March by the numbers.

Below are the numbers for March, including what we spent.  We were in the Bahamas for the entire month.

Yes!  Another low month!  We are loving the Bahamas and are budget is loving it too.  Here we go:

Days under way: 14

Nautical miles covered: 311.89

Number of countries: 1 (Bahamas)

Nights at anchor: 30

Nights on a mooring: 1

Expenses:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $175.53

Diesel/Gasoline: $64.00 (15 gallons in Rock Sound, Eleuthera)

Medical: $90.00 (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): $219.26.

Ice: $9.00

Restaurants/Entertainment: $118.00

New York Times subscription: $20.20

Mooring ball for one night: $25.00

Non-Owners Auto Insurance policy for six months: $74.80

Random: $22.88.  Trash disposal in Georgetown, one Kindle book, and plastic scrapers.   

Total: $818.64

September, 2018 through March 2019 monthly average: $4,055.33

Rudder Cut Cay and Little Farmers Cay.

As we head north we are trying to sail on the shallower Exuma Banks side as much as we can so we can enjoy the beautiful colors of the water.  To get from Leaf Cay to Rudder Cut Cay we were going to need to go around the Pimlico Cays which have low water depths of under 4′ (which is less than our draft).  Additionally, the chart indicated that the sand shifted so it was possible it could be shallower.

After asking about it on a Facebook group we belong to, we were encouraged by our friends on S/V Duchess who had been through the area a few weeks earlier with a draft 2″ deeper than ours.  High tide was in our favor so we decided to go for it, and we were glad we did.  It was a nice route, and once again it boosted our confidence a bit.

Dropping the anchor at Rudder Cut Cay, we found to our delight that we had it all to ourselves.  That hasn’t happened since we left the Abacos.  We were a bit surprised because Rudder Cut Cay offered good protection from a strong front that was going to be passing through, but no one joined us until the day we left.  Works for us!

Rudder Cut Cay is a private island owned by David Copperfield.  While we weren’t allowed to walk on the beach, we were still able to enjoy one of the prettiest anchorages that we have seen on this trip.

Continue reading “Rudder Cut Cay and Little Farmers Cay.”

Iguanas!

Our first stop after leaving Georgetown was Lee Stocking Island.  After motoring out of Georgetown harbor, we enjoyed a lovely downwind sail to Rat Cay Cut.  We motored through the cut (better safe than sorry), but then switched off the engine again and sailed the rest of the way to the anchorage.

As we ghosted between cays and over shallows, I marveled at how much more confidence we’ve gained over the past seven months (wow – can’t believe it’s been that long already!).  It’s a little thing, but I’ve wanted to sail into Block Island’s Great Salt Pond for awhile.  We sailed in once with Little Bristol, but we had the outboard on (in neutral) just in case.  After this sail, I looked at Jeff and said there is absolutely no reason why we can’t sail into the Pond this summer.  We had just sailed between unfamiliar rock islands that are narrower than Block Island’s entrance.  We’ve had the skills for awhile – we just lacked the confidence.  Now we KNOW we can do it.

On our way to Lee Stocking Island:

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Dropping the anchor at Lee Stocking Island, we were joined several hours later by our friends from S/V Lone Star and their guests.  Over the next few days we enjoyed nightly card games on Lone Star, floating on our noodles in the beautiful water, and exploring the abandoned facilities on the island.

Lee Stocking Island was the home of the Caribbean Marine Research Center which was one of six National Undersea Research Centers affiliated with NOAA.  The facility was one of the most productive marine laboratories in the world until it closed due to funding cuts in 2012.  All of the research buildings and residences remain, along with an airstrip, slowly being reclaimed by nature.  It was eerie walking around in what was essentially a tiny abandoned village.

Continue reading “Iguanas!”

Rock Sound and Georgetown

When we decided once and for all to go to the Exumas, we determined that our strategy would be to get to Georgetown quickly and then explore as we slowly worked our way north.  We are thinking that for our return visit this fall we will start in the Exumas, so we wanted to see if Georgetown would be a viable base for us in the winter months.  But before we could get to Georgetown, we needed to wait out some weather in Rock Sound, Eleuthera.

Rock Sound proved to be a nice place to spend several days.  The harbor was large with great protection and holding, perfect for riding out several days of winds in the mid-20’s.  Our friends Jay and Tanya from S/V Minx were also in the anchorage so we were able to hang out several times with them (we had last seen them in Vero Beach) which was a lot of fun.  There is a blue hole in the middle of the settlement that we checked out (our first one), and we joined a group of cruisers for lunch at Sammy’s which had good food for a VERY reasonable price.

I have been charmed by the homemade signs all over the Bahamas pointing the way to various attractions.

 

Continue reading “Rock Sound and Georgetown”

Turtles!

I had hoped on this trip that we would get to see a lot of sea turtles.  We had seen a few so far, but not as many as I had expected.  What happened our first morning in the Royal Island anchorage more than made up for it.

Hearing a motorboat pass us rather closely, I popped my head out of the cabin to find a guy on the bow of the motorboat holding a net and another guy steering.  When they came by again I asked them what they were up to. “Catching turtles!” the net guy replied.  “TAGGING turtles” came the quick correction from the driver.  We laughed about that being an important distinction, and the driver said they would come by when they were finished.

After about twenty minutes they puttered up to Pegu Club and tied off on our rear cleat.  It turned out that the boat was affiliated with the Bahamas Sea Turtle Network and the University of Florida.  The guys had two turtles and we were welcomed onboard to watch the tagging process!

Continue reading “Turtles!”

We’ve finally decided to head farther south.

We’ve had such a nice time in the Abacos that we repeatedly asked ourselves whether we wanted to stay for the remainder of our time here or move farther south to the Exumas.  On the one hand, we’ve covered a lot of miles over the past six months and it would be nice to stay in one area for a few months.  On the other hand, while Jeff continues to do well, we can’t just assume that we’ll be able to come back again in the fall, so perhaps we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Exumas.  If we went to the Exumas we could finally see our friends on S/V Lone Star, and deliver the chocolate, almond milk, and whey powder that we picked up for them in Lake Worth.  But if we stayed we would see them as they passed through the Abacos.

Back and forth, back and forth.  We literally would change our mind a few times a day.  Every time we decided to stay, we would think that maybe we should go.  When we decided to go, we thought it was lovely here so why don’t we stay?  Finally I decided to put our dilemma on the Facebook Bahamas Cruising group.  The responses were overwhelmingly in favor of going to the Exumas.  With the decision made, it was time to start making some tracks south.

Continue reading “We’ve finally decided to head farther south.”

Junkanoo!

After enjoying several lovely days in Hope Town, we backtracked to Marsh Harbor for the Junkanoo event.  According to the Bahamian government website, a Junkanoo is a Bahamian national festival with roots that can be traced to West Africa.  Participating teams spend months working on a theme, developing costumes, musical compositions, and choreography.  Judges roam throughout the groups, scoring them on a page-long list of categories.  The Marsh Harbor Junkanoo is on a much smaller scale than the annual event held in Nassau on Boxing Day, but we still very much wanted to see it.

The posters in town said that the Juniors event would be held at 6:00 on Friday, with the Adults the following night at 7:00.  So being typical Americans from the northeast, we showed up slightly before 6:00 on Friday evening.  This being the islands, the fencing was just going up when we arrived.  Looks like we were a little early!  

Continue reading “Junkanoo!”

February by the numbers.

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Below are the numbers for February, including what we spent.  We crossed to the Bahamas on February 3rd and have been there ever since.

Now that’s more like it!  Nothing like spending most of the month in uninhabited places to keep the cash outflow down!  March should be even better because we won’t have the extra grocery provisioning that we did before leaving Florida, and we also won’t have the check-in fee.  Here we go:

Days under way: 14

Nautical miles covered: 282.43

Number of states: 1 (Florida)

Number of countries: 1 (Bahamas)

Nights at anchor: 28 – our first month where we anchored every night.

Expenses:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $327.85

Diesel/Gasoline: $120 (we topped off in Lake Worth and also paid $5/gallon in Hope Town for 15 gallons)

Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, $10 in Skype credit, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $247.63.  This will go down next month because we had to pay $50 for the myislandwifi router.

Mail: $5.00

Water: $14.10 (approximately .35/gallon in Hope Town for R/O water)

Ice: $4.50

Restaurants/Entertainment: $90.00

Uber/Bus: $40.00

New York Times subscription: $20.20

Clothing: $32.00

DAN Boater Evacuation Insurance: $50

Check-in fee at the Bahamas: $160 (it’s actually $150 but I didn’t have the exact amount and the customs/immigration officer didn’t have change).

Random: $128.54.  This includes a haircut for Jeff, DVD’s, a book on the Abacos, and a swim noodle to replace the one that was lost.   

Total: $1,239.82

September, 2018 through February, 2019 monthly average: $4,594.78

Moving into the southern Abacos.

On Friday the weather had calmed down and we saw a good opportunity to go through the Whale on Saturday, so we said goodbye to our hidey hole for a welcome change of scenery.

The plan was to anchor at No Name Cay for the day and night, but as we approached I looked over and was entranced by the beach on the southern end of Green Turtle Cay near Gilliam Bay.  Jeff asked if I wanted to go there instead, but I said that we had already decided on No Name so we stayed the course.  I couldn’t stop looking over at the other beach though, which really did look much nicer, so we made a U turn and anchored by the prettier beach instead. 

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How could we pass this up?

We had the anchorage all to ourselves, and it was lovely.

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Continue reading “Moving into the southern Abacos.”

Our introduction to the Abacos.

After a good night’s sleep at Great Sale Cay, we shoved off again bright and early for Green Turtle Cay where we planned to check in with immigration and customs.  After getting our obligatory “rip roaring argument stemming from not putting the sails up in a long time so we’re rusty* (*Trademark)” fight out of the way, we had the sails raised and motorsailed the 57 nautical miles to Green Turtle.  It would have been nice to turn the engine off, but we wanted to have the anchor down before dark.  Now that we know how casual the check-in process is, next time we’ll sail as far as we can and simply arrive in Green Turtle on day three. Continue reading “Our introduction to the Abacos.”