Friday, May 31, 2013

Staying put.....

Dear Friends and Family,

Our Georgetown experience was nearly uneventful aside from the last update when we spent the evening at the beach.  The weather would not permit us to take the dinghy out to explore the surrounding islands. We took advantage of the time to get caught up at the internet café, visit with fellow cruisers, do laundry and restock our pantry. Going anywhere in the dinghy was a sure way to get a salt water bath. That didn’t stop us from going to shore to do what we needed though. Drenched to the core we got things done and were ready to head out as soon as mother nature opened the window.

We visited our anchor neighbor, Mike, on a 52’ Cheoy Lee. Jimi asked me to make sure I mention Mike, because he has a full size, in working order, Harley Davidson in the aft cabin of his sailboat. The aft companionway opens large enough so he can roll the bike onto a Boston Whaler or skiff and then motors the skiff to shore. If he’s staying somewhere for a long period of time, the Harley supplies his transportation. We went below deck to inspect the bike and it was pretty unbelievable. Even though Jimi isn’t a fan of Harleys, I think I saw a bit of drool fall from his lips. He-he

The morning we left, we said our goodbyes to friend, Randy. He is continuing his journey south, though, he is a little undecided on his exact destination. Hopefully, we’ll meet up with him again in the future.
From Georgetown we sailed twenty three nautical miles to the Northern tip of Long Island anchoring just before sunset. The following day was Friday, my birthday, and we thought we would spend the day sailing another fifty-six nautical miles south, however, mother nature had other plans for us. She sent the winds away, so we could stay. To my surprise, around the point, out of our view, was the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort. Jimi snuck out in the morning by telling me he was going fishing – uh hu – when really he went to the beach resort to make dinner reservations for that evening. He bought me a beach resort t-shirt, which I clearly love, as I’ve worn it every day since J.
There is a private beach separate from the resort and anything else near where Sanibel was anchored. That afternoon we took the dinghy to ‘our’ beach for a long walk. This was one of the prettiest beaches we’ve seen yet. The sand was naturally clean and soft, as walking on a cloud of cotton. Since we hadn’t brought our bathing suits and we were the only ones anchored and in the area, Jimi suggested we go for a swim (nude) and seeing no harm in it, I agreed. We stripped our clothes neatly laying them on the rocks and sure enough as soon as we turned around to walk towards the ocean a large ship of some sort was coming around the corner. We quickly got in the water thinking the ship would pass on by. Ha – it anchored! Safe in the water we enjoyed our cool ocean swim on the warm sunny day. When we got out I ducked behind a rock to dress. To us the ship was the size of a small toy no larger than a few of my fingers, so it was doubtful they could see us even with binoculars, but the story is a fun one anyhow.

With 6pm reservations at the beach resort we arrived early for happy hour. Two tropical rum drinks with complimentary conch fritters in a beautifully structured light and airy resort was an ideal beginning to dinner. We ordered blackened grouper with an assortment of fresh steamed vegetables and rice with cilantro and a hint of  lime as well as shrimp fettuccini, two more tropical rum cocktails and a large piece of chocolate cake( to go). It was the best meal we’ve had in ‘forever’. The grand finale of our evening was being able to call Jennifer, Daniel, my mom and dad and my sister. The entire day was perfect with an even more perfect ending.

When I woke the next morning Jimi told me  we would be leaving at 7:30pm and sailing overnight. Needless to mention, we prepped for the passage. We made the fifty-six miles in twelve hours flat. Sailing on a lee shore, the seas were forceful. Jimi sent me off to bed to get some sleep and promised he would wake me to take over so he could sleep, but I never really slept and he never tried to wake me. The moon was fuller then full; a flashlight in the sky. Jimi does well during overnight passages; he finds them peaceful enjoying the night sky and air. We arrived in Little Harbor of Long Island at 7:30am.

We haven’t seen a soul: not any movement of cars or humans. There is a small power boat pulled up on shore and another boat wreck nearby, but otherwise it’s just us and the sea turtles (and one huge barracuda); we’ve seen many sea turtles playing in the water. The barracuda was quite curious as Jimi swam around. It would follow Jimi and every time Jimi would turn around it would stop, as if he were looking the other way and unnoticed. Finally Jimi growled at him underwater – well that did it – the barracuda quickly fled. Next time you are being stalked by a barracuda, turn around and growl at him and you’ll be fine. J Jimi plans to try this technique if a shark approaches; we’ll let you know how that turns out.

The weather has been overcast, with howling winds and sporadic rainstorms. We’re hanging out here until everything passes. Weather reports currently whisper we should be able to leave this weekend. Maybe or maybe not – weather changes so quickly. In the mean time, we are enjoying secluded serenity. No hustle bustle, no waves to flight going to shore and no place we have to be. This time has given Jimi a real chance to do some word working along with other projects and I have projects to do as well. The rain storms upon us seem like the perfect opportunity to seek out and fix leaks. If you think the inside of a sailboat is always dry, you would be mistaken. We always have water intrusion from somewhere and the aft companion way has been a huge area of concern from the beginning. After the first spout yesterday morning, I put a few things outside awaiting the next spout for a good cleansing, but since Jimi fixed the leak in the aft companion way, it hasn’t rained. It’s clearly his fault for fixing it. Lol We’ve realized that we will need to close the thru hull to the forward head during forward passages. When we are on a Starboard tack, water flows through the head’s thru hull and infiltrates the vanity and surrounding areas. Ooops. This equals a mess in the forward cabin.

Back in Georgetown, Jimi bought a 1GB data card for the Bahamas area from Batelco (the Bahamian Telephone Company), which goes in his phone. The purpose was solely to download weather updates for our passages. Being that between here and Jamaica we wouldn’t have access to such services, we thought it necessary.  As well, we only have thirty days to use the 1GB. Now realizing that there is no way the weather info will consume all or even half of the 1GB, he is allowing me to check my emails and Facebook from time to time, and even send you this update. This makes me one happy camper bahama-mama! I can only use this service on the phone and not on my laptop. Surfing the internet and uploading or watching videos are strictly prohibited and pictures are limited. Hey – I’m o.k. with that. I’ll take what I can get.

‘Sailor Molly’ is what we call her now. She’s been hanging out in the cockpit when we pull anchor and motor away. She really surprised Jimi when she stayed in the cockpit while he was sailing - heeled over and even tacking. She’s gotten sea sick the past couple of trips, but otherwise is feeling more than comfortable with this entire idea.

Today I am baking a loaf of raisin bread and a loaf of white bread. We are expecting more severe storms in the next day or so. We won’t be going ashore to explore the islands anytime soon.

We love your emails – keep them coming.

Love everybody,
Lorie & Jimi

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Dear Friends and Family,

We left Black Point heading for Georgetown knowing that we would stop just five miles south at Big Farmers Cay. We ducked in to a small area with islands all around us: Big Farmers Cay, Big Galliot Cay and Little Galliot Cay. Cutting through Big Farmers Cay gave us the chance to move from the West side of the Exuma chain to the East side. None of the islands held any buildings or civilization, we were all alone. Occasionally a boat would sail by and occasionally we would hear the sounds of goats from one of the islands. After doing some reading in our outdated 1987 Bahamas guide book we found out that wild goats do indeed live on the island by themselves. How they got there, we do not know. Anyhow, we settled in to stay the night. We couldn’t swim because the current was too strong and we couldn’t take the dinghy out to explore because it was on the deck. Knowing that we would leave the first chance we got, we didn’t want to unload it.

The next afternoon, out of nowhere,  a man showed up in a kayak; we invited him aboard. He was anchored just on the other side of one of the Cays. He saw our mast and thought he would come over to say hello. His name is Randy. A retired truck driver in his 60’s. He’s been out here for two and a half years sailing around Panama, the Bahamas and between. Unlike most of the other cruisers who are going North this time of year, Randy is heading South as we are. The next morning Randy left for Georgetown and we left thirty minutes behind him. Georgetown was forty miles away.

We made it twenty miles just before sunset and then anchored for the night. Randy was long out of sight. We were sure he motored most of the way while we are adamant about NOT motoring. We anchored at Rat Cay. Jimi was able to try a new technique where he tied a line from the stern to the anchor chain to cut down on rolling. It’s a neat trick and really helped give us a steady nights sleep.

We left bright and early Friday morning arriving in Georgetown about 5pm. We found Randy right away and anchored near him. He came over for drinks and spaghetti dinner that night. The next day he showed us around the town. We got a few groceries, a 1GD sims card from the phone company, so we can check weather on Jimi’s phone, emptied our trash and borrowed some internet while we shared a plate of french fries and grouper fingers at the internet cafe.

Most of the cruisers have left the area now, but a month ago we would have seen 500 boats here, whereas there are about 60 now. Saturday nights the island across the way has a “Chat & Chill” get together. From what we understood it would be somewhat of a beach party. The island houses a bar/restaurant with all the picnic tables, lawn chairs and fun things all around. We went over about 6:30 to check it out. It turns out they stop serving dinner at 6:30 and the bar would close at 7pm. Who would have known? Anyhow, we got an order in for a hamburger just  in time. We talked to a few other couples before they headed back to their living quarters and then we sat on the beach during sunset eating our hamburger. Afterwards, Jimi made friends with a Ray (sea creature). We’re sure that the Ray was hoping for some snacks, which is why he was so friendly. We were told that the locals feed the Rays left over conch bits. As the mosquitoes made their presence known, we had to vacate the island and head back to Sanibel.

The weather today is overcast with scattered thunderstorms. We’re making use of the day on shore at the internet café. Tonight we will be guests for dinner on Randy’s boat. He cooking us fresh conch with steamed broccoli. We’re hoping to be able to do a bit of exploring before we leave here.

When we do leave, our next destination will be the Northern tip of Long Island. Once we leave Georgetown, we are not expecting any civilization (meaning stores, internet, water, etc.) until we arrive in Jamaica. It will take us a month or so to get to Jamaica; however, we’ll SPOT our location along the way.

And as for our blog - so far,  so good – our new blog through Google is still ours and we like the interface too
Happy sailing!
Love everybody,
Lorie & Jimi

Thank you for your email and prayers.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Dear Friends and Family,
Staniel cay was a lot of fun. We met up with the S/V Independence and S/V Sandpiper from previous locations. We hiked, swam, enjoyed happy hour at the yacht club and another evening enjoyed drinks/snacks on Sandpipers vessel. Both couples were wonderful, but after a couple of days we all parted ways heading in different directions.  Stainel cay is home of the Thunderball Cave. The cave was featured in the James Bond movie “Thunderball”. It’s best to go into the cave during low slack tide, which is what we did. We were able to snorkel just between the water line and a massive rock (Islet). The Islet is mostly hollow on the inside. It is home of hundreds of fish who swam right alongside us hoping we would throw them a snack. We gave them stale cheerios and they loved it. I took underwater video footage the first day and Jimi took some the second day. It was fantastic. The current picked up while we were there making it difficult to get into the cave, but with Jimi’s help I made it.  (and the next day when I woke up, I could barely move; my arms were so sore.)

Here is a link to the video Jimi created of the cave:

We are now nine miles south of Staniel Cay at Black Point. We heard that Black Point had free water, free unlimited internet, free trash disposal, and a Laundromat. This information made me giddy like a little school girl and with such an accommodating husband, here we sit. Our laundry is clean, our water tanks are full, our trash is empty,  I’ve gotten my internet fill for now, and we’ve restocked some groceries. Things are good.
Jimi and I were very surprised to find that we have been using less than ten gallons of fresh water per week. I was a little worried about being low on fresh water after going nearly a month without refilling. Yet when we filled our tanks, they gobbled up less than thirty gallons. We hold a total of 140 gallons of fresh water, so with our current usage, we could go over three months without refilling; a comforting feeling.
I spent an entire day on shore doing laundry and using the internet, while Jimi spent the day on Sanibel working to fix our blog. We’ve been hacked so many times that we have decided to leave the Wordpress blog and go with blogger by Google. We think Google will have better security.  It appears our blog is back up and running for now. Those who have emailed us in the past to let us know it was down, we appreciate it and please let us know if you see more problems. The web address hasn’t changed. It is still
We are planning to make the sixteen mile jump down to Cave Cay tomorrow (Monday the 13th). I don’t think there are any amenities at Cave Cay, so the next time you will hear from us will probably be when we arrive in Georgetown.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I miss my family every day, but days like today are especially difficult. Jimi made me feel better when he wished me a Happy Bahama Mama Day!
Until we write again……
Love everybody,
Lorie & Jimi

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Half way down the Exumas chain

Dear Friends and Family,

We spent nine days at Morgan’s Bluff. We hitch hiked to the grocery store for perishables; some of the prices were comparable and some were…uh…to put it nicely ridiculously outrageous: a loaf of bread was $2.80 (comparable), Bar S hot dogs were $5 a pack (ehh – slightly high), two pounds of ham – bone in was $3.40 per lb (not bad), a block of cheddar cheese was $5.?? per lb (ehh – ok) and one pound of 80/20 hamburger was $8 (what??? Holy cow…that’s expensive). We really had to decided how bad we wanted ‘cow’ and considering we hadn’t had any meat for nearly a week we bought two one pound packages.
After nearly a week of having the anchorage to ourselves, six boats showed up and spent two evenings visiting. We found some of them fascinating and we think you will too:  Craig and Barb Morgan on S/V Undaunted are estimated to be in their fifties. They sail a few months every year to the Bahamas. Christian on S/V Cease the Moment is a young man of thirty one years old who also sails a few months a year. Mike and Jennifer aboard S/V Catalina are in their twenties. They are Norwegians who store their boat in Miami flying from Norway to Miami every year to sail for a few months. Two young men Morgan and ???? aboard S/V Windrain. All I really remember about them is they are purists, which means they WILL NOT motor. They ONLY sail and if there isn’t any wind, they don’t go anywhere. Similar to us but to more extreme. Two sisters ages seventeen and eighteen from New Zealand. Their parents purchased this boat and the girls are sailing it by themselves to Australia for resale. The parents along with their other sister of fifteen years old are on another boat currently in Florida also Australia bound. I found these girls to be interesting; kudos to them. We also met up with an older couple who have the luxury of all boats: a 52 foot boat equipped with everything you could imagine. We followed them to Highborne Cay. Al and his wife along with their dog Traveler are aboard S/V Independence. We met up with them again yesterday in Staniel Cay and another couple David and Linda on S/V Sandpiper.
Jimi heard about a water spout over the VHF radio the day before we left Morgan’s Bluff. Jimi popped his head out of the companion way to see that it was about a mile away. A water spout is a tornado over the water that sucks the sea water up towards the clouds. Though dangerous, they are not as destructive as land based tornados. It was an interesting sight.
We left Morgan’s Bluff around 10 or 11am on the 23rd crossing the  tongue of the ocean bound for Highborne Cay (pronounced Key). The first three hours we did a whopping one knot per hour – it’s ok, you can laugh – we were. Later things picked up…. A LOT, I might say. Right about sunset the seas were rough again up until we arrived at the anchorage area at 6:30am on the 24th. Jimi pulled another over nighter; however, with a full moon, it made for a bright journey on the ocean.

We spent three days on the Northern tip of the Exumas at Highborne Cay. The privately owned island is home of a very expensive resort. The office personal seemed to be from the U.S. and were not friendly toward us. Dozens of Reef Sharks and Nurse Sharks hovered the fish cleaning station at the marina for scraps. We stood on the dock taking pictures and motored by them in the dinghy. We spotted  a nice Dexter filet knife on the bed of the ocean floor under the sharks. 

Once the sharks vacated, Jimi jumped in the retrieve the knife – score!. We also found a large heavy beach towel washed up on the beach wet and full of sand even half buried. We rinsed it off in the ocean to find it free of stains and rips – another score! As we see it we had a $45 dollar day in our favor.

We explored a small island close by called Allen’s Cay; the home of iguanas and only iguanas. When they see a dinghy approaching they scramble from the rock and brush meeting guests on the beach awaiting snacks. The tourists bring them lettuce and other fruits. We enjoyed meeting their acquaintances and taking their pictures. About two dozen greeted us, but there were more scattered around this island and others.  

Our next destination was fourteen miles away to Shroud Cay. The islands here are made of ancient coral heads resembling large rocks full of holes and sharp pointy edges (sharper than a razor blade), patches of secluded beaches, some with trees and mangroves and some without. Shroud Cay has sand bars everywhere just out in the middle of the ocean. We took our dinghy back through a salt water stream not realizing the tide was going out. It was so shallow that Jimi had to walk us out most of the way. The island also had a fresh water stream coming off the land displaying several colors. The shallow salt water was clear with a tan tint as we could see right down to the sand, and then the slightly deeper parts were a rich turquoise and even turning darker as it became deeper, however, the coolest was where the fresh water met the salt water. The color was a lime green, yet still as clear as can be. No matter the color all the water is as clear as looking into a swimming pool.  We stayed at Shroud Cay for a couple of nights and then moved on five miles South to Hawksbill Cay.

Hawksbill Cay has a trail leading to what’s known as the Russell Ruins. There isn’t much left of the buildings, but none the less we were awed. From 1785 to 1830 the island consisted of ten houses and some other buildings; the British and loyalists leaving the U. S after America’s independence settled the island (as well as many other Bahama islands). Thousands of conch shells  all harvested lay around the beach in piles by the once structures and practically everywhere else you look; over time they have turned black as coal from the elements. I just couldn’t grasp the piles and piles of conch shells. Jimi is in search of his own modern day treasure. It is said that seekers can find hand blown glass bottles from the 1700 and 1800s in this area. We found plenty of them - broken – now to find some in tact. We found a perfect little spot to snorkel just off the beach and away for any breeze or current. I didn’t take my underwater camera when we snorkeled, but had planned to when we went back; unfortunately, we had to leave the following day and weren’t able to go back.

Ten miles South we made our way to Warderick Wells Cay. This is the headquarters for the Exzumas Land and Sea Park, which we have been exploring. Fishing in the park is prohibited and it’s just as well because we haven’t had any luck at catching anything anyhow. Warderick is an interesting place.

 The skeleton of a 52’ sperm whale lays on the beach. Some years ago a ship wrecked on the rocks and all souls were lost. Legend says you can hear the cries of the ones who perished if you stand at the top of the mountain, called Boo Boo Hill. Atop Boo Boo Hill visitors can carve or paint their name and sailing vessel on a piece of wood and leave it. It’s a large pile. The island also has several blow holes of all sizes, which were really cool. We only stayed there overnight before moving on.

Our next destination was Staniel Cay twenty miles away. It’s a little more civilized here and once again the people are super friendly. Don’t think you can get away with walking anywhere without a wave and a smile at the very least. We think we will be here for a while. Even with some civilization, we have learned that internet on the Bahamas does not come easy. At least here I can send this email and upload it to our blog (for a price), but I am not able to upload any pictures. I have quite a few for you too. We are allowed to purchase 200mb per 24 hour period. It’s certainly better than nothing, so I won’t complain; however, I have to admit that not having contact with my family make me sad. I am in high hopes that once we get out of the Bahamas to more mainland area, internet will be more readily available as it is in the U.S.

A couple of weeks back Jimi and I spent an entire day going through our provision inventory and repacking it all. We pulled it out into the cockpit, so I could count and log it into a spreadsheet. Now we will keep track of everything we use and have a better idea of what we are low on. We should have done this from the beginning. We also vacuum sealed all of our rice, flour, oatmeal, dry milk, cheerios, sugars, cat food, and anything that the moisture might destroy.  This was quit the accomplishment and we both feel so much better. We were hoping the groceries wouldn’t be quite so expensive in a more populated area of the Bahamas, but it does not seem to be the case, at least at our current location. And the rum is not cheap either, as we were told it would be. Nearly double in price.

Definition: Hull Speed – is the maximum speed at which a boat can be pushed through the water and is a function of the boats water line length. This means that a longer boat has greater potential speed then a shorter one. Conventional craft can only exceed their hull speed when planing or surfing. However, multihulls with very long or thin hulls can go faster than their length would suggest, and so can vessels that use hydrofoils to lift their hulls out of the water. Guide to Sailing by Steve Sleight

Sanibel’s hull speed is 7.2 knots and her fastest speed was over ten knots with a boost from the Gulf stream.