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DECEMBER---Vero Beach, FL to Thompson Bay, Long Island (Bahamas)

Pointe West Townhouse:

Hard to leave the townhouse. Made so much progress and enjoyed the work. However, time to leave the townhouse and head to the Bahamas with its beautiful waters and beaches. Winterized the townhouse on December 5 which isn't as much work compared to what Carl does to winterize our cottage in Pentwater. Turned the rental car in and moved on the boat.

Having some work done on the townhouse while we are in the Bahamas. Excited to see the work when we pass through Vero sometime in early April. Stopped checking Craig's List for furniture and put the painting supplies away for now.

Sailing and "the Boat":

Launched DISCOVERY on December 4. Motored from Riverside in Fort Pierce up to Vero Beach Municipal Marina. Passed under the two bridges at Vero Beach close to high tide. The VHF antenna"tinked" the bridge as we passed under. Stayed at the marina a couple nights making several runs to the grocery store for last minute items including perishables. It is so easy to just keep buying stuff but decided enough is enough!

The rebuilt generator sounded good when it was started it up for the first time. A little effort required to start it up after the repair work was completed---Carl had to bleed the air out of the lines. The manufacturer spray painted the generator so some paint "stuck" to the solenoid so had to work that loose. Carl installed a new wifi router in the boat. Of course, picking up free Wifi isn't as easy as it was 2-3 years ago. More people are securing their systems. Plus it seems more people are using their cellphones for their internet so there aren't as many signals out there. Still we manage to find a free network once in awhile .Having a router on board makes it possible for both of us to use our computers at the same time.

Left Vero Beach on December 6 moving down to Fort :Pierce. Anchored by USCG Station for the night. Traveling with SAVAGE SON. Weather (wind direction) is not good for running on the outside to West Palm so down the ICW we go. Wind from the south at 18 knots gusting 20 knots. Eight opening bridges between Fort Pierce and Peanut Island! Encountered several brief rain showers on the way otherwise uneventful.

The winds continued to blow from the southeast to south which makes it difficult to move south along the coast to Miami which was our goal. We do not want to continue down the ICW from West Palm to Fort Lauderdale with 20 opening bridges and lots of local boat traffic. Decided to hang out in West Palm for better weather conditions. Moved from Peanut Island anchorage up to North Lake Worth. By the time we anchored in North Lake Worth, Bob reported two mechanical problems on SAVAGE SON.......the refrigeration wasn't working and a leak in the watermaker. SAVAGE SON quickly lined up technicians for repairs and moved to the marina. The refrigerator needed to be recharged and the watermaker had a cracked manifold. Part for watermaker ordered and arrived the next day. The good news is the part arrived on time; the bad news it could not be installed "as it". The part needed a special installation kit which took two more days to arrive.

The installation kit finally arrived and was installed one evening around 8 PM. The next morning at 6 AM, Carl and I jumped in the dinghy, headed to the marina to help SAVAGE SON get out of the slip. It was windy and SAVAGE SON's prop walk made it a challenge for Bob to get out without assistance. There was a possible gulfstream crossing in the forecast for Sunday. DID NOT and I repeat did not want to miss that crossing opportunity. Going outside to Fort Lauderdale or Miami was not an option .....brisk winds on the nose. Yup, ended up taking the ICW from West Palm to Fort Lauderdale with 20 opening bridges!!!

During the trip from Lake Worth to Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale, SAVAGE SON noticed water dripping from the engine. It was the thermostat housing. Could not get the part and make the Sunday window to cross the Gulfstream to the Bahamas. Carl helped SAVAGE SON out----used JB Weld to glue the housing threads. The leak stopped . Bob asked his son, Brian, to order and ship the part to the Bahamas. The part is on backorder and not available for at least 4 weeks.

Ready on Sunday to head to the Bahamas. It would have been nice to leave from Miami but it wasn't to be. Made the 7:30 AM bridge along with 8 other sailboats. Headed for the Hens and Chicks north of Bimini near Great Issac. The trip was without incident for us but SAVAGE SON was nervous during the crossing because their bilge pump kept coming on (taking on water from somewhere). They found hose leaks in the rear propane lockers when they arrived in Nassau. I said it was without incidence for us but to the north and east of us we could see a horrible squall line with lots of lightning late Sunday afternoon until around 4 AM. Fortunately, the squall was moving almost directly west not affecting us at all other than watching the lightning. When we reached Mackey Shoal met up with 6-8 boats that left Miami that morning. Quite a line of sailboats all going to the same waypoint. Almost needed a traffic controller. Had a full moon with great visibility. Tied to the dock in Nassau at 7:30 AM Monday---a quick 24 hour trip.

Bahamas Customs came to the boat almost immediately---just completed the paperwork when they arrived. Invited them below where it was cooler. Immigration. did not arrive until close to noon. The lady from Immigration was a little flustered when she arrived. She gave us the time we requested. Carl made a run to the phone company for a sim card---phone time and data. BLUE HEAVEN invited us to join a group of cruisers that were going to a Chinese restaurant but we were too tired. Invited SAVAGE SON to join us for appetizers and drinks in the cockpit---very relaxing. Off to bed early for a great night's sleep.

The quarantine flag goes up until cleared by Customs and Immigration. Two Customs agents came on board to complete our paperwork. Finally raise the Bahamas courtesy flag after Immigration completes the process.

 

The following day we sailed from Nassau to Shrouid Cay. Great sailing with wind 030 degrees at 12-14 knots. Not the first boat out of Nassau but it wasn't long before DISCOVERY was the lead boat with 13 boats behind us. Quiet night at Shroud. Decided to keep moving---left Shroud and sailed to Big Majors Spot. Wind from the same direction as the previous day but a little stronger....18 knots gusting 20 to 22 knots. Numerous mild squalls passed over and around us.....no rain only a slight increase in wind.

From Big Majors we moved to Black Point. Sailed from anchor on a broad reach with a reefed main to Harvey Cay. Rounded Harvey Cay close hauled in 20 knots of wind. Pointed as high as possible heading up with every gust. In spite of my best effort.....had to turn the motor on to about a mile west of the anchorage. Just could not point high enough to make it in.

Another great sail from Black Point to Galliot Cut ......close hauled in 18 knots of wind with gusts in the lower 20's. Yesterday's weather from Chris Parker's for 12/24 --- winds 10-12 knots from 120 degrees backing to the northeast during the day. Decided to listen again the morning of 12/24.....the only change was the winds would not back until late in the day. Discussed going back to Big Majors Spot when a sailboat that left the cut about 30 minutes earlier called back to give wind and wave conditions---"Pretty flat, few 2 foot rollers in the cut and winds from the north northeast at 15 knots Wow, that sounded perfect for heading to George Town. Yes, the winds were still southeast in the anchorage but maybe the conditions were different out there. Pulled the anchor. Well, conditions at the anchorage were NOT different out in the sound......3-4 foot waves and winds from the southeast at 15-20 knots. Could have turned around but continued on our way plowing into waves until noon when the wind dropped below 10 knots but never changed direction. Carl had two fishing lines out. Caught one stinking barracuda that went back into the water. YUCK. By the way, we ran into the guy who reported on weather conditions at Chat n Chill (Volleyball Beach). Gave him a hard time!

The day of New Years Eve decided to motorsail down to Thompson Bay. Wind at 120 degrees but only 8-10 knots early increasing up to 12-15 and backing to the east when we arrived in Thompson Bay.

Social Activities:

Vero Beach----Attended the Thursday Cruisers Happy Hour. Lots of people in attendance----a quite a few "newbies". Interesting to listen to the newbies' conversation---Where do I cross? How many hours? I tell "newbies" that they should be flexible .....crossing depends on the weather and how long that weather holds. Still they want the "correct answer" which there isn't one. Before we left Vero Beach, Carl and I went to see "All is LOST" with Robert Redford. Not a good movie to watch before you set to sea!

LAKE WORTH/PALM BEACH----Had time to burn in North Lake Worth waiting for SAVAGE SON's watermaker parts to arrive. Took the dinghies to the north end of the lake to the bridge where you can beach them on a small patch of land. I was the first one of the dinghy so I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting on a rock. The conversation moved from "hello how is it going" to the weather when this guys stepped on his soap box and started to preach about the end of the world. Don't understand the details but some how our government can legally mess with the weather especially seeding the clouds. This legal right was slipped through with other legislation Who controls the weather also controls the world. We are on the brink of World War III with the Pretender in the White Office. The Muslims will fight the Jews and all others will get so sick and tired of war that they will side up with Lucifer who promises to bring peace but really brings the world to an end. Oh my ......could not get away from him. Okay....did finally get away from him and went for lunch at a Sports Bar.It was Sunday so the bar was packed with professional football fans. A long wait but the beer was cold and the food was good when we finally got a table.

Saw this "houseboat" on our way to Peanut Island anchorage. Puts new meaning to the word "houseboat".

Because the watermaker part needed that installation kit, Bob and Bev wanted to do something fun while we waited. Rented a car from Enterprise one day. The four of us went to the Shopping Mall where Bob bought a couple pair of shorts. Then off to the movie "The Book Thief". Returned to SAVAGE SON around 4:30 in time to help Ken and Leigh on ONE EYED PARROTS get into a slip at the marina where SAVAGE SON was. ONE EYED PARROTS needed some work done on their watermaker. Carl and I returned to DISCOVERY while Bob and Bev drove down to Fort Lauderdale to have dinner with Brian and Megan (son and new daughter-in-law).

Bev invited me in to do laundry while SAVAGE SON was in the marina. While the clothes were washing---we sat in the lounge watching one of the morning shows on TV. Every time we'd say something.....this New Zealander would step out of the computer area into the lounge to comment on our conversation. Carl passed through the lounge and some how brought up Laura Deckker a young girl from Holland who did a circumnavigation. When the New Zealander heard us talking about Laura, he came into the lounge again with business cards introducing himself as KIWI STEVE XIV. He said he knew Laura and talked forever. Kiwi Steve XIV worked for the CIA; the founders of Facebook contacted him and asked him to be KIWI STEVE ONE because he deserved that title; he developed a cure for cancer but the medical world shuns the cure because it takes money away from them,; he was a race car driver and knows the commander of CAMP DAVID. Somehow we also worked with NASA. What a nut case. By the time Bev and I were folding our clothes, the marina people came in to tell us the police were coming to take KIWI STEVE XIV away. Now, Bob says I have a knack for finding these nut cases!!!

Fort Lauderdale/Lake Sylvia---Lake Sylvia was full of boats waiting for weather. Found a space to squeeze in. Anchored closer to boats than we like to be but no strong winds were in the forecast and the neighboring boats did not object. After Carl fixed the engine thermostat housing on SAVAGE SON, Bob, Bev and I headed to a bar to meet their son, Brian, for lunch. Carl stayed on board to listen to the North Dakota Sate University football game---Bev made him a tuna sandwich to eat while he listened to the game and told him where the candy was located. At the bar, Bob looked at the TV and noticed it was NDSU so we called Carl on the VHF radio. He came in to the bar. Bob, Bev Brian and I ate our lunch while Carl found a stool at the bar to watch the game. The NDSU Bison were playing Coastal Carolina in the quarterfinals. The Bison won the game (48-14). Carl let the people sitting next to him at the bar know that he was an alumni and the Bison were going for their 3rd consecutive National Championship.

Fort Lauderdale bar watching the quarterfinal game ......North Dakota State University versus Coastal Carolina.

 

Big Majors Spot--Two nights at Big Majors Spot. Only a few boats here. Matt and Marty (RUNAWAY) stopped by to say hello. They were waiting there for parts for their windlass. Bob and Bev came over one night for Happy Hour and Sequence.

Black Point---Laundry at Rockside Laundry. Ida has 3 or 4 new wash machines. She was busy getting her places ready for renters over the holiday. Ordered coconut and cinnamon raisin bread from Lorraine's Mom. Dinner at Lorraine's where we watched the semifinals for North Dakota State University. The Bison really rolled over the University of New Hampshire (52 to 14). Have to admit when UNH ran for a touchdown in the first couple minutes of the game----experienced some anxiety! Walked the beaches for sea treasures Found some good pieces of seaglass on the beach---hardly any seaglass at the blow hole which used to have so much glass. SCOTCH MIST and SAVAGE SON came over for Happy Hour followed by Sequence. Played Mexican Train one night on SAVAGE SON. Bob and Bev also taught us how to play spades.

Happy Hour with Fred, Kathy, Bob and Bev on DISCOVERY followed by Sequence. Kathy brought the girls "good luck" because prior to Kathy joining "the girls" (Bev and I ) were losers. Do I need a wide angle lens??? I think so.

 

George Town---Arrived in George Town mid-afternoon Christmas Eve day. Dropped the dinghy and rode around to see who was around. Bumped into Barb and Jerry on KUMBAYA. Saw several boats at anchor that we know (PURA VIDA, SAM THE SKULL, ANANIA, IMAGINE, OPTIONS III, FREEBIRD, etc) but no one was around. Lots of cruisers were on the beach singing Christmas carols. Back to the boat for a quiet evening. Did not make plans with anyone for Christmas Eve. Christmas morning I made a batch of Scotcheroos to give as a Christmas gift to SAVAGE SON. Bob and Bev came over for dinner at 4:00. Made a small appetizer, curry pork, the best damn rice you will ever taste and a salad. Bev brought fresh baked whole wheat bread with butter and a cherry cheesecakes. She brought some festive glasses for our drinks. Had a great meal and a good time.Went to Junkanoo in George Town which was fabulous. Did laundry, picked up groceries and got rid of trash. This year, there is a charge to dispose trash ($2.00 per bag) which has some people unhappy. Just another change like the pumpout boat 3-4 years ago. In the evenings, usually get together with Bob and Bev to play games ......Spades and Tiles.

DISCOVERY in the Christmas mood. Kris and Craig (TILT) gave me three giant pinecones they found in Oriental. I sprayed them with green paint before we left Vero Beach. Decorated them with tiny, tiny red lights and various beads. Bottom left is a photo taken by Bev during our Christmas dinner.

 

 

 

Welcome signs. Top photo is in George Town by the dinghy dock. The bottom two photos are the signpost at Volleyball Beach.

 

 

Anchored in Kidd Cove for a couple days. One afternoon, three dolphins did laps around DISCOVERY for over two hours. Tried to catch all three in a photo without success. Below is a photo of one of them.

 

 

On the left is a Bahamian Boat out for a Sunday afternoon sail. On the right is DISCOVERY anchored off Volleyball Beach.

 

George Town had a fantastic Junkanoo this year. Junkanoo is a national celebration held in the Bahamas. The origin of the word is obscure. Some say Junkanoo came from the French word, L'inconnu or "unknown" in reference to the masks. Others say is ordinates from the Scottish settlers word junk enoo which refers to the parade of junk enough. Finally is could originate from John Grace an African Tribal Chief who maintained the right to celebrate with his people after he was brought to the West Indies in slavery. Junkanoo started in the 16th or 17th century as a special holiday at Christmas time when the slaves could leave the plantation to be with family to celebrate with African dance, music and costumes. After Emancipation Junkanoo continued to evolve from a simple celebration to a formal more organized event.

For Junkanoo (and Christmas), Regatta Park and the trees in front of the government buildings were covered with lights.

Bob, Bev and I waiting for the parade to start. Wow, color coordinated.

The costumes and music ......fabulous.

 

One afternoon went exploring in dinghies from Kidd Cove over to Red Shanks. Red Shanks is where many of the shallower draft boats hide out during strong cold fronts. A 6 foot draft can make it just inside the channel. Passed under a beautiful bridge that isn't used because there is nothing on the island that the bridge connects to the mainland. According to Bahamas Chatter---a developer has obtained approval to construct a new marina for big yachts. In Red Shanks the tradition is for a boat to paint a conch shell and leave it on the rocks.

 

Thompson Bay, Long Island----Arrived the afternoon of New Years Eve. Invited Bob and Bev over for "heavy appetizers" and games. Had some great eats. Played Sequence and Tiles. Lots of wine consumed by the girls. Sat in the cockpit and talked until late but still asleep before midnight.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
January 02, 2014