About Us

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Our dream of cruising on a boat Around the Great Circle Loop and beyond has the drawback of leaving our friends and family far away from us for an extended time. This blog is intended to keep you up to date on our travels and adventures, and encourage you to join us for some part of our trip as we make our way around the waterways of the eastern US, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Click on the archived posts below to follow our journey. Our dog, Ben, has been helping us write this blog since he has more time!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heading Back to the Good Ol’ USA

Hi all…Ben here reminiscing about the Abacos,
I sure had fun in the warm islands of the Abacos with the clear water and soft sand beaches. There are just some things there that you don’t see anywhere else.
Like these:

Conch salad stands on the main street  
and the piles of conch shells on the beaches.
“Hamburger” Sea Bean that floated across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa on the sea currents that Izzy now wears on a leather necklace.
Potcake dogs – the common mix breed here. The girls are usually friendly to me, but not so much the guys.  Izzy says the guys are just jealous of my good looks.
This one is a puppy.
baby potcake
Elaborate “Junkanoo” outfits for the annual parade celebrating freedom.
The Bahamian festival of Junkanoo is a colorful parade of brightly costumed people gyrating and dancing to the rhythm of cowbells, drums and whistles. The parade is held every year on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) and New Year’s Day, lasting from 2 am until dawn.  Too bad we weren’t here for that!  I just saw the costumes at Mangoes Marina restaurant.

Tattoo on Izzy’s shoulder… ya don’t see that anywhere else! She must have had a good time at Grabbers one night!

I’ll miss the music of the “Rake and Scrape” band at the Jib Room. They use a combination of  an accordion, a drum and a carpenter’s saw scraped with a screw driver.  Doesn’t sound like much from the description, but I was gettin’ down to the beat!
rake and scrape

Speaking of “gettin’ down”, there was a Limbo guy there who managed to dance under a burning limbo pole and light his cigarette on the flame!  I kept my tail far away from that!
limbo with fire and cigarette

I’m gonna miss the golf cart rides to the beach with Hank and Ann, too.
H & A golf cart
I took pictures of Hank and Ann,
hank & Ann
and Izzy and Jeff.
Iz & Jeff
Jeff told me not to worry, that they’ll take me back again next year for more of Tahiti Beach and Nippers.
So we got back on the “Izzy R” and headed across the Gulf Stream for the USA.   The trip across  to Florida was warm and sunny, and the sea was calm, so we didn’t have much rocking and rolling. While we were still in the shallow Bahama Banks, we passed over a few of those big “fish muds” that I told you about once before, where the water looks like someone poured a whole bunch of milk into the water.
fish mud 
Then when we got to the deep water of the Gulf Stream, about 10 miles off the coast of the Bahamas, we were called on the VHF radio by the Coast Guard who was out doing routine safety checks and boarding boats that were traveling back to the US.

They told us to maintain our speed and course, but they were going to come on board our boat to inspect us while we traveled. The big Coast Guard cutter came within a half a mile of the “Izzy R” and slid an inflatable boat out of its stern into the water.  I think you can see sliding out it in this picture.
The inflatable boat had a big gun mounted on its bow and four guys in life jackets sitting inside. It came up along side our boat, pushing its big rubber bumpers against us.  We kept moving at our regular speed of about 10 miles an hour, and two of the guys jumped onboard our boat!
I couldn’t believe it! Looked pretty scary even with our slow boat! I wonder if they ever miss and land in the water…
Here they are inside our boat talking with Jeff and Izzy. I was standing guard in case they tried to take over. They didn’t, and I guess we were ok because they left the same way they came…just jumped out of our boat in the rocking seas while we were cruising, and back into their big rubber boat.
By the end of the afternoon we were back in Florida heading up the Intracoastal waterway again…just like old times.  Up ahead I could see some people out in the shallow water at low tide.P1100258
As we got closer I could see that it was a group of dogs and their people out playing in the water.
It reminded me of Tahiti Beach…I bet those dogs would have liked it better there where the water is so clear, and the sand is so white and soft.

Here's a picture of Hank  and Ann's boat anchored with us at sunset, while Hank blows the sun down with his conch - just like in the Bahamas.  Tonight he's playing a special tune just for me...
"Who Let the Dogs Out"
That was a special moment
Ahhh…….I can’t wait to go back next year!

Soon the full moon came up and I sat on the deck (uh... with my wine) wondering about our next adventure.  Some place Jeff calls "Maine."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Still Tanning My Toes in the Abacos

Hi All…Ben here still tanning my toes in the Abacos.
It’s been an action-packed couple of weeks since Wendy and Sandy left us.  On our way back into Marsh Harbor from dropping Wendy and Sandy at Treasure Cay, we caught a small fishing boat that was anchored in the harbor.  Apparently the Bahamian fishing license has some added benefits.  We haven’t had any luck with our  poles, and there’s no fish to be found in the stores, so I guess Jeff just decided to hook the fisherman’s boat and see what we could get there.   The guy on the boat wasn’t too happy, and I guess there weren’t any fish in there either, because I saw  Izzy throw it back. 
Our friend Randy Whaley from “Prime Time V” met us at the dock in his dinghy. We haven’t seen him since Charlevoix, Michigan.  Prime Time is anchored out in the harbor and he saw us coming in. Hope he didn’t see the hooking of the fishing boat thing.

For a couple of days we had my new Rasta  friends, Gladstone and Andrew, washing and waxing the outside of the boat.
 P1090770 P1090794
Gladstone even helped Jeff fix my yard. I liked listening to them sing along with the Reggae music that Jeff turned on for them,   P1090771and wondering what the heck is under their hats.P1090793-1

One day we took all our dock friends from Mangoes Marina  over to Great Guana Cay on the “Izzy R” to go to the famous Sunday afternoon Pig Roast at Nippers. Here are some of the folks having a good time on the way over.
P1090843 P1090847

Here we all are at Nippers up on the top deck
I got hand outs from everyone.
I think this is the “Tomato ting”
Mac and cheese, roasted wild boar, and  BEANS – watch out!

There was lots of dancing.  
I had a great spot for viewing right at the top of the upper patio steps.  The waitress liked me and gave me some extra treats.

I noticed a  cute little blonde across the dance floor, but she left before I could ask her to dance with me.

Instead I found this dance partner.  At least she’s closer to my own age.
Maybe I’ll take her home to Jeff.
and I’ll just have another beer with Randy.
Another day we made quite an entrance at a place called Little Harbor.  We knew it was going to be shallow at the entrance, so Jeff planned to arrive there at high tide.  Timing to get in wasn’t perfect, but Hank went first to see how deep the water was - showed 6 feet of water all the way. He anchored just fine. 
But we ran into a shallow spot and couldn’t get off into the deeper water.  Unfortunately the tide started to go down, and when it goes down here, it does it pretty fast.
Jeff decided to get in the water to check out the problem.  He got the new scuba gear all ready, put on his fins, snorkel and mask.
He felt pretty silly when he plunged in to the 3 foot deep water!
Probably don’t need all the equipment, Jeff.
As the tide lowered even more, we tipped sideways. Before long we were sitting right there in the middle of the channel like this. 
Should be called “Shallow” Harbor
Uh-oh…Low tide isn’t until 1:58 pm – it’s now only 10:30 am!  It'll get lower before it gets high again.  Guess we just have to wait.
So, for a few hours they had a new channel marker for Little harbor until the tide came back up.
They could use another one anyway!

I think Jeff decided we’d look less silly if he got in and cleaned the bottom of the boat…as if this was a planned activity!
Izzy and I hung on to the boat rails, while Jeff got in and cleaned the right side of the bottom of the boat that was conveniently out of the water. 
It was like being the subject of a freak show…tour boats slowed down and the people took pictures of us as if we were part of a zoo attraction or something. Izzy and I tried to look nonchalant…reading our books, sitting in the sun strapped to the life rails, smiling and waving at the passing tour boats.
Meanwhile Hank and Ann were enjoying a cheeseburger and a beer at Pete’s Pub. I was just trying not to roll off the side of the boat, and  Izzy made me wear that geeky yellow life vest that makes me look fat. This was embarrassing.
Traveling with these two is not easy.
I probably won’t “get lucky” on shore here tonight.
I heard Jeff say, “There’ll be some drinkin’ tonight!”
 … he probably won’t get lucky either.
At 2:30 the water was high enough for Hank and Ann to help us swing off the grass and back into the channel with their dinghy.
We quickly went the rest of the way into the harbor, picked up a mooring ball and settled in to try to become inconspicuous for a while.  Pete’s Pub was just a short dinghy ride away, so Jeff and Izzy relaxed with a couple rum drinks with Hank and Ann.
They did a lot of laughing at Jeff’s expense. Of course he kept insisting that I was driving.
I think Hank and Ann have figured him out, because they just winked at me and gave me a lot of petting and dog bones.
At least I got a day at the pool after that when we arrived back in West End.   We’ll be heading back to the US tomorrow, so I’m going to soak up the sun and relax for the afternoon here with a  rum drink.
I’ll write again soon.