Long Island Blues

Blue water as we sail for Long Island…

The farther into the Bahamas we sail, the more BLUE it all seems to be, the sky and the water, so we are calling this Long Island BLUES…..
Long Island is in the Far Bahamas, 48 miles east south east of George Town with several harbors. We chose the most popular harbor, mile wide Thompson Bay, for our arrival, and found only 15 other cruising sailboats on anchor. We plan to stay for the next cold front passing here in a few days with 25+ knot NW winds. After that passes, we will decide where to go next.

There it is again, our shadow on the sand 10 feet down….beautiful

Our primary target from here is the Abacos by April for our good friends Wendy and Craig to arrive. We have a month to get there and are excited see the Exumas, stopping at all the places we missed on the way south. For now, we will take in these beautiful blue waters and discover Long Island.

Here are some Long Island BLUES photos….

Using a GoPro camera on a boat hook (Blaine Style) to get these great shots!

Radeen reading her 20,000th book…..librarians want to read them all 🙂

Hayden sailing, Radeen reading, enjoying the blue waters
We are real lazy here, JIB ONLY….cruiser style
Sunset at anchor off Indian Point, Long Island, we are about a mile from town

So….we will explore Long Island tomorrow. Most likely, we will ride out the next cold front behind Indian Point for protection. Too much to discover….too little time….but, we will do out best 🙂 Thanks for traveling along with us….

This was UPLOADED from nearly off the GRID …..here
Long Island, Bahamas

George Town Exuma Daze

Radeen looking out to sea from Monument Hill

The George Town Exuma Daze has been taking hold of our daily “grind!” You know, we wake to hear the weather via SSB and Chris Parker, then we tune into the local George Town Cruisers Net on 72 while making breakfast. After breakfast we do some boat chores and around 11 ish we hit the beach, climb a trail, swim, search for shells, dinghy to the fun spot CHAT n CHILL and Volleyball beach to hear a discussion or chat with some cruisers. Grab a cold KALIK Beer, walk some more beaches, swim a little, and by now, you are about exhausted!

When the DAZE has kicked into full tilt, you may need a nap, or a hammock, or a good book to read. By 1800 hrs it is sunset and time to test your conch blowing skills and alert all to the SUNSET. Dinner is shortly after that and maybe some boat visits with friends. The full moon rises as the sun sets and the night sets in. Cruisers call 2100 hrs “cruisers midnight” and if you can make it that long, you are doing well. Most of “us” hit the bunk around then and call it another great day…..

Hayden walking the beaches off Stocking Island

The view from atop Monument Hill and our anchorage

Radeen climbing the trail to Monument

Our boat at anchor in the center of the screen

Over looking the beach with a sailboat on the horizon

The steep trail we climbed up the hill to Monument Hill

A lone person combing the beach at low tide

Typical palm along the trail
Our “car” behind the boat with Monument Hill in the background

The crowd at CHAT n CHILL and Volleyball beach, it really is FUN

Back to the boat for SUNSET and conch horn time

Full Moon over our stern with Monument Hill in the back

George Town DAZE….can you see why so many cruisers get stuck here? There are currently 300 boats on anchor, it is regatta time, and there is something for everyone….

Radio Life in George Town

Bahama Hats to keep the sun off….wow it is HOT at 23 degrees N

Our day begins around 0630, as we take notes from our weather router Chris Parker’s broadcast on the SSB radio. Then we switch to the VHF radio to tune into the local cruiser’s net at 0800. This helpful radio net summarizes the weather, provides local businesses the opportunity to advertise events, and gives boaters here in the harbor a chance to ask questions, coordinate taxi rides, request help with boat issues, announce classes in everything from sign language to basket making to yoga, and to share news and social events.

The 33rd Annual George Town Cruisers’ Regatta begins on Monday, so there are many announcements regarding pet and dinghy parades, a conch blowing contest, two sailboat races and evening entertainment. At about 0845, individual boats start using the net to contact each other and we switch back to our SSB radio to check in our location with the Cruiseheimers’ Net and to hear where other boating friends are located.

Here are a few places and events we learned about from listening to the local cruiser’s net….

Fresh Conch Salad from Chat N Chill

A.J. makes the best conch salad on the beach

Relax at Big D’s on Hamburger Beach and swing on a tree swing or take a chair to the water 

s/v ROMONE from Germany, celebrating their child Kim’s first birthday

Our neighborhood off Volleyball Beach

The ocean beach beyond St. Francis Resort

The beach is crowded today, we thought we had it reserved…

More crowds at the beach !

Typical coquina rock on the beach
Taking the “car” to town across the harbor. 15 Yamaha on a 10 foot AB-RIB….perfect

Ocean waves on the beach rocks

A.J’s pet sting ray waits for the conch trimmings…..go ahead and hand feed him

Radeen loves to walk the pink sand beaches of “da Bajamas”

We really need to move on beyond George Town and this harbor or else we may get totally stuck here! We  plan to press on and move EAST to Long Island and Conception Island, but not for at least one more day!

Gabor Vacation House

The Team: Hayden, Radeen, Jeff, Sharon, Peg, Art

Today was a wonderful change of pace – no boat jobs and fun with friends, old and new! Jeff and Sharon, IP 35 Lucille, picked us up via car and drove us to their rental house on the beach. The house is near Williamstown on Little Exuma Island, which is 20 miles south of George Town. The approach to their secluded hideaway was a final bumpy 1 mile offroad ride from Queen’s Highway. Together with their friends, Art and Peg, we enjoyed swimming, snorkeling, walking the empty beach and sharing a delicious Mexican themed luncheon with plenty of beet and icy rum boat drinks.

THIS IS NOT a boat !

We were delighted to have “house” ammenitoies like ENDLESS ELECTRICITY, ENDLESS WATER, SOFAS, CHAIRS, ICE, BLENDERS, FREEZERS, and TV….what a different world living in a house is from living on 12 volt power. After a peaceful nap on a hammock and another trip to the beach, we enjoyed the massive SHOWER with lots of HOT WATER. Then Jeff cheerfully drove us back to the dinghy dock in town, another 40 miles roundtrip! Thank you, Jeff and Sharon, for hosting us at your vacation home, we really enjoyed the day!

Here are a few photos of all the fun…

Sharon and Jeff in “da car” with “da wheel” on “da wrong” side

Peg and Radeen on the beach, we have this entire beach to ourselves

Self portrait with the house on the hill

Sharon and Jeff with MOM, at Mom’s Bakery….emmm emmm GOOD

Radeen and Hayden with MOM at Mom’s Bakery

The beach view from the house!

The beach view from the house deck

Testing the GoPro.com camera underwater

Hayden and Radeen enjoying the beach and water off Jeff and Sharon’s rental house

ahhhhh…..this beats SNOW anyday…..

Thank you Jeff and Sharon for the great day at the house and lunch. This was a great day….now back to boat jobs: Today, jugging 5 gallon jugs of fuel across the harbor and looking at charts and weather for a run over to LONG ISLAND.

Stocking Island Beach Day 1

Radeen on the hood of our “car” parked on da beach

What day is it? Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun? We really don’t know, honestly, we really never know what day it is anymore. One of my cruising buddies told me this would happen, and I said no way….well…it is true, it does happen when you are out cruising. It no longer matters what day of the week it is, you simply just enjoy every day and every activity. Activities such as boat jobs, water collection, cleaning da salt off da boat, beach walks, swimming, walking the towns, reading, napping, visiting friends, watching sunsets, studying the night sky and more! These are the simple cruising activities that fill a day, and it actually is fun, very fun. It is peaceful, relaxing, and slow paced. Just keeping the boat maintained and running is job number one, after that you can do what ever you want…..and TODAY, we finally walked and enjoyed a beach off Stocking Island here in the George Town Harbor. We are beginning to see why there are 300 boats anchored here and why so many cruisers make this their winter destination. This place will be difficult to leave!

Here are a few photos of the day
(PS. Internet is $2.00 for 75 minutes and limited to 450mb! This is about it for today.) 

This is BIG D’s where to go for ribs and burgers

Rest under the shade of a casarina tree on the beach

Finally….finally….we get to a beach….ahhhhh

Our “car” parked in a parking space

The road sign at Chat n Chill beach

Radeen walking the beach

Typical rock formation on the beach, this is sharp and jagged

Snails on the rocks and beautiful waves crashing into the rocks
Snails on the rocks at low tide in the sunshine

Shell collection, day 1
The approach to Chat n Chill and Volleyball Beach

Back to the boat, we enjoy the sunset off our stern
The moon rises over the starboard spreader with the Bahamas Flag

We will continue to explore the George Town area and plan to have many more beach days, hiking and discovering the bottom of the Exuma Chain.

George Town Work

Our Anchored position off the beach

It has been blowing and very windy here on anchor and each day, we have run the dinghy the 1.1 miles across the harbor for services. Yesterday was the all exciting LAUNDRY DAY! Laundry from an anchored boat is a real chore, but we managed to process 4 loads and get them back out to the boat bashing into 1-2 foot seas with spray coming over our heads. Yes, we had the laundry in garage bags and we wore full foul weather suits in order to get back across the harbor. Once on board we remade two beds and cleaned up the boat some more.

Local neighbor taking his dog to the beach

Today, we plan plan go to the beach, lunch at Chat n Chill where should meet up with Jeff and Sharon and Art and Peg as they rented a 15 foot whaler for harbor fun. This A.M. I blasted the dinghy full tilt across the harbor then filled 25 gallons of water and powered back upwind in 1 foot seas back to the boat where we lifted this to the deck and poured it into the tanks. So, it is a simply life out here, working on the boat and just living an easy life. We can’t wait to finally explore some beaches and get a swim in and a beach walk.

Here are some random photos over the past few days….

Baking bread on anchor is a joy

When in “da Bahamas” eat LOBSTER

It can be “Block Island” tight here off Volleyball Beach

A treat for a late lunch after a day of laundry

Radeen’s Reading over the past week !

Life is a joy on a cruising boat especially when every thing is working and you are anchored in George Town, Exumas where you have water, fuel, groceries and pump out boats! WOW

Jeff to George Town

George Town Bahamas, day one, and we have not seen anything yet….here is a quick photo essay…because I found a great WiFi connection while out here on anchor!
Hayden, Radeen and Jeff make it to land ….Welcome sign as you exit the dock
Job #1…hit CHAT n CHILL for a refreshing drink

Look at these BUMs….at Chat n Chill

Our boat at anchor off Chat n Chill and Vollyball Beach

Island Spirit, our 1994 Island Packet 35 at anchor, looks good for  19 yrs old!

This is the $8.50 local rum you buy for trading for LOBSTERs and FISH 

One happy Librarian at the local George Town Library open 10-12 Mon -Sat

The local boaters enjoying the harbor, wake boarding via a dinghy…coool 

Jeff, jumps ship and heads for his land based team for a week

More photos as we explore….
Thank you for sailing along

Sailed off the GRID to GT

Motor Sailing Black Point to George Town, Bahamas

We have nearly sailed right off the grid…..the “connectivity grid” that is. We are now in George Town, GT, Exumas, Bahamas anchored off CHAT n CHILL. We are about 1/2 mile off their beach and we have our new 55 lb ROCNA anchor out, you know, the one I bought for  Radeen’s Christmas Gift. Well, this is why we bought it. It will blow 30+ knots tonight and we have out 150 feet of HT chain in 20 feet of water. We should be good with this, and we are looking for the winds to change from West to Northwest to North to Northeast, Once NE, we will have CHAT n CHILL upwind and our beach will be right off our bow giving us

Radeen filling in the log book, Jeff and Hayden blasting to GT

Over all, our run from Miami was easier than expected. Mainly because we have our good friend and great crew member Jeff onboard for the “Blast to George Town!” Our run was, as planned…

1. Miami to Morgan’s Bluff on Andros (overnight on the banks and out NW channel)
2. Morgan’s Bluff to West Bay on New Providence (we got stuck there 3 day w/25 knots ESE)
3. West Bay to Highborne Cay (fantastic sail, close hauled…get fuel and water)
4. Highborne Cay to Black Point (take Radeen out for Lobster Dinner at Lorraines)
5. Black Point out Dotham Cut to George Town (motor sail in 15-20 with it 20 degrees off stb bow)

Total Distance, 325 nautical miles

Jeff’s house rental begins now on Sunday Feb 17-24 and his wife Sharon is flying in for a winter vacation along with friends from California! Jeff will be taking the water taxi run by ELVIS, the harbor master, to shore if it is too rough to use the tender. We plan to stay here for a while, relax and tour the island and the area with Jeff and Sharon. After that, we hope to press on and explore from here. We now have a full month to explore from here back up to the Abacos.

Thank you for following along.

Hayden, Radeen and Jeff on anchor off Vollyball Beach, George Town, Bahamas.

Look at the BLUE WATER…..beautiful 

Radeen’s Blue Shirt is NOT as blue as the water!
Radeen overlooks the George Town approach, again, look at the water color
Salt spray has been spraying over the windshields for seven days!
Our boat is so salty and crusty….
Dotham Cut just north of Black Point. This is a great exit to sea
Notice the north rocky point, the opening is about 300 feet wide!

Here in George Town, there are over 300 boats on anchor and we too are anchored right at ground zero off Volleyball Beach at Chat n Chill. We will relax here, take a break, explore the town and the beaches and hiking trails. From here…..who knows, we may head south more…

Black Point first visit

Happy Valentines Day 2013, Radeen

We ran 45 NM today, under motor and main sail with staysail, reaching Black Point settlement in the Exumas. This is our first visit to the village and we obviously have a lot to learn about the wonderful people and their town. Since it was Valentine’s Day, we decided to take Radeen out for a nice dinner, considering she has cooked 3 meals a day for the past 6 days!

We phoned Lorraine’s Cafe and ordered three lobster dinners. Arriving at 1830, we were treated to an open bar, where you go behind the bar and make your own drinks. Then the lobsters arrived, broiled and baked, served with corn and rice and mac’n cheese. Fantastic! Dessert was warm chocolate cake with pink frosting and cheesecake, with Valentine’s candies. We enjoyed meeting Lorraine, who made us feel so welcome. Radeen really enjoyed herself and we were happy to take her out for such a lovely evening!

Fuel and Water Fri-Thur, Miami to Highbourne Cay
25 gal Diesel at $5.71 per gallon and
75 gallons of water at $.50 per gallon

Tomorrow, we will run the last 45 miles to George Town ahead of a new frontal system and 30 knot winds expected to blow on Sat night into Sun. We will deliver Jeff to GT on time for his beach rental scheduled for Feb 17th. From there, we will slow down, take our time and explore south of GT and then we will head north, exploring all the spots we missed on our trip south. After our Exumas exploration, we will head north to the Abacos.  Overall, it has been easier getting here than expected, but it certainly has bigger water and feels much more remote than the Abacos.

Here are some photos of today….

One of the many motor yachts cruising this area

Radeen, passed out, reading her book of the day….rough!

Motor sailing into 10-15 knots of south winds!

At Black Point, the dinghy looks like it is hovering above the water,
instead of resting on it. This water is sooooooo clear!

Jeff and Hayden working the open bar at Lorraine’s Cafe

Our anchor chain running out in the clear waters 

Hayden and Radeen at dinner at Lorraine’s Cafe, Black Point, Exumas.
Note the Valentine’s Day decorations!

Tomorrow, we will make the last 46 mile run from here, Black Point, to George Town, off the Banks in deep ocean water. We need to be anchored down for the high winds and cold front approaching. Winds are expected to exceed 30 knots so we need to get ready…..

Life is great aboard our cruising sailboat……thanks for sailing along

Exumas Breached

Team Island Spirit sails close hauled into the Exumas

We have declared TODAY, Feb 13, 2013, the BEST DAY OF SAILING, since we left Rock Hall, MD, in September! At 0640, we left West Bay, New Providence, Bahamas, rounded the coral reef and turned onto a course of 120 for 45 miles to Highbourne Cay in the Exumas. Our weather router, Chris Parker, called for winds of 15-18 knots, from a direction of 160-180, so this was a close hauled course for 8+ hours.

Team Island Spirit LOVES TO SAIL UPWIND, so today was a real treat. Jeff, our great crew, sailed with Hayden, while Radeen enjoyed reading below. We love to see Radeen, our librarian, get her reading in. as usually she is too busy to read. With Jeff on board, she could relax and read all day long…..this was a real treat for Radeen….it was also a real treat for Hayden and Jeff because they love to trim sails and sail upwind!

Sailing upwind in BLUE WATER

So, we navigated the Yellow Bank and the White Bank and looked for coral heads as we sailed east. Eventually we passed into the clear waters beyond these banks and sailed on toward Highbourne Cay. As we approached the cay, we passed 7SEAS, Steven Spielberg’s motor yacht that we had seen in Fort Lauderdale in December and then we moved into the anchorage. The first task was washing the salt spray off the entire boat and cockpit and then we enjoyed cocktails and snacks. Radeen spoiled us with a great dinner of smoked pork and seared potatoes and salad along with red wine. Life is amazingly wonderful aboard a cruising boat….

Radeen off watch and reading book 1 of 2 for the day

Jeff working hard as we sail upwind on autopilot

Steven Spielberg’s yacht 7SEAS is anchored next to us off Highborne Cay

Mark Cuban’s Yacht FOUNTAIN HEAD anchored off New Providence as we sailed out

Hayden looking out at the beautiful water

Thank you TAMMY….we opened my Christmas gift today
and enjoyed many interesting flavor combinations! 

Now we have reached the EXUMAS ! We will blast south to George Town before the next front arrives Saturday night into Sunday morning. We will then spend time in GT and from there we will explore south. Life is great aboard a cruising sailboat…..thanks so much for following along…