Saturday, May 29, 2010

Here's to Blue Blazes

We sailor's are a crazy lot. Talk to any sailor who has owned a boat that they've loved and you'll soon learn that they will refer to it as if it were human....or at the very least animal. "She was a great boat!" you'll hear them say. And for some reason they are always female ..."like gentle nymphs of the sea" I guess you could say. To us Blue Blazes is no exception.

She is not exactly in the prime of her life, but then again neither are we, but we still think she's a brave little boat to do what she has done for us. She's travelled away from her familiar waters of the Great Lakes for which she was created and took us out into the big ocean. She put in some very long days, and many times, pushing on long after we had run out of steam.

And she never complained...except for that one time when we ran her aground and broke her transmission.....that hurt! We felt really bad about that, but after we fixed her up and gave her a rest she performed for us like she was young again.

She protected us, sheltered us, got us through some very scary situations, and even some very rough seas. And when she would bring us into a harbour after such times we would wash her down and buff her up. She would really like that and would gleam like a shiny new penny. People would come by and comment on how pretty she looked and we would say to ourselves, "that's our girl".

When we ask her to go fast, you should see her go! She loves to show off, but it wouldn't be right to brag about her, so we tell people that she is a spirited little boat. She doesn't take offence to this though because she knows how proud we are of her without having to say it.

She's getting old now but she still has a lot of life left in her. Having said that though, we don't plan to do this to her again. We may have to adopt a new baby sister if we plan to do anything like that but we are ever so thankful to our old girl.

If it wasn't for Blue Blazes we wouldn't appreciate the simpler things in life and certainly wouldn't have realized that there is life without T.V., or a microwave oven. She has been trustworthy, faithful, comforting, and tireless to the end. To reward her we are sending her on a nice road trip home where she will, once again, bask in the beautiful waters of Georgian Bay.

Here's to Blue Blazes!

Cheers

p.s. Blue Blazes is a CS 36 traditional

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Historic Charleston




Charleston is a wonderful city to visit. Thankfully we didn't know what we were missing on the way down or we might have been a little bummed out.

We arrived in Charleston three days ago. Are we stalling? Maybe, but there is so much to see here that we could easily stay a week and still not see it all. Given that Charleston is one of the oldest cities in North America, it is loaded with history and has a museum on almost every block. But, for me, it's the beauty that is capturing. Around every corner and down every lane way there are meticulously manicured gardens. Even right in the heart of downtown, the streets are lined with palm trees adding to the already fabulous architecture. The old mansions are magnificent and as I gaze at them I can't help but wonder what stories would be told if only the walls could talk.

Yesterday was our big tour of the city. Charleston is a very easy city to get around. We took public transit (the buses are very cute and look like San Fransisco trolley cars) and for $5.00 each we got to ride it all day getting off and on as often as we wanted. It was fabulous and we would highly recommend it. We could have gone on guided tours in a nice comfortable tour bus, or been driven around in a horse and buggy but that just seemed too organized. This way we got to experience Charleston the way we wanted.

From here our next stop is Georgetown, South Carolina.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

St.Augustine. 28 hours later Beaufort, South Carolina


I'm not sure why we are in such a hurry!

We high-tailed it up the I.C.W. to St. Augustine, (Florida), where we jumped outside and sailed to Beaufort, South Carolina. The wind speed and direction was perfect for the 130-mile trip and we had a great sail. Thankfully we left when we did as there is some nasty weather coming our way in the next few days. Believe it or not there was a little a method in our madness.

On the way down last fall we missed Beaufort so we were happy to be able to stop here this time around. This is a town that is very pretty and rich in history and we thoroughly enjoyed walking around and checking out all the sights.

Our plan is set in Jello so don't be surprised if it changes, but from here we hope to travel a bit further north....probably Georgetown, South Carolina...... where we will put Blue Blazes on a truck and have her transported back to Midland, Ontario... her home port. We are feeling that since we have already travelled the I.C.W., and don't really care if we do it again, we might as well take advantage of the time we have and spend the summer cruising our beautiful and familiar North Channel, and Georgian Bay.

Tomorrow (or maybe the day after) we plan to visit Charleston, South Carolina...another city we missed on the way down. We've heard lots of great things about Charleston so we are really looking forward to that. In the meantime we are still trying to get our heads around the fact that we will soon be back to our old life.

We're on the home stretch now.

Picture:

One of the beautiful homes in Beaufort.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time for a Make-Over


After living on the boat for 10 months we must be looking rather rough.......

The first thing that we noticed as we sailed through the Ft. Pierce Inlet on Sunday, was the horrible brown colour of the water. Then it was all the weekend fishermen bombing around in their small power boats all hammered up....their bikini-clad girlfriends equally hammered. Welcome to Florida.

Our first two days here in the states were spent in Vero Beach, just north of Ft. Pierce. It wasn't long, however, before we were reminded why we didn't enjoy Vero Beach the last time through. Just like last time, it was hot and humid with barely a breath of air and man-eating no-see-ums. To escape it all we went shopping. There's nothing like shopping to cheer me up. We now have a boat full of food and a whole new wardrobe.

It was nice to be in civilization again, but like I said, we must be looking pretty bad after cruising for so long. Yesterday the girl on the cash at a fast food joint gave us the senior discount without even asking. (By the way, we are not there yet.) Then while shopping for clothes at Bells a lady came up to me and offered me her $10.00 voucher that she had to go toward her purchase. She said that she didn't need it as she has enough money. I must have looked like a charity case with my salt stained flip flops and my unruly hair that Harley has been cutting for the past 6 months. But the cruiser in me showed through....I gave her a hug and gratefully accepted it....lol.

Today we are travelling up the ICW to Titusville, but as soon as we can we will be heading out to the ocean so we can do some sailing in nice clean water again.

Picture:

Titusville at sunset.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bahama Farewell


It was with mixed feelings and a very heavy heart that we left the Bahamas. On May 14th we started our trek home. We left from Green Turtle Cay.

As we say good-bye to the Bahamas we can't help but reflect on the memories that will, no doubt, last us a lifetime. The magnificent gin clear waters, the beautiful and friendly people, pristine white sand beaches, conch fritters, rake and scrape, dancing, laughing, swimming, snorkeling, sunsets, starry nights, beach glass, long walks, sailing, wonderful sea life, dolphins, and even sharks are just a few. The list goes on and on. Even the negative things like dodging cold fronts, or sweltering in the heat, salt on the decks, sand in the sheets, and trying to find an Internet connection are all things I will fondly remember.

The experiences we've had and the lessons we've learned have touched us in a way that I am quite sure we are not the same two people who arrived here 5 months ago. We are very lucky people indeed and never, for one minute, did we take any of this for granted. We savoured every minute and fell in love. If we had our way, we would never leave but our life back home is calling us and the time has come.

By the time I post this we will be in Florida but right now we are sadly sailing across the stunningly beautiful Little Bahama Bank. The water is the most gorgeous shade of turquoise and we are having a fabulous down-wind sail to Mangrove Cay. We even had a couple of dolphins swim by the boat a few minutes ago, which was very special since we haven't seen that many here in the Bahamas.

We will stop for a few hours to rest at Mangrove Cay before we cross the Gulf Stream to Fort Pierce Inlet.

It's the end of a chapter........ but it's not the end. There is likely much more to come. We are still a long way from home.

See you on the other side..........

(May 16
P.S. Had another great down-wind sail from Mangrove Cay to Ft. Pierce. The gulf stream was tame today. )

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Abaco - Slide Show

Changing Gears

We hadn't seen Kyle in almost two years when he came down here and there is no telling when we will see him again so, needless to say, it was a sad moment indeed as we watched him drive away in a taxi to the airport yesterday. The boat seems absolutely lifeless today with him gone.

Now surprisingly, even to us, we have completely changed gears. Sadly, the time has come to start thinking about coming home. We've gone from having fun in the sun to the 'lets get'er done' mode just like that. This leaves little time to properly say good-bye to the Bahamas, however, it looks as if there is a good weather window for the next few days and we may even leave as soon as tomorrow.

We sit in Green Turtle Cay tonight along with Bev and Arne on Scandia, which is a boat we will likely be travelling with . Tomorrow morning we will listen to Chris Parker (our weather guru) and make our decision then.

On a happy note, thankfully, we got to see Kevin for at least one more visit.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Good-bye Kyle




I can't believe it! Three weeks has gone by so quickly. Tomorrow Kyle is leaving us.

Having Kyle around has been great and has certainly kept things interesting. For starters, we wouldn't have done as much snorkeling and would have never rented a golf cart in Elbow Cay with someone "skitch'n" (skateboard hitching) along side. We would have missed the bar hopping (and the Hooter girls). We wouldn't have moved so much or sailed in such heavy weather all up wind just for the fun of it.......

Yup, it was so much fun and we are going to really miss him!
video

Friday, May 7, 2010

Moving Around Abaco





After our "Hooter Experience" the guys decided that we should stay in Great Guana Cay for another day. However, with the Hooter Girls gone, the next day wasn't nearly as exciting but we managed to enjoyed ourselves just the same.

From there we moved down to Hope Town to give Kyle the opportunity to see this unique little community. We checked out the town and the beach (where we picked up another pound of sea glass) stayed the night, and sailed to Sandy Cay the next day.

Sandy Cay is a "must" stop for snorkeling but really isn't a recommended spot for anchoring as it offers little protection. However, it was a pretty spot with an air of remoteness that drew us in like a magnet. The snorkeling here came well recommended as well so given that the weather is settled right now we anchored anyway and were very glad we did. Soon after we anchored we headed over to the snorkel spot.

As soon as we dipped our faces in the water we felt like we were swimming in an aquarium. The water was deep and clear. The massive coral gardens were like nothing I have ever seen before. There were a multitude of sea fans swaying back and forth with the motion of the sea and there was an abundance of fish of every variety. It was another one of those "pinch me" moments that I, for one, will never forget.

Pictures:

1. Nippers
2. Snorkeling off the beach - Great Guana Cay
3. Looking out over the anchorage at Great Guana Cay
4. Hope Town Light House
5. One of the many snorkeling pics.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hooter's Photo Shoot



Our time in Green Turtle Cay was wonderful! Kevin showed us a great time and the Island Roots Heritage Festival was a lot of fun complete with entertainment, contests, music, seminars and enough food to feed an army.

Yesterday we sailed to Treasure Cay and being such a beautiful day we waisted no time checking out the fabulous beach.

Today we are in Great Guana Cay and again the weather is perfect. We took a walk over to the famous Nipper's Bar and to our surprise isn't there a Hooter's photo shoot happening. Here's Kyle, he hasn't seen a girl younger than 40 years old in over a week, and he gets to witness this! How's that for luck....lol.

Pictures

1. Treasure Cay Beach
2. One of the Hooter's Girls