The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Hi everyone,

We have arrived back in the US, at Port Canaveral. In fact, we arrived here at 7:45 am yesterday. The title above refers to the trip, not our location!

The trip started out bad as the water cooling for the engine did not function. So, we sailed off the anchor, had breakfast and Murray replaced the water pump from his store of spare parts. Both speed readout and autopilot worked initially, but failed as we progressed.

There were good parts to the trip, some were even incredible. First, Murray caught 1 and 3/4 fish. Total edible weight of 8 lbs. The 3/4 fish was landed with severe damage to the side and tail area. The spacing of the teeth marks and their size seemed to indicate a shark, rather than a barracuda. But, we got most of it.

Two different times, we had visitations by groups of dolphins. The second group was about fifteen in total and they played around our bow for ages. At one point, there were six abreast in our bow wave. They would drop back, then zoom forward, roll over and look at us, then disappear under the bow and allow another to take his place. They are amazing creatures.

Just as we left the shallow banks on our 160 mile trip, a tropicbird soared overhead and circled us several times. They are a white tern-shaped bird with an extremely long tail. It was lovely to see it and an appropriate goodbye to our tropic islands.

The Gulf Stream crossing was uneventful. It was lumpy as usual, but mostly 4 to 5 ft waves with occasional 6 to 8 footers to add to the mix. We saw a few ships but none that came close enough to make us sweat.

The autopilot worked most of the night, but broke at about 4 am. That was the bad. Now, we had to take turns on the helm, with the other person trying to catch a nap on the cockpit seat.

The ugly started shortly thereafter. First it was just a gentle rain. Murray was below, checking the computer. I figured that it would be the usual Bahamian style brief shower. Wrong again! The gentle rain rapidly changed into a downpour. Soon, we could hardly see the bow of the boat. The wind changed direction and intensity. We grabbed rain gear and tried to keep dry. That was a lost cause as it continued to rain until long after we entered the harbour. The computer and chart program led us right to the entry buoys. Due to the heavy rain, the radar was unable to pick out the markers, so I was very glad to have the computer and charts running.

We passed through the port and the small lock into the Banana River. Six or seven manatees shared our lock and swam ahead of us as we exited. The anchor went down shortly thereafter. Then, a little hot cereal was in order just to warm up. When the rain stopped at eleven, we headed off to officially enter the country.

So, we have crossed the Gulf Stream once again. This makes it 10 times. Now we will slowly cruise up to Green Cove Springs, do some work on the boat and then head back to Canada.

Hope to see you all soon. Love,

Heather & Murray

Abacos and North

Hi everyone,

We sailed to the Abacos on March the 13th from Spanish Wells. Our friend, Woody Perry, led us out through the reef in the hazy dawn light. As the winds were light at first, we motorsailed but were able to turn off the engine by 11 am. As usual, the seas were rolly and confused. This region of the ocean seems always to create washing machine-type waves that toss the boat every which way. Heather’s stomach doesn’t like the ride much and she spends most of her day above decks. A vessel traveling beside us landed a dolphin fish, but we had no luck as usual.

Annual Hope had left from Royal Island towards the same destination and we spent a few days with them anchored at Lynyard Cay. There we found some of the largest conch that we had seen this year. Murray made some of his famous conch salad.

Eventually, we made it to Marsh Harbour with the laundry and grocery stores first our our list of stops. Quickly accomplishing our jobs, we left town the same day and headed for Bakers Bay and beautiful beaches. We spent a couple of days there, enjoying the warm water and shelling, until the wind switched around and sent us back to Marsh Harbour. Oh well, more laundry and shopping, visiting friends and making new ones.

Dave & Brenda, from Kitchener, flew into Marsh Harbour by private plane with six friends for 5 days stay at a resort on Guanna Cay. Heather took them grocery shopping, we loaded all of their gear aboard and ferried them to the resort. The weather allowed us to anchor off of the resort for a few days and enjoy their company. We managed a shelling/diving expedition one day, with other days spent by the pool or exploring the local watering holes. A great bunch of people that we very much enjoyed meeting.

Our dinghy started leaking seriously and we headed back to Marsh Harbour to work on it. It took many tries, but eventually Murray stopped the leak and ‘our car’ was mobile again. More laundry ( nice to use a machine and not a bucket! ) and a few more supplies. A couple of more cocktail parties to throw and then maybe we should head north. The dinghy still leaks a little and the autopilot seldom works, the boat insurance is due and…….. Perhaps it is time.

So, we say goodbye and head north through Whale Cay. Just in time for a thunder and lightning display. Cross our fingers and keep going. Murray gets a little wet, but no CRASH, BANG’s. Once hit, twice shy.

Now, we are anchored at Manjack Cay. A cold front passed through yesterday, with high NE winds behind it. Here we will stay until the winds drop somewhat and then move to Great Sale Cay. From there, we will cross over to Cape Canaveral. Perhaps Wed or Thurs. It depends, of course, on the weather as usual. Meanwhile, we will wax the boat, give ourselves haircuts, read, swim, maybe dive, generally occupy ourselves while we keep one eye on the weather.

So, that is what is happening aboard. How are things with you? We hear that the weather is colder now than many times during the winter months. Hopefully, the snow will stop soon and the flowers will bloom. Then, the sun will shine and things become warmer. Before we get there, I hope! Take care and stay in touch. We love to get mail aboard.

Heather & Murray