Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Hello all,

Well, it seems that we are pinned down here, in the Berry Islands, with high winds and waves. The islands are protecting us from the waves and the wind generator is making good use of the wind power. But, we will be spending Christmas here.

There are 7 boats anchored within sight and some of us have been sharing cocktail hour. Today we have reservations at Flo’s Conch Bar, in Little Harbour, for lunch. That is the only structure on Little Harbour Cay ( about three miles away and a wet dinghy ride )and they do a fair bit of business with the passing boaters. Each time we are nearby, we try to go for lunch to help support the business.

The turkey breast is thawing in the refrigerator but my vegetable stash is getting quite picked over. It may be canned veggies for Christmas dinner. But, there will be wine, good company and Christmas carols on the radio. It would have been nice to make a phone call or two, but that is not to be this year.

So, consider yourselves all hugged and given big Christmas greetings from both of us. Much love to you all,

Heather & Murray
windswept aboard Windswept IV in the Bahamas

Safe Over

Hello all,

Just a quick note to let you know that we have arrived safely in the Bahamas. We are at Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island and plan to leave here at 0400 tomorrow for the Berry Islands.

Will write more later,

Heather & Murray

New and Improved

Welcome to the new and improved www.Windswept-IV.ca website. I have moved all the content over but if you have links to specific pages, those are broken now I am afraid. Also, if you have subscribed to one of both of our old RSS feeds, you will have to re-subscribe to it again because that address has changed.

But enough of the negatives about the change. The look and navigability of the site should be much improved. Also, search is now much better and can be done without relying on Google to have a good index of the site. You can now post comments on stories or pictures on the site if you want. Just click “Login” on the top left and create a new account. Maintaining the site will be a bunch easier for me and best of all, Heather and Murray will now be able to directly create content on the website if they have the opportunity. Before, only I could publish content so they had to send me emails and often they would languish a bit for me to get around to it.

Please let me know what you think of the new site by sending me email at windswept-iv@windswept-iv.ca especially if something seems wrong or doesn’t seem to be working.

Crossing?

Hello everyone,

Well, we have braved rain and fought bugs, deserted friends and met some new ones. But we have reached West Palm Beach and are anchored near the inlet from the sea. Chris Parker, the weather guru, seems to be giving a green light for a crossing later this week.

We left Vero Beach on Dec 12th and headed to Peck Lake to anchor for a few days. Peck Lake is just a wide area on the ICW but gives us a safe place to stay and watch the weather. The first few days were very windy but, friends who live nearby loaned us a car and we made final preparations for the winter. George & Nancy, who live on a canal off of Hobe Sound, are some of our oldest cruising friends as we met them in 1997 in Atlantic Highlands, NY. They still cruise but will not leave home until after Christmas. Once they set out, they travel long distances and will meet up with us again in the Jumentos or Ragged Islands.

Today, after a night of visitation by the dreaded no-seeums, we departed Peck Lake and headed on south. There was some light rain and seven lift bridges to contend with in the scant 24 mile trip. Along the ICW, many of the mansions sport For Sale signs as do some of the boats tied in front. But the size of these “houses” is amazing. They seem more like hotels than someone’s home or vacation home. To have that much money…..

Murray is making a last run for fuel, using the dinghy. We seldom take the big boat to a fuel dock as all fuel going into our tanks is filtered through a Baja filter, which will separate any dirt or water. This keeps our tanks and fuel clean and prevents other problems, such as clogged fuel filters.

Tomorrow we will try to arrange to meet some more friends for lunch and then will haul the dinghy and store it on deck for the crossing. I will do some meal preparation and some baking so that we can have easy meals underway. Just in case.

The crossing will not be too long as we plan to head to Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island to check in. That trip will take approx 18 hours and we will depart here at 4 pm to arrive there in daylight hours. Once we check in , we will sleep a while and head out again in the early morning hours for the Berry Islands.

So, that is the plans for the next few days. We will not likely have a wireless connection, so most messages should be sent to our winlink address. Remember not to send photos or jokes to that address.

We will write again when we are across. Meanwhile, have a wonderful time getting all ready for Christmas. Maybe after the crossing, I can even put my decorations up……

Hugs,
Heather & Murray

Slowing Down

Hello everyone,

Just a quick update. It is Dec 9th and it is finally warm here. Daytime temps will be 26C or 80F. Some of the boats from Port Stanley have caught up with us and we made the cardinal mistake. We stopped in Vero Beach!

You might remember that we call it Velcro Beach and it lives up to its name. We stopped to help Tony & Diane on Vertigo 1 to get their SSB/Ham radio working. The plan was just overnight. Well, that wasn’t quite enough so… two nights. Now, we have met so many old friends and invitations to get together are growing like mushrooms. The third night will be tonight and I have a feeling that it may be a few more. Luckily it is only $10 per night on the mooring.

The best thing about Vero is the free bus that takes you around town to all the shopping areas. I can cross some of the final things off of my list. And then we are ready to go.

Except the weather isn’t quite ready for us to go. It is possible that there is a window this weekend but we will have to wait a day or so to be sure. The cold fronts are coming closer together already and the huge windows of the past few weeks have disappeared.

Oh well, as I said, it is warm and so it doesn’t really matter too much. The winds are keeping the boat batteries charged and I have signed up for internet access. I am a happy person. Murray is tink, tinking in the cockpit, working on the outboard engine. It seems to have a speck of dirt in the carb and doesn’t want to idle. It will go fast but they frown on that in the marina. Once he is done with that, we will get back on the bus and head to WalMart with my list. Maybe even pick up a Christmas present or two.

Have you gotten your shopping all done? And the Christmas cards all mailed? If we stay here long enough, I may even write and print out the three Christmas letters that I still send out.

Well, hugs to all and we will keep you informed about departures/crossings.
Heather & Murray