Marylee has sold!

The old adage goes; “the two happiest days in a boat owners life are when you buy your boat and when you sell your boat”. Well, I can attest that that is not entirely true.

“Marylee”, our Oday 40 has been purchased by a nice enthusiastic young couple. As we took our last dinghy ride to shore, Mary and I were almost in tears. This was the end to a long and exciting episode in our life together. We will miss our boat but now we can press on, full speed ahead, completing the RV project and on to more adventures!


Another Adventure begins

For those who know me well, I always have to have something to occupy my imagination. Moving to land has been a difficult transition and with an unsold boat we are in adventure limbo. Things will soon change.

Mary and I love to travel and explored many avenues to quench this desire now that we have “swallowed the anchor”. Since the boat is still for sale, no great expenditures could be made. I was going nuts! I had to have a goal and dream to chase. Well, folks, here it is!

It is a 1998 Ford E350 Ambulance cab and chassis with dual rear wheels and a 7.3 liter Powerstroke diesel. It has 138″ wheelbase and has a gross vehicle weight (vehicle loaded) of 20,000 pounds. I purchased it on eBay and will drive to Richmond, VA to pick it up this weekend. A 14 foot cargo box will be placed on the chassis and converted to a camper.

This scheme started with this truck.

The van sits across the street from us. Ken no longer uses it in his business but has big plans for the chassis and drivetrain. He wants to build an old bus rat limo. I wanted the whole thing but he insists he is going to find this bus to build so I found my own chassis. He said I could have the box so now the fun begins.

I’ve got a pretty good idea of how I want the interior finished and have just completed some 3D sketches.

The bed is in the rear and there will be a large window shaded by a remote controlled hydraulic rear cover. There will be pull out storage under the bed both to the rear and into the interior. The head is the semicircular area. I haven’t mastered rendering cylinders so thats as good as it gets. There will be a small galley and dining area.

The finishes will be very contemporary and light colored. I’m looking at oak floors and quartz counters. The floor area is less than the boat and the head clearance is the same.

We don’t plan on living in it permanently so we feel we don’t need all the room.

Should be interesting. Following along here.

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Long Island – Our Favorite (Part One)

[It has been exactly five months since I updated this blog. We are not still in Georgetown, Bahamas although I wouldn’t mind still being there. Mary and I have returned to our home in Florida and have moved off the boat for good. I will try to finish off this part of our adventure soon. Thanks for being patient}

The Adventure continues …
As if we needed any more excitement, we spotted another waterspout as we headed towards Long Island. The day had been beautiful and we hoped the clouds in the distance would go away. They felt our angst and slowly vanished leaving a weird formation with a cool hole in it.

By mid afternoon we slipped into our anchorage in Thompson Bay just north of Salt Pond and the Long Island Breeze Resort. We would stay for twelve days.

Long Island is a remote but populated island in the southern portion of the Bahamas. We like it because the people are very friendly, services (groceries, fuel and water) are readily available and there is good protection from most wind directions. The Atlantic side is only a short walk away. As expedition leader I had a great time showing off “my” island.

Word got out that there were sea beans to be found! Lisa had been invited by some of their friends to scout a bean rich environment to the north of our anchorage. I begged and was allowed to go along for the “girls day out”. We trekked north on the only road for about a mile where we plunged into the brush onto a crude trail that would lead us to the East shore. The brush was thick but as we crested the hill the view was breath taking.

The first beach yielded a few beans but it had apparently been picked over. We picked our way past several more beaches along the rocky hillsides.

After picking our way through some thick brush we were afforded this beautiful view to the North.

Not only would this stretch of beach provide some great bean collecting but also a wonderful place to cool off and take a dip. The next beach up was we call a “virgin” beach. It had not been picked over for quite some time. Between the four of us we picked up at least 200 sea beans. It was amazing. I had never experienced anything like it and doubt I ever will again.

A “purse bean” in it’s beachside home.

As you can imagine we had walked quite some ways to the North. It was getting late and we had a long walk back. Crossing a cleared roadway we had wonderful views back to the Atlantic and of our anchorage several miles to the South on the West side of the island.

Upon returning to the main road we hitched a ride back to our anchorage. What a wonderful day.

It wasn’t over yet.

Cruisers are a gregarious lot so of course after such an arduous day we needed a beach get together for munchies and sundowners.

Our version of parking congestion.

Although they kind of look like Girl Scout Thin Mints, these heart beans were offered to all. I think Marcia got most of them.

I have to admit to being amazed at the delicious eats that cruisers keep coming up with, considering their limited resources. This dip was unreal!!! Corn and diced jalapenos mixed with cream cheese and copius amounts of sweet butter made this a huge hit. I tried to keep it to myself but failed.

Goliath even got a chance to socialize.

A relatively short walk from Long Island Breeze due East takes you to the big beach. I have taken so many pictures on this beach. Here are a few more.

My favorite Bahamian critter, the curly tail!

Tomorrow we have rented a van for two days so Mary and I can show off the rest of the island. Stay tuned.

Exumas – Part Three: Our Journey to Georgetown

After a wonderful evening on the beach at Little Bay we were rudely awakened the next morning by barking dogs and then the painful yelping of a dog in pain. Apparently a pack of local dogs, “potcakes“, turned on one of the pack. The injured dog retreated to the safety of the water and stayed there while the pack waited patiently ashore. There was not a lot we could do from the boat so I jumped in the dinghy and raced towards shore. The pack went crazy, barking and charging the dinghy. I raced at full speed parallel to the beach and the pack followed at full tilt. The diversion worked as the injured dog ran off to the relative safety of the scrub brush. I ran the dogs up and down the beach several times. They soon tired of this game and laid down to rest. Needless to say Goliath didn’t get his beach walk that morning.

Potcakes are very personable dogs and are very mild mannered but the Bahamians let them run wild and I guess it doesn’t take long for their instincts to resurface.

A short sail away was another the Anchorage of White Point. It was a bust as the reefs were nonexistent, the beach unproductive (no beans or shells) and surge reappeared after dark.

Once more we moved south, staging for our trip south in Exuma Sound to Georgetown. Anchored near Galiot Cut south of Big Farmers Cay, we explored and snorkeled. We dinghied over to Big Farmers to do some shelling. As we made our approach to the beach we noticed sand dollars in about three feet of water. Donning our snorkel gear Mary and I finned our way along the beach. Every so often we would scoop up a sand dollar or two. Small fish swam around us and we observed anemones in the sand. They would retract into the sand as we would reach out our hands. It was a very cool way of “strolling” the beach and we had a great time. The water was relatively warm for this time of year.

As evening fell I knew that the snappers and other larger predatory fish would be leaving their shelters and start foraging. While we were anchored in 10′ of water our stern reached almost to the channel edge where the current ran and the water was much deeper. I rigged one of my light spinning reels with a chunk of mahi (not any of the good parts) and tossed it into the current. Less than a minute later, line was zipping off the reel. A quick set of the hook and the fight was on. I managed to hold the fish for awhile before it would strip more line. Slowly I began making headway as it tired. With the light fading I pulled the leader to the swim platform and saw the largest mutton snapper I had ever seen. We gaffed it and brought on board.

It weighed in at ten pounds, I could swear it was a lot more than that!!!

It was quickly cleaned and as scraps and blood were washed over the side more fished showed up. Jacks would swoop in a grab the scraps. I tossed the remaining carcass overboard. The jacks nibbled at it persistently until, sensing danger, they scattered. A shark, no more than five feet, made one pass, circled and with lightening quickness grabbed the carcass and was gone. Seconds later it was back for more but there was none, so eventually he left. Upon his departure the jacks returned so I baited up and tossed it in. Quickly I had a large Horse Eye Jack

This fish was much stronger than the snapper. He peeled off line at an alarming rate. I slowed him down as he pulled parallel of our port side. He turned and crossed the stern and then went up the starboard side. Again I turned him and brought him back across the stern. I was able to get him relatively close but as I tried to leader him to the platform he saw me and made a run for it, breaking off as he went. Oh well, I really didn’t want to clean another fish.

Morning broke and we weighed anchored for our trip to Georgetown. About a dozen boats were to make this trip and nobody seemed anxious to be first out the cut. The tide was briskly ebbing against an easterly breeze. This sets up a “rage” or a wild mixture of steep waves against the current. It can be quite dangerous when going against the current but going with it can be quite exciting. Soon we were breaking through the waves at over ten knots! It doesn’t last long but it is exciting. Some accurately describe it as sailing in a washing machine.

After exiting the rage we set our rhumb line for Georgetown. Heading south we noticed darkening skies to the East. No squalls were forecast but these sure looked like rain. We needed to watch these clouds. I went below for a “break”. Mary hollered something at me but I couldn’t make it out. Then I heard her say something and I picked out the word, waterspout! That’s not a good thing and as I stuck my head out the companionway we she pointed to port.

The spout would form, turn white with captured water, then recede, then form again. This went on for twenty minutes and finally ended as it passed over Rudder Cay. It came very close (200 yards) to our buddy boat “Camelot” but we were well ahead of it. Many of the boats behind us got a lot of rain but no one else was in danger.

At least we were rewarded with a nice rainbow.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and produced no fish.

Our stay in Georgetown was short. There were perhaps 300 boats or more anchored there and the crowd didn’t interest us. We provisioned, filled with water and moved south in Elizabeth Harbor to a favorite spot where he snorkeled our favorite reefs and anchored for the evening.

Surprisingly, I have been enjoying my role as “tour leader” for our two buddy boats. We have known Gary and Marcia on Camelot and Tom and Lisa on Symmetry for most of our cruising years but you never know how things will work out when we you’re with people for weeks on end. I think they appreciate my enthusiasm and love of the Bahamas. We have been having a great excursion.

In the Technological Abyss

I’ve given up on blog updates until we get back to the States. Some of you, my loyal readers, insist on more pictures and fewer words. Words are hard enough to upload, pictures almost impossible.

This trip has been spent in more remote areas and less time in those civilized realms of the past. I can tell you that we are having a great time. The fishing has been much better than usual, shelling has returned after the storms of the past and for some reason sea beans are plentiful.

We are currently waiting out ugly weather in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. From here we will cross Exuma Sound back to the northern Exumas. From there we will make our way back to the U.S., picking Ft. Pierce as our port of entry. We should be home the first part of April.

I will update the blog then with lots of pictures and wild tales of daring and adventure.


Exumas – Part Two: Warderick Wells, Big Majors and Blackpoint

There are some things you don’t do enough in this cruising life and one of those is sail! Generally there is not enough wind, or too much wind from the wrong direction but so far, once in the Exumas we have had great wind from the right direction.

On our trip from Shroud to Warderick we had wind at about twenty knots (24 mph) from the east. On a beam reach we scooted along at 8.5 knots or almost 10 mph! Woowhoo!!! For us that is flying.

Exuma Land and Sea Park is a protected marine sanctuary. A “no take zone” meaning nothing alive or dead may be taken, not even a shell. The north anchorage is absolutely beautiful. A deep channel bordered by very shallow sand bars greets you and is intimidating if you haven’t picked up a mooring there before. Not a lot of room to maneuver.

We dove on several reefs and were amazed at the abundance of life. The fish were especially amazing. Schools of Margates shyly stayed out of our way while huge lane snappers peered from the holes at the bottom of the reef. I peered in one hole and saw a lobster leg the size of a stout tree branch. I dove again and there hiding in his cavern was the largest lobster I have ever seen. It had to have been almost three feet long without the antenna. Amazing! Several other holes held many more large lobsters.

We stayed four nights and then sailed (yes sailed again) to Big Majors Spot near Staniel Cay. Famous for its swimming pigs we took the dinghy over and said hello.

You can’t stop here without a visit to Thunderball Grotto. A prop used in the James Bond thriller “Thunderball” the cave is spectacular. We dove in the late afternoon and there so many fish. The coral was also lit up as if it was neon! Very cool. Too bad my camera had STB!

We have since moved on to Blackpoint, only six miles to the south. A favorite stop of ours, we broke our low carb diet with a loaf of Lorraine’s moms coconut bread which lasted less than 24 hours.

An uncomfortable surge moved into the anchorage for Super Bowl Sunday so we passed on the festivities and moved around the corner to Little Bay. It was calm and beautiful.

We hiked around and found a secluded beach loaded with sea beans. It’s like finding treasure. The day was capped off with a bonfire on the beach. We lead a rough life.

Exumas – Part One: Norman’s and Shroud Cays

Several days after returning to Bimini the weather turned awesome and we left once again for the Exuma chain of islands. Light winds meant motoring but after our last attempt it was treat to motor contently in nothing more than a light wind driven chop.

By late afternoon we passed our previous point where we turned around. In the distance was rainbow. I tuned on radar and could seen a precipitation echo which showed that the rain was right over our intended anchorage. Pretty cool!

The night, anchored on the banks, was calm and by daylight we were once again on our way. After passing through Northwest Channel the fishing poles were deployed and we entered the calm Tongue of the Ocean, a very deep body of water separating the Grand Bahama Banks from the Exuma Bank.

As we motored along we heard a squeal over the VHF. “What was that?” I asked. Mary wasn’t sure but we soon found out it was Marcia on Camelot announcing they had caught a fish. We had seen Mahi on the surface but none had hit our spread. Later that afternoon I spotted another Mahi swimming slowly near the surface. This time it streaked over and took one lure. Both my fish and Gary’s were small but they produced enough meat for a feast for six with left overs for two other meals.

The night was spent at West Bay on New Providence Island. I cleaned the fish there and had a nice group of snapper and jacks in the water below the boat. I caught one snapper and added it to our fish stash.

The following morning we motored to Norman’s Cay. Anchoring in the west anchorage in calm waters we settled in for a beautiful night at anchor. The next day we dinghied to our little palm island (the masthead of the blog) and collected some shells and a few sand dollars. We dove on the sunken plane and it was as striking as ever. I have to apologize for no pictures at Norman’s. It seems I dropped the “waterproof” camera overboard and it rested nicely on the bottom 11′ down. Well, it wasn’t so waterproof after all. It no longer works. Bummer!

Some squalls moved through the area and the wind picked up. Camelot had left their hatches open so off they went to close up the boat. We, along with Tom and Lisa, pushed on in the dinghies to explore some more. We found some nice conch shells that had died a natural death. We continued to another beach where we hit the sand dollar bonanza. In waist deep water we found almost a hundred sand dollars of all sizes.

The weather continued to look ugly so we headed back to the boat. Our serene anchorage was rocking in the west wind. We decided to head for Shroud Cay, six miles to the south and hide behind the Cay near Little Pigeon Cay. Surge from the northwest was prevalent all night but we were protected from the wind.

We explored some of the mangrove channels, one of our favorite pastimes, on the south end of Shroud. The iron shore is always quite beautiful and a small pristine beach invited us for a visit.

The north channel at Shroud is a long haul from the anchorage but we slogged our way through fairly rough chop.

The channel connects to a beautiful lagoon guarded by a reef from Exuma Sound.

Tomorrow we head for Warderick Wells, the main part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park.

There and Back

The excitement built after thirteen days in Bimini. We were going to actually leave! The weather was not perfect but the winds held promise of a southerly shift so we decided to go. The three of us (Marylee, Symmetry and Camelot) left Thursday morning (Jan 16) and headed for the southerly route onto the Great Bahama Bank. Within several hours the winds were light and the trip was pleasant. Passing Mackie Shoal to the north the wind did indeed begin its shift to the South and with a few more degrees we would be sailing. It was not meant to be. The wind backed and began to increase from the East. With the increase in wind the seas began to build.

I have never seen a catamaran bounce as wildly as Symmetry was bouncing that afternoon. The monohulls were plowing through the now 2′ to 4′ seas but Symmetry was hobby-horsing all over the place. We were no seeing winds near 20 knots and the chop mixed with the very short period waves became uncomfortable and impeding our forward progress significantly. I checked our course to our intended anchorage and although only eleven miles away it would take four hours to get there.

The VHF carried our constant traffic back and forth on what to do. It was finally decided to turn around and return to Bimini. Anchoring in this crap was not an option.

The downwind run was uneventful with an ETA of 2315 back at Bimini Sands. As we approached Bimini the lights were disconcerting. My depth perception was shot as we tried to track our route into the harbor. The current and wind kept pushing me north as I tried to figure exactly where I was. I almost clipped the green floating marker and drifted again to far north of the channel. At the last moment I could make out the north rock jetty and narrowly powered into the calm waters barely missing the submerged rocks.

We slipped into our previous slip, made sure everyone was tied up and then after an hour of decompression fell fast asleep.

A massive front passed yesterday afternoon (Jan 17) along with an impressive squall line. It has turned cold but the forecasters say winds will abate and we should be able to leave Saturday for the Exumas.

Bimini 2013

It doesn’t take long to get out of your routine and one thing about life on a boat is that is routine. Up at dawn, check the weather, prepare the boat for being underway, navigate all day, pick an anchorage, drop the hook, eat and go to bed. Repeat the next day.

After moving ashore in late November we settled in quickly to our life ashore. We put up our little Christmas tree and prepared for the holidays. In the back of our minds was the fact we were going back on the boat soon after Christmas. Things didn’t get quite unpacked and we started making lists of things that had to go back on the boat. We had a wonderful Christmas but it was time to pack up and spend our last winter in the Bahamas.

After a few small snags in plans, we departed Titusville at 1015 the 28th of December. Our friends on Camelot and Symmetry had left Marathon on the 26th. We would rendezvous in Miami as weather permitted. We stopped for the night in Melbourne, Vero Beach and in Hobe Sound across from Greg Norman’s house. New Years eve was spent in Lake Worth near West Palm Beach where we were treated to a nice fireworks display. Due to weather we stayed in Lake Worth until the 2nd. A weather window was opening to go to the Bahamas but we needed to get to Miami first. At 0400 on the 2nd we left West Palm and arrived in Miami twelve hours later. We hooked up with our friends, anchored for the evening near Key Biscayne and at 0700 the next morning were heading east towards Bimini.

Camelot – Oday 35

The trip across the Gulf Stream wasn’t too bad. Camelot had some fuel issues and we hung close while he cleaned filters. It took a little longer than normal but we slipped into Bimini Sands in South Bimini at 1600.

For us we need two weather windows to make it to the Exumas. One to cross the Gulf Stream and the other to make it east across the Bahama Banks and the Tongue of the Ocean. We will sit for almost two weeks waiting for this second window.

We enjoy Bimini every time we stop. The colorful buildings and beautiful water are a welcome site. The people like all Bahamians are welcoming and friendly.

The sea life is our favorite. There is a reef under our dock and wonderful sights are everywhere.

Grey Angelfish (foreground)


Magpie Turbo

A nature trail is just south of us and it explains many aspects of the local flora. The Poison Wood tree is to be avoided but the beautiful Gumbo Limbos jump out of the landscape. In season orchids grow among the trees and butterflies flit about.

A visit to the shark lab was in order and was informative as usual (we’ve been before). Bimini is in a unique geographical position and is a center for shark and marine studies.


Coconut Palms

We’ve been in Bimini long enough again to have had the tides swing to low lows and expose the flats. We enjoy looking at the birds, fish and live shells. We choose to take pictures rather than kill and collect the shells.

Ibis feeding


Helmet Conch

Queen Conch

Well, the weather patterns are changing and maybe we can head east towards the Exumas. If not, we’ll post more pictures of Bimini.