum for $24 in Governor’s Harbour; and stopped in Rock Sound for gas and groceries before heading back to the marina. Guido/Hanna were great hosts and tour guides. Storms followed us the whole day and we returned in time for a downpour, about 6:00 pm. The dogs did great all day without having us onboard (Cindy worried). But, MTB was worse for wear as a fender moved to the wrong side of a dock piling and allowed a wood knot in the piling to dig a dent into our fiberglass, scratching the gelcoat stripes. We were sick, as we should have put more lines on the other side of the boat before leaving. We knew a cold front was coming through and the wind direction would change while we were gone. Rookie mistake and all our fault. 

02/26/08 Tuesday, departed Rock Sound, for Cape Eleuthera, Eleuthera Island, Bahamas – Karl called from Sirona and said he was going to move to Davis Harbor Marina, south of Rock Sound. He had heard their rate was $1.00 a foot, extremely CHEAP for dockage around here. Cindy decided to call Davis Harbor to confirm rates and that they had a place for us. They were $1.25 a foot…but $25 a day for electricity (vs. being metered) and $15 a day for water…$40 a day on top of the $1.25. Not such a good deal. So, we all decided just to jump down about 13 miles to Cape Eleuthera Marina to hunker down for the strong (gale force winds) cold front coming. Anchor was up about 10:00 am, motored the whole way due strong currents and a lot of coral heads in the area. We wanted to have as good of maneuverability possible. We went straight to the marina gas dock, added 76.5 gallons of diesel to top off our tanks at $4.57 gallon, OUCH! “Alex” from the marina boarded us and rode over to help us into a slip that had pilings vs. decking at the furthest end of the dock. Two other helpers met us at the slip to help with the lines. It was so nice to have this kind of help getting us in. Karl arrived just as we got tied up and they put him in a slip a couple down form us. Alex runs the local dive shop here and noticed our bottom was DIRTY (fuzzy green actually). We had tried working on it from the dinghy in Rock Sound, but not very successfully. A diver can clean a boat bottom so much better. Alex said he would do it for us but we figured it would be expensive. He said normal rate is $5 foot, (times 42’). He saw us hesitate and said he’d do it for $100. We asked when he could get to it…”Now” was the answer. Ok! So we were filled with diesel, protected from the storm and had a clean bottom by around 3:30 pm! When done with our bottow, Alex joined us, Karl, Hannah/Quido for happy hour aboard MTB. We cooked dinner with Karl…fish he caught in Rock Sound. We decided it was black fin tuna and man was it tasty. We wrapped it in heavy duty foil with spices, fresh garlic and tomatoes, threw it on the grill. Add some garlic cheddar grits, dilled green beans and Bahamian bread, and it was a great meal for the three of us! Hannah/Quido, from Bavaria area of Germany (also came in here yesterday) rented a car to so see more of Eleuthera by land. They invited us to ride along with them the next day. Figured we’d see how dogs/boat were doing. We saw a huge (6’) shark in the marina harbor….biggest Cindy has ever seen up close and not in an aquarium. There also was very large ray under MTB this day.

02/25/08 Monday, Rock Sound, Eleuthera – Cindy got all the wet stuff out of Ken’s wallet, money included. The digital camera had water inside the display screen, not a welcome sight. Ken opened up the back, and we hoped it might work again after drying out (doubtful!). We’ll probably have to get online with Circuit City have a new camera shipped to Brendon so he can bring it to us in March. It is always something and nothing is ever easy in this life. A slight cold front went through this day so the mild winds were clocking around, coming more from the SW/W/N/E direction. We spoke to Cape Eleuthera Marina on Sunday and planned to go there for a night or two, get diesel fuel and do some laundry. The next few weeks will be spent visiting mostly uninhabited islands, so we want to fuel up and fill up our water. We had planned to head west to Ship Channel Cay, at the top of the Exuma Islands chain. .Another bad cold front was coming this way in a few days. Chris Parker/Caribbean Weather Net was to be off the air until tomorrow. “Ed” was going to take over the weather Tuesday on a different channel and we were not sure we would be able to hear him. If we heard a bad forecast, we planned to head for a marina before the front. If not too bad, we would hold tight here. Karl/Sirona planned to go further south to Davis Harbour Marina. It would be nice to continue our travels together as we have enjoyed his company (and Nigerian rice!). Took pups in for a walk around 3:00 pm. And, then met 11 other cruisers at Sammy’s Restaurant for dinner. We were back to MTB by 8:00 pm.

02/24/08 Sunday, Rock Sound, Eleuthera – We called Flamingo Air and booked flights for Brendon & Brian to meet us in Staniel Cay, Exumas on March 23rd. Cindy did dishes and some hand laundry, updated logs and drafted emails to go out over our SSB radio. We still had no WIFI access. It was so calm and peaceful in the am, we just lazed around. Cindy organized a happy hour for the afternoon at a gazebo/dinghy dock nearby. There were 6 other boats in the anchorage so Ken took Toby to the ones we didn’t raise by radio. The gazebo/tiki hut actually had a full wood bar and was behind a restaurant, now out of business. It was a beautiful structure with a sunset view….just begging for happy folks to enjoy happy hour. After we all gathered for happy hour, a sailing CAT and a motor CAT arrived in the anchorage. One of the cruisers with us had a hand held VHF so we called the new arrivals and invited them as well. The folks from the power CAT came in, sailing CAT folks were exhausted and said they would see us in town Monday. We had 13 folks at happy hour so it was fun. Also a local named Kirkland came and someone gave him a glass of wine as well. Hope he was “of age”. The female owner of the property arrived later and we were concerned she may be upset with our use of the outside bar. She thought it was great we having fun and said they were trying to re-open the place. They had been renovating while looking for a business partner. She was interested in picking our brains about how to attract cruisers here once open. We all decided to gather Monday at 4:30 pm for happy hour and dinner at Sammy’s. We waited until everyone left to make sure everything was picked up. Karl went to go turn out the lights and Ken went down the dock stairs to untie the dinghy. He lost his footing and splooshed all the way into the water complete with his wallet and Cindy’s digital camera. Not one of his better moves but at least he was not hurt. It was dark when we took Karl back to Sirona. We hadn’t left our anchor light on and it was amazing how this big ole boat disappeared in the dark. From Sirona, we just aimed where MTB was supposed to be until she finally became visible.

02/23/08 Saturday, Rock Sound, Eleuthera – We hung out our laundry to dry in the sun in the morning. It is better to wash only using our onboard machine. Drying uses too much of our stored electricity. Ken did more troubleshooting work to try and figure out why our port diesel tank level gauge wasn’t operable. It continuously shows full. And, since our generator runs off this tank, we really would like the gauge to work. He scratched his head and said “that’s weird”, and “nothing, we got nothing” a bunch of times. But, he didn’t find anything that may be causing the problem, so the wasn’t anything for him to fix. We took pups for walk ashore. Then, picked up Karl and went to the dinghy dock at the airport to talk with Immigration about an extension to our initially approved 120 days. Without the extension, all of us would have to leave the Bahamas in early April vs. our desired mid May timeframe. Bahamian government regulations are strange. Customs approved our cruising permit for a full year. But, there is no connection to Immigration’s approval. The officer was great and took care of all of us. We got soaked in the waves crashing over the dinghy bow on the way back, but oh well. We were still without WIFI, having been without for almost a month. There are places in Rock Sound we can pay for access. Its about $12 an hour, ouch and you have to use their computers. We took the dinghy and dogs ashore late afternoon and dumped our garbage in an appropriate can. So many cruisers just dump stuff any where which is a real disgrace and disrespectful of this beautiful country. We met two couples on the road from other boats near us – from Michigan. Karl came for dinner, brought authentic Nigerian Rice…yummy. We cut bread, made salads and we cooked beef tenderloin on the grill. Great food, great company, and a beautiful night.

02/22/08 Friday, Rock Sound, Eleuthera – After normal morning activities, we loaded pups up to go to shore for a long walk. We explored a beach north of us and actually found cotton plants growing along the road – weird. Seas/winds were building so we got soaked in the dinghy going back to MTB. We had plans to go ashore (us, Karl) at 12:30 pm. Karl radio’d about 12:10 pm and said since the anchorage was so rough, he planned to stay aboard and watch his anchor. Ken had cabin fever, so about 2:30 pm we went the short distance from MTB to shore to do more exploring. We visited the Customs office and found that an Immigration person would be at the airport on Saturday. So, hopefully we can go there and get an extension on our VISA to allow us to stay more than the 120 days we were originally granted. We visited the hardware, NAPA, grocery and liquor (2) stores. We didn’t buy anything and were just seeing what was available to make a good list for another shopping day. Four monohull sailboats left the anchorage this day, but two more arrived and anchored near us in the afternoon. We went and picked up Karl and he brought his special Mango rum drinks and the photos of MTB he took while we were under sail the previous day. Weather looked a little squally, so Ken took Karl home around 7:30 pm. We agreed to go to Immigration together Saturday around 10:00 am. We heard from Staniel Cay and Sampson Cay Marinas today. Both said they can accommodate us for Brendon’s visit. So, we think we will fly the guys in there. This is a better plan as we didn’t want to go into Nassau. Hopefully Terry and Stacey will be able to join us there as well.
02/21/08 Thursday, departed Balara Bay/Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera for Rock Sound, Eleuthera a triip of about 28 miles. We left with heavy hearts….a beautiful, friendly place with wonderful folks…so terribly gracious. Saying goodbyes is the toughest part of this cruising lifestyle.. Our anchor was up at 8:15 am, sails by 8:45 am. Karl/Sirona pulled out of Governor’s Harbour at the same time. We radio’d each other, once we both had our sails up and crossed each other’s paths to take sailing photos. We took lots of each other’s vessel to share, hoping for good ones for each other. We really enjoy Karl’s company and our pups are getting very fond of him, too. Ken put out a trolling line at 10:00 am, with Cindy hoping he didn’t catch something else to kill! Cindy figured she’d be the one to do the “gutting”. As luck would have it, we did have a catch….after slowing down and a lot of wrangling…we landed a two foot barracuda…yes, barracuda, oh crap….big teeth. Well, we landed him and worked fast to remove the lure. Once we got his teeth out of our net and slid him back into the water, we were so relieved. But, nope…he didn’t swim, we guessed he was long out of the water…we hadn’t released him quick enough. Cindy cried for the bad fish…one of God’s creatures and our actions resulted in his death. Not a good thing. But other than that sad aside, it was an amazing sailing day for us with the pups so relaxed and snoozing in the cool breeze. We saw a lot of white fishing buoys on our way south and hoped we’d miss them vs. having one wrapped around one of our props. The water was brilliant and the sky was brilliant blue when we pulled around the bend and into Rock Sound. What a beautiful picture. We knew we were going to like this place. Four sailboats that had been in Governor’s Harbour with Karl were here when we arrived. We moved north of them and anchored at about 2:00 pm. Karl on Sirona pulled in about 30-45 minutes after us. We put down the dinghy, called Karl on the VHF radio to see if he wanted to go to shore with us. We all went into town and walked around to see what was there. We asked a local for a lunch/dinner and drinks recommendation and she sent us to “Sammy’s”. We walked there and were delighted with the place, people, food and service. It was a really wonderful, Bahamian experience and they really spoiled us. Just before dark we dropped Karl off at Sirona and climbed back aboard MTB. Man, this was truly an overall amazing day………….

02/20/08 Wednesday, Balara Bay, Eleuthera – We had high hopes for the weather and getting to shore. But, squall after squall came through and Cindy didn’t feel comfortable leaving. About 4 pm though, the weather cleared up and we decided to take the pups for a walk since we hoped to move south on Thursday. We took a MTB hat and Tshirt for Gilbert/Marion, to leave on their tiki hut, thanks for their hospitality. Great shelling this day as the winds had been so high previous days. Marion caught us on the way back to Toby and invited us for wine/snacks. Gil had poker group at their house this day, so she said she had leftovers to share. They appreciated our gifts, andwe have so enjoyed their company, beach, home and hospitality.Wonderful folks. We also so enjoyed meeting Rich, Debbie and their puppies. Topping of our wonderful evening with the Macys, we were treated to a Lunar Eclipse and a brilliant full moon lit up our bay/night. We knew we would really miss this great place/these people, but felt it time to go south.

02/19/08 Tuesday, Balara Bay, Eleuthera – It was so nice waking to a calm bay and light winds. We got up, did two quick pots of coffee in the French Press, then loaded the pups on Toby and headed to the beach. After walking pups/shelling on the beach, Marion/Gilbert at the rock house came out and invited us (dogs too) for coffee. We sat with them on their back porch until 11:00…such great people. Their home is named “Hummingbird Cottage” and is wonderful and true Bahamian style inside. A cold front was to come through later in the day, so we were glad to get the pups some time off the boat. They enjoyed themselves and Marion is in love with Dempsey. Still no WIFI but had a couple emails through the SSB radio yesterday. Brendon & roommate, Brian have booked flights to Nassau at the end of March to come join us for a week. Now our only issue is how to pick them up, as we haven’t found a marina slip for that time frame in Nassau. Karl called on the VHF radio from Sirona…he had WIFI in his anchorage so was staying a day or two more here before heading south. About 4:00 pm, we saw Marion/Gilbert and Rich/Debbie (and two pups) out on the beach at Hummingbird House. Rich/Debbie’s house is called Aqua Vista (octagon). We packed up some snacks, a new box of wine and headed to shore. Once there, they asked if we had seen the shartk…said a 6 footer had just gone by, but we missed it. We sat and chatted with them all and enjoyed their dogs (potcake Spike and Butch a golden/setter mix) until gnats came out, then back to MTB for dinner. Some guys were checking out MTB on a small boat while we were watching from shore. Rather curious behavior, so we secured the dinghy (Toby) and the gas tank with steel cables and locks this night. A very light breeze swung us around from S to W to N by 9:30 pm, but it was pleasant. The front was to bring high winds and storms during the night and next am.

02/18/08 Monday, Balara Bay, Eleuthera – The rollers continued through Sunday night. We liked it here, so decided to hang out until the cold front made it through by end of day Tuesday. Chris Parker said the front was weakening and winds should be 15 knots or less. Nassau weather said 20-25 knots so the frustrating part is….who to believe? Karl/Sirona pulled out around 8 am for Rock Sound., said he needed a good night‘s sleep. Once out in the Bight of Eleuthera, making only two knots and getting soaked, Sirona came back into Governor’s Harbor (one bay south from us). He called us back at 8:30 am and said Governor’s Harbor was “flat as a pancake” but he was anchored right where the chart said “poor holding”. We decided just to hang where we were, though “flat” sounded good! We were getting cabin fever, but the rollers in the bay too much for us to take a Toby ride. So, keep reading outside trying not to get too stir crazy. We tried going to sleep in our berth, but too noisy and went up to salon to sleep. Though, mid night things really quieted down, but we didn’t budge from the salon.

02/17/08 Sunday, Balara Bay, Eleuthera – Winds began building and “rollers” were rocking us in the bay, slapping our hulls. Although, we decided to stick it out for one more day (may get to 20-25 knots, yikes!). We figured we would listen to the weather Monday a.m. to decide if we should move south to the more protected anchorage in Rock Sound. It was a pretty day, but waves coming in from the SE/SE were lapping into our hulls and it was noisy. “Live Wire II” left this a.m. going north for better protection in Royal Island’s harbor. Karl/Sirona pulled up anchor and tucked up further into Balara Bay, nearer shore. We hoped he would be more comfortable there. Monohulls really get rocking (front to back & side to side) in this type of weather, noisy and uncomfortable. Though we do rock, we typically are fairly comfortable on our CAT. This was the most unprotected (from S, SW) we have been for a cold front to date. We felt pretty safe though as nothing was near us (no seawalls, rocks, boats, etc.), there is good night light due to a nearly full moon, and we had sandy shoals around us if we did drag. About 11:00 am, music started flowing from the churches in town (Governors Harbor), and hearing it onboard was nice. By 11:45 am, wind had gusted to 14.7 knots though it was nice out and our hatches/doors were open. We went in the “pantry” (the “V” up in the starboard hull, behind our shower) this day to get out a new bag of dog food. We found we have 120 lbs of dog food left on board. Going in for dog food requires pulling out our plastic storage trunks filled with food. Pantry diving is always fun, as we often find food/snacks we forgot we brought. We heard church music again - evening services, nice. Winds never got over 15 knots, though we slept in the salon to be near pups, instruments and helm in case we dragged.

02/16/08 – Saturday – Balara Bay, Eleuthera – Last night, the anchorage was calm and peaceful. We fired up the water maker again at 7:15 am, running for two hours. We finished filling one of our hundred gallon tanks and made enough to add a little new water to the other. Another benefit of making water is that our batteries were better charged because of running the generator. Another cold weather front was expected in a few days and it seems we can expect them every four days or so. Having repetitive worrying about high winds and if our anchor will hold or not has become “un-fun”. Cindy keeps hoping for a weather report predicting calm weather for weeks (not days!) in a row. At least the temperature stays in the 70’s and we aren’t sweating to death nor being eaten by bugs. Dealing with the weather successfully is just another challenge/feat of this cruising lifestyle…comes with the territory! We took the puppies to shore for a beach walk about 9:30-10:30 am, Cindy picking up more interesting shells. Gilbert/Marion in the rock cottage invited us to ride to Governor’s Harbor to the grocery with them. But, the previous night we told Karl we would take him on our dinghy later. So said no, but thanks to Gilbert/Marion’s kind offer. Karl has a very small dinghy with a 2 hp motor, and only one gear (forward). So, we picked him up at Sirona about 10:45 am and off we went into the town of Governor’s Harbor. We had a very nice dinghy ride as it was a beautiful day with calm seas. The wind gauge showed “00” speed this morning, only the second time on this trip. We enjoyed our day, visiting the bakery, two liquor stores, two tourist type shops, an ATM and two grocery stores. This is a wonderful place, clean, charming, friendly yet still “Bahamian”. To date, this town ties with Cindy’s other favorite village, New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco. A “local” recommended lunch at the Buccaneer Café, which we did, eating on a deck under a big tree. While there, we met Linda/Corey from Live Wire II (other boat in bay, 43’ trawler). We asked them to come to MTB for happy hour. They came bringing fresh veggies and dip, which were thoroughly enjoyed. We could see Karl’s dinghy on shore but he was not visible anywhere. We all were beginning to think he drowned! Nope. While ashore, Gilbert/Marion offered him a chair/beer so he also met the nice folks who took us to lunch. Afterward, he came by and joined us all on MTB. The moon was incredibly bright, really nice, sitting in our cockpit with new friends in the moonlight.

02/15/08 Friday, Balara Bay, Eleuthera – Happy Birthday GAYLE! We woke early (6 am) to stormy looking skies but throughout the am, they cleared some, with the sun trying to peek out. We were running low on water, so fired up both the generator and water maker at 7:15 am and ran them for 3.5 hours…yeah, more water. The 100 gallon tank was almost full once again. We had a “date” to meet Gilbert/Marion at their home at 11:00 am to go out to lunch. We were so excited, probably would have dinghied in even in pouring rain! We haven’t been in a car for over three months. And, the promise of the best Bahamian food on the island was something to look forward to. Rich/Debbie Mahler drove us to James Cistern Bay to an open air, outside restaurant named “Billy & Brenda’s Barbeque”. Billy was the pastry chef for Club Med here, before its closing. Billy/Brenda had outdoor grills burning casaurina wood coals and two picnic tables. The view over the Bight of Eleuthera was amazing, as was the true Bahamian cooking and lemon meringue pie! After lunch, the six of us went to the variety store, straw shop and a bakery (all local). Rich drove us all back to Gil/Marion’s beautiful, tropically landscaped home. Such wonderful folks, all. Our dogs had been alone for about three hours so we said our thank you’s and hopped on Toby. Once headed for MTB to let the dogs out, we saw Sirona/Karl had arrived. We went by Sirona on the way back said hello. Karl was having trouble setting his anchor. We didn’t “dive our anchor” when we got here. This means literally diving down in the water to look at one’s anchor to assure it is well set. Karl dove down to look at his and said it was sitting sideways in very little sand, over rock (not good). Of course this made Cindy nervous about MTB’s anchor, We knew we’d be setting an anchor alarm each night while here (nope, neither of us wanted to dive into saltwater to check!). Another motor vessel arrived in the anchorage as well. Karl came by for happy hour bringing a great mango rum drink and snacks. He left about dark after keeping us entertained and laughing. We read, to bed early.

02/14/08 Thursday, Valentines Day – departed Hatchett Bay south for Balara Bay, outside of Governor’s Harbor, Eleuthera. We got up and it was beautiful so we decided it was time to “move”. We waved at Karl, as he didn’t have his radio on but figure he’ll catch up with us south along the coast somewhere. The lines were off the mooring around 9:30 am and we were through the bay “cut” (literally a 90’ wide opening through rock cliffs) with sails up by 10:00 am. The winds were SE, 8-12 knots, and we didn’t have to modify our direction/sails the whole 16 nautical mile trip. It was a great sail under beautiful blue skies. We anchored behind little Levi Island on Balara Bay, just north of Governor’s Harbor. We were delighted how pristine it was and excited that there was a nice beach just off our bow. Ken changed the water filter for our kitchen tap – ah.. one more boat job off the list. Around 4:00 pm, we took pups on Toby to shore. The shelling was the best yet and a nice place to walk. On the way back to the dinghy, we saw people in front of their bayside house on a cement dock/platform overlooking the water. Their house was an amazing, beautiful rock structure. They were very friendly and loved our dogs. We chatted and they invited us to come in and ride to lunch at “the best place on Eleuthera” Friday. Gilbert/Marion were so nice and told us to use their beach and chairs as we wanted. They’re from Canton, Ohio and spend 4 months here, renting the home here the rest of the year. Ironically, in this anchorage, we overlook “Cupid’s Cay” …Valentine’s Day…too funny. Heard from Judy yesterday that Jarrett made Eagle Scout. GREAT!

02/13/08 Wednesday, Hatchett Bay – Winds in our very protected harbor hit 22 knots in the early morning hours before dawn. We didn’t anticipate much improvement this day. The SSB cruiser weather services were looking for a sailboat this am, named Le Bon Ange, hailing from Quebec. The message was to call home, family emergency. Our VHF (channel 16) and SSB (4045.0 and 40003.0) radios provide effective information networks for cruisers. We luckily have SSB email capability allowing our receipt of email wherever we are, even if no WIFI. (wdd6054@cruiseemail.com). This gives peace of mind in case of an emergency with our families/friends. Additionally, BASRA (Bahamas equivalent to US Coast Guard) is an effective resource for cruisers. A BASRA helicopter went over us in Mutton Point a couple days ago and checked us out. They were flying so low, the rotor blades caused enough air turbulence to resonate down our mast, vibrating through MTB, whew, exciting. Nope, we’re not drug dealers, nor illegal immigrants! We took Toby in to get our laundry when winds moderated some. Then, went back to MTB to get the pups and took them ashore for a long walk/job. Karl on Sirona had is motor off his dinghy, so Ken went and offered him a taxi ride to MTB for happy hour. He is an entertaining and nice guy, single handling his 35’ boat. We went to bed really early after taking Karl back.

02/12/08 Tuesday, Hatchett Bay, Alice Town, Eleuthera This was the worst weather/cold front seen in the Bahamas by Chris Parker w/ Caribbean Weather Center in nearly two years. We had storm clouds all around, squally looking, but no rain and the sun came out a little by 9:30 am. The winds were still high, but new SE direction aimed us away from the rocky shore nearest us (good thing!). We had an email from Nassau Yacht Haven…more negative news, no slips there either for Brendon’s visit. We heard Abaco Cays were getting wind up to 40 knots and squalls with lightening. We were glad we weren’t there, hoping our luck and mooring held through the bad stuff here. The bay had white caps and 1-2’ chop and skies got gray in the afternoon. We will deal with whatever comes our way. Ken made bacon, eggs, and grits for breakfast. Yum. We saw a fish skip across the water for a very long way…bounce after bounce. Cindy worked on downloading and organizing photos from the digital camera, did some correspondence. A double mast, monhull sailboat arrived and took a mooring in the east side of harbor late in the afternoon. We figured they were happy to be here. We made chocolate chip cookies in the pm, read, and to bed at 8:45 pm… we are the party animals, huh!?
.
02/11/08 Monday, Hatchett Bay, Eleuthera – Winds overnight maxed at 15.9 knots and we had very little “chop” in the harbor, which made for a nice night sleep. Whenever waves/chop hit our hulls, it resonates down in the berths. The next few days were forecast this am to be the worst weather to date this winter. The winds were to be up to 35 knots with squalls. We just hoped the storms didn’t bring lightening and hunkered down to ride it out. Funny though, at 8:30 am, skies were clear, sunny and blue. This anchorage is a very interesting place, complete with a “surfers beach” three miles across the island on the Atlantic side. Surfers from around the world know of it and we wanted to go check it out. Follow Me TV isn’t working this far south, so we weren’t running the generator in the evenings to watch TV. Now we need to remember to run it each day to keep things going (refrig/freezer, etc.). Water will be an issue in a week or two, as we switched to the last of our 2, 100 gallon tanks. We filled both tanks before leaving Green Turtle Club in early January. So, 100 gallons lasted about 4 weeks. We made a few gallons (on board water maker) on our trip from Marsh Harbor to Lynyard Cay. The water quality in this harbor was not great, so probably won’t be making water while here. Heard from Jess/Audrey and they have moved into their new duplex and feel safer, so that is great. We’ve emailed marinas in Nassau for when daughter Jess’ ½ brother, Brendon/friend Brian plan to visit at end of March. But, in checking this am, still no luck booking a slip. We may have to anchor off in Nassau harbor, and dinghy to pick them up. Around 9:00 am, we took Toby to shore, giving the pups a ride and long walk in a mowed, grassy area that had no houses around (& no other dogs). It was great. Ken walked across the street to the liquor store and bought rum and mango rum. After taking Dempsey/Mac back to MTB we loaded up our laundry. We went to the village of Alice Town, left all our clothes with “Dawn” and she said she would do it for us as all the washers were full when we got there and winds were building. We told her we would be back sometime..could be as late as Wednesday if winds were as high as forecast. “No problem”. We walked around the settlement and were struck by how simply folks live here. Its hard to understand how the locals survive/earn a living, paying the high costs of food, etc. We walked by the “Primary” school and were impressed with messages of encouragement to excel on signs on its walls. We visited the police department (inquired about bread and rental car) and the computer lab (internet $5 for 30 minutes). We got back across the chop in the harbor to MTB by about 11:30 am. Winds had gusted to 17 knots while we were ashore, and were increasing. We figured we were in for a “bumpy ride” for the next several days. We were glad pups had gotten ashore today. They are fine on board for 2-3 days. But, after that, they start getting cabin fever, as do we! Luckily, those times are very rare. It felt that we would stay on our mooring ball for a while until the bad weather passed, as everything we needed was available. We enjoy these typical isolated Bahamian villages. Ken worries we’re becoming hermits! Once the weather calms we may rent a car and go explore Eleuthera by roads.

02/10/08 Sunday, departed anchorage at Mutton Fish Point to Hatchett Bay, Alice Town, Eleuthera. Wind was actually “00” on our instruments when we got up. We had never seen that before. We had a beautiful, large starfish next to the boat that shown brilliantly through the calm aqua water. Our anchor was up at 8:15 am. We wanted to get to Hatchett Bay quickly, to have good chance of picking up a mooring ball. We had never taken a mooring before so another new experience. On entering the harbor, Ken did a great job maneuvering and together K&C picked the ball they wanted. Cindy hooked the “pennant” on the first try with the boat hook. A pennant is a line attached to the mooring ball. Some boaters simply pull it up and attach it to a cleat on their boat. Other boaters prefer to attach their line(s) to the pennant. Ah, well, we did both since it was long enough. We also ran a totally separate line from MTB back to the loop on top of the mooring ball…just in case the pennant line broke in the high winds expected. By 10:30 am, we were settled and on Toby to do an exploratory trip around the harbor with the pups. They love to ride. We spoke with Karl who is single handling “Sirona” a monohull we saw at Royal Island, in Spanish Wells and now here. We invited him to come to MTB for sundowner drinks/snacks later, wind permitting. Then we talked with Dale, a hippy surfer from Key West on another CAT called Los Escapados. He wasn’t aware that a cold front and high winds were coming. He actually was just about to leave his mooring to go do a day sail. We chatted a little more and he told us a good place to land the dinghy and walk the dogs. We could see a squall coming, so back to MTB. Winds went from “00” in the am, to gusting 15 knots by 1:00 pm. We hoped our mooring was sound, with its integrity/strength intact. Moorings not routinely or commercially maintained often represent a hazard to cruisers. A lot is written in cruising guides about old moorings to be avoided. But, nowhere did we read who put the balls in Hatchett Bay, let alone whether they had routine maintenance or not. So, we just took a leap of faith as the pennant looked strong and new…but no telling what conditions were under the water. With jellyfish everywhere, K/C weren’t diving in to find out. Karl came for sundowners and we found he is 30, a website designer from London. The “Island Link” fast ferry from Nassau came into the bay and man, did they ever fill up that small 90’ wide opening in the rocks!
Night winds maxed out at 15.9 but higher expected next day. Read a little, and to bed early since no TV.

02/09/08 Saturday, Mutton Fish Point, Eleuthera Island As usual, after going to bed so early, we were up by 6:30 am, listening to the various radio weather reports we can receive. The forecast was the worst we’ve had for our area of the Bahamas this trip. A cold front is to bring bad weather beginning Sunday, sometime around noon through next Thursday. So, we decided we would have to leave here Sunday, early, for a protected harbor just south of here called Hatchet Bay. Ken cut both pups’ toenails in the morning to assist with their mobility on deck. Cindy cleaned Mac’s ears. There was a small beautiful white beach just north of the anchorages, so we loaded up the animals and headed to shore. Man, the dogs do love to ride in the dinghy. We walked awhile on the beach, picked up a nice small piece of driftwood and then motored over to “Glass Window” a rock formation with a highway that crosses it/water. It was something to see. We dinghied along the shoreline, then back to MTB for a really peaceful evening. “Follow Me TV” was still not working, so a night of reading and early to bed once again.

02/08/08 Friday, departed Spanish Wells to Eleuthera’s west coast – As usual, we were up early, and listened to weather. Ken got online and bought the detailed charts of the Bahamas for our Garmin handheld GPS. We like redundancy for everything, and every eventuality. The anchor was up by 11:00 am. We went toward Current Island, southwest of Spanish Wells and through Current Cut, an opening between Eleuthera and Current Island that allows access to the west coast of Eleuthera and the Bight of Eleuthera (the sea). The “cut” was wild with a 4-6 knot current flying through that grabbed us and was heading us to rocks. Ken took us off autopilot and gunned the engines to higher RPMs than we have ever had them. He did great, holding tight and motoring us through this crazy passage. A local fisherman actually pulled in front of us and appeared to be showing us the way. He was a good double check to what Ken was seeing on our chart plotter. It was a wild ride but once through and around the point, all was calm again and we lost the ripping current. The rest of the way, we had really wonderful motor sail across the Bight of Eleuthera. It was gorgeous and calm….not another boat around. We went by the “Glass Window” which is a road that goes over a natural rock formation joining two parts of Eleuthera. It is beautiful and there is a castle just to the west up on shore, amazing. We went into the “lee” of Mutton Fish Point, a semi protected anchorage. The anchor was down by 3:30 pm, and we were the only boat for miles. As is custom, around 4: 00 pm, we enjoyed our “sundowners”….drinks to celebrate a safe and successful trip. Follow Me TV did not work here, which was nice, as we sat out in the cockpit long after dark and the peacefulness and stars were really enjoyed. After reading awhile, we were in bed by around 9:00 pm, such party animals. It was pitch dark in our berth.

02/07/08 Thursday, Spanish Wells, St. Georges Island
We moved up to sleep in the salon around 4 am, as waves were hitting our hulls from a funny direction, making a real racket. We were up again, as usual at 6:30 am to listen to the weather report. Seems some higher winds/cold front are coming by the weekend. So, we will need to move somewhere on Friday/Saturday to assure we have proper protection About 9:00 am, we went for a long dinghy ride with the pups and walked Russel Island’s (parallels St. Georges Island, with a harbor between the two) beach on the northwest end. At the end of our walk, skies were darkening and it was sprinkling, so we decided to go back to MTB. A motor vessel was coming toward us and we did our normal wave. But, they started motioning for us to come toward them. When we did, they asked if we were from Brunswick, as they were as well. They saw our hailing port on the back of the boat. Ed Radcliff was aboard and we found out that he was the Chaplain at the hospital until his retirement. Their boat was named “All’s Well”. They said they were going back to Brunswick on 02/28/08 after having spent three months in the Bahamas. Nice folks, small world. On our arrival back to MTB, we saw the Eleuthera Express supply ship come by around 11:30 am. It was squally, winds shifting and raining, so we had to wait awhile before going in again to fetch our package.

02/06/08 Wednesday, Spanish Wells, St. Georges Island – A typical day aboard (see below!) as anchorage was very choppy and winds were building and moving south (we had now S protection). So, we did not feel comfortable leaving the boat as we’re anchored not very far off a shoreline that is very rocky. We got our UPS tracking number from the UPS Store folks in Brunswick and then talked to Pinder's Supermarket about our package (on VHF radio). They talked to Nassau, then radioed us back that our package would be coming to Spanish Wells on the Eleuthera Express on Thursday. They were so nice. The only other vessel in the anchorage, catamaran Green Flash, decided the crashing was too much and he went into a mooring in the harbor. We stuck it out, and by the end of the day the winds and seas subsided. Bailey, the cat who’s been so been afraid of Mac since we got him, is coming up more from her berth, which is nice. Guess Mac is mellowing and Bailey is tired of being by herself. Now Annie is jealous, as Bailey is cutting into her “people time”. We watched American Idol and a little HGTV, called it a night.

02/05/08 Tuesday, Spanish Wells, St. Georges Island –
We are here waiting for our mail to come from the States on Thursday. Cindy thought it might be a good idea to give you readers a run down of a typical day aboard. We typically are up by 6:30 am to listen to Chris Parker/Caribbean Weather Center on the SSB radio. He gives a full report of what is and what is expected weather wise for the next week. He also answers specific questions from subscriber cruisers (i.e. we are in Nassau, want to go to Lucaya, what’s it look like?). He gives winds, sea levels, etc. While this is going on, Ken puts on the water for coffee in our French press and Cindy makes up the berth and washes the dishes from the prior day. Chris’ report lasts about an hour. Once done, the kitty litter boxes get cleaned, the dogs get fed (no, kitties aren’t starving, they have self feeders). Then, Ken and Cindy decide what’s for breakfast, either cooking or doing cereal. (today – homemade apple cinnamon muffins). Cindy updates logs, does emails and updates the website if WIFI available. She also does research concerning MTB’s next possible destination. This is done by reviewing paper and electronic charts and reading the 3-4 different “cruising guides” aboard. Ken checks/sends emails and listens to NPR on the SSB radio. If we motored the previous day, there is hot water available, so we shower early to enjoy the hottest water. Around 10:00 – 10:30 am it’s reading time, usually outside as the sun isn’t yet streaming into the cockpit and the morning breezes are pleasant. The VHF radio usually stays on the whole day. It’s like eavesdropping on everyone in the area. VHF is used like phones in the States…with everyone listening in. Before we know it, its noon, and time to decide what’s for lunch, usually sandwiches or leftovers. After lunch, if the dinghy is down and there is a good place, the dogs get to go for a ride and we all have a nice walk. It is funny, they have gotten so trained to “do their business” aboard, they usually walk the whole time without doing anything on shore. We always take our little pick up bags, but rarely need to use them. The pups often come back aboard and “do their business” out on the trampolines. This is fine, as we have a wash down hose always at the ready. The afternoon is spent doing boat jobs (there’s always something), a little cleaning and then more reading. Around 4:00-4:30 pm, it is “sundowner time”…sitting outside to watch boat arrivals, departures, the sunset (now about 6:00 pm), etc. Sometimes this is with other cruisers aboard MTB or we may have an invite to another boat. We always are back aboard just before dark and get our anchor light (at top of mast) illuminated. After sundowner time, we do dinner. Sometimes we cook inside and sometimes on the outside gas grill. After dinner/dark, we read inside until the main network shows come on around 8:00 pm. If there is something we want to watch, we power up the generator and the “follow me” satellite TV. We must run the generator to watch, as TV drains our stored power quickly. While the generator is on, we also charge our two computers, the cell phone and digital camera batteries. Typically, we are in bed by 10:00 pm unless there is something we want to watch later. Sometimes we actually set an alarm and snooze until the later show is on, like Leno so we don’t waste power in the interim. So, that’s a day in the life..…no stress (if good weather), just peaceful. If we are in a “town” area, we will go in each day, walk around, may eat there, and do anything necessary, such as laundry. Reading this, guess you might conclude…we’re bums.

02/04/08 – Monday, depart Royal Island – anchor was up at 9:30 am, headed for St. Georges Island and the town of Spanish Wells. We arrived and anchored S. of Russell Island, just around the corner from Spanish Wells around 10:55 am. We hadn’t put up the dinghy, just pulling Toby behind us for the short, six-mile trip. Once we were sure the anchor set well & the dogs were settled in ok, we took Toby into Spanish Wells. This is a very wealthy fishing town and the homes are large and well maintained. The harbor is full with a large fishing boat fleet. They were all immaculate, some of the best looking fishing vessels we have seen anywhere. We boated the length of the harbor, visiting the mooring area that was unbelievable. It was cramped and shallow, Catamarans/monohulls bow to stern with very little space in between. We were so thankful we decided not to do a mooring. Mac would have been walking from one Catamaran to the next and Dempsey would have been barking like crazy at the neighbors! We visited the Spanish Wells Yacht Basin, the only marina welcoming transients. It actually was ok and reasonable priced - $1 foot, $5 min day electric and .15 gallon for water. We got a map of the town from the car rental folks. No immigration officer here (bummer) so we couldn’t get an extension on our stay. Guess we’ll get that done in Nassau in March sometime. We are ok to stay through 04-08 as of now. We found ONE coin operated washer and looked for a public place to dump garbage. Lunch was a hoot as the locals in the place talked about everyone and everything they were doing. Cindy commented to them that folks couldn’t get by with much since it was a small town. They all laughed and agreed that everyone knew everyone’s business as soon as it happened. We found out where UPS delivers (Pinder’s Grocery for 1 ½ more weeks only) and called home to have our mail shipped by the UPS store. It should be here by Thursday on the ferry from Nassau. We toured a few stores, bought wheat Bahamian bread, went back to MTB and spent the evening aboard with the animals.

02/03/08 – Super Bowl Sunday, Royal Island / Happy Birthday Martha!!! This anchorage is truly great and we once again slept like babies due to no wind, flat seas. We slept in (6:40 a.m.) this day. Ken and Cindy figured when they retired, they’d stay up late, sleep in. Nope, the cruising life is more about early to bed and early rise – seems it just happens. Three sailboats left the anchorage this morning. Only one turned east, headed toward Spanish Wells. The good thing about Spanish Wells is that if it is too crowded, we’ll stay for a day, do our business and then head back to Royal Island or over to Current Island. The Current Cut is how we will access the sea off the west coast of Eleuthera, which is the next direction we will be heading. We made pancakes for breakfast, which was fun and yummy. Ken lamented that what he really wanted was a Bahamian cinnamon roll….ah, an addiction for sure. Spanish Wells has a bakery, thank goodness! We heard a sweet sounding bird chirping this morning. It made us reminisce about the five parrots at Green Turtle Cay. All five flew over MTB every morning and each evening. We tried a number of times to get their photos. We took the puppies to walk the island again today. Decided to follow the makeshift signs to the “Golf Course”. Our closest neighbor called the moorings folks this am and found that there were three spaces open. We may get to pick up a mooring tomorrow but if not we’ll just anchor out. We saw Oconee leave today. He’d been here the whole time since we arrived, and we didn’t realize it. We met him (Vick) in Cumberland on the trip down. He actually had happy hour with us there on MTB. About 11:00 am, Cindy netted a little squid and cut it for Ken to use as bait. Ken immediately caught two stripped fish. They were keeper size but still small, so we cut one up for bait, the other we froze intact for later bait use. Ken removed the cockpit cushions and hosed down the whole cockpit with a saltwater rinse. It is the only way we have found to get rid of Mac’s wire like black hairs. They are everywhere. If we keep cruising, guess the next dog has to be white! Watched the Super Bowl…with the generator running, as it was a long session of TV compared to normal. Sorry Gloria…hate it your PATS lost!

02/02/08 – Saturday – Royal Island – Happy Birthday, Beth Satterfield! We got up at 5:15 a.m. this morning (dogs thought us nuts) to see Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon all aligned and bright. The two planets were very close to each other in the sky and very visible at 5:30 am. And, the other stars were wonderful, too. We knew to get up and look, as we heard them speak of this on the Abaco Cruiser’s Net before our departure. Ken checked his celestial software (came with our telescope) on the laptop to confirm the position. We oo’d & ah’d…and then went back to bed! Once up again, after listening to weather reports, we decided to stay here until Monday. We will then probably move and anchor south of the town of Spanish Wells on St. Georges Cay. This is the Cay closest to the northwest end of Eleuthera. We need to do laundry; get online to check some banking related things, check emails and update the website; see if we can get Customs to extend our stay (we legal now only until 04/10/08); and get some groceries. We are out of Romaine lettuce (lasts the longest) and need (ah…want) more homemade Bahamian bread. We may be able to buy some fresh stone crabs/lobster, too, as Spanish Wells is a renowned fishing community. It is said that all the men leave in August and don’t return until after fishing season. We’ll see. The anchorage got more crowded late in the day. There were a total of 15 of us. Bailey is getting less afraid of Mac and has taken to coming up to the top of the stairs by the galley all by herself. This is historic progress by our old girl. She has been so wary of Mac for so many years. It had gotten to the point that she would hide in our downstairs garage/basement and only come up if we would go down and carry her up. Progress – who said you can’t teach old (16 years) kitties new tricks.

02/01/08 – Friday – Royal Island – It is so hard to believe another month has flown by, February already.
We awoke in this great anchorage to beautiful weather, and no wind/sea chop. Royal Island is a crescent shaped island with protection from Atlantic side winds and is closed on the east/west ends. It reminds one of an atoll, with just a small opening at the South entrance. It currently is an uninhabited island, but development is in progress (slow of course – it’s the islands, mon!). We saw the ferry bring workers in the morning, picking them up at dusk. When we sailed toward the island on our way here, we saw a new beach & clubhouse type structure on the western (non Atlantic) end of the island. Royal Island is in between Egg Island and Russell Island/Spanish Wells, just west of the large island of Eleuthera. Where we anchored on arrival offered little protection from the south/south west, as we couldn’t pull way in, due to other anchored vessels. We figured we’d move further into the east area whenever someone in front of us left. We anchored off the ruins (rock walls, etc.) of a former estate. The all rock main house and out buildings indicate it was an amazing place in years past. Cindy wants to renovate…look at that potential! We took the pups to shore and walked through the ruins, down the island road, to the Atlantic side beach. We met a couple from the sailboat next to us on the road. They are from New Zealand and she had to leave Saturday from Spanish Wells to go home. She said school starts on Monday. They were traveling with 3 of the other boats anchored around us. So, we hoped they would all pull out on Saturday, giving us our pick of position in the anchorage. There is no WIFI here but there is in Spanish Wells, our next stop on the next island over. But, we have SSB radio email, Nassau radio stations, our VHF weather and TV. So, we feel pretty well covered with news/weather, etc. Even though we are nearly 100 miles away, today we heard (on VHF) the Green Turtle Club office calling Wesley/Justin on the dock there…they must have a really good radio! We had three good meals this day, including steak and mashed potatoes for dinner. Seems Cindy cooks more with calm seas/winds – easier to move around the galley!

01/31/08 Thursday – departed Lynyard Cay, for Royal Island, west of Eleuthera -We left our peaceful anchorage with our sails up about 8:00 am ready to go. The trip planned was about 50-60 miles of Atlantic Ocean traversing, so we knew we’d have to hustle to make Royal Island and anchor before dark. Winds were really variable – 8-18 knots through the day but mostly from the South, which didn’t help us, go south. We tried sailing until about 2:30 pm, then dropped the sails and just motored as fast as we could. We didn’t want to be heading into an area with reefs, narrow cuts, and an unfamiliar anchorage after dark. Earlier in the day, when the winds were the highest (of course), a Wahoo hit our trolling line. Ken reeled him in and got him to our port sugar scoop (stairs). Unfortunately, our line caught on the ladder bracket, cutting it and releasing the beautiful Wahoo. We’ve decided fishing is easy…landing the suckers, now that’s hard. We are 2 for 3 for the times we‘ve put out a trolling line. First – caught a Dolphin, line broke. Second (yesterday) didn’t get anything, and today…our Wahoo escapee. Bummer….lure budget is getting shot! Seas were rough today, 3-5 feet and choppy, we estimated. Waves were crashing and close together vs. the nice rollers we enjoy with large intervals (9 seconds or so!) in between. We emailed and text messaged friends/family to let them know we left the Abacos today and heading south. Cindy said goodbye and thanks on the Cruiser’s Net this a.m. Will be strange not to have the “Net” with us the rest of our trip. They do a great service for the cruising community in the Abacos. We pulled into the east anchorage on Royal Island approximately 5:15 pm, just made it before dark, thank goodness. Four sailboats were in this area with us and then another came in after dark (scary). We lit up all our house lights so there was no doubt to them where we were. We opened a nice bottle of champagne we failed to open at New Years. Had a nice “sundowner” or two. All in all, a very successful trip.

01/30/08 Wednesday - departed Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay for points south. Got up this day after a really peaceful sleep, ready to move. We talked about going a little South to Man O’ War Cay and/or Elbow Cay. Then we just figured we’d get underway and see where life took us. Well, we went all the way south to Lynyard Cay across the Sea of Abaco from “Little Harbor” on the far south end of Great Abaco Island. This is the jump off point to head across the Atlantic to the next section (central) of the Bahamas…Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, etc. The wind was on our nose the entire 24 mile trip so we had to motor, but it was still enjoyable. The water was crystal clear and we could see huge brown starfish dotting the bottom sand the whole way. This Cay (Lynyard) is virtually uninhabited so the stars and sky were beautiful overnight. We took the puppies for a walk on the Sea side beach and picked up some shells. As most of the Abaaco out islands, this Cay had beaches on the Sea of Abaco and the Atlantic. It felt really great to make progress toward the next section of our trip. Seems we had memorized every boat name in the Abacos due to hearing everyone call each other everyday on the VHF radio. So, it will be interesting to see how many of them we hear or run into in our continued journey. We had news today that Ken, Sr’s biopsy for a growth on his vocal cords was malignant. He will start a 4-6 week treatment plan very soon. These are the hard times not to be home. We know there is nothing much we could do, but just would like to be around for morale support. Take care Pop…we’re glad you caught this early, love you.

01/29/08 Tuesday – Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay –
After a very welcomed calm night, the morning was idyllic. We’d had such bad weather recently that the good weather is so very appreciated. Great Guana Cay used to have a cruise ship beach/channel on its north end. It was abandoned due to the surrounding seas just being too unpredictable. Now, a company has come in and is developing the place – Baker’s Bay. The Cousteau organization and others continue to protest this as there is a golf course planned. They say the chemical runoff from it will kill the reef off shore (3rd largest barrier reef in the world supposedly). But, the governor of the Bahamas has given carte blanche endorsement of the project, as it is to bring in Billions in investment. The AVERAGE home price is to be $4 million. The village/harbor further south, where we hung out, is more like a sleepy Abaco out island, peaceful and not very developed. The laundry is closed (bummer, no washing here)…. a waterfront hotel is closed and for sale (a beautiful place, with huge dock overlooking the harbor). So, the village proper is a little sad. There are some really beautiful cottages ashore, some rentals/others owner occupied. Fisher’s Bay is home to “Grabbers”, another Bahamian “institution” when it comes to bar/restaurants, like Nippers. They were reported to have the best Rueben in the Bahamas and Cindy was ready for one! Not sure it can compare to Karrie’s in Greenville, SC! Since it was so calm this day, Ken changed the oil in the generator.

01/28/08 Monday – Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay – aw, nice weather, nice seas, nice winds…A GREAT MORNING IN ABACO. Weather is supposed to be nice for the next couple of days, thankfully. Ken/Cindy were ready for some enjoyment time again and hopefully to sleep in their bed vs. the couch in the salon. We cooked a great breakfast of thick sliced bacon, eggs and English muffins, washed down with two French Press pots of coffee. Since we motored the previous day, the hot water heater was full which allowed for HOT showers this a.m. as well. Paloma and Pamonetti arrived in afternoon. We put down the dinghy and took pups for walk on the Atlantic side beach. Then, after they were back on board, we went into Grabber’s dock and walked through the village to Nippers. The ferry had just arrived and all the school children were getting off. Funny, they don’t ride busses here; they ride ferries to and from Marsh Harbor for school. Some had on uniforms, some not, and there were approximately 20 children. Parents on golf carts met most of the kids. Yes, a very different lifestyle from what our US kids are used to. We walked to the bar on the Atlantic side that is world famous. NIPPERS – had a couple frozen Nippers (whew!!) with the crews of Paloma and Pamonetti. Nice to catch up with these folks we met in December in Green Turtle Club. We rode back to the dock on our bay on the “Nip Mobile”…a golf cart. We went back on Toby to the boat before sunset (which was amazing over the Sea of Abaco). We had an amazing night’s sleep, as the water was flat and not moving at all. Heaven!

01/27/08 Sunday – Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana – awoke to almost rage type conditions with winds from the South/Southwest. We knew there would be little protection in this anchorage if the winds did truly build as forecast that way. But, the weather folks miss the forecasts so often, by so much…figured we’d see what happened. By mid morning the anchorage was not feasible, so we just pulled up anchor and motored about 4.5 miles across the Sea of Abaco to the East coast of Great Abaco Island. This gave us great protection along the shore from the South winds. Later in the afternoon, the winds clocked around as forecasted to the North. So, we pulled up our dinghy, Toby, and headed back to Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana which afforded some protection from N/NE winds. The winds were about 20 knots when we were pulling up the anchor and it was a real challenge. Cindy wore her foul weather gear (thanks Gayle/Tim) for the first time ever on this day. The winds made for a very rough sea, but on arrival, the anchorage was better. Luckily we stuck our anchor well the first try, let out about 100 feet of chain, attached the bridle and were ready to rock it out. The winds gusted to a high of 19 knots and it wasn’t an awful night. Although, once again, Ken (slept) and Cindy (dozed) in the salon. About 4:00 am, winds died to around 8 knots, and K&C thought about going down to the berth to sleep. But, decided why bother as it was, almost daylight and dogs would have woken and been restless.

01/26/08 Saturday – departure from Marsh Harbor, to Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay, an Abaco Out Island. Arrived Guana around 2:30 and anchored in Fisher’s Bay. We took puppies for a long exploratory walk of the place, having a nice long walk and dinghy ride. We found that the Laundromat that was here is now closed. So, the laundry will wait for another island stopover. We do have a combo washer/dryer aboard, but it does small loads and takes about two hours, while having to run the generator. It is good in a crunch, but we do laundry ashore when feasible. We had a beautiful sunset and full moon this night. It was really nice. It was so good to get our sails up again and to be out of Marsh Harbor.…motoring is just not as nice as the peaceful sounds when we are sailing. It just is so different and even the dogs seem to relax and enjoy it more. We slept in the salon to be close to the anchor alarm/instruments. Ken slept like a rock, Cindy on hyper alert, did not.

01/25/08 Friday, Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco – The cold front brought more mild weather than expected and winds were subsiding by noon. The weather guy on the local radio cracked us up in the morning as he was talking about the wind chill factor & the front. He told folks to be sure to put fowl weather jackets on their children as the classrooms are not heated….ah, its 72 degrees out! We caught up on emails this day and updated the website. Out Islands Inter.Net allows cruisers to log on and pay for WIFI by the week. We are paid up until 01-31-08. Winds were to kick up to 20 today…but as usual WRONG. We saw one or two gusts up to 17. Bailey got a long brushing this day and Cindy spent numerous unsuccessful hours trying to update the website…intermittent connection was a problem. We were going to do laundry ashore..then decided we’d do it somewhere nicer. We just have not enjoyed interacting with the folks here. So, decided to head to Great Guana Cay for a day or two in the a.m. Marsh Harbor was probably much nicer before it got so big and with so many cruisers, which has seemed to draw the beggars.

01/24/08 Thursday, Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco – Well, talk about funny. This a.m. Bill on Camanquista came over and needed help. His starting battery was dead. So Ken pulled out a starting battery from MTB, put it in Bill’s dinghy and off they went. Camanquista got their engines started just fine. Funny…they helped us yesterday and we were so glad to be able to help them today. They pulled out in the afternoon headed for Hope Town. We visited the hardware, liquor, bakery and grocery stores. We bought a few provisions and headed to the boat as the afternoon was to bring a cold front with high clocking winds. The door on our refrigerator has been sticking so Ken installed an additional door pull to help. This will make Cindy curse less aboard, a good boat job. After cutting Dempsey’s nails, we took the puppies to an out island for a long walk and picked up a beautiful conch shell. On our return we just waited for winds that didn’t come. During the night, though, winds did finally build and our anchor alarm went off a number of times. This was only due to our swinging motion, not due to the anchor dragging. We’ve decided we are not Marsh Harbor fans. It is crowded, the harbor full, store clerks crotchety (mostly old Americans/probably former cruisers who forgot to leave), and beggars hit us a couple times. Nope, when the weather window is good and the laundry is done…we are out of here. We heard someone blowing a conch shell at sundown…reminded us of little Victoria on Green Turtle Cay.

01/23/08 Wednesday, Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco – We hustled into Corner Value and left our two ten pound gas tanks and bought one additional twenty pound LP gas tank. With 40 pounds of LP gas newly on board, we would be good for the rest of our trip. We also went to the local bank, the grocery store (Maxwell’s – great) hardware and bakery. Later in the day, the anchor felt wrong somehow and it seemed we were moving after a dredge barge came by and churned up the water around us. We had already thought about moving to another spot to get out of the way of the dredge barge. So, we decided to pull up anchor and in doing so, the power windless started to strain unnaturally. Cindy looked down and was shocked to see our anchor/chain wrapped 360 degrees around a “dock”….literally a huge approximately 25’ submerged piling & brace complete with projecting bolts, etc. Now, picture this huge thing in the middle of our two hulls, with our anchor totally jammed into it and the chain wrapped around 360 degrees. Ah, that’s not good. Ken took the dinghy over to the boat next to us and got “Bill” to come help. Bill said he had this happen to him before (yeah, qualified help) and was very good in knowing what would work. He and Ken worked under the trampolines with Cindy above on deck. Now remember, during all this MTB was drifting, no anchor down, among boats with a dredge barge trying to go by. Thankfully it was daylight, low wind and calm seas. Ken wrapped a line around the piling to take the weight off the anchor chain. He got the anchor loose and Bill from Gamanguista helped Cindy release the line and drop the piling, which sunk again. Ken then motored MTB to another anchor spot & Cindy once again dropped anchor. Bill invited us to his boat for happy hour. He and Bonnie were great. Bill was the right guy, right place at the right time. There is a boat God.

01/22/08 Tuesday, departed Treasure Cay for Marsh Harbor – pulled up anchor about 10 a.m. We had to get our LP gas tanks (grill/stove/oven) filled and Marsh Harbor was the place to get that done. It felt great to get the anchor up, as well as the sails. We arrived in Marsh Harbor around 2:30 pm. The harbor anchorage is large, but also PACKED with boats everywhere and lots of traffic – ferries, etc. Well, we picked a place and put down our anchor. We put down the dinghy and took the dogs to shore for a walk. We had a great night with no wind and calm waters, so we slept really well. Ken turned on the IPOD tunes and randomly the first song up was “Safe and Sound”….talk about coincidence.

01/19/08 through 01/21/08 Saturday, Sunday, Monday – Treasure Cay – Well, the bad weather and multiple cold fronts hit and the winds swirled and gusted with a vengeance. Our two anchor alarms were set all day each day through this time. And, the VHF radio was on all night. The radio is used for calls between boats in anchorages if someone drags their anchor. Folks hail each other in theses situations, attempting to minimize “crashes” into one another. All the boats here with us stayed hunkered down as we did so we all know each other’s boat call name. We all did great through the first nights of high winds (Fri/Sat). Then, Charlie/Wingspread drug anchor on Sunday when the winds switched totally around. He pulled it up, re-located and re-anchored. On Monday, around 11 a.m., our anchor alarm went off and we realized we were loose. It was very subtle and almost not noticeable…thank goodness for the alarm. We had no one behind us, so luckily just started up both engines, and pulled up our anchor. We took a ride through the anchorage to see if there was a space we liked better. We preferred our original location and went back and reset the anchor. Of course, we also set the anchor alarms again. A beep sounds if MTB moves more than a specified amount of feet. It’s a love/hate thing when it goes off. You love knowing it helps keep you out of trouble. But, you hate it when it goes off as it strikes fear in your heart! Cindy has come to hate anything that beeps aboard. This was the first time MTB has ever drug anchor. It wasn’t too bad since it was daylight. Although, Cindy is not too keen about dragging anchor in pitch dark. Through these days, the winds reached 20-22 knots, high in a protected harbor. We heard reports of true winds outside of 40+ knots – gale force. It also was rainy and cold. So, all in all, just good for reading. Luckily, on Sunday, we had good football games to watch as well, with the Division playoff games. We ran out of LP gas on Sunday, the holding tank in our head is full (have two others luckily), the dogs are restless, and on Monday, we ate the last of Florence’s cinnamon rolls. Its time to move onto Marsh Harbor ASAP to empty our holding tanks, and get the LP gas tanks filled. Rum Tum Tiger arrived Friday in the Berry Islands/Chubb Cay. On Saturday pm, he saw a catamaran in high seas with full sails out, thrown crashing in the air. The boat lost its mast/sails, just outside his anchorage. The Manta Catamaran and crew were ok with slight damage to the boat. But, of course, they motored into the anchorage without a mast/sails. So, we are glad we just sit out bad weather…no sense at all to be out there in it. Bad things can happen.

01/14/08 to 01/18/08 Monday through Friday, Treasure Cay, Great Abaco, Bahamas – Back to back (3-4) cold fronts were to come through with high north winds, etc for another week or so. So, we were just happy being lazy in the wonderful quiet Treasure Cay anchorage. No schedule, no need to move. Cindy remembered something she wants to make sure was posted. On “Mariah” in the GT Club marina with parents Nikki/Larry and sister Serena, there lived a sweet 9 year old named Victoria. She would blow her conch shell each night at sunset. We are missing her and the tradition now that we are without it. We sure wish we had told her how much her entertainment was enjoyed each day. We may need to start the same traditions when we are back on shore. Victoria’s been board their sailboat for years, home schooled. We found her to be so self assured and a bright young lady who never met a stranger. While in Treasure, we explored the “fingers” (canals) around the marina area by dinghy. We found a small island to let the dogs run without their leashes. There was an obscure and beautiful creek to explore in the dinghy. Mostly we saw clear water and mangroves. But, we also spotted herons, a huge sting ray, and beautiful sandy bottom. Cinnamon rolls continued to be a ritual, from Florence’s…yes an addiction. “Peace” arrived on Wednesday with Ann/Neville aboard. We’ve been following each other around since we met them on Cumberland Island, GA in November. We just explored around the area, ate, read and played with the animals. Paloma and White Wave II, from Annapolis arrived on Friday. But, Cindy was suffering a really sick stomach from fresh coconut/coconut water so didn’t get to see them.

01/11 and 1/12/08 Friday/Saturday – Treasure Cay – This quiet anchorage was such a pleasure. There are fishing boats that come and go through the day, but not much else. New arrivals and departures are fun to watch early and late in the day. We took our sweet pups into shore and went for a long walk on back roads around Treasure Cay Marina. It was good for all of us. They love to ride in the dinghy. When other folks come to MTB to visit us…the dogs think they are going to get a ride somewhere. We have to be careful when folks arrive, as our two dogs try to jump on visitor’s dingihes, ready to go. Bill on Blue Rondo and Roger on Agassiz came by to visit and see MTB’s layout. Bill used to Capt for Moorings charters so knew about charter Leopards, wanted to see an owners’ version. We went to the beach, toured the area and still couldn’t believe the irony of being back after vacationing here with Jessica about 13-15 years ago. We visited the beach and the bakery. The cold front that was anticipated is diminishing, but another one to follow. We are happy as clams, just hanging here until we know we have a good weather window to go to Great Guana Cay, where we think we are headed next.

01/10/08 Thursday, Treasure Cay anchorage – We woke early after a wonderful sound sleep…no wake, no rocking, no people noises during the night. What a great anchorage. We buttered the tops of our Bakery cinnamon rolls and put them under the broiler! Yummy. The Cruiser’s Net was entertaining this am, as usual. One guy called and gave a report on the “Big Briney” – the seas off of Little Harbour, south of here. Cruisers do tend to be funny folks. There is a cold front and a little bad weather headed from Florida in the next few days. So we just planned to stay a few days in Treasure Cay to allow it to pass. All these “islands” are called “Cays” (pronounced KEY) and until today we did not know why. Today’s answer to the trivia question on Cruiser’s Net explained that Cays are “islands” with no fresh water. We learn something new every day. The huge supply barge we had seen in New Plymouth came in the channel/by the anchorage today. We couldn’t believe they could make it in. Of course they were in and out fast, at high tide. We still are amazed how well all our animals are doing aboard. It is hard to describe the contentment they exude daily, almost like they are smiling! They make cruising a little more challenging but the fun and love they share with us each day are well worth the effort. We found Out Islands WIFI today – two weeks service for $80. Its convenient and cheaper than cell phone calls back to the states, so we signed up. This service is supposed to work throughout the anchorages we have plans to visit in the next couple of weeks. So far, so good. Our Beneteau club friends arrived in the afternoon. Another thing about this life that is such fun is when we re-connect with a boat/folks met somewhere else. The Beneteau group we met in Green Turtle (Paloma, White Wave, Pamonetti) let us know they were doing happy hour at the Tipsy Seagull at 4:30 pm. We joined them and had a good time catching up. They all had plans to pull out for other places by Saturday.

01/09/08 Wednesday, departed New Plymouth, around “THE WHALE” to Treasure Cay. To get around Whale Cay and over to Treasure Cay from the North, one must go through a rocky, narrow ocean cut that is often in a “rage” state. We listened to all sources concerning the viability of getting through the infamous “Whale” and decided that this day or Thursday would probably be when we should go. When there are two-day windows, we make it a practice to go with the first to maximize our chances. So, up anchor around 10:30 am and off we went. The reports from other boats were that it would be rough and an “uncomfortable” passage. But, not on Meant To Be, she did great and we had a great ride. We regretted we were so cautious, having decided to motor vs. sail the leg into Treasure Cay. We arrived at Treasure Cay at low tide. It was actually helpful to know our anchor spot would be a good one. We came through the channel, picked our spot in the anchorage and couldn’t believe we were back after vacationing here over 13 years prior. We immediately were welcomed by a huge sea turtle who poked his head up by MTB. We think the local Chamber sent him. We put the dinghy down and went to shore for happy hour once again at the Tipsy Seagull. First we shopped, restocked the important stuff, butterscotch schnapps and homemade Bahamian bread and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The grocery store is now huge with great prices, there is a laundry, hardware store and BAKERY!!! But, in going back by the bar, we found that happy hour was discontinued. We met to guys (Conner/Timothy) who have been coming here with their family fro 34 years. They too missed the happy hour but said it was stopped a few years ago. We went by our friends’ condo where we vacationed years ago. But, we didn’t’ see Jim/Stephanie Newman sitting on the porch…that would have been too too cool if they were here. Pamonetti and White Wave, Annapolis buds we met in Green Turtle pulled in after us.

01/08/08 Tuesday, departed Green Turtle Cay – When Ken went to the office to pay MTB’s sizeable marina bill, Cindy realized he hadn’t taken the restroom keys ($40 deposit). So, when Cindy headed to the office, the dogs found a way to jump off MTB to the dock (had not happened the whole trip). They saw Bob’s dog Scout and got excited. Cindy saw the commotion and ran back to the Dock. She got there just in time to catch the little darlings at the end, before they hit land. When Ken returned, Cindy was sitting on the dock holding the collars of the bad dogs! We pulled away from the dock around 10:30 am and pulled around to the gas dock. Justin helped get us topped off with another 55.6 gallons of diesel. Once done, we pulled out, went through the White Sound channel, meeting a powerboat that was good enough to move over and let us pass. We motored over to Settlement Point off of New Plymouth, a wonderful little village we have come to love. We spent a great night at anchor and the puppies seemed happy to be off the dock (no longer “shushed” as people go by). We realized that we also prefer being at anchor (in good weather of course). The night skies are beautiful, the rocking motion of the current/wind is peaceful. We had a great night. We want to reflect - our time at Green Turtle Club – the staff was so kind and helpful. Renee in the restaurant, Debbie in the bar, Manager Molly, Justin/Wesley on the dock…everyone was great. We love the mentality of this Island. The locals are nice, kind, open and accepting of everyone whether a local or a tourist. By the time we left this day, we felt as if we were locals.

01/04/08, 05, 06, 07 Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday – Green Turtle Cay – Well, the holidays are over and most everyone has left or is preparing to leave. We went and bought Tshirts from Brendal’s & GTClub. We filled the water tanks and battened down in anticipation of pulling out of marina. We said our goodbyes and took some last pictures. Bob (Scout’s dad and Jeane’s husband) came back to his boat Shin Ay on Saturday. Jeane is in a hospital in Jupiter, Fl after her fall at our dock, resulting bad broken arm. She had plates added in surgery she will keep for several years. Scout was very happy to see his Dad, though Linda/Rick took very good care of him. Bob was looking for crew and got dock helper, Wesley, to help him take the boat back to Florida. We figured it would be sold…but Jeane is a trouper and wants to go and spend time in Key West. Folks in the club tell us that from now until February/March it will be very quiet in White Sound and at the Green Turtle Club. We have been catching up on our food budget…eating crabs and lobsters each night as we are behind in our spending. We need to average $63 a day (offset to daily dockage) so playing a little catch up. Cindy ran into Brendal from the dive shop on Saturday and he said he hopes to get us out with him and the locals before we leave. He said he’d come by one night if he was going to town. Last time we went, spent the whole next day in recovery! The 120’ Andrea Cay left in the a.m. on Sunday. We will pay close attention to all Monday’s weather pontificators to assure that a Tuesday departure is appropriate. Monday night we will be in the club watching the BCS National Championship game with whoever may be around. Even if the “Whale” (squirrelly passage we go through on our next leg south) is not ok, we’ll still pull out. We’d just anchor off Settlement Point/New Plymouth township until the Whale passage was settled down.

01/03/08 Green Turtle Cay – A cold front from Florida came through yesterday/last night. Today is 65 degrees with winds 20-25 knots, gusting to gale force. No one is moving around the Abacos today, according to the “Cruisers Net”. The net is on our VHF radio, channel 68, every morning at 8:30 a.m. They do a great job with the weather, local announcements, hooking friends back up with one another, new arrivals, etc. It truly is a great service to cruisers and always fun to listen in. Today they reported a couple dinghy thefts. It is good to know these things. Crime is low here and everyone knows everything about what is going on all the islands. Typically it is bad guy/outsiders who do bad things, not the locals. The locals are honest, hard working, fun loving and kind people. We have seen this repeatedly.

01/25/08 Friday, Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco – The cold front brought more mild weather than expected and winds were subsiding by noon. The weather guy on the local radio cracked us up in the morning as he was talking about the wind chill factor & the front. He told folks to be sure to put fowl weather jackets on their children as the classrooms are not heated….ah, its 72 degrees out! We caught up on emails this day and updated the website. Out Islands Inter.Net allows cruisers to log on and pay for WIFI by the week. We are paid up until 01-31-08. Winds were to kick up to 20 today…but as usual WRONG. We saw one or two gusts up to 17. Bailey got a long brushing this day and Cindy spent numerous unsuccessful hours trying to update the website…interemittent connection was a problem. We going to do laundry ashore..then decided we’d do it somewhere nicer. We just didn't enjoy interacting with the folks here. So, decided to head to Great Guana Cay for a day or two in the a.m. Marsh Harbor was probably much nicer before it got so big and with so many cruisers, which has seemed to draw the beggars.

01/24/08 Thursday, Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco – Well, talk about funny. This a.m. Bill on Camanquista came over and needed help. His starting battery was dead. So Ken pulled out a starting battery from MTB, put it in Bill’s dinghy and off they went. Camanquista got their engines started just fine. Funny…they helped us yesterday and we were so glad to be able to help them today. They pulled out in the afternoon headed for Hope Town. We visited the hardware, liquor, bakery and grocery stores. We bought a few provisions and headed to the boat as the afternoon was to bring a cold front with high clocking winds. The door on our refrigerator has been sticking so Ken installed an additional door pull to help. This will make Cindy curse less aboard, a good boat job. After cutting Dempsey’s nails, we took the puppies to an out island for a long walk and picked up a beautiful conch shell. On our return we just waited for winds that didn’t come. During the night, though, winds did finally build and our anchor alarm went off a number of times. This was only due to our swinging motion, not due to the anchor dragging. We’ve decided we are not Marsh Harbor fans. It is crowded, the harbor full, store clerks crotchety (mostly old Americans/probably former cruisers who forgot to leave), and beggars hit us a couple times. Nope, when the weather window is good and the laundry is done…we are out of here. We heard someone blowing a conch shell at sundown…reminded us of little Victoria on Green Turtle Cay.

01/23/08 Wednesday, Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco – We hustled into Corner Value and left our two ten pound gas tanks and bought one additional twenty pound LP gas tank. With 40 pounds of LP gas newly on board, we would be good for the rest of our trip. We also went to the local bank, the grocery store (Maxwell’s – great) hardware and bakery. Later in the day, the anchor felt wrong somehow and it seemed we were moving after a dredge barge came by and churned up the water around us. We had already thought about moving to another spot to get out of the way of the dredge barge. So, we decided to pull up anchor and in doing so, the power windless started to strain unnaturally. Cindy looked down and was shocked to see our anchor/chain wrapped 360 degrees around a “dock”….literally a huge approximately 25’ submerged piling & brace complete with projecting bolts, etc. Now, picture this huge thing in the middle of our two hulls, with our anchor totally jammed into it and the chain wrapped around 360 degrees. Ah, that’s not good. Ken took the dinghy over to the boat next to us and got “Bill” to come help. Bill said he had this happen to him before (yeah, qualified help) and was very good in knowing what would work. He and Ken worked under the trampolines with Cindy above on deck. Now remember, during all this MTB was drifting, no anchor down, among boats with a dredge barge trying to go by. Thankfully it was daylight, low wind and calm seas. Ken wrapped a line around the piling to take the weight off the anchor chain. He got the anchor loose and Bill from Gamanguista helped Cindy release the line and drop the piling, which sunk again. Ken then motored MTB to another anchor spot & Cindy once again dropped anchor. Bill invited us to his boat for happy hour. He and Bonnie were great. Bill was the right guy, right place at the right time. There is a boat God.

01/22/08 Tuesday, departed Treasure Cay for Marsh Harbor – pulled up anchor about 10 a.m. We had to get our LP gas tanks (grill/stove/oven) filled and Marsh Harbor was the place to get that done. It felt great to get the anchor up, as well as the sails. We arrived in Marsh Harbor around 2:30 pm. The harbor anchorage is large, but also PACKED with boats everywhere and lots of traffic – ferries, etc. Well, we picked a place and put down our anchor. We put down the dinghy and took the dogs to shore for a walk. We had a great night with no wind and calm waters, so we slept really well. Ken turned on the IPOD tunes and randomly the first song up was “Safe and Sound”….talk about coincidence.

01/19/08 through 01/21/08 Saturday, Sunday, Monday – Treasure Cay – Well, the bad weather and multiple cold fronts hit and the winds swirled and gusted with a vengeance. Our two anchor alarms were set all day each day through this time. And, the VHF radio was on all night. The radio is used for calls between boats in anchorages if somone drags their anchor. Folks hail each other in theses situations, attempting to minimize “crashes” into one another. All the boats here with us stayed hunkered down as we did so we all know each other’s boat call name. We all did great through the first nights of high winds (Fri/Sat). Then, Charlie/Wingspread drug anchor on Sunday when the winds switched totally around. He pulled it up, re-located and re-anchored. On Monday, around 11 a.m., our anchor alarm went off and we realized we were loose. It was very subtle and almost not noticeable…thank goodness for the alarm. We had no one behind us, so luckily just started up both engines, and pulled up our anchor. We took a ride through the anchorage to see if there was a space we liked better. We preferred our original location and went back and reset the anchor. Of course, we also set the anchor alarms again. A beep sounds if MTB moves more than a specified amount of feet. It’s a love/hate thing when it goes off. You love knowing it helps keep you out of trouble. But, you hate it when it goes off as it strikes fear in your heart! Cindy has come to hate anything that beeps aboard. This was the first time MTB has ever drug anchor. It wasn’t too bad since it was daylight. Although, Cindy is not too keen about dragging anchor in pitch dark. Through these days, the winds reached 20-22 knots, high in a protected harbor. We heard reports of true winds outside of 40+ knots – gale force. It also was rainy and cold. So, all in all, just good for reading. Luckily, on Sunday, we had good football games to watch as well, with the Division playoff games. We ran out of LP gas on Sunday, the holding tank in our head is full (have two others luckily), the dogs are restless, and on Monday, we ate the last of Florence’s cinnamon rolls. Its time to move onto Marsh Harbour asap to empty our holding tanks, nd get the LP gas tanks filled. Rum Tum Tiger arrived Friday in the Berry Islands/Chubb Cay. On Saturday pm, he saw a catamaran in high seas with full sails out, thrown crashing in the air. The boat lost its mast/sails, just outside his anchorage. The Manta Catamaran and crew were ok with slight damage to the boat,. But, of course, they motored into the anchorage without a mast/sails. So, we are glad we just sit out bad weather…no sense at all to be out there in it. Bad things can happen.

01/14/08 to 01/18/08 Monday through Friday, Treasure Cay, Great Abaco, Bahamas – Back to back (3-4) cold fronts were to come through with high north winds, etc for another week or so. So, we were just happy being lazy in the wonderful quiet Treasure Cay anchorage. No schedule, no need to move. Cindy remembered something she wants to make sure was posted. On “Mariah” in the GT Club marina with parents Nikki/Larry and sister Serena, there lived a sweet 9 year old named Victoria. She would blow her conch shell each night at sunset. We are missing her and the tradition now that we are without it. We sure wish we had told her how much her entertainment was enjoyed each day. We may need to start the same traditions when we are back on shore. Victoria’s been board their sailboat for years, home schooled. We found her to be so self assured and a bright young lady who never met a stranger. While in Treasure, we explored the “fingers” (canals) around the marina area by dinghy. We found a small island to let the dogs run without their leashes. There was an obscure and beautiful creek to explore in the dinghy. Mostly we saw clear water and mangroves. But, we also spotted herons, a huge sting ray, a beautiful sandy bottom. Cinnamon rolls continued to be a ritual, from Florence’s…yes an addiction. “Peace” arrived on Wednesday with Ann/Neville aboard. We’ve been following each other around since we met them on Cumberland Island, GA in November. We just explored around the area, ate, read and played with the animals. Paloma and White Wave II, from Annapolis arrived on Friday. But, Cindy was suffering a really sick stomach from fresh coconut/coconut water so didn’t get to see them.

01/13/08 Sunday, Treasure Cay, Great Abaco, Bahamas.
As is our habit,w e tuned into the VHF – channel 68 for “Cruisers’ Net” in the morning. The moderator made a profound announcement - "I am going to stop drinking for 30 days…though €€€it may take 60 days or so to do it"! And, relative to the morning’s trivia question he said "use your noodle, not your Google". We put one of our bakery cinnamon rolls under the broiler, buttered for breakfast …oh are they good. Yesterday’s new neighbor, anchored VERY close to us - Liser, a chartered 46’ Moorings catamaran left early. We were relieved as we worried our dogs would bark at them all day due to their closeness. We talked with Jess/Audrey on the computer and listened to old messages on our cell phone. Audrey left a message on Cindy’s birthday (01-02-08) we finally heard. She sang happy birthday to Gammy but then “you look like a monkey, and smell like one, too”. So sweet, cute and funny. She is so terribly missed by all of us…even her puppies/kitties. We did some emailing since we joined Out Islands Inter.Net, temporarily. We had access out in the anchorage, which was great. One of two cold fronts from Florida was to arrive this day and the weather was to change dramatically from blue/sunny, 77 degrees, to cold, windy, rainy. Hence, the reason we were hunkered down in yet another beautiful and protected place. The three mile white beach here is amazing. The locals are still friendly but not as open, welcoming and happy to see tourists as our previous visit. Guess 13-15 years of tourism have passed since then and they have become weary of serving the general public, as it can often be frustrating

01/02/08 Green Turtle Cay – Happy birthday to Cindy!! Cindy got up and had her picture made opening her card and gift from dear friend, Judy McBrearty. She received a few emails and ecards to celebrate her birthday (thanks everyone). We heard that Jeane/Bob (woman that fell last night)) were in Nassau and he plans to hire a Captain to take his boat back to the US. Their little Westie, Scout, was left on another boat here with friends Rick/Linda. They said that he seemed lost without his parents which is sad for the little fellow. A big cold front came in today with high winds. We are so glad to be at the dock. We went in to the restaurant for lunch.

01/01/08 Green Turtle Cay – We hitch hiked into New Plymouth (about 3 miles from marina) after taking the dogs for a long walk. A nice local mom/daughter picked us up on their golf cart. Makayla is 5 years old and we actually met her earlier around the club. She’s such a cute girl. Her mom took us all the way into town. We enjoyed such a wonderful Junkanoo experience…our first. The costumes, drums, music, parade, food were all wonderful. We hitch hiked back and a nice lady who lives on the Island brought us all the ways back. She and her husband were building their dream retirement home here, when he passed away six months ago, suddenly. But, she is a wonderful, independent woman, who came to live here in the house and finish it on her own. Lana Williams is her name and she is an inspiration, amazing woman. We meet the nicest folks in the strangest of ways. We had appetizers in the bar. One woman left (Jeane) and later, someone on the dock came in to find her husband….Jeane accidently fell in between the dock/boat at low low tide. She probably fell 10-15 feet, really hurt her arm and they had to extract her to Nassau. This couple wasn't enjoying this cruising lifestyle, so suspect they won’t get back onto their sailboat.

12/31/07 Green Turtle Cay,. We saw Gary/Terri off on the Ferry this morning. They left us magazines and wine, so thoughtful. We took the dinghy to New Plymouth to see if we could get LP filled (nope!). We made an appetizer (spinach/broccoli/black olive dip) for the boaters‘ gathering at Brendal’s Dive Shop and attended from 4-6 pm..nice time. We watched some of our Bowl games (USF / FSU both lost!). We were in bed early, but Cindy had to get back up to calm animals from 11:30 pm to 12:30 pm…due to the fireworks and loud, loud music from club’s party. Even Annie was stressed, think Bailey slept through it! While calming the dogs, Cindy watched fireworks, while listening to Ken’s ZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s!

12/30/07 Green Turtle Club, Abaco, Bahamas - Mac seems to be doing fine…must have allergies, causing his sneezes! We saw Barbara and Peter off on the ferry this a.m. They were such nice folks…hope to stay in touch. They were going to fly their plane from Treasure Cay to Ft. Pierce, clear customs and then go further north. There are boats/folks coming and going today. Adios arrived next to us…big boat. We finally got our mail from Brunswick, just showed up today. We had drinks in the club with Terri/Gary, Nikki/Victoria/Larry, Ron/Shelley. We ate outside this night and both had Lobster dinners. We watched Alabama’s Bowl game. We spoke with Jess/Audrey and they are home to Greer, safe and sound after a great trip with Brian/Morgan to Chicago.

12/29/07 Got up and at it, giving the boat a good cleaning and straightening. We had lunch at club and did laundry. We invited Terri/Gary from Detroit to come visit MTB. Afterward, we joined them and Peter/Barbara in bar for cocktails/appetizers. We went back to the boat, watched Giants/New England (16-0)...go Gloria! and listened to Gully Roosters on the patio.

12/28/07 Green Turtle Club, Abaco - Barbara/Peter, both pilots from Greenwich Village, NYC joined us for breakfast. She has an advertising firm working with the entertainment industry and he is an attorney who works with construction industry. We received a Christmas card from Nancy/Bruce this a.m. Molly came calling down the dock….”hello Millers, hello Millers, hello Millers, you’ve got mail!”. We checked on our UPS box of mail from Brunswick, with Molly's (GTC office") help. It is supposed to catch up with us by next Wednesday. We spent about three hours reading at the pool. Cindy bought a palm frawn bunny from "Hatman" for Audrey. He is going to make a basket holder for our pyrex casserole dish. He makes amazing hats, etc. and is quite an individual, friends with Jimmy Johnson’s family. We went in for free appetizers and sat with Gary/Terry from Michigan for drinks. Barbara/Peter joined us before they went into dinner, as well. Mac started sneezing wildly, so hard that he was banging his nose on the deck. We are hoping this doesn’t turn out to be an ongoing problem.

12/27/07 L Green Turtle Club, Abaco, Bahamas - Today we sadly received an email from Linda Knorr that Jim passed away on 12-23-07. Billy emailed to let us know as well. So sad so sad. Ed and Pam on “Pamonetti” left today heading toward Manjack Cay. We hope we catch up again somewhere. They have two kitties aboard. We treated ourselves to Stone Crabs again in the restaurant - amazing. Midday, we took a really long walk with the dogs along the Beach. Gary/Terri from Michigan offered us a golf cart ride and it looked as if Dempsey wanted to go with them....he’s old, hates to go on marathon walks! The Bahama’s #1 band, the Gully Roosters played on the patio from 9 to midnight. We laid out on the boat cockpit and listened. They were fun. A 90' yacht went aground in the channel, but high tide got them to our dock – “Andrea Cay” from Baltimore. “Dolce” the power boat next to us left today.

12/26/07 Boxing Day, Wednesday, Green Turtle Cay – This morning we slept late, about 7:30 am, then got up and listened to the Abaco Cruiser’s Net on VHF channel 68 (weather, announcements, friends reporting in, etc.). The “Whale” was reported to be passable today, so we went out and helped with David/Myrna's lines and said goodbye to “Paloma”. These are folks from Annapolis who we met here. We sure enjoyed their company and feel like they will be lifetime friends. They decided yesterday that if the Whale was passable, they would leave this am. The “Whale” is a cut to the Atlantic in between Green Turtle and Great Guana Cay. It frequently is in a “rage” condition with large, crashing waves even when the Sea of Abaco is calm. A boat came in Christmas Eve that had an awful “Whale” experience, lost their dinghy, etc. So, cautious cruisers (like us!) are very respectful. We caught up on emails and Ken did CPEs (continuing education hours for his CPA) work. He does it online, but has to have 40 hours turned in by 01-02-2008 to keep his CPA certificate current. You never know when we may run out of money and have to go back to work!! It was overcast all morning, 78 degrees at 11:45 am. A new sailboat came onto our dock this a.m. with a stressed out crew. They drug their anchor a long way in the anchorage in here in White Sound last night, but luckily they didn’t hit anyone. But, they were rattled enough to come into a slip first thing this morning. About noon, a seaplane landed out in White Sound and taxied into the marina are, beached themselves on the white sand in front of the restaurant. It was just another interesting thing to see/watch here from our boat/window on the world. It is something new everyday. We had snacks/drinks on “Pamonetti” and in the club with Pam & Ed.

12/25/07 Christmas Day – Green Turtle Cay – It was an overcast day with 20% chance of rain. We got up and opened our one present under the tree from Judy Mc (THANKS JUDY). Our mail is stalled in Nassau due to a delay just before the weekend. It was nice to have Judy’s beautiful Christmas card to set on our table, as well. We enjoyed Christmas breakfast in the restaurant. We had video conferences with Ken, Sr. in Vidalia, GA, and Jessica in Chicago. Chicago was getting snow…and Jess was missing family. After breakfast, Cindy cut up a pan of fudge and took it to the restaurant staff and then finished making her Chicken/broccoli casserole for the potluck luncheon. It is held annually behind Brendl's dive shop for all who want to come, mostly boaters. We can see this becoming an annual tradition. It was raining until about 12:45 pm and, the luncheon was scheduled for 1:00 pm. But, it cleared off and the sun brought a rainbow. So, the food line formed and we all were stuffing ourselves by 1:30 pm. It was such fun, an eclectic group of people and food. Brendl made Goombay Smashes (GOOD!) for the group that were really good. Ken/Cindy had a little restful time in the afternoon and then went to club to join David, Myrna, Eddie & Pam for a Christmas lobster dinner in restaurant. After dinner, we said goodbye to Kimberly/Kevin (they went to Sundowners in New Plymouth with us/Brendl) from PA, as they leaving on Ferry in a.m.

1

2/24/07 Christmas Eve – Green Turtle Cay. We went to New Plymouth with Myrna/David on the golf cart they rented. We walked around the village, ducked into a couple shops. Cindy visited Coldwell Banker, but found there is nothing for sale New Plymouth. We shopped at the grocery store, bought fresh broccoli for Cindy’s casserole for the Boater’s Christmas Potluck luncheon. Cindy made fudge and sauteed veggies and chicken for her casserole. Christmas Eve we enjoyed cocktails/Christmas carol on Paloma (David/Mryna) joined by Pam & Eddie, also from Annapolis. We went into the club bar afterwards and had drinks with Pam, Eddie, Barbara, Peter and others. We were getting worried as we hadn’t heard from Jessica, so sent her a text message. Figured they were just having fun.

12/23/07 Sunday, Green Turtle Cay – We caught up with Ann/Neville from Peace, chatted with them awhile. Our standard Sunday job is to cut puppy toenails so Ken did that and Cindy, cleaned their ears. Mac threw up in the morning and we hope he is ok and doesn’t have some type of blockage from the stuffed animal he ate earlier in the trip. We met Nikki and Victoria from the recent arriving monohull sailboat. They had a terrible crossing and have a 1 year old on board. They left to spend the holidays on land somewhere as Nikki has had enough cruising for awhile. They are from Vancouver. We met Shelley/Ron from St. Augustine who have a dock in Treasure Cay. She is expecting twins in April. And also met Peter and Barbara from Manhattan who flew down. He is an attorney, she owns and advertising agency. We also took pups on walk to Coco Beach

12/22/07 Saturday, Green Turtle Club Marina – got up and out early this am, enjoying a great breakfast in the club. Did some emailing. Jess and Audrey left this am with Brian/Morgan on their Christmas vacation to Chicago. Sad not to be together…but we sure hope they have a wonderful time and are very careful. It was sunny, with big puffy billowy clouds. Seems more folks are arriving, guess to spend the holidays. It has been kind of quiet here. We have heard the season everywhere around Abaco/Bahamas has been slow compared to prior years. We like it not being crowded. Cindy spent some time decorating for Christmas today. She cut out Christmas scenes from ads in the Abaconian local newspaper and made paper snowflakes, tied Christmas ornaments on the Jib lines. David/Myrna Gibson on Paloma arrived back today. We had happy hour with them and Dianne/Ken from Trinidad. Cindy tied Christmas ornaments down jib lines and made paper snow flake/doilies. Checked out shirts/shop Brendl's.

12/21/07 Friday, Green Turtle Club Marina – not much to report – hung over, slept, didn’t accomplish anything. Brendl came by around 8:30 pm, ready to take us to town yet again. We declined and he called us whimps!! He’s right, it takes longer to recover than it used to! Luckily it was rainy and very windy…atypical weather for this time of year. So, it was a good down day. A very large power yacht arrived at the end of the dock at high tide. Beautiful boat.

12/20/07 Thursday, Green Turtle Club Marina – It was overcast and in the seventies this day. Cindy cut Ken’s hair in the morning. We caught up on emails, log postings and printed forms to file our IRS/Georgia tax extensions. We figured it would be easier to do our taxes when we return to the States in the spring vs. bringing all that extra paperwork with us. There is a post office in New Plymouth we can use to send the forms (and money!!). New Plymouth is the City on this island, about 3 miles away by road, 1 ½ miles by dinghy….yep, we dinghied; though a 6 mile hike probably would be good for us! We went to the local bank (open on three days a week…lucking Thursday is one) and they had cookies/etc for the holidays. We just had to break a $100 bill because the Post office couldn’t. But, we ate really well in line. Of course, back from the bank to the PO…it was closed for an hour lunch. So we visited the stores and had lunch in New Plymouth at McIntosh’s, very good fish/baked goods. We brought home a piece of key lime pie. We got back to the dinghy and went to explore Black Sound (were staying in White Sound). Then, went back to boat. Cindy ran into “Brendl” who owns the local dive shop. He invited us to ride to a local bar (Sundowners) in New Plymouth at 8:30 pm. We agreed, though pretty late for us. It was Ladies Night, and it was a great fun place with plenty of locals and boaters. We had fun. Cindy beat one local on the pool table…home by midnight. We fell asleep in our salon on the couch, woke up and went to bed around 3:30 AM!

12/19/07 Wednesday, Green Turtle Club Marina – We took the dogs ashore and walked a good part of the island. We went toward the Bluff House (another resort area) and saw a number of gorgeous lots and houses for sale. We picked out a lot we liked with a dock and dredged channel…looked it up on the internet later = $650k! There are wild parrots flying around and beautiful flowers on the island, including wild poinsettias. We have a rooster who crows each a.m. at 6:30. There are crazy drivers on the island. Though there are not many vehicles (golf carts mostly), the little rock/dirt windy roads have blind curves. So, when we walk, we really have to pay attention. It was a little chilly but we sat at the pool and read for three hours midday. To get news, we go into the lounge near the restaurant and watch Miami evening news so we feel we are still in touch with a little of the world. A large motor yacht arrived today with two guys from Charleston, SC aboard. We splurged for dinner – Cindy having stone Crabs and Ken, lobster. We still can’t believe how wonderful the folks at this little, out of the way club/restaurant have been to us. The free appetizers in the lounge last night were Grouper nuggets with a wonderful dill tarter sauce. Some days we just do drinks and free appetizers for dinner! We choose one meal a day to do in the club. Even the breakfast is incredible. Don’t need the calories, nor to pay for more than one meal a day, when we have so much food aboard.

­­­­

12/18/07 Tuesday, Green Turtle Marina. Cindy put up some Christmas ornaments in the a.m. and added a photo gallery to the website. Tom/Linda on the chartered Beneteau left at 1:35 pm after Roberts Marine got their motor issues fixed. They were headed for Great Sale Cay. We met Michael/Barbara, son/daughter on the dock. They are renting a GTC house until Sat. He went to Ohio State Medical School and his son is at Clemson. There are two Jack Russells running loose, driving our boys crazy. Lunch was Lobster Quiche, oh my goodness! A Moorings 43 Leopard arrived next to us after lunch. Paul, wife, 4 daughters, & Sailor (teacup shitzu) all aboard. They are staying two nights. We went to club for drinks and free appetizers and ate dinner on board (philly cheese steak sandwiches on Bahamian bread). There is a TV in the club area so we watch evening news each day there. Interesting people just keep coming/going! Will really be hard to leave this wonderful place…we are getting very comfortable and the staff is spoiling us.

12/18/07 Tuesday, Green Turtle Marina. Cindy put up some Christmas ornaments in the a.m. and added a photo gallery to the website. Tom/Linda on the chartered Beneteau left at 1:35 pm after Roberts Marine got their motor issues fixed. They were headed for Great Sale Cay. We met Michael/Barbara, son/daughter on the dock. They are renting a GTC house until Sat. He went to Ohio State Medical School and his son is at Clemson. There are two Jack Russells running loose, driving our boys crazy. Lunch was Lobster Quiche, oh my goodness! A Moorings 43 Leopard arrived next to us after lunch. Paul, wife, 4 daughters, & Sailor (teacup shitzu) all aboard. They are staying two nights. We went to club for drinks and free appetizers and ate dinner on board (philly cheese steak sandwiches on Bahamian bread). There is a TV in the club area so we watch evening news each day there. Interesting people just keep coming/going! Will really be hard to leave this wonderful place…we are getting very comfortable and the staff is spoiling us.

12/17/07 Monday, Green Turtle Club Marina. All our monohull Beneteau folks from Annapolis pulled out today headed for Great Guana/Marsh Harbour. So, no more Nautical Trivial Pursuit! Tom Campbell and Linda Sweeting were with that group but on a boat they chartered, with engine troubles. So, they stayed all day and we had drinks/appetizers with them. We met "Hat" who is friends with Nascar’s Jimmye Johnson's folks/uncle. Chatted with Jimmy’s uncle for awhile, he is from West Virginia. The crew and teens with the Limited catalog shoot left today as well, so got quiet around here. The food is still awesome and we are still lazy. A FedEx for Christmas from friend Judy arrived today….cool. .

12/16/07, Sunday, Green Turtle Club Marina. We watched more of the Limited II's shoot with the teens, met the producer of catalog, Sid. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in restaurant. The cost of anything we eat or drink at the club offsets against the cost of our dockage. The staff/food is amazing. We were invited to come play board games with a group of boaters traveling together. We set up on the back screened porch of the club, about 20 of us. We played Nautical Trivial Pursuit in teams with crews that included licensed Captains. Our team came in 2nd, Cynthia Pyron was our team leader. This was a group of Beneteau owners from the Annapolis area traveling together. They were all very nice folks. We had afternoon drinks with them and then went back to the boat to spend some time with the 4 leggeds. The winds were raging and the water very rough. We saw “Peace” drag anchor and all day we could see them in the anchorage, fighting to keep their position. We were so thankful we decided to beat the weather, getting into our slip early. It would have been a challenge to dock. We rested up and dressed (men must wear a collared shirt…fancy for the islands!) for our 7 o’clock dinner sitting. It was wonderful, Cindy’s grouper in white wine sauce was amazing and Ken was afraid she was going to lick her plate. Just as we sat down, a huge rain came and of course we remembered we had left open hatches for air circulation for the 4 leggeds. Ken borrowed an umbrella, ran back and got everything buttoned up.

12/15/07 Saturday, departed Manjack Cay, arrive White Sound, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. We decided because of weather we wanted to head on into Green Turtle Club. We radio’d them on the VHF (standard communication around here) to see if they could accommodate us before our Monday reservation. They were very nice and said “no problem”. So, our anchor was up at 9:30 am. Seas were 2-3 and comfortable. The wind was 14 knots, but on our nose, so had to motor in. White Sound is the access to Green Turtle Club and shallow so we arrived at high tide. On entering the sound, we saw “Peace” a custom Catamaran/folks we met earlier in Cumberland Island. The GTC dock person, Wesley, did a great job talking us into our assigned slip. Ken had to get us in through a tight access, to our slip and looked like a pro. A slack tide (time right after high tide and before start of low tide), little wind and little current all really help, as well! We were in our dock slip and happy at around 11:45 am. We went exploring Coco Bay, the Atlantic Beach, the DUMP (oops, wrong turn), while walking the dogs. We joined the locals/visitors for happy hour at the club’s bar with free appetizers. This night there was a buffet, bonfire and live music on the marina front beach that we enjoyed from the boat. There was a NY crew here shooting pix for the “Limited” teen spring catalog. It was fun to watch. And, the models were cute and having fun so it was very entertaining. Everyone loved our puppies…kept thinking they would want to have Dempsey in a photo or two!

12/14/07 Friday, Manjack Cay, Abaco Islands, Bahamas. Small swells round the corner through this anchorage from the Atlantic, making a slight rock to MTB. But, the swells were very gentle and it made for a nice sleep. Even Dempsey didn’t get us up during the night. A small green tug type vessel joined us around 9:00 am, snuggling up close to shore, anticipating the South winds forecast. Winds were to change to South/SE and build by Saturday, to 20-25 knots. We were fairly well protected, so were not concerned. Sunday winds were to move to the North so we knew we would have to move Saturday. We hadn’t eaten all of the homemade pizza from Thursday, so had it for lunch.Ken and Cindy went exploring once again, this time without the pups.They seemed content on the boat.There were lots of live conch, a Sting Ray that seemed to be coming for us, sea turtle, and a little shark. The Ray was so big we retreated. We found out later that the only family on the Island feeds him as a pet.We put up the dinghy, anticipating pulling up anchor on Saturday.

12/13/07 Thursday, departed Allans-Pensacola Island, Abacos, Bahamas, arrived Manjack Cay.Tropical Storm Olga is still no threat to us. But, a cold front and some “squally” (Chris Parker, the radio weather dude’s favorite word) weather was reportedly coming our way. We had the anchor up at 10:15 am but could not sail as the wind was directly on our nose at 10-15 knots. So, we once again were forced to motor to our new anchorage, the NW end of Manjack Cay (pronounced Noonjack Key)! Since the engines were running, we turned on the water maker and made some progress toward topping off our water tanks. We hold about 200 gallons. Buying water in these marinas is expensive, so we hoped to arrive for our three week stay in Green Turtle with the water tanks full. Manjack was reported to provide good protection from the SE winds forecasted for the following two days at 20-25 knots.We arrived at 2:15 pm and no one else was in the anchorage but a dinghy with a guy snorkeling.We put our dinghy down immediately this time. Once we put the float coats on the pups, we headed for the beautiful pristine beach off our port bow.We walked around the north end of the island to the Atlantic side.It was very rocky but gorgeous. There was an abundance of hermit crabs running around. And, we saw a lot of lobster tail shells. Cindy wants lobster! Cindy picked up some driftwood to tie Christmas ornaments to and a couple of “puffy” sand dollars.These are different than the flat ones we see on the Fla/Ga Atlantic coast beaches. It was “squally” looking and gray all afternoon and sprinkled some.Pups were very content back on board after being on land. They are too funny, as they came back to the boat trampolines then “did their business”.Now, that’s successful training.We emailed Green Turtle Club to see if we might go in a day or two early as the weather reports said things could turn bad for Sat/Sun timeframe, with 30-35 knot winds. This is not a really big deal if you are in the right place with protection from the wind direction and there is no related lightening. This also assumes your anchor is set really well. We have had success to date (knock on wood) in that department.If we couldn’t go into the marina early, we knew we could go into White Sound and anchor just outside the marina and would have good protection.We made a homemade pizza for dinner.We are getting better, didn’t even set off the fire alarm this time! Seems every time there is a pizza in our oven, that built in fire alarm lady’s voice starts yelling “Fire, Fire, Carbon Monoxide Present”.It is pretty disconcerting and we haven’t found a way to shut her up once she starts (when we know there is no fire threat).

12/12/07 Wednesday, Allans-Pensacola Island, Abacos, Bahamas – We both slept great and Dempsey didn’t cry to wake us up until around 6 am so we saw the sunrise.It was 76 at 8 am and seas/winds mild, skies clear.Tropical Storm Olga still appears not to be any threat to us.We did have a cold front coming our way, which impacted our thoughts on where to go next, since winds were to change to SE.Mac was on top in the am and we were sitting in the salon drinking our coffee. All the sudden we heard crashing, loud thuds. Our first thoughts were that Mac fell or was hurt. Ken and Cindy ran outside only to find Mac sneezing and crashing his nose on the roof of the salon. It reverberated so much inside, we couldn’t fathom what the noise was. Poor Nose! This day was heartworm/flea medicines day. Can’t believe a month has passed. Getting puppy/kitty meds was just another detail taken care of before our departure on this adventure. To buy 7 months of meds for 4 animals was not cheap!But, it is another necessary thing to do when traveling for a long time with pets. We are totally worthless of late. We didn’t ever put done the dinghy here.Just sat on the boat, ate, read and played with the animals.We also sent an SSB radio email to Green Turtle Cay to re-confirm our holiday marina reservation.

12/11/07 Tuesday, Spanish Cay, am, moved to Allans-Pensacola Islands anchorage. Last night, Mac pulled a full loaf of bread off the counter and “ate the whole thing”. Bad dog, but Dempsey’s stomach was growling, so maybe Mac shared. Now we only have 3 loaves! Ray/New Wind pulled out about 7 am. They said they called us last night on the VHF, but we didn’t hear them, unfortunately. We wanted to get them aboard. We may catch up with them further south in a day or two. Only 4 presents left to buy. We took showers at the marina using their water after watching the Today Show and pulled away at 11 am. Folks at Spanish Cay were great, thanks guys! Tropical Storm Olga developed overnight. But, our assessment is she will not affect us.We are to have high winds E or S in the next few days, so have to pick our next anchorages accordingly. We may sneak into Green Turtle Cay Marina early if weather worsens and they can accommodate us. The short trip to Allans was two hours and uneventful.Wind was not helpful, we tried just using the Jib to get some help, but ended up motor sailing the whole way.We had a nice late lunch of grilled chicken on Romaine lettuce so just snacked for dinner. We watched a few squalls go by us, dark clouds, a little rain…but nothing of concern.A monohull with yellow flag (not cleared customs) arrived at dusk, just them and us in the anchorage.

12/10/07, Monday, Spanish Cay Marina – Spent Sunday evening so we would have WIFI. So, the a.m. was spent getting all our presents ordered.Cindy only lacked 4 when the 24 hours ended.Another sailboat arrived today from Brunswick, GA. New Wind, a sailing monohull., is from our marina at home. What a small world it is. The owner (Ray) works for the City of Brunswick, friend Bill is in construction management, Ray’s son, Todd, is a Marine. We had drinks together in the afternoon. They were having generator troubles. Ken took a look and they think the may have pinpointed a part needed.There are only two boats here, and both from the same place.We decided to spend another night at our dock slip. The Bahamian bread loaves we ordered still weren’t done by 1:30 pm and we really didn’t want to leave without a few of those homemade treats. Bought 4 loaves. Winds were East, about 10-15 knots, keeping the marina area very pleasant with cool breezes. We did a video teleconference with Ken, Sr. at 9:00 a.m. and rotated our camera to show him our “home”. Yesterday wefound some meat in the freezer was not as frozen as desired so Ken grilled steak, a tri-tip roast and chicken breasts last night. We ate good today and will probably tomorrow as well.

12/09/07, Sunday – departed Crab Cay, arrived at Spanish Cay Marina. We got up at 6:30 am…darn dogs keep getting us up too early. After breakfast in Crab Cay, we called Spanish Cay Marina to make sure the Customs official was there, and she was.We had the anchor up at 10 am and arrived at Spanish Cay Marina about 11 am.At the last minute, we decided to dock for one night as Cindy wanted to get her Christmas shopping done via internet. We don’t expect to have WIFI again until 12/17, really too late to shop for everyone. The very nice customs official boarded our boat, she helped us with the paperwork and approved us for a stay of 120 days.She said we may get an extension if we wanted to stay through May later in our journey.Ken went and checked in for our dock slip and came back with a loaf of the wonderful homemade Bahamian bread we have come to love. It is white, heavy bread with a hint of sweetness….man it’s the best. They are going to make us fresh loaves tomorrow.Ken read and Cindy shopped online for the afternoon finishing the Christmas shopping. The next few days will be spent anchoring at other beautiful, mostly uninhabited islands. We also are now legal to fish!! Fun. We had a barracuda welcome us at our dock slip.We had a great walk on the Atlantic side beach…amazing shelling. Puppies enjoyed their stroll, but are getting VERY comfortable just being on their boat…seem almost to prefer it.Dempsey whined to go out just after we went to bed. Cindy let him out…waited but he never came trotting back. When she went out to make sure he was ok, she found him stretched out on the bow, sound asleep.

12/08/07 Saturday, underway – departed Great Sale Cay, Bahamas and headed to customs/immigration at Spanish Cay but darkness caused us to anchor out at Crab Cay. We got up at 6:30 am after a wonderful sleep. It was totally dark in our cabin due to no shore lights on the uninhabited island. Our anchorage was like glass. We enjoyed our normal coffee/cereal but with a treat this morning – we were serenaded by nephew Adam’s CD…neat. We pulled up anchor at around 10:15 am and set course for Spanish Cay where we hoped to clear customs. Its about 40 miles, so we weren’t sure we would make it, because East wind was right “on our nose”. We just threw an anchor one more night and didn’t go ashore. We put up and flew our proper Yellow Quarantine flag that stays up until properly clearing Bahamas’ customs/immigration. Once done, we must fly the Bahamian flag the rest of time here. Soon after getting underway, a flying fish and playing dolphins entertained us. We both hope we never get to the point that these things aren’t as terribly exciting as they are now! Ken played with the chart plotter/autopilot a lot this morning…learning more about how to set courses using waypoints, etc. Everyday we learn something new which is exciting for two corporate America escapees. We read most the trip this day as the “drone” of both diesel engines is tedious…we much prefer being able to sail. We arrived late afternoon at Crab Cay after passing some beautiful little islands. We knew we could not make it into Spanish Cay during daylight, and knew better than to try at night. We had happy hour and made a couple big Cobb lettuce salads that hit the spot. Once settled, our cell phone rang. Our house security system alarm was going off and the police were heading out. Peggy/Jane Dail are out of town but they gave our key, etc. to another neighbor, Jonathan. They didn’t call back…guess the place is still intact. Oh well, not much we can do! The stars were pretty and the anchorage isolated and empty except for us. We were outside admiring the stars when a fish jumped, landed on our back step (sugar scoop) and flopped back in the water. Ken almost fell in due to the surprise. We love this life.

12/06/07 Thursday, departed Port Salerno, St. Lucie Inlet, Friday 12/07/07 – Great Sale Cay, Bahamas - Ken finally got our generator cutoff issue worked out… He found a big green piece of vegetation blocking its waterway. It would overheat and shut itself off. Funny, he had troubleshot all the filters, fuel, relays, wiring, etc., as you are supposed to. And, turned out that a coat hanger did the trick! We decided it would be a good day to cross to the Bahamas. We checked a number of sources and all said there would be mild seas & mild winds all the way. So, batten down the hatches (and wine glasses!), take the dogs for a walk, eat lunch, take a nap and then off we go. The mud in this inlet was the “YUCKIEST” stuff we have seen. Cindy had to wash the entire 60’ of chain and the anchor before allowing it to go into its storage locker. It was like playing in thick, goopy diarrhea (sorry!), really nasty stuff. But, that was the only negative about the entire place. We had a wonderful visit and thoroughly enjoyed this new (to us) inlet. We pulled out around 4 pm, sails up by 5 pm and then sailed through the night toward the Bahamas. We saw a manta ray “fly” out of the water in the inlet on our way out. The Gulfstream is an amazing challenge to sailors. At one point our compass showed we were on a South East course, headed 150 degrees. But, due to the current/winds of the Gulfstream, our actual course over ground showed we truly were heading North/Northeast at 52 degrees. The sideways push of the current could really mess you up if you were not paying attention….Europe, here we come. The only excitement of our crossing was a string of buoys near Mangrove Cay. We thought they were white birds at first. Almost “snagged” one of those “birds”. Their rope in our rudder wouldn’t have been a good thing. But, luckily Ken slowed us down quickly since we were motor sailing (wind on our nose) and the buoy/birds were missed. The dogs once again amazed us on the trip. They slept all night and were calm all day. They just love it once we are anchored, and they can run up front and hold their noses up in the air. Due to light winds all night, we couldn’t make it all the way to the customs/immigration check in on Spanish Cay before dark. So, we stopped around 2:15 pm at Great Sale Cay. It is uninhabited and we couldn’t go to shore due to not yet have cleared in through customs. But, it was just us and one other sailboat on our arrival in the anchorage and beautiful and peaceful. Through the eve, 4 other sailboats anchored as well, but far out from us. We ate dinner, sat outside and marveled at the beauty of the place. The aqua water is amazing. At bedtime, Cindy went out to secure the American flag so it didn’t flap through the night. She gasped when she looked at the stars and called Ken out. No ambient light, no clouds and the stars were the most amazing either had seen. What a site. The songs on the Bahamian radio were great. We heard one Christmas song “Santa is a Black Man, I Saw Him, So I am Telling You”. Too cute.

12/05/07 Wednesday, Port Salerno, St. Lucie Inlet, FL. Cold front resulted in a good snuggle night and we woke up around 7 after a nice, peaceful sleep. We listened to weather reports and they weren’t really favorable for us to leave to the Bahamas today. And, the generator still is not “right”, is cutting off for seemingly no reason so we decided not to leave. Ken worked all day trouble shooting the generator with help via phone from a local technician. Ken went to their shop and picked up some relays that may have been our problem. The boat works company (Shearwater) was really helpful and gave Ken some applicable technical pages. Every day is a learning experience. Once we are done with this adventure, Ken will know so much about our CAT. So far, he has been a great diagnostician and repairman. And, he works CHEAP. We sure don’t know how people who aren’t handy/mechanically inclined survive this lifestyle. We suspect they spend a lot of money for professional help. We made the right decision about not leaving for the Bahamas today. We spoke to Craig on Rum Tum Tiger and he said he wouldn’t have left either. Alfie B is already in Freeport and Rum Tum is in Ft. Lauderdale, to have his mast removed on Thursday.

12/04/2007 Tuesday, Port Salerno, St. Lucie Inlet, Fl.

A cold front is coming through so at 9:52 am it was only 70 degrees with sky clear and blue, no clouds. The anchorage continues to be smooth/calm as the whole “Manatee Pocket” is a no wake area. This makes for wonderful sleeping! Two boats of the five that were here with us last night have pulled out. We decided this a.m. not to go to Lake Worth (Palm Beach area), but to leave from here for our Bahamas crossing. We spoke to Rum Tum Tiger and they said Lake Worth was very crowded. Since it is beautiful here, we just prefer to enjoy our locale as long as possible. We will either leave tomorrow afternoon wait for weather, until next week per today’s forecasts. We are doing great and both have lost some weight…no nightly bowls of ice cream or Dairy Queen blizzards! We met some folks at the dinghy dock from a monohull anchored near us and invited them for snacks aboard at 4 pm. We opened up our front outside storage lockers and aired out our spinnaker, moved it into a new bag and new locker. We organized the contents better. Phil/Barbara came aboard. We had a nice time with them; found that Barbara had worked for Daniel years ago. We meet interesting folks along the way. You connect, enjoy time together, but know you may never see each other again…interesting. They were married 18 years, divorced 18 years and have been back together aboard their sailboat for 2 years. Interesting and nice folks. We watched a little TV, went to bed.

12/03/2007 Monday, Port Salerno, St. Lucie Inlet, Fl. Beautiful, 77 degrees at 9:45 a.m., no wind, no current and so very peaceful in the anchorage. We put the dinghy down and went exploring this nice place by water. We found a marine consignment parts store that was interesting, a West Marine and post office all within walking distance of a nice public dock for dinghies. Some towns try to discourage dinghies/transients by making docking difficult. So, this was very welcomed. This is a wonderful town/area, but we find the people aren’t too friendly. We spoke/waved at folks in parks, etc…nothing. But, we had lunch at a waterfront restaurant/bar named “Shrimpers” and they were very nice and it was very good. Cindy had shrimp/fruit salad and Ken had grouper fish/chips. Cindy’s plate was so beautiful, she took photos. Check the gallery! We went back to MTB, relaxed then boated the pups to a nice waterfront park. The puppy boys just get so excited when we put on their “float coats” and they know they get a ride. They had a great walk and, Mac chased squirrels (to the end of his leash only!). The Christmas lights at the houses around our anchorage are just gorgeous and help make us realize it is that time of year. Ken said it was like being in our own beer commercial.

12/02/2007 Sunday, Ft. Pierce/underway – We were up at 6:30 am, anchor was up at 7:15 am. We left the Harbortown Marina fuel dock with all our diesel and water tanks full at 8:30 am. We hold nearly 150 gallons of fuel and 200 gallons of fresh water. We only put in 88 gallons of diesel…last time we filled up was in April, in Ft. Pierce on our last trip to the Bahamas. Can’t beat that free sail power!! About $320 in ¾ of a year! By 10:15 am we had our sails up and were sailing south to our next destination, St. Lucie Inlet, FL. It was a nice day with light winds so we motor sailed some. We entered at high tide and the channel was still shallow so we had to be very careful. All the Sunday boaters were coming back in, so lots of traffic. We picked our way to an interior river anchorage in Port Salerno. It’s beautiful!! Only about 1 ½ to 2’ feet of water under us….but we are floating at low tide, so that is a good thing. There are big, beautiful private homes surrounding us and many have Christmas lights up. …a beautiful setting for us. We just fixed dinner and sat outside until time for Desparate House Flies. We have WIFI finally so received/answered some emails last night.

12/01/2007 Saturday, Ft. Pierce Inlet, FL – It was raining in the morning and our generator still was not working properly. So, we figured it just wasn’t our day to leave this anchorage. We’ve learned that one of the best features of living on a boat is “no schedule”. So, if we can’t go today, we’ll go tomorrow. Ken figured out we needed to transfer fuel from the front tanks to the back. Our generator’s fuel “pick up” valve was above our back fuel tank’s level. So, changing the fuel filters, bleeding the line, etc. wasn’t necessary. But, we learn something knew about MTB everyday…”fuel tanks low: generator not work”! We are perfectly content to hang here one more day, get up and at it tomorrow. We’ll top off our fuel and water tanks and get on south to the St. Lucie Inlet. Daughter Jess/Audrey called this a.m. It is always so great to hear from them, though it does make us miss them even more. It is the Greenville SC (our former home) Christmas parade tonight. It is so hard to believe that time is flying by so fast! Tried watching TV some but the generator kept quitting. Think we may still have some air in a line. So, early to bed for us.

11/30/07 Friday, Ft. Pierce Inlet, FL. Puppies happily went to shore to a nice nearby waterfront Ft. Pierce park this morning. We gave them a nice long walk, and dumped our garbage in one of the park’s nice trashcans. After settling the dogs back on MTB, we gathered our dirty laundry and did it while eating lunch at the Harbortown Marina Restaurant (the best fish/chips!). They were having a funeral at the bar for a customer who had died…my kind of funeral!! We picked up our forwarded mail at Indian River Boat works (THX folks) & returned to MTB. We secured Toby in anticipation of leaving in the a.m. for St. Lucie, FL. Winds picked up to 15 knots in the evening, so we really kept our eyes pealed on Bob! While watching TV, our generator died for some reason. Ken changed filters, bled lines, etc. Nothing worked. The generator allows us to watch TV and generate additional power when we aren’t plugged in or don’t make enough solar power during the day (due to clouds/short days). It was noisy in our berth due to the water slapping so we slept in the salon. While watching TV, the generator died for some reason. Ken changed filters, bled lines, etc.

11/29/07 Thursday, Ft. Pierce Inlet, FL. We had a great night sleep and got up around 7 am. The anchorage was quiet and calm all night. A great night’s sleep is always a treat after an all night sail. All the other transient boats left this morning except some live aboard types. There is a sailboat hull next to us with no mast and people living aboard. Seems they’ve been here awhile. They have a small boat and a dinghy tied to them. Appears to be a way to live rent free, being ingenious vs. homeless or living off the government. We went to shore and arranged for our mail to be sent to Indian River Boat works overnight. We walked up to US A1A, shopped at the West Marine, CVS & Publix. We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant (A Touch of Brooklyn – yum) in the same strip mall. We picked up our starter, and headed back to MTB. Oh My God - TOO TOO funny….Bob, on the same Catamaran that hit us in the night here last spring, was once again anchored right next to us. Of course, we kept our eye on BOB all day. The irony! We just read and ate the remainder of the day.

11/28/07 Wednesday, arrived Ft. Pierce Inlet, FL.

When tacking early am, Cindy got hit in eye trying to liberate a flapping Jib line that was stuck on the mast lines/equipment. It was an excruciating hit and very scary. Luckily she didn’t have on her prescription glasses, as they would have been goners. When she first opened her eye, she thought she had been blinded and let out a scream. Ken was calm, and talked her back to the cockpit, putting ice on it immediately, with sight returning quickly. All was ok in the end, just an abrasion and a headache, luckily no unsightly black eyes! We arrived at the channel for the Ft. Pierce Inlet about 1:30 pm, and were anchored by 2ish in front of Harbortown Marina. Luckily, the anchorage was not too crowded. There were a number of monohulls and we the only CAT. Ken decided it was our starter that must be bad on our starboard engine. We got our dinghy, Toby, down and Ken was at the Indian River Boat works by 2:30 pm. They tested it, verified it needed a rebuild they said would done by noon on Thursday. We spoke with Rum Tum Tiger this pm. They went through Ft. Pierce today and were at a dock in St. Lucie. We made some chocolate chip cookies and then slept from 8 pm. We were in the port, aft berth since ours was discombobulated due to engine work. Our engine compartments are under our mattresses. Mac liked coming to see us in a new place in the night.

11/27/07 Tuesday, Ponce Inlet headed to Ft. Pierce, FL. We were up at 6:30 am, had everything battened down and the anchor up by 7 am. Bye Bye our playful dolphin friends. We motored through the Ponce Inlet, back out to the Atlantic. Winds were light, as were the seas, rolling. Our sails were up at 8:30 am and we were headed for Ft Pierce. We decided to motorsail due to light winds, eventually we just had sail as winds picked up a little. We knew we would be sailing through the night and around 1 am, we got offshore by Canaveral, about 20 miles, trying to catch some wind. But, rooky mistake, we went out so far and got caught in the strong currents of the Gulfstream. Ken couldn’t get our autopilot to catch and winds against the strong current were crazy. We decided we would just start both motors, head West to escape the current of the Gulfstream. We tried, but our starboard engine died and the winds/current were increasingly whacko, now we were with one engine. Then, in the middle of the craziness, Annie, our youngest kitty, ventured out unexpectedly, giving us another scare. She is so light, didn’t have on her harness…and if she went off the back, we’d never find her in the winds/dark/current. Luckily, we were able to “shoo” her in the right direction, back to the salon. The current/winds forced to sail backwards N for an extra 15 miles to get out of the Gulfstream. This verified everyone’s statements “never enter the Gulfstream in a N wind”. YEP. Ken slept only from about 7:30 pm to 12:15 am and it got stressful after that. Puppies did GREAT through everything, especially being underway from 7 am Tuesday to about 1:30 pm Wednesday.

11/26/07 Monday- Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, FL.

It is so hard to believe we have been here a week. Though it goes slowly, time passes rapidly. We had a beautiful moon last night and the view was spectacular over the water. We both slept great to 8ish, and up for coffee, eat our cereal. We have no internet here, so no emails nor anything to "surf". Watched national TV news for an hour to stay in touch. We both fell asleep last night before seeing the end of Brothers & Sisters, bummer. Ken made a boat projects list. And, about 9:35 am, we both set about reading books again. Its really a treat to be so mindless after so many years of pressures in corporate America. We’re getting good at it. Winds were picking up throughout the day. Figure tomorrow may be a good sailing day.

11/25/07 Sunday, Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, FL.

It rained all night, but not much wind, so it was peaceful. We were up at 7 having gone to bed pretty early. And, then the fun began….MANY boats anchored around us everywhere, some too close. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday on a holiday weekend so everyone was out. Ken said every girl that went by on a boat had on a bikini (he stayed outside reading all day)! Other than too many boats, the anchorage was nice, no wind. And, most of the boats left at dusk, guess they all have to work tomorrow….PITY. Only one monohull sailboat and a powerboat remained. Thank goodness the damn Gator with that gaudy big flag is out of here! There was a full moon in a clear sky so it was a beautiful night. We both were into books and did little more than read and snack. Did a few boat jobs….checked the generator oil level, the water tank level and re-did the hooks for a curtain we use at night for some privacy. We talked to Kim and they made it home safe and sound yesterday. We are still so happy they came and spent the night with us. After a lazy day, we checked the weather and found we wouldn’t be moving on Monday. So, made some spaghetti and got ready for Desperate House Flies and Brothers/Sisters.

11/24/07 Saturday, Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, FL.

A GREAT DAY WITH FAMILY ABOARD!

Got up around 7 am (Anna around 9!) and the 4 of us just hung out, drank coffee and enjoyed a pretty sunrise and morning in our anchorage. Unfortunately, no dolphins came by to entertain Kim/Anna. They have visited us every morning so far. We noticed Toby’s rope had gotten caught under MTB’s rudder during the night, so Ken had to swim under the boat to get it loose. On any boat, you find here’s always a boat job or two that needs attention. Luckily the water/air weren’t too terribly cold. After a breakfast of corned beef hash, oranges and bagels, Kim/Anna dressed, packed up and we left MTB around 10:30 am for the Ponce Inlet. We all toured the Ponce Inlet bird rehab center and the Marine Science Center. Each of the girls bought sea horse Christmas ornaments, Ken got a shirt, and we toured their great facility. We also walked over to the Lighthouse but Kim/Anna decided they weren't going to climb it after all. So, we said goodbye around 1sh. Ken/Cindy jumped back on Toby and came straight back to MTB as the weather looked ominous and tide was getting low. It poured just after we got back. So, we read most of the afternoon. Three large powerboats with too much testosterone aboard anchored behind us around 4, and rafted up together. One had a big Gator flag, today was the big FSU/Fla game at 5. FSU didn’t score in the second half, a bad loss. Knew those damn Gators were anchored too close to us. USF beat Pitt today, sorry Terry Schager!

11/23/07 Friday, Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, FL. OUR FIRST VISITORS ABOARD!

We have ominous, dark grey skies today, with temperature of 69 degrees at 8:00 am. The last boat in our anchorage ,“Trekkin” pulled out about 8:05 am. So once again we found ourselves alone in our pretty spot. We made coffee in the French press and listened to the weather reports. Looks like we will probably be caught here at least through Monday. This days winds were changing and we were spinning on our anchor weirdly due to tide/wind changes. Kim and Anna said they would be here around 2ish. All morning, we hoped the weather would hold so we could go get them in the dinghy. This anchorage, our temporary home, has been a wonderful location with the exception of the bugs due to the mangroves onshore. We have tried coils, tiki torches, sprays, etc. but inevitably, we fall victim to the little buggers. We are still somewhat concerned about Mac as him seems to be acting a little differently than normal. We’ll just keep an eye on him, though he is eating and drinking fine. He does seem to have lost a little weight and isn’t as perky as normal. Only one other trawler type boat here today. All morning it was overcast/rainy looking but by the time Kim/Anna were here, skies started getting beautiful. The winds changed, coming from the Atlantic side today. Dempsey got us up to go out last night. Anna/Kim arrived in Ponce Inlet around 1ish. We dinghied over, dumped our garbage, had lunch at the Lighthouse Restaurant, parked their car in a safe lot and then came to the boat. We hung out, talked, laughed hysterically at an unnamed family member’s poopie that wouldn't flush down and watched TV. We all were in bed around 11. Kim/Anna were our first traveling (not at our dock) visitors!

11/22/2007 Thursday, Thanksgiving Day – Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, FL. High 70’s.. Got up and called daughter Jess/Audrey so we could talk with them before they got out doing their Thanksgiving plans. Judy Mc called early and it was wonderful to talk with her. We missed being with Judy/family as we have joined them for several years. We had a lazy day reading and watching dolphins. It sprinkled off and on through the day, but the skies were never too overcast. Fresh water rinsing our deck is nice. Local fishermen were around us most of the day…no turkey/football for them! We were one of three boats here in the anchorage all day. Around 3 p m we started cooking our dinner. We had a great Turkey tenderloin Ken cooked on the grill, along with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, cheddar biscuits, steamed cabbage…all yummy. Once done eating we called various friends and family members. It was a very unique holiday for us and the dolphins with us... nice in a different way.

11/21/07 Wednesday, day before Thanksgiving, Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, FL. It is a beautiful, sunny 76 degrees in the anchorage. We had a lazy a.m. and ate leftover apple/cinnamon muffins. Ken and Cindy both did some computer work. There were nine boats in the anchorage overnight, but in the a.m. only we remain. Unfortunately, the boat that had an unsecured WIFI, which we were able to piggyback on, was one that left. You know it is the day before a holiday as all the locals are out all around us on the runabout boats. There are a bunch of people, kids, dogs on the flats between our anchorage and the Ponce Inlet channel. Its more folks than we have ever seen here. Ken affixed our GA boat registration decal and numbers to Toby, our dinghy, today. Cindy worked on some sticky stuff on the cockpit table where we had removed a table section that kept getting in our way. Mac wasn’t acting like he felt well yesterday, but seems better this a.m. We put the dinghy down and went exploring our area late a.m. We boated over to the Ponce Lighthouse area, tied up and let the dogs have some land time. We found that there was a red tide, which caused us/dogs to do some coughing for a while on our return to MTB. Dolphins have been all around us today and one even threw a fish up in the air next to the boat and then went after it. We saw another dolphin jump out of the water, spin around, flopping back in the water on his back. The bird watching has been great and entertaining. We took out our marinated turkey tenderloin to thaw in anticipation of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner. We even remembered to bring cranberry sauce! We spoke to Ken’s sister, Kim, last night and she and Anna are still planning on coming to spend the night with us Friday…we are excited and so looking forward to the visit.

11/20/2007 Tuesday, Daytona/Ponce De Leon Inlet, Fl.. 80 degrees, no wind, blue sky, gorgeous. Everyone slept great through the entire night. This am we got up, made coffee, baked apple/cinnamon muffins and were visited by Florida’s Fish/Wildlife folks. There were four very official looking guys with big guns! They boarded our boat and Mac didn’t eat anyone, which was a really good thing. They checked our registration and ownership documents, Ken’s ID and verified our bathroom tanks were not discharging into their waters (using red die). They did tell us that Florida now requires us to secure the tank valves so they cannot be inadvertently opened/discharged. We asked if we tied them with bungee cords if that would be satisfactory compliance and they agreed it would. So, that boat project was done today. We’ll make little signs, too that say do not touch this valve without approval/assistance from the Captain! We suspect they may come back and double check again during our stay here. We want to assure we are in full compliance, as it is the right thing to do. They also asked if we had any firearms aboard. They could be very intimidating if one was doing something wrong. Glad we were all AOK. We sure don’t appreciate seeing other folks’ poo poo & toilet paper float by us, so we do everything we can never to emit junk into local waters. We are only allowed to dump our tanks miles offshore or at a pump station. We try to keep it all natural, we do not even put toilet paper in our tanks We have a boat rule that if it doesn’t come out of your body, it doesn’t go in our tanks! We did a spreadsheet today of all food aboard to remember what we bought/have. Then when trip is done, we’ll inventory what remains to be able to better provision next time. Have intermittent WIFI bouncing off a neighboring trawler. Rum Tum went by our anchorage on their way to New Smyrna around 4 o’clock. Alfie B was waiting for them with dinner ready. We did a ginger marinated tri-tip beef roast on the grill, skillet potatoes and green beans for dinner. Yummy. We went inside, slept ‘til 8:50 pm, got up and tuned the TV into “Dancing With the Stars” semifinals show. We don’t watch too much TV, as it requires the generator to run to conserve our power. All is beautiful except for the “no see ums”. Cindy got eaten alive before getting out the “Cutter” bug spray.

11/19/2007 Monday, in transit…. we bounced up at 6:30 am, threw on some clothes, plugged in the electric coffee pot (vs. our preferred French press) and anchor was up at 6:45 am. By 8:00 am we were clear of the inlet channel, back out in the Atlantic with both our main sail and jib up. The winds were from the SE at about 5-10 knots. And, the seas were only 2-3’ with occasional white caps. We averaged about 6.5 knots early in the day. We sadly finished the last of our Dunkin Donuts underway. And, we ate our PB&J sandwiches with Pringles at noon. Once about 14 nautical miles from Daytona’s Ponce De Leon Inlet, we started our motors to assure a daylight arrival. It is over a 50 nautical mile trip and due to the time change and it getting dark by 5:30 pm…we have to make time. During this sail, we ran our water maker to assure it was working, as it should. Made enough to top off one of our water tanks and fill the other to about half full. We carry about 200 gallons of water aboard and had used only about 1/3 of one tank to date this trip. (Yes, we do shower!!!). Once arriving at Ponce Inlet, we carefully made our way North, up the ICW and into Rockhouse Creek. It is a waterway that runs from the ICW back through to the intlet…with a large shoal at the east end. We pulled into a spot with about 11 feet of water under our hull and threw anchor. We are thankful for another successful sail. Rum Tum is still in St. Augustine, Alfie B is just south of us in an anchorage in North Smyrna. We were greeted with dolphins playing as we drank our glass of celebratory wine for another good day of travel. There is a lighthouse across from our anchorage to our NE, which also makes this a really nice, idyllic place. When we look out the port light in our berth, and see an illuminated lighthouse….it is really pretty cool.

11/18/2007 Sunday, at anchor St. Augustine, FL.

Seas and wind calm. Temp mid 70’s & beautiful.

Got up and ate more of our Dunkin Donuts (a real treat) along with coffee made in our French press which helps to conserve electricity. Fred from Makai (a sister 42’ Leopard in the anchorage) came by and brought us a disk with all the part numbers and pictures of all the parts on our boat….talk about a nice thing to have. Thanks Fred/Kathy! Ken fixed a broken knob on our gas grill and signed on the SSB radio to cruiser’s net….a place where we all check in and tell folks who/where we are. It is nice to reconnect with boats you have met along the way. Later in the am, we took the puppies to shore and enjoyed a really nice, long walk through historic neighborhoods along the waterfront near the old fort. We saw some really pretty homes, walking under a canopy of big, beautiful, shady old trees. We wore the puppies out and took them back to MTB. We spoke to Rum Tum and they were going to stay aboard their boat and “finish a cherry pie” for lunch. We went back ashore and downloaded our emails at the marina, read those that needed attention and then went over to the Santa Maria restaurant that sits at the municipal marina for a late lunch/early dinner. The building is on pylons above the water. Once you order your meal, they bring you a basket of old bread and you open a small slot next to your table to feed the local fish. We saw several kinds and had fun being “tourists”. After lunch, we went back to the boat. On the way we saw Makai going through the Bridge of Lions…guessed they were going to get fuel and spend the night in the marina. We pulled up our dinghy “Toby” in anticipation of Monday’s travel. We pre-made sandwiches, got the coffee pot ready and made a pitcher of tea….all to make us more efficient in the a.m. of a travel day. It was windy during the night and we swung around a lot on our anchor. But, MTB held well and we didn’t feel the movement indoors much at all. Mostly all we feel in our St. Augustine anchorage are the wakes from YACHTS coming in toward the Bridge of Lions too fast.

11-17-07 football Saturday – at anchor, St. Augustine, FL. Seas and wind calm. Temp mid 70’s and beautiful. GO NOLES….FSU beat Maryland, yeah!

Yummy….Dunkin Donuts for breakfast!! Alfie B pulled out today, headed for Ponce De Leon inlet. We had a lazy day doing small boat jobs, watching FSU football, drinks at AIA Ale House, with Craig/Mary from Rum Tum Tiger, met owners of other Leopard 42 in the anchorage (Kathy/Fred), went ashore for the 14th annual St. Augustine Christmas tree and downtown lights illumination ceremony. We had drinks at the AIA Ale House first and saw Kathy/Fred, introduced them to Mary & Craig. St. Augustine had live music, dignitaries and a lot of people. It was a very festive time. We all ate dinner at Habana Cuban Restaurant and it was fun and great food. We were back to the boat around 8:30 pm and watched the last two minutes of the Clemson/BC game…so sad a loss in the last seconds due to a quarterback sack putting them too long for field goal.

11-16-07 Friday, at anchor, St. Augustine, Florida.

COOOOOLLLLLLDDDD and windy – good day not to be sailing, low thirties overnight. Rum Tum Tiger pulled out this a.m. to go to St. Augustine Marine boatworks for some work. We took Toby, the dinghy, into the dock to exchange some parts at First Mate, dump our garbage and get an ice cream cone. We went to Bank of America to handle some business. Colleen and Paul in the downtown office were great. They told us about the Christmas Displays lighting that would be held Saturday night at 6:30 pm. We walked to Sailors Exchange (boat parts, etc), to West Marine (new shoes for Ken, wine glasses for Cindy). While there we met Daniel and Michael. They anchor at the marina near us so they offered us a ride back (YEAH)…it’s a long walk. Cindy asked if that meant she didn’t get Dunkin Donuts….Daniel said he needed a coffee, so he’d take us there too. WOW how great is that. One coffee and a dozen donuts later, we are headed back to the dinghy and MTB in the late afternoon. We made a homemade pepperoni/black olive pizza and enjoyed a lazy evening aboard.

11-15-07 Thursday, underway at 7:00 a.m. for sail from Cumberland Island, GA to St. Augustine, FL. We had an exciting time getting our mainsail up once out of the inlet out in the Atlantic as winds were gusting over 20 knots. Once the mainsail was finally up, we turned south and FLEW to St. Augustine. We re-learned that we need to get the mainsail up before getting out in the stronger winds. There are things you forget from one season to the next even though just basic common sense. Winds were from the SW most of the day from 15-20 knots. What a nice day. The showers/front forecasted actually missed us the whole day. We had hoped to get at least one fresh water rinse on MTB but that did not happen. Seas were 2-3 feet with about 3 second interval…so we had a very easy and smooth ride which all the animals aboard appreciated. They don’t enjoy bigger seas that cause the boat to “slap”, causing more noise/movement….though the boat does great in most any seas we have seen. About 3:00 pm the front passed and the winds swung around, coming from the N, helped push us into the St. Augustine inlet around 4:15 pm. All in all, a great sail day. Once anchored safely, we toasted with a glass of wine, ate some dinner, set an alarm, fell asleep in the salon until the alarm went off, telling us to watch Gray’s Anatomy.

11-14-07 Wednesday, Cumberland Island, GA. – calm, blue skies, mid 60s. Rum Tum Tiger and Alfie B both pulled out for St. Augustine today on the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway). We went ashore in the afternoon and let the dogs have another walk. Dempsey had decided he had enough walking the prior two days and was literally dragging his feet, his tail down and made it known he was not happy. We crossed the island to the beach, walked to the water’s edge, and then Dempsey was ready to return to the boat. Once back on board, we pulled up Toby (the dinghy) in anticipation of our departure to St. Augustine, Fl and had a glass of wine (yep, another one!), ate some dinner and went to bed very early.

11-13-07, Tuesday, another beautiful day at Cumberland Island. Up around 7. Dempsey up at 2:30 am crying to go out…darn dog. It was a good thing though, as we found Annie had been left outside (bad parents) but she was ok and happy. We didn't go to shore today…Cindy had blisters and Ken had no interest. We emailed a number of folks, rearranged the freezer and bottom of refrigerator…both are now cooling much better. We ran the icemaker in anticipation of happy hour being on MTB tonight. Our anchorage was like glass all day. Mac fell off the starboard sugar scoop (back steps) in his enthusiasm in greeting Ann/Stuart from Alfie B to MTB. We think he thought he was going for a ride with them on their dinghy. Craig/Mary and Vick from Oconee also joined us aboard for happy hour. “Boat people” are great in that everyone shares snacks that they have aboard. You don’t want to deplete anyone’s snack supply, so, when you go to another boat, you take your drinks as well snacks to share. It was fun to have four dinghies in back of MTB. They say that in anchorages if you want to know where the party is, just look for more than two dinghies behind a boat. 11-12-07 Monday, Cumberland Island, Georgia, peaceful/calm/warm. Ken added shelves to Cindy’s closet in the a.m. Then we went to shore without the pups today and walked north on the beach with Craig/Mary/Ann/Stuart. We saw a large dead sea turtle, which was very sad. We also talked with the park rangers, who are always interesting. Our great friend Terry Schager called while we were on the beach. It was tough to tell him we were walking on a beach while he was at work. Our walk was from 11 am to 2 pm, picking up driftwood/shells. We took Toby (the dinghy) back to MTB and the animals were happy to see us. We fixed lunch then went over to Alfie B at 4:00 pm for happy hour. Back to boat around 6ish. We caught up with some emails and ran our generator at 7:10 pm as the gauge said 47% full batteries which is not enough to take the refrig/freezer and the anchor lights through the whole night. We have one bad kitty aboard, not getting all the way into their litter box. So, we have a drippy issue to deal with on Tuesday. There was a new sliver of a moon tonight.

11-11-07 Sunday, Cumberland Island, GA. Our neighbors’ dog (in Brunswick), Gunther, had a fall and hurt foot. He did not feel well so the friends we hoped would boat down and visit (Peggy & Jane Dail) are not coming today. We sure hope Gunther gets all better. We so love seeing his sweet face between the deck railings when we look over at his house across from ours. He and Clancy are also very good neighbors! It was Cindy’s Dad’s birthday today so we called Sarasota for a phone visit….he was doing good. We found that Cindy’s family was going to his facility (Alzheimer’s patient) this evening with cake and pizza. Ken cut Mac's nails today. We all (dogs too) walked with Rum Tum/Alfie B buds from the Ranger’s pier, across the island, to the beach and to the South tip of the Island, back to Ranger’s office pier. Our dogs were all worn out. It was a beautiful day, with N wind at our backs on the beach. Shelling was very different from our prior April trip. We also saw horses, wild Turkeys, but no armadillo. We enjoyed happy hour aboard Rum Tum Tiger. All animals aboard doing well...Dempsey finally slept all night11-10-07 Saturday, Cumberland Island, Ga. Well, the trip has officially begun in a wonderful, peaceful location. It is cold at night (30’s!) but so very pretty in our anchorage. We have WIFI, which was surprising. And “the eagle has landed” for both pups. This means that they have not forgotten that on the boat, they have to “do their business” up front on our trampolines. It is good to know we don’t have to go through a re-training process. We have a salt-water rinse off hose up front that allows us to clean up after them. Brunswick neighbor, Peggy, called and was considering boating down to visit us at CI Sunday, which would be great. Other Brunswick boats, Rum Tum Tiger (Craig/Mary) & Alfie B (Stuart/Ann) pulled into the anchorage today around 4 pm. They came down the “inside” – the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway). We put up our school flags today, flying up along our mast. USF won/FSU lost. We called and cut off cable/internet at our house. Cindy gave the dogs their monthly heart/flea meds….life continues in normalcy! Annie (youngest little calico kitty aboard) threw up today but we think it was due to eating too much of the new cat food that she really liked. We’ll have to keep an eye on her. 11-09-07 Friday – Brunswick, GA to Cumberland Island, GA. Ken took our truck back to the house around 9:00 am and neighbor Peggy (THANKS!!) brought him back to the marina. Our Dock 8 and Brunswick Marina buds all wished us well and saw us off. Thanks dock 8 folks for help casting off our lines. We will miss all our very nice Brunswick friends. We finally left our dock at 10:30 a.m. It felt great to finally be off and waving to friends we hope to meet up with in the Bahamas sometime during this adventure. We motored out to the Atlantic, by the Jekyll Pier, by the St. Simons lighthouse and pier. Looking back…..what a beautiful place it is, where we live. The winds were light so we had to motor sail (engines and sails) to Cumberland Island, GA. and arrived with anchors down at 5:15 p.m…just before dark, which was a relief. Inlets and anchoring in the dark is not Cindy’s idea of fun. The sight of several wild horses on shore and dolphins greeted us around our anchorage. Yep, all is good. Annie was thrilled to be back on board and toured the entire inside and outside of MTB once we anchored. Dempsey (11 year old Shar Pei) cried and woke us up at mid night and wanted to “go out”. Darn dog. We’ll get back into the routine soon we hope. 11-08-07 Thursday – Finally we are aboard MTB in Brunswick, GA with provisions, animals, and people. We spent the night aboard at our dock space just to assure a good start in the morning. Ken/Cindy worked liked crazy people to organize and clean up the boat. Finding places for seven months’ food, wine, dog/cat food/kitty litter, spare parts, paper products, etc. is a chore. Then, the fun begins - trying to remember where everything went when you need it!!!

Contact us snail mail :  139 Altama Connector, # 414, Brunswick, Georgia 31525

Special Facebook Promotion

Like us on Facebook and get 10% off your next order.

Print Print | Sitemap
Copyright 2006 and for each and every year, thereafter. All rights reserved meaning that no text, format nor photos included herein may be copied nor used for any purpose without direct permission from either Ken or Cindy Miller - Meantobie.com, Meant To Be, All Rights Reserved