2003 Cruise - Bahamas to Bradenton, Fl

4 Feb 03

Ft Lauderdale to Cat Cay, Bahamas

We hired a captain, Alex Maher, to take us across the Gulf Stream. It was a great choice, he was very knowledgeable and showed us how to read the water depth and make approaches. We also chose to go to Cat Cay instead of Bimini since it is easier to get onto the Great Bahamas Banks from there. We cleared customs at Cat Cay. It is a private island, a resort for the rich and famous. We spent three days here relaxing and getting organized for the next leg. The island is beautiful as you can see. We met Peter and Gabby onboard Bay Bee Gee and they recommended the Berry Islands Club on Frazer's Hog Cay vice Chub Cay Marina. We spent the days commissioning the water maker, taking dinghy trips, and generally goofing off.

Florida to Cat Cay Cat Cay 1 Cat Cay 2 Cat Cay 4

7 Feb 03

Berry Islands Club, Frazer's Hog Cay, Berry Islands

We traveled across the banks today via the NW channel to Chub Cay/Frazer's Hog Cay. We are staying in a small marina on the east end of the island run by David and Donald Loupe, two Cajuns from Narco, LA. Great food and beautiful crystal clear waters. We caught up with Gabby and Peter here on their return from Nassau. We decided to stay here and fly back to the Miami Boat Show. Richard and Linda Mittleman graciously hosted us and endured the shopping trip from hell. I think we hit every boat store, Home Depot, and Radio Shack in the greater Ft Lauderdale - Miami area, some more than once. Thanks again, guys. On our return, we installed some of the gear we purchased and made our plans for the next leg to Nassau and the Exumas. We have met a number of really nice fellow cruisers here, including John and Frances on New Directions and Meg and Adam on Ondine. I am sure we will see them again along our trip. Here are some pictures of the Berry Islands Club and our friends John and Frances.

Berry Island Club Berry Island Dock Berry Island Fishin' Swamp Buggy Berry Islands 2 Berry Islands 3

25 Feb 03

Nassau Yacht Haven, Nassau, New Providence

We caught an unexpected weather break and made a dash across to Nassau. We are staying in the Nassau Yacht Haven across the channel from Atlantis. We plan to re-provision and then begin our trip to the Exumas. Nassau harbor is crowded with cruise ships, fishing boats, dive and snorkel boats, and lots of high speed Bahamian boaters. We met up with Frances and John from New Directions, Donald and Sue from Berry Island's Club, and met some new friends David and Nobuko on Resolute. We ate out two nights and visited the Atlantis Casino (left a winner of $85). I worked on the SSB installation and a fresh water wash down hose. We plan to return to Nassau by the end of March, so left much of the sightseeing until then.
2 Mar 03

Highbourne Cay, Exumas

We crossed the Yellow Bank onto the Exumas Bank today to Highbourne Cay. It is a beautiful marina, with lemon sharks in the harbor and a great beach. As we entered the marina, our friends Scott and Melissa on Rantum Scoot heard us on the radio and gave us a call. They are in Norman's Cay and we will join them tomorrow. Here are some shots of us at the Cay.

Highbourne 1 Highbourne 2

3 Mar 03

Norman's Cay, Exumas

We made the short trip to Norman's Cay today and joined our friends at anchor. Norman's Cay was the former home of Carlos Leder, a drug dealer immortalized in the movie "Blow". We are anchoring off his former home. There is a wrecked airplane awash in the bay and lots of other cruisers. We met Don and Janet on Wings and Gail and Willard on Stardust. We all hosted dinners on our boats and celebrated Scott's birthday. There is a cool little bar on the island with a blender driven by a weed whacker gas engine. Great food and lots of Scottish terrier stuff. We made a nice drift dive along a coral channel. Here are some shots.

Normans 1 Normans 3 Normans 14 Normans 13 Normans 15 Normans 16 Normans 17 Normans 19

10 Mar 03

South Anchorage, Warderick Wells, Exumas

We made the trip to the Exumas Land and Sea Park and large nature preserve. We are mooring in the south anchorage and met up with Wings, Rantum Scoot, and later Stardust. Had a beautiful snorkel trip and saw a Spanish Lobster for the first time. We celebrated Don's birthday onboard Odelia.

Warderick - Rantum Scoot Warderick - Don's B-day Warderick - Dan's B-day 2

12 Mar 03

Staniel Cay, Exumas

We made a 15 mile voyage via the Exumas Sound to Staniel Cay and are staying in the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We met up with Rantum Scoot and Wings again and had a pizza dinner at Club Thunderball the first night. We were finally able to complete work on Scott's generator. This is where the Bond movie Thunderball was filmed and we snorkeled the grotto on Thursday. We stayed here through Sunday, 16 Mar. I took the opportunity to snorkel through the grotto again on Friday and took some pictures.

Thunderball Cave 1 Thunderball Cave 2 Thunderball Cave 3 Thunderball Cave 4

16 Mar 03

North Anchorage, Warderwick Wells

We left Staniel Cay and traveled up the Exumas Banks back to the Exumas Land and Sea Park. The wind picked up and we decided to pick up a mooring in the North Anchorage. Unfortunately, the only one left was mooring 1, right on the outside and we suffered through two nights of rocking and rolling. The first afternoon we went ashore and walked up to Boo Boo Hill where boaters leave their boat names.
18 Mar 03

 Norman's Cay

We went through the Warderick Wells cut and traveled north along the Exumas Sound back to Norman's Cay and anchored. The wind has abated somewhat from Sunday and Monday but continued for several days. This anchorage is very well protected though. We took the dinghy ashore to Mac Duff's for lunch, then on a scouting trip to Norman's Pond anchorage in the north of the island. We met Dieter on Saxonia (a Liepzieger now living in Toronto and his two guests, Richard and Eleanore) plus Alan and Debbie on Trident. Neal and Pam on Reverie that we met in Berry Island also came in and we all had a sunset drink. We plan to leave here on Sunday or Monday to head up to an anchorage near Highbourne Cay and doing some diving.

Normans 4 Normans 5 Normans 6

25 Mar 03

Highbourne Cay

We traveled across the banks to Highbourne Cay and plan to stay at the marina there for two nights on the way to Nassau. We met up with Stanley and Fran and had a tour of their lovely boat Altisa VIIŻ. It just recently underwent an 10 ft addition and major upgrade. We took a dinghy ride over to Allan's Cay to feed the iguanas and to check out the anchorage there for our next trip. Stan and Fran came aboard for a tour of our boat. There is a fish cleaning station at the end of the dock and nurse sharks gather for the leftovers. Here are pictures of Alan's Cay, Altisa VIIŻ, and the sharks.

Allans 1 Allans 2 Highbourne 3 Highbourne 4 Highbourne 5

27 Mar 03

Nassau Yacht Haven, Nassau

We made the short trip across the Yellow Banks to Nassau. There was a storm headed this way for the weekend, so we came in early for Marie's arrival. Our friend Marie from England arrived on schedule and successfully completed her diving course. We met her dive buddy, Jena Katz. Since she was staying at Atlantis, we were able to take the full tour of the resort. Cal and Carol on EZ Breezes came across with us, Gato del Sol arrived with Bruce and Pam the following day with Don and Janet on Wings. Then John and Frances arrived on New Directions. We had a nice Shabbat dinner on board with lots of guests. Here are some photos.

Nassau 1 Nassau 4 Nassau 3 Nassau 5 Nassau 10

6 Apr 03 Highbourne Cay Marie successfully completed her dive course, so we took off for the Exumas to do some diving. We anchored off Highbourne Cay and took the dinghy over to feed the iguanas on Allan Cay. The wind was pretty stiff so diving off Highbourne wasn't possible.
7 Apr 03

Norman's Cay

We came down to Norman's (my favorite cay) to avoid the high winds and surge. We went snorkeling around the sunken airplane, took a long walk, and went to eat at Mac Duff's. Wings rejoined us here.

Normans 10 Normans 11 Normans 12

9 Apr 03 Highbourne Cay Marina We returned to Highbourne Cay, this time to the marina. We took a dive on the Exuma sound side, nice coral, a couple of spotted moray eels, and lots of pretty reef fish. Marie had to work off her passage fees by polishing the stainless.

Marie

13 Apr 03

Nassau Yacht Haven and Nassau Harbor Club, Nassau

We returned Marie back to Nassau to catch her flight home. We really appreciated her making the trip, she was our first guest for the cruise. Hope she enjoyed it as much as we did. Tsipy's sister Ruthie arrived at the same time that Marie left, so we had to hurry over to the arrivals area to meet her. We plan to spend the week here in Nassau, showing her the sights and relaxing during Pessach (Passover). Wings returned from their trip and met us at the marina. We took the dinghy over to Atlantis to see the marina and then Tsipy and Ruthie walked back over to take the tour. We had a beautiful Seder dinner with the able assistance of Ruthie. Rantum Scoot and Stardust returned from Georgetown, so we were able to have a grand reunion.

Paradise 1 Paradise 5 Paradise 2 Paradise 3 Ruthie 3 Paradise 6 Paradise 7 Ruthie 1 Ruthie 2 Paradise 4

23 Apr 03  Norman's Cay We are headed south to Georgetown. Spent the night at Norman's Cay. 
24 Apr 03           Little Farmer's Cay We spent the night at Farmer's Cay Yacht Club, a pretty little island paradise, took a swim, and long walk around the island.
25 Apr 03

Georgetown, Grand Exuma

Well, we finally made it to G-town, the cruising Mecca of the Bahamas. Called in for information and heard from our friends Neal and Pam on Reverie. We are spending the first few days on the Stocking Island side of the harbor and will move over to the other side once the Family Regatta ends. Took the dinghy into town to get fuel and some fresh veggies. 

Georgetown 1 Georgetown 2 Anderson 4

30 Apr 03

Hawks Nest Marina, Cat Island

Andy and Loretta made it in yesterday and we took off for Cat Island. We are staying at a nice marina on the south end of the island, there are very few anchorages here and the days are somewhat stormy so we decided to stay in marinas. We looked for mooring buoys on the way in but didn't find any that would hold our boat. the dive operation here hides all of their moorings just under the water, so they can't be used. We anchored at a dive site on Thursday and Andy and Loretta got in a rather uninspiring dive. We had a minor disaster getting the anchor up, it lodged under a huge rock and stripped out the wildcat on my windlass. Andy dove down and attached a pick up line. Once we pulled forward enough to clear the rock, we were finally able to pull up the anchor with the added line. We decided to go to San Salvador tomorrow, the diving is better and most spots have mooring balls. Here are some shots of Andy and Loretta.

Andy at the helm Tsipy & Loretta

2 May 03

Riding Rock Marina San Salvador

What a difference! Today we traveled to the Riding Rock Marina in San Salvador, one of the oldest dive resorts in the Bahamas. The dive staff there gave us maps of the sites, even GPS locations! We dove Le Crevasse, Doolittle's, Telephone Pole, Double Caves, Great Cut, North Pole Cave, Grotto, and Witches Cauldron. Great sites and lots to see. My camera wasn't working too well without a strobe, so Andy is going to forward some of his shots once they return. He is a better photographer in any case. Here are some shots he took while diving off San Salvador.

Dive 1 Dive 2 Dive 3 Dive 4 Dive 5 Dive 6 Dive 7 Dive 8 Dive 9 Dive 10 Dive 11 Dive 12 Dive 13 Dive 14 Dive 15 Dive 16 Dive 17 Dive 18 Dive 19 Dive 20 Dive 21 Dive 22 Dive 23 Dive 24 Dive 25 Dive 26 Dive 27

6 May 03

Georgetown, Grand Exuma

We returned from San Salvador via Conception Island today. We had hoped to get in some dives at Conception but all of the buoys were missing and since we can't anchor in deep water, we continued on to G-town. It was really great to have Andy and Loretta on board, they are great diving buddies and friends and Andy really saved our butts when our windlass decided to give up. We had a nice day at anchorage, snorkeling around the shore of Stocking Island on Wednesday, then moved to the Marina for their last day. It was hard to say goodbye to them and we hope to see them next year if not during the off season. We will stay here through Sunday due to the weather and then start our return to the US.

Anderson 1 Georgetown 3 Anderson 2 Anderson 3

11 May 03      Staniel Cay We began our trip back to the US today. We traveled via Exuma Sound to Galliot Cut, then along the banks to Staniel Cay. We met up with Jazzbo again on their way home.
12 May 03 Norman's Cay We anchored here for the night since Highbourne Cay Marina was fully booked. We had to use a trip line to get the anchor up since we are still having problems with the wildcat of the windlass.
13 May 03     Nassau Harbor Club, Nassau We made the trip to Nassau today, had to wait out a rain storm to dock but otherwise uneventful. We had dinner at the Club Med and meet a nice couple, Sarah and Chris Bastig from Colorado Springs. They visited us the next day.
14 May 03

Berry Island Club

We made the crossing to the Berry's today and will spend Shabbat here. The Club is closed although there are some fishermen visiting. They caught quite a few and gave us some nice fillets. Tsipy didn't catch this, just wanted to look like a fisherman.

Berry Islands 4 Berry Islands 1

18 May 03             Cat Cay Crossed the Grand Bahamas Banks to Cat Cay today. It is fitting to end our Bahamas trip at the same point we started it over four months ago. 
19 May 03 Harbourtowne Marina, Dania Cut, FL Well, we made it back to the USA. Checking in with customs was terrible, over two hours on the phone listening to a recording. Finally the harbor master was able to call a local office and we were able to check in. We did have to clear immigrations also at the local port. We are staying here about a week to repair the windlass and a few other things. We will then go down the keys.
27 May 03            Key Largo  Made the trip down Hawk's Channel to Key Largo, nice weather and saw lots of dolphins and a leaping eagle ray. We stayed in Port Largo Canal, a nice narrow little channel with a 90 degree corner called "crash corner". Not an inspiring name.
28 May 03 Marathon, Boot Key We continued our trip to Pancho's Fuel Dock in Marathon.
29 May 03 Everglades City, FL We went to the west coast of FL today and will spend Shabbat here. The crossing was rough, we got caught by a local thunderstorm with high winds, rain, and waves. John and Alvera Marino, my old boss and friend from Franklin came down to visit us here. We will see them again in Naples.
1 Jun 03         Naples City Dock We made a quick trip to Naples today, not too pleasant outside, another rough ride. Once we entered Naples cut, it was beautiful, the houses were spectacular. John and Alvera came to the boat with another nice couple, Rita and Peter Logan, and we went out to dinner and then to their home. 
2 Jun 03           Burnt Store Marina, Charlotte Harbor A great day for a trip outside in the gulf. Quite by coincidence we ran into John and Frances (from New Directions). They keep their boat here and just happened to walk over to the dock office for a question and saw our boat. It was great to see them again and we had a nice dinner at their condo.
3 Jun 03        Crow's Nest Marina, Venice We traveled via the ICW to Venice today. A pleasant ride but I had forgotten how stressful the "ditch" can be. We spent two days here waiting for a weather break. One of the bridges north of here on the ICW is out of order, so we have to go outside.
5 Jun 03

Twin Dolphin Marina, Bradenton

Well, we made it and thank God for the safe journey. We made the trip outside to Tampa Bay, then down the Manatee River to Bradenton. This will be our home for the next few months. Here are some pictures. Most are of the boat and dock area, the last one is of the restaurant in the marina.

Bradenton 1 Bradenton 2 Bradenton 3 Bradenton 4