Green Turtle Cay

Wednesday, we left Crab Cay at sunrise for Green Turtle Cay, (35 miles and 7 hours away).

Due to navigational optimism, we were able to get into the, very shallow, Settlement Creek. Finding anchoring room for exactly one shallow draft sailboat, we decided it should be us.

Here we stayed, the whole time we were there, in the middle of New Plymouth settlement, 20 oar strokes from shore, restaurants, 2 hardware stores, and several food stores.


The settlement was decorated for Christmas, and folks were quite friendly, greeting us, helping us get purchases back to our boat, and once giving us a golf cart ride. Residents were in high Christmas mode, and there were Christmas carols (accompanied by drums) sung at 5:00 AM each morning leading up to the big day. Because of our close proximity to town, we were able to enjoy this music without leaving our boat.

One day we rented a golf cart and toured the whole cay (3 miles long). In Coco Bay, we saw stingrays (basically harmless), and turtles (watch your fingers).



Sunday, Christmas eve, we took an 8 hour boat tour, conducted by local diving character Brendal. We went to a beautiful Elk horn reef to snorkel where the water was so clear and the color of the fish so vivid.

Doug taking a closer look.

Then we went over to Man Jack Cay where one of our guides did some lobster spear fishing. He and another member of our group caught about 8 lobsters. We then went to a quiet beach where we could sit in the water with stingrays. They would eat fish pieces from between our toes and seemed to enjoy being petted. Brendal was obviously acquainted with these stingrays claimed to know them by name. While we were watching Lemon sharks come up to the beach, Brendal was fixing us a wonderful lobster and snapper lunch. The weather was perfect and the company was great.

In spite of being tired, we attended Christmas Eve service at the Anglican church, a 30 oar stroke trip, pulling the dinghy up on the beach in front of the church.

The carols were familiar ones, but sung more primitively in unison with drums, and much enthusiasm. I believe we were the only ones to leave the service in a row boat.

Christmas day we went to a pot luck dinner for cruisers. One of the local restaurants (Sundowners) was closed for the day and allowed us to use their patio dining area right on the beach. Lots of great food and conversations.

It started getting a little windy Christmas night and Boxing Day started out partly cloudy. Our next leg of our trip takes us through “The Whale Cut” which is out in the ocean due to shallow waters between islands. We needed to wait another day for the wind to die down.

We decided to spend our last morning walking to Gillam Cove, a good place to find sand dollars. We walked a long, long way on the beach and found lots of great shells but no whole sand dollars.

We watched a squall come in and walked in the rain it brought with it. When we got back to the boat it rained quite heavily off and on all afternoon and we were able to collect 6 gallons of fresh rain water to fill up our tanks.

We left St Augustine on Saturday, December 2nd and headed down the coast to Lake Worth in West Palm Beach . We sailed past the Kennedy Space Center and one of the launch pads had a rocket in place. Picture isn’t great but the bright white light is the launch pad. 

We again had a bright moon each night but none as pretty as the super moon on Sunday . We had dolphins swimming with us everyday.











We had great wind for running wing on wing most of the day and evening on Sunday.

We arrived Monday morning before dawn so had to heave too and wait for daylight. We anchored in the north end of Lake Worth which didn’t have a marina that would let us dock our dinghy. We had to leave it under a bridge by a road which didn’t feel very safe. A friend suggested we check out the Palm Beach Sailing Club on the south end of the lake. They are very cruiser friendly, providing a dinghy dock, showers and laundry facilities for a small fee. We moved the boat and have been very happy. Doug says it is a yacht club for regular people.

OOn the sail down the coast Doug noticed a transmission oil leak. So the last couple of days have been spent researching where to get the right gaskets and seals for our 40 year old engine. Doug spent about 4 hours traveling around town on the bus getting the parts he needed. Things should be back together tomorrow.

We get to spend the day with our daughter, Amanda tomorrow as she has the day off from work. It will be great to spend time with her and be off the boat for a while.

Once the transmission leak is fixed we will wait for the right weather window to cross the Gulf Stream heading to the Bahamas.

Long, cold motoring.

We sailed out of our slip in Elizabeth City Wednesday morning with good wind for sailing across the Albemarle sound into the Alligator river where we lost cell phone coverage. We anchored in the Alligator River Wednesday night then motored for another 9 hours on Thursday to Goose Creek on the Pamblico River. I made a Cherry Pie enroute for our Thanksgiving dinner. Both days were overcast and cold. Friday motored down the Neuse River to Oriental, N.C. where we have a slip in a Marina. Good friends Paul and Emily picked us up and brought us to their home in New Bern for the night. Plenty of warmth and good company. After consulting the weather gurus we’ve decided to continue south off shore. We will leave Beaufort, N.C. Sunday morning and make our way down the coast. This will be faster than having to stop every evening to anchor and get us to warmer weather sooner.

On to Elizabeth City

It went below freezing last night. We woke up to frost on sail covers and beautiful eerie mist rising from the water.

We motored on to Elizabeth City, North Carolina and docked at the free city docks around 11 AM. Got out and walked to visitors center then had a seafood lunch. Finished some boat chores and enjoyed nice hot showers.

Coast Guard, locks, Bald Eagles and DUCK WEED!!

Yesterday morning as we were leaving Norfolk and coming to a bridge,  we were approached by a very fast, armed Coast Guard boat. The man at the machine gun was very polite and explained that they were escorting a large ship and asked us to move to a small cove area and wait for it to pass. About 15 minutes later as we motored around in circles with 2 other sailboats this big tanker passed under the bridge with another armed coast guard boat behind it and then we were on our way to the Dismal Swamp section of the ICW.

Entering Deep Creek lock. In the lock you have 2 lines around yellow bollards then the lock tender lets in the water to raise the boat to the next level.

Before entering the lock the lock tender, Robert very strongly suggested we turn around and go another way as they had a huge duck weed outbreak in the canal that was so thick it was stopping boats. Boats were over heating because the weed was clogging their water cooling system and or wrapping around the propeller. The worst was at the southern end of the canal. We decided to take the risk and went on through.

It was a beautiful sunny day, we saw bald eagles and great blue herons flying around. There was still some fall color on the trees.

There were patches of duck weed, some pretty thick, along the way. Olive Oyl motored through it without a problem.

As we got closer to the South Mills lock Doug called and spoke to it’s tender, Tammy. She told him the worst of the duck weed was in between the South Mills bridge and the lock (about 1/4 mile) she suggested getting through the bridge then gunning the engine to get to the lock.We did as she suggested. The duck weed definitely slowed the boat down but didn’t overheat the engine.

This is what it looked like approaching the lock. It looked like a thick grass lawn.Tammy told us it was 12 inches thick this summer and the frogs and turtles would walk across the top.

This lock lowers the boat down. You can see the thick duck weed on the wall as we were lowered.

We made it through. The duck weed was pretty much gone on the other side of the lock. We tied up to these posts and celebrated Doug’s birthday with a chili dinner. Going down the ICW was not our first choice but I am really enjoying the slower pace and the scenery.



We’re off!

We left our marina before sunrise yesterday. We had brisk winds to help us down the river and the bay. Chilly temperatures. We were both wearing multiple layers. We arrived in Little Creek at dusk where we got a slip so we could plug in the heat. Weather doesn’t want to cooperate for us to go off shore to Bermuda so it looks like we will be going down the east coast heading to Bahamas instead. We are waiting for a little more weather info later this weekend before making a final decision.