Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lobster Mon

Wilma gets up and walks about 3 miles everyday with a group of ladies. There is also a group of men walking. Today was especially warm and beautiful so once Wilma returned from walking, Wink and Andy were ready to shove off. Wink, Wilma and Andy decide to go fishing. It was a great day - so Wink also went snorkeling for Lobster. It rained very hard on us in the afternoon. We arrived back at John Henry with two nice lobsters and 5 snappers and keywest grunts. Wink is in the kitchen now making Lobster bisque. Andy is going to supply us with Filet Mingnon. Wilma will cook and it'll be another feast. Wink with his 1st and 2nd lobsters in the Abaco's.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Doings at Abaco Beach Resort

We have been in Marsh Harbour for almost a week. The weather has been reasonably warm and the sun shining most of the time. We have had a little bit of rain and for a couple of days on the weekend, a lot of Wind near 28-30 knots. It was a warm wind. We said "so long" to Annie as she departed on Monday morning. It's time for her to go to work. We all miss her already.
Wink and Wilma went out in the skiff with Paul Graham looking for Lobster. Wink took some awesome pictures of fish at Mermaid Reef.
We did find Lobster, but they were in the protected Reef. They are pretty smart.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Spanish Cay and then Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

There was so much to do on Spanish Cay that I wanted to include more pictures.

Annie or Andy from Sea Dee took this early morning light picture of John Henry on the way to Spanish Cay, Bahamas.

Wink bringing in the shark with multiple mouth piercing (ya know, hooks).

Wink cast netting for bait from one of the docks at Spanish Marina. Annie is in the foreground.

Several large star fish adorned the marina sea floor.

A small school of Barracuda hung out near the outer docks while the big barracuda hung out under the piers searching for food. Finding the conch was a big treat. Wink plans to make a conch horn on the weekend.
Wednesday & Thursday, January 16-17, 2008

John Henry and Sea Dee left the dock at 7:00 am right on time. It was a pleasant ride and Wilma prepared for “Silent Running” as we approached The Whale. With local knowledge and high confidence, we entered The Whale at 10:00 am and emerged about 30-40 minutes later. There were 4-5 foot seas in The Whale and “Silent Running” was achieved. Another couple of hours and The Whale will be closed due to weather. The water here is amazingly clear and the color is magnificent. We chatted with several boaters on the way here whose names are Emerald Bay and Sapphire. The boat names can only give you a clue as to how wonderful the water is.Sea Dee is crossing "The Whale". This is an area southeast of Green Turtle where the seas organize furiously when the winds are from the right direction. More shipwrecks happen here than in all of the Bahamas. The Whale closed in the afternoon due to weather. We were truly blessed to have such a smooth crossing.

We arrived at Marsh Harbour about 12:30 today at high tide with winds about 10-15. Wink did an excellent job of stern docking. All of our friend and their friends turned out to be dock hands and all lines were secured. Thanks to all the good hands.
Marsh Harbour on the way in. We're docked about (*) straight up on picture.

The group waited for us so we could all go to lunch for Burgers. It was a 6 minute walk to the Burger place. Wink was especially happy to have some beef.
Wilma has been getting up early both Thursday and Friday and went walking with the Ladies. It's about a 4 mile walk everyday. Wink and Wilma also did a 4 mile bike ride to see what the town had to offer on Thursday afternoon.
There was a birthday party for someone on the dock Thursday night and everyone bought a pot luck dish. It was great. We have met so many people in such a short time.
Talk to you tomorrow.....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bahama Bound - Days Six & Seven Continued

It's almost 11:00 pm and apparently Wilma is exhausted because I forgot to put in the following shark pictures from Wink's Fun Night of SHARK Fishing inside Spanish Cay Marina.

Bahama Bound - Days Six & Seven

Monday, January 14, 2008

We were up at 6:30 and a weighed anchor at 7:00 am. We had a small computer problem (batteries needed changing in our keyboard) so Sea Dee took the lead.
Annie took this photo of John Henry, Wink and Wilma as we passed them to retake the lead across to Spanish Cay.

About mid morning, a sailing catamaran name Calypso joined us on our travels to Spanish Cay. They will eventually end up in Marsh Harbour as well – so we’re sure to see them again.

At Spanish Cay, it’s the light season and so there is only one other boat there when the three of us arrive. We all get cleared by customs, then meet up at the Marina office/store for registrations and visiting. Richard, the dock master, tell us there is great fishing right in the marina for snapper. Since its low season, help ourselves. He also mentioned that there were several sharks and one 16’ bull shark, named Bruce.

Andy chummed the water and the fish came a swimming. Wilma caught enough snapper to cook and serve four for dinner. Annie is the official “Paparazzi.” Wink fished and caught shark after shark, having great fun, fun, and more fun. The sharks ranged from 5-8’ in length. One shark had at least 4 hooks around his mouth. Wink tried to play dentist and remove a few, but after getting a good look at the shark’s teeth decided that one more hook would just increase the sharks awesome looks.

After dinner and fishing, we adjourned to the Marina lounge to socialize and enjoy our land legs. Wink was challenged by Richard to a game of shuffle board, once accepted it was clear that Richard was the PRO! With only three people living on the island permanently, Richard has lots of time to practice.

It was a late night of exceptional fun and entertainment. On Tuesday, it was an early morning for Wilma and Annie. Wink and Andy needed a bit of extra sleep time. Wilma and Annie continued fishing for snapper throughout the morning. Sara, the sea dog, was happy to know that we had reached land and would let her run free on the beach.

We were having such great fun, that we decided to stay another night at Spanish Cay. We toured the island from tip to tip on a marina golf cart. At the southern tip, we found a deserted beach and it was loaded with conch.
With a six conch limit in hand we headed back to the boat to retrieve our fishing gear because there seemed to be lots of bonefish available.

Wink spoke to Richard regarding Conch extraction and preparation. Richard, not only is the dock master, but the chief cook as well. Richard helped with the conch, turned it into a great Conch Salad (Sevetchie) which we had for h’orderves. Richard had also made a Chicken Curry for lunch and offered us a plate. It was great.

Wink, Wilma and Sara had a great afternoon at the beach with Annie. Annie still playing Papparazzi documented the bonefishing outing.

Back to the beach with gear in hand, we fished and fished, but to no avail, the bonefish had gone away. Annie picked up six conch for Sea Dee limit and Wilma picked up another conch to re-instate her limit, we headed back to the golf cart. The conch was migrating toward shore and was living in the shallow water. We counted 61 in the shallow water after our legal limit was taken.
Wink looked around for one last hope of finding the bonefish and there they were. We donned our gear and went back into the water.Wilma on right and Wink on left, fishing for bone fish in the south beach area of Spanish Cay, Bahamas. Within minutes Wink had obtained his goal of having a bonefish on the line. Annie took some great photo’s of the memorable event. Wilma did manage to get a bonefish on the line, but under estimated the power of the bonefish and the fish broke the line.

Returning to the boats, Wink and Annie cleaned our conch while Wilma cleaned up all the rods, reels and fishing area (cockpit) from the day before. Wilma prepared the galley for food preparation while Sea Dee’s crew completed their laundry and household chores.

Andy’s bow thruster is not working for some reason, Wink takes a look, but to no avail. Bruce, the 16’ bull shark, circles our boat a few times. He’s very impressive. We had a late dinner of Conch Salad (Sevetchie), Baked Snapper, Garlic Sauteed Snapper and Fried Snapper, along with Grits and Hush Puppies. It was an early night as both boats planned a 7:00 am departure.

Bahama Bound - Day Five

Correction to blog: I accidently included this picture in the previous day's blog. It should have been in today's blog. We passed it on the crossing of the Gulf Stream.
Sunday, January 13, 2008

We raised anchor at 4:30 am. Wink and Wilma put on their headset radios and Wilma, utilizing her night vision, went out on the bow giving directions to Wink. Sea Dee followed John Henry out of the Inlet and over to the Bahamas. The seas were fine with 1-2 ft chop until about 10:00 am and then the waves organized and we took them on the beam at about 3’. Wilma fished a couple of time, but no fish were interested.

Arriving just south of Memory Rock about 11:15 am and thoroughly enjoying how the water changed from dark blue to teal; we spotted nearly a dozen sailboats ahead of us. Several sport fishing boats were also enjoying the day. Both crews were tired about 2:00 pm and we decided not to continue to Great Sail Anchorage, but to stay East of Mangrove Cay (pronounced KEY) where anchoring in 6-7 feet of water was not a problem about 3:15 pm.

John Henry towed this 15 foot skiff across to the Bahamas. This is great picture of how blue the water color is and how well it towed.
Wink and Wilma spotted several Coral Heads forming on the east side of the island and took great care in not anchoring over them. Wilma was able to make several calls on the satellite telephone to announce their arrival in the Bahamas (a long time dream come true), but all calls were cut short.

Wink, Wilma and Sara the Sea Dog went to the fly bridge to enjoy the sunset.

Bahama Bound - Day Four Evening

Evening of Saturday, January 12, 2008

While we were in the ocean, Wink and Wilma could see this large vessel, looking a lot like a city about 10-15 miles ahead of us. We're glad we saw it in the day time.Sea Dee is anchoring in Lake Worth behind Peanut Island.
The view from north of our boat in bay behind Peanut Island near the Lake Worth Inlet.
This view is to the right of the picture above. The inlet curves in around behind the trees on the right.

Immediately after anchoring in the south staging area of Lake Worth Inlet, Wink and Wilma set about doing their daily boat chores, plus Wilma prepped the boat for “Silent Running”. Wilma calls it “Silent Running” because just in case the weather is bad, she wants the boat to be quiet instead of stuff crashing around. Everything has a place and usually nothing is in the right place until “Silent Running” is initiated.

We had a small dinner, changed our cell phone greeting to let people know that we are out of the country for the next 3-4 months. We had a great view of Lake Worth Inlet and looking around I remind myself that “There’s always a Bigger Boat out there!”
A View to the Southeast of Lake Worth Inlet. The Bigger Boat.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bahama Bound - Day Four

Saturday, January 12, 2008
First a comment from our friends, Judy & Gene regarding a comment about Alonzo’s Sea mentioned in yesterday’s blog note.

Great Blog!
Yes that was Alonzo's Sea--now named Seven
Tenths---owned by our good friends Deb and Henry Dennig. We just brought her across Okeechobee on New year's Eve and She will be in Baltimore eventually---poor Henry and Deb are still of the "working
We sure enjoyed the pilot berth on our journey across!
Safe Travels across-looks like a good window, many are leaving from Marathon
Yesterday, right after I finished up the blog and took over piloting the boat, the decision was made to stop for the night. We turned left out of the channel and anchored in a nice, wide open area with 5-6 feet of water under our keel. Andy & Annie brought over some garlic bread & salad. We cooked up some spaghetti and sauce and had a feast. We did some cruise planning for crossing the Gulf Stream and socialized way too late.

WE decided to sleep late this morning. We got up at 6:15 instead of 6:00 am. The sunrise is near 10 miles north of Vero Beach Municipal Marina. It had been a calm night with pleasant weather conditions. Wilma decided that perhaps bathing suit weather required a bathing suit. (NO PICTURE INCLUDED). There are however, plenty of Bow Ornaments out today, and not all of them were gals. With it being Saturday, we have hundreds of boats out and about us at all times. Wink calls it Boating Hell!
Sea Dee at the Jupiter Inlet. There are boats everywhere.......

Upon entering the Jupiter, FL area, we noticed that real estate is just a little more expensive than we’re use too. I think that if all the people I know should get together, we still might not have enough money to buy some of these places. But, we would all be able to have our own room. The picture below is a small home for sale. The others are extremely large.

We’re about two hours out from our anchorage in south Lake Worth. We plan to get up early tomorrow and head across the Gulf Stream. We’ll be out of contact for 3-4 days until we get settled in with an internet connection.
Don't go ape. These guys are just sitting out in front of a big house in Jupiter, FL.
Keep your fingers crossed and keep us in your prayers. We’ll talk to you from the other side. Be Safe.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bahama Bound - Day Three

Taken by Joan Peterson yesterday from The Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, FL. Lucky for us they are docked nearby the bridge and take great photos.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Today is 80th birthday of Wink’s mom Anna. Happy Birthday Mom…

As our blog ended yesterday, Wink and Wilma were heading south hoping to get as far as Mosquito Lagoon for the evening. About 5:30 pm, the local dolphins were having a hay day in the ICW. We had dolphins under our bow several times and also some shimmering along on the port side of John Henry as well. Looking closely, here are three under the bow.
As dark approached, Wilma and Wink put on their headset and Wilma went out onto the bow with flashlights in hand and on her head. Night vision from inside the boat was nil. Wilma guided by voice and Wink drove by charts. We did a very good job in this area, as we knew it was straight and the depth level. We simply didn’t want to hit any day markers or boaters. Sea Dee followed us in cautiously. Both boats anchored in Mosquito Lagoon about one hour after sunset with virtually no current and 10-15 mph southerly winds. Our plan was to have dinner with Andy and Annie, but all were exhausted so each boat had a small meal, did the boat chores and John Henry's crew went to bed by 9:00 pm.

Today we awoke at 6:00 am and had the anchor up by 6:45 and were on our way. There was a beautiful sunrise and great view of the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. Too bad there wasn’t a space launch, it would have been spectacular. Sunset on Indian River Photo. We cruised down the Haulover Canal & thru the bridge which is one of Wink’s favorite places. He loves the quietness and the family feeling of all the families fishing there. A serene setting in the Haulover Canal south of New Smyrna Beach, FL.

We also saw a blue hulled GH47 docked at a marina north in the Indian River. We all think the name of the boat was Alonzo Seas. Too far away for a good picture.

Sarasota is doing well. She has completely adjusted to the boat life. Wilma and Sara made a couple of laps around the boat deck today for just a little exercise. Sara does have a full day, you know, with the napping and then the taking care of her babies. She has Hippo, Piglet, Zebra, Girraffe, Heart and Alligator. They require lots of grooming and attention.
We hope to get to SM 945 so we can reach Lake Worth on Saturday. Please check in tomorrow for another exciting day on the ICW. We'd appreciate any comments.

from bruce

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bahama Bound - Day Two

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Woke up at 6:00 am and prepared to get underway with everything started and ready to go. And then the lights went out. We totally lost our complete 12 volt system. With flashlight in hand, Wink grabbed the infrared thermometer looking for hot spots. Next he ripped all the covers off the battery cases looking for bad connections. While he was doing this, Wilma grabbed the infrared thermometer and started scanning the 12 volt primary feed lines. Wilma noticed a 15 degree temp difference in one connection and we focused on this point, which was a loose crimped connector on the largest of the cables. The connector had come completely away from the cable. Wink cleaned the connector with his dremmel tool and filed all the metal parts in order to make good electrical contact. Now, the problem was how do we re-crimp this connector onto this huge cable? The solution was to use a large pair of bolt cutters (which we had on board) to leverage the crimping.

Wink using the large bolt cutters as a crimping tool.

We had been having sporadic electrical problems for over a week, but just couldn’t isolate the issue. We think the problem is solved, but we will need to get new electrical cable and connector at some point and replace it.

We had planned to be underway by 6:45 am to ensure that we met our cruising goal for today. However, with the morning emergency, we were delayed 45 minutes. We were underway by 7:30 am. Wink and I both agree that we are glad this happened when it did. It would be terrible to loose power when going through a bridge or being near another boater.

Here's a photo of Sea Dee under the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, FL. The rest of the day was extremely good on the water. About 4:00 pm we came to the George Munson Bridge which is New Symrna Beach area. It wasn't suppose to open until 5:00 pm but the workman finished early and the boats were lined up like cord wood.

Sea Dee with sailboats in the background coming through George Munson Bridge in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Tomorrow, I may ask Annie to take a photo of John Henry and email to me for the upcoming blog or maybe Andy will post a picture of us on his blog which you can view from a link.

With all the minimum wake and slow boats we're still scampering to meet our goal for an anchorage tonight. We may be traveling a little ways in the dark. I'm hoping to write a small paragraph of two everyday. So stay tuned for THE BIG BAHAMA ADVENTURE!

Bahama Bound - Off the Dock!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008
We awoke at 6:00 am and Wilma took Sarasota on her last walk for who knows how long. Sara will now be a full time boat dog using the poop deck. Almost all the Great Harbour owners came out at 6:45 am to wish us Bon-voyage and help us get away. Then they went down and got Andy and his crew, Annie away on Sea Dee. The weather was great and a perfect day to be cruising. No wind, 75 degrees, only a few boaters and the tide was with us. We anchored out in a cozy lagoon just north of St. Augustine. We had cocktails with Andy and Annie. They brought over a dish and we made a dish and had a great meal. It was a calm windless night and the stars were very bright.

We're towing a skiff to the Bahamas this year. This picture was taken going through Jacksonville, FL. You might be able to see "Sea Dee" behind us to the left. He's the little white dot on your screen. Supposedly, you can double click to enlarge the photo.

Saying Goodbye to Friends for Now!

Monday & Tuesday, January 7-8, 2008
Dee Williams, Joan Peterson, Bettie van Esseltyne, Christina Comrie and Me (Wilma Thornton) hanging around outside John Henry on the dock.
Thanks to Tim on Cloud X, here are some neat pictures of Reynolds Park.

Here's a picture of John Henry and Lazy Dolphin from the top of Cloud X.

Another pic of John Henry from on top of Cloud X.
This shows East Passage, Berlie Mae on left and Semper Fi III on Right with Who Cares behind.
At the floating dock, there's Avocet and Puffin.

At the end of the dock, Christina Sea & Moon Beam on right. Frank's boat on the far end (what a nice family), Nick's boat is next (look hard because it's small), then Silver Queen and then Semper Fi II closest on the left.

We worked hard to make all the deadlines, but thanks to God, Andy decided to tag along with us on Sea Dee. He still needs to provision so we’ve agreed on leaving Wednesday.
Wilma went around saying goodbye to all and took some RPYC pictures from the top of Cloud X. Bettie hosted a ladies night out and a chic flick on Moon Bean. We watched “Notebook” starring James Garner. Here are a few good pics of Reynolds Park.....