Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We have made it south at last.......George Town, Bahamas!

We pulled away from Marathon on April 1 with one goal.....make it to the Bahamas to watch the Family Regatta.  Well, here it is, April 26 and we are one day away from the start.  So......our goal has been met and now it's time to have a week of fun.  All the boats are in Elizabeth Harbor and the first start goes off at 0900 tomorrow.

But first lets recap the latest sail south from Wardrick Wells.........We had plenty of time to meander down the Exuma chain and we did a good job at sailing when we could and staying put when weather wasn't to our liking.  Speaking of weather not to our liking.....this is what Lobster Cay looked like the second afternoon we were there.  SW winds 40+ winds putting us on the lee shore. Lots of fun for 4 hours.

yes, it was breezy
Celest is ready too

One area we really enjoyed was the Lee Stocking/Barreterre region.  The water was very clear, the little settlement is a joy and the cracked conch at "Norman's Fishermen Inn" was the best we have ever had!  We had to back more than once.
Monument marking the channel from day of old

Tug & Barge Cays

Square Rock

Views of Barreterre

Hurricane damage lasts a long time

Town boat launch 

Tida Wave being towed to George Town

Barreterre waterfront

More views

One big sand bar

Can you count the number of blues!

sv Celest

Nati heading south with Celest

Once the wind turned back to the NE it was time to make our run down Exuma Sound and pull into George Town for the regatta.  The forecast was as predicted and we had a great sail all the way to our anchorage.  There are perhaps 150 boats in the harbor for the regatta.  There is plenty of room to find a spot to drop the hook and we have already seen a number of friends.  Paul & Kathryn on sv Cool Cat  came in yesterday so we should have plenty of fun.

King of the "Cuda's - now how did I make this mess?
First one caught

4th one caught!

We have more pictures of the regatta prep but we will do a follow-up of the regatta after all the races are complete on Saturday.
One of many ships carrying in the racing boats

Kidd Cove filling up with racers

The boats are getting unloaded 

Big & small

Regatta Park formerly the "Straw Market" before the fire
Elizabeth Harbor

Here we go.........

Thursday, April 14, 2016

We are in Paradise!

Storms in Lobster Cay.........

Beautiful weather in Wardrick Wells.

Too many "elephants" in Staniel Cay but it still is very nice!

Right here in Black Point?  Really, really nice!!!!  The only question that remains is, why did it take so long for us to get here?????  We know the answer but it doesn't matter anymore.....we are here!

So lets go back to our stay in Wardrick Wells.  It seemed like old home days.  The beauty of the place is still great.  Our hike up Boo Boo Hill was treacherous in the area where the limestone is wicked sharp and one cannot afford one wrong step.  Nati's sign was still on the hill.  Maybe next time we'll do an upgrade....maybe.  We did our first snorkeling in a long time and saw some nice coral and a few fish.  Overall a very nice stay.

A view from our mooring in the north field

OH no....pirates!

and now they are eating our food!

Crystal clear??

Lots of color today

Scrawled filefish

Not bad, huh?

Our "local" fleet of stingrays.  The fleet had 8 of them!

Heading up Boo Boo Hill

Can you find Nati?

Looking east

Nati's name board from 2013

A cold beer after the hike

From there we sailed down to Cambridge Cay for a couple of days and that too was lovely.  Sv Celest was there again so I had some more chances to harass Robie.  After two days we moved down to Staniel Cay and finally got our Internet going.  Rose at BTC had a lot of patience with us and eventually we were able to find our emails and update the blog.  The yacht club on the cay has done some updating, probably since the big "mega yachts" like to come in there.  Of the 28 boats in Big Major Spot, 10 were in excess of 100 feet!  To us they are elephants and I don't like them one bit!

Thunderball grotto

Stained Cay Yacht Club

Colorful homes 

Colorful pubs

Grouper fingers was lunch of the day

Laundry time was necessary and so yesterday we made our way down to Black Point.  We have only spent one night here in the past so we have finally had a chance to to see what is going on here.  It's a quiet little settlement but the locals are so nice.  The laundry is nice (if not the nicest in the Exumas) so we had a good afternoon.
Celest sailing to Black Point

The view from the laundry

Have I said we are loving' it??!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Greetings from the Bahamas!

Yes, we have finally made it.  The original plan was not to leave on April 1st but as we have said, our plans are usually make in soft sand and so be it.

Right now I'm writing this in the north mooring field in Wardrick Wells.  We sailed down here yesterday after a couple of nights in Lobster Cay.  But first a quick synopsis of the last few days.......

Outta Marathon, Fl last Wednesday and said our goodbyes to our friends.  Oh, it felt great to be going out the bridge and not have a plan to come back for a long time.  From there it was up the chain to Shell Key and then on to our anchorage near Snake Creek.  Then on 4/1/16 @ 0700 we went out the creek and into the "Stream".  The crossing took all day and we were 2nm from S Riding Rock at sunset.  The wind, which blew all day just quick 2 miles from our daytime destination so we went onto the Bahamas Bank in the dark.  No big deal but for a few miles we had to motor-sail.

The newest creature in Boot Key harbor.  A sea hare.

Our view 

Leaving our mooring of 3 months

OK, what the heck??!!

Good bye Marathon

At around 0100 the wind picked back up and oh man did it.  From 5 knots to 18-20kts!!  We ended up  putting two reefs in the main and two in the head sail.  Still, traveling  the traveler down all the way we blasted across the bank, in 15 feet of water, in pitch-black darkness at 8.5kts!

Sunset over the Gulf Stream
My newest weapon.  Score: 2 hits only

Daylight came early and we came off the bank at NW Channel light only to change our minds and not go to Chub Cay.  Instead we made our way to Morgan's Bluff.  It ended up being a cool desolate settlement but we got checked in, had our first Bahamian food in a year and toasted our 175nm trip with a, what else, a "rum"!

Look what we brought from the US!  Around our port prop

The next day we made an early departure as the run to Lobster Cay in the Eumas chain was 75nm and would take all day.  We got chased in by a rain squall just before we got there but we still made it by 30 minutes.......way too close.  The next day we were surprised to see sv Celeste sailing by on her way south so after a quick chat, they decided to turn and spend a night in Lobster.  Fun was had by all, even if they got soaked to the bone when they came over for dinner.

Here it comes.  Time to drop sail!

sv Celeste before the big blow

The three stooges

The time before the crew of Celeste came over was rather a long afternoon.  The rain they came over in was the remnants of a big squall that hit us from the SW.  Yep, pinned up on a lee shore for 2-3 hours with one cell blasting us with 40+ knot winds!  Good anchor!!  Good "Ace of Spades"!!!  When we finally finished our 360 degree circle our GPS position had not changed one foot!!!!!!

So, now we are in Wardrick Wells......loving the gin clear water.  Its raining and blowing here today but we don't care.  We are here!!!!!!!!!!