Thursday, July 7, 2016

Taking Our Time in Washington D.C.

We have been here a couple of weeks and have been to maybe half of what we want to see.  There is still so much to see and do, to list it all would be overwhelming.

Here are some of the highlights so far.

WW II Memorial at night

Lincoln Memorial at night

3-D Movie about D- Day - Normandy

Everything is within walking distance.

American National History Museum

3-D movie about Dinosaurs 

4th of July Parade

Museum of Natural History

Washington Monument
Korean War Vetrans Memorial

Giant Type writer Eraser in the Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Art

Vietnam Vetrans Memorial

WW II Memorial

Friday, June 24, 2016

Back to the States

After spending a few more days enjoying the Bahamas a weather window presented itself so we decided to ride it back to the States.
Excited to be back, we arrived at the St. Augustine inlet in the dark.  We decided to heave to until first light. Our decision saved us from running aground.  The buoys off the coast were not lit.

The spending spree began.  Not only boat parts but clothes and shoes for growing kids and replacement items for things that were broken or close to it. 
We visited with friends Charlie and Judy that we met from the very beginning of our trip in 2012 and met up with S/V MadSam.
The kids love this park in St Augustine!

We worked our way up the coast along the intra-coastal and along the Atlantic where we visited some of our favorite spots along the way.

Kingsley Plantation 

Carolina Beach with Britt's Donuts🍩

Cape Lookout

Oriental, NC where we met up with S/V What Next?

Norfolk, VA

Currently we have worked out way up the Potomac and anchored in the heart of Washington D.C.!

Everything to see and do is so close.  We met up with friends from S/V Quartet now land based here in Arlington so have instant tour guides when needed. 

It is a bit overwhelming but it is nice we can take our time. 
So far we made it through 1/4 of the National Air and Space Museum and most of the National Museum of the American Indian.
Samantha and Nicholas are buried under their faux igloo they built.  

We have lots more to see.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Exumas to Spanish Wells to Eleuthera to Harbor Island Through the Devils Backbone!


Easter Egg Hunt on Lee Stocking

Conch Fest!

Campfire Night!

School with Guest Teacher MadSam

Hog Cay Anchorage

Boo Boo Hill Signs

The crew of MadSam with Shambala 

Pink Sand Beach on Harbor Island (if you look close you might see a few pink grains)

Blow Holes on Rat Cay

Spa Day on Shambala

Queen's Baths on Eleuthera 

The coolest library on Eleuthera on Governor's Harbor

The Piano near David Copperfield's Island

Shambala touches bottom at low tide near Big Farmers

Plane wreck in the Exuma Land and Sea Park

The Aquarium in the park

Coral near Sandy Cay in the Abacos

Turtle - Sandy Cay Abacos

Sandy Cay Abacos

Swimming Pigs near Staniel Cay

Since we left Long Island and met up with our friends on MadSam we have been traveling throughout the Bahamas.  Here are some highlights from our trip through the Exumas.

The first few stops were anchorages just north of Georgetown.  MadSam had visitors for a few days and we showed them all of our favorite places.  Lee Stocking Island and the elk horn coral, hiking, beaches, and ruins of a previous ocean research facility.  Leaf Cay with the iguanas and drift dives.  Norman Pond Cay where we found a few conch followed by a conch feast.  Bon fire at the beach with roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  A new stop for us was the blow holes on Rat Cay.  

After MadSam said goodbye to their friends we moved up to Black Point where we did laundry at our favorite laundry.  Then we moved up to Staniel Cay where we enjoyed beer, conch fritters at the yacht club, and fed the famous swimming pigs.  We stayed one night in Pipe Creek to enjoy the cool sand bar and enjoyed sundowners.  

Next stop was the Exuma Land and Sea Park at the Hog Cay mooring area.  It is a tricky entrance but exciting.  The views, scenery and snorkeling were amazing.  We snorkeled on some of the oldest lifeforms on the face of the earth, Stromatolites.  They supposedly pre-date our oxygen atmosphere.  The only other place they are known to be is in Australia.  

From there we moved around to Emerald Rock anchorage and stayed a couple of days to re-new our sign on Boo-Boo Hill.  

We made a big jump from there to Norman’s Cay but felt the anchorage was too rough for snorkeling on the plane wreck so moved up to Allen’s Cay.  The wind stayed strong and we were not able to snorkel as much as we wanted but took advantage of the wind to head up to Ship Channel Cay where we drift dived the west side along the corals heads.  

From there we made a big jump and sailed to Spanish Wells.  This town reminds me of a quaint little north east fishing harbor.  The houses are colorful and surrounded by water and fishing boats of all shapes and sizes.  

One day we rented a van to tour Eleuthera.  We were spoiled with air conditioning and got to see the sights by land.  We started at the Glass Window, Queen’s Baths, the Library in Governor’s Harbor, the Ocean Hole in Rock Sound, Hatchet Bay Cave, and back up to Preacher’s Cave. 

I think we were all exhausted but had a great time.  

For our next big adventure we decided to transit the Devil’s Backbone just East of Spanish Wells to get to Harbor Island.  It is recommended in the charts to hire a pilot to help navigate the intricate reefs.  We decided to brave it on our own in calm conditions (10-12 knots from the East )  with a partly cloudy sky.  We followed the charted line nearing high tide (according to Nassau) and found the only difficulty is dealing with the other boats transiting back and forth in the narrow passages.  

After visiting Harbor Island we moved north to the Abacos.  We came up the Bight of Abaco and through Spence Rock Channel.  We made it to Green Turtle where we decided to check out Black Sound and stayed at Donny's Marina.  An extremely good price and timing was good because our engine died and we were expecting bad weather.  This was our first time doing a hip tow but had no issues.  There we said Goodbye to our friends aboard MadSam as they headed back to the U.S. 

We stayed and snorkeled on the big reef at Sandy Cay where we saw a lot of elk horn coral and turtles.  We also had some calm weather and snorkeled on the wreck of the Adirondack and the Fowl Cay reef.  

Now we are making way to Double Breasted Cay where we will await the weather to return to the U.S. ourselves.  We don’t have any definite plans yet for where and when we return.  Traveling by the direction of the wind will still be in our future for a little while longer.   

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Raggeds and Jumentos

We all love being back int he beautiful Bahamas.  We love the beaches, the clear blue water, the abundance of sea life, and so much more.  We have caught up with some old boating friends and have met a lot of new ones.  

The wind was predicted to die down to light and variable so we took advantage of it and headed to the Jumento Cays and the Raggeds.  Our first few nights were at Water Cay where we spent time diving on the three different blue holes just west of the cay.  We are all still floored by the amount of fish and sea life living there.  It is like swimming in an aquarium.  The trigger fish are the funniest because as they swim by they turn sideways so they can put an eye on you then flip over and put the other eye on you.  They seem very curious about us as we snorkel in the water.  

Paul spearfishing

Queen Triggerfish

The next stop was Flamingo Cay where we snorkeled around the island, especially the bight on the north side.  Nicholas and Samantha both practiced with Paul’s spear on the beach.  They both have grown an interest in spear fishing.  

Practicing with the spear

Grouper we shot

By this time the wind was predicted to blow like crazy for the next week so we went out the cut at Flamingo and trolled down to Johnson Cay cut to head to Hog Cay.  We know from previous experience that this is the most comfortable place to be when there is crazy wind blowing.  Along the way we went through a school of tuna and caught one on the hand line and one on the rod.  Paul was pulling in the one on the rod when a BIG shark came up and ate it!  Paul quickly tried to pull the hand line in but again the shark was much quicker and ate the other one too.  The kids got to see it all and we were amazed, I felt bad.  It is like watching a car crash, you can’t help yourself.  It was very cool in a gruesome sort of way.  
We stopped at Man-O- War Bay as we worked through Johnson Cay cut and Paul shot a fish or two.  It is hard for me to remember now how many and where he shot them but needless to say we had fish and lobster for dinner pretty much every night.  
While we stayed at Hog Cay the wind blew out of the northeast through southeast at 25- 30 knots.  We were very comfortable and able to get off the boat each day for hiking, snorkeling, fishing, beach time, and bon fires.  
Nicholas speared his first fish while we were visiting here.  It was a lion fish.  There seemed to be an abundance of lion fish at each of the little coral heads in the anchorage.  I didn’t feel bad at all getting rid of them mostly because they don’t have a natural predator and eat pretty much all the other reef fish. I feel like it is our duty to get rid of them so they have at least one predator,  us!  Oh, and they also taste delicious.
We turned around and started to head back north when the wind died down but then had a major leak in the sea water strainer which then caused the engine to start to overheat.  Paul was able to get it back together with parts that we have aboard but we decided it was a sign to head back to some civilization.  We stayed again at Hog Cay and Paul fixed it again and we found out our friends on MadSam were arriving in Long Island in a couple of days.  Wow!  Were we excited.  We quickly headed back to Long Island where we caught up with MadSam and Alibi II. 
Nicholas had his birthday here at Long Island where he is now a big 8 year old.  Both Samantha and Nicholas are growing up before our eyes. 
Birthday Boy
We look back at pictures and videos when we first started our trip on the boat and are amazed.  I love that we have been able to experience life with them every step of the way. 

So now we are back to bon fires at the beach, work parties, and spending time with our friends.  Yay!!

Work party at Erskins