1 Year Anniversary 🎉🌴⛵💞…

It has been 1 year ago today that we left Kemah, Tx via Galveston Bay and began this new journey to see part of the world from our sailboat! Over the past week we celebrated a few anniversaries: donating or selling the remainder of our possessions (that wouldn’t fit on the boat), quitting our jobs, hugging and saying goodbye to very dear friends and our beautiful family with no immediate plans to return and visit. In this past year we have learned so much, from reading the weather and water to learning how to fix or replace parts on the boat, to catching and cleaning fish and lobster to riding out some horrendous storms and throughout all of that meeting some incredible new friends and learning so much about the beautiful Bahamas, the people and their amazing culture!

Rum Cay – local school program “precious & delicious”

It’s surreal to think about the leap we took, the decision to stray completely from the “norm” or expected. We feel honored and completely blessed to find ourselves in a very small minority of those who have also made this choice for their lives as well. On a rare occasion we think about what our lives would be like had we continued working and living in Wylie, Tx and there is zero regret on both our sides to have made this choice. We have met so many people who have chosen a part time version of this life where they work for half the year or for a few months and then cruise for a few months, many who will cruise outside of hurricane season and then go back home during hurricane season and those who work while they cruise. There really is a huge mix of cruisers but each have this freedom and peace to them that they so willingly share with everyone they meet!

Clarencetown – Long Island (John, Medi & lil Johnny)

We have met so many people from different countries which has been so much fun learning from their travels as well about their culture. We’ve been shocked by how many people are from Texas too! Obviously we meet many Floridians and from states along the east coast but the majority seem to be Canadians, South Africans and Europeans. We even have met new friends from Alaska Hungary, Switzerland & France.  I’m sure I’m forgetting some but hope you get an idea 😊 It does seem they figured this freedom thing out a very long time ago. Americans seems to have such different priorities.

Special friends in the Abacos

We are still having the time of our lives! I mean you can never walk or see too many beaches. It’s been an education in itself visiting some of the most beautiful beaches, learning about the history and development. Beach combing and seeing what washes up on a beach is both exciting and heartbreaking at times but it also seems cruisers along with the people that live on some of those islands are doing what they can to clean up some of the mess we humans continue to make. We know it will be a never ending project but we like to believe every little bit helps. The changing colors of the water is also a favorite, we go from many shades of turquoise to deep sapphires in a matter of minutes, the water color is a tale tale sign of water depth and bottom type to communicate the sand, grass, rock or coral so it’s not only lovely to look at it’s also a well known gift to keep us safe.

Conception Island beach

Bahamas lovely water colors

The sunrises and sunsets will never grow old, they truly are like snowflakes, there is no one alike! The beauty of colors and vastness of each is absolutely gorgeous. Knowing that there is a new one every morning and every evening is incredible in itself. The off chance the weather keeps us from seeing every single one is a gentle reminder of the power of Mother Nature. God has a way of keeping us grounded and reminds us who is ultimately in control.

Bahamas sunsets and beautiful skies

There have definitely been times where we get on each other’s nerves and we don’t agree on direction or decisions but that’s no different than being on land right. The biggest difference is you just can’t get in the car and go for a drive, you find a place on the boat and let the issue roll overboard with the waves. Living on a 35 ft sailboat offers approximately 200 – 300 square feet of living space and we find it to be perfect for us and the dogs. We spend most of our time in the cockpit enjoying the scenery unless it’s raining hard. Our days begin with coffee and tea along with reviewing the weather and discussion about our next hop, taking the dogs ashore if weather permits, a fairly light breakfast, working on boat projects, which sometimes are few and other times are too many to complete in a day. We may have a snack or a full lunch and then go ashore to walk around or grocery shop if needed, this is how we usually meet new people, we may take the dogs out a second time if it’s not too late and then come back and start planning dinner. More weather and travel discussions, dinner and then sun downers before bed. It’s a fairly simple life with the occasional storm that keeps us up all night on anchor watch. Those nights are not fun, you couldn’t sleep if your life depended on it with all the boat jerking and rocking, cracking and creaking going on. Thank goodness those nights are few and far between.

This past year has been an experience to say the least, we initially intended to hightail it to Grenada before hurricane season last year when we left, however God had other plans and we couldn’t be happier that we’ve slowed down and just took the scenic route through the Bahamas. We sat through our first hurricane “Matthew” with several others and established some amazing relationships with both boaters (Bob & Rhonda; John, Kristi & Chelsea 🐶, Ed, as well as Mimi & Mandy 🐶) and so many locals (all of Treasure Cay Community Church, too many to name and all of the locals around the marina) We visited so many of the islands in the Abacos and will always have a special place in our hearts for that time in our life. We were fortunate to have met so many boaters when we crossed from Abacos to Eleuthera and then crossed with many of the same over to the Exumas. It’s been more of an ongoing party getting to know these friends and spending time on each other’s boats and we pray we will run into many of them in the future. If by chance we don’t we know we will all share these memories forever and have the pictures to carry us back whenever we need those fun memories.

Some favorite people from Treasure Cay – missing so many more!

We left Georgetown early March and we’ve visited Conception Island, Rum Cay, Long Island and now we sit on anchor on Crooked Island waiting for yet another weather window. The winds have been in the mid 20s with gusts in the low 30s (we nearly lost our dingy yesterday 😖, washed right off the beach). Another wonderful cruiser (Seabird) came to the rescue and towed it back to us, talk about a close call, the wind swept it out to far and even though Jeff tried to swim after it it was moving way to fast. Yet another important lesson learned, always always always tie down the dinghy!

Georgetown- friends & regatta fun

Our intention is when we leave Crooked we will head over to Atwood Harbor on Acklins Island about 30 miles away. All this to say we are still island hopping and seeing as much as possible before leaving the last island of the Bahamas, Mayaguana and making our way to Turks and Caicos. We’re not sure how long we’ll be in Turks but ultimately we intend to spend hurricane season in Dominican Republic. We will eventually get south to Grenada but we are taking our time so that we don’t miss out on anything.

A few details on the financial side of this incredible journey: this past year we have spent $26k to live on the boat and see and do all we have been posting over the past 100+ posts. This includes everything we need to spend out of our savings; from groceries, beer & wine, dining out, marina fees, fuel, boat parts, insurance both boat and life insurance, to Internet access, to the travel to extend our Bahamas immigration. There is nothing that has been excluded. We may have been able to do this on a little less but some of the expenses were unexpected, like loosing our anchor and some marina fees we chose primarily for comfort. But as said earlier, zero regrets! We are truly blessed to be able to live out this dream and do it on such an affordable budget, and yes we live on a budget. We are very conscious of cooking our meals rather than eating out and buying beer and wine rather than buying them at the bars, however we don’t feel we are missing anything. We go out with friends when we choose and we carry our own drinks whenever possible which is mostly everywhere. If your curious about details we have nothing to hide so feel free to ask. Jeff is still a financial wiz and can break it down to every red cent 😊

Thank you to everyone for taking this journey with us, we appreciate those who follow us and keep us covered in prayers, we feel those prayers often and we send our prayers back up for all of you.  If your curious about anything please don’t hesitate to ask, we love sharing what we’ve learned and what we hope to learn as we continue moving along in our tiny house on the water.

Blessings 🙏🏼⛵🌴

Addicted to the Bahamas…

We are so happy to say we are finally in the Exumas! We actually made it to Ship Cay on Wednesday February 1st with our awesome friend Ed Horton captain of s/v Catatude. We love this guy, we met him in Treasure Cay way back in July and have kept in close contact and even crossed to Eleuthera with him. He had some work done on his boat while we were dealing with our boat challenges in Spanish Wells so it worked out perfect to cross over to Exumas together. We spent a night at Ship Cay then spent the next night at Allens Cay and then two nights at Normans Cay where we ran into more friends from s/v Seldom Silent, Jeff & Brenda Carman. The 5 of us decided to go snorkeling and check out the plane wreck on the other side of the island. Got some cool pictures of the wreckage and all the fish that now call it home along with a camouflaged sting ray who though we couldn’t see him. Those little fish came right up to you, apparently people take them corn and feed them. We had a great time but as usual we have to be very conscious of the tide other wise we could be walking our dinghies out rather than driving it out. We’ve learned from experience 😕

Snorkeling the plane wreckage @ Norman’s Cay

Norman’s Cay plane wreckage

We left Norman’s Cay and anchored at Warderick Wells on February 5th. Warderick Wells is an Exuma Land and Sea Park which basically means, no fishing or lobstering in and around their waters because it’s all protected. It is a gorgeous park and we had a great two days there walking the park, hiking up to Boo Boo Hill and Boo Boo Beach and seeing all they had to offer such as, Whale bone displays and blow holes along the shore lines of the park. We actually ran into a few of the “Team Exit” Eleuthera flotilla, s/v Cloud Nine, s/v Rat Catcher and s/v Seldom Silent who caught back up to us after leaving Norman’s Cay.

Warderick Wells Exuma Land & Sea Park

More blowholes and gorgeous ocean

We anchored at Blackpoint Cay on February 7th with the plan to stay one night and head south closer to Georgetown. We went into town and found the best coconut bread EVER along with a cool inexpensive bar & grill that catered to cruisers. We met a few people outside while we enjoyed a $6 burger and a couple rum punches (they were delicious!). As we were paying our bill we met another couple, Fred and Babs from s/v Sea Tryst and ended up hanging out another hour or so chatting and making plans so they could come with us onto Georgetown. They were looking for a buddy boat and had also just come in the same day to Blackpoint. So after planning out the exit strategy to include time and tides we both pulled anchor around 8:30am and made our way to the Dothan Cut. It was rather bumpy which takes us in the Atlantic side of the island headed towards G-town. It was scheduled to be about an 8 hour trip so we settled in and Jeff put out the trolling rod and within about 2 hours I was hollering “FISH ON!” We done went and caught us a Mahi (hahaha)!! It was so pretty with those bright blue and green colors, we were stoked as it was our first successful catch. I got the privilege of killing it and cleaning it which wasn’t too bad.

Mahi – it’s what’s for dinner!🐬💪🏼

Once we got that all taken care of and cleaned up it was around 2 pm and we realized we wouldn’t make it to G-town until after the sunset so we decided to anchor at Black Cay for the night along with s/v Sea Tryst. We all ate Mahi for dinner over on their boat and had a great evening until it was time to go to sleep. The boat rolled all night long, no one got any sleep that night. We decided to pull anchor at 8:30 on Thursday February 9th and head on over to Georgetown where we anchored by 2pm in front of the famous Chat-n-Chill/ Volleyball beach. I got to feed the stingray as they swam around your ankles rubbing against your legs looking for food, such a cool experience.

Stingray feeding frenzy

We had a couple of packages being delivered to G-town to include our stanchions and lifelines and a new voltage regulator since we had been having problems with our alternator not charging. Turns out the alternator was dying a very slow death and finally gave up while we made our way here. One of the many cool things about a big cruiser anchorage like Georgetown is that they have a cruisers network hosted over the radio every morning so everyone can listen and take advantage of not only just info about G-town but also buy-sale-trade and general needs in the harbor. After arriving and getting our regulator and realizing that was not the issue we put out a request for assistance (over 200 boats) with our alternator issue and we had 2 offers to come over and help out.

3heads are better than 1 – Alternator exorcism 😂

We met Roger on m/v RollsDoc who was able to quickly identify the alternator was dead and just so happened to have a spare on his boat that he didn’t need or want. He brought it over they got it installed and viola we are now charging our batteries again. Jeff spent a couple of days fighting with this issue but it’s all good now, Roger was able to repair our old alternator so now we have a spare. It truly has been amazing how generous and willing everyone is in this sailing community. We have been so very fortunate to see this type of community in camping, boating and now cruising like we’re doing now. It warms the heart to know the world isn’t all bad, truly the majority is still very good and chalked full of people who love God and who have hearts as big as Texas!

We intend to stay in and around G-town until the first week of March to be here for the G-town cruisers regatta that begins on the 22nd and goes into next week. All kinds of activities are planned from big and small boat races to variety shows to poker runs and different tournaments. We’ll catch all we can then start making our way south and eventually into Dominican Republic. For the past couple of weeks we’ve met a ton of new friends, said goodbye to old friends, attended beach church had a dinghy raft-up, dance parties and get-togethers on the local beaches. We’ve even played the boat shuffle from one side of the harbor to the other to avoid strong winds. One of the best things is we got to see some of our Wylie, Tx peeps who planned a vacation here in Little Exumas. We got to hang out with Bruce & Mercy Davis and Lisa & Scott over at Chat-n-Chill and then we took them sailing before they had to head back home. It really was cool seeing them and hearing about many of our friends back in Wylie. We camped and boated many times with Bruce & Mercy and watched our kids grow up over the past 15 years – we just love our friends and are very thankful for them and the few items they were able to bring us. My Slap Ya Mama supply was getting scarcely low 😳

Goodies from the states!

Raft-up!

Dinghy raft-up = FUN!

Beach church! 💖

Beach get togethers with new friends!

It is very easy and tempting to find a great place like we have in and around the Bahamas and just stay, it is a beautiful chain of islands with so much to offer. The crystal clear blue and green waters are addictive it’s like living over the worlds largest saltwater pool with so many gorgeous reefs and great snorkeling. Each island offers awesome beaches and some amazing hiking trails all around.

Bahamians are extremely friendly and many cater to cruisers so it makes it that much more addictive to always be around smiling faces and kind people. We’ll start looking at weather and making plans to see the last few Bahamas islands and then head towards Turks and Caicos. We’re getting close to the end of the Bahamas but so looking forward to what’s next!  As always we thank you for the prayers and the continued support- love you all 😘

Big bump in the night…

We made it to Eleuthera safe and sound on Monday January 16, 2017, the swells were anywhere from 5 to 8 feet and it was a bit uncomfortable for our liking but we made it across with 14 other sailboats. The flotilla was a beautiful sight once everyone made it through the Little Harbor Cut and got their sails raised. We’re actually in Spanish Wells which is the first main island in Northern Eleuthera. We haven’t seen much else but we have become VERY familiar with Spanish Wells. (hence the title – will explain more below, it’s a bit long but exciting and scary 😕)

Once across the Atlantic we split up some but there was a big weather system coming so those of us who stayed began making plans to ride out the expected weather front from a couple different anchorages, moorings or the marina. We decided to head down to Royal Island where there is nearly full coverage all around. After a few nights anchored at Meeks Patch or right outside the Spanish Wells channel we pulled into Royal Island on Thursday morning (1/19/17) and found 4 other boats there. It’s a small anchorage but can hold around 10 boats or so on either end of the anchorage. Our sailboat has a fairly shallow draft at 4.5 ft so we were able to tuck into the southwest corner in front of all the other boats. By Saturday there were 9 boats total and everyone appeared to have plenty of room to swing for the expected strong winds predicted for Sunday, to include 2 Catamarans who anchored in front of us (with 3ft draft they can go almost anywhere). As usual we watch other boats as they come in, check out their “hardware” to include anchor, chain, length of boat and of course the boat owners themselves. The boat behind us came over and introduced themselves from s/v Mahi, Joe, Karla and their 5 yr old grandson Eathan from California. Earlier on Saturday s/v Mahi noticed their anchor was dragging some so before the weather system hit they wanted to reset and secure themselves. We watched and noticed they had a lot of chain and a Rocna anchor which is very similar to our Mantus that we love so much. Mahi got reset and we all settled down for a quite night. Well the weather is only a prediction and we had some high winds come in on Saturday night but only gusts in the high 20s so nothing too uncomfortable and everyone held with no issues through the precursor weather front headed our way. As predicted the main weather system we were all anticipating hit on Sunday and Sunday night was a doozy! The wind prediction was to be high winds of 40 knots with gusts of 60 knots. That’s a lot of wind and when you’re in a sailboat expect swinging and yanking and a ton of noises as the boat creaks and cracks and the anchor pops as it swings from side to side. No one was getting sleep on Sunday night because of the noise and mainly because you’re watching out for your boat and others. Jeff and I had actually laid in bed after our regular checks and around 1 am there’s this huge crashing sound and our boat yanks much harder than just wind. It actually sounded and felt like we hit a rock wall. We were up and out of the bed in nothing flat as we thought our anchor rode broke and we must have hit the rocks or something. As Jeff made it outside he sees another sailboat backing away from us and he hollers “is everyone ok?” They holler back “sorry!” Well we grab flashlights and attempt to assess the situation in the pitch black of night and realize we were hit hard by that boat. After a quick inspection we realize the port side of our boat was t-boned by s/v Mahi and our lifelines and stanchions were bent, ripped out and mangled. Thank God there was no puncture through the hull and from what we could see mostly cosmetic damage to the fiberglass where their boat hit us. We secured the broken stanchion and kept a very watchful eye the remainder of the night.

Overall damage & temporary fix.

Stanchions damage and temporary welded fix.

Fiberglass damage

Karla emailed shortly after they finally got their anchor back down and apologized profusely, explained they started to drag and while attempting to reset their anchor they accidentally drove into the side of our boat and ensured they would take care of all damages. The wind was crazy and it was absolutely pitch black outside and it didn’t end there! While on watch we noticed they continued to drag but this time they were precariously close to the rock lined shore. As we were watching along with s/v Jalu, the sailboat behind Mahi, we both kept hailing them on the radio to ensure they knew just how close they were to the rocks. We both kept shining our spotlights in their boat and after about 10 minutes they hailed back explaining their second anchor appeared to be wrapped up around their chain and they couldn’t get the primary anchor up. They were basically stuck but facing the wrong direction. As we watched and assisted with lights we notice a 39ft Catamaran dragging right beside us probably less than 15 ft from us! We look at each other and say “ummm that’s not supposed to be there”. It was headed straight towards Mahi and the rocks. Thankfully they jumped into action and started their engines and got their anchor up and started driving forward. So here we are right in the middle of Mahi and Norval, the 39ft Catamaran, looking back and forth, back and forth trying to decide if we would need to start our engine and move to avoid either of them dragging or driving into us. This went on all night until the sun came up. Norval got reset, however they were way closer to us then we felt comfortable which was less than 50ft in front of us. Since Mahi was facing the other direction Jalu was in more danger from them than we were now. We just needed to keep a close eye on Norval to ensure they didn’t drag anymore and straight into us. Come to find out Mahi was truly wrapped on its secondary anchor with the rode not only wrapped around the primary anchor chain but now also around the shaft. Once daylight came Joe from Mahi was able to jump in and inspect the issue. With only snorkel gear he wasn’t able to cut anything away because he couldn’t stay down long enough. All throughout the evening/morning Mahi kept all of us who were listening over the radio up to date on their situation. If they were able to cut the other anchor they may have drug into any of the boats around so we all needed to be ready in case we needed to move quickly. The guys on Norval hailed Mahi and offered to dive in with dive equipment and assess the situation up close. Once they donned their dive gear, tanks and masks they dinghy’d over tied off on Mahi and jumped in. Keep in mind the wind was still whipping and the main weather front still hadn’t hit. Well at least the rain along with the higher gusts. After an hour or more Norval was able to reset Mahi’s primary anchor first before cutting the line on the secondary anchor and unwrapping all the excess line which allowed Mahi to finally turn and face the right direction. With winds gusting your boat needs to be facing into the wind while at anchor to allow it to move freely. As close as they were to the rocks that could have been catastrophic for them had they not got turned around properly. Out of the 9 boats anchored in Royal Island 1 dinghy flipped, 1 dinghy floated away but was retrieved, 7 boats dragged, us and Jalu were the 2 that did not drag. By Gods grace and protection there was minor damage to our boat and everyone came out fairly unscathed. Once the weather calmed enough we spoke with Joe & Karla on Mahi and as they had already agreed to cover the damages we were headed back to Spanish Wells on Tuesday to begin securing resources and quotes for the damages s/v Delayed Gratification sustained {sigh}. Joe & Karla came to the marina on Wednesday and as Jeff and I have walked all of Spanish Wells 10 times over we were able to find someone to weld our stanchions back together, it’s just a temporary fix but it will hold until the new stanchions and lifelines are shipped to Georgetown Exumas hopefully within the next couple of weeks. The fiberglass work can be done here, however the work can’t start until end of next week or beginning of the next. We really don’t want to sit around waiting so we may take payment and get it done later possibly in Georgetown. Joe & Karla have been so gracious to ensure we will get the boat fixed to our satisfaction. We are grateful to have met such kind people and know we will remain friends for years.

A new motto!

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen several of the boats from the flotilla that crossed to Eleuthera together and have been surprised how news travels so fast. Mostly everyone has already started making their way south and we hope we can head that way by middle of this week. As always, thank you all who continue to pray for us, we do not take it for granted and know how important it is to trust and know God is always in control! 😘🙏🏼

“Team Exit” Eleuthera or bust…

I think it’s gonna happen, we are 1 of 15 or so boats anchored out at Lynyard Cay which sits right on the edge of Little Harbor Cut waiting for the winds to clock around and for the seas to calm so we can all head south. This is a very common anchorage to stage yourself before making the crossover to Eleuthera. It’s extremely memorable for Jeff & I since we came into the Abacos through this very same cut 7 1/2 months ago. Our route was definitely backwards as most people come from Florida through the north side of the island, which is truly a safer and much shallower route but we have some great and not so great memories of doing it backwards 😁 We have met most of the cruisers out here at an impromptu bonfire on Saturday night and had one of the best times sharing food and memories!

Bonfire blast & lighted hoola hoop!

Lynyard Cay staging zone

(s/v Sea Ya, s/v Catatude, s/v Nightingale, s/v Seldom Silent, s/v Rat Catcher, s/v Silhouette, s/v Cloud 9, s/v Te Amor, s/v Ain’t Misbehavin)

So today we prepare for the 50+ mile journey across the Atlantic with depths of 13,000+ feet of water which we all plan to head out at first light on Monday morning (Jan 16). I know 50 miles doesn’t seem far at all if you’ve ever driven the North Dallas Tollway from Frisco to Downtown Dallas and back, however imagine driving it going only 5 miles per hour with hills and valleys spaced out every 20 to 50 yards 😳⛵️🌊😖 This little 50+ mile outing will take us approximately 10 hours give or take as we have to incorporate the wind, waves and swells. With the wind in the right direction we could pick up speed which could shave off an hour or so, however if we haven’t timed this weather window right we could be fighting the wind which could make our crossing very uncomfortable and longer than expected. The goals for us are 1. Get there safely 2. Sail preferably over motoring and 3. Anchor well before the sun sets. So today along with writing this I’ll be baking some bread, mixing up a huge batch of chicken salad and cleaning while Jeff is doing an overall engine inspection by tightening and checking all fluids to ensure everything is in tip top shape. We try to prepare for a long day where we may not have safe access to the galley to cook so everything will be quick and easy to grab if we need to go below while underway.

One final lunch in Little Harbor at Petes Pub with friends…

Little Harbor @ Pete’s Pub – got solar?!?

Tonight a group get together aboard s/v Te Amor (thanks Jan & Cam) enjoying Lobster Chowder to discuss logistics of pulling up anchors and finalizing last minute details. With a group consisting of approximately 10 boats we want to be able to communicate easily and clearly while out on the water. We’ve come up with a group name so hailing each other while underway will be much more organized – Team Exit has been established! I would say we are both excited and anxious but so ready to see more of the Bahamas!

Some great Abaco lasts…

So we’ve stayed in the Abacos Bahamas 🇧🇸 way longer than we could have imagined but we have zero regrets because it has been absolutely amazing these last 7 months! We feel like we know the Abacos like the back of our hand as we’ve been back and forth to many of the most sought after cays for those who vacation and frequent the Bahamas.

Time to say goodbye!

We left Treasure Cay (our home away from home) on Tuesday December 27th after saying goodbye to all of our friends and temporary church family while there. Treasure Cay will always have a special place in our hearts. From the small church family who accepted us so easily, to the ladies bible study family who welcomed me in so many ways to the marina friends we made and saw daily (Dewayne, Ria & Nellrose), it wouldn’t surprise us if we found ourselves back there sometime in the future.

We headed over to Great Guana Cay for the last anchor there for a couple of nights. We were joined first by s/v Catitude who we helped decorate a golf cart and joined the golf cart parade. S/v Sea Ya joined just in time to jump in and enjoy the evening. So many creatively decorated carts.

LOL – genius

This parade was planned out in great detail as all golf carts and guests would begin the night bar hopping from location to location (5 different bars) while enjoying free appetizers at each spot before heading to the next and ending at Great Guanas famous Nippers way up on a hill overlooking the Atlantic dancing the night away with a cool fireworks display to round up the night. Such a cool way to say goodbye to Great Guana Cay.

Golf cart party of 5

Great Guana golf cart parade – Fun fun fun!!

@ anchor in Great Guana

We managed to get some great last sunrise pictures in as well.
We already knew we wanted to spend New Years in Hope Town so we headed over early on Thursday December 29th to secure a mooring ball since we’d heard this was the place to be for New Years Eve. It definitely got crowded but we had so many friends there with us we couldn’t have planned it any better. By the 31st everyone was anchored, moored or in a marina and we began the night on m/v Vaya Con Dios (remember our bestie from Little Harbour, Robert Wendorf who we met early June) he and his lovely wife Rhonda opened their boat to 5 other couples so there were 12 of us including them. This was their first meeting of everyone other than Jeff & I so just goes to show why we love this couple so much and know we will be lifelong friends.

Our Florida bffs!

New Years gang 2016–>2017

The fireworks right over the bows of our boats was incredible! We can definitely say one of the best we’ve seen yet and maybe just because of the proximity but we all had an amazing time. We stayed in Hope Town for the next few days and worked on a toilet issue that was truly one of the crappiest issues we’ve had (hehehe) but my very smart and determined husband who will not give up figured it out and now all is well again aboard s/v Delayed Gratification. And again we managed to take some beautiful last sunset pictures in Hope Town before leaving. Now if you ever need a great Bahamas trip, do not pass up Elbow Cay, this is where Hope Town and the famous last kerosene light house is, Sea Spray, Fire Fly, Abaco Inn and Tahiti Beach are all located. Such a quaint Cay.

Beautiful Bahamas sunrises {sigh}

Hope Town – love this group and this place!

We left Hope Town on Wednesday January 4th headed to Marsh Harbor for the last time for a couple of reasons. First, I still had to get my immigration extended passed February so on Thursday the 5th I flew to West Palm Beach, FL at 10:05a just to walk right back through security and get right back on the exact same plane that was scheduled to leave at 12:05p. We didn’t need to do any shopping in the states so no need in staying the night and renting a car like Jeff did earlier in December. I was back in the Bahamas by 1:30ish with a new Bahamas stamp in my passport giving me another 6 months here legally. The second reason we wanted to be in Marsh Harbor is because of a cold front that was scheduled to hit on Sunday with winds somewhere in the 30-40mph range. It decided to show up a day early and there’s good protection from those north winds here so we sit here with s/v Sea Ya waiting it out before our next trip over the Atlantic and over to Eleuthera! Nasty squall blowing in as I was typing this up 🌬☔️. It didn’t seem to last long but sure looked ugly.

Ugly squall- beginning of the cold front??

There are several of us planning to head south to Eleuthera, m/v Vaya Con Dios (Bob & Rhonda) have already made it. We hope to have a couple of buddy boats to make this next trip and Jeff & I are ready as soon as the seas and winds calm down a bit. Even though it’s a sailboat we still prefer not to take risks because things break in high winds and we just prefer to enjoy the ride.

Please pray for fair winds and a safe journey as we plan to head out in a few days weather permitting. Love you all and know we continue to send up prayers over all of our friends and family on land and on water.

“We travel not to escape life but for Life not to escape us!”

Christmas festivities, immigration & repairs…

Christmas in the Bahamas who would have thunk?!? It’s Christmas Eve and Jeff and I will be greeters for the final time here at Treasure Cay Community Church this evening. Over the past couple of weeks we have been crazy busy with all the Christmas festivities that Treasure Cay has planned as well as trying to get everything in order so we can begin making our way south.

Here’s a run down of everything we’ve been doing. We had to order a part for the boat, book travel for Jeff to fly to Florida to pick up said part and get his immigration restarted for 6 more months. We attended the first Treasure Cay Christmas golf cart parade, attended the Christmas tree lighting to include the lighting of their giant Ginger Bread house at the Spinnaker restaurant. I attended the ladies Christmas party for the community, Jeff flew into Palm Springs on Monday and had a whirlwind shopping spree, slept in the car after a midnight trip to Walmart in order to return on Tuesday. I along with a couple of friends took a car into Marsh Harbour to restock and provision the boat, visited a cool old local artist shop and hung out at a blue hole not far from Treasure Cay. We replaced the raw water pump on the boat (yay it’s working again), Thursday night was the Christmas boat parade right here in the marina harbor. We watched it from m/v Deja Vu Too with some new and old friends while making homemade pizza (pictures were added to FB page Cooking on a Boat). We’ve scheduled my very quick trip into Florida for my immigration restart for right after the first of the year and we will be leaving Treasure Cay tomorrow or Monday to make our way over to Elbow Cays Hope Town to bring in the new year. We hope to meet up with our friends Bob & Rhonda from m/v Vaya Con Dios, Ed Horton from s/v Catatude and Philip from s/v Sea Ya. If the weather cooperates we hope to have a fun New Years celebration. {whew} I wasn’t kidding about being busy!

Tree lighting, golf cart & boat parade

Tree lighting, golf cart & boat parade

Giant ginger bread house

Giant ginger bread house

Local artists Don Woods Originals

Local artists Don Woods Originals


Beautiful Blue hole

Beautiful Blue hole

Raw water pump replacement $$$ 😖

Raw water pump replacement $$$ 😖

We are excited about leaving, however we will truly miss all of our friends here as well as this beautiful place. We managed to learn more about our boat, maneuver some shallow waters in and around the Abacos Islands as well as dare those deep ocean waters a time or two. We have Eleuthera in our sights and then Exumas soon after! Loving the Bahamas and looking forward to what the new year has in store for us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Praying for many blessings, much healing and restoration over all of our lives and lifting up the newly elected administration for guidance and wisdom for this next term!

Love you all,
Jeff & Cristol

Who lives like this??? Oh wait… We Do!!!

Can you think of a time where you’ve had to pinch yourself when you just can’t believe something is truly happening?!? We ask ourselves regularly “is this really our life now?”. Everyday we get to watch the glorious sun rise, look into beautiful blue clear waters, walk soft white sand beaches, meet people from all over the world and experience glorious sunsets in different locations from our boat! We are still in awe and pray that feeling never goes away.

Ahhhh, paradise!

Ahhhh, paradise!

The past 2 weeks have been a world wind of fun! We have traveled to 10 different locations! Crossed The Whale twice and saw five new cays we hadn’t seen before and five we went back to and can’t imagine getting tired of visiting these beautiful islands yet again if we decide to. We’ve been buddy boating with Philip and Teresa on s/v Sea Ya and truly have had the time of our lives. These guys are an amazing couple and so much fun to be around.

Tackling The Whale "again"!

Tackling The Whale “again”!

Hope Town fun with friends

Hope Town fun with friends

After Thanksgiving we headed over to Manjack Cay where we met Bill & Leslie who have the coolest piece of property with every kind of plant, veggie, herb, exotic and normal fruit trees and animals. (A rooster by the name of Fred Astaire – 😂) They are truly self sufficient on this island, they catch water from the rain, have a ton of solar panels for electricity and make their own cheese and wine. Absolutely some of the nicest folks around and they let me hold Fred and gave us some star fruit and fresh herbs from their beautiful garden!

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We got a picture of a pig out on Crab Cay, not sure how these pigs get out on the uninhabited islands but they seem to survive just fine.  And we find the stangest things while walking the beaches and shore lines.  We found a Nike shoe hanging from a tree so after finding another I just had to get a picture.

Beaches, Nike's & pigs?!?

Beaches, Nike’s & pigs?!?

We enjoyed a 3 day concert on Hope Towns Elbow Cay. This was a fundraiser event with many country music song writers from Nashville. All funds raised for the festival will support efforts of Every Child Counts, Friends of the Environment and Hope Town Fire & Rescue. These guys were incredible, they sing as well as write the #1 hits for country singers like Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and so many more. They put on 4 different shows in 4 different locations over 3 days. We all dinghy’g from location to location and were blown away at each show. One of the songwriters is also an actor, he plays Deacon on the show Nashville, Chip Eston and we got a picture with him. We also took a picture with a fabulous song writer Kendall Marvel who will be releasing his own CD soon. He has a great voice and will most likely be a big deal before long. Such a cool experience!

Hope Town Music festival

Hope Town Music festival

We all made it back to Treasure Cay on Monday December 5th and had an impromptu party on s/v Catatude with our good buddy Ed Horton and some new friends from South Africa Jon and Shirley from s/v Khaya Moya.

Boat parties are the best

Boat parties are the best

We headed over to Cocos Beach Bar on Tuesday night for the weekly bonfire.  They just douse it in a few gallons of gasoline and poof!  We practically had this bonfire all to ourselves because it’s still not crowded out here yet but we are happy because we have found ourselves enjoying all the very private and deserted cays and beaches.

Bonfire on the beach

Bonfire on the beach

I’m glad we made it back when we did because now we need to replace our raw water pump so we’ll be hanging out until we’re sure the boat is ready to make a big trip down south. Even though it is running we don’t want to run the engine so we towed it with a couple of dinghies closer to shore for protection from some upcoming weather. The things we find ourselves doing is truly comical.

Dinghy power 🚤---⛵️

Dinghy power 🚤—⛵️

We usually talk about our upcoming “plans” however, I think we’ll just play it by ear and let the wind take us wherever it blows, you know once the boat is fully operational. 😉  Everyone is decorating for Christmas which is fun to see the decorations go up, and they have a lot planned for the holidays here in Treasure Cay so if we are still here we will be around some really great new friends!

Christmas prep in the Bahamas 🎄

Christmas prep in the Bahamas 🎄

Thankful…

This entire week has been such a blessing! I thought it may be more difficult being away from our family for only the second Thanksgiving ever, however God has put some amazing people in our lives since we’ve been living on our boat! We’ve been wanting to sail north and see more of the north cays in the Bahamas and the weather finally started easing up to allow us to do just that. So we accepted an invitation and decided to meet up with some friends who were headed to Allens Pensacola Cay to spend Thanksgiving with some new friends of theirs. We enjoyed our day with Philip & Teresa from s/v Sea Ya and Bill & Betty Sue from m/v Teamwork. We had a delicious meal of steak, lobster, shrimp, porkloin and many sides. Even with Sea Ya’s propane regulator breaking we managed to get everything cooked and still have time to eat, drink and fly a drone for sunset pictures.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Drone photo op!

Drone photo op!

The long week out allowed us to brave Whale Cay again and we anchored at Crab Cay, Allens Pensacola, Powell Cay and we’re headed over to ManJack Cay tomorrow. All but ManJack are uninhabited islands with beautiful soft white sand beaches and so many great lobster hideouts. Thanks to our great friends we’ve had more fresh lobster than ever in our lives. We will get in and find our own soon but in the mean time it’s really nice when others are sharing their bounty.

Allens Pensacola -Dolphins, lobster and grouper

Allens Pensacola -Dolphins, lobster and grouper

Being live aboards on the boat has given us the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and see some places only accessible via boat. The places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen in just these past 8 months is something to truly be thankful for. We will most likely head back to Treasure Cay in a couple of days to say our goodbyes and wrap up a few things before making our way back down south Abacos to stage for our crossing and then continue our journey to Eleuthera and eventually the Exumas. We need to renew our passports to continue on in the Bahamas for the full year so we hope we have plenty of time to continue this amazing venture.

Powell Cay - beaches, hiking and Welk

Powell Cay – beaches, hiking and Welk

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving because we sure did!

Rock fever, need to feel waves…

We have a touch of rock fever and need to get back out on the water! So we decided to drop the ball and head over to Waters Cay for the night! Oh my what a beautiful day to be out on the water, not a lot of wind which is ok it was a gorgeous day, flat waters and enough wind to get the main sail out for an autopilot day.

Flat calm water!

Flat calm water!


Autopilot is awesome!

Autopilot is awesome!


Shadow sailing

Shadow sailing


Bow riding

Bow riding

After anchoring successfully we took the dinghy and dogs to shore and walked around where we did some really cool beach combing and stretched our legs a bit. Such a pretty place and completely isolated! Needed to work on those tan lines anyway, just kidding I did not do that 😉 way to chicken to attempt that!

Beach combing

Beach combing


Our rides

Our rides


Isolation

Isolation

We grilled burgers and enjoyed an awesome dinner and a beautiful sunset. When the rolling began we decided to head over to Marsh Harbor or maybe Matt Lowes Cay, we’ll see once we get closer.

Burgers at sunset

Burgers at sunset

I know we have said no more night sailing but inside the sea of Abaco why not?!? The water is calm and the wind is perfect! We have both main and jib out and thoroughly enjoying a safe night sail. I’m sitting on one of the perch seats while writing this and could not be happier! God is so good and never fails! Love you all!

Night sailing

Night sailing

Weather, relaxation, baking and saying goodbye…

We often get the question “what do you do all day on a boat?” Lately we’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing. Well not really, we’re really loving this time in the Abacos. Even though I say it’s nothing it really has added up to a bunch of small things. Our boat project list has come to a slow period for the time being, other than regular maintenance stuff like cleaning filters and changing the impeller which kicked our butt the other day. I even managed to get in the cold water and scrape the bottom of the boat again. Man was it cold – but the growth from the last time was easy enough to clean up. I get to swim with all kinds of fish and phosphorous jellyfish, thank goodness these little translucent critters don’t sting.

Stupid impeller

Stupid impeller

Phosphorus jellies

Phosphorus jellies

We have found quite a bit of down time as well so we take a lot of walks on the beach or around the nearby neighborhoods.

Beach days

Beach days

Lovely morning walk

Lovely morning walk

We cook new recipes and lately I’ve been baking bread instead of buying it. Found some really great easy recipes that are delicious! I even made a Dutch Baby for breakfast, it was awesome!

Beer bread

Beer bread

Best Banana bread ever

Best Banana bread ever

Dutch baby baby!

Dutch baby baby!

Chickpea masala - oh yea!

Chickpea masala – oh yea!

We continue to meet new friends and get to take them around to some of our favorite places.

Conrad & Liz Clark

Conrad & Liz Clark

This week we say goodbye to our good friends John & Kristi Owens from m/v Revelation!  We have spent so many days and nights with this couple and have gotten so used to our dock neighbors that it’s hard to see them go.  We pray safe travels as they journey across the Gulf Stream in the coming days.  Love you guys, thanks for all the laughs, meals and great fellowship!

Power couple!

Power couple!

Schooner Bay outing

Schooner Bay outing

With hurricane season slowly coming to an end we are seeing more residents coming back to the island. I’ve met so many great people hear and have gotten involved in a few activities like water yoga, bible study and also ladies luncheons. There are several other activities they’re about to begin like Majong, Bridge, aerobics and book clubs but I’d be gone every day of the week and sometimes these overlap so I have to pace myself. We are really having a great time and are so thankful for the friends we’ve met and continue to meet.

So I hope that answers that question as we have plenty to do. We are still in awe at this amazing opportunity before us and we are looking forward to seeing more from the boat once the winds and seas calm down enough to start making boat wakes again.