Bimini Bahamas! 🇧🇸

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.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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Ready Set Go!!!!

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.

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A Highlight in Vero Beach

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.

Http://TrackMyTour.com/GKD6B

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.

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Com update

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.

http://tevah.renforth.net/?page_id=13

Tomorow we will begin the last part of the US travel toward Miami

 

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Florida

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.

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What it is like to travel the ICW

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!

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Where is that heat???

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

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It is beginnng to sound a lot like Christmas

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.

 

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A wild 24 hours

Arrival in Rocky Creek

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.

 

 

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Charleston is behind us now

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.

Woodberry on Missions (1)

Click the link above to read the article.

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.

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