Great Guana Cay, Bahamas

So what a wonderful anchorage. After stopping in at Marsh harbor for provisioning, we decided to anchor in the bay at Great Guana Cay. It was only an 8 mile trip.  Great Guana Cay is a long narrow islet and is only 7 miles long.  She is also the center of the Abaco Island and is near Gumelemi Cay. There is only 150 people who live on the island.

We took the jet-ski out to do some exploring. As we headed into the beach we noticed Grabbers a bar & Grill. The tide was low; the pier behind the jet-ski is the dinghy dock. There wasn’t any one in the water so we beached the jet ski.

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It is so summery to see all the beach chairs lined up on the beach; even without people in them. LOL

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As I put my feet in the pool I noticed this cat drinking from the pool. That can’t be to good for the cat. It started to gag like it was going to vomit so I splashed water to get it to stop drinking the chorine water.

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The silly cat just looked at me. Hey see that little drink on the table? It cost $11.00. The most expensive drink in the Bahamas so far. It’s just rum punch. 

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Look how massive these chess pieces are..

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Goodnight our friends. Tomorrow we head to Green Turtle Cay.

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We made it to Green Turtle Cay. https://trackmytour.com/2p4qC 

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Thanks for following us! Red rose

Hope Town – Elbow Cay, Bahamas

I don’t know where to even began. However, we must be very lucky. See we have been anchoring out since the 25th of January.  Our last day of mooring ended when we let loose of the mooring ball in Marathon Fl.  The mooring field here in Hope Town is very small and boaters are here several times a day searching for a mooring ball. Each mooring is a different color and they look like bumpers not balls. Depending on the color of the bumpers depends on who owns it. We were very lucky and found a green one. Our mooring is owned by Lucky Strike, a gentlemen name Truman.

One of the most appealing views here is of the light house.  Hope Town in Elbow Cay features one of the last operational kerosene fueled lighthouses in the world.  Still filled and pumped up by the operator.

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She was built in 1864 and then rebuilt in 1934.

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I started to walk up the steps but I ended up a bit nausea so I walked back down and Bryce continued without me.

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She spiraled around and around: 101 steps.

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These are the kerosene canister they have to be refilled and pumped up every two hours while running at night.

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This spring wound mechanism caused the light house lenses to rotate. 

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She has candle power of 325,000 and her visibility is 17 miles.  You can see the kerosene wick in the center and 2 of the 5 Fresnel lenses.  There is about three areas of no lenses.  This causes the light house to give 5 flashes with a break before the next five.

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This is a tiny door you can climb out of and look around.  Her Height above sea level is 120 feet.  Bryce walked around this area and took pictures.

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Her height at ground level is 89 feet. This is a view from the balcony that wraps around her.  It shows the mooring field.

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Bryce took a picture of me from the top

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After we settled  back in at the boat, Bryce inflated the dinghy and we headed into the dinghy dock. There are several areas for dinghy’s to dock up to. We are usually docking up at the sailing club docks.  The closest dingy is ours.

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The streets are narrow just wide enough to get a golf cart down them. The walk ways are nestled with flowers and white picket fences.   No cars or gulf carts are suppose to be on the North side of town.

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This is center of town where you can rent a golf cart to explore the rest of the island.

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Before we rented a golf cart, we strolled through the streets and walked up the steps to the next street.

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You can see the white picket fences go a long ways.

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The view of the mooring field from shore through the palm trees.

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We are now inside a golf car ready to explore the rest of the island. One must not forget they drive on the wrong side of the road here or is it that we drive on the wrong side of the road. LOL

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What a pretty place.

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There are so many signs with city names and the mileage on them.

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We stopped along the road side as we headed to the Abaco’s Inn to absorb the beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean here from Elbow Cay just outside of Hope Town. 

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So we decided to do lunch here at the Abaco’s Inn and it was a delicious. We split a wrap..  Abaco Inn looked out over the Atlantic on one side and the sea of Abaco on the other side.

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We did a little walking though the streets of Hope Town.

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Okay, I got very low on the Grey Goose Vodka; so we needed to stop in and get a re-fill.. LOl

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Ever wonder what we do if we need medical attention? More then likely you may not see a doctor on the island, but they have nurses that work under a doctors orders.  

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Hope Town is full of rich history.

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One of the most treasured moments are the ones in which you invite new friends into your life.  Left to right: Bryce, Jeff, Alan. Rob, Gloria, Robin, Claudia, Me. We all met at “Sip,Sips” for pizza.

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The shoreline is lined with the sailing dinghies that they use for their sailing events. 

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So someone has drawn out the points of sail. One thing is for sure they have a lot of racing here in Hope Town.

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Another great view was at Firefly Resort and Restaurant. But I think the food was a bit better at the Abaco’s Inn Restaurant.  But both restaurants are great.  Firefly looked out over the sea of Abaco.

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Okay so I had to pick what really needed to be washed. I only have three months of laundry to do. There are several places to do your laundry. This is a new place; it is also a bicycle rental and repair and now laundry mat.   It cost $6.00 an load to wash and another $6.00 to dry.  So I put two loads in. How many times to you go to a laundry mat that offers a Martini bar? LOL Only in the Bahamas Island with a palm tree

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We are making our way through the Abacos.  You can track our anchorages at https://trackmytour.com/2p4qC

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As always Thank You for following us!Red rose

Nassau to Alabaster Bay

Okay I have a trivia question: What does the word Bahamas mean? Does anyone have a guess? Okay, I cannot hear you, so I will have to tell you LOL. The word Bahama means. Are you ready for this… “Land of the shallow seas”. The Banks of the Bahamas are so beautiful. They are rich with the color of crystal blue-green waters.  We can see the bottom of the banks even in 30 feet of water.

I fine it odd that the channel 4 news out of Jacksonville put a travel warning on the Bahamas.  Every where it said to be aware of, we were there.  But we were there in the day, not at night.  These travel warnings about Nassau have been around for 5 or 6 years at least.  So nothing new. I think you always have to be aware of your surroundings no matter where you are. But on the other hand I never see a warning or travel alert about Miami, Detroit or Chicago. LOL 

Anchored in Junkanoo Beach you could see the bottom clearly.  As the boat turned on its anchor, Bryce noticed an anchor laying on the bottom of the bay. He snorkeled down to see it.

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He tied a line to it a pulled it up. It was corroded with barnacles.

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Well, the day came and we said goodbye to Sheila. Bryce drove her in to shore on the dinghy and they said goodbye. Sheila walked up to McDonalds to catch a bus to the airport.  She said she had no issues at all.  We pulled up anchor right away.  We didn’t waste any time.  The winds were perfect for us to sail to Alabaster Bay.

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The day was very warm with hardly a breeze. Bryce found our old sun umbrellas and it was time to pull out the pool. I needed a cool down. 

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Later that afternoon, of course not long before we anchored; it started raining.

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But look it gave us a charming rainbow to look at. We arrived in Alabaster Bay in the Eleutheras.  Eleuthera is another island chain in the Bahamas.

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Alabaster Bay.

Our journey in Alabaster bay lead us to the Ruins & Ghost Town of a US Navy Experimental Facility.  This dates back to the 1950’s when Western Electric was selected to build what was called SOSUS ( Sound Surveillance Systems). This was used for tracking the Soviet submarines in the Atlantic. This was part of the project known as the Hartwell project. You can google http://projecteleuthera.org for much more detail.

After our two mile walk to find the Ghost town of the Navy Military Base our first stop was the sandy beach off the Atlantic Coast.

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We found two shacks full of old power stuff

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Inside the shack we could see old engines and pumps.

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On our way back up to the base I found a plant as big as I am. I feel like we are in one of those old movies where the plants come alive and attract you. LOL…

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We stumbled upon the gates or I should say what use to be the gates of the base. The gate is missing.

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We passed the guard shack.  It’s odd but I can totally envision life here on the base. 

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The pump read 17 cents for gas. Not sure how accurate the reading truly is. This was the original gas station. It was near the

Public Work Buildings.

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The ruins are now covered with over grown weeds.

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Life is no longer seen here. Nothing but old collapsed buildings.

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This plant looks like pea pods to me.

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Most of the buildings are now gone.  Bryce said this looks like a huge parade grounds.  But it was at an angle.  So not likely a parade ground.

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Not sure but this seems new. I had read that the Bahamian government was testing the water.  

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This apparently was the Administration building.

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This appears to be the Administration building.  We did not venture in, not sure how safe it would be.

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Still in use. We think its an RO (reverse osmosis) plant.

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This looked like a place to get repairs done on vehicles.

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A pile of rubbish fading away.

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The base was officially closed March 31, 1980 after the United States was unable to renew favorable terms with the Bahamas government. 

Youcan track our current position at https://trackmytour.com/2p4qC  We are actually in Hope Town in Abaco right now.

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Thanks for reading our blog! Red rose

Nassau Bahamas

There is no real dockages for dinghy’s and it is all touristy. But the one thing for sure, the people are friendly.  We took a small tour for about two hours in a mini van with two local sisters.  During our Tour we were educated on the Bahamas life style and a little history.  Did you know that that in 1973 on July 10th after 325 years of being underneath the British rules the Bahamian gained their independence.  However, they remain a Commonwealth of the UK. We also learned that most of the government buildings are color coded. Pink is Government, Yellow is for school, and Green is environmental.   But home owners can decide on their own home color. The minimum wage here is only $5.00 an hour.  So, be kind and tip for services.

We had a great day sailing from Norman’s Cay to Nassau wing on wing.  No motor sound for 45 miles.  Finally had a chance to really use the Whisker pole.  For those of you that don’t know, the whisker pole is the horizontal extendable aluminum pole between the mast and the gen sheet on the head sail.

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As we came into Nassau I noticed this unusual home. I think it is a home I noticed a lamp in the window.  I just learned that this was the home they used in 1965 with Sean Connery in 007 James Bond in Thunderball. I do believe it was said this is the home where 007 drives a boat into the house. 

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We also passed the Atlantis Adventures on our way into Nassau. It is on what they call Paradise Island

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We took anchorage near the beach and near where the Cruise ships tie up.  We were anchored of Junkanoo anchorage near the red buoy 6. Every night we sat on the deck watching the Cruise ships leave and in the morning they arrive one by one.  We have seen 6 huge cruise ships at a time come in and dock.   It is fun to see how they maneuver. This one is Allure of the Sea. She is 1180 feet long by X 198 feet wide and she drafts 30.5 feet of water.  She stands 4 times as tall as our sailboat at about 240 feet. She is a huge ship.  Think aircraft carrier size.

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Shortly after we anchored, we got visitors from Cordylia II. Louis and Hannah with their two little sailors. What a great family they are. They told us to talk to the manager of Senor Frog for Dingy docking.

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Sheila and I spent the day out while Bryce was working.  We had a nice time..  My day with Sheila was awesome.  We had lunch and drinks and we both bought a new dress. Sheila mighty pretty in this wooden dress LOL

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Our anchorage is all but desirable. We have good holding in the sand. The winds have been SE to E. The sounds of sirens, truck with air breaks and just cars blowing horns never stops! We will make the best of it.  Below we watched a Disney boat leave at night.  All ships disappeared at night to go to the next destination.  Then a fresh set of ships started arriving at 6 am the next morning.

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On Paradise Island at Atlantis you can stay in the Michael Jackson Suite which is known as the Bridge Suite.  In this picture, you can see what looks like a bridge connecting two towers together however, it is not. That is the Bridge Suite.  The cost for one night is $25,000 with a four night minimum.  For a measly $100,000, you can sleep where MJ slept.

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On our tour they took us to the Rum Cake factory.  You really didn’t get to see much of anything. But they wanted you to buy a cake.  We did not because we are not that much of a cake eaters. Okay, Sheila would laugh at that comment considering I made 3 cakes while she was with us. LOL  Bryce loves cakes, but not a fan of rum cakes.

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66 Stairs is a very pretty area to explore. It is known as the Queen Staircase because in the 19th century, it was named after Queen Victoria. She was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was craved out of solid limestone rock between  1793 & 1794 by slaves. We walked to the top and There are all kinds of venders to buy things from and a Fort that was shaped like a ship.

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In the city of Nassau you will find Fort Fincastle It was built in 1793 by Lord Dunmore. The fort over looks the city of Nassau and the Queen’s Staircase.  It was shaped like a ship and protected the Nassau harbor.

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These are the two sisters, Nikki and Tashi who took us on a tour. It cost 30 dollars for two hours per person.

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We are presently anchored in the Eleuthera Islands.  You can find our position at https://trackmytour.com/2p4qC

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Black Point, Staniel Cay, Warderick Wells and Norman’s Cay

Well, seems like I have been neglecting you. However a lot has been happening on this boat of ours. I need to back up a week or so. We arrived at Black Point. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. We anchored in three different areas near Black Point before we settled in. It all depends on the directions of the winds where we anchor. Well after a full day on shore we headed back to Beauty. The winds were howling once again. Nearing 2:30 a.m I heard Bryce waking me up. He asked for my help the dinghy was pushed into the jet ski hoist, put a hole in one tube and flipped over onto it’s side. Yes, the motor was submerged under the dinghy. You know you just have to go with the flow. LOL

Bryce noticed this dark spot near our boat. It was just an old log.  Bryce does not need a mask, he opens his eyes under water.  Salt water has no effect on him.

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I went into Lorraine’s and picked up two loaves of bread: coconut and raisin.  They were both delicious.

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Later that night, we enjoyed the company of many other cruisers at Scorpio’s.  Everyone knew us because of the bola that was sent out about us.. We have been quite famous in the Bahamas because of it.

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The man on the far right is our friend Dominic From Canada.  His wife is Adrianne.  Bryce just called her “Angel”.

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Okay maybe I enjoyed the night a bit to much…LOL Hello MC Smile  She is from a Cat..

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Early morning we were finally able to see to pull the dingy out of the water. She had about a three inch slice in her. I searched and searched and we did not have a dinghy patch kit. Bryce took the jet ski into the dock to walk to the hardware store; but no patch kit was to be found.  Actually, we only needed PVC glue.

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In the mean time Bryce had to try to save our 3.5 horse motor from her overdose of salt water.   Fuel tank had water, crankcase had water, combustion chamber had water.

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Staniel Cay

Well, we decided to head over to Staniel Cay and introduced Sheila to the swimming pigs.

We watched two people head over towards us on stand up boards from this Carver: Kelley, Mike. Come to find out  they were from Michigan too. The funny thing is they are from Harrison Twp. That is where we stored Beauty for the winter.  It’s a small world.

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What a pretty anchorage.

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We were being stalked by not one but three Nurse sharks. They are found in shallow coastal water and are nonaggressive so they say. Typically they rest on the bottom of the sea floor during the day. But for some reason they were enjoying their morning swim around us.  Earlier, Bryce was snorkeling and brought up a pair of scissors and a knife.  Both stainless, so the were in great shape.

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I can not say thank you enough to this awesome family. Mike and Kelly were enjoying a morning of exercising on their stand up boards. Remember I told you about them. Anyways; during our conversation, I mentioned that we needed PVC cement for the dinghy.  Guess what? They had an extra one.  Thank you all so much. Colin, Hayley and Tobin are their three children. They were all headed over to snorkel in the James Bond Grotto. 

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Bryce and I later jet-skied to the grotto and snorkeled into it.  It is the first time in three visits to this area that the wind and waves were calm enough for us to go in.  We entered at low tide so we did not have to go under water.  This is me floating in the Grotto.

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Here is the grotto entrance looking from inside.

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In the ceiling of the Grotto was a hole to the sky.  Note this is grotto was where some of the scenes from a James Bond movie were filmed.

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You can see the pigs like to swim out to the boats to see if anyone has any scraps. I bought them a bag of carrots. LOL

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Look at the boats. They bring people in from all over to see the swimming pigs

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Warderick Wells, the land and sea Park in the Exumas, Bahamas

I was so disappointed in the Land and Sea Park. First you now have to pay .50 cents a foot per day to anchor near the park.  I think we were 1/4 mile out and still had to pay. They are planting those horrible bug infested mangrove trees. You will be eaten by No-see-ums.  Anyways we only stayed the night and then headed to Normans Cay. We are heading over to Nassau where we will say goodbye to Sheila. She is going to take a flight back to Michigan’s winter wonder land.

A funny thing Happened on our way to Warderick Wells we noticed a catamaran heading the opposite direction.   I said to Bryce That could be “SoLuna”.   I saw the black pirate flag.  We hailed them on the VHF and stopped for a chat. 

It was so awesome to see this lovely family again even if it was just for a few minutes.  That is Trampus, his wife Rachel and their two boys.  We met them in Marathon.

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A view of Beauty from the top of BooBoo Hill

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We seem to see a lot of these little critters on the trails.

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A rocky trail Surprised smile

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LOL… I had to wear socks. My ankles have been bitten up by no-see-ums. When we cross this area not more than 1/2 hour ago, it was dry; the tide was out.   We came back to cross it with the tide coming back in.

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52 foot Sperm Whale bones found in July 1995.  It seems to be crumbling since the last time we saw it.

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Norman’s Cay

Well we made it to Norman’s Cay. Bryce and I took the dinghy out… Oh.. I forgot to tell you Bryce was able to patch the dingy hole and unsubmerged the engine.  It is running great again. We stayed the night here. It was good to see Norman’s Cay. We are leaving bright and early in the morning to sail the day to Nassau. 

Taki hut; I think this is new.

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Enrico, the pilot we met in Little Farmers Cay told us the resort rooms here are $300.00 a night.  The rooms are in buildings like this.

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You can follow our progress at https://trackmytour.com/2p4qC

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Well our friends it was nice to talk to you. Thanks for following our blog!Red rose

Jacks Bay Cove, Bahamas

Splashing waves

I am sure you have heard the phrase Far..far..away behind the cliffs sets a secret hidden pond or some may call it a beach.  With her high banks that surrounds her and only a small inlet from the North that allows the water to rush in.  As the North wind blows strong and splashes her angry waves upon the bank, she creates beautiful sandstone cliffs.  The trail; well, let’s just say there wasn’t much of a trail to follow; but you could see signs of the old markers laying on the over grown path.

Our view as we dropped anchor.   We anchored a few hundred feet from shore.

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This young couple rented this sailboat in George Town. They carry the gear and camp on different Islands.

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After reaching the shoreline, we thought we found a path to the hidden pond. But we turned around because the brush was too thick. We needed a machete to continue.

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Bryce found another path this time he is using a stick to mark our way.

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We are getting closer the view is getting even more spectacular.  We start to see the ragged coast on the Atlantic side.

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We made it! the white caps are rolling in from the north.

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Look at the pink crystals they create the pinkish looking sand.

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Sheila and I climbed to the top of this coral bluff to view the churning Atlantic.

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The view was fabulous.. The Atlantic  was a bit bumpy…

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Her rollers came in crashing themselves against the hard surface of the coral on their way through the small inlet in to the pond.

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On the Atlantic side the waves were breaking.  Only 400 feet to the west where we were anchored, there were no waves.

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You can see the inlet with the water rolling in.

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Sheila is walking along the cliffs of the sandstone.  One miss-step, shark bait..

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Bryce found himself a overhang to perch on just over the inlet. I’m sure glad it didn’t break off.

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Sheila noticed the reddish beak bird It’s an American Oystercatcher.

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Blackpoint, Bahamas, South beach.


We moved the boat a bit north towards Blackpoint and anchored off this beach.  We saw a Bahamas hermit crab enjoying a walk on the beach.

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Low tide shows the ripples of the water on the shoreline of the beach.

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Beauty is on the left at her new anchorage near Blackpoint.

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Sheila and I enjoying a walk on the beach

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Thank you for following our blog!Red rose

Rudder Cut Cay to Little Farmers Cay; Explore Darby Island, Bahamas

We cruised the inside route from Rudder Cut Cay to Little Farmers Cay.  The charted depth seems to indicate our boat with 5’9” draft could not possibly make this trip.  However, at this time of the tide cycles and season, the actual depth is two feet deeper than charted at low time.  High tide adds another 2.5 feet or so.  The charted depth of 5.2 feet is easily nearly 10 feet at high tide.  Just for grins we decided to take the shallow route near 1534 on the picture below.  Charted depth was 3.3 feet, we saw 6.5 feet on a rising tide.  Next time we will go a bit out around the shallows.  But it does show that a 6 foot draft boat can easily do this route.  Everywhere along the route, minimum depth was 8.5 feet.

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We have waited a few years to return to one of our favorite places to eat in the Bahamas on Farmer Cay (Ty’s) only to be disappointed. The bad thing about our visit there wasn’t the food. They no longer have a menu with prices on it. You have to ask for the price and the prices seem much more than before. I ordered the grouper and was disappointed. However,  we met a group of guys and one girl from Italy.  They rented 3 planes in Fort Lauderdale and were Island skipping through the Bahamas.


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Our landing on Little Farmer Cay before our disappoint.

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Sheila and I enjoying our view.  The restaurant is right next to the runway of the airport.

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We will call him our new friend from Italy, because I didn’t write down his name. Sorry He was such a pleasure to speak with.  Full of life.  He was one of the pilots.

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A while later we went out to see them all off and of course to check out the planes.

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Our new friend checking his luggage.

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Here is Bryce gabbing with the guys about their expedition.

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We waved our goodbyes as they took off..

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Rudder Cut

What a Beautiful anchorage with awesome holding. The bottom was pure sand and our Dan Jr. Loves the sand (anchor). There was so much to explore we had an awesome time.


This cave at Rudder Cut was only 500 feet from us. You know we had to check her out.

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This in the small inside that was turning into a sand bar as the tide was going out.

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This appears to be a very old blow hole.  Perhaps 1000s of years ago, when the tide was high and the winds are right you might have seen water shooting out of her top as if she was a steaming pot boiling on a stove.

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Sheila and I enjoyed the view of this small cave.

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Okay Sheila gave me a pair of wings for this photo… LOL

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After leaving the first cave, we dinghied around the point and found another cave in the making. 

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This one also had a hole in the ceiling.

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The waves rush against her hard ruff surface undercutting the rocky shore.  Over time the undercutting weakens the base causing the rock to break from its rocky shore.

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Latter we sat on the bow of Beauty and we could watch as this guy carried stone after stone from the water’s edge.. At first I thought he was building a fire pit. LOL But magically before our eyes this beautiful stone arch came into our view.  

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Time to rest and enjoy the view of his craft.

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The following day we headed back to the beach. I love my floating chair.

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Bryce took a walk along the shore and took an up close view of the arch.

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I had a stomach ache so Bryce snorkeled by himself.

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He headed around the cave to see the underwater world. He said it was amazing.

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Darby Island

What a supper exploration. From our anchorage we could see far away a castle that set high above a ridge. Our journey took us up the bug infested over grown path. I was falling in love with the idea of being the Queen of this castle. 

So I found out that “The Castle” and Island can be yours for $38 million dollars.  Oh darn.. I am a bit short.


We docked our dinghy near the south side of this concrete wall and tied to a tree.

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Bryce lead us girls through the well traveled path. He broke the spiderwebs for us. No joking Smile

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First site of the castle through the thick trees.

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And they call this “The Castle”. Not sure why or how it got the name; but I can see the castle resemblance from a fairy tale book.  The building was constructed in 1938. The story we heard is that this area was used during WWII by a sympathizer to supply diesel to German u-boats.  Not sure how true that is, just conveying what someone told us.

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Our view as we entered the decrepit castle.  We carefully explored without touching anything.

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Bryce viewed the upper floor. With the rotting of the second floor beams, I didn’t trust that I would not fall through the floor/celling

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This appears to be the kitchen

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I didn’t see any type of painting on the walls or any type of decorations

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Who ever brought this place is lucky….I can dream what it would be like to own it.  Ok.. a bit of paint, ceiling work.. nice fixer upper.

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See why I wouldn’t walk up the steps? LOL

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A few doors need to be rehung..

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The party’s I could have. Keep dreaming right. 

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The upper deck… wow… the view.

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This place is just amazing to me

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The tub looks still usable.

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As we left the house we headed back down the path. This building was probably the staff living quarters.

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Bryce is standing on the rubbish of the falling roof and upper floor.

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The inside look

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Look at all the rebar.  Apparently, the salt gets inside, rusts the rebar and splits the concrete. 

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The outer yard

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The steps on the side of the building.

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The trail to lead us back to the dinghy.

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Look at all the Conk shells… Not one without a hole.  Trying to find a nice one.

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Thanks for following our blog!Red rose

Lee Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahama

It’s Time for some awesome adventures!

Wow.. I am so excited; we decided to do more exploring. We came into Square Rock Cut off the Atlantic from George Town.  After crossing the Andros, and seeing how the actual depth is different from charted depth, we decided to cruise the inside route of the Exuma’s.  Now remember we draft 5’9” feet; so with that said, if you draft 5’9” feet you should be able to do the same route.  I have been wanting to do this. I am so happy.

After we came into Square Rock Cut, we had to go between these two points to get to the anchorage. It was like threading a needle. There are shallows which we have to keep an eye out for.  But look other sailboats are anchored there too; so no problem right?  We anchored the night behind Rat Cay.  This was a narrow anchorage with shallow water behind us.  Not the best anchorage.

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After we anchored for the night, we decided to pull up anchor and head towards Lee Stocking Island.  We took the inside route from Rat Cay to Lee Stocking Island.  Charted depth on this route is about 5 feet.  The lowest depth we saw at high tide was 10 feet.

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What an adventure, here at Lee Stocking Island in the Exuma’s we snorkeled and investigated an awesome research Center. We drove our dinghy over to a beach area near the facility and walked up to the Ghost town of the Marine Research Center. You are asked apparently by the ground keeper to not tie your dinghy’s up to the dilapidated docks that have been beaten up by nature and is unsafe to walk on.  

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Just off the path from the beach to the street we found this old… Well not sure what it was. I started laughing and called it an outhouse until I noticed this ladder on the back side.

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We reached the road.  This was first view of the area. It is not a long walk

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The First building was full of lonely old aquariums that held fish and crustaceans. I can just imagine all of the great research that was done here.

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There was a huge salt water pond and a number of large reservoirs for the research center.  We had seen the same types of huge water tanks that held fish at the Put-In-Bay Research facility in Ohio.

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This is a cute little bridge that connects the research center to the housing and other work areas.  This bridge covers a small inlet of pipes that connected the pond to the ocean.

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What an interesting place. Although it would be nice to have a tour guide or pamphlet to use for a guide.  Numerous deserted homes dotted the area.  We did not go into them.

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We believe this is the pantry. The silver box is a huge refrigerator box. And the shelving seems like a place to store food.   

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Sheila noticed this flower brush. She said it’s called a  Bougainvillea. It has a soft sweet smell.  

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At first we thought this was a grave yard; however, after looking at it, it appears to be a foundation for a building.

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The area was full of what looked like really nice homes and storage buildings.

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Bryce found the generator building that once created electricity for the facility.  It was a large Volvo engine.  It appeared to be still usable.  We is in heaven with all that stuff.

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Power house once held electrical panels that apparently had been scavenged.

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Sheila touched the white sandstone; some of it crumbled to soft sand.  

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We wanted to explore more so we took a walk. Wow.. This must have been quite beautiful in its heyday.

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Sheila found this cute little shell..

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Look what we found: an airport.  If you land here, you may have to dodge a few trees as you land.

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We headed back and on our way back I took this photo of the water side view of the research Center.  The whole town was surrounded by beautiful palm trees.

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The day was still early so we took our stuff to the beach and enjoyed a few hours of playing.  Our anchorage was one of the best we have had in the Bahamas.  We were protected on three sides in a bay that had a charted depth of 3 feet.  Actual depth was 8 feet at low tide and 10.5 at high tide.

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Sheila and Bryce were keeping an eye on me so I didn’t float away.

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I enjoyed my floating chair very much. We went snorkeling and the fish were so beautiful.  It was like snorkeling in a salt water aquarium.

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Sheila did not want to snorkel so she investigated the beach area. 

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This is Joe, Bob, Tim and De. They are renting a Catamaran out of George Town and are three brothers 

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Okay enough playing time to head back to Beauty and relax before dinner.

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I did a tiny bit of research on the research Center here at Lee Stocking Island. During 1984 to 2012 the island was the host to NOAA marine research center for Stormatolites that are found off shore of the island. I spoke with a local guide who told me a hurricane came though and destroyed the research center. The Island was rented to the Americans or owned and they didn’t want to rebuild the center. How sad is that.

You can always see where we are at at https://trackmytour.com/2p4qC

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George Town-Stocking Island Bahamas

A week in George Town

Well, we have left George Town. But while we were in George Town we picked up a hitchhiker all the ways from Michigan. Her name is Sheila she is Bryce’s sister. It is really nice to enjoy her company. While in George Town we took a exploration hike along the Atlantic side of Stocking Island. It was so beautiful.

This is Sheila and Bryce such a great sibling love…. 

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We followed a well marked path to the East side of Stocking Island.  The trail markers were a variety of things hung from trees and poles like this.

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It was such a nice area the path looked so tropical.  Small palm trees and bushes lined the well worn path.

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Sheila & Jane went off to explore the shore.  The winds on the Atlantic side stirred up the waves.

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Small fish swam in all the little tide pools. We saw little plants growing in them along with other sea creatures.

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Bryce found this cute shell in one of the tide pools.

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I found a bench Smile and relaxed for a spell.

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What am I? I move along the ocean on the hard rocky coral.

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It imbeds itself into this dry area of the coral. You can see the white that surrounds it after it dies.  It does its job of building the reefs.

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Bryce found a part of a keel of a boat. Its where the prop shaft goes though the hull.  The boat did not last long after loosing this!

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I love this picture he is so focused on something..

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Shelia is finding treasures.

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Look at that wave… It’s going to break along the rocky reef barrier.

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We need surf boards or body boards. How much fun that would be.  These off shore swells often originate 1000 miles away.

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This is such a cute Stone Crab. We found this little guy on our way back to the path.  Just kind of strolling the beach.

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After we arrived back to the boat, Bryce thought we were leaving right a away and didn’t tie the dingy very well.  And it floated away. Thanks goodness we had the jet-ski.

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A while later we took Sheila up to show her Chat-Chill.  This is a small tiki-hut bar and grill.

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The Bar at Chat & Chill collect t-shirts from all over the world.

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George watch out; dad is petting another cat.  There were three of these kitties roaming the beach.

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My BFF.. she is okay standing in the water as long as the stingrays are not around. 

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Two water taxis came in to carry people back to George Town.  These are tourists from George Town that are out exploring.

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Sunset came and we packed our stuff up and headed back to beauty. What a great day.

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Marathon Florida, Down the west side of Andros to George Town

We have had numerous requests for the conditions of our sail and our specific route from Marathon Florida to George Town.  On the charts, it appears to be a bit shallow.  However, we found quite the opposite.  The water was quite deep and only became shallow near shores.  In general, the water goes from deep to shallow quite slowly on the Banks

Our crossing of the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas Bank is shown below.  We sailed a comfortable crossing under a first reef.  The actual crossing to the edge of the banks was about 130 miles and it took about 15 hours.  It was all beam winds (and beam waves & swells) at about 15 knots.  We took a small jog around an 8.2 foot shallow, but in hindsight, this was probably not necessary. 

The chart showed 18 feet as we crossed into the banks, but we noticed the actual depths remained over 100 feet in this region and the depths shallowed slowly.  Going across the banks, the depths were much deeper than charted.  We finally decided, the charted depths must indicate the shallowest areas, but the average depth is not actually apparent.  Near shore, the depths were closer, but still about 2 feet higher than charted even considering tide.

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On the wind prediction below, I have drawn our route in red.  It predicts 15 knot winds for noon on Thursday the day we left.  This chart shows ideal wind conditions for a crossing of the Gulf Stream.  AS shown, we prefer south winds to blow in direction of the Gulf Stream current.  The Gulf Stream often flows over 2 mph along the Florida coast.  If the winds are the opposite direction (from the north), waves become uncomfortable because the winds oppose the current. 

Wave predictions were 3-6 feet and that’s what we saw when we left.  These waves settled down over the next 15 hours of our crossing to the banks.  However, the waves were beam to and the winds were beam to.  This wind and wave direction makes the crossing very fast and very comfortable.  Our boat prefers beam seas and beam waves.  Our speeds varied from about 8 to 10.5 mph under a first reef.

On the flip side, we would never take a power boat across in these conditions.  Beam to waves on a bridge boat are extremely uncomfortable.  So power boaters require different crossing criteria than sail boaters.  For those that are unaware, in addition to about 30,000 miles on our sailboat, we have that many miles on our power boat.

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The wave predictions below show the waves are expected to be 1-2 meters on our route at noon the day we left.  We actually left our mooring ball just before noon.  These are the wave heights we saw when we left, but these waves settled quickly to probably 1-3 feet with maximum 6 foot swells.   The swells are not predicted on the wave charts.

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The next day (Friday), after crossing the Gulf Stream, the winds switched direction 180 degrees and turned Northerly.  This wind switch was a key point in our decision process to sail the western shore of Andros.  These Northers over the next few days would propel us down the western shore of Andros.  And the island of Andros would shield us from the winds and waves while we were anchored.  So in spite of what people thought of our course, this was a well orchestrated cruise.

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In addition to local wind and wave conditions, we look at the predictions for waves and winds on the wide Atlantic so we can get an idea of the swells that may be coming from 1000 miles away.  These swells are rarely indicated on the wave charts, so a vigilant sailor always looks at wave and wind conditions thousands of miles away.  This is particularly critical for power boaters, who often find the wave heights are higher than predicted and a different direction due to swells from 1000 miles away.

We also look at the pressure charts to see where the low pressure areas are and where they are going.  These are all factors we consider when making a crossing or any time we jump out into the ocean.  Its not that we can’t handle heavy seas, but we prefer to be comfortable.  We are always looking a week to 10 days in advance before any movement of the boat.

As an example, the wind chart below shows the winds on the day of our crossing and it shows the strong southerly winds in the North Atlantic.  These winds were also southerly and easterly on the day before.  We are most concerned about wide area winds and waves on the days leading up to our crossing because those conditions often determine the wave swell height and direction we will see from far away.

We rarely go out when the day before had very high winds and waves in a wide area that are directed to our intended route.  On Wednesday before we left, the waves were 6-12 feet.  However, these swells coming from the Atlantic would be tempered by the Bahama Banks because they were coming from the south east.  In the North Atlantic, the 35 knot winds are blowing from the south, so North Atlantic swells will not bother us.  Now if the winds had been northers in the North Atlantic, particularly in the days leading up to our crossing, it could cause uncomfortable swells on a crossing to Bimini.

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On the second night, we anchored at waypoint location 1460:  N 24 20.696’ W 78 12.821’  water depth was 8.6’ at low tide; charted depth was 5.9’.  Low tide was about 0.2 feet below zero.  We were shocked to see anchored closer to shore was the 150 foot boat Flamingo Explorer (10 foot draft).  The winds were North at about 15 knots, but we were protected from most waves by Andros and the shallow water.  This is one of the coolest things about the Bahama Banks.  Even in high winds, the waves can’t get very high because of the shallow water.  And the huge Atlantic swells only make it a short distance onto the banks.  So sailing the Bahama Banks are like sailing a gigantic shallow lake.

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The Northers continued into Saturday where we anchored at waypoint 1465: N 23 54.300’ W 77 53.458.  Again, we anchored at a charted depth of 5.9’ which was actually 8’ at low tide (0.2 feet below zero).  High tide depth was a bit over 10 feet.  North winds were about 15-20 knots most of the night.  Waves were a comfortable due to shallow water.

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Looking at an overall map of our Andros route, After getting to the banks, we made our way down the western Shore of Andros.  The winds were north at 15-20 knots, out of the port quarter.  So the sailing was fabulous in the shallow waters of about 20 feet.  Charted depth was 8-11 feet.  So water depth was much deeper than the charts indicated.

After leaving our anchorage at 1465 on Sunday morning, the winds turned south, so we tacked to waypoint 1467 shown on the chart below. Again, the winds were about 15 knots, so another great sail.  This small jog due to winds on our nose lead us around some shallows at the bottom of Andros.  Although in better winds, this tack would not have been so far out.  Waypoint 1467 is: N 23 32.679’ W 78 07.650’

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These Southerly winds lasted for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  The winds allowed us to sail all the way across the bottom of Andros below the Tongue of the Ocean all the way through Comers Channel as the wind chart shows below and the GPS map shows above.  Again, this was part of our carefully choreographed route that we had been planning prior to our leaving Marathon Florida.

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After tacking at waypoint 1467, we headed toward 1472 through the reef area shown below.  Again, this depth is deeper than show on the charts.    We anchored Sunday night at 1472; depth was 11.3’ at low tide (-0.2 feet).  This anchorage was a bit rough due to winds that were peaking at 26 knots.

 

At waypoint 1474 we had a soft grounding on what we think was a wreak.  It was too close to the shipping lane coming out of the Tongue of the Ocean to be a shallow.  However, heavy rain prevented us from seeing the bottom.  We were cruising under only headsail and motor through the reef for safety in case we ran into shallow water.  In 18 feet of water, the front depth gauge suddenly changed to 7.7 feet.  We released the Gen sheet and backed away and went a hundred yards north around it toward 1473.  After this, the rest of the trip was uneventful.  At waypoint 1479 the way-pointed depth is 17.7 feet.

1472 N 23 25.127’ W 77 43.079 Anchorage.  A bit rough, south winds peaked at 26 knots during the night.

1474 N 23 22.315 W 77 36.649  Shipwreck near the shipping lane.  Stay away.

1473 N 23 19.867 W 77 31.119

1475 N 23 16.539 W 77 27.563

1479 N 23 12.384 W 77 17.751

1482 N 23 09.711 W 77 02.508

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We continued on out of the reef through the deeper waters below the Tongue of the Ocean.  The typical water depth was 26 feet between waypoint 1482 and 1483.  The south winds allowed us to sail till about 9 pm where we anchored Monday night near waypoint 1489.  We decided not to go on through the night into the shallows beyond 1489 as we did not know what to expect.   Particularly since we had no moon and we were not on a sailing line.  It was a very pleasant anchorage with barely any waves in 24 feet of water.   Winds were light, below 10 knots.

Since this area near 1489 seemed so shallow, we place the GPS waypoint 1489 near the charted depth 8.2 feet.  This was deeper than the 6.6 foot areas around it.  We were surprised to see that this whole area was no less than 25 feet deep!!  We are not sure what is going on with charted depth here, because in the daytime, we were unable to see any shallows visually.

We cruised through the next area below and noticed water depth was quite deep.  We dodged any charted shallow areas and I think minimum depth we saw was about 16 feet through the area shown in the chart below to 1494 at the entrance to Comer Channel.

 

1483 N 23 12.067’ W 76 33.831’  Actual depth is 25.4 feet

1485 N 23 12.871’ W 76 22.200’  Actual depth 26 feet

1489 N 23 15.227’ W 76 18.766’ Actual depth 26.0 feet

1491 N 23 16.731’ W 76 10.468’ Actual depth 25.3 feet 

1492 N 23 17.800’ W 76 01.979’ Actual depth 21.6 feet

1493 N 23 20.135’ W 75 43.755’ Actual depth 21.9 feet

1494 N 23 20.328’ W 75 32.592’

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The final path through Comer Channel all the way to George Town is shown below.  We came through Comer Channel around White Cay point at high tide.  The minimum depth we saw was about 9  feet.  We followed the sailing line.  It could be the depth may be deeper off the sailing line.  An east-south-east wind blew us through this area all the way to 1497.  At which point the winds turned north-east, we dropped sails and ploughed through the waves on our nose.  We dropped anchor at 11 pm in the protection of the harbor.

1495 N 23 19.514’ W 75 24.151’

1496 N 23 20.765’ W 75 19.980’

1497 N 23 24.416’ W 75 19.443’

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