This past week Danny and I spent the week up river. It was a great time but if we had listened to the weather forecast we never would have gone. i sailed up to camp medley to pick him up on Monday. Leaving Brandy point at 0600 I arrived at Coytown wharf at about 12:30.
From there we headed up to Ox island as I had never been there before. The next day we headed back down river to make our way to Baked on Foshays, a bakery, on the lake. The idea was to get some baked goods for Canada Day and also to walk yo to Elkes to get some sausage and Jerky. As it turned out they don’t usually bake until Saturday but said if we stayed on their mooring that night our order would be ready at 0900 the next morning.
We left with bread and meat the next morning around 0930 and headed for Douglas Harbour, where we were met by the three sisters and Royce. A very grand time was had on Grand Bar that included a fishing competition between Danny and an Osprey.
We have arrived in Easton! Our last day of sailing together in Tevah was 72 Nautical miles. We were underway before dawn and arrived just after 18:00. We sailed, motored, encountered steep waves breaking over the bow, calm waters, sun, clouded skyes and finally the welcomed sight of Paul’s dock on the Tred Avon River.
We have not kept up with these blog posts for a couple of reasons. I began doing daily Facebook live posts and we had already commented on many of the places on the way down south. There were a few new things and some greater depth on the way back and I think Val has captured them in her blog.
Now what remains is to spend a couple of days “summerizing” the boat. I have done some research on this and is not all that different from “winterizing”. It will involve making sure that things are well ventilated and protected from the elements. I have a number of repairs to make, and then it is off to Saint John for Val and Calgary for me.
I will return mid June with Nat to bring Tevah back to the environs of the beautiful St. John and Kennebecasis rivers. We have experienced a dream, but know more than ever that we live in one of the most beautiful cruising grounds that exist anywhere.
We have sailed through Georgia, North and South Carolina and almost through Virginia and I know you have not heard anything from us for about a month. One reason I can give you is there are many places that we are now revisiting and yes we have a few things to add and Eric has been working on his own post so I’ll leave that with him.
We have been sailing up the ICW and semi regularly crossing paths with two different boats. Dancing Lions with Sebastian on it with his dog Shadow and ‘Caroline’ with Bob and Minta on it. As I have said all along it has been interesting, fascinating and even revealing an expanded history to us as we have sailed up and down the coast, but meeting the different people we have met has made our life richer and fuller and for that I am thankful.
We are only a couple of days until we will arrive in Easton, Maryland. We were there in October where the Finlay’s live. Paul has graciously told us we can tie up to his dock for an extended period and Melinda says she is interested in hearing stories of our travels! Well I’m interested in making her bathtub dirty since this pirate is looking forward to a good long soak. 😬. We will be making plans to leave the boat for about 2 months in Easton. We will take a couple of days to clean the boat and remove any perishable items and then lock her up
Eric has meetings in Calgary and I will fly home. In May we will go to London UK 🇬🇧 for an international Alpha conference and then Eric has a few odd jobs to do. In mid June Eric and Nat (one of our boys) will fly down and bring the boat back.
So as my last post I must say I survived! Sometime I was ready to go home and other times I was thankful for this adventure and once in a lifetime journey with Eric. We’ve met people, rekindled family ties, learned about events and more of each other. In the 8 months no major disagreements but lots of laughs and we are both glad we did. I am sure he would do this trip again but I will not. I have seen this as a great adventure but certainly not my life style. We just met a guy who wanted to do this and took 6 months went to Bahamas and is now returning to his home and wife, now if Eric wanted to do that he has my blessing! 😄 I truly am blessed and now looking forward to seeing what is next for us! Thanks for following us we felt like it was another link to our friends and family and appreciated every comment and encouragement. Val signing off.
I did promise another blog sooner than this but have failed in that sorry.We spent almost 3 weeks in Vero Beach at my cousins, Stan and Susan, ahhhhh family there is nothing like it. I wanted to acknowledge the people who we have met over the past months. We have seen and experienced many wonderful unique events and Eric and I couldn’t have imagined the joy and awe in God’s creative hand. The fish, underwater beauty, flowers, islands, I could go on and on BUT I want to say that as we are now turned around and heading North I am reflecting on the individuals that we have been impacted by. Some we know their names and some we don’t yet my life is fuller because of them. Everyone from Miss Alice in Elizabeth City to Fr. Ethan in Georgetown Bahamas, each person I saw a passion in them to live beyond their own wants and needs, to give, love and bless others. During this Lenten season I am challenged that this is what living and life is all about, to love, give and see others in a gracious, merciful and sacrificial way.
Now here we are back in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the US and saw many different countries govern them over a 200 year period. The architecture is spectacular and the history is deep. When we were here in December we only saw the external buildings and read a tiny bit of the history. In December we knew we would come back and stay for a few days and really take our time and explore the city which we did! This city has been governed by the Spanish, British, Spanish, and finally the Americans. In the early years the French Huguenots also made an appearance and bid for Florida. What all this change of governments did was to create a very diverse community that was a welcoming and safe place to live. There was an underground railroad that led south as well as north, Florida was the destination for slaves who were on the run from plantations just up north.
A huge part of the history here is from a man by the name of Henry Flagler. He seems to be the man who could see the potential of tourism in St Augustine. He built a beautiful hotel which today is Flagler College, plus another hotel, several churches(Grace Methodist, Ancient City Baptist and Memorial Presbyterian Church),a railway, and a hospital! Each building is quite extravagant in design having Mr. Tiffany designing beautiful stained glass and nothing but the best for his buildings. Our heads are on overload with all the information and history that we have taken in these last few days. We visited the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian churches and wow!!!! They were beautiful. After we visited the churches in the morning we did a Winery tour, a Distillery tour and a Micro Brewery in the afternoon! A bit of a fall from grace, maybe??
By the time the 50 & 60’s segregation was quite entrenched in St Augustine and became a pivotal city regarding the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr marched here, it was the only other city that he marched in other than his participation in the march in Selma Alabama.
This city is full of history, architecture, and fabulous food. If you are heading to Florida and have a little time stop in and enter a city that will entertain you, teach you and just fill you with awe. As you can see we have quite enjoyed the days that we have spent here. Tomorrow morning we will head off and continue up the ICW.
We have been in Vero Beach Fl now for just over two weeks. Let me recount our return from the Bahamas first and then bring you up to the present and have a look into the next season for us.
After we said goodbye to Andrew and Amy we began the journey north up the Exuma Chain of Islands. We hit a couple of places along the way that we missed on our way down, notably Stanial Cay and Compass Cay. Pigs, Caves, Sharks etc.
One of the things that has become clear is that not many people actually live in the Exumas other than Black Point and Georgetown.
Many of the other places are really just Marinas for mega yachts and extremely expensive.
To change things up a bit we decided to go into Nassau for a couple days to see where most of the people actually do live.
I met the Bishop of the Bahamas while I was there and got some insight into the nature of the church. I am impressed with the overall health and ministry of this part of the Anglican family.
Our plan was to sail from Nassau to Mackie Shoal, and then to Bimini,and then finally to Ft. Lauderdale. Due to circumstances beyond our control (weather), 29 hours after we left Nassau we pulled into Lake Sylvia in Ft Lauderdale. The weather was mostly great….except for the last hour, when we found ourselves under a thunder cell. Rain and Wind.
The next day we moved up to West Palm and picked up Stan and Susan, Val’s cousin. We then traveled up the ICW as far as Stuart where we enjoyed a Cruisers Pot Luck and live music. The final leg to Vero happened the next day.
Vero Beach is known by cruisers as Velcro Beach. I asked one cruiser when he got back from the Bahamas and he said in less than a month it would be one year! It really is a great place and I could totally understand someone sailing down from Canada and just stopping here for the winter. Everything you need is here.
While here we have seen Aligators, Manetees, Pigs, Baseball, Willie Nelson and eaten a lot of Strawberries.
See our FB posts for details and pics
We are heading back over to Tampa on Tuesday to attend a conference about Seafarers sponsored by the North American Maritime Ministry organization. When we return we will begin to move the boat North again. Out plans are to stop in a few places that have some history to absorb, notably St Augustine, Savannah, and Charleston again.
Hi everyone, it has been a while since I have written a blog and my dear mother in law reminded me of such yesterday so I guess this one is for you Ruth Anne.
Eric has pretty much kept you up to date to our little day sails to different points here in the south of the Exuma Chain of Islands. The Bahamas are 700 islands with only 30 inhabited, this is not counting the Cays (keys). The islands are divided up like provinces, ie; Berry Islands, Abacos, Bimini, Grand Bahama, Andros, Exumas, Long Island, and there are others. We have visited very few when you consider the vastness of the area that these islands would have. So we are just finishing a 4 week visit in the Exuma and Long Island area.
This past week, Jan 27 – Feb 3, we had Andrew and Amy come and spend time with us. For me, it was just what the doctor ordered. It was such a blessing to have them with us, even though Amy was pretty sick when she arrived, we were concerned that they might not make it! I’m sure it was out of her sheer will that she got here. While they were here Amy had a few activities on her wish list, seeing the swimming pigs and iguanas and Andrew wanted to snorkel and scuba dive. I think we checked everything on their list and maybe a few more experiences.
On Monday it was overcast and we pretty much relaxed. Amy was pretty much spent from the travel, short on sleep from coughing and getting up early to catch their plane. Eric and Andrew went into Georgetown in the evening for Rake and Scrape. It is the type of music that is native to the Bahamas. It involves hand made drums(Goombay), hand saw/hammer, guitar, accordion and what other instruments might be available. On Mondays you can go the local pub and possibly join the ad hoc band. Andrew got the privilege and joy to play with them for a song, I know he would have loved to play with them more but it was not to be.
Tuesday we sailed to White Bay Cay (key) . On White Bay Cay we saw the swimming pigs. Yes they do swim….. out to your inflatable dinghy…. and then try to get in so they can eat all the carrots FIRST! Yikes!!!! They are quite aggressive, they don’t share well to the point of biting each other, running each other over so they can get the carrots, hmmmm so when you call someone a pig it is definitely not a compliment. It was wild there for a while, you had to hide that you had any carrots or they would be all over you. As soon as we ran out of carrots they literally ignored us, the ungrateful wretches! They just threw themselves down on the sand and went to sleep which was nice for us, since we could then look around and we found 2 litters of piglets who were about 3 weeks old.
Wednesday we went over to Leaf Cay to see the rock iguanas. On this wee island there are about forty iguanas of all sizes sitting on the beach. We had cabbage to feed these much more patient and polite reptiles. Yes some of the old codgers were staring each other down but none of us felt we in danger of getting our fingers bit off or toes trampled on.
Thursday -Saturday we hiked, snorkeled, scuba dived, got tattooed and just enjoyed one another. Sunday came all too early and I must say they were wishing they could stay as well. They returned tanned, relaxed, refreshed and for Amy almost healed ready to return to the winter life looking forward to spring to come soon.
We now have done laundry, got some provisions and today (Feb 6) we are now heading back up the Bahama islands. We are going to stop in a few places that we didn’t get to see on the way down. I have another blog percolating in my head that I will write soon. Thanks for following us
It was a great week of visiting, fishing and sightseeing, but it was now time to go back to Georgetown and Elizabeth harbour to await Andrew and Amy’s arrival at the end of the month. We moved the boat back out of Joe Sound and anchored out in front of the beach where Pete and Christie’s house is. It was a bit of a rolly night, but we were up at dawn and headed back across Exuma Sound in very light wind. We arrived back at around 11:00. This time we anchored over at Monument beach as that was where our friends Bob and Diane on “Two of a Kind” were. We visited with them and learn more about the area. They are leaving at the end of the week to go attend the birth of their next Grand Child. They keep their boat here in Georgetown year round and come down and use it through the winter.
As there is a front (or two) on the way we consider where we might go to anchor to gain some comfort from the wind and the seas. Stocking Island provides great protection from the prevailing easterlies but can become rather unruly in a south or west wind. We learn about a group of anchorages behind Crab Cay known as Red Shanks Anchorages.
There are 4 different spots for a bunch of boats. It is regarded as a hurricane hole, which affords protection from the seas 360 degrees. It is generally entered at high tide due to the rather skinny water and the entrance and between the holes inside. We move the boat down to Hole number 1 and wait there while the wind does clock 360 degrees over the next several days. Since the wind was not much above 15 or 20 it may have been a bit of overkill but we did meet another interesting couple and had a great time snorkeling as well.
As sunday approaches we are up in the air about where we might go to church. There are two options and both will have their challenges. The first option is to check out “Beach Church” which is held at Chat N Chil it is a Volunteer lead interdenominational service run by the boating community. The other option would be to go to St. Andrews Church in Georgetown. Our immediate problem is distance and weather. For either location it would be about an hour of travel time in our dinghy. Then there is the weather, which is looking thunderstormish. Remember this it the same weekend that most churches in Maritime Canada had to reschedule or cancel their services. The system that is affecting them is the same system (much warmer) that we are dealing with. It stretches all the way from Cuba up to Newfoundland.
The Beach Church begins at 9:30 and we are back and forth as to go or not, when we look at the sky and it looks particularly dark. We decide to wait and see what it will be like in an hour and then try to make the 11:00 at St. Andrews. Within a few minutes we hear on the radio that they have canceled Beach Church. By 10:00 the sky is looking reasonable so we set out up the inside of Crab Cay, under the bridge, around February Point and into Lake Victoria. We walk up to the Church, getting there at about 10:40
We note that there is a keyboard and drum kit, along with all the other fixtures and decor you would find in any traditional Anglican Church. After our experience in Bimini, we are anticipating an alive vibrant community of believers with richness and diversity in their worship tradition…. we are not disappointed! St. Andrews Parish is the hub church for the Exuma Island area. It has a school and is active in many community ministries.
The service lasts nearly 2 1/2 hours, which we are regarding as quite normal. Another visiting family from a resort we note: is sitting behind us and when the notice the drummer walk in, sticks in hand, they move to the other side of the Church. We eventually notice that they don’t make it to the end of the service. Must have been a bit much for them I guess.
I would not have believed it unless I had experienced it. My hope has always been that each of the traditions are firmly routed in the work of the spirit of God and has in it all of the very best intentions. As with any tradition, they ways that we do things can eventually get mechanized, wooden, devoid of spirit or locked into some kind of legalism. Within my view of the Anglican Church there are two main traditions and a third that has come of late. These are, the Anglo-Catholic movement, The Low Church/Evangelical movement and of late the Renewal or Charismatic movement. Across Canada and in many other places you can find examples of these traditions that are full functioning models of the body of Christ. You can find them in healthy condition or in complete disfunction or anywhere in between. The thing that we have experienced here however is very unique. It is a blending together of all the traditions, without loosing or compromising anything.
The service began with a number of songs and hymns as a preparation time. As the people continued to arrive the strength of the singing and sense of deeply engaged worship increased. At this point neither the opening hymn, nor the opening sentence had happened. This was 20 minutes into the service. Once again we experienced the full depth of an Anglo Catholic Service, with Evangelical preaching and charismatic freedom and anointing.
Later in the week I visited with Ethan, the Rector to ask him about this blend, that we had experienced now on two different islands. It seems that the reason for it was that when the Charismatic renewal happened it was embraced by the Bishops and other significant leaders It was intentionally integrated into the liturgical tradition of the time, which was quite traditional. The result is something very precious.
After the service we thought we would get something to eat before we took the long ride back to the boat. We found however that there was not one restaurant open. It was Sunday. It is still a day of rest in the Bahamas! We knew that there was a weekly Pig Roast happening over at Chat N Chill on Stocking Island, so we headed over there in the dinghy.
Because of the fronts that rolled through this past week we had time to do some Repairs and upgrades. Amoung them was to oil the teak, install a new bow roller, fix my centerboard crank holder, repair a crack in the salon table fiddle, make a conch horn etc.
On Thursday we move back out of Red Shanks and anchor in front of Georgetown to do laundry, get water and provision. Friday morning is the first time we have had not had excessive wind in well over a week.
We passed a quiet (non-rolly) night in front of Chat N Chill Our plan was to wait until about noon and then head across to Long Island. My cousin Peter has a place there in Calabash Bay on Galliot Cay. He and his family arrived on Dec 27 and will be leaving on the 15th, so our timing was just right, but we don’t want to waste any time. We go ashore in the morning to watch some of the volleyball tournament that has been organized and walk around the general vacinity. We participate in the cruisers net on Channel 72 which takes every morning. There is a whole range of information passed on this 1/2 hour special two way radio show! We check in and say that we are going to leave and return in about a week.
On the beach we find a pole with over 100 signs pointing to destinations all around the world where boats have sailed to Georgetown. We do not see one for Saint John, so when we return there tomorrow that will be one of the projects. Here is what we will put on the sign: Saint John NB 20M 1390NM This is to say that Saint John is found at 20 degrees magnetic bearing at a distance of 1390 Nautical Miles.
At about noon we depart Elizabeth Harbour for Long Island. It takes us about 4 hours to cross the sound and we anchor just up the beach from Peters house.
They are busy that night but we make arrangements to meet them the next morning. The anchorage is known to have swell in it and we do not sleep well. At about 7 in the morning just after sun up we move the boat down to the inlet to Joe Sound. This is a very narrow pass that goes into a sound behind Galliot Cay. It has total protection from surge and there are often 4 or 5 boats in there. We anchor so I can take the dinghy in to survey the cut. The actual route in is only about 25 feet wide with jagged rocks and a wreck around the entrance. Clearly you want to do this against a small current, with really good light. The water is so clear that it is very difficult to judge the depth. You might think that it is 4 or 5 feet when it is in fact 20. After I take the dinghy in twice I have found the sandy path that avoids the reef. Ive also determined the bearing to be about 72 deg M. There are a couple of markers; one a stake and the other a buoy, but they seem to be marking some deceptively shallow points as a warning where not to head toward. Once I have found the path it is and easy albeit heart stopping transit.
Pete and Christy see that we have moved down to the entrance of Joe Sound and they join us via Kayak. After a few minutes we go into the anchorage area and secure the boat with two anchors in line with the current. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbhUMQjaySg Here is a great video that describes how to do this.
Val and I are treated to amazing hospitality during our days here at “The Yellow house” , including a day trip down the island to see various churches and buildings and land features. Toward the end we come to Deans Blue Hole. This is a geological phenomenon that is quite common here in the Bahamas but it happens to be the deepest one in the world. So much of the Bahama bank is only about 15 feet deep. The Blue hole is over 600 feet straight down. It is used for the worlds free diving competition. If you google Deans Blue Hole you will find lots of information. We climbed the cliff beside it to get a view from the top.
We dined at a marina on the atlantic side and made multiple stops on the way down and back, looking for a variety of items. This is a normal shopping day.
The highlight however of the whole stay will have to be how we came to an understanding of law enforcement.
The day before Peter and I went out to the local gas Station to pick up some white wine. They were meeting with some other guests that night and needed to bring some wine. Unknown to us it was a newly instituted holiday. (Majority Rule Day) Look it up; it is quite a story in itself. When we arrived at the Gas Station/Liquor store the door was locked and there were about a dozen customers waiting around with the understanding that the owner would be back “Soon” remember we are on “Island Time” After about 20 minutes he does show up. Peter asks him if he has white wine and the owner says he has a good selection. Peter then goes in behind the counter and comes up with four bottles of Chardonnay, perfect for the occasion. We each come out and place the bottles carefully in the back seat. Just as we close the doors of the truck we hear the unmistakable WOOP Woop of a police siren. We see that the local constable has blocked us in with his police Jeep. We think that this is just a friendly greeting as Peter knows just about everyone on the island. It is not. A very officious young constable, badge number 313, begins to ask very specific questions. He asks if we had just purchased something from the establishment. We acknowledge that we have. He asks if it was alcoholic beverage. We say yes.
About this point he begins to tell us that we are not in any trouble but that the vendor is. He explains that this vendor has been warned multiple times not to be open on a national holiday. He may be now facing a fine of $5000 for this infraction and it looks like the constable has him cold! The officer takes our statements and then HE TAKES THE WINE! as evidence! He says that we are welcome to asked the vendor to return the money that was paid, but Peter refuses. This is a guy that Peter has known for 30 years! We really think that what was happening was that the constable was hiding around the corner waiting for someone to come out carrying a bottle of something! He never would admit to that, claims he was just driving by.
On our way home I get a call from the officer asking if he can come by in the morning to take our statement. I tell him that we are not going to be around tomorrow. Once we do get home he calls me again to say that he is on his way to talk to us and get a written/signed statement. This is beginning to remind me of Alice’s’ Restaurant. He shows up about 15 minutes later after calling one more time to get directions. (There is only one road on Galliot Cay. There is only one yellow house, which is known as “The Yellow House”
When Constable Rolles arrives he takes Peters statement and Peter signs it. We talk about all kinds of other things, like his family name and where he is from, alcohol laws, driving laws; Peter had just got a ticket from this guy the week before for doing 30 in a 20. The normal rate of speed in a 20 is about 50. Even the constable would acknowledge that. And of course we get the history of Majority Rule Day.
I ask him about open liquor in a vehicle or in a public place and there is nothing wrong with that. You just can’t be “under the influence” An open bottle of Kalik in a vehicle is a pretty normal thing. As a matter of fact when you purchase beer in any location the cashier will offer to open one before you go out the door. Such service!
At this point we figure the matter is closed and the wheels of justice will begin to move and justice will be accomplished in somone’s eyes.
The next morning as we are setting out for our road trip down the island to the Blue Hole and other places, my phone rings again. I now recognise Constable Rolls Number. He asks us if we can come into the Police Station. Chief wants to meet with Peter. Peter knows this guy but has not seen him for a decade. We arrive at a little group of buildings that include: The Anglican Rectory, the old police Station, A slightly newer police Station, Her Majestys Prison, the Department of Motor Vehicles and some other government offices. Peter and I go into the Station house and Val and Christy go to see what the Jail looks like.
I am told to wait in the waiting area and Peter goes out back, where I hear the clang of a barred door shutting! He is in there for quite a long time. I talk with Constable Rolls and his sergeant. He seems a bit nervous.
Finally I hear the sound of glass bottles and realize that the Chief is giving Peter back his wine. All is well. All was just a misunderstanding! Even the speeding ticket has disappeared.
Yesterday we did a road trip down long Island. Along they way we crossed the “Tropic of Cancer” You can click on the link to see why that is significant! Let me back up a bit and cover the time from Black Point to where we are now and then say a bit about what is to come. (I will do this over a couple of posts) You can check out our FB pages to see some pics and some of our experiences along the way.
After we left Black point we went out into the ocean through a cut in the islands. The reason for this is that the inside gets very shallow and you have to travel significantly further to get to your destination. I decided it would be good to break it up into a two day journey to Georgetown. Upon reading the reviews and recommendations I settled on Lee Stocking Island as our stop over. A short day sail with good protection. We could wait there for a weather window if needed.
We set out the next morning and had an uneventful passage down the Exuma chain and made our entrance through Adderly Cut and found our way around to the anchorage in front of the old Caribbean Marine Research Center. This is an abandoned station, that has been bought by a developer to make a high end marina someday. We have noticed that there are loads of places like this where there has been a start and a stop and an abandonment of development. Things happen on island time… or they just don’t happen at all. If someone happens to tell you that they will be putting a roof on a new building next week, chances are they have been saying that for 10 years or so. They might put a roof on it in the future or maybe not at all.
We spent the night and since the weather looked strongish the next morning we thought that we might spend one more day to let it settle some more as we did have to go out the cut into Exuma Sound again. It was at about 11:00am that we discovered we had no more fresh water. Not a problem I thought as I turned the valve for our 40 gallon reserve tank…… not a drop! Still not sure what happened but I suspect that I did not have the valve fully off and over the last couple of months the contents of it drained into our other two tanks! I used to regularly check it and top it off when I filled the other tanks, but it was never down, till today!
I knew that we were going to soon need water and also to top off on fuel and would like to do that before Georgetown, since there is no dock in GT that you can do those two jobs. In GT you need to take the dinghy into the town dock with jugs and lug back water and fuel. One would think that with 300-500 boats sitting in the harbour for months at a time, someone would have put in a proper fuel dock!
Our only option was a rather high end Marina about 13 miles away called the Marina at Emerald Bay. It is a Sandals Resort. The entrance is tricky, especially in East winds over 20. It was blowing a solid 15. I called them to ask about their entrance and they assured me it was passable. You do have to radio ahead to make sure that the channel is clear of traffic as you approach because you can’t necessarily see vessels that are about to leave.
The most exciting part of the day was about to happen. There is a phenomenon that some of you will be familiar with called “Wind against Current” When this happens the waves get steeper, break and get higher too. As we left Adderly Cut this was what we encountered. Two knots of current flowing out vs. 15 knots of wind coming in. The sailing instructions said to veer off the main channel as soon as you had cleared the submerged reefs at the entrance of the cut….. but not too soon. Waves were breaking at about 8-10 feet and we were taking some water over the bow. This is usually fine, since the boat is well designed to shed water and continue on.
When it is hot we open our hatches…….
Usually we close them before we head out….
After the first wave Val went below to secure the hatches but was unable to move toward the forward hatch due the the motion of the boat and a couple more waves soaked our sheets and mattress!
By the time we got things battened down we were out of the channel and on our way to the Marina.
At one point I saw three flying saucers… not UFOs but actual corelle saucers flying from the port side of the galley across to the navigation station. Thankyou Dow Corning and NASA engineers for coming up with a material that can stand high impact and not break!
The entrance to the marina was as advertised. We got in, took fuel and water and got out in less than an hour. One of the good things was that because the water was metered and our tanks were completely emptied we got a measurement on our capacity for water. We now know that the two side tanks are 25 gallons and the forward one is 40. I had always thought it was more than that and wondered if because of the position of the tanks they were never emptied. Now I know. 12 gallons of fuel and 90 gallons of water cost $103. Now to Georgetown.
The timing was tight. I did not want to be doing the tricky dogleg route into Elizabeth harbour in less than ideal light, even along the deep water route. We still had 15 knots on the beam so we would be able to make it before sun set.
Georgetown and Elizabeth Harbour, for most people that go there, is the “end of the rainbow” ; It is the pot of gold and the final destination. Each year yachting snowbirds sail toward Georgetown, drop the hook and don’t go any further for 2-3 months. There is a very organized community there that can fulfil every interest.
We entered the harbour and found a spot right in front of Chat N Chil and dropped the hook. Within the next few minutes we heard a chorus of Conch shells being blown to signal the setting of the Sun! We have arrived!
Happy New Year to you all! 🎉 It’s hard to believe that we have said goodbye to another year each of us getting older and maybe a little wiser. Over the holidays we were able to either talk of video chat with all our kids and with RuthAnne. For me it was extremely hard not to be celebrating with them and told Eric (‘that won’t happen again’). In the same breath I so appreciated celebrating with the congregation in Bimini. It was a blessing, a joy and a sense of rejoicing with people from a different culture and a bit of a different experience tradition express their love and joy in Jesus. What a gift.
We were 10 days in Bimini because of the back to back storms, again I am sure we’ve dragged wind and snotty weather with us, for those of you who are battling the snow and cold our burdens are nothing to what you have been contending with. I’ll help shovel next winter!
So we have sailed down to the southern part of the Bahamas and it is feeling more tropical 🌴 everyday. Eric has described the different islands that we have visited so far and we are amazed at how uninhabited the Bahamas are. The population for this country is around 400,000, so lots of empty islands with white sandy beaches.
Today we arrived in Black Point and by the information we have it is known as a great place to stop, to do your laundry, get a few groceries, get your hair cut if you would like. Da Mail boat came in today so we will go back tomorrow and get some fresh Veggies and maybe some fruit. A can of beans was $3.00 at one store, yikes! So we were wandering around the store and then I found out that tomorrow there would be fresh stuff so I asked when tomorrow morning would she be open and she said “in the morning”, there you go we are officially on island time. 😂.
Depending on weather we expect to be in Georgetown at the first of next week, how’s that for island time! Really we pray all is well with you and look forward to seeing you in a few more months. Blessings.
We have crossed the Bank and the Tongue and arrived at New Providence Island. We had no desire to go into the overly touristy and expensive Nassau, so we opted for a night stop at a protective cove on the west end of the Island. The plan was to sleep and then head for the Exumas. Plans change and there does not seem to be a weather prediction service that is reliable. We set out at dawn with moderate Easterlies as predicted. I noticed that the engine Temperature was running too high. Since we were only in about 12 feet of water we anchored to investigate. The clouds closed in, the wind began to blow and it also rained. I dove over the side to check the intake -ok. Then I pulled the strainer-ok. I opened the water pump to check the impellor-ok. Put everything back together and it seemed to be ok. It could be that something had fowled the intake and then washed away. Temp was back down to normal. The problem was we had lost a lot of time and now the wind had piped up. There was no way we could make Highbourn Cay before dark, so we returned to West Bay.
I began to read up about local attractions as I had not planned a visit to explore. Take a look at what I found in the link below.
During the service Christmas Eve, an older man got up to read the Old Testament Lesson. You would recognize it; from Isaiah 9 “for unto us a child is born” It was read with a deep conviction and drama; so much so that you would think that the author himself was rehearsing it. As we passed the peace later in the service I spoke to the man and told him what a blessing it was for us to hear him read. I said that we had sailed down from Canada. He said; That is good. I build boats. I told him that I was an amature boat builder as well. After the service Ansil invited me to come to his Boat Shop. I protested and said; but tomorrow is Christmas day. He assured me that he would be there from around 9 to 4. That is his routine, Christmas or not.
I spoke to him again at the fellowship time, just to make sure and then said that I would be over in the morning.
He had given me the instructions that his boat shop was north of the power plant, down by the basket ball court, right out on the water. I found it easily. Ansil comes from 5 generations of Boat Builders and is the last boat builder on Bimini. He has not been able to find an apprentice. He says that they might acquire the skills, but they don’t have the heart and passion for it and quit after a short while saying it it two hard.
Boat building for Ansil has really just been a part time thing for him. His real passion is Bone Fish. You have to hunt them and stalk them like deer he says. You must see them first and cast the bait just in front of them or else you will spook them and they run. He built a boat for himself so that he could become the best bone fish guide in the area, and indeed he has been dubbed “Bone Fish Legend”
Indeed he did become that and lead a client to catch the biggest bone fish ever. Still unsurpassed. This in my mind, though a great story was not what impressed me the most. It is well known that Martin Luther King used to come to Bimini to write his speeches. Ansil was asked to take Dr. King to as secluded place so that he could write (as it turned out, his last speech) I will not try to describe this myself but refer you on to some videos that I have also posted on FB The one by the fishing show I think gives one of the best accounts of this relationship and encounter.
With regard to his boat building he designed and built the perfect boat for bone fishing and had build and sold a good many of these at florida boat shows. He has one order to go and also he needs to repair his own. It came to an untimely end as he was navigating a canal at speed and hit a rock or concrete block that had been dumped in the waterway. It holed the boat and sunk her. She rolled over under the weight of the engine and tore her transoom off. The boat sits in his shop now awaiting some materials. He has a sale for her, but must repair her and likely replace her engine. I will post below some other interviews with Ansil. He told me many other things about the history of Bimini. About Hemingway, Shark research, Conch, the Sport Fishing industry and family. And as it turns out Ashley (the Dolphin house) is his brother! He has another brother Tommy who makes jewelry. Three brothers whose ancestors arrived centuries before from Scotland and married Bahamian women.
Most blogs that I have read about doing what we are doing talk about crossing from Miami, arriving at Bimini, spending the night or maybe one day and then pressing on across the bank to Nassau and Eluthera and the Exumas. We have been totally blessed by spending a week or a bit more here. We left Miami just before a strong wind from the SW was due to blow. The predictions showed it to be up to 50 Knots. Certainly a good protected harbor would be required. In talking with a resident of Cat Cay days later, he remarked that it was the strongest wind outside of a full hurricane that he had experienced in more than 10 years. We were very glad to have crossed and tucked into Bimini Sands marina. Bimini Sands Resort/Marina is on the South Island. Very quiet, mostly residential. The north Island has all the party life, stores, infrastructure etc. We like the South Island for its peace and solitude.
So, because of the wind storm , which lasted three days and then Christmas, we found ourselves committed to at least a week. There could be worse places to be stuck. On the first day after we arrived we headed over to the North Island and Alice Town to buy a SIM card for the Phone. We decided also to do a bit of a walking tour and visit the museum. Val has written about that already. We saw a hot-dog vendor and decided to get something to eat. The young lady who ran this was quick to invite us to Church on Sunday and it turned out to be the Anglican Parish for Bimini. We knew that we would be staying on through Christmas as well, so it was decided. She described the Christmas Eve service, starting at 11:00 with a preceding Carol Sing and followed by a breakfast/midnight fellowship. I have reported in our FB posts about our Sunday Experience please check them out. Take a look at Val’s post also about Ashley Saunders, and the Dolphin House, it is all part of the bigger story!
Rev. Colin Saunders (Saunders is a very common name) was born on the island, moved to other islands as his father moved with Customs and Emigration to further his career. He studied theology at Huron College in London Ontario and after ordination was working in the Capitol region of Nassau doing a Church plant. One day about three years ago he was invited back to his boyhood home of Bimini to attend the Ordination Service of the new Baptist Pastor. Upon hearing that he would be in town and that his old home church was with out a pastor that Sunday he was called upon to fill in. His heart was stirred as he took the service and discerned that all things were not quite as he had remembered. When he returned to Nassau he spoke to his bishop and mentioned if there was ever a vacancy at his old home church, he would like to be considered. He was appointed Rector within the year. Despite the looming knowledge that a prophet was not always welcome in his home town, he began his ministry.
We began Christmas eve by taking the boat down the coast about 5 miles with the hope to dive on a wreck. When we got there we found that the conditions were not favorable and we would have to look at this another time. We found a quiet spot in about 15 feet just of the marina on our return to anchor the boat and jumped in to do my first “snorkel inspection” of the anchor in the crystal clear water of the Bahamian Bank. What was really interesting was that you really did not even have to get into the water to see what the anchor was doing. I could watch it decent to the bottom, tip over and dig in, all from the deck of the boat. Even when I had let out 3:1 rode, I could still see the anchor burying itself. I swam on it anyway and then turned and looked at the boat floating, as if in air, and could see well beyond it as well!
When we got back to the harbor I thought it would be good to see about Coconuts. I had asked the marina manager if it was ok to take one. He wondered why I might want to do so and said go ahead. I found a tree with some large ones that seemed ready and right there in the brush near by was a 15 foot piece of aluminum structural component that was just perfect for knocking those nuts out of the tree. Two swipes and two were on the ground. I found a YouTube later on that showed a guy shucking a coconut in 6 seconds. He did about 1000 a day. My first attempt was about an hour! Knowing what I know now about these beasts, I think I can best that time for the next one. Shucking is only the first part. Now you have to get the water out, crack it and get the meat out, but most of us have done that before.
We made a few phone/video calls to family while we waited for night fall. This has been one of the most difficult things: to be physically away from family during the holiday. It is nice to have the technology to talk and text and post to one another, but nothing can replace the times of visiting from house to house and hosting grand feasts. I don’t recommend being away for Christmas, it is a lonely experience.
It might take up to an hour to get to church so we set out at about 9:40 pm, heading for at 10:45 pm Carol sing and an 11:00 pm service. We were early as the ferry was just arriving as we got to the dock.
Alice Town is like any other place with the good the bad the beautiful and the ugly. We have walked through the town several times now and are very aware of the more sketchy parts and the spirit that seems to go along with them. There is one particular Tiki bar in the middle of town that plays loud music seemingly 24 hours a day, whether there are customers there or not. Sunday morning it was blaring out music at about 8:30 in the morning!
That part of town has a certain darkness to it. Lots of little bars that are dark on the inside along side mini casinos, with no windows. We were also seeing people young an old driving around in golf carts with open beer. One telling sign was the fact that when you are in the liquor store there is a bottle opener beside the cash! In speaking with Pastor Colin later on he said that there are laws but they are largely ignored because of the rich tourists and not wanting to offend them. What has happened is that the locals now take it as a given and walk around with open drink all the time. It was perfectly normal to see a young man or young woman at 9:00am on Sunday morning walking or driving down the main road with a half consumed beer.
As I had mentioned in my FB post about sunday church, it was not that well attended, but what it lacked in numbers was more than offset by the quality and engagement in worship. We arrived plenty early (I think we were the first ones) We watched as people began to arrive. Those leading the service, Choir members, Lay-readers, Servers etc. I think that there were only about a dozen of us in the pews when the Choir leader stood and announced that it was time to begin singing carols. I though to my self: this is going to be a disaster, there are not enough people here. To my surprise as he lifted up his voice, the congregation responded and filled in every harmony with the richness of any trained choir that I have ever heard…. and the choir largely had not arrived! Carol after carol was sung and more people arrived. The rest of the Choir, the organist and more of the congregation. By then end we were enveloped in a full sound of glory in the highest. The service was now ready to begin.
As I described in an earlier post the style of service is very formal and Anglo-Catholic. Complete with everything you can imagine from this tradition. Incense, Sanctus Bells, as many as a dozen people assisting in some capacity with the service, candles, full liturgy. What set it apart in my mind was that there was an welcoming openness for the informal as well, and the moving and filling of the holy Spirit. This service would normally have taken about an hour in Canada, was just over two hours here in the Bahamas. Every symbol, action and word was open and available for the fullness of the glory of God to inhabit it.
We began with the blessing of the cradle, complete with procession, incense and singing. Then it was on to the opening carol and so on. Everything in the liturgy was sung with depth, and conviction. My though as we were singing the great Carols of the Nativity was this: This is how I have always imagined these songs to be sung. The only thing that came close in my experience, were the times that the clergy of my diocese got together for conference or retreat and we would sing well known hymns together. This was always good. Everyone singing songs they know well. But alas this experience has been eclipsed by the humble ordinary people of a small island in the Bahamas.
After the service we went over to the hall for “All kinds of Fellowship” I checked with Colin the Rector to see if there were others there from South Bimini so that we could be guaranteed a way back to Tevah. I suspected that the Ferry would stop running around midnight. In fact by the time I asked, the Ferry had already been put away for the night. We were glad to find a couple that could transport us back to the ferry landing. They had a small boat.
The fellowship went on past 02:00 am complete with Johnny cake, hominy, fish and chicken boiled in gravy, coffee, tea, wine, rum, beer, eggnog. Thanks to the kindness of a couple we were introduced to we got back to the boat just before 3:00 am
This entry may be a little longer than usual so a cup of cheer may be in order. Our crossing was quite uneventful considering all that could have gone wrong. We got up at 4 am (ridiculous, I know 😬) and we weren’t heading into the night by 4:30am. What we saw was lots of water, obviously, and lots of flying fish. At first I thought they were some type of flying bugs, they are tiny, white and they don’t just jump out of the water but can keep going for quite a long way before they head back into the ocean. We arrived into the harbour of Bimini Sands Marina and Resort around 12:30. As you are coming into the banks of Bimini the water turns that beautiful aqua colour that you see in travel magazines and it is breathtaking. So we tied up and have rented a slip for a week at a whopping cost of $100 for the week. Looking at the weather we could see a nasty storm coming for the next two days. (I told a friend in Florida that I’m sure we tied a cold front to the stern of the boat and brought it every km of the way with us). We seem to arrive and it is a nice enough day to take off your coat and enjoy the ☀️ then the coat has to go back on the next day.
We are on the South Bimini Island so have to take a ferry over to the North Bimini Island, both islands are tiny they are the smallest within the 700 islands of the Bahamas archipelagos. This island is very quiet compared to the Northern island. On the resort it has the laundry, (sketchy) wifi, showers, 2 pools and of course the beach. So the first day we were here we went to both pools with no one else in them. I think that will change the day after Christmas. They say this is the quiet week with everything ramping up for the next 3-4 months, so we will enjoy the calm before the storm.
Speaking of storm we were hit with a whale of a storm with winds up to 100 km/hr. We felt we were helping our son in law Justin to break in a horse! Eric adjusted the ropes several times (5 of them) trying to snug up the boat but just the way the wind, waves and how the tiny little harbour is we had more than 24 hours of high winds. It is still rocking and rolling a bit here but certainly has calmed down a lot. I told you Susan C we bring the cold and winds with us. 😁
So our adventures: as we go out and about we have gotten another phone card Bahamian. When we sent out the text to our kids, Kait said that’s phone number 4! Yup.🙄 But with the technology we are able to keep in touch. Thank you Lord.
Bimini’s claim to fame is Ernest Hemingway loved living here for a few years and wrote a few books while he was here as well he loved the fishing. The other person who loved to come here was Martin Luther King Jr. It was a place of rest as well as a place where it is said he wrote his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace prize that he received in 1967, I think
The character of the day is a guy called Ashley aka Dolphin Man owner of Dolphin House. Today we took a second trip to the North island and were told we had to go see the Dolphin House as a touristy trip. So we did. The island is about as wide as a football field with the geography which has a bit of a little hill down the centre and the Dolphin House is at the top of the hill. As we arrive Ashley is outside and looks like a Jamaican man with The dreads and all. As soon as he started talking I wanted to head down the hill but you know Eric he won’t walk away, so we had to go on this tour. Ashley told us how the dolphins had changed his life and he was spending the rest of his life telling people about them. SO I thought we were going to learn about the life, eco system, needs etc of the dolphin. I was thinking a biology/oceanic lesson but nope it was an artistic lauding of dolphins tiled all over the walls inside and out, (over 50 drawings/ceramic tiles) thus Dolphin House! Most of the house is made out of things that he has been able to find on the beaches or anywhere else he can scrounge, including conch shells, coral rock limestone, ceramic tiles and other building materials. He has built a house that will stand against any hurricane of which it has weathered 7 if I am correct. We had the tour and had a unbelievable view of both sides of the island standing in one spot. So I walked away pondering a couple of things, hearing about the Dolphin House I had one expectation but experienced something totally different of which I really appreciated. The other is I have such a small window of giving people a chance and yet I am the one who misses the unexpected, the out of the ordinary and maybe I need to work at hearing the full story.
We have found a church that we will go to tomorrow and to the Christmas Eve service. We will write to you again soon.
We are now in Miami getting ready to make the sail to Bimini, Bahamas. It’s hard to believe after 3&½ months we are this close. We were ready to sit in Miami for ‘the perfect weather window ‘ which can take days or weeks but nope not us! We got into Miami sailing past 6 cruise boats and lots of other activity at lunch time. We went ashore and got a very large grocery order, came back and then headed off to the jump off point to the Bahamas, called No Name Harbour.
Looking back over our US leg of the sail we have met great people and learned so much about local areas, towns and US history. It has been great. I am still a landlubber and not a sailor. I am pretty sure this is a one of adventure. I miss my family, children, in-laws and friends. I love to drive, I love to take my dog for hikes, I love worshipping with my church community and playing in the band, I love celebrating Christmas and all its traditions with my family and friends. This is a once in a lifetime experience and I do appreciate the opportunity.
I guess we’ll see if the Bahamas can turn this attitude around. Otherwise I pray you are enjoying this blog and my honest take on the days. We are not sure when we will be able to post a new report but hopefully soon. Thinking of you all as we get closer to Christmas.
On Monday afternoon we arrived in Vero Beach where we had arranged to connect with a cousin of mine who I hadn’t seen in decades. Stan is my first cousin on my Dad’s side of the family. On that side of the family, touchy feely, family gatherings were not part of their DNA Stan is 6 years younger than me and with all that said I never really had ever had a long conversation with him and did not really know him nor his wife Susan.
We arrived I would say, looking and smelling like pirates (so I wasn’t holding out that a good first impression was not to be had). We had laundry and shopping needs and I was feeling I was going to be pushing them in their invitation to visit.
Well I was so wrong, Susan and Stan are gifted in hospitality! They could not have made us feel more welcomed and at home. They made sure we were looked after beyond our wildest expectations. They toured us around the area, drove us all over Vero Beach to get our groceries, propane, oil for the boat plus other errands and meeting our every need or want including taking us out to lunch down by the beach for a mahi mahi sandwich which was absolutely delicious, what a treat!❤️
This morning they joined us sailing down the ICW from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce which was a couple hours of sailing. I think it was our turn to give them a bit of a treat. They experienced true sailing with a little rain and a little sun, the dolphins and manatees making an appearance for our joy and entertainment.
I know that social media can be truly scary with bullying, creeping and all other negative things but I want to recognize that because of Facebook Stan and I were able to connect and arrange this sweet 3 days of sharing stories and enjoying one another, I think I would have sailed on by if we had not interacted first on Facebook so I am grateful. Eric and I both feel that we have increased our family and established new friendships that is just beginning.
Stan and Susan we cannot thank you enough for your huge heart and fantastic sense of humour, we love you and can’t wait until we return.
We are stopped for a few days at Vero Beach to do provisioning. Val has a 1st Cousin there. Here is a phone number update. Val’s number is changed to an international one as we do the crossing. We will be getting a Bahamas number when we check in.
By Val. On Dec 1 we left Charleston SC with the goal to get to Florida as fast as we can go, (which isn’t very fast on a sailboat)😬We entered Florida several days ago and can now say we are feeling more comfy. The nights are no longer dropping down to 2C and we don’t need to turn the heater on to warm us up to start the day. Since we left Charleston we have stopped only to get fuel and a few groceries otherwise we have been pushing to get south. So long days then anchor, sleep and do it again the next day.
We did take an afternoon and walked around the beautiful and historic St Augustine. Wow what can I say! As you enter into the harbour you feel like you are sailing into a European city. The architecture is Spanish with a huge fortress to welcome you as you come in. Castillo de San Marcos has been there for over 300 years beginning in the 1600’s, built by the Spanish to claim a little of the New World. One Ponce de Leon and his navigators came to understand the Gulf Stream and used it to travel back and forth to Spain. They would follow the Gulf Stream to South America, travel north to Florida and follow the Gulf Stream back to Spain, amazing! This route made Spain a very prosperous country in the 1600-1800’s where it cedes Florida to the US after the Civil War .
The fortress was never defeated unless changing hands in peaceful/treaty exchanges. The city hall is gorgeous with very Spanish architecture and I’m sorry that I didn’t stop and take a pictures all around me. The side streets are those narrow alley like walkways with all kinds of shops. It was a short but very sweet visit and we would like to stop in on our return voyage.
The weather has risen incrementally as we motor down the coast. Today (Sunday) it is poring rain out. The Captain is drenched but the Wench is dry 😬☔️. Tomorrow we will be in Vero Beach for a few days. I have a cousin whom we will visit and I’m getting very excited! I’m looking forward to catching up on life since I’ve not really spent anytime with him and get to meet his wife Susan. They have graciously opened their home up to us so we will stop and do laundry, get groceries and I will have a glorious bath. The shower cleans me bit oh I love to relax in a tub so that is one thing that I am looking forward to.
It has been a week of pushing hard to get closer to the ever elusive sweet weather and we both are happy to say 3 months later we are beginning to feel we can put on a pair of shorts very soon.
To all of you suffering through the cold, wind and snow I’m sorry but winter sports are great fun we will just miss them this year. Love to you all.
This blog is for all those sailors in the Saint John area that are wondering what it is like to travel the Intercoastal Waterway. I will frame it in comparison to travels along the Saint John River.
A day on the ICW is like leaving Saint John and traveling to Gagetown…. every day for 5 days in a row.
It would also be like going through the entrance to Grand lake, washdamoak and Bellisle all in a row… for 8 hours, including going over the flats near Shampers, with 1 foot under the keel.
It might be like traveling through grand lake and then going up the Salmon to Chipman, and then back again.
Some parts, like the “Great Dismal Swamp” would be like going along Manawagonish road, as if it was a canal. … for two days. The trees in many places almost touch over you….. and … there might be alligators.
Then you anchor and have supper and get up at 0600 and do it all again! After about a week you pull into a marina and pay your $1.50 to $3.00 per foot and have a chance to take a long shower, have a courtesy car, see some sights, have a meal out, do some shopping and then return to 5 or so more days as above.
The history that you will see and experience will rewrite so much of what you were told in school. We have spend hours in museums and reading monuments and talking to locals. There is something to learn at every stop along the way.
If you have ever dreamed about doing this… go for it!
To all who have continually encouraged me on whenever I have whined about the weather thanks but nothing has changed. ❄️🤔We are closing in on the Florida border, if all goes well it will be a days sail Thursday). Now I know we are not experiencing the (-)Degree weather but we are oh so close to the 0C that is considered the NB norm for the first of December. This morning we awoke to a 3C frosty cold morning. Now I am sticking with the Galley Wench role therefore not sitting out in the cold pushing the boat onward south. So, I gave Eric my scarf to wear and both of us wished we had hats!!!!! We have decided not to stop and visit but just go until we hit the pursued place of promised heat.
As I have been more ‘inside’ I have been trying to stay on track for Advent readings and for the past few days one of the reoccurring readings has been Psalm 90. In this psalm we see that God has been, is and will be around from the birth of the world to the end, that a day is a thousand years to Him,that he sees and knows everything about me including my secret sins, and He has never promised life to be easy. Yet still in His all knowing He has an unfailing love for us, for me, and that in the midst of my life he can walk with me and I can shout with joy and be glad all of my days.
This Christmas season will be very different for Eric and I. No family events, no bustling around attending events, preparing for services, no shopping so we are able to absorb the gift of the season. We are grateful for our gift of time to do this adventure, for our kids, family and our love for Jesus.
As you can see not much to report on regarding landmarks and places but much more on on the bigger things in life. Blessings everyone
I had a moment this morning as we were cruising down the Beaufort river and we found our selves listening and singing along to Christmas carols..
We did not bring much of anything for decorations with us but do hope to get a few when we stop in Vero Beach. We do have a very simple manger scene that is now adorning the magazine rack next to Val’s guitar.
We are now seeing white sand beaches, Palm trees and of course pelicans.. and listening to Christmas carols!
One of the things that we have started to do is to watch some of those Christmas movies the one that we watched the night we grounded was called something like “Letter to Santa” These are always love stories of some kind, but do put you into the reason for the season. We will try to watch a number of those, when we have a good Verizon signal. That one was watched with my cell phone hoisted up the mast!
The other thing that came our way was the song that Stephanie just released. Check out her FB or Blog and have a free listen. That helped.
We had an good and uneventful passage on our first day back traveling arriving in a designated anchorage called Rocky Creek. They probably should not call it Rocky Creek but rather shifting sandbar creek, or mud creek or, You will probably go aground creek.
All was well as we set the anchor with in a few feet of the spot on the chart. After we watched the first “Christmas Movie” of the season I noticed that the boat had a slight list to it. I figured it was laying over a bit due to the current being against the wind and we were lying broad side to the wind (and now rain) But I also heard a tell tale sign of water lapping agains the side of the boat, indicating that we could possibly be aground.
They say that there are two types of people that travel the ICW: those who have run aground, and those that will. We are now in the first catigory.
It was pitch black, sideways rain, no moon and we could not see the shore because of the glare off the rain when we shone the light. Only the chart plotter and compass. The chart plotter would not show our orientation because we were not moving, so looking at the compass was the only way to know how we were actually lying.
With some persuasion from the engine and windless we got off and got the anchor up and moved down creek a few hundred feet to the deepest spot we could find, after running aground once more. By the time I had let out enough scope we were sitting in 9 feet of water, but it was low tide, so that was fine.
I posted a note to the Waterway guide with the two spots that were 3 feet deep either side of their marked anchorage spot.
This was not the end of the rain however as we were to find out in the morning.
We were up at first light as we had some challenging shallow spots and timed bridge openings to transit and wanted to be away as soon as we could.
I discovered that in all of the confusion the night before I had left the spreader lights on all night. Good thing we have a good battery bank! We burnt about twice as much as we usually do in a night, about 85 Amp hours. You learn to be careful with electricity when you have to make your own every day!
As we set out we saw the flat bottom of thunder clouds to the north and east. I had hoped that they were going to pass us by but it was not to be. It rained that day between 6 and 8 INCHES!
We anchored in a beautiful anchorage at Beaufort SC. Val has already talked about the difference between these namesake cities of NC and SC. The rain continued through the night and we worked at drying our outer and under ware out. The next day we decided to forgo the city tour and press on!
In the morning we saw a fragment of blue sky and some warm temperatures.
We were nearly a month in Charleston. At some point before we arrived I had to figure out a place that I could fly to Toronto to attend board meetings for Wycliffe Bible Translators Canada. Since I am the chair of that board I wanted to be in a place that I could prepare for a time and then fly out.
To fly out with certainty I would need to know about a month in advance where that place might be. Not having done the IWC before, I was really unsure how far we would get. Taking a very conservative approach I settled on Charleston while we were still in the Chesapeake Bay Area. Charleston has an international airport with all the major Airlines in attendance.
Upon arrival as you have already read we did some tourist things and then Val headed to Sask to visit. I spent some time prepping for the Board meeting and doing boat projects. You have already read about Vals time, so here is something about mine.
Wycliffe Bible Translators is part of a family of about 100 organizations around the world that translate the Bible into the “heart language of people”. We work usually with the established local church or other missions organizations.
Translating the scriptures used to take most of the life time of a single missionary. Years ago when missionaries were sent to remote places some were known to pack their belongings into a casket, since that was how they might very possibly return. Today a New Testament translation can be done in 6-10 years and is usually done mostly from national who have been taught how to do good translation work. Beyond translation work is also litercy and scripture use work. Often there are other ministries that spring up like church planting, education, poverty reduction, medical work, etc.
Now I know that some of you reading this blog will object strongly with the concept of bringing a western “religion” to other people groups. That is the philosophy of much of the liberal west today. Even being a christian is becoming increasingly unpopular , suspect and politically incorrect.
I meet more and more so called liberal thinking people who are intolerant of the faith that I profess. That is rather ironic because a true liberal would provide space for many viewpoints. I would like to offer a rather surprising article for skeptics to read. Even if you are not a skeptic commend this to you. I remain a believer in the Son of God and the Salvation that He so freely offers. I have always believed that it has the power to transform lives and communities.
Through our studies as board directors of Wycliffe translators, our President stumbled upon an article that draws an amazing parallel between those politically incorrect (now) conversionary missionaries and the rise of Liberal Democracy. I promise you that this is an interesting read from a very practical point of view. Another good reason to consider the claims of Christ.
One of the other significant thing that we did recently at Wycliffe was to sell our building in Toronto and move in with 5 other like minded mission agency’s to be better stewarts of our funds. The additional benefit is the building of relationships with folks engaged in the same mission.
What to see a “Stack of Bibles”?
One of our former Board Members who is now a VP of Wycliffe Canada together with another staff member made this very impressive display of scriptures that have been translated in to languages that can be understood by people in their own mother tongue. #endbiblepoverty
This is no where near all of them. Lots more in the basement.
I think it has been a month since I have posted a rseport so I guess I am long overdue. Since Nov 13 I have been in Saskatchewan visiting with Kait, Justin, David, Nathalie and the girls. It was a great time going to Norahs hockey games, cooking and just enjoying family. I got to see a little of Cold Lake Alberta where Dave and Nathalie live. Needless to say my time flew by and it was time to head back. In Edmonton I got to visit with my brother Gerry for a few hours. Time is such a precious commodity that really one needs to cherish our moments with care. I left Canada with a thankful heart and looking forward to returning in the spring.
Eric and I returned on the same day within minutes of each other. We headed back to the boat and both were ready for a sleep. This flying is not a relaxing way to travel. In Toronto I sat in a loaded plane ready to go but had to wait for a new part to be put in the plane before we took off. Now I do appreciate the care they take in keeping us safe but I could feel myself getting anxious as we were more and more delayed. I knew I had about an hour (which I felt was great timing) to get to my connection for Charleston. Well we chewed that up in Toronto so when I got off the plane these old legs ran to the other end of the airport to see if I could catch the flight. As I was leaving the Air Canada guy had a voucher ready for me if I missed my plane. Well I made it!!!!!!!! I was the last one on with no minutes to spare.
So our first day we spent doing all the laundry we could and getting groceries so we could leave on Saturday. We decided to head out right away and not visit the plantation now and will wait until our return. We really did enjoy Charleston, the depth of history, the spirit of the place and the people. Eric went to a church there for the three Sunday’s he was there and we want to return when we come back in the spring.
I am writing as we are now on the Intra-Coastal Waterway heading to Beaufort SC (pronounced Būfort) not to be confused with Beaufort NC (pronounced Bōfort), you will be corrected if you get it wrong 😬. We have decided to push hard to Vero Beach where I have a cousin, provision the boat there and then wait for our weather window to go to the Bahamas and be there by Christmas.
So the adventure continues and we continue to search for the ever elusive warm weather. My cousin Stan tells me Vero Beach’s weather is beautiful. Let’s pray.
This morning was a very special morning in the Life of our Church, St. James the Less in the Parish of Renforth. It was the occasion of the ordination to the diaconate for Jonathan Hallewell. Jonathan had been worshipping here for over a year and as the year went on and I announced my retirement it became increasingly clear to me and him and a bunch of others that he may be called to leadership in ministry at St. James the Less.
For me personally this was a great peace, because one of my greatest concerns was, who was going to follow. God is the god of all provision and he has done this and not ourselves.
To be able to watch this event actually take place was one of the miracles of modern technology. I was on my way to a local new church plant here in North Charleston SC from the marina and Val was at Kait’s house in Saskatchewan. We both surfed in on Facebook live and were able to experience the service.
Earlier I had suggested to Jonathan that it would be a great blessing to us to be able to watch on Video, so he taped an old iPhone to the “wings of the eagle” … something prophetic about that no doubt!
Here are some of my impressions.
It looked like he did this about an hour before the service began, so I got to hear all of the “pre-service things, like John and Cynthia practicing, Linda getting the organ in shape and bits of conversation here and there…. Yes the whole world could have been listening! Particularly moving was seeing and hearing David and Jonathan rehearsing the vows and generally preparing for what was to take place.
Next was Susan’s introduction. It gave me great hope that the parish still has the call and character of Christ and is full of the spirit. Susan you were true to form and so sensitive to the people and to the Holy Spirit as you introduced the service and prayed. I am very proud of you.
Of course next we were hearing John and Cynthia lead worship. The song selection and leading was as usual done with excellence and sensitivity, leaving lots of room for the spirit to speak and leave an impression on hearts. Thankyou
Throughout the service we were seeing many friends and visitors participating. There were clergy, friends and church members taking part, each one touching our hearts as we saw them pass the wings of the eagle.
Listening to the message by Bishop (moves diagonally on the chessboard) Edwards, was a treat. It was an act of great love for David to come and do this so close to the time of Janets passing. His call to us all was deep and practical and very real.
My last highlight was watching people come to the rail to receive communion. Very emotional. This was the deepest moment for me. The eagles wings witnessed most of the congregation come forward, kneel and then receive the bread and wine. As the one who did this for over 20 years it stirred deep memories and emotions.
In a few minutes I board a plane and fly to Toronto to Chair meetings with Wycliffe Canada and then on Thursday Val and I both return to Tevah and head south.
Val has left for a visit at Kait’s and I am hunkered down here in Charleston SC until I head up to Toronto for the last week of November. I do have to say that the “Southern weather” can be a bit fickle! We get one day where we comment that we have “beaten winter” or “turned the corner”… and then 5 days of overcast, wind, rain and cold tempetures. I guess we will need to press on as quick as possible when we resume our trip!
In the mean time the boat is docked at the Cooper River Marina, a state park facility on the grounds of an old Navy Base. The staff is extremely helpful and the facilities are modern, clean and well stocked. It is in the middle of nowhere but the staff will always give you a lift to do some shopping or run to the airport. I have met a couple of my neighbors and they are great people.
Found a small new church plant to attend on Sunday and made a couple of connections. We were amazed at the similarities in our walk in the church and theirs! Definitely a sense of connecting to what God is doing. I will return there for sure this Sunday.
I have begun a long list of boat projects for the time that I have on the boat alone. There are a number of “leaks” to be tracked down and fixed, some improvements to the living space as well as some electrical/mechanical issues to deal with. It is great to be located in one place so that I can order stuff and recieve it. I have found that even though we are in a major boating centre it is cheaper, easier and faster to find things on line either at Amazon or an independent dealer and have them shipped directly to the marina. I have ordered some new gaskets for the ports, a new Alternator and a spare drive belt for the Autohelm.
Here is the complete list so far and the status:
Jobs while Val is away
Remote switch for Anchor windless – done
Charging circuit for Anchor windless Battery – done
Battery Box for Windless Battery
Clean drinking water filter -done
Lift and clean dinghy. Store on deck – done
Reinstall and seal windless. – Done
Clean and mark anchor rode – on going (need to let the rope dry out, before I can paint the marks on it!)
Clean and fix oil sump and extractor pump – done
Shop for food – ongoing
Get new spare alternator – ordered
Get spare autohelm belt – ordered
Get spare oil filters ordered locally – he will call
Get oil – done
Find and fix leaks
1 Front left Staunton on pulpit done
2 Windless and foot switches. Done
3 at helm station – still a mystery, but I have some ideas!
Clean deck with hose – ongoing
Organize Vberth –
Add Velcro to screens in preparation for a climate where bugs can actually survive
We did do a day of exploring the history of Charleston when we first arrived. Spent 90 minutes on a city tour and went to the Museum. Very though provoking and informative. When Val returns we will go on a Plantation tour. I will let Val blog about this aspect of the trip as she will do it so much better then I.
It’s been awhile since I have added my two cents to the blog. At Beaufort when we were getting the groceries I dropped my cell and broke it!!! So I was willing to sadly live with it. The problem was the broken screen caused a problem to type some of the letters. 😩 So off we went and had it repaired in Wrightsville Beach. The place was call CPR Cell Phone Rescue! I got a new battery and screen for $130 so Ms Galley Wench is very Happy.
The highlights for me in the last week have been:
The effects of Hurricane Florence has been significantly different as we have sailed down the Intracoastal Waterway. As we said last week Beaufort mostly suffered roof/water damage. Further down we can see how high the water was, docks twisted, huge parts of them missing, boats thrown on shore, houses damaged. We have been told that it was a result of all the water flowing down from North Carolina into the South Carolina waterways.
Since I last wrote some of the places we have anchored are Onslow Beach (Camp Lejeune)where it is like trying to pitch a tent at Camp Gagetown! As we came into the wee harbour you could hear the deep resounding BOOM of some really big explosives. Then in the early evening it was the sound of fireworks called automatic gunfire. It did settle down and all was quiet to sleep. I don’t think you could have fit many more boats in that harbour that night.
Next stop was Wrightsville/Wilmington. We did actually stop for a few days and did laundry got my phone fixed (yeah!) walked on the beautiful white sandy beach. We have actually started to say we are in the warm south and not in the winter weather (sorry you northern friends and family 😬) Lovely people, a warm, welcoming and relaxing time.
Myrtle Beach is a very long beach my friends, she is a mere 60 miles long of white sandy beaches,there seems to be no crowding here. I think the crowding comes in trying to find a parking place in order to go to the beach!
The Galley Wench was taken out to Ruth’s Steak house and mmmm was it good. I also made a lovely homemade guacamole and a mango salsa among other delicious meals. I don’t see the Captain hasn’t complained so I guess I’m here for another week.
We are now in Georgetown SC at one point the rice capital of the world. Who new? They a rice museum and a maritime museum that we have visited. The most interesting fact about the rice is it was the idea as well as the enacted by black slaves. The coastal area of SC is referred to as the lowlands. There were slaves from Ghana and Senegal who has experience in growing rice in their homelands. They made it happen and they made their masters very very rich. Just prior to the Civil War they were exporting over 70% of all rice for the world. Eric and I were discussing this and we were saying that in school we heard of plantations and always thought cotton or tobacco but never was rice a crop ever discussed. The local history we have learned has been amazing and revelatory.
I have thought often how I am very much a lame duck when it comes sailing. I’m not a sailor, I can do very little when it comes to repairing or maintaining the motor or any of the many other things that makes this whole trip happen. The sad truth is I have no desire to do those things either, Eric will sit at night to plot out our next days journey. The bottom line is I truly am just along for the ride and will feed the Captain since I would be in such a pickle if anything happened to him. We have a lovely working relationship but Unless something changes in me this will be a one of retirement gift trip. If you recall way back I had spoke of the Jersey coast just about did me in, I have spoken to several wives and I am not the only one who felt like ‘never again’ one gal came out of that trip with a broken rib so I did ok. We will soon head to Charleston and then on to Saskatchewan for me.
Val and I have just booked our tickets for a mid November break. I have meetings with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Toronto the week of the 26th and she is going to visit Kait and the kids in Sask. I have found a place to keep the boat in Charleston for the week that I am away and the rest of the time I will Anchor in a couple of places and do boat projects.
Yesterday we arrived in Myrtle Beach and got a marina slip. There was a bit of a mix up first thing as the marina that I had originally booked, had never heard of the booking service that I used. We were trying to make an 11:00 service at a nearby church that sounded really great. Check out Barefoot Church in North Myrtle Beach SC.
We are within striking distance of Charleston and still have about 10 days before we need to be there for Val’s flight. There are a good number of anchorages along the Wackama river that we will make use of and only go 10-15 miles each day.
Yesterday we enjoye walking on the Beach. I was talking to a local guy today that said there are 60 miles of beach! The sand was like white powder and it squeezed under Val’s bare feet!
Two days ago I had to change the Alternator back to the old one. Remember Cruising is really just boat repairs in exotic locations! The new one that I had bought this summer and installed in Maryland, failed. I spent some time with the guys at Autotec on Duke street on the phone to arange to ship it back to them when I get to Toronto. When I get to Charleston I will look for a replacement.
For the first time we are feeling that we can slow down and enjoy the “South”. Yesterday was reasonably warm and today it looks like it will be warmer still. Seeing Palm trees and Pelicans is now a regular thing, so we must be headed in the right direction.
After we left Beaufort and the Homer Smith Marina and Fish processing plant, we continued South on the ICW to “Mile Hammock” Anchorage. This is owned by the US Military and is a favorite for people traveling between Beaufort and Wrightsville. Just about exactly half way. I think by sunset there were 19 boats anchored. We were lulled to sleep by the sound of light Artilery fire and other military operational sounds. This part of the ICW is also used for live fire exercises and is sometimes closed for obvious reasons. We saw several of the “Targets” scattered along the shore as we went along.
We also passed by a Navy base where they were practicing vertical take off and landing with their Jets. Reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger “Your fired!” Those Jets. Very loud.
As there were several bridges that operated on a scheduled we have learned the art of keeping in a neat row without moving but very carefully using FWD and REV and a tiny bit of rudder to maintain our position in line abidst the wind and current. A couple of small z drives attached to a geo stationary controller would work well here!
Off the coast of Beaufort Blackbeard the renowned pirate was grounded. There are all kinds of displays of the Queen Anne’s Revenge booty that underwater archeology has discovered. Chris Phinney it scuba diving and underwater archeology is big here. Anyway our understanding of Blackbeard was of a ruthless pirate like most other pirates not known for their social work. Here in Beaufort he is seen as the Robinhood of these parts. The story goes that Blackbeard (Captain Thatch) loyal to Queen Anne also robbed from some of the rich trading ships coming to some of the major cities but never stopped into North Carolina with molasses and other important basics. He would take the ships cargo to his hideout up the river to New Bern. From there he would sell ‘at a very reasonable price 😉’ to the people of North Carolina. The representative in Virginia got tired of being stolen from so he came into North Carolina, arrested Blackbeard brought him back to Virginia. He was tried and hanged for piracy by the local authorities there. He still today seems to be admired in Beaufort and much information and stories are given to him in the museum. Interesting!!!!
It has been a few days since we checked in. In some ways it has been a bit uneventful yet I guess there is always a bit of a story wherever we go. We left Elizabeth City and headed to the Alligator River and became wireless for a few days. Eric gets a bit better reception than me but still sketchy. The sailing has been quiet and we have anchored in a few places and docked up in others. The first community that we docked to was Belhaven NC. A tiny, once thriving community that is so welcoming and warm. I’m not sure what community I could even compare it to in NB. We walked the streets, had a coffee went to their museum and were amused by a few experiences. The museum was more of a collection of old and antique things that everyone in town has donated. There was a bit of organization to it but little. The gal there was hilarious telling us about the beginnings of the museum, which was a button collection and how it took off from there.
We then headed further south and docked in Beaufort NC. A quaint small city with a museum and her history was very much a fishing community and today more of a research area. All the museums that we have been to have been free. There is a high value placed upon keeping the story and history of each place. We have learned much that never was printed in our history books and obviously couldn’t because of the volume of information and different events that took place over the last 400 years.
Hurricane Florence’s touch is still being felt in Beaufort. For them it wasn’t so much the rising waters, they were prepared for that but the rain and wind that caused the most significant damage. The wind lifting the shingles and the rain coming through the roofs causing damage from top to bottom. One such building was One Harbour Church where they are having to strip down to the walls, deal with mould, insulation and all remodeling needs. As we walked the streets we saw all kinds of house junk on the sidewalks ready to be taken away. The are tenacious and ever positive about what life has to offer. It’s life!
May I just finish by saying we went to One Harbour Church yesterday and wow it was a great time of worship, teaching and fellowship. It was just what I needed and as we walked back to our boat both of us were saying how it sort of felt a little bit like our home church St James the Less and how good it was.
So at the end of the Dismal Swamp we have spent 2 & ½ days here at the free dock in Elizabeth City. NC. We got to visit the Albermarle Museum yesterday and have got our steps in, in the last two days.
The nights have been cold and am glad that I brought winter leggings, warm socks and a fleece blanket that Nathanael made Eric several years ago as a Christmas gift. Each one of those items have become beloved gear in my bed.
The wind has been up so we did not sail out today.
This city is one that was smack in the middle of the Civil War. Families were split with some supporting the confederates and some the unionists. Today I saw churches of the same denomination with the black congregation in a smaller building on one side of the street and the white congregation in a much larger building across the street.
During our visit I came to meet two wonderful people, Miss Alice & Valerie. Miss Alice, on the first afternoon we were here asked if I was comfortable and did I get what I needed. So I asked her where the grocery store and laundromat was and she gave me the directions. She came back the next evening to make sure I got everything I needed. I hadn’t got the groceries yet so she offered to drive me. It was a couple of miles and we had a lovely time. So we hit two grocery stores and a post office. She was patient and always told me to ,’take ‘yo time, I’m not is a hurry.’ She felt the Lord had given her a car and she was to use it.
Now Valerie on the other hand is homeless, her mama had died in the spring and she became homeless not long after. A sad story. Valerie called me Miss Val and offered to do some cleaning for a little money. Now we are living on a boat, my square footage is at its minimum compared to Rothesay Road. So I asked Miss Alice what might I do and she thought about it. Between stores she said, ‘Miss Val I’s been thinking that a Bojangle Gift card will be the perfect thing for Valerie. She got two pieces of chicken, biscuits and a drink. That’ll fill her belly.’ I love Alice! A woman generous, thoughtful and such a warm woman full of joy. Again speaking of thankfulness she is a woman obviously living on very limited means yet wanted only to bless others. …. so that’s a little story from Elizabeth City.
I was just finishing a novel called ‘Glory Over Everything ‘ by Kathleen Grissom as we entered the swamp and there were references to the Dismal Swamp. What a coincidence,hey? The book is about the south, post Civil War with the slaves being captured in the north and taken to the south as slaves. This story is a bit about how the Underground Railroad functioned using the swamp to get free. We are in the seat of where slavery was prolific and where a lot of the Civil War took place. Norfolk was considered a safe city for the run away slaves. Usually it was not the end of the long trek to freedom but a safe spot to then head further north. As I have read about the swamp it was not just a place for runaways to just pass through but for many people’s it was a place to live free, Indians, blacks created small obscure villages on island in the midst of the swamp. It was a hard life but one free from the European invasion. I could NOT imagine living among the muck, mire and mosquitoes of the swamp, the animals, poisonous snakes and extreme conditions of this place. I guess I have never had the horrid life of a slave and if this was the price of freedom I guess I might have to consider it.
The next city we will anchor in will be Elizabeth City. Elizabeth City waffled back and forth between the Unionists and the Confederates. At one point the local secessionists decided to burn the city down rather than have the unionists have it (Feb, 1862)They were ⅔ successful! Much of the city was burned but the Unionists were able to put the fire out. There was much violence during those years.
Often I have thought how pandered I am. Whether it be in Africa or here my life has been pretty sweet. Yes there has been challenges, heart ache and disappointment but I need to step back and give thanks for the good and bad. So 2C is nothing to the hardships of these people’s. So our adventure continues and we continue to learn of what is and has been out there.
We are in the south now. Virginia that is. Let me recount the Journey from the time we left Easton (accross from DC) to our entering the Canal known as the Dismal Swamp.
Spending a few days in Easton was a good battery recharge (Literaly as I needed to purchase some batteries for our electrical needs). It was now time to move on and press south to find some of that elusive warm weather that has been teasing us. We make a series of hops down the Chesapeake Bay and are now “in the Ditch” as they say. No more waiting out bad weather warning (we hope).
The first day was delayed a bit as there was a small boat advisory that kept us in Easton until about noon. That did calm down and we cruised down the Trend Avon River and out into the Bay. Having only a half day we only went about 20 miles to a place called Solomons Island. We were able to anchor in a harbor and get fuel that next morning and head out again.
From Solomons we went to a place called Reedville where we went up a creek and anchored in a nice protected basin as yet another cold front was moving through and we would need to stay put until about 10 or so. As we were coming in we noticed that there seemed to be the remenents of some kind of industry there. There were also some very large fishing vessels there with small tenders that looked like they were in some kind of seining operation. As val researched the community we found out that it was and still is a huge fishing community with a significant ocean going fleet. There were two Smoke stacks there. One had been demolished and the other (still standing) had a plaque on it. This may have had something to do with the fish processing industry.
From Reedville we sailed most of the way to Fishing Bay, another beautiful anchorage that we did some ziging and zagging to get into.
After leaving early we put in a full day and arrive at the Hampton Public Piers where we take a Slip, have a drink in a Brew Pub on the Dock, visit a museum and watch “First Man” on an iMax screen.
There is talk of some more snottty weather coming our way and some of our neighbors are talking about staying on in Hampton for two more days to wait it out. I see that there is going to be a bit of a break the next day before it returns to Gale force so we decide to make a break for it and head out accross Hampton Roads, through Norfolk harbour and onto the Elezebeth river and then to the Dismal Swamp Canal. It sounds long but it was only 20 miles. The first ten were against 20+ knots on the nose with a 5 mile fetch. Slowing going and keeping a sharp watch as we are in the home of the Atlantic Fleet for the US Navy. We have never seen so many Navy Ships. Some in use, some mothballed, some getting built and some getting rebuilt.
After the Elizabeth river was Deep Creek which leads to the lock that lifted us up about 9 feet to the level of the Dismal Swamp. We locked through and are tied to a free dock for the night. Tomorrow we head down a very long hand dug cut. Google Dismal Swamp, there is loads of info on it and its connections with the Civil war.
Early Tuesday morning (October 16) we pushed off from the Carroll’s, waved goodbye to Melinda and started heading toward our destination. When we arrived in Easton it was so hot and sticky, humid and high 20’s or maybe low 30’s, we thought maybe we had arrived! Well hurricane Michael changed that from hot and humid to dry and down right chilly.
When we got back on the water we noticed a significant increase in boats all doing the same thing as us. Boats of all shapes and sizes. As we were heading to our next anchorage we heard a local on the radio say it looked like Dunkirk going by! 😂 In each anchorage since we left Easton we have noticed a huge increase in sailing vessels and a few Canadian ones at that!
We have 2 days into our further trek south and we have been listening to CBC Saint John and hear of frost warnings and snow falling! We have not seen snow but it has been as cold as 9C here as we enter into the borders of Virginia. So on one hand I am thankful that we don’t have snow but I was expecting warmer temperatures in Virginia, so we will press on!!!! Today I wore a wool undershirt, a hoody, a fleece jacket and a raincoat windbreaker. Add to that a scarf and gloves to the attire and know northerly winds can impact as far south as here!!!
This morning I was reading in my daily readings that I need to rejoice in the creation that God has created. The sun, the seas, life itself! So I am working at being thankful for the opportunity for this adventure and the ability to do this. I am thankful for a family to encourage me, excited for what lies ahead and rejoice in all that God has done in our lives thus far. So I humbly am thankful for all that He has done, for what I see in the variety of birds for the wonderful people we have met and for Eric who does everything ‘sail’ wise. I continue to be the Galley Wench and have not taken on any other boat careers! Eric plots out our next voyage, decides on whether we moor, tie up or anchor. He sails the boat and I clean and cook and have read a few great books. His one cooking responsibility is to make the first coffee of the day and heat up the boat if it’s 9C in the morning!!!! Sending you love in the pursuit of heat. ❤️⛵️
My sister emailed me this morning to say we have been a bit quiet on the social media front! We agree! I will try to give you a quick update. Thursday we beat Hurricane Michael to Easton Maryland by hours. Thanks to Melinda Finlay who found us not just any place to anchor our boat but at a private home! We arrived in Easton and was welcomed to the home of Paul and Faith Carroll’s and they allowed us to moor our boat there for 4 days while we had a rest from boating, or may I say while I had a rest from boating. Poor Eric worked on the boat 2 of the 4 days we were in Easton.
The days were definitely filled, Friday and Monday we went into Washington DC and spent some time in two of the Smithsonian Museums. One was the National Air and Space Museum and the other was the American History Museum. We really only got to see about ⅓ of the Museum after a full day. There was so many displays and so much information we left with our brains suffering from information overload. 😬We also walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and around the National Mall getting the classic pictures in front of the Washington Monument. That took 2 days and obviously we could have spent a week and not put a dent in the many things to see.
Saturday we did errands or necessary jobs that needed to be done. I got my hair cut (I told you Eric would NOT be cutting my hair) and glasses fixed and then got to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed there. None of this would have been possible but the Finlays lent us their van so we were able to get to places further than we could have been able to if we were walking.
Sunday we went to the First Wesleyan Church in Easton Maryland. We were given the warmest welcome, worshipped and received a great message to fuel us up spiritually for the week. Our hearts are overflowing with thanks, for 4 days we had no worries about the boat and for us we just relaxed and felt like a healthy reset happened for both of us.
Eric and I both felt that wherever we went on our 4 day hiatus the kindness and how quick everyone was to help us out was humbling and so heart warming. We want to thank Paul and Faith for allowing us to moor at their house, leaving Tevah there took all the stress off knowing she was safe and looked after. To Dave, Melinda, Juliana, Ty and Ethan a big thank you for your hospitality and making us feel right at home. Maybe we’ll see you on our way back!
From Staten Island down there has been a significant change in temperature, thank goodness. We have put in long days trying to get more south and to spend a few days with the Finlays ( our son in laws brother Dave and his family). I will say the days have been long but warmer. Even with that the Jersey shore just about did me in, so I’ve decided to raffle my ticket on the Tevah off in 1 week increments if you’d like, to travel back to NB from about New York – north. I’ll keep you posted. 😬
The interesting things that I have observed is the water had changed to a greenish colour off the New Jersey coast, then back to a greyish colour again and is much warmer than our dear North Atlantic at its warmest. We also picked up a hitchhiker on the second day sailing in Jersey, a cute little swallow. He was pretty tired when he arrived and stayed with us until we were coming into Cape May. It’s interesting that we all need to take free rides when we are tired it’s just most of the time we don’t recognize that we are exhausted early enough and we push on. I have to say that the Psalmist seemed to understand his state of mind so much better than we do. Ps 40: 1-3. He hears my calling out, tiredness, answers and walks with us. Thank God!!!!
All is well on the ‘small craft’. The Galley Wench and the Captain I think have lost a little weight since when we are to shore we need to walk everywhere which is a nice change from when we are on the boat. It hasn’t been every day but very frequently we get our steps in! Life is good and ‘til the next entry, blessings.
I have not written in a few days as we have had a challenging time in navigation the last several days. At the moment we are in the Delaware river heading for the C and D canal. That will take us around to the Chesapeake Bay by the end of today.
In our last blog we were sitting in Great Kills Harbor having Thankgiving dinner and waiting out yet another small craft advisor to end. A small craft advisory is issued when winds and waves are in a predicted state as to be hazardous to “small craft”. Just so you know we are a “small craft”. I have been in these conditions a number of times and believe me, you don’t want to be there.
After several days it did pass and we set out for two of the worst days in the cruise so far. This was the Jersey Shore. It is 100 miles long and all of the harbours along the coast are difficult to enter, even in calm conditions. Since we did not want to spend the night at sea, we had to enter a Harbor about half way. Even at that it meant a long couple of days. The obvious choice is Barnagett, which because of the challenge entering the inlet is known as “The Bitch”. We did enter it in very good conditions and it was still a bouncy entrance with seas breaking beside us and current and eddies sworling around us. Of course as usual there are fisherman calmly standing on the breakwater casting their lines. There were also many small fishing boats near the inlet as this must be the best (most dangerous) place to actually catch fish. The sail down to Barnagett was with the wind on the nose 10-15, but this was the best weather window I could find, because the next day it would be behind us. We spend a restful night and then it was out the inlet and down the shore again for another long day, but this time with the wind behind us. While we traveled significantly faster the ride was just as bumpy and you had to wedge yourself between solid objects to keep from being tossed around.
We enter Cape may as the sun was beginning to set. The next morning I decided for a less challenging day, so we slept in a bit, went over to Utches Marina to fuel and to walk to a store to get a few supplies. We set out to go up Delaware bay at about 10. It took the whole day to get half way up to the Cohanssay river. It was a bit challenging navigating over numerous shoals as I tried to make a direct route, dodge the crab pots and avoid the strongest currents.
At dusk we entered the river and slept well.
This morning we set out up the now, Delaware River, toward the canal.
Tomorrow October 6 will wrap up 4 weeks of sailing! Can you believe it?
Late Sunday afternoon we left Mystic Connecticut and headed down the coast. We pulled into a beautiful anchorage called the Norwalk Islands. It was beautiful, calm surrounded by small islands and the write up said sailors go there regularly for a good weekend anchorage and a favourite of the local sailing community. Well it has a few drawbacks may I say. It was quite shallow, really no place,cove, trees to protect you from wind or swells from the ocean. The wind DID come up and just picture Tommy’s little boat in the bathtub with him splashing around. Actually I slept quite well but the Captain didn’t seem to like the tossing and turning. He may have gotten 2-3 hours of sleep. As the sun was coming up he had the motor started and we were heading to New York City!!!! Eric says think of the Norwalk virus 😂.
We sailed through the city of New York and couldn’t get over the volume of noise coming from trains and vehicles on the bridges above us. Water taxis and ferries on the water around us and airplanes landing and taking off in front of us along with helicopters buzzing around. Wild! We got to our mooring around 4 in the afternoon, Eric went in to make the arrangements came back and he was asleep by 7 that night. It was one of the cheapest moorings that we have paid for since leaving home, it was all of $30.00 per night. Cheap way to stay in New York the down side is you have to make the sail down.
We celebrated our anniversary a day late by taking in some of the sights of New York and then going to an off Broadway show called Jersey Boys, what a show, what a night.
Thursday we sailed to Staten Island right past the Lady Liberty and into Great Kills Harbour. Friday we walked into town got some provisions and Eric did some maintenance on the boat. Here we watch and wait to make sure the weather is calm enough to sail down the Jersey shore.
It is the weekend to think about what we are thankful for and just to stop and appreciate the blessings we all have in our lives albeit different from one another. I thank God for my husband and kids, they bring me joy, a sense of the vastness of God’s creativity in how each one is so different and how life is so precious. I’m thankful for my extended family and how they are there and they love, support and rejoice with you. For friends who encourage, challenge, laugh and cry with you. I’m thankful for God who creates with such complex, unique creativity, creating vastly different environments in this world and that Eric and I are blessed to be able to discover new things every day. Here we are on an adventure that many couldn’t do and I am very aware of my blessings. To each of you may this Thanksgiving, whether life seems good or rotten be aware that each day or year is full of small blessings and moments to be thankful for, don’t miss them, look for them they are there for each us.
Well we have made it to New York. I will let the pictures tell the story. We left the dreamy harbour of Mystic Seaport and all of its history and have come now to the stark reality of of the modern age.
It is Saturday of week 3! This past week was more than a bit challenging for me. When we were in New Bedford visiting with the Lochs our intention was to sail to Block Island on Monday. As you read from Eric, that did not happen! We were holed up for 3 days and nights in Saconett Harbour,RI. There was nothing we could do and nowhere we could go! The boat rocked and bucked like an unbroken horse. I entertained the thought of taking gravol just to survive!
On Wednesday, I told Eric we needed to leave and at least try to go to the next port. We were getting low on all provisions and the Captain had already decided, without my input,that indeed we need to split 😬. I had bought UHT milk that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s opened,for emergencies, I had that on board in case we were stuck like we were and we used most of that up as well. We were out of bread, eggs, and all kinds of other basics. Eric was able to make the morning coffee and keep the Wench happy with the last of the milk( sort of)🙄.
We sailed a short sail to Newport RI, this sail again was in search of the holy grail called the sun and saw it once we moored up. It was a rough sail (what’s new🙄) but as we entered there was Mr Sun. He has kept hidden the entire 3 weeks, I’ve got to have a heart to heart with him. We need to get on a better relationship because right now I have felt we have a legal separation 😩 and that is not what I had planned on this adventure. We went to shore and got a hamburger for lunch that was beyond delicious and groceries.
Eric felt the next day would be a good sail to Mystic Connecticut. Well the Galley Wench begs to differ. It was cold! My layers were an undershirt that my mother in law had given to me which I thought would be good for when I visited Kait in SK in November! Ha,I swear I have worn it 18 of the 21 days that we have been on this journey. I also had a long sleeve tshirt over that, a winter coat with the beloved rain coat that we bought in Portland over everything and I was STILL a bit chilled but semi-comfy. The sail to Mystic was a heavy rain, cold and brisk winds, so halfway to our destination I felt it was time to break the news to the Captain that this journey will be a one of. If ever he thought he might want to this again he should recruit a more willing crew since this old babe would not be on board. It was acknowledged by my dear Captain.
We arrived in Mystic on Friday afternoon and today we were tourists on Saturday. It was a much needed mental rest. We are anchored in a community dedicated to the whaling, sailing and shipbuilding community. Part of our mooring fees gave us 2 passes to the community that can be compared to Kings Landing of the sailing world. Our feet are tired but our Spirit rested and regenerated. Before anything opened we had a shower, did laundry and visited two consignment stores. One was a clothes consignment store, since Eric ripped a pair of his pants on our way here and a marine consignment store where he got a new bilge pump for a great price.
Mentally, emotionally and spiritually it was a great end to a trying week. The Lord has challenged me to rest in Him and not anticipate what might be. I have read how Josiah the child King just trusted that the God of Israel would indeed walk with him and reveal Himself and lead him to be a good king. For me not taking charge is and has always been a difficult walk. I do desire to lay down everything and to be at peace and content with what He has for me. Now some of family have a bet that I will not last 6-8 weeks! In the natural I would agree and If I do go beyond that it will be all to whatever God is doing within me. 🤣
Love you all and am sure this journey has more great stories and adventures in store. Blessings and talk to you soon.
So after a 3 hour sail in windy choppy swelly water we have arrived in one of the prestigious sailing ports on this coast. We passed 2 12 meter yachts as we entered the inner Harbor, and as we walked up the hill to the grocerie store we saw the Church where JFK was married. They were selling tickets on re-enactment displays and live music to relive the Camelot era event. Hopefully tomorrow the Small Craft Advisory will be down and we can make the run to Mystic.
There has been a small craft advisory for three days now and we have been stuck on a mooring in a very tiny harbor with no access to any civilization. I talked to a few locals by phone and they basically said don’t bother to come ashore unless you have a car.
When we were in Portland we visited Hamilton marine and got a new stereo. This one has an aux input, Bluetooth, satellite radio and will even answer your phone for you. It collapsed three sketchy devices into one that actually works well.
I also bought two external marine speakers as we could not hear the music without turning it up really loud in the cabin. I knew at the time that I would have to set aside at least a half day to actually install the speaker properly. I will describe the process of getting the speaker wire from where the radio is mounted on the starboard side to the port side outside position.
Tie fishing weights on a piece of string to make a “fish” to get the wires down the inside of the slats on the starboard quarter berth. Toss the weights down behind and hope it finds its way to the bottom.
Drill a whole (close to the hull) through the deck of the quarter-berth. The rule with drills and boats is that you must always to be aware if there is water on the other side of where you are drilling. This is to be avoided, especially below the waterline.
Tie the speaker wires onto the string with the fishing weights and pull them down to the quarter-berth and then stuff them through the hole.
Contine to pull the wires through the underside of the berth, past the battery, past the engine, up the port engine compartment bulkhead, and then eventually over to the space under the combing where access to the galley and the mount for the speaker will eventually go. (Outside)
Drill a whole on the combing for the wire to be pulled through.
Stuff a wire into the whole…. here is where it gets interesting. .. see pic 2. The only way to actuall see where the wire should come through is for me to lay on my back on top of the icebox and slide myself athartship, until my head reaches the hull on the port side… then in a semi sit-up stick my head through a 9 inch hole and look…. *&^%$#$%^& can’t see it.
redrill the hole deeper.
)(*&^%$%^&*((still can’t see it
Redrill the hole at a different angle
After this it was simply a matter of crimping the wires and now we have one nicely installed outside speaker with no visible wires.
time Required. 4 hours
I also installed a couple of hooks for kitchen stuff. Made a shelf for the portable VHF and charger.
The other speaker will be much easier as all I need to do is install the bracket!
The sail plan from here will be to leave early tomorrow and sail for Mystic River, bound eventually for Mystic Seaport, which is the largest Maritime Museum in the US. We will likely anchor tomorrow at Fisher island and make the run up the river first thing in the morning. They have a two for one promotion for the dock at the museum that includes the price of admission. We will do provisioning there as well.
The last time I wrote we were just leaving Maine and in Eric’s last post he told you we did a 3 state day which sounds a lot faster than it really was. New Hampshire has a postage stamp worth of coastline so that took us about an hour. On Friday we arrived in Cohasset, Mass, which is a tiny little harbour where we rode out the gale winds. When we arrived, the harbourmaster met us and lifted the mooring up for us it’s what you call the personal touch. We needed a few groceries so we went ashore and started walking hoping to come on to a small market to get some groceries. As we passed a small little coffee shop there were three ladies just finishing their coffee so we asked where the nearest market was and sadly it was a few miles away. So we chatted a little longer about who we were and what we were up to, then one of the ladies said,”come on I’ll take you there I need to get 4 things at the store.” We needed a few more than 4 things so Eric and I divided tasks and flew through the store ending up at the counter just as she finished paying. We should have won some sort of award for the speed that we got all our fruits and vegetables!!! Nancy drove us back to the town dock and we returned to our boat some what pleased with our success and speed.
As I was putting away everything a father and daughter came by asking us if we needed ‘Shore Support’. The dad saw our boat with all the ‘extra stuff’ on our deck and deduced that we were cruisers and that we may need help to get provisions and they were there to help. How fantastic is that?!!!!
The next day we sailed, (actually) to Sandwich, Mass. We got a shower, bedding washed and went to church on Sunday morning. While we walked to and from our boat Eric took a picture of the Police Station which we affectionately called the Sandwich Police. We sent this picture to our kids and two are in the police force so in came hilarious parodies by Nat and Justin. Here is one: ” Excuse me sir, I stopped you because you are clearly eating smoked meat on white bread…. what are you an animal?! I’m going to have to fine you $172.50, for your blatant use of white in place of rye. Disgraceful! …… and now get out of my town and don’t come back without a proper mustard.” Ah our best and brightest RCMP have a great sense of humour.
On Sunday morning we got under way just before lunch and headed to New Bedford Yacht club for the night. This Yacht Club,which has approximately 800 boats in it, is where the previous owner of Tevah lives and where Eric bought the boat in 2011. Eric called John and he insisted that we moor the boat on its old mooring, Eric thinks no boat has been moored here since his boat. We also met up with John and Marjorie and were able to have them on board to see the changes that their beloved boat had done to her in the last 10 years. Upon our return we will try and visit with them again. 2 weeks down and Steve Kincade it is a wee bit warmer but still in long sleeves, long pants and no sunburn.
It is mid week of week 2 and thought I would add my comments. The weather has been rough to say the least, it better be worth it at the end! So as Galley Wench I continue to make the Captain happy with the Galley slop and I really think his previous galley wenches couldn’t have been that good.
We left Tenants Harbour and arrived at Pemaquid Harbour, it is a beautiful quaint little Harbor with what looks like a Martello tower but called Fort Frederick /Fort John Henry depending if the French or English were in control. It was a beautiful clear evening when we anchored with the half moon shining gloriously! We were going to go to Portland the next day. Well it was so foggy the next morning that you could hardly see the boat moored next to us. We hoped it would burn off but no go. So we sat there the day but the trade off was Eric was able to buy a few lobsters from a fisherman on the dock. I guess it was a very good trade off!
Tuesday we headed off and man was it rough and wet. I put a very short video up of how my stove moves with the rocking boat. 😬
We both were soaked, cold and glad to finally get into the Portland harbour. We made a trip to Hamilton’s (a BOAT store) and Eric bought a few things and I got a proper raincoat instead of a light rain jacket/windbreaker AND a much longer hook. Maybe no more accidents with the life jacket. We then went out to supper came back to settle in after a long day. Well it was not to be. The roughest sleep and most miserable sleep to date because of the wind and the waves. It was like sleeping down at Market Slip which is a nasty sleep. We are clean, our clothes are clean and we are now anchored on a very calm little anchorage about 15 miles down shore from Portland and then out of Maine! Indeed we had a long cold and wild day today I know that Eric has filled you in on the miserable sail today. Let’s say it felt like I was getting ready to ride a bucking horse from Saskatchewan!!!!
All is well and looking forward to claiming the promised land that the Captain has been promising. Love to everyone.
Our longest day yet, from The Saco River to Cape Anne in the Annisquam River 52 Nautical Miles.
It it was a great sailing day, although we motor sailed quite a lot of it. Wind, waves and current were with us the whole day.
We have another great anchorage in the river tonight. Tomorrow morning we will motor through the canal to Gloucester (perfect storm), get some fuel and then possibly do a short run to Marblehead or stay out for the coming gale .
Our plan was to be up and outa here at 0600 but there was fog and there was wind and I will not set off when either is going to make a less then plesent passage, so we decided to stay put in Pemaquid and do some sight seeing and some little projects. I added a switch to our onboard networks, fixed a squeak in the forward cabin floor, changed out one of the flag halyards (the one I use to hoist my cell phone up the mast to get wifi), secure a place for the vacuum packer, fixed the headphones.
We also did a tour of the fort, bought some lobsters from a local fisherman and caught up on some reading. A day of rest for sure.
On Saturday we walked into Tenants Harbour to look around the little village and to find the Church. We walked in one direction and finally met someone we could ask where exactly the Church was and they seemed a bit vague and unsure but turned us around and off we went. Again we walked a bit and asked another person if we were moving closer to our destination and again they weren’t sure but encouraged us to continue on. About 6 buildings on there was the Church! I found it confusing that people weren’t sure where it was, since the community is no bigger than Norton and the church was on Main Street. Odd…..
So we got up on Sunday morning and walked to Church, I have let Eric decide when we should leave the boat to be on time but he chronically gets us there at least ½ hour before the service begins….. can we say Reverend?? Oh well it gives us a chance to meet the local community and chat a bit. We were engaged in a conversation with a gentleman when this elderly lady walked in and interrupted the conversation to talk with me. When she found out I was Canadian she swiftly went into a rant of how we were no longer allies and glad Trump was throwing tariffs our way. She felt we deserved it because how we unfairly trade and steal from the US. Oh can you guess she LOVES Trump and thinks he is outsmarting everyone! She also had a few choice words regarding Obama. Arghhhhh! I did correct her in that the last I knew we were still Allies with the US and when she had spoke of Obama in less than complimentary words I commented that she was not speaking very Christ-like and then excused myself. I think I will give her the Crusty Award of the week. Oh my, it is so hard for me to keep my mouth shut! I had a chance to exercise grace and self control,(and for me I did a bit 😬) which is not a natural place for me or any us for that matter and I did try to be as gracious and not engage in a heated political conversation before Church started.
Church communities are a pot of individuals in different stages of personal development just like the day to day world but we have different expectations. We expect a little less hate and a lot more love but that isn’t the reality is it. We can choose to be angry, bitter, and ‘crusty’ even when we believe that Jesus is who he says he is. We hold onto hurts and refuse to let go of the past pain because so and so doesn’t deserve our forgiveness and grace. So I guess on this trip there will be lots of opportunities for me to work on being gracious and joyful. I must say, the rest of our visit at Tenants Baptist Church was wonderful with a great sermon and an invite to stay for their annual church picnic. Really it was a great visit with fellow believers along our journey. The sweet pastor is a full time ‘lobsta’ fisherman and a Vietnam Vet who loves the Word of God and the people in his community.
Yesterday after Church in St. George (Tenants Harbor) we headed down the coast to Pemaquid. There are the ruins of a fort there that has British, French and American roots.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_Pemaquid_State_Historic_SiteThe write up was very interesting and we may get a chance to visit if the weather stays closed in. We had no internet when we arrived except for a spotty open wifi signal called “Fitche Cottage” This morning I got the idea to put the cellphone in a waterproof case and hoist it up the mast….and presto we have a connection. Thanks Verizon!
Our plans this morning were to weigh anchor at 0600 and head toward Portland, but that will have to wait a bit until the fog lifts. There are strong SW winds predicted so I am thinking that we may just stay here for the day. … unless we don’t.
I will let Val tell you about the Church experience. It was good and interesting too! Oh, and the man overboard drill too, when we find the pictures…I think they are up the mast on the phone!
Speaking of Val I can tell you one advantage of having the Galley Wench on board is that you don’t look and smell like a pirate! No chance!
I will try to keep this as short and sweet as I possibly can as I give you my overview of my 1st week on Tevah. First of all it is the longest I have ever spent on this thing and so far I am doing ok. Last Thursday and Friday were mostly days of saying goodbye to friends and family as well as to our home and community of over 20 years. It was tough and exhausting. I have a confession to make I haven’t read any of Eric’s blogs so I’m not sure if I am repeating any stories but you’ll be getting my view of things.
The boat club gave us a warm send off on Friday evening and Sharon and Paul arrived at 6 am with coffee and banana bread from the Irvings. When we sailed out of the Harbour it was great to be escorted out by Ross Phinney and David Peer, and waved to from shore by Ruth Anne Phinney, Gerry and Pat Peer and Melissa Cape,it warmed our hearts, thank you. As we headed down the coast to St. Andrews it was weird to know it would be months before we would see them again,yet, in some ways I had the thought it was time to leave since I could see David Peer with his toque and gloves on that it was the right time for us to get out of town. It didn’t take me long to go and dig out my winter clothes that I had put aside when I plan on visiting David and Kait in Saskatchewan in November. We went out for some wings and drinks to the Red Herring with Kelly and Scott and a few of their friends. On Sunday morning we got up and went to church came back and decided to head off. (As you can see I am not as detailed orientated as Eric).
The mornings have been pretty cool, so much so the Captain has had to get up before the Galley Wench has any intention of getting out of bed to make breakfast, he also is good enough to make the first cup of coffee of the day. We are getting into a routine. Thanks Ruth Anne for the warm undershirt, it has been worn several times in this first week, It wasn’t far into the third day I kept thinking, “Are we there yet????” We were just in the US waters and getting ready to check in. I assume I will get a little more settled with a lot less real estate to clean and be in. I am working on my guitar playing and am tackling a Bach piece. This sailing business depends on a smart captain,CHECK, no watches, CHECK and a happy helpful crew, working on it.
Day 4 we had rain, rain and more rain, so I cleaned the head, organized some things and spotted for Eric as he did a dive to clean off the prop. My job was to make sure he comes back up. CHECK! On Day 5 marked the longest I had ever been on the boat at any one time so now that is old news! We headed off to NorthEast Harbour having to motor the entire way. I started to get some breakfast down below and couldn’t do it, the boat was going up and down and side to side. Needless to say the wench was turning a few colors that demanded to flee above. It was a long hard day. Arrived in a decent time so that we were able to wash some clothes, have a shower and FLUSH a toilet instead of pumping the head like a crazy wench. So the time there was a nice break, we went out to supper and the next day we got supplies, met some wonderful people in Bar Harbour who were beyond helpful. It wasn’t just one person but several, looking out for us and making sure we got to and from our boat.
Friday the day couldn’t be more beautiful and actually call it hot. We sailed for about 4 hours and anchored in the beautiful, quiet anchorage of Perry Creek. This morning, Saturday, I cut Eric’s hair and no he will NOT be cutting mine. It was a bit of a foggy cold day as we sailed over to Tenant’s Harbour. You have to dodge the lobster pots, so in the fog Eric is on one side watching and I am on the other. (see I do, help in the sailing process) I felt like we were playing a reality like video game trying to dodge the buoys of the lobster pots, I imagined if we hit one we would sink and have to start over. It was not to be! As I was trying to pick up a mooring line I was leaning over to lift it up I caught the release handle on my life vest and the damn thing inflated with me bent over holding the mooring line. Eric had to come up and help finish attaching the line to the boat since I felt like the Michelin Man!!! I guess we will have to get a kit to fix that, and to think I don’t wear it most of the time. Oh well, we arrived safe and sound, we will stay here and go to church tomorrow then decide where to go next.
Thank you for following us and making us feel close and connected to you all. We love and miss you. We are listening to the news and know that Florence has made landfall, we pray for those souls who are experiencing horrific situations. The Captain will be safe and alert and the Wench will keep him happy with food and cleanliness. Stay tuned.
A couple years ago I read a book called “Sailing away from winter” by Silver Donald Cameron. This is essentially what we are doing. I do remember as he went through Maine he remarked about several different kinds of people he came accross. The one that caught my attention was “the Maine Automatic talker”. While I have not met one of these yet, we did meet some interesting people today as we traveled via two busses from Northeast Harbor to Bar Harbor and then to Ellsworth and back. All of this to get a SIM card so I could write this blog post.
Here are 6 amazing people that helped us today. We applaud their hospitality and dedication to service.
Bar Tender at the Cherry Stone
Several years ago while camping at Hadley point in Bar Harbor we came into town and went to this place for lunch. We had fun shopping and seeing the sights in BH. As we got off the bus today I gravitated to this place and spied the bar tender getting the area ready for opening. I asked him about electronics stores…nope. Cell phone stores…nope Hardware stores.. ah yes there was one of those. He also gave the information about the possibility of a bus to Ellsworth but was unsure if one actually existed. It seemed to be in the realm of a fantasy ferry tale but did direct us to the green bus building that held all the knowledge about local transportation.
the Gal at the True Value
We did a bit of a walk about and finally stumbled on the True Value store and found a clerk that lead us to the bundle buggie section of the store. We were blessed by her offer to assemble the beast so we could wheel it out of the store. Val commented that she was stunningly beautiful as well.
The bus office gal
Still unsure about how we would actually get to Ellsworth to get the magic “SIM” card we went to the green building on the village green in BAAAAA HAAAABAAAA We met a woman who amazed us with her helpfulness and hospitality. She dug out a schedule and then said that we should go for a walk because there were no actual signs but if she showed us where to stand (in the shade) the buss would stop and take us to Ellsworth. She walked us accross the “green” and showed us the spot of dirt to stand on. We were early so went on a bit of a walk about and then returned.
Bus driver 1 Norma
Norma showed up at exactly 1:04 and welcomed us aboard her bus to Ellsworth. We stuffed 12 dollars into the receptical but were offered no reciept or proof of purchase. When we inquired about the return fair she said that we just needed to tell Jeanne that we already paid Norma and that it was OK! She dropped us off on the highway at “not a stop” between Remys and LLBean. Val went to LLBean and I proceeded to our main reason to be in Ellsworth, to purchase a SIM card that might actually have coverage.
The Verizon guy Ivan
So I met Ivan. He is from Peru and also a church planter… who is working at Verizon until the church is properly planted in Belfast. I had to walk across the street to the Bangor Saving Bank to extract some actual cash because when you buy one of these pre paid SIMs you have to pay in Cash for some reason!!!!! The good news is that for $75 a month you have unlimited data!!!!!!!
Bus driver 2 Jeanne
After we shopped at Shaws for a while and filled our bundle buggy Jeanee showed up right on time to pick us up. She asked.. “did you pay?” We replayed that we were told by Norma to tell her that we did. We roared off to TJ Maxes were she was expecting to pick up two young boys… they were not there and after Jeannne had counted down the seconds according to her cell phone she tore out of the parking lot toward the Walmart. Only moments later she got a call from the dispatcher saying that he had just got a call form someone who said they were waiting at Shaws and that she went right on by. We had been at shaws so she wheeled around and asked us if indeed she stopped at Shaw’s and picked us up!!! We agreed that she did stop at Shaw’s and she thanked us. By this time we were passing a pizza joint and after she paused for oncomming traffic she said something like “hang on I’m going for it” and spun the bus around in a 180 and proceeded to return to the Shaws…… where ther was no one waiting! After calling dispatch again and talking back and forth about the possibility of some people that may or may not be waiting for a bus, we heard someone else break in on the radio (Norma) asking if they had picked up a man with a white beard and a woman with purple hair or not. It took a moment for us to realize that she was talking about us! Suddenly ther were two young men running toward us from the TJ Max. At last the missing riders! Off we went direct to the Walmart and then to BAAAA Haaaa BAAAA!
We were up and underway by 0600 this morning to make the jump to Northeast Harbor. Arrived at about 15:30. Couldn’t eat much because of the confused state of the seas after the blow yesterday. Went through one patch where the swell was 20’! Time to ditch some garbage, get fuel, do the laundry, dine on Main Street and take some hot showers. I’ll post some town pics later tonight. We have good internet too!
We ate at the Colonels Restaurant last night after we did our Laundry and had showers were the floor was not moving. Thursday we will take the free LLBean bus into Bar Harbor to get some supplies.
We are hunkered down for the day as this low passes through. 2 inches of rain and high winds. It is calm in behind Roque. Tomorrow morning looks good to move further south to Mt Desert.
I think I may have picked up some seaweed on the prop. I’ve noticed my speed through the water was down quite a bit as we came in last night. Tried to see it with the water proof water camera but the wifi would not work through the water. I’ll try doing a recording and then looking at it afterward. If that fails or if there is something then I’ll get in the water!
So I ended up strapping the sports cam to a 6 foot dowel and hitting record and then shoving it under the boat. As you can see the prop was indeed foweled. This happened the last time I came into Roque as well.
So after donning my 7 mil wetsuit and 10 lbs of weight and a 30 second dive the job was done. It is still raining!
Well our journay has begun. Two days in now we are sitting on a mooring in Eastport Maine. Tomorrow morning we will head up the back side of Campobello and the turn south again down the Grand Manan channel bound for Roque Island. There are big rains predicted for Tuesday so we will probably just hang there till it passes.
It was a treat to watch the lobster box run. This involves about a dozen empties lobster crates that are tied together and then end with an inflatable air mattress. The object is to run over the top of the boxes and then land on the mattress. Obviously the crates will not support any amount of weight so you must be flight of foot! We saw a couple of the under 12 kids make it.
We will drop the mooring line at 6:45 tomorrow morning and head toward the Harbour. Slack at the falls is predicted at 08:44. We are bound for St Andrews.
Today we said our goodbyes to Mum, Andrew and Amy, and a few other friends that dropped by to see us. RBC gave us a great send off with cake and a toast and a new Burgee to fly proudly as we enter the anchorages that await us.
To keep things simple I could say that this is just a sail to St Andrews. I’ve done that many times…. then the next day we will just go for another sail. Or we could consider it the reversing of the seasons. As soon as we feel a bit of chill in the air we will just head a little further south. We will keep ahead of winter!
The last two weeks have been an incredible blur of activity. I have said several times that I feel like a horse and a forklift. There have been great times with some family and friends but I’m afraid there were many more people that we just did not get a chance to see.
The house is empty, the garbage cans full. We are physically and mentally exhausted . It has been a real blessing to be at Mums house the last number of days. It has been a peaceful place of refuge for sure.
The boat club will be toasting us Friday evening after their corn boil and we will head out to the boat for the night. Early Saturday morning we will leave mooring and head for the slack at the reversing falls, which are predicted for 08:44. Then it is on to St Andrews for the first Leg of the trip.
As I reflect on what got me to the point of being ready to set off on this journey I realized there were many influencers and helpers along the way and I want to hold some of those up. Some are people, some are resources and some are ideas. I will try to begin at the beginning and talk about the people in my life that have inspired and instructed.
My Father, Garnet Phinney: From the very begining he was there pointing me in the right direction and providing instruction and experience around sailing, boat building and maintenance. He very much gave me the understanding that if you want it, you can have it, but you might have to do it yourself! He also introduced me to many people along the way who could help.
Bill Fearnhead: my fathers best friend and never very far away. Many of the instruct-able moments came with Bill. He was certainly my greatest influencer with respect to electronics and communications, outboard motors and general technical things.
My Grandfather, Reg Barbour: I supposed the first boat I ever saw was this flat bottom rowboat. He himself had a history of owning, repairing and sailing a number of boats. One of which we actually bought years later, rebuilt it and sailed it for several years.
Gerry Peer: If anyone knew how to do something right it was Gerry. He always set the highwater mark for craftsmanship and seamanship. The fact that he cruised his boat to the Bahamas and build several boats may well be part of the reason that I am doing it and have build several small boats. These things are doable, and should be done.
Stan Bustin: One day after spending several hours at Peers Cottage on Kennebecasis Island, we came home and decided to build a boat. This happened because Andrew had spent all his time rowing a boat back and forth in front of the cottage. I had not been on the water for years and this moment was an inspiration to get back to it. After I built the “Bill and Garnet”, and made a sailing rig for her, Stan approached me and said that any time I wanted to I could take his NorthWind “Seadog” out sailing. I must say with Stan’s encouragement I sailed his boat more than he did. I remember the summer before he passed away taking him out for one last sail. He was really not able to use the boat himself and it was a great privilege to sail with him down past Sandy point where he pointed out his old cottage and told many stories of sailing on Kennebecasis Bay.
I thought it it was time to test the fit of the new dinghy “little jimmy” on deck. I tried it a couple of ways but the best fit was upside down deflated Lots of room to walk around and easy to tie down. We will keep it on deck like this for any open water passages. Once we are in protected waterways we can tow it.
Today we made three trips with the trucks. Two to Andrew’s house with tools and workbenches and lights etc, to rebuild the shop and one to Mums house with general stuff for storage.
Yesterday was also a productive day as I found the leak in the water tank. The seal around the clean out port was blowen and every time we were on starboard tack it would dump most of its contents into the bilge .
The bilge pump pump was also not working well and I found a kink in the hose where I had put an anti syphon loop. I removed that and replaced it with a check valve that I had bought 2 years ago for that purpose!
I also changed out the hoses and mounted the big charcoal filter in it’s permanent location.
Here are some pics from the last week to show some of the things we are doing. It is a big job to move out of a house of 20 years and onto a 36 foot sailboat and retire all at the same time. During this month of August we have lots of projects. Here are a few.
The rest of the pics just show the piles of stuff that is getting sorted. Some goes to the boat. Some to my mums house and some to Nat’s and Andrews. Next week will be a big push to clear out many more things. My last official act as Rector if Renforth will be next Saturday as I perform a wedding ceremony for the son of a close friend.
This morning I finished stitching the ticking back together including installing a zipper at the head of the mattress. Got is slipped on and sipped closed easier than expected. Now all that is left is to build some covers for the triangles that go at the sides.
There is always a list. A dream list; a wish list;a honey-do list; and a must do in the next day list.
When you have hours and hours on passage it is very possible to knock off some of these items. Some sailors have also given over to the arts and written music, sharpened their skills; the art of scrimshaw and decorative rope work comes from long hours at sea.
It has probably been 10 years since I last ventured up the creek to the Mount House Ruins. My memory served me well as we paddled up the creek and found a likly spot to put to shore. We were only about 200 feet away from the old homestead.
Finding out our way back to the boats was a different story. I missed it be about 200 feet , Val found them
For the last several days we have been on the boat making some final adjustments. Our recut mattress installed. The ticking is almost ready to reinstall. We have been making lists of things to remove and things to bring aboard.
Danny and Jenny (Val’s Sister ) joins us for 24 hours as we sailed up into Grand Lake and then returned them to Gagetown.
We sailed Thursday afternoon after returning from a funeral in Fredericton, to Purdys point. The next day we went to Gagetown, topped off with fuel and got a some delicious pastries and the shop next to the Old Boot. At about 5:30 we got underway with our guests and arrived in Douglas Harbour just before sunset. The next day we went out to the “Bar” to have lunch. I was going to change the zinc but the wind was beginning to fill in so we went sailing instead. Danny experienced some of the finer points of sailing on the wind, tacking, reefing and a great beam reach back to DH, he also tried out Val’s personal watercraft (escape pod) to investigate some movement is the reeds. Turns out it was just a rock.
Jenny prepared an amazing supper with shrimp on sticks and a salad made with tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers.
We had intended to take this picture before we ate but forgot and had to put this plate together from what was left.
Anchored in Mount Creek now writing this blog and waiting for the coffee.
Below are some pics of the most recent improvements
water maker with with two ore filters We still need to replace the membrane, but will wait until we get to Florida to do that The raw water pressure pump is hooked up and is feeding the wash down hose on the foredeck as well as a hose under the sink and the RO unit. There is also a raw water faucet in the main sink
The TV is installed and has the Apple TV module with it. We can stream from wifi or watch movies from the hard drive on the computer.
The next the next big job was to get a mattress that we could sleep on. So I took the electric knife to the bed we have been sleeping on for the last 20 years! It has been a great bed and given us great sleeps at home. Here’s hoping it will serve as well on the boat.
In the last month or so I have not posted anything but there have been loads of things going on in the background. The parish gave us enough money to by a RIB with an aluminum bottom. We will name her “Little Jimmy” as this was one of the names our parish is known by; St. James the Less! We have a 3.5 2 stroke Mercury that is undergoing some repairs and will be a good motor to start with. Down the road (coast) I hope to find a 6 hp 2 stroke that might get us up on a plane!
I took our alternator off and found a cracked adjuster support and some mounting issues. The belt was also the wrong size so I managed to find two the right size. I also have ordered a spare alternator that was actually the original one specked for the motor. It is slightly smaller in output but with 400 watts of solar now that will not be a problem.
The water maker is installed now with two stages of filters and pressure seawater feeding it. Clearly it needs a new membrane but we may wait till Florida to get it, since that seems to be the best price. It will not really be needed until we cross to the Bahamas so we will leave that expense for now.
I purchased 600 feet of 7/16 double braid to change out the halyards, main sheet and other lines as needed. I have also a good supply of 3/8 for other running rigging. Time to practice up on my double braid eye splices. I did the one for the main halyard this morning. Took about 45 min!
We have done a number of day sails and I have spent only one night on the boat but all systems seem to be working well as we approach our departure date of Sept 1
After a very long cold and wet spring with the highest freshet in 100 years, we are in the water and working to make sure all the systems are working. I have installed a deck wash down system, completed the Bimini install and tweaked a bunch of electrical items. I discovered that the raw water pump was leaking and have ordered bearings and seals. It took several hours over two days to find the right part number and then source the original manufacturer part number, which was less than half the price of Volvo Penta. The engine is an MD 22-L, which comes with two different sea water pumps. One is belt driven, mine is direct drive from the cam shaft.
Raw water pump Jabsco p/n 29500-1001 Volvo p/n 859824
No new pics, but we are launched and are working on sorting out all the systems an getting things working correctly. Right now I have discovered that the raw water pump is leaking at the seals an will have to rebuild it. Everything else seems to be on track. The solar power seems to be sufficient and all other systems are a go. Time to test and stress everything.
At the end of last season the Maserator quit working. It is always wise to have this item in top working order. I found a new one at Dykemans with an old price tag on it, so I bought it. My Son Chris removed the old one and installed the new one. During the install we noticed that the elbow down to the tank was loose. It could have been sucking air and that might have been the problem. We will test the old unit and then do a tear down and rebuild just in case.
Several years ago I built a sump pan that fit under the engine. It worked well, but not perfect. It was time for Ver. 2.0
With the pan on the welding bench I brazed a fitting on the bottom at the lowest point. This will enable me to attach an oil suction hose to emptie the pan with minimum fuss. I also added a flexible leather extension to the back, as I was suspious that I was not quite getting all the drips!
Two new solar panels installed. A third one is on order along with the support hardware. You can also see the new antenna support at the back.
One of the things that you must do if you are going to take a vessel to another country is to establish it in a registry. To do this there are several steps and some funds to pay. If you are content to just Boat in Canada you can obtain the pleasure craft license, which is free and requires nothing more than an email and a bit of information about your vessel. If you want to become foreign going you need to tend to a few things.
Have the vessel measured for tonnage by a designated marine surveyor. Kevin Quinn of Bay Pilots did this for me when he also completed my marine survey last fall. The measurement has nothing to do with weight by rather volume and is historically linked to how much wine a ship could load on as cargo!
I had to write to the vessel licensing people and have my license canceled so that Tevah could be registered. That took a month or so.
I thought I was ready and sent off $250 to Ottawa. I got a response that said I also needed proof that the vessel was not also registered in the USA. I had believed that this was done by the Boat broker, but alas it was not, or atleast the certificate of deletion was not given to me. So, another cheque and a bundle of papers sent off the the US coast guard, and two months later I got the Deletion certificate!
Finally after another month I got my registration certificate. Now I just need a warm day to paint the number somewhere inside the hull
Some time in the last year we made the decision to retire on my 60th birthday. We discussed my dream of sailing south to the Bahamas for the winter. When it was agreed, the first thing I did was to research and purchase the best possible anchor. “Will your anchor hold…….”. Research showed it was the Rocna. Designed by a Kiwi for use in Antarctica, and made in Canada. Over the last 6 months there has been lots more research and purchases of the required equipment for our safety and comfort. You can see much of it if you view this blog and look at the category of repairs and upgrades. In this last week (Holy Week) I took the final step of commitment by mailing off my request for pension benefits. This Sunday is the celebration of our new life in Christ. New life in Christ comes complete with its own anchor as well as an endless supply of everything you will ever need.
At the beginning of September we will leave Saint John and head down the Eastern Seaboard. We will hope to be in Annapolis for the boatshow the middle of October. From there we will head down the ICW beginning in Norfolk once the hurricane season has quieted. Upon arrival in West Palm beach we will wait for a weather window to cross to West End and then proceed south as quickly as reasonable to the Exumas. After the end of Feb we will work our way north and visit the Abacos and then return to Florida and the ICW heading North to home for Summer in Canada.
The dinghy has been in build mode now for since 2013 when I visited Wooden Boat School and learned the fundamentals of boat building. This is really like summer camp for older people and here is the result.