This years trip is getting closer and the prep work continues. As WIND WARRIOR 1 sits quietly at Green Cove Springs we are busy arranging to complete the small jobs that have to be done before heading to the Bahamas. This year the boat requires her 5 year survey for our insurance company.
Jan has designed a new boat card for us.
Well, this cruising year has come to an end. Wind Warrior 1 is nicely tucked away on the hard at Green Cove Springs Marina with her black sun shade over her. It really does keep the decks and the inside of the boat cooler.
Her bottom came out clean after making the fifty mile trip up the fresh water St. John's River to Green Cove Springs. A quick pressure wash and she was done.
We've had a pleasant couple of days in the pool at our hotel waiting for our flight home.
So here we sit in Jacksonville Intl Airport passing some time.
Our flights go from JAX to Miami to Toronto to Halifax, arriving after midnight tonight so it's going to be a long day.
This winter was well worth the trip.
Some of the highlights were the incredibly clear waters.
My sister Deb & Bob arriving in March
The new people we met.
And the many sunsets we enjoyed......... among the many thousands of other fantastic times.
The trip is over but it's only a short six months until it all starts over again. These experiences will never leave us.
See you all next year.
Ron & Jan
After a couple of nice days of rest in Vero Beach we headed out this morning and made the 73 nautical mile trip north to Titusville (just north of Cape Canaveral). We'll spend the night here at the Municipal Marina before heading to Daytona Beach tomorrow.
We had a harrowing experience this afternoon while entering the NASA Causeway Bridge. We were signalled by the bridge operator to proceed with our passage. With a reefed jib (in 25 knot winds) and the motor running we were about 100 feet from the opening when we saw a 65 foot sport fisher heading directly at us at full speed from the opposite direction. The wake he was throwing was enormous. After numerous attempts to call him there was no answer and the bridge operator told us NOT TO ALTER COURSE. We had no choice but to release the jib and bale out with about two boat lengths to go from being cut in two by this idiot.
When he was in the middle of the bridge opening (and this is a NO WAKE Manatee Protection Zone) not to mention people protection, when he slammed on the brakes and slowed to a stop with the strong winds pushing us towards the opening.
Ron ran out on deck to see what this idiot was doing and was faced with a barrage of verbal cursing and hand gestures. When the large highly powered boat was on our beam he took off at full speed rocking us all over the place.
I called the bridge tender to launch a complaint with the Coast Guard but that went nowhere. He told me that we had right of way and that he should have stopped for us. That's just great as we get run over.
Apparently these guys are well known captains for the local Sea Ray builders here near Titusville. They should be fired and charged with reckless endangerment.
So... welcome to the world of totally incompetent idiots in high powered boats who have little or no respect or regard for other people, their property or their safety.
I need a drink....
Well, at least we're safe at the dock for tonight with our friends Rick and Cindy on "Dark Star".
Heading for the Abacos – March 31, 2015
Our time in the Exuma Cays has come to an end for this year. We had some very exciting moments, adventures and discovered many new anchorages. We also met and made many new friendships. The visit from Deb & Bob was one of the highlights this year as we got to experience the Exuma Cays through their eyes. We also made it down to Georgetown with Jon & Joan. We hadn’t been there in four years.
So, this morning we said goodbye to Bob & Deb and started our journey to the Abacos by way of Highbourne Cay, the Fleeming Channel, Spanish Wells then finally making the cut through the reef at Ridley Head and crossing the NE Providence Channel to Little Harbour and on to Marsh Harbour. We’ll spend the next six weeks in the Abacos before heading back to the States.
Upon our arrival in Spanish Wells we settled in on a mooring for the night. We had previously arranged to meet up with our cruising friends Jon & Joan ("Jessie Gray") Cindy & Rick ("Dark Star") and Steve & Val ("Barefoot N"). They had all crossed over from Cambridge Cay to explore Eleuthera on their way north while we stayed in Exuma Park with our company.
The moorings are closely lined up in Spanish Wells but we are very sheltered.
The crossing north from Spanish Wells was mostly BORING! The seas were calm and the fishing was terrible. Ron had a hard time steering and staying awake at the same time.
About ten miles from the Little Harbour Cut, Joan called Ron on the VHF to ask if he had a fish on. Our reel hadn’t made a sound but when we looked about 200 feet astern of Jessie Gray we saw a very large Mahi jump straight out of the water. On the second jump Jon’s line snapped and they lost the trophy fish. Unfortunately he had the reel in the locked position and it didn’t run out on hooking it.
The weather was so nice and we had made great time so the decision was made to continue our trip right up to Marsh Harbour rather than stopping to anchor at Lynyard Cay. We were only three hours away.
Upon our arrival we were happy to see our good friends from home Lane Parent & Tina Campbell, whom we hadn’t seen since mid January.
With a couple days of rest under our belts, a little boat maintenance and some re-provisioning we, along with Tina, Lane & Molly (the dog) headed to Hope Town for a few weeks of relaxation.
A quick tour of "Downtown Hope Town" took us to the Hope Town Lodge where it was picture time.
Across the narrow street the lodge has a lower area containing some rental units, a small pool, beach bar and restaurant and a fantastic view of the three mile long beach and barrier reef.
Lunch consisted of cold beers, conch chowder and conch fritters, followed by more cold beers and mango daiquiris .
The conch was delicious.
We’ve been to Hope Town many times before but we are always in awe of the beauty of this place.
The harbour was pretty full this week. Only a couple moorings remained unused.
After lunch we happened upon these odd but very beautiful flowers on this tree.
Tina thought they might make attractive hair pieces.
"Wind Warrior" and "Done Wish N" sit on their moorings with the Elbow Cay Lighthouse standing majestically in the background.
Many afternoons were spent by the pool playing "Mexican Train".
On day three of our visit Dave & Theresa Heffler arrived from the Exumas. They had spent a lot of time down in the Jumentos Cays and Cat Island in the outer islands of the Far Bahamas.
On day whatever, Ron, Tina and Lane climbed the 101 steps to the top of the lighthouse for some beautiful photos of the surrounding area.
No matter which way you look in Hope Town, it is very beautiful here.
The small narrow streets are lined with tiny pastel coloured homes with lush gardens.
The harbour is full of boats.
One evening all our gang got together for drinks at a local bar named Sip Sips, where you can sip & sip & sip some more. We really had a great time that night. It’s funny that the bar should be located right across the street from the cholera cemetery. No drinking going on here.
Rick & Cindy were certainly having a great time.
Tina found "Curly Haired Bill" as he became known. NO, that’s not a wig. It’s real!!
April 22nd, 2015 (Ron’s 61st Birthday) It was that time of year again. What a fantastic place to celebrate Ron’s 61st birthday with friends.
Lane & Tina
Jon & Joan
Here's the whole gang together
Boy, we sure do clean up nicely after four months of living on a boat.
April 24th, 2015 – Time to head out on a golf cart to Tahiti Beach Tahiti Beach is located at the south end of Elbow Cay. It is well known for its huge white sand beach at low tide……. But we had another goal. The girls were running out of Palmetto palm fronds that they needed to complete weaving their baskets. You’ll see them later on.
It was a very hot day so our first stop was at the Sea Spray Marina for a rest and some cold beers.
This local musician was performing traditional Bahamian Music. He was very entertaining.
After some easy listening we continued on to Tahiti Beach. It was very hot on this afternoon so a well deserved swim was the order of the day. The tide was low so we got the full view of the beach.
Hey, this guy looks like Ian Holmes!
Ron was able to harvest a good amount of palm fronds and by mid afternoon it was time to head back towards Hope Town, but, we had a few stops to make on the way.
First stop was at the "On Da Beach Bar & Grill". We’ve eaten there before and the food is good. You are also treated to a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.
After a great lunch Tina was just taking in the beauty of the Bahamas.
One more stop to make. Cindy wanted us to pick up her favourite pulled pork dinner from "Papa Nasty’s". I don’t know how anyone every found this place that is located in the woods in the middle of nowhere.
Once back at the boat, Jan continued with weaving her baskets with the newly harvested fronds.
Our sister boat "Straight from the Heart" is secured beside us at the Marsh Harbour Marina. Wind Warrior is hull #34 while theirs is hull #35. Both are Gulfstar Hursh 45’s. Their cat "Ky" looks like a small leopard or cheeta. What a beautiful cat.
Ky was often seen stalking birds from his perch on the bimini.
Don on "Straight From The Heart" displays what happens when you wear the same sandals in the sun for a long time. Talk about a tan line.
LITTLE FARMERS CAY - MARCH 15TH, 2015
(23 57.7N 076 19.2W) After a pleasant eight days in Emerald Bay and Georgetown it was time to head north again into the Exuma Cays. Our first stop would be Little Farmers Cay.
Little Farmers was settled by a woman named Christianna, a freed slave from Great Exuma. She moved to Farmers Cay with her two sons and a daughter, Michael Joseph Nixon and Adam and Eve Brown, who bought the island from the British Crown and willed it to their descendants as generation property. They farmed and fished. Michael married Susan from Cat Island while Adam married Mary from Moss Town, Exuma. Most of the 55 current residents are descended from those hardy ancestors, Michael’s thirteen children and Adam’s five.
Today the island’s beauty remains, with its sheltered Little Harbour and Big Harbour, nice beaches and exquisite aqua waters and coral gardens. The island now has town water, telephone, electricity, and other modern day conveniences. (taken from Explorer Chartbook)
We were able to obtain a mooring on the sheltered east side of Little Farmers Cay, shown here at the tip of the knife point.
Our first night brought us a calm sea and a beautiful post card sunset.
The next morning it was time to venture ashore and settle up with Terry Bain, the owner of the mooring. The tiny Little Harbour is very quaint and well sheltered. It is lined with small buildings and fishing boats.
The main town dock has a covered hut and a typical Bahamian craft market beside it.
The school kids were out there selling nice baskets, shells and t-shirts in an effort to raise funds for their school.
We were greeted with a huge smile by this guy named "KALIK" (which also happens to be the name of the local beer). He was also the local tour guide who wanted to show us a small fresh water stream. Kalik was very pleasant but really he only wanted you to take his picture.
The tide was very low so we just pulled the dinghy up to the beach at the end of the harbour. A huge cell tower dominates the skyline on this tiny island.
Once ashore there are the usual welcome signs as well as numerous direction sign posts.
The Islands biggest event is the Farmers Cay Festival, held on the weekend of the first Friday in February (5 Fs). Locals are joined by Bahamians from other islands as well as cruising visitors for food, music, dancing, various contests, and Bahamian C-Class racing. The All Age School Fair is the next to last Saturday in March and the Ocean Cabin Restaurant sponsors the Full Moon Beer Festival in July. So as you can see there is a lot going on here throughout the year.
Apparently there are two very famous residents on Little Farmers Cay. The first is Mr. Roosevelt Nixon who runs the Little Farmers Cay Yacht Club. He explained to me that he is the only person in the western hemisphere that is named after two American presidents. The second is Mr. Terry Bain who I’ll describe a little more later on.
The Ocean Cabin Restaurant & Bar sits atop the small hill overlooking the harbour. It is owned and operated by Terry Bain and was to be our first stop.
The hours of operation sign describes the general laid back attitude of these islands.
Terry is quite the character. He is very knowledgeable, personable, and is also the self proclaimed island historian, comedian and mooring owner. He is very proud of his little island and while describing the history of the place, described in detail the meaning of the "National Anthem of Little Farmers Cay".
This is the flag of Little Farmers Cay. How could you not purchase one after hearing and watching Terry as he stands proudly and bellowing out the national anthem with us. He had previously given us each a song sheet containing the words and he cranked up the music.
The view of the Little Harbour from Terry’s Bar is beautiful. From here you look over the quaint village and the small convenience store to the right.
Little Farmers Cay is a small oasis in the middle of the Exuma Cays. Very tropical and peaceful.
Isn’t this a beautiful setting ?
Things weren’t very busy on this hot day so the convenience store operator decided to spend it the best way she knew how. She called out and gave us a friendly wave as soon as she saw us.
The mail boat wasn’t due in for another day or so and the shelves in the store were getting a little empty.
Here you can see Wind Warrior sitting on her mooring in this tranquil setting.
On day three of our stay Jon & Ron were in a hiking mood. Ron had seen a review on the show Distant Shores that showed them exploring a rather large inland cave and he was going to find it…. Somewhere.
Who else would know where this was besides Roosevelt Nixon so off they went. He explained that the cave was "over behind the hill on Guana Cay". Man, the whole place is full of hills! "Just look for the path with the footprints on it and follow it". We ran the length of the shore looking for this well trodden trail and low and behold on our second try we found this marker.
Yup, footprints and all, so off we went. Doesn’t look so well marked anymore.
After about a fifteen minute trek through the woods and a short climb up the hill, the trail divided and down to the right amongst the trees was an opening. This must be the place.
This was it alright. The opening was large enough to walk down inside.
The rock formations inside were beautifully crafted by nature over thousands of years.
The ceiling in the cave is approximately thirty to forty feet high and there was a small lake in the bottom.
From what we saw, an experienced cave diver could have a good dive in here.
Time to head back to the boats as the next morning we would be heading north again up the western shore of Great Guana Cay to Pirate Beach on Big Majors Cay.
Jon & Joan had a great sail on their Hunter 41 "Jessie Gray".
Wind Warrior looked good from Jon’s boat as she sat at her anchorage.
After a few sundowners on Jessie Gray we were all treated to another beautiful Bahamian sunset.
After a couple days at Big Majors, Wind Warrior would be heading over to Staniel Cay Yacht Club to await the arrival of Ron’s sister Deb and her husband Bob.
We had a wonderful time stopping at Little Farmers Cay and thanks to Mr. Roosevelt Nixon and Mr. Terry Bain for all the help and information they gave us. We’ll certainly make Little Farmers a stop again next year.
Continuing to enjoy our adventures on board Wind Warrior 1 in the Bahamas.