Palm Cay Marina New Providence

…Palm Cay Marina is fantastic…

THIS IS THE PLACE to dock on the island of New Providence. We think this place is perfect. Beautiful facilities, beach, pool, beach bar, cabanas, restaurants, and a loaner car to run to town to re-provision and re-stock for the Exumas. Like most Bahamian Islands, the people are what make it so special, and here, the Dock Master is great. His name is Demaro Demeritte. He has built a team of dock hands, including Brayden, that are focused on making the marina exactly what boaters want. Outstanding, Demaro, you do a wonderful job!

Stopping here means you do not have to deal with Nassau harbor or any of the issues that may be associated with staying there. This marina is also a Point of Entry so you can check into the Bahamas from here as well. Some docks have no water or no power and there are 200 slips but only 30 transient slips as of Feb 2016. This marina has a waiting list now, and soon, I am sure it will be nearly impossible to get a dock here. If you are passing through Nassau, a place we have previously avoided, then stop here. This is a great place to drop off guests or to pick up new guests and it is a good place to turn around the yacht with laundry, boat washing, and shopping. If we come to Nassau ever again, then we will try to dock here. Check out their web site.
http://PalmCay.com

Here are my Photos of Palm Cay Marina:

The beach bar

The first floor dining area

The second floor set up for a meeting

Looking over the beach from the second floor

$300K was spent creating these beaches which did not exist before!

The man made marina was excavated to 8 feet deep.

The wedding gazebo on the point and the pool

Cafe serving Starbucks

Townhouse condos sell from $620K 

A pool with the beachfront condos

Nighttime lighting over the pool area

Beautiful lighting at night

The BLUE X’s represent the transient slips, NOT many!

Palm Cay is located on the SE corner of New Providence
For security, the entrance/exit is chained from 7pm to 9am

The dinghy dock near the pool and inside the chain.
Boats on the far side of the marina may dinghy to the pool, office, showers, laundry, bars, beach, etc.

The Cafe and docks

Docks are fixed, this is high tide and it drops 4 feet.

Palm Cay Marina is a great place to stop on your way to the Exumas from Bimini via New Providence. We are very glad we did.

Bahamas 60th Birthday Bash

…We did it, WE DEPARTED…two days early…

Jeff and Sharon, IP35 Lucille owners, took time off to join Team Island Spirit to celebrate Jeff and Hayden’s big 60th birthdays! Ten years ago, we had chartered a catamaran in the BVI’s with their son and daughter. It was time to go adventuring again! They met us in Miami and we pushed hard across the Gulf Stream to Bimini, Bahamas. After waiting out 30-35 knot winds there, we sailed 130 nm to the SE corner of New Providence where we docked at Palm Cay Marina. This sailing leg from Bimini onto the Great Bahama Banks, then through the North West Channel at 0200 into the Tongue of the Ocean and then to New Providence will be remembered as one of our greatest sailing legs in 25+ years!!

Champagne Celebration

Here are a few details. We sailed 120 nm and motored about 10 nm. Winds were 20 knots with some gusts to 28 knots. We sailed all night long with couples taking shifts at 1500, 1800, 2100, 2400, 0300, 0600, 0900, 1200, 1500. It took us 26 hours to sail the leg, which treated us to a calm sea, bright stars, and a beautiful sunrise. This was Sharon’s first overnight leg and her first offshore leg, too. She did great and I think she really liked it. Island Spirit sailed great under reefed main and a full 135% jib with autopilot driven by the wind vane which kept a perfect sailing angle all night and all day long. The wind turbine powered the electronics all night long, too. Shortly after day break, we needed to add 1500 rpms on the engine to push the 3 foot chop as the winds dropped to 10 knots but the waves kept running. It is funny, at home on the Chesapeake Bay, 10-12 knots is a great sailing day, but out on the ocean, 10-12 knots is just NOT enough to keep the boat moving and pushing at 3 knots into the swells. What you really want on the ocean is 15-20-25 and that is perfect. That is what we had for 120 nm, nearly perfect conditions which Island Spirit sailed very well.

Bimini Sands, South Bimini Dock, 6 days!

This trip was different than most because we ended up in marinas to safely wait out weather. We docked in South Bimini at Bimini Sands Marina with floating docks, which was a joy with the high winds and 3-4 foot tides. We were docked there 6 days. Then we sailed directly to New Providence, sadly skipping the Berry Islands. We took a slip at Palm Cay Marina on the SE corner of the island. There we needed to stay 6 days, too. We celebrated Valentine’s Day, toured Nassau and said good-bye to our crew. We turned around the yacht and waited for our next weather window to sail southeast to the Exumas.

Highlights of our time together:
1. Sailing 120 nm overnight and introducing Sharon to offshore overnight sailing
2. Jeff and Sharon provisioned the fine red wines, two cases of deliciousness from Total Wine in SOBE.
3. Radeen’s amazing meals of Lamb Shanks, Artichoke Chicken, Pot Roast, Chili on the Bahama Banks and many more!
4. Super Bowl 50 at Bimini Sands Beach Bar with conch fritters and Sands Beer.
5. The tour of the facinating Shark Lab on South Bimini.
6. “Captain Ron” Movie Night & trivia questions, “If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!”
7. Golf Cart Adventures and being “Pushed” home by friendly, helpful locals.
8. Having great friends onboard and sharing these adventures together!

Photos of our 13 days together

At 1152 on departure day, we said “Forget it, let;s turn around”…NO, we cannot easily go back!

Gulf Stream bashing, 30 degree wind angle, 2500 rpms on the engine.

Staysail and a reefed main with 2500 rpms to keep moving.

This shows the result of sailing wind vane at 30 degrees and the effect of the Gulf Stream
Note: At the end, we came out of the Stream and the boat turned, still 30 degrees to the wind

Happy arrival photo. Welcome to the Bahamas!

 Delighted to clear in to Bimini, Bahamas, 2016

Jeff and Radeen hoist the Courtesy Flag

Touring the Bimini Sands property with an inifinity pool on the beach

Our first big decision, Kalik or Sands? Both are delicious Bahamian Beers.

We were safe in the marina on floating docks. Look out the inlet. It is calm for now.

We took the ferry to explore North Bimini

Selfie as we walk to the inlet in the AM.

Curly Tail lizards posing everywhere

Radeen loves a pool. That is her (alone) in the 60 degree water! Brrrrrr

A beautiful sky that day at the pool. Another cold front is coming.

Fine red wine with Artichoke Chicken Dinner

We knew the inlet would be too rough, so we waited.

Winds blew at 35 to 42 knots for days.

Huge waves shut down the inlet. This is our exit to sea. This is a “no go.”

So, we set out to explore Bimini.

The GrLs walking Alice Town on North Bimini.
The next day we rented a golf cart which lost power on the way back.

Jeff and Sharon enjoying the new modern casino bar at Bahama Bay Resort.

Onboard Island Spirit we have a 32″ Samsung.
Perfect for Movie Night with CAPTAIN RON and
trivia questions from IP420 Amekaya.

Yup, the inlet is still not passable, Oh well, we will wait.

PARTY TIME with IP 420 Pura Vida at the Petite Conch Cafe. J-M and Kimberly are so much fun.

Roasted LAMB shanks for Hayden and Jeff’s Birthday Dinner Celebration
Great Job, Radeen! Thank you, COSTCO!

Happy 60th Birthday to Hayden and Jeff, with fine Italian DOCG Amarone Red Wine.

Team Shirts thanks to Sharon who designed them for us.
“Sea, Sun, Sail, Celebrate Sixty”
We are ready to head to sea on Hayden’s birthday, after a serenade from IP 420 Pura Vida.

Taking the helm offshore

Jeff trims the jib. Fantastic blue water as we head out below South Bimini.

Perfect sailing conditions. We sailed 120 nm like this! A passage worth waiting for!

Sunset on the Great Bahama Banks as we sail EAST.

This is your view of the helm at night. Let the boat run and watch as best you can.
AIS helped us avoid a close encounter with a ship at narrow Northwest Passage at 0200. Island Spirit will take care of you.

Heading EAST. The lights are red to maintain our night vision.

Sunrise, what a spectacular event.

One more sunrise photo on a beautiful day.

Approaching New Providence, we sailed well south of the coral heads and then turned northeast.

 

WE DID IT, we arrived in New Providence.after 26 hours of sailing!

Popping the champagne to celebrate our successful passage.

Team Island Spirit and Whiteaker Yacht Sales up and running. The office is open.

The Palm Cay courtesy car we can use for 2 hours each day.

Happy Tourists! The Queen’s Staircase, carved by 600 slaves, leads to
Fort Fincastle, the highest point of land in Nassau.

Bahamian Night and JAZZ Night at the Palm Cay Club, Jeff Gabor takes the drums and amazes the crowds.
Truly one of the highlights of our entire trip!

Walking downtown Nassau. Traffic police are everywhere.

Cruise ships and horse drawn buggies

Valentines Day aboard Island Spirit

Happy Valentines Day

Departure time, the Gabors are heading home. It certainly was a
memorable way to celebrate Jeff and Hayden’s special birthdays!

Jeff and Sharon say Good Bye. Thank you for making the effort to cruise with us!

Team Shirts, but, we sailed right past the Berry Islands…missed them all, due to the winter weather.

What a fun time and a busy time, preparing to leave the US 2 days early, docking, waiting weather, and being rewarded with one of the best sails in 25 years! Sharing this all with lifetime friends? Priceless!

Bahamas Prep 2016

After returning to Miami from Marathon and sailing Biscayne Bay we spent five full days shopping, loading and stowing our provisions for our 90 days into the lower Exumas. We also spent time preparing the boat for sea and for the arrival of our good friends Jeff and Sharon, IP 35 Lucille owners from our home port of Rock Hall, MD. It is always exciting when you are on the launch pad to a trip like this. You never feel like you are ready and there is always so much to do. The days are busy, you work all day and then crash into your bunk at the end of the day. When you finally deaprt, you are relieved because you actually left, you departed and headed out on your voyage. You would think with all our years of doing this, it would be easier, it is not, it takes a ton of effort, time and money to load up.

Our process went like this:

Day 1 Sat:
Pick up Rental car Coconut Grove, $9.99/day Sat Sun weekend special booked months ago, drive to South Beach for Total Wine, load up thanks to Jeff and Sharon!
Drive it back to Dinner Key, load all into the dinghy, take to anchored boat behind Dinner Key Moorings. Soak Radeen with a bow wave over the the dinghy because we are so over loaded and I took a powerboat wave wrong. Not a good thing.
2pm Up anchor, drive boat 1.5 hours back over to South Beach, anchor off Belle Island,
5pm head into town and attend our 7th Wallcast with boat buddies.
11pm crash

Day 2 Sun.
Anchor up 0800, drive the boat back to Dinner Key, re-anchor it and continue shopping! Drive 30 minutes to a Costco, load up one large cart.
Drive back, load into Dinghy, take out to anchored boat behind Dinner Key Moorings
Stow items until 10pm,
11pm crash into bed

Day 3, Mon,
Drive 40 minutes to a Walmart Super Center, load up one large cart
Drive back, load into dinghy, take to Mooring 168 now in Coconut Grove Sailing Club
Stow items until 9pm,
11pm crash (Note: We keep the rental car another day)

Day 4, Tue,
Note: We keep car another day!
Drive 20 minutes to Publix Grocery Store, West Marine, CVS, Back up to Miami for Yanmar parts, etc, etc, etc… load up
Drive back, load all into dinghy take out to moored boat,
4pm Stowe remaining items as Jeff and Sharon just landed and are on their way.
5pm Jeff and Sharon arrive and move on board yacht
5:30 Go into club for visits with Ron and MaryAnn,walk up to town to Lo Kal for burgers
11pm crash into bed.

Day 5, Wed,
Note: We keep car one more day, this is three extra days, and we needed it.
Jeff and Hayden Service Yacht. Get propane, gas and diesel jug. Tune the Standing Rigging, pull the impeller, pull heat exhanger end cap, find broken impeller blade, reassemble and run engine.
De-rig dinghy, take off 15 hp Yamaha and fuel tank. Return Rental Car.
Move boat to dock, water up, pumpout and wash the boat.
4pm Gather at the club for an Island Packet MiniVous, very fun gathering
6pm Walk up to town, celebrate Sharon’s Birthday with Jeff, Sharon, Ron MaryAnn and Radeen
11pm crash

Day 6, Thur
DEPART 7am Miami/Dinner Key for what was to be a 6-7 hour run to Bimini. It turned into an 11 hours bashing into the wind making Bimini Sands Marina inlet at 1800 as the sun was setting!.

WE DID IT. 
We loaded and actually departed for the Bahamas. I will always say, the hardest part of any trip is simply LEAVING. Then  if you try leaving close to your target date it is even harder. Move up your date by a few days, even harder, but we did it.

Here are some photos…

TOTAL WINE load up
WALLCAST #7

BACK TO DINNER KEY

COSTCO LOAD UP

WALLMART SUPER CENTER load up

Service Yacht

45 LBS of LAUNDRY, drop off service Grove Laundry

Wed, last loads, Diesel top up, Propane, Gas

Impeller full and replace

Wed: Island Packet MiniVous gathering

Birthday GIRL Sharon

Birthday Night

Thur. DEPARTURE photo, we did it, we are gone

It was a full five day prep, but we did it, and we actually did it 3 days earlier than we have planned due to a small weather window opening. The gulf stream crossing was NOT a good on, but that is another story. Thank you for sailing along.

Fun Boat Buddies

We have been having a wonderful time meeting boat buddies and getting together as we prepare our boat for the Bahamas while in Harbour Cay Club, Marathon, Florida. Here we are now, in Bimini Bahamas waiting out yet another 30 knot high wind situation and I wanted to catch up on the blog, at 3am.. Since Christmas, we have worked on the teak and a few various boat jobs, departed Marathon for Miami, attended the South Beach Wall Cast, spent 5 days provisioning for our Bahamas run number five, and boarded our good friends Jeff and Sharon. We then sailed/motored/bashed out to Bimini whichy took us 11 hours. When this wind goes West or Northwest, (Monday) we will blast across the Bahama Banks at night and arrive in the Berries. For now, here are some photos of some of the wonderful friends we have had the fun of spending time with as we all fully enjoy the cruising life. It is all about the people you share the adventure with. Thank you all good freinds for making our times together so much fun.

Christmas Time in the Florida Keys

…Island Spirit with festive lights…

This is our 4th of 5 cruising Christmases in the Florida Keys where we always take a dock at the peaceful and beautiful private marina, Harbour Cay Club (HCC) in Marathon, Florida. HCC is a 24 slip condominium complex with a clubhouse, multiple grills, a lanai, private bathrooms, Direct TV and pumpout at each slip, and an industrial sized ice machine. Besides the beautifully landscaped and well maintained property, we like it here because of the quality of the owners, people that make us feel so at home in their home. This place is like no other place on the entire east coast. It is difficult to put your finger on exactly what it is, but there really is something unique and very special about Harbour Cay Club.

Eric and Patricia share Christmas Day with us

What makes it even more special is spending Christmas with good friends and boat buddies while you are away from home. Eric and Patricia of IP 460 Cutter Loose were lucky to secure a slip here at the last minute. On Christmas Eve, we joined Bill & Trish of IP40 Island Bound, Bill & Amy of IP40 Mato, Maris & Linda of IP420 Amekaya, plus HCC friends Jim & Lanny and Bill & Linda, We shared a fantastic Italian meal where Sandy and Lanny created an adapted Feast of the Seven Fishes. We all gathered at the clubhouse mid day and enjoyed a most wonderful meal. After several fantastic appetizers including antipasto and shrimp cocktail, our first delicious course  was a chopped salad and another of mixed greens, both with home made dressings. The pasta course was angel hair with cracked conch in white clam sauce and the third course was the spectacular cioppino. Desserts were lemon-orange ricotta cheesecake, cocoa espresso cookies and chocolate mousse. These courses were served at a leisurely pace, making for a delightful evening from start to finish. 

Radeen’s homemade lemon ricotta cheesecake and very dark
cocoa expresso gluten free cookies with chocolate chips.

On Christmas Day, Radeen and I enjoyed the morning sharing family gifts aboard Island Spirit. Then we prepared a wonderful Christmas Day BBQ with Eric and Pat of chicken and grilled asparagus and filet mignon along with fine Prosecco and red wine.  All  of us enjoyed sitting in the clubhouse with a comfortable breeze and good conversations. Afterwards, we had Radeen’s homemade pumpkin pie and remaining cheesecake outside on the lanai.

Radeen the baker, making Christmas Cookies

Prior to Christmas, there was plenty of home cooking occurring on Island Spirit where we baked cookies, homemade bread, cheesecake and pie, We made 20 lbs of fudge, most of which we boxed up and shipped out or gave away as little gifts. It was fun to ride our bikes to the post office and wait in line to mail the treats. We baked 4 loaves of bread to give as gifts, too. Hayden shopped at the grocery store filling bags of food for the homeless which he delivered to the those living in the mangroves. They were so appreciative of our gifts of food. 

Happy Bubbly Team
Hayden, Linda, Maris, Tricia, Bill and Radeen

After Christmas, the town hosted an inaugural Beer and Bubbly festival in the community park. This was really a very fun charity event. Food trucks and wine & champagne tents competed with vendors selling arts and crafts. It was a real mix of activities, with live music, too. When we all hopped on our bikes, we looked like a rookie “Hell’s Angels” start up group. We laughed so much and had a very fun time with boat buddies Maris and Linda of IP420 Amakeya and Bill and Tricia of IP40 Island Bound. Some have said they think we have an IP secret society, including a special handshake, but the reality is that there are  simply so many Island Packet owners out cruising. We all are connected via our IPmail server, Facebook Group and web sites, so we are always communicating and getting together. This was another great day during Christmas week at HCC. We really enjoy our time here and sharing it with good friends made it even better. Merry Christmas to all!

Here are more photos of this time…..
The stockings were hung by the porthole with care
Thank you, Patricia!
Merry Christmas 2015 aboard Island Spirit

Radeen the Elf boxing and shipping

Local pets abound as seen on our walks to the 7 Mile Bridge

Biker Radeen ready to hit the road 🙂 on Carey Colwell’s 2010 Huffy bike

The buffet at Harbour Cay Club lanai where many delightful parties are served

Christmas Gift to Hayden, a can of varnish and brushing liquid

The party table setting. Thank you, Tricia and Bill.

Looking festive!

Kitchen prep of the two delectable salads

The cooking of the delicious seafood stew by Sandy, Chef extraordinaire

Sandy and Eric preparing the garlic bread

Fresh herbs

Angel hair pasta with cracked conch in white clam sauce with garlic bread

San Fransisco style Cioppino

Chocolate Mousse with fresh raspberries and whipped cream
Christmas Day community grill prep

Fine Prosecco from Eric and Patricia, thank you!

Our view on Christmas Day from the lanai with Eric and Pat

Christmas dessert on the lanai, photo by Patricia, thank you.
Note the flashing Christmas lights necklace Radeen is wearing.
Happy Radeen on Island Spirit

More boxing and shipping of gifts and baked goods

Ready to go on the bikes to the Post Office

Delicious homemade fudge, Radeen’s mom’s tradition

Thank you to our families for making our holiday merry and bright!

Radeen with her new Kindle Paperwhite and unlimited Kindle
Tiki Hut sunset Christmas Eve
Orchids around HCC

Island Spirit in Slip #9

Bill, Linda and Maris checking out the Brew and Bubbly food trucks, fun fun fun
Christmas in the Keys, riding off to somewhere……

We wish everyone a peaceful, happy, content and healthy New Year. Thank you for sailing along!