Daily Log

13 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

A slow day. We’ve been watching the weather looking for an opportunity to move on to Panama. Currently the wind is blowing 25kts with 4 metre swells, but Saturday (17th Feb) is looking better with 20kts and 2.5 metre swells. We are due to meet Andrew and Connie on the 20th February so would like to leave soon.

12 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

Today we worked on some boat jobs. I fixed the engine stop button which was no longer working. The stop button is connected to a solenoid which shuts off the fuel. After taking out the solenoid and testing it I realised the solenoid was working fine! The cable from the stop button to the solenoid had a connector which had come apart and there was no power to the solenoid. After fixing the cable and reinstalling the solenoid, all was well again. Apart from my oily greasy hands!

Chris and Anne from Mr MAC came over for drinks later, lending us their San Blas cruising guide and giving us some good advice on visiting the San Blas islands.

11 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

We finally made the walk up to the Peak, the highest point on Providencia island, with fantastic views over the whole island. It took us about an hour to walk to the top, through mainly shaded forest. Which was a relief given the heat and humidity. At the bottom we were forced to take a guide with us, which seemed like a scam to us. But for $30 we had the company of Herman who talked non-stop the whole way up and the whole way down and shared some interesting insights into the island.

Later Thomas and Susan from That’s Life came over for a few drinks aboard TaDa. Thomas and Susan are planning on sailing across the South Pacific to New Zealand in their Dehler 34. Much the same as our original plan, and Joy is starting to feel sad that we are no longer going to be sailing the South Pacific!!

10 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

Today we rented a scooter and zipped all over the island. First we went down to the Manchineel beach which was beautiful but not protected from the wind. So we went back to South West beach and settled into hammocks and enjoyed the day reading and sipping cocktails out of coconuts!
9 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

Tired after our previous day’s exertions we stayed on the boat most of the day, venturing out for some snorkelling around Morgan’s Head later in the day.

8 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

Today was to be the big hike to the highest peak on the island. Whilst waiting for the bus to come the rain started, and we decided maybe it wasn’t the best day to be up in the mountains. Instead we explored the east side of the island, with a long walk along the coast down to Rocky Point, where we stopped for lunch in a cute little restaurant run by a local called Aydana. We then somehow found the energy to walk all the way back again into Providencia before breaking down at the ice cream shop and enjoying two of the most cold delicious fruity treats!

7 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

Tired from the walk the day before, we decided to do something a little more relaxed. We walked over to Santa Catalina island and explored for a while before settling down on the beach for a quiet afternoon of swimming and reading.

6 February 2018 Providencia, Colombia

We explored the island, first walking through Providencia Old Town over to Almond Bay. Almond Bay is a very pretty beach nicely protected from the wind. We just stayed long enough for a rest before heading further around the island. We decided to risk one of the local moto-taxis, essentially a scooter taxi! The first scooter to stop explained there was no problem at all taking both of us on his scooter, so we hopped on and made our way down to Southwest bay. This is a long beach with plenty of relaxed beach bars, restaurants and hammocks. Although you do have to be careful of the horses that get raced up and down the beach from time to time. Joy watching with fascination at one of the horses running along the beach didn’t see the second one coming and had a near heart attack as it passed inches away from her!

2-5 February 2018 Passage to Providencia, Colombia

Another relatively easy sail, mostly a beam or broad reach. We arrived off Providencia early on Monday morning and slowed down to ensure we arrived in daylight. The channel into the harbour was very well marked and there were already six other sailboats in the anchorage when we arrived. We anchored just behind a fellow Floridian boat Mr MAC with Chris and Anne from St Petersburg. Thomas and Susan from That’s Life who we had met in Montego Bay came over to say hi and tell us where and how to check in. Check in was fairly easy as we were required to use an agent to help with the formalities. I’m not sure why we need to pay an agent $100 to ensure the immigration and customs employees do their job that the government has already paid them to do. Maybe because of the translation problems.

25 January – 2 February 2018 George Town, Cayman Islands

We motored round into the North Sound and into Governor’s Harbour for more protection from the strong winds predicted for the week. Coming into the North Sound was slightly nerve wracking as the channel through the reef is not marked on our Navionics charts. Once into North Sound the depth is only 7-8 feet. Governor’s Harbour is right next to the Cayman Island Yacht Club marina and is a fantastically calm protected anchorage.

We spent a wonderful week in Grand Cayman. The island was easy to get around with the public buses which cost US 2.50 to go anywhere. We always felt safe and the people were extremely helpful and friendly. I didn’t keep a daily diary, but during the week we took a ride on the Atlantis submarine down to 100 feet below to check out some of the coral reef, we lazed away a day on Seven Mile beach, we swam with the Stingrays and checked out the Starfish in the north sound. We anchored off Kaibo beach and went to Rum point. We checked out the Dolphinarium (not sure if that’s really what it was called!) and feasted at Pizza Express 🙂

22 January 2018 – 24 January 2018 Sail to George Town, Cayman Islands

The weather was really good for our sail across to Grand Cayman. We had full sail up for most of the trip doing 6 knots. We experienced a bit of a traffic jam when we arrived at 7am in the morning, arriving at the same time as 3 cruise ships and 4 other sailboats. Cayman immigration was a pleasure though and we were checked in by 11am, and I managed to catch up briefly with one of my old school friends Duncan who was flying out of the George Town at 1pm.

21 January 2018 Montego Bay, Jamaica

We only really stopped in Montego Bay to checkout of Jamaica before making our way to the Cayman Islands. We anchored off of the Montego Bay yacht club. For $20 we got the use of the yacht club’s facilities which was nice to have a hot shower before we departed.

20 January 2018 Falmouth, Jamaica

We had a quick sail with the wind behind us to Falmouth. When we arrived it was a bit rough coming in, but nicely protected once we were inside. Supposedly this is meant to be a big attraction for seeing the luminescent lagoon at night, but we couldn’t see anything, maybe because of all the recent rains.

19 January 2018 Ochos Rios, Jamaica

We pulled into Ochos Rios hoping to anchor off the main beach, but there was very little protection from the swell, so we ended up anchoring behind the reef where all the local tourist boats were anchored. Although there was little protection from the wind here, the reef was amazingly effective at completely stopping any swell. Ochos Rios had a couple good supermarkets so we took the opportunity to provision here before departing the next morning.

16 – 18 January 2018 Oracabessa

We left Port Maria early after the constant swell kept the boat rolling around. We were only about a half hour out of Port Maria before the rain swept in and brought visibility down to ¼ mile or so. We pushed on through the rain hoping it would clear before we had to come in to the next port. Sure enough, just as we were off the Oracabessa the clouds lifted and we could see the narrow entrance into the tiny fishing port of Oracabessa.

Oracabessa is a picturesque little harbour used mostly for local fishing boats. Bordering the harbour is a resort and the James Bond beach, where a scene from “You only live twice” was filmed. The property was all owned by the author Ian Fleming. We enjoyed a day walking around the town and a day on the beach.

15 January 2018 Port Maria, Jamaica

We finally checked out of Port Antonio and made our way west along the coast to the next stop of Port Maria. Whilst a pretty anchorage it wasn’t too protected and we didn’t even get off the boat. Another boat had joined us and anchored next to us for the night and their skipper Benjamin even gave us some Cuban rum and cigars as they had just sailed down from Cuba!

13 January 2018 Port Antonio, Jamaica

We visited the Somerset falls with Joe and Michele. With all the rains the week before the falls had been flooded and was still flowing strongly. We swam up the river to the falls and enjoying the cool fresh water of the falls.

After we made our way to the beach and enjoyed a long leisurely lunch before walking back to the main road and flagging down one of the local taxis.

12 January 2018 Port Antonio

Spent the day doing boat work and laundry.

11 January 2018 Port Antonio

Today we shopped the local market in Port Antonio buying lots of lovely fresh fruit. We met later with Joe and Michele and some crew of the crew from the superyachts docked next to us for a late night of Cards against Humanity and tequila!

10 January 2018 Port Antonio

Originally we had planned a short stopover in Jamaica en route to Panama. But being in such a nice reasonably priced marina with other cruisers we didn’t want to leave too quickly. We met Charlie and Nancy Hales from Elizabeth who had just cruised the northern coast of Jamaica and told us it was lovely. Given that we had plenty of time, we decided we would sail across the top of Jamaica, and then on to the Cayman islands since it was only 200NM from the west coast of Jamaica.

We also met the Joe and Michelle from Soul Rebel. About our age, they had spent 2 years refitting their Taiana 37 for extensive cruising. The refit was beautifully done and we were well impressed with their skills! We spent the day exploring the Blue Lagoon and Frenchman’s Cove with them which were beautiful. Unfortunately all the rain had stirred up the water so Blue Lagoon wasn’t as blue as normal, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying a few cold beers and some jerk chicken from Piggys on the way home.

9 January 2018 Port Antonio

After our tough trip Joy decided there was absolutely no way she could do 3.5 weeks at sea if we crossed the Pacific. We looked into the possibility of flying her from Galapagos to Tahiti, to meet up with myself and my cousin Andrew and his wife Connie, who were due to meet us in Panama for the trip to Tahiti.

In the end though we decided that maybe it would be better if we just stayed in the Caribbean until such time as we had decided whether we really wanted to cross the South Pacific or not. We could sail back to Florida, work for a while, upgrade the boat and decide what to do next. We chatted to Andrew and Connie who were okay with our decision not to sail the South Pacific and happy with our amended itinerary, which we decided to include the San Blas islands, Colombia, Belize, Mexico and back to Florida. At the moment we intend to arrive back in Florida in June.

This felt like a big weight off our shoulders. We weren’t sure about the South Pacific, it was going to be a big expense to sail all the way to Australia, and a massive challenge on ourselves and the boat. But we were super excited about Colombia, Belize and Mexico which hardly seem like a bad consolation prize.

8 January 2018 Port Antonio

We woke up tired and miserable and prepared to haul anchor and move round to the west harbour and check in with customs and immigration. We got the anchor up and started to motor round to the cut into the east harbour. At this point we noticed the engine temperature was higher than normal and no water was coming out the exhaust. We must have sucked something into the raw water intake. We didn’t have far to go, so decided to push on rather than reanchor and try and clear the intake. We motored round at minimum revs watching the engine temperature slowly increasing from 180F to 220F whilst stressing we might be doing permanent damage to the engine. We pulled into the dock at the Errol Flynn marina and stopped the engine straight away.

After dispensing with the customs and immigration formalities I dived under the boat to see if I could spot what was clogging the engine sea water intake. We had sucked up a plastic bag into the intake, and after a few attempts managed to pull it out with a wire coat hanger. The engine started up again no problem and water pumped out the exhaust again. There seemed to be no damage to the engine. Phew!

We were happy to have the voyage completed and be safely docked in a beautiful protected harbour.

5-7 January 2018 Sailing to Jamaica

Starting a passage on a Friday is supposedly meant to be bad luck, if you believe in superstition. I don’t particularly, but after this trip maybe I will! It all started well with a nice beam reach down to the eastern end of Cuba. However the wind kept on strengthening and clocking further to the east, to the point where we were well reefed and close hauled sailing parallel to the coast of Cuba. At this stage the furling line foe the jib snapped, and the whole job unfurled. I should have replaced the furling line in Florida, but didn’t get round to it and we couldn’t find anything in the Bahamas. The whole jib unfurled which was way too much sail in the wind we were in. I had to go up to the bow to get the jib furled in but now we had no jib to sail with, which meant the boat wouldn’t beat to wind and we were slowly getting closer to the Cuban shore. I fired up the engine and prayed there were no problems with the engine. After 4 hours of motoring we cleared the east end of Cuba and turned south into the windward passage between Cuba and Haiti and finally had the wind at our backs. The wind and seas were fairly rough, but being behind us it wasn’t too bad, and flew along at 7 knots with just the main up.

And then the rain started. Not heavy rain but persistent, ensuring that everything on the boat became soaked. It continued like this for the next 36 hours. Our ETA into Port Antonio was about 8pm. Usually I would slow down until daybreak coming into a new harbour, but we were exhausted, wet, and unwilling to take another rolly night at sea. The harbour entrance looked wide, deep, and well lit, so we decided to come in at night. Being a northerly entrance with a NE wind blowing it was going to be a little rough. Sure enough we spotted the red and green channel markers as we got closer and came through into east harbour of Port Antonio. Rather than take the channel into the west harbour at night we decided to anchor in the west harbour. This when we discovered that our main anchor had fallen off! The pin in the shackle holding the anchor on must have come loose during the trip. I had secured the pin with a plastic zip tie, but I learnt my lesson to use steel wire in future!

We got the secondary anchor secured onto the anchor chain and anchored in the bay. There wasn’t too much protection in the harbour from the northerly swell so we had a bumpy sleepless night, checking regularly to see we weren’t dragging.

1 – 4 January 2018 Buenavista Cay, Bahamas

We decided to stay on and work on the boat and wait out the front. I pulled out the windlass, and Mark and John were fantastic helping me pull it apart, and then more important put it all back together again! In the end it seemed like it was just a corroded terminal on the motor that was the issue. However in opening and putting it back together I lost a bushing somewhere so had to fashion a new one out of some wood. All seems to work fine so far though.

We finally decided it was time to move on to Jamaica. I wanted to explore the rest of the Ragged Islands, but the wind was predicted to blow strong from the NE for a few days. This would be a perfect wind for making for Jamaica, and there isn’t a whole lot of good protected anchorages in the Ragged islands. So we prepared the boat to leave, said our goodbyes, and planned to depart first light the next morning.

31 December 2017 Buenavista Cay, Bahamas

There were two other boats (catamarans, what else!) in the bay, so we went over to say hi and ask for advice of where to go on the island. We met Mark and Michele aboard Reach and John and Barbara aboard Sam the Skull. They gave us a few tips where to go, and then invited us for a New Years drink later. New Years was a blast. We even managed to stay up till midnight, no small feat for these cruisers! Mark and Michele had been cruising for 10 years, and John and Barbara even longer. John and Barabara come from Scotland and regaled us with many of their stories.

They suggested with the front coming in a few days we tuck in next to them, and they would help me have a look at our windlass which had died.

30 December 2017 Buenavista Cay, Bahamas

After an uncomfortable night in the anchorage we departed early and made for Jamaica Cay. We pulled in to the bay and anchored close to Viento and went over to say hi to Doug and Caroline. After chatting a while, they offered to take us diving to a blue hole about 2.5 miles away. We followed them in Tada and anchored off the blue hole. I kitted up in my scuba gear and took a spear with me. The blue hole was gorgeous. Starting at at 15 feet it descended down to about 90 feet. We stuck to the walls of the hole not going more than 50 feet down. It was absolutely filled with marine life. We speared a couple of grouper and pulled out 2 lobsters each. All this while keeping a beady eye on the 6 reef sharks lazily cruising the depths of the hole.

After the dive we said goodbye to Doug and Caroline and sailed for Buenavista Cay. We wanted to get there before dark, but ended up arriving about 30 mins after sunset. We anchored in the middle of the bay and finally got a good nights sleep in a nicely protected bay.

29 December 2017 Flamingo Cay, Bahamas

Unfortunately Arriana decided to turn around today due to some northerly winds later in the week which would make their passge back to Georgetown difficult. It had been so nice making new friends and finding a “buddy boat” to sail with. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with them before they departed north and we departed south. When we arrived in Flamingo Cay there was a catamaran in the anhorage already. I recognised them as Viento who I had seen in Fort Lauderdale and then again in Georgetown. We spoke to them on the radio and find out that the couple Doug and Caroline were making for Jamiaca Cay and offered to show us the blue holes if we made it there by the next day. They also recommended the snorkelling on the north side of Flamingo Cay.

We jumped in the dinghy and first checked out the cave which you could take the dinghy inside. We checked it out for a while before making for the snorkelling spot. I jumped in and looked around first. It was stunning coral with loads of fish. I came out to convince Joy to join me, but she wasn’t keen with all the talk of sharks. I promised her there were no sharks around. So finally she got her gear on and I dived in first to check there will still no sharks. I came shooting back out of the water on to the dinghy in record time, and then started laughing… okay, so I was wrong… there are sharks!

I eased myself in again to have a look. It looked like a fairly small (3-4ft) lemon shark, which swam away after a while. But there was no convincing Joy to come back in. I swam along the edge of the reef slowly pulling the dinghy. There was loads of fish life and pretty coral too. I saw a couple turtles and a stingray. I just wished I had a spear with me for some dinner!

28 December 2017 Water Cay, Bahamas

Just a perfect day as cruising goes! We explored the island a bit in the morning and walked a couple of the beaches, and swam in a few rock pools. We then made our way back and joined Arriana. They wanted to picnic on the beach. We sat on the beach for a couple hours, and then the boys took off in the dinghy with spears and fishing rods. We pulled out a number of good sized fish, but by that time the little kids were exhausted after a full day, so we decided the fish barbeque would have to be put off for the following day.

27 December 2017 Water Cay, Jumento islands, Bahamas

We had to ferry fuel back and forth to the boat from ashore since the yacht club in Georgetown is no longer operational. We also had to ferry water from the dinghy dock. There is free RO water available which is fantastic, but you have to queue up and then dinghy it back to the boat. After 4 dinghy trips back and forth we were ready to leave. We arrived at Hog Cay cut at 3pm as planned. The tide looked very close to high. As we arrived first on Tada we went ahead first. The lowest depth reading I saw was 0.4 feet under the keel. I figured we were both out safe, until I turned around and saw Arriana stuck on the bottom! After a few manouevers back and forth she finally got off and managed to join us in deeper water. We decided with no protection on the south side of Hog Cay cut we would make for the Jumento islands, about 20 miles away. Unfortunately this meant arriving in the dark, which generally I’m not comfortable with. But Arriana had radar so they led the way into the anchorage and we were happy to get our anchors set and put our feet up.

26 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

Mike and Glinda had mentioned they were planning on sailing down to the Ragged Islands, so we decided that we would join them. It would be nice to have someone to sail with for a change. We decided we would leave around 10am the following day so as to make sure that we made Hog Cay cut at high tide. From reading it was possible to make it through with a 5 foot draft, but 5.5 might be pushing it. We both had 5 foot drafts so figured we would be okay.

25 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

Christmas day!! Our first Christmas as husband and wife! Joy got me a bottle of Coke, and I got here a packet of Doritos. It doesn’t come more romantic than that! We joined a cruiser’s pot luck on Chat & Chill beach. We met loads of people, it was fantastic day and the food was outstanding. Alex cooked all the fish we had caught and a monster crab he had caught a few days earlier. We met:

Conrad, Megan, Jedi and Zelda… aboard the beautiful Gunnboat

Mike and family aboard Rondo, Cheryl on Wanderlust

Mike, Glinda and kids Arriana and Tristan on s/v Arriana,

Dennis and Eleanor, and so many others I can’t remember.

We ate until we were stuffed and then stayed on the beach drinking until the sun went down. We then went and joined Alex and Kate aboard their boat Aqua Bob to eat leftovers from the day! Conrad and Megan also joined with their two young daughters.

24 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

Even though Joy had hardly drunk any alcohol the night before, she had one of her nasty migraines. Me on the other hand was definitely feeling a small hangover. So it was a very slow quiet day. I did get out with Alex and go do some spearfishing outside. I’m still getting the hang of the Bahamian sling, but Alex was a pro and bought back two lobsters, a trigger fish and a grouper.

23 December 2017, Georgetown, Bahamas

Today we moved the boat over to Kidd’s Cove just outside of town to met up with Josh and Leah aboard Peacemaker and watch the Junkanoo in town. Leah and Joy have a mutual friend in common, and that’s how we connected. It was so much fun to meet another couple roughly our age also taking off for a couple years on their sailboat. We had such an enjoyable evening, staying up past midnight for the first time in ages!

22 December 2017, Georgetown, Bahamas

An exciting day of laundry and boat chores… yawn.

21 December 2017, Georgetown, Bahamas

I decided to venture out and try out the Texas hold em poker at the St Francis yacht club. It is a well attended event amongst the cruisers with close on 30 participants this early in the season. We were divided into 3 tables to start, and every 20 minutes the minimum bets were increased. Having come close to getting knock out a couple times, I managed to hold on to stay on till the last 3, making a nice return of $30 on my investment of 10. Well, at least it paid for the drinks for the night.

20 December 2017, Georgetown, Bahamas

Joy joined in the ladies water aerobics down by the beach. She came back having made a number of new friends with surrounding boats.

19 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

Today we joined the volleyball court for a game with all the other cruisers. It was great to meet a few of the other cruisers and get some exercise in. The games weren’t too serious but it was a good workout after having been on the boat for so long. We also met up with Alex, Kate and Xander from Aquabob who we hadn’t seen since Charleston.

18 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

Sadly it’s time for Dunbar’s parents to leave. And a massive congratulations to them on celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary! After breakfast we dinghy ashore and drop them off for their taxi. We just found out that due to a power outage in Atlanta, there’s been massive disruption, so we’ve got fingers crossed that there flights aren’t delayed. They are flying back to Tampa, and then out to South Africa on the 20th December just in time for Christmas with the family back home. In the afternoon we took the tender to the beach nearby and found a long largely deserted beach to walk on. Being deserted, we decided a skinny dip was in order too!

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17 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

We set out exploring aboard Swipe Right (our tender!). We check out the boats moored in the hurricane holes, before finding our way to the Chat and Chill beach. We watch as our local fisherman makes a conch salad for us from scratch, showing us how to detach the conch from it’s shell, and then how to gut it. We then tender over to Georgetown proper, but it’s Sunday and there’s very little happening. We make our way back to Tada and enjoy some lunch. Dad then helped me install our new spinnaker pole track.

 

16 December 2017 Georgetown, Bahamas

We take advantage of the 15-20 knot northeasterly to make the entire 60NM sail down to Georgetown in one day. We arrive just before sunset and anchor in front of the monument hill for some well needed protection for the wind.

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15 December 2017 Big Majors Cay, Bahamas

We snorkel the Grotto Cave which is amazing, but as the weather’s chilly we don’t stay long. We then do some paddleboarding and visit the cute little piggies on Pig Beach.

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14 December 2017 Staniel Cay, Bahamas

We spend the morning exploring the Warderick Wells island, before making our way back outside and sailing for Staniel Cay. After arriving we make our way ashore and check out the nurse sharks and stingrays by the Staniel Cay Yacht Club marina dock, and enjoy a few sundowners.

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13 December 2017 Warderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park, Bahamas

After an enjoyable morning exploring Boot Cay and snorkelling the DC3 wreck, we leave the anchorage and make for the outer east side of the Exuma chain where we sail down to Warderick Wells. Its a well protected anchorage inside the lagoon, where we pick up a mooring ball. We have time for a quick walk up to Boo-boo hill where we watch the sunset and admire the stunning scenery.

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12 December 2017 Normans Cay, Bahamas

We have a leisurely motor down to the south end of Norman’s Cay, where we pull into the narrow anchorage for the evening, just opposite the sunken DC3 wreck that shows at low tide in the bay.

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11 December 2017 Rose Island, Bahamas

We had a super sail reaching all the way down to the east of Providence island and anchored off Rose island just outside Nassau. It offered excellent protection from the northerly wind that had helped us sail south.

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10 December 2017 Great Harbour, Berry islands, Bahamas

We attempted to depart the anchorage in 20 knots of wind and choppy waves. Some problems with the windlass though meant we decided to wait it out another day till things calmed down a bit.

9 December 2017 Great Harbour, Berry islands, Bahamas

Swam ashore and enjoyed a long walk along the beach. By early afternoon the wind started to pick up the rain arrived. The anchorage wasn’t as protected as we would have liked and we had a bumpy night.

8 December 2017 Great Harbour, Berry islands, Bahamas

Sailed around to the east side of Great Harbour Cay and anchored in a relatively protected bay. Enjoyed a beautiful evening at anchorage.

7 December 2017 Great Harbour, Berry islands, Bahamas

After a calm night of motoring we arrived in Great Harbour Cay and checked in through customs and immigration at the Great Harbour Cay Marina. We anchored just outside for the night.

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6 December 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

After a couple hours delay waiting for our deposit back, we are finally off headed for the Bahamas. The plan is to sail overnight to the Berry islands and check in there. Strong winds are forecast for the weekend so we want to get in and find a safe anchorage before the winds pick up. We have a nice smooth start to our sail with Dunbar’s parents, Jean and Barrie.

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5 December 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Return the rental car… we’re all set to go!

4 December 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Final day of provisioning at Costco and Walmart. And a quick dinner with our friends Scott and Heidi at Joy’s favourite restaurant Louis Bossie’s on Las Olas.

3 December 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Braai with the South African family. The homemade boerewors was a hit! Jean and Barrie (Dunbar’s parents) move aboard all ready for our 2 weeks of cruising in the Bahamas.

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2 December 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Beach day with the family, and sunset cruise on the ICW.

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1 December 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The big day finally arrived! Wedding was at the Sea Watch restaurant in Lauderdale by the Sea.

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November 2017 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

To be updated soon! November was a busy month rushing around preparing for the wedding and for setting sail for the South Pacific. Our wedding date was set for the 1 December and we aimed to depart as soon after as possible!

31 October 2017 Bulls Island, South Carolina

Picked up our new shiny alternator and departed as soon as we could. Motored through some beautiful country as we made our way towards Charleston. A few very shallow areas along the ICW were carefully negotiated, before pulling in at the Bull Island anchorage right next to the ocean front for the night. We got to enjoy dolphins with our sunset.

27 – 30 October 2017 Georgetown, South Carolina

Took a few days out in Georgetown to lick our wounds. Broken mainfurler, broken alternator, broken grill, broken bilge pump, and then the chartplotter packed up too! 😦 Joy came down for a couple days with one of her killer migraines, and Tropical Storm Philippe passed by up the east coast sending some strong winds our way. So we spent a few days working on the boat and watching Netflix. And a little exploring of Georgetown.

25 & 26 October 2017 Anchored off the ICW, North/South Carolina

Today was meant to be our big venture offshore to make up some time south. However, once we got out of the mouth of the Cape Fear river the wind was closer to the nose than predicted. More westerly, than north-westerly. So we brought the sails in tight and started beating, until suddenly one of the bolts on the mainfurler broke and we quickly had to get the sail in. Without a mainsail we gave up the idea of beating into wind, and retreated back to the ICW with our tails between our legs!

23 & 24 October 2017 Carolina Beach, North Carolina

A lovely 2 night stop in Carolina Beach. They had a great beach and we just spent some timing walking up and down the beach and relaxing. We discovered for $10 we could do as much laundry we liked at the Joyner marina, so we caught up on some much needed laundry. Like getting the red wine stains out of the white bed spread! No names mentioned.

22 October 2017 Anchored off the ICW, North Carolina

21 October 2017 Shackleford Banks, North Carolina

Joy demanded we go see the wild horses on the Shackleford Banks. Apparently there are a 100 of these horses that roam the island freely and play on the beach. Well, we only managed to find 3 hanging around the bushes inland. However it was a fantastic anchorage just off the beach for a very pleasant evening.

20 October 2017 Morehead City, North Carolina

Some beautiful scenery as we motored through North Carolina and a sunset arrival into Morehead City. With plenty of dolphins along the way.

19 October 2017 Belhaven, North Carolina

Today was another long day of motoring. Whilst transiting the 22NM Alligator River – Pungo River canal we tried to get some drone footage. I hadn’t used the drone for a couple months and it seems all the settings reset. Once I had the drone up, it wouldn’t follow the boat. So we had to turn around on the narrow canal and go back and rescue it before the battery died and the drone fell in the water!

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18 October 2017 ICW, North Carolina

Today we managed to at least do a bit more sailing. With a nice easterly breeze we managed to reach along at 4 knots most of the way. We anchored just south of the Alligator River Swing Bridge after crossing the Albemarle Sound.

17 October 2017 ICW (Intracoastal Waterway), somewhere in North Carolina

We had a fun day motoring down the ICW. It took a while to figure out the bridges , but soon we felt like old hands making our way south with the rest of the migration of boats.

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16 October 2017 Portsmouth, Virginia

Today was a shopping day! 😦 We caught the bus to Walmart where we stocked up with groceries for the next couple of weeks.

15 October 2017 Norfolk, Virginia

We spent the day exploring Norfolk, an old naval town. Later we went to the old Commodore theatre in Portsmouth to watch Bladerunner. The theatre was built in 1945 with an Art Deco theme and we enjoyed dinner whilst we watched the movie. Unfortunately, there was no choice in the movie which wasn’t to Joy’s taste!

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14 October 2017 Norfolk, Virginia

We had a fast sail south on a beam reach for most of it. The sea gradually calmed down until the point that we needed to motor again. We came into the Chesapeake Bay and motored down the Elizabeth river at sunset past more naval ships than I’ve ever seen in my life!

13 October 2017 At Sea

We departed Atlantic City Friday morning. As we left the through the inlet we noticed a sailboat up on the beach. The swells were 6-8 feet going out through the inlet and we buried the bow of the boat in a wave a few times. It was a bit hairy going, but we managed to get out okay. We phoned the coastguard to report the sailboat on the beach, who said that it hadn’t gone ashore trying to come in the inlet the night before. Only once we got out further did I realise we had managed to depart on Friday 13th!

12 October 2017 Atlantic City, New Jersey

Waited out some strong easterly winds whilst seeing a bit of Atlantic City. Took a stroll down the famous boardwalk.

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11 October 2017 Atlantic City, New Jersey

Sailed through the night to arrive in Atlantic City early Wednesday morning.

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9 October 2017 Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

Still wet and windy 😦 Preparing to leave in the morning and sail south towards Norfolk and then explore some of the ICW.

7 October 2017 Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

We hunkered down for a wet and windy few days.

6 October 2017 Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

We met with Dunbar’s aunt Sue who lives in Tom’s River, NJ. She drove to the yacht club and met us and kindly took us out for lunch at Bahr’s Landing close by. After a delicious lunch Sue gave us a quick tour of the area, driving south along the coast.

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5 October 2017 Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

We departed the next morning to make for Sandy Hook further south. After checking the weather it looked like we would have a southerly wind for the next few days, so we decided we would sit tight and wait it out.

4 October 2017 New York, New York!

We had the most fabulous sail down the East River into New York harbour. I had planned to try and be at Hell Gate at slack tide,but we arrived 2 hours early with the tide still flowing strongly. We made fast progress down the East River, maxing out at 10 knots SOG going into Hell Gate. There’s a lot written about how tough Hell Gate can be, but we didn’t have any problems at all. The river is wide and there was little traffic on the river. We anchored next to the Statue of Liberty for a few hours, and then left for a more sheltered anchorage next to the Liberty State Park.

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3 October 2017 Port Washington, New York

Urrgghhh, time to fly back to Tada 😦

2 October 2017 Indianapolis, Indiana

We had a lovely walk out in Fort Harrison State Park. We spent the evening eating out with some of Joy’s closest friends from the “Blondtourage”

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1 October 2017 Indianapolis, Indiana

Joy’s friends threw a lovely bridal shower for her. We spent the evening having dinner with some of Joy’s friends.

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30 September 2017 Indianapolis, Indiana

Joy attended her friend Jen’s baby shower, followed by a small engagement party with Joy’s family in the evening.

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29 September 2017 Indianapolis, Indiana

We attended the Pendleton homecoming parade, followed by dinner with Joy’s friend Ashley and husband Todd.

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28 September 2017 Indianapolis, Indiana

Departed Newark airport for Indianapolis. Picked up by Joy at the airport, followed by some wedding suit shopping!

27 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Prepared boat to be left for the week. Trained it into New York for drinks and dinner with a couple old friends from South Africa. Stayed in a hotel in NJ close to the airport ready for the morning’s flight.

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26 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Day working on the boat.

25 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Day working on the boat, followed by Mets baseball game with Gary.

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24 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Dunbar’s uncle Pete, Vanessa and Chloe came for a sail out in the bay.

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23 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Dinner and drinks out in New York with Gary.

22 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Joy’s step sister Lesli, husband Christian and their two daughters Zadi and Derian came out for a sail with us. Afterwards Joy went to stay with Lesli and Christian before going to the airport the next day to fly to Indianapolis.

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21 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

Took the train into Manhattan and walked around Times Square area. We then met up with Gary and Bob for a few drinks, before walking around Manhattan for a couple hours just before sunset.

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20 September 2017 Port Washington, Manhasset Bay, New York

The wind was still blowing 20 knots, but we decided to move on further west. We were the only boat on the Long Island sound and we had a fast sail down to Manhasset Bay. Manhasset Bay turned out to be a fantastic bay and we took one of the free mooring balls offered by the town of Port Washington.

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19 September 2017 Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York

Wet windy day. Winds picked up to 25-30 knots.

18 September 2017 Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York

Woke up to a wet, misty morning. Waited until lunchtime for the cloud to lift a bit before setting sail. Had a nice north-easterly blowing about 12 knots which gave us a good sail around to Oyster Bay.  We sailed right around into the West Harbor, where we had a wide pick of where to drop anchor. We sailed up to the north side of the bay as the expected winds caused by Jose will come from the north over the next 2 days.

Hurricane Jose is expected to turn right out into the Atlantic and we will only catch the edge of it, but we are still nervous and ready to take down the sails and bimini should the track change.

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17 September 2017 Northport, Long Island, New York

Filled up with water and fuel in Port Jefferson before departing for Northport. Approximately a 4 hour sail. Northport Bay was exceptionally busy. Combination of good weather and a weekend had lots of boaters out. We dropped anchor outside the Northport mooring field and went and took a walk through the town.

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16 September 2017 Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York

Departed at 7am to catch as much of the east flowing flood tide as we could. Had to cover 40NM. Tried to sail as much as we could, but finally gave up and motored the last few hours arriving at 4pm. Dinghied into town and enjoyed a late afternoon walk through the bustling town. It was busy as a Saturday, and also seems to be a main ferry destination from Connecticut.

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15 September 2017 Orient Bay, Long Island, New York

Early morning paddle around Coeccles Bay, followed by a cycle around Shelter Island. We decided to make a start on the long trip to Port Jefferson, eventually dropping anchor just off the north side of Orient Bay for the night. It was a rolly anchorage and neither of us slept too well.

14 September 2017 Coeccles Bay, Shelter Island, Long Island, New York

Had nice sail round to Coeccles Bay. A tricky narrow entrance into the Bay, but once negotiated it was beautiful and calm inside. Still amazed that so much on Long Island is closed up as the season has finished, yet the weather is still so perfect.

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13 September 2017 Montauk, Long Island, New York

Arrived in New York State! We sailed for a while but eventually put the engine on and motored into Montauk Harbor. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was a little disappointed. Montauk seems predominantly a fishing village, both commercial and sportfishing. We anchored in the bay with a couple other boats. We found out that mooring balls were $120/night on a weekend!

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12 September 2017 Block Island, Rhode Island

Spent the day cycling the whole island from the North Lighthouse to the Southeast Lighthouse. We were exhausted by the end of it. Burgers on the grill and an early night.

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11 September 2017 Block Island, Rhode Island

Long day of sailing from Cuttyhunk to Block Island, approximately 30NM. Wind started out great with a close reach but then switched round on to the nose. We attempted to beat into the wind for a couple hours, but TaDa does not point very well. After 2 hours we had only got 4NM closer to our destination, so we motored the last 3 hours into Block Island harbour. Put some chicken on the grill and enjoyed the sunset.

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10 September 2017  Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts

After saying our goodbyes we motored out of Edgartown harbour and then enjoyed great sailing all the way to Cuttyhunk. We anchored on the south side of the island and dinghied into the beach. We had a sunset stroll around the very quaint island.

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9 September 2017 Katama Bay, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Had lunch with Fred and Cathie Twadelle. We met Fred and Cathie in the BVIs in March and they kindly invited us to get in touch with them in Martha’s Vineyard. We had a lovely lunch at the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown. Fred and Cathie have just been through the traumatic experience of watching Hurricane Irma tear through Nanny Cay in Tortola where there Gulfstar 40 is kept. Their boat was on the hard and has been knocked over, but they don’t have much information other than that at the moment.

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8 September 2017 Katama Bay, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

A trip up the mast, followed by a trip to West Marine for a new wind vane. We got a few tasks done and then did some waterskiing with Dean round Katama Bay. After a lovely dinner with Dean & Becky out in Edgartown, we then met up with the crew of Arva. Dave, Sue, Jon and Tamrika all bought a Lagoon 450 together and are currently cruising the East coast of the US. I first met Jon through Martin from Amara, and indeed all 4 of them sailed with Martin at some stage during Amara’s circumnavigation. Amara was sadly caught up in Hurricane Irma down in Tortola and seems is a total loss.

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7 September 2017 Katama Bay, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Today we got the bikes and went for a cycle up to Vineyard Haven. We stopped in Oak Bluffs for some lunch, and since our legs were tired, caught the bus back to Edgartown. We had a quiet dinner with Dean and Becky at the house.

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6 September 2017 Katama Bay, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Dean and Becky returned from New York so we picked them up at the Martha’s Vineyard airport. We went out for dinner and drinks with Dean at the Newes Cafe and then continued the catch up with Becky back on the boat until the early hours of the morning.

5 September 2017 Katama Bay, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Joy came down with one of her dreaded migraines, so we spent the day obtaining some prescription medication and just taking it easy on the boat. This has been one of only two  migraines in the two months since she did her gut cleanse diet. So it would seem she’s going to be back on the diet very soon! Pat insisted we stay in the house since the guest room was vacant.

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4 September 2017 Katama Bay, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

A beautiful morning welcomed us and we set off for Martha’s Vineyard once again. Once through the rough and tricky Woods Hole pass we switched off the engine and spent 3 hours sailing towards Edgartown. Bob and Pat Snyder were very kind in lending us their private dock in Katama Bay, and also their car. We drove around the island checking out the sites including the Aquinnah cliffs and then did some much needed grocery shopping.

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3 September 2017 Hadley Harbor, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

The weather was atrocious with rain and wind all day so we stayed holed up in the boat.

2 September 2017 Hadley Harbor, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

After a fast sail across Cape Cod bay we transited the Cape Cod Canal. We had a nice 2-3 knot current pushing us through. We were making good progress towards Martha’s Vineyard when the engine died. I replaced the fuel filters and bled the fuel lines, but couldn’t get the engine going. Being Labor Day weekend it looked like we might have a long wait to have someone look at it. SeaTow came to our rescue and towed us into Hadley Harbor where we anchored to wait out the weekend. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning out the air filter (which hadn’t been done for a quite while and was very blocked). I also changed the oil and oil filters. However I was still unable to get the engine started. I keep a can of starter fluid for the outboard, and thought I would try it out on the diesel engine. I sprayed just a bit through the air intake and sure enough she fired up and started running again.

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1 September 2017 Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

We spent the day exploring the rainbow village of Provincetown. I especially enjoyed the Pilgrims Monument to the first arrivals aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Especially since my uncle has proven that our family is related to a Samuel Fuller who was aboard the Mayflower. That makes me something like a 12th generation Mayflower arrival!

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