We had been to the Exumas, but never farther than Stanial Cay. So Diane decided that we should go to the Exumas before the Abacos. It seems that every time we went to the Abacos first, we never left there.
So this year we are going to the Exumas then the Out Islands and finally ending our sojourn in the Abacos.
Hopefully you will enjoy our travels and tribulations
We are currently sitting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. A GOOD friend arranged for us to tie up behind a house near downtown. It is a drop dead gorgeous spot!
The trip south from Jacksonville has been pretty much uneventful. One good storm came through while we were anchored in Daytona. Unfortunately we had to watch two unoccupied boats drag anchors and drift up on a shoal. It was too rough and windy to drop the dink and attempt a rescue, so we called the Coast Guard but they were not overly concerned. From there we continued down the ICW with nightly stops. When we got to Ft. Pierce wee decided to avoid the 22 bridges in the next 60 miles, and went outside for an overnighter to Lauderdale. And Diane did get to see two Wright Whales (sp?).
We went up the New River, and we have never been in as tight of conditions in our lives. At times we could literally chat with the people on the side of the river while waiting for bridges to open. Really scared the crap out of both of us. But we didn’t not crash or mess up. Fred met us at the house where we were to stay and we have been here since Thursday, (3-1-06).
Now we are waiting for the winds to clock around from out of the North and then we will shove off for the Bahamas.
Judy and Steve, friends of ours are coming down to visit this weekend so boat cleaning was in order.
We can’t express how much help Fred has been. He has drove my ass to West Marine twice and basically been our personal driver. Also the free slip has been a Godsend. We owe both parties our sincere thanks.
I am writing this while at anchor in the Berry islands.
Well the decision to cross was a good one. It was uneventful except for the continuing fuel problem with the starboard engine. Which it seems I was, FINALLY, able to fix by removing the shut off valve, so far so good. The wind picked up as the sun was going down and shifted to the North a little earlier than predicted, but we were able to make up lost time, dealing with the engine, with the extra wind.
We arrived at Bimini at 2230 and anchored behind the North end. The next morning we sailed around to the south end to get out of the wind, which was now blowing 15 to 20 out of the north. The winds stayed out of the north for a couple of days, so we stayed put.
Finally the forecast changed to east and southeast winds so we decided to go ahead and cross the bank, 73 miles of shallow, 10-15 feet, sand bottom with gin clear water, to Great Harbor in the Berrys. Rather than making the crossing in one long trip we anchored at Mackie Shoal, a large shallow spot in the middle of the Bahama Bank, for the night. Unfortunately the winds picked up during the night and we rocked and rolled ALL NIGHT. We got up at 0600 and shoved off. The winds and seas continued to pick up until we were seeing 8-10 foot seas and 15-20 knts of wind. A rough ride to say the least, and poor Isa got sea sick, bummer! But we made it in to Cistern Cay just north of Great Harbor. And that is where we will begin to REALLY experience island living!!!!!!
Trip Report 3-17-06
Well we are currently East of Nassau in a small cove off of Rose Island. We spent the night at Bonds Cay in the Berry islands and shoved off at 6:00 this morning and had a great sail across the bank to Nassau. It still makes think hard when sailing across water that is 3000’ deep. The Berrys were nice; there were beautiful beaches and very very few people. I think we saw four boats for the entire chain of islands.
Unfortunately I have some VERY sad news. We lost Isa to a Heart attack! She died on 3-15-06, A REAL bummer. She got sick and started having a hard time breathing and two days later died in Diane’s arms. We buried her at sunrise on a deserted island named Soldier’s Cay, which is now designated as Isa Island. We will miss her dearly. She was an excellent dog, which we had the pleasure of owning for 13 years. Again she will be missed. Diane has taken it hard as she had basically spent 24/7 with her for 13 years. So needless to say she is taking it hard. The trip has been pretty subdued since then. But time will heal and she suffered very little.
Well we have logged 747 miles and been gone for 25 days from cutting the lines. It has certainly been an adventure so far. We have basically experienced every emotion possible, hopefully all good from here on out. We will be in the top of the Exumas tomorrow we will be in the top of the Exumas tomorrow. HOORAY and Happy St. Patrick’s day. Also it is Diane’s anniversary, 10 years, and another hooray for her. Well have things to do so when we get somewhere we have Internet I will send these reports
Allen to Wardwick Wells
We have made it to the Exumas National Park. It is a section of the central Exumas chain.
Since our last update, we were east of Nassau. We had a great sail over to Allen’s Cay, of about 35 miles. Stayed there overnight, it was really beautiful. We then sailed the 10 miles down to Normans Cay, it used to be owned by Carlos Ledher, lots of drug history. Fantastic beach and just beautiful water. At thirty-five feet we can still see starfish on the bottom.
Today we sailed down to the park for Internet access and hang on a mooring. In a couple of days we will be in Stanial Cay for our first marina stop so I will check in again.
It is Sunday the twenty sixth of March. We are currently anchored between Big Major and Little Major islands, which is a mile north of Stanial Cay. We plan on doing some snorkeling at Thunder Ball Grotto and then continue the sojourn south. It is cloudy today and the winds have been out of the northern quadrant for a few days now. Which is good for us as we are basically heading south, the only problem is that anchorages with cover from the north are not as numerous as places with protection from the SE and S.
Cambridge Cay was beautiful and hard to leave. Even though we had seen 20-25 knts with the passing front. The surrounding reefs were as beautiful as we have seen. It was home to the largest patch of pillar coral in the Caribbean. But we were down to five gallons of water so we needed to hit a marina and fill up. So we headed down to Sampson Cay Marina. Water was an astounding .50 per gallon. But they do have to make the water so, oh well.
We took on 97 gallons of water; we carry 104, and 32 gallons of fuel at 3.48 per gallon. But over all we have done well, as it had been over two weeks since filling up at Great Harbor in the Berrys.
From here we are headed to White Point, known for a great shelling beach and some caves to explore. It is a short two-hour sail from here, but we will have to wait for the winds to lay down a touch as they are predicting 20-25 tonight and slacking by Tuesday. So until our next spot for an update we bid you adieu.
Well we have made it to Georgetown, Exumas.
We have had wonderful stops at White point, Little Farmer’s Cay, Darby, and Lee Stocking Island. The weather has been very nice just a little breezy, but nothing bad enough that bothers us sailing. We repaired the dink at white point, which took us 4 hours. Diane remarked that she had never seen me stay on any beach for four hours! But the fix a flat for dingys works. Then headed down to Little Farmer’s and had a wonderful dinner at Ocean Cabin. Ernestine and Terry Bain were gracious hosts. We met two people who were sailing a VERY small boat down the Exumas, while camping on beaches, as the boat was not big enough to sleep on. They stayed too long at Ocean Cabin and ask if we could tow them across the harbor (about a mile) as the wind was blowing and the tide was busting ass in the cut. Naturally we volunteered to give them a tow. It was pitch black and blowing harder than we thought. Some of the waves we went over were well over five foot, which at night seemed at least twenty footers, but no harm and just wet butts for all.
Next we sailed down to Darby Island. A nice spot with zero people, and a great beach. I found Diane a “Queen Helmet” shell, which now smells really bad!
Next we sailed to Lee Stocking Island. It is the home of the Caribbean Marine Research Center, Another beautiful spot.
We were sitting there minding our own business when at about 2200 (10:00 pm) I look up and see a boat next to us. They holler over and tell us they have lost their dingy and need help. Again naturally I volunteer, notice I say I, Diane said she would not go back out in the dingy again after dark! So one of the sons of the captain (who spoke only French) and myself did search patterns for about two hours, no luck, and just another wet butt.
Today we motor sailed down to Georgetown, about 30 miles, about an hour I hooked a huge Dolphin, unfortunately when I got him to the boat he got off, major bummer! It was a bit rough with five to seven foot swells. But we made it to the booming metropolis of Georgetown.
It is a huge harbor with approximately 200 sailboats scattered about. We will re-provision here and head east to the out islands and begin to make our way back north via the Eleuthera.
Until the next time we hope everyone is well and we think of you guys often!!!!!!!!!