Friday, December 27, 2013

This is the Season for Travel, Family, Friends and Celebration




We had a good flight home and have enjoyed reuniting with family and friends.  We were picked up from the airport and welcomed home with dinner and decorations by our daughters and grandchildren. They had gotten down some of the decorations (from the excessive collection I have amassed over the years) out of the attic and did a wonderful job of making the house feel like Christmas.  Freddie enjoyed being able to volunteer for his regular shift at the Hospital the 2 Tuesday’s that we were home. We were able to catch up with our friends at  Amelia Island, who are getting their boat ready to go to the Bahamas next year and our friends at Rocky’s, where we had Stray Cat hauled out for repairs before we left.  We also managed to squeeze in Doctors and Dentist appointments, Christmas shopping in addition to lots of cooking and feasting.  The hardest thing about cruising is being away from family and we were only away for just over 2 months. But now it is time put the decorations away and head back to Stray Cat and warm weather.  I am just a little anxious as to how the boat has been without us during this time.  We have also been keeping up with our new friends on Jalapeno who are now in Puerto Rico, enjoying their adventures and are ready to continue on with ours. Merry Christmas in America, Happy New Year Georgetown!
Freddie with Steve and Stevie at the Amelia Yacht Basin

Douglas at Rocky's boatyard dock

We ladies had just went for our annual pedicures.

Christmas Day with the Walkers 

My Brother, My Dad and Me I am truly Blessed to be able to celebrate the Holiday with together

Grandkids and Guests enjoy the trampoline

My Aunt Jo and My Mom, I love having my family together for Christmas!

My Daughter Kelsey and Grandson Walker

Grandchildren, Eowyn, Walker and Mia

Starting to gather their loot and head home

Family and Friends have feasted well

Papa with one of our former church babies and her mom
Our Nursery babies have grown up so fast. We love reuniting with these
guys at Christmas.

My Son in Laws, I am so proud of these guys!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Ruff Return

After lunch and a last snorkel we weighed anchor and headed to check out the iguanas about 5 miles south of Staniel but we noticed that the wind was picking up more than forecasted and so we went on down to Black Point where we knew that we could get good holding. The anchor did not set on the first attempt (only happened once before with this 45# manson supreme anchor) so we moved closer to the other side of the cove and got settled in for the night. The next morning the weather forecast continued to decline and the tides were going to make it harder to get in and out of the cuts later in the week so we elected to head on out. We reached Little Farmers around 10 am (high tide). Looking out the cut it looked quite ruff. We could see white caps quite a way out to sea and were unsure about heading out.There were several boats anchored in the area and a trawler coming around that we thought might be heading out the cut ( maybe check how he goes and follow him?) but he went on by to anchor. Things weren't going to be better any other day and the slack tide would be later putting us going through the cut at Georgetown in the dark  so on we went. Freddie did a wonderful job of steering us through the cut while I was strapped in on top of the roof on lookout duty. We get through the cut and head to Georgetown. Conditions were ruff but the wind was around 35 degrees off our bow (the closest to the wind that we can really sail) and we were averaging 6 mph motor sailing. The wind was averaging 20mph and the waves were around 5 ft with a 4 second interval and few breakers and the sun was shinning. Many are sailing purest (they hate to ever use their engines) but not us. We have no issues using our diesels to help us along. The same trip took us around 5 hours when we first traveled to Georgetown and that would put us coming into the cut at Elizabeth Harbor at slack tide just before sundown. Conditions deteriorated. The wind went up. We saw regular gusts in the 30's and at least one at 40 mph. The waves also grew and became more choppy with more breakers. The direction of the wind also moved more on our nose making it necessary to put up the jib and then re deploy it as the winds continued to change. All hands were drenched and everyone but Tripp became a least a little seasick. Poor Dana feed the fish quite a few times. This made a slow miserable slog to windward. Not the kind of sail you really want. Thankfully all the instruments worked perfectly this day. Our progress was so slow that we did not reach Georgetown until 9pm. With Tripp and Dana watching the water under a sliver of a moon, me tracking our waypoints on the explorer charts and Freddie doing his ever brilliant job at the helm we edged our way through reefs, waves and wind into Elizabeth harbor and to our mooring. We made a bowl of ramen noodles and fell into bed exhausted but grateful for a safe passage.

Sea state before things deteriorated. waves never look as large in photos as they actually are.

Staniel Cay Again

We spent a couple of amazing days at Staniel Cay with Tripp and Dana. The trip back had a two fold purpose. First I wanted to share with them what I think has been one of the most beautiful and interesting places we have visited and second to retrieve my credit card from the marina there. Yes I left my credit card at the marina office and they have been holding it for me. We snorkeled, feed the pigs and this time we went on shore and got to pet a couple, went back to Thunderball, where Tripp and Freddie jumped from the top. Tripp actually speared a lionfish and although he was small had him for an appetizer for dinner. They are poisonous and must be handled carefully but Tripp had been prepared and studied how to handle them successfully. We also rescued a couple who couldn't get their boat started. They then followed us to feed the pigs on the beach. We took a short walk into town, had lunch at the Yacht Club, pulled anchor and went to Black Point for the night. It still cracks me up to say I ate at a Yacht Club. I envision men in blue blazers and ascots and women in white linen dresses when really all of them in the Bahamas are wooden buildings where everyone is in bathing suites, shorts and bare feet.

We rescued the couple in the background when they could not get their
boat motor started and were drifting out of the cove.

Here piggy piggy piggy

The connection is taking half an hour for each picture so I will post more when I can connect.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Crew Additions

We Picked up Tripp and Dana from the airport  and headed back to town. We had taken Stray Cat over to get Diesel around 2 and wanted to see if we could just tie up there until we got back from the airport since the wind was blowing pretty good and that would make it a wet ride back across the harbor. Since they said they would need to charge us for a half days dockage if we did that we just motored out a couple hundred yards and dropped the hook right there among a couple of other boats. (there were twice as many there after we got back to the boat that night) We stopped at Eddie Edgewaters for dinner and what was suppose to be the first rake and scrape of the season. The band was just starting to set up when we headed back to Stray Cat to settle in the two new crew members and get ready to leave for Staniel the next day. We left Georgetown around 8 am and headed out to the Exuma Sound and the Little Farmers cut to re-enter the banks and go to Staniel Cay. The cut was a little bumpy and Dana got a little Sea sick but the seas were smooth and the wind was light. Dana and Tripp were on the sugar scoops when Dana, who was a little skeptical about possibly falling overboard, ask Tripp would we be able to get her if that happened. Sure, he told her  that he would jump right in after her and that the boat would come back to pick them up. He stand up looses his balance and grabs the wrong line that hoists the dingy up and Tripp is hanging off the back of the boat and the front of the dingy is also in the air. We stop the boat and Tripp drops into the water and climbs back aboard. Since we were already stopped and he was already wet  he asked if he could go back in for a swim in the indigo blue ocean. Sure  we said and Dana joined him. The rest of the sail up was uneventful. We went through Little Farmers cut which looked much less intimidating in daylight and anchored off a spot called Netties place. Freddie took Tripp and Dana to look for Lobster ( which were successfully hiding from them) while I made dinner and we settled down for our second night on the hook.

Tripp working on the fishing poles. So far the fish have nothing to fear from us.

Tripp and Dana swimming in the open ocean.

I don't know if the video will post but the water is so clear you can see Tripp underwater as clear as if he was on top.

Tripp and Dana

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1st, We have been in the Bahamas a whole month!

Today was Beautiful! The weather was perfect. Yesterday it rained off and on all day. Which of course gave us the opportunity to find how many leaks we still have on Stray Cat. We also tried to fix the burner on our stove. We were not successful so we are down to one burner and added that to the list of things we will be working on this summer. Jalapeno wisely chose to wait to leave until today with yesterdays nasty weather. We are really sad to see them go but know they are going to have a great journey. We finally got a mooring here and our flights home scheduled. Can't wait to see the family and celebrate the Holidays. Tomorrow we pick up Tripp and Dana at the airport and are really excited to have them with us for a week. Our mooring is right by the Chat and Chill here on Stocking Island and tonight was the first pig roast of the season. I thought the food was yummy. The inside is decorated with autographed Tee Shirts hanging all over the ceiling. There was a volley ball game  and kids swinging and all kinds of people just hanging out and enjoying the evening. This part of the Island is a lot livelier than where we were anchored. Freddie loves feeding the fish so I gave him the rest of my loaf of bread and he made his own fish feeder but it tore apart on the way to the mooring.

I will try to upload the pictures later. They do not seem to want to load. Well it is 7:30 and close to bedtime. We do go to bed early and get up a lot earlier now. Even Freddie!
Off They Go

Pig Roast at the Chat and Chill

Wendel (Little Toot) owns the Moorings we are on now. Freddie gave him a FROG Hat.

Freddie's pet fish feeder. Didn't make the transfer to the mooring and his fish didn't come either.

Ordering dinner at the Famous Chat N Chill

Glad to get some internet this morning on the front of the boat. Hard to see in the glare but at least some pics were uploaded. Now time to go get ready to pick up Tripp and Dana!!!!