Saturday, February 20, 2016

Moving Along

Hatchet Bay was more secure than we imagined.
Then we moved down Rock Sound. At this point we started getting acquainted with other cruisers going the same way.

A few days later, we left Eleuthera Point

for Little San Salvador where Holland America Lines has a Potemkin Village.  It was rolly, so we tried a side bridle to the anchor chain to set the stern into the waves,  with moderate success.

It was a wild ride over to Cat Island,  finally we were exposed to ocean swells and wind.

On Valentine's Day,  we tucked in wee Fernandez Bay in front of a small resort. We had a nice but very expensive dinner ashore.  The real fun was meeting the other guests from France and Switzerland.  We had a great time. 

Fernandez Bay is open to the south and west,  so coming wind changes pushed us onwards to the Exumas.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

On to Eleuthera

Soldier Cay was lovely, but the weather changes every few days, and the protection at Soldier Cay was limited.  So we set out for New Providence Island, just east of Nassau.  For a change, this took us out over deep waters.  

Nassau has a good port, but is a busy city that doesn't interest us.  So we found an anchorage just east.  As we approached, the wind strengthened a lot, but we nipped in the pass in time to find our way through the shallows to a safe spot for the night.

The next day, we set sail again eastward to the big island of Eleuthera and well protected Hatchet Bay.  It's unusual for the Bahamas, as it's almost completely surrounded by high limestone banks with a narrow opening.  All day we sailed over 10-20 ft depths, which is mind boggling to us, since the boat needs 7ft of water.  After a really windy start, the wind died completely to a glassy calm.  The water is so clear it was like motoring across a giant swimming pool.  We could see starfish on the bottom as we passed.

[unable to upload photos now. will try again later]

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bimini and Berry Islands photos

Soldier Cay, at last

A monster, big enough for two 

Bimini wreck

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Soldier Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas, Thurs, Feb 4, 2016

Lighthouse Point FL - During a quick visit that stretched out almost a week, Linda and Bill Bowers spoiled us with generous hospitality.
We shared the pain (sort of) of the Patriots' loss to the Panthers last Sunday. It rained buckets for a couple days, so at least the boat was clean for a while.
Bill, Linda and their friends helped us in many ways. We so appreciate everything they did for us.

Finally, really, on Saturday, January 30th, we started an easy, uneventful Gulf Stream Crossing from Hillsboro Inlet (Lighthouse Pt, FL)
We managed to nip into Brown's Marina just in time to clear Customs and Immigration before closing that evening. To celebrate, we had dinner at the Big Game Club resort that night.
One of the other patrons in the restaurant was wearing a UW Huskies sweatshirt, so we struck up a conversation. He turned out to be Tim Kenny, brother of our neighbor Shannon back in Seattle.
He was aboard his new sportfishing boat at the same marina with a niece and nephew. He is a fun guy and we had a good time talking on the dock for a couple days until we left.

Bimini's high season is summer, so some businesses were closed and it wasn't very busy and it was easy to stick around another night.
But finally (again) we shoved off for the Berry Islands 90 n miles east across the shallow waters at the north end of the Grand Bahama bank.

Winds were light so we motored for the 10 hour crossing, some of it was in darkness with brilliant stars overhead. Most of the depths are 10-15 feet, which can be nerve wracking. But after many hours, you get used to it and don't run aground, it's OK.

At 2230 (10:30pm), we anchored in the calm waters of Hawks Nest Bay on Great Harbor Cay. The next morning we woke to beautiful sunshine and balmy breezes. The bay is quite open, so we moved a few miles south to Market Fish and Soldier Cays and anchored in 10 ft of turquoise water with an ivory, sandy beach on shore under sunny skies and starry nights. After 2 nights, the only other people we've seen are a couple lobster fishermen who came by to sell us a gigantic lobster tale.

It was a cruiser's dream to have the place to ourselves for 4 days. But, dear friends and family, we wish you could be here to share it with us. That would truly make it perfect.
Except, we'd have to wear swimsuits again. But it would be worth it.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

After a long absence...

Gentle Reader
You may have noticed our long absence from these pages.  Our last post was from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, in September 2015, with our friends Bill and Linda Bowers.  Since then, we have covered 1,500 n miles to Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Some highlights were
  • The NYYC Invitational Regatta in Newport with friends from Seattle Yacht Club
  • Long Island Sound, visiting our friends Scott and Kitty Kuhner in CT.
  • A week in Port Washington, NY and visiting NYC
  • A week in Annapolis, MD, visiting Washington DC and our friends Jim and Heather Wilson
  • Transiting the ICW from Norfolk VA to Beaufort NC

  • for a 2 week haul-out to paint the boat.
    Hauled out a Bock's Marine in Beaufort, NC
Beaufort, SC
  • Traveling south on the ICW and some great coastal sailing to Titusville, FL.  We've made Florida our new home.

  • In December, we left the boat in Titusville and flew back to Seattle and Portland the spend the holidays with friends and family.
  • After a terrific visit to the Kennedy Space Center, we traveled south to West Palm Beach to see our Seattle friends, Sally and Larry Cole, who spoiled us lavishly.  (Thanks!) and as an added bonus, meeting up with Scott and Kitty Kuhner aboard their boat Tamure.  You can see some of Bill's Kennedy Space Center photos here: Kennedy Space Center on Flickr

On January 24th,  we arrived at Lighthouse Point, FL, visiting our wonderful friends Bill and Linda Bowers.  They arranged a slip for Jarana, and driven us around for boat materials and provisions.

Check out our posts on Facebook.  Now we're waiting for fairy tale weather to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.   Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Marion, Buzzards Bay and the Islands

Sept 4th-11th 
Scituiate Light
Leaving Scituate, we finally got a good sailing breeze south to Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay.
Buzzards Bay is known for its great breezes and warm temperatures, and we weren't disappointed.

Somehow the dinghy managed to keep up

Beverly Yacht Club, Marion MA
We were headed for our "blind date" with Boston Blackie, aka Lord Bowers. "Bill" aux intimes, at Beverly Yacht Club in Marion. We had been corresponding with Blackie online via the J-4x yahoo group website, where J-42 owners share tips and tricks about our boats.  He arranged a mooring and dinner for us at BYC.  What a treat!  The members are so friendly, the commodore came by on his boat to greet us.  And we had a terrific dinner with Lord and Lady Bowers (Bill and Linda) that evening.   They were our cruising guides extraordinaire for the coming week.

Saturday, we sailed the 10 miles south to lovely Hadley Harbor, nicely enclosed by small private and scenic islands.  In calm waters, it was easy to raft together for the night.
Egret at Hadley Harbor

Herreschoffs at Hadley Harbor 
The 2 Bills had a great time checking out the 2 boats.  Jarana is J-42 hull #2 and Blackie's Converjence is hull #3.  Converjence competed in the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race and return trip this summer, so we had lots of offshore ideas to share.  Linda and Kathi discovered a mutual love of Costco, and had fun with that.

Breezin' up on Vineyard Sound

After a couple days in Hadley Harbor, we set out for Martha's Vineyard, in a fresh breeze.  The boats are closely matched in speed, so it was fun to sail together wherever we went.  It was the day after Labor Day, so we were swimming "upstream" against the flotilla of boats returning from the holiday weekend.  The first thing we did on arrival in Edgartown, was stop at the mid-harbor water dock to rinse off the salt and top off the tanks.  So convenient.  We rafted on a mooring for the night and went ashore for some sightseeing and showers.  It's a beautiful town.  
Edgarttown YC

Hard to catch
The next day, in more fresh breeze, we set off for Nantucket. We anchored and rafted just past First Point in a big, wide open bay, all to ourselves.
Normally, "during the season", Nantucket is packed with boats.  But after Labor Day, it really thins out.  However, there was a surprising strong current in the bay, and against the wind, the water sloshed between our two boats like a washing machine agitator and ruled out swimming off the boats too.  But we dinhgied to the beach and had a good walk and a bit of a splash.

The next day, we moved the boats closer to town and anchored just off the mooring field, for an easy dinghy trip ashore.  The charming town was still thronged with visitors and long lines at the ferry landing.  It is further distinguished by a large supermarket very conveniently located near the waterfront.

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Linda and I both had a ton of food (from Costco) aboard, but we can always use fresh yogurt, milk and bread, and sometimes beer.  Linda's sister Serena arrived by ferry from Hyannis and we had a great evening and a fine roast lamb dinner aboard Converjence. 

Thanks ,Bill and Linda for such a wonderful trip!   We were really sorry to part ways......
Nantucket is famous for its beaches, this one is on a protected bay

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Boston's South Shore

Aug 31st-Sept 4th - Hingham, MA
In hot and humid weather, we picked up a close-in mooring at Hingham Yacht Club.  Hingham Bay was a calm and peaceful respite from busy Salem Sound on the North Shore and busy Boston Harbor.  HYC was a wonderful base for us, on a beautiful bay, with a pleasant shoreside walk to a bus stop.

Because of (or despite) the heat, we took the bus and T downtown and spent 2 days at the Museum of Fine Arts. 

The collections are extensive and it seems no style or genre is left out.
Chinese screen from "...the New World Discovers Asia" exhibit
MFA Boston Asia Trade exhibit

It was wonderful to see old friends, Bob and Cindy Hidell, and Bob and Donna Foley.  And we had some lovely evenings together.  Bob Hidell loaned us his Mini-Cooper convertible, which was great until I accidentally turned on the seat heater and needed a long time to figure out how to turn it off.
Maxi's Fan Club
The weather was really hot, so I was pretty frantic until I figured it out.

Bob Hidell sailed (motored) with us from Hingham to Scituate and that evening we drove down to Marshfield with Cindy for the best tapas ever!  Yum! 

It was such a joy to me to see beautiful Hingham and Scituate again.  The area's grown a bit and there's new Boston train service to Scituate.  Our visit was way too short, but we had to move on....