Monday, May 31, 2010

The way home.

It's been a few days since we posted as we've been pretty busy. We're in Fort Pierce, Florida now. The boat gets loaded on the upgraded trailer (we went from 2 axles to 3) tomorrow at 1pm EDT. We had a wonderful send off from Green Turtle by "Oreo, the 3 legged dog" as well as a great day at the beach.


It appears it's his beach, ALL of it!


We then spent a night at Great Sale at anchor. The first calm night there in our last 3 stops. I was looking forward to the fantastic view of the stars, but it was a full moon, so I couldn't see a darn thing!  But the Sunrise was nice.



We then had the idea to try to head directly home via Memory Rock. All was well until we left the bank and were met with HUGE swells. We turned around and went 20 miles to Old Bahama Bay at West End.  Storms were all over the place by then, and the holding for anchoring in that area is poor.  We wanted a slip.  It was Memorial Day weekend and there was a 4 night minimum.  Thankfully, the dock hand working the fuel dock remembered us from previous trips and took pity.  They were booked full (I've never seen the place full before), but had a cancellation for a 60' slip.  So they put us and our 30' boat in it along with a 29' boat.  Hey, what works, works.  And the folks on the other boat were very darn nice.


The weather forecast called for 2-foot sees with a slight SE swell, so we took off the next morning (Sunday, 5/30).  Why do weather people lie so much?  There was certainly a 2-foot chop, but that was on top of a good 4-foot swell!  It was 4 hours of UP, and DOWN, UP, and DOWN.  10 knots up, 20 knots down.  But the boat did well.  We never pounded and we passed some much larger boats.  I have no complaints on the ride except it's always annoying to go "uphill" in a boat!  As we approached Florida at St. Lucie Inlet, I was wondering where all the holiday traffic was.  There were no boats anywhere.  Then I got it; it was too rough to boat!  Oh well, when the ICW has chop, and you're happy to be in it, life is good!


We'll try and post some more in the next few days, but tomorrow starts the trip home and the very LONG drive.  So please excuse us if it takes a while.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Staging for the trip home.

We're probably going to spend a 3rd night in Green Turtle at Leeward Yacht Club.  The staff here is quite nice, and it's a good location.  And heck, for $.90/ft, I'm enjoying the a/c over anchoring!  Tomorrow we'll head out with 3/4 tank of fuel.  We'll stop at Spanish Cay to top off and get some lunch.  Then we'll keep going to for a night at Great Sale Cay.  The crossing day appears to be Sunday at this point.  We might leave directly from Great Sale or anchor just outside of Old Bahama Bay marina (I'm not going to pay their inflated Memorial Day rates and eat the 4-night minimum) and make the cross on Sunday.

As promised, here's a video of the Don't Rock Passage.  I wish the camera could do a better job of picking up the swells, but 2D just can't capture 3D images. However, you can tell the boat was running well through it, especially the little breaking swell we hit at around 1:18 into the movie.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Don't Rock Passage

There was no report from The Whale on Cruiser's Net today:

Whale Cay Passage: [No Report]
North MOW: per Susan at 808am at Penrod Point reports 3-5ft roll / 1ft chop / sloppy
 
But Man-O-War sounded interesting. We took a shot through the Don't Rock.


Purple are routes I plotted over the years.  Green are actual tracks from previous passages.  White is today's track.
 

The water got VERY skinny at times between the rollers. The depth sounder couldn't even get a reading, but I could sure see the sand below.  And then came the breakers.



See how close that sand bottom was?  Yikes!  It's a good thing we've got a shallow-draft boat.
At least we weren't out in the Whale Passage like this sail boat:


For those that haven't been through here, the white water on the left is breaking against a reef.  It had to be rough out there.

I'll work on a movie tonight from some video I shot and see what I can edit together.  It's hard to steer with one hand and take a movie with the other under such conditions (but it was fun :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Snorkel in the day, light the lighthouse at night



Wow, a busy day.  I'm not even sure where to start.  We decided to pay the professionals (Froggies Out Island Adventures) to take us out to some reefs to snorkel.  Wow, was that a good decision.





Thank God we had the shorty wetsuits with us.  As hot as it's been here it gets darn cold in 78 degree water after a while.

Then, after dinner, we took up some new friend's offer for a private tour of the lighthouse lighting (thanks Greg and Sandy!).  Franklin has been at it for 37 years!  Remember, this is a totally manual light.  He has to get up every 2 hours to crank it so it keeps running.  Ouch!

Check out the archives from 2008 for the typical shots.  These below are from the "keep out" area.




Back down below to get the thing going.

That's the crank to the right.

And there's Franklin doin' the cranking.

The walk down isn't lit...this is not OSHA approved!


The end result.

Wait!  There's a movie!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hope Town

Wow, quite a bit of construction going on at Hope Town Marina (we heard that Rudy sold a number of months ago, and I would say that seeing is confirming).  The place is going to at least double in size.  Sadly, though, there's even less boats here this year than last year.  It seems each year the tourism falls.  I guess the economy is showing it's ugly head.

We had a great meal at Cap't Jack's with some new cruising friends, Rick and Sally from Denver, CO.  They've also got a power cat.  Heck, this harbor is full of catamarans.  Why they're not more popular state-side I don't quite know.  Anyway, here was the sunset from Cap't Jack's deck:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Treasure Cay - We're not all about resorts, but this is our favorite.

I've got some issues connecting to WiFi hotspots for some reason, so I haven't posted much lately.  But the Verizon phone is working pretty darn well and I'm going to post a little bit from our favorite Bahamas Resort; Treasure Cay.  We might head to Hope Town tomorrow, or we might stay here another day.  Either does enough for me at the moment!  Enjoy just a few pictures since my bandwidth is a bit low right now:

 

I've got a movie of this that shows a lot more fish, but these little guys are over the place here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A full day in Green Turtle

Before I go on about today, last night we had a treat.  There's a fishing tournament here.  It seems they were doing pretty well as I asked to buy some Mahi from one of the gentleman and he gave me this sucker for free.



Today we rented a Club Car (that's a gasoline powered golf card) and took a 4 hour joy ride.



Time to stop for a Goombay Smash


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Green Turtle

Wow, what a change to be back in a marina again.  We're at Green Turtle Club.




It will be nice for a couple of nights to be plugged in.  We'll check the weather and see what chance we have of making it through the hub via Don't Rock Passage.  One boat just bottomed there in some troughs between swells and did a number on their props.  But at less than 2 feet of draft, I think we'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 4






This will probably be our last day in Allans-Pensacola.  It's actually rather hard to leave.



 Here's something left over from the old tracking station:

And here's some more shots from the Atlantic side:


Getting there is half the fun:



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Allans-Pensacola - Day 3

It's not as bad as it sounds.  We're going to have some breakfast shortly and then dinghy in to shore for the walk across to the Atlantic beach (watch out for that poison wood tree!).  I'll take the camera and see what we can share later today.  In the mean time, I think we'll be staying put.  I don't leave a sheltered place when a yacht TOWING a boat almost as large as mine stays.


This guy has a smaller boat too, but it's tied up on the other side.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Allans-Pensacola

Taking weather into consideration, we decided to leave the Exumas for another year.  If we'd have started on our way there, we'd most likely be stuck in Nassau for the majority of this week.  I'm sure Atlantis is fantastic, but it's not the kind of place to take a 30' boat.  So we left Port Lucaya, went through the Lucayan Water Way, anchored for the night at Great Sale, and are now anchored for a few nights at Allans-Pensacola.  I think we'll inflate the dinghy today and explore a bit.  Perhaps take some chairs over to the Atlantic side for some beach time.  There's more marine life here than I remember from past trips; lots of rays and even a turtle or two (camera shy though).  And then there's the water spouts...




But then the sun came back out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Port Lucaya

Port Lucaya.  I'm editing this post as the original came out too negative.  This is a really nice place.  We were just docked behind the type of people I don't usually want to be around.  However, the shopping and the nightlife was unlike anything we've seen in the Bahamas before (very resort-like).





We only spent one night as we had made our decision to head north to the Abacos instead of south to the Exumas (it's a weather thing). 


The Lucayan Water Way was interesting.



Hmmm.  Let's build a big condo building that doesn't have any beach access.  Do you think they'll sell?


It rather reminded me of Beirut.  However, the Sea of Abaco sure was nice and calm.  That made for a nice 70+ mile trip for the day.