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THE NEXT CHAPTER

April 5, 2012

PUNTA GORDA

We have been in Punta Gorda now for just over two weeks. I have been very lazy when it comes to adding to the blog, but we have been very busy socially so I will use that as the excuse.
We arrived here on Tuesday 13 March around 6.00pm with the car so full of stuff that we probably couldn’t even get a paper clip in. I sat with my knees on my chin for the three hour run from Fort Lauderdale.

THE NEW CAR

We had spent two, half days, with the Boyer family who are the new owners of Anything Goes. We enjoyed the time together, getting to know them and doing our best in the short time available, to explain as many things as possible.

THE NEW OWNERS OF ANYTHING GOES – THE BOYER FAMILY

Pretty much as soon as we arrived at Rob and Sue’ s house we were off to dinner with Steve and Nancy, also Manta owners. That was the beginning of the social whirl we have been caught up in. Since arriving 16 days ago we have been out to 15 different activities. Dinner, drinks parties, outdoor concerts to name a few.

THE LINEHAN’S HOUSE WE ARE CALLING HOME UNTIL MAY

We are enjoying a day of doing nothing much today, although we did go to a mall in Fort Myers to order me some new sunglasses. Tomorrow we have been asked to go sailing with Nancy and Steve, and there is a birthday party tomorrow night for another guy we have recently met. It really is the most social place I have every been to. Most people we have met are boat owners and that has been a common thread.
Last weekend Kristian and Celine flew down. They were due to arrive on Thursday evening at 11.15pm but there was a lightening storm in Montreal which delayed their flight. Finally arrived at 2.00am! We had a bit of a late start on Friday but still managed to pack in plenty. We drove to Boca Grande for a late lunch and a walk on the beach. We had been there several times before on the boat and love it. Then on Saturday we drove to Naples, via the outlet malls at Miromar. We enjoyed yet another great lunch in Naples and had a nice walk out onto the famous Naples Pier. On Sunday we drove to St Petersburg, yet another great lunch! We dropped them at Tampa airport after a quick shopping trip to the International Mall. Peter and I drove back to St Petersburg for drinks and dinner with Patsie and Denise before heading home. A wonderful time, just too short.
Punta Gorda, especially Punta Gorda Isles where we are staying, is just a maze of canals so most people have their boat out the front of their property. Houses are lovely, very open plan designed in a similar way to waterfront homes in Queensland, but there ends the similarity. Typical family homes, four bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, pool etc, 2000sq feet to 3000 sq feet would range between $350k to $700K with condos in a fairly new building with the most amazing pool, club house, tennis courts, full size gym, day spa and much more start at $149k and that is for two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1700 sq feet! Pretty tempting! I don’t think Florida has seen the bottom of the market yet either.
On 9 April we drive back to Fort Lauderdale to start our cruise to the Caribbean. We are visiting Honeymoon Cay in the Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and into the Panama Canal as far as Lake Gatun before exiting the canal again with a short stay at Colon. We return to Fort Lauderdale via Cost Rica. We are both looking forward to trip and seeing some of the areas we may have visited had we not sold the boat. We are fortunate to know people in Bonaire and we will be spending the day with them. Sue and Rob, whose house we are living in, may pass us near Cost Rica on their way south to Panama. I am sure we won’t get to see them but they may pick us up on their AIS. I hope to have lots to write about after the cruise and plenty of photos. I will try and be better organized when I get back and update the blog more frequently – don’t hold your breath though!

STANDING STILL IN FORT LAUDERDALE

February 26, 2012

We are still at the Downtown Marina, in the same spot watching everyone else come and go! We have had a variety of neighbours, some large trawlers, others smaller sailboats. We are the only constant it would seem. Why? – You may well ask. Well the upshot of it all is we have sold our lovely boat. Very mixed feelings, but the timing was right and we need to move on to the next item on the bucket list.
We decided to list Anything Goes in May, just before we return home however the broker we had been recommended to use was in Fort Pierce when we were and came over to take a look. He suggested, given the economy, he put it on his website and just see what happened. Well what happened was twelve hours later we had a written offer, for our asking price, so what were we to do??? No brainer really. The sad part is we had so many plans for the next four months, even a trip to Cuba, but that has all had to be shelved for now.
We are just sitting here, slowly clearing out cupboards, lockers etc (amazing how much junk one accumulates in nearly three years, even on a boat). The new owners settle on the 29th February and will move on to the boat on 12 March. They have asked us to stay onboard until then so that we can spend a couple of days with them handing over and giving them some advice about a catamaran. We were ok with that although we had decided to take Caribbean cruise around that time to at least have a small experience of some of the islands we had hoped to visit on A.G. Still we have time and certainly intend to go on a couple of cruises before we come home and also tentatively hope to go to Cuba with Scott and Heather.
THE FINAL 'LAST NIGHT" WITH SCOTT & HEATHER

THE FINAL “LAST NIGHT” WITH SCOTT & HEATHER

Talking of our special cruising buddies, they finally departed for Mexico on Monday and had a great crossing of the Gulf. They are now happily in Islas Mujeres trying to decide which beach bar and happy hour to frequent each evening!! Oh the joy of cruising we will miss it, and them.
So to the next chapter. We will be moving into the home of our good friends Rob and Sue Linehan who are currently cruising in Guatemala. They have kindly offered us their house in Punta Gorda on the west coast of Florida, which is great. We have rented ourselves a Chevy Camaro convertible for three months, might as well try and fit right in with the Florida culture??
I am including a few photos of the area, and some more fantastic boats that constantly parade past us. Where we are located is a very pretty area with nice parks and trees.

SOME OF THE HIGH RISE CONDOS IN THE AREA

GARDEN SCULPTURES AT THE MARINA WITH THE JAIL IN THE BACKGROUND!

THE VIEW FROM THE BACK OF THE BOAT AT NIGHT

 However this is a city, not terribly large, but still suffering from the ups and downs of many of its larger cousins. Homeless people, many with some form of mental illness. It is a sad indictment of our society these days. Because we are in an area with such a moderate climate, being homeless here perhaps is not so difficult, if that can ever be said of being homeless anywhere. The park benches have the same people sitting on them in the sun, watching the world go by and I wonder how they feel about all this wealth they are surrounded by. On Friday we walked a few blocks north, towards the Arts Centre, a beautiful area with very modern buildings, but the nearby park looked like a campground with so many homeless people camped out.

A CUTE TREE WE FOUND ON A WALK DOWNTOWN

One other strange thing is that we are moored about 100 metres from a very modern, seemingly windowless building. It is the County Jail. You would not know, it is a very smart piece of architecture. Because we have been here so long, we have gotten to know one of the prison guards! He takes a stroll along the river front in his break and stops for a chat. His area is “8th Floor – Murderers” so he told us. He needs the walk and fresh air and conversation with “sane” people from time to time!! Interesting this cruising life we lead (led)!!

OUR NEXT BOAT??

QUESTIONABLE TASTE??

WE COULD ALMOST TOUCH THIS ONE!

THE JUNGLE QUEEN ON HER REGULAR EVENING CRUISE

I GUESS YOU CAN AFFORD A CREW TO KEEP THE WOOD WORK PERFECT – YOU SURE WOULD NEED IT.

TRUELY A GORGEOUS OLD BOAT

Until the next update from Punta Gorda as the next adventure begins!

FORT PIERCE AND ONWARD

February 12, 2012

I have been very lax in my blog updates, I guess having too much fun??
We arrived in Fort Pierce on Monday 30 January, just a short run down the ICW from Vero Beach. We tied up at the Harbortown Marina mid morning and went for a nice long walk to pick up a few supplies. Fort Pierce isn’t the most exciting of places but where the marina is located we had some nice areas to walk around. They also had a small pool, restaurant and bar and the usual laundry/shower facilities.
Scott and Heather finally joined us there on Thursday afternoon after a very long trip down from Jacksonville with only a couple of stops. That evening their friends Mitch and Diane joined us all for dinner. The next day Mitch and Diane kindly lent us a car and that evening we met up with them at their Yacht Club for happy hour which was from 7pm to 10pm! Peter and I left for Stuart on Sunday morning, which was a bit of a shame as we had been invited to a Super Bowl party, but we had discovered a slight clonking noise in the engine which could have been a worn seal. There is a very good Volvo mechanic in Stuart and we wanted him to take a look. That was arranged for first thing Monday morning. Fortunately everything was fine with the engine. It was nice to be back in Stuart again, albeit for a very short stay. We bought Anything Goes there three years ago.
Heather and Scott left Fort Pierce first thing Monday morning and we joined them in the channel as they sailed (motored actually) through Stuart. We hit our first real rain that morning, and I mean real rain. We could hardly see in front of ourselves. Thankfully it was still very warm. Our next stop was Lake Worth near West Palm Beach. A very nice sheltered anchorage where we sat still watching the rain!

WATHCING THE RAIN COME DOWN AT LAKE WORTH

We were planning on meeting up with our friends Suely and George, who we met in the Bahamas last year but sadly the only dinghy dock at the northern end of Lake Worth has been closed and there is nowhere to land your dinghy. Besides it rained all day until about 2pm so it would have been a miserable ride in. We all left early the next morning and went out to the Atlantic via the Lake Worth Inlet. It was a beautiful morning with very light winds and calm seas. We had hoped for a bit more wind so that we could turn the engine off and have a good sail but we still had a great run down the coast, particularly when we had an escort of seven beautiful dolphins crisscrossing the bow, leaping and diving and chasing each other. So beautiful.

OUR DOLPHIN ESCORT

SAILING DOWN THE COAST NEAR FORT LAUDERDALE


We arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 2.30pm and “squeezed” our way into the channel. I say “squeezed” which is a little exaggeration however you do have to compete for space with tankers and mega yachts coming and going.

PERHAPS WE SHOULD WAIT – HE LOOKS A TAD BIGGER THAN US?

WHO’S SHOWING OFF NOW?

Our marina is up the New River which is a narrow, winding river right through the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

A COUPLE OF HOUSES SEEN FROM THE RIVER

It is a fantastic place to be moored, within walking distance of the arts centre, museum, parks and hundreds of restaurants, not to mention gorgeous boutiques! The other interesting thing is we have a constant parade of super large mega yachts passing by all day, everyday. Where is the recession I ask?

OUR MOORING ON THE NEW RIVER WITH SCOTT FREE IN FRONT

BASCULE BRIDGE JUST BEHIND WHERE WE ARE MOORED

SOME OF THE PASSING PARADE

NOTICE THE TUG STRUGGLING AGAINST THE CURRENT

Heather and Scott decided to leave a few days ahead of us as they are on a bit of a time constraint to pick up a friend in Marathon then go over the Gulf to Mexico. We had a fantastic dinner together on Thursday night with lots of reminiscing and laughing about the months we have cruised together.

PRE DINNER DRINKS ON SCOTT FREE

THE BEAUTIFUL TABLE SET FOR DINNER ON SCOTT FREE

GLAD WE DIDN’T HAVE TOO FAR TO WALK HOME!

 We got up at 6am on Friday morning to wave them off in the dark. The wind was reasonably strong but the forecast wasn’t too bad so off they went. Well so much for reasonable winds, when the exited the inlet they were hit by huge waves and were tossed about like a cork. Not that that is a major issue for such experienced sailors, other than being very unpleasant. However their engine failed and things became a bit hairy! To cut a long story short, they are now back tied up behind us waiting until Monday to have the engine repaired! Their loss and our gain really. We have hired a car for the weekend and yesterday we went back up to West Palm Beach to a boat show/market – enough said, had dinner at wonderful Peruvian restaurant and then went to a concert by the Palm Beach Orchestra who was performing a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Fantastic.
We are now experiencing a cold snap, brought on by this strong northerly front coming down from Canada, it is due to be in the high 20’s again by Tuesday – bring back the heat!

January 27, 2012

Friday 27 January

Today I am writing from our new all time favourite place, Vero Beach sometimes referred to as Velcro Beach because it is hard to leave. I am sure as we move on south we will find more “all time favourite” places but so far this sure is one. There is not a lot to do, just a quiet beach and canal area but the abundance of small bush covered islands, and stunning waterfront homes makes it a very picturesque part of Florida. We saw an Australian flag flying on one huge mansion, perhaps we should have dropped in! We are tied to a mooring ball outside the City Marina, just a short dinghy ride away, and have been enjoying a relaxing time in the lovely Florida weather.
Our anchorage before this was also magnificent. We stayed three days at Dragon Point, Indian Beach about five hours north of here. We found this lovely sheltered bay which we had intended staying in overnight but stayed for three. We met some of the most, friendly people whilst there. Our New Zealand flag certainly is a talking point. Of course most people think we sailed from New Zealand and are initially very impressed, sadly we have to come clean and tell them we bought our boat just down the road in Stuart, Florida!

THE SWING BRIDGE AT DRAGON POINT

 

One couple asked if they could tie their boat up to ours and come onboard to hear out story. Oh dear, we quickly had to put them straight, and tell them it was a very short story and not particularly exciting. Nevertheless they were a great couple and as they left, invited us to dinner the following evening at their home.
The next morning we decided to take the dinghy ashore and go and get some groceries. Not an easy task we discovered, with virtually nowhere to leave the dinghy. We called out to a guy working on his boat in the nearby marina and asked where we could tie up. He called us over and said we could tie up right next to him. His wife came out and asked where we were headed, promptly said it was too far to walk, and gave us the keys to their MX5 parked nearby. Honestly we were blown away. How generous. After we returned the car, plus a nice bottle of red, we were invited to come back for drinks at 5.00pm to meet a few others. We did just that, on our way out to dinner. All a lot of fun. Marc and Colleen had also invited their neighbours in to meet us, plus another friend so we had a great group around the table with lots of lively discussion. The US elections are all consuming over here and as outsiders it is very interesting to hear the various opinions!
We left the following morning for our trip to Vero Beach. The ICW was very quiet and it was a beautiful run down the waterway.

ONE OF THE SMALL ISLANDS IN THE ICW

 About an hour before Vero Beach, a small runabout pulled alongside and the chap driving called out that he loved NZ and asked if we would like to anchor somewhere nearby and he would take us in his boat to a local BBQ restaurant! We declined as we wanted to get to our destination by early afternoon to make sure we could get a good mooring, but once again such generous people.

WE ARE MOORED NEAR THIS BRIDGE AT VERO BEACH

THE PARK AT VERO BEACH MARINA

Heather and Scott continue to have problems and are still in Jacksonville. They do hope, however, to meet us in Fort Pierce on Monday or Tuesday. We have delayed our departure from here until Monday. It is only a two hour run and we have reserved a marina berth for a couple of nights. It will be good to give the boat a good hose down and have lots of power to run the vacuum (yuck) etc.

Several people have mentioned that they have not seen pictures of the inside of the boat. Since I only had a few pictures to add to the blog this time, I have decided to throw in a few of “Anything Goes”

MARGARITAVILLE

SOME MAY KNOW THIS AS THE WORKSHOP BUT IT REALLY IS A NICE CABIN!!

GUEST CABIN

MAIN CABIN

OUR BATHROOM

THE SALON

WHERE I CREATE ALL THOSE GOURMET MEALS! & PETER MAKES THOSE WONDERFUL MARGARITAS – NOTE THE ESPRESSO MACHINE A MUST HAVE EVERY MORNING!

Until next time.

FROM SNOW TO SUN

January 18, 2012

14 January 2012

Happy New Year everyone!
We had a wonderful time with Scott and Heather at their property in Vermont. The whole area was covered in a thin layer of snow, making for postcard perfect views. On our first day with them we wrapped up warmly and went for a long walk through the surrounding forest, crunching through snow, seeing small animal tracks and finding ourselves beside a frozen lake. It was truly beautiful although so, so cold. As most of you know I HATE the cold but somehow it seems a bit more bearable when you are out walking and enjoying the scenery. Certainly makes the fire and evening cocktails even more special when you come back inside.

SCOTT & HEATHER’S HOME, VERMONT

THE HOT TUB BY THE FROZEN STREAM

HEATHER DOING A PUZZLE BY THE TREE

HEATHER WORKING ON A LARGE JIGSAW PUZZLE

KEEPING WARM!

COCKTAILS BEFORE DINNER

On Monday 2nd we loaded up the car, mainly with our five pieces of luggage, and headed to Sunday River Ski Resort, in Bethel, Maine. Scott and Heather have a timeshare at the resort and we were able to go with them for their regular week of skiing. The condo was on a golf course, which in the winter should be covered with snow and is used for cross country skiing. Sadly for us anyway, it was still green. Frozen solid so no golf, but no cross country either. Up on the mountain snow was being made frantically to keep the ski field operating. Heather and Scott had a day skiing but we decided not to. Instead we went for long walks (cold, long walks), and worked out in the gym for an hour each day. We would work out, swim in the outdoor heated pool, then have a sauna. All very relaxing.

SNOW ON THE DECK THE LAST DAY AT BETHEL, MAINE

ONE OF THE MANY FROZEN LAKES AROUND THE TOWN OF BETHEL

THE BAND ROTUNDA AT THE BETHEL INN

ONE OF THE BEAUTIFULLY DECORATED DINING ROOMS AT THE BETHEL INN

DINNER AT THE BETHEL INN, LAST NIGHT IN MAINE

The afternoon before our departure it started to snow. We all went down to the gym for a swim. Fun to be in warm water, outside, with snow landing all around you. Our hair looked as though it had turned white! The sauna was very welcome that afternoon as was the hot spiced wine.
Peter and I took a shuttle to Portland on Saturday 8th. It was a beautiful day and for most of the trip there was snow all around. Portland Airport is quite small, about the size of Brisbane and very modern. It was also very quiet and we met the most friendly helpful staff both at United and going through security. The security officer chatted for quite a while about Australia and New Zealand. I guess she was bored. However it made such a nice change from the usual morose people who seem to do these jobs. When we checked in United advised us that they were overbooked by five people on our flight to Washington DC and asked if we would stand down and take another flight. We agreed as the flight they offered us would only make us about 45 minutes late arriving in Tampa. To “sweeten” the deal they offered us $800 in travel vouchers – got to love the States! As it happened, we flew to New York with about a two hour layover, in a remarkably quiet La Guardia airport. It was lovely flying in over the outskirts of the city in crystal clear skies. I was sorry in a way that we could not stay over. New York looked very inviting. Our connecting flight to Tampa was only about 25% full, plus we had strong tail winds so in fact we arrived in Tampa at exactly the same time as we had originally intended. All good. We drove to St Petersburg to spend a couple of nights with Denise and Patsey, collect our mail and have our cruising permit renewed for another year.

ENJOYING A WINE OR TWO WITH DENISE – WARM AT LAST!

NICE TO BE BACK IN ST PETERSBURG

ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE AT PATSEY & DENISE’S
We drove to St Augustine on Monday morning, arriving in time to pay “Anything Goes” a quick visit before checking into our hotel. She looked great considering her seven months on dry land. Very dirty outside but all was fine inside. Thank you Diane and Graham for all the hard work preparing her for storage!! Where are you now? Peter and I have spent the last few days scrubbing, waxing and polishing the hulls. I have no nails left, many of you would know how I feel about that! Still she looks fantastic, almost like new.

IN THE TRAVEL LIFT ABOUT TO BE LAUNCHED

ALMOST THERE!

VIEWS FROM THE OLD FORT, CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS, DOWNTOWN ST AUGUSTINE

TOUR GUIDES IN FULL COSTUME
We “splashed” on Friday 13th – an auspicious day but all went well. We didn’t sink, the engines started almost on cue, and we putterd over to the dock where we are now tied up with power and water which means lots of hot showers and heating. I might add that on arrival in Tampa the weather was gorgeous, and the first couple of days here we were in shorts and T shirts. However one of those awful winter fronts came though on Thursday and the temperature dropped from 25c degrees to 0 overnight. Not nice. It is scheduled to warm up again early next week thank goodness. At least the sun is shining.
Heather and Scott flew into Jacksonville, about 30 miles from here, on Thursday to find their boat had been stored in its cradle slightly on an angle. This resulted in the cockpit filling with water when it rained, and the drain holes were unable to drain the water away because of the angle. Their main cabin in the rear was flooded, all the bedding, curtains, cushions etc are ruined and all the beautiful woodwork is green with mould. It is so sad for them as they were hoping to be on their way south within a week. Heather called in to tell us the bad news on Friday. She had come down to St Augustine to a recommended canvas shop to try and have new cushions etc made as quickly as possible. We are driving up to their Marina this afternoon to see the damage and help where we can, even if it is just drowning their sorrows over dinner!
We plan to be here for a few more days. St Augustine is a lovely city and we enjoy being here. There are a few more jobs to do on the boat before we leave. Today we put the gib back on and tomorrow, wind permitting we will refit the main sail. Should be on our way south by Thursday. Hopefully we can meet up somewhere down the track with Scott and Heather. We would all like to spend a bit of time together in Marathon, where we met last February.

2012 Begins, a little early!

January 1, 2012

I am writing this, our first blog entry, from an Amtrak train sitting at Niagara watching the snow fall. We have just arrived here from Toronto en route to Vermont to visit with Heather & Scott. I digress slightly. Peter and I flew to Toronto on 21 December via Auckland and Los Angeles, to spend Christmas with Kristian. It was a wonderful week, enjoying the sights of Toronto, eating at some lovely restaurants and spending time with Kris and his girlfriend Celine.

Christmas Day in Toronto

CHRISTMAS DAY WITH KRISTIAN AND CELINE

JULIE & CELINE

We cooked a turkey in our apartment, Kristian arrived with a small tree to make it a bit more “Christmasy” and we tuned the TV into the “Fireplace Chanel”. Yes there is such a thing. All it shows are various fireplaces that fill your screen, complete with sound affects of crackling logs.

Unfortunately today’s snow is the first we have had other than a few light flurries last night. We had hoped for a white Christmas but it was not to be. We rented a great apartment within an easy walk of a lot of things. It was a bit chilly to do too much walking, minus 7c on one day, but we did get out most days. Kristian has also just moved into a new apartment. Super small, barely room for his couch and TV but has a great kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, a huge deck and is brand new.
The train we are on will take about 10 hours to reach Albany, New York where Heather will pick us up. It is then another couple of hours drive to Rutland where they live. We are spending New Year with Scott and Heather and their two sons Shaun and James, then from there we will drive to Sunday River ski resort in Maine for 5 days.

THE STREAM IN HEATHER AND SCOTT’S GARDEN

HEATHER AND SCOTT’S  HOUSE

KEEPING WARM BY THE FIRE

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER

CHAMPAGNE ALL AROUND FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE

 Peter and I will fly out of Portland, Maine to Tampa on the 8th and then drive over to St Augustine to see how well “Anything Goes” has survived the summer without us!

THE ABACO’S – FINALLY

June 6, 2011

We finally made the crossing from Royal Island to Lynyard Cay in the Abaco’s after waiting out some strong winds and high seas. We left Royal Island at 6.00am. on May 4th arriving in Lynyard Cay at 5.00pm. We were lucky, light winds and about at 2 metre swell. Peter caught a large Mahi Mahi, but not as big as Scott’s!

 

 We anchored at Lynyard Cay because Scott Free draws too much to make it into Little Harbour. It was about a 15 minute dinghy ride across the bay. We all went in the next morning for a long walk over the island followed by lunch at the famous Pete’s Bar. The lunch was long and liquid and a lot of fun – of course.

PETE'S PUB

 From Lynyad Cay we made the three hour trip to Marsh Harbour where we found a good anchorage close into the shore.

MARSH HARBOUR 

Marsh Harbour is a favourite spot of most cruisers and can be very busy at time. There is not much to offer other than a few good bars and restaurants and some nice homes. We decided to stay a few days; however as it is a sheltered anchorage and easy access to other islands. We hired a car for a day and drove for about an hour to the north part of the island, then caught a water taxi across to Green Turtle Cay, the capital of which is called New Plymouth.

 

 We spent a great day there, enjoying at festival and all its fun. Lots of food stalls, local craft, and of course music. One of the highlights was Police Band from Nassau who paraded down the street in all their finery, starched white shirts and highly polished back shoes. They were very good, but as soon as they reached the main part of the festival they broke into local music and began dancing and swinging away thoroughly enjoying themselves. Boy those guys can boogie!!

 


The following morning, Mother’s Day, we joined Scott and Heather on Scott Free and sailed to Great Iguana Cay where they w ere spending the night. We walked over to the far side of the island to Nipper Bar and Restaurant for the Sunday pig roast. What fun. All you can eat washed down with their famous Rum Punch. Music blaring, people dancing, lots of fun.

 

THE ” GIRLS” ON THE BEACH AT NIPPERS

 Nippers is also situated on a lovely beach so we enjoyed a swim later in the day. Peter and I took the ferry back to Marsh Harbour where we were meeting Diane and Graham Molineux who were flying in from Fort Lauderdale. We enjoyed an evening drink on Anything Goes, followed by dinner and a reasonably early night! The next morning we sailed over to Hope Town, about two hours away. Hope Town is famous for its cute candy striped lighthouse. It is a very sheltered harbour with a number of mooring balls. We tied up just before lunch and waited for Scott Free to arrive from Great Iguana.

 


What a gorgeous island. We all walked for miles looking at the beautiful homes and beaches, and enjoying the few local shops.

 

 On Tuesday we ordered a taxi to take us across to the Atlantic side of the island to the Harbour Club restaurant for a gorgeous meal. Nice to dress up for a change!

 


It was while we were in Hope Town that I had a call from my brother to say Mum was to have spinal surgery to release the pressure on three nerves. It was pretty urgent as the pain was tremendous but also the surgeon warned that if left, she would inevitably loose the use of her legs and be wheelchair bound. It rather put a spanner in the works, as the logistics of getting the boat back to the US so it could be left, and flying home were a bit difficult when you are so weather dependant. Fortunately we did have a couple of weeks to make it. Graham and Diane decided to stay the distance and although they had planned to spend a bit more time in the Bahamas, they did get to see a few more islands and ultimately a bit more of Florida as we made our way back.
We started the journey on 11 May sailing first to White Sound on Green Turtle Cay. We had just tied up at the Bluff House Marina (gorgeous) when a squall hit with high winds and torrential rain. Poor Heather and Scott were still making the trip through Whale Cay Cut, which is exposed to the Atlantic, and they had a few unpleasant moments. The following morning we left at 8.00am for the eight hour trip to Great Sale Cay. This horseshoe shaped island is uninhabited but makes a sheltered stopover point for those wanting to leave for Florida. There were about eight boats anchored overnight. We all left first thing the next morning for various points up the Florida coast. Our weather guru, Chris Parker, had forecast a great crossing so we were all taking advantage of the few days’ good weather. Chris’s idea of a great crossing really means no northerly winds! It wasn’t so bad, just ten foot swells and light winds for most of the trip. We made good progress even making nearly 11 knots at one stage. Poor Diane may not agree entirely, especially when we had about an hour of 20+ knot winds that came out of nowhere and made the swells break, but it was a following sea so really not too bad. We arrived at Cape Canaveral at 5.45 am, 23 hours later. We had to wait outside the entrance to the harbour until 7.00am firstly for better daylight, but also the marina we had booked did not open until 8.00am. After passing through the harbour, under one bridge and into a lock we made it to the Harbour town Marina. We had booked ourselves in for three nights and it was lovely to tie up finally and relax. We had to clear customs and immigration at Cape Canaveral, but the local office doesn’t open at the weekend so we had to wait until Monday morning. The one real positive was that we watched the space shuttle take off. A great experience to be right there.

 

Immigration was easy, but rather longwinded, fortunately no hassles and we and the boat were “admitted” back into the States!

 

FAREWELL DINNER AT CAPE CANAVERAL  WITH GRAHAM & DIANE, SCOTT & HEATHER
We left Cape Canaveral on Tuesday morning after farewelling Scott Free who were taking the outside route to Green Cove Springs, a 150 mile trip. We enjoyed a great trip up the ICW in beautiful conditions apart from the incredible Love Bugs. These disgusting creatures come in their thousands, literally, and just swarmed all over us and the boat. Peter was sitting at the helm with a broom in one hand and a spray can in the other just so he could see where to go!!
We decided to go straight to Daytona Beach after trying to anchor at Sheep’s Head cut, about an hour south of Daytona. It had silted up quite a bit over the winter months so the anchorage just didn’t work. We decided to stay a couple of nights at a marina in Daytona which gave us the opportunity to have a look around this rather ordinary city. Big plus, no bugs!
On the morning of the 19th we left Daytona for the five hour trip up a very picturesque ICW to our “new home” in St Augustine where we have left the boat. We had to make a decision before we left the Bahamas, where we should leave the boat for the hurricane season. Finding a facility with a trave lift wide enough to take us was a problem. We just did not have the time to go south and then through the Seven Mile bridge at Marathon and back up the west coast to Cortez where we usually leave the boat. St Augustine is a gorgeous city, the oldest city in the US. Unfortunately we didn’t have too much time to look around but we did manage a couple of meals which were lovely.

 

 Diane and Graham left us after spending a couple of days cleaning and scrubbing. They were a wonderful help, certainly made it easier for us to get away in time to make our flights back home.

We arrived in Brisbane on the morning of the 27th and went straight to the hospital to wait for Mum to come out of surgery. She has made a remarkable recovery, given her age, and is continuing to improve every day, is home and walking around the neighbourhood in the glorious weather we have had since our return.

So, that is it for 2011. We are looking forward to what 2012 brings! Keep you posted.

SPANISH WELLS & WAITING!

May 2, 2011

Funny how things work out. We either have not enough wind and can’t sail, it is on our nose and we can’t sail, or there is far too much, usually from the wrong direction, and we can’t sail! However occasionally there is an exception!

LOOKING AT THE ANCHOR CHAIN FROM THE BOW THREE METRES BELOW THE SURFACE!

Since I last wrote, we sailed from Staniel Cay to Black Point, still in the Exuma’s and had a couple of very pleasant days there, swimming and walking. Early on the 19th we left for Eleuthera via the Dotham Cut out into the Exuma Sound. It was a little rolly but we had good South Easterlies so for once we had a great day sailing averaging about 8 knots. We covered the ground (sea) so well that we systematically cancelled the two marinas we had reserved for an overnight stay as we zoomed past. We actually made our anchorage planned for the following day in just over 9 hours so we were very pleased.

SUNSET ROCK SOUND

BEACH BAR ROCK SOUND

ANYTHING GOES AND SCOTT FREE AT ROCK SOUND

 

Then it all turned to custard, so to speak. Instead of a couple of days in Rock Sound, Eleuthera we stayed over a week. Not complaining really as it was a cute place with a good supermarket and as it was over Easter, there was a carnival every evening with very loud music and dancing until after 4.00am each morning! We walked through the town and enjoyed the festivities on a couple of evenings, or just sat out on the back of the boat listening to the music. Lots of fun really. On Easter Sunday Heather and I and a group of other cruisers joined the villagers at the local Methodist Church. They had a “Stevie Wonder” look alike on the keyboard and a great drummer and guitarist, so we had a very upbeat service, more music and singing than sermon. Of course we were now part of the community with everyone thanking us for making the effort to come to their church. The rental car man rushed up and gave us a hug and said how wonderful it was the cruisers had come to the service. (He didn’t offer a discount on his rent-a –wreck as a thank you unfortunately). He was a delightful elderly gentleman who had lived all his life in Rock Sound and wished he could live there for another 75 years!
We rented a car for a few days since we were unable to sail up the island because of unfavourable wind conditions. There are not too many anchorages in Eleuthera so in fact we probably saw more of the island than we would have. One place of interest was the Island School. This is an international school, which is self-sustaining. They grow their own food; have a small farm, and the students, who come for a semester from various schools in the US, study marine biology and conservation. It is extremely well run, almost like an Outward Bound school. I am sure it is a real shock to some of the inner city students.
Nigel and Cathy Lander flew into North Eleuthera on the 25th. We drove up the island to collect them and brought them back to the boat, stopping to look at the Glass Bridge, a part of the island that narrows dramatically. An old wooden bridge was washed away some years ago and has been replaced with a more substantial concrete bridge. The rush of the Atlantic hitting the narrow opening is quite spectacular and the brilliant blue of the calmer waters on the other side makes an interesting contrast.

GLASS BRIDGE NORTH ELEUTHERA

CELBRATING THE ROYAL WEDDING WITH CATHY & NIGEL, SCOTT & HEATHER

 The next morning we left and had a good run up to Hatchett Bay. The seas were a little rough which made entering the bay through a man- made cut, rather hairy but we managed and had a nice quiet night on the mooring balls. Next morning we left quite early for the trip across the bay to Current Island in time to reach the Current Cut at slack tide. The cut is quite famous for its current, up to 6 knots at times. Some hardy souls free dive from one side to the other, shooting through the water totally out of control?? We lead our small group of three boats through, encountering no problems and not too much current. Once on the other side we had lovely smooth, clear water to our overnight stay at Royal Island. The next morning the wind go up again and it was a bit of a wasted day. We decided late in the afternoon to head into a marina at Spanish Wells as the next couple of days had high winds and high seas forecasted preventing us from making the crossing to the Abacos. That was on the 28th April and here we still are on 02 May! Poor Cathy and Nigel had visions of sailing in the protected waters of the Abacos, so did we, but I think they still enjoyed seeing Spanish Wells and we had a lovely day over on Harbour Island. 

PINK SANDS AT HARBOUR ISLAND

LUNCH AT HARBOUR ISLAND

BEAUTIFUL HOMES ON HARBOUR ISLAND

 We took a water taxi from Spanish Wells to Genes Bay, Eleuthera, then a regular taxi to another small bay, followed by another water taxi to Harbour Island. Once there we rented a golf cart for the day to tour the island. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch at a restaurant overlooking the pink sand beach, followed by a swim. On the return journey we took the fast ferry which twists and turns through coral reefs and small islands and at times seems to be only feet from the beach. A really great day. We delivered Nigel and Cathy to the water taxi on Sunday for their return flight to Nassau. We had planned to sail back to Royal Island for the night to make an early start for our long trip to the Abacos on Monday morning; however we are still at the marina hoping the winds will turn favourable for a Wednesday departure.

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Nassau and Exuma Update

April 19, 2011

Unfortunately the posting made yesterday was a bit of a mess due to very slow internet. Some of the photos did not make it, nor did some of the text. I will add a couple more pictures today and hope they publish properly this time.

Kris kayaking at Allans Cay

 

Hiking at the Exuma National Park

 

Exuma Park Headquarters

 

The Swimming Pigs at Allans Cay

NASSAU AND THE EXUMAS

April 18, 2011

It has been quite a while since I updated the blog mainly because we have not had a lot of internet access. I usually compose the text offline to avoid wasting precious internet time, then add the pictures after I post the blog but even then it seems to take forever to get it all together. Good excuse anyway.

PAM & GLEN COOPER (FORMER OWNERS OR ANYTHING GOES)

Well since I last wrote we have travelled quite a fair distance. We had two nights at the Grand Harbour Marina at the top of the Berry Islands waiting out a storm that had been forecast. Fortunately the front was fast moving and we only endured about an hour of high winds and heavy rain. We left the next morning for what turned out to be a long, arduous trip back around the top of Stirrup Island and back down the east coast of the Berrys. The winds were still fairly high, around 20 knots and the seas were, at times 3 metres. I did not enjoy the trip that much. Fortunately things calmed down a bit in the afternoon and we made our anchorage some seven hours later at Alders Cay. We kept going as far south as we could to make the next day more reasonable for the trip to Nassau. It was still a seven hour day but the seas were much calmer and so were the winds. We entered Nassau Harbour, in the rain,(just a quick passing squall but enough to give the boat a wash) and made our way through the fast flowing current to the marina, past enormous cruise ships, beautiful waterfront houses and the usual assortment of cargo and fishing vessels associated with a busy working harbour.

NASSAU

ATLANTIS RESORT NASSAU

 

 Our next stop was the Exuma National Park. A wonderful picturesque spot with a very well-run Park headquarters. We enjoyed three days exploring the area in the dinghy, and walking on the hiking trails that zig zag all over the island.

 

We had a beautiful extremely large “neighbour” at Staniel Cay for a couple of nights. Kristian Googled the boat name and discovered it belonged to Steven Speilberg. He only bought it in March paying $200 million. Oh well we still saw the same gorgeous blue water and watched the same sunsets, he just paid a bit more!!!

STEVEN SPEILBERGS NEW BOAT!

Sadly Kristian’s week was up so we took him the airport at Staniel Cay on Sunday morning to catch the 8.45am flight to Nassau. Well two hours later the plane finally arrived, overbooked, and far too much luggage. Two other smaller planes were rolled out of the hanger and a number of local people and some of the luggage was loaded on board. To open the luggage compartment in the nose of the aircraft Kristian was to travel on, the pilot, who I might add was about 150kg, had to pull off the masking tape holding the door shut! With my heart in my mouth I watched the plane take off and head towards Nassau!! Kristian said it was quite a fun flight looking down at all the boats and islands along the way. We left Staniel Cay shortly after for the hour and a half run down to Black Point. A nice little community here, very friendly. We had our laundry done by the mother of the owner of a local café. This morning we went to pick it up and were invited in to her home where she had been busy baking bread and folding the laundry. Such lovely friendly people.
Tomorrow will be a long day as we start making our way north towards Eluthera. We will spend a week exploring the coastline finishing up in Spanish Wells where Nigel and Cathy Lander will meet us on Monday afternoon. They will spend a week with us in the Abacos, our next cruising area.