Time flies when you’re having fun…

(Sorry for the delay we’ve had technical difficulties with uploading photos) Since the last blog we left Dominican Republic, visited Puerto Rico and come back to DR. During the 3 weeks away from our boat we have seen and done all kinds of things. We made it safely to Puerto Rico on s/v Bluebonnet with our friend Gene Rowan. That was an interesting and scary voyage at times but we managed to come out of it safely only by the grace of God! We had some fun and excitement and we were so amazed at how beautiful PR is. It was truly stunning with the lush green rainforests and layers and layers of mountains for as far as you could see. We had no idea but we were pleasantly surprised.

The beauty of the Rainforest

As with the trip and excitement of leaving Dominican Republic there was just as much excitement in Puerto Rico aboard Bluebonnet. Just to sum it up a bit we stopped in Mayaguez, Puerto Real, Bouqueron, Parguera, Ponce and Salinas where we left Gene’s boat. We took our time while in PR and were with Gene aboard Bluebonnet for 3 weeks. The excitement and fear included losing 250 feet of chain; getting the stanchion by the bowsprit ripped out of the deck; losing a small gas can overboard; being stuck out on the water with a faulty starter; getting the halyards wrapped around the spreaders causing the sail not to raise and getting air in the fuel tanks where the boat died on us and wouldn’t start without putting another 20 gallons of gas into the boat. By the way this all happened out on open water 😖! I didn’t take pictures during any of this because I was either praying or tying down swinging halyards to keep them from swinging around knocking someone off the boat.

Being on a sailboat accidents are bound to happen and mistakes will be made, unfortunately for us most of these accidents happened because of laziness and Gene being the captain admitted to it and owned it all. (Good captains admit their mistakes) The worst part of this is it all happened one morning over approximately 8 hours that should have been maybe a 4 hour run. After leaving Ponce around 5:30am we put the mainsail up and head out. We are about 30-40 minutes out and run into some rough waters and things start getting knocked around below in the cabin. We hear a crash and see somethings sliding across the floor so Jeff goes below to tie things down and realizes the tool bag wasn’t secured and had fallen off a shelf and all the tools fell out (can you say dangerous flying objects!?!) As he was straightening up and wiping up a spill he hears this unusual noise and quickly identifies it as chain, “falling chain” and hollers up at us but by the time Gene stops the boat at least 200 ft had bounced off the deck and over the side of the boat into the Caribbean ocean. Gene had opted to leave the chain on deck rather than feed it back down into an anchor locker and secure it 😳 Not even a full mile outside of Ponce, where we had anchored for a few nights before, we were seeing waves several feet high and fairly close together which made the boat ride rough. All the bouncing and dipping was the precursor to our very painful morning. Jeff and Gene spent no less than 3 hours trying to free the chain which somehow became tangled on a reef or something and kept pulling more chain over as well as bending the bowsprit while managing to rip a stanchion out by the shear pressure of the weight of the chain and whatever held us below! After 2 1/2 hours of fighting with it Jeff convinced Gene to cut the chain loose for all of our safety. The seas were rough and the winds were too high and we were literally anchored to the ocean floor and being roughly bounced around but not by choice. Gene grabs a cordless grinder and begins cutting the chain, about half way through the chain the battery dies 😖 he goes below deck to attempt another solution but thankfully there was enough pressure that the remaining chain snaps and sets us free. Throughout this ordeal we had to drop the mainsail and since the winds were high the halyards got wrapped around the spreader so we couldn’t raise the sail back up. His sail is very big and was flapping all around in the winds so they had to get the halyard free before we could move on. Another 20-30 minutes pass before we are safely moving but with a few scars and a new hole in the deck and about 300 lbs lighter (by-bye chain) During the next few hours we experience the rest of the issues. The boat stops about an hour after the chain issue. We find out later it’s because we had air in the fuel tanks from all the heeling over we were doing. Gene adds the fuel but the boat won’t start due to the faulty starter. Luckily Gene knows his boat so he works his magic and with a little maintenance he finally gets the boat started again. Somewhere during all the bouncing and dancing we were doing a small fuel can falls overboard as well <sigh> other than littering that was the least expensive loss of the day. We finally make it to Salinas where Gene plans to leave the boat for the season. We make our way into the marina and as we had already driven to the marina by car a week or so earlier Gene knows which slip he wants to leave his boat in so we make our way over. The wind is still blowing pretty well so getting into a slip is always more difficult on windy days. After about an hour and much help from people on the deck as well as someone in a dingy we get Bluebonnet into it’s slip. It wasn’t a graceful landing by any means and much frustration was had by everyone but it was well past midday so we cracked open a beer or three and sat back and thanked God for his protection after our day from ocean hell! Once you get a boat tied up at a dock you can relax and remember the best things about sailing!

This makes you forget your problems!

We had about 7 days left before we planned to leave Puerto Rico and Gene had some big boat projects to accomplish and we wanted to sightsee so we took a couple of days off to make a trip over to Old San Juan with Gene and then Jeff and I went over to the El Yunque National Rainforest and did some hiking and shopping as well. We met up with a few friends from the Abacos (s/v Rat Catcher) and Georgetown Exumas (s/v Joda) and had dinner and drinks with them several nights during our week in Salinas. It was great seeing friends we had already spent so much time with and knew it could be years when and if we run into each other again. We managed to fly back without issue but did run into a snag with our ride back to Luperon once we got into Santo Domingo. Rather than the bus we planned to take back (they don’t accept dogs 😩) we had to find a taxi who would drive us the 5 hours remaining. It cost a lot more than the bus but it was all worth it in the end.

Airplane travel and propane cars

Gorgeous place

Beautiful day of hiking

Speaking of the dogs they adapted perfectly! Mocha slept in a little cupboard closet and loved it, Mia found a new best friend in Gene who fed her everything he ate and let her sleep in his big bed anytime she wanted and they both loved being underway and slept through most of it in the most comfortable chairs onboard. They visited Old San Juan with us and loved the car and plane rides they got to take. So thankful they took to all the changes so well. Just goes to show dogs are happiest as long as they are with their owners, no matter what cockamamie trips we take them on 😂🐶💞

Mia and her new BFF – Mocha in her little sleeping cubby

Favorite pass time – sleeping

Traveling chihuahua’s

We have some great memories and stories and no regrets from any of our time. We have definitely grown and learned from all the experiences we had. If we get an opportunity to crew with someone again there are things we now know we can do differently to ensure safety and protection throughout the entire trip. Gene was incredibly kind and generous and we are thankful to him and his wife Janette who took care of all the logistics from Houston. Thanks to everyone who continues to keep us covered in prayer, we feel them and love you all! 💞⛵🌴

The rule is, there are no rules…

Coming from a place where rules, guidelines and order are not only expected but also enforced truly makes you wonder who has it right. As we sit in DR we see there really are no rules – none that really matter or make any sense. The driving rules are nonexistent since cars, bikes, horses, donkeys, and cows all share the roads at any given time. The DR has zero concept of OSHA.  We see some strange electric setups and the dock guys swing sledgehammers right next to your boats 😲

Who needs OSHA or any kind of rules?!?

There aren’t any rules like FDA or USDA for meats and veggies since we buy some of our meat from a butcher right off the side of the road who uses a tree trunk as a chopping block and our veggies are a few doors down – very similar to a roadside stand. (I didn’t get a picture of the snail in my lettuce) 🐌

Meet our new butcher 😂

We’ve heard rumors about sewage flowing into the harbor but I’m not totally convinced that’s entirely accurate. Anyhow – even with the lack of rules and guidelines we are still just amazed and still in awe of the Dominican Republic. We are having the time of our lives here and continue to see some of the most gorgeous flowers & foliage.

So many flowers.

Lush greenery everywhere

As mentioned in our last blog we’re renting a motorcycle during our stay here. We’ve enjoyed riding through the countryside and seeing so much of the small towns in and around Luperon. We went on a road trip with Bob who rented us the bike and he took us around a few places they love to ride and we ended up in Punta Rucia. This is a vacation resort place with pretty beaches and all kinds of cool tourist things to do. We took a few pictures of the place then headed back after about a 2 hour ride. It was a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride.

Punta Rucia

Resort

Motorcycle sites

We met a Canadian couple (Aron & Liz) who bought a home in Puerto Plata and fly back and forth from time to time. They invited us over to see their gorgeous house and then took us to Cabarete which is about 45 mins south of Puerto Plata. The beach there was very cool, it was like a copper color and a very popular place for kite surfing. There were probably about a hundred kite surfers out on the water so we stopped for lunch then walked the beach for awhile. We’ll definitely go back especially once Aron & Liz come back. They’ve invited us to Toronto if we get tired of the sun in DR or want a change in scenery. Jeff had to joke around with them about not owning any long johns to keep us warm if we did visit. We’re not sure how we’d react in cold weather, we haven’t seen or felt any in over a year now. (I’m really not bragging just stating the facts 😁)

Caberete DR & Kite Surfing

I’ve gotten involved with the Dogs & Cats of the DR and attended a couple of volunteer events. The first one was collecting the locals pets who needed spay & neutering. We would check them in and load them up to be taken to Puerto Plata for the operation the next day. The dogs were returned to their owners later that evening with instructions on how to care for them over the next few days. The second event was the Park Parasite Clinic. These are held the first Tuesday of every month and the locals bring their pets for the parasites, fleas & ticks prevention meds. We saw 93 animals on May 2nd and even with the not so friendly dogs or the ones who’ve never had a bath we all enjoyed the day and we’re happy to be there. These programs are free to the locals and have been extremely successful over several years and the trust and friendships with the locals is an awesome experience, not to mention the love we get to pour over all those sweet dogs & cats.

Volunteering with the Dogs & Cats of DR

Sweet animals everywhere!

Along with all the fun we’ve been having we still have boat projects as well so it’s not all fun & games.  We were shocked and very lucky to find a welder right in town who was able to weld our broken bracket back together. We had to take time out to fix the alternator bracket and get it installed and we also learned how to splice a couple of anchor lines.

Boat projects never end

Jeff was supposed to leave for a few weeks to help Gene on s/v Bluebonnet get his boat over to Puerto Rico from Punta Cana DR and I was going to stay in Luperon with the dogs and the boat. Gene showed up on Monday afternoon and began his smooth talking and convinced me to take a “paid vacation” along with the dogs and join them! I honestly was looking forward to some me time, but the more we discussed it and the more Gene persisted – it was an easy choice. So by Wednesday morning we packed up the dogs, secured the boat leaving a couple of new friends watching it while we left and headed towards Punta Cana. After a couple days of provisioning, vet visit for the dogs, fueling and cleaning Genes boat we planned to leave CapCana Marina in Punta Cana DR on Saturday morning.

CapCana Marina – beautiful place!

A few snags began to ensue while we waited for our Despacio (the approval from the Navy to actually leave the island). First – Gene discovered that his US Coast Guard documents had been washed in his shorts pocket a few weeks back. As he attempted to carefully unfold these precious soaking wet papers they began to shred. <Sigh> Now what? Well as all good boaters usually have last years (expired) papers on board – the 4 officials (Navy Camadante, Immigration, Customs, and Intelligence) were all in a good mood and laughed at the situation. Jeff was concerned that we left our Agriculture documents for the dogs entry into DR but no issue there as they didn’t even ask to see anything (since we were departing the country). Once all the passports were stamped and all the documents completed we headed for the channel to make our exit around 10am. It wasn’t a minute after Gene said he saw depths of 7.6 (his keel draws 7 feet) we found ourselves grounded hard on rocks right in the center of the channel!

Grounded on the rocks

We were stuck and stuck good, he tried reverse & forward but we weren’t budging. Gene had to call the marina who sent in the rescue boat (for a small fee) to pull us off the rocks. (Side note: Gene grounded his boat coming into this marina some 30+ days before 😖.) After securing a line from the bow of the boat they were only able to get us turned around so we threw them the spare halyard which is attached to the mast to get the boat to tip sideways as well as pull the front which worked like a charm. So we were delayed about 2 hours with all that – but once we went back to the marina, spoke with the Dock Master, paid the small fee ($100 US and all of Genes DR money, he wasn’t sure how much he had but gave it to them graciously) we were headed to Isla de Mona about 40 miles away (nearly 1/2 way to PR) for the night.

Paying the rescue boat “fee”after the rescue. 😖

We made it in right before sunset so we chose a spot & dropped the anchor, and set in for a rolly night. Bluebonnet is an extremely heavy boat so it handles rolls very well. We had a quick meal then headed down for some sleep after such a stressful morning. We all got up early on Monday morning and now we’re making the last 50 mile trek over to Mayaguez Puerto Rico. We will clear in there with US Customs & Immigration, and then slowly make our way over to Ponce Puerto Rico where Gene will leave his boat and fly us (& the dogs) back to Santo Domingo Dominican Republic. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us over the next couple of weeks with Gene and we’re very lucky to do this trip on someone else’s boat before we have to make it later in the year. We’ll be sure to take a ton of pictures and share them as soon as possible. Here’s a bit of our trip so far:

Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

Until next time, sending up prayers and virtual hugs to you all! 😘💞⛵

Early DR impressions & sights…

What an interesting 2 weeks this has been! Jeff and I have been learning the lay of the land in and around DR via a motor concho, hiking, taxi and by motorcycle. I’m rather enjoying sharpening my Spanish and learning more everyday. It’s pretty interesting how people get around these hills and mountains and you can’t be scared or nervous trying to find the best or easiest method even thought they drive a bit crazy. Everyone has a preference and many only have a single option so we feel very lucky to be able to try them all out while we’re here. We’ve rented a taxi but haven’t yet tried the bus yet so there’s still another option to test. Initially we were taking the dingy from the marina over to the government dock and walked all over finding the different stores to see what we could find locally. We tried out the motor concho one day last week which some may know as an auto rickshaw. This is an easy and cheap way to get to town, it only cost 50 pesos per person one way so basically $1 to travel about 5 miles. That was our first “car” ride through the mountains and what a pretty view it was with the mountains and all the big green trees all around it was a nice outing.

Motor Concho outing

Last week was Holy Week here in the Dominican Republic and that consisted of some serious partying for the locals. The whole week is dedicated to beach time with lots of food, drinks and loud music. As soon as people leave work they head over to the beaches with their entire families and spend the remainder of the days eating, drinking and frolicking in the ocean. Jeff and I took in the festivities one afternoon and enjoyed a quick lunch while people watching. Thankful for the smaller and less wild crowds during the day we decided not to go back in the evening for the more serious events to begin and since we were walking we weren’t ready to brave the walk back in the dark. We learned that Good Friday is very respected and they don’t play any music the entire day. Everyone abides to this principle and you won’t hear music until 1 minute past midnight. It was unusually quiet around town because on every other day businesses and cars driving by are trying to outdo the next with their loud blaring music.

Holy Week @ the beach

Several days a week there is some sort of event going on like a happy hour at one of the restaurants or popcorn & movie night at a local bar. We enjoyed a softball game the other day and were surprised by the turnout. Apparently they really enjoy the sport and one of the teams even has their own percussion band and mascot. We were the lucky ones who got to sit right beside this small but loud band that consisted of 4 to include their funny clown mascot who kept the crowd cheering while he gyrated on the fence from time to time.😳 It was fairly entertaining and these guys can play some serious softball.

Softball mania

We’ve enjoyed hiking to the beaches and finding some really cool little paths and shortcuts. We happened on a sculpture for an expedition that happened here in June 1949. The sculpture has a plane made out of chicken wire and fencing material sticking through a rock structure. We also found a couple more wood carvings and a couple of blow holes. Usually you find out about these types of places by word of mouth or from a tourist book but we were fortunate enough to just stumble on it. Along our hiking we always come across many cows just wondering the streets. They roam all over the place and do like us and just stare as we walk by. They’re all pretty thin and from what we’ve been told it’s because they walk all day long up and down these steep roads so not your typical Texas cow.

Sculptures and carvings found while hiking

Beaches & blowholes

More hiking fun

Hiking with the cows 🐮

Yesterday we rented a cab with two other boats and all 7 of us went into Puerto Plata where one of the “bigger” city’s is. We heard if you couldn’t find something in Luperon you could more than likely find it in Puerto Plata. Wow that place is busy! The traffic was nuts and the drivers even more so. We did find things we hadn’t been able to in Luperon so that was a plus. The majority of the group spent all day at Ocean World which is very similar to a Sea World in Texas so while they did the dog & pony show there Jeff and I walked around the city and did some sightseeing and people watching. It was raining up in the mountains and was a bit ominous looking but we had fun walking the streets and checking out how things work. We still need to figure out a few things like the fuel options and directions but we have plenty of time and everyone has been so helpful so we’re looking forward to what more we’ll see and do.

Interesting sights- fuel confusion & side saddle toilet 🤔

Puerto Plata, tiny patios

With all the options for transportation and the fact that we’ll be staying for more than 6 months we started looking for a more permanent method of transportation and decided to rent a motorcycle. We asked around and found a couple who own a B&B here in Luperon and also rent motorcycles. After checking out all that he had we chose a nearly new 2016 Tauro CG200. You can’t find these bikes in the US and we’re renting it through the end of the year for $500! We may not be here through the end of the year but close enough through the end of hurricane season. We opted to rent rather than buy so we wouldn’t have to worry about registering it in our names and deal with that headache once we decide to leave. We are being extremely careful but having fun and in the end will save on fuel and cab fair by having the bike. We’ve only had the bike for a couple of days but loving the sights so far. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the countryside in the coming weeks and months.

Motorcycle outing

We’ve been having a great time meeting people and making new friends. Among our new American friends we’ve met people from Switzerland 🇨🇭 and Germany 🇩🇪. It’s also fun learning about what got them into this lifestyle and what their future plans are.

Dinner & drinks with our new friends in Luperon

Jeff will be helping out a friend we met in Florida last year by crewing with him to sail his boat from Punta Cana DR over to Ponce Puerto Rico at the end of the month.  They’re hoping to get the trip completed the first week of May – but weather always dictates the schedule. I’ll hang out here with the dogs and the boat and plan to volunteer with the Dogs & Cats of DR organization so we’ll both be a bit busy in the coming weeks.  We’re excited about spending the summer here and can already see the savings by our expenses thus far. So until next week, love, hugs and prayers to you all😘💞🌴⛵

2 countries in 1 week…

We made it! We are now in Luperon Dominican Republic 🇩🇴 in a very safe harbor surrounded by stunning mountains!

Dominican Republic in view – stunning!

Our journey over the past 2 weeks has been extremely entertaining and tiresome. After leaving Crooked Island we headed over to Atwood Harbor on Acklins Island and spent a few nights there. This place was so pretty, we did some snorkeling and took the dinghy out to explore and spent some time with new and old friends. We were still traveling with Bruce & Nancy on s/v Seabird who we met in Clarencetown Long Island and the first night had this beautiful harbor just to the four of us.

Atwood Harbor on Acklins Island

The next couple of nights brought in about 4 to 6 other boats. Our friends Terry & Leslie from m/v Orient Moon who we met in Clarencetown also showed up and stayed for the night. We had sun downers and snacks on their boat with Seabird and got to relax and enjoy the time before they left the next morning headed to Plana Cays. Over the next couple of nights we met a couple of other boaters and even picked up a new friend Jack Yura from s/v Evie II. Jack planned to head to Mayaguana and Turks & Caicos just like us and Seabird so the three of us left Atwood Harbor on Saturday morning with intentions to stop the night in Mayaguana. Jeff and I made the last minute decision to keep going because the weather was perfect and we wanted to get an overnight sail in to work up our nerves for the long crossing to DR. Evie II and Seabird both stopped at Mayaguana while we made our way over to Turks & Caicos 🇹🇨 That ended up being a 105 mile run for us which took around 24 hours and it was tough! We took turns catnapping through the night and made it into the Turks banks around 6am. We still had another couple of hours to get to the designated anchorage in Sappadillo Bay and we needed to navigate there safely to avoid all the coral reefs so we had to slow down because this had to be done in daylight hours. The charts are extremely helpful to point out where the reefs are located, however they don’t capture them all so you need a good visual in order to safely navigate around them. We’re basically looking for the dark spots in the water to avoid because the banks are shallow and chalked full of gorgeous and very dangerous corral reefs. Many if not all pleasure boaters reference a very well know book called The Thornless Passage which has very detailed instructions and descriptions about this journey and how to safely traverse the entire Caribbean painlessly.

We arrived in Caicos on Sunday morning and raised the quarantine “yellow” flag and got some sleep. Monday morning we headed over to Port Authority to clear in with immigration, customs and agricultural for the dogs. Once that was all taken care of we headed over to Caicos Marina to avoid some heavy winds over the next few days. They had a great price on a slip so we took advantage of it along with Seabird and enjoyed some peace and calm along with long daily hot showers at the marina. (No navy shower for a few days 😁) We planned to rent a car to go into town for provisioning and see what Caicos was all about and ended up meeting a fellow sailor who has his boat in the yard getting some work done. He needed our help raising him up his mast to install lazy jacks for his mainsail so in repayment he offered to drive us wherever we needed to go. Over the next 3 days he took us out to shop and to show us all around Caicos. We had a great time getting to know Emanuele from Italy who lives in Chicago when he’s not on his beautiful boat Prima. Our friend Jack from s/v Evie II showed up and ended up staying a night and then joining us on our nightly adventures with Emanuele.
After 4 days in Turks and Caicos a good weather window was coming up so we said our goodbyes to Emanuele and Jack and made the decision to make our way over to Fish Cays for the night along with Seabird.

Turks & Caicos and new friends

Fun in Caicos

On Saturday morning we got up said our goodbyes to Seabird and headed Southeast to Dominican Republic which was another 105 mile run which took yet again 24 hours to arrive in Luperon DR. We crossed the windward passage which can be known as very dangerous due to high winds and seas. We were very watchful on the weather and chose that window for smooth seas which we also learned from the book. Since we wouldn’t have Internet access out there during our crossing and we don’t have radar we asked our good friend Brian Scarborough to send us the weather forecast via our inReach Delorme over satellite. One of the best investments for the boat! Our intentions early on were to spend hurricane season in DR for a couple reasons, safety being the first and second was the opportunity to recoup some of the expense of being in the Bahamas for so long. We were pleasantly surprised by a wedding invitation in August here in DR as well so we will most definitely be here for several months. We arrived on Sunday morning around 8am exhausted but so thankful for an easy and safe crossing. We were welcomed by beautiful mountains and lush green trees as far as we could see. The drive into the harbor was awesome, so beautiful and serene.

Luperon harbor @ peace

We dropped the anchor once in the harbor and planned to sleep for several hours, however the friendly navy folks of Luperon were wide eyed and busy tailed Sunday morning and decided to come knocking on the boat around 9:30 and welcome us by checking our documents and letting us know Customs and Immigration were on land waiting to welcome us as well. So much for sleeping. 😣 Within the hour we had the dinghy down and we were headed into town to complete our registration and check-in into DR. By noon we were pretty much all set so we decided to walk around some and get a lay of the land. We quickly realized and remembered our friends telling us that the place pretty much shuts down from 12-2pm (can you say siesta). Restaurants, bars and grocery stores are open so we stopped into a bar and met Fran who’s been here for 5 years! Talk about a plethora of information, we’ll be sticking close to her because she knows everyone and everything. Love this cruising life, people are so willing to help you out. We’ve run into a couple other sailboaters who we only knew from Facebook but finally got to meet in person here, they also have been extremely helpful.

The harbor is a mud bottom harbor and isn’t the cleanest or the best thing for your anchor and chain to sit in for too long so since we intend to hang out for a few months we did the math and figured we could stay at Puerto Blanco marina and still save money and keep our boat hardware in decent shape by being tied to a dock. We knew DR was going to be inexpensive but WOW we are amazed and so looking forward to spending time here. We haven’t been to the beach yet but it’s still early so we’ll update you on that later. So far we’re enjoying the marina, the wifi and with electricity included we’re in heaven. The food and beer is cheap and the people are kind and generous. We’ve determined its similar but still so different than the Bahamas and we’ll post more on those differences in the coming posts but for a quick glance, getting water and disposal of trash is pretty interesting 😊

Sights and new ways in Luperon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puerto Blanco Marina

As always thank you for the prayers and for following us. 😘💞⛵🌴

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