May by the numbers.

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Below are the numbers for May, including what we spent.

In May we reluctantly left the Bahamas and made a bee-line for Connecticut, landing in Cape May, NJ on the last day of the month.  This summer we are planning to visit friends and relatives in Rochester, NY and Southern California.  As a result, our spending was significantly higher in May due to purchasing airplane and train tickets.  Other higher expenses in May included marinas, of which all were planned except for the two days we spent in Jacksonville Beach, FL dealing with our dirty fuel situation.  The dirty fuel also caused a huge spike in fuel costs because we needed to replace it.  Hopefully June’s expenses will be more in keeping with where we prefer them.

Here we go:

Days under way: 22

Overnight passages: 4 (Great Sale Cay to Jacksonville Beach, FL; Jacksonville Beach, FL to Cow House Creek, SC; Hampton, VA to Cape May, NJ; Cape May, NJ to Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

Nautical miles covered: 1,227

Number of countries: 2 (Bahamas, United States)

Number of States: 5 (Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey)

Nights underway: 6

Nights at a dock: 11 (2 in Jacksonville Beach, FL; 2 free nights in Oriental, NC; 3 nights in Belhaven, NC; 4 nights in Hampton, VA)

Nights at anchor: 14

Expenses:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $464.66

Diesel/Gasoline: $231.40

Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $16.45

Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $124.12

Mail: $100 (deposit for future costs to forward packages/mail)

Laundry: $13.00

Ice: $9.75

Amazon Prime: $1.99

Restaurants/Entertainment: $376.36

Uber: $9.36

New York Times subscription: $20.20

Marinas: $441.01

Clothing: $64.05

Life Insurance: $767.50 (annual premium)

Plane, train, and bus tickets: $1,084.29

Random: $167.50. (disposable gloves, box of rags, screen material for port in head, DVD’s, dock tips, flyswatter, spatula, ATM withdrawal fee, shower sprayer, funnel, small strainer)

Total: $3,891.64

September, 2018 through May 2019 monthly average: $3,807.85.

Time to slow down a bit.

We had made it from Great Sale Cay in the Abacos to north of Georgetown, SC in exactly one week – and that included a two night stop in Jacksonville Beach to get rid of our dirty fuel.  But now that we were back on the ICW with Oriental and Belhaven coming up, it was time to slow down a bit.

The days leading up to our arrival in Oriental were uneventful, save for one thunderstorm shortly after we left Cow House Creek.  We had the anchorage in Calabash Creek to ourselves that night which was quite a change from when we stopped there in the fall!

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A stunning sunset at Calabash Creek, NC.

The next day’s adventure came when we pulled up to a fuel dock at a marina in Southport, NC.  The wind had been light all day until our arrival.  I should have docked with the bow into the wind but I didn’t, and the wind steadily increased during the 20 minutes we were there.  By the time we were ready to leave, it was honking on our stern at 20 knots.  Hmm.  What to do? Continue reading “Time to slow down a bit.”

A tale of two passages – part two.

We had hoped to get off to an early start for our second passage, but the slip that Beach Marine had put us in was bit too shallow for our draft.  We were going to need to wait for the tide to float us off.  On the plus side, we knew this ahead of time so we were able to sleep in a bit. 

By 10:00 a.m. we were off, fighting the current up the ICW towards the St. John’s inlet.  It took us much longer to get into the ocean than we had hoped (making only 3.5 knots against the current will do that to you), but finally we were out and on our way.  Well, almost. 

Continue reading “A tale of two passages – part two.”

A tale of two passages – part one.

We spent several days waiting out a weather system at our hidey hole by Green Turtle Cay before moving to Great Sale Cay where we would leave for our crossing back to the U.S.  We have spent approximately one week in this Green Turtle anchorage during our time in the Bahamas, and we really do love it.  We have had it to ourselves every time except for one night, and the protection is superb.  Turtles and rays come by every day and we discovered some nice snorkeling on this last stop.  However, it was time to go so we sadly waved goodbye until next time.

Why hello there!
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A beautiful sunset.

After many discussions over the past few months, Jeff and I agreed that we were ready to try a multi-night passage.  Up to now we had only done two single overnights.  We had the awful one down the New Jersey coast, and we had a mostly wind-free 20 hours when we crossed from Lake Worth to Great Sale Cay in early February.  We had gained a lot of confidence while sailing in all kinds of conditions in the Bahamas, so it was time to push our comfort zone a bit more.

We set up custom weather routing with Chris Parker who is well-known among cruisers for his forecasting.  Although we wouldn’t have cell service off shore and we only have an SSB receiver, he would be able to send detailed forecasts through our inReach device.  When a good weather window opened up, it was time to go.

Our hope was to go from Great Sale Cay to Georgetown, SC or even Beaufort, NC if the stars aligned, but we agreed that we wouldn’t hesitate to bail out early if we wanted to.  That proved to be a very good plan. 

We left Great Sale on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and had good wind for sailing all day.  The wind angle was a bit different than forecasted so right away we weren’t going to be able to aim for one of Chris’ suggested waypoints, but we kept chugging along with Bob (our Monitor windvane) steering like a champ.  

Continue reading “A tale of two passages – part one.”

April by the numbers.

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Below are the numbers for April, including what we spent.

We have now spent three months in the Bahamas, and while it was still a good month our expenses did creep up thanks to our wanting to replenish some provisions (note to self: bring more snacks next time) and having to pay some taxes on April 15th.  Here we go:

Days under way: 12

Nautical miles covered: 261.63

Number of countries: 1 (Bahamas)

Nights at anchor: 30

Expenses:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $454.91

Diesel/Gasoline: $98.00 (15 gallons at $6.53/gallon on Great Guana Cay, the Abacos)

Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $4.29

Medical: $8.97 (prescriptions)

Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $202.63

Water: $20.00

Laundry: $6.00

Ice: $15.72

Boat US Towing annual membership fee: $151.00

Restaurants/Entertainment: $130.00

New York Times subscription: $20.20

Two nights anchored at the Exumas Land & Sea Park: $30.00

Hair cut: $30.00

Life Insurance: $220.75

10 pack of Chris Parker custom weather forecasts: $250.00

Random: $349.22. (Turbo tax plus state tax owed, conch horn, postcards, grocery bagger and fuel dock tips) 

Total: $1,991.69

September, 2018 through April, 2019 monthly average: $3,797.38.

Back to the beginning at Green Turtle Cay.

Spanish Wells in Eleuthera was a charming stop, and a place where we would like to spend more time next season.  It had an abundance of colorful, cute houses which reminded us of a larger version of Hopetown, and there was an amazing shallow beach that seemed to stretch out forever at low tide. Spanish Wells also had a large grocery store where we were able to stock up on more snacks.  Note to self: bring more snacks next time!

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Nice view!
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Their parking space around the corner was labeled “Parking for Crazy Frank and Margaret Rose.” 

Continue reading “Back to the beginning at Green Turtle Cay.”

“You don’t have a refrigerator?”

As we have met other cruisers on our travels, the one thing that raises eyebrows more than the size of Pegu Club is the fact that we don’t have a refrigerator.  “Really???” is the inevitable response, followed by a look in the person’s eyes that says, “Help me.  I’m talking to a crazy person.”  Well, we may be crazy, but it’s not because we don’t have a refrigerator.

I’ll admit that when we cut the dock lines last September if you had asked me what was the thing we would be most likely to change,  I would have immediately replied, “We’ll be adding a refrigerator.”  I thought we would find it was too difficult to cruise full time without one.  So why didn’t we have one before we left?

Continue reading ““You don’t have a refrigerator?””

Farewell to the Exumas as we begin to head north in earnest.

Any place after Pipe Cay was going to pale in comparison, but we still enjoyed our stop in the Exumas Land and Sea Park. We spent a night anchored at Warderick Wells before moving on to Shroud Cay.  Everyone we spoke to who offered suggestions for Exumas stops said that we MUST see Shroud Cay, so how could we skip it?

We spent two nights in a very lovely anchorage where we were able to snorkle a few coral reefs (we saw lots of fish) and we also took our dinghy up the mangrove creek to the ocean side which was a lot of fun.

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We didn’t have any fish-sighting success while snorkeling in the creek, but we did see a shark swimming in the shallows on the ocean side and a turtle in the creek as we slowly motored along. The Land and Sea Park has so many snorkeling spots that we didn’t get to see, but the pesky calendar won’t slow down.  We’ll definitely come back next season, but for now we needed to take advantage of good weather to cross back to Eleuthera and keep heading north. Continue reading “Farewell to the Exumas as we begin to head north in earnest.”

Pipe Creek. How is is possible that the Exumas keep getting prettier?

A short sail away from Staniel Cay was Pipe Creek, an absolutely stunning spot which is now my favorite place in the Exumas. As far as beauty goes, it is the prettiest place we’ve seen so far, and that’s saying something. 

Pipe Creek runs between Pipe Cay and Little Pipe Cay, and at low tide the vast majority of the water is gone, leaving sand flats everywhere.  The water ranged from dark blue to turquoise, electric blue to clear.  

We spent several days here, simply not wanting to leave.  We watched kiteboarders (who love the shallow spots), a seaplane landed in front of us, and every time the tide went out we took the dinghy and played in the water, floating in the shallow areas, drifting along, and walking around the sand flats.  

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let these pictures (which honestly don’t do it justice) do the talking:

Continue reading “Pipe Creek. How is is possible that the Exumas keep getting prettier?”

Staniel Cay

 

Our next stop after Black Point was Staniel Cay, an easy, lazy 11 nautical miles up the Exumas.  With one of the few places to get diesel and water in the area, Staniel Cay was the busiest place we had been since leaving Georgetown and it was initially a little jarring.  I can only imagine how much starker the contrast will be when we return to the United States at the end of the month!  Boats ranging from regular to mega yachts went in and out of the harbor, and the anchorage was busy with dinghies of all types and sizes zooming back and forth.

Despite all of the activity, we really enjoyed Staniel Cay.  The water was crystal clear and had the most beautiful shades of blue that we had seen so far.  The pictures really couldn’t capture it.

Continue reading “Staniel Cay”