Saturday, May 24, 2014

We're back!

Yes, we have been "Bahamas people" since January 20th but now we are back to what some call reality. The stop in the Abacos was a short one since a reasonable window opened up and we didn't want to miss out the crossing window.  Our intent was to go all the way to NC but the cold front that came off the coast prevented. But we still had our longest non-stop sail on Nati - 349nm.

After Marsh Harbor we went over to Great Guana Cay to get close to Whale Cay cut.  We met up with some friends, Mark (the mayor) on sv "Down Island" and Tim & Joanne on sv "Expatriate".  Happy hour was had at Grabbers for the last Bahamian rum drink and then it was "to sea"!

Main street on Great Guana

and looking the other way…..

Anne's gourmet artisan bread….hmmmm great!

The trip started as a rousing romp NW towards Jacksonville and ended up with flat seas during a motor into St. Augustine.  A whole menu of conditions were present so we washed down Nati today to get  10lbs of salt off her.  The three days and two nights offshore were good, the stars were many and we even caught our first fish trolling this year!  Here is a shout out to Ivanhoe…..he gave me his favorite lure and that night we had fresh sushi.

Don't know her name but she was big!

sunset at sea

and here too!

I got your blackfin tuna right here!

At present we're at St Augustine and tomorrow we will start moving north again.  Not sure what the weather will give us but we are shooting for Fernandina Beach and then we will see from there.

A Spanish galleon in St Augustine

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It has been a great, great tour but…………..guess it's time for change.

We are heading over to the fuel dock this morning to pick up a few gallons of diesel and then slide over to Great Guana to get out of Marsh Harbor.  Laundry is done and provisions are set so it's time to head out.  Tomorrow looks like we can head NW and see what the weather/winds gods give us.  By the weekend we should be somewhere on the east coast of the US of A.

If anyone wondered what Nati would look like on steroids……..well we now know!

sv Shangri-la - is 65 feet long and 31 feet across her beam.  She sleeps 10 and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pool table in the cabin.  The dinghy is bigger than Wedgie!  We are anchored right behind her and the lines are almost identical between the two boats!!  Oh yea……..she can be yours for a cool $1.9!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spanish Wells and the trip north to the Abacos

We spent 4 nights in Spanish Wells and had a great time!  Everyone we met was really friendly and the highlight was getting to see George, Ivanhoe and his son Evan.  We ended up having lunch and then Ivanhoe even made dinner for us at his home.  It was GREAT!

Spanish Wells waterfront

colorful homes overlooking the harbor

can you tell it has rained?  All green!!

"Lady Marie" fueling up to head out next week

The island is very picturesque with colorful homes, gardens and views.  It is definitely a working harbor but the fishing boats rival any in the world.  They take great pride in fixing them up and some of the bigger boats are co-op owned and the people working them make them shine.

Budda's Lunch Wagon and liquor store

Home of the $4.75 burger!

mv Independence

work boats everywhere

and the mother ships

These guys are almost ready to head out again

The ferries come in at all hours of the day and night and some dock parallel and some don't……its a good thing they aren't any bigger that is for sure.

notice our wake as we went by the bow with Dingh-go

size does matter……

Doing a U-turn right near our mooring

Last Thursday we had a window that would allow us to head for the Abacos.  The wind was behind us blowing 17-22kts and the seas were anywhere from 4-6 feet with an occasional 8 footer.  It was bouncy but not wet and we pulled into the Little Harbor cut by 4pm.  From there we just motored up to Pelican Harbor for the night.  We knew we needed to move the next day since another front was coming through so up to Marsh Harbor we went.  Nati got a nice rain bath on the way up so now we can clean a few more things on her.

Morning in Pelican Bay

Our front has now arrived!

This last photo was taken by sv Arctracer as we were going behind a 400 foot cargo ship.  Thanks for the picture guys!
Nati sure doesn't seem very big on this day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fish Fry - Hatchet Bay to Spanish Wells

A few boats decided to stay an extra night in Governor's Harbour to attend the Friday night fish fry at the entrance of Cupid's Cay.  For $12.00 we had a great meal and I have to tell ya…….the Rum Babbas were very, very good!
The galley
Fried lane snapper

Party in the street

That says it all!

The next morning we decided it was time to say goodbye to the harbor and head north to check out Hatchet Bay.  The entrance didn't show itself until we were right in front of it and it was rather intimidating going in.  The chop was was broadside and you had one chance to make the cut.  After that the cliffs were going to visit you quickly.  Nati was up to the task and we anchored in 7 feet of water for the night.  Alice Town is a small settlement attached to the harbor and it was once a very active dairy and farming community.  It is now the home of a couple of nice restaurants but very little is going on.  We visited The Front Porch with sv's Lime'n & Jolly Mon and had some fantastic stone crab!

The Front Porch Restaurant

Lime'n going out the cut, we are next

The next day we sailed up through Current Cut and pulled into Spanish Wells to visit with "Lady Marie" in their home port.  It will be good to see everyone.  Right now we are trying to find a window to go north.  The winds and squalls are not helping at the moment.  Cross all fingers please.

The waterfront from our mooring

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Eleuthera Island

For the last two weeks we have had nothing but east quadrant winds and overall they have been fairly strong.  Being that crossing over to the  Abacos from here would be much nicer with SE winds we have been dragging the anchor/feet for the last few days. Now there looks like a trough and a small subtropical front will merge and may be coming for a visit early next week.  With that in mind we will start moving north again tomorrow and have a plan to be in Spanish Wells for the weather.  It's a small harbor and should prove fine for what is coming our way.

In the meantime we are having fun on Eleuthera.  Our stop in Rock Sound found us being hijacked by two folks in a Honda. Bill & Claudia just happened to be going our way in an attempt to find the Nort' Side Restaurant (Rose's place).  They had the Honda and we must have looked forlorn walking the distance to the east shore.  So…….into an air-conditioned car and off to the restaurant we go!  Unfortunately Rosie wasn't there but at least we found it and will be back!!
The Tour guides!

The North Side Restaurant
The beautiful interior

These guys were not going to take "no" for lunch options.  Claudia found "Barbies" in the tour guide and down the road to Tarpum Bay.  We had a good lunch and ended up with a good round of laughs with our new friends…….see you guys next year on the road!

The next day we had a nice sail up to Govenor's Harbour.  The cruising guide talks about lousy holding in the harbor but the "Ace of Spades" was up to the task and we had no problems.  The harbor and small town is very pretty, colorful and friendly.  A number of cruising folks must have thought so also as sv "Down Island",  sv "Jolly Mon", sv "Limon", mv "Pretty Penney" and mv "All In" are also here!

Looking east

Looking from the bow

and to the south

sv Liberty Express

You can tell we have had rain…..very green

Buccaneer Hill

 I think we should change the name to "Animal World" as we have had all sorts of wildlife going by.  When I dove down to check the anchor a huge Southern Ray was hanging out nearby.  On top of that………


Now jump to the right!

A frigate bird flying by "Dingh-go"

and by "Nati"

KIng bird on the lazy jacks of Nati

Yesterday we walked over to the east shore to check out a tapas bar (The Beach Side) with the folks on "sv Expatriot".  Another long walk but the lunch and views were worth it!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fernandez Bay to Rock Sound, Eleuthera

We wrapped up our time at Fernandez Bay by doing a long swim over to some rocks in the middle of the bay to see what we could see.  We did find a couple  of sand dollars and really enjoyed the swim.  Of course Nati decided she wanted to have a friend standing by so we also got to meet "Barry".   He just happened to like swimming with us too.  4 foot long barracudas have big teeth!


"Ace of Spades" looking good!  
Nice water, huh?

A Southern Ray digging in.

As a side note, check out this marker up at The Hermitage.  Forgot to show it before but this was buried in rock right on top of the mountain.  It is a US Geological Triangulation marker.

Off we go at 0620 to head for Eleuthera and the goal was Rock Sound since we are going to have a good storm front come through this weekend and we pretty much have 360 degree protection here.  But on the way I did manage to hook 1 & 1/2 fish.  Only lost one lure so that isn't too bad either.  Now I finally did some catching but how about something edible?  The 1/2 barracuda was fully alive and fighting even when I got the hook out of him and tossed him back in.  BIG TEETH ALSO!

So who bit who?

His little brother

All in all the run was long (74nm) but we made it to anchor by 1730 so it was worth the time.  Now we will slowly work our way up Eleuthera and make it to Spanish Wells.  From there it will be time to find a window and make the 50+ mile run to the Abacos.

Our traveling companions!