Friday, March 29, 2013

The Berry Islands and Nassau

We left Great Harbour Cay and sailed south to Hoffman's Cay. We stayed anchored at Hoffman's for 5 days exploring by dinghy, beach combing and just relaxing. It's nice to be on island time. On Hoffman's Cay there is a blue hole which is a vertical cave with deep blue water. There is a cliff that we jumped off of into the blue hole. It's only 15 or 20 feet but it took us a few minutes to get the nerve up.

We then sailed to Nassau across the Northwest Providence Channel and anchored off Athol Island for the night. We caught a nice Mahi-Mahi just off Nassau and had it for dinner and lunch the following day.

In Nassau we did some shopping and other errands and we are now headed for the Exumas for about a month. Everyone says the Exumas are the best of the Bahamas.
We are thinking of getting one of these slides for the boat.

The Mahi-Mahi on a hand line

The kids went to the eye doctor for some new glasses.

The crew 

All that fishing gear is finally paying off

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Welcome to Great Harbour Cay

We crossed the Great Bahama Bank and are now visiting the Berry Islands.  We are at a marina tonight because of the high winds predicted through the evening and no safe anchorage near by.

We have been enjoying the weather and the beach.

Paul did some fishing on the way over to the islands and caught a few barracudas and a mackerel that we ate for dinner while we were anchored in the middle of the banks last night.
Barracuda attacked while reeling it in (shark?)

Glamour shot!

The kids love to see the teeth

More glamour shots

Captain Nicholas

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bimini, Bahamas

We made it!

Today we took the big plunge!

We left Angel Fish Creek at 4:30 AM in the dark.  It was a little scary but with Paul driving and me running the spot light we made it without a problem.  The wind was out of the southeast and the seas were 3-4 feet with the occasional 5-7 foot rollers.  When Paul yelled "Land Ho" I was so relieved.
We made it in about 3:30 PM and are leaving tomorrow for the Bahama Banks then onto Nassau.
The beach is awesome and the kids collected all kinds of conch shells.  North Bimini is very interesting...I definitely feel like I am in a foreign country.  The streets are narrow and full of fast moving cars, golf carts, ATVs and motorcycles.  Look Out!

The water is so unbelievably clear.  Even at 50 feet we could see straight to the bottom.  Samantha and Nicholas loved being able to watch crabs walk, sea urchins and sea stars right off the dock.

Happy Birthday Nicholas

Big 5 year old now!

"Did you get this for me?"

The Birthday Fairies
Nicholas turned 5 on St. Patricks Day so we celebrated near Pumpkin Key.  Samantha stayed up with me after he went to bed so we could decorate, wrap and then hide all his gifts.  We set up his presents as a treasure hunt and he had a great time looking for everything.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Waiting for the Weather Window

While we are waiting for the weather to change, Paul is working on our genoa. We noticed a small tear as we were sailing a couple of days ago so we need to repair it before we head out.

The kids are playing well together and are enjoying doing laundry the old fashion way with a bucket and a plunger. If you had asked me before we left on this adventure if we thought doing our own laundry would be fun I would have said you were crazy. Now it is fun for the whole family.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No Bahamas Today

We got up this morning at 2:00 ready to go to Bimini. Our anchorage behind Rodriquez Key was calm with a nice south wind so we decided to go for the crossing of the Gulf Stream. We put up the mainsail and hauled up the anchor. As we sailed out of the anchorage the seas slowly started to build as we made our way toward the reef that protects the Hawk Channel from the Straits of Florida. The closer we got to the Straits, the bigger the seas got. By the time we got to Molasses Reef light we were bashing through waves and taking water over the bow in complete darkness. Just as we crossed the reef and got to the Straits a very big wave lifted the boat and we decided the seas were only going to get worse. Going back to bed sounded better than being tossed around like a bath toy so we headed back to the anchorage and dropped the anchor. We made our way up to the north side of Key Largo and are going to stick around here to wait for the wind to come around again. It looks like next week there will be a good window to cross.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dry Tortugas

From Key West we left at 4:30 AM and sailed to Dry Tortugas National Park.  We arrived just in time as the weather moved in and we were there for 4 days without internet, phones or much else.
The name Tortugas came from all of the turtles that inhabitant the island and then later came the name Dry because of the lack of fresh water on the island.  The park rangers currently get their water from collecting rain water in a cistern.  The only way to get to the islands are by sea plane or boat.

Garden Key is the main island of the Tortugas and is taken up mostly by Fort Jefferson.  Each of the islands boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving due to the coral reef and ship wrecks in the area.  While there we also visited Loggerhead Key but didn't do any snorkeling due to the cold front that had moved in. 
The day after we arrived another sailboat came in and it just happened to be a Morgan 41, a twin to our boat just built a few years before ours.  Aboard was a family of 9 doing the same thing we are.  They sold everything, bought the boat Invincible and are sailing south.  We enjoyed hanging out with them on the island.  Hopefully we will hook  up with them again.

Now we are back in Marathon and are going to start moving a little further north to take off for the Bahamas!  
Next post will be from the Bahamas.  Yea!!!
Sea plane arrival area

Fort Jefferson as we arrived

Speed Ferry that arrives daily with Shambala in the background.

Fort Jefferson was used to house prisoners, a famous on being Dr. Mudd.  It is said to have an alligator that lives in this moat.  The kids only saw the snout as it was hiding most of the time. 

While on the boat we read more of the Harry Potter Series, we are currently on book 5.

Light house on Loggerhead Key.

Now we have two new photographers on the boat.  Samantha and Nicholas both enjoy taking pictures of all the crazy antics we do. 

Daddy doesn't like being woken from a nap.

On our way back to Marathon....more crab pots.  UGG!