Monday, June 29, 2009

Back on Solid Ground

Hello all!  We have made it back to the US.  We left from Spanish Cay in the Abacos and sailed directly back to the Cape Fear river and on to Carolina Beach.  It took 3 days and 5 hours to complete the 500 mile trip.  We would have made better time but the wind was extremely light. 
So, to catch everyone up with the pictures, here are the ones we took of the Abacos.
Additionally, here are pics we swapped from two of the boats we travelled with - Side By Side and Miakoda.
Adjusting to reality is proving to be difficult!

Lew Nance

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover."  ~ Mark Twain

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lots and Lots of pictures

We have finally found somewhere with enough bandwidth to upload photos!  And so without further ado...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quick update

Hello all!  We have had a busy couple of weeks and not much Internet availability.  From Long Island we traveled to Conception Island.  It is an uninhabited island about 25 miles north east of the North end of Long Island.  It was an incredibly beautiful anchorage!  From there we traveled to Cat Island to link up with some other "kid boats" and tour the island.  While there we hiked to the highest hill in the Bahamas which has a hermitage on site.  It was something special to be at a wonderful overlook and enter a one person chapel with its cross as the highest feature in the Bahamas!  On the path up, were the 12 stations of the cross.  Each station was depicted by sculpture or plaque.
From Cat, we sailed to Eleuthera.  We stayed a few days in Rock Sound, a few in Governor's Harbor, and are now in Alabaster Bay, just off the beach from a resort named Cocodimama.  It has some of the best Italian food I have ever eaten!
We plan to move North on Thursday once the weather gets better.  I hope to post pictures soon so stand by!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Long Island

We traveled 40 miles east - south east to Long Island.  80 miles long and with a population of 4000, it is a destination for bonefishermen from around the world.  We are staying at the Stella Maris marina and having a great time.  Yesterday we drove south to Davis' Blue Hole which is a blue hole just steps from shore that reaches a depth of 660 feet.  Caroline and I both jumped from the cliffs on the far side, right into the middle of the deep part.  We also toured  the largest cave in the Bahamas and discovered many kinds of stalactites and stalagmites.  Caroline's favorite part was seeing the fruit bats that inhabit the cave.  Today, we went to the Christopher Columbus monument and enjoyed a spectacular overlook.
Heeeeeeeres the pictures!

National Family Island Regatta

We can definately say a good time was had by all at the 56th Annual National Family Island Regatta in Georgetown Bahamas!  Locals and Cruisers alike let it all hang out for the entire week culminating in a huge party Saturday night which would rival Marti Gras!  We only stayed til 8:00 and things were well on their way to getting out of hand.  Let me just comment too that the Nassau Police Marching Band was awesome and would rival any drumline in the states!
Enjoy the pics

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Countdown to the Regatta

With a bit of sadness, we bid farewell to Melisa, Brian, Anna Lisa and Grant this morning.  We had a wonderful visit which I'm sure will be remembered by all.  Two weeks with guests and it already is begining to feel a little lonely.  You just become accustomed to all the commotion, conversation and loving smiles, that once it's gone, normal no longer seems so normal. 
We did get to spend a little time with John and Susan Hornaday, their daughter Brooks and her husband Steve.  We spent the morning talking, laughing and swapping stories.  By lunch we had really worked up an appetite, so we sauntered down to the Peace & Plenty to grab Sunday lunch together.  It was nice to catch up with some friends from home and to hear about their cruising plans for the next few months.
Here is the final installment of the Ciarrocca Saga.  Some of these pictures may even become the next P90X promotion posters!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Melisa, Brian, Anna Lisa and Grant

The Next group has arrived!  We have already had lots of fun but have taken very few pictures.  We have gone snorkeling at Fowl Cay, attended a sunrise Easter Service on the beach, played in a Texas Holdem tourney with 45 other cruisers, sang karoke at the St Francis Resort and have even caught a fish at anchor off the stern!  Here is the first installment of pictures:
We will post more pictures soon, so check back and follow the link!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kevin, Lisa and Tyler

We are glad to have Kevin, Lisa and Tyler visiting with us this week.  We have left the Exumas Docking for Stocking Island on the other side of Elizabeth harbor.  Yesterday we went to the pig roast at the "Chat and Chill".  Today we sampled the burgers at the "Peace and Plenty Beach Club".  Check out the pics from these and other adventures at: 

Friday, April 3, 2009


Hello all.  I know its been some time since our last post but I've been lazy.  We've spent a few days traveling, a few days exploring Cave Cay, a few days working on the boat, and a few days exploring Georgetown.  I have been glad to find that GT doesn't quite live up to its poor reputation as other cruisers have told us.  I guess its a place you either love or hate.  I'm not sure which side I'll end on, but wouldn't be surprised if I ended up in the middle.  It definitely isn't as unspoiled and beautiful as other places we've visited but it is still pretty beautiful.  And, being back in "civilization" does have its advantages... ie groceries, restaurants.  I tried hitchhiking for the first time in my life.  I was headed to the NAPA auto parts store to get some filters for the boat and on the way stopped to get a wi-fi card from Perez - the local wi-fi guru, pet store owner and Rastafarian.  I asked how far the Napa was and he said I should "hike it mon, someone will pick you up!"  True to his word someone did pick me up.  As I got in, my benefactor said, "I'm just having some lunch mon, do you want some?"  He was eating some chicken wings and pointed me to the plate.  I had just eaten a killer meatloaf at the Peace and Plenty Beach Club and so declined his generous offer.  That seems to be how most folks are around here... always quick with a smile and greeting, willing to lend a hand whenever they can.  No one seems to be rich monetarily but instead are truly rich in kindness, generosity and sense of community.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sampson Cay - our home away from home

Here are a few friends we've met along our journey.  They've welcomed us with open arms and made us feel at home.  Others will be posted soon at this same link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

She always wants to be like me

Tuesday, we bid Beth, Wayne and MacLaine a sad goodbye as they climbed into an even smaller plane than the one in which they arrived.  We had a wonderful visit with only a single detour.  We all know and love Alyson, but a few of you may not know she secretly wants to be me!  By that I mean, she now, is at the top of the injury highlight reel followed closely by Caroline.  At Rachels Bubble bath Alyson severly cut her ankle and Caroline got bruises and scrapes as they both were knocked from the rocks by the crash of a mighty wave.  Both are OK but Alyson had to get 4 stitches.  We were extremely lucky to have EMTs on the boat beside and the boat behind us.  And, a few hours later a General Surgeon was stitching her up while all in the marina looked on.  She is still sore but is recovering nicely.
Pictures of our visit with the Birches and the Surgery in the cockpit are now posted at:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beth, Wayne and MacLaine Arrive In The Islands, Mon!

Beth, Wayne and MacLaine finally get to Staniel Cay. They flew in on Flamingo Air with Wayne sitting up front with the pilot! We hurried from the airport to snorkel Thunderball Grotto. After a good snorkel, we headed back to our home away from home at Sampson Cay. On Wayne's first sunset, he sees a Green Flash! What a day!

Today, we had some leisure time on the beach, some kayak time in the lagoon and some reading time/catnap on the boat. Pretty good for a Friday the 13th!

Here are some pictures from our adventures thus far.

Check back for more...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Went exploring today

Today we took the dingy over to Little Pipe Cay to look for some conch and do some shelling. Little Pipe Cay is a private island between Sampson Cay to the south and Compass Cay to the north. There are lots of scenic views and pretty blue water all around.

We came back for lunch on the boat and will soon get ready to go to happy hour and dinner at Sampson Cay Club for Wendy and Delaney's last dinner in the islands.

We are currently anchored at: 24°12.466'N 076°28.547'W.

Also, check the previous post to view additional photos. I've uploaded to the same link a couple of times.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wendy and Delaney Have Arrived!!!

Our first guests are finally here! Wendy and Delaney Mitchell from Wrightsville Beach flew into Staniel Cay on Saturday. We spent the first night at Big Majors Spot and moved to Sampson Cay the next day. From there, we've travelled north to Compass Cay and further north to Waderick Wells where we are now. We are having an awesome time! The weather could be a little warmer but it is nothing like the weather they came from in WB.

Here are the Pics!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get to The Point, Stick To The Point

"Get to the Point, Stick to the Point" is the motto of Black Point.  It is the largest settlement between Nassau and Georgetown with 150 to 200 people.  Most of the people work on nearby islands like Staniel Cay, Sampson Cay, or Fowl Cay.  We spent several days anchored here and enjoying some of the island's offerings.  Caroline made a few friends while swimming there.  We toured "The Garden of Eden", a driftwood garden arranged to look like people or animals.  Willie, the "curator" of the garden explained each sculpture in detail.  He also has a green thumb, raising vegetables and fruit in holes in the rocky landscape.
We also visited a place called Big Majors Spot, which is a great well protected anchorage beside Big Major island.  The claim to fame for this island is the wild pigs living on the beach, who are fed by cruisers.  Caroline fed them an apple and they seemed to really like it.  They squealed and came into the water to get closer!  We snorkeled, explored caves at the waterline and found a neat little beach that people use for "happy hour" get togethers at sunset.  Folks have donated chairs and tables that stay set up all the time just waiting for the next group or sunset.
We've also visited Staniel Cay several times.  That's where we get provisions.  We are currently at Sampson Cay while a cold front passes.  Sampson is a great little island resort with little to do but relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Here is a link for Sampson Cay Club:

I also wanted to post a link for Macduffs, the neat little restaurant we enjoyed back on Norman's Cay.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Well, well, well

We traveled south to the Exhuma Park Headquarters in Warderick Wells.  Here, we hand fed birds, hiked to ruins from the settlement in 1760, went to the "blowholes", saw a whale skeleton, visited a genuine pirate encampment complete with fire pit and a freshwater well and, of course went snorkeling.  We stayed for several days and still feel we would like to go back and explore more. 
Here are the pictures of Warderick Wells
Our next stop took us just south of the Park to Compass Cay.  Alyson had read  many good things about this little island so we were eager to check it out.  Compass Cay is known to have one of the prettiest beaches in the Exhumas.  After seeing it, I can hardly argue.  It's greatest claim to fame, however, is the many pet sharks that stay in the marina.  You can feed them, swim with them and pet them.  They even get on the dock during high tide!
I know its hard to believe but see for yourself!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Few Cays South

Having spent 10 days in Highborne Cay, we decided to continue south.  We had really enjoyed the folks we met there, so it was with both anticipation and a twinge of sadness that we pulled out of the harbour.
We set a course for the next major Cay to the south called Normans Cay.  As we found our spot in the anchorage, we had a swell on the beam but we had plenty of room to swing.  We heard good things about the one restaurant on Normans and were looking forward to having a "cheeseburger in paradise".  I think Alyson was looking forward to not cooking or doing dishes!  We had a great lunch but were very much impressed with the balance of the menu so decided to come back for dinner too!
On the island, we met more wonderful folks.  We talked for a long while with the owners of MacDuffs, the restaurant on the beach.  Stefan gave us all sorts of insight into the history of the island and the surrounding "goings on". 
One of the days, we took a long dingy ride exploring much of the eastern shore and a large bay called the Normans Pond.  During the trip, we had to exit the dingy and walk across the sand flats, pulling the dingy behind.  It wouldn't have been bad except that every tenth or so step you hit a waist deep hole or a soft place in the sand. I'm sure it would have been comical to watch!
Our next destination was Shroud Cay.  It is pretty much uninhabited but offers some absolutely gorgeous views!  Here, we dingied through a mangrove creek to one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen!  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but even the best pictures don't do the real thing justice!
We are now at Warderick Wells.  We plan to spend a couple of days here so check back soon for more pictures and adventures!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A few more photos

We are still here in Highborne Cay but things look good for tomorrow's travel to Norman's Cay.  I posted a few more pictures follow the link below to see them!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Adventure at Highborne

Hey Guys,

I just added some more photos from Highborne Cay.

Today we saw the sun for the first time in a few days! We had a great walk to "the quiet place" which contains religious artifacts from around the world. They were placed there by Sergio Bacardi - you may recognise the last name. He owns one of the houses here.

We also did a lot of lazing around on the beach. I know its a tough life!

Anyway, enjoy the new photos. We have a Luau buffet to go to tonight. I'm sure Alyson is looking forward to not cooking, but especially no having to do the dishes!

Love to all!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Postcards from Paradise

We have finally made it to the Exumas! We spent nearly a week in Nassau provisioning and waiting for a better weather window. While there, we met many nice folks...other cruisers like us. Norman (beside us at the dock) has lived here for 35 or so years and so I picked his brain as to where all the good snorkeling, fishing and conching spots were. He also taught Alyson a new version of Gin he called Hollywood Gin. Its basically three games at a time. He said all the old men at the country clubs gamble playing Hollywood. His girlfriend is from Montauk, NY and she is a real go getter! Her name is Marion and she runs a consignment store back home for 6 months and then comes down here to live with Norman for the other 6.

Once we had our window, we moved on to Allen Cay. We anchored in a little harbour between two islands with as many as 17 other boats! We went snorkeling around the islands and explored the Ruins on Leaf Cay and watched the iguanas that run wild there. Tourists take trips there to feed them so whenever someone comes ashore, all the iguanas gather around, snorting and checking to see what delicious morsel you've brought.

As a front approached, we decided to jump to the next island down and tie up at the marina on Highborne Cay. It is very nice here with lots of scenic overlooks. Also, its very sparsely populated with only 16 full time residents on the island. That's where we are now. Thick, black rain clouds are on the horizon as the cold front closes in. I say cold but it is around 80. After it passes the temperature may plummet to 73! We will explore the island further in the next few days so check back and get the update on Highborne!

Here are the pics:

Our location is: 24°42.559'N 076°49.318'W

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blue water in the Bahamas

We left West End and staged down island in Port Lucaya for a jump farther south. While at Port Lucaya, we got to visit the Bahamian Market that most of the cruise ships go to when visiting Freeport. If you have ever been to Freeport on a cruise ship, chances are you went this very market! Of course, Caroline had to get her hair wrapped. We also had a great dinner at an Irish pub (yes I had to get a Guinness)! we turned in early (this was New Years eve) since we had a long trip the next day.

Here are the pics of Port Lucaya:

We awoke before daybreak and began to head out to sea. In the marina, there was absolutely no wind. By the time we made the clear water buoy, the breeze had begun to fill in. We hoisted sail and set our course. I soon was able to kill the engines and we were making 8 knots under sail alone. The ride was beginning to get uncomfortable, especially since we had the prevailing swell on our beam. The breeze continued to freshen and the swells increase. As I cursed the weatherman for being, in my estimation, 10 knots under the actual wind force, I put the third reef in the main and furled the head sail to match. We still made an average of over 7 knots with minimal rpm. It seemed dicey a few times as wind increased under overhead clouds, but it always felt good to get less wind on the other side. I used the engines to help maintain pace so we could make our destination before nightfall. After a hard slog in lumpy seas, we began to get a reading on our depth meters (in waters deeper than 500 ft they just blink). The Bahama bank was coming up fast - at last! We cruised into a depth of 15 feet and everything smoothed out, especially in comparison to what we just experienced. An hour later, we dropped the hook in 8 feet in Bullocks Harbor on the island of Great Harbor Cay.

Because of our rough day, the Captain and Admiral decided to give themselves the next day off. So, we sat around sunning, playing in the dingy, and swimming. Much needed! It also gave me plenty of time to plan our route to our next destination of Chub Cay.

The next morning we set off around the west side of the bank to make our way to Chub. Winds were light and favorable. It made for a much more enjoyable sail! I even got a few winks in with Alyson at the helm. By 3:00 we had Chub in sight. It is a beautiful island but has yet to recover from the last Hurricane. Much construction needs to be done. Also it has lost much of its local feel. The marina here is now owned and operated by a large conglomerate from the US. It will be 5 years after they finish construction but it will have the price to match. It already is one of the most expensive marinas we have stayed, yet has some of the worst facilities (except for the brand new docks and swimming pool). Needless to say we will be anchoring out tomorrow night!

Here are the pictures from Bullocks to Chub:

Our current position is: 25°24.585'N 077°54.236'W