Monthly Archives: April 2015

Vero Beach

Vero Beach FL
Position: 27 39.554N, 080 22.278W
Posted by Bill

We waited out another day of weather at Fort Pierce City Marina as the weather the last 4 days has been very unsettled. Good thing we left Lake Worth because we heard that there were 60-70 MPH winds in the storms that went through a couple of days ago. We were 50 some miles north and had a decent amount of rain and some thunder and lightning, but nothing even close to that. The next week is looking really nice weather wise.

Today we pushed off the dock in Fort Pierce and motored up to Vero Beach. We stayed here for several days and spent Christmas here on the way down last year, and were looking forward to coming back. It was a short 10 mile hop up the ICW and the boat traffic was very light, thank goodness. We took a mooring ball, and Byrd Ketcher and Sofia Jeanne rafted off on either side of us. We dinghied over to Riverview Cafe and took advantage of their excellent happy hour, the best value we have seen in 5 months. There is a free bus that will take you to a shopping area with Fresh Market, Publix, TJ Max, West Marine, liquor store and a great dive shop. Tomorrow we will go get some groceries and liquor and maybe hit the beach. It is really chilly here and I actually wore a sweatshirt and long pants! The lows at night are getting down in to the 60s…amazing how my blood has thinned.

What do you do when it rains all day

Fort Pierce, FL
Posted by Bill

It rained and stormed all day yesterday. I am glad we decided to stay in the marina here until the weather improves. I got the blog caught up in the morning and we were looking to go out for lunch somewhere. The friends we are traveling with texted us and we headed out in the rain.

So what do you do when it rains all day…a pub crawl, of course! There are 2 tiki bars at the marina, and several other bars/restaurants within a few blocks, so we hit all of the ones that were open. We finished up at 2nd Street Bistro for Taco Tuesday and headed back to the boat. A good time was had by all!

Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce FL, ICW
Position: 27 27.087N, 080 19.249W
Posted by Bill

Today we got the anchor up without incident (and received applause from our friends) and motored to Fort Pierce City Marina.
Our friends have been here but we have not, so we wanted to check it out. It has been recently renovated with floating docks (a real treat), solid shore power, and great WIFI (also a real treat). It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow so we wanted to have the ability to get off the boat without having to use the dinghy. I think we will stay another day! We walked into town and had all you can eat fish and chips at 2nd Street Bistro, and received the best service we have had in a long, long, time. Food was good too, and so was the price…another contrast from the Bahamas (expensive)!

It was hot and humid so I turned on the air conditioners…we have 2 on the boat…only one worked. Bummer. After working on it for some time, I came to the end of my ability to trouble shoot it, so rigged some fans to try to use just the smaller working one. After a few hours, it finally cooled off in the boat. I’ll have to get some help when we get to Southport.

Island Bound resting at the dock:

Movin’ up the ditch

Hobe Sound, Jupiter FL
Position: 27 00.312N, 080 05.741W
Posted by Bill

Our plan is to work our way north, arriving at Southport, NC the 3rd week in May. We are renting a house with the kids and grandkids at Kure Beach, NC, the first week in June so we need to be there with a week to spare. Other than that, we don’t have an agenda. As always, our life is determined by the weather, and we are expecting storms the next several days and big winds (over 30 knots) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We want to stop at Fort Pierce and Vero Beach on the way up, but that is over 50 miles, and we are too worn out to do that in one day at this point. We decided to move about 15 miles up to the Sand Bar Anchorage in Hobe Sound at Jupiter Florida. It is a cool anchorage and very crowded today, but most of the people went home as the weekend wound down.

First things first…we started to pull the anchor up this morning and had some issues. We have an anchor windlass – an electric winch that deploys or retrieves anchor chain or rope. It makes anchoring much easier! I start bringing in the chain and hosing it down with the wash down pump (which pumps sea water through a hose to clean the chain and anchor). In some anchorages, mud and crud sticks to the chain and anchor, and you have to clean it off so that it doesn’t get into the anchor locker. I get the to point where the anchor should be coming off of the sea bed and it won’t budge. It was really windy, so I figured we had a deeply buried anchor, so we go to plan B. Plan B is cleating the chain off with a chain hook and snubber, and using the boats engine to pull the anchor out. We go all the way to half throttle and no budging! I was almost ready to dive into the murky water, but keep trying with both windlass and engine, and after about an hour we can see the anchor just below the water. We had hooked some sort of antenna that was attached to a cable and rope, that was attached to something under water.
I raised and lowered the anchor while Tricia used the boat hook to free the damned thing, and after an hour we finally were free!

Along the way we saw the floating version of the “taco stand”:
Love that!

Then we passed Tiger Wood’s’ house, which you couldn’t really see, but one of his other boats was there:

We anchored, made some drinks and swam off the boat…it was hot again today!

Then we had fresh Mahi Mahi tacos, and feasted like kings!! We drank a lot too…lol!

Passage home

Lake Worth, FL
Position: 26 50.273N, 080 03.225W
Posted by Bill

We left West End at 5:19 in the morning. We took a heading of 250 degrees, aiming 20 degrees south of our destination to compensate for the strong north current in the Gulf Stream. We had less than 2 foot seas and winds less than 12 knots, and winds were out of the south, allowing us to get some sails up. Here is a look back at the sunrise over West End:

We predicted a passage of around 10-12 hours depending on the wind and seas. Sofia Jeanne and Byrd Ketcher put out some fishing line, no one having much luck. Finally, I told them to have the girls spit on the lure, a wives tale that I read about, and immediately after Sharon spit on the lure Kurt caught a 4 foot Mahi Mahi! Very cool.
KByrd Catch 2015
(photo courtesy of Byrd Ketcher)

Around the half way mark, the winds picked up and the seas started to build. When we got into the Gulf Stream things got really rough, and the last 15 miles of the trip was exhausting. We were so happy to get into the inlet at Lake Worth, finally out of the washing machine effect of the seas, and we ran right smack into weekend on the Florida ICW (Intracoastal Waterway). If you remember from previous posts, we vowed to never traverse the Florida ICW on a weekend again! Boats, kayaks, wave runners, paddle boards…seamanship out the window…boats going full speed and throwing wakes, one right after the other…complete insanity…all in shallow water, and a waterway that is as wide as a small river! It was almost as bad as the seas we just escaped. Temps were in the 90’s, so everyone who had something that floats was out on the water.

We made our way up to the anchorage on the north side of Lake Worth, put down the anchor, cleared in with Customs and Immigration, and had several cocktails. Here is a few of the anchorage:
Quite a contrast from the Bahamas…more on that in another post.

Tiger Woods’ boat is docked just across the anchorage from us. It is the one on the far left:
It was really hot and the wind was blowing into the mid-20’s, but we made it home!

Chasing another window

West End, Grand Bahama, Bahamas
Position: 26 42.079N, 078 59.467W
Posted by Bill

The weather has been really crazy in that no one can seem to predict what is going to happen, even for the current day. Winds coming from all directions. Rain, when there is a zero percent chance. Etc…..

It has been difficult to determine when to make a move to cross back to the States. We need at least a 3 day weather window, and after spending a couple of days more at Green Turtle, we got another chance to move.

We left on the 22nd and sailed over to Crab Cay (position 26 55.145N, 077 35.671W), a really nice anchorage, which we had mostly to ourselves. Nice and remote. Here was the sunset behind Sofia Jeanne and Byrd Ketcher:
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The weather was beautiful.

On the 23rd, we originally planned to stop at Great Sale Cay, as it has excellent protection from all sides but the south, and we had a slight chance for some weather. On the 24th we were planning to go to West End on Grand Bahama via Indian Cut, which is less than 5 feet at low tide, and low tide would have been close to our arrival time if we stopped in Great Sale. Instead, we decided to go past Great Sale and stop at Mangrove Cay, a small cay that offers less protection, but allowed us to traverse Indian Cut on a favorable tide.

The tide to Mangrove was with very little wind and flat seas. I had the autopilot on and stood at the bow of the boat for hours just looking into the water. We were in 9-12 feet of water and you could see everything on the bottom of the Little Bahama Bank. It was just like sailing on a pane of glass…incredible!
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There just wasn’t a way to capture it to share. That was the best I could do.

We had a slight bit of rain and the wind picked up over night into the mid-teens. We made the move to West End in choppy seas and winds up into the 20’s, not what was forecasted of course! We went through Indian Cut with lots of water under us…never saw less than 7 feet, and out into the Atlantic Ocean for a run south to the marina. That part of the trip was rough. Big rollers on the ocean were hitting us on the starboard beam and rocking the boat pretty bad. We went into them for a ways so that we could run the final leg with seas on the quarter, and we made it into Old Bahama Bay. Old Bahama Bay is a really nice resort and marina with several restaurants, a pool and a nice beach. The grounds were well kept and the lodging was upscale. It was hot and we hit the pool with cocktails to wallow. The only problem is that the slip rental is very expensive. Not someplace you want to have to wait for a week for weather. Tomorrow winds are supposed to be 5 to 10 knots out of the S and SE, with north swells to 2 feet…let’s hope it holds, as there is not another window for 7 to 10 days!

That deja vu feeling all over again

Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Posted by Bill

We left Green Turtle on the 18th, planning to work our way west, enjoy some of the remote cays along the way, and work our way back to the States. We stopped at Manjack Cay, hoping for some good snorkeling, but the winds and waves were out of the SW and made the anchorage very uncomfortable, so we motored across the Sea of Abaco to the eastern shore of Great Abaco, protected from the winds. We anchored for the night and all 3 boats had dinner together. It was really good and lots of fun. The next day the winds were supposed to lie down and shift, so we motored about 9 miles up to Powell Cay, another great snorkeling and fishing spot. Once again, winds higher than forecast and out of the SW, so we motor across the Sea of Abaco to Coopers Town, in the protection of the eastern shore, and anchor for the night. The big plan is to get to West End on the far western side of the Bahamas to cross over to the States, with Thursday looking like a great weather window. It will take a couple of days, and we have scoped out where we can anchor based on the wind forecast, but we can do it…not! The weather window slams shut, and the winds are nothing like the forecast is stating. After much analysis and deliberation, we throw up the white weather flag and motor a couple of hours back to Green Turtle. The weather is going to be snotty at least until Sunday, and we can ride it out comfortably there. Winds are predominately from the E or SE this time of year, and it has been, or will be blowing S, SW or W for most of the week…go figure.

One good thing is that we have shore power and decent internet access here, and I am getting the blog up to date. I might even be able to get the Map of Where We Have Been updated! The other good thing is that they have a pool and cheap rum drinks! Hopefully we will find a weather window to come back in the next week or so.

Wild pigs, and Green Turtle Cay

Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Position: 26 45.697N, 076 19.441W
Posted by Bill

Green Turtle Cay is another one of the places that everyone recommends as a “must stop” in the Abacos, and we were looking forward to checking it out. There are 2 primary harbors, White Sound and Black Sound. We chose to take a slip for a few days in Black Sound at the Leeward Yacht Club and Marina. Both harbors have very shallow entrances and we needed to come in and leave with at least 2/3rds tide. We had to leave Treasure Cay in the morning so we could have at least a foot of tide to help us, but high tide at Green Turtle wasn’t until after 6:00 that evening, so we stopped at the cay next to Green Turtle called No Name Cay to kill some time. We learned that there are wild pigs on the beach and anyone that knows Tricia knows that she loves pigs. She was bummed out that we weren’t going to make it to the Exuma chain of islands and visit pig beach, where the pigs will swim out to your dinghy as you approach, but this was going to be a good second choice to feed and play with the pigs. After the pigs, we figured we could go swimming and snorkeling, as we heard there was good snorkeling there too. We got to the beach, and sure enough there were about a dozen pigs roaming the beach. Kurt and Sharon from Byrd Ketcher came in their dinghy too, and we both brought food. As we approached the beach, we saw that the large pigs were mean to the little ones. One of the larger ones was wading in the water and crapping huge log-like turds as he walked…it was disgusting. We tried to feed the little ones but the big pooping pig stole the food and bit the little ones if they tried to get the food. After we ran out of food, the big pooping pig came after us, so we pushed the dinghy off of the shore and made our escape….but not so fast…the damn dinghy engine wouldn’t start! So here I am, trying to pull start this engine as we drift back to shore, and the pooping pig starts to come after us again. The engine is now flooded, so we grab the oars and start rowing away. The boat was several hundred yards off shore, so we slowly rowed back, until Kurt and Sharon, who had left the beach before us, came back to see where we were and towed us back to the boat. I felt bad for Tricia because the pig adventure was not quite what we thought it was going to be…lol!

We got into Black Sound without running aground and hit the pool and adjacent bar at the marina. They had a happy hour special every day that included 2 for 1 rum punches, and you could pick from 5 different flavors. They also had a small restaurant that had excellent food. The marina was really nice and we would definitely stay there again. They were the first place in the Bahamas that didn’t have a surcharge to use a credit card. The people were very nice and the place was clean.

The next day we took our dinghies over to the little town of New Plymouth. It was pretty typical of a town in these parts. We have noticed that the towns in the Abacos do not have trash laying around all over the place like the Biminis did, and the people are generally very friendly. We stopped at the Blue Bee Bar where the Goombay Smash rum drink was created, and ordered some. They were good. Then we stopped at the Down Through Liquor Store and had a Turtle Smash, also very good, and cheaper than the last place. After a walk through town we stopped at The Wrecking Tree restaurant and had fish, conch and fries…really good! Then back for happy hour at the pool, of course.
New Plymouth:
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Blue Bee:
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The Wrecking Tree:
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Today, we took the dinghies over to White Sound and checked out The Bluff House beach bar and then crossed the sound to the Green Turtle Club. The beach bar had a great view, and we sampled the specialty drinks at each place.
It was back to the pool bar for happy hour, and then we had pizza night on Island Bound, everyone bringing toppings and Tricia providing homemade dough. We cooked them on the grill again and had a great time.
Bluff House side of White Sound:
Beach Bar:
Tricia and Bart, the furry crew member from Byrd Ketcher:

The Green Turtle Club on the other side of White Sound:

And a really nice Kady Krogen boat that docked next to us….it is a beaut: