Sunday, February 18, 2018

Chub Cay to Highbourne Cay

Based on the weather forecast, we had to scoot again because the weather is going to turn very windy again.  Apparently that is going to be the way it is for this trip!!

So, we pulled anchor at 12 midnight and headed out from Chub Cay towards the Exumas.  The trip was 15 hours.

We passed on the west side of New Providence (Nassau) - and we did a bit of sailing finally!   But the winds soon were on our nose, so we had the motors on for the last 8 hours to make sure we got to the anchorage before dark.

Caught a 3' barracuda!!!  He fought really hard - bending the heavy rod almost double.

 I've zoomed in here - look at those teeth!  Mean bugger!!  We let him go....not good "eatin".

Arrived at Highborne Cay in the late was a bumpy ride again.  So, we're going to rest and hopefully do some snorkeling tomorrow!

Another pretty sunset from the back of the boat!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bahamas - Bimini to Chub Cay

Forgot to tell you about the flags we have to fly -

We have a solid yellow "quarantine" flag when we arrive at a new country.  Only the master/captain of the ship is allowed to leave the vessel, only to go to customs and immigration to officially clear into the country.

So, on arrival at Bimini, we hoisted our "Q" flag - and Duane took the dinghy to do all the paperwork while I stayed on board.

It only took about a half hour, everything was in order - we have a year long "cruising permit" that includes a fishing license!

Back on the boat, we raised the Bahamian "courtesy flag" which we'll fly the entire time we're here.

We decided to scoot from Bimini east to a little spit of land, a good stopping point. 

So, we woke up at 1AM and lifted anchor and headed to Chub Cay.  The total trip was 15 hours, so we had to do some of it in darkness.

Put out my fishing rod - caught one reef fish, about 1' long.  Didn't want to keep him - but forgot to shoot a photo!  You'll have to trust me....

Arrived late in the afternoon to Chub Cay -  it's a private island with some fancy we didn't go ashore.

Beautiful sunset.  We had planned to stay a day at Chub and go to nearby snorkeling sites, but the weather is going to turn windy again (story of our lives) and it would likely trap us here for several days or possibly a week.   The solution is to, once again, get up in the middle of the night tonight and head to the Exumas!   It's a 16 hour sail - and the wind angle promises that we will actually get to be a sailboat for the trip!!! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Finally made it to the Bahamas on our own boat!

In case you didn't see the photos on FB, here a a few from Bimini - it is just beautiful here!  The rolly anchorage we stayed in this morning so that Duane could go clear us in at the Customs office.

The little town - Bimini is a really small place!

Took a walk along the beach.  We got our phones switched over to Bahamas Telephone Company - so we have internet and can make local calls.  (Our existing Verizon phone numbers are no good while we're in the Bahamas).

After getting some more diesel fuel we headed over to the north side of the island to escape the rolling water (wakes from passing boats makes our boat rock from side to side and it's just uncomfortable).    Plan to go overnite tonight to Chub Cay for some snorkeling!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

7 Mile Bridge

For those of you who have been to the Keys, you're familiar with the Seven Mile Bridge.  Here it is from a little different angle this morning.

Finally heading east to Bimini

Pulled up the anchor this morning and we're currently motoring along the keys

If all goes well we'll arrive at Bimini mid day tomorrow.  We'll lose cell phone civcover, so it may be a few days before we get back online. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Still hanging around

We're just hanging around at Ramrod Key...the weather looks really nice on Thursday, so we may move over to Marathon tomorrow to do a final fuel/water fillup.  Nothing new to report, sunny, breezy and warm here!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Still slowly on our way to the Bahamas!

We took up the anchor this morning and had a leisurely motor/sail eastbound.  We were thinking that we might just keep going east and end up in Bimini....but we looked at the weather forecast and could see the wave heights were 5-7 feet with a 5 second period.   We decided that didn't sound like too much fun....we'd be safe if we did it, but we'd be, we pulled in at Ramrod Key and dropped the anchor.   It's near a little island called "Picnic Island" where the locals come on the weekends - shallow water so they pull up and wade to the little island for their picnics.  

 Nice anchorage - but still very windy.  The wind is howling thru the open ports on the boat, lovely temperature..... I turned the instruments on just now to see much wind is still out there.   Over 20 knots.

May stay here a day or two -  looks like the winds/waves will die down late in the week, so we may head to the Bahamas then for a peaceful gulf stream crossing!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

On the way to the Bahamas

Forgot to post this photo from yesterday.  We had walked to the Winn Dixie for a couple of last minute provisions....and this iguana caught me by surprise on the sidewalk....I was shocked that he sat still for me to take this photo.

Leaving Key West - full of fuel and water after a quick stop at Conch Harbor Marina this morning.

Passing the cruise ship dock....this one is fairly small, I think!

 We slogged along for several hours today from the north side of Key West.  "Small Craft Advisory" was in effect for the area....but we thought it didn't sound too bad.  We did see 27 knot winds and the seas were as advertised - about 4-6 feet.  But the crew and boat were unscathed.....

View towards the "Southernmost Point" .....from a more southern point.  Haha.

 Several hours later, tucked in a little anchorage, safe from the nasty east winds.  Heading a bit more east tomorrow before we shove off to the Bahamas.

On the move!

Set out this morning from Key West, heading towards a little anchorage to the east...just to be a little closer to the gulf stream.

A little video just now.  More later once we're settled this evening.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Maybe last day in Key West

Time to move on soon!  Just waiting on one more post office delivery today, then we may move on to the east.  The weather for going to the Dry Tortugas doesn't look all that great for the next 10 days, so we may have to skip it and head to the Bahamas instead. 

I was scrubbing off the deck and happened to look up and see these two Hobie Cats screaming towards our boat.  They got within 10 feet of our boat and abruptly turned.  Really strange behavior in the middle of an anchorage!  Cute though and the sailors did seem to know what they were doing luckily!

Just a pretty day!

Relaxing in my hammock with my Kindle...and a pillow....(more like napping).

Thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of my "taxi ride" back to the boat in the evening.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Boat OOPSIE - and fabulous fix

No one injured....just a royal pain and lesson learned.

I ran over the dinghy line (called a painter) with the port propeller.  Dang....we had been to shore earlier in the dinghy and had just tied it close to the boat.  Later I heard it bump up against the hull - so I went out and let out a lot of slack in the line so that it wouldn't be as close to the boat.

Normally on this boat, any time we're running the engine, the dinghy is safely lifted up on the davits on the back of the boat so we don't even think about it. 

How this happened - our mooring ball had gotten all tangled up in some confused seas/high winds while we were gone to NC.  So Duane went to the bow with the boat hook and I cranked both engines to power forward and allow him to lift the tangled mess and sort it out.

It took several tries since the winds were pretty brisk and the boat would get pulled oddly.  Somehow in all that, the dinghy line got under the boat and got wrapped very tightly around the prop shaft.  It's a 5/8" line, so a very strong line! 

This is my fault entirely - since I should have never cranked the engine without securing the dinghy very tightly to the boat with no line exposed.  This is something we did without thinking about it on Glory Days since it was the norm. Good lesson learned - hope this will always be in my mental "checklist" now!

Needless to say, Duane fixed it.  He's mister fix-it man!

We originally thought we'd have to rent SCUBA gear - but he managed to free it just on snorkel.  But it was epic -  several hours of him diving down, one breath at a time.   He can stay down a long time - more than 30 seconds while kicking to keep himself 3' down while working.  Much tugging and pulling did little to dislodge it.  It was wrapped over/under itself many times - imagine how tight a 30HP motor can pull!

The eventual solution was to remove the zinc anode from the propshaft.  Then the rock hard-wrapped line easily came off. 

I'm amazed at his stamina - he removed 2 long screws - 3' underwater!  I'd say he dove down 30-40 times.  I was exhausted watching!   And then, he had to dive down again to re-install it!  Wow. 

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play??

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Back to Key West

After a nice cold, relaxing but busy trip back to NC, we're back in Key West.  Wonderful temperature and lovely breeze.....just what I was hoping for!

On our way to shore, we always pass this mangrove area - and there are often iguanas sunning themselves. There are two of them, do you see them?

There were more of them on the bulkhead. 

They look so angry!!

Today we had an appointment at the US Customs office to get our "Small Vessel Reporting System" credentials validated in person.  This will allow us to be like a "trusted traveler"....when we come back to the US from the Bahamas, all we will have to do is call them on the phone and identify ourselves.  The normal way to "clear customs" involves a visit in person, so this will be the easy way to do it! 

On our way back to the boat, we walked by an area that I don't think we had previously seen....I thought I had seen ALL of Key West!!  Pretty beach beside a fancy hotel.   Beautiful view, except for that roped off area (I assume its a swimming area).

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Last day for a while in Key West

We'll head north to Venice on Wednesday, then on to Asheville.  So this will be the last of this "adventure" for a couple of weeks.  But fear not, we'll be back - we're leaving the boat secure on the mooring in Key West.

Buddy relaxing  on the trampoline.

Took the dinghy over to the Mallory Square area, passing the US Coast Guard area.

Stopped at our favorite dive bar, Pepe's for a quick beer - they had another pretty centerpiece.   Really, it's by far the nicest thing in the room!

I had an Amazon order shipped to "General Delivery" - a we went to the building marked "Post Office".....huge old building.....but were met by security at the entrance - it hasn't been the Post Office for many years!!!   The historical society in Key West would not let them remove the Post Office carved in the marble......they gave us directions to the "real" Post Office.

So, we walked several blocks and found the real thing.....a typical modern building.

I asked for my "General Delivery" package - and within a minute it was signed for.  How cool is that?   Karen McCraw, no know address, just Key West....

The last thing we did was go to the Smokin' Tuna to listen to Scott Kirby....we'd heard him before and I really like his simple sound.....

One of my favorites, he sang at my request - Little Blue Boat.....

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

This episode of Key West drawing to a close

Just more fun ashore...once it got really warm and sunny, we started seeing lots of iguanas.  I'm happy to have gotten a photo of this one up close - he was scrambling fast up the tree to get to safety!

Pretty ibis...

Bouncing along just at sunset back to the boat - hard to get a good photo going fast on a small dinghy!

Approaching the boat - home-sweet-home!

Monday, January 22, 2018

More Key West

This part of our visit in Key West is winding down - we leave temporarily on Wednesday morning for a brief visit home. 

Not much new to see - we've wandered many of the streets here.  (I still haven't been able to "drag" Duane and Buddy into one of the "drag" shows.....)

This friendly rooster was trumpeting his feelings!

And I think this is the 7th day in a row that I've had oysters!  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

More Key West

Just enjoying the island....more chickies at the little store where we stopped.

On our many-miles trekked, we passed the Key West lighthouse.  Sortof buried in what appears to be a banyan tree...solid white.

Pat had told us to stop in and say hello to a friend of his from Myrtle Beach - nice fellow but he supports a blue team....

Just a panaroma of the view from the back of the boat.

On Mallory Square - full of sport fishing boats and a few sailboats.

Pretty pelicans

 A friend from Pittsboro had told us to check out this band - Bonerama. To tell you the truth...when I first read the name, I thought it was a bit "racy"...but the band focuses on 3 trombones. 

They were great!  Amazing what you can do with trombones!