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Month: March 2014

Staniel Cay: Happy Dogs and Yachts-on-the-Rocks

Staniel Cay didn’t give us the warmest welcome…


With a westerly coming in, the plan was to find protection at Staniel Cay. We had hoped the marina would be a good place to rest for a few days so we could catch up on some online chores, top off our tanks and get a full charge on our batteries. Earlier in the day we made reservations and let the marina staff know we would be pulling in at about 5:30. They said “No problem, come on in.”

At 5:35pm we approached the channel and hailed Staniel Cay Yacht Club on the radio. No answer. Several times we tried, but no answer. Our radio had been on the fritz, but we were sure they really just weren’t monitoring at all. Now what? It’s almost dark and we were SO ready to tie up and grab some dinner. Instead, we passed the marina and picked up a mooring ball on the back side of Thunderball Grotto. Easy enough. The guy managing the private moorings came around at 9am the next morning to collect $20.


At slack tide we took the paddle boards over to the Grotto, put on our fins and masks and swam inside. It really was amazing to see!! Unfortunately there were about 15 people in there with us, but we still had a good time. The Grotto has been filmed several times and most notably for a James Bond film, Thunderball. I don’t have any pictures since I was a bit nervous to swim  with my iPhone for that long. The case has leaked a few times and I didn’t want to chance it. Check out Google Images though for a good idea of what we saw :)

The entire time we were at Staniel Cay we heard people hailing the yacht club on the radio with no answer ALL DAY LONG. Occasionally someone would get through. The fuel dock answered right away for others calling in. I guess they aren’t run by the same staff? We finally made contact and stayed one night at the marina. Water was .50 cents and power was .75/kw. They ask for 2.50 per trash bag and $5 per large bag. If you go around the corner by dinghy there is a beach with a trail up to the local dump where you can take your trash for free. There were no showers or restrooms and internet was the pay-per-day satellite wifi deal for $15 a day with TERRIBLE connection.We used that the first night to take care of a few things online but that was definitely a one-time-thing.  We  just can’t recommend staying at the Yacht Club here. Life is so much better at anchor!!

While exploring town at Staniel Cay, we visited the BTC office to finally get a Bahamas sim card. We took the “highway” :) After I finally got AT&T to cooperate and unlock my iPhone we were able to get the BTC network up and running. The iPhone lets me turn on personal hotspot to boost service to our laptops. $30 for 2 gb is definitely worth it! It took us this long to set it up because we didn’t think we’d spend so much time here in the Bahamas, but we’re on Island Time now and are moving much slower than before. With the blog, 2 gb doesn’t last long, even with reducing file sizes. It’s pretty nice to have wifi to access weather too, even though we can tune in to Chris Parker on the SSB.


Moving up between the Majors was the next item on the agenda before the next front came through. The protection from the west was good and our anchor held well. It only got rolly as the wind clocked around from the north and east but we stuck it out longer than most before moving over to the west side of Big Majors where the pigs live. We kept our distance though since they like to climb up on the side of the boats to be fed. There were big ones and tiny baby piggies too. Pretty cool to see them swimming around but I sure wouldn’t want to swim with them!


Here’s an underwater shot of a turtle we saw before my LifeProof case started leaking. The phone spent a good three days inside a bag of rice but there’s still a bit of water damage on the corner of the screen. OH WELL, it still works :)


We spotted another Whitby 42 after we went back to the other side between the majors. Jock and Val aboard Duchess had anchored right next to us! We had a nice dinner that night with our new friends and had a good night’s sleep anchored securely. The next day, Jock came over to let us know a 65′ motor yacht had gotten himself stuck on the rocks commonly known as Crown of Thorns. The local salvage company arrived promptly. I guess its pretty common to hit this very dangerous rock. The current sweeps through here at a good 6 knots with the changing of the tides and it takes a good lookout to see the rock there at high tide. Turns out the current swept this boat over much quicker than they anticipated.

Peter and Jock went to go help them out and ended up being of great assistance. They were running equipment back and forth in their dinghies and assisting the diver that came aboard the vessel in distress. I can’t even imagine getting in the water here with the strength of the current!! It was all we could do to run our 15hp dinghy motor at full speed to stay in place next to the motor yacht.

Our dinghy turned into a life raft when we took the wife, daughters and their friends ashore. The yacht had just shifted on the rock and they were afraid of it being tipped over too much and potentially catching the rail in the current. We were right along side and it was terrifying to think of the strength of the water flowing beneath us. We continued running tools and equipment for the salvage company, as the owner and captain did their best to help out from the yacht. At one point the diver called us back over and asked for me to come aboard just to have another body on the port side bow as they ran the tow rope up the other direction to pull the boat off the rocks. This literally took all day.



The propellers were toast, both rudders were bent, the bow thruster was no good and there was a seeping crack in the hull. The insurance quote to fix the boat was astronomical! There’s good money in salvage, that’s for sure. It was a very unfortunate situation but we were glad we were able to be of service. The family and crew were okay which is what’s important.

That night Peter and I relaxed with a movie and some popcorn. Peter has Gunner perfectly trained to give kisses for a piece of popcorn. He doesn’t even have to say anything anymore… they have an understanding :) Gunner gets more popcorn than I do!!!


Sweet boys. These two have more in common than I ever thought was possible. Its pretty darn cute.


Sleepy Sampson Cay was the next stop as we followed our sistership, Duchess, up north just a bit. It was very quiet, we were the only two boats there. Great holding and not very rolly at all. The island is private now and there was actually quite a bit of traffic coming and going. A sea-plane did about 5 drops right next to us.  Besides the traffic from visitors to the private island, it was a nice place to stay.

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Gunner is such a funny dog. He makes himself comfortable in the strangest ways! He is loving the Bahamas!



There was a nice sand bar behind Sampson Cay where the dogs got to run and swim. There was nothing there for Gunner to eat or get into so it was the perfect place to let him run free :) He ran and ran and ran until his little legs just couldn’t go anymore. He tried so hard but ended up hopping with is back legs trying to keep up with the front ones. Betsy ran as fast as she could and they played hard!!



Both puppies love to go fishing with their daddy, but they’re more interested in the lure than the fish.


Betsy is a little easier to get in and out of the water so she gets to go swimming a little more often than Gunner. The handles on our HelpEmUp harnesses make it easy for us to toss her in…





Sleeping in is still one of our favorite things to do. French toast with local Bahamian bread makes our mornings even better!!!


Although our posts aren’t coming as frequently as they used to, rest assured we are enjoying ourselves to the fullest. It has been an amazing experience so far and we are settling in to our new life at sea quite nicely. Living on the hook is hard work, but it is TOTALLY worth it!!


Follow your dreams and take a leap of faith!! Dreams really do come true :)

The Exumas: New adventures, Private Beaches and Bull Sharks

Anchored off of White Cay, Berry Islands

Peter and I have been enjoying our time in the Bahamas immensely. It’s hard for both of us to believe we’ve been cruising for only a little over a month. It feels like an eternity ago that we started gearing up for this adventure but the reality is, only 7 months have passed since we first laid our eager eyes on S/V Mary Christine (previously S/V Hey Jude). It’s even harder for us to grasp the fact that this is only the beginning! There is no end in sight to this dream as we make our way through the Bahamas heading south through the Eastern Caribbean and over to Central America.

After Josh and Leah’s departure we took some time to regroup, reorganize and recharge ourselves while sitting comfortably at the dock in Yacht Haven Marina, Spanish Wells. After the weather gave way, our travels took us southwest to the Fleeming Channel. We spent the night at anchor near the channel and awoke the next morning for a gorgeous sail to the Exumas.

Knowing we would be dodging marked and unmarked coral heads, it was imperative that the sun be directly overhead for the second half of the trip. Some of the cruising guides tell of boats making crazy turns back and forth for seemingly no reason at all. This would be a sure sign of lurking coral heads below the surface. On a sunny day you can see them from a few hundred feet away. I lathered on some sunscreen around my favorite bikini, grabbed my polarized sunglasses, a hat and some water, then made my way up to the bow to stand watch. Peter kept eyes on the Garmin chartplotter and Navionics iPhone app for the known coral heads as I called out the unmarked ones. I was a little more nervous about it than I needed to be. After passing a few, we realized there wasn’t much to it. Most of them had plenty of depth to the waterline although we had heard they can be as shallow as 3′ from the surface. There was more overcast than we would have liked which caused us to miss one of the coral heads until we were already going over it. No damage done thank goodness :)


Gunner loves standing watch from the highest point he can reach

Hard to tell where the water ends and the sky begins… It was a gorgeous and mystical day. The stillness around us felt like we were in a time warp, slowing floating along.


Peter is always catching something when our trolling lines are out, pretty much every time we move to a new anchorage :) Another tasty mutton snapper got filleted up on deck while under way.




(**UPDATE** Click ‘HERE‘ for more photos of our journey across Fleeming Channel! The were misplaced at the time of this post)

We arrived at Ship Channel Cay and anchored for the night. This easy pace of life sure is spoiling us. It’s times like these where I tell myself, “I could get used to this,” but wait… I am getting used to this!

The next day we went snorkeling with the Air Line to see what we could see. After the small engine was all set up, hoses uncoiled and the dinghy prepared to tow behind us, Peter and I took a look around underwater. My LifeProof case allowed me to snap a few pics.

Can you see the school of barracuda??

There was a lurking school of smallish barracuda checking us out. A little creepy, but they didn’t bother us.

We were very much alone out here. No other boats were anchored nearby. A guidebook recommended one of the nearby rocks for diving. There was a slight dropoff just beyond where the visibility stopped beyond the rock. Peter likes to go scope out the dropoffs to see what kind of big fish might be hanging out there. The thing about searching for big fish is that there is often BIGGER fish lurking nearby.


I was busy looking around when suddenly Peter grabbed my arm and shoved me toward the dinghy. We had previously agreed on hand gestures for things like BOAT, LOBSTER, SHARK and NURSE SHARK, but he wasn’t giving me anything… just a terrified look in his eyes that I could clearly make out through his goggles, along with a sense of urgency that I don’t get from him often. His air hose appeared to be okay, and so did mine. I didn’t see any boats or anything else around us. Without further hesitation, I grabbed onto his shoulders and swung myself behind him kicking as fast as my flippers would take me.

In moments like this there isn’t much room for imagination. I had one thing on my mind and that was getting out of the water as fast as I could. I still didn’t see anything so I hopped up into the dinghy with a boost from my fins. Once my arms and legs were safely inside the safety of the dinghy I called out to Peter asking him what was going on. He didn’t move as fast as I had, but he was making his way back to where I was and finally got himself out of the water too.


Peter has fish eyes and can see farther than most underwater. The visibility back in San Diego was usually a murky 10-15 inshore on a good day so his eyes have been trained to spot the monster halibut and other creatures of the sea he has been spearing for years.

About 40 feet from where we were swimming here in the Exumas, Peter had just seen a bull shark at least 8′ long and 500-600 pounds. It was just on the edge of the dropoff and just barely within his visibility, lurking into the blue. It was an unmistakably large, dark, stormcloud-gray figure with a smokey-white underbelly. It’s big strong head and stout body glided through the water as if it weren’t even moving a muscle. It knew we were there long before Peter saw the shark. We were in his reef and although it wanted nothing to do with us, it was clearly scoping us out.

Peter was pretty messed up by the experience for a few days. Even I had a bad dream about a shark brushing up against me that night. We probably would have had a great time snorkeling even if we didn’t see the shark but better safe than sorry and we moved on to shallower waters.

Our next destination was outside Allen’s Cay for protection from a small weather system moving through. The current was pretty strong but we made sure to stay away from the larger group of boats anchored in there. Right as we had pulled in we saw a sailboat drift back and nearly hit the catamaran anchored behind him. We wanted no part of that holding so we moved up and around a bit away from everyone else. Allen’s Cay is where most cruisers go to see the wild iguanas of the island. Peter and I weren’t too interested so we tended to boat projects and stayed cozy during the blow.

We moved on the next day to an anchorage on the north side of the rocks at Highbourne Cay. Winds clocked up to 30 knots and we swung around in circles all night. The wind generator was cookin but it didn’t make for a very comfortable sleep. The forecast we had didn’t match the wind and wave direction we got, but we stuck it out til morning. Our delta anchor has been taking good care of us.


We checked out the beach on that side and where the water meets the sand it was a beautiful clear blue. The puppies were happy to go for a ride and do a little exploring. They sure love the dinghy!


Later that day the wind was still a bit chilly when it came time for our solar showers on deck. We were the only boat there so it wasn’t for privacy that we had to rig up some towels, but rather for protection from the wind. Deck showers are fun but I’m really not a fan of being soaking wet with cold wind.


Highbourne Cay Marina was a one-night stay. We knew it would be expensive, but we were also hoping for free wifi since we didn’t have our local Bahamas sim  card yet. Not the case… It’s a $15/day charge to access satellite based wifi for connection with only one device, and it was terribly slow!! There were a lot of big boats in there. Definitely not the kind of place we would stay for long, but it was a nice break after the 30 knot winds tossing us around the night before.





The nurse sharks swarmed here too, just as they do at most marinas in the Bahamas, next to the fish cleaning stations as the fishermen throw in their scraps. It’s quite a sight to see. There were three bulls sharks that came in to see what all the commotion was about and we distinctly noticed them as they lurked around the edge where the nurse sharks were. Their shape gave them away along with their constant motion. The crazy part is that there were kids swimming just on the other side of the jetty, just a few hundred yards away!!!! The marina here even has shark netting around their designated swim area. I guess these people didn’t care?


Hawksbill Cay was secluded and pretty. We took the paddle boards over to a quiet beach where the mangroves crept up a stream. This adventurous man of mine decided to follow it up as far as he could looking for a spring. No luck though.




Gunner and Betsy guarded the boat while we were gone exploring. If you saw them roaming free on deck would you come any closer? :) Gunner’s bark can be rather annoying at times but they definitely let us know when someone is even remotely getting close to our boat. Good dogs.


The end to another picture perfect day… we really are living the dream!

So this is paradise…


What’s in our Ditch Bag and Med Kit??

Now that the ocean is our home, it’s critical that we have the supplies we need in the event of an emergency. This is similar to carrying emergency supplies in your car and stocking up in your home if you live where “The Big One” could tremble the earth so much it knocks out all roads, power and water at any minute, or if you live where a snow storm could leave you trapped inside a car or home, or if you live where a hurricane or tornado could demolish your town.

There are increasing numbers of Doomsday Preppers around the world today that fear a disaster of epic proportions could render them completely on their own. TV shows have depicted some of the extremes these preppers have gone to ensuring their safety and survival.

For others, it’s a less of an obsession but rather a desire for a ‘Plan B’ type of scenario that inspires them to always be prepared for anything to happen.

Peter’s uncle Dan and his wife Terry own a compound in the desert primarily for off-roading and weekend fun. They also know in the back of their minds that they have somewhere safe to go and fully stocked up with supplies and survival gear in the event that the economy crashes beyond repair and chaos breaks out in the masses.

Two of our favorite TV shows before leaving our little home in San Diego was SurvivorMan and Dual Survival. Both of these shows are of course based on survival and they really get us thinking about whether or not we would have the know-how to really survive in the wilderness. These guys demonstrate that it’s not as easy as it looks to survive in less than ideal conditions when it comes to extreme cold, heat, wind, shelter, food, hydration, finding help, medical issues, and know-how. We believe it is just as important to actually get out and tests your skills before you need to use them. Could you really make a fire with wet or no kindling? Do you know how to use a magnesium stick? Could you catch fish without a fishing pole? Would you actually know how to use a water purifier if you were dying of thirst? Do you know what to do if you’re bitten by a snake or poisonous insect? Would you know how to signal for help without a radio?

It seems so basic to know how to survive, but when you really think about it, could you?? Living on a boat for us brings a whole new meaning to SIMPLE LIVING. It’s about sustaining life and making due with the skills and tools available to us.

Back in October we built a thorough Ditch Bag and Medical Kit with everything we could think of. It was near the top of our priority list as we began outfitting the boat, knowing it MUST be done before we left the protection of Charlotte Harbor. Wonder what kind of survival tools we have on board?


All these things in mind, we assembled our Ditch Bag with the idea that we can survive and find help if something ever happened to the boat, if we were swept out to sea in the dinghy or stranded on an island somewhere. Our ditch bag is essentially a dry-bag with all of the basic survival gear we might need in the event of an emergency. Although one time the Ditch Bag was accidentally left on board instead of taken out in the dinghy during a diving expedition, we have made it a policy to ALWAYS bring the Ditch Bag when we take the dinghy anywhere. Even if it’s just for a quick potty run to shore with the dogs, ANYTHING could happen. Two items we know are missing are a handheld GPS and a handheld VHF radio. We’ve put those on our wish list :)

Our Ditch Bag lives in the cockpit where it’s readily accessible during a storm. If we ever needed to leave the boat, we would be stepping ‘up’ into the life raft with our Ditch Bag in hand and hydrostatic inflatable Mustang life vests and harnesses already on. We’ve also each got an ACR ResQLink+ GPS-enabled Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) fastened to our life vests.

Ditch Bag Inventory:

  • Line to tie the Ditch Bag to the dinghy – JUST INCASE :)
  • Spot Tracking device with 911 capability
  • Beef jerky – high protein content, light weight and stores well
  • Knife
  • Fishing line
  • Fishing hooks
  • Fully charged 2-way radio (the other one stays on the boat)
  • PUR water purification pump – pickled
  • 1 beach towel
  • Flares
  • Matches
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof flashlight with fully charged batteries
  • Dog leash
  • Bungee cord
  • Paracord
  • 2 space blankets
  • Dinghy patch kit
  • US Army compass
  • 2 rain ponchos
  • Duct tape
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Whistle/mirror/watertight container of matches/compass – combo tool
  • Magnesium stick
  • Tourniquet made from an old Hawaiian sling band
  • Napkins in a ziplock bag
  • Gloves
  • 2 gallon ziplock bags
  • Black plastic trash bag
  • Wound seal powder
  • Medical tape
  • Ace bandages
  • Ear drops
  • Eye wash
  • Potable Aqua drops
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • ChapStick with sunscreen
  • Miscellaneous bandaids
  • Burn gel
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Rubbing alcohol spray
  • Nail clippers
  • Medical scissors
  • Insect bite relief wipes
  • Ibuprofen
  • Benadryl
  • Bar of soap
  • Immodium – antidiarrheal




This boat is our home so all of the medical items we would normally have in a house are also here on the boat. We keep most internal medicines in the lockers in the aft head while the water-tight med kits are stored in the lockers in the forward head. It is critical that these items are organized in a way that we can find what we need quickly.

Just like the Ditch Bag, its important that our med kit is sealed in a water-tight container. Because we have so many items in our med it, we opted to use two large locking lid Tupperware containers. We personally like the SnapWare kind that come in different sizes and lid colors. They have gaskets that seal well and the lids stay locked keeping out air, water and bugs.

Each container has the contents labeled on the outside for quick reference and the items inside are organized in groups, separated by ziplock bags and labeled in further detail. We keep a bag nearby in case we need to grab our whole med kit in a hurry and bring our supplies an injured person in need of help off of our boat.

Something we didn’t start out with in our medical supplies is several courses of antibiotics. We didn’t plan far enough ahead to meet with our doctors before we left California to obtain the courses one might need in a marine environment. Now that we are out of the US we hope to pick some basic antibiotics in a pharmacy or clinic where they won’t cost an arm and a leg ;) We did start off with one course of antibiotics, however Peter already needed it back in Florida when a hardhead saltwater catfish barb punctured his knuckle. It was horribly painful and poisonous. Thanks to our friends Lisa and Will at The Trading Post/Calusa Queen Eco Tours in Burnt Store Marina we googled it in a hurry and found that hot water over 103 degrees (or as hot as you can stand) will neutralize the poison and take the pain away instantly. It could have turned into a nasty infection but we were lucky to already have the medicine we needed on hand. We’ve also learned that hot water is also the remedy to neutralize a sting from Lionfish, Stonefish and most other venomous creatures in a marine environment. If you’re ever out in the dinghy and someone happens to be stung by one of these painful encounters, the raw water exhaust on your outboard motor will do the trick until you can get to shore to find hotter water.

Large Medical Kit Inventory (blue lid – external supplies):

  • Medical tape
  • Respirator mask
  • Scissors
  • Space blanket
  • Antiseptic prep pads
  • Sterile gauze compresses
  • Miscellaneous bandaids – latex and latex-free organized by size and material
  • Thermometer
  • Tourniquet made from an old Hawaiian sling band
  • Permanent marker
  • Latex free gloves
  • Sterile IV catheter – incase we come across a medical professional that might be able to use it?
  • Tweezers
  • Surgical lubricant
  • Sterile blood collection kit
  • Sterile disposable lancet
  • Sterile closure strips
  • Several quick reference first-aid guides



Small Medical Kit Inventory (purple lid – external supplies):

Antiseptic Ointment:

  • Antiseptic lotion
  • Bacitracin
  • Polysporin
  • Triple antibiotic ointment

Burn Treatment:

  • Burn gel
  • Black Tea


  • Nasal spray
  • Sinus rinse packets


  • Contact solution
  • Eye drops
  • Vigamox – pinkeye


  • Drawing Salve
  • Poison ivy, oak and sumac cleanser
  • Hydrocortosone cream
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Clobetasol propionate – eczema, rash, skin inflammation
  • Meat tenderizer – jellyfish stings


  • Premixed ear drop solution – rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar
  • Prescription drops for ear infections
  • Wax ear plugs
  • Foam ear plugs

Miscellaneous Topical Ointments:

  • A&D
  • Tinactin
  • Clotrimazole
  • Preparation H
  • Icy Hot
  • Retin-A
  • Compound-W
  • Mederma scar gel
  • Muscle rub lotion



Miscellaneous Medical Supplies and Internal Medication Inventory:

  • Vinegar
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe Vera
  • ChapStick with Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • NyQuil
  • Pepto Bismol liquid and tablets
  • Tums
  • Fiber chewables
  • Throat lozenges
  • Throat Coat tea
  • Nasal spray
  • Sore throat spray
  • Omeprezole – acid reflux/heartburn
  • Rantidine – acid reflux/heartburn
  • Benadryl
  • Caffeine pills
  • Dimenhydrinate – motion sickness
  • MotionEase – topical motion sickness
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Excedrine Migraine
  • Immodium tablets – anti-diarrheal
  • Ondansetron ODT – nausea/vomiting
  • Arsenicum album – food poisoning
  • Xopenex inhaler
  • Stool softener
  • Vaseline
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Witch Hazel
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Epsom salt
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Betadine/Iodine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Tinactin fungal spray
  • Gauze
  • Ace bandages


Medical Books and Reference Guides:

  • The Merck Manual of Medical Info
  • Your Offshore Doctor
  • American Red Cross 1st Aid/CPR/AED manual
  • The US Armed Forces Survival Manual

There are many great medical reference books out there but these are what we had on hand before we left. In hindsight there are a few others we would have liked to order, but hopefully this will be sufficient should we ever need them. What medical books do you recommend for full-time cruisers like ourselves?

Please share any survival stories you have as well as tips and tricks we might not find in any books :)

We feel we have done a pretty thorough job at assembling our medical supplies and Ditch Bag. We also know you can never be too prepared. Leave us a comment and let us know what other MUST-HAVE items we may have forgotten!! We’d love to hear from you!


**UPDATE** We have recently added several courses of antibiotics to our supply that we picked up at a pharmacy in the Dominican Republic. We have also added lidocaine, sutures and a suture removal kit.

Spanish Wells brings a wish Farewell to our Crew


Monday 2.24 around 4am we pulled up the anchor and headed for Spanish Wells. It was a perfect quiet sail the whole way. The dogs even got to enjoy a nap soaking up the sun. Suddenly, we slowed down to 4 knots with all sails out as we approached a small dark storm cloud.


Just as we passed underneath it on the outside, the winds picked up to 15 knots and began pushing us with incredible speed. The GPS clocked a whopping 8.5 knots!!! That is WAYYYY fast for us! It was pretty cool because we weren’t hardly heeled over at all but still smokin’ fast!!


As we passed under the dark nasty sky we watched the dozens of funnel clouds appear and minutes later, disappear. A few of them turned into water spouts. We were just far enough away to feel safe :)


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This system pushed us in all the way to Royal Island where we anchored. There were a few other boats anchored in there already. We took our deck showers, got the BBQ started and settled in for the evening.


While we were looking at an overview of the islands of the Bahamas, we saw this:


Looks like a dolphin to us!

The next day (Tuesday 2.25) we made the short trip over to Spanish Wells and pulled into Yacht Haven Marina. The docks are a bit rickety and there is a bunch of construction going on but they have water (city), power, wifi and showers. I haven’t been spending much time with the wifi here as we’re busy with boat projects and cleaning up. It’s kind of nice to stay unplugged even when the option is there to reconnect via internet. It’s a small town here of around 2000 people. The local accent is predominantly British sounding and almost all the cars are driven from the right side. They drive on the left side of the tiny streets and most of the locals drive golf carts everywhere. There is three or four restaurants here, a grocery store, a couple small markets and some ‘take-away’ snack-shack type places.  The birds are chirping and there is green grass in their tiny yards. The streets are clean and everyone is very respectful with their trash. Locals are very kind and welcoming here. Very different from the other Bahamian places we’ve visited so far.


Coconuts in almost every front yard!!!


Here’s the view as you walk just a few blocks to the other side of the island approaching the beach:



They say Eleuthera is where you can find pink sand beaches.  They really are pink here! No filters on these photos…




We think this is another deep blue hole of some sort. It’s marked off with buoys.


What a nice way to carry groceries back home!






My new pink sand beach background photo on my phone…


Simply Paradise <3


House on the beach in the Bahamas? Yes please!!!! How cute is this place? Its actually for rent as a vacation home for a couple hundred a night.




There was a cannon ball sitting in the yard of this beach house. Lots of history here…



Can you see the bananas? …



Wednesday night (2.26.14) was Josh and Leah’s last evening with us before heading back home to San Diego. We all went out to dinner at The Shipyard restaurant. Fantastic meal and even better ambiance.



We’re sad to see them go. It was nice having some extra hands on deck as well as great company exploring the Bahamas. We hope they found an appreciation and understanding of the blood, sweat and tears it takes to live the cruising lifestyle that we’ve chosen. Now Josh and Leah have a glimpse of what our new life will be like as we take our floating home with us to some of the most beautiful places on Earth!



This is only the beginning for us. We’ve been cruising since February 2nd, just a short month ago, and there are still so many adventures ahead. Please be sure to follow along and let us know when your travel plans will put you Where The Coconuts Grow!!

Leave a comment with thoughts or questions… we love to hear from you!!

More mechanical challenges in Little Whale Cay


Wednesday 2.19.14 Gunner went potty again on deck first thing in the morning! Two mornings in a row!! Hooray! We prepared to boat for two hours down from White Cay to Little Whale Cay. When the engine turned over, the alternator belt started to squeal. We had heard it once before but this time it didn’t go away. Peter shut the engine off and went to check the belt.

What’s broken this time? The arm for the alternator!! If the issue had been the belt or the alternator itself, we could have easily replaced it with spares that we are carrying but in this situation the arm is attached to the engine and was bent so far it was rubbing on the fly-wheel. Luckily, the previous owner Steve was a master woodworker and had installed a vice on the inside of the engine room door. The guys took the alternator arm off, put it in the vice and then bent it back into place. The screw was put back in and Peter used some hose clamps to secure the cracked arm as a temporary fix. Success!! This could have been a major, major problem but with a little DIY ingenuity Peter was able to get us up and running once again.

As the rule goes, you can’t finish one boat project without starting another one. When Peter was climbing around in the engine room he started tracing the leak we have been dealing with the last week. At first, we thought it was from the anti-siphon hose on the generator. Then, we thought it could have been related to a leaking thruhull. Maybe it was a deck drain. Finally Peter found the culprit. There is a leak in the main engine exhaust hose somewhere between the engine room and the stern. He replaced two hose clamps and it appears to be doing the trick. Another project checked off ever-growing list!

The good news is that we had a nice sail down from White Cay to Little Whale. We topped out at 7.3 knots. WooHoo! Tucking in at Little Whale was smooth. The water was calm as soon as we crossed through the channel. The anchor held good, the wind generator cranked quietly all night and we got some much-needed rest.

The cruising lifestyle is definitely not for everyone. There are many challenges, both physically, emotionally and spiritually. It requires a tremendous amount of teamwork and communication for everyone to be on the same page. While it may put a strain on some relationships, it’s also a great way to bring people together very quickly. We’ve been moving incredibly fast over the last three weeks, stopping only as long as we need to, waiting on weather. We’re glad to be in the Bahamas but its time to slow things down. The surf, sun and sand will still be there when we arrive at the next place. We need to work a little more on our serenity right where we are :) On a lighter note, Gunner peed on the astro turf two more times that same day!! He finally gets it, we hope.


Thursday 2.20 we woke up early for the first time today and listened to the Chris Parker weather forecast. It’s a good thing he broadcasts on several different frequencies at several different times. Waking up at 6am for the first report isn’t exactly easy for us! Coffee was made, Leah got a load of laundry done and we made some water. Josh and Peter took the dinghy over to the small private marina next to us in Little Whale Cay and talked with the caretakers that live there. They had a few small items we could purchase but there was no store to reprovision from or get any groceries here. Waiting on weather, we decided to head south further to Chub Cay where they had wifi and hopefully a few services like restaurants, groceries and showers.

This little guy washed up on our decks during the sail down to Chub and I found him trying to go down our deck drain:



We spent a couple of nights in Chub Cay Marina but it was ridiculously overpriced. $4.50 a foot!! The boats in there were all massive yachts and decked out fishing boats. There was another tournament going on so we were just about the smallest boat there. The docks were beautiful, extra wide floating concrete. Definitely the fanciest docks we’ve been to so far. It was a crazy sight to see with all the underwater lights at night and monster boats all around us.


There was only one restaurant there which was actually terrible and crazy expensive. The small market had a few overpriced items but nothing worth buying. Luckily we talked to the two other cruiser boats and they told us to go down the dirt road just a bit and at the end of the green building there is a lady named Dretha that will sell us fresh bread, eggs, soda, hamburger meat and even cook lunch or dinner for us! We sat outside her house at the picnic bench and had some pretty tasty burgers and fries for about $6 a plate. The showers were super gross and super far away. I had to ask them to bring some toilet paper over because both of the restrooms were out. There were ants and no-see-ums everywhere. The power was a flat rate per day and the water was .50/gallon but it was good RO water (reverse osmosis) instead of city water so we could actually drink what we put into our tanks. We got some laundry done, filled both water tanks and relaxed a bit. Josh and Leah went exploring with the paddle boards and checked out some of the vacant houses on the beach. It was like a ghost town there! So many huge vacation homes but no people in them. Not exactly somewhere I would care to come back to either.

After two nights in the marina we spent two nights outside the channel at anchor waiting for the next window to cross to the Berry Islands. We had to use a stern anchor to keep us pointed into the swell to ease up a bit on all the rocking and rolling there. Leah and I got some sun while Peter and Josh went diving. Gunner just couldn’t help himself and had to come lay right between us up on the bow. He’s a momma’s boy who sure loves the sun!!


One night we took the dinghy up the shallow channel that crosses to the other side of the island to check out the sunken boats, rays, conch and all the starfish. With a little bravery, I dipped my iPhone under the water’s surface to get some cool pics of the huge rays. That Lifeproof case really does hold up well!! No issues at all. If you remember from an earlier post, we already tested our cases out to the max and they held their weight in gold.

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