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January 23, 2005

Back in the Bahamas!

We spent several additional days with Craig and Hanna in Stuart and went out New Years Eve to dinner with Kay and Dave Lucas and their friends the McKee’s at a local restaurant “Ashley’s”. It was a nice evening but we “old” folks retired by 10 PM so didn’t get to welcome in the New Year.
From Stuart, we went out into the Atlantic for the leg south to Lake Worth. The wind was again right on the nose so we motored the whole way. It was a nice day on the water and the trip want well. After anchoring at Lake Worth overnight, we stayed inside on the ICW to Ft. Lauderdale where we anchored in Lake Sylvia, which is a nice protected spot close to all the local attractions. Ethan and Carolyn were in town looking at possible housing for their upcoming move here for her two-year fellowship with the Cleveland Clinic that starts in June. We had them aboard for cocktails and then went out to dinner with them. Another pleasant visit with family.
The trip from Lauderdale to Miami was again outside with wind so we could motor sail and we were anchored just west of Miami Beach by early afternoon. There is a very nice supermarket just two blocks from the dinghy landing where we made four trips for our final provisions before crossing to the Bahamas. We also walked over to South Beach for lunch and for Sue to check out the local gay male scenery. Our waiter was a Jack Nicholson look alike who also dressed and acted the part!
One night we met up with Josh’s friends Dave and Gaby Depilis who live there. We had a nice dinner at an outdoor restaurant on Lincoln Avenue that has been converted to a pedestrian walk for several blocks.
We moved south to No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne to stage for the crossing and left for the Bahamas early the morning of the 14th. The wind was from 150 degrees so we were close hauled but making good time. The sea conditions were moderately large and somewhat lumpy so Omega was taking the occasional wave over the bow! With the leeway of the boat and the Gulf Stream current we were being carried north faster than I had estimated so we ended up entering the Bahamas on the north side of Bimini about 2 PM. All in all a good crossing! We anchored in the lee of Bimini that night and started the 60-mile trip across the Great Bahamas Bank the next day. We were able to sail with the wind from the west. That night we anchored on the Banks in 15 feet of water with no land is sight in any direction! It is a strange sensation but is safe although it was rock and roll all night. The next day we sailed to Chub Cay and got a slip at the marina so we could rest, wash down the boat, top up with water and clear Bahamas customs and immigration. We decided to stay in this area another day or so before crossing to Nassau and moved to the south side of Chub and anchored with three other cruisers we met at the marina. We hosted a cocktail party one night on Omega and went to one on Pendragon another night. The weather was windy but I did go snorkeling with several of the other boaters (Sue stayed behind – “too cold”) and we found a great spot thick with a wide variety of fish and I found an octopus, which is unusual. We also saw the local Barracuda and a turtle and one of the others saw a small shark. We had several nice walks on the beach and added a few new shells to our collection.
On the 20th we made the crossing to Nassau in mostly light wind and anchored behind Salt Cay just north and east of Paradise Island before going into the Nassau Harbor Club Marina on the 21st. Sue and Omega are staying there while I make the trip back to NJ for the Fresh Creek Board meeting tomorrow. Our friends Sandy and John Matsen will be coming back with me on Tuesday to spend a week with us as we go south through the Exumas. It will be fun to have them aboard.

Posted by Dick at 08:12 PM

January 02, 2005

Manatee Pocket and Stuart

January 2, 2005
Wow, the new-year is here and the last log entry was a month ago. Where does the time go when you are having so much fun?
Lets see – we were in Daytona Beach visiting Chuck and Kathy. Did I say that I decided to replace the transmission in Omega since the old one was making really bad noises? Well, I did it myself while we were anchored near Chuck’s place in Daytona and had moral and physical help and support from Kathy and him while doing it. In spite of my worries, the job went well and the new transmission is working great. Now we don’t have to worry about quitting while we are in the Bahamas where good help is hard to find.
While we were in Daytona we helped Chuck and Kathy with fix up projects at the house and the cute “aft cabin” down by the water. Sue was a painter and I did electrical and carpentry work. It was fun since we were outside in beautiful weather with a nice view over the water.
We also had time to play and I went to the “Turkey Run” hot rod and street rod show at the Daytona track with Chuck’s (and now our) friend Frank Hilson. Frank is a real car expert and raced cars for most of his life. We had a good time looking at all the customized rods and all the related stuff for sale. We also had Thanksgiving dinner with local friends of Chuck who deep-fried the turkey. It was our first time for turkey done this way and it is good!
We reluctantly left Daytona and headed south toward Frank’s place in Sebastian. He invited us for dinner and we ended up staying overnight in the charming guest cottage he has built behind his house. The new Ford model A roadster he had just bought was in the garage - parked on an oriental rug! A beautiful hot rod in a beautiful setting. Frank is a great cook and his food is healthy as well.
After anchoring out the next night we arrived in Manatee Pocket, Stuart and tied up at the dock of Craig Callahan and his lady friend Hanna where we have been since then. Chuck did the introductions to Craig and we have made additional friends here. Craig’s place is on the water with a nice new dock that survived the two hurricanes with little damage but their cottage was flooded about 3 feet above the floor. They have been doing repairs ever since. Sue and I have volunteered help and it is another fun “work” project with great people. They have taken us shopping for provisions, etc., and to pick up and drop off rental cars when we went north for the holidays.
They are in the process of restoring a beautiful 1960 Trumpy motorboat/yacht and I have been doing some work on the electrical system. Photos of the boat will be on the web site shortly. It is quite a boat and will be something very special when fully restored.
Sue went to her sister Linda’s for Christmas and I went to Rich and Deb’s in Cleveland. We flew on the same US Air flight to Philadelphia and parted ways there. Sue’s flight to Manchester, VT went OK but mine to Cleveland was cancelled due to weather. I was in Philly the next two days until US Air could get me to Cleveland! I was able to invite myself to Ethan and Carolyn’s in Haddonfield the first night and Liz came and got me on Christmas Eve so I was with her and Mike for Christmas day until my flight to Cleveland left at 10 PM! Two nice surprise visits that were not on the agenda.
The visit to Cleveland was also great. Deb delayed Christmas dinner until Sunday for me and there were presents left under the tree for me to open. We took Justin, Lauren and some of their friends sledding (I took one run down the hill!) and we had a neighborhood poker night that only cost me $15. I’m a very bad and rusty poker player and dealer changed the game every hand so I never got up to speed. Fun anyway.
On our way home we got to Philly and Sue’s flight was oversold so we decided to take the free ticket coupon and stay over to visit uninvited with Ethan and Carolyn! We will see them again next week in Ft. Lauderdale when they come down to look for housing. Carolyn starts her fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic there in June.
The visits were great and a lot of fun but we both were happy to be back on the boat in the warm Florida weather!
We went out to dinner on New Years Eve with our friends Dave and Kay Lucas and their friends the McKee's. We retired early and were in bed by 9 pm so all we knew of the new year'e entrance was a few firecrackers at midnight.

Posted by Dick at 08:00 PM