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14 March 2009

Several lovely days

Kaye and David see us off
"In Dreams" at anchor, Double Breasted Cays
Marina, Spanish Cays
A little avian visitor to the hot tub
Raconteur at Spanish Cays

With the help of Kaye and David, we made it off the dock at Riviera Beach Yacht Center around 1630 on Monday, and were approaching the Little Bahama Bank at Memory Rock by 0300 Tuesday morning. JP and Susan tacked and jibed, awaiting first light, and then we set off across the bank. Calm, beautiful conditions for motorsailing and sailing, and we were able to drop the hook at Great Sale Cay before 1700 on Tuesday. Wednesday we decided to make a detour for Double Breasted Cays, which are gorgeous. It's a "settled conditions" anchorage, at least if you are off the rocks versus between the rocks and the cay, but we were able to dinghy around, swim, visit the beach/sand bar, and meet up with Ken from "In Dreams" who had arrived ahead of us. Ken joined us for dinner and we had a great evening, swapping stories and drinking red wine. It was blowing rather harder Thursday so we decided to seek a little more shelter, and followed "In Dreams" to Crab Cay, about five nauticals from Spanish Cay. Yesterday, Ken headed on down toward Green Turtle, and after a rather gusty departure (Susan lost her Tilley Hat, and Leigh didn't think to set the MOB on the nav) we made a quick passage to Spanish Cay, cleared in, and spent the night docked at the marina. Fabulous spot, a favorite of the big sportfishing boats and large yachts, but very accomodating. Delicious dinner, ditto breakfast, and now we are heading back to gunkholing, this time at Powell Cay, only a few miles to the south.
The Atlantic is in a bit of a churn, so it will probably be Monday before we attempt Whale Cay Passage. Will be checking in again sometime...

09 March 2009

What sailors do when they can't sail

So after JP and Susan cleaned the boat (exterior) and Leigh puttered around straightening the boat (interior), we loaded three Coronas and headed by dinghy for the every-weekend party scene on Peanut Island. After that, we dinghied across to the Tiki Waterfront Bar and Grill at the City of Riviera Beach Marina, had some great fresh seafood, and then came back to the boat to watch "Dreamgirls".
Our host marina sent us to Jas Marine, which does mobile dockside service, as we are too small for EITHER of Rybovich Spencer's yards ;-). Turns out we had not actually damaged the engine, but for good measure they replaced the impeller (we had a new one in our spares kit) and JP got to watch, which was well worth the investment. Took them less than half an hour!
So...we are off again late this afternoon, to cross the Gulf Stream overnight and arrive at the Little Bahama Bank with daylight, then on to an anchorage at Great Sale Cay on our way to the Abacos.

08 March 2009

The end of the day, and the rest of the story

So this is how we began our day yesterday, exiting the Port Everglades inlet around 0615, passing the second of two large cruise ships (Ruby Princess, and then Independence of the Seas, which you see here). The wind was blowing rather harder than forecast - forecast said 10-15 from the East, it was blowing 20+ and gusting 25+ - and we quickly figured out that making Settlement Point/West End before dark might be a bit problematic. Adding to the fun, the engine temperature gauge was showing that the engine was running hot. We kept sailing (it was generally a lovely day) while JP tried to figure out what was wrong. It looked like he got it fixed, and then, feeling a little green from diesel fumes and being below too long, asked Leigh to re-open the seacock. Leigh, thinking he said "the one all the way left" not only did NOT reopen it, but CLOSED the one for the GEN that was open. Running the engine a bit later, of course, we blew the impeller. SO...we turned back for the Lake Worth inlet, called our friends Kaye and David (who, it turns out, were in CONNECTICUT!) who in turn contacted both TowBoat US and a marina where we should be able to get the engine fixed on Monday. So the first picture is how we ended the day!
Yes, the Bahamas are only 60 miles from the coast of Florida.

05 March 2009

Still waiting

The "N" has persisted in the forecast, so we're hanging out in the apartment. Nice thing is, Susan's mom and sister and brother in law Nancy and Jeremy got to scoot over from the west coast for dinner and an overnight and lunch at Casablanca, so that was a little bonus. We've also been able to do some additional prep, which is always good - JP finished and mounted a board to hold our spare diesel and gasoline on deck (over my aesthetic objections, though I know it's a good idea).
Now looks like we will set off mid afternoon tomorrow, the 6th, head for Memory Rock and then on to Mangrove Cay and to Great Sale Cay. That's about 100 nauticals.

01 March 2009

Spooked by the word "front"

We had Dawnna and Grant (aka D&G Services) provision the boat yesterday, preparing us to go out as soon as we landed, but after much studying, agonizing, more studying, intense discussion, etc. we decided if it took that much talking to decide if we could beat the front we should probably stay in port until it passes. So, here we are in Lauderdale, probably until Thursday when the wind shifts back to the east.
It IS lovely here today so we are not TOO deprived.