Thursday, November 15, 2018

Preparing to Leave

We are still on track to leave Beaufort, NC tomorrow and head for the Bahamas. Yesterday we borrowed one of the five loaner cars available at Beaufort Docks. It was a 20+-year-old Buick that had seen better days. Several things were falling off of it but it got us to the grocery store and back so we aren’t complaining. The weather has been cloudy most of the time we have been here so we finally gave in and plugged into the shore power for the first time in over a year. Our solar panels and lithium batteries work so well that we haven’t needed to plug in before now.
We should have plenty of wind for sailing when we leave tomorrow but it is supposed to drop off fairly quickly and remain light for most of the trip to the Bahamas. We will most likely have to do a lot of motoring so we have extra cans of diesel just in case. We expect the trip to take about 3 1/2 to 4 days. 
I am a little nervous about getting out of our slip. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of large boats here. The sailboats on either side of us extend beyond their slips so I will have to be careful not to hit them when I exit our slip. Not too far away there is an extremely large motor boat that extends at least 20 feet into our fairway. A person in the office told us that boat will be leaving first thing tomorrow morning. I certainly hope so. 



Preparing to Leave

We are still on track to leave Beaufort, NC tomorrow and head for the Bahamas. Yesterday we borrowed one of the five loaner cars available at Beaufort Docks. It was a 20+-year-old Buick that had seen better days. Several things were falling off of it but it got us to the grocery store and back so we aren’t complaining. The weather has been cloudy most of the time we have been here so we finally gave in and plugged into the shore power for the first time in over a year. Our solar panels and lithium batteries work so well that we haven’t needed to plug in before now. 
We should have plenty of wind for sailing when we leave tomorrow but it is supposed to drop off fairly quickly and remain light for most of the trip to the Bahamas. We will most likely have to do a lot of motoring so we have extra cans of diesel just in case. We expect the trip to take about 3 1/2 to 4 days. 
I am a little nervous about getting out of our slip. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of large boats here. The sailboats on either side of us extend beyond their slips so I will have to be careful not to hit them when I exit our slip. Not too far away there is an extremely large motor boat that extends at least 20 feet into our fairway. A person in the office told us that boat will be leaving first thing tomorrow morning. I certainly hope so. 



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Beaufort, NC

We are settled into Beaufort Docks and plan to wait here until a good weather window opens up, possibly on Friday. We really like it here. Beaufort Docks is on Front Street in the middle of the downtown. There are numerous shops and restaurants within walking distance. The marina is full and almost all of the boats are much bigger than ours. The boat pictured below, named Miniskirt, is 115 feet long. The sailboats on either side of us are well over 50 feet long. We are accustomed to having one of the taller masts in a marina but here we have one of the shortest. We were happy about that last night when a couple of big thunderstorms rolled through. This morning we walked over to the North Carolina Maritime Museum. It was free and quite interesting. We ate at the Black Sheep Beaufort restaurant this afternoon and have another restaurant picked out for later in the week. There will be plenty for us to do here while we wait. 





Monday, November 12, 2018

Unwound

The diver arrived at 9 am sharp and stayed just 10 minutes. In fact, he had come and gone in the time it had taken me to put a load of laundry in the washing machine ashore.  The reef line was indeed wrapped around the small gap between the propeller and the saildrive. The diver pulled it out and didn’t see anything else amiss, was paid and went on his way. The reef line is slightly chafed in the area that was stuck. The bottom paint looks fine so apparently wasn’t rubbed off where the line was vibrating against the hill and making that awful growling noise. We turned the engine on and put it in gear up to 1000 rpm while we were still at the dock. Everything seemed okay. Phew!  We are currently at the fuel dock and will have to move. We already had reservations at Beaufort Docks so we plan to head over there. 

Photo of the propeller from 2015, before it was cleaned. Arrow shows where line was caught. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Today Was Not Our Day

When we left Cape Charles yesterday morning we were both dreading the conditions, especially the sea state. It turned out that the conditions weren’t as bad as we feared. Our plan was to sail two days and two nights to Cape Fear, NC. It was windy throughout our entire trip so we made very good time. We were sailing downwind in a 20-28 knot breeze. The winds were shifty, so the windshifts along, with the 5-8 foots seas, made it very difficult to maintain the right sailing angle. I generally like to read and listen to podcasts when it is my watch. I didn’t get the chance to do either because each time I even took my eyes off of the chart plotter the wind would shift and a wave would turn the boat so that we were either pointing way to high or starting an unplanned gybe. We had set the mainsail with two reefs and it seemed about right. George had prepared the last reef line so we could either put in another reef point or shake the reefs out and out the full main sail. 
When I got up this morning at 6 am to relieve George from his watch George said he wanted to point the boat into the wind so he could fix the reefed mainsail that was partially sticking out on the sail cover. I started the engine, as per usual, to keep the boat pointed into the wind. After a couple of minutes the propeller cut out. The engine was still running but we had no propulsion in forward or reverse. In addition there was this horrible growling noise coming from under the starboard side of the boat. When this happened we were just past Cape Hatteras and had very few options. Cape Lookout was the first place we could try to get whatever was wrong fixed and that was 10-12 hours away. So we just kept sailing. Once we neared the Cape Lookout/Beaufort area George called Tow Boat US and made arrangements for a tow boat to haul us to a dock. That is what we are doing right now. About an hour ago George noticed that the longest reef line was over the starboard side. He tried to pull it in but it wouldn’t budge. We are now quite certain that the reef line fouled the propeller and that is why it wouldn’t work. George has arranged for a diver to come and free the line in the morning. Let’s hope there isn’t any damage. I don’t know why we are so hard on our poor propeller lately. 
Even with the enclosure up it was cold!




Friday, November 9, 2018

Leaving Tomorrow

Our plan is to leave Cape Charles late tomorrow morning and sail about 50 hours to Cape Fear, NC. It will be a brisk and bumpy ride. Not exactly the best conditions but the best we will get for quite a while. 
Yesterday was a nice, sunny day so we walked around town and did a little bit of shopping. I was in the market for a pair of flip flops since I had left my flip flops and shower bag at home. I wear the flip flops when I shower at marinas. I made the shower bags before we left for the Bahamas two years ago and we have both really appreciated them. I made them with three compartments for shampoo, soap etc., towels and clothes. I also put pockets on the ends for our flip flops. I had been using my shower bag for an exercise class in the pool at the YMCA at home, which is why it was in our condo and not on the boat. I didn’t even think about it while we were packing. I happened to have some Phifertex fabric on board so I made another bag for myself yesterday.  I looked around the shops for flip flops even though it is no longer the season for them here. I had just about given up when I decided to go back to a very old, well-stocked hardware store and ask about them. As we entered the store I spotted a basket of flip flops on the floor. The largest size was 2 sizes too small but I could get my feet into them so they will do. I was very happy with my find.  After we finished shopping we stopped at Cape Charles Coffee Shop and Restaurant for a late lunch/early supper.  We each had a delicious soup and sandwich as well as a nice conversation with the couple at the next table.  I just want to mention that Cape Charles is absolutely adorable and the people here are so friendly.
Today was quite dreary and it rained off and on throughout the day. We started out for a walk in the late morning but ducked into the library for a bit after it started to rain again. We plan to eat dinner at The Shanty, a good restaurant right here at the marina.  Then we will finish getting ready for the next leg of our trip. 





Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cape Charles, VA

We spent two peaceful nights and a day at anchor in Mill Creek off of Ingram Bay on the Western shore. We really like the anchorage and will most likely return. This morning we left at dawn and motored across and down the bay to Cape Charles, VA. There was very little wind throughout most of the day and the bay was completely calm. The wind started to pick up as we approached Cape Charles but we decided it wasn’t worth it to raise the sails at that point. We pulled into Cape Charles Town Harbor, filled the tank with diesel and pulled into our slip. It is quite a nice marina with floating docks and a newer, clean restroom. We plan to stay here until we have a good weather window for leaving the bay and heading south around Cape Hatteras. Right now it looks as if that will be Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime we will walk around town, visit the shops and go out to dinner. 



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

What Were We Thinking??

Our morning yesterday:

Wake up early
Check wind forecast and see that 20 knot winds with gusts in the high 30’s forecast until 1 pm
Talk about whether to stay two more nights in Solomons or leave 
Check wind forecast
Meditate for 10 minutes
Check wind forecast
Talk about whether to stay two more nights in Solomons or leave
Check wind forecast
Eat breakfast
Check wind forecast
Talk about whether to stay two more nights in Solomons or leave
Check wind forecast and see that it has changed, high winds to end at 9 am
Decide to leave (which is what we really wanted to do all along)
Pull up the anchor in calm winds and driving rain
Motor by several other boats not making any moves to leave

The wind and waves increased as we neared the mouth of the Patunxent River.  We also had the current against us. The combined effects slowed our speed from what would have been 6.5-7 knots at 2000 rpm down to 4 knots. The rain continued to pour and my new bimini started to leak. Darn. The worst leaking was along the two zippers that connect the back of the bimini to the bimini-arch connector. The water was dripping right through the zippers. There were small leaks in other places and before long the entire cockpit was wet even though we had the enclosure panels up. After a few hours I began to feel seasick. I hadn’t thought to take any medication before we left. George took over at the helm and drove most of he rest of the day. We didn’t raise the sails because there were squalls rolling through and we didn’t want to have the sails up if we got hit with high winds. Once the squalls finally passed in the afternoon we attempted to raise the main sail. It was quite an ordeal because one of the reef lines had become fouled after bouncing around in all of the wind and waves. We had thought we would be sailing so George had prepared the main sail before leaving the anchorage. That meant he pulled the reef lines free of the sail.  Normally we raise the sail early on so it isn’t a problem. Yesterday we motored for hours while they were free and bouncing on the deck. In any case, once the line was all sorted out the wind had shifted behind us and was light so the sail didn’t stay filled. We ended up dropping the sail. 
We finally pulled into Mill Creek (another one!) off of Ingram Bay at 4:45. We were both exhausted and very happy to be done with that ordeal. We plan to stay here another night to wait out unfavorable S wind today (see, we’re learning!) and then head to Cape Charles tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mill Creek, Solomons

We left home this morning to begin our third trip to the Bahamas. We were all set to go yesterday morning but decided it was way too windy. We would have had a miserable day of sailing and didn’t want to start our trip that way. Our friends, Dawn and Ray, were at the dock to see us off. It was a cool, crisp, sunny fall day with light winds. Just delightful. We had most of the enclosure panels up to keep us nice and warm in the cockpit. Since the winds were light we motored or motor sailed the entire 40 miles to Solomons. We didn’t mind because we wanted to make sure the propeller and engine were working well after the recent mishap. Everything seemed to be running smoothly, in fact George thought it was running more smoothly than before the mishap. 
We had plenty of company out on the bay. A lot of sailboats were taking advantage of the mild conditions and heading south. Several of them pulled into Solomons ahead and behind us. Fortunately there are plenty of creeks in Solomons with lots of options for dropping an anchor. On the way in we had to navigate around a sailboat race. Since we are former racers we try very hard to stay out of the way.  Because of that we decided to go through a narrow, shallow shortcut that we have seen other people use. It was actually no problem at all. We motored another 30 minutes up Mill Creek to a pretty, peaceful anchorage we have visited before. 
If the forecast is correct the wind will pick up overnight and stay brisk through the first part of the morning. We plan to get up early, check the weather and make the decision to press on or wait here another few days.  





Friday, November 2, 2018

Returning to the Bahamas

We are packing the boat and almost ready to leave for the Bahamas. I thought I had posted here a few weeks ago to say that we are returning to the Bahamas but I see that the post isn’t here. Hmmmm...
When we returned from the Bahamas last Spring I wasn’t at all sure we would ever return to the Bahamas by boat. After George’s sudden onset of a small bowel obstruction in February, and subsequent surgery, I was afraid to travel to the remote islands that we love. With the passage of time my fear has subsided so we are planning to head to the Bahamas again while we are both still healthy enough to go. 
We spent the summer working on projects, sailing and visiting with friends and family. My biggest project was making a new bimini. I will write about that in another post. We were both doing well with our preparations and on track to leave home around the first of November. One of the items on the list was to take the boat down to the marina for a “short haul” and have the bottom and propeller pressure washed. We did that last week.  While the boat was being lifted out of the water one we heard a loud noise and saw the arms that hold the straps shake back and forth. After Breeze On was fully out of the water we couldn’t see any obvious damage so they proceeded to clean the bottom and put her back in the water. After exiting the lift area I throttled up to head home. As soon as I throttled up George and I could both feel the boat shaking in a way it never had before. We returned to the marina, had the boat pulled out again and learned that the propeller shaft had been bent. One of the straps had apparently caught on the propeller as the boat was being lifted. To make a long story short, the marina replaced the shaft and bearings and took the propeller to a specialist who checked the pitch of all of the blades. In addition, a surveyor assigned by our insurance company inspected the saildrive and engine and said everything he could see looked good. He had consulted with an expert who said he didn’t believe anything internal would have been damaged as long as the engine wasn’t running at the time the incident happened.  So, we are back on track again and planning to leave either tomorrow or the next day (November 3 or 4).  We will take our time going down the bay and run the engine a bit more than necessary just to make sure that everything it ok. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Update

Since I last posted we sailed down the Chesapeake from the Chester River to the Rhode River on the western shore; then further down the Chesapeake to the Little Choptank River. When we were deciding when to travel from the Rhode River to the Little Choptank we had two options. If we left on Friday we would have lots of wind and could sail, but the conditions might be a little crazy. If we left on Saturday we would have very little wind and the conditions would be calm, but we would have to motor. Since the trip was 37 miles and we had already done so much motoring recently, we opted to leave on Friday. It was indeed windy (in the 20’s) and the water was choppy. We raised the mainsail with 2 reefs while we were still in the West River. We expected the conditions to get even worse once we entered the bay. Shortly after we raised the mainsail George spotted a large pod of dolphins!  How cool!  We weren’t able to get any photos but we did enjoy having them play with us until we had to gybe. We had a lot of wind and some light rain all morning. The temperatures were in the 70’s and we were actually cold for the first time in several days. We discussed putting the enclosure panels up but decided not to bother. We were hoping the rain wouldn’t get any worse. The wind chop on the water made for a bumpy ride and I would start to feel queasy whenever I went down into the cabin. I didn’t relish the idea of going down below to get the panels or even to get my phone to check the radar. Big mistake. Just before we passed the Choptank River the skies opened up with heavy rain. George was driving the boat and got soaked through his foul weather jacket - the entire cockpit was wet. The visibility was very poor and we didn’t see two ships approaching from behind and one approaching in front of us. One of the ships hailed us by name on the VHF radio and asked us to switch to channel 13. Once we switched to channel 13, George attempted to communicate with the ship but another boat (George thought it was another sailboat) kept talking over him.  It is very unusual for ships to hail us so we assumed they wanted us to change course but we had to be able to talk to him to make sure. Eventually the other boat stopped talking and the cargo ship hailed us again. George answered and the ship asked us to turn west. We did but that put us directly in the path of one of the ships approaching from behind. We kept going west (even though it was away from where we wanted to go) and the ship was only a mile away when we were finally clear of its path. Phew! The problem was that the three ships and Breeze On all converged in the same spot at the same time. Because the ships have to stay in the deeper water of the channel they didn’t have many options to avoid us so we had to alter our course. We would normally be on top of ships approaching by looking at their AIS on our chart plotter. The heavy rain and wet conditions made that difficult so we didn’t stay on top of that. We had a very tense few minutes but learned a few things from it. We should check the radar frequently, put the enclosure panels up sooner rather than later, and definitely stay on top of the ship traffic on the Chesapeake. Once we made it to the Little Choptank and anchored on Hudson Creek we enjoyed some nice, hot chowder for dinner. 
On Saturday we motored a few miles over to McKeil point to anchor near the house of Bob and Cathy, who were hosting the June CYC/Cambridge Power Squadron rendezvous. Fred and Ruth Ann on Shooting Star as well as Sue and Gord on Unity also anchored nearby. The rest of the folks came by car. Bob and Cathy’s house and yard are really lovely. Those of us who came by boat enjoyed a swim in their pool before the others came. There was a ton of food and we had a great time. In the morning the boaters, as well as a few others, came back to Bob and Cathy’s for breakfast. 
Yesterday morning the crews of Breeze On, Shooting Star and Unity motored over to San Domingo Creek. After anchoring and going for a quick swim we all dinghied in to St. Michaels to have dinner at Awful Arthur’s.  Jim and Kara on Second Wind were also at San Domingo Creek. They snapped photos of Breeze On at sunrise before they left to sail home. The conditions are great for sailing today so we have decided to sail over to the Tred Avon River and anchor out one more night before we head for home. 



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Happy Anniversary

George and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary yesterday with dinner at Doc’s Riverside Grille in Centreville. It was a good plan b after we gave up on being anchored in the current at Chestertown. Yesterday was another hot day so we spent a lot of it doing as little as possible so as not to work up a sweat. We had moved farther up the Corsica River closer to the wharf in Centreville. We anchored in yet another very pretty and peaceful anchorage on the Corsica River. We watched a line of thunderstorms march past just to the south of us in the afternoon. The weather cleared just in time for dinner. As we dinghied to the wharf we passed by the house of the owner of the Baltimore Ravens. George had read that he has a house nearby and that he sometimes has his huge yacht docked there.  The yacht wasn’t there but we are pretty sure we picked out the right house. It was the only one with a dock large enough to accommodate his yacht. We once saw the yacht in Cambridge. He brought it to the Hyatt in Cambridge for his daughter’s wedding. The Hyatt is just past the Choptank River bridge which has an air clearance of 50 feet. The captain had to wait for low tide in order to get the motor yacht under the bridge to the Hyatt. 
This morning we motored down the Corsica River then crossed the Chester River to Langford Creek. Along the way we picked out the closed Russian Embassy Retreat at the mouth of the Corsica River. George had read on Active Captain that it was somewhere around there and confirmed its location on Google Maps. The retreat (a very large brick house) was mostly hidden behind trees (no surprise there). We stopped at Langford Bay Marina for fuel and water before we anchored. We have motored every day for the past four days so we wanted to top off the fuel while we had the opportunity. We aren’t using the water maker in the Chesapeake so it made sense to fill the water tank, too. We actually could use the water maker if we had another pre-filter. Since we are never far from civilization around here it doesn’t seem worth it. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

New Territory

We took advantage of a few weeks without commitments and set off yesterday morning for new territory. Our plan was to go up the Chester River to Chestertown. We planned to spend two nights there and celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary at a restaurant in town. We had visited Chestertown five years ago when we were searching for a community on the Chesapeake. We loved Chestertown but decided it was too far up the river (24 miles) for our tastes. Most sailors who live in Chestertown keep their boats in Rock Hall, a 12 miles trip by car. We had heard that the Chester River was pretty and worth seeing. However, it is narrow and winding so we would have to motor up the river. 
There was no wind yesterday so we motored the entire day. Our sweet daughter called George to wish him a happy Father’s Day. Later in the day the wind picked up enough that we could motor sail. It seems that we always manage to be out sailing during the hottest week of the season. This year is no exception. The temperatures reached 90 degrees both yesterday and today. 
After we reached the Chester River we turned into the Corsica River and anchored in one of the numerous anchorages there. It is a really pretty spot. First thing after breakfast this morning we put the dinghy together on the deck. We wanted to get it done before it got any hotter. Then we raised the anchor (after replacing the blown windlass fuse) and motored up the Chester River to Chestertown. The river is indeed narrow and winding with a very narrow channel. The current in the river really rips but, fortunately, it was a favorable current and gave us a boost of around one knot. We arrived shortly after noon and anchored opposite Chestertown Marina. We recalled that the marina was under construction five years ago and it appeared to still be under construction. The tide turned shortly after we dropped anchor. The wind had also picked up and was opposing the tide. Breeze On is not happy in those conditions. If the wind is light she will point in the direction of the current. If the wind is really strong she will point into the wind. In this case the wind was just strong enough to cause her to keep turning 180 degrees and then back again. The anchor and chain would end up under the boat and tap, tap, tap on the bottom. From the v-berth (where we sleep) the tap, tap, tap sounds more like bang, bang bang. We knew we wouldn’t sleep very well in those conditions so we made the executive decision to dinghy to shore, walk around town and get some ice cream (if we were lucky). Then we would return to Breeze On, raise the anchor, motor back down the Chester River and anchor again in the Corsica River. While we were in town we did score some ice cream in a cute coffee shop. We also bought some BLT and avocado sandwiches to take back to the boat for supper. Our quick walk around town confirmed our first impression of Chestertown. It has a lot of lovely, historic buildings and cute shops. Although we like the town very much we are glad we chose to live in Cambridge instead. Our anniversary is tomorrow and our new plan is to anchor farther up the Corsica River and dinghy into Centreville for dinner. It is always good to be flexible!
The cell service is poor here so I can’t include photos. I will post them later. 

 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Back on the Boat

A few weeks ago we went out for a sail with the intention of spending the night at anchor at Trippe Creek, one of favorite anchorages on the Chesapeake. We had a nice sail and had just finished dropping the anchor when I received a tornado watch alert on my phone. We knew there was a chance of thunderstorms and were willing to take that risk. Tornadoes were a different story, especially when we were just over 3 hours from home. So, we pulled up the anchor and motor-sailed home, arriving just before dark. 
Yesterday we set out again with a plan to anchor out for a few days. It was gorgeous day and we set sail for Hudson Creek on the Little Choptank River. We dropped the anchor and had the entire anchorage to ourselves, with the exception of a pair of osprey and a bald eagle. I used our new Omnia Stovetop Oven to make a chicken, rice and vegetable casserole. It worked really well and the casserole was quite tasty. As we were getting ready for bed the mosquitoes started to swarm inside the cabin. We quickly put the screens in the port lights and on the companionway. It gave us a chance to use our new screen door. I had purchased one of the magnetic screen doors that I had seen advertised. They have Velcro on the outer edges and magnets in the middle. The idea is that you just walk through the door and the magnets separate, then reattach themselves. Since the companionway has a horizontal as well as a vertical surface, George was skeptical that the magnets would hold. I thought it was worth a try. Several days ago while we were at home we attached the adhesive-backed Velcro to the companionway. I then removed the binding and Velcro from the sides of the screen door, cut the door to fit, then reattached the binding and Velcro. When we tried it last night it worked like a charm. 
After George killed all of the mosquitoes inside the cabin we slept very well until a waterman woke us sometime before dawn. He started his trot line right off of our bow. We don’t like to complain since catching crabs and oyesters is how the watermen make their living. We are in their way so we consider it part of the experience of anchoring on the Chesapeake. 






Friday, May 4, 2018

Best of Both Worlds

We arrived home two weeks ago. As I checked the blog this afternoon I saw that the post I thought I had written about arriving home was not here. Another mystery. 
Since we have been home we have both enjoyed long, hot showers, and using the dishwasher and the washing machine.  I appreciate how much easier it is to cook in our kitchen than on the boat. I am sewing again and George is catching up on paperwork. We have resumed our daily three mile walks and trips to the gym at the YMCA three times a week. We have been reconnecting with friends in town. Spending the winter in the Bahamas and then returning home is the best of both worlds. 
The weather seemed cold for us here until just a few days ago. Our friends tell us the cool spring was nothing compared to the miserable winter they had here. It makes us appreciate the Bahamas that much more. Although the temperatures were cool here the spring flowers have been beautiful. 
Yesterday we went for our first day sail since we returned home. It was a gorgeous afternoon on the water and the wind was just right. We invited friends to join us and had a great time. After we returned home I tried out my new Omnia stove-top oven on the galley stove. The Omnia is not supposed to work well on our induction stove in the condo so I decided to cook on the boat. The crustless quiche took just 20 minutes and was delicious. I think we will enjoy using it to bake on the boat. 
George and I each have lists of projects we want to complete before the fall. I think we will still have plenty of time to go sailing on the Chesapeake. I just finished “bags” that will hold our folded clothes on the v berth shelves. I am now working on clear vinyl zipper bags that will hold our medical kit items. 
George is doing well and feels like he is back to normal. He even climbed the mast the other day to fix a wind instrument.  I was tailing the safety line and was quite nervous. I distracted myself by watching the ducklings nearby. I am still nervous when he tries to push, pull or lift anything heavy. I am less fearful about returning to the Bahamas and having another medical crisis. I imagine that will continue to lessen as times goes by. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Almost Home

We left Norfolk at 5 am yesterday morning, hoping to sail 90 miles to Solomon’s. We were able to safely leave the dock, even though the west wind was pinning us against the dock. Once we left Little Creek and entered the Chesapeake Bay the winds were blowing at 20-25 knots and the 2-3 ft waves from the NE were right on the bow. We motored until the sun came up then raised the main sail with a double reef line. The waves had the boat pitching every which way and had caused the main halyard to get caught on a spreader. Before we raised the sail George put on his life jacket and tether and went up on deck to try to get it free. No luck. It appeared to me that the lazy jack line was holding the halyard to I suggested turning the boat so that the boom and lazy jack line would move and release the pressure on the halyard. Hooray, it worked!  The boat was moving slowly with just the main sail so we unfurled the jib, which left us heeling at 30 degrees and way overpowered. So, we furled the jib and motor-sailed with the reefed main. The conditions were just miserable. Breeze On was crashing down many of the steep waves. Slam! Slam!  Slam!  Some of the larger waves crashed over us. The air was cold and the tide was against us. We decided early on that we didn’t want to continue all day under those conditions so we searched for an anchorage. George chose an anchorage in Mobjack Bay on the western shore. The entrance to Mobjack was littered with crab pots buoys.  They were difficult to see due to the choppy water and salt water splattered on the windows. Somehow we managed to get to the anchorage without snagging one and dropped the anchor just before noon. It was discouraging to see how little progress we made since leaving the dock 7 hours before. After we anchored I turned the fresh water pump on and it started running. I turned it off and checked the faucets. They were all turned off so I knew we had a leak somewhere. George discovered a line in the shower had come loose even though it had been double-clamped. It must have been all of the slamming. We were SO grateful that we had remembered to turn the pump off before we left the marina (that is our practice but we don’t always remember). We never would have heard it running and emptying all of our fresh water into the bilge. It was a quick fix & we had water again. 
The weather forecast seems to change by the hour but one thing remains constant, a front bringing high winds is due to come through tomorrow. We want to be home before that arrives. So, we raised anchor at 7 am this morning and began a marathon motoring trip home. The trip is about 112 miles so we won’t get home until the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately the creek where we live is very well-lit at night so we shouldn’t have any problems with visibility. 
Although the wind started out on our nose this morning, at least it is light and the waves are small. The sun is shining and warming up the air inside the enclosed cockpit so we are keeping warm. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brunswick to Norfolk

Our weather window finally arrived. We left Brunswick Landing before dawn on Thursday morning. The winds were light so we were motoring for several hours. After leaving Brunswick we headed east to catch the Gulf Stream and take advantage of the current. There were residual NE waves, leftover from the last front so we were slamming into them through the day and all night long. Neither one of us was able to sleep much. The wind eventually picked up enough the first night to turn the engine off and sail. By mid-morning on the second day the waves calmed down and the slamming stopped. George took advantage of the calmer conditions and transferred some diesel into the tank. 
Our plan was to take three and a half days to get into the Chesapeake Bay. Yet another cold front was expected Sunday and the timing was tight. We purchased a custom weather route from Chris Parker (weather guru) and he confirmed that we could make it. George plotted out waypoints that indicated where we should be every twelve hours. Our goal was to not fall behind. If it looked like we weren’t going to make it before the front arrived our plan B was to go to Beaufort, NC. If our speed dropped below six knots when we were sailing we would turn the engine on. We made the 580 nautical mile trip in 78.5 hours, averaging 7.4 knots. We motored for 39 hours. Not bad at all. The Gulf Stream helped with our speed, particularly toward the end. As we pulled into Cobb’s Marina at noon on Sunday it was just beginning to rain. 
Our friends, Jean and Michael on Desiderata, were here already and we went out to dinner together to catch up. 
We are planning to leave before dawn tomorrow and sail about 90 miles to Solomon’s, then on to Cambridge the next day. As much as we love Breeze On we are both looking forward to being home. 
Transferring diesel


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Biding Time in Georgia

We are still at Brunswick Landing Marina, waiting for a weather window to continue moving north. There has been a series of cold fronts moving off of the east coast every few days. They haven’t allowed enough time to safely go offshore and make progress going north. We are anticipating a chance to make it as far as Beaufort, NC later this week. We will most likely have to wait there for another major front to pass. 
In the meantime we have been enjoying ourselves here in Brunswick. On Friday evening we met several other cruisers and walked over to downtown Brunswick’s “First Friday”. It is a lot like Cambridge, MD’s “Second Saturday”. The shops in town stay open late and serve free wine and snacks. In Brunswick there was also a live musician, a car show, a health fair, and a few art exhibits. It was quite nice and they seemed to have a good crowd. On Saturday and Sunday we walked into town to run errands and spend some time off of the boat. 
Yesterday we rented a car and drove up to Savannah for the day. George had made a reservation with Enterprise and asked for a pickup at the marina. Enterprise is apparently the only car rental agency that will pick you up and drop you off. Unfortunately, they did not pick us up. We a few minutes early to wait near the marina office. When they were 19 minutes late picking us up George started calling the local number which kicked him over to the main automated system. Eventually he got an option to be connected to the local office. The phone then rang and rang, then he was put on hold, then the phone and rang again, went to a fax machine and then he was cut off. This happened repeatedly. He eventually called and spoke to someone who makes reservations and asked for help. When that person could not help him, he asked to speak to customer service and was connected to someone in “resolutions”. That person couldn’t reach the local office either. She said she would send a message to the local office and theywould call him back. George said he didn’t believe they would and asked if she would stay on the line until someone did call him. She declined. In the meantime time I started searching for another rental car with a different company. I made a reservation with Hertz but we would have to find a way to get there. After George finished with the Enterprise “resolutions” person we requested a ride with Uber. It took about 15 minutes for the driver to arrive and another 15 minutes to get to Hertz. Just as we were pulling in to the Hertz office a person from the local office of Enterprise called George. He told George that he had a reservation but did not have have the message that we should be picked up. That is odd because George had received two confirmation emails noting that we requested to be picked up. Although the episode was very frustrating we are glad that we didn’t give up and let it ruin our day. 
We drove to Savannah in our Hertz rental car, an hour later than planned. We parked the car in a garage and started our self-guided walking tour. We had purchased an app for our iPhones called “Savannah Walking Tour”. It was very informative but, boy, did it drain our iPhone batteries. By the end of our tour we were using one phone and sharing the earbuds. It was a drizzly, cool and gloomy day but we still found Savannah to be beautiful. So many beautiful buildings and lovely squares. We ate lunch at Huey’s on the river walk. By the time we finished the walking tour we had walked over five miles and were tired so we headed back to Brunswick. My uncle and his partner were passing through Brunswick on their way north so we all went out for dinner at Marshside Grill. There are several good places to eat in Brunswick and we were all happy with our meal at Marshside Grill. 
Today was laundry day at the marina’s free laundry room. I worked on that while George returned the rental car and took an Uber car back to the marina. Tonight and tomorrow I will begin preparing food that we can warm up on our passage to Beaufort. 








Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Ft Pierce to Brunswick, GA

Note: This Post is out of order. I thought I had posted it yesterday after we arrived in Brunswick, GA. Chalk it up to sleep deprivation. Or old age. 

We left Ft. Pierce at around noon on Easter Sunday, heading for Brunswick, GA. As I mentioned in my last post, we had hoped to get as far as possible but the timing between weather windows didn’t allow us to get as far as Cape Fear. This was our first overnight passage since George’s illness and surgery. The winds were fairly light and mostly behind us so we did a lot of motoring. We both agreed that the light conditions and shorter distance were probably a good thing since George is still recovering. He is feeling good but doesn’t want to risk a hernia if he can avoid it. 
We were happy to have a full moon for our trip. The first night, after George went to bed, the sun had set, the moon wasn’t yet up and the sky was very dark, I had the thought, “I have to do this for the next five hours?”  “Really??”  Then, after I queued up my podcasts, kindle and snacks, the five hours didn’t seem so bad. 
We were passed by four cruise ships leaving Port Canaveral on Sunday evening.  The Coast Guard made announcements throughout the day on Monday warning mariners to avoid a restricted area around Cape Canaveral due to a launch. We were well past the area but looked for the launch all afternoon and evening. Apparently we were too far away to see it. George just looked online and learned that a Space X missile launched just before 5 pm. 
We did see pods of dolphins several times, although they didn’t come to play with us. Last night we had enough wind to sail for most of my watch but not so much wind to kick up a lot of waves. It was some of the easiest offshore sailing that we have had. Before the moon rose I watched the bioluminescence in the water off of the stern of the boat. Some were as big as dinner plates. I might actually learn to enjoy night watches if they were all like this. 
We approached Brunswick shortly before dawn this morning. The current was with us and we had to slow down so that we didn’t get to the marina before it opened. 
We don’t know how long we will be here. It looks as if there is more winter weather coming to the East coast and we have to work around it. As usual, we are considering a few different options and we will be flexible. 


Sunrise at Brunswick

Shrimp  boats, Brunswick, GA

We Met Some Celebrities!

Note:  This post was written after we arrived in Brunswick, GA. We are now staying at Brunswick Landing Marina. The post I had written about our passage from Ft. Pierce didn’t post yesterday and follows this post. 

Early yesterday evening we met a couple of celebrities here in the marina. Well...celebrities in the cruising world anyway. Sara and Monty Lewis, authors of the Explorer Chartbooks, came in the slip right next to ours. I heard George chatting with them not long after they had tied up their boat. I joined him on the deck and we made our introductions. When Sara gave me her first name and Monty’s I paused and asked if they were the authors of the Explorer books. She modestly said “yes”.  I was practically speechless. The Explorer Chartbooks are known as the “Bibles” of the Bahamas. They have the most accurate charts and are full of information about all of the anchorages, marinas and settlements. In fact, Garmin Blue Charts for the Bahamas that are on George’s iPad are based on information from the Explorer Chartbooks and are the charts we use while in the Bahamas. We ignore the less accurate Navionics charts on our chart plotter. Sara and Monty had guests arriving so we didn’t chat long. I hope we meet them again so we can learn more about them and how they gathered the information for the books. 
Later in the evening we heard a clicking noise that sounded like it was coming from the deck. The wind had picked up and we thought it might be a line banging on something. I went up on the foredeck and pulled on one line after another while George told me he could still hear the noise. I eventually gave up. Later on George went out and looked and was listening near the water line. Jim, from the boat on the other side of ours, came out and told George the noise was caused by shrimp. We have heard noises from shrimp before and it sounded a lot like the “snap, crackle, pop” of Rice Krispies. This was louder and more like a click. There was another intermittent, lower pitched noise as well. While we were at the happy hour this evening Jim told us that the lower pitched noise was caused by Toad Fish that eat the shrimp. Well, we all tend to think there is something wrong with the boat when we hear strange noises and are relieved when we learn that there isn’t. 



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Waiting...

On Tuesday we packed up our things, washed the sheets and towels at my uncle’s house, remade the bed, loaded the car, drove to the marina, loaded everything on the boat, bought groceries and loaded those on the boat. Our plan was to leave at slack tide either Wednesday morning or afternoon. Although the wind conditions were good, the ocean swell was too high for our comfort. If we had been able to hear Chris Parker’s weather forecast on Tuesday morning we might have known that, but we were unable to download his forecast. We might have chanced going in those conditions if it hadn’t been so long since we have sailed and George wasn’t recovering from surgery. We didn’t want to start out knowing it was going to be rough, especially with George not being 100%.
Waiting here on the boat for another weather window isn’t the worst thing in the world. The current weather is delightful. We have been enjoying going for walks along the inlet down to Jetty Park. There is a small, very nice grocery store across the street as well a good diner and a laundromat. My uncle and his partner invited us to return and stay with them but we are all settled in here so will stay on the boat. They urged us to keep one of their cars so we would have transportation. We drove back to their house today for lunch and a few games of a Mexican Train and will go out for dinner with them tomorrow night. Our next weather window appears to be Easter Sunday. We have planned three possible routes, depending on the length of the weather window. The shortest will take us to Brunswick, GA. The next will take us to Cape Fear, NC and the longest will take us to Cape Lookout, NC. The winds are predicted to be light and we will have to do a fair amount of motoring. We plan to purchase two more jerry cans and fill them with diesel just in case. 


Sunday, March 25, 2018

All Cleared

We met with the surgeon last week for a post-surgery follow-up. The surgeon answered our questions and said that everything looked good. He told us that George should be careful not to lift anything heavier than 25 lb for six weeks. Even though the incision through which he excised the bowel is just a few inches long, George could still develop a hernia if he lifts anything heavy before he is fully healed. He had anlready lifted some jerry cans full of diesel before we learned that. For the next three weeks I will either do the lifting myself or help George. 
We have electric winches so raising the sails won’t be an issue. We both believe that we will be able to sail again whenever the weather allows.  We may have a small weather window in a few days. We plan to sail as far as we can before the next cold front arrives. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Inching Toward Normality

We left Ocala three days ago and drove back to Vero Beach. George and I were surprised and disappointed that he was exhausted after loading a few bags into the car and helping to make the bed after the sheets were washed and dried. After a brief rest, though, he felt much better and wanted to drive for most of the distance to Vero. Since then he has learned that he can do more if he paces himself. Two days ago we visited Breeze On to work on some chores. George was able to move the 5 gallon jerry cans of diesel and refill the tank. He also stripped the sheets from the and v-berth, put clean sheets on the bed and cleaned out the refrigerator It was my birthday and I was busy talking to friends who had called to wish me a happy birthday. I didn’t intend to let George do all of the work!  As long as he rested in between the chores, though, he felt fine. We returned to Breeze On yesterday to sop up the water from the defrosted freezer and add 10 more gallons of fuel to the tank. George has really enjoyed spending time on the boat and I have enjoyed spending time on her as long as he is there, too. 
Tomorrow we drive back down to Ft. Lauderdale to visit the surgeon. After that we will wait for a weather window that will enable us to start heading north. 







Friday, March 16, 2018

Three Weeks Ago Today

It was three weeks ago today when George was suddenly struck with severe abdominal pain. Two days later we sailed from Bimini to Ft. Lauderdale where George was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with a small bowel obstruction. After the obstruction failed to resolve with conservative treatment, George had surgery. Throughout this process he went two weeks without food. He is now recovering at my mother’s house in Ocala and has made progress every day. 
As is the case with many stressful situations the three weeks seem like both an eternity and a short period of time. A lot of it now seems like a blur to both of us. We are both very grateful for the support of family and friends.  We are grateful that the ordeal is behind us and he is finally feeling better. 
George accomplished a few milestones today. He drove for the first time since we left the Bahamas. In fact, when he started out he joked about whether he was driving on the correct side of the road. He also fixed his own lunch while I was out getting a haircut and helped me clean out a few of my mother’s kitchen cupboards. His appetite is getting better each day and he is almost up to his usual pace of walking. 
We will stay here another day, then leave to spend some time at my uncle’s place in Vero Beach. While we are there we will do a few things on the boat and drive down to Ft. Lauderdale late next week for a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. George says he is optimistic that he will feel well enough to sail Breeze On home shortly after that. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Finally Out of the Hospital

George was discharged yesterday afternoon. We left Ft. Lauderdale and drove a few hours north to Vero Beach where we learned that my uncle’s partner was sick. We didn’t want George to be exposed to the illness so my uncle made other arrangements for us for the night. Before leaving the Ft. Pierce/Vero Beach area we stopped to see Breeze On and get a few things off of the boat. Breeze On looked just fine. I was very concerned that George was overdoing it by getting on and off the boat but he assured me he wasn’t. After visiting Breeze On we drove another three hours north to my mother’s house.  Since then I have been busy doing laundry, shopping for food, cooking dinner and unpacking. It has been a tiring few days. 
George continues to improve each day. His GI tract is settling down, his appetite is good and he is feeling good, but he is easily fatigued. We expect that each day he will get a little better. 




Saturday, March 10, 2018

Discharge Today!

We got word yesterday that George is cleared for discharge today! His diet was advanced to soft foods and he enjoyed his first solid food in two weeks. He is not able to eat much at one time but that is improving with every meal. The dietitian stopped by and talked about foods he can and shouldn’t eat while he is recovering. I worked as a dietitian many years ago but I appreciated her suggestions and asked her to return with more information about a discharge diet. She recommends low fat/low fiber for a few weeks to allow the GI tract to heal. As he improves he can add foods back as tolerated. He has lost 8 pounds and may lose more on this restricted diet. Those of you who know him know he didn’t carry around any extra weight. The weight will return, though, once he is able to eat the foods he likes. 
Right now George is eating a very nice breakfast of French toast. We are waiting for various medical devices to be disconnected and for the discharge process to be completed. Then we can be on our way and put this part of the ordeal behind us. 
We are lucky enough to have family in Florida.  We plan to stay with them while George recuperates. Then, once he regains some strength and feels well enough we will sail the boat home. At least, that is the plan for now. 



Friday, March 9, 2018

More Progress

George continues to make some progress. He is able to eat larger portions of food, he even finished his cream of wheat this morning. We just got word that his diet will advance to soft for lunch. Woo hoo!  This needed to happen before they will consider discharging him. After the fiasco of waiting 18 hours for the surgeon to follow through writing the order to discontinue George’s NG tube, the nurse and nurse manager have been on the case.  As usual, the surgeon was in the OR. The nurse manager finally texted him in the OR to ask if he would order the diet to be advanced and he agreed. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Some Improvement

George continues to make some progress. He finally had a good night’s sleep without the NG tube. He has been tolerating the clear liquids well and has slowly increased his intake. He will be graduating from clear liquids to full liquids and is looking forward to ice cream in his future. He is taking slow walks but feels very weak. Who wouldn’t be after 2 weeks without food?  He will be here another two days at least. I am trying not to focus on when he will be discharged, I don’t want to get my hopes up. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Slow Progress

After a rough first post-op day George is feeling a little bit better. He has been able to get out of bed, sit in a chair and take a short walk. The NG tube was finally removed this morning and he has started back on his clear liquid diet. He is eating small portions and taking it slowly. I have no idea when he might be discharged but he will have to improve significantly before he is ready to go.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Surgery was Successful

George underwent an exploratory laparoscopy early last evening. Fortunately, the surgeon was able to find the source of the blockage and repair it using four small incisions. Apparently a part of his large bowel, the mesentery, had draped over and trapped a part of his small bowel. We don’t know why this happened. The surgeon was able to separate the mesentery from the small bowel and remove the damaged portion of the small bowel. Because he was able to do this laparoscopically George will have a faster recovery (two weeks vs. six) and shouldn’t have to worry about developing adhesions in the future. The concern about adhesions leading to future bowel obstructions was the main reason we wanted to avoid surgery. The surgeon said he wished he had done this procedure when George was admitted, but there was no way to know that then. 
I spent the night in an easy chair in George’s room and I am very glad that I did. He has been in pain since the surgery and was supposed to get pain medication every two hours. I had to call for it each time and even then it was always quite late. The surgeon said George will be in the hospital another 72 hours. At least there is now an end in sight. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Surgery


George’s x-rays have been showing that the bowel obstruction is improving. However, George feels worse and isn't able to eat or drink. The surgeon has decided to do a minimally invasive procedure (laparoscopy) this afternoon to see what is going on. If he finds something minor he will correct it at that time. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Setback

Well, things have not progressed with George as hoped. There is a partial blockage & he is in a holding (literally) pattern while the medical team decides next steps. We will post another update when we know more.  Thanks for all your good thoughts!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Getting Better

The drainage tube was removed yesterday afternoon and George was finally able to begin eating clear liquids last evening. The lemon Italian ice was just about the best thing he had ever eaten. He is tolerating the food well and we are hoping they will progress his diet and discharge him soon. 
Ray and Scott arrived in Ft Pierce around 6 pm, before the sun set. We are so grateful and relieved to have Breeze On settled there. 

First food in a week. 


This morning’s breakfast. He devoured it all. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Breeze On is On Her Way

They are off!  Ray and Scott left the slip just before 6 am to catch the 6 am opening of the 17th bridge. They are now on their way to Ft Pierce. We have a slip reservation for a month and family nearby. George can take his time to recover before we leave Ft Pierce to make our way home. 
I am so grateful for the help and support of our friends and family. In addition to Ray and Scott’s help in delivering Breeze On, a friend from Cambridge contacted a friend of hers near here to offer me a place to stay. Now that Breeze On is gone I will be staying with her. The texts, emails and words of support from everyone mean so much. 

If you are interested in following Breeze On’s progress you can find her by clicking on this link. 


Also, there is a button at the top of this page called “Where is Breeze On?”  You can click on that any time, follow the prompts and see where Breeze On is located if she is out and about. 

I just heard from George. He has tolerated having the tube clamped very well. A surgeon just told him that they are going to pull the tube and allow him to have liquids. Hooray!

Breeze On going through the 17th St bridge. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Update on George

George and I have both had a lot of ups and downs (more downs than ups) through this medical crisis. Last night and this morning he seemed to be getting worse instead of better and I was really worried about him. Although this morning’s x-ray still shows a blockage there have been a few small signs of progress. I respect the conservative, non-surgical approach to clearing the obstruction but it is so hard to wait. Especially since he may end up needing surgery anyway. The surgeon just placed the order for his nasogastric suction tube to be clamped for 12 hours. If George tolerates it he can start to eat and drink. If he feels pain or nausea during that time, then he will need surgery. He has been doing laps around the floor trying the help the process along. Since he hasn’t had anything to eat for five days I wonder how he has the energy. 
Our friend, Ray, and his friend, Scott, are going to sail Breeze On the 90 plus miles to Ft Pierce. Ray and his wife, Dawn, recently visited us in the Bahamas. We are so grateful for their help. We had planned to use Ft Pierce as a home base while we visited my family. If the boat were to remain here in Ft Lauderdale our lives would be much more complicated once George is finally discharged. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Medical Emergency While Cruising

George was admitted to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale two days ago. His diagnosis is small bowel obstruction. We have no idea how he ended up with an obstruction.  He doesn’t seem to have the right risk factors for one, but here he is. The treatment has involved inserting a nasogastric tube for drainage. That is supposed to relieve pressure and allow for the obstruction to clear on its own. A surgeon told us yesterday that 80% of these cases do clear and do not require surgery, 20% do not clear and do require surgery. George’s case is right on the edge. There have been some good signs, but there is still too much drainage to pull the tube and allow him to eat. They are going to give it more time to clear. 
The treatment has been torturous for him. He has always had a strong gag reflex and the tube really triggers that. He had a test yesterday, a small bowel series, that made him want to die. He had open heart surgery 19 years ago to correct a hole in his heart. He says this has been much worse. 
Meanwhile, I am in charge of the boat. I have always said that I would be done with cruising if anything ever happened to George. This episode has really confirmed that. George and I operate as a team when we are on the boat, a pretty good one if I do say so. Since he has been sick the responsibility has been overwhelming for me. As much as I love the Bahamas it has made me question the wisdom of sailing that far from home again. I completely understand why people give up cruising when the health issues start piling up. I had hoped we would have more time, but I am grateful for the time we have had. 



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bimini Sands Marina

We had a fast and bumpy sail from Nassau to Bimini. The winds were in the low 20’s and we moved along at 8 kn much of the time. The trip was 130 nm and it took just 20 hours. We left Palm Cay Marina at noon and pulled into Bimini Sands Marina at 8 am. There was another cruiser on the dock to help with our lines. When he and George made their introductions we learned that he was Bob from Her Diamond. We had heard a lot about Her Diamond through the Trekker’s Travels blog. Her Diamond has been buddy boating with Trekker for the past 6 months, all the way from upstate New York. What a small world!  Her Diamond recently turned around to start heading back to the US while Trekker continued on in the Exumas. We crossed paths with Karen and Hugh on Trekker (their Hanse 415) at Big Majors Spot.  We follow their blog and they follow ours so Bob and Sheila had heard all about us. They instantly recognized our boat and knew who we were when we pulled in 2 slips down. 
After George finished tying up he cooked bacon and eggs with toast for breakfast. Then, after a brief nap, he said he had an intense pain in his abdomen, right around his belly button. We both thought it would pass but it didn’t. He also experienced nausea and vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down. He felt just awful, so bad that he didn’t think he could get off of the boat to take the ferry to north Bimini and visit the clinic. A few hours later he finally agreed to give it a try. I called the clinic to make sure they were open but they told me they were closing (2 hours early-it’s island time). Sheila and Bob invited us to join them and another couple for dinner at the marina restaurant. George encouraged me to go so I did and had a fun time. George did not feel any better the next day. I went to the infinity pool for a few hours while George slept. We had wanted to take the ferry to North Bimini and walk around but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving George for very long. In the afternoon I walked to the office and explained our situation and asked it they had any suggestions. Two lovely ladies contacted a doctor for me let me use their phone to talk to the doctor. The doctor recommended Dramamine for the nausea and 1/2 cup of Gatorade every 20 minutes.  He should not eat solid foods and should drink only clear liquids.  The doctor told me that even if we waited until the clinic reopened on Monday it wouldn’t have the equipment to do any tests. 
I bought some Gatorade at the ship store and gave that and the Dramamine to George. We decided that if he felt significantly better we would leave Bimini as planned and sail to Ft. Pierce. If he felt moderately better we would leave early morning and buddy boat to Ft. Lauderdale with Sheila and Bob on Her Diamond. If he didn’t feel better at all we would either stay and wait it out or look into flights to Nassau or Ft. Lauderdale. 
George did not feel any better this morning. He still had the abdominal pain and nausea and was up most of the night. We made the decision to fly to Ft. Lauderdale. Then, after considering the logistics of getting to the airport, getting on the plane and then getting to a hospital from the airport it seemed just as easy to take our own boat. So at 6:30, shortly after Her Diamond left, we pulled out of the slip. The agreement was that George would untie the lines and I would drive the boat until we docked in Ft. Lauderdale, where he would he tie the lines again. The rest of the day he would rest. Although we had wind, it was directly behind us so we couldn’t sail.  The seas weren’t too bad but did make for a rolly ride. Her Diamond was ahead of us and checked in on us throughout the day. They are so kind and thoughtful. 
We are now in the ER of Broward Health Medical Center. George is on a bed in the hallway (we are not complaining) going through some tests and is on an IV for fluids, pain and nausea medication. It will probably be a few hours before the results come back. 



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Getting Ready to Move On

We are preparing to leave Palm Cay Marina around mid-day today, heading to Bimini. We plan to stay in Bimini two nights and then cross the Gulf Stream to Florida. Since it is still fairly windy we may have another relatively fast sail. We don’t want to leave too early because we want to arrive in Bimini after the marina opens tomorrow morning. The trip is 130 miles and should take us anywhere from 20 to 26 hours, depending on our speed. This is the first time we will be sailing overnight since we arrived in the Bahamas. We both used the marina WiFi to download podcasts to listen to on our night watches. We have some frozen dinners ready to pop in the oven for dinner while we are under way. 
After Dawn and Ray left on Tuesday we did a few loads of laundry. It was a very good thing we started early. The laundry has just 2 washers for guests and the 2 dryers are shared with the staff washing linens from the pool and condos. By the time we finished there was a line waiting to do laundry. In the afternoon we borrowed the marina courtesy car and went out for groceries. Yesterday was spent cleaning the boat and rearranging the garage. 
We have been planning how to get out of the slip with a brisk cross wind blowing down the fairway. George will use a spring line to help us turn into the wind. Wish us luck!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pipe Cay/Shroud Cay/Palm Cay Marina

We left Big Majors Friday for a short, very pleasant sail to the anchorage at the abandoned DECCA Station on Pipe Cay. We don’t know what DECCA stands for but it apparently served as a navigation system post World War II, prior to the advent of LORAN. The abandoned transmitter towers are still there and resemble large channel markers. 
While we explored the nearby beach we met Franciose from the only other boat in the anchorage. He told us that the snorkeling off of a point at the northern end of the anchorage was good. We were able to pull the dinghy into a small shallow cove nearby and put on our snorkel gear while standing in the shallow water. The snorkeling was fantastic, with numerous fish of many colors and varieties. Several were fish we had never seen before.  Franciose had also invited us to join him and his partner onshore at sunset for a bonfire. However, by the time we returned from snorkeling, showered, and ate dinner we ran out of time. 
The next day we enjoyed another great sail further up the Exuma chain to Shroud Cay. There we planned to meet Tony, who had purchased Dawn and Ray’s boat, Azzurra, four years ago. It just so happened that Tony and his fiancĂ©, Sharon, had planned at brief trip to the Bahamas at the same time of Dawn and Ray’s visit with us. Azzurra looked so pretty as we approached her sitting in the anchorage. After we dropped anchor Dawn and Ray took the dinghy to Azzurra to visit and tour their former boat.  Early the next morning Tony & Sharon came over for coffee and muffins before whisking Dawn and Ray off in Tony’s fast center console dinghy for a ride through a mangrove creek. After they reached the other side of the island they walked along the beach and climbed up to Camp Lookout. It is said that US federal agents used this spot to spy on drug runners at Normans Cay. In any case, the view is beautiful.  George and I took the dinghy ride and hike last year so while they were gone we ran the water maker. The timing was perfect, we had just finished when they returned. Tony later hailed us on the radio to tell us about a fresh water well a short hike from the nearby beach. Buckets and ropes are provided so that you can use the water to rinse off. We spent some time swimming at the small, gorgeous beach and watching a small school of fish following us around. George and Ray took the dinghy to search for potential snorkeling sites but did not find any that would allow us to swim from a shallow beach. 
This morning we raised the anchor early and sailed over to Palm Cay Marina on New Providence Island just south of Nassau. The wind had picked up over night and we had quite a brisk sail over lumpy water. Our average speed was 7 knots. It was quite a challenge to get into the slip with an 18 knot cross wind but we managed without going sideways or banging up the boat. Tonight is Dawn and Ray’s last night with us. We will play a few more games of Mexican Train and eat at the marina restaurant to celebrate a great week. 

Dawn and Ray


Azzurra at anchor

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Visit from Dawn and Ray

Dawn and Ray, our friends from Cambridge, MD, flew in to Black Point on Valentine’s Day. It is a very good thing they are both pilots who are comfortable on small planes. It was a very small, full (and old) plane.  After they landed safely we started the 15 minute walk into town, turning down two offers for rides. People in the Bahamas are so nice.  We stopped at DeShamon’s for a very nice Valentine’s Day surf and turf dinner. 
Yesterday morning we raised the anchor and sailed to Big Majors where we met Hugh and Karen on Trekker and Ruth Ann and Fred on Shooting Star. We first “met” Hugh and Karen through our blogs. They read our blog and we read theirs. They also have a Hanse 415 and we used their idea for an arch to hold the solar panels and dinghy. Ruth Ann and Fred also live in Cambridge. Although we were all in the Bahamas this winter we haven’t crossed paths until yesterday. It was great to meet and catch up. 



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

And More Photos

Little Bay anchorage all to ourselves


Sargent Major fish

More photos

I write the blog on my iPad. The app I use can handle just two photos at a time. I have tried writing it directly through Blogger but I can’t seem to access my photos at all that way. So, here is a post to add a few photos that I didn’t post before. 
Pam snorkeling at Sea Aquarium


A rainbow so close we could almost touch it. Big Majors Spot. 

Awnings 2.0

After Pam and Brad left on Saturday we spent some time reattaching bungees to the reworked salon hatch awning. I had already sewed together the two awning pieces that had been attached either side of the boom in version one.  I had also removed the stainless steel rings and attached new patches and webbing. We put the awning under the boom and attached it to the boom vang. So far, so good. Saturday evening we went to a happy hour at Pirates’ Beach (aka Cruisers’ Beach). As always, it was fun to chat with old and new friends. 
On Sunday I removed the stainless steel rings from the v-berth awning. We replaced them with dyneema line rings. They will be much quieter in a strong wind. Early Monday morning we had another squall and both awnings seemed to keep the rain out. Hooray!
After buying fuel at Staniel Cay Yacht Club Monday morning we left Big Majors and had a jaunty sail down to Black Point. The anchorage and laundromat were quite crowded, it seems as if a lot of other people have the same idea!  If the wind calms down enough this evening we may dinghy over to Scorpio’s for happy hour. 



Saturday, February 10, 2018

End of a Great Week

We said goodbye to Pam and Brad this morning after a great week of sun, snorkeling, sailing, reading, beaches and games of Mexican Train. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and already miss them. The wind across the Staniel Cay harbour created quite a bit of chop leading to very wet dinghy rides. Because we didn’t want to send them off drenched in salt water, we made a plan to move Breeze On closer to town just long enough for them to get ashore. Plan A was to tie up the the Staniel Cay Yacht Club fuel dock. Plan B (in case someone was already at the dock) was to anchor in a tight anchorage near a beach in town. There was indeed already a boat at the fuel dock so we dropped anchor near the beach. It was a short and, thankfully, dry dinghy ride to shore where Pam and Brad had a 15 minute walk to the airport. The tide was going out and the depths are shallow in spots so we said our goodbyes and did not accompany them to the airport. We returned Breeze On to the same spot we had left at Big Majors. 
Bright and early yesterday morning we dinghied over to Thunderball Grotto for some snorkeling. We had researched the tides and thought we were hitting it at low tide. It seems we might have missed it, though. There was already a strong incoming current. The fish outside the grotto were pretty and numerous. We entered the grotto and where there were still a lot of fish but they were harder to see. Brad was taking pictures with the new camera. I suggested we leave the grotto through a different entrance. Pam and I swam out against the current and turned around to look for Brad. He had been taking pictures under water when one of his flippers came off. He swam under water to retrieve it and when he surfaced the current had pushed him toward to rock wall where he hit his head hard on a low rock. Pam and I saw him as he raised his arms to push himself away. By the time we returned to the dinghy (where George was waiting) we saw that Brad was bleeding.  Once Pam cleaned up the scrapes they didn’t look so bad. We were all grateful his injuries weren’t any worse. Pam and Brad took one last trip to the beach in the afternoon and Pam had the courage to take one last salt water bath (no sharks this time!)

Thunderball Grotto

Can you find the ray?





Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cambridge Cay to Staniel Cay

Yesterday we went back to the Sea Aquarium for more snorkeling. Much to my surprise it was even better than the day before!  There were so many fish of so many varieties. I saw some of my favorite, Queen Angelfish, and also some relatively small needle-nose fish that had snouts that seemed as thin as actual needles. 
After returning to Breeze On, Pam and Brad jumped in to take a salt water bath. Just after they got out of the water, and before they had a chance to rinse off, they spotted a 6 foot shark swimming right by the swim platform!  Yikes!  It looked like a nurse shark, but even so...  I am so glad it waited until after they got out of the water. A large ray swam by shortly after the shark. George opted to take a very quick salt water bath but I showered inside. 
This morning we sailed down to Staniel Cay. After anchoring at Big Majors we took a very wet dinghy ride over to Staniel Cay Yacht Club where Pam and Brad treated us to lunch. From there we walked to the airport just to see where it is and and time how long it takes to walk there (15 minutes).  On the way back to the dinghy we stopped at both the Pink Store and the Blue Store to shop for fresh food. The shelves were bare so we will try again later. Since the dinghy ride to Staniel was so wet and we are expecting more wind on the day of their departure we are making plans to get them ashore without getting wet. Plan A is to use the fuel dock at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. 






Sailing, Snorkeling and Sitting on the Beach

Last year the weather didn’t cooperate when Pam and Brad visited us in the Bahamas. It was very windy, often cloudy and cool (by Bahamas standards). They made the best of their week here and we all had a great time. This year the weather has been much more cooperative. In fact, it has been one of the best weather weeks of the winter. Pam and Brad have been taking full advantage of it. 
Monday morning we moved from Black Point to Little Bay. Pam and Brad loved the beautiful, secluded beaches and spent a few hours relaxing and reading on the beach. We were lucky to have the anchorage all to ourselves. After lunch we all dinghied over to the snorkeling spot by the Sandcastle house. We saw lots of fish including several of the Queen Angelfish. 
Yesterday morning we raised the anchor and sailed north to Cambridge Cay. It was an ideal day for sailing with just the right amount of wind. Breeze On was one of many boats sailing on the banks. After picking up the last available mooring ball and eating lunch we dinghied over to the Sea Aquarium for more snorkeling. It is a very popular snorkeling spot, for good reason. There are so many fish!  Brad used our new Go-Pro knock-off camera to take a picture of the Sargent Major fish swarming around me (looking for food, I suspect). It is a little freaky to feel trapped by so many fish. Pam and Brad loved the snorkeling and hope to go back to the Sea Aquarium again. In the meantime, they are getting in some more beach and hiking time while George and I run the water maker and defrost the refrigerator. 
By the way, the dinghy has been running just fine since it was trapped and submerged under the dock. We are SO grateful!

Pam and Brad both love to read. 


A swarm of Sargent Majors

Monday, February 5, 2018

Where’s the Dinghy??

It has been an eventful few days. Our daughter, Pam and her boyfriend, Brad, flew into Black Point in a small, and I mean small, airplane. The plane left from Nassau and had room for just 15 passengers. It actually had 5 passengers, a pilot and a co-pilot.  There was no partition between the pilots and the passengers. Fortunately the flight was very calm and the landing was smooth. George and I walked 15 minutes from the dock to meet them at the airport. We stopped at Scorpio’s for dinner before taking the dinghy back to Breeze On. Yesterday George took Pam and Brad to the dock and they walked a few minutes to the beach facing Black Point harbour. It was a beautiful day for the beach and they had it to themselves for most of the time. After they returned we had a light snack before heading to Loraine’s Cafe for a Super Bowl party in the late afternoon. Loraine’s was crowded and noisy but we were able to find a table with views of 2 large screen TV’s. The crowd seemed evenly divided between Patriots’ fans, Eagles’ fans and people who didn’t care. Our team, the Patriots, unfortunately lost and we headed back to the dinghy dock just before the end of the game. 
When we arrived at the dock there was a small group of people struggling to free their dinghy from under the dock. George, in the meantime, couldn’t find our dinghy. The other people said there was another dinghy stuck under the dock and sure enough, it was ours. Not only was it stuck under the dock but it was submerged under water!  The bow of the dinghy was about a foot under water, stuck under a section of the dock.  The gas can was floating, the outboard seemed to be out of the water. Water filled the entire dinghy right up to the gunwales. We had arrived at the dock during low tide and by the time we returned it was high tide. What little wind we had was blowing the dinghy away from the dock so George had not put out a stern anchor to keep the dinghy away from the dock. He had left a long painter to allow room for other dinghies to tie up to the dock. We aren’t sure what happened but our best guess is that dinghies that arrived after we did pushed our dinghy under the dock and it got stuck as the water rose. George and I held up the stern of the dinghy to keep water from flowing in while Brad used the bailer. Soon other cruisers started arriving at the dock and chipped in to help us. Someone gave their bailer to George while someone else helped me to hold up the transom. Bob, from Carrie Mae, used his bailer and another person used a hand pump in the bow. When I first saw our poor submerged dinghy I felt hopeless but it was bailed out faster than I could have imagined. We were all to traumatized to take a picture at the time. The other cruisers were so generous and helpful.   The only exception was one intoxicated cruiser (he had been loud and obnoxious in Lorraine’s) who walked by and yelled “why didn’t you use a stern anchor to keep that from happening?”  I answered that we didn’t think we would need one. He repeated the question again and I answered that if we had known this would happen we would certainly have used one. Then he said “just a suggestion from a dumbass, dumbass!” before calling us stupid newbies.  I thanked him for his help. I guess there is one in every crowd. I don’t know who he is and I hope we don’t encounter him again. 
After the dinghy was bailed out we were both afraid that the motor wouldn’t start. But, after several attempts it started! Hallelujah!  And, knock on wood, it is still running today. 
We left Black Point this morning and motored 4 miles south to Little Bay, one of our favorite anchorages. We currently have it all to ourselves. Pam and Brad are on the gorgeous beach right now.  This afternoon we will all go snorkeling.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Long Island to Black Point

The wind finally subsided and we were able to leave Long Island early yesterday morning. We sailed a relaxing 60 miles and anchored as the sun was setting at Rocky Point on the “Sout’ Side” of Great Exuma Island. George pulled the water maker out and filled the water tank. He was finished by 8:15 but found that the starter cord wouldn’t retract. It took a long time to take the water maker apart to discover why. A small metal ring through which the cord passes had become dislodged and stuck in the mechanism. It looks as if a small piece of plastic in the hole where the ring sits had broken. George put the ring back where it belongs and crimped it. By the time everything was put back together and stowed it was after 10 pm. We had a restful night in the anchorage and once again got up early to continue on to Black Point. The winds were light and we had to motor sail all day. We arrived at Black Point in the early afternoon and headed right for (you guessed it) the laundromat!  George is getting his first haircut since October. I am up next. 




Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Calm Between the Storms

Yesterday afternoon the wind subsided enough that we could safely leave the boat and go ashore.  Yay!  It was so nice to be able to stretch our legs and do something different after four days of boat-bound living. A happy hour had been organized for 4 pm at the cruiser’s beach. We left early with our drinks, crackers and dip and dropped them at the cruiser’s beach, then went for a walk. We returned at 4 pm and saw that no one else was there. No one else was even in their dinghy making their way there. I began to wonder if it had been cancelled and we had missed the announcement on the radio. I didn’t care, I was still happy to be off of the boat. Other cruisers did eventually arrive and I had a good time getting my social fix. It was quite calm but the time we returned to Breeze On and we enjoyed a very pleasant evening in the cockpit under the full moon. The forecast says that it will remain calm until mid-afternoon today when another front is expected to bring wind of 25-30 knots. We are going to use the time this morning to run errands on shore after the squalls pass before we hunker down once again for the next blow. 



Saturday, January 27, 2018

Blowing Like Stink

Blowing like stink is a term that some sailors use to describe a lot of wind. I haven’t decided how I feel about the phrase and I don’t understand how someone came up with it. In any case, it is really windy and has been for over 36 hours. It is supposed to continue for another 24 hours. The good news is our anchor is holding in 30 knot of wind with 40 knot gusts. George put out 130 of anchor rode. There is a lot of room in Thompson Bay and the boats are spread quite far apart. The bad news is this anchorage is quite shallow and the strong wind is pushing water out of the anchorage. We think we have just inches under the keel at low tide. We have heard other boats talking about scraping the bottom at low tide so we feel fortunate. We just heard from someone on a neighboring boat that he doesn’t see a plume of sand under us so he thinks we aren’t scraping the bottom. We haven’t been off of the boat for 2 days and I will be very happy when this lets up. 


Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas