Winter Getaway Aboard Rode Trip – Week #2

It’s hard to believe that two weeks have already ended and our friends, Brian and Jennifer, are making their way back to Honesdale, PA. Brian and Jennifer adapted to Rode Trip with ease! They could practically sail and maintain this ship by themselves, not to mention that they totally kicked back and enjoyed the cruising lifestyle. I think it is safe to say that they had a spectacular vacation; and we were sad to see them go.

During our first week with Brian and Jennifer, we had explored Staniel Cay and nearby Big and Little Major. We had celebrated a festive Christmas on Great Guana Cay with the fabulous residents at Black Point. During week two, we island hopped southward along the Exumas.

At Great Guana Cay we followed the trail which led us to a cave just north of Oven Rock.

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Snorkeling opportunities were plentiful…even frolicking with mermaids!

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Fishing comprised a large part of each day. Fish tacos were on the menu the evening the guys harvested roughly 20 lion fish.

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Deep sea fishing was less successful. We didn’t land any mahi-mahi’s, although we did manage to select the best lure for barracudas…and each catch was larger! Finally we opted to take the line out of the water, we’d had enough barracudas.

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The guys tried their best…but sometimes even without fish a night of burgers and BIG beers really hits the spot! MMmmmmm!

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Glamorous sunsets were the perfect ending to each fun-filled day.

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Kayak excursions provided a nice change of pace. Brian and Jennifer took a turn and explored the salt pond at Normand’s Pond Cay.

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Fishing was a hit at Normand’s Pond Cay and the small blue hole provided a great backdrop for photo shoots. Brian landed this new find for us, a stone crab, which was delicious.

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On the trails a Stocking Island, we hiked to the top of Monument Beach for beautiful views.

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Termite mound.

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“It’s a starfish!”

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We chilled at Chat’n’Chill where we enjoyed rum punches, goombay smashes, and Kalik.

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It was a spectacular vacation and we are looking forward to Brian and Jennifer’s next visit…wherever Rode Trip may be!

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Go, Go, Go…and We’re HERE!!

After our day of rest in the Great Harbour Cay Marina at the Berry Islands, we were back to hustle and bustle the very next day. We refueled and moved Rode Trip from Great Harbour out to Bullocks Harbour. At Bullocks, Brian was able to get back in the water for some much anticipated fishing. That evening we dined on lobster tail and lion fish, delish! The next morning, from Bullocks Harbour, we caught a southeast wind to sail up and around the northern end of the Berrys; then motored straight into bashing waves down the east side of the islands for several miles to land at the Market Fish Cays for the night where we dropped the hook behind Soldier Cay. This area had a great swell, but supposedly does have great fishing. We had no time to fish since it took so long to get there against the wind and we’d dropped the hook at sunset. Bright and early we moved once again, a shorter trip but still motoring against southeast wind, from Market Fish Cays down to Little Harbour Cay. Little Harbour looked like a nice nook on the chart, but there was a great swell here too. We did spend the afternoon exploring by kayak and Brian was able to fish. After much hunting, he’d finally retrieved two conch from the bottom and made a conch chowder for supper. The next morning, you guessed it, on the move! We hauled anchor by 7:45am to get moving toward New Providence Island (Nassau). The forecast didn’t pull through and we motored the entire passage, fortunately there was little to no wind and the seas were glassy unlike the bashing waves we’d had the previous two moves. We anchored just before sunset at Rose Island for the night. One more trip to go and the forecast was in our favor! Northeast winds had us smoothly sailing all the way from Rose Island to Shroud Cay in the Exumas.

We’d made it to the Exumas! I really wanted to explore Shroud Cay, but we only had one day to spare and a few errands to tend before our friends’ arrival. So the next morning we hauled anchor again at about 7:45am – this time with a brief visit from friends who were passing by in their dinghy. We’d met s/v Ramone last year and now were both back in the Bahamas and both anchored at Shroud! Ron and Simone recognized us the evening prior when we’d sailed into the anchorage and dropped the hook under sail. “Of course, that must be them!” Ron had said. We also had a suspicion that we knew the neighboring catamaran, which was confirmed for us when their dog, Skipper jumped into the dinghy for his evening trip to shore. It was great to see s/v Ramone and we’ll be spending more time with them since our plans for traveling the Exumas coincide. From Shroud Cay we had a strong northeast wind shifting to east by mid-day. Rode Trip sailed beautifully! We screamed down the island chain, and with a reefed main and the jib we hadn’t seen any speeds under 6 knots! In half a day we’d made 34 miles and once again sailed into the anchorage and dropped the hook at Big Majors Spot.

We had traveled whichever way the weather allowed; motored, sailed, it didn’t matter because we were finally at our rendezvous location! Now we can kick back and resume island time!20131220-075917.jpg

From Intracoastal to Bahamas…

Once again, we continued along the Intracoastal Waterway long after sunset; an afternoon review of the forecast told us we mustn’t delay our departure. In fact, we would need to set sail a day earlier than we’d planned. Brian an I were getting used to this travel by night; but we were exhausted, famished, (oh, poor cruisers trying to keep a 6:00am-8:00pm schedule) and still had 13 statute miles and 7 bridges between us and the next anchorage. Rode Trip creeped along the canal under cover of darkness, with the stealth of Kung Fu Panda barreling through the forest, her engine broke the humid, still silence of the night roaring, “RRRAAA-RRRAAA-RRRAAA.” Brian was at the helm and I at the spotlight, majestic displays of holiday lights held our spirits high.

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We slipped into Lake Worth, FL and headed toward the cluster of anchor lights twinkling in the sky on the vast, dark lake. We set the hook, back of the row. Another review of the weather to make certain we weren’t being too rash about this decision. This was our chance to make tracks. We changed our dirty clothes (worn the entire trip from St Marys, yuk!) and dropped the dinghy into the water to head to the grocery store. Publix was just a short walk from the dinghy beaching area; a shady looking spot up a narrow creek and beneath a bridge. I spotted a cockroach crossing my path in the flashlight beam as I hoofed up the hill toward the roadway.

Grocery shopping was a blur and I know we bought several, spontaneous items because we were leaving the states. The one very important thing we did buy was a frozen pizza and as soon as we got back to the boat that pizza went straight into the oven! Last minute internet chores were checked off our lists and we contacted our parents to inform them of our float plan. When the alarm sounded the next morning I’d thought I’d just laid my head on the pillow.

We hauled anchor, made one pit stop for fuel, and set out into the great blue yonder.

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The trip was entirely uneventful, except for a few squalls passing through at dawn during our second day at sea.  I spotted two sets of double rainbows between the downpours.IMG_7538And three waterspouts, the first close enough that we hastily dropped the sails and motored in the opposite direction.  IMG_7541

We motored the entire way to the Berry Islands and dropped the hook after dark in Bullocks Harbour. Beneath the light of a nearly full moon, we tidied the deck and spotlighted the water to admire its clarity as even at night we could see down to the sandy, grassy bottom. The night was warm; warm enough to take advantage of the privacy offered by darkness. Cockpit showers! Feeling refreshed, we ate a quick pasta dinner and settled into bed.

The next morning there were no alarm clocks, rather roosters crowing from the nearby island woke us from a peaceful sleep. We ate a hearty breakfast and readied our paperwork in order to meet with customs. I hailed the Great Harbour Cay Marina on the VHF and they assigned us a slip as we made our way into the harbor. Great Harbour is fantastically sheltered, the marina is quaint, and the locals friendly. Raymond assisted us into our slip and contacted customs. We had decided to treat ourselves to one night at the marina for laundry, internet, and showers ($1.50/ft).IMG_7543IMG_7544

Miko assisted me with laundry, he ran water into the machine via hose and waited until the rinse cycle to fill the machine with the hose once again. Between washing, Miko introduced Brian and I to the marina manatee. We gave her fresh water to drink and watched her chow down on a lunch of piling growth.IMG_7546IMG_7567IMG_7573

 

The band around the manatee’s tail was put there for tracking, but it is rubbing her tail and cutting into her skin. Miko says attempts to remove the band have thus far failed.

More to come from the Berry Islands. So far enjoying a bit of R & R dockside!