At the southern most end of San Dollar Beach on Stocking Island lies a shallow sand bar with crystal clear water. At low tide it’s a giant bathtub. Grab a mask and snorkel to float along on your belly. Picture perfect for a relaxing afternoon floating in paradise! On the other side is a drop off into the harbor for the more adventurous divers. One of the many beautiful things to see in George Town…
Saturday 2.15.14 We laid low through the stormy weather and got a little laundry and blog posting done.
Sunday 2.16.14 We woke up and prepared the boat to leave. The fuel dock was an interesting experience. The stern line had to be extra long to reach the dock. There was a small fishing boat that pulled up next to us single handed and his stern swept into us and bumped our hull because he didn’t have control of the boat. No damage was done, thank goodness.
After leaving Great Harbour, we headed North up and around the Cay and back east and south down the other side. We stopped just across from the cove at Lover’s Beach.
All four of us took the dogs to shore at a beautiful white sandy beach and Leah and I were in shell heaven! There were so many unique shells there.
The dogs were happy to run on the beach and get some new smells. Gunner decided he was going to eat a bunch of sand. Crazy dog.
The sunset was spectacular. Our little slice of heaven.
That night Gunner got real sick and threw up several times. His dinner that night was fish and rice so it really smelled bad as it went through the grate in the cockpit. I spent the whole night, literally until 6:30am, cleaning up puke over and over again. It wasn’t exactly calm water either which made it worse. Peter tried to stay awake with me but his gag reflex kept him at a safe distance away.
Monday 2.17.14, totally sleep deprived, I went back to shell city to find a few more treasures and let the dogs go potty on land again. Gunner must have learned his lesson because he didn’t even try to eat anymore sand.
We saw some sort of reef shark checking out the boat. It wouldn’t come quite close enough to figure out what kind it was.
We enjoyed the morning with turquoise all around us.
Pretty Pretty Bahamas…
When we arrived at Brown’s Marina in Bimini Thursday 2.6.14 at dusk, we hooked up to shore power after Bob and Ellen so kindly let us borrow their 50 amp connector. Our power hookup at our slip wasn’t working so we had to wait until the next morning to let the marina know we needed to use power from another slip. No biggie. We didn’t bother filling up water or fuel here but we charged up our batteries and laptops and phones. We had nice hot showers on shore and found a few cockroaches in the bathrooms behind the door. We made sure none caught a ride back to the boat in our shower bags.
The guy in the slip next to us had underwater lights and he would turn them on at night. It was crazy to see how many huge fish were underneath the boat all the time. We saw monster tarpon, tiger sharks, nurse sharks, starfish, needle fish, manta rays, eagle rays… a ton of sea creatures!!
The next day (Friday 2.7.14) we finally got to see how beautiful it was here in Bimini.
There was a nice sandy manmade beach area next to the docks.
The dockmasters told us about the 8′ bull sharks that come feed when the fishermen clean their fish twice a day. Scary! Peter managed to snag a photo. It doesn’t look like it here but it was huge!
I got to meet LeeAnn Toth (another fellow WWS member)! She was just a few slips down at Brown’s. Erica & Jordan from the blog, Seadoodle, were just one dock over at Weech’s. Erica is also a member of WWS. How cool is that?? Four of us (including Ellen and myself) all in one tiny place! And from what I hear, there were several other waves of fellow WWSers that came through just before us.
Conch is all over the place here. The shells litter the whole area. It’s hard to clean but actually tastes pretty good!
Customs was a breeze for Peter. He walked over to Customs and Immigration in the morning and paid our fees for the cruising permit. Since our boat is over 35′ the cost is $300. They did ask about the dogs and it was just as everyone told me it would be. All they wanted to see was the Bahamas Permit we had applied for before leaving Florida. They didn’t ask to see the International Heath Certificates at all. Good thing because we weren’t able to get one of the vaccines that they require. The vaccine for Coronavirus is just not available anymore in most places in the US although it’s a requirement for entry into the Bahamas. Our vet placed a big note on our documentation explaining this so it was even better that they didn’t care to see any other documents except for the ones they issued themselves. When Peter got back to the boat we took down the quarantine flag. We’re official now!!
Last weekend we had a perfect opportunity to take the boat out and try anchoring overnight for the first time. The weather was nice, tides were favorable and we finally had the confidence to take the boat out by ourselves with no extra crew! We’ve been out on S/V Mary Christine maybe 10 times already but every time so far we’ve had someone else with us, either friends or family. Our first time out just the two of us was amazing! Its starting to sink in a little more, we’re really doing this :)
We sailed across Charlotte Harbor over to Cayo Costa where our friends Jan and David had arrived an hour or two ahead of us. Its real tricky to get in and out of Pelican Bay where everyone anchors up. There is a very narrow channel with 1-3 feet depths on either side. Since we didn’t have previous tracks in and out, Jan and David met us in their dinghy to lead us in.
I backed the boat down as Peter dropped the anchor. We don’t have our chain marked yet for length but Peter did a rough estimate of how much chain he was letting out. It was pretty rusty and made an awful mess on the bow. We pulled the anchor snubber out of the depths of the line locker and got that all set up too. The current made it a challenge to keep the boat into the wind and to reverse in the right direction at the same time. We did pretty good for the first time though!! I suppose it’s just like docking… practice makes perfect. Pretty soon we’ll be doing this in our sleep, literally ;)
The next item on the agenda was to drop the dinghy into the water. We hooked it up to the mail halyard and lowered our dink down. Suddenly, we realized something was missing…
Our gas tank was safe and sound inside a crate… back on the dock at Burnt Store Marina!! No need to take the outboard off anymore! We will be rowing this time. Good thing I like to row!
We grabbed a spare line to tie the dinghy up at shore and got the dogs ready. Betsy is only 45 lbs so Peter could pretty much just pick her up off the deck and set her down. She was a little unsure of it all but that dog has no fear!
I didn’t get any pics of lowering Gunner down because it was a two-person job. I’ll try for some next time so you all can see how we get this big guy around. Thanks to our AWESOME ‘Help’EmUp‘ harnesses, we were able to get a 75 lb dog off the boat into the dinghy relatively easily! Peter grabbed the forward handle and I held the rear hip lift handle and we lowered him down. Gunner had one thing on his mind… Get To Shore!! He gets really excited to go anywhere so this was totally fun for him. They both did really well once they were inside. We have an aluminum floor so we didn’t worry too much about their nails.
The current was moving with us and we got to shore pretty quick. The dogs got to stretch their legs and we checked out a few of the trails.
We wen’t back to the boat right away and started on dinner. BBQ pork loin and Caribbean rice was on the menu. Our LED cockpit lights were on and the evening was just perfect as we enjoyed our first meal at anchor. Next was time for showers. Since our generator isn’t quite fixed yet, we ran the main engine to be able to use the hot water heater. Hot water showers at anchor? Yes Please!! It was sooo refreshing. We snuggled up and enjoyed being rocked to sleep as the small waves lapped up against the hull.
All was quiet until 4am. Gunner has been recovering from a bladder infection and in the wee hours of the morning he HAD to go potty. The way he was whining and talking to us let me know that he really had to go. Peter was sound asleep, but I got Gunner up into the cockpit and took him back to the aft deck where our chunk of Astroturf lay waiting for the first potty away from the dock. It didn’t take long and Gunner copped a squat. HOORAY!!!! This was such a relief to know he’ll actually go if he needs to.
The dogs have been in training for a few weeks now. We would sneak the fake grass underneath them as they peed to get a little scent on it. If we held them in place long enough they would go as long as it sat over top of the real grass on shore. Betsy finally got the hang of it and she doesn’t have any trouble going on the boat if we tell her to.
Gunner must have been nervous because he had to go again at 6am and 8am. He was whining all night long and would NOT go to sleep. When 6am rolled around I decided to just stay in the cockpit with him incase he was trying to hold back a #2. It was cold, breezy and very dewy. Even though I didn’t get more than a couple of hours of sleep I did my best to enjoy the stillness of the bay around us. The sun began to come up and the gratitude slowly grew. A sliver of serenity? Youbetcha!
We had anchored in the deep hole in the center of Pelican Bay. When the sun came up I heard splashing all around and realized the dolphins were herding fish and feeding. They kept popping up in different places as they went around in circles swimming by all the boats.
In the morning we went to shore again and walked across the island to the gulf.
There were shells EVERYWHERE! The tiny pieces littered the white sand beaches as far as I could see.
There were a few horseshoe crab shells along the shore as well. Check out Jan’s post if you want to learn a little more about these strange-looking creatures of the sea :)
When it was time to row back to Mary Christine the wind was NOT our friend. It was blowing 15-20 knots and we had to row up wind. There were a few times we got a little scared we would be swept out to the gulf. We were barely making any progress and I all could do was cheer Peter on. He powered through it getting us and the 12′ dinghy back safely. Scary.
We wanted to get back to the marina before sunset so we pulled up the anchor and followed our tracks back out to the harbor. It was a little tricky keeping the boat into the wind again while Peter pulled up the anchor but we managed.
We sailed back and the puppies were happy to be going somewhere again.
We ended this awesome adventure by catching our very first fish while underway!! Spanish Mackerel… mmm!
Back at the marina we docked for the first time alone, and of course it went way easier than I expected :) We had a lot of firsts and a lot of fun!
Until next time!!