Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Goodbye Bahamas, Hello USA...

We up-anchored at 05:15 
and headed off 
up the NW Passage
and Across the “Bahama Bank” 
heading to Cat Cay.  

It was a lovely sunrise, with a crystal clear and calm day. 

This beautiful whale passing us on the way.

You could see the bottom all the way
(however this beautiful day meant no sailing)

Richard (for the first time) put up the hammockand read a book while we were motoring.

We had been told that LPG fills in the USA are difficult with our fittings,
Therefore we found you could fill in North Bimini, so we headed there to do this.
We anchored outside the island as it was still lovely and calm.

The guy who fills the LPG hangs out in the Liquor Store (airconditioned & beer!)
He take us to his truck, drives us down the road, and here is the filling area…
Gorgeous picturesque spot at the end of the point – no safety goggles, no health & safety standards here, just fill the bottle – AWESOME!

 Time to say goodbye to the Bahamas (for now)… up early and motor sailed to Fort Lauderdale, crossing the much talked about Gulf Stream..  Our first sight of Florida

Heading to the entrance of the port was laned on our Chart-plotter like a highway

Boats everywhere!  In front – Behind – Everywhere

Heading through the first of many bridges to come…

Made it around to Lake Sylvia, passing some amazing homes, with their boats out front.  
All these small boats are anchored, with people standing in the water partying.   

We then anchored, then headed ashore to go and see customs/immigration.
They state on their website that you need to phone – so I had phoned the day before and after trying many times had ended up on hold for a time of 2 hours – eventually giving up (and running out of both phone and data time).

The taxi driver found where we had to go, after a couple of false starts.
I went in to check if it was the right place and the customs officer said
“Where”s your number?”
I explained about the phone issue the day before and he said
“Not my problem – phone the number”
I explained about not having money on the phone, he said
“Not my problem.  How long have you been in the States”
I replied, “we just anchored and have come here immediately”
“Lucky he says, as I could deport you – get the number”
I went back to the taxi, a little uptight and explained to Richard what had happened.
The lovely taxi driver said “here, use my phone and see what you can do”
So, to cut a long story short, it got answered immediately and we received
“The Number” and cleared into the US of A.

The next morning we decided to do a reconnaissance trip in the dinghy to check out where we needed to go to get to Lauderdale Marina, where we were due to go Monday.  It is 3 ½ miles along the canal system.  We came across this 250ft plus “Superyacht” on the way, being piloted by 2 pilot boats – oh boy, our trip the next day was going to be interesting!

The phone rang and it was our friends Ashley, Graeme and Jack.  They have been such a wonderful help to us before our arrival here with advice on contractors.  So, we went around to their place for coffees and to meet gorgeous Jack (just over a year old) – Photo will follow when we get one.

You cannot start the trip to the Marina until after 0900, therefore we were ready to go – Richard did an awesome job helming our way there, having to sit at idle and give way at times
Radioing ahead to get the bridges to open and monitoring other traffic on the canal, working out who would give way.
It was certainly an experience…

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Exumas and Beyond...

Arriving at Staniel Cay, we were greeted with these Nurse Sharks and Sting Rays at the wharf...

Later in the afternoon, we went snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto 
location from the 1964 James Bond movie...

 Swimming Pigs came out to greet us at Big Majors Spot,

We quickly jumped out of the dinghy when they were trying to climb in, 
Richard taking food ashore for them...

Pirates Beach was a lovely location - BBQ, finishing with Marshmellows...

Wardwick Wells is a marine park, therefore a no fishing and no take zone...
When snorkelling we saw "huge" crayfish and stingray...  
Unfortunately the Go Pro photos were not good enough to put on the blog!

Walking on the island, the views are beautiful...

It is tragic to know that consuming plastic garbage killed this 52 foot sperm whale.

However, it is not surprising, considering every beautiful place we go we are also greeted with a unbelievable amount of rubbish...  even in the most remote places - it is tragic!

 From Normans Cay we dinghy'd around to "One Palm Tree Island" (named by us)
 a small island of sand, (with the one palm tree) and one seat!

Normans Cay is an island renowned from the 70's and early 80's for drug smuggling.  The DEA set up on nearby Cays and were able to get enough evidence to indict and imprison Calos Lehder.
Nearby is this DC3, from those drug smuggling days...

At Allens Cay, we dinghy'd over to see the Iguanas, counting 18 on the beach 
- scary prehistoric looking creatures!

Highbourne Cay was the next spot for lots of Nurse Sharks!

 The bus service was probably not something to rely on...

We went out for a goodbye dinner with Teresa and Brett 
who had organised a (month early) Happy Birthday for Richard...

The next morning, Teresa and Brett up anchored as the sun was rising 
and headed East as we were heading West

We then had a lovely sail over to New Providence, leaving the Exumas.  
We hired a rental car and drove the island, visiting Nassau, and the John Watkins Rum Distillery

A Poem From Max...

(We received this lovely poem via email...)

"A silly poem, while thinking of Jen and Richard meeting Ports and Sailing on"

In Our Wake
Structures, buildings fall away,
Together we feel
the hummm
of natures caress...

Our Equilibrium
is renewed.

We accept its terms 
and take our place side by side.

Love from
Max, Justine, Bossy & Charlie

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bahamas Continued...

I think the thing that continually amazes us, is the colour and clarity of the water.
Initially getting used to the fact that you can "clearly" see the bottom, 
makes you feel like it is much shallower than it is.

Also, the depth - which is rather shallow and picking your way around coral heads.

The Bahamas area is made up of lots of Cuts and Cays.  The cuts (especially) need to be planned for close to slack tide as the current and wind opposing in these can make them very rough 
(some not do-able at all as they "break across the reefs")

We have made our way from Little Harbour to Clarence Town, Long Island, Calabash Bay, where we caught up with Bob, Judy and Leo from Adastra.  We also "unexpectedly" caught up with Bill from Out of the Bag - We had met Bill and Gene in Trinidad when we first arrived, it was so fantastic to catch up with Bill again (shame we missed Gene who was visiting Australia).  Then onto Rat Cay, Rudder Cut Cay where we went snorkelling on a sculture - purportedly put there by David Copperfield who owns islands in the area.  

Little Farmer Cay, we went swimming with the Turtles

White Point, a beautiful sandy beach, we lit a fire and had toasted marshmellows

The sunsets continue to be beautiful...

And now onto Black Point - the photos show the contrast of the colours of the water looking out over the inner Cay, then to Outer Cay

We are still travelling together with Teresa and Brett (Seismic Wave) and having lots of fun...