Brunswick, Georgia to Beaufort, South Carolina by Christine

Brunswick was a convenient place to stop over and wait out Tropical Storm Andrea.

We had not put the dinghy on the deck of the boat in quite a while but started noticing that we couldn’t get up on plane any more and wondered why.  Once we brought it up on deck we discovered the reason why,  we had baby barnacles!  We had a quick discussion about drag and then the boys got to work scraping them off the dingy.

Barnacles on the bottom of the dingy.

Barnacles on the bottom of the dingy.

Cole and Logan cleaning the algae and barnacles off the dinghy.

Cole and Logan cleaning the algae and barnacles off the dinghy.

As always, we met some fantastic cruisers.  Jesse (s/v Wind Dust) taught the boys to throw a cast net.

Jesse teaching Cole how to throw a cast net to catch bait.

Jesse teaching Cole how to throw a cast net to catch bait fish.

Bill, s/v Memento Mori, also gave great fishing advice and took us shopping in his car to get the net as well as to the grocery store.  Thanks Bill for carting us around town!

As always, there are boat projects to do.  One of them was to replace the flag halyard.  The boys love going up the mast.  We borrowed Wind Dust’s bosun’s chair.

Logan replacing the flag halyard.

Logan replacing the flag halyard.

We anchored up Taylor Creek near Savannah for a couple nights and caught the bus into downtown Savannah.  It was a big, rather touristy city  had some cool architecture.

Side street in Savannah that shows its old style.

Side street in Savannah that shows its old style.

Did you know there is a Beaufort, North Carolina and a Beaufort, South Carolina?  Did you know they are pronounced differently?  North Carolina’s is pronounced Boh-fert and South Carolina’s is pronounced Bew-fert.  I was unaware of this and when I called in to the Beaufort city marina in South Carolina on the VHF, the voice on the other end set me straight on my pronunciation.  One of the locals told me both cities are named after the same person but their city’s pronunciation was changed at some point in the past.

At any rate, it is a beautiful little city.  It is small enough to not feel overwhelming and there are no strip malls or chain stores to ruin its historical charm.beaufort house

Garden at one of the houses.

Garden at one of the houses.

One of the neighborhood cats we came across on our walks.  He obviously enjoys living here.

One of the neighborhood cats we came across on our walks. He obviously enjoys living here.

If you stop in Beaufort, SC, take time to stop at http://atelieronbay.com art studios and gallery.  They have 14 spaces on the top floor that intermingle through a series of hallways.  The artists who were all extremely friendly and talented with a diverse style of artwork.  They were working on projects and shared their techniques with us.  Besides being talented artists, they had a variety of interesting hobbies, travel adventures and experiences to share with us.

Art in progress.

Art in progress.

Our camera ran out of battery power after I took this picture.  It is not the best photo but the artists were so interesting and fun, I had to put it in the blog.

Our camera ran out of battery power after I took this picture. It is not the best photo but the artists were so interesting and fun, I had to put it in the blog.

We are heading to Morgan Island tonight and probably Charleston the next day.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

The ICW by Christine

A few of our friends and followers thought we sold our boat already and were on our journey traveling by car up the east coast.  It dawned on me that not everyone knows what the ICW is.  In fact, I did not really know what it was until we started our year-long sailing journey.

The ICW stands for the Intracoastal Waterway which is a 3,000 mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.  It starts at Norfolk, Virginia which is mile 0 and heads south.  These miles are in statute miles.  We are currently in Brunswick, Georgia which is marker 690 so we have 690 miles to go plus a few more as we head north up into the Chesapeake past where the ICW starts.

Before leaving St. Augustine, Mark noticed fluid leaking from the rear seal of the transmission.  Since replacing the seal would mean taking the shaft off the engine and would require realigning the engine after it was replaced, he wanted to have this job done by a mechanic familiar with the process.  A new seal was put in by the very entertaining mechanic (Bo) from First Mate Yacht Service and we were up and running in a couple of hours with Truansea’s engine in its ‘happy place’ (as Bo put it).

After leaving St. Augustine, we headed north up the ICW to anchor off of Cumberland Island.  There is no bridge to the island so the only access is by boat.  A ferry stops at the island twice a day to drop off and pick up passengers from St. Mary’s, Georgia.  Once you step aboard the island, you feel that you have entered a magical place.  The live oaks hang high overhead with twisting and turning branches that are dripping with spanish moss.  The forest floor is thick with small palm trees and palm like bushes.  The sounds are muted as you walk along the paths through the forest.

Hiking trail.

Hiking trail.

Visitors may use the forest service carts or rent bicycles to get to explore the island with or get to their campsites.  I think that part of what makes this island so special is not allowing visitors to drive on the island.  There are a few forest service vehicles and car permits that have been deeded down from the Carnegies and other families that owned or still own property on the island.  Otherwise, it is all foot traffic which makes people slow down, enjoy the wildlife and get some great exercise.  There are no services on the island either, except for bathrooms and drinking water so you must bring your own provisions and pack out your refuse.  This too makes a person more respectful of the land and nature.

The island has a long history, but I found interesting that in the 1880s the Carnegie family bought land on the island and owned 90% of it.  In 1884 they began building a 59-room Scottish castle called Dungeness as well as pools, a golf course and 40 smaller buildings to house the 200 servants of Dungeness.  No one has lived at Dungeness since 1929 and a fire since destroyed the castle.  The ruins remaining inspire a feeling of what it must have been like in the heyday.  castle ruins

Ruins of Dungeness on Cumberland Island.

Ruins of Dungeness on Cumberland Island.

According to the forest service employees, Mrs. Carnegie deeded their horses to be able to live wild on the island when they left.  There are about 150 horses on the island.  We saw 3 newborn foals while we were there.  Their lifespan is short compared to domestic horses, living only 10 years.

There a variety of wildlife on the island including deer and turkeys.

Turkey in the foreground with deer in the far background.

Turkey in the foreground with deer in the far background.

Hiking past Dungeness led us to an open area called raccoon flats.  The fiddler crabs were abundant.  They are fun little creatures to watch and learn about.  When the tide comes up, they return to their holes and put a mud ball over the opening to their den.  After crossing the flats there was another trail that led to piles of dirt from dredging canals.  We had read in a magazine article that you could find fossilized shark teeth on the island and this is where we found a majority of them.

One of the beautiful flowers we saw on the island.

One of the beautiful flowers we saw on the island.

The boys wanted to go camping on the island so they loaded up the carts and trekked down the trail to Sea Camp.

Logan and Cole pulling their camping gear.

Logan and Cole pulling their camping gear.

Logan and Cole setting up their tent.

Logan and Cole setting up their tent.

The boys and Mark camped for a couple of nights on the island while I went back to Truansea to spend the evenings since the dinghies must be off the docks at sunset.  Early one morning while hiking the beach we saw a couple of student researchers marking a turtle nest.  One of the girls works on the island the entire laying and hatching season.  We learned a great deal about turtles from the researchers and felt lucky to have been able to see a track made that night and the fresh nest.  One of the things they are doing is genetic research which required removing one egg from the nest and putting it in a tube to be sent to the lab.

Cole, Christine, Logan and the student turtle researchers.

Cole, Christine, Logan and the student turtle researchers.

This is the track a loggerhead turtle made that evening returning to the sea after laying her eggs.

This is the track a loggerhead turtle made that evening returning to the sea after laying her eggs.

Just plain having fun. Logan carrying Cole on the beach.

Just plain having fun. Logan carrying Cole on the beach.

There was an abundance of horseshoe crabs here.

There was an abundance of horseshoe crabs here.

We would have loved to have spent more time here but we have much to see and do up the coast so we said farewell to Cumberland and headed for Jekyll Island.

Navel submarine station we passed on the way to Jekyll Island.

Navel submarine station we passed on the way to Jekyll Island.

Another cool thing we saw along the way was dolphins that appeared to be working together to herd fish up toward a beach where the dolphins could then feed on them.  Our suspicions proved to be true and one of the locals told us it is the only place where the dolphins do this.  These are some creative, smart dolphins.

Jekyll Island is another island loaded with history, most notably in my mind, was that the planning of the Federal Reserve System took place here.  There are a number of historic buildings, with some of them still in use.  The local marina at Jekyll had bicycles we could use so we set off exploring the island by pedal power.  It was the first time we have been on bikes since we left Idaho.  We had a blast and over the course of two days, rode the entire island.  We were all tired and a little sore.

Riding bike on Jekyll Island.

Riding bike on Jekyll Island.

Riding bikes on the beach at Jekyll.

Riding bikes on the beach at Jekyll.

The famous Jekyll Island Club.

The famous Jekyll Island Club.

They have a fantastic sea turtle center here.

turtle center

Fishing off the sailboat has produced a few nice catches at Jekyll.  One morning we caught a ray off the boat.

There were a number of fishing boats came in and out of the area.  It was entertaining to watch them weave their way through the boats.  They have incredible control over these big vessels.fishing boat

Next we headed up to Brunswick ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea to find a safe place to weather the storm.

Sailing under Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Georgia ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea.

Sailing under Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Georgia ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea.

If the winds calm down some, we will head north again today, headed for Savannah.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

Now Where? by Christine

Truansea made back to the United States before the start of hurricane season.  Now where are we headed???  We had originally thought we would sail the Florida Keys and sell the boat in Fort Lauderdale at the end of the summer, but so many cruisers we met said, “You have to do the intracoastal waterway”.  We were given tips and ‘must see’ places from many cruisers. They also said it is a good place to sell the boat, so the Truansea crew plans on heading north to the Chesapeake where we will end the sailing part of our journey and sell her.  After that, we will pick up our vehicle from Fort Lauderdale and camp our way across the country again, back to Idaho.

It is a strange feeling being back in the US, zipping down the highway in a car with all the conveniences of America at our fingertips.  It is also strange to talk on the cell phone again.    Grocery stores are wonderful and overwhelming at the same time.  All of the strip malls make me dizzy looking at them.  So many stores.  So much advertising.  Everything is big and there is so much of it.  It felt good to retreat back to Truansea after our first car trip going to check in at customs at the airport in Ft. Pierce.

During our stay at Harbor Town Marina in Ft. Pierce, we saw a number of boats that we had sailed with in the Bahamas.  One of them was a catamaran, Glory Days I, which was on the hard at Harbor View Marina. The last time we saw this boat, we were anchored at Big Majors and they beached themselves in front of us, to avoid sinking, after having a hole punched in their hull during a regatta there.  A salvage company was working at pumping the water out and temporarily patching the hull.  As you can see from the photo, they appear to be close to getting up and running again.

Glory Days I beached at Big Majors with a hole in their hull.

Glory Days I beached at Big Majors with a hole in their hull.

Glory Days I beached at Big Majors, Bahamas.

Glory Days I beached at Big Majors, Bahamas.

Glory Days I repairs almost complete.

Glory Days I, repairs almost complete.

While we were waiting for our new fresh water pump to come in, we took a trip to Fort Lauderdale to visit friends and get a few items out of our car, which is in storage.

When I called one of our friends, Ross and Astrid, in Fort Lauderdale, to see if they would be home that weekend, Ross was going to be home but he was staying at their boat working on projects for the weekend.   He invited us to stay on their boat, Commotion, with him.  He surely heard the disappointment in my voice when I said, “Sure, we’d love to stay on the boat with you and help with some projects”.  I was secretly hoping to stay at a real house, with a real bathroom, and a real kitchen.  Of course, we had a great time with him as always.  Their boat is very comfortable and we helped him with a couple of boat projects while visiting.

Cole helping with a wiring project on Commotion, a friend's boat in Fort Lauderdale.

Cole helping with a wiring project on Commotion, a friend’s boat in Fort Lauderdale.

Logan in a lazarette on Commotion.  Anyone shorter than 5 feet is a plus for this job.

Logan in a lazarette on Commotion. Anyone shorter than 5 feet is a plus for this job.

We all took a break on Commotion Saturday evening to go over to a mutual friend’s house, Lee & Tina’s for dinner.  Lee has been working on his boat, In Sync, over the winter and making great progress.  The appetizers, dinner and evening were fantastic.  Thank you so much Lee and Tina!

We swung by the docks at Riviera, Fort Lauderdale, where we lived a couple of months preparing for the Bahamas.  Most of the people were not around that afternoon but we  walked the docks and caught up with a few of our old friends there.

We look forward to catching up with all of our Fort Lauderdale friends again at the end of the summer when we return to pick up our car.  It was a great place to prepare for our journey.  Everyone was instrumental in making the adventure happen for us.  Thank you all.

We learned that there was going to be a rocket launch at Canaveral in a couple of days so we bought tickets and took a day to visit the Kennedy Space Center.  We had a full day there and staked out a good spot to watch the rocket launch at 5:398pm.  Launches often get cancelled due to the weather conditions not being right but we were in luck and saw an Atlas rocket launch.  It was definitely the highlight of the day.

NASA

Just plain cool displays at the space center.

Just plain cool displays at the space center.

When we returned to Harbor Town Marina, we were able to spend time with a number of Bahamas boat friends.  We were redoing our floors a few pieces at a time at the shelter where people picnic and work on boat projects.  Bill on Providence and Steve on Slow Flight were working on a few projects of their own.  Mark also put in the new water pump and installed cockpit speakers while we were there.

Friends Bill on left (Providence), Cole, Logan, Christine & Steve on right (Slow Flight),

Friends Bill on left (Providence), Cole, Logan, Christine & Steve on right (Slow Flight),

We were planning on working our way north with them but they wrapped up their boat projects before we did and set sail, giving us daily progress reports and tips on where to anchor and things to see and do along the way.

Another boat, Take Two, was having a number of projects done as well and planned on staying a month.  Lambaroo and Chinook were there for a few days as well and we had a get together at the end of the restaurant dock one evening.  The kids had fun trying to catch tarpon and hanging out.

Dock kids.

Dock kids.

Take Two was the only boat still there in our immediate circle by the time we left.  As usual, it was hard to say good-bye.  I don’t know if you ever get used to saying good-bye in the cruising community.

Tom, on Lucent, returned from the Bahamas a few weeks before we did.  He has a dock at his house and had invited us to come dock, stay with him and help with any unfinished boat projects.  It was a half-day trip up to Satellite Beach and started out as a sunny, beautiful day.  About 1-½ hours before we got to his place, it started to rain, or should I say pour.  It poured buckets for an hour. Tom came in his dinghy to guide us the last hour through the canals to his house.  He was soaking wet with a big smile on his face when we reached Truansea.  We tied his dinghy to the stern of Truansea and he rode with us back to his place. There was so much rain Mark had to get in the dinghy to bail the water out.  It was a warm day and a warm rain but the guys without their rain suits started to get chilled so I made hot cocoa for everyone.  The joys of having your kitchen in your vehicle!

Parallel parking Truansea at Tom’s dock required a bit of a maneuvering.  Tom got in his dinghy and passed a line to the boys on the bow of our boat on starboard while Mark was in our dinghy pushing on the port stern.  I put Truansea in reverse briefly a couple of times and we slid right into the spot.  Never underestimate the power of a dinghy!

Truansea docked in front of Lucent.

Truansea docked in front of Lucent.

A few weeks ago Tom had also offered his address to receive any packages, parts, mail, etc. for us.  One of the parts we ordered was a stator for the wind generator.  After we arrived at Tom’s house and opened packages, Tom went into action on the wind generator and Mark removed the remaining floorboards to be refinished.  Over the next few days Mark also changed the oil, and replaced a weak settee bench.  The wind generator has proven to be a challenge and is going to require another call to the manufacturer to figure it out.

Mark also helped Tom fix his sticky, sliding patio door.  This is the second sliding door Mark has helped to fix on this trip, apparently there is no shortage of stuck sliding doors in Florida.

Mark and Tom working on Tom's sliding patio door.

Mark and Tom working on Tom’s sliding patio door.

It is prime boat selling time and we are putting Truansea up for sale now in hopes that by the time we get to the Chesapeake, there will be new owners to take her.  Part of selling the boat is taking boat pictures so we also cleared out rooms on the boat one at a time and took photos to put in the listing.  During this process, we all found things we had been looking for.  Amazing how items can be misplaced in 37 feet.  Boat washing is a regular occurrence, but we also washed our boat again at Tom’s house to take external pictures for the listing.

Did Mark do a great job on refinishing the floors or what?

Did Mark do a great job on refinishing the floors or what?

Tom’s house was a fantastic place to get ‘recharged’.  Having use of a dock, garage, pool, house kitchen, house washing machine, house bathroom, etc. was just plain enjoyable.  We shared some fantastic meals with Tom, mainly making things in the oven that we could not make in our boat omnia oven over the last 8 months.  Tom gave us full use of his car as well, which is incredibly helpful.

What kind of a person keeps their motorcycle in their foyer?  Someone as cool as Tom does!

What kind of a person keeps their motorcycle in their foyer? Someone as cool as Tom does!

Our mail from Idaho arrived on May 22nd and the only thing I wasn’t expecting was Florida boat registration paperwork.  Both the sailboat and dinghy were due on the 23rd – the next day!  Strange, I thought, why the 23rd.  That’s not when we bought either of the boats.  What is so special about May 23rd?  It finally dawned on me.  It is Mark’s birthday.  Yes, this month it really is his birthday.  Last month you readers may remember we thought it was May but it was only April.  Tom took me to the local registration office so I could get the boat stickers and we swung in to pick up a key lime pie as a birthday cake of sorts.  It seemed the appropriate birthday cake here in Florida.

The next day, on Mark’s birthday, we said farewell to Tom and headed north again. As are most cruisers, Tom is so helpful, attentive to our questions and just plain fun to be around.  He only met us a couple months ago but opened up his home to us.  It was hard to say goodbye.

Tom, thank you so much for your hospitality and all the projects you helped with on Truansea.  You helped to make the next phase of our journey possible.

As we cruised north that day, there were security warnings on the VHF radio.  When there is a shuttle launching at Canaveral, they close certain waterways to traffic.  It was just last Wednesday that we watched an Atlas rocket launch.  As the day progressed, the winds increased and there was storm activity so they scrubbed the launch.

The next evening we anchored off of Fort Matanzas and were on the deck of Truansea fishing and Logan said, “Look at the rocket!”.  It was the rocket launch that had been scrubbed the night before.  We had a fantastic view of it.  We were lucky to have been able to see two rocket launches passing through the area.  The fort was a good historical introduction to St. Augustine which we are headed to next.

Rock launching to the right of Fort Matanzas.

Rock contral after launch. To the right is Fort Matanzas constructed in 1740.  You can barely see the rocket at the top of the picture.  It was an amazing scene to see the how far we’ve gone in the span of only 273 years.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

The Abacos by Christine

On my last Abacos post, I left off with us arriving in Hope Town on Elbow Cay.  We ended up staying there close to a week.  It was simply a charming town.

Walking the streets of Hope Town.

Walking the streets of Hope Town.

There were a few other boat families here that we spent some time with.  One is a family aboard s/v Take Two with 5 kids and a cat that has been living aboard for 5 years now.  They are an extremely organized, efficient family and just plain fun to hang around with.  Their blog site is taketwosailing.com if you want to check it out.

Boat friends from s/v Take Two.

Boat friends from s/v Take Two.

A couple of friends from Take Two came over for boat school one day to build a radio.

A couple of friends from Take Two came over for boat school one day to build a radio.

Another family we have spent time with at previous anchorages is s/v Makana.  They have logged a lot of miles and are a wealth of knowledge.

Boys swinging with their friend on s/v Makana.

Boys swinging with their friend on s/v Makana.

We enjoyed some fabulous meals together, had fun swinging on the halyards and swimming in the pools.  You can learn more about them at makanatours.com.

Hope Town has a fantastic museum which we really enjoyed.

Hope Town has a fantastic museum which we really enjoyed.

Cole and Logan in the back.  Mark, Christine and Bill (s/v Providence) in the front.  We all rented a gulf cart one day and explored the island.

Cole and Logan in the back. Mark, Christine and Bill (s/v Providence) in the front. We all rented a gulf cart one day and explored Elbow Cay.

Four of us leaving Hope Town together.

Four of us leaving Hope Town together.  Providence is in the lead, followed by Moonshadow, Slow Flight and us.

After Hope town, we sailed over to Marsh Harbor to re-provision.  It was definitely a big city.  Logan put it best when he said, “Good thing we stopped here to start acclimating us to what it is going to be like going back to the states.”  We were in awe of all the food and the big grocery store.

Mermaid Reef on the north side of Marsh Harbor was fantastic.  We were swarmed by a variety of fish and thoroughly enjoyed the long reef that we could swim out to easily from shore.

There was a big variety of fish on Mermaid Reef.

There was a big variety of fish on Mermaid Reef.

I never tire of watching the fish.

I never tire of watching the fish.

After Marsh Harbor we continued on to Man-O-War.  Cruisers say that every island is different and it is so true.  This island really states how different they can be.  You’d have to see it and the people for yourself to understand it!  We anchored north of town near a beautiful beach with good snorkeling and good fishing.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of fresh seafood.

Logan with a starfish.

Logan with a starfish.

us under tree

Logan walking on a street at Man-O-War.

Logan running on a path at Man-O-War.

This cracked us up.  Any ideas on why someone would number their steps to their house?

This cracked us up. Any ideas on why someone would number their steps to their house?

Providence hooked a cable with his anchor.  Mark is in the dinghy freeing it.

Providence hooked a cable with his anchor. Mark is in the dinghy freeing it.

Next we moved on to Guana Cay for a day then to Treasure Cay.

Treasure Cay's beautiful beach.

Treasure Cay’s beautiful beach.

Finally, we sailed to Green Turtle Cay which required going through Whale Cay Channel.  The Whale, as it is called locally, can be difficult.  We picked a calm day and had long, slow swells.

On Green Turtle Cay, in the town of New Plymouth, we enjoyed the Captain Rolland Roberts House, an educational historic house.  The poster below gives a history of how many of the other homes had been moved off the island.  I found it amazing that they disassembled and moved a number of houses all the way from Green Turtle Cay to Florida back in 1846.  I can’t imaging anyone doing that now days, let along back then.  The house is full of really good educational exhibits and a medicinal herb garden out back.  house moved

sponging

On the left hand side of this display are 3 conch egg sacks.  To the left of the sacks is a baby conch.  Continuing down the row shows their growth.

On the left hand side of this display are 3 conch egg sacks. To the left of the sacks is a baby conch. Continuing down the row shows their growth.

I have not seen a horse in 7 months until I saw this one on Green Turtle Cay.  He is obviously quite old and roams the island freely.  No one that I have talked to yet knows the story of the horse.

I have not seen a horse in 7 months until I saw this one on Green Turtle Cay. He is obviously quite old and roams the island freely. No one that I have talked to yet knows the story of the horse.

We were lucky to be at Green Turtle Cay when their Heritage Roots Festival was going on. The following is a video of the Royal Bahamas Police Marching Band.

They had fun activities.  One was the universally fun tug of war.  Logan and Cole were pulling with all their might.

Another cruiser that was stung by a lion fish.

Another cruiser we met at the festival that was stung by a lion fish.

The weather should be settling down for us to move on to Manjack Cay Tuesday to do some snorkeling and island exploring.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

The Diving Dog by Christine

There are some incredible pets on board cruising boats.   When we were in Hope Town, Abacos, we met a cruiser with a very remarkable dog.

A picture is worth a thousand words…  The following clip is 1 minute long but worth watching.  At the very end of the video, Sasha, dives down 8 feet and brings up a conch shell.  Sasha’s owner told us she has dove down as far a 15 feet to bring up a shell.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

You Know You Are a Cruiser When… by Christine

You know you are a cruiser when you not only don’t know what day it is, but you don’t know what month it is!

Yes, this happened to us this week.  Our friends on Moonshadow were talking about how they need to make it back to Charleston by June 3rd and wanted to cross to the states soon.  Later I got to think how our boat insurance is due in June and mentioned to Mark that we needed to check on the policy coverage dates.  He asked what day it was and I said the 25th.  Mark asked, “Did we miss my birthday?”  Then he said, “It was yesterday.”  My mind went blank and I said, “I guess we did.”  My mind was thinking about May and it jumped ahead a month without remembering that morning I wrote 4/25/13 when I posted the weather in our log book for the day.

A while later we were talking on the VHF with a couple of boat friends planning the day.  I mentioned that Mark’s birthday was yesterday and we should get together on Truansea.  One thing led to another and soon we had a party planned for that evening.

A few hours later, I was talking with Bill about weather and crossing the Gulf Stream.  I mentioned that Moonshadow wanted to cross soon to make it back by June 3rd.  Bill said, “Well, they still have 5 weeks to get there.”  My mind went blank for the second time that day.  All of a sudden I realized what happened and that it was only April 25th.  We all had a good laugh over the time-lapse then cheered because we have another whole month to spend in the Abacos before we need to cross to the states.

We all decided to have the party that night anyway and called it the ‘un-birthday’ party for everyone.  We had a wonderful feast on Truansea with one of Lola’s (bakery on Man-O-War) monster cinnamon rolls served as the birthday cake. I even had trick candles on the boat.  We sang happy un-birthday to everyone.

The un-birthday birthday 'cake'.

The un-birthday birthday ‘cake’.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

Crossing to the Abacos by Christine

We waited out a front in Rock Sound, Eleuthera before making our way north to eventually cross to the Abacos.  The night before we headed north, the winds were forecasted to be 40-50 knots but the highest gusts we saw were 36 knots.  Along with the storm came a beautiful rainfall.  This was only the second big rainfall we have experienced since arriving in the Bahamas in the beginning of December.  Fresh water is hard to come by out here and we made full use of it by filling up all of our available containers first, taking baths next, and finally washing the boat.

Dinghy baths for everyone!

Dinghy baths for everyone!

We spent a few days working our way to Spanish Wells where we waited for our next weather window to open up to cross to the Abacos.  The first night we anchored near a catamaran and saw kids on the deck!  We have not run into any boat kids for a while.  Logan and Cole were yelling and waving at the other kids as we approached the anchorage.  Their kids had the same reaction and within 15 minutes, we all met on the beach.  We spent a few days with them before we headed north again.  They were working on a few engine issues before they could move on.  It was hard to say goodbye, but hopefully they will get their boat done soon and catch up with us.

New boat friends on s/v Anticipation!

New boat friends on s/v Anticipation!

Some other boat friends we previously met in Black Point on Great Mysterious were also experiencing engine difficulties but decided to try to sail to the Abacos and back to Florida to finish their repairs.  A bunch of us were anchored at Royal Island in a bay.  The wind was blowing into the anchorage and Great Mysterious would have a difficult, if not impossible, time getting out so we offered to give them a tow out the next morning.

Towing Great Mysterious out of the Royal Island inlet.

Towing Great Mysterious out of the Royal Island inlet.

The weather was predicted to be a great sailing day and about 8 boats left the anchorage that morning, headed to the Abacos.  The winds started out light but quickly filled in.  Great Mysterious is a smaller boat and was not able to sail fast enough to make it to the Abacos before night so they eventually turned back.  You can check out their blog post at http://www.greatmysterious.com.  We hope they get their boat running soon and see them in the Abacos.  A bad boating day can be really bad (I know).  It can only get better Britt and Dolby.  Hang in there.

We have had bad boat days, but crossing to the Abacos was not one of them.  We must have made good boating karma giving a tow that morning because we had our best sailing day ever.  We sailed the whole way, mostly at 6.5 to 7.1 knots on a comfortable broad reach.  The inlet at Little Harbor, Abaco was fairly calm and we were soon anchored on the west side of Lynyard Cay with time to spend on the beach before dark.

Truansea sailing to the Abacos.

Great Mysterious took this picture of us on Truansea sailing to the Abacos.

The next morning we sailed to Sandy Cay where we anchored for a couple of hours to snorkel the reefs.  The anchorage has poor holding and is definitely not the place to spend a night.  The snorkeling was outstanding.

Spotted eagle ray at Sandy Cay.

Spotted eagle ray at Sandy Cay.

We continued on to Hope Town on Elbow Cay and picked up a mooring ball in their anchorage to be close to town.  As we came into the anchorage it was like a reunion.  We saw about 12 other boats we met in previous harbors.  It has been fun and busy catching up with everyone again!  Hope Town is beautiful and we have enjoyed seeing the town as well as the island.

One morning we were in town at a coffee shop working on the computer while the boys were doing their schoolwork.  A couple of girls were having breakfast and as they were leaving, they asked us if we were writing a book.  We explained that we were a family sailing for a year.  They had come to Hope Town for a 4 day visit and were renting a place up the road.  They said they were taking the water taxi to the other side of the harbor next to spend part of the day.  We offered to give them a ride since it is close to our boat.  We asked them if they would like to see our boat on the way over so we stopped at Truansea to give them a tour.  The boys showed them around and the boys asked them a few questions.  Everyone we meet is interesting and these two were no exception.  Sarah is an actress.  http://www.sarahdaceycharles.com and Carol is a life coach.  http://www.whynotthrivecoaching.com

Sarah & Carol

Sarah & Carol

Sarah and Carol – thanks for taking the time to answer the boys (and our) questions.  It was so much fun!

We have been waiting for a new raw water pump for our boat and it finally arrived today.  Mark will install it today or tomorrow and we will be ready to head north to Marsh Harbor and Man-O-War next.  One of our boating buddies, Bill, on Providence needed a new impeller and water pump before he could continue on as well.  Mark and Bill spent a large part of the day yesterday tearing into his engine.  As they say, cruising is working on your boat in exotic locations…

Fair Winds ~ Christine