Monthly Archives: June 2013

Bahamas Recap

The trip to the Bahamas was by design a training experience for all three of us. That is why Mark went with us. He was to teach us the ins and outs of this particular boat. After all he owned the boat for twelve years, so he knew all the ins and outs. Like any true sailor Mark had very strong opinions as to how things are supposed to be done and which products work, which ones don’t and so on, so  I’m not sure he was totally thrilled with some of the changes we’ve been making to Stray CatZ.  It was a great training opportunity for us though, and I know we all learned a lot. I only mention this because even though we were in the Bahamas, it wasn’t all just fun and games. Only mostly 🙂

Here is a recap of the highlights; We spent a total of three days at the dock at Browns Marina in Alice town. That’s where we took care of some maintenance and cleaning items, but more importantly, we installed a brand new Garmin radar unit for the boat. That required sending Mark up and down the mast numerous times. And for some of my Knoxville friends, yes I am radar qualified.

We walked around Alice Town and Baily Town and did a little beach combing on N. Bimini. Wow! There are a lot of conch shells there.

We spent a couple of days snorkeling. One of the them near some rocks off shore of N. Bimini and another day we were at the Sapona shipwreck. Both times we saw an enormous amount of fish in all shapes and sizes including nurse sharks, barracuda, cow fish, angel fish and a porcupine fish. There was beautiful coral and we even caught a live conch, but released it, because no one was motivated enough to clean and prepare it.

We spent a couple of nights anchored off Cat Cay. Right off the end of the runway, so we could watch the planes come and go, and I would feel at home.

Every day the sea turtles would swim near the boat, but by the time we got in the water to swim with them, they would disappear. At night I would sit on the transom and look into the water and watch the light show of the bio-luminescence. It reminded me of watching the fire flies back in TN, only with more colors.

The water there was so clear, we could see large  creatures swimming beneath the surface. We would guess at the species based on the shape, but who knows for sure. No one jumped in to verify.

On the way down to the anchorage Kylan caught a three-foot barracuda, which of course we released before it could slice us up with its razor sharp teeth.

On our last full day, we finally launched the dinghy only to discover the water in the fuel tanks from the six weeks at the dock in Ft Lauderdale. A few hours were spent cleaning the carburetor, which worked as a temporary fix only, so we could go ashore and enjoy an overpriced meal on Cat Cay. Unfortunately we didn’t see any more iguanas.

 

The next morning we took off bright and early bound for Ft Lauderdale. The winds although from the right direction were not strong enough to really help. Mark was in a hurry to get back to a father’s day meal with some friends. Maybe he was just anxious to leave us and move on to the next chapter in his life. It only took us about 7 hours to get back, but when we got to the dock, it was occupied. Unable to reach anyone and not sure what to do, we tied to the neighbors dock which was empty, and left a note. Fortunately the neighbor was understanding and Stray CatZ rested peacefully back in the USA.

St. Augustine, FL

I admit it. I have been pretty sloppy about keeping up with this blog, the last couple of weeks. Not having internet access 24/7 really puts a cramp in my style.  We are currently in St Augustine, FL, and will be here through the 4th of July. We arrived Sunday afternoon after a couple of overnight sails coming up the coast. We had a calm weather window so we hustled up here, to meet our insurance requirements of being north of latitude 30 by July 15. The calm weather was nice for the ride, but we ended up motoring most of the way. I will back up on some later posts to fill you in on the highlights of the trip up here. We still have a few more miles north we need to go to be covered, but this town looks pretty cool, so we are going to check it out while we get a few repairs done.

The most important repairs include the mainsail and the dinghy motor. Unfortunately during one of our attempts to sail in light winds, with the boat rocking back and forth and the mainsail slapping accordingly, one of the seams popped and before we could get the sail down it tore the leech cloth. Nothing serious, but we couldn’t use the mainsail the rest of the trip.

During our road trip to TN in May, it apparently rained a lot in S. FL and we ended up with some water in the dinghy gas tanks. Our Yamaha 15 motor is sensitive and we had to get the carburetor cleaned. Since we like to anchor out and not tie up to a dock (mostly for financial reasons) being without a good running dinghy has been a nightmare.  Now we’re tied to a mooring ball here in St Augustine and well lets just say, the dogs will be a lot happier with transportation to shore. 🙂

We walked around town a little yesterday and Anna wasted no time trying to get Kylan signed up for school.

We have a lot more sightseeing to do, and the nice thing is how much more you get to see enjoy and appreciate when you have to walk everywhere.(my feet are sore)

The town seems to be very dog friendly which is nice. We don’t have to leave them on the boat all day every day.

Laundry day today and then we heard about some music on the beach thing so we’re going to check that out.

Manatees and dolphins are swimming all around where Stray CatZ is moored which is right off the shore from the Castillo de San Marcos and just north of the Bridge of Lions.

 

Kylan’s great find!

From Kylan;

“So, im in the Bahamas, after a long day of washing the boat, i took an outing to the beach. SO MANY CONCH SHELLS!!!! i was out swimming pulling random ones up, (super clear water) when i find one that looks like it has dirt in it, i look closer. and the dirt moves. turns out it was an octopus! and brought it to the beach for my parents, and got quite a few great looks at it”

I realize that the photo sucks, but this is the best shot I could get of the little octo.

That is his arm scurrying back into the conch shell.