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May 31, 2003

"Race to the Altar" and we move north

After arriving in Charleston, we got a call from the new TV reality show “Race to the Altar” Sue’s son Ethan and his fiancée Carolyn are finalists in the competition! They have been in Las Vegas for the last several weeks and the show wanted Sue to fly out and be a part of the filming of some part of the show. We ended up waiting here in Charleston and she flew out on May 21st and returned on the 23rd. They made her sign a “gag” contract prohibiting her from talking about any aspect of the show so we don’t know if Ethan and Carolyn won or not. The show will air on NBC in mid July so watch for it!
In the mean time – while waiting for Sue to return - I booked time at a local boat yard to have Omega hauled and bottom painted and the engine checked. The yard was a little slow getting the work done and it stretched out over the Memorial Day weekend so we rented a car and used the time to see Charleston. We went out the Ashley River to see one of the old plantations “Drayton Hall”.
On May 29th the boat was launched and we started out of Charleston about 6:30 PM and went out into the Atlantic for the overnight run to Cape Fear. The weather was perfect as advertised and we arrived at the entrance to the Cape Fear Channel just after lunch. We continued on up the first ten miles of the ICW to a nice protected anchorage we used on the run south and crashed about 7 PM and slept for 12 straight hours to recharge the personal batteries! Today we came up the ICW to Wrightsville Beach and are now anchored in a nice protected spot. A front is coming through with winds forecasted to be up the 35 knots so its nice to know we are in a safe place and not out in the ocean! We will continue up the ICW the next two days and then leave the boat at a marina while we drive to Durham to visit Kat and Jackie and while I fly back to NJ for the next board meeting of Fresh Creek Technologies on June 6th. We had hoped to be on the Chesapeake by now but since we are retired and there is no schedule its OK.

Posted by Dick at 03:21 PM

May 12, 2003

The Berry's and the trip home

April 29th through May 12th
Robert Boone arrived almost on schedule on April 30th and was at the Nassau Harbor Club by 8 PM. After settling in and a welcome aboard drink, we went to the Ichibon Japanese restaurant at the marina and had a nice meal. The weather did not cooperate and was stormy that night and the next day so we delayed our departure and instead went to the Atlantis Resort and took the aquarium tour. In spite of the $25 per person fee, we all agreed that it was well worth the price. The whole place is mind boggling to say the least! Some of our aquarium fish photos are on the web site and came out well in spite of being taken through thick glass. We then went to the local market and Robert and I had a native conch salad prepared while we watched. It is spicy and good but I worry about the over-fishing of conch and the long-term consequences.
On Friday we topped up the water tanks, checked out of the marina and sailed the 30 miles to Little Whale Cay at the southern end of the Berry Islands. We passed two cruise ships coming into Nassau as we left. Little Whale is another beautiful anchorage and we were all alone. It is privately owned by Mr. Grove who developed Freeport on Grand Bahama and he keeps peacocks on it and we could hear them calling all night long!
Saturday we moved to the north end of Bonds Cay where we found a beautiful snorkeling reef in shallow water without a lot of current. Again we were all alone to enjoy the scene and the snorkeling. Along the way I put out the fishing pole and caught a very nice size Mutton Snapper (see photo in the gallery). It yielded enough for three meals and we had the first one that night and it was delicious. None of us died of Ciguatera poisoning (common in a lot of the reef fish) so we will eat the other two meals!
Monday we moved north again to south end of Hoffmans Cay behind White Cay in what I think is one of the most beautiful spots we have seen on the whole trip. Robert discovered Big Gaulding Cay around the corner that has crescent shaped beach with a few coconut palms, and a “cave” eroded into the rocks behind the palms. It looks like the perfect place to shoot one of those Bacardi Rum advertisements. We gathered several coconuts and later opened them with my meat cleaver (thanks Liz and Mike!), a screwdriver and a hammer. The greenest one had sweet milk, and the others all had nice firm coconut meat so we have been eating the raw coconut for the last several days.
Tuesday we had a nice down wind sail to Great Harbor Cay at the top end of the Berrys. There are two Cays here owned by cruise ship lines and their beaches are lined with sun lounge chairs, etc for the visiting tourists. From here we hopped across the Northwest Channel Passage to Grand Bahama Island and the Lucaya Marina Resort.
This si a very nice marina with excellent services including a heated pool that we enjoyed several times. We went out to dinner at a local Greek restaurant and had a nice evening. The next day we hired a local cab driver to take us to downtown Freeport to the local fresh fruit and vegetables market to provision and then to the Grove Botanical Garden. Both very interesting and fun. We cooked dinner on the boat and left the next day for West End and the trip home. We were at West End by 2:30 PM and after taking on diesel and ice, continued on for the non stop trip to Charleston, SC. The weather cooperated with light SW winds and a calm Gulf Stream. We had to motor sail to stay on "schedule" and got to Charleston on Sunday just after lunch. An uneventful and very nice trip but we were all tired from standing watches. Cleared Customs and reported in to Immigration by phone to be legally back in the US. Had a nice dinner in a local seafood place last night and Robert left by cab to pick up his rental car for the drive back to the Baltimore area. It was fun and very helpful to have him with us. Made contact with family to report safe arrival and check in. We will be here several days before we head north.

Posted by Dick at 04:14 PM