Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Opening a New Chapter

Well, our time has come to leave the Bahamas and head back to the United States.  Our plan is to take the Old Bahama Channel from Ragged Island.  We will post about our experience when we return.

We are still unsure of where exactly we will head in Florida but that can be decided once we get back to the land of internet and cell phones.

Our second visit to the Jumentos and Ragged Islands was even more special this time.  We traveled with another kid boat named S/V Taia.  They have children about the same age as Samantha and Nicholas.  We did a lot more beach time, spear fishing and conching.  We feel so fortunate to have met Taia and having been able to travel with them for so long.

It was a sad goodbye but we feel good that it won't be for long.  We are going to try and meet up again this winter when we will set out again for our next adventure.

Fair winds and following seas for us all.

Nicholas is helping with the main sail

Two tuna we caught from Flamingo Cay to Buena Vista Cay

Taia and Shambala on Buena Vista Cay

The Blue Hole on Raccoon Cay

This kids chasing goats on Raccoon Cay

Monday, April 21, 2014

Heading back to the Jumentos and Raggeds

This morning we are anchored back in Thompson Bay, Long island after a stormy sail from George Town yesterday. We left Red Shanks anchorage early in the morning with S/V Taia expecting to only be able to sail for a few hours, then motor the rest of the way in light winds based on the forecast. The sailing was great for a while but the clouds kept building. Then the rain and lightning started. The wind was still good but since our cockpit is open I (Paul) got absolutely soaked while the kids and Staci were holed up down below. We saw many lighting strikes to the north of us but felt pretty safe as they were a few miles away. In a matter of seconds the wind clocked around 180 degrees and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Running downwind now the boat slowed considerably. Then a massive lightning bolt hit the water just a few hundred yards from the us with a boom that shook the whole boat. Code Brown!  I fired up the engine and throttled up to 6.5 knots to get into Thompson Bay as quickly as possible. An hour later we were anchored, the storm passed and the sun was shinning.

Since our last post we travelled from Rum Cay up to Conception Island which is a national park. While there we did a little snorkeling and took the dinghy into the mangroves at high tide. The mangroves are like a nursery for sea creatures and we saw turtles, rays, small sharks, and baby barracuda. We joined people from about ten other boats on the beach for sundowners and a bonfire but managed to escape before the gin and tonics got the better of us and the kids ended up missing another bedtime by 2 hours.
Playing with hermit crabs at Conception

We raised sail the next day and headed back to George Town to meet up with some friends. We had a great sail back but didn't catch anything despite trolling three lines behind us. We anchored at Monument Beach and caught up with our friends aboard Perry and Taia. All the kids had a great time running wild for a few days.
Kids playing at Volleyball Beach

Boogie-boarding the dunes

The last day we were in the harbor Matt, Ernesto and I went spearfishing but had no luck. Just as we were about to leave Ernesto came swimming back toward the dinghy saying there was a dolphin next to him.  We ended up playing with the dolphin for about a 1/2 hour. It was an incredible experience to be so close to a wild creature in its habitat. We could hear him echo locating as he swam toward us. We swam all around him but he would not let us touch him. It appeared he was having as good a time as we were.

So, now we are on our way back the Jumentos and Raggeds with S/V Taia. Our friends on Perry are using this weather window to head south toward Grenada. We will spend the next couple of weeks in the islands and then we are hoping to have good weather to sail non-stop back to Marathon,Fl along the north coast of Cuba via the Old Bahama Channel.

Roasting marshmallows 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rum Cay

After a week in George Town we decided to take advantage of a storm front coming down and head to Rum Cay.  The wind was out of the east most of the week then SE.  This morning the wind started out of the S then SW as we left the harbor.  The first part of the sail was with the motor and relatively easy.  When we got around the top of Long Island we changed direction slightly for Rum Cay and were able to sail at about 6.5 knots.
I like it sailing down wind on a broad reach mostly because I don't notice the 4-6 foot ocean swell as much.  Although the boat doesn't seem to like sailing down wind.  It gets pushed from side to side.
While making lunch the wind shifted and the storm front moved in.  We had to do a jibe because of the wind shift to stay on course.  The wind also picked up so we pulled in the genoa and sailed with a single reef in the main, still going 5-6 knots.  It rained off and on as the front moved through.
"Land Ho!" Are some of my favorite words but we still had 2 hours ahead of us.
For my land loving friends and family realize that 5-6 knots is approximately 7 miles per hour.  I can run faster than our boat sails.
We zig zagged through the coral heads and made it to the only marina on Rum Cay called Sumner Point Marina. It is out of business now due to hurricane damage so free.  Yes!
Next thing was tying up which took and hour because the wind was still blowing hard and pushing us off the dock.
We caught a cero makarel along the way, so dinner was easy.  We fed the leftovers to the nurse sharks and lemon sharks.  The sharks possibly outnumber the residents of this cay.  It is small and extremely friendly.
We definitely had a great time here.
On this Cay there are a few stone sculptures.  This gargoyle the kids especially liked. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Back in George Town

It is getting close to Family Island Regatta time.  We are here in George Town, Elizabeth Harbor for a few days or a couple of weeks.  We never really know where and when we might go next.
While we are here we have been enjoying everything there is to do here.  Hiking, swimming, beach time, fresh produce whenever you need it, water, and more.

This is a great place to be for cruisers.  We also have good internet.  Finally!

So here are some pictures that I didn't get to post earlier because of our slow connection.

Our new family portrait on Boo Boo Hill

At Black Point with our cruising friends aboard SV Perry

Sand Man and Family

Samantha opened up a hair saloon on the boat.  Don't we all look nice?

A Junkanoo Outfit we found in the Ragged Islands.   Doesn't he look colorful?

Artwork made today.  We are working on ideas for all the shells we collect.

More mosaic art.
All the catch for our bon fire in Lee Stocking Island.

The Boyz at the bon fire.

Of course the Girls too!

More Conch!

The cutest Hikers on all the Islands

Nick's artwork.  

Samantha's artwork.