Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Say Goodbye to 2014

We pulled up anchor before 6 am.  There was sufficient sunlight to see the rocky shoreline and the rolls on the shoals by the time we were at the Little Harbour Cut.  We were not the first out.  Two boats beat us out and another seven or eight came through the cut anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour behind us.  The crowd of boats reminded us why it is so hard to catch fish on this stretch of water – it is highly traveled and seems to be fished out.  We were determined to give it our best try today.  Myron used six different types, shapes and colors of lures, changing them out during the day.  He even added cut squid to the lure – normally a deal-closer for the fish.  We pulled our huge green teaser.  We cleared the lines of grass about every half hour.  We used bionic ballyhoo (really, that is name on the label).  One of the ballyhoos was taken from us, the wire leader cut clean through.  Yeah, that’s not Snowflake.  I am sure it was a shark and we have no interest in catching one or dealing with one on the end of a line.  Near the cut and the end of our sail, the second ballyhoo was taken by the cockroach of the sea.  So it was a fishless endeavor, but not for lack of effort.  All is not lost.  Uncle Willard takes care of us and gave us two nice fillets of strawberry grouper.  They made a delicious dinner tonight.

We thought there might be a crowd here, given that ten or eleven of us set off together.  Some went to Harbortown, some to Royal, some went through Current Cut to Glass Window.   In the waning light after sunset, one last sailboat straggled in and anchored behind us.  Not much of a New Year’s Eve crowd.

What a year it has been.  We thought we were headed to Guatemala for the summer and ended up in Nova Scotia instead.  Best laid plans of mice and men.  A lot of miles went under Hold Fast’s keel.  There was lots of fixing things that involved skinned hands, scraped arms, cramped muscles from working in tight spaces, and maybe a little tourettes syndrome.  And sailing, well it is sometimes a contact sport for me.  Oh well, we have bandaids.  Seriously, we have our health and thank God that we get to see such beautiful places, meet wonderful people and be reunited with loving friends and family.  Our two feathered friends on the sail north were pretty outstanding too! 

May you have blessings in 2015 – no matter how your plans change!

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Staged at Lynyard Cay

We did some last errands this morning in preparation to head south.  Low tide was around 9 am, requiring us to wait until after noon to depart MOW Cay and take the short cut near Elbow Cay and Lubbers Quarters.  One of the discussions during dinner last night with Barb and Barry was about having a Colossal Burger at Dock and Dine.  Since we had to wait for higher water, what better way to pass the time than to split that famous burger (besides cheese and all the works, it also has an onion ring, bacon and an egg).  When we got to Dock at Dine at their opening time, Judith informed us of the specials and simultaneously let us know they had no meat for burgers - the patties would arrive on the ferry in a few hours.  Boo hoo!  We had all worked ourselves up for the event.  As a consolation, we walked over to the only other restaurant on the cay and had a regular burger.  It was good and I was happy to have it, it was just not a Colossal.

After lunch we rummaged through the coconut piles behind Dive Time, ending up with a nice inventory of more than eight green coconuts between today and yesterday's haul.  Three were harvested in route today.  Love that machete.  We like to mix the fresh coconut water with a local ginger beer.  

We are hoping for 10 to 15 knots tomorrow out of the NE.  Swells are forecast at about two feet.  There is a chance of squalls to 20, but hopefully they will not form or we will be on the banks before they roll around.  Sometimes cloudy weather has a negative impact on our fishing results, but this time we will have out both a lure and bait (pre-rigged ballyhoo).  Here is to hoping tomorrow I get to write about cleaning fish!

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Wrapping Up in MOW Cay

We have truly enjoyed our time in MOW Cay, thanks to Barb, Barry, Jan, Jay, Uncle Willard, and the gangs on Taia and on Jasamine. 

We attended our first MOW Cay Christmas island gathering and were blessed by the generous spirit of all who attended.  We sang songs, several different pastors offered prayers, the kids got gifts and we all had plenty of homemade food to hold us off until an afternoon Christmas dinner. 

We had our Christmas dinner on Jan and Jay’s porch, while they were away in New Jersey visiting with family and the girls hoping for snow.  At least their dog got to attend.  By the end of the day, we were beat.

That did not stop us from going out and watching the Boxing Day sailboat race put on by Hope Town Sailing Club.  Barry was crewing on ‘Rage,’ a Bahamian family regatta sailboat, so he lent us his Whaler which allowed all of Hold Fast and Taia crew to go watch.  The kids entertained themselves well for the most part, and entertained us too.  But I must admit, with the winds so light, the day was a long one to ask of the kids.  The Rage finished first across the line.  We continued to watch at the finish line until the Morgan 34 from MOW Cay finished, after which we headed back.

Here is Matias during his entertainment:
The next day we were guests of Barb and Barry at the Hope Town Sailing Club gathering.  We went on to have pizza at the Harbor’s Edge, followed by a quick trip over to Seaspray Marina to watch the small Junkanoo that started at 9 pm, or mostly.  We are on island time anyway.  It was very brief and quite intimate as the dancers and players worked right through the crowd, even dancing with some bystanders - that would be you Barry.  Their coach, who was in regular clothes, would direct the crowd to get out of the way as only a generously sized Bahamian woman can do.

The gang on Taia left Saturday, but not before kindly leaving behind three conch of Ernesto’s catch.  The kids were apparently worried about us not knowing their gift was left behind as they prepared messages for us, pointing to the swim ladder where the conch were hung.  The kids also managed to include some Myron quotes in their notes.  Can you guess which are his quotes?

We are always sad to see our time of visiting come to an end.  That sorrow is held at bay as we look forward to our next place of arrival.  And we also hope to catch fish along the way!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Love to call,

Monday, December 8, 2014

Moored in Man-O-War

We are squared away with immigration, customs and fisheries, plus we got a sim card for our phone and are connected to the internet.  Hard thing to let go, connectivity.  I can live without the news, but I like to stay in touch with family and friends.

Speaking of which, my heart was warmed by such a special welcome to Man-O-War Cay.  We took the dinghy down to see Barb & Barry and Jay & Jan and managed to meet up with Ian on Jasmine along the way.  Jay and Jan surprised us all by treating us to freshly made conch salad.  We are totally spoiled – I love it!

I got the run down on most of the many local Christmas festivities.  We are going to stay here through at least Christmas and I am looking forward to attending all the events.

Love to all,

Posted via 3G.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Resting in Marsh Harbour

Other than the first five hours, we had a pretty pleasant trip over. It was downright handy to have a bright and near full moon for all the night watches. The Whale Cay cut was rough and confused, but do-able.

There is a large motor vessel at the Jib Room's fuel dock. We will try to get over there in the morning to square away our check in and get diesel. If the Jib Room does not work, then we will figure it out at another one of these marinas. Once checked in, we can go about our other business, the first priority of which is to get a phone operational and get connected to the internet.

In the meantime, our quarantine flag is up, we are showered and ready to have some grub. I am looking forward to a good night's sleep, which will probably come early.

Love to all,

Posted via Ham Radio.

Position Update

Beautiful night, big moon.

Posted via Ham Radio.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Almost on the banks

We left Jensen Beach about 7:30 this morning and exited out St. Lucie Inlet for Marsh Harbor.
About an hour to the banks should arrive Marsh tomorrow afternoon.

Posted via Ham Radio.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Jensen Beach

That was not the first time we had a short stay in Vero Beach.  There MIGHT be a small weather window that we can squeeze Hold Fast through to get across the Gulf Stream.  I made one more trip to the grocery store, Myron filled our dinghy gas tank with fuel and we said a few goodbyes, slipping the mooring around 11:30. 

Right now, though, the winds are up and the swell is almost five feet not too far offshore.  We are both skeptical as to the weather cooperating with the forecast and letting us proceed.  It seemed prudent, or at least optimistic, to get positioned anyway.  We will check the weather again in the morning.  Skeptical or not, we have hopes for a crossing Saturday, Saturday night, or Sunday.

In the meantime, we plan to finish securing the boat and do our best to get some rest.  Tonight’s dinner will contribute to a good night’s sleep.  The menu was porterhouse steak, sautéed mushrooms, steamed fresh brussel sprouts and french bread.  On the assumption we would go, we grabbed the opportunity to have our last steak meal until we return to the states.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vero Beach Mooring

We arrived at Vero Beach about 11 am, topped off with diesel and water and took a mooring.  We launched the dinghy and were on the bus to the grocery store by noon and back by about 1:30, yet to have eaten a bite all day.  A quick lunch and a short rest and we were off to do more chores, including a couple loads of laundry.  There was also a social gathering at the gazebo.  By the time we finished and returned to the boat, I was ready for a shower, dinner and bed.  I have yet to put away the clean clothes - but I wanted to get out this post.

We will catch the weather in the morning.  The forecast will not settle down, even three days out has been changing day by day.  There is always the possibility we may only be here one night.  We are rafted with a French Canadian couple, I cannot even spell the boat name, much less pronounce it.  There were kind enough to chat with us in English.  

I am glad to be on a mooring tonight and in this protected cove.  It is getting quite stormy outside and the rain is really coming down.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Serenity Island

We took a day off at Cocoa.  Our intention was to launch the dinghy and go into town.  I was up at 5 am, listening to weather by 6, then relaxing with coffee.  By the time Myron was checking in on the Cruizeheimers’ Net at 8:30 am, I was crawling back into bed.  Neither of us felt the effort of launching the dinghy for a trip into town was more important than catching up on a bit of rest.  Besides, throughout the day we were peppered with rain showers.  A perfect nap day. 

Today’s low mileage plans afforded us the luxury of pulling up anchor after weather and coffee.  Within an hour of leaving, the east wind filled our jib to help us arrive shortly after 11 am.  We had lunch and did a few errands, like ‘de-winterizing’ the boat – and us.  I cut about three inches off Myron’s hair, and he trimmed about six inches off mine.  We have been in shorts and tee-shirts and barefoot since Cocoa.  According to Intellicast, the temperatures in Cocoa are 15 degrees warmer than Jacksonville.  Only about 130 miles south.  It should only get better from here.

We are well positioned for a morning run to Vero Beach.  Yesterday, we made reservations for Thursday before noon.  The marina asks that you reserve a spot 48 hours in advance.  There may be a weather window for a crossing early next week.  The buses run at Vero on weekdays, part of Saturday and not at all on Sunday.  Any chores by bus should be accomplished Thursday and Friday.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Monday, December 1, 2014

City of Cocoa

We did not hit it at o’dark thirty this morning, but pretty near.  First we tuned in to hear weather according to Chris Parker, but apparently he recently changed his schedule.  Will try again tomorrow.

Today we made much better time than yesterday.  The wind was out of the east which made for a nice motor and jib run down Mosquito Lagoon (aptly named) and Indian River.  We reminisced about our first trip down, the different places we stayed, how it always seems to be windy around Cape Canaveral, and how last year we turned to go into the Haulover Canal and it was log jammed with fishing boats that only got out of our way at the last minute.  We pressed on past Titusville, throttled back and were still doing close to seven knots.  I saw a dolphin jump completely out of the water to look at us, then it did it again as it drew closer and rode on the bow wake for close to 20 minutes.  Stuff like that makes my day.  And it makes up for the ‘in a hurry power boater’ that seriously waked us twice today.  I guess we passed him while he was refueling in Titusville, which gave him the opportunity to do it all over again.  Practice makes perfect.

But back to us…we made such good time, we passed up Addison Point and made it to Cocoa with plenty time before sunset.   Looks like we might go investigating the City of Cocoa tomorrow.  Dinner is done, soon the dishes will be as well and we will watch a show if we can stay awake.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.