Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Headed Back to the USA

Bill, our trusty crewmate, preparing for the 4 to 6 day crossing from the Bahamas to the Chesapeake. He is carefully studying Miss Emilie's famous Goombay Smash. You can see the glow of the punch to the right of Bill’s head. The Blue Bar is apparently a must hit spot on Man-O-War Cay.
Once you have a few Goombay Smashes you have to pay up to Miss Emilie.
We left the Bahamas through Whale Cay Channel about 3 in the afternoon after an attempted last day snorkel near Green Turtle Cay that didn’t work out. It took us 4 days and 3 hours to get from Whale Cay to Cape Henry, the entrance to the Chesapeake. It was good sailing all the way till we rounded Cape Hatteras – the grave yard of the Atlantic. Then we needed half a day of motoring to get in. We had daily 24 hour runs of 120 miles to 187 miles. The latter with a lot of help from the Gulfstream current.
 atlanticIMG_2514 While in the Gulfstream, we had southerly winds that let us pole out the jib and sail wing-on-wing (the main sail on one side of the boat, the jib sail on the other).  Pretty comfortable ride in 15 to 25 kts of wind. You can see a 995 foot container ship crossing our bow under the sail on the horizon.
An entire family of genetically suicidal flying fish.
We needed to run the genset to charge up the batteries one afternoon. This turned into sail-in movie time. I was on watch and didn’t get to watch the movie, but the resident critics said it was pretty bad. The popcorn was good.
The skipper carefully studying a 4 day old newspaper on his Kindle.
Bill got antsy when we started motoring so we told him to ‘Go fly a kite.’
A pleasant passage wouldn’t be complete without a lightning storm to greet us just as we were ready to get off the ocean and head in.
If you look at Bill’s face you can hear the thunder and see the lightning bolt that just let itself loose from the cloud.
Finally we make in to Cape Henry. l-to-r the old Cape Henry Lighthouse, the new Cape Henry Lighthouse, and the Virginia Pilot’s control tower.
And just to make up for the lightning storm, we ordered up a nice rainbow once we entered the Chesapeake. Now we’re officially back in the USA.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bye-Bye Bahamas

We’re off toward the Chesapeake. About 625 miles from Whale Cay Channel in the Abacos. Our Pactor radio modem is dead, so there will be no position updates as we travel. Should be into Little Creek in the Norfolk, VA area in 5 or 6 days.
Wish us fair winds

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Entertainment Disaster

We normally introduce guests onboard to the cruisers life by forcing them to watch the movie Captain Ron, an important part of their safety-at-sea orientation. It is a 1992 classic comedy that won less than rave reviews from just about anyone who reviewed it:  The New York Times review gushes: “"Captain Ron" looks like the pilot film for an unsold sitcom.”; ”The cast is headed by Kurt Russell as the skipper, who talks like Long John Silver”; ”Though the film could not have been too inexpensive to produce on its Puerto Rican locations, it manages to seem threadbare, mostly because of the lack of a comic imagination”. But then, a more balanced review from a reader of the NYT who effectively sums it up for cruisers: “Without question, this is the most loved movie aboard EVERY cruising sailboat (and the boats of many not cruisers). Most have memorized every line. If this movie is not funny; there are no funny movies!”
“If its going to happen, Its going to happen out there.”
-Captain Ron
A list of filming mistakes in Captain Ron:
Somehow our valuable copy of Captain Ron has gotten deleted from our hard drive. It is no where to been found. This meant we were unable to fully induct Derrek and Mary into the cruiser’s life. Perhaps a little Netflix searching will allow them to finish their homework.
We met up with our good friends Denny and Becky on Kokomo. We’d spent a lot of time with them in Mexico, El Salvador and Panama. They are headed north to Florida and then the Chesapeake. We met up at Normans Cay for a reunion dinner with them and their friends Steve and Rena.
Next morning we took off from Normans into the deep Exuma Sound. A beautiful all-day downwind sail in 22kts of wind. Ended in Rock Sound, Eluthera. We spent a couple of days sailing north inside the Bight of Eleuthera. It was a beat to weather into 8-15 kts of wind that had us making 2 or 3 mile tacks out and 8 miles runs in with smooth seas and 80*F air. If you have to sail to weather, i.e. into the wind, then that’s the comfy way to go. Ended our time in Eluthera in Royal Island.
We entered the almost completely enclosed narrow oblong shaped bay of Royal Island looking for a space to anchor. There were 10 or 12 boats all nestled together on the west side, with no one on the east side. Must have been the cruisers herding instinct. We dropped our hook in 11 feet on the east side, all by ourselves; just in time for a swim to the empty shore before sundown.
Next day was a long one making 50 miles or so to Little Harbour area of the Abacos. Light downwind sail. We had our spinnaker up for most of it, but still had to motor the last 1 1/2 hours so we could get through the ocean pass before the sun was too low in the sky to see the reefs.
We’ll be in the Abacos for about a week. Saturday we pickup our friend Bill from San Francisco, then we’ll be watching the weather to make the jump north to the Chesapeake.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tour de Derrek and Mary

After the first hard rain we’ve had in 3 months, Derrek and Mary hopped off the commuter flight from Nassau to the Staniel Cay International Airport tarmac. They were both ready for a snorkeling vacation.
It didn’t take long for us to have them diving into Thunderball Cave of 007 fame. On the way back from the cave in the dinghy, I thought Mary was going to tear some skin because of the size of the grin on her face.
warderickIMG_2232 Mary’s first sail. 80* air temp. 12 kts of wind. Flat seas. Mary, its always like this.
After each dive we played identify the fish. This is a angel fish.
A commuting lobster. These guys were really out cruising!
Attack Sergeant Majors going after Derrek
Another Sergeant getting ready to take out Mary

normansDSCN0390 Volcom and O’Neil product placement
We stopped at Norman’s Cay to dive Carlos Lehder’s plane

normansDSCN0383 The Sting Rays were hanging all around the plane, some in modern desert sand camouflage.
 normansDSCN0395 Derrek’s snorkel is pointing to the sly ray above.
We headed up the mangrove lined river at Shroud Cay. Turned out to be a really low tide, so we had our boat boy pull us over the sand bars.
The payback was this great Atlantic side beach
The beach was empty except for one Paparazzi
The view from Camp Driftwood hill.
shroudIMG_2344 A little R&R from a hard day.
warderickDSCN0359 One big Nassau grouper
It took Chris and Mary a long time to get the lipstick on this gal- a queen triggerfish
A scary night Hutie hunt led by the famous Australian bush hunter Criky Derrek
We eventually came face to face with one of the endangered rats -- I mean Hutie.
warderickIMG_2237 The blue highway swimming competition.
Getting ready for a treasure hunt
The team cam back with these classic Busch can treasures
The hike up Boo Boo Hill at Warderick Wells
warderickIMG_2288Finally, sometime to relax on the foredeck
One last lobster hunt
A sunset before we head to Nassau

After the cruise everyone got these Disney Stickers to put on their luggage.