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

Mark’s Survival Guide to Cruising Lesson 1: Get to Know Your Community

Brian and I had welcomed Mark aboard Rode Trip for a vacation unlike any other! He’d have the opportunity to haul sails, haul the anchor, haul the dinghy and outboard, spear our supper, fetch salt water, sweep the floors, hang the clothes, and all the while I’d be basking in the sun finally reading that book I’ve been hoping to start. Ahhhh…I love vacations!

Ok, so we didn’t put Mark to work…well not all the time. He was eager to learn and eager to help. Mark wanted to embrace the cruising lifestyle; a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. And so on day two of his vacation, we began our adventuring by first repairing the main sail. Because how else could we possibly adventure if we cannot sail!? And how best to repair the main sail but through the art of socialization. Let me explain.

Brian and I have met amazing cruisers along our travels. It is always exciting to get acquainted with new friends and always bittersweet to sail onward not knowing when or where our paths may cross again. While anchored between Big Majors Spot and Little Majors Spot, Brian and I spotted a familiar sailboat, Stormy Petrel. We’d last seen Ron and Kathy at Cumberland Island just after Thanksgiving. They’ve since traveled to Florida and through the Keys on their route to the Bahamas. Ron and Kathy visited Rode Trip for an impromptu reunion. I was thrilled to catch up with them! During our chat they offered us their sewing machine to repair our main sail; a huge relief since hand stitching would take hours and the main had some other areas in need of extra love. Ron and Kathy also suggested we meet the couple aboard the neighboring sailboat, Asante. “…they’re young,” they shared, “and heading south in your direction.” Fantastic!

And so when it came time to repair the main sail, Ron and Kathy were out and about. We had spare time but didn’t want to stray too far from the boat so that we could be ready to dinghy to Stormy Petrel when they returned. We spotted activity aboard Asante and thought it a good time to go and introduce ourselves. We were soon cozy in the cockpit of Asante getting acquainted with Scott, Brittany, and Isla. We felt good vibes instantly and even Mark felt right at home talking about familiar places in Chicago. We’d soon overextended our stay through lunch and had to get going to complete our repairs. Scott and Brittany offered us their sewing machine too! Talk about a great community passing it forward! We loaded the sewing machine into the dinghy as if it were as precious as gold, taking care to keep it dry and stable. Back at Rode Trip we set up shop and got to work.

Brian and Mark read through the instructions to thread the bobbin and the machine. Then we very carefully pushed our sail through to stitch the torn seams. Brian fashioned a patch to mend a tear and stitched along the leach of the sail which was also quite tattered.

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As we rigged our repaired main sail, we had a visit from Cliff. He was checking to see how our day was going as he and Brian had been comparing fishing notes. We’d been slowly getting acquainted with Cliff and Jennifer aboard sv/Kluane since we’d first introduced ourselves several weeks ago at Big Majors Spot. We were happy to see them again, thinking they had already headed north. After chatting and completely rigging the main Brian and Mark returned the sewing machine. Thanks, Asante! Brian and Mark rewarded their good work with a bit of swimming and snorkeling.

That evening we visited Stormy Petrel to thank Ron and Kathy for their offered sewing machine and explain the outcome of our afternoon. Ron parted with some extra track cars and gave them to us so that we could add them to our spare main sail. Thanks so much! We’ll be adding that project to our “after vacation” to-do list.

We dinghied to the west side of Big Majors Spot where we’d been invited to join our new friends at Pirate Beach. The campfire was already blazing when we arrived. We found another, more recent, familiar face. The crew of sv/Night Music, Nick and his wife, Stacy, and son, Ethan. We’d previously met Nick at Georgetown. We were also introduced to Patty and Fred. The community that keeps on growing! We so appreciate being part of the cruising community and enjoyed sharing this aspect of cruising with Mark.