Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Back at Green Turtle Cay

Monday 12/29/14 Powell Cay
We planed an easy day with a few projects.  Cori did some laundry and I worked on the outboard.  I cleaned the strainer, checked for water in the container and checked that I had fuel flowing.  I filtered the fuel in the tank to clean it and remove any water and changed out the hose connection to the fuel tank.  It is running, cross your fingers that it continues.  After that we went to shore, Cori to look for shells and me to go snorkeling with hopes of another lobster.  Cori did better then me, she found shells and I missed a shot at a lobster.  In the evening Ken and Francine from Release came over for beverages and snacks.

Tuesday 12/30/14
We planned to head back to Green Turtle Cay to get a slip or mooring ball for New Years and their annual Junkanoo.  We didn't need to be there until high tide round 3:00 so we had a relaxed morning - me reading and Cori going to shore for that last perfect shell.  We motored back giving the batteries a chance to charge up and troubleshoot an autopilot problem.  It wouldn't work.  The last few miles I found the problem and we let it steer.  As we entered Black Sound we were met by Donny in his boat telling us we could go to the dock if we wanted.  For what he charges compared to anyone else in the area we quickly said YES.  After getting tied up and settled in we decided to go to Pineapple for the sunset and happy hour.  We just started our walk there when a golf cart stopped and offered us a ride as far as they could.  It turned out she was going next door to the Pineapple.  Several beverages there and we walked to Sundowners for the sunset then back home.  On the boat was a note that we were invited to Nomad for drinks and snacks.  Nomad is a 38 foot DeFever trawler.  A totally different world then we live in.  Dinner later was fresh fish that was given to us by one of the local fisherman.

Wednesday, New Years Eve
We went to town for lunch.  One of the locals has a conch salad booth on the waterfront and he was open for business.  Our friend Dan said it was not to be missed and he was right, as always.  He makes it while you watch and it is the best we have had.  After that it was a walk around with a stop at Miss. Emily's Blue Bee Bar, original home of the Goombay Smash.  The walls are covered with signed dollar bills and boat and business cards.  It took only a moment for Cori to find one from our friends Jody and Stephen on Blue Pelican, another Pearson 424.  We had plans to take the dinghy to White Sound for another cruisers party but by the time I had the dinghy ready the clouds moved in and the wind kicked up.  We decided to pass on the party and just stayed home.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Powell Cay

We are anchored at Powell Cay.  Across from us is Coopers Town with a real tall cell tower so we actually have a good signal.

We left the marina on Friday and motor-sailed about 13 miles to the anchorage.  Since then we have been busy.  The island is about 1.5 miles long and we have walked both sides of the southern half.  There are no shells left on the beaches.  While going ashore to one of the beaches we suddenly went directly over a wreck in about 12 feet of water.  I swam over with the snorkel gear and dove down on it with the video camera.  The new video will be posted when I get a better signal since the upload takes so long.  The cruisers guide also said there is a trail that takes you to the bluff above the anchorage.  There used to be a trail.  Part way in the trail just quit.  We on the other hand did not.  We thought we could find our way.  We were wrong.  At one point we were about ten feet apart and could not see each other for the thick brush.  We gave up and then had to find the original trail to get back out.   After the hike we took the dinghy to the base of the bluff and I tried snorkeling there.  I found a lot of coral, plants and a lot of small fish.  I saw two lionfish and was able to kill one of them.  Lionfish are an invasive species and will eat everything and drive off the local fish.  We have read that it is proper to kill them whenever you find one.  After that I was able to spear our first lobster.  It was delicious with a bit of drawn butter for dinner.

Today, Sunday, we wanted to explore the bay on the Atlantic side.  One of the books says there is good snorkeling there.  We headed out but the outboard started to act up when we got there so we just pulled it up on shore to walk to another section of beach we had not been to before.  After that it started and ran ok so we headed back to the boat for lunch.  When we got back we found our new friends Ken and Francie on Release.  They are from Vermont and run a maple syrup farm.  We met them at the cruisers breakfast.  I checked out several ideas of why the outboard was acting up and it seemed to be running good again, so off we went to explore the other side of the island and check out another beach there.  As we got there it started to act up again.  We beached it and went exploring, letting it rest.  When we started back it just quit.  Nothing would keep it running, if it would start at all.  This meant paddling all the way around the island to get home.  The good thing about this is we had a lot of time to watch the bottom for conch.  At one point we got into an area with a lot of them but all too small.  We did manage to find two that were of legal size.  As we paddled along Cori got real excited about a shark that was laying there in the shallows.  We circled back and got as close for a picture as we could get before it took off.  As we got closer to the boats, just as the sun was setting, Ken saw that we were paddling and came over to tow us the rest of the way.  After getting cleaned up we cleaned the conch and put them away to be eaten later.  Now we have two shells to try to make into horns.

Tomorrow will be a lazy day of laundry and boat maintenance.  Hopefully I can figure out what is wrong with the outboard.  If that doesn't work we can still use the 3.3 horse Mercury.  It is good to have two outboards on board.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Post-Christmas Day

Hope everyone had a great Christmas.  We spent the day with old and new friends at a cruisers pot luck.  The cruisers in the area get together with everyone bringing a dish, with ice, beverages and location provided by the dive shop.  After eating those with instruments sang and played for several hours.  The rest of the day was quiet and relaxing.  We were out of contact with our cell phone not getting a signal and the marinas wifi down for the day.

Our plan for post-Christmas is to move out to one of the remote islands for several days then come back to Green Turtle Cay for their New Years Day Junkanoo.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve but you can't tell from the weather.  We are still here in Green Turtle Cay and joined a group of cruisers for a group brunch.  We met a number of fellow cruisers with everyone offering advice on their favorite destinations and other advice.  The brunch was good and the hosts mixed it up by having everyone singing Christmas carols.  This afternoon we got together with our fellow NC cruisers, Victoria Gay, Temptation, Skat and Bubbles for snacks and camaraderie while we are all still in one place.  After Christmas the others will be continuing on to their favorite cruising grounds.  We plan to stay in the area through the end of the year exploring some of the other small islands.

One of the more unusual customs here, and we are told it is a Green Turtle Cay exclusive, is the drumming up of Christmas spirit.  One morning we thought we heard drumming, about 4:00 am.  We mentioned it to someone and they told us it was a forty year old tradition to drum in the Christmas Spirit.  The week before Christmas there is a group that goes around the island beating a drum and singing carols before dawn.  Everyone is invited to join in with them and they end up at someones house for breakfast.

Merry Christmas to All.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No Name Cay and White Sound

I am writing this sitting in a tiki bar looking across the bay to New Plymouth and across the Sea of Abaco at Abaco Island.  We are back to Green Turtle Cay.

But first:
After letting the batteries charge we filled the water tanks, cleaned the boat and left the dock and anchored.  We needed to wait for high tide in order to leave Black Sound.  When the tide was high we left the sound to anchor off of New Plymouth for our next excursion.  The evenings entertainment was cleaning three coconuts.

12/20/14 No Name Cay
We were up early as usual to listen to the weather.  My dreams of sleeping late everyday have been destroyed by having to listen to the weather forecast at 6:30 every day.  We pulled anchor and did a slow motor to No Name Cay, a trip of about three miles.  We anchored and took the dinghy to explore.  No Name Cay is a deserted island with a large but shallow sound in it's middle accessible from the east.  We motored around seeing several turtles and finding a nice big conch.  The only inhabitants of the island are a small herd of wild pigs.  We stopped to look at them and several waded out to see if we had anything for them.  We continued along the shore checking out the island and stopped along a sand beach on the north end of the island.  From there we could walk across to the ocean side.  Very disappointing, hard rough rocks.  Back to the sandy beach Cori went looking for shells and I tried snorkeling.  With the little video camera I got some good and a lot of poor shots.  then it was back to the boat for a quiet evening and another great sunset.  We cleaned the conch and Cori made a conch ceviche wrap for dinner.

12/21/14 No Name Cay
Sunday, there is no weather forecast so I got to sleep in.  Breakfast was french toast made with some of the coconut bread.  Very Good!!!!!  After that Cori did some of the laundry and hung it all over the boat to dry.  We definitely look like live-aboards now.  We went to shore to see the pigs again and to bring them some water.  When we told Donny back at his dock where we were going he told us to bring them some water.  They have a little kiddie pool for fresh water.  We took our five gallon jerry jug with water from Matthews Point for them.  They are very tame and just want to be fed or left alone.  The little ones were the cutest but also the most shy.  Since this was a different part of the beach Cori did more shelling.  The wind shifted a little and it was not as calm overnight but nothing to be concerned about.  We made plans to return to Green Turtle Cay in the morning.

12/22/14 White Sound
Chris Parker, the main weather forecaster for the Bahamas has been warning about a front coming into the Bahamas with rain and wind so we decided to head to White Sound which is a well protected anchorage with several marinas.  We pulled anchor and set our headsail for a slow sail back because we had no reason to hurry.  After anchoring we dropped the dinghy in the water and mounted the 9.9 horse outboard. We visited with the others at the marina and contacted Bahama Telephone Company to try to set up our phone data plan working.  We were the lucky ones, it only took us three calls with the last one to report that it was working.  We heard that the ocean side beach was really nice so we walked to check it out.  Very nice white sand beach with a reef just offshore for diving or snorkeling but no shells.  After dinner we rigged the running lights to take the dinghy to New Providence to check out their Christmas lights at night.  For a small town they do an alright job with a very nice display on the point leading into the harbor..

12/23/14 Bluff House Marina
We had decided to treat ourselves for Christmas and get a slip for a couple of days.  Bluff House has a promotion with a reduced rate and third day free, just what us cheap sailors like.  After tying up it was time for a long hot shower without worrying how much water we used.  We also have free Internet so I was able to upload photos, a video, update the map and of course update this blog.  The forecast for bad weather has backed off a lot so we may only get some winds into the 20's and a few showers Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We are planning to partake in the local cruisers activities which include a Christmas Eve breakfast and a Christmas Day pot luck gathering.

I have uploaded two new videos and several photos.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Manjack Cay

12/15/2014 Monday
Spent the morning sightseeing around the community of New Plymouth.  There are a number of chickens running loose and the roosters are crowing constantly.  This morning I woke up around 4:00 am and stuck my head out to look around.  With the bright moon it was easy to see everything was fine.  Off in the distance I heard one very confused rooster crowing at the moon.  Among the things we bought was a fresh loaf of coconut bread, still warm from the oven.  The baker adds grated fresh coconuts into the mix.  We will be back for more.  We wanted to head out and see the area and decided to go to Manjack, aka Munjack aka Nunjack Cay.  It is a five mile trip but we wanted to sail.  We made four long tacks, about two and a half miles each and spent the afternoon slowly cruising along.  It felt good to be out on the water without the motor running.  We did turn the five mile trip into a four hour 11 mile trip but it didn't cost us anything.  When we got to the anchorage two of the NC boats we traveled with were already there.  We settled in for a quiet evening after watching another outstanding sunset.

12/16/2014 Tuesday
Our days start early having to be up by 6:30 to catch the weather report.  Cori wanted to take her kayak up the creek that runs up the middle of the island.  We mounted the little video camera on the kayak and off she went.  See the new video on our YouTube channel.  Very cool.  After she got back we took the dinghy to the south end of the Cay to check out the shoreline and beach.  On the way we saw several conchs, starfish and turtles.  The turtles are fast.  This part of the island has rock outcroppings with sections of sand between them.  We saw some stingrays while we were there.

12/17/2014 Wednesday
Cori wanted to go back up the creek on her kayak with the camera on an extension to try to get underwater video.  When she got back we took the dingy to shore and followed  a trail to a beach in the middle of the island.  It was your classic tropical beach,  White sand so fine you sank several inches into when you got away from the waterline and small waves lapping at the shore.  Off in the distance we could see the waves breaking on the reef.  Cori went shelling and I found a log to sit on and just relax and take it all in.  We called it an early night because we needed to get up extra early in the morning.

12/18/2014 Thursday
We were up at 6:00 am just as it was getting light to head back the Green Turtle Cay.  We had reserved a slip in a marina so we could plug the boat in and give the batteries a proper charging and make a trip to the phone company.  The problem was that high tide was at 4:30 am and we need high water to clear the sandbar in the entrance to Black Sound.  We pulled out of the anchorage and watched the sunrise as we motored the five miles back.  We stopped to top off our fuel on the way in.  We used about a half tank coming from Vero Beach and there is a new tax starting the first of the year.  I don't know if it includes diesel fuel but why take the chance.  We tied up at the marina, got plugged in and headed to the phone office.  The office is only open on Thursdays from 9:30 to 3:00 so there was a line.  We got our phone system worked out and we should have more options to communicate and get online now.  The rest of the day was walk around town and then back to the boat for a few projects.  Brownies were in the oven during the projects.

New photos and videos have been uploaded.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Green Turtle Cay

Sunday 12/14/2014

We started our day early to catch the low tide and walked down to the beach at Gilliam Bay.  The beach is a long peninsula jutting out from the south end of the island. One side is partially open to the ocean and the other is open to the Sea of Abaco. We spent the morning searching the beach for shells, Cori more then me.  We had to quit because the tide had come in and we didn't have much beach to walk on.  Once back to the boat we took care of a few projects and ran the generator to top off the batteries.  Other then having to buy fuel we are living off the grid.  Our solar panels help but don't put in as much as we take out so from time to time we need to run the generator or go to a dock and plug in.  We have not been to a dock since we left Southport NC on 11/29/2014.

I have added a link over there on the right side to a photo gallery.  Enjoy the photos, I have added a few captions to possibly explain what the photo is.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Green Turtle Cay

We made it!!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday but I couldn't get on the Internet.

Thursday 12/11/2014

We left Lake Worth (West Palm Beach) at 11:00 am after waiting for possible winds offshore to die down and the tide to turn.  No sense fighting a wind and a tide.  Once out of the inlet we had to divert for a tug pulling a barge and then we set our course and headed out - motoring again.  The seas were suppose to have died down overnight but there was still 2-3 foot swells causing a lot of rolling, not as bad as we had our last day offshore but still uncomfortable.  We decided to go for it.  It was a long trip across but around 8:00 pm we reached Little Bahama Bank.  It was weird watching our depth gauge go from no reading to 15 feet.  The water in the gulf stream is more then 2000 feet deep so the gauge couldn't find anything to report, then suddenly it finds the bottom around 300 feet and starts climbing - fast.  Our waypoint was in an area about 15 feet deep and then we stayed in less then 20 feet the rest of the trip.  We only had to deal with one ship crossing our path.

We chose to continue all night while the rest of the group diverted off to an island to anchor and rest for the night.  We have done this a number of times before.  What we do is break the night into four hour shifts.  One of us sleeps and the other is on watch and taking care of the boat, continuing to switch off until we make landfall.

We reached Green Turtle Cay around 1:30 on the 12th.  We went to the area shown on our charts to anchor and go in to report to Customs.  We were not planning to stay there since the winds were wrong but it was only going to be a temporary stop.  While getting the dinghy ready another boat came by and told us that with the tide up we could make it into the harbor and to call Donny's Mooring for a mooring ball.  We decided that was a better idea and proceeded into Black Sound Harbor with about a foot and a half of water under the keel.  Good thing it was high tide.  We tied onto a mooring and then went to shore to report in.  By the time I got to the Customs Office it was 3:00 and the Agent was leaving for the day telling me to "come back tomorrow at nine."  Back to the boat to spend the night, this time without it moving.

Miles covered: 151 nautical miles, Total for trip so far: 837, all at a joggers pace.

Saturday 12/13/2014 - Green Turtle Cay

I went ashore to get us checked in and got our visitors permit good for 90 days.  At the end of the 90 days we can apply for another 90 days.  We are now officially in the Bahamas.  We spent the day walking around the little town of New Plymouth.  It has a very interesting history, which was new to me and I love history.  It was founded in 1778 when colonist loyal to the King were persecuted after the Revolutionary War and left their homes in the new United States and resettled.  After lunch consisting of a conch burger we set off to walk to the other end of the island to check with the others from our group that arrived late the evening before.  Cori is going to kill me with these walks.  Two miles there and two miles back (amazing how that works) after being an a 42 foot boat for days on end without leaving the cockpit.  We have settled in for another quiet evening.  We are planning to stay here on the mooring for the weekend.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lake Worth

We are anchored in Lake Worth.  Not much to tell.  It was in the 40's this morning so we took a break and pulled anchors an hour later then planned to let it warm up a bit.  We only needed to go 29 miles but the six bridges slowed us down.  We are anchored near the inlet to be ready if the forecast is good.  We plan on crossing and going to Green Turtle Cay as our point of entry with Customs.  It is a 150 mile trip and will have us traveling over Little Bahama Bank during the night.  The waypoints are all entered in the chartplotter, we have the chart book as a backup to the plotter.  The dinghy is lashed down on the deck and everything is ready.  Now it is up to the weather gods.

If you have not noticed it, I added a link over on the right side to a Google map that shows our progress.  The locations are set by our Spot gps/messenger.  I am sending a location each evening when we stop for  the day.  If we do not change locations I am not sending a report.  If we are traveling offshore I am sending the report at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm until we make landfall.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On the move again

We are on the move again.  But first a bit about our time in Vero Beach.  We read a lot about how unfriendly Florida is to cruisers.  Vero Beach is exactly what a cruiser would like to find - a cruiser friendly city.  First off, their public transportation is free.  A bus picks up and drops off at the marina every hour.  The shopping area is just a ten minute ride away.  If you need a big chain store like Target or Walmart it is a longer ride but just as convenient.

Saturday was a day of shopping, starting with a walk to the farmers market then the bus picks you up at the market to return you and your purchases to the marina.  No lugging everything back.  Then it was a bus ride to Target and Chipotle for supplies.  Did I mention lunch at Chipotle?  Just a bus ride away.  I also found out there are other things they serve then what is on their menu.  Try ordering a Quesarito.  It is a burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla.  Make sure you have help to eat it all.

On Sunday most things, including the bus, shut down so it was a project day.  We were due for an oil change.  Not one of my favorite jobs.  Everything was going well until we started the engine to check for leaks and verify we have proper oil pressure.  I found out what happens when the filter is not on tight.  I thought I had it as tight as I ever tighten it but suddenly made a funny sound and there was oil flowing all over the filter, engine and some flying around.  We even had some on the ceiling.  After finding the problem and replacing the gasket everything was good except for the amount of oil that needed to be cleaned up.  It is illegal to spill oil on the water so we needed to be sure none of it got into the bilge.  The engine compartment is designed so that spills stay there and not drain into the bilge and gets pumped out.  The rest of the day was laundry and showers.  Nice long hot showers without worrying about using too much water.

Monday was rainy and heavy overcast but it was our last chance to finish provisioning.  Off to the grocery store and West Marine to replenish the oil absorbing cloths that we used in the cleanup.  While waiting for the bus we had lunch at a nice Irish pub.  Back to the boat, still in the rain, we were putting everything away when Cori noticed she was missing the eggs.  She bought a dozen and put them in her egg lock and lock container to protect them and left them at the store.  Sitting out on a mooring ball means that every trip to anywhere starts and ends with a dinghy ride in the rain.  I shuttled Cori back to shore, she caught the bus and picked up her eggs that they were holding for her, bought more stuff and came back.  That was it for the day.

Today, Tuesday, we started early by tying up to the fuel dock, topping off the diesel (45 gal), gasoline (2.5 gal) and filling the water tanks.  We carry 170 gallons of water and 80 gallons of diesel.  We then headed out to catch up with the others.  We joined up with four others we know from the marina that were already here.  Victoria Gay, Temptation, Bubbles and Skat were waiting for a weather window when we got here.  We motored 41 miles to an anchorage for the night.  Tomorrow we will arrive early at Lake Worth which is in West Pa;m Beach to prepare for jumping across to the Abacos, Bahama.  Trip so far - 663 nautical miles.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Vero Beach

We made it to Vero Beach FL today.  Up early to check the weather forecasts then watch the rocket launch.  Unfortunately we were too far away and under a heavy overcast to see it happen.  We did watch it streaming on NASA TV with our smartphones.  Pretty awesome!  We arrived just after lunchtime and hooked up to the mooring ball we were told to use.  When we got to the ,marina office to sign it there was another boat calling in to tell them there was a boat on the mooring they were assigned to.  A lack of communication in the office, no one was told that the mooring had been assigned.  Since the other boat was a big wide catamaran they asked us to move to another and raft up with another sailboat.  We sere surprised we got a mooring to ourselves and would have had another boat join us anyway so we moved.  Had to make an emergency run to West Marine when we found out the new connection to the outboard fuel tank would not seal.  A project for tomorrow since it started to rain while we were at the store and it has been raining off and on since. Fortunately I brought two outboard motors with us.  Computers and networking taught me about redundancy.

Tomorrow we will start to explore Vero Beach.

Miles traveled today: 24
Miles traveled to date: 621

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On the move

We decided there was no rush to get to Vero Beach to just sit and wait for a weather opportunity so we chose to stay at Cocoa for the day..  It is a nice little town with a great hardware store and sushi for lunch.  Thanks Vic for the recommendation.  We found out there was going to be a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral in the morning so we set an alarm and got up to watch.  After several delays it was canceled and we headed on down the ICW taking our time and stopped to anchor near Palm Bay FL.  We should be arriving in Vero Beach tomorrow afternoon.  Then it will be wait for favorable weather and get ready to cross to the Bahamas.  Hope fully it won't  be a long wait.

Ben and Bruiser are enjoying the trip but didn't like being offshore that much.  They did enjoy the stars and saw some shooting stars along with a very bright moon.  They did say the dolphins looked delicious.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Back ashore again

We are back ashore again
Saturday 11/29/2014

We left Southport NC around 1:00 pm after waiting for the tide to turn and not have to fight it on the way out.  We felt we had a good weather window for several days of travel offshore.   We left the river and turned to the SW to start our way to Florida, as expected the wind, what there was of it, was right on the nose.  We had expected this for the first day and planned to have to motor until it should change directions.  The sun set with a spectacular display of shades of orange on the horizon for almost an hour.  During the night the wind came up 10 to 15 knots but still on the nose.

Sunday 11/30/2014

The winds died and the seas calmed down so that we had light winds and flat seas all day.  We had a pod of dolphins join us.  This was the largest group so far and they stayed with us for a good ten minutes playing in our bow and stern wakes.  A little later Cori noticed something in the water that looked like a pile of debris.  Just then it raised its head.  We had our first sighting of a sea turtle.  The wind never did come up so we continued to motor.

Monday 12/1/2014

Monday got to be eventful.  We had been motoring for so long that we were running low on fuel.  Early Monday morning it happened, our tank was empty.  We were carrying two five gallon jerry jugs of fuel so we added them to the tank and started out again.  We decided to come in at Fernando Beach to refuel.  Fernando Beach is on the St. Mary’s River and is the border between Georgia and Florida.  We wanted to stay out for another day rather than take the ICW so we headed back out.  By this time the wind had finally made its shift from SW to NE.  We wanted to try and sail.  We put out all of the sails and ran for a disappointing 3 knots.  We couldn’t run at this speed so we dropped all sail and started motoring again.  The wind shifted to its forecast Eastern direction and started building waves.  We were going South so this put both on our port beam (left side of the boat) causing it to roll with the waves.  Needless to say this is not a comfortable ride.  The waves continued to build during the day and overnight to 3-5 foot seas.  The rolling continued so we decided it was time to get back inshore.  Our options were limited, all required going all night and going in at Ponce Inlet or further down the coast at Cape Canaveral.  We chose Ponce Inlet.

Tuesday 12/2/2014

We arrived at Ponce Inlet around 3:00 am.  We needed to wait until daylight to make our entry.  The Inlet is small and badly shoaled and it is important not to miss a marker or make any mistakes.  We motored back and forth outside the entrance until sunrise at 7:00.  We made our way in with 3-4 ft breaking seas on our stern.  Not a fun ride with all that was at stake.  We made our way in and decided to continue our way down the ICW.  We stopped for the night at Cocoa FL, just down from Cape Canaveral.

Total distance covered 1:00 pm Saturday until 3:00 pm Tuesday – 458 nautical miles.

For the non-sailors, here is today’s lesson.  Distance on water is measured in nautical miles and speed is measured in knots or nautical miles per hour.  A nautical mile is defined as “a unit of distance that is approximately one minute of arc at any Meridian.”  A land mile is 1760 yards and a nautical mile is 2025 yards.  A nautical mile is slightly longer then a land mile.  A knot used to measure speed therefore is a smaller number then mph.  For our purposes 6 knots, our usual cruising speed, equals 7 mph, the speed of a typical jogger.

We will be uploading videos later.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

We are taking a couple of days off from traveling.  We stopped off at Deep Point Marina in Southport and will take advantage of their "stay two and get one free" promotion.  We are hoping the weather offshore will settle down and maybe we can jump offshore and make some progress.

Happy Thanksgiving, We know we have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Full day to Southport

We had a full day today, 62.7 miles.  We are currently in Southport NC, downriver from Wilmington on the Cape Fear River.  It is interesting, several weeks ago we had an appointment in Wilmington and it was a two hour drive.  We come here by boat and it takes three days.  We had the anchor up at 7:00 am and arrived about 4:30.  Got lucky at the first bridge, we were late but he opened late to let all of us through instead of making us wait for the next opening an hour later.  The next two we made early and had to wait.  I say "let all of us" because there were four of us moving together.  We get strung out a bit but come back together at the bridges.  I forgot to mention that we started yesterday with dolphins joining us.  Well, there were several pods with us today also.  Fun to watch but impossible to  photograph.  I get a lot of pictures where a dolphin was after it dives.  Did I mention that it rained?  Did I mention that it was cold?  Well both are true.  It rained most of the day off and on, some of it so hard we couldn't see the boat in front of us.  Cold, you bet.  It was in the 40's with gusty winds into the 20+ knot range.  About the time we pulled into the Cape Fear River the clouds started breaking up.  The real excitement was the lightning, very close and very loud.  A bit unnerving when you are under an aluminum pole sticking 50 feet in the air.  The weather offshore is still looking bad so we will be continuing on the ICW.  Got this tip from Galan, you can follow our progress by going to and searching for Hiflite.  It tracks us using our AIS signal.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and if you are traveling, be careful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mile Hammock Bay

We are anchored in Mile Hammock Bay after a 40 mile run.  The interesting thing about this anchorage is that it is part of Camp Lejeune Marine Corp Base.  There are numerous helicopters passing by and a variety of loud noises off in the trees.   We wanted to go further than 40 miles but that would have put us in an area without a place to stop for the night.  The sun is rising around 7:00 and sets about 5:00 so we are limited by how long we are able to travel each day as compared to the long days of summer.  We encountered our first bridge opening today.  We had to wait twenty minutes for its scheduled opening.  The bridges on the ICW have an opening schedule.  It seems that someone decided that cars take precedence over boats.  You need to schedule your arrival just before opening so that you can quickly run through when it opens and continue on your way until you reach the next one.  Today’s bridge opened on the hour and the half hour.  If we had been ten minutes earlier we could have passed through instead of waiting.  Tomorrows bridges are only on the hour, can’t be late of one of them.  It is all about adjusting your speed to work out the timing.  We will get better at it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cut the Lines Today

Today is the day.  We cut the lines, figuratively, and started our adventure.  Matthews Point Marina has been out home for the last nine years but is is time to move on.  We have been dreaming, planning, and preparing for this day for a long time.  Everything (almost) is ready, the weather forecasts are reasonable and our route has been planned, at least for the next few days.  We are not going to get a weather window that will allow us to go offshore and head south so we have made the decision to proceed by going down the Intra Coastal Waterway, also known as the ICW, the ditch and a variety of other names.  The first step is to leave the Neuse River and motor to Morehead City, a trip of about 24 miles.  We fueled up and will spend the night here and get started early in the morning.  We can only travel the ICW in daylight and have to plan for each evening to stop and be anchored or in a marina before dark.  There are also a number of bridges to plan for since they have set schedules to open for boat traffic.  Be a few minutes late and you have to wait until the next scheduled opening which could be a half hour or an hour.

We also made a short video of our leaving and posted it to YouTube.  Check it out at this link:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Waiting on weather

It looks like we have just about everything ready to take off.  Now it is wait for weather.

Our friend Randy from R&R Dive Service found the seat for the dinghy.  If you need a dive service in the Beaufort NC and New Bern NC area we strongly recommend him.  The computer part showed up and is now installed.  The jerry jugs are all filled and strapped down, and a lot of other things have happened.

Cori received a JVC action video camera as a going away present. I have been testing the camera and have posted a couple of short, and shaky, video to our new YouTube channel.  Do a search at YouTube for "hiflite" and click on the one with a sailboat.  I will try to get better.  I am looking for mounts to eliminate my shaking and going hands-free.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Still Preparing

Well, it's Wednesday, the day we had hoped to start the trip. We have found that after living on Hiflite and at the marina 8+ years we have accumulated a lot of stuff. Sorting it had been challenging. We are closer, but not quiet there.  Little things are happening that need to be dealt with. Yesterday I got the Mercury 3.3 outboard running and then mounted it on the stern rail. This morning I found that it was leaking gas. After getting it off the rail and cleaning up the spilled gas I found that my mistake was to leave it on the rail tilted up all the way. Evidently the gas drained out of the carburetor since I had the fill spout and the vent closed so it couldn't be them leaking. After standing it upright and wiping everything down it didn't leak again. Lesson learned. We still have a part for one of the computers on order and no idea when it will arrive. While getting the dinghy on deck the seat fell off and is sitting on the bottom next to the boat. Our good friend Randy the Diver will be here tomorrow cleaning boats so we have him find it for us. Hate to leave it behind. As I said, little things keep causing delays. Oh ya, and then there is the weather to contend with - not a little thing. We are constantly checking the forecasts for a good weather window to take off with.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Still getting ready

It is a bigger job getting ready to go cruising then we ever thought it would be.  Along with all of the provisioning (food, supplies such as how much toilet paper will we use in 6 months, etc.) there are the decisions of what will go with us and what will be left behind.  We are watching the weather forecasts to try to pick our window of opportunity to take off.  The weather not only dictates when we go but what route we will be taking. We have options of just making a straight run for the islands, staying coastal and ducking into different inlets if needed, traveling inside on the ICW, or some combination of the three.

Of course, today it is rainy and windy which really limits what we are able to accomplish.

Friday, November 14, 2014


We are preparing our boat and ourselves to begin the cruising life.  This is our blog of that adventure.  We also have a website: that has more information about us and our Pearson 424 sailboat.

Welcome aboard!