Cruise #7 Trip Reports
In reverse chronological order, most recent at the top.

From time to time Lynn does a general email update for family and friends. While there is some redundancy with my (George's) reports it is nice to include excerpts from them to give a balanced view of events and conditions.



Nov 2011, Dec 2011, Jan 2012, Feb 2012, Mar 2012 Apr 2012 May 2012


We had few more repair issues this year than the norm. primarily driven by a tank of bad fuel. We changed Racor filters countless times, pulled the inspection cover off the tank three times, filtered the fuel in the bad tank endlessly and finally returned to Nassau to that the tank emptied and scrubbed clean and paid for disposal of the bad fuel.

So after those problems, how can we say we had a great trip? Well, here goes . . .

We sailed more, motored less than any previous cruise. Winds had a lot of north component when we were headed south, then we had lots of easterly winds as we moved around in the Exumas. Because of that, we opted to skip some favorite places like Long Island because going there would have meant beating into winds and seas and that just isn't comfortable.

We had great weather, never had ice on the boat headed south and except for a couple of weeks in Georgetown, didn't have to hole up waiting for weather windows for any extended time. We spent less time at docks and more time at anchor which is our preference. Having said that we enjoyed a couple of nice marinas in the Abacos near the end of the cruise.

We were volunteer mooring field hosts at Cambridge Cay for two weeks. This is always a pleasurable time. A little less pleasurable this year because we were trying to clean up the dirty fuel on our own.

We always enjoy the crystal clear waters and beautiful islands but as always, the people are the best thing, both other cruisers and the Bahamians.

Toby, our dog, turned 12 shortly after we started the cruise. We were amazed at how active and alert he was for a dog of that age. His age became more apparent as the cruise progressed. He is no longer fascinated by dolphin. We don't think he hears them anymore. His vision is not as sharp but he still catches treats when you toss them to him. He hurt his leg jumping off the boat at Thunderbolt, GA on the way home. Two different vets have checked him out and there is no break or anything serious, but the young Toby would have shaken it off by now.

Of course Toby is not the only one aging. George turned 70 on this cruise. Ouch!

With repair issues we were busier than normal so we read less. Lynn read 33 books. Her favorite was Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I read 25 books, my favorite A Better War by Lewis Sorley,

We play a lot of games on Sunspot Baby and usually I have a clear edge at Gin Rummy. This year for easily half the cruise, Lynn absolutely owned me. I did start winning some later but by cruise end, we hade played 233 games. Lynn 123 to my 110. I had a slight edge at Scrabble 153 to 147 with 3 ties.

We put 2,533 nautical miles under the keel (about 2,913 statute miles) and returned just five days short of six months. Time flies when you're having fun.

It's good to be home but we are already missing life aboard. We are however enjoying a few things about living in the house like toilets that flush without pumping. No holding tanks to pump out. Plentiful hot water for showers. A freezer that you don't have to get on your knees to access. Lynn doesn't have to climb over me to get out of bed.

Our regular trip reports follow below.


Date Report

New Bern, NC
George Stateham

I had no phone signal last night, so just now posted the earlier report.

We are home in our marina and have made two trips to unload the boat. That only scratches the surface but often when we get home we are so pooped that we just walk away for a couple of days. We also made a quick trip into town to get Lynn's glasses fixed (they were closed in our folding table top, oops). While there, we had some of the pine pollen washed off the car, picked up our bottom paint from West Marine, and bought some diet pop for the fridge. Oh yes, and a box of wine.

The wind forecast that had me dreaming of a nice sail up the river didn't develop. Our anchorage was flat calm this morning and the river had only a few ripples on the water. Still it was a nice motor back to our dock.

We rigged lines and docked without assistance. Lynn is an awesome foredeck crew. We plan to post a summary of the trip so don't stop watching this space just because we are home.

The computers are hooked up and working. We tested the TV and got the usual resumption of service problems resolved. I think we will either get carryout Chinese or delivery pizza tonight.

We are glad to be home, but sorry the cruise is over.

Cedar Creek, ICW
George Stateham

We don’t usually spend a lot of time planning our days on the ICW to consider tides. They are helping about half the time and hurting the other half. There are a few stretches where the effect is more severe and this time we are paying more attention since we are in no hurry to get to any particular place.

I mentioned delaying our departure from Charleston. That worked well. Saturday we delayed our departure from Myrtle Beach so that we could catch a flooding tide in the Cape Fear River. When we got to the Little River Inlet, we made a snap decision to go outside rather than up the ICW. We would still catch the flooding tide and we would avoid Lockwoods Folly and the Shallotte inlets where bottoms shift causing shallow areas and difficult steering.

We had about a 2’ swell off our starboard quarter early but by the time we were near Cape Fear it was about 4’. Certainly less comfortable but in general a nice day outside with good sailing. As planned we caught the incoming tide and had a quick trip up the Cape Fear. Snow’s Cut was running the other way so we have a mile and a half of slow going and really active steering. Then once through the cut we modified our plan again. Instead of turning into Carolina Beach to anchor, we opted to push on for Wrightsville Beach. We managed to get there and be on the hook by 7:30 pm. Not much daylight to spare.

Getting to Wrightsville made getting through the bridges easier the next day. We were through the Wrightsville bridge before 6:40 and the Figure eight we made at 7:00. Then dragging our heels we made the Surf City bridge at their 10:00 opening. These three bridges are inconveniently spaced for sail boats and unless you are lucky you spend a long time loitering waiting for a scheduled opening or, as we did, you slow way down to get there at about the right time.

Farther along the Onslow Beach Bridge opens on both the hour and half hour so it is not as difficult to schedule. We were in Swansboro about 3:00 pm. They have free wi-fi, so guess what we did. Wrong, we sat in the cockpit, had a couple of glasses of wine and walked to the Icehouse restaurant for a nice dinner to celebrate the end of this cruise.

The hordes of power boats, sport fishers, water skiers, waver runners, etc were not as great as normal between Carolina Beach and Wrightsville because of the late time of day. Then today, it was gray and cool and that reduced the number of crazies near the New River inlet.

We thought we might go all the way home today or stop in Oriental if the town dock was open. If it was we would celebrate again. It wasn’t and we didn’t want to keep going so we are stopped at Cedar Creek. This anchorage used to be wide open but apparently it is good crabbing and there are so many crab pots it is hard to find an area large enough to anchor and allow some swinging room. Winds are supposed to be good for sailing tomorrow so that will be a good way to close out the cruise. A nice sail up the river.

It has been just six days short of six months since we slipped the lines to head south. Maybe we should turn right down the Neuse and go to Ocracoke for a few days and get home on the day. A fun thought but we have already made a vet appointment for Toby on Wednesday. We have signed up to be a host boat for Boat Bash and we want to get ready for Alisha’s visit. Time to get back in the swing of the land lubbers life.

Myrtle Beach, SC
George Stateham

More about those Georgia flies. We decimated squadron after squadron of the aerial invaders, but their numbers were without limit. There appeared to be no way to win the war, thus, we decided to execute a strategic withdrawal. Since we were in Georgia that is pronounced “with drawl.” If our boat were faster we would not have executed a strategic withdrawal, it would have been a hasty retreat.

As soon as we crossed the Savannah River the problem abated. That is not to say there aren’t biting flies but the numbers are manageable. One thing we did see shortly after the Savannah was a 6’ gator sunning on the bank. We know there are gators along our route and sometimes scan the banks in hopes of seeing one, but mostly we are watching where we are going and cruise right by without spotting them. We do see the occasional gator swimming but this is the first one sunning itself we have seen in a very long time.

The full moon is causing extreme tides and we are modifying our daily float plans to accommodate them. Currents going up the Port Royal sound helped us make an earlier bridge opening and thus allowed us to get to Dataw Island. That in turn helped us get all the way to Charleston the next day despite nasty currents in Elliott Cut but that is a short passage and once out of it things were good.

Lynn has reported on Toby’s leg. We believed he was hurt but not injured. Does that make sense? My coach used to ask me, "are you injured or just hurt?" Still, he is an important member of the crew and we decided not to risk it without a professional opinion. The vet recommended by Jim Amy was just the ticket. He concurred with our diagnosis, but we will have him checked again at home if he is not showing marked improvement by the time we get there.

The extra day in Charleston allowed us to get together with Don and Peg on two consecutive evenings we it was a real bonus to spend time with them. What great people.

The shallowest water we saw while southbound was the area near McLellanville, SC so we delayed our departure from Charleston until about 10:00 so that we would be transiting that area on a rising tide. They must have been dredging because there was no problem. We did see shallow depths in the area east of Charleston. We had a mix of favorable and unfavorable currents, but knew once we got past Minim Creek that they would be favorable and we would scoot right up to Georgetown, SC. The problem was to get to Minim Creek early enough to make that happen. If we got in a little late, we would anchor there and go on today. As it was the time seemed right on the margin and we took a chance. The good news is that the current was really moving and we picked up about two extra knots and got into Georgetown well before sundown.

Georgetown’s anchorage had lots of room and we found a great spot. We love the nice little downtown area but George the Grinch/Captain wouldn’t launch the dinghy for a drink or meal ashore.

If one leaves Georgetown about an hour before high tide it is possible to have favorable currents all the way to Myrtle Beach. We were off the hook with most of the mud rinsed off the deck by 6:30 and made great time. We did 62.5 miles in 7 ½ hours. That averages 8.3 mph or 7.3 knots. That is a full knot faster than our normal cruising speed. Add to that that we had to slow down for 3 bridges and it was an awesome day.

Tomorrow tides are unfavorable at about he time we would get to the Cape Fear River but we will delay again to ride them up the river. The last start will mean we don’t get as far as normal, but should be at Carolina Beach by sundown.

The areas we have been transiting over the last few days are just beautiful and are some of our favorites. Huge areas of wet lands filled with wild life means there is always something to see. We really enjoyed the Waccamaw River today. We only met one other boat and we passed no others and no one passed us. It is wide and deep so the steering should be easy but the helmsman needs to keep a good eye out for logs in the water.

Charleston, SC
Lynn Stateham


We took Toby to a vet recommended by our friends Jim and Amy, Dr. Feinberg on Savannah Highway, and he had a thorough going-over, receiving a prescription for tramadol to make him more comfortable. The vet doesn't suspect a break, said he probably has a strain or sprain, and even if it is a tear, the recommended treatment is very restricted activity for an extended period of time. Surgery is sometimes done if the dog doesn't recover well, but we would hope not to put him through that at his age. Because Toby is on aspirin daily he couldn't get a steroid, but we have taken him off aspirin so when we get him checked again by our vet at home she can prescribe one, or sedate him and take xrays if she thinks that's in order.
We liked the vet. They all loved Toby, and had not seen an entlebucher before. The vet said "He's an athlete" - has a heart rate of 80 in a vet's office! One of the girls in the office thinks she has an entlebucher mix and she took Toby's photo.
He weighs 57 pounds, a good weight but at his age he could weigh less which would be easier on him. Entlebucher males go 55-60, but Toby is losing some body mass as he ages.
We ran some errands, bought a few groceries, had lunch at MacDonalds (a treat), and had a lovely dinner with Don and Peg at their beautiful place in Mount Pleasant last night. There was much conversation about mutual friends and old Singapore days.
Planning to leave today around 10, to go through the MacLellanville area at mid tide. We will probably anchor at Minim Creek unless we make good time and there is enough time to run with the tide up to Georgetown.

Charleston, SC
Lynn Stateham

We left Thunderbolt a little later in the morning because we waited for our Krispy Kreme doughnuts and newspaper delivery. Departed about 7:15 in order to make the 8:00 am Causton Bluff bridge opening. There were no ships in the Savannah River when we crossed it, which is to our liking.
We had a long day on the water, scooting right through Beaufort (pronounced Bew-fort) in South Carolina and making the Lady's Island Bridge opening at 2:00. Then on to Dataw Island Marina, about 4 miles off the ICW where we tied up just before the office closed.
A family we know from George Town is moving to New Bern. Their circumstances are a bit unusual and we have a couple of things on board for them, and at Dataw Island Chris and Vivian from Second Chance drove out to see us with their Portuguese water dog Zapper, to bring us a few more things for the family. They came on board for wine and conversation and we enjoyed getting to know them better - the dogs got along fine.
Yesterday morning we were away before first light in order to make it through Charleston's Wappoo Creek Bridge before they went on afternoon restrictions from 3:30 to 6:30 PM. This is a terrible restriction for cruisers to deal with. As we passed Jim and Amy's place on the Stono River we waved to them on their deck. Elliott Cut was running pretty much full tilt against us, and we had two very slow and sloshy sailboats ahead of us going 2 knots against the current. Thankfully it was a short ride, and we made the bridge in good time.
We are tied up at Charleston Maritime Center. Toby has hurt his right rear leg. We don't think it's broken but want to get it checked out and we have an appointment with a vet here this afternoon and have rented a car for that purpose.
Had dinner with Don and Peg last night - how nice to see them, first time in several years. We had drinks on board then went to Fleet Landing, a terrific place on the water. I had a fried oyster and goat cheese salad. Might sound weird, but it was totally delicious.
With the full moon, we are having high high and low low tides. This may be problematic for our next trip through McLellanville which is notoriously shallow even on a good day, so we are making plans accordingly.

Thunderbolt, GA
George Stateham

Something I should have included in my random thoughts was that the sunspots must be really active. Propagation on the VHF radio has been downright freaky. From Titusville we heard Coast Guard stations from Texas and Louisiana. Then from Melbourne, we heard Mobile Alabama. We frequently hear conversations between boats 200 to 300 miles away.

Our plan had been to go outside at St. Augustine Friday and run overnight to Beaufort, SC arriving Saturday. After a stressful crossing back to the US, I had promised no more night passages that weren’t perfect. The weather had a period of winds just beyond our accepted comfort limit and the radar has been erratic so we changed plans. We have opted to just stay inside and enjoy some easy days on the water.

We seldom get bird poop on the boat. I guess we have just been lucky. In St. Augustine the cormorants took a liking to our rigging. When we got up Friday morning, the boat was an absolute mess. Lynn used a bucket and brush to get most of the stuff on the deck, but the bimin and dinghy are messy as well.

We went from St. Augustine to Cumberland Island, about 5 miles north of the St. Mary’s inlet. A new anchorage for us and it would have been nice to stay a day or two and explore this end of the island.

From there we stretched a bit and went 81 miles to the Wahoo River. This is not one of Lynn’s favorite stops but she admitted we had a very nice night there and were protected from some blustery southerly winds.

We have had beautiful days and in the early morning light the marsh is an iridescent green. Marsh birds stalk the shallows and we have seen osprey pluck fish from the water directly ahead of us. Bald eagles perch high in dead trees. We have taken a ton of egret pictures and will check to see if we got any worth keeping.

Of course we have been providing sustenance for the biting flies that are so numerous this time of year. Raid, Off, fly swatter and even an electric swatter that gives the culprits a nice little zap when you make contact, all these are pieces of our arsenal. We win some battles but the war is as yet undecided. We should nominate these critters as the Official Georgia State Bird.

Temperatures are cool at night requiring a sheet to cover. With the sun in the cockpit during the day it is toasty. I stood in the sun for a few minutes yesterday and my shirt smelled like it was being ironed. Felt about that way as well.

Currents are once again a big part of our lives. Depending on whether we are running with or against the tides our speed may run as low as five knots or as high as 7. When trying to make a scheduled bridge opening, it seems to hold us back, and then when we get there it changes and wants to drag us into the bridge.

The currents also move the bottom around and the waterway in Georgia is notorious for some shallow creeks and cuts. I am writing this underway and we just passed through Hell Gate. We have never grounded here but many boats have. Lynn says it wouldn’t be so scary if they called it something else. How about Raccoon Cay Cut? It is just on the north side of Raccoon Cay. Another skinny spot is the Little Mud River. Some names are very descriptive.

We have agreed to stop in Beaufort, SC and pick up some boxes for people moving to New Bern. Another boat was transporting them but has changed plans and is now not going to NC.

Tonight we should be at Thunderbolt Marina. It is one of Lynn’s favorite stops but I think the Krispy Kreme doughnuts delivered to the boat at 6:30 am is the reason for that.

Sunspot Baby stays pretty clean when we are home and even in the Bahamas, but when we are moving every day she doesn’t get the attention she deserves and now she does not shine. We got a huge rain in Vero with that thunderstorm bearing 62 knots, and the boat looked pretty good.  Then we ducked into a marina in Melbourne, FL to escape some westerlies, and were docked right next to a bridge, negating the nice rinse and adding a fine layer of black dust.

The crew are overdue for haircuts and now that he is not swimming on a regular basis, Toby is beginning to small like a dog. Those that think spending six months cruising is living in the lap of luxury are mistaken. It is a great adventure and we love it, but right now we are not very lovable.

We should probably stop somewhere and regroup, scrub the boat, get haircuts and shampoo the dog but we are like a horse headed for the barn. Now only about 400 miles from home we hate to stop.

I mentioned we were underway as I wrote, so now we are in Thunderbolt and because we ran extra miles yesterday we were in early enough to hose down the boat and get most of the bird poop off. Lynn ran three loads of laundry and we each had a shore shower. That unlimited hot water is nice.

The boat is not as clean as we would like but as I always say, incremental improvement beats postponed perfection.

St Augustine, FL
George Stateham

Random thoughts of the last few days.

The water pump I had rebuilt in Green Turtle began to leak like a sieve and threw salt water all over my engine. Called my good US mechanic and he drove down with the right stuff and actually fixed it. Did the guy I trusted in Green Turtle just do enough to get me out of his hair?

We see dolphin virtually every day in the ICW and maybe one or two animals a year in the Bahamas. Water in the ICW is usually green or brown. Water in the Bahamas is usually crystal clear. Why do the dolphin like this better? Food. Clear water but not much to eat in the Bahamas, that’s my guess.

Have been blessed as the recipient of the Grady White Wakefest today. The smaller boats aren’t bad but the larger ones need to learn to plane out. Stern down, bow up pushing big wakes, ouch. The ones that try to give a slow pass just don’t know the technique.

Head winds really slow you down.

Beans have a lot of fiber. Boy was I regular for a while. Regularly on the head that is.

We eat extremely well on this boat. Wisely but too well? I should take smaller portions.

Just changed Racor filters again. Boy we have had a lot of dirty fuel this year.

Lynn broke and lost a boat hook last time we came into St. Augustine. She certainly got over that today. You just don’t pick up a mooring any better than that!  

Looking ahead: Hope to go outside tomorrow and run to Beaufort, SC overnight. Wish us well.

Melbourne, FL
George Stateham

After caution induced by the pre-frontal activity we saw on Friday we sat in Vero for two days to let the front move through. The forecast was for more of the same. The good news is that while we had some wind and rain, most of the really severe stuff moved by either north or south of us. The bad news is that during the deluge, our trusty Honda 2000 generator quit working.

With some extra time on our hands, Lynn opted to do a couple of loads of laundry just to keep us topped up. I tried getting the generator going without much luck. While at the laundry, Lynn talked to Will off Antares who said he was good with generators. Will came by and found a bad on/off switch. Probably got too wet, but it didn’t want to work even after a shot of WD40. We disconnected it and the generator runs fine. The downside is that I have to choke it to kill it but that works OK even if it does take a while to stop.

Saturday evening during one of the nice periods of weather we were watching dolphin in the harbor. One was popping its head out of the water and jerking it. Watching closely, it had a small fish in its mouth that it would toss away. I assume it was like a cat playing with a mouse, catch, release, catch, release, repeat. I have never seen this behavior before and wish we had a video.

This morning we took off in calm conditions against a current so we weren’t making quite as good time as planned. Headed to Titusville we still had time to get in and anchor with plenty of daylight. Lynn was looking at mileages and anchorages and figuring out how we could be home in two weeks. Yeah, sure.

As the day progressed the wind picked up to 20+ knots coming right down the waterway. Our speed decreased further but my concern became not time but finding a protected anchorage. After looking at lots of options, we opted to cut the day short and go into a marina in Melbourne, FL. The forecast for tomorrow was the same as today, but now it looks like it might be easing, so with any luck we won’t lose another day, at least not right now. We shall see.

Toby, however, is happy. This means he can get shore patrol even though the dinghy is stowed.

There is supposed to be wi-fi here but we can’t get the signal, even with our big external antenna. We are taking turns using my smart phone tethered to the computers to get internet. How nice to be able to get internet anywhere I have a decent cell phone signal.

Vero Beach, FL
Lynn Stateham

After the terrific thunderstorm Friday night, we were not looking forward to the severe band of storms forecast for Saturday afternoon and evening, with even a second run-in to come later. Winds were forecast to be at least as high, this time with possible tornados.
We escaped the storms. They slid by us to the north and south, and left us with a calm night and an occasional rain shower. We have had a few sprinkles through the day and nothing more.
We had lox and bagels for brunch on board. I made a tuna salad, George filled water bottles, took trash ashore and bought a bag of ice, a luxury to supplement our ice trays. I retrieved the helm chair from the aft cabin and George set it up in the cockpit for ICW travel. I cleaned the cockpit sole. Toby has had two shore trips, and the dinghy is stowed and we have checked out at the marina office in preparation for leaving tomorrow.
We took boat showers - it's much easier to shower on our own boat instead of schlepping it all to the marina showers, although they are nice.
We are having pizza for dinner and the chopped oniions, diced garlic and rising dough smells good. Scandia called today. They are ahead of us (in South Carolina) and planning to be home by the end of April, earlier than we will get there.
Tomorrow we will depart Vero - probably with a lot of other boats who have been waiting out the weather here. We could go to Cocoa (53 statute miles), or if condititions are good, to Titusville (73 statute miles).
We are looking forward to being underway again.

Vero Beach, FL
George Stateham

We weren't good about posting updates while we were at Bluff House even though we had good wi-fi. We did a lot of email and skyping but didn't post. Maybe that is because we were on the docking for dollars plan. See my earlier post for an explanation.

We waited for a good weather window and didn't have to wait too long. On Monday 4/16 we left Bluff House early to catch a tide high enough that we could get out of the slip. We had a nice 3 hour sail up to Crab Cay anchorage at the north end of Great Abaco. We spent a calm night on the hook and did final preparation for an overnight passage.

Tuesday morning we listened to Chris Parker and got a personal forecast. Then we raised anchor and were away about 7:15. The wind was almost dead astern but shifting enough that it swung from port to starboard and back. I could get wind in the Genoa for a while and then have to furl it and wait for the wind to change sides. After a while I decided I was working way to hard for the little benefit I was getting from the sails. We sheeted in the main so that when we jibed it wouldn't travel far and furled the Genoa for the duration.

Motor sailing was the mode of the trip. Lynn had a bit of excitement on her watches (read her report). My anxiety level was much lower.

We arrived at Ft. Pierce inlet shortly after sunrise on Wednesday and caught the flooding current going in. Just like we planned.

Going up the ICW to Vero was almost boring after an overnight passage.

As I write this things are not boring. we are in the middle of a severe thunderstorm with hail.  Lynn just saw a wind gust of 62 knots. The boat behind us has its dinghy flipped over. Fortunately he doesn't have a motor on it. Our boat and dinghy are OK so far.

There are more thunderstorms forecast over the weekend so we will probably wait until Monday to leave. I certainly wouldn't want to be underway in confined waters in a storm like this one.

Vero Beach, FL
Lynn Stateham

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 7:15 pm
We were away from Crab Cay exactly 12 hours ago. There were three other boats anchored there, a monohull, a newer Prout (Gypsea) and Rich on Feral Cat, a PDQ. There was little wind and it was behind us and meandering from side to side. George had the Genoa in and out and we finally gave up and stowed it for the voyage. I heated premade breakfast burritos and we had juice and coffee with those. With all the boats making plans to head back to Florida, we are surprised to be pretty much alone. 4 or 5 went to Great Sale and on southish to West End to cross over tomorrow. We are crossing to the Little Bahama Bank waypoint and on to Fort Pierce, Florida overnight. Jimandi is ahead of us by about 10 miles and he has seen another boat between us, but we haven't identified anyone else yet.
Jimandi is a Gemini catamaran with a good name. One of the owners is Jim, and they pronounce the name Jumandi, but it really is "Jim and I", and close to the make of the boat. We are about 1 1/2 hours from the waypoint, and 1/2 hour from sunset. We have 12+ knots of wind, still right behind us (east) so the main is jerking some as it attempts to jibe. We had chicken salad for lunch and I made us each a Frapuccino in the afternoon for a caffeine fix. We had quiche for supper. George has shut down and restarted each engine in turn to check oil. Toby has had three Tums and is laying down with George as I begin my watch. We changed our watches to 1 hour later, so my first watch is 7-10.
This is our 14th Gulf Stream crossing, and we are hoping for a good one. Conditions are pretty good for this trip right now.
9:00 pm. Talked with Jimandi. He has picked up another boat in his general area. Plans to slow down so he doesn't get to Fort Pierce in the dark. I have called the boat between us (it has a blue spinnaker) and he has a strong accent, says it's his first time to cross westbound.
By the time we arrived at the Little Bahama Bank waypoint to enter the ocean there was a pretty good swell behind us and the waters from the bank and the ocean weren't getting along well. there was an AIS target nearby, headed North and possibly crossing our route. I turned on the radar and (I think) it tripped the cockpit instrument breaker and shut down the autohelm (automatic steering device). George jumped up and we got the boat back on course, and reset the cockpit instruments. I shut the radar off to avoid another occurrence of this, but the autohelm stopped working several times (without tripping, thankfully). We watched it carefully in the sloshy seas and as much as we could have used the radar we certainly didn't want to have to hand steer across the Gulf Stream in those conditions. Reflecting on the radar/Autohelm issue, George thinks he has a wiring resolution for the issue. George took over for his watch a little early, but I was too rattled to sleep much.
On my second watch I encountered a huge military vessel (drawing 45 feet and showing very few lights but thankfully it had AIS. Next was a tug and tow, with the tow 1/4 mile behind. We were crabbing along our line to Fort Pierce, not pointed toward Fort Pierce, but driven more by the current. This is disconcerting because what seems to be ahead of you isn't. George sorted out the tow issue and after being up for about 20 minutes he was able to get back to bed. When I came off that watch at 4:15 (I let him sleep a few minutes longer and had intended more but he woke up), I fell into the settee exhausted and slept ok. (Usually we sleep in the cockpit but it was a little cool out there with the wind behind us.
April 18, 7:33 am - arrived at the Fort Pierce Sea Buoy. The entry went fine.
Chris Parker the Weather Guru had given us an individual forecast of Easterly <10 knots in on the Little Bahama Bank 120-130 degrees 10 knots in the Gulf Streem and 120-130 degrees with seas 4 ft with an 8 second swell, "seas a non-issue." We had more than that, winds up to 18 at times and I think more than 6 ft seas. It was an ok crossing, but not my favorite. I felt bad about waking George several times.
10:00 am. Arrived Vero Beach City Marina. We are sleepy and cranky and glad to be on a mooring ball here.
April 19, 2012. Vero Beach. We are on Mooring Ball #13, and have had a good night's sleep. We gave Toby a shore trip, and took the bus to the shopping area about 15 minutes from the marina. We have bought groceries, wine (mandatory because we were close to out), and had lunch at our favorite 2002 Restaurant, the little French place with a big menu. We went to the weekly Cruiser's Cocktail Hour here at the marina, saw old friends and made new ones.
There is a 1000 mb low approaching, and we are seeing the first rain bands now. Good thing because some giant bird flew over our port side and pooped gigantially (that's what giant birds do), so we are needing a washdown.

Bluff House Marina
Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We had a smooth anchorage at Great Guana Cay Monday night after a short trip from Treasure Cay. I made barbecue chicken thighs and sautéed mixed vegetable with garlic bread. There was enough chicken left over for bbq sandwiches on Tuesday, another moving day.
The Whale Passage is one that bears caution, and around 8 am a boat called in and reported millpond conditions. We were away about 9:00 on a rising tide for the short 20 mile trip to Green Turtle. There used to be a cruise ship base at the north end of Great Guana, and the tall navigational pilings are still in place. Every now and then someone slaps a little red or green paint on the top, and they guided our path as we moved north. The whale was beautiful, with a small swell and sometimes glassy water as we made our way around and through the reef.
If you look at Green Turtle Cay on the chart, it does look like a turtle, with the head being at the northwest end, and the feet tucked under the body on the south west side.
We arrived at Bluff House, in White Sound at Green Turtle Cay midday. Bluff House is a lovely spot, just across the bay from the Green Turtle Club which is usually a little more expensive and (we think) not as friendly. The docks here are made of epi wood and are a strange concoction of slips built at an angle with tall pilings set out into the water which you must lasso on your way in (sort of like Northwest Creek). This time we requested a face dock and they put us on the inside of these weird docks, still at an angle, but with a little more finger pier. Asking about the depth, Dockmaster Nardo said we would have 4 ft 6 in at low tide. We are aground at 3.7 ft, and last night we even saw 3.6!
The other side of the Bluff House property is a clubhouse at the top of a bluff overlooking the Sea of Abaco. There is a beach at the bottom of the bluff, and beautiful views from the top. The building usually is in a state of almost functional, because it is a hurricane target. Haven't been up there yet to see how it fared during Irene.
Bluff House's big draw is their docking and dining program which George has covered in another report. We had a delicious steak dinner last night, with Caesar salad and wine, and came out only $13 over our dockage.
I fed my bread starter Tuesday evening, while we were enjoying some pre dinner and post dinner wine, and got up yesterday morning to a flat and sour starter! I have determined not to drink and feed the starter, because I forgot to add the potato flakes! So I let it set all day, put the bread together last night, and baked it this morning. It smells great - just took two loaves of half white/half wheat out of the oven.
George did reach the mechanic we know, and he happens to be going to the States today and hopes to bring back a part for us, or at least a rebuild kit. We hope to get this taken care of soon, because there is some weather that looks like we could head west several days from now.

Bluff House Marina
Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
George Stateham

OK, so we do have internet. We are at the Bluff House Marina in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay. They have their docking for dollars special in which our docking cost become a credit at the bar and restaurant.

The deal is not as good as it used to be. Last time we were here it was cumulative. You could dock a couple of days and build up a fair sized credit and then really splurge on a meal. Now the credit is only good for each day you're docked. In other words if we spend $45 docking today we must  use it today or lose it. There is no roll over.

Lynn says that the engines Laverne and Shirley are  jealous of each other and anytime one gets something, the other wants one too. Well we put a rebuilt raw water pump on Shirley (starboard engine) in Nassau. Now Lavern is leaking. We used our only spare so now must decide to live with the leak until we are back in the states or try to get it fixed here. We would hate to miss a weather window to cross waiting for parts. We are trying to reach a mechanic here that we have used before and trust.

Meanwhile, tonight is steak night at the restaurant. I think we will enoy it rather than lose our credit.

Fischer's Bay, Great Guana, Abacos, Bahamas
George Stateham

As Lynn reported we left Treasure Cay today. It looks like the conditions will be good to go through the Whale Cut tomorrow and/or Wednesday. Once north of the Whale we will start looking for a window to head back to the US. That could be as early as this weekend. Of course, there is always a weather window a week out :-)

We may not have internet depending on where we anchor although we might go into the Bluff House Marina if they still have their docking for dollars plan where you get a restaurant or gift shop credit for the amount you spend on docking. We shall see.

I posted a couple of pictures of our stay here at Treasure Cay.

Treasure Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We have had a nice visit here at Treasure Cay. The beach view over the Sea of Abaco is spectacular - there's a nice beach bar there where we had a cold drink and watched the beachgoers slog down with their coolers, towels and chairs. Sunspot Baby is right next to the pool and pool bar, and close to a lovely restaurant, showers, grocery store and laundry.
Yesterday we took a long dinghy ride through the canals - in a way similar to Fairfield Harbour, houses and docks and placid water.
The past two days have been clogged with tax preparation, and .....drum roll......our taxes are e-filed and Lori is mailing checks for the payments! Nice to have that out of the way, even if we aren't getting refunds. This is the first year we have been able to get our act together and file on time from the Bahamas. The final checking and submitting was hampered by a group of Bahamian guys cleaning a sportfisher next door who were playing the loudest and foulest language rap we have ever heard. Too bad they did that on a Sunday when there were families out for lunch and pool activities. Fortunately it only lasted a couple of hours.
Today we are heading out to stage up for the Whale Cay Passage. It's only about 12 miles from here. We will anchor either at Great Guana Cay or Bakers Bay. I have been wanting to anchor at Baker's Bay - it's right next door to the Whale and is supposed to be a beautiful anchorage with nice shelling. But (all to common in the Bahamas now) there is a huge development and supposedly lots of equipment in the anchorage. Not sure what we'll do.
We had great meals on Easter Sunday. We made eggs benedict and Bloody Marys on the boat, had a mid-afternoon light snack, and for dinner we each had two lobster tails, with some brown rice and green peas. The tails are smallish, thus two per person. We still have several meals left of this lobster, which we bought from a fishing boat in Nassau.
Hope you had a great Easter

Treasure Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

The blackfin tuna was delicious. I coated it with a little olive oil, seasoned lightly with Ragged Islands sea salt and pepper, and sautéed it with a pat of butter. Sloshed in a little white wine at the end which made a tasty sauce.
I was stewing about the Little Harbour Cut, but it went fine and we motorsailed through with the main up. Dinner was hamburger patties, canned peas with cream, garlic bread, canned applesauce and cookies. Not as elegant as the previous tuna dinner.
We had a calm night, perfect for sleeping. We stayed two nights at Spencer's Bight, which is called Pelican Harbour on the chart plotter, but Pelican Harbour is a actually a little north. The morning after the second night we motored north one bay to Sandy Cay, dropped anchor and George launched the dinghy. Our mission was to snorkel at the marine park, using one of the dinghy moorings available. Apparently lots of other folks had the same idea and we were not alone.
This is probably the best snorkeling we have had in the Bahamas. Nice corals, fed by the currents from the North Bar Channel, immediately to the east. Winds were westerly and we were at pretty much slack tide. We saw a big school of blue tangs, moving across the reef "all together now" as the Beatles would say. The stag horn and elk horn corals were so large that broken pieces looked like gridwork or canons from a ship. We saw a lovely trumpet fish (George saw two), and a few grouper. For a marine park, one would have expected bigger grouper. As George said in his report, no lion fish at all so they are probably being eradicated by park officials. It was nice to be back in the water, hanging over beautiful corals and fish life.
Cracker P's is a bar and restaurant on Lubber's Quarters, and we were planning to anchor nearby and have drinks and dinner there. Cracker P's is named after a Georgia "Cracker" John Paul Simmons, who lived on the island for four decades after he shot the sheriff in his own state of Georgia. He had no motor for his boat, and poled it wherever he went.
The channel is skinny there, the wind was still westerly, and there are few hidey holes from west in the Abacos. We found a protected spot about a half mile from Cracker P's, noticing that there were no boats on the dock on this Monday. The bottom was sand and grass, not the best anchoring, and in a narrow channel scoured by currents we had trouble hooking up. George, who is terrific at anchoring Sunspot Baby, tried about five times and still wasn't satisfied. There were other boats closeby, but they were all on fixed moorings, so we finally abandoned the plan and moved on to Hope Town, only to find that Cracker P's is closed on Mondays anyway.
Truman (Lucky Strike) came by to collect our mooring fee, and it was his birthday. Antares, next door to us, turns out to be someone who knew George from the Cruiser's Forum. No one knows me from that forum, George's name is Sunspot Baby which folks immediately associate with the boat. Mine is Entlie, so they don't know me.
The Hope Town Lighthouse is one of only three in the world fired by kerosene. The light is spectacularly bright, and the red and white stripes of the lighthouse are a much loved landmark.
Treasure Cay has been on our list of places to visit since Shirley Blackburn told us about the spectacular beach here. She was right. It faces the Sea of Abaco, and the color is mind blowing. We are in the marina (some weather coming through over Easter weekend). There is a lovely pool bar (we are docked right beside the pool), and a terrific bar on the beach. Internet is FREE! So we are overdosing. Had hoped to watch the Masters golf tournament on our boat tv, but we can't get it going, so every now and then we check the scoring on the internet.
Last night we had dinner in their restaurant - the Treasure Seafood Platter with conch, grouper and lobster. Well prepared and delicious. Afterward, Charlie and Terry from Voyager joined us for conversation. He will be the chairman of George Town's Cruiser's Regatta in 2013 - a dubious honor but he will do a good job.
So that's my update. We think of you often and hope you are thinking of us.

Treasure Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
George Stateham

After relaxing for a day at Spencers Bight, on Monday we motored over near Sandy Cay Reef, anchored, launched the dinghy, and went snorkeling on the reef. It is not a large area but is actually some of the prettiest snorkeling we have done in the Bahamas. It is part of a land and sea park. We saw no lion fish here so I suspect the park staff are culling them out.

Then we were on to Hope town where we spent two nights. We spend a little time ashore in the tiny town center and had a snack. We shared an order of conch fritters. I had a beer and Lynn opted for a mango daiquiri.

We saw some old friends and made a few new ones.

Then, today we sailed from Hope Town to Treasure Cay. This place has a great reputation and somehow we have missed it in our three previous trips through the Abacos. The dockage rate is reasonable and there is a squally cold front due this weekend so we will stay put for a few days. We hope to see some of the Masters Golf Tournament while here.

Things close up around here for the Easter Weekend so any shopping we want to do will be done tomorrow. Come Tuesday, we plan to move to the next island, which one is dependent on which way the wind blows.

Spencers Bight, Abacos, Bahamas
George Stateham

Two nice days on the water and one black fin tuna caught and we are in the Abacos.

The first day sailing from Nassau to Royal Island was great. The wind was just right. Lynn had two fishing lines out and shortly before we reached our way point to go onto the banks we had hits on both lures. Normally I set the boat to keep sailing on its own, then I pull in the line without the fish. In the excitement, I took the hand line and Lynn took her big offshore rod. As we were both fighting fish I realized I hadn't reset the boat. Lynn put her rod back in the holder to do it. The big rig has a reel with drag and the rod soaks up a lot of the shock of fighting the fish. While in the rod holder, her reel began to sing as the fish took the lure and ran. Then nothing. Mean while I was winding in the hand line a little at a time and finally landed a small black fin tuna. I'm guessing about 8 lbs. The other fish fought much harder and I suspect was quite a bit larger.

The fish I landed is really her fish, but she insisted that I be in the picture with it because I landed it. It was her rig and set up. All I did is reel it in. If I had not forgotten to get the boat set, she would probably have landed the big one and that would have been a much better picture. When we reported this to our family Becky, our oldest, sent back a comment that all good fish stories include something about the one that got away, so this must be a good fish story.

To top it all off, when the line broke, it cause a backlash snarl on her reel and it took about an hour of painstaking work to get it cleared. About the time she got finished, she said, "my Dad would be cussing a blue streak by now."

Oh, well, we got a couple of nice tuna filets, enough for two meals. That night we had the first. Excellent. Losing her lure and the "bird" that we run ahead of it, makes it an expensive fish. Last cruise we had a double hit and broke both lines. Tuna tend to feed in schools so you can get multiple hits. Mahi and Wahoo are solitary hunters.

Saturday we departed Royal and headed across the Northeast Channel to the Abacos. The wind was light and variable. Sometimes we got a little help from the sails but mostly it was a motoring day. There was only a small wind chop and there was a long ocean swell of about 2' with an occasional set of 4' or so. The cuts from the Atlantic onto the banks in the Sea of Abaco are notorious for dangerous conditions, but I didn't expect any problem with the sea state and wind as mild as they were. The crew, however, kept questioning all day which cut we should use. The closest one, the one that would get us onto the banks the soonest, is the Little Harbor cut. We have used this cut several times and have done it from both directions. We know it well and I intended to use it. As we got close, Lynn called another boat that had a report on the cut and it was near perfect.

We did fish for a while but there was so much floating Sargasso weed that it kept fouling her lures so Lynn bagged it for the day and reeled in.

Once into the Sea of Abaco (a big name for this small banks area) we headed for a new anchorage because the wind was forecast to clock to the west and we didn't want to be on a lee shore. We had a little problem finding a nice sandy area but succeeded and the anchor is well set.

We will hang out here today while the winds are up and may stay another day or two. There is a reef near here that is supposed to be good snorkeling.

Nassau, Bahamas
George Stateham

We will leave the dock early tomorrow. It has been two months since we were at a dock and it has been nice to be plugged in and to have a good internet connection.  We hate to see that come to an end but we plan to work north through the Abacos and last time we were there, there was pretty good internet accessibility. Hopefully, that is still true.

We thought long and hard about whether to head back to the states or extend our stay in the Bahamas. Lynn was about 60/40 in favor or the US. I was 60/40 the other way. There is a forecast benign weather window over the next few days so wherever we go, we will be motoring. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it is the Abacos. Keep your fingers crossed.

We have really taken full advantage of our time in Nassau. A highlight was lunch at the Twin Brothers stall on Potters Cay. We have eaten at their big restaurant at the Fish Fry but this was the first at their stall.

When you gorge yourself, it is usually called a pig out. Well, most of what we ate was made with conch so I guess we conched out. Conch salad, conch fritters, and cracked conch were accompanied with Bahamian style mac and cheese. I ate so much I could hardly waddle to the new big grocery store for provisions.

Except for taxes and washing down the boat, we have crossed out most of our to-do list. We still have a little time on taxes and the water pressure at this end of the dock is so low that a wash down is not practical.

Our buddy boat, Midori, left this morning to return to the mainland. We hope they have a good trip and have enjoyed their company.

Nassau, Bahamas
George Stateham

Wow! Everything on our list of Nassau repairs happened yesterday plus an extra item we didn't know about.

The leaky water pump was a seal, not the casting. I couldn't see that well using an inspection mirror and flashlight trying to find it. Our spare pump is installed and looking good. All the sanitation hoses in the head are new. The old ones had so much calcification that the opening was about the size of my little finger. No wonder the head wanted to clog at the least provocation. A hose that was leaking at the macerator pump has been spliced and the mechanic found that the macerator pump itself was leaking. We now have a new one.

Of course, with sanitation issues there was some yucky clean up to do but we did it and it is behind us now.

To get to the holding tank and macerator pump we had to remove all our provision boxes for the forward double berth. We couldn't do that until we closed up the starboard engine room where the water pump leak was. So as soon as the new pump was in, the mechanic started in the head and the Sunspot Baby crew started lugging and stacking boxes. The we removed the floor under the berth and cleaned up the area where the leaks were.

Getting the floor back in after the work was a challenge. It has always been tricky to get those boards back into exactly the right spot so they will all fit together. The we moved all the boxes back. Lynn filled her on-board shopping list from the boxes as they came and went.

We were pooped (pun intended) by day's end and neither of us felt like cooking. Here we are in a city with restaurants so why not take advantage? The crew of Midori joined us at the Poop Deck (how fitting), the eatery right here at the marina.

When we came in here, I would have given even money we wouldn't be out of Nassau in a week. Now it looks like we can take advantage of what is forecast to be mild weather Thursday or Friday and continue our cruise.

We will do a little shopping for provisions and some boat parts today. We were concerned that we would have to head home because we are running low on wine, but we can re-supply now :-)

It is dangerous to talk too much about our plans because they are so flexible, but we think we will go from Nassau to Royal Island, then cross the Northeast Providence Channel into the Abacos to spend a few weeks there.

Wi-Fi here in Nassau is good enough that we can use Skype and have talked to many or our family. We even found our granddaughter in Germany on line and video chatted with her. Lynn has been able to make contacts about possible plans for a celebration of life event for her Mom this summer.

Nassau, Bahamas
George Stateham

The weather looked like it would kick up for a few days so we opted to move on from Black Point just a few miles up the Exumas to Sampson Cay. We anchored near the marina and took advantage of the small store to get a few provisions. We planned to stay there two days and then take three days to get to Nassau. The winds, however, stayed up on Thursday so we opted to hang out one more day and then use only two days to get to Nassau.

That meant we skipped a final stop at the Exuma Land and Sea Park and sailed about 40 miles to Normans Cay. Fortunately the Park had some business to do with a Megayacht anchored nearby so the Manager, Andrew, stopped by in the patrol boat to say hello and wish us well.

The sail from Sampson to Normans was really nice and we made good time on a beam reach most of the way.

After an easy night at Normans, we departed early with less wind and slower going. Still we were at a fuel dock in Nassau by 1:30 pm. From there into our favorite marina here, Nassau Yacht Haven. Docking was not as easy as usual, They were short handed and no one was available to take a line. Also the slip they wanted to put us in looked pretty tight. We opted to tie to the face dock where a charter boat, Amarok, stays. We saw them leaving and knew they wouldn't be back for several days. The wind and current were carrying us off the dock and we had to make a couple of passes to get close enough to get a line on a piling without banging into something hard. Of course, we got it done although not as prettily as normal and we were secured in time to help Midori with lines when they came it.

We had a nice Chinese dinner aboard Midori last night and plan to walk to a Chinese restaurant they like tonight. Chinese two nights in a row? Of course, when we lived in Singapore we sometimes ate it 10 or more times a week.

We called a Nassau mechanic while we were in Sampson to get on his schedule to replace the head hoses. A confirming phone call Monday morning will hopefully put things in motion. 90% of the hoses are easy to reach so maybe if they get on it quickly, we might be out of here in a good weather window later in the week. Our experience with what should have been quick repairs so far this year would indicate that may be wishful thinking but hope springs eternal. If we don't get out we will have to move so Amarok and return.

Sampson Cay, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We have meandered into the Exumas a little further, and have been anchored at Sampson Cay the past two nights while some windy squally weather moved through. Thankfully we only had a couple of light rain showers instead of squalls. Today is transition day - still a little more windy for us, and Midori is still with us and they can't take as much wind as we can, so tomorrow (Friday) we are planning to move to probably Norman's Cay, and Saturday go into Nassau Yacht Haven. We have made a reservation for two boats.
George has talked to Albert of Albert's Marine and we're (hopefully) on the schedule to have our head and holding tank system fixed early next week. In the meantime, we are getting by.
Sampson is a small, protected marina, just a couple of miles north of Staniel Cay and Big Majors Spot. It's popular with large motor yachts, and now is no exception. We watched a 130 footer come in pretty much at low tide, and scoot through the narrow channel to their docks. There are three huge boats tied up to the face dock. Midori and Sunspot Baby are anchored in a basin on the other side of the face dock channel. They have a small but nice assortment of groceries, and we bought a few things along with some internet time. We treated ourselves to an ice cream bar, sat on the porch in the gaily painted chairs, and enjoyed the treat while we talked with the captain of large motor yacht docked here.
Here's a link to their website:
There is a restaurant here with nightly specials, one of which is two fer pizzas, but the cook is away this week so instead we had two pizzas on Sunspot Baby last night. Brian and Lynn (same name as me) from Midori brought a salad, and I made a little desert and much wine was consumed. Pizzas were good, but I got the crust a little thick on the second one, still we ate it.
Tomorrow skies should be fair and we should have 10-12 knots from the east, good for the 40 NM sail to the west side of Norman's Cay. Saturday, around the same winds but a little more southerly, which will be good for going to Nassau.
After that, depending on whether the head issue gets fixed, we don't know for sure yet. Probably Royal Island and the Abacos, and also depending on wind and sea conditions.
Hope you are all doing well - hoping for some Skype Time in Nassau

Black Point, Bahamas
George Stateham

If you have checked our position reports you have noticed we are on the move again. We aren't great buddy boaters, but we have been traveling with Midori, a 32' PDQ catamaran.

We left George Town on Friday and had a short sail up to Lee Stocking Island where the Perry Caribbean Marine Institute is. The next morning we climbed Perry Peak, the highest point in the Bahamas. Toby got to be off the leash for a while and had a ball running along the beach carrying sticks. He was a very happy dog. The good news is that he didn't seem to gimpy the next day, so maybe he didn't overdo.

We took a late start to catch the rising tide, about mid tide. Our course took us along the inside and through some very shallow and tricky areas. We have done this route one other time going south and that time we actually touched the bottom. This time no grounding and I think Midori appreciated someone who had done it before to lead the way.

The late start gave us plenty of time and Lynn made a special breakfast for her my birthday..

Saturday night we anchored at Cave Cay and Midori came aboard for sundowners and to share my birthday champagne. This anchorage is not greatly protected and it was pretty sloppy with surge working around the island from the inlets to both north and south.

Sunday we had a nice brisk sail to Black point.

There is always something to fix on the boat, but our current problem is really crappy. Our head has started clogging every day or two. I work on it and get it going but it is very sensitive to solids going through. After a while the hoses get a build up of salt and/or calcification and need replacement. I think we must be at that point. Of course, I don't have replacement hoses. I have one or two tricks left to try but unless my success rate goes up dramatically we will probably go back to Nassau over the next week and have someone do the job for us.

For now, we will be here for a day or two. We have used the great laundry and took computers ashore to get a little time on the internet.

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham

Boat names fascinate us. We have written a brief article about them. If you would like to see it, click on the link What's In A Name.

George Town, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We are still here, our time on this mooring ball is up Saturday and we will probably either be on our way, or move out of here and anchor in the general area.
We can see a light at the end of the tunnel - better weather is ahead of us. Seas are still a little bigger than we like and wind isn't from the best direction, but doable. There is a chance of squalls the next couple of days so we are watching that carefully as well. We are not planning on Long Island at this point, just heading north into the Exumas a ways and meandering for a while. Once we head that direction, George will make a new directory for Bahamas Northbound in photos for Cruise 7.
Today there was a lunch at St. Francis to promote Seven Seas Cruising Association. There were over 80 folks present, and we had fun talking to old friends and making new ones. Afterward Brian and Lynn from Midori came by to look at the most recent forecast George has been getting on saildocs, through the Ham radio. It is very comprehensive, although we still do like the Skymate forecasts, this new one has many features in one report.
Afterward we took Toby for a much needed shore trip and for the first time this cruise, he missed the swim platform jumping back from the dinghy to the boat. His eyes were as big as saucers, but we hauled him back into the dinghy in a hurry, and he is now relaxing in the cockpit, all rinsed off.
Today would have been Dad's birthday, so we are thinking of him. We are so glad we got to see him that one last time in Colorado and for him to meet Chase.
Hope everyone is doing well - we love you lots.

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham


Every year it seems we end up “blown in” somewhere when we would rather be moving. This year it is George Town. There are many wonderful places in the Bahamas so we really shouldn’t gripe. George Town is nice because we are here at the time of the annual Cruisers’ Regatta with a lot of activity.

Knowing we have a repair to take care of we went onto a mooring and have been well protected from the stronger winds and seas.

Cruisers plans are written in sand at low tide and as we have watched the weather we have continued to change our expectations as the clock has continued to run. Our typical year (if there is such a thing) would have us go from here to Long Island, then Conception, Cat, Eleuthera, Spanish Wells or Royal Island, then up into the Abacos. There is no near term weather window to go east toward Long Island and we have now decided to head north through the Exumas. From there we see where next. We will probably still do the Abacos but there is no need to decide now.

Saturday, the winds calmed enough and the tide was high in the morning, so it was a good day to cross the harbor and buy fuel and water. We had consumed about ½ our fuel since we filled in Staniel Cay over a month ago. Water was a little more critical. We carry 175 gallons and when we filled we added 140. We make our drinking water with a little 1 ½ GPH water maker. We run that a couple of hours per day to make the gallon + per person water that we consume in drinks and cooking. It draw only 4 amps but that is enough drain that we only run it when we are charging either with engines or the little generator.  We did add a little by filling a jug on a couple of town trips and occasionally running the water maker into our tanks, but we were getting really low.

The weather forecasters had predicted rain squalls. Unfortunately they missed us because with a good hard rain we can fill our tanks in about ½ hour and not have to pay for water ashore. Then after we filled on Saturday we had a couple of good rains on Sunday and through the night and into today. Perfect timing on our part eh?

Our visas expire in a little less than two weeks. The plan was to renew them on Long Island but now we are headed to the Exumas where there are no immigration officers so we will go to town today or tomorrow and beg for an extension. They really don’t like for us to come in until we are within a week of expiration. Maybe I should wear my knee pads so I can grovel adequately.

Winds are down a little by Thursday and the seas will be closer to six feet than the ten that they are running now. The latest plan is to run from here to Lee Stocking Island (Adderly Cut). Then depending on how well we like the sea state we will either hop back out into the sound on Friday or continue on the inside route into the central Exumas. It would be nice to do one more day outside to get past some very tricky areas on the inside on that first day.

I have a birthday coming up on Saturday and again we expected to celebrate that on Long Island. Now that it looks like we will not be near a settlement on the weekend, Lynn decided to treat me to dinner ashore last night as an early celebration. We ate at the St. Francis Resort which is only a short dinghy ride from the boat. Very nice. Thank you Lynn.

George Town, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

Today is the last day of Regatta. We are psychologically ready to leave here, and finally today the winds were ok and a number of boats headed out this morning.
We were desperately in need of water, and our aft fuel tank was running low, so on the high tide this morning we headed out of Hole 2 (which some folks are now calling H2YC for Hole 2 Yacht Club), and motored across Elizabeth Harbour to what used to be called Exuma Docks and now is called Exuma Yacht Club (new ownership, same rickety establishment). We filled with diesel and water and filled gas cans for the dinghy and generator, then back to H2YC on our snug mooring, still on the high tide.
We could have been one of the departures today, but we are still fiddling with a nagging fuel issue - the engines still don't want to run on the forward tank. George and a friend are working on it again, made a few tweaks, and both engines have been running on the forward tank for about 20 minutes. Keeping fingers crossed.
We have paid for our mooring for another few nights - and tonight we are back to easterly trades in the 20 kt range with large seas in Exuma Sound until probably next weekend.
The fact that we only got 90 days on our visa is looming large. We need to renew no later than the 26th, but they really don't want to renew you more than a couple of days ahead. We can do it here or at Long Island, but not at many of the spots along the way. The short visas have complicated the lives of many cruisers. At the same check-in desk, a cruising couple will get 180 days, the next folks in line will get 90 and the folks after that will get 60. There is no rhyme or reason. The Regatta Committee has met with the powers that be, and they are promising positive changes in the future. We won't hold our breath.
Of course we still have Mom on our minds. And four years ago today, Ray passed away. We miss them both.

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham

Let me add my thanks to friends and family who have expressed concern, sympathy, and support after the death of Lynn’s mom. It is wonderful to have such a large support network.

As Lynn said, we will complete this cruise on a somewhat normal schedule. So let me update you on some of the happenings here in George Town, Bahamas.

We went into this protected hole to deal with a major oil leak on the starboard engine. We have reported the completion of that work and the engine no longer leaks. Hurray.

The annual George Town Cruisers Regatta runs this time of year, so there have been plenty of events to keep us busy when we were waiting for parts. No sooner than we were ready to go, Mother Nature treated us with what the weather forecasters have called the major event of the winter in the Bahamas. Winds have been gale force and above. Seas in the Exuma Sound are running 10’ or so. Not a safe time to be out there sailing.

There is a small gap between frontal passages this weekend but not enough of a gap to get out of here and head to other islands.

So, we will hang around another week or so and hope for favorable conditions.

We have participated in a few activities but the wind is so high that standing on the beach is painful as the grains of sand scour your legs. Our caps are secured with tethers (we call them a lid latch) to our shirt collars so when the wind takes them off our head, they remain attached. Lynn climbed in the dinghy yesterday and forgot to secure hers. Fortunately, it floated long enough for us to go back for it.

We may have mentioned previously that our catamaran dinghy is a very wet ride in choppy conditions. We took it for beach golf yesterday and arrived soaked

Beach golf is an absolute blast. Holes are only about 50 or 60 yards long and you play with only one club. The beach is sloped so if a ball lands where the sand is packed, it promptly rolls into the water. At least we were on the lee side of the island so there was not a large surf. I played two balls out of the water rather than take penalty strokes. Lynn had the misfortune of going into the drink a few more times than that.

The green is defined by an area of sand surrounded by a small ditch or moat. On most holes once on the green you were done. On three holes there were buckets or cups to chip the ball into. There is no putting in the soft sand. The ball will not roll.

The course was only 9 holes. Any resemblance between beach golf and regular golf ends after the club, ball, and tee.

I have no idea how they established par but the total for 9 holes was 35. Lynn shot a 33 and I had 29. The winner had a 25 and the worst score of the day was 49.

The harbor between Stocking Island, where we are and Great Exuma where the town of George Town is, is very choppy in these winds. I mentioned that our dinghy is a wet ride and even in a dryer dink it is an uncomfortable couple of miles. In years past we have shunned the water taxi, but a couple of days ago, George went across to buy phone time and today we both took the water taxi to town and did laundry topped of by treating ourselves to lunch in town. We also bought a few more fresh provisions.

We have been hoping this weather would bring us a serious rain shower because our water tanks are getting really low. We have not filled them since we were in Nassau. We stopped at the fuel dock in town today to check conditions and have opted not to try it in these winds. There is not much room to maneuver and wind and waves would make it more than a little difficult. In calm conditions we would have no problem. There might be a break Saturday morning for a few hours. If so and we aren’t part of a general stampede of boats wanting fuel and water, we might try it then. Keep your fingers crossed.

In the not too far distant future we need to renew our visas. They expire on the 25th. Immigration can be hard to deal with if you go in too early. They do not understand the constraints of moving around the islands in a sail boat. We used to get 180 days on request when clearing in, but in the wisdom inherent to bureaucracies, they now normally don’t grant more than 90. Of course the cruising permit on the boat is good for a year. The logic escapes us.

George Town, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts and condolences, emails and Facebook postings.  It is comforting to know that you are all out there supporting us.

I will not go to Wyoming right away.  After talking with my sister, Kim, and brothers Kevin and Kerry, summer seems a much better time to gather in Wyoming and hold a memorial and celebration of life.  The weather will be better, school will be out and more folks will be able to travel, and George would be able to be with me.  Mother chose to be cremated so there will be no graveside services and the like.

As far away as we are, we have always known we can get home in a hurry.  George checked on flights out of George Town (where we are now) and I could get a flight out of here arriving in Denver the same day, rent a car and drive to Casper in about 4 hours.  When George’s Dad passed away three years ago, he flew out of George Town and was in Kentucky that night.

So for now, we are thinking of Mom and how she filled our lives.  Our kids and my siblings have sent emails with thoughts about growing up knowing her, some serious, others that bring a smile.  And we’ll finish up Cruise #7 on a fairly normal schedule.

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham

Marilynn Sandbak (1/9/1922 to 3/4/2012)

We received sad news yesterday. Lynn’s mom, passed away in her sleep. It was her desire to be cremated so there is no rush for a funeral. We will probably have a small family gathering in Wyoming after the snow melts to celebrate her life.

She has been seriously ill for quite a while and has been in a nursing home for about a year and a half. We have expected her to go anytime and she held on longer much than the doctors thought.

Although we have spoken to her often by phone, we last saw her in September when this photo was taken. We were with cousins Sue and Rod.

She was loved and will be sorely missed.

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham

When we talk about cruising, many people ask, “what do you do with all your time?” Well, we do read about 30 to 40 books each over the course of 6 months, and we do enjoy beach walks, regatta activities and the like, but we spend a lot of time doing things that come easy at home like getting to the grocery store and doing laundry. It is worth saying again that cruising is defined as working on your boat in exotic places.

We mentioned that the oil leak on the starboard engine (Shirley) appears to be properly fixed after 2 weeks of waiting for parts, and special today, the wind generator is fixed and cranking out amps after we found a boat with parts from two failed units. But, the parts we needed were good and we only have about $150 invested. We have REALLY missed the wind generator. It is so nice to have it back cranking out those free amps.

We have made a couple of trips to town. For those not familiar with these, they entail a two mile dinghy ride across the harbor. If there is any wind and chop it can be a wet ride. Wednesday was choppy enough that I opted to take the water taxi across to fill a propane tank. We last filled in Vero Beach. Lynn stayed on the boat expecting delivery some of those mentioned parts from those failed wind generators. The parts didn’t come so on Thursday we made another trip across the harbor and in the process, picked up the dead units.

While in town, we picked up six gallons of water and seven gallons of gasoline. Lynn picked up provisions at Exuma Markets. We had lunch at the Driftwood Café, a new place this year. It is a spotless little deli/sandwich shop. Normally we try to soak up Bahamian atmosphere when we eat out, but this was very nice.

Lynn makes the best boat pizza you can imagine. By this time (three plus months into the cruise) she would have normally have served it up a few times. However, this year we had it for the first time last night. We kept the generator running and watched a movie on DVD an pigged out or pizza and red wine. The movie was only so-so but the pizza was fabulous.

We have a period of high winds forecast and are considering options but right now, it looks like our preferred plan is to hunker down right here and ride it out. Two years ago we were blown in here for quite a while. It seems the norm here, we get caught up in a couple of projects and remain a little longer than we want, then there is a late winter weather event and we find ourselves riding out an extended period of near gale force winds. Our favorite weather forecaster says it is the most significant even of the winter.

Weather so far this year has been most favorable. The systems that have moved through have brought only a few short days of rough weather and we have been blessed with favorable winds for sailing where we wanted to go. I hope this is not a change in the pattern, but is only an anomaly.

The good news is that all the Cruising Regatta events are going on so there islots to do and in our protected little hole we are close enough that we can reasonably take the dinghy to the beach and/or the St. Francis Resort where so many activities are centered.

We also have internet access, all be it slow and intermittent.

During these periods we get lots of time to read and play games.

George Town, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We have been without even our pathetic internet for several days. They have installed a new router, which supposedly will provide better service. Haven't seen the warnings about being keelhauled for using Skype, but that's probably still the case.
George managed to buy some blades and a hub for our wind generator, and has been working on that. It would be great to get it going again, but there are still numerous issues to work through.
Our next destination will probably be Long Island - there is a window to head that direction over the weekend, we may or may not be using that. Still have the wind generator thing we'd like to resolve while there is access to help and possibly more parts here, and we need to take on fuel and water.
Today is propane day - if we can get our tank filled today that will probably get us home - we have two and we just started on our spare. Too bad because we'll miss the Coconut Harvest regatta event - we aren't spry enough to participate, but it's a great event to watch. They unleash over 1000 coconuts in Hole 1, and teams of 4 in a non-motor inflatable, powered only by swim fins, paddle to get the most coconuts. They then have to haul all their coconuts to the beach and participate in coconut pitching or bowling, one or the other. From there it's Guts & Butts, where you skitter across the volleyball court with a coconut between your front sides (with a partner) or your back sides, depending on the instructions.
Yesterday afternoon Dave & Beth from Grateful Attitudes came over and Beth went up our mast to the first spreader. She replaced our deck light, replaced a flag halyard, and put new tape on our spreader boots (the areas where the spreaders meet the stays. We really appreciated her doing this. They stayed for drinks, Jerry and Barbara from Kumbaya came over, and we enjoyed catching up with everyone.
I would like to think we'll be better connected, but the jury is still out on that.

George Town, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We had a lot to do yesterday and finally Elizabeth Harbor laid down enough that we could take the dinghy to town. We decided to make two trips, come home mid-day (about a two-mile trip), let Toby out and charge the batteries a little. We did laundry in the morning, took trash to the dumpster at Government Dock, and George took the paperwork in for our second parts order since the plane was due to arrive around 3:00 pm.
We plunked the clean laundry in the dinghy behind Exuma Market, and headed for lunch at Two Turtles. George had grouper fingers and me a cheeseburger.
Back across the harbor and took Toby for a run while we ran the generator at the boat. His electric collar has stopped working and he is taking full advantage to misbehave, but headed home wet, sandy and happy. We were almost back to the boat when the dinghy spun a prop. We pulled the motor, laid it on the swim platform, and In about an hour, George had replaced it with our new spare, a job we hadn't anticipated on such a busy day.
Then back to town, with fuel and water cans to fill. George took care of that while I did some grocery shopping, then he tried to track down the parts. At 4:30 the plane had arrived but was not unloaded, and Customs closed at 5 pm, so no parts for us.
We treated ourselves to an ice cream cone (pistachio for me, rum raisin for George), and headed back across the harbor, whipped.
Chris Parker is here this week doing weather seminars. He is the cruisers' weather guru. Today was Grib day, and George had signed up for both morning and afternoon sessions. I could have dropped him off in the dinghy, but winds were up to 15+, with whitecaps and about a 2 ft. chop. It would have been a wet dinghy ride so I called Elvis and took the water taxi. Not "that" Elvis. $12 round trip, and worth it.
Parts were here, I collected them, did a little more grocery shopping, putz'd in some cute shops, and caught the noon boat home.
More Mischief came by for conversation and lemonade in the afternoon; Rolls Doc stopped by in early evening but didn't come aboard. Beltane, our Trivial Pursuit partners for two years previous, called us on the radio - they just arrived on a friends' boat and may be our competitors Sunday night. We are going to have to be sharp to equal their expertise!

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham

Darn! On Saturday we disassembled the back end of the starboard engine. When I ordered parts they told me I needed a main seal and two O’rings. When we got in, there are three O’rings and we don’t have one of them. The one we took out is not where the leak was but the ring has taken a set an is flattened a bit. If it were and emergency, I could probably goop it up and stick it back in, but we don’t want to risk having to pull it apart again.

We asked on the cruisers radio net this morning and lots of boats have O’rings but we haven’t found the exact size we need. Looks like we will probably order a new one and have it flown in. That means we will have the guest cabin emptied out and stuff stacked everywhere while we wait.

On the upside, we attended Beach Church this morning and it was a good service. This afternoon, I played volleyball on the beach and Lynn got in a Scrabble game.

My VB skills are a little rusty but I made about as many good plays as bad and had a good time. I need to work on my service.

Now this is not regulation VB. They call it fun volleyball, I would call it geezer ball. No overhand service, no spiking, you can hit the ball as many times as you want getting it back over the net. Only the front row can return a ball with only one hit. Otherwise it must be hit at least twice before going back over the net. I only played two games, not to overdo the first day but I’m sure I will be back. My diving saves are not as graceful and getting back on my feet takes a little longer.

The Scrabble group is slow and they allow looking up words before playing. Lynn did well.

Tonight is Trivial Pursuit. Hope we come home with wine again, or even better a bottle of rum.

George Town, Bahamas
George Stateham

When we last reported we were headed to Black Point. That village is widely loved by cruisers but one main reason is the great (not cheap) Laundromat. We connected with some old cruiser friends and a couple of new ones and got our clothes clean but failed to reprovision. The mail boat didn’t come in until late in the day and the store shelves were empty. Since we planned to depart soon for George Town, we decided not to participate in the weekly rush for fresh vegetables, etc.

On Thursday 2/9 we slipped out Dotham Cut and headed southeast toward George Town. Wind was too close to the nose to sail well and we were trying to make enough miles to get there so tacking was not really an option. The mainsail was up and was helping a little and sea state was calm enough that we were not banging into a chop so it was a fairly nice day.

Well you can’t have things go too smoothly so the port engine decided to break an impellor on the water pump so we had to shut that engine down until George replaced the impellor. This is not a complex task but access to the front of our engines is limited so hanging upside down and doing a lot or work by feel rather than sight makes it more challenging than it should be.

Also the starboard engine oil leak increased so that is something we will deal with while in George Town.

Sunday night we played in the Trivial Pursuit Tournament and placed second, winning a bottle of Chardonnay.  Good thing, we are getting low on white wine.

Tuesday we danced the night away at the Chat and Chill Valentine’s Day Dance. I was sore the next day. I must have really been shaking my booty!

Wednesday we attended a HAM (amateur radio) get together at the St. Francis Resort followed by lunch.

Thursday we rented a car and drove to the airport to pick up a new oil seal and a couple of O’rings. Bret & Lori also rushed to get our accumulated mail and some prescriptions on the same flight. Thanks for the full court press and doing it on such short notice.

While we had the car, we ran a few other errands and had lunch at Bid D’s Conch Shack. We drove by Emerald Bay Marina and it is almost vacant. Not many boats in there.

Today we cleared the guest cabin so we can get to the starboard engine and tomorrow, we will start work to replace the seal.

Wi-fi has been pretty iffy here so reports may be intermittent.

George Town, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

Valentine’s Day Report

In preparation a few days before I gave myself a pedicure and changed from pink to red.  Woo hoo!  Valentine  morning was a romantic interlude where we determined the cause of the oil leak in the starboard engine (Shirley) was a bad rear seal, whereupon George got busy ordering parts, and I placed several calls to Bret and Lori to see if they could get our mail and a prescription overnighted to the Florida freight forwarder.  Good job, Bret and Lori, and many thanks.

Late morning, Jim and Linda from Winsome to commiserate about wind generator issues.  Ours was still perched atop its pole, loosened but we couldn’t get it down.  Jim climbed up the arch, straddled the top and removed it for us.  Yay!  We had lemonade and conversation while we got to know each other better.

Valentine dinners were available off the boat but we decided to eat on board.  The menu:  Pork chops with mushrooms and cream (not cream of mushroom soup), salad with fresh blue cheese in the dressing, fingerling potatoes and coconut cookies.  George picked out a nice Syrah for us to enjoy with our meal.  I worked on the prep in the mid afternoon.

Late afternoon we took Toby ashore.  He has been so happy to get off the boat, he completely loses his marbles (by the way there is a boat here called Lost Marbles and I think he should be on it).  He had nice play time in the water catching his toy, a short walk on the beach, and when it was time to get back in the dinghy he would jump in, jump out, land on the beach, gather up another 5 pounds of sand, then back in the dinghy.  We got him corralled and back in the boat which by then was coated with sand and sea water, not to mention dog hair. 

Back at the boat we sluiced Toby off and George cleaned the dinghy, because we had a date for the Valentine dance.  We took showers, dressed up a little, white capris were part of my ensemble, had a nice romantic dinner and about dark set off for the Chat & Chill Beach.  The beach is steep, and I missed getting out of the dinghy on the first try, upon which George ran it up harder, I fell out of the dinghy and landed on my knees in the water.  So covered with seawater from the knees down and with my charming black and white polka dot flip flops coated with sand we trudged to the dance.  He found a hose, sluiced me off, bought drinks, and we settled in for a lovely, loud, Valentine dance party hosted by the Chat & Chill and Ron and Karen on Sea Dancer as DJs and event managers.  Saw lots of friends, had wonderful rum punch, danced a little, talked more, and in a couple of hours headed home to our boat which was wonderfully just a five minute dinghy ride away.  The anchor lights of the several hundred boats are spectacular at night, accompanied by a beautiful sky.

Just another day on the boat, and a very nice Valentine’s Day.

Staniel Cay, Bahamas
George Statehamb

Our time at the dock and full time wi-fi is drawing to a close. It was nice to be tied up and able to walk back to the boat after the Super Bowl, especially since it was raining. We loaned the folks on Sea Star our foul weather jackets for their dinghy ride home. We were surrounded with very large boats also here for the game. They have mostly departed now and we will cast off the lines tomorrow.

Next destination Black Point, a favorite village on the next island south, only about 11 miles from here. Weather mid week looks fair with mild winds. They aren't going to be in a favorable direction so we may opt to motor to Georgetown. We shall see. This is a great area in which to hang out so if we don't go, who cares? Still, we have spent a little longer in this area than we typically do primarily due to the now resolved fuel problem.

We have been using the Pactor modem with our single sideband radio to send and receive "guilt free" email with the family. I still have some learning to do, but am making good headway.

Big Majors Spot, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We had a good trip back to Big Majors Spot from Emerald Rock yesterday. George did a good job of giving us a comfortable ride in fairly stiff winds on a close reach. At one point he had all three sails out, then settled on the main and staysail. We have about ½ moon now, and a smaller tidal range than usual so we went straight to Staniel's fuel dock, even though it was mid-tide. We are now topped off with gas and diesel. The newly cleaned tank took 50 gallons, so with 10 gallons we put in at Nassau, that makes it a 60 gallon tank. George had estimated it at 55+ (it's not been completely empty before).

We are anchored in the northeast corner of Big Majors, the spot we prefer, near the pig-less beaches and well protected from the easterlies. Toby has been to the beach and approved it for dog activities.

George dug out the old Thunderball James Bond movie, a good choice since some of it was filmed in this area. We made it about half way through and found a problem on the disc. We cleaned it and tried again the next night and it was better but still couldn't see the whole thing. It's one of our favorite Bond movies.

We have been staying in touch with Alchemy, a boat from our home marina who is dealing with a water leak on their engine, which is a Volvo like ours. We hope they will get it resolved soon and get back to enjoying cruising.

NBC is doing a piece on the Today Show February 9 and 10, from the Bahamas. They were at Staniel Cay getting advance footage, and according to Scandia, they interviewed Ron and Karen on Sea Dancer in George Town. We hope someone records these episodes for us so we will eventually see them. Any volunteers?

Chris Parker, the cruisers' weather guru, is predicting strong winds for the next several days and unstable weather into the middle of next week. We aren't leaving soon, so that's ok. We have made a reservation at Staniel Cay Yacht Club docks for Sunday night. They are having a Super Bowl party, and even though the Broncos aren't in it, we are looking forward to dinner out and seeing the game.

Warderick Wells, Bahamas
George Stateham

An easy day on the mooring. A few boat chores but after making a new conch horn yesterday believing the old one must have been stolen from the boat, we found it today. The new one is from a shell we found at Norman's Cay but is in serious need of scraping and cleaning. The nice thing is that there is no hole in the shell where someone cut the animal free.

Less than perfect performance from our high frequency single sideband radio caused me to redo the antenna connection. Test of efficacy are on going so don't know yet whether or not I was successful.

Aromas from the galley this evening included fresh homemade bread and jasmine rice. It's no wonder I am so round.

We plan to sail to the Staniel Cay area tomorrow. 15 knot easterly winds should make a good day. At this point we believe we will fill with fuel, take a dock slip on Sunday and enjoy the Super Bowl there. After that, who knows?

Warderick Wells, Bahamas
George Stateham

When I last reported I was convinced we were stuck in Nassau for several days. Shortly after I wrote the report, our mechanic showed up on a Saturday no less. He had the part he needed and a couple of hours later our idling problem was resolved.

We looked at the weather and decided to make a break the next morning. We filled water tanks, did a final load of laundry, took our last shore shower for a while (love that unlimited hot water) and checked out at the marina. We would depart prior to the office opening the next morning.

We did not fill our newly cleaned fuel tank. I am hoping that Staniel Cay Yacht Club (SCYC) includes new fuel in whatever settlement they make with us. To celebrate our unexpected early departure and the money saved on dockage, we went out for a very nice dinner and returned to our boat stuffed and content.

Sunday morning we were away at first light, maybe a little earlier. Two days is our norm for getting to Warderick Wells but we opted to go all the way in one hop. There wasn't much wind and what there was was on the nose so sailing wasn't an option. We are in the Emerald Rock mooring field, new to us, and it is nice here. There was probably room in the north field but we wanted to try this. The current really rips in the north but is almost non-existent here.

A weather front is moving into the area and winds are predicted to be in the 20 knot range. We could sail in that but are addicted to more comfortable conditions. Thus we will probably sit here until Thursday or so. Of course, the weather forecast changes often and it could be sooner or later than that.

We have just heard from the SCYC owner. We had expected to be treated fairly and we were. Thank you David.

Nassau, Bahamas
George Stateham

The good news is that our fouled fuel tank has been pumped clean, wiped out, and tested with a little clean fuel. We didn't fill because we hope that part of Staniel Cay Yacht Clubs offer to mitigate our problem will be replacing the bad fuel with good and I need a tank to put it in.

The bad news is timing. We also have a small problem with the governor on the port engine. That is why it has died when pulled into idle. The lever is missing the idle adjust stop when pulled all the way back. Our mechanic has a replacement part but hasn't had time to install it. Now it's the weekend and we won't be ready to go until at least Tuesday. Of course a cold front is moving through and we will have strong unfavorable winds for several days starting Monday.

This happens often. We get into Nassau and then get "blown in" for several more days than planned. Now we like Nassau and will find some fun things to do, but at about $100/day in the marina, extra days can add up to a lot of extra expense.

We have already done some shopping for needed supplies, parts, and provisions. There is a better selection here than down island. George has been mostly boat bound thinking each day that the mechanic might return. Thursday we told him we were busy and did the Cruisers' Lunch and bussed up to a big auto/hardware store for a few of those supplies we mentioned, then bussed back to the boat.

A bus ride is $1.25 and they have pretty convenient routes. If you come here you should ride the bus if for no other reason than the cultural experience.

Nassau, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

Susan asked what is involved in being a volunteer mooring host.  Exumas Land and Sea Park has a number of mooring fields.  The park staff takes care of the three at Park Headquarters, which are the North mooring field by HQ, the south by Hog Cay, and Emerald Rock on the west side of Warderick Wells.  Add to that Hawksbill Cay, Shroud Cay and Cambridge Cay, the southernmost of the fields, with 13 moorings.  They offer experienced cruisers who have a relationship with the Park (supporting members of the Bahamas National Trust, who know the area and are willing to follow their criteria for welcoming guests and collecting payments), the opportunity to be a mooring field host.  In turn you don’t have to pay for your mooring ball.  Shroud and Hawksbill, although beautiful, are open to the west and partially to the south so you are subject to the fronts that pass through on a regular basis and when that happens you are chased back to the protection of Park HQ, to wait for your next opportunity.  Cambridge Cay, on the other hand is protected to the west by a large shallow sand bank and some small islands.  There are islands to the north and south as well, and Cambridge Cay to the east.  It’s the most ideal spot to be a mooring field host, with great wildlife, beautiful beaches, good snorkeling, and fabulous sunsets.

When a boat comes in, you take the waterproof case provided by the park, which contains your receipt book, snorkeling and trail guides, “Don’t feed the fish” pamphlets, “Clean Green” pamphlets, etc.  We wear clean-ish clothes, our golf straw hats (sometimes even shoes) and dinghy over to meet and greet.  Mooring fees run from $15 for a boat up to 40 feet, to $100 for a large motor yacht.  We explain that this is a no take zone by land and sea, not even shelling is allowed.  No pets on the trails, just on the beach, and only on a leash.  The saving grace of that is a “dry at low tide” area where Toby can run and chase his ball or his Wubba, on a nice sand bar that will soon be covered with by the tide.

We meet all sorts of folks, usually friendly, cruisers, large motor yacht folks, park personnel, Warden Henry, who normally has a Bahamian Defense Force officer with him.  We always invite them aboard for lemonade or coffee and a chat.  Once a week we try to host a sundowner social on the “mailbox” island where people can pay for their moorings if there is no host on site.  Anchoring is permitted to the west and south of the mooring field, but we still visit those boats to give them the trail, snorkeling, and rules information.  We also get the skinny on who owns what island (Johnny Depp, the Saudi Sheikh, etc.) and what the latest brouhaha is in the area.  Poaching is a continual problem, and there is a secret code word to call HQ if you see this going on and it doesn’t id us as the squealer.  Then the Henry comes down to deal with it. 

There are lovely beaches and good snorkeling spots here.  Big southern stingrays cruise the water.  Folks on Moon Shadow saw a pilot whale jump completely out of the water.  We have seen parties of bat rays jumping and playing.  There used to be two bull sharks, which we didn’t see this year and it’s not a big loss. 

Hurricane Irene deposited a lot of “stuff” on the Exuma Sound side of Cambridge Cay.  A number of boats helped us to pick up and localize a good amount of this.  When Henry has time and fair weather, he plans to bring a flat bottom boat to the west side of the island and collect it.

Even though we don’t have internet for an extended period of time, this is always a nice interlude for us and an opportunity to give something back to the park.

Nassau, Bahamas
George Stateham

Wow, three weeks since our last report. Sorry, but we have been seriously out of touch.

After our last report, we left Warderick Wells and went to Staniel Cay and Sampson Cay to fuel up and buy a few fresh provisions. Lynn bought the last dozen eggs in Staniel so we went to nearby Sampson and bought a couple more.

A funny thing happened after fueling. We motored around the corner of nearby Big Majors and as we were about to anchor, our engines died. When both engines die at about the same time, it points to a problem in the fuel system. They draw from the same tank and filter. I changed primary filters and we were ok getting to our post in Cambridge Cay the next day, Thursday, Jan. 5, but the engines died any time we pulled them into neutral. We had to keep them revved up.

No problem right? We weren’t going anywhere for a couple of weeks and we would almost certainly work it out before then. Well, therein lies a story.

When we went into Staniel, we had been running on our forward tank and it was almost empty. The aft tank was almost full. I put over 40 gallons in the forward tank and very little in the aft. Seems the engines will run fine off the aft tank, but not off the forward. Both tanks run through the same filters so it was not a filter problem.

We have bought fuel at Staniel for years with no problems, but here is what we think happened. Staniel was in the process of installing a new fuel dock and storage tanks. We got ours near the bottom of the old tanks and we got the sludge.

This sort of took the luster off our time in Cambridge. While volunteering there are plenty of tasks to perform but there is still time to go snorkeling, beach walking, and socializing with other boats. The fuel issue consumed us mentally. Every day we came up with new things to try to fix it. We have pumped and filtered until blue in the face without resolution. The time has come to pump it all out, clean the tank and replace it with clean fuel.

We spoke to the folks at Staniel and they have been supportive but we haven’t worked out what they might to do mitigate our issues yet.

Still Cambridge was lovely and we did get in some beach walks. There used to be a couple of resident bull sharks but we didn’t see them this year. That is fine because we weren’t anxious to be in the water with them. Bulls can be unpredictable.

There were far fewer boats in the mooring field this year than in years past and there were 5 nights that we were alone. It was great to see the folks running the Park again but with so few boats we felt our contribution was not as great as it could have been.

After leaving the Park, we returned to Staniel, topped off the one tank we can use and loaded on a little water. Then around the corner to Big Major’s again.

A funny thing happened while we were anchored here last time. We heard a thump/bang outside but when we looked we didn’t spot anything. Well a couple of days later, I noticed that our American flag was missing, staff and all. That must have been what we heard.

Now that we were at Big Majors again and had a decent idea where to look, I donned snorkel gear and Lynn towed me with the dinghy, running a search pattern hoping to find and recover the flag. It was a brand new flag and the staff was solid stainless steel. I guess if we had a wooden staff, it might have floated and we wouldn’t have lost it in the first place.

We did not find it. The water there is so clear and the flag was nice bright colors. Someone probably spotted tie colors and when they inspected it, found and retrieved our flag. We were the entertainment in the anchorage for a while. Lynn says the other boaters were like prairie dogs popping up to watch what we were doing. Seems most of them haven’t seen the sled for towing a snorkeler with the dinghy. It is a great way to cover a large area quickly and easily. It is a simple device and we will post a photo.

We don’t really mind returning to Nassau. We sailed right through here going south and we do like it here. One of the dock masters, Sidney at our favorite marina passed away since we were here last and we miss him. I think he was about the age of our kids.

We had two nice days sailing from Big Majors to Norman’s Cay from there to Nassau. Yesterday we were sailing at 6 to 7 knots the whole way.

Having been without internet and phone so long, we have a lot of catching up to do. We will post pictures soon.

Warderick Wells, Bahamas
George Stateham

Things are going along swimmingly. We did leave Bimini as planned on 12/29 and sailed overnight to Shroud Cay in the Exumas. There was not enough wind to maintain good speed so we did motor sail, but even that really helps with fuel consumption and the low winds meant smooth seas.

We reached Nassau Harbor shortly after sunrise. One of our options was to swing by the fuel dock and fill but there was a sport fisher tied in the middle with not room for us. We figured we had enough fuel and could proceed, which we did.

After clearing Nassau Harbor I did my usual twice daily shut down of engines for oil check and a general look-see. When I tried to restart the port engine it was a no go. I tried my usual quick fixes but when my dedicated starter button in the engine room had no improvement I knew something outside the norm was wrong. The engine would turn over but only very slowly and not enough to start.

After spending a while trouble shooting I eliminated all the easy things and decided the starter was just plain drawing too many amps. I have a gauge in my tool box at home that would check that, but of course, it was not on board. One just cannot carry everything that might possibly be needed.

Our engines are under our berths and all access is from above so any work requires getting into some unusual positions. Still, I did have a spare starter and all the needed tools. Lynn kept the helm and I swapped out the starter. Hurray, it starts easily now.

Shroud was nice and we lowered the swim ladder and cooled of in the sea before a nice shower with fresh water..

The next morning (12/31/2011) we proceeded to Warderick Wells, headquarters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park. The usual Saturdaynight shore happy hour was our New Year/s celebration.

New Years day we celebrated all day with special foods and drinks. Breakfast was Eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys; lunch, quiche and chicken; dinner was a traditional Southern meal of black-eye-peas (so you'll have money), cabbage (folding money) and cornbread topped off with champagne.

Yesterday we made our pilgrimage up Boo Boo Hill. Our sign was still there and we brought it back to the boat to update the years we have visited the park.

Today we are hunkered down on our mooring ball to let a strong front pass. If it exits the area as forecast, we will go a little farther south to Staniel Cay to get fuel and a few provisions. Then we return to the park as volunteer mooring field hosts at Cambridge Cay.

While at Cambridge we will have no phone or internet access. We may not have sailed off the end of the earth, but we are so addicted to internet access that sometimes it feels like it. We might get one or two updates posted before we get to Cambridge but after that they will be on hold until we are on the way again.

The family can still reach us on our Skymate system and I am working to get a pactor modem going to increase our email access.

Warderick Wells, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We left the Bimini Big Game Club at 11 am Dec 29 right at high tide.  Some folks leaving earlier had to loiter because a dredge in the channel was sinking pipe, but this was our departure time and we were able to stick to it.  We met a small island ship in the channel and George skirted us over enough to pass, while we thanked the high tide. 


Winds were light our entire trip, but we had sails up all the way, even the staysail.  The Genoa went in and out depending on circumstances, and the main stayed up all the way.  Northwest Providence Channel is not a piece of water to take lightly, but winds were favorable and the surface was smooth as we entered Nassau Harbor about 7 am.  We opted not to stop for fuel, just got permission from Harbor Control to pass on through and since the timing was right we listened to Nick Wardle’s weather broadcast from BASRA (Bahamas Air Sea Rescue) and said hi to our old acquaintance. 


Twice during the trip George shut down each engine in turn to check oil and restarted it.  Once about 6 pm while we were on the Banks, and again just outside of Nassau on the way to  the Exumas.  The second time, the port engine would not restart, and after troubleshooting George determined it was the starter motor, and we had a spare on board!  Within an hour, he had replaced the starter and Laverne was up and running again.  What a guy!


Our passage food went well – we had baked chicken, quiche, boiled eggs, cheese chunks, turkey sandwiches on Bimini bread, fruit, captains crackers, about our usual passage fare.


We spent the night at Shroud Cay then moved to Warderick Wells, Exuma Park Headquarters yesterday (New Year’s Eve).  Toby had a shore trip and even though it was on a leash, he managed to get wet and sandy and have fun.   The usual Saturday night beach get together was fun, even though there are few boats here, less than we have ever seen.  I made rosemary and grape focaccia.


We are invited to be mooring field hosts at Cambridge Cay for about two weeks, but we will stay here until some weather blows through and probably Wednesday move to Sampson Cay or Staniel Cay to provision and get fuel, assuming they have fuel and that we don’t regret skipping through Nassau.  That means we will arrive at Cambridge Thursday-ish.  If you are cruising this area and reading this, come on to this beautiful spot and join us!

Bimini, Bahamas
George Stateham

On Christmas day, we received a weather forecast that looked like there was a one day window to cross the Gulf Stream the next day. The weather window was not long enough to make it all the way to Nassau so we modified the plan and would go only as far as Bimini and wait there for weather to continue. This window meant the boat had to be ready for a crossing earlier than we thought so much of the day was a scramble. Lynn did some last minute cleaning of things that were bugging her. We stowed the bikes and dinghy. Lashed down a few things on deck, pulled out the ditch bags for quick access, filed a float plan with the family, and a dozen other things. Lynn still served a scrumptious duck dinner complete with champagne to celebrate Christmas. All this meant we were exhausted and slept like logs.

We were up at 5:00 am checking weather one more time and doing last minute tasks. Leaving No Name Harbor at first light the day after Christmas, we raised the mainsail, not because we were expecting sailing conditions but as a stabilizer. There was little wind and what there was was right on the nose. It was a little lumpy at first but improved steadily throughout the day.

We arrived a little after 3:00 pm and tied up at the Big Game Club marina. Currents rip through here and George had to back out one time and make another run using more power. No gentle nudging into the slip here. It was Boxing Day and although Customs and Immigration were open they hoped to close early at 4:00. I barely made it before they shut the doors, but both offices stayed to clear us in. They could easily have told me to come back the next day.

The last time we were here was on our first cruise and we were put off by the staff at the marina. They would not respond on the VHF, were not there to take lines and/or help us tie up. Yet their hands were still out for a tip. We didn't have time to tour the island or to do much more than check in, spend the night, and push off the next day. We left with an unfavorable impression. Other cruisers have told us they like Bimini but we have avoided it ever since.

This time the weather window allowed us few choices so here we came. The new channel entry is not well marked and is not where it is shown on my charts. The entry to the channel is marked and once there, we just read the water, judging by color where the deeper areas were. I'm glad we had good light coming in.

The marina staff have been friendly and helpful. The facility is clean and in excellent condition. We hit the bar/restaurant for dinner, swapped lies with some of the fishermen and had a nice evening.

With a day or two to wait for weather we had time to  rent a golf cart to tour the island ($60 for 1/2 day is not cheap). We stopped at the Batelco office and activated our Bahamas cell phone. Cell phone calls are a little more expensive than pay phones, but they don't seem to be maintaining the pay phones anymore and finding one that works is becoming and ever greater challenge. We drove through Bimini Bay Club, and exclusive development at the north end of the main road' stopped at a local cafe for cracked conch, bought some bread and generally enjoyed sightseeing. We turned in the cart about an hour early because we had seen about all there was to see from the road.

It was a stress free day that even included a nap in the afternoon.

There was a possibility to leave mid day today but if the forecasters are off even a little on the timing of the wind, we could be attempting the channel going out is some unfavorable conditions. Tomorrow looks much better both in wind speed and direction. If the plan holds we will leave about noon, sail across the banks and into Nassau early Friday. There we will fill with fuel and continue south into the Exumas. Conditions will dictate where we anchor for the night.


Bimini, Bahamas
Lynn Stateham

We had a very nice crossing from Florida to Bimini.  We are at Alice Town on North Bimini - that's the main community here. 
We left No Name Harbor about 7 am, and it was lumpy coming out of the Cape Florida channel, but not too bad.  The wind was easterly, just the direction we wanted to go so we could not sail, but we had the main up for stability.  Bimini is straight east of Cape Florida, and George steered a little southerly into the Gulf Stream so we would not be carried too far north in the current.  On the chart plotter, Sunspot Baby was crabbing along our route line, going one direction and pointed somewhat different.
We have never sent a message in a bottle, but this year we dropped one into the Gulf Stream.  Hope we get a response from some far away place.
The further we went, the better the sea conditions were.  Winds were light all day, and with us making about six knots of the wind speed, we never saw more than about 13.  The axis of the Gulf Stream is sometimes the roughest, but it was smoother there and getting better all the time.  We both had the comment that it was a Pacific Ocean kind of day, with low swells and a long interval between. 
We only saw one Man-O-War jellyfish.  Usually we see hundreds.  We saw a few flying fish, and about 10 miles outside of Bimini we saw a marlin cruising the surface, with its fin sticking up and leaving a considerable wake.  We didn't have our Bahamian fishing license yet and the fridge and freezer are still packed, so we didn't fish on the way, and marlin isn't a menu type of fish anyway. 
The channel has changed since 2004, the only other time we have been here.  It is not well marked, and isn't where the chart indicates; with us coming in at dead low tide George picked our way through and got us here just fine.  It was Boxing Day in the Bahamas, and George got us cleared in at Customs and Immigration just before they shut down early for the day.  The Bimini Big Game Club is nice.  Docks are substantial, wood and concrete and usually higher than our boat, but we are managing with Toby ok.  We celebrated our arrival with a cracked conch dinner at the restaurant here last night - delicious! 
We are hoping to rent a golf cart and do some sightseeing.  Our plan is to leave tomorrow, but we will check the weather again and wouldn't mind staying another day.

Key Biscayne, FL
No Name Harbor
George Stateham

Our stay in Ft. Lauderdale started with an unexpected clean up job. We will not go into it here, but it was NOT fun. After that we had a great time.

We biked to the Floridian for an Eggs Benedict breakfast, window shopped along Las Olas Blvd, chatted with pedestrians and dog walkers along the river walk and enjoyed the free Wi-Fi from the nearby court house. One afternoon we walked to the nearby Publix store and stopped along the way at the Down Towner waterfront restraunt to have a cold beer each and split a dozen oysters on the half shell.

For a few hours we thought our granddaughter Alisha might fly down for a few days. Our hearts had wings. Unfortunately no good deals on airfare were available on the days she needed to fly, so that fell through. It was kind of like buying a lotto ticket and thinking about all the great things you could do with the money. We dreamed up about a month's worth of stuff to do in the 3 or 4 days she would be with us. Then, like the lottery, it didn't happen and we weren't really surprised.

We are finally south of the myriad of Florida bridges and anchored in No Name Harbor, our favorite jumping off place to cross the Gulf Stream, We changed our planned overnight in Miami near the Venetian Causeway and proceeded here. With the holiday weekend, the local boating celebrants will fill the anchorage and it was good to get in early and get a good spot.

We took a little dinghy cruise along the mangroves and saw neat birds, iguanas and a manatee. One iguana abandoned its tree branch and leapt into the water mere inches from the bow of the dinghy. We were both relieved it didn't land in the dinghy. It might have been hard to get it out without someone being bitten.

Our hoped for weather window this weekend is a little rougher than we want to experience so we are waiting for the next. That means we are celebrating Christmas here. Not a bad place to be if you aren't with your loved ones.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL
George Stateham

Friday we departed Vero Beach. Not everything was done that we wanted but George was getting antsy. There comes a time when good enough is perfect and off we went.

We spent the night in an anchorage new to us, Hobe Sound. Many of our friends recommended it. It was peaceful and just across the ICW from some lovely homes. Since it was a fairly short day, we relaxed through the afternoon and read. A moderately large power boat anchored near by and the couple's on deck amorous activities were about to get out of hand when they finally went in the cabin. Maybe they realized that George was watching them through the binoculars.

Saturday morning we had an incident at our first bridge of the day, the 707, that got our heart rates up. After telling us to "bring it on down" for an opening, the tender decided to make us wait for a slower boat to get close. Now we were close to the bridge and the current wanted to carry us under it. George quickly pulled the engines into reverse and the port engine died. That is the second time that has happened on this trip. Added to this, we have a relay in the starting circuit with a loose connection and George has to (as Lynn puts it) "fiddle" with before starting the engine. So, Lynn had to take the helm in a strong current without room to spin the boat around and operate on only one engine, George dashed below and started the engine. By then we were at the side of the channel and near a marked shoal. He tried to maneuver away but by the time we were in gear and powered up, we had run aground. Not hard aground mind you but aground. We were off quickly and away from the offending bridge. After that, the day was pretty calm. 18 bridges for the day.

Last night we anchored in Boca Raton and they held their annual boat parade of lights. There were many beautifully decorated boats and a super moving fireworks boat. We were not really close and trying to hand hold a long lens at night yielded few good pictures. We will post a couple anyway.

Today we only had nine bridges and are into Ft. Lauderdale fairly early. We love docking here along the banks of the New River right downtown. Lots of people strolling the waterfront, Christmas lights everywhere, a constant parade of boats  motoring by, free wi-fi, and nice shops and restaurants nearby. We plan to hang out here a few days before working our way a little farther south and starting to look for a weather window.

Vero Beach, FL
Lynn Stateham

We arrived in Vero Beach a week ago today, and settled right onto our mooring ball #50 near the northernmost mangrove island. The Thursday weekly cruiser’s potluck cocktail party was fun – folks we haven’t seen since our last cruise, neighbors from New Bern, and new friends as well. Boaters always have a wealth of things to talk about whether we know each other or not.


As George mentioned, we rented a car and promptly three plus days of rain arrived. We both got soaked several times, although when we were smart enough to wear our foul weather gear we stayed pretty dry. The rain just kept coming, and we had stuff hanging all over the boat to dry out. George moved our battery powered pump to the dinghy to keep up with the water level there. Happily, Sunspot Baby was dry on the inside thanks to our new replacement windows, our hard work paying off.


We ate out a few times while we had the car, enjoying our favorite breakfast at the Bob Evans chain, and we’ve gone several times to 2002, with European owners and tasty offerings – crepes, home made breads, etc. It’s actually on the bus route so we were back there this morning for the weekly cruisers breakfast where the Vero Beach CLODs (Cruisers Living on Dirt) come to chat with the transient cruisers.


The dinghy motor is fixed. We moved to a dock and had the motor picked up and the carburetor repaired. Nice to have that done, and to be at a dock for two nights. And George replaced the fresh water pump as well. We had a spare on board for that activity. He’s working on the oil leak on Shirley (Starboard engine) and although not quite finished, thinks he’s come up with the problem and a solution.


I made bread yesterday, and the boat smelled wonderful with two loaves in the oven. Took advantage of being at the dock for a load of laundry, and we gave Toby some extra shore walks.


There isn’t a good weather window any time soon, but today we finished our grocery shopping and loaded fresh provisions on. Some folks who have been here since before Thanksgiving tell us they’ve done that more than once in anticipation of leaving, and yet they are still here, so we hope we will actually be on the move in a few days. Chris Parker the weather guru says there might be a good opportunity in about a week, but as George says, there’s always a good weather window a week out.

Vero Beach, FL
George Stateham

Time flies when you're having fun. We rented a car for the weekend on Friday and drove to Ft. Pierce to do our "Local Boater Option" check in. That went smoothly. Then we started trying to maximize the car use do do our shopping and laundry tasks.

A couple of boat tasks popped up, but we let them slide to get full use from the car. We did do a dinner and movie date Saturday night which we both enjoyed, well all except the prices. $18 for tickets and $16 for a medium pop corn and 2 small drinks. Ouch, $34 for a movie and pop corn. No wonder we like Netflix so much. We saw Tower Heist and thought it was good.

I mentioned boat tasks. The fresh water pump has quit. We used to go through almost one a year but this one has been going strong for over three. I guess I started to take it for granted, oops. The good news is, I have a spare and they are not hard to swap out.

A little tougher is an outboard engine that doesn't want to start when cold. At this time, I think the problem is the primer diaphragm which means it won't prime. The real solution is to rebuild the carb, but no time for that this weekend. I could start it by pulling the engine cover and squirting a little ether in. Pulling off the engine cover every time was a pain so I just drilled a hole in front of the carb and can squirt some in.

I do have a spare carb from when it was a 9.9 engine. I will lose power putting it on, but plan to do that and then have time for the rebuild of the 15 hp unit.

Added to this, our starboard engine has developed an oil leak. Now I have a bilge to clean and a leak to find and fix.

That's OK though. There doesn't seem to be a good weather window in the near future so we may just hang out here and take care of things.

Vero Beach, FL
George Stateham

Lynn mentioned today that it was one week ago this evening she was last off the boat. I got off for a few minutes to pay for fuel at St. Augustine. I was on a floating dock and not land but still, I can't quite say the same.

We have been pushing reasonably hard each day to make the miles that would culminate in getting to Vero today. Task accomplished..

I last updated from Thunderbolt, GA. Since then we have anchored in the Duplin River, the Brickhill River, and the Ft. George River. We spent a night on a mooring ball in St. Augustine, then anchored in Daytona and Cocoa, FL before arriving here today. With only about 10 hours of daylight, we are limited on how far we can get each day. Several times we stopped earlier than we would like, but we couldn't make the next anchorage in the daylight remaining.

However, you should not feel sorry for us. Days on the water have been beautiful. At every meal, wonderful smells waft from the galley into the cockpit. Even when I don't think I'm hungry, I am like Pavlov's dogs and am salivating in anticipation. Up early, we see majestic sunrises. By sunset we are listening to music from the iPod, having a light libation, and watching the world go by. Traffic on the water is light and anchorages are not crowded. I think we can thank and/or blame the economy. At night the motion and sound of the water is a great soporific; we sleep better here than in our bed at home. We have been so fortunate to do this for all these years.

Some folks think it is like a long vacation. There is always something requiring repair. Often things critical to continuing and/or are downright dangerous. There is the occasional scare; we had one of those today at the fuel dock here in Vero; a large power boat missed us by inches. While it is not a vacation, it is an adventure, a life style. Recently, our granddaughter, Alisha posted the Mark Twain quote on our Facebook saying it reminder her of us.:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover"

Our adventures are on a small scale compared to some, but so many buy the boat and never sail away. We will not be disappointed by what we didn't do.

Amazingly we made it all the way to the Sebastian Inlet before a Floridiot boater in a huge powerboat battered us with a vicious wake. All others have at least made an attempt to give us a slow pass. Sometimes we wish sailboats still carried cannons.

Many of our Fairfield Harbour cruising friends are already here. After long days of motoring, the dinghy is covered in diesel fumes; we took Toby for a shore walk and he tracked mud in the inflatable, and in that messy state we stopped and visited our frineds. Gee I wonder why they didn't invite us aboard :-) Actually they did but I wouldn't have. We will get serious about cleaning up tomorrow but for tonight we are going to relax and enjoy making it to this convenient regrouping point.

We have a car reserved for the weekend and a long list of things to do and buy. Most important is to go to to an appointment with Customs and Immigration in Ft. Pierce to finalize our "Local Boater Option." That makes it much easier to check back into the good old US of A coming home.

We are really enjoying the raw water wash down system we added to the boat this year. It facilitates the rinsing of mud off the anchor and chain plus other yucky stuff like Toby's depth charges on the foredeck.

Happy to be here, much to do , and anxious to be on our way. Never satisfied are we?

Fort George River, FL
Lynn Stateham

I last left you in beautiful Charleston, but on Sunday November 27 we said our goodbyes and headed south again. The problematic Wappoo Creek Bridge wasn’t an issue, one time we actually had to call the Coast Guard to have the bridge operator open the darn thing. Now it was thankfully a different operator. We rocketed through Elliott Cut at 9.2 knots – it’s only about a city block long, so we were through in the blink of an eye. We stopped to chat with Jim and Amy, friends on the Stono River. George slid Sunspot Baby right along their dock, and there she stayed happy in the current with no engines or lines to help her.


With a front moving through, we anchored for two nights at beautiful Steamboat Creek. The historic gazebo is still here (where passengers waited for the steamboat to Charleston) and marks our favorite anchoring spot. The only problem is there was another boat in it! So we anchored a little further away, grumbling because we were somewhat more exposed to the approaching wind conditions. The front turned out to be mostly a rain event. We had a big breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast from home made bread, did boat chores, worked on Christmas things, and had green chili for dinner previously made at home.


In Beaufort, SC (pronounced “Bewfort”, compared to North Carolina’s “Bowfort” and both spelled the same) we learned the Lady’s Island Bridge is now hourly, probably with am & pm restsrictions as well as not opening at noon. A 45 minute loiter is not something George usually has to deal with – he is so good about timing his arrival at a bridge we can usually just scoot on through if the bridge operator is on the ball. Wind was westerly, and we chose the Beaufort anchorage instead of Skull Creek, thanks to a little whining from me. We dropped the hook shortly after 1 pm and had canned clam chowder for lunch, just the thing on this cold windy day.


The opportunity to go outside at Thunderbolt Georgia disappeared with the cold temperatures. Our nights were in the 30’s, days barely in the 50’s, and wind from the north into the cockpit. The idea of a cold, quarter moon night out on the ocean was not appealing. We opted for Thunderbolt Marina and their morning delivery of Krispy Kreme donuts and a newspaper. I did laundry, we filled drinking water bottles from their filtered system, and we watched a video movie on board that night (The Jane Austen Book Club).


The state of Georgia is known for shallow depths and non-maintenance of the Intracoastal Waterway. However, not too long ago they apparently got some funding and we noticed a difference in depths along the way. The short passage through Hell Gate saw one 7 foot reading, but wasn’t bad. There would be skinnier water ahead before getting out of Georgia.


A 66 mile day for us in these short days is a little more than we plan for, but currents were good and we arrived at the Duplin River anchorage by 4 in the afternoon. The University of Georgia Marine Institute is here, so we anchor upriver from the ferries that come and go. We have been ashore here numerous times, but never walked far enough to see the giant turkey fountain. This time we did not get off the boat – having a deck trained dog is certainly a plus.


Toby seems a little more himself – less forgetful, still ignores the dolphins, but a little more “with it.” I think having words with a schnauzer in Charleston put him to rights to some extent. He gets cold easier, and spends some time wrapped in the blanket from our old boat, Snorkel, in the cockpit during the days when we are underway.


Leaving the Duplin River, one of the skinniest places in Georgia is the Little Mud River. George had a busy day of active steering, and Sunspot Baby pulled up her skirts to get through. Our destination was the beautiful Brickhill River at Cumberland Island where we have not been since 2009. The south entrance is our preference, it’s closer to the best anchorage, but even in past years it has been shoaled. On a rising tide at almost high, we saw 7 feet as we entered, and we raised eyebrows at our plan to depart today on a mid-level falling tide. The beautiful Plum Orchard mansion with ponies grazing in the yard and Spanish Moss decorating the live oaks was built as an “cottage” by one of the Carnegie children…the family owned the entire island for a number of years in the 1800s.


Today’s theme was an earlier-the-better departure. We left before first light, planning to follow our track from yesterday as we headed out. The track was gone! Our chart plotter had undergone a fit in the middle of the night, and it seemed to be working perfectly fine, the track was nowhere to be found. George squeezed us through the skinny channel with us sucking in our breath when we hit 3.9 feet (we are aground at 3.7). Then it was 7, 12, 18, 22, and we were on our way!


I have scorned George’s smart phone, but it is terrific on this cruise while we are in the US. At a remote anchorage, he can tether his phone to his laptop and it’s just like we were paying someone for internet! Technology…can’t beat it.


So here we anchored off Fort George, with its sparkling white buildings and bright green grass. Tonight’s dinner will be Irish Stew, made at home and heated up, and homemade bread with butter. The stew is a terrific recipe from Finbar Kinsella at the well known restaurant Lily’s, in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s made with beef, not lamb, and surprisingly when we tried it with lamb we found it was better with beef. Tomorrow, the St. John’s River and on to St. Augustine.

Thunderbolt, GA
George Stateham

As was our intent from the last report, we spent two nights at Steamboat Creek. The frontal passage was not as severe as forecast so in a way, it was a day of travel wasted, but it was also a day needed to regroup. We did some minor repairs and got some things put away and relaxed a bit.

The cold front did come and it has been cold with lows in the upper 30's. Wind off the water and into the cockpit felt frigid. Lynn bought some things called hot hands that once opened and shaken are exothermic. One in each glove warms the palm and thus at least partially, the whole hand. Boy I remember some Bronco games in the 60's and 70's where I could have really used these things.

On the 29th we motored to Beaufort, SC and had favorable currents nearly the whole way. Wow was that nice. It really reduced the time in our open cockpit frosting our buns. We anchored near the Marina a little farther down the channel than normal but hooked up good and spent a comfortable night. The new windlass retrieves the chain a lot fast than the old one did.

Boaters Note: The Lady's Island Bridge has not returned to its normal schedule and only opens on the hour. There was no noon opening. I suspect there is a restriction in both morning and evening rush hours as well.

An early departure from Beaufort meant the only really adverse currents we had were fighting the tide going down the Beaufort River to Port Royal Sound. Then we made good time the rest of the way.

Our plan had been to go outside tomorrow and run from Thunderbolt to St. Augustine. The winds are favorable but as cold has it's been in the day time, we can imagine how uncomfortable we would be on a night watch with 38 degree winds blowing off the water and into the cockpit. I have taken the chicken's way out. We will stay inside.

Add to my chickeness, instead of anchoring nearby in Herb River we are in a marina, filling water jugs, doing laundry and taking shore showers. We will navigate through the skinny waters in Georgia instead of racing along the cost. Hopefully the temperatures moderate as we get further south.

Steamboat Creek, SC
George Stateham

Don't pay the ransom; we escaped from Charleston!

Actually, after we got the windlass mess behind us, we had a nice stay. We could have rushed out Thanksgiving day but decided to enjoy the town a little. There were some things we needed to buy that could have waited to Vero, but why not get out in the crowds on Black Friday? It wasn't bad at either Best Buy or West Marine where we purchased some needed gadgets.

Lynn took advantage of the good food stores nearby and restocked some fresh provisions.

Saturday we turned in the rent car and toured the aquarium. We might be described as aquarium groupies and really enjoyed this one. Later in the day we did some boat chores to make our Sunday departure easier. We then took advantage of the shore showers. It could be a little while before we have unlimited hot water again.

Sunday, two weeks since our departure from New Bern, we slipped the lines and are underway again. We caught the Wapppoo Creek Bridge before it went on restricted openings and rode a 3 kt. current through Elliott Cut. This is planned as a short day. With the late fall daylight we don't have enough hours to make it all the way to Beaufort, so we opted to stop at a favorite anchorage, Steamboat Creek.

A front with high winds and thunderstorms is forecast to move through tomorrow so we will probably just hunker down here and sit it out. Then assuming things go as planned on to Beaufort, SC on Tuesday.

Being able to tether my smart phone and do internet is great. I am actually posting this from the middle of the creek with no Wi-Fi in site.

Charleston, SC
Lynn Stateham

Wow! What a departure! We had hoped to leave our home dock before November 10, to beat our earliest-ever departure. We were embroiled in replacing four large deadlight (meaning doesn’t open) windows across the deckhouse, and we could see we weren’t going to leave any time soon. I secretly hoped for an 11/11/11 cast-off, but finally on Sunday the 13th the windows were finished and Sunspot Baby was loaded for Cruise #7. Keeping with tradition, our nearby neighbors came to see us off. We had coffee and pastries and reminisced about past departures.


The fridge and freezer are packed to the brim. As usual, we started out with two thick Styrofoam coolers loaded with frozen meals for our first few days. Trouble is, temperatures were in the 70’s, a blessing for us and a curse for frozen foods, but the coolers are so thick (thanks, Marge) everything lasted well.


Town Creek in Beaufort was a new anchorage for us – we will definitely go back there. It gave us a little jump on getting to Mile Hammock Bay the next day, we dropped the hook, had LBJ chili for dinner, and with no current, wind or wakes we slept like babies.


We were reacquainted with our first cruising friend in Mile Hammock Bay. Bill on Long Winded and his sheltie, Laddie, came by for a visit. The next day we made it through all three bridges in good shape, and picked our normal spot at Carolina Beach for our third night. Dinner was chicken curry with jasmine rice, raita, chutney and pita, which acted as an impostor for naan.


Hoping to make the current in Snows Cut, we planned to up anchor at first light. Our port engine, Laverne, had other thoughts, and George spent about 10 minutes tightening a belt, and we were off in light fog. In Snows Cut the fog was thicker, and once we were out in the Cape Fear River, it was almost but not quite pea soup. We thanked ourselves for the chart plotter at the helm, turned on Radar, and activated the AIS (automated ship identification) feature. Several boats ended up following us, because they weren’t as well set up. If we thought it couldn’t get worse, the visibility was almost zero when we arrived at Southport. We pulled into Southport to wait for the noon forecast lift, but noon came and went and there was only slight improvement. With ½ mile visibility just enough to see the marks, we departed Southport and moved only about 10 miles further to St. James Plantation, a cheaper and well protected marina.


With a front moving through and thunderstorms forecast, we spent two days at St. James, then blew through Myrtle Beach and stopped at another new spot, Osprey Marina. Good fuel prices $3.75/gallon diesel before a 10 cent gallon discount.. Terry from SunStar 2, a Prout Quest, came by for Prout chat (our boat is a Prout as well). We talked through dinner, and the next day we were headed down the beautiful Waccamaw River for a short trip to Georgetown.


Finally, out of marinas and back to anchoring! Georgetown has ridded itself of some of the derelict boats which used to clog the harbor, and arriving early we found a beautiful spot right off the Riverwalk, in about 8 feet of water. George headed for the bow to drop the anchor but the windlass wouldn’t work. I stuck to the helm and continued to claim our lovely spot, but it was not to be. We moved to a marina dock. George came up with the plan to move on to Charleston where services and parts would be more readily available. We took a walk and had a consoling beer in a waterfront bar.


So here we are in Charleston. The Charleston Maritime Center is right on the main peninsula, and is open to the North and East, separated only by a small breakwater from Charleston Harbor. The staff is friendly, and dockage is inexpensive, if you stay 5 nights you get two free. We are within walking distance of a large Harris Teeter grocery store (which made me feel right at home), and just a little further is Old Downtown Charleston with its charming history, open market, restaurants and shops.


We are the proud new owners of a Lewmar windlass (actually capstan), and this one has a “recovery system” which is in effect just the same cover with an additional hole for a winch handle, for which we paid over $200. Henry Cannady did the manual labor – he helped us before in Charleston and we would recommend him as an excellent contact. The old windlass (new in 2005) had almost disintegrated. Henry said this is common, that salt water and air eventually destroy cast aluminum. The new unit is cast stainless steel. Let’s hope that holds up better.


While we were waiting for the new windlass to arrive, we rented a car and drove home! Picked up a number of things we had forgotten, did lots of laundry, left our sleeping bags at home so they are now off the boat and not in the way, and had a lovely steak dinner at our neighbors, the Hices. We were back in Charleston the next morning (yesterday) when the parts arrived and Henry was on the boat shortly thereafter.


Our intrepid boat crew, Toby, is aging. He doesn’t hear the dolphin blows and no longer scrambles out of the cockpit on dolphin duty. That is a blessing for us, but we know he would still like to do that. He seems a little forgetful, no longer knows a kibble is dropping into his dog dish when he is at the farthest point on the boat from the food. We are watching him with a little concern. He will be 12 years old this week, on November 26.


We will be in Charleston another day or two, and then will head toward points south again. We missed a pretty good weather window to go outside, but we can always move along in the beautiful ICW.

Charleston, SC
George Stateham

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family that read our trip reports!

Tuesday we ordered the new windlass, rented a car, and drove to New Bern. Why? Well it seems we forgot all our shorts when we packed clothes. Silly heading for the tropics and not taking shorts, but we were really pressing to get out of town and some mistakes were sure to happen. We could buy new shorts, but it was probably a breakeven to rent the car or buy all new shorts. The marina has only one set of laundry machines and they each take an hour to run a load, the line to use it is long. We took laundry and sleeping bags to the house, picked up shorts and spent a short night before driving back. Thanks Bruce for fixing us a delicious dinner.

Wednesday by 11:00 we were back at the Marina and the Windlass had arrived. At 1:00 the electrician arrived and about 5:00 the installation was done. The mounting flange and gear housing on the old one were originally one casting but came out as two pieces that had corroded completely in two.

Today the wind is blowing into the mouth of the marina and bringing choppy waters with it. If you were really prone mal de mer you could get queasy right here at the dock. We are catching up on computer chores so there will be a few new pictures added. We plan to goof off here a couple of days, go the the aquarium, sightsee, and maybe even send some mail. Departure is probably Sunday and the weather looks like we will stay in the ICW for a while. 10 to 20 knot winds outside are kicking up waves that would make any outside transit more than a little bumpy.

Charleston, SC
George Stateham

Yesterday we were away well before sunrise. We needed to make about 65 miles and with a bridge before Charleston Harbor that only opens on the hour, timing was everything. If we made the 4:00 opening we would be OK but would probably not have time to fuel before the marina closed. 3:00 was much better. Early in the going we had excellent currents so it was apparent that even with adverse currents later, we were on for the 3:00. It was possible, but not likely that we would make the 2:00 but I had to have good currents and good luck. Soon I saw that no matter what I did, we would be 10 to 15 minutes late for the 2:00 so just slowed down so we wouldn't have too long a time loitering for the bridge. We were about 3 miles from the bridge at 2:00 but the tender was 10 minutes late with the opening and then held it a long time. If I had pushed, we would have been there.

Still good fortune was on our side, we went through at 3:00, had favorable currents up the harbor and caught the tide at just about slack at the fuel dock and our slip. The currents really rip through here so catching them at slack was good.

This morning our mechanic called and gave us an ETA. He was here pretty much on time and quickly determined that the windlass is dead. The cast aluminum case is corroded through. He was able to pull off chunks of it with this fingers. So much for our hope of fixing it for a couple of hundred instead of a couple of thousand.

Lynn's bicycle rear tire has been leaking so we used part of our down time to walk it to a bicycle shop downtown where they replaced the tube. It was a nice walk.

I called Lewmar and know which windlass will fit the same foot print and the old one and am waiting for a call back from the mechanic to see which of us has the best price to order. It is late enough now that we probably can't get it on order today. Even if we order early tomorrow and get quick delivery, I don't have much hope that we will be out of here before the weekend. We shall see.

Georgetown, SC
George Stateham

One of our plans for this year was to spend less time in marinas. So, how is that working out? Or friends on Grateful Attitudes say that their plans are chiseled in Jell-O. Well ours are about the same. When we pulled into Georgetown and tried to drop the anchor, I couldn't get the windlass to work. We tied up in a marina to have a look. George's best guess is that the motor has failed. He had hoped that something had just jammed up, but everything runs free except the motor shaft won't turn, even without a load. Please note, this is not an old decrepit piece of gear. It was replaced during cruise #2 in 2005.

We thought we would go out of Charleston on Monday and sail overnight to Fernandina Beach. Now it looks like we will spend some time in Charleston fixing the windlass. Bummer. It's not that we don't like Charleston, we do, but we want to get south and soon. We will use the time productively but we will be tied to the dock at the Charleston Maritime Center.

After losing two days to the fog, we were falling behind out "plan" and figured by going out at Charleston we would be pretty much back on schedule. So much for our plans.

Nothing ever breaks during the week when there are people working.

An interesting event happened on the water today. As we passed Bucksport Marina there were dozens shiny, low slung bass boats with big engines. A short while later they came zooming by us at speeds around 50 mph, maybe higher. Many of the  two person crews were wearing crash helmets. We thought it must be a race. Lynn call Bucksport. It was a fishing tournament, but the boats often race to get to the best spots first.

Later we saw them fishing in spots that seemed indistinguishable from a zillion other places on the rivers and creeks. I guess I'll never be a real fisherman.

Yesterday morning when we left St. James Plantation we had ice on the deck. Today was a little warmer.

St. James Plantation, NC
George Stateham

Yesterday we planned an early departure from Carolina Beach to catch a favorable current in Snow's Cut and be in the Cape Fear before a strong flood tide held us back.

Up early was no problem but the port engine alternator belt started squealing. That meant George had a repair job to do before we took off. He begrudged every minute it took, but soon we were hauling anchor. There was a light fog as we hurried out of the anchorage.

The fog in Snow's Cut was moderate but we could see reasonably well and rode the current through. For a while in the Cape Fear the fog was heavy but we could always see the next mark. By the time we got to the main channel that was no longer the case. We felt the best option was to stay near the main channel and press on. Visibility was frequently less than 50 yards.

We watched radar, our chart plotter, and the AIS (Automated Identification System) to avoid other traffic and navigate our route. A delayed departure and slow progress in the fog meant the flood tide did catch us and we had to fight that was well.

About 9:00 am we reached Southport where we turn out of the river and back into the ICW. As impossible as it seems, the fog became even heavier. We opted to pull off the waterway and into a marina where we sat until about 12:00 when the fog finally lightened enough to find our way. It never did clear completely.

By this time it was too late to continue on to Myrtle Beach, our planned day's end destination. We went only another six miles or so to St. James Plantation. A nice marina and much cheaper than Southport.

It was a stressful day of steering.

There is a frontal passage today with showers and thunderstorms, and of course, more fog. We have opted to stay another day and then press on.

Lynn has been managing all the frozen food we had packed in two Styrofoam coolers. We have been eating the prepared curry, chili, soups, and stew. Now she has the coolers empty and we have given them away. Everything is crammed into the fridge or freezer.

George has been trying to get all our computer gear working properly. We can now connect either computer to the web using his smart phone. It took a while to get our laptop navigation software to find the GPS but now that works. Big steps forward. We still can't get either computer to talk to our Skymate system so can't change the reporting frequency or send or receive email. We have been on the phone with Skymate and have tried lots of fixes, none of which have worked so far. After that we need to get our new Pactor modem going.

People ask us, "when you're cruising, what do you do with all your time?"

Carolina Beach, NC
George Stateham

Several neighbor couples came to the boat Sunday morning to have a little coffee and snacks and wish us Bon Voyage. About 9:30 we cast off the lines and left. It was not our earliest departure missing the Cruise 6 mark of November 10 by three days. Well, at least we are finally gone.

We have had three nice days on the water so far. The first night we anchored at Town Creek in Beaufort, NC, a first for us. Wonderful. Then on to Mile Hammock Bay with favorable conditions all the way.

Today, however, we fought head winds and currents most of the day. This added to the frustration of trying to time arrival at three bridges inconveniently spaced, Surf City, Figure 8 Island, and Wrightsville Beach. I couldn't make good enough time to catch the right openings so we puttered along, taking over an hour more than normal.

We have seen dolphin everyday, but Toby's age is showing. He usually hears them before we know they are near and strains at the rail to see them. This cruise he has missed them. I guess that sharp hearing is fading, unfortunately following the hearing of his owners/slaves.

Rain is possible over the next couple of days, but that probably won't impede our progress much.

New Bern, NC
George Stateham

Tomorrow is the last day of our original planned departure date (Nov. 1 +/- one week). Obviously, that won't happen but we do now see a light at the end of the tunnel. We have been under considerable self imposed stress to get the windows done. Yesterday afternoon we mounted the last one and the big, strenuous, messy part of the job is done.

Recognizing that most of our stress was self imposed, we opted to take the morning off and played 18 holes of golf. It was George's 3rd outing of the year and only Lynn's second so we were both pretty rusty but hit some good shots, along with a lot of bad ones of course. Still, we had fun and were rejuvenated to go after the windows and finish. Plenty of tasks remain on the inside, but they are MUCH easier than fabricating and installing the windows themselves.

Now we can go after the more normal tasks of cruise preparation.

New Bern, NC
George Stateham

Oops, I missed one step in my window process and and couldn't run two curing times concurrently. So could not finish 4th window on Thursday. Then, that night it rained and most of the day Friday. Here we are at Saturday and gale warnings are up. I don't want to handle that new window in those winds and it would probably drive the cold right through our clothes. Sunday?

I failed to mention that last Friday night some vandal stabbed a slit in our dinghy and in the next boat's as well. I realized it on Sunday. The boat is already repaired thanks to a great turnaround time from Will at Offshore Rafting. The marina has security cameras and they think they know who did the damage. The Sheriff's Department is working the case. I suspect we will be long gone by the time there is any resolution. If they have the right suspect it is a young teenager from a dysfunctional family. I am sorry for his situation, but really wish he wouldn't destroy our property.

New Bern, NC
George Stateham


We have been so busy preparing, we haven't kept the web site up to date.

The new window project may be the death of us. Not really, but we have been busting hump and are both stiff and sore. At least we started work on the last window yesterday and have a couple of good weather days ahead so, with any luck they will be done by late Thursday.

Lynn has most of the provision shopping done and our guest room is overflowing with supplies. We finished the window in the forward cabin yesterday (that's where we stow most provisions) so we can start loading stuff on the boat.

Our departure target was November 1 plus or minus a week. Right now, I can't prove we won't be gone by the 7th, but right now it looks iffy. Our earliest departure ever was last cruise when we left Nov, 10 and it looks good to at least beat that date.

I have posted a hew photos of our preparations.

New Bern, NC
George Stateham

The equinox is here and it's time to get serious about getting Sunspot Baby projects finished and load her up to head south. Our target date is November 1 plus or minus a week.

Lynn is mailing the pet permit request today. We have our Customs Decal, the EPIRB had a new battery and we have been doing lots of repairs.

Two big projects remain. I have to finish the flooring. Only one cabin left, but it's a tricky one. We also have 4 windows to replace across the front of the deckhouse. We hope that will go smoothly. We are doing research on materials for that now.

The family all came to visit us at our reunion this year, so we don't have a cross country trip planned. That should make preparing go a little quicker. Watch this space for further developments.