Monday, January 21, 2013

A much delayed update Jan 21, 2013

Sailing South 2012 / 2013

We left Green Cove after working on the boat for two weeks installing a new shelf, solar panels and bow roller extension among the many other chores to get the boat ready to launch.

The trip started out pleasant enough though for most of this trip the winds have been from the wrong direction. Our first stop was Jacksonville Landing for the night. In the morning we left with the tide and to get through the bridge before it closed for the morning rush hour. The timing of the tide was spot on and we rode the outgoing tide all the way to the intracoastal and then rode the incoming tide and following outgoing tide though the intracoastal all the way to St Augustine.

After spending a couple days seeing St Augustine we again headed south using the tide to help us along. Our next stop was Daytona Beach for the night and in the morning we headed for Titusville. We planned a long run for the day and late that afternoon we passed by Titusville and had a celebratory drink as we toasted passing the farthest point south that Jeanne had reached the first year. We had just enough time to make the next bridge before it closed for rush hour and anchored off Cocoa Beach for the night. We planned to relax in Vero Beach so we left at dawn for the next long run southwards.

Arriving late in the afternoon we pumped out and topped up with fuel and water and went out to a mooring and shut down the diesel. The water pump was leaking sea water onto the battery and I needed to replace the seal. We planned to stay a few days in Vero as the bus into town is free and stores are convenient for shopping and a beach and shops is a short walk away. Our time is spent relaxing and meeting new friends and shopping for necessities; and of course trinkets and gifts for the grandkids. While there Vero Beach holds its annual Christmas Parade. I locate a Volvo parts place in Ft Lauderdale on our last day there and arrange for a pump rebuild kit for when we get to Ft Lauderdale. Just before we leave I find out about another Volvo parts place in Vero Beach…

Our next stop was Manatee Pocket close to a cousins Florida condo. And we arrange to meet her for lunch while there. We met her for lunch and took her out to the boat for a bit and said our good byes. In the morning were headed out to the ocean for a long sail down to Ft Lauderdale. Unfortunately the winds were a little too far forward to sail and we had to motor sail or tack out to the Gulf Stream. After one tack we motor sailed the rest of the way and sailed into Fort Worth and then motored down the Intracoastal an hour and anchored for the night. The next day we did the bridge dance all the way to Fort Lauderdale and the Las Olas Marina. We had arranged for parts for the leaky water pump to be delivered there to affect repairs to it. We planned to spend three days there relaxing and seeing the city. For smaller boats like ours the dockage was almost as cheap as the moorings and much more convenient.

The repair went quickly and the rest of the time was spent seeing sights and shopping. We made plans to return and see the parade of lights when we were to pick up friends, Jackie and Dave. We made friends with a couple on the boat next to us who were living aboard and spent the winters down here. Bringing your own boat and the dockage is much cheaper than renting a hotel for the winter, and in a much nicer location.

After a few days we moved on to Miami. Our next stop was South Beach, an area of upscale shops and the haunt of the beautiful people. South beach is nice but a little expensive and after a few days we were ready to move on but not until we’d walked the beach and had a drink in a few of the trendy bars.

Next we went to Coconut Grove where we had a little incident with a submerged pipe but in the process made several new friends who helped in one way or another to affect the repairs. By the time Jackie and Dave arrived the rudder shaft was straight again with just some fiberglass work to be done to complete the repair. I can’t thank the friends we now have enough for helping get us into sailing mode again. We were soon on our way to the Bahamas and checked in at Bimini. I asked for and got 120 days on the permit and the visitor’s visa. We spent 2 days in Bimini and then headed out for the long overnight sail to Nassau arriving the in the afternoon of the next day. Spending a few nights there to stock up on supplies and watch the Junkanoo festival, an all-night parade and celebration in a Mardi’s Gras way. It is a lot of noise and crowds and costumes and floats with dancing and music.

A few days later we headed out for Allen’s Cay where we would anchor and could dingy ashore to feed the iguanas. In the morning we got an early start with our destination being Big Major’s Spot where the previous year there was a new year’s party on the beach. It didn’t happen this year but I made my banana bread anyways. Jackie and Dave had to fly home new year’s eve but the flights were full from Staniel’s so they left a day early an booked a room overnight in New Providence. Flying in and out of these Islands is an adventure in itself as Jeanne’s daughter Jennifer would find out soon enough.

After a few days we headed to Black Point and the hospitality of Lorraine’s CafĂ© and Scorpio’s Bar and happy hours. We planned to stay there until Jennifer and Dylan arrived. The market there is small but there is a good Laundromat with new coin showers and water available and other things to make the stay pleasant.


Dylan Update

Well our grandson just left in a taxi for George Town airport, they will be flying to Nassau via Rock Sound and then on to Atlanta and Detroit. I hope the return is less eventful than the trip out where a small ticketing snafu had them get off at the wrong island. They were able to flag the plane back down and hop over to the Black Point where we were waiting. For Dylan this was just another of life’s new adventures and he made the best of it. For mom it was it was slightly stressful but she also enjoyed the time we had, even with my phobia about water and battery usage. The first stop was a few days in Black Point where we met old friends and some new ones. Dylan made a few friends on the other boats with kids on them and happy hour was a happy time for about a half dozen kids. We took the dingy around the point to another island with an iguana sanctuary and Dylan delighted in the little lizards although he didn’t get overly close to them. What he did like was the “looky bucket” where we could float over a reef and watch the sea life below. Ohh and Lorraine says hello to all her friends and hopes to see them all again.

Our next stop was Big Majors Spot with the swimming pigs. It was a delight to feed and watch the pigs swimming in the sea and we had heard there were piglets though we didn’t see them. The next day we went over to Staniel’s and swam in Thunderball Grotto and fed the fish peas as they swarmed around us. On the sail from Black Point to Big Majors Spot we had a dolphin swimming with the boat and Dylan was up on the bow watching him until he tired of our slow boat and swam away. After two nights there we headed south and joined up with three other boats with kids aboard, and snorkeled on a small reef. Later we got together on Aileon for a potluck dinner and let the kids play while we relaxed and talked.

The next morning we headed out Rudder Cut on our way to George Town. The winds were marginal for sailing south east and eventually we simply Motor sailed into a tight reach and big waves. We passed through 4 rain squalls with winds up to 30 knots. We arrived at George Town and anchored off Stocking Island about 16:30.  Dylan had a good three days to relax, wade with the stingrays, play on the sandy beach, collect shells, check out the huge starfish, play in the surf on the ocean side beach, meet again and say goodbye to his new friends before they flew out at 06:00 Saturday morning. The boat got much bigger and way quieter after they left. Everyone had a good time.