Monday 23 April 2018

Spring 2017 Arrives, so does Corinne!


We’re posting this entry on Bahamian time…2017…a year late…

Our daughter Corinne flew in to Georgetown for a visit in late March, just in time for a one-week long weather cold front. The sun was shining, it was warm, and the winds blew and blew. We had a good visit even though we didn’t go very far. 


Front coming through Red Shanks beach


 Waves breaking on Stocking Island beach


Enjoying a warm walk on the beach


Corinne helming a leisurely sail inside Elizabeth Harbour 

After Corinne’s departure the winds let up enough for us to sail to Long Island.  Along the way Kim hooked a beautiful Cero painted mackerel.  It seemed a shame to carve up his iridescent skin, but he fed us for a few meals with his delicious firm white meat.  


Hooked him with a skirted ballyhoo rig 

We enjoyed a reunion of the flotilla of friends (minus Tim and Diane on Acadia) on Long Island and spent a day touring on land.  Our first stop was for a little spelunking at Hamilton cave. These caves were once completely under water as you can see from the smooth,rounded erosion on the limestone. 


The black lines in these limestone caves are actually colonies of termites


Leonard, our tour guide grew up playing in this extensive cave system. 


Stalactites in the cave 


We can just imagine Leonard playing hide an seek in the caves as a kid 


Back in the recessed areas bat colonies are hanging from the rock overhead… they were very polite during our visit.

A visit to this island would not be complete without a visit to Dean’s Blue Hole. Not everyone has the courage to jump from the 30 foot cliff though. It came down to ‘straws’ for who jumped first. 


The Hole and the cliff. The raft in the water is used by competitive free divers to guide them down hundreds of feet into the depths. 

The ‘Disclaimer’ 


Killing time while getting up the courage to jump.


Kim pulled the shortest straw so was first off the cliff!

Long Island has beautiful ‘long’ beaches for walking, this one was deserted except for some four legged locals  and a feisty crab.



For such a little guy he did not give up his ground

From Long island our gang split. One boat headed south to the Ragged Islands, the other to Puerto Rico. We headed back to Georgetown.  Along the way Kim picked up a 20lb common jack. Sadly they are not good eating fish but we are sure it was a tasty meal for the sharks. 


Nothing goes to waste in the ocean. Somebody else will have this one for dinner.

More big winds and seas kept us in Georgetown for another week which is never a problem. While wandering we came across a Man O’ War jellyfish. 


Not wonderful sailing conditions. Best to stay on the beach. 


Man-o-war jelly fish. We tried to get ahold of the top of the ‘sail’ (not the tentacles of course) but it is impossibly slippery, an odd consistency that only nature can come up with.

At a two day stop at Kim’s favourite spearing location (not to be identified!) we were rewarded with a large lobster or crayfish as the species is known as down here. 


Got ‘em! 


Out of respect for the advanced age of this lobster we felt the need to name it, so ‘Lawrence’ fed us for two dinners and a lunch.

One last photo to end the season from yet another classic Exuma beach…Jack’s Bay.




Friday 14 April 2017

Exumas -Lots of wind and fish fish fish!

The Exuma area of the Bahamas is still our favourite place down here.  This area consists of 365 islands or cays that extend over 130 miles. We spend a lot of the winter island hopping these largely deserted places. This year we had plenty of company for exploring the islands and more importantly what is under the water. Along with “Lady A” we had Acadia(Tim and Diane) and Erben Renewal (Steve and Julia), both trawlers (power boats) to keep us company. Tim, Diane and Michel are all former US military sorts so our walks were always at least four miles long.

P1030318 The half way point on a six mile walk on Guana Cay. Kim and Steve opted out to go and spear fish.

P1030312 A windy day on the the Exuma Sound (Tom Wood of NYC on the far left,Tim and Kim)


Another windy day (there have been many) at Cambridge Cay


Not a good day for swimming

In the Exumas we spend a lot of our time under the water, that is where the treasures lie.  For some of us it is beautiful tropical fish and for others it is all about dinner! With four boats together snorkeling time becomes quite social and in this group fish spearing was the priority. We have had many appetizer times and shared dinners with the fish that were speared. It is always open season on Lionfish (an invasive species) and the meat is delicious so we have had many. Michel and Kim both speared their first lobsters although they were somewhat under the legal size (we now know that you tease them out of their hole and have a look before spearing them). Kim is getting better at fish spearing and has brought home a number of grunts, a grouper and snappers to grace our table, yum!


One of Kim’s Lionfish, quite beautiful really (be careful of the poisonous spines).


Kim and Michel with their catch. I love the expression on their faces, little boys again.


Snapper, Lionfish, two Grunts, a Grouper, and two Spiny Lobster!


Another good day of spearing


A Slipper lobster (rare) and two Spiny ones. Kim wishes he had speared these guys, I traded a fellow cruiser two bottles of juice for the spiny guys. Kim is looking forward to spending time with him next year!


A close up and yes those are horns…and they were delicious in butter and white wine.


Enough of the fish, there are some really sweet children (and adults) on the cays. I bring books along to give away and they are always thrilled.


A fun night on Diane and Tim’s trawler…yes you get REAL lights on those boats!

Just a few classic shots to close out…


The sun setting beside Acadia


A nightly show from the  cockpit of the Q.









Thursday 13 April 2017

First Stop - Bimini

In order to get to the Bahamas on a sailboat most sailors will wait for a ‘weather window’, sometimes for days and sometimes for weeks! This ‘window’ is often the leading edge of a cold front (a west wind) that is moving east from Florida across to the Bahamas. This means that your arrival is followed by a few very windy, cool days in a marina.  This year we had to only wait a few days for our window to sail to the island of Bimini where we officially start our season (it is also a former home of Ernest Hemingway and the setting for his novel ‘Islands in the Stream’).
While killing time on Bimini, waiting for another window to move further south and west into the Bahamas, we walked north on the island and spent a day wandering around the Bimini Island Resort.This is a place we are not likely to stay as guests…it seems bizarre to have such opulence in the middle of a poor island. 
This pool wraps around three sides of the resort.
Cathy cooling off in the infinity pool with the Gulf Stream in the background (no we did not ask permission!).
These villas in the resort are custom built and the smallest ones are only a few million US $$
This year we met a couple from California who we now kindly and lovingly refer to as ‘the kids’ who had purchased their first boat ‘Lady A’ (a 49 foot Jeanneau) in October. When we bought Quiescence we had 11 years to get ready for our trip so you can imagine how much help they needed. Their boat draws seven feet (a relatively deep boat for you non-sailors) and they ran aground trying to enter the channel at Bimini.  We offered to  help get them down to the Exumas where they then plan to continue further south to Puerto Rico. Kim began their education on boat systems and we’ve been together for two months plus now so here they are…
Meet Michel and Amanda - we are at another ‘cruiser buffet' at the newly renovated Lorraine’s Café in Black Point.


Season Four Begins

I must confess I am writing this first entry for 2017 only a few days before Easter, so Happy Easter to everyone. This year’s drive from T.O. to Stuart Florida was a record for no snow and warm temperatures. We’re sorry about global warming but we had dry and sunny weather for all 2,235 kilometers of our drive.

Quiescence is showing the fallout after four years in a saltwater environment so she needed quite a lot of TLC. Kim had serviced the transmission, autopilot linear drive, and the windlass at home so they all needed to be reinstalled. He also replaced the dripless seal for the prop shaft.  The only hurricane Matthew damage we had was that half of our windex (wind vane) on the mast head had been knocked off by flying debris. It still works well enough for us so we will leave it for one more hurricane season before replacing it. All sorts of electrical connections have developed minor corrosion so Kim has been cleaning and spraying many of these connections. Along with aging items that need replacing and the usual work to prepare for launch, we had a lot of hard work before we could go sailing!



One of Kim’s happy places is the engine ‘room’


The Q is finally ready for launching and more adventures.


Early January mornings can be chilly.

On our way south to Miami we did have a few cool mornings with a stiff wind from the wrong direction so we took the inside (ICW) route from Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Along the way we were waiting for the Atlantic Ave bridge to open for us and as the bridge opened Kim put the engine into forward and almost immediately there was a loud “thunk” and then an even louder “bang” sound. The engine stopped running and we lost control of the boat. As we drifted toward the bridge we were able to convince a small boat to try and pull us through the bridge. This did not go terribly well but we did make it through with only a scrape along the top sides from the wooden bridge fenders that we bumped. Fortunately another boat was able to help us get out from under the bridge and far enough away where we were able to drop our anchor down in the narrow channel. Kim dove under the boat to find a two-foot length of a dock board with stainless screws sticking out that was impaled on our prop. After diving down three times he managed to pry it from the prop. Amazingly there was no damage to the prop and we were quickly on our way again as we had 17 bridges to get through before dark. Just another adventure in the cruising lifestyle…


The offending hunk of dock board (you can see where to prop blade had cut into it)

Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long for an outside sail along the coast to Miami where we waited for a weather window across to the Bahamas.     


Some well earned beach time.

Monday 11 April 2016


Well, we have enjoyed the past month in our favourite part of the Bahamas – the Exumas.  The area, also known as the ‘Out Islands’, is a 90 mile chain of small cays and islands.  The waters of the Great Bahama Bank are on the west side and the Exuma Sound (essentially the Atlantic) are to the east. Life moves slowly and nature is at its best here.

We were well sheltered in the Cave Cay Marina harbour. Hot showers...yah !
This year we arrived in the Bahamas in early March, which is later in the cruising season than usual. This meant that as we worked our way south through the Exumas we met friends who were on their way home. We had hello/farewell visits at the same time and enjoyed a Mahimahi meal with each boat before moving on.

 We met our friends Joannie and Keith from Minnesota on the way and enjoyed five days of sailing and snorkelling together.  Keith spent his high school years in Nassau and is an excellent spear fisherman so Kim was very happy to fish with him and pick up some new techniques. Cathy and Joannie were happy to not be watching for shark or Barracuda ‘company’ during the fishing time.  One afternoon they brought back two Lionfish and a crab that they had speared.  After consulting Google we decided that Keith had speared a Clinging Channel Crab (aka Bahamian King Crab). Kim removed the poisonous barbs from the Lionfish and we steamed the crab in a large pot and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
Keith and Joannie from Pelican

Clinging channel crab. No points for beauty, but those hairy legs were delicious.

The crab and lionfish waiting to be dispatched.

After enjoying such tasty gifts from the sea we thought our fishing run might be over but we had more excitement ahead during Corinne’s visit.  We spent a few laid back days with Corinne at Lee Stockin Island, a retired marine research station.  On our return run to Georgetown, where the airport is, Kim had a pretty good fight with a 30 pound yellow fin tuna and won!  These fish immediately dive after taking the ballyhoo bait. After three or four good runs with the drag set at about 15 pounds they were both finally tired out. We named him ‘Ted’ to reflect his strength and dignity.  Corinne was our official photographer for the occasion so there are plenty of pictures.  We only take as many fish as we can eat (and we have plenty for the rest of our trip) so the fishing rod has been cleaned and stored awaiting next season! 

Not sure who was more tired.  He took one more dive and run after this shot.

Getting ready to tie the fish to the boats stern

We bleed and drag the fish to the anchorage and deal with it there.

At the calm of the anchorage Kim will fillet the fish.  Pictures first !

These tuna are very thick !

20 pounds of sashimi
 It was great to have Corinne visit for a relaxed week – too short for all of us though. (We hope to see Cal and Megan down here next winter!)  Here are a few shots of island life.

It is a tough life but …

Corinne at Lee Stocking

Bathing beauties! We wear wet suits for snorkelling so we can stay in the water for a longer time

Just wandering another deserted beach

A sea slug sunning on the beach?

A girl and her dad

The trees on the small cays don't grow very tall

Walking the beach at Red Shanks

A rare day in George Town at the Driftwood Café … and very good coffee!

The view from Georgetown across to Monument anchorage