Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stop procrastinating already and post something, anything.

After successfully avoiding the laptop for several months due to the fact that it is rapidly dying and its making this horrible, God awful sound that makes it seem its going to self destruct at any moment. I have decided that if I am ever going to make a post again on my blog I have to at least make an effort to retrieve my word documents and photos from it. From the moment I turned it on it let me know it was in pain and to please hurry. I was able to locate and up load a couple shots only located on that computer to the blog and also access my word document I had spent so much time typing up. I figure the longer I put off the deed, the longer and further behind I would get on the blog. I hate being this far behind and if I was a third person I would have given up on me a long time ago. I can blame it on the fact that I got a new I pad and I was having trouble using the screen keyboard. I'm sorry, I grew up taking typing in school and my fingers have to feel the keys in order to type with any speed. Otherwise I am pecking away and that kills me. So my husband got me a new keyboard for the I pad which makes a world of difference.So hopefully I'm back.....I'm back but so far behind that I'm not really sure where to pick things up. We all know that we made it back from the Bahamas just fine and after sitting a bit in Cape Canaveral we started getting that feeling we wanted to move again so we decided that we would spend the summer in Wilmington. Dirk has family there and that's where are friends Mike and Denise live. So I guess where I will start is the log I kept on the way up to that point. I don't usually keep track of a trip but this was going to be a milestone for us and I wanted to record a bit of it. Our plan was to leave the barge canal and head out to open water, hit the gulf stream for assistance and make the whole trip in one leg. We have never done more than one overnighter and never had we been 100 miles away from land. So here goes.......

We decided after being in Harbortown Marina for 2. I feel that I have put my blog readers into a state of limbo and for this I apologize. I can honestly say part of it is the fact that the laptop I have been using and storing photos on has started working on its last breaths so my husband got me an early birthday gift of a new ipad. I do love that little sucker but as you know it doesn’t have a real keyboard and I find it difficult to type without pecking on the screen. Perhaps a keyboard attachment may be an early Christmas gift. I have not decided yet and the jury is still out. Also since I am trying to do things from multiple devices I have photos on one or two and word on one. I will get organized one day. I keep hearing that one day resounding off the inside of my head over and over again as I find new things to keep my attention elsewhere. Anyway to keep moving forward with this blog I wrote on our passage up from Cape Canaveral to Carolina Beach and it is as follows. Grant it, I have never written in this perspective but I thought it might be different to get it first hand as it happened. It would be our longest passage ever, 52 hours, and the furthest off shore, 100 miles, we have ever gone.

Harbortown Marina to Carolina Beach North Carolina
Take off from Marina, 8ish then though the lock and bridge into Cape Marina to take on Fuel. Finally got off the dock at 11.15pm. As we were leaving the marina Dirk noticed the stuffing box leaking badly. After a few moments he got it to stop. After fueling up as we are leaving the channel he notices that the alternator is not charging, Dang it….What to do? We could turn around and return to the marina or we could keep going using the generator to charge batteries. We decided to head back and Dirk was below looked it over again, then we discussed it and decided what the hell. We would change our float plan and stay close to shore just in case…. So it may take us several more hours but we are on the move. First storm hit at about 12:30 passing very quickly and bringing about 13 knots of wind. It was over before we could get all the sails down. Afterwards we decided to shut the engine down and just sail. Well that lasted about 10 minutes till the wind died. Back on came the engine and wha la, the alternator decided to start working again. Here at 1:30 we see the next round of storms coming at us. This one is probably going to be a bit more than the 1st one we had. Storm hit us about 15 minutes later after Dirk reefed the main down and let the stay sail down. We saw up to 32 knot winds and the storm is still going on.

As we were passing through a storm

Cant really see if anything is coming, thank goodness for radar
Storm passed as we sailed a little into it so as not to catch the wind broad side. All calm after that till almost 5pm. Thunder started rolling again and it started to drizzle. Cockpit enclosure is nice but it gets very warm inside when closed up. Waves started picking up a bit and we are taking them on the beam which makes for a rolly ride. Butters is doing fine, he went to the bathroom about an hour ago but he still hasn’t eaten or drank anything since he threw up this early afternoon. Guess he hasn’t gotten his sea legs yet. Me with the vertigo, I have been experiencing has made things a bit interesting. I find I can’t look up or tilt my head in certain ways without that falling effect. Been popping Bonine every 4 hours or so just to help. 5 pm Dirk checked in with the cruisers net and gave our position. Bad reception but Rick from s/v Naked Lady in Panama City Florida said he copied. 6pm was suppose to check in with Bob on s/v Moondance but could not get radio contact. About 7pm made the 1st round of coffee. Right after coffee and sandwiches Dirk took the reef out of the sail and put the stay sail up. By 8pm the wind piped up very quickly to 30 knots, sometimes to 32 so stay sail was lowered and the reef put back into the main. Better safe than sorry. We knew better, is the bad thing, we were already seeing 9 knots of speed but was trying to get more. During the evening we did see 11.8 knots of speed which is about hull speed for us. We simply can’t go any faster and it’s the fastest this boat has taken us. About 7:30ish in the morning after setting the alarm every 30 minutes and catching a couple cat naps we found we had reached the furthest distance from land we would be at 100 miles. New record for us, there is no one except flying fish and an occasional ship or two out here. Once the winds picked up last evening so did the waves. We are seeing some possible 5 footers with the weird interval, 1 wave good, 2 wave good, 3 wave roll, before we could steady out, 4th wave, really roll. So we sit wedged into the cockpit, Butters has blessed every mat and floor surface we have here. It smells like a litter box up here but there is nothing I can do at the time. Just swap out a new towel in his carrier and clip the soiled one on the lifeline and wait for the next thunderstorm to roll in and rinse them. I think when we hit land they will all need to meet a bucket of bleach water. Going below has been a task and I’m sure once I get back to shore I will have many bruises erupt from running into everything we own. I thought I had everything pretty well tied down, but after chasing clangs, bangs, and crashes around all evening I can see I was mistaken. My pots and pans keep flying out of the oven so they now live on my bed. The boat looks as if someone took it, turned it upside down and shook. No coffee this morning as I think it’s too dangerous to have hot liquid in the works when I can barely stand upright. So it was water for Dirk and an energy drink for me. Plus a new round of bonine for both of us. I feel like I have been doing palates for a day straight and when it’s time for my muscles to relax I think I will sleep for a day. As our course now has us pointed toward land once again we hope the sea state will improve soon. Although on our course with our speed it says we will arrive tomorrow in the morning sometime, although now that we are no longer getting that push from the gulf stream we know we will slow back. We have been motor sailing just about all the way. Occasionally we shut the engine down for a while so Butters can get a bit to eat, when he will eat. At this rate he may lose a few pounds. 8:30 am Dirk checked into the cruiser net and when he was done I managed to sit down on the floor of the cockpit and proceed to shower. If anything could give me a fresh outlook, it would be a shower. Winds are in the high teens, low 20s with what appears to be building seas. It’s not bad, just still the succession we are taking them, nothing really to do but try and rest. I would like to start reading a new book but I don’t want to risk staring at a kindle in these waves and don’t want to tire my eyes as I need my vision for nighttime. We were lucky enough to have a close to full moon last night rising at around 8pm and set shortly before dawn. Minimal cloud cover so we had a lot of illumination. There’s nothing much else to do but watch the little boat on the screen move ever ever so slowly closer to shore and tick off the miles. 10:40 am just had a bite to eat, curried chicken salad on crackers. Easy and that’s what it’s about when you need 4 hands and 5 feet to get around. Dirk just said we are approximately directly straight out from Cumberland Island about 90 miles. Got a big 656 foot ship heading our way and were keeping an eye on it. We know we see them on our AIS but not sure if they see us so it’s better for us to be on our toes.

100 miles off shore and this guy came this close.
Dirk said that by tonight we should be about 30 miles off shore. Whoo hooo. Im ready to get this ride over. No Thunderstorms yet this morning but the day is still early. Several times we have buried the right hand rail and filled the gunnel's. Keeping an eye on the scuppers to make sure they are clear and continue to drain. Have only noticed small leaks around the ports below which is amazing and wonderful seeing as the seals need to be replaced in all of them. Renegade is doing great, even if the ride is uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel unsafe. I always know when she rolls really bad she is coming back. The engine and auto pilot is doing great also and we don’t seem to be having anymore problems with the alternator since Dirk did some rigging with it. A project to add to the list….. Finally around 2pm we say the sea state starts to lay down more to our liking. We shut the engine down for abit with just the stay sail and reefed main up. We were still getting 9.3 knots with only about 12-15 knots of wind. Surely we still couldn’t be getting a push from the Gulf Stream. But perhaps we were. At 4pm we find our selves about 65 miles from shore. Cloudy skies that threaten rain. Earlier in the day we watched as a water spout began to form and as we began evasive measures it dissipated, thank goodness. I didn’t want to see one of those up close and personal, not today. We both have been doing surprisingly well with the lack of sleep. Just a case of the grumpies which happens to both of us due to lack of zsssssss. We don’t take it personal. Dirk did manage to go below and get a semi decent nap and now with the cooler overcast afternoon we find ourselves cat napping in between watching for traffic. Poor captain Butters, he has barely eaten anything today. At least he has enough body fat to keep him healthy for at least 2 weeks. I am trying to get him to drink as much as I can as I don’t want him dehydrated. The accident he had in his carrier has gotten ripe. I pulled the liner out of it and replace it with a fresh towel but anyone who has a cat knows that cat urine is strong…. Wish I could let him out and put him in something else but I have nothing and even with the door open he wants to be inside it as it is his security. I like the fact he feels safe in there because God forbid we have to abandon ship, he is easy to gather up and keep contained. As soon as we get into the land waters though I think it will get stashed in a garbage bag along with all his towels so I can spray this cockpit floor down and defunk it. It is close to 5pm and Dirk will check in with the cruisers net with our current position. The end is in sight and we have both decided we don’t care for long passages. I really don’t know to many people that do, but sometimes it’s necessary to get from point A to B. At least we can say this hasn’t been a horrible passage. We have had those in the past, but it wasn’t and it never is what you expect. 7:45 pm and we are about 45 miles from shore. At about 7 we were doing one of the catnaps in between alarms when one alarm went off that sent us scampering. I'm looking at engine gauges and Dirk runs below looking for high water alarms but neither of us can find the source. Finally Dirk finds the cause and says that it is the VHF with a severe weather alert. Damn, I don’t remember ever hearing that ear piercing siren sound come out of anything unless it was ready to detonate. Whew, were up, were up. The sun is setting, Butters ate and drank a bit, but each time I haul him down to his litter box he just lays in it. He has this thing he does when he doesn’t want to do something such as get put in his carrier before going on a trip in the car. He plays limp kitty as if he thinks because he is limp we can’t pick him up although it does make it tough when one is trying to navigate 6 steps in rolling seas, one hand on the boat and one hand trying to cup a 20 pound cat who is hoping that if he doesn’t move a muscle he won’t go. I always win but it’s a game I wish he wouldn’t play. Anyways, the sun has set and light is fading until the moon rises at about 9pm. should be a bright moon if the clouds hold off. Should see land in the morning sometime. Hoping for the city glows tonight as you can usually see them miles and miles off shore. 6:45 am Thursday well didn’t see the city glows but then again didn’t see much of anything. The winds died to about 9 knots and the sea state had nothing more than gentle rollers. There was a fog fairly thick but everything was visible. Once the moon came up and things cooled down a bit we were able to work on some 30 minute naps we have been taking. Been working out…30 minute intervals are set on the timer, nap or rest for 30, beeper goes off and is reset. We sit up, scan the horizon, check radar and repeat for another 30. I actually found myself dreaming a couple times so I know I slept. At one point we got up and Dirk adjusted the sails, I gave Butters some food and he ate as if he was hungry. He drank some water and proceeded to bathe himself. He must be feeling better. During one of the nap cycles we awoke with the lights of 4 vessels among us. Not close but in visual distance. We were close to Georgetown area and figured it was the fisherman headed to open sea for a day of fishing as we are still 30 miles from shore now as I write this and in around 80 feet of water. The sun is rising and there are just some small scattered clouds around. Looks like it will be a nice day. Guess I need to put some celebratory beer to toast with when we get to the dock in the fridge to cool. We will call our friends and family to let them know our ETA. Was able to make some coffee this morning as I didn’t have to worry about the espresso maker flying off the stove. Even with the guard in I was afraid to make it yesterday. Those of you unfamiliar with it, there are two vee shaped arms that attach to a bar on the stove top that you can adjust around the pot or pan that your using, thus locking it in place on your stove top. So now I sit in the cockpit while Dirk and Butters sleeps to enjoy my solitude with my coffee and nature. 10:30am had some boiled eggs for breakfast and had changed our course a bit as the wind shifted to right off the nose. Once we got set I went below and washed up some dishes, changed the bed and cleaned and vacuumed the aft head, our bedroom and the galley. Just enough so that when it’s time to sleep in a bed tonight that I will fall into a wonderful slumber. I always sleep better in clean surroundings. The cockpit cushions which we have been sleeping on have not been bad but they are a bit narrow and leaves your hips to ache a bit. No land is seen yet but there is a bit of a haze this morning. We are about 9 miles off shore and all I’m seeing is freighters. We should see it soon and also begin to get and Internet signal on our phone. 1st thing is to update face book and let everyone know we made it safe as my spot doesn’t report to face book anymore. Who know why and I guess that will be something to look into. Just after putting this down Dirk spotted Land, Yea!!!!! Land Ho!!!!!! Our day would not be over though once we got to South Port. After finally making it into the inlet we still had another 2 hours to go against the current to get to our marina. Our friends Doug and Tina that purchased our last boat Tybee Time were at their marina and went out to snap a photo of us going past as Dirk blew his Conch horn..Thanks guys….We made the turn down Snows Cut and I knew we were getting close, at the end we cut a right headed past the mooring field and searched for our marina. We had phoned Denise and she would come down along with Dirk’s folks to welcome us. There are so many small marinas and seems none are named so we waited till we saw Denise standing on the Tee dock waving her arms. She and a dock hand pointed us to our slip as we turned down the tiny fairway wondering if we could make the turn. Once we got Renegade tied up we realized that the finger piers were not going to be long enough for us to get off the boat and our only option was to go back out and back in. Whoa……We have never backed this boat anywhere. As usual it was a very anxious time but Dirk got in with no problems. Thank God the wind wasn’t blowing or we would have been in some deep poop. Finally we made it, about 52 hours and 400 miles later we were here. If we had taken the ICW all the way up we would have been looking at around 3 weeks to get here going for 5 to 6 hours a day. After Gunther and Janet got here we all had a toast to a good passage, sat around and talked before everyone excused themselves to allow us to rest. I was ready…..Close to the evening we had Dirks sister and husband want to come by so we had to wipe off the grumpies and try to stay awake for a bit longer. Sleep would come easy tonight…..After we said our goodbyes showers were taken and time to crawl into a nice clean cool bed. Ahhh, it’s the little things. We have decided to stay here in Federal Point yacht Club for a couple months and it seems like a good location. We can dinghy or walk most anyplace we need and we are really close to lots of stuff and beach side. Perhaps soon I will catch you up on our activities here and projects done and in the process of doing. Hang in there guys, I haven’t forgotten about the blog but I have had many irons in the fire.  months that we wanted to take the boat up to North Carolina for the summer where we could visit friends and family and have a change of scenery for a bit. We did do a few items to the boat while in Harbortown but I must push ahead in the blog as I have gotten too far behind to remember small details. Don’t worry I will fill you in once our other summer projects are completed and do it in one blog

Friday, August 9, 2013

Homeward Bound

After we said goodbye to Mike and Denise on the 12th we set in motions our plans for our return trip back to the states. We had not been sure which route we would take up to now as it would be heading back through Eleuthera, up to the Abacos and back to the states or opt for the overnighters to Bimini and over. We elected to go ahead and get it over with and make the long trip. But first on the 13th we made one last trip to Pirate Beach to add our boat name. We do this in places we really enjoy.

Dirk hanging our Renegade sign

Me posing with our and some other signs

Leaving Pirate Beach for the last time this season
After returning to the boat we pulled anchor and made the trip up to Normans Cay where we would wait out weather. Seems we were waiting out weather a lot lately. On the way up Dirk actually caught 2 Mahi but elected to let them go as our freezers were pretty much packed. No need to be greedy. We sat in Normans in the cut for the first two nights practically by ourselves and Dirk was able to stock up on the last of the conch that he could. On the final evening we decided to anchor on the west side of the island so that leaving at first light should be easier and it would cut some time off. After setting the hook we walked the beach one more time and picked up another sea bean or two before heading back to Renegade and stowing the Dinghy for the trip back. At 6:30 am on Thursday we pulled anchor and slipped out of the nearly empty anchorage with our sights set on Bimini.

Our last Exuma sunrise for a while

It was a fairly uneventful day and as we were approaching the North West Channel close to Nassau it was getting dark and of course the seas started to pick up a bit.

This was before it was picking up. Dirk and I standing on the bow sprit looking into the water below as the sun rays shot through the water.
Our plan was to anchor on the banks if we got too tired. That is always our plan but it never works out. This evening was no exception. Once it got to be about 11pm we tried pulling into the wind and sat at idle to see how tossed around we would be. Well there wouldn’t be any sleeping anyway so we kept on. Finally at 8:30 am the next morning, 26 hours later we arrived outside of Bimini. We almost thought about continuing on but decided that those decisions shouldn’t be made when we were as tired as we were. We went ahead and went into Bimini getting a slip at a marina. I think it was Browns. We caught a few hours of sleep then went off in search of food. Lucky for us the bar next door had a one year anniversary party going on with free food so we set off to get the first free thing in the Bahamas we ever got. Pulled pork, peas and rice and some white starchy potato like veggie I had never eaten before. Didn’t eat it then either as it had the same flavor as a cardboard box. We returned back to the boat after walking around a bit and turned in for an early evening. The next morning after daybreak we left the marina after having the current and wind try its best to keep up pinned to the dock. No one was there to assist and after almost having the dinghy ripped off the davits and Dirk jumping on board at the last possible moment we finally made our not so elegant departure. Sometimes you are entertained, some days you’re the entertainment. Today we were the latter. As we were exiting the channel we spotted our friends Rick and Audrey on s/v Naked Lady anchored out. They themselves had been travelling several hours behind us so we all headed out together along with one other boat and set our sights on West Palm Beach. The trip took us about 10 to 11 uneventful hours, many of them motor sailing and when the wind completely died, motoring. Pulling into almost the exact same spot as we sat several months earlier before leaving for the Bahamas, we settled in for the evening, after calling customs to let them know we were back in country. The next day was a Sunday and the last thing we wanted to do was to travel the ICW with every Tom, Dick, and Harry out on their go fast boat and Jet Ski zipping this way and that so we elected to hop on the outside and head up to the Fort Pierce inlet, headed north once we were on the inside and took the ICW up to Vero Beach. At Vero we picked up a ball from the nearly empty mooring field close to the bridge and took the dinghy down and headed into the restaurant right on the other side of the bridge for our first meal out in a while. We elected to stay an extra day and had a day of do absolutely nothing which felt good after going, going, going for the last couple. On the 21st we took the short trip up to Harbortown Marina on Merritt Island which we would call home for a couple months.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To Blackpoint and Back to Pick up Our Friends

We made the short hop down to Blackpoint on the 25th so that I could do some laundry before our friends Mike and Denise came in. We knew the winds would still be coming in from the north east for a couple days so we found a spot on the north side of the harbor and dropped the hook. We look over and see that we have anchored next to a boat that we traveled with about four seasons ago. After the anchor was down Dirk took the dinghy over to catch up and I piddled getting laundry sorted and ready for a trip the following day. Next morning we loaded up the laundry and headed over before anyone else got there. I actually had to wait until the girl showed up to give me tokens for the machines. After a few hours of wash, dry, and fold time I radioed Dirk to come retrieve me. After getting all items stowed we sat around relaxing and later that evening had Jim and Ellie, our old buddy boaters on board for sun downers and snacks. On Sunday we called over to Lorraine’s Restaurant and made reservations to have her Sunday buffet. As usual the food was delicious and later we returned to our boat to relax. On Tuesday we were to head back to Staniel Cay so on Monday we took some time to walk the northern beach and see if we couldn’t scrounge up some sea beans and bay beans. Our first stop was across the harbor and out to the blow hole we located last year.
Dirk close to the blow hole
Once we both got soaked enough we padded on down the road until we found the beach. Not much was on the beach other than the usual bits of plastic garbage and flip flops and shoes that manage to fall over board.
Guess someone was bored and decided to line all the flip flops up. Perhaps they were looking for matches

Pretty rock formations
On the way back we got off the beaten path and found the vine that the bay beans grow on. We found several pods, enough to make several necklaces with so we headed back to the boat stopping by the graveyard on the way. After wandering the beach at the bay we headed back to Renegade.
Bay beans in the pod
Bay bean necklace with a hamburger sea bean that Dirk made and now wears

Blackpoint Bay with the grave yard. Talk about waterfront property
Tuesday morning came and we picked up the anchor and made the short trip back up to Staniel Cay. When picking up guest we like to anchor close to town so we found a spot by the Grotto and dropped the hook. Mike and Denise were due to arrive the following afternoon so we did last minute clean up and prepped the boat for their arrival. They arrived on time the following day. We picked them up at the air field with 4 nice cold Kalik Golds in hand, headed to Isles General to pick up some groceries and headed to Renegade.
They made it
Once on board that donned their new snorkel gear and tested it out. The next morning we moved the boat over to Big Majors and anchored by Pirate Beach. The girls stayed back at the boat and the boys took the dinghy out to fish for some Mahi. Several hours later they returned with 2 of them.
Mike beaming from ear to ear, a happy man

Dirk cleaning Mahi with Denise looking on
Mike doesn’t get a chance to fish often so when he does get the chance we try and let him get as many as possible. I knew we would be eating lots of fish while they visited but they didn’t mind at all. Mike and Denise are both great cooks so I turned my galley over to them on several occasions.  That evening we decided to pack up the games and head over to pirate beach to relax. We had it all to ourselves and stayed till the no see ums ran us back to the boat.
Setting up games at Pirate Beach

Denise happy to be playing Bocce ball
On Saturday the 4th we decided to head up to Compass Cay as the winds were returning and we needed to find a spot to hide. We selected a nice spot and after setting the hook took off to explore the nearby beach.
Renegade from the beach at Compass Cay
The next morning we did more exploring and since the winds were coming from the west we were able to take the dinghy out into the Atlantic side and pull it up on the beach there. Since this beach doesn’t get walked often we found several beautiful shells in the various tidal pools. I found 3 empty queen helmets and several bonnets along with several nice urchin shells. I also picked up a couple sea fans that had washed up on the beach and have a couple crafts in mind for them. Like I have spare time to do crafts…… Perhaps one day. 
Mike, Denise, and Dirk ready to snorkel Pipe Creek

Piling back in the dinghy after beach combing and snorkeling

The beautiful waters of Pipe Creek area
On Monday the winds let up some and we made the long trip up to Normans Cay going outside the park boundaries in order to fish. One must be 4 miles off shore in order to be out of the Park boundaries as the park is a no take zone. At one point we hooked 2 skip jack tunas and had fun reeling them in. Mike got to fight one in and I had the other. At one point it felt like mine was hooked up on something behind the boat and all of a sudden my line went loose and it and my lure were gone. As soon as Mike has his landed him and Dirk are trying to get it off the hook in order to release it and we spot a huge 7 foot white tip shark circling the boat. Whoa, guess that’s what happened to mine. We were all so excited that we forgot to take photos and when we did they weren’t that great.
White tip shark

We both took video but that too was blurry. Trust me there really was a big shark and we watched him circle for a while. The boys even threw out a lure in order to tease him closer to the boat. My only thought was what are they gonna do if they hook this thing? Finally the boys got board as did the shark and we both went our own ways. As we got closer to Normans we finally hooked a Mahi, got it in and proceeded to get into Normans Cay so we could get an anchor spot and clean this bad boy up. Both Dirk and Mike decided to collect some conch to go along with the fish for dinner.
3 person operation, Mike reels it in, Dirk gaffs it, and I stand at the ready with the black garbage bag.

Posing with the catch
We ended up spending 3 days at Normans beach combing the various beaches, snorkeling through the shallows picking up pretty shells and hunting sea beans. Denise was excited as she found her first sea bean by herself. She actually found a few while she was there.

A nice Nassau Grouper that was a joint effort of the man hunt

Renegade from Palm Tree Island
Palm Tree Island from the boat

Mike cleaning conch

Pretty Pretty
On the 9th we decided to start making tracks south and the weather didn’t look too promising so we elected to stay on the inside. We got as far as Shroud Cay before the skies opened up so we pulled into the anchorage to wait it out. Once it was passed we continued on anchoring by the south mooring field of Warderick Wells. We made some dinner and called it a day. The next morning we wanted to make one more stop by the Aquarium for a snorkel and Rocky Dundas. Last time they were here I think we made the Aquarium but Rocky Dundas was far too rough as it is open to the ocean side and can get pretty nasty with a East wind. Today however the weather cooperated and we took the boat down to Cambridge Cay anchoring outside the mooring field, piled the dinghy up with gear and made the short trip back north for the sights. I have to say Rocky Dundas is probably my favorite place so far to snorkel. It is just a huge rock that sticks out of the water and if you didn’t know where to enter the caves you would miss them. There are two caves to enter, one being beautiful and the other being awesome.

The entrance into the cave
Denise checking it out

You can climb about on land inside and on both there are holes in the ceiling that allow light to enter. Thunderball Grotto cant even hold a candle close to these guys, they are truly amazing. Even Mike and Denise said that we saved the best for last. After an afternoon of snorkeling we headed back to Renegade and made tracks from Cambridge south back to Staniel Cay anchoring in front of pirate beach again.  That evening we headed back to Pirate beach and saw that our friends from M/Y Forever Young had returned from Georgetown. We played games on the beach, chatted and had some sun downers watching while crew from Usher began setting the beach up for some sort of party. Pretty soon the bugs got so bad we were chased back to the boat where Mike made some wonderful fish on the grill. Later that evening us and the entire anchorage had front row seats to a private fireworks display that the crew from Usher set off. Now these were not your run of the mill side of the road fire works, these were the ones you see when cities put on displays. It went on for some time and was a beautiful sight. The entire anchorage clapped and blew horns to say thanks when it was over.The following day Dirk and Mike decided to give fishing another try and took the dinghy out returning with 2 Mahi. Looks like its fish again tonight. Mike and Denise were due to leave the following day so they spent the evening packing up and getting ready, the mood on the boat was somber as we really enjoy our time together. They are boaters themselves and we know they really enjoy the time here in the Bahamas. The next morning we picked up anchor and took the boat closer to town near the Grotto. It would be a shorter ride in the dinghy back to the air field. Around 1ish we piled in the dinghy and made our way down the canal and parked at the new dinghy dock. Its about time they built one here as most times people just drag the dinghy to shore or park at Isles General and walk. We made our way to the air field and waited as people slowly started showing up. We know the plane is getting close to arriving when the ticket girl shows up in her golf cart. Sure enough she showed up and then the air craft. Saying goodbye was hard for all four of us but all good things must come to an end. We gave our final hugs and they climbed on board. Mike was lucky enough to get the co pilot seat and Denise sat right behind them. After we watched their flight depart we were gonna head to get some groceries before realizing that today was a Sunday and nothing was open. Darn it, so we opted for a late lunch at the yacht club before heading back to the boat where we lazed around and started making plans for our return trip back to the states.
Butters in his favorite spot resting his head on Mecky, Dirks childhood toy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Killing Time In Staniel Cay

We had dropped off our guest Steve and Terry early in the morning for their flight back to civilization and long hot showers, air conditioning, and easy access to anything one needs right around the corner. We were however very content on where we were, short showers that weren’t always warm, and finding it sort of a game to buy what you can and be creative. The winds had calmed down a bit and Dirk decided since we had not caught anything the day before that perhaps he would stick his nose out into the Atlantic and see if it was calm enough to take the dinghy out and troll. A few hours later he had returned with a nice Mahi and ideas on how to rig two rod holders into the transom of the dinghy so he could be more effective.The following day we moved back over to Big Majors and anchored close to m/v Pirate, a couple we met several years ago. There is a small beach called Pirate Beach that they started building things on years ago. First year or so it only had a bar type table so one could have a table to lay out food for get togethers.  The following year they added a wooden picnic table that they brought over from the states. This year it seems like other cruisers have gotten in the swing and brought lots of other things. There are now 2 wooden picnic tables, several very comfy chairs, a fire pit with seating around it, two grills, one propane, the other for charcoal. There is also several tiki torches and all sorts of yard tools so you can help out and rake the beach. Plus they have installed a great tie off for the larger dinghies. Anyway, you get the idea, it’s a great little beach to hang out on and we would haul our ladder ball or botchy ball game over to play in the evenings till the bugs got so bad that even the hardiest of bug sprays couldn’t keep them at bay.

Nice fire pit

The rest of the beach

Dirk and I plus Jim and Janie on Pirate and Laurie and Richard from M/Y Forever Young all decided to take the dinghies out the day we got there to do a little more fishing. Both Pirate and we caught Mahi but Laurie and Richard didn’t have any luck. It was quiet exciting bringing a big fish into a small dinghy. Especially using a gaff in an inflatable one. As I held my breath Dirk managed to get him in and still managed to keep us afloat in the 400 to 600 feet of water we were floating in.
After returning to the boat Dirk took some fish over to m/v Forever Young. We had such a big one and felt bad that they didn’t get one. Laurie returned later to the boat with some incredible banana bread she had baked as a thank you. The next three days the winds were howling so the Mahi had a break from all the fisherman and we were left to sit on our boats all day while the winds whipped up the chop just enough to make it uncomfortable to go anywhere. We tried going to the beach between the majors one day but by the time we got there a storm cloud decided to open up on us and since we left all our hatches open back on the boat we had to turn right back around and make a bee line for the boat. One evening  Laurie and Richard invited Dirk and I over for sundowners and we got the tour of their 78 foot Hatteras boat. All I know Is that I fell in love with the kitchen which was bigger than some of the kitchens I have had in my homes. Oh, and the master bedroom with the king size walk around bed and a huge Jacuzzi tub and shower enclosure. Okay, this isn’t cruising, this is luxury. We had a great visit and ended up staying for dinner. On the21st, the weather settled enough so that everyone could once again use the dinghies to go out fishing. Not exactly my idea of settled, but when you have men that have been cooped up on a boat for 3 days it was settled enough. Dirk took off first thing in the morning before anyone else and returned a couple hours later with two nice Mahi.
Jim from Pirate still thought it was a bit rough so he sat out another day. While Dirk was gone I heard s/v Dea Latis call us on the radio. We knew they would be up this was soon but wasn’t sure when. They pulled in right behind us and set the hook. Dave had been wanting to go out with Dirk to do some fishing so of course once Dirk returned  Dave came over they cleaned the fish and got all the stuff together to head back out so Dave could get some of his own.
Dave learning the basics of filleting a fish
 A couple hours later they returned and Dave got two and Dirk had gotten another one.
We really didn’t need another one and Dirk had wanted to release it but the way it was hooked it wouldn’t have fared well. Dirk saw a German flag in the anchorage and decided to take it over to them if they wanted it. They asked how much Dirk wanted for it and he said nothing, I’m giving it to you. They were happy and in return gave Dirk a nice hot loaf of bread fresh out of the oven. Yum, now I’m happy.  While Dirk and Dave were cleaning the fish we had several large nurse sharks feeding under our boat and so Dave got his underwater video camera  and decided to hold on to a fish carcass and hand feed the shark so he could video it. It was a nice few seconds of video before the shark ripped the carcass out of Dave’s hand so fast. I kept telling him he needed to be in the water so he could get better pics. He wasn’t going for that.

Above is a link to the video he took if your interested.

One of the sharks swimming around the boat looking for handouts
Laurie from m/y Forever Young also got a nice size one and Dirk told her to bring it over and he would teach her how to clean it. They were taking them over to the yacht club and paying someone to do it for them. She wanted to learn and so Dirk took her through the steps of cleaning and cutting filets. I believe now a cleaning station is on her wish list. The next evening they had us, Dave & Tanya from Dea Latis, Jim & Janie from Pirate and Laura & her husband whose name escapes me now from m/y Laura Lee over for cocktails and dinner. They would provide the fish on the grill and we would all bring the sides. A great time was had by all with wonderful stories to be shared as we watched the sun go down.
M/Y Forever Young with Dirk and I arriving

Power boaters dinghies on the left, sail boaters on the right, hummmmmm

Dave with Laurie in her kitchen and Dirk in the background searing up some Mahi

Dirk, Janie, and Richard on the top deck

The next day they left for George Town to pick up guest and Pirate along with Dea Latis left the day after to head over to Nassau before heading back to the states. We however needed to head south to Blackpoint in order to get some laundry done in anticipation of our friends Denise and Mike’s arrival. I will end here with a couple photos of Capt. Butters. Lately he has found a new place to hide in when we travel and I guess he feels safe here because he can really stuff himself in there.
Any body watching?

Find me if you can