Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas in the Bahamas


December 25, 2010 - Treasure Cay, The Bahamas

Stocking by the fire of course

After our long journey and many adventures to get to this new country, we needed a rest. What better excuse than some Christmas celebrations.

Richard visited for Christmas

We were joined for 2 weeks by Richard (Diane's Dad). Richard joined us in Marsh Harbour, unfortunately without his luggage, so we waited a couple of days for it and found the time to stop up on bottles of Christmas cheer, mainly rum and Baileys. After no luggage was forthcoming Richard bought a shirt and we set of for Treasure Cay.

Windy Boxing day in the Bahamas

The weather was expected to be quite windy around Christmas so we found a good spot in the middle of the Treasure Cay Marina resort, battened down the hatches and hung up our stockings.

Christmas presents

Christmas was spent opening all our lovely presents and scattering the content around the boat.

Christmas dinner with al the trimmings

Di made us a fantastic turkey dinner with all the trimmings. In case you are wondering its not a pint of Baileys, we just don't have a gravy boat. Baileys came later.

Beers in a beach bar on a chilly boxing day

On Boxing day we headed out to a local bar for a beer and lunch. Richards luggage finally arrived so he could change out of that shirt.

Traditional walk on the beach at Christmas

We enjoyed a short walk on the Treasure Cay beech, meant to be one of the top 10 beeches in the world. With the white sand and turquoise water it was OK, but we found many more places just as nice, but unspoilt by development and tourists.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Crossing to the Bahamas


December 12, 2010 - Lake Worth FL, United States

A rare view of other boats sailing on the ICW

In the last stretches of the ICW the weather was warmer, the winds gentle. On very windy days we stayed on the canals and sailed in calm waters, on reasonable days we sailed offshore and when there was no wind we rested or did some jobs. Surprisingly few boats used sails in the ICW, even with a fair wind. We feel we inspired a few to try.

Fellow sailing boats on the ICW

Of all the other boats we met on the ICW heading south, this was the only one that sailed all the way. He had an old Sea Gal outboard to get him through bridges and once lit a fire on deck, but later said it was not a good idea on his wooden boat. He was mad as a brush.

Fuel dock with the big boys

In Lake Worth we filled up with all that was cheap in the USA. Fuel at a super yacht marina and endless trips to the super market for food and beer, and lots of stuff for future projects to keep us busy.

Cleaning the fore peak, before

Whilst waiting for the weather to be favourable we continued with the improvements on Sea Gal. Di cleaned the forepeak.
Here before.

Cleaning the fore peak, after

And after.

Di painting the fore peak

Later painted in time for our Christmas visitor.

New mug rack

I made a nice new mug holder to hit my head on.

New sauce rack

and sauce rack for our HP, marmite and peanut butter.

Smooth passage across the Gulf Stream

Eventually the weather forecast was good to head across the gulf stream for the Bahamas. We left very early in the morning the make the best of the days light on arrival, had a very smooth crossing to memory rock.

Sailing on the ICW

We arrived in Bahamian waters and hoisted our yellow customs flag. This stays up until you clear customs, which was a few days as we had some weather coming to hold us up.

Clear blue water of the Bahamas

We enjoyed our first view of the clear waters of the Bahamas, with the white sand giving an amazing turquoise on a calm day.

Stormy weather over Great Sale Cay

The first night we anchored on the east side of Great Sale Cay. The recommended anchorage is on the West side, but we had a strong westerly forecast for 48 hours. Our anchorage was not the best and quite bumpy and times, but when we dragged anchor we had 50 miles until the next piece of land. Not so for a couple on a Bavaria in the western anchorage who dragged onto the beach and had a US CG helicopter take them home. The saga playing out took our minds of our own discomfort.

The weather soon cleared and we made our way to Green Turtle Cay to finally check in and enjoy arriving in a new country.

Cocktails in the Bahamas at last

Any woe's were quickly forgotten with our new stock of rum and a 'pain killer' cocktail.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Down the ICW to Florida


October 15, 2010 - Norfolk VA, United States

Waiting for the lock

We left Deltaville and headed down the ICW to find some warmth further south. We finally met with snow-birds heading south for the winter, which made the trip more interesting, if crowded. Here we were waiting for the lock to Enter the Dismal swamp canal, early in the morning.

In the lock at the Dismal swamp

In the lock with other cruisers bound for The Bahamas

Dismal swamp. Not dismal just long.

Once in the Dismal swamp it was a long days motor down a tree lined canal. A little different to the alternative of rounding cape Hatteras with an opposing wind.

Staff accommodation is never glam

And more to see on the canal than on the open sea.

You wouldn't want that up your stern

The canal had some funding to dredge the shallower parts with this pretty mean looking tool.

Testing the wash down pump

Whilst under way we had time for some work. Barney installed a new wash down system to jet wash the mud from the anchor when we pulled up black stuff from the bottom.

DI working hard making cushion covers

Di continues with the sewing projects.

Working hard growing the porn tash

Barney also worked hard at his new porn tash. Didn't last long.

Sunset on the ICW

Always enjoyed the sunsets in the sheltered anchorages.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Heading south from Maine to warmer places


October 1, 2010 - Rockland ME, United States

After spending the Summer enjoying the peace and beauty of Maine, we then realised why it was not so busy, it was getting cold pretty quickly. So like good snow-birds, we headed south.

Newport Bridge in the mist

First stop was Newport RI for Barney to complete a 2 week yacht master course and exam.

Fellow students on the Yachtmaster course

A week in the classroom, then a week off to hide from a gale, then a week day sailing to get my Yacht Master Offshore CI. Its been a long time coming. Passed with flying colours, I think I was the only one in doubt. Got a good qualification and met some great new friends.

Cruise ship

Whilst we were in Newport we met up with an old repping friend if Di's, Michelle, who was working on this cruise ship, so we got to have a look around. We still prefer our SeaGal.

Sewing cushion covers

After Newport we headed back into the Chesapeake, and a quick trip to Annapolis, MD. We did some shopping in SailRite for sewing materials and Di started on the long project of renewing the blue fabric on the boat. First step was the cockpit cushion covers.


Next stop was Deltaville to visit a few friends in our favourite boat yard. Liz and Chris on Zulia were still completing the longest fit out in history ( 3years and counting). We stocked up on beer. After exhaustive research we discovered that Virginia was the cheapest place to buy beer on the east coast of the USA. $11 for a case of 24. It wasn't enough.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Back to Sea Gal for another Summer in New England


August 14, 2010 - Deltaville VA USA , United States

It took away from France back to our yacht

It took us 2 minutes to decide that our yacht needed us. We took the cheapest flight we could find, which was via Iceland ( only a couple of weeks after a big volcano erupted and closed Europe's air space for a week)

Viking beer in Iceland

As you can see we were happy get moving and back towards Sea Gal.

Viking beer in Iceland

Having some appropriately named Viking beer in Iceland to celebrate.

Hard work in the boat yard

Back in the yard with with Frankie and the gang.

Hannah & Crystal

Meeting Hannah the new member of the team.

Glad to see her lifted back to the water

We were very happy to see Sea Gal lifted out of the stands and put back in the water for our next adventure.

The Liquidator ( sounds like a kitchen appliance )

A few sights to get used to back in the USA, the rather over powered boats that you see on the waterways, this one of the more lurid examples. Loud, gas guzzling and named after a kitchen appliance.

Don't walk to beach, drive.

I remember in my childhood driving for miles down country lanes to then walk to deserted beaches carrying our lunch and towels to find the perfect deserted spot. The exact opposite seems to be driving your truck on to the beach and parking next to your neighbour just so you don't waste any energy that may be needed to flip the burger on the BBQ.

Our second fish ever !

Whilst waiting for Di to get ready to go out, which is not usually very long compared to your average woman, I caught our 2nd fish ever. Lucky for the fish we were going out, so he went swimming.

Finally started to paint the deck

We finally started the long and awkward job of painting the deck, particularly awkward when you are living on the boat. It took about 7 months in the end.

Sunset from Newport

A quick stop in Newport on the way north to book a Yacht Master course and admire the sunsets.

Small islands and lobster pots to avoid

We headed up to Maine again to explore the small rocky inlets and islands, trying to avoid the lobster pots on the way.

Low tide

Tidal ranges are high, but anchorages are plentiful and often empty.

Leaving a perfect anchorage

Places like this held us for several days before we felt we better move on to the next.

Another anchorage in the forests of Maine

The next was just as nice as the last.

At one with the solar panels

A skipper at one with his solar panels. Extra 2 installed this year to make 4 kept us self sufficient in the sunnier climates. In the rainier places ( like Gloucester ) not so much.

Mount Desert summer 'cottages'

We made it as far north as Mount Desert where we spend the week hiding from a hurricane and admiring the large and small holiday cottages that graced the shore.

At anchor in Maine, Penobscot Bay

In general we just enjoyed spending time in a peaceful and temperate land drifting here and there on our home, Sea Gal.