Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo Update, March 30, 2014. Photos from early March to March 30

I finally have a good internet connection, so thought I would upload some photos from the past several weeks.  Hope you enjoy!  These are listed most recent to early March, generally in reverse date order.

 Just to make us feel small, we parked next to should have seen the crew run out and put fenders on.....Geez, and I didn't even hit it.  No idea what they were worried about.  But it was a tight squeeze with a 20 kt wind and 3 knot current.

 We were greeted by the pet nurse sharks upon arrival
Map of Compass Cay - amazing beaches, nice hosts, and boat neighbors with plenty of $$

 Some mementos from visiting boats, Compass Cay - see if you can find ours!

Our art work

 Salty Shark Fishing at Compass Cay

 Yes, you can swim with them, but not recommended when they are feeding!

Compass Cay Marina, Exumas

 Sandals Resort - we docked at Emerald Bay, next door (Exumas)

 Just another beach in the Abacos!

 Midnight Sun II anchored off Blacks Point, Exumas
 Our overnight neighbor - Blacks Point

 Pete's Pub - Little Harbour, Abacos
 HopeTown Lighthouse, Abacos

 Canadian friend (Bob) on his anniversary, participating in "Rake and Scrape" - Bluff House, Abacos
the Beach - Bluff House, Abacos

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014 - Emerald Bay

We are back at Emerald Bay as Austin is traveling back to Chattanooga today and I will be heading back for a brief business trip.  We had a wonderful week with Austin.  Salty was so glad to see him!

We headed north to Staniel Cay where we saw swimming pigs (no they swim, they don't fly); and also snorkeled the Thunderball Grotto.  Then we went further north to Waderick Wells before coming back down to Compass Cay.

Compass, we very beautiful - we found secluded beaches and al swam.  At the dock of the marina, there were about a dozen nurse sharks.  You can swim with them, pet them, and feed them - although swimming and feeding at the same time is strongly discouraged for obvious reasons!  We met some nice cruisers along the way:
  • Captain Joe (Glory Days) who runs the local Cruisers Net
  • Bill and Ann (Wind Swept) from the Atlanta Area
  • Bill and Sandy (Badonkadonk) from Brunswick (formerly Atlanta).  WE first met Bill and Sandy in Daytona Beach on our way down here, so great to meet up again.
Still having issues uploading photos due to poor or slow internet.  But I will try to do a mass upload when in the US.  We have some mazing memories, photos and videos so far!
More later

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014 Exumas Land and Sea Park........Big Blow

Hello Campers!
Today we are at the Exumas Land and Sea Park in Waderick Wells, Exumas.  But no, it is no "waterpark" this place is a wilderness of sea and land wildlife.  Very beautiful but very remote.  As we tied on to our mooring ball last night we saw nurse sharks under our hull.  On land there are Iguanas that run by your feet. 

Unfortunately we are waiting out a blow.  It currently blowing about 25 kts of wind.  We have had our first real rain of the trip which was welcome as it washed some salt off the boat.  With fresh water down here costing anything from 25cents to 80 cents a gallon, boat washing is a luxury!

Austin is currently with us for Spring Break.  He and Salty just headed for land and a little exercise.  So due to weather we are kind of held up on the boat but taking the time to chill out.  Internet is sporadic at best, but we have a connection right now from the ranger's station

Yesterday was a good day.........errr most of it anyway.  In the morning on the slack tide we went into Thunderball Grotto.  We actually stayed on a mooring ball right opposite the entrance.  it was an amazing sight inside -  a real view that was actually used in the James Bond movie......this was the real thing! As it says in the guide book - no Hollywood sets.  I will post photos at some point when I have a reliable connection.  Fish in their thousands followed us through the underwater cavern.

Then - well we provided a little entertainment for the other cruisers moored or anchored in the area...yes, we ran aground and grounded. As they say down here, any sailor who has not run aground has either not sailed much or is a liar.  Well I guess we have sailed enough now!  we were about 10 ft off our mooring ball.  I was turning to the channel and we grounded........geez!  how embarrassing.  Two cruisers came to help.  Both had dinghies with small outboards.  One pushed the bow, and one pulled our halyard.  With full engine power, and bowthuster running we spun Midnight Sun off to applause from onlookers.  The cruise drink for this trip is "Captain Salty's Anti-grounding Rum".  And no, I had not had one, it was too early in the day.........but after that experience, I put things to right and had a significant splash of anti-grounding rum!  All was well for the rest of the day!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014 - Catching up

Well - I would never have thought so much time has passed and so many things have happened since I updated the blog.  I guess i will just try to capture the many highlights and try to be more vigilant.

Not to short change anything, but here goes.

First, after our great crew of Brian, Raquel and Patrick left to go back to the
US, we decided to hang around the Abacos a little longer.  We went back to Treasure Cay for a night before continuing on back to the Bluff House - still one of our favourite spots!  There we met up with some of our very best friends of 20+ years, Jimmy and Cheryl. It was great to see them and we were so glad and honored that they would make the time to come and see us.

We had a wonderful time, even though the weather was not the best we had seen.  We managed to get a day sail in and Jimmy and Cheryl seemed to enjoy that.
Salty had his regular swims at the beach - his fave place!

After t hat, we moved on to Hopetown again making the trek and preparations for moving south from the Abacos.

I am having difficulties with internet so am unable to upload photos beyond Treasure Cay, but, will add some when I'm able. From Hopetwon we made a long haul down to Little Harbor where we anchored in a  quiet little cove with some new friends we met who sailed down with us. Jason, Kelly, Riley and Dewey (their 2 dogs) are aboard s/v Chance. We sailed together the next day to Spanish Wells where we all moored for a few days to wait out a passing weather front.Tthe town was amazing with some of the friendliest people we have met so far. the dogs all ran on the beach together and had a great time. We were invited to happy hour at Tom & Jeans house where we met other cruisers who gave us great advice on getting further south in the Exumas where we would pick Austin up from the airport in Georgetown. We only had 2 days to make the 145 mile trip due to the bad weather. Jason & Kelly had engine problems so could not make the journey with us but we are hoping to catch up with them soon. We set off at 0 dark hundred on Wednesday morning with a goal of reaching just north of Staniel Cay (just over halfway and an ambitious sail for our boat) as we neared our destination we had made good time and decided to carry on further. We finally anchored in a beautiful little cove at Black Point at 9.30pm. it was our first sail in complete darkness and made it interesting anchoring in the dark! We had accomplished a 103 mile trip and saw the sunrise, the sunset and the moonrise all in one day. When we woke the next morning we discovered a castle & a beautiful beach sitting on the shore just off our stern!! We took pictures and will post them when they upload. we had a very pleasant sail through the Cove Cay cut to the Exuma Sound along the rugged coastline of many small Cays and rocks. we sailed for quite awhile alongside a tall ship under full sail on the horizon, we arrived at Emerald Bay Marina around 5 and quickly got settled. our boat looked quite small next to the many mega yachts (over 100' long) that were moored around us. The slip next to us held an older looking sailboat that looked like it had done some hard sailing. they were from Norway and had sailed over from there!!!! we again met many wonderful people and made more new friends. We ate dinner at the Grand Isle Resort and then walked along the beach to Sandals, beautiful resort. We rented a car Saturday and picked Austin up. It was great to hug him again (I'm sure he felt the same way)!! we drove to Georgetown and stocked up at the grocery store. It was obvious that there is a lot more poverty and unemployment in this area than the Abacos. today we will set sail and head back towards Black Point where we will explore some of the Islands with Austin and hopefully meet up with Jason & Kelly again. Will update when we're able.