Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bahamas Cruise 2012 Recap

Yes, another cruise has come to pass, albeit brief, we had a lot of fun. Ran into folks we haven't seen in years and made new friends we hope to cross paths with again.
Our Memphis real estate transactions held us up longer than expected and a hasty departure for the islands caused a few problems, but all in all we had a really good run.

Highlights of this short journey:

Went to Bimini for the first time and discovered not only was it deep enough for us to enter the harbor at low tide, but it's a fun place. We will do Bimini again.

We enjoyed some smooth seas...
and some not so smooth.

Some beautiful sunsets.

Saw a puppy that was once scared of the water...
turn into a water dog...

Radar and Muddy have really become close on this trip... Finally!
Muddy is growing up and irritating Radar less and less everyday. They're really starting to look a lot alike.

Old friends were visited...

and new friends were made.

It was fun to have good friends come over to the islands and visit us this year

 Mary and Bob from Stuart and Sunset Bay
 and our old buddy Peter from the Chesapeake spent a couple of weeks with us.

We had beautiful weather ...

and some that was not so good ...

We saw Killer Whales for the first time on the crossing from Nassau to The Abacos. Very exciting!!

This trip, we decided to do more cruising than we have in the last couple of years. Our stops included Bimini, Chub, Cay, The Berrys, Nassau, Highborne, Cay, Compass Cay, Marsh Harbor, Elbow Cay, Hope Town, Great Guana, Green Turtle, and ended in the lee of Mangrove Cay before heading across the Gulf Stream and home to Stuart.

 Pics from Green Turtle.
 We only stayed a day and a night at Green Turtle, but we rented a golf cart so we could show Peter the island. It's one of our favorites.

We stayed at the new Bluff House Marina. They too are having a few growing pains, but they were friendly and we enjoyed the bar and restaurant. Bluff House needs to work on their electrical system, we had to run our generator all night.

Our last day in the Bahamas was just a run north on the Sea of Abaco and past, "Center of the World Rock", then head west at Great Sale...
...followed by a night at anchor off Mangrove Cay. We've never anchored here because there nothing but a rock with mangroves. No beach, nothing, but we need to shorten our next day's run to reach St Lucie Inlet at a decent tide level.

We pulled anchor at 5:00 AM and made way into the darkness and across the bank to Memory Rock.

It was a bit disconcerting leaving Mangrove. For some reason I've yet to figure out, our chart plotter malfunctioned. I could see on the radar we were heading away from the island, but our chart plotter didn't show any position change though the GPS showed active. I knew I was moving yet the plotter said other wise. I quickly switched over to my backup plotter/radar and confirmed we were headed in the right direction.
Wonder why this stuff always goes toes up on those fuzzy early AM departures?

With the sun up and a fresh backup computer running our Nobletec composed route, we cleared Memory Rock and hit the Atlantic Ocean. Running wasn't too bad, the seas were on our tail. By 11:00 AM they were almost smooth. We made St Lucie Inlet by 1:30 because the stream added a couple of knots to our speed. We made it through the shoaly inlet, but we bumped ground twice at the notoriously shallow "Cross Roads". I just added power and we slid over the tops of those two sandy bumps. No damage, just hurt feelings.
It was a sunny Saturday and everybody with a boat in Martin County was using it that day. The inlet and the cross roads weren't nearly as stressful as the chaos created by the hundreds of boaters, both large and small, that were erratically screaming past us at warp speed.
But we made it with all our fingers and toes, and no loss of blood. Successful cruise.

As we cleared the bridge, Sam from Sunset Bay called to say he was waiting. We have a nice new slip that's a lot closer for dog walking in this hot Florida summer sun.

So that's it... The whole trip in one long post.  Who knows what we'll do next?
Too hot to go to Memphis, though we need to check on things there.
Another island in the Exumas has called about an Internet installation gig so we may be going back. I've even been talking about going to Miami for a couple of weeks just to experience the different culture and all the Cuban food they have to offer. 

Who knows?

We'll see.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Sombody give me a Cheeseburger!

As I've said many times... We're home, back in the land of the free... water, at least.
Busy re-acclimating, but got lots of pics and I'll post them later.

Thought about this as we were heading home.

In America, you get food to eat  
Won't have to run through the jungle and scuff up your feet  
You just sing about Jesus, drink wine all day  
It's great to be an American

Sail Away
Sail Away

Will catch up later.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making all things better

Marsh Harbor is our best bet for having our mechanicals repaired so we leave Guana and slowly motor the 5 or 6 miles back to Marsh Harbor.
I talk with Marselle at Harbor View Marina on the way over and he hooks me up with a guy named Andrew to fix the Gen, but Andrew can't be there till the next morning.
Pete and I go to work on trying to diagnose the problem and eliminate a few possibilities, but it's still running hot. We call James Knight at Yacht Tech and he has a few ideas, but by this time we're tired, hungry, and want a drink. We throw in the towel and just hope Andrew has a solution.
Andrew shows up right on time, looks at the generator, diagnoses it as a sensor or a thermostat, charges me 80 bucks, and leaves. Still no Generator.
I call Robin at Nordavn who, miraculously,  can have the parts to me in a couple of days, but I think about this for a while and come to the conclusion, Andrew is wrong.
Pete and I go back down and start pulling hoses and to make a long story short... we fix it ourselves.
Necessity is quite a motivator.
Now the A/C in our bedroom.
But before we go to work on that we decide on lunch at Wally's. We run into our young friends from the day before while at lunch and invite them over to meet the pups and see our boat.

They loved Radar and Muddy, but Lucy's sister was ill and they needed to get going. They did a quick walk through of Istaboa before leaving and seemed to enjoy that. It was nice seeing them again, unnipped this time and we still had great conversations. Very intelligent, interesting,  and well mannered young people we had the pleasure of meeting that reminded us of why we love this life we live so much. It's not just the sights you see or the things you do, most times it's the folks you meet and get to know.

As we were saying our goodbyes, our old friends Robin and Nancy from Rockin Robin walked over and Robin offered his expertise with Marine A/C.
It turns out Robin's a wiz at about everything. Within an hour he had all A/C running better than they have in years. The problem, as it always seems to be, Mussels from the St. Lucie River were clogging the water lines. We can't thank Robin and Nancy enough. It's really good to have friends out here. "most times it the folks you meet and get to know."

Tomorrow we head to Green Turtle Cay to see what we find there.

Should be fun.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crossing to Great Guana

And everything started falling apart...
The weather was the first to go. A huge squall cast rain and thunder on us for a while, but we could see on the radar it would only last a couple of hours. Then I notice that it's getting warm in the pilot house, look over at the power panel, and see nothing but zeros. We've lost power... the generator is dead. We're just minutes away from tying up at Orchid Bay Marina on Guana and we'll have shore power so I don't worry too much. We want to show Pete the craziness at Nippers, I figure it's just an impeller, and I have spares...  so off we go to Nippers.

For those of you who don't know Nippers, it's a funky little beach bar that sits atop the hill overlooking the ocean. It's also the scene of the infamous Pig Roast on Sundays where folks from near and far, young and old, gather to eat roasted pig, drink Kaliks, and swill hundreds of gallons of a frozen concoction of many rums and fruit juices aptly named... "Nippers".
The combination of all those things always turns into a huge party and lasts all day.
That's Mel in front of the crowd, arms up and hat on backwards dancing with Lucy and Robby amongst others.

On this day, we met an interesting group of young people from the UK.
Mel, Pete, and I were quietly sitting at a table that was as far away from the action and noise as possible and the kids join us. After a few Nippers we all got to know each other and were sharing stories. It was a lot of fun. One of the kid's, Lucy, father owns and operates an upscale fishing resort at Rolling Bay. The Delphi Club They're all down for holiday and having a blast.
They made for quite an entertaining afternoon.

So after getting thoroughly nipped we said our goodbyes and carted back to Istaboa. The generator problem would have to wait until the next day.

The next morning, feeling a bit fuzzy, I go down to change the impeller only to find it's not damaged. So now what?

Back to Marsh Harbor.... and on the way over, the A/C in our bedroom goes toes up. Life in paradise.

More later.
Much more.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Goodbye Elbow Cay

It's been a few days since our last post because we've been enjoying our company. Peter arrived a few days ago so we rented a golf cart and explored Elbow Cay that way. Peter enjoyed the tour, one bar/restaurant at a time.

 Mud is a lady killer, and he knows it... wish I would've had him when I was 25.

 Mary and Mel

Our friends Capt. Bob and Capt. Mary from Stuart were working the boat next to us. Bare Bones. Because they were tending to their duties we didn't get to spend much time with them, but we managed to sneak in a bit of fun from time to time.

After a few days we decided to leave Sea Spray and run to the new marina in Hope Town Harbour.
Hope Town Marina is new and a very nice place with a decent restaurant and pool bar, but they're new and somewhat disorganized. We're sure they'll get better in time, but Sea Spray is still our favorite on Elbow Cay. We only stayed one night. Oh yeah... the bugs!!

Hope Town Marina is on the same side of the Harbour as the lighthouse so we climbed the stairs to get a few pics.

This lighthouse is probably the most photographed structure in the Abacos
 Surprise shot of Pete exiting the lighthouse

Though a lot of very steep steps, it's worth the view at the top. Sometimes I forget just how pretty the Abacos are.

So we cranked up and pulled out of the Harbour yesterday and are now in Marsh Harbour. Lot's of old friends over here too. We had dinner at Wally's last night and it was as good as ever. Wally has passed away since we were here last and his daughter sold the place, but not much else has changed. Same menu, quality, and good service.

Who knows how long we'll stay here? Pig roast tomorrow at Nipper's on Guana?? Mañana...