SHEARWATER HEADS SOUTH
For The 4th Time
Tom and Kaye Assenmacher
1975 MK-II Yawl, #157

 Hit Counter Visits Since 10/28/2012

First Posted 10/28/2012

Page last modified: 07/25/16  

 

The following are excerpts from our periodic “SITREPS’ of our ‘Southbound Cruise” beginning on 10 October, 2012.  Our intention is to cruise the Abacos (northern Bahamas) again this winter, returning to Kinsale in the Spring of 2013.  

(Please note that there may be several yellow 'Push Pins' in some of 'Google Earth' photos.  For the past several cruises, we indicate our anchorage sites on Google Earth.  Several 'Push Pins' indicate that we've previously used that anchorage.)

 

SITREP 1 Dated 10/15/12

 

Got away from our dock in Kinsale on Wednesday morning (10/10/12) and had a relatively short day, sailing to Mill Creek on the Great Wicomico River, near Reedville, VA. 

 

Mill Creek on the Great Wicomico River, near Reedville, VA (Google Earth)

 


Mill Creek on the Great Wicomico River, near Reedville, VA (Polar View)

 

 

Thursday (10/11/12) had us underway from Mill Creek to Fishing Bay, near Deltaville, Va.

 

Fishing Bay, Near Deltaville, VA
  (Note-We’ve stayed here on several other southbound cruises.)

 

Fishing Bay, Near Deltaville, VA

 

Friday (10/12/12) was a longer day, a bit 'rolly' as we made our way to another Mill Creek, hear Hampton, VA (in the lee of Ft. Monroe, VA). 

 

Mill Creek, hear Hampton, VA

 

Mill Creek, hear Hampton, VA

 

 

Saturday (10/13/12), we made our way through the not too busy port of Norfolk, VA, and made the 1300 lock thru of the Deep Creek Lock on the north end of the Dismal Swamp.  We spent Saturday nite at the North Carolina Visitors Center, on the Dismal Swamp, as we couldn't make the 1530 lock through at the South Mills Lock, the southern end of the Dismal Swamp. 

 

North Carolina Visitors Center On The Dismal Swamp Route

 


North Carolina Visitors Center On The Dismal Swamp Route

 

 

 

We were rafted up at the NC Visitors Center, and got to meet a few new cruisers.  On Sunday 10/14/12)) we made the 0830 lock through at South Mills, and made our way down the Pasquatank River to Elizabeth City, NC arriving here at 1230.

 

Elizabeth City, NC

 

Elizabeth City, NC

 

 

Elizabeth City is a favorite stop for those transiting the Dismal Swamp, as the city provided free dockage at the waterfront park (first come-first served).  We'll stay here a couple of days as a cold front and thunderstorms are forecast for today and tonight (Monday), and as the Albemarle Sound and Alligator River can get really rough adverse wind conditions.  We plan to leave at dawn on Wednesday (10/17/12) 

 

We are traveling with Kinsale friends, Judy and Don Polifka, the owners of SUITE ENDEAVOUR, an Endeavour 38 center cockpit sailboat.  This is Judy and Don's first cruise 'south', and are great company.

 

All are fine, and all boat systems are working as advertised.  Our few days in Eliz. City give us a chance to rest up a bit, do some small boat projects, and enjoy the friendly folks in northern North Carolina.

 

SITREP 2  Dated 10/26/12

 

Our last update was from Elizabeth City, NC.  On Thursday, 17 October, we left Eliz. City, and headed down the Pasquatank River, across Albemarle Sound, down the Alligator River to Deep Point at the lower end of the Alligator River in NC, where we anchored for the night. 

 

Deep Point At The Lower End Of The Alligator River In NC

 

 

Deep Point At The Lower End Of The Alligator River In NC

 

 

Our next stop was at the Dowry Creek Marina, near Belhaven, NC one of our 'must stays' where we spend a couple of days doing laundry, shopping, and getting the 'boat chores' done!

 

Dowry Creek Marina Near Belhaven, NC

 

Dowry Creek Marina Near Belhaven, NC

 

 

Our next real stop (other than overnight stops to anchor in Adams Creek (near Oriental, NC);

Adams Creek Near Oriental, NC

 

 

Adams Creek Near Oriental, NC

 

 

Mile Hammock Bay (Dredged Basin Near Camp Lejeune Marine Base), Near Fayetteville, NC

 


Mile Hammock Bay

 

 

and Mile Hammock (dredged basin near Camp Lejeune Marine Base, was Wrightsville Beach, NC. 

 


Wrightsville Beach, NC

 

 


Wrightsville Beach, NC

 

Wrightsville Beach is on the Atlantic, near Wilmington, NC, and is another 'must stays' place offering a great anchorage, dinghy dock, and a good place to re-fuel, re-provision, and relax a bit.  We spent 2 days/3 nites at Wrightsville Beach. 

 

Leaving Wrightsville Beach on Wednesday, 24 October, we went to Calabash Creek, our first anchorage in South Carolina. 

 


Calabash Creek (SC) Near Calabash, NC

 


Calabash Creek (SC) Near Calabash, NC

 

A nice anchorage with room for several boats!  We left Calabash Creek yesterday morning, 25 October. 

 

Since we have been following Tropical Storm/Hurricane SANDY, we had made the decision several days before to see if Osprey Marina would have room for us (which they did).  So we decided to have a short day yesterday, and traveled from Calabash Creek to Osprey Marina, arriving here in the early afternoon yesterday, 25 October.

 


Osprey Marina Near Myrtle Beach, NC

 


Osprey Marina Near Myrtle Beach, NC

 

We'll stay here for several days till the storm passes.  We are in company with Kinsale friends Judy and Don who are on board their Endeavour 38 (SUITE ENDEAVOUR).  We are all fine, and all boat systems are "GO"!!  We'll be heading south again after the winds die down, etc., and work our way to Charleston, SC and points further south!

 

Yes, we are 'hunkered down' for "SANDY", at the Osprey Marina, a real 'hurricane hole' just off the Waccamaw River in South Carolina's 'Low Country'.  We had seen the storm forming for the past week, and called ahead several days ago, thinking it would be a good idea to stay here instead of anchoring out - although this is a fairly secure area to anchor out.  We arrived here yesterday afternoon.  The marina is nearly full, as there are a few cruisers here, like us, waiting for the storm to pass.  .  It's a 'first choice' by Active Captain, and VERY protected!

 

 Well, we survived Hurricane SANDY in fine shape!!  We could have actually left OSPREY Marina much earlier, but the Marina Rate was very good ($1.00/Ft for the first 3 days, then the rate dropped to $.25/Ft - that's correct, a 'quarter' a foot!!), so we stayed a few extra days.

 

We finally left OSPREY on Wednesday morning 31 October (2012) and headed for Minum Creek, SC, an anchorage in which we had stayed before.  

 

MINUM Creek, SC

 

MINUM Creek, SC

 

Minum Creek is 'out in the boonies', and not close to anywhere, but a good anchorage, and well protected, although it is located completely in 'Carolina's Low Country', meaning it's in the 'swamp'!

 

We departed Minum Creek at 0735 the following morning (11/1/2012) and made our way further 'south' down the ICW to Whiteside Creek, SC (another anchorage 'out in the swamp'!  We arrived at about 1600 after traveling about 47 miles (statute), which is a pretty good day's progress down the ICW in the Fall, as the days are constantly getting a bit shorter.  As we may have mentioned before, mileage on the ICW is measured in 'statute miles' vice 'nautical miles', therefore we travel at about 7 miles per hour.

 

Whiteside Creek, SC

 

Whiteside Creek, SC

 

Again, Whiteside Creek is 'out in the marshes', and not near any major population centers.  A nice place to spend the night at anchor.  And the weather has been great (so far)!

 

Then....on Friday, 2 November, we were 'off again' at about 0800 from Whiteside Creek to Steamboat Creek (again in South Carolina), another great anchorage, 'in the middle of now-where', where we arrived at about 1600 - we made good another 47 statute miles toward our ultimate destination.

 


Steamboat Creek, SC

 


Steamboat Creek, SC

 

We settled in for a comfortable evening, in company with Kinsale friends, Don and Judy Polifka (SUITE ENDEAVOUR).  Since the tides in a lot of areas in South Carolina are about 6', we get a major current reversal about every 6 hours, with the boat riding with the current at all times other than at 'slack tide'.  At times, the wind will be blowing from the stern of the boat which makes for some 'unusual' anchoring conditions.  Fortunately, the 'holding' is quite good in most of these anchorages.

 


SUITE ENDEAVOUR At Ancher In Steamboat Creek

 


The Sun Finally Sets On Steamboat Creek

 

On Saturday, 3 November, we weigh anchor again at about 0815 and make our way out of Steamboat Creek, and rejoin the ICW at the entrance to the Dawho River at Mile Marker 497.  There are quite a few areas on the Dawho River which have 'skinny water' - and one with a deep draft boat (SHEARWATER draws about 6') should not attempt transiting these areas without mid-tide rising.  One must always be knowledgeable of the stage of the tide, and even more-so in areas of shoaling.  We DID transit this area at mid-tide rising, and had no problems.  Our destination today is the beautiful city of Beaufort, SC, one of our favorite 'stops'.  We normally stay a few days in Beaufort, SC (pronounced 'BUFURT' - as opposed to Beaufort, NC - pronounced 'BOFURT') regardless of the weather.  We've stayed at the "Lady Island Marina' which is above the swing bridge and at the Beaufort Municipal Marina, which is slightly below the swing bridge.  Both facilites are quite nice, and the folks at both marinas are most friendly (which is typical in this part of the country)!  Beaufort is also near the Parris Island Marine Corps Station.

 


Beaufort, SC

 


Beaufort, SC

SUITE ENDEAVOUR At Beaufort, SC (Right Behind SHEARWATER)

 


Kaye Reading The Sunday New York Times Aboard SHEARWATER In Beaufort, SC

 

We arrived in Beaufort, SC at about 1400 on Saturday, and take a berth at the Beaufort Municipal Marina.  There are quite a few cruising boat arriving this afternoon.  Due to hurricane SANDY, there appear to be more boats finally leaving the more affected areas and are now heading 'south'. 

 

Late Sunday afternoon (11/4/12) we experienced a fairly short-lived thunderstorm that traversed the Beaufort area.

 


Thunderstorm Passes By Beaufort At Sunset!

 

 

Here are a few photos of the Historic Section of Beaufort, SC - a VERY PLEASANT SOUTHERN SMALL CITY!

 

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Click On Thumbnails To View Larger Photo

 

 

 

 We decided that  we'll stay here a few days to wait out some rainy (but not too stormy) weather, and plan to leave Beaufort on Wednesday, 7 November, 2012.

 

 

We finally got away from Beaufort on Wednesday, 7 November, after spending 4 delightful days in one of our favorite stops along the ICW.  We proceeded to the Herb River, near Thunderbolt, GA (near Savannah, GA) arriving in mid-afternoon Wednesday afternoon, having made 49 miles.  The Herb River is just off the ICW, and is another favorite anchorage which has some protection from winds, but has a strong current (about 2 kts)!

 

Herb River Near Thunderbolt, GA

 

Herb River Near Thunderbolt, GA

 

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More Photos Of The Herb River

 

We departed the Herb River at 0830 on Thursday, 8 November, bound for another 'remote' anchorage in the Wahoo River, GA (ICW Mile Marker 630) - a run of about 48 miles. The infamous "Hells Gate" passage was traversed at mid-tide rising with no difficulty.   The Wahoo River is NOT NEAR any town or city, and is in a large area of marshland.  However, these rivers are quite deep and make excellent anchorages.

 


Wahoo River

 

Wahoo River

 

 

 

 Sunsets On The Wahoo River

 

We left the Wahoo River anchorage at 10:10 AM on Friday,  9 November,  for a run to Wally's Leg, another 'remote' anchorage.  We left in mid-morning because we wanted to traverse the "Little Mud River" at mid-tide rising, as the Mud River has some 'skinny' spots!  We made the Little Mud River passage (only a couple of miles long) in fine shape, and arrived in Wally's Leg at 15:40 in the afternoon, making good 38 miles today.

 


Wally's Leg Anchorage

 

 

Wally's Leg Anchorage

 

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More Wally's Leg Photos

 

 

Getting underway from  the Wally's Leg anchorage at 11:00 on Saturday, 10 November, we then proceeded to Shelbine Creek (ICW Mile Marker 697), our first anchorage in Florida!  But first, we had to traverse the several miles of Jekyll Creek (near Jekyll Island, GA - also near Brunswick, GA) at mid-tide rising.   Again, proper planning allowed us to make this 'skinny water' with no problems, although we did find a few areas on the creek which were  shallower than charted.  We had an uneventful crossing of  Jekyll Sound and St. Andrew's Sound, we entered Florida, and proceeded to the Shelbine Creek anchorage, arriving there at about 15:40 on Saturday, 10 November.

 

Shelbine Creek, FL

 

Shelbine Creek, FL

 

We left Shelbine Creek the next morning, 11 November, and proceeded to Alligator Creek, FL (ICW MM 725), just south of Fernandina Beach, FL.  Just south of Fernandina Beach, on the Amelia River, there is a 'shoal area' and we 'bumped the bottom' a couple of times, but did not actually run aground.  We were traversing this area at low tide (rising), but probably should have waited till mid tide (rising). This was a short day, making only 29 miles.

 

Alligator Creek, FL

 

Alligator Creek, FL

Enroute to Alligator Creek (we didn't see any alligators, however!), we were required to pass the 'twin bridges' area (one railway bridge and within a hundred yards or so, a high railway bridge), and normally, the railway (swing) bridge is open, unless a train requires passage.  In all the times we have traversed this area (and other places with a railway bridge), this is the first time we were held up awaiting the passage of a train.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes, till the train passed and the bridge was re-opened.  As you can see from the photo below, there was a very strong current against us as we passed southbound through this bridge area.  There was about a 2.5 KT current

 


Kingsley Creek Railway Bridge 
(Note the turbulence caused by the current.)

 

Anyway, we made it to the Alligator Creek anchorage in mid-afternoon.

 

The next morning, Monday, 12 November, we left Alligator Creek, we proceeded to Pine Island, FL (ICW MM 765), another remote anchorage, about 15 miles north of St. Augustine, FL, arriving at about 13:30.  Pine Island is a good and popular anchorage.  Although we were the first boat to arrive on Monday PM, by sunset there were a total of 8 boats anchored here (all 'southbound cruisers).  We spent an uneventful night at Pine Island.

 


Pine Island, FL

 

 


Pine Island, FL

 

 

Pine Island, FL

 

On Tuesday, 13 November, we weighed anchor at 07:30, and proceeded to St. Augustine, FL (ICW MM 780).  We arrived at one of our favorite marinas (River's Edge Marina), on the San Sebastion River.  River's Edge is a great and funky marina, with a good but 'funky' restaurant (Hurricane Patty's) on the marina's grounds.  The folks at both the marina and the restaurant are most helpful and friendly, the marina rates are very good, and the food at the restaurant is great and not too pricey (good local seafood!).

 

Rivers Edge Marina
(St. Augustine, FL)

 

Rivers Edge Marina
(St. Augustine, FL)

 

We had planned on departing River's Edge Marina on Wednesday, 14 November for Daytona Beach, FL, but the weather didn't cooperate (rain and squally wind conditions) so we spent a lay day at the Marina, allowing us to do some boat chores, go to 'Sailor's Exchange', a marine 'consignment shop' which is a 'must see' for any boater.  They have thousands of new and used marine items for sale.

 

We plan to leave on Thursday, 15 November for further points south, weather permitting.

 

 

Well..... We didn't get away from St. Augustine until Friday, 16 November at about 0715, when we proceeded to Daytona Beach, FL, arriving at 15:00, and making good 54 miles today, a pretty good day's run considering the 'short' days.  We spent the night at the Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona, just off the ICW at MM 831. 

 


Halifax Harbor Marina, Daytona Beach, FL

 

Halifax Harbor Marina, Daytona Beach, FL

 

We left Halifax Harbor (Daytona) at 08:45 on Saturday morning, 17 November, and headed south to Titusville, FL (MM 878) a distance of about 47 miles.  The North winds started to pick up, but as it was on our 'back', the following seas weren't bad.  Arriving at Titusville at about 15:30, we took a mooring just outside of the Titusville Municipal Marina as we have done in previous southbound cruises.  The moorings are very secure, but the mooring field is open to all wind directions except from the west.

 


Titusville Mooring Field (Titusville Municipal Marina in Foreground)

We spent a 'lumpy' night on the mooring, as the Northerly wind picked up at about midnight.  On Sunday morning, 18 November, we decided to move into the Titusville Municipal Marina which is fairly well sheltered from Northerly winds.  By 10:00 we were in a sheltered slip, and just in time, as the winds rapidly rose to gale force with gusts of 35+ kts.  

 


Titusville Municipal Marina

 

Since the Northerly winds have persisted for days, some approaching gale force, we've decided to stay here through Thanksgiving, and plan to leave for Melbourne on Friday, 23 November, and to check in at Vero Beach on Saturday, 24 November.  Our friends from Kinsale will be staying in Titusville for the near future where they have relatives.

 


SHEARWATER In Her Slip At Titusville

 


White Ibis In Park Adjacent To The Titusville Marina

 

We are taking advantage of our 'lay days' in Titusville by doing miscellaneous 'Preventive Maintenance - PM' tasks on SHEARWATER; doing a lot of walking about the area; talking with other cruisers, etc.  There are worse places to be 'stuck', and we enjoy the area, but will be ready to move on later this week.

 

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all.  

 

Thanks to our 'buddy boat' crew (Don and Judy Polifka) from Kinsale, we had a great Thanksgiving Day celebration and dinner at Don's sister Mary's home which is in Titusville.  We were made to feel right at home with Don's extended family which had gathered in Titusville for the holiday.  We had originally planned to partake of the 'pot luck' Thanksgiving dinner which is an annual affair at the Vero Beach City Marina, but the weather gods didn't cooperate, with about a week of near gale force winds from the north, the week before Thanksgiving.....Don and Judy will be staying in Titusville until after the Christmas Holidays - they will be doing some air travel to visit family during the Christmas holiday season.    Our best to Judy and Don!

 

We finally left the Titusville Municipal Marina on Friday, 23 November at about 08:00.  We had a nice short run of about 36 miles to another of our favorite anchorages (Dragon Point/Eau Gallie) near Melbourne, FL at ICW MM 914.  There were several boats anchored there, but there was plenty of room for SHEARWATER and crew.  Although the wind was still from the north, it had abated quite a bit, and was a comfortable ride.

 


Dragon Point Anchorage

 

 

Dragon Point Anchorage

 

 

After a peaceful night at anchor, we departed Dragon Point at 07:40 on Saturday, 24 November, and headed further south to Vero Beach, FL at ICW MM 952.  Again, the weather was very nice, with light northerly breezes, and temperature in the mid-'70s.  The temps had been the low 60s for a week or more, with temps at night in the upper 40s and low 50s.  We arrived at the Vero Beach City Marina at 13:30 and promptly were assigned a mooring in the mooring field of the marina.

 


Vero Beach City Marina Mooring Field

 

Vero Beach City Marina Mooring Field

The mooring field at the Vero Beach City Marina is a very popular stop-over for 'southbound cruisers'.  SHEARWATER has used this facility both going south and heading north on each trip to/from the Bahamas.  Many cruisers use Vero Beach as a provisioning stop/rest stop, etc. before 'jumping off' to the Bahamas.  We plan to be here at least a couple of weeks, taking care of boat chores (oil change, laundry, provisioning, etc.) and begin looking for a 'weather window' to cross to the Abacos before Christmas.

 

We are both very happy to be in Vero, in spite of some weather enroute from Kinsale (Hurricane Sandy; windy and cold weather; etc.).  

 

On Saturday, 1 December, Vero held their annual Christmas Parade.  Although we have been in Vero during this time period on earlier 'trips south', this was the first Christmas Parade that we had attended here.  It began at 17:30 and lasted a bit over an hour.  It was held on the 'main street' which is the street one block from Vero's seashore.  The parade was pretty neat, with lots of kids, floats, high school bands, fire trucks, etc. etc.  The sidewalks were packed with people and families from the local area.

 


Vero Beach Christmas Parade

 

Since SHEARWATER doesn't have a generator aboard, we've elected to use Solar Panels as our source of generating electric power for the ship's electric and electronic components when we are not 'motoring'.  The solar panels are mounted on top of the cockpit dodger and the bimini.  We have a total of 280 Watts of solar panels, and if the sun shines we have more than enough power to power our DC refrigerator, laptop computers, radios, lights, etc., as our electrical requirements are relatively modest.  In the nearly 2 weeks that we have been on a mooring in Vero Beach, we've had to only run our engine about 1 hour in order to replenish our 450 AH battery bank (it has been mostly cloudy for the past 3 days).

 

 

The Following Photos Are Of The Vero Beach Municipal Marina Mooring Field

SHEARWATER's Solar Panels At Work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Unfortunately, the western Atlantic weather forecasts have not met our criteria for crossing over to the Abacos.  It looks like we may have a favorable 'weather window' sometime next week!

 

We are all fine, and SHEARWATER is still 'behaving herself'!  We get off the boat several times a day to go walking to the beach, visit with other cruisers, do laundry, and other 'boat chores'.  Yesterday (Wednesday, 5 December), we took the local city bus (great and free bus service ) to the Indian River Mall to see a movie (the first 'theater movie' we've seen in years).  We saw "Lincoln', which is a great and timely movie - one of the best movies that we've ever seen!  Don't miss it!

 

This update was posted on 6 December, 2012

 

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

 

Greetings from Sunny Vero Beach, FL (again).  Since our last update several weeks ago, not much has happened, other than a few short (but not long enough to our liking) crossing windows to the Abacos.  SOOOO, here we are still in Vero Beach .  We've decided to spend Christmas here, and are looking for a good crossing window later this week! Unfortunately, we are getting a cold front coming through about every 3 days or so, with northerly winds clocking around to the east, then south (which is what we need, but of short duration) before another cold front marches through.  We could get across to the Little Bahama Bank and to Great Sale Cay OK, but we still need 2 days of good weather to make the short daylight sails to Green Turtle Cay, Abaco where we check into customs and have a secure anchorage. There are 3 or 4 other boats (friends of ours from previous trips south) from Annapolis who are awaiting with us.

 

We spent Christmas Day talking with relatives and friends via cell phone,  and we had Christmas Dinner at 'MULLIGANS', a beachfront restaurant.  There were 10 of us in the group, all cruisers, and most whom we've known for years (and all heading 'south' to the Abacos).

 


'The Group' at Mulligan's For Christmas Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

Kaye's Selection For Dinner (Sesame Crusted Grilled Tuna)

 

TJ's Dinner Selection (Fish 'n Chips)

 

 

Who ARE These Folks??

 

The 'Crew' Of SHEARWATER

 

That being said, we are both OK, and happy to be in the sunny and (relatively) warm weather.  We did have a REAL cold front pass through here several days ago where the temp got down to the low 40's(F) for a couple of nights, and that's COLD! Fortunately, our Dickenson ' CHESAPEAKE ' kero/diesel really keeps the chill off in the early morning (provided TJ gets up at about 6AM to light the heater)!

 

Our typical daily routine while in Vero has been: 

- Have a bit of breakfast at about 0730.

- Get the solar panels oriented to the rising sun so we make up the DC power we used the day before;

- Clean up the boat a bit (inside and out) 

- Lower the dinghy into the water so we can go ashore (for you non-cruisers, the dinghy is the sole means of transport to/from the boat (mooring in this case) to shore - it's also the 'pickup-truck', fuel truck, water truck, and grocery delivery truck!

- Walk to the beach and back before lunch - about a 3 mile round trip - come back to the boat for lunch; or catch the free bus to the shopping center.

- After lunch we read; or go to the local park for a walk; or do laundry at the marina; or stay on the boat and read - we read a lot - and check the weather (via internet), catch up on our email, etc.

- At 5PM we have 'happy hour' either on our boat or on friends' boat, then home for 'dinner'. 

- Since we just turned into WINTER with the winter solstice, sunset is at about 5:45PM , so TJ does the traditional  "Conch Horn' blowing of the 'sunset salute' (we have a large conch shell from previous trips which he blows at sunset).  He normally gets a return call from someone in the mooring field who does the same 'conch horn blowing'.

- By 8PM , it's REALLY dark, and as we are 'pretty pooped out' from this schedule, we turn in for the night.

 

We are both well, and the weather has been actually great (other than the wind direction and speed - and the sea state in the crossing area).  We get just enough rain to keep the boat washed off.  We both, however, are suffering from mild cases of 'rock fever' (we'd rather be underway to the Abacos) - but our experience over the years has been to enjoy Vero (and any other place we are 'stuck') and take one day at a time.  We'll get there sooner or later.

 

This update was posted on 26 December, 2012

 

Well, we finally 'broke the bonds of Velcro Beach (AKA Vero Beach , FL )'!  We left Vero on New Year's Eve day ( 12/31/12 ), and made our way down the ICW to Peck Lake where we spent the night with a lot of local boats, who had come out for fireworks on New years Eve.  Left Peck Lake and made our way down to Lake Worth ( West Palm Beach , FL ) which is just adjacent to the Lake Worth Inlet.  Spent the night in company with friends from Kinsale (Kip and Linda Newbould aboard MISCHIEF, their Alberg 37 yawl) and a few other boats looking for good crossing weather.  Our Annapolis friends aboard ISA LEI; CANTIBLE; and HORIZON; all left Vero at the same time as we did, but spent last night at North Lake Worth, vice Lake Worth near the LW Inlet.

 

The weather is calling for very light winds, relatively calm sea states, and no storms for the next 4 days or so, so we left Lake Worth at about 0645 this morning (Wednesday 2 January, 2013), and are making our way across the Straits of Florida (the western part of the Atlantic between the east coast of FL and the Northeastern Bahamas, known as the Abacos.  As we write this (about noon local), we are about half way across (about 60 NM), and there is NO Wind, about a 1' swell, and NO SAILING!  It's a bit 'rolly' as there isn't enough wind to fill the sails, but it's 'not bad'!  We expect to be on the Bahama Banks (shallow water - about 20') before sunset.  We are about in the middle of the Gulf Stream , and the water is an 'inky blue'.  As the gulf stream runs in a northerly direction at about 2.5 - 3 Kts,, and we are heading a bit north of east, we are getting a bit of boost in speed over the ground (we are averaging about 6.3 kts).

 

At about 11:30 PM, in the vicinity of Great Sale Cay, and in calm waters, we anchored for the rest of the night.

 

 

We anchored here for the night near Great Sale Cay on1/2/2013

 

We departed the above location at 0645 AM on Thursday 3 January, 2013 and proceeded to Nunjack (AKA Manjack) Cay, which is about 3 NM from our next destination, Green Turtle Cay, where we check into Bahamian Customs and Immigration. The reason we stop at Nunjack Cay, is due to the fact that the entrance to Black Sound (or White Sound for that matter), is quite restricted for deep draft vessels (we draw about 6') at Green Turtle, and we need to enter these sounds at just about 'high tide' which on the day of arrival is at about noon. We had an uneventful motor/sail to Nunjack where we anchored at about 4:30 PM .

 

 

Nunjack Cay

 

We departed Nunjack at about 10:30 AM and arrived in Black Sound, at about 11:30 AM on Friday. We picked up a mooring there, launched the dinghy, and took the dinghy to the public dock in New Plymouth, which is the settlement on Green Turtle.

 

 

Welcome to New Plymouth!

 

New Plymouth in the background.

 

Check-in was very easy and only took about 20 minutes.  The customs officer, is now a young lady who was most helpful, and even assisted us in filling out the few forms required.  We received a cruising permit for 1 year (but only 90 days at a time - renewable at no cost, but requires appearing in person at customs locations).  

TJ hoisting the Bahamian Courtesy Flag

 

 

Following check-in we went to lunch at one of our favorite places, the Plymouth Rock Cafe, which has become a tradition for us after checking in with customs - they have the best 'conch burger' in the Bahamas.

Go here for the best 'Conch Burgers'!

 

Green Turtle is one of our favorite places in the Abacos, with beautiful beaches, very nice people, protected anchorages - a very nice area to enter the Bahamas.

 

 

 

 

 

TWO SHORTY'S is another good place for 'takeouts'

 

Gilliam Beach on Green Turtle Cay

 

The village of New Plymouth and the rest of the island survived HURRICANE SANDY quite well, having had the eye of the hurricane pass directly overhead.  They had some very high winds here in excess of 120 kts.  But as most areas in the Bahamas , the locals know how to build hurricane resistant houses, and damage was minimal considering the forces at play.  They did have extremely high storm surges (high tides), and some of the lower lying houses had some water damage, but being quite resourceful folks, they take this in stride - as the saying goes 'It's de Bahamas, mon'....

 

Things are quite slow here, and there are not many cruising boats here - the fewest that we've seen in the 6 trips down (4 by boat, and 2 by aircraft).  There are still a few moorings available in Black Sound, and very few boats anchored (or on the few moorings) in White Sound.  There were only 2 boats at the Green Turtle Club (a marina in White Sound).  Of course, things will pick up (hopefully) in the spring when all the Sports Fish boats (big power boats) come over from FL with the 'big bucks'.

 

The photos of us and others are about representative of cruisers in this area (all are 'Senior Citizens').  There are very few 'young couples with children'!

 

Anyway, we are both fine, and having a nice time in Green Turtle.  We'll probably move down to Man O' War Cay (about 35 miles south) over the weekend or when the winds allow us to make a reasonably comfortable passage around 'The Whale'.

 

Posted January 8, 2013

 

We left Green Turtle Cay (Black Sound) at about 07:50 on the rising tide, and proceeded south around 'The Whale' to Guana Cay, arriving in Fishers Bay at about 11:00.  The Whale Passage was a bit 'Rolly' but not too uncomfortable.

 


Whale Cay Passage

 

 

Once we arrived in Fishers Bay, we picked up a mooring for the night from "Troy" of Dive Guana.

 

 

Fishers Bay, Guana Cay, Abacos

 

After securing the boat, we dinghy'd ashore to the Settlement on Guana Cay, one of our favorite stopovers in the Abacos.  We walked up to 'Nippers', a great waterfront restaurant and had lunch (and a Kalik). 

 


Guana Beach Scene From 'NIPPERS'

 

"Nippers" On Guana Cay

 

The 'Obligatory' Kalik!

 


SHEARWATER In Fishers Bay, Guana Cay

 

 

 

We left Fishers Bay the next morning (1/14/2013) at 0735 in order to arrive at the Man O' War harbour entrance at mid-tide rising at about 09:30 as it's only about an 8 mile sail from Guana to Man O' War.  We arrived safe and sound in Eastern Harbour, Man O War Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.  We are very happy to be at our 'ultimate' destination.  Our mooring was ready and awaiting our arrival (thanks to Darren Sands ) and we were met by friends Lou and Jean (Wayne) who are on a mooring near us aboard their trawler BOTH SIDES NOW, who assisted us in securing our mooring.

 


SHEARWATER On A Mooring In Eastern Harbour, Man O' War Cay

 


Laundry Day Aboard SHEARWATER! 
Eastern Harbour, Man O' War

It's been a long trek south, but the boat has performed remarkably well, the crew are still talking to each other, and we are very happy to be settling in for several months.

 

We will have good wifi while we are here, so you can contact us via any of our email addresses, as they all work well.  We'll be using Skype also for telephone calls.

Posted 1/17/2013

 

 

Hello from beautiful downtown Hopetown!  Since the last posting, we've been 'busy' in Man O' War by going to the beach, spending time with other cruisers in Eastern Harbour, and primarily just 'hanging out' on Man O' War.  The weather had been good, but a bit breezy, so we've been keeping 'close to home'.

 

However, we have a relatively calm 'weather window, so yesterday (Monday, 4 February, 2013, Kaye and I decided to sail over to Hopetown over on Elbow Cay, only about 5 nm away.  Since the both the entrance to Eastern Harbour (on Man O' War Cay) and the entrance to Hopetown Harbour have only about 5' depth at low tide (we draw about 6') we have to wait till about high tide to safely enter both locations.  We left Man O' War about an hour before high tide, which gave us plenty of water to clear the channel, and as it was only about an hour sail to Hopetown, we made the entrance there in fine shape.  The last time we had SHEARWATER in Hopetown was in February, 2010.

 


Hopetown Harbour

 

Hopetown Harbour

 

Hopetown is located on the northern end of Elbow Cay, and was settled by English Loyalists following the American Revolutionary War.  Hopetown is also the site of one of the few operating lighthouses in the Bahamas, and has continuously been in operation since 1883.

 

The Hopetown 'Candy Stripe' Lighthouse
(With passing freight boat in the background.)

The lighthouse is lighted by the original pressurized kerosene mantle lamp and hand wound clockwork mechanism which rotates the lenses.  The lighthouse keeper has to ascend the many steps leading to the top of the light in order to 'wind' the clockwork mechanism weights several times a night.

 

Hopetown is a favorite spot for many Abaco cruisers, offering a very protected harbour (moorings only), several very nice marinas, good local restuarants serving great Bahamian (and other) food and drink.  We try to spend a week or so aboard SHEARWATER when we are in the area.

 

SHEARWATER On Her Mooring In Hopetown Harbour

 

'Hopetown Ferry' Approaching Hopetown From Marsh Harbour (Eagle Rock In Right Background)
(Excuse TJ's foot in the lower right of the photo!)

 

Sunset In Hopetown

We are both fine, and no problems (knock on wood!) with SHEARWATER!  We'll be returning to Man O' War probably over the weekend, with perhaps a stopover in Marsh Harbour (about 8 miles from Hopetown) for some shopping, propane, etc.

 

Posted 2-5-2013