The Catch-up

The catch up.. so this will be long

I have some catching up to do on my blog. I have resorted to dating our travels and hope to get you up to speed on where we have come and where we are now…..Georgetown, Exumas!!! (and where we may be put for about a week).

9 December , 2016 Great Guana Cay, Black Point Settlement

We are sitting in boat’s cabin listening to the wind blow at 20-23 knots. It whistles through the halyards (ropes for all the sails), whirs with the wind generator (J), and hums around the mast. The boat rocks a bit  to starboard and port.  This is the first “norther” we are experiencing. That is, a very strong cold front, that has dipped far south from the Great Lakes to the Bahamas, which only occurs in the Winter.


It is cause to stay put, waves and wind in open water could prove to be quite large and challenging.  Oh, I must say that “winter” is relative as we sit in shorts and t-shirts with the relative temp at 75. We have listened to weather on SSB (single side band/HAM) every morning for the last 5 days predicting this and have positioned ourselves in an anchorage where we hope to have less effect from the east-northeast strong winds. We do expect this to last for 48-72 hours. This will prevent us from moving on further South, as our departure would be on the ocean side of the island exposing us to high winds and some predictably high swells.  (This will be come a pattern now for us, waiting for weather…in paradise).  And this is why we made a point to download and save movies onto our computers, brought 60# of novels and guidebooks.


Two days ago we were at Highborne Cay. A beautiful location for the day. There was a beach to the East and of course endless water to the West…. We were accompanied by other sail and motor yachts of extremely varying sizes (some quite enormous, from all ports of call: Canada, St Louis, MO, and UK). After anchoring that afternoon, we had enough time to venture offshore snorkeling a bit and find a great reef filled with fishes and corals in all forms. It was delightful to spend an hour swimming and enjoying the underwater scenery. Mike did find a grouper that could have been dinner, but he was also being eye-up by a few barracuda (the grouper not Mike!), so he left him alone.



On our travels further southeast, we were in an anchorage just about 7 miles north of here yesterday, Big Majors Spot where the water was just as turquoise and the beaches as white. ( I have commented on several occasions that it is like sailing in a swimming pool..until you see the waters of the Bahamas you can’t imagine the clarity and color!) We were aware of the fact that on one of the beaches there are pigs roaming. (we had seen YouTube videos of this ) They come out of the bush when they know there are visitors who will feed them.  We happened to find the right beach about 4pm and many cruisers and tourists were there feeding the pigs: fruits and beer. Yes, BEER. And Yes, PIGS! Those pigs held up their snouts and guzzled from the bottle like some college freshman! One guy told me he was here the day before and got his foot stepped on, pretty painful. I didn’t let them get that close. We watched as a group of piglets came out of the bush, grunting and squealing. How surreal! We are how many thousands of miles from continental farmland and find pigs on the beach???!!!

Not to mention the rooster, which incidentally decided that at sunset he would crow until dark…along with the mornings. We had a quiet night, as we had for 2 nights in anticipation of the approaching cold front.

We have settled into somewhat of a routine on board. I have an alarm set for 6:25 so I can listen to the 6:30 weather report for the Bahamas. I transcribe the info so we can evaluate for our days sailing or motoring. Coffee is a priority every morning. Following which we proceed to weigh anchor. For the longest time, Mike was at the wheel and I picked up anchor, and then had to get him to hoist the anchor to its bedding on deck. We have since found out that I can navigate to the anchor, and have him hoist much easier and we are more efficient that way. We usually decide our destination that morning after the weather report and mark waypoints on the electronic maps. The decision to raise sails is dependent on the wind velocity and direction. There is also the possibility to use the sails to enhance our speed with the motor, should we encounter light winds. During the travel one of us is responsible for navigating and watching for other vessels while the other may undertake a task. Today we spent time polishing the chrome, and reorganizing the freezer. We look forward to anchoring, which today was early. Once we know we have a good hold in the sand, one of us usually heads in the water to check the anchor( followed by the other who is just as warm on deck, and ready to jump in). Today we spent more time than usually checking our anchor scope to make sure that we have a good hold in the sand and that we have enough anchor chain out to hold us if we get expected gale force gusts.


10 December

We anchored off of Great Guana Cay, in the middle Exumas. As we needed gasoline for the dinghy we headed into the little town of Black Point. We found none. We did get drinking water, to top off our gallon jugs and found a bit if WIFI at Lorraines Café (the first in a week) and dropped off our laundry with Lorraine’s mother , who lives behind the café. She bakes bread and does laundry. It is a bit cheaper to have it done than to pay the coin-operated machines, plus it adds to the economy of the little community.  We download weather maps and make quick contact with some family!

As the days get shorter, we try to get back to the boat by sunset and then have a simple dinner (tonight ceviche from walleye we brought from Lake Vermilion), clean up, read or work on the next days navigation plan, and with dark coming at 5: 45 we are usually ready for bed by 9 pm. We recheck the anchor holding and lights out.

The wind is still whistling ….wind velocity:   sustained 23 kn.  (It will prove to be a noisy night, but we are thankful for no squalls/thunderstorms) …yet.

We have come farther and sailed more days on Lost Loon than we have done before (day 12…seems like forever ago when we left Amery!). We are comforted in her ability and look forward to many more days ahead.

11 December …..Training Day

The winds are moderate and skies are clear. We decide to try to anchor further south in possibly a secluded anchorage along Great Guana, but find that the protection from winds is not as adequate as at Black Point. We did anchor briefly, explore a beautiful beach and relax a bit alone. On our return, we were determined to teach ourselves a sailing lesson. We were headed downwind with both the main and the jib flying nicely until the wind shifted and we had our jib so messed up around the furler . It was crazy for several minutes as the wind continued to build. We successfully got the thing wrapped correctly (without tearing anything) and quietly sailed under reefed main into the harbor to our previous anchor spot like nothing had happened. We did finish our hike off the opposite side of the island and watched huge waves break on beautiful cliffs


It is Sunday and that is as we recall in our land life, football day. We returned to Lorraine’s Café for more WIFI and found that the locals were watching the Green Bay Packers. The bartender says “I like Aaron Rodgers, “with a big smile and we go on to discuss the fate of some of the NFL teams for the year with the other patrons. It was good to get a taste of home. We also received photos from Chris and Jenni of the snow fall in Minnesota. Not really missing that.

12 December 2016

We are at anchor tonight off Cave Cay with nearly a full moon. This is in position for us to leave the Bahama Banks and head to more Atlantic waters of Exuma Sound. Our next major location, hopefully in 2 days will be Georgetown, on Great Exuma Cay.  We continue to island hop our way as far East and south as we go. We have had a few days of winds out of the north and now the southeast that have slowed us down a bit.

We left this morning from Black Point after the bread was baked and travelled in choppy seas, but manageable winds still on the nose a bit. We found an anchorage that is empty and head out to explore another close beach. We find turtles feeding in shallow grassy spots and a cool grotto that overhangs the water.


13 December ……Seafood!

After our morning chores,  (cleaning the salt and the task of taking apart and cleaning the Windlass, the winch that deploys and retrieves our 25 KG anchor) we decide to venture out for spearfishing and snorkeling. I had made a long swim to shore before lunch and was comfortable operating the dinghy while Mike fished. We found some random coral heads with a small fish population. Against a 1-2 knot current, Mike successfully found and retrieved a lobster and small grouper! We were excited for our surf and turf dinner that night.  We had a very well stocked freezer and needed to continue to work our way through that food but excited to be able to live off (or at least taste from)  the sea. We had brought venison, chickens, and some beef knowing that the prices would be expensive.


14 December …On to Georgetown!

The morning is cloudy, winds are light and variable. We head out the Galliot Cut for Exuma Sound, deeper waters and destination Georgetown about 35 miles. As soond as we lose depth on the instruments, Mike knows its time to fish. He puts out one rod and a handline. We set out the sails to assist in our motoring effort.

We watch as the seas begin to fill with sail and motorboats headed in the same direction. ..

Long about 935 there is a whining of the fishing rod.. FISH ON! The boat is put in neutral and the reel spins off a quick mile of line. Mike comments…”we have a good one” as he takes hold of the rod it surges and there is more line taken. Did our fish just get eaten by a bigger one? Moby? It takes everything Mike has to hang onto the rod, there is little reeling that takes place for 5 minutes and then the work begins. I begin filming and we are there 35 minutes as we think the fish is closer to the bottom of the boat, the rod jerks and the fish is GONE! With the successful purple lure as well! Just not fair! We put the boat in gear and continue our travels, dejected, and a bit exhausted (Mike). We are lucky to watch dolphin ( the edible ones, Mahi) skipping across the water for their lunch, but cannot intercept even one.



We follow the prescribed course for entering Elizabeth Harbor , Georgetown by mid afternoon and take anchor as other boats as well take their spots for the evening and possibly the week. We anticipate being here more than just a couple of days as the winds will be in the high 20s and gusting 30-35 kn. over 3-4 days. This is a lively community with lots of other cruisers who get together for different events on the island. There are folks who just make it here for the winter and stay.


Hopeful to do some hiking, snorkeling, and of course catch up on boat maintenance while we are here. As I write the last of this VERY LONG blog, we have cruisers coming in by the 2’s setting anchor to brace for the forthcoming prolonged cold front. No we won’t have snow, maybe showers, but we will manage with a bit of wind for a few days. We are in no hurry. We enjoy each day, make plans , change them with the weather.


Arrival in Spanish Wells, Eleuthera!!!!

We made arrival and landfall at Meeks Patch, outside Spanish Wells, an anchorage in the northern part of Eleuthera of the Bahamas. We had intended on making a stop in the Berry islands, but we had such excellent weather we continued on another 70 miles or so (after our first 24) to position ourselves a bit further east.  They say in order to get south in the Caribbean you must continue East in “good weather”. This is because the trade winds (known as “the trades” and the prevailing winds in this part of the Atlantic) typically come out of the east or southeast.  And if that is the direction you are sailing, the wind is on the nose and it becomes most difficult to fill the sails. So to get East sailing you need to have a south or north wind. Well we actually had both, a south wind for a while and as a new weather system approached during the day we found some nice northeast wind to fill the sails for a while.

Bahamian Blue Water

All the cruising guidebooks explain that one should make landfall during the daytime hours with some light overhead to watch for shifting sands and coral. What fun is that? Were here for the adventure right? We knew when we made our decision to head past the Berrys that we would not make a daylight landfall. We, of course, arrived by 8 pm with the only light from stars millions of miles away.  I positioned myself at the bow with our high-powered light shining for shoaling or obstacles. We followed the deep-water channels and found our anchorage.  This lie just outside of Spanish Wells, where we needed to clear customs. Anchoring in the dark can be a challenge: you can’t see more than the surface usually,  and communication from the bow person to the captain is more difficult as visuals are dimished. After spending a few minutes untangling the anchor that had managed to tie itself in a few knots in the locker, we were anchoredWe had now cruised for over 36 hours. We had slept on and off in shifts, but you usually don’t get the good sleep in 2-3 hour shifts.

At 9:30 pm, we found the ocean water a refreshing 85 degrees, perfect way to end a passage.

We were so fortunate to have some excellent weather since leaving Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday morning. We woke early to get the first weather reports, make the coffee, and hoist the anchor. We left Santa Rosa in Pompano at 0700 as the light was filling in from the East. We had 4 bridges to traverse before we were out to open ocean, the first 3 were easy and the fourth we missed by just 5 minutes. We were greeted at this bridge by some incredibly enormous yachts, other sailboats, and sportfishing outfits all headed out to the big water.  There are navigation rules as to what type of vessel has precedence or the right-of way on the water, it is usually based on size and whether you are running a motor or if you are actually performing some type of work on the waterway (like fishing or dredging). We are a 40 ft sailboat, motoring, so just about every other boat took precedence over us at the SE 17th Street Bridge, our last to conquer. We were not only outsized but outnumbered as well. So, at about 9:25 on this Wednesday morning we had several 100 ft cruisers, some sailboats in our size range  some larger and even smaller, and numerous fishing boats waiting for the 9:30 bridge opening. It was like the geldings preparing at the gates for the Kentucky Derby. Boats were jockeying here and there. The VHF radio was active with boats calling the bridge tender to claim their stake on this opening.

We made it through easily, letting the big boys head out for their trophies and we cruised of out of US territory excited to sail.

Our first job at hand was to get through the Gulf Stream. The trick is to position one’s boat with southeast heading hoping to land just at the right spot east and work the current heading North. We did just that! With a 60 mile crossing we made it motoring in 12 hours. That put us on the Banks of the Bahamas, where the ocean rises from several thousand feet to just nearly 60 or less. We arrived here at about dusk and watched the sun set on day one of our offshore voyage. By this time we were ready to shut off the motor as the winds were I made radio contact with the maritime mobile ham network 14.300 to give a position and safety report (anyone can find us by checking out There is menu item for vessel locations or check-ins and I do plan to call in when we are offshore and report a position), and we made dinner.

Since then we have had an awesome stay. We moved from out anchorage to a dock in town. Probably not an idea or the most quiet situation, but FREE! Situated by the local coffee spot and close to WIFI.  We checked into customs on Saturday. The local T-shirt shop had to call the customs officer to clear us in. The gentleman was nice and after about 6 pages and $300. we were legal in the Bahamas.  We ventured out to find a GOPRO SD card and walk the most beautiful beach. We stopped at the Snack Bar for conch chowder and a Wahoo wrap. We had been almost 24 hours with only a sandwich, so starved. Since then we moved the boat to a quiet anchorage with a private beach. We hiked and swam for the first time.


Today is December 5th, really 20 days until Christmas? The locals are playing Christmas songs at the grocery and passing the auto shop. It is very strange to not have snow…cold weather, or to be considering a Christmas  Tree.

We fueled up and filled our water tanks back at the docks this morning. Spent the afternoon anchoring the boat off shore again, snorkeling about a mile off shore (videos to come once I figure out how to download them from the GOPRO). I did think I was going to get laundry done, but at the price of $6. Wash and $6. Dry, I can do this by hand. Were using WIFI at the Buddha bar having some conch salad. Heading back to the boat soon, days are short and were busy most of the day, bedtime comes early.


Until we find the next WIFI……keep us in your thoughts and intentions!

The Night Before



It is the night before our departure for the Bahamas and Caribbean. The anchorage here in Pompano is quiet, the sound of voices echo across the bay. Yes! There are Christmas lights that twinkle across the water. …I think back on Christmases and think of what we might be doing to prepare. The wind is calm (so far…we had 20-25 knot winds last night in West Palm Beach) . We have had some evening showers tonight with a temp of 77 degrees. There are amazingly….NO BUGS! I am, however, ready with the mosquito spray at the first sign.


We have had a beautiful 2 days traveling down the Intercoastal Waterway, making our trip South from Stuart , FL to position ourselves for a Gulf Stream Crossing tomorrow. We passed through 16 lift bridges today! (the whole ICW from Norfolk VA to Miami has about 80 opening/manned bridges!) As you travel this way, each bridge requires a radio call to request an opening. Most bridges plan to open on the hour or the half to best manage the city traffic. There were many boats travelling our way and passing at the same time through the bridges. It was like getting to Oz and having to make the great request to the bridge tender for him (or her!) to stop traffic and grant us passage.

Really? too funny! ( our kingdom awaits!)

At one point we were soooo close and yet due to the time the bridge closed as we arrived. This causes anywhere from a 15- 30 minute delay. It also irritates the Captain (Mike) who must now “hold” the boat in the wind and current in while we wait. For the most part we made good time covering 50 miles in about 8 hours. We made our 4:30 arrival just north of the Ft. Lauderdale exit in time to catch a good anchoring spot just off the ICW main thoroughfare.


We enjoyed Thanksgiving with some good friends in Punta Gorda this last weekend. We rented a car and headed from Stuart, where we left the boat in a marina. We spent part of the weekend looking at homes with our friends, did some biking, shopping at the local farmers market, and cooking turkey. Quite different from 90% of the Thanksgivings we have spent in the last 34 yrs together. We do miss being with our close family.

Interesting vessels along the way


Upon return to Lost Loon on Sunday, we had planned on making our departure Monday morning, we had found however that our DC inverter was not working. We also realized that we needed some internet time to finalize a few things that we might not get to for several weeks. Mike worked on the inverter and called several reputable resources about how this might be set up on our boat. He was expecting a call back from someone that would have extensive knowledge about the unit, but never received the call. We decided that we would just have to manage without this and punt. Meanwhile, I had spent the day working with the Iridium Go satellite unit we have to download weather, contacted banks, and finished some emails. I am up every morning at 6:30 AM to listen to the SSB radio broadcast for weather daily, this lasts about 1 hour and through all the static try to transcribe the information we need to make decisions on sailing. By 6:15 pm, I was finished.

We decided (since we had turned in the rental car) to walk 2.5 miles to AutoZone for an inverter. We needed a way other than by USB to charge computers. (Such a problem Christopher Columbus DID NOT have!!!) 2.5 miles to return and one brief rain shower later we were exhausted. We made a quick dash to the marina showers and short dinner and by 9:30 we were lights out!

A very fast forward to Tuesday morning and we are ready to leave. We needed fuel and water. The dockmaster at the marina heard we had some “electrical problems” and had “just the guy”. He would send him over in a minute. (well 30-45 minutes later, we are organized and ready. Mike greeted the “chap” from New Zealand and began to describe the problem. He had a huge tool case, but asked first where the unit was. Mike opened the port side lazarette (storage compartment in the cockpit) , Mr. New Zealand reached down, pushed a tiny button and said, “there now go ahead and check it.” Oh man sure enough this was the 30 amp fuse that had blown, likely 4-5 days ago in St Marys when the power went off briefly. It was such a small thing…sitting right there,, didn’t even look like a fuse that had blown , right under our noses ( we had looked at that several times, but never put a finger on it). We apologized for our stupidity, laughed at ourselves, as did he and went about the task of leaving. We were at least happy that we gave the fella a funny story to tell at captains hour that evening.

So, it may be a while until we have WIFI to be able to post.

Our plans are to head through the Bahamas, Turk and Caicos, on to the Dominican Republic and then Puerto Rico before we hit the Windward and Leeward islands of the Caribbean. Continue to check back and keep us in your thoughts and yoga intentions!