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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.