Go to http://welcometoadventure.wordpress.com for my new blog!

Hi,

This is Kelly.  This is the address of my new blog about my main interest, fashion. I hope you read, and enjoy :).

 

http://welcometoadventure.wordpress.com

 

Posted in Kelly's Blog, Kelly's Posts

Wardrick Wells Marine Park

We recently went to Wardrick Wells Land and Sea Park.  It was a great experience and fun for all.  We visited and hiked, had a impromptu party with the other cruisers, bought more charts (Carol loves them!) and had a fun time.  We had our friends Walt and Lynn, together with Laurie and Anthony just a few boats away making the visit all the better.

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We begin to leave North Abaco

3.7.2010-3.13.2010

Of course my post is late, but following along my version of reality, from Hope Town we left to go to Marsh Harbour to get our mail.  Considering what you pay to get your mail, it really isn’t worth it.  But I needed some stuff so we sent it to Mangoes, our favorite marina in Marsh Harbour.  I always expect that these little backward voyages (remember we were trying to break the void and head south) would be zippy quicky, but we ended up staying 5 days!  However, we also spent time visiting with our Green Turtle friends Bob and Gracie on Gracia, and our friend Patrick on Thistle Dew.  We made two new friends on Dogonit, Laurie and Anthony.  We (Patrick, Anthony, Laurie, Chris, me and the kids) got together on our boat and ate and drank and played Cranium.  I have to say I can’t remember laughing that much in a long time.  While all the people we have met have been super nice, it was cool to hang with people closer to our age.

At the end of the week we wrapped up our errands and headed off for Little Harbour and Pete’s Pub.  Patrick stayed in Marsh, but Dogonit left too.  Marsh Harbour is north of Hope Town, so we again headed south, bypassing Hope Town and cruised down to Little Harbour.  Although technically there are other places to stop in North Abaco, most people consider Little Harbour the last stop before the trek to Eleuthera or to Nassau.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to stop at Lubbers Quarters, where we have a friend from Green Turtle, but you have to sail sometimes!  Iolar (our friends Walt and Lynn) were already there.  We had planned to all sail over together to Eleuthera, which we did.  Group sailing, or buddy boating, is not for everyone, but I know it makes my Mom happy!  I was just as glad, not that it is that far to go (65 miles), but it was our next longest passage since FL.  After two nights in Little Harbour, we left on Sunday 3/13.  Chris and I had done our prepping so that we would have our ducks in a row when crossing.  By this I mean we put up bungy cords where things had previously fallen, tidied up, checked the oil,  we went over the MOB (man over board) steps, and entered our way points ahead of time, etc.  So we were feeling pretty organized.  We went to bed and had planned to join the others outside the Harbour, where they had anchored because they had deeper keels.  When we woke up we realized that due to daylight savings, we would have to wait an hour to see the buoys to get out of the harbor.  Jeez!  We didn’t want to run aground, so we just hoped everyone didn’t want to be too punctual, as we discussed leaving at 6:30 a.m.  As it turned out, they couldn’t see the shoals either, so the trip commenced around 7:30 a.m, and we reached Royal Island around 4:30 p.m.  There were 4 boats total – Iolar, Dogonit, Romany and Wind Spirit.

Both the kids did pretty well.  Although they felt somewhat queasy, no one was sick – a real plus.  They have learned to stay outside and just enjoy the ride.  Shane does not like the fact that he can’t walk in the front, and Kelly is not one with her life jacket (of course she wears it; she just doesn’t enjoy it) but that is not too bad.  We eat lightly when underway.  But I have to say the most amazing thing was the size of the swells.  If someone said to me, oh I sailed in 10 foot swells, I would think that they sailed in a storm, or if they said the difference between the bottom and the top of the swell was say, 20 feet.  But these swells were easy enough.  We just went down (where we could not briefly see the boats next to us) and then up again, and down again – you get the picture.  But they were large.  The sailing was really nice, 5.5-6 knots or a little faster, which is no race statistic, but it works for us.  Reaching Royal Island was a nice end to a nice jaunt.  It was crowded with boats when we arrived, but there was still room to anchor.  There is virtually nothing there, save a failed resort initiative, so it is literally just a resting spot.  I chuckled, as the next morning the place was empty except the four of us, which shows I don’t yet keep a sailor’s clock (up with the sun and down with the sun).  We were now, officially, finally, on a new island.  The jump for us was as important psychologically as it was physically, since friends had been calling for us to come for some time.  But I can say I understand why so many just stay in North Abaco – it really is a cool place.

Here are a few photos of the boats we sailed with.  One is Iolar (green hull) and the other is Dogonit.

Iolar - Walt and Lynn sailing to Eleuthera

Anthony and Laurie on Dogonit

Here is a family photo that Anthony and Laurie took of us.

Hanging out in Marsh Harbour

In my next entry, we’ll cover Eleuthera, which is very different than North Abaco, and then on to the Exumas, where we are now.

Carol

 

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Heritage Day in Hope Town

3/1/2010-3/5/2010

We spent a week in Hope Town, due mostly to the high winds.   Although we have a sailboat, you have to be realistic about your ability to get the boat off the mooring ball and out of the marina.   When the winds are high, you can get blown around before you ever get to declare yourself “in charge.” So we stayed put.  We went to the beach and did schoolwork.

On Saturday, Hope Town had its Heritage Day Festival.   This event was to raise money for their local museum. I was duly impressed with the day and the museum. The kids loved it. People had boat races where they sculled their boats, which is a figure 8 paddling process – no oars, no motor, no sail. They paddle in the back, which is more like ruddering than paddling. They had townspeople dress as Loyalists, and of course they had vendors and games for kids, including lots of great food.  We saw many of our friends from Green Turtle, Man-o-War and Marsh Harbour.

Here are some photos.  If I did this correctly, you will see an example of a shell artwork (individual) and the whole array of the design (really nice), a picture of Kelly in the museum and a picture of Shane by a pirate display.  The last photo is a turtle’s shell.  It shows how large the turtles used to be.  In the Bahamas I believe the Bahamians can still catch a small number but tourists are not supposed to catch any.  It used to be a big part of the fishing industry (at least near Hope Town) but now the population needs to be built back up.  So far we have only seen smaller turtles, but they are really cool animals.

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Here is a photo of Kelly driving the dinghy.  We are really proud of her for learning how.  The dinghy is your car, so we wanted the kids to both have the ability to drive the dinghy.

Kelly runs the dinghy in Hope Town

The other thing I did in Hope Town was attend the Methodist Church.  I went to the family service, which was led by their youth pastor, a young woman who was in her 20s.  What a great service.  The children played music and did a skit.  The sermon was one both adults and children could relate to.  I was very impressed and really enjoyed myself.  The crux of the message (of both the play and the sermon) is that we can all remember hurts or hold grudges for a long time – even a year.  But we are daily reminded of the fresh start and forgiveness God grants us.  In such a beautiful place it was a good message to hear.

Carol

 

Posted in Road Trip to Florida

Our friendly shark

Last night Carol was swimming behind the boat and found this little critter.  Don’t worry, they normally don’t eat humans.  Carol took this swimming just aft of our deck while this little guy was just 10 feet under the boat.   He shows up every evening to shade under our hull.

I knew Carol was fearless, but!!!!!!!

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Friday, March 25th

My last post was from Rock Sound Eleuthera on the Friday the 18th.  We really enjoyed our visit while there.  The guidebook we have for the Bahamas really made Eleuthera sound not all that inviting, but if asked I would tell anyone to make sure to spend some time enjoying this area.

Before Sailing to the Bahamas, I often heard people talk of the Abacos, Eleuthera, and the Exumas.  It all sounded the same to me.  After all, it was all the Bahamian islands, what difference could there be?   Now that I have been to all these regions, I can tell you there is a huge difference between them.   North Abaco was a wonderful place, and where we spent the most time.  Easy sailing between great little towns, and a very small town kinda feel;  touristy, but in a good sort way.  Eleuthera is totally different.  Not at all centered around the tourist, you get a feel of the real Bahamas there.  The people we met there were absolutely the friendliest.   The Exumas is beautiful, but only in a “don’t touch” sort of way.  Most of the Cays are private, and there is an exclusiveness that pervades the place.  The people of the Bahamas have had their Exuman land stolen from them by their own government and sold to the rich.    One day I hope to see the people of the Bahamas force the repatriation of their land back to the rightful owners, the people of the Bahamas.

On Saturday morning we left early because we had a fair amount of sailing to do.  To get to the next area of the Bahamas, we needed to leave Eleuthera and sail to the Exumas.  To do that we needed to round the southern cape of Eleuthera, and enter into the deep water of the Exuma Sound.  We were unable to easily get water and fuel in Rock Sound so we planned to stop at the Eleuthera Marina on the cape for water and gas.     We arrived at the marina around 11:00 and were fueled up and back out into the ocean in an hour.   The Eleuthera Marina is one of those places in the Bahamas that was not a favorite.  It is beautiful in a McDonalds sanitized sort of way, but not Bahamian in any way at all.    You can stay there if you can afford the $2.50 a foot for your boat, not including electric or water.  There is no “Bahamas” there because it has all been washed away to make it more comfortable for the very few that can afford to visit.    Nice place to get gas, just like a new service station on a highway, but no place to visit.

We were feeling good.  It was just noon and we had another 40+ NM to go but the weather was good, the sails were filled with air, and we were leaving one area of the Bahamas to visit one we had not seen yet.  It’s times like these when the stuff really hits the fan.  I had just set our autopilot for a course to Allan’s Cay and gone below.  I had asked Carol to keep watch.  At some point Carol disengaged the autopilot to trim the sails, and then she started to call me.  We had all sail up and were moving over 6KTS and Carol could only steer the boat in one direction.  We had gone from A-OK to pending disaster.  I took the helm from Carol and started to realize the autopilot had broken and was jamming the wheel.  For a few minutes we were scrambling.  I knew that we could get in real trouble if we could not steer, but the boat was doing fine and we managed to disassemble the device and regain control before anything bad happened.  For a few minutes I started to think about going back to the Eleuthera marina, but not wanting to give the rest of my fortune to the McDonalds of the marina world, we decided to keep going.  Now an autopilot is a wonderful thing, but it is not absolutely necessary, at least for our trip.  It just meant that now someone HAD to be steering the boat.    We reached Allan’s about five hours later with little fanfare.

Allan’s Cay was something very new for us.  Until now, we had always picked anchorages for their tranquility.  Now in the Exumas we were faced with many anchorages with strong current during the tidal flow.  We no longer could anchor in quiet waters, but now had to anchor in what amounted to fast moving rivers.  Did I mention that the “river” changes direction every 6 hours.    Well, we anchored in Allan’s, and then we set an additional anchor using our dinghy set at 180 from the first.  When the river changed direction, the boat just shifted around and all was well.  We stayed in Allan’s for a few days with our friends Dogonit.  The last full day there a large cat came into the anchorage and anchored between Dogonit and us.  We noticed they only dropped one anchor but we hoped for the best.  That evening, Carol and I were retiring quite late after reading late in bed and Carol said “I hear an engine starting.”  I knew that at this hour the only reason to start your motor would be for life and death reasons.  We climbed out of our hull to see the big cat desperately trying to put down a good hook.  At one point they appeared to hit Dogonit (they did catch their chain).  Finally they got their hook up and started to look for a better spot.  I got on the radio and was able to point out an ideal place, to which they motored and then anchored successfully.

After a few days at Allan’s, we left Monday the 21st to head to Normans Cay.  The sail was much easier than pulling up both anchors at Allan’s.  Norman’s is notable due to it being a major cocaine trafficking site in the 70′s.   There are dozens of abandoned crumbling buildings and even a crashed airplane there to explore.  We also got to meet the people on the “big cat” too.  Steve, Holly, and their two kids, Reese and Gwen, on Independencia. Dogonit was there too, and we enjoyed a few days of eating and drinking together until late into the evenings.  My fondest experiences I have had here have come from just hanging out with the cruisers we have met.  That night I sat on the bow of the big cat and was awed by the entire picture.  A dozen or so people of all ages enjoying the food and drink in a stunningly beautiful and safe place.  Nobody had a care other than to just relax and socialize.

We left Norman’s on Thursday around 11:00.  I had gotten better at the “Bahamian” style of anchoring (two opposing hooks) but was not looking forward to the trip.  It appeared that we would once again slog to win-ward and with the 15+ kts of wind I was a bit worried.  Once out in the sound we put up all sail and found we could sail a course to Warderick Wells.  We sailed for much of the afternoon very close to the wind making an easy 5 or 6 knots, and even hitting 7 or more during the gusts.  It was a wonderful sail and not the slog I expected.  Entering Warderick was a bit stressful due to the tidal changes.  We entered at full tide and had the engine roaring just to make it into the anchorage.  You get a bit nervous when there are boat thrashing coral heads all around you with very fast moving water, and your’re near the limits of your boats power range.  After a few tense moments, we were inside and Carol grabbed the mooring ball like the champ that she is.

Warderick Wells is a magic place.  The Bahaman government has made this area and the Cay’s surrounding it a national animal and marine sanctuary.    We have yet to explore it much but what we have seen is amazing.  Last night I noticed huge fish swimming in the stream just under our boat.  While I was looking I saw a 5 foot shark swim right under me a few feet away and then start stalking the fish.  Later we saw florescent green glowing jelly fish floating by, there were hundreds over an hour or so.

Today everyone is starting very slowly.  It is hot here, as it has been for weeks.  We’ll explore the park today and take some pictures.  We have not had Interent access for some time, but we do now so I’ll be able to catch up a bit.   Pictures to come soon!

Thanks to all of you who post questions, or comments.  We really love to hear from all of you even if it takes us a few days or more to reply.  We are really enjoying ourselves here, but our friends in Sandpoint are always on our minds.  We wish you were here with us.  I’d offer you a cool one and some shade if we could!

Chris Curtis

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On the way to Rock Sound

Here is a short video clip with customary poor iPhone audio.

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