Saturday, May 14, 2016

One door closes and another opens

Sorry for the delay in getting back to my blog postings.

After Jeanne and Marcia left for the airport we untied the lines and left the dock in Coral Bay, New Providence.  Had a good motor/sail (6 hrs.) to Chubb Cay where we anchored for the night.
The next day we got underway at 7:00 A.M. and had a long day of “hand steering” but calm seas.  Anchored at Gun Cay at 7:00 P.M.

The weather was still cooperating and predictions were for the winds to pick up and blow out of the north in another day so we got underway at 7:00 A.M. and anchored off of the Miami Yacht Club at 3:00 P.M.  Not a bad crossing across the Gulf Stream.

We spent the next 5 days anchored in Miami touching base with the buyer of our boat every day to determine where he wanted us to deliver the boat for the bottom survey.  Don’t think he realized how difficult it is to find a yard that can haul a boat with a 24’ beam.  He’s also realizing how expensive it is to own a “big” boat.  Benny kept reassuring us that he was going through with the deal.  

Since it was the week before Easter the boat traffic was very busy so we kept moving the boat around to the different anchorages to get away from it.  We were able to connect with our friends, Don & Olga, and met them at the park to pick up the new auto pilot motor that we had shipped to their condo.  Joe got it installed and it works great.   Spent several hours walking around Miami Beach and even found a church that we could walk to from the dinghy dock so I could go to Palm Sunday Mass.   

Don & Olga picked us up and we all enjoyed a delicious cuban lunch.  Always good to see them.

Benny finally found a place in Riviera Beach that could haul the boat so we got underway on March 23rd.  Had a quick sail from Miami to the Lake Worth Inlet - 7 hrs. and at times we were doing 9 knots.  One of those perfect sails that made Joe wonder why he was selling the boat.

We anchored off of a park there and arranged for Benny and his friend Lew to come on Thurs. to take the boat out for a sea trial.  Since we weren’t going to have much time to show them all of the working systems on the boat we made a video of Joe explaining everything so they could look at it and refresh their memories.

On Thurs afternoon, Joe went to the launch ramp and picked up Lew, Benny, his wife, Anna and their cute 8 month old daughter, Mia Grace.  Got everyone onboard and headed for the inlet.  They were pleased with the boat’s performance in the seas heading out the inlet and then Joe raised the sails and we tacked back and forth for a couple of hours.  
Anna & Mia Grace                  Lew & Benny

On Fri. morning Joe picked Lew up and we took the boat to the Cracker Boy Marina for the haul-out.  Benny and the surveyor met us there and they spent the next 3 hours checking out the boat hull.  I spent most of that time pacing back and forth in the yard praying that everything would check out.  After the survey was completed Benny decided to just have the boat moved into the yard since we wouldn’t be completing the sale until Mon. or Tues.  

Benny drove us to the airport to pick up a rental car and then we proceeded to unload all of our stuff.  Now keep in mind that we have 15 yrs. of gear on the boat so we filled the car and realized we would have to come  back on Mon. to pick up the rest.

Since it was late afternoon by then we only drove as far as Melbourne, got a motel and then went on the next day to Jacksonville to pick up our van that was in storage there.  Thankfully the van started right up so we off we went to the airport to drop off the car and then head south to Englewood to spend Easter weekend with good friends, Barbara & Mike.  We really needed that glass of wine they had waiting for us, a beautiful dinner and a good night’s sleep.  Went to Easter Sunday Mass with Barbara and spent the rest of the day enjoying their company, playing pickleball and another delicious dinner and of course, more wine.

Barbara & Mike

On Monday morning we drove back to West Palm to pick up the rest of our gear and filled the van to the top.  This is it, we’re leaving the boat for the last time.

   We then drove back across the State to Dunedin to visit with Alison.  So glad to see her.  We had lots of paperwork to do to complete the boat sale and we met Benny at the bank to finish the deal.  She gave us the moral support we needed to let go of the boat and reassured us that we could still have a good time doing land travel.

Spent the rest of the day with Alison and then drove north to Brunswick, Georgia to visit with niece, Kelly and Tommy.  They always welcome us and it was fun celebrating Tommy’s birthday with them at the Golf Club.
                                       Kelly, Tommy & Mia

After a couple days of decompressing we moved on to Warrenton, Virginia to visit with niece Christa, John, Alexa and John, Jr. After a long drive it was so nice to arrive and have a delicious steak dinner with them and of course, some good wine.  Christa had some goodies for us to take home along with a TV and other things for our house.  Somehow Joe managed to fit them into our already overloaded van.

Homework time with Alexa
and John, Jr.

Spent a couple of days with the Williams family and then headed for home.  It’s a 9 hr drive and when we got to the Canadian Customs and Immigration they asked how long we had been away and welcomed us home.  We were at the house by 2:30 and started unloading the van.  Good thing we have a big basement to store all of this stuff.

Everything was good at the house thanks to our neighbour, Les, and our nieces who stopped by to check on things.

It did seem strange to be here and I kept thinking I was in someone else’s house.  We quickly got back into the swing of things and started playing pickleball with the “Life After Fifty” group and visiting with everyone we missed so much over the winter.   Our friend Theresa delivered a beautiful painting that she did of “DejaVu” - it’s on the wall in our office with some other Bahamian prints.

We made a trip across the border to visit with Joyce (Mandalay).  She’s doing well and is really hoping and praying that the boat will sell soon.

Our other good friends, Al & Jill, are also selling their 64’ Catamaran.  Unfortunately, Al & crew were sailing the boat from Fiji to Hawaii and then on to California.  They were 400 miles from Hawaii when they dismasted.  Luckily no one was hurt, however, they lost the entire rig and did quite a bit of damage to the boat.  They have made it safely to Hawaii and are assessing their options. Not a good way to finalize their cruising experience.

Not too enthused about the weather-it was still cold and we even had some snow flurries.  Guess we came back too soon.  Looking forward to planting some flowers and veggies but it's too soon - frost predicted for this weekend.

Our summer will be spent continuing with the house renovations, Joe has some big jobs to do for his customers and we’re looking forward to many family and friends get-togethers. We're looking for a new work vehicle that can later be converted into a camper so we can head south when the snow flies.  

Please keep in touch with us, we don’t want to loose contact with our cruising friends so if you’re in the Windsor area, we’d love to see you and we have a guest room.   We can be reached via email - or phone 519-945-7848.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

DejaVu leaving George Town soon

The wind picked up after our closing regatta ceremonies so we moved into the protected anchorage called “The Litter Box” since it’s very shallow and mostly catamarans are anchored there.  Worked out well for us because we could take the dinghy on Monday morning to Baranki Laundry.  Spent the next 2 days getting ready for Jeanne and Marcia’s arrival.  We moved the boat to a spot very close to the town so they wouldn’t get too wet getting from the shore to the boat.  So nice to see them-it’s been a couple of years so lots to catch up on.

Moved over to Sand Dollar Beach and the girls jumped into the crystal clear water.  Enjoyed a last walk on the beach.

It was still blowing hard but predicted to lessen in the next few days so on Thurs. afternoon we left the Harbour and prepared to go out through the cut.  Expected it to be rough and big seas but it wasn’t too bad and we had a good sail for 3 hours to Rat Cay Cut where we went in to our first anchorage.

As we were leaving George Town, we heard on the radio that a trimaran had lost it’s mast sailing in the harbour.  The owner of the boat had borrowed some tools and fibreglass from Joe to do some repairs and he had invited us to sail with him that day-glad we weren’t onboard.  No one was hurt but he has a lot of work to do before he can head out again.

The next day we took Jeanne and Marcia to Leaf Cay to visit with the iguanas.  These are the best fed iguanas in the world.  Cruisers and tour boats bring them lots of veggies to eat every day.

We continued to sail up the Exuma chain and made a stop so the girls could snorkel on the man made reef of a piano and mermaid.  It’s made out of stainless and was placed there by David Copperfield  who owns one of the nearby islands.

Several of the islands in the Exumas are owned by celebrities - Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Johnny Depp, Oprah.
Guess it’s one way of them getting some privacy when they are on vacation.

We anchored at Black Point which is an excellent example of a real out-island non-touristy settlement, the largest in the Exuma Cays.  They have a school, three churches, two grocery stores and native straw work.  Marcia bought a handmade straw bag and a conch shell.

Of course, it was inevitable that something would break now that we have sold the boat.  The belt on the autopilot started squealing and the motor stopped working.  Joe took it apart and he couldn’t fix it so we’re ordering a new one to be del’d to our friends in Miami.  Now those of you who have not cruised can’t appreciate what a big deal this is-we depend on it when we make a passage. For the past 10 yrs. we have had a backup autopilot onboard.  Last week we decided to start clearing things out of the boat in anticipation of turning it over to the new owner so we “sold” the backup to a fellow cruiser.  Now we’re looking at hand steering the boat for the 26 hour passage to Miami.  Not looking forward to it. 

Our next stop was an anchorage right off of the famous “Thunderball Grotto”.  Joe took Jeanne and Marcia over to the cave and they swam into the cave.  It is filled with lots of fish and colourful coral.

We moved over to the anchorage off of Staniel Cay which is unique among the Bahamian out island communities.  Its inhabitants are a cooperative mix of native Bahamians and outsiders with homes on the island.  The sailors there are recognized as some of the best in the Bahamas.   
The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is filled with mega yachts from all over the world.
Helen, Jeanne and Marcia explored the island and did a bit of shopping.  We enjoyed seeing the traditional island homes - one with an old wringer washer on the porch.

Decided to move to Big Majors anchorage to the north.  This island is home to the “swimming pigs”.  The locals have put some pigs on the island and the cruisers and tourists love to feed them so if no one brings them food, the pigs swim out to the boats. We’re sure a couple of them will disappear on Easter weekend to be served at the famous pig roast at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

We had to keep moving every day so we could be in New Providence by Tues. afternoon so the girls could fly out on Wed.  Enjoyed exploring the different islands and they did lots of snorkelling and swimming around the boat.

Took the boat into Coral Harbour and tied up to a private dock there run by a retired British cruising couple who rent out spots on their seawall.  Nice, protected bay and only 10 mins. from the airport.  On Wed. Nick took Jeanne and Marcia to the airport and we got underway for Chubb Cay.

Here’s our last chance to post our Blog because we have a good internet signal so we’ll sign off until we reach Miami.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Surviving the Regatta

We survived another fun filled 10 days of regatta events.  

Started out with registration day on the beach.  Joe and I worked the registration table for regulation volleyball.  Sign up went well and we will have 6 teams of 4 for the tournament.

On the Sat. afternoon we had a talent show at regatta park in town.  This was a combination of acts by the locals and the cruisers. 
Helen and her 6 friends danced and sang to “These Boots Were Made for Walking” and were appropriately called “Babes In Boots”.  We wore regatta T-shirts, black shorts and “rubber sea boots”. 

 It was a hoot and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  
 Joe joined some of the guys in a tug of war.
The Bahamian kids were the highlight-they are so naturally talented and were up on stage doing their rake and scrape type dancing.
The local women kept us fed and hydrated with lots of rum punch, beer, conch fritters, burgers and hot dogs.

Sunday was the big softball game with the cruiser’s team vs. the Bahamians.  The cruisers did their best but were unable to beat the Bahamians again this year- they are natural athletes and half the age of our players. Joe enjoyed being part of the team but isn’t looking to join a softball team when we get back to Ontario-think he’ll stick to pickleball.  When Joe got back to the dinghy dock at 9:00 P.M. his “brand new dinghy” was missing.  Now this is equivalent to you living out in the country and discovering that your one and only car is not in the driveway.  Another cruiser took him across the lake to see if it was on the other side-luckily they found it stuck in the mangroves.  No damage and Joe was on his way. 

Monday and Tuesday were big boat races-one in the harbour and one around Stocking Island.  Joe crewed on a 37’ monohull called Belatrix.  They had a good sail and came in 1st for the in harbour race and 3rd around the island.  Joe really enjoyed racing in a monohull for a change.

Robin and her winning crew

The rest of the week had lots of events - Bocci ball, scavenger hunt, poker run. 

funny coconut collecting

On Thurs Joe & I helped with the coconut challenge.  This is a real hoot to watch. Around 1500 coconuts are released in the anchorage-teams of 4 get into an inflatable dinghy (without an engine) and paddle around using dive fins to get around and collect the coconuts.  We tally up the scores and then they move over to the volleyball court where they toss some coconuts over the nets to reach the bulls eye on the other side, the 3rd part is tossing the coconuts into the bag.  

Joe raced his laser sailboat (the one he plucked out of a dumpster in Belle River) and came in 1st.  Brought back good memories of his younger sailing days.

Good shot Al
Fri. morning was “Beach Golf”.  They set up a 9 hole golf course on a rocky, shady shore-quite a challenge for even a seasoned golfer.

Fri. afternoon was Joe’s big event-the 4’s regulation volleyball.  We had the teams set up so each team played every other team on 3 courts.  The most difficult part of this event is setting up the teams since we have players ranked from very good to novices.  It went well and everyone had a good time-Joe’s team did not win this year but he was happy to act as chairman.

Sat. morning was “fun volleyball”.  There are teams of 9 players and although Joe doesn’t usually play he decided to sign up.  It’s a fun game to watch because the teams can hit the ball as many times as necessary to get the ball over and there’s always a lots of players banging into each and knocking each other over.

fun volleyball
Joe’s team came in 3rd place.

regatta point and peace n plenty
Sun afternoon was the closing ceremonies at Peace N Plenty Hotel. Pennants were awarded to all chairmen of the events, many thanks to the organizers of the regatta, door prizes (we didn’t win anything) and lots of food and drink.  Last chance for us to party with our fellow cruisers.

We’re now getting ready for Jeanne and Marcia’s arrival on Wed.  After that we’ll be looking for some good weather to head up the Exuma chain to Nassau where they will be flying out on March 16th.  The weather Gods have not been very kind to us this year so we’re just hoping and praying that we can leave by Fri. and have several days to show them some of our favourite anchorages along the way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gearing up for George Town Cruisers Regatta

Everyone is gearing up for regatta and we’ve been busy as usual.  The wind continues to be challenging and we’ve had a couple of days hiding out in the hurricane hole.  

Last weekend we continued to track the typhoon “Winston” that was barreling through Fiji where our friends Al & Jill have left their boat Dragonfly.  Rec’d an email from them this week that the boat survived the blow, thank goodness.

Went to an "ARG  (Alcohol Research Group) Meeting on the Beach one evening and a group of us wore our Exuma T-shirts that were designed by our good friends Bruce and Joyce.  We all raised a glass in Bruce's memory.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with 2 other couples on our boat and on the 16th we celebrated my “big 70th” BD. Joe opened a couple of cans and made me a nice dinner.

This week there were two dinghies that flipped in the harbour due to high winds and seas.  Everyone was ok but it’s a bit challenging getting around.

On Monday the cruisers got together for a Craft and Bake Sale with all proceeds going to the George Town Red Cross.  I baked Farm Cookies for the bake sale and won a painting at the raffle.  We raised over $1,100.00 and everyone got their fill of cookies, cakes and homemade bread.

Joe goes to softball practice twice a week and admits that he isn’t getting a whole lot better but he is having fun.  Every afternoon he’s on the volleyball court playing and doing clinics to get players ready for the big tournament.  With all of this beach volleyball our boat is starting to look like a sand pit so I spend a lot of time sweeping up after him. 

I’m alternating between yoga and water aerobics most mornings and going to Bible Study on Tuesdays.

We did go to the Chat N Chill dance one night and Joe actually danced with me.  

Did I mention we've had a lot of wind?

Registration for regatta events is Fri. and Sat. is the variety show.  Joe will be doing the tug of war and I’m doing a skit with 6 other girls.  We’re dancing and singing to “These Boots were made for Walking”-we’re wearing rubber sea boots and have added some pretty funny moves so should be a good time.  Will post some pics.
Sun. night is the big softball game with the cruisers vs. the Bahamians and it’s always a hoot.
Next week Joe will be crewing for the big boat races, we’re helping with the coconut challenge and of course, there’s the big volleyball tournament at the end of the week.

Two days after regatta ends, Jeanne and Marcia arrive and we’ll be heading north through the Exumas to Nassau.  They fly out of Nassau on the 16th and after that we’ll be on our way back to Florida.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Contract on DejaVu

We have accepted a deposit and have a contract to sell DejaVu.  The buyer is a friend of a fellow cruiser and he came to see the boat when he was here in George Town.  The next day he brought his wife and 8 month old baby girl to the boat.
They fell in love with it and left a cash deposit with their friend who delivered it to us yesterday.
Benny and his family live in Palm Harbour Florida so the boat will go full circle and be back where it came from in the Tarpon Springs area.
We will finish our cruising season here in George Town and head up the Exuma chain with Joe's sister, Jeanne and her friend, Marcia on March 9th.  They will fly out of Nassau on March 16th and we'll sail back to Florida.
Of course, this is a very emotional time for us but we know in our hearts that it is the right decision and now we're looking forward to new adventures.

Now on to what we're doing here.
The weather this season has been very unusual as it has been everywhere.  Lots of cold fronts coming down here from Florida with winds blowing hard out of the West and NW.  This just means that we move the boat from one side of the harbour to the other every 10 days.  Luckily for us DejaVu only draws 3 feet so we can tuck into an anchorage that has protection from the wind.
We still get lots of sunshine and the temperatures are still much better than up north.

Everyone is gearing up for the cruiser's regatta that starts on Feb. 26th.  Joe is busy getting teams set up for regulation volleyball and he's going to softball practice twice a week.  I'm still doing my water aerobics, bible study and selling T-shirts.

Lots of get togethers with our fellow cruisers and we try not to talk too much about this being our final season with them.

As our friend, John, says "It's all good".

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lots of fun in George Town

Sorry we haven’t updated our Blog in some time but have been very busy with inquiries about the boat.  It seems to have taken all of our time and energy just to answer emails.  We finally set up a blog site to answer questions and post pics and have also decided that we didn’t want to show the boat until we get back to Florida the beginning of April.

We’re still managing to have lots of fun here in George Town and Joe is going full speed ahead with his volleyball and has also decided to play baseball on the cruisers team which plays against the Bahamian team.  Yesterday he went to baseball practice in the a.m., went to play two’s volleyball after that and then played 4’s volleyball in the afternoon.  You can imagine what he did in the evening.

On Sat. we went to the Stakeout and Raffle picnic at St. Theresa’s Church.  Helen sold 4 books of tickets and the cruisers really came out to support the fund raiser for a youth centre building.  

 Church Picnic
Women's Bible Study

Church Picnic

 Flip Flop Beach
Joe & Joe having a serious talk

Helen going to Bible Study on a windy day

After the church picnic we gathered on flip flop beach for a cruiser get-together.

Yesterday while Joe was gone for his “sports day” Helen went to water aerobics, came back to the boat to change, went to Women’s Bible Study and then a Ladies Luncheon at St. Francis Resort.

Joe has agreed to be the chairman for the 4’s regulation volleyball so he’s busy getting that organized.  He will also race his Laser sailboat in the small boat races.  We’ve decided not to sail DejaVu in the big boat races this year-can’t take a chance that we’ll break something just when we’re ready to sell it.

Tomorrow is laundry day so we’ll pick up Brian and Yvonne and go to the Exuma Yacht Club to get fuel, get a ride to the laundromat, get propane and then back to the boat in time for Joe to play volleyball.

Yes, it’s a good life and we’re really going to miss it but who knows maybe we’ll be back someday in a different boat.

Hope everyone is well and that your winter hasn’t been too cold, snowy or rainy.  Pls. keep in touch we love to get news from home. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Big News about DejaVu

Enjoying our season in George Town but we have made a big decision to list DejaVu for sale.  Nothing wrong but we’ve decided that it’s time for us to do something different with our winter travels.
We realize it may take some time to find the right buyer for the boat and we’ll continue cruising until someone comes along.  In the meantime if any of you know of someone who would like to take up this wonderful lifestyle please send them our way.  Check out the listing at:

We’re still playing volleyball and doing water aerobics.  Helen is helping to sell Regatta t-shirts and we’re looking fwd. to the cruisers regatta which starts on Feb. 26th.  
Hope to hear from you.