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.