Sunday, May 20, 2012


Well, we're back.  (Phooey.)  Wind Dancer is now in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Key, Fl, heading north tomorrow morning for an overnight sail to Fort Myers Beach.  We left George Town almost three weeks ago (how time flies!) and had a fabulous trip up the Exumas.  After sailing up the Sound (ocean side), we crossed over to the bank via Cave Cay Cut and spent our first evening anchored out at Black Point, just south of Staniel Cay, and met a delightful couple (Fred & Patti) on s/v Casa Mare.  After a couple of days at Black Point, we "buddy boated" with  Casa Mare northward through the Exumas, stopping off to anchor overnight at Big Majors Spot next to Staniel Cay (home of the cruiser-friendly, swimming pigs), then the Rocky Dundas (cool caves that you can snorkel into or dinghy into if the tide is really low), Compass Cay, Shroud Cay (remember the dinghy trip through the mangroves on our way down the Exumas in February when the tide went out and left us stranded?), Norman's Cay, and, finally, an overnight stay in Nassau at the Harbor Club Marina.  In Shroud Cay, we picked up another "buddy boat" (Jim & Carol on Windquest) and we three boats sailed from Nassau across the banks to Cat Cay, where we stayed at the Cat Cay Yacht Club before departing the next day for Miami.  After a couple of nights at the Miami Marina Bayside, we bid our buddy boats adieu and Wind Dancer sailed south for the Keys.  We anchored out overnight at Rodriguez Cay, awoke at 6:00a.m. to a squall with tons of lightning and, since our anchor was dragging, decided that we might as well get moving.  We sailed into Marathon later that day and are once again at Boot Key Harbor, doing some minor reprovisioning before heading to Fort Myers tomorrow.

Dear friends of ours, Daren & Nancy Tackis on s/v Flying Dogs, left Rockport, TX a few weeks ago, taking the ICW around the Gulf Coast en route to their eventual destination of Costa Rica.  They have spent the past couple of weeks in Pensacola, leaving there yesterday (Saturday) and we think the timing will be perfect for us to rendezvous in Fort Myers as they make their way down the Florida coast.  It will be great seeing them again!

Since it's been almost three weeks since our last blog, obviously the above is an abbreviated version of the  wonderful sailing, snorkeling, etc. that we have enjoyed.  However, since a picture is worth a thousand words (and since we owe you some anyway, as I recall), we're posting a jillion of them at the end of this so you can see some of the highlights of the last three weeks.  We have truly had an extraordinary trip and look forward to doing it again in the fall.  One of the greatest benefits of the cruising lifestyle is the friends you make at various stops along the way.  Al and I agree that we have made more friends during our three months in the Bahamas while cruising than we made during the previous 30 years of our marriage.  And we know we'll run into many of them again on future trips, where we'll make even more friends!  What a great thing to be able to look forward to!

That being said, we'll now post pics for you.  Thanks for following us for these many months. We hope you've enjoyed the ride.

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This will be rather quick but wanted to let everyone know we’re alive and well.  We’re going to be leaving George Town tomorrow morning and sailing north, headed for the States.  We plan on taking our time and stopping off at places that we missed on our way down the Exuma chain of islands.  On the way down, we increased our efforts to reach George Town in order to address our broken refrigeration unit and the broken battery charger.  The refrigerator is once again working and the batteries are once again charging, so we’re eager to see some of the gorgeous places we missed.

However, we have had a GREAT time in George Town.  We ended up staying here long enough to be able to see the Family Island Regatta, the largest regatta in the Bahamas, and it was a sight to see.  All the entrants are Bahamian sloops, built by Bahamians to very strict standards.  The boats are classic wooden boats with enormous sail area (the sails are made of cotton canvas), the booms extending far out past the stern of the boat.  No winches are allowed to be used; it’s strictly “people power.”  The boats line up at the start by anchoring and then falling back.  When the start gun goes off, some of the crew works feverishly pulling up the anchor while others work on raising the jib and the mainsail, all by hand.  There are several classes of sloops, including a junior handling class, and the regatta lasts for a total of four days.  The cruisers, such as Al and myself, get in their dinghies and zip around the race course with the sloops and, boy, are they fast!  We have to have our motor maxed out to keep up with them!  We accidentally ended up having the best seat in the house between races.  Wind Dancer was on a mooring directly adjacent to Amazing Grace, the service boat for two of the most famous of the racing sloops:  Lady Muriel and Tida Wave.  Both sloops were kept at Amazing Grace at night and between races, so Al and I were able to view them and their crews “up close and personal.”  Beautiful hand-made boats.  In any case, Lady Muriel (my favorite) ended up taking first place overall in the regatta, with Tida Wave taking second place.  Both boats are from Staniel Cay so we’ll be able to see them again on our way back up the Exumas.

That’s about it for now.  Our weather window for the next few days looks great for sailing, so off we go.  We’ll keep you posted along the way as internet connections permit.  In the meantime, as always, wish you were here!  (We have an early start must cut this short and get to bed.  Photos will follow with the next blog.)

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Ah, the things we take for granted in today’s world.  Such as internet access.  Well, never again, let me tell you.  I had just about given up ever posting another blog in the Bahamas until Al suggested that I type it on “Word” and then copy & paste it to the blogspot.  So this is that attempt.  Internet service (when it’s available) is usually as slow as Christmas in the Bahamas and you find that virtually all of your purchased wifi minutes get used up just trying to access emails, internet, etc.  (SO…that’s my excuse THIS TIME for being so tardy in getting this posting to you.)

It’s been so long since I’ve updated our blog that I’ve forgotten at least half of the fun stuff that I should be posting.  (And by now you probably think we’re dead anyway.)  We had a really nice time at Warderick Wells, meeting what turned out to be good friends Hank & Trisha on Aventura (a 46 ft  Island Packet) at the Saturday night beachside happy hour party.  A few days later, we said good-bye to Emerald Seas and Orion and headed south to Staniel Cay with Aventura, where we stayed for two nights.  Staniel Cay is a cool little cay that offers the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (which includes the outdoor restaurant and bar that made it to Jimmy Buffet’s “top 10” list of the world’s best places to have a drink), as well as three small stores from which to reprovision, these being the “pink store,” the “blue store” and Isles general store. (Ah, how wonderful is fresh produce!)  The cay also includes the famous “Thunderball grotto” featured in two of the James Bond movies as well as “Splash.”  Just north of Staniel Cay is Big Majors Cay, home of the cruiser-friendly pigs that greet you on the beach in hopes of handouts (carrots are a big hit).  Some of the pigs will actually swim out to your dinghy as you come in.  In any case, Aventura left Staniel Cay after one night, heading south  to George Town while we opted to stay another day.  After they left, it dawned on Al and me that we were totally on our own for the first time since we had arrived in the Bahamas.  Exciting!  In any case, after a great time at Staniel Cay, we sailed south toward George Town, anchoring overnight off the tiny island of Galliott Cay.  The next morning, we sailed around the corner of the cay and out into Exuma Sound (the ocean side of the Exumas vs the inside, more protected and shallower Exuma banks) through Galliott Cut.  (The Exuma banks are too shallow if you try to sail much further south than Galliott Cay, so a sail to George Town has to be done outside, on the Sound in deep water.)  We had 25 knot winds “on the nose” and 4-6 ft seas for the approximately 7 hours we spent motor-sailing to George Town but we arrived safe and sound on a Saturday, the day before some really lousy weather was expected. George Town (a large town on a large island at the southern end of the Exumas) is a cruiser’s paradise, with a HUGE protected harbor.  Most boats anchor or moor across the harbor from George Town at Stocking Island, which is what we did.  Chat N Chill, a great little beach bar/restaurant sits at Gaviota Bay, where we were lucky to pick up the last available mooring on Sunday, just before the big “blow” was forecast to hit on Sunday night.  We had close to a week of 30-40 knot winds and it was awfully nice being on a mooring instead of having to get up every couple of hours to check on the anchor.

The primary reason we had zoomed down to George Town rather than go at a slower pace down the Exumas was to see if we could get our refrigeration unit repaired.  Buying ice on a daily basis gets old (and that’s if you can even find it; it’s unavailable at many of the smaller cays, some of which are totally uninhabited).  In any case, to make a really long story short, as of two days ago…and after roughly 30 days without it…we now have refrigeration again.  It involved having the part shipped from the manufacturer, which is always interesting in the Bahamas.  Will it arrive or won’t it?  It got held up in Nassau in Customs but we were finally able to have it released and, wahoo, ice cubes again!  How wonderful life is!

While we were waiting for the refrigeration part, our battery charger decided to bite the dust.  Having found that there is no such thing as a battery charger in George Town (other than smaller ones for cars), we have just finished ordering one to be shipped to us from West Marine in Ft. Lauderdale.  Cross your fingers, folks.

Al has decided that our shakedown cruise thus far has alternated between sailing one day and repairing something the next day, which goes hand-in-hand with one of the definitions of sailing:  Sailing:  An opportunity to repair things in exotic places.  We felt better after talking with the owner of a brand new 50 ft Beneteau and he’s going through the same thing, with something breaking almost every other day.

While here in George Town, we have run into old friends Chuck & Maryanne on Symphony (they have recently left us, heading north towards home but will be back in two years, when we hope to see them).  Al will especially miss Maryanne’s homemade brownies.  Thanks, Maryanne!  We moored right next to Aventura upon arriving here and were delighted to be asked by Hank & Trisha to crew on Aventura along with another couple on an organized fun race around the island.  Aventura took 2nd place in her class, so we felt pretty good about that.  Hank & Trisha had to leave prior to the awards party, so we accepted on their behalf:  a trophy, a pennant and a bottle of rum.  We have let Aventura know that we will mail the trophy and pennant to them once they are home (in Durango, CO) and we’ll let them know how the rum tastes!

George Town is truly a mecca for sailors.  Many boats find themselves spending months here.  There is a large cruisers’ regatta (that we arrived just a little too late to see) with literally hundreds of boats participating.  (Note to us:  next year the festivities begin on February 25.)  Late April is the Family Island Regatta, the largest regatta in the Bahamas, with Bahamians from all over the islands competing fiercely, many in boats they have built themselves.  I understand it is quite something to see; unfortunately, we will probably be gone by then, working our way back up the islands and heading back to the U.S., being slated to arrive sometime in early June.  In any case, we have loved George Town and Stocking Island.

Also while here, we ran into Rod & Eveline on Manatee.  You might remember Manatee as having been one of the four boats in our little flotilla when we left Boot Key Harbor heading for Bimini.  They left us, Emerald Seas and Orion while we were all in Nassau, due to their wanting to scoot down to Grenada as soon as possible.  Boy, were we surprised to see them in George Town!  We had thought they’d be halfway to Grenada by now. The reason they were here is simple:  waiting on weather.  It’s impossible to describe to a non-cruiser just how important the weather is when you are sailing.  You just don’t want to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time with the winds and seas against you.  I have heard it said that the most dangerous thing a sailor can have on board is a calendar and a planned date to be somewhere by a certain time.

In any case, one of the most fun events we have participated in was a sail from George Town to Long Island (roughly a 6-hr sail).  Over 30 boats made the trip (one leg of which was a timed race, with the boats being divided into classes and having assigned handicaps).  Manatee had left early that morning, heading out with three other “buddy” boats, planning to sail to the north end of Long Island (we, as well as the other 30+ boats were headed for Thompson Bay, approx. halfway down the island) and from there, out and around and then south to Mayaguana,  the Turks & Caicos, and from then on, farther south, headed toward Grenada.  Imagine our surprise when, as we approached the starting line of the race leg, we heard Manatee on the radio asking if they could participate in the race.  It seems that the seas had grown, the winds had picked up, and they were taking more of a pounding that they were willing to put up with.  Also, their foursome of  “buddy boaters” had fallen apart:  one developed a serious oil leak and had to return to George Town, one had decided on changing course to use an inside passage, and one (larger) boat had decided to tough it out on the original course.  In any case, Manatee joined us in Thompson Bay and we spent most of our time with Rod & Eveline, having a ball.  One day (I think we spent four days there) the four of us rented a car and drove down to Clarence Town at the southern tip of the island, stopping off at Dean’s Blue Hole along the way.  At 663 ft, Dean’s is the deepest known “blue hole” in the world.  (Lord knows what lurks down there at the bottom!)  One minute you’re in ankle deep water and three steps later (well, there are no three steps later…you’re in extraordinarily deep water if you try to take three steps).

The highlight (for me, anyway) of the Long Island trip, was the awards night dinner & dance at Island Breeze Resort.  (Incidentally, Wind Dancer took 4th place, out of 10 boats in her  class, so wahoo!)  Rockin’ Ron and his wife, Karen, cruising sailors on Sea Dancer, do an extraordinary job of organizing cruiser events at Stocking Island (every year!) throughout the weeks surrounding regatta week and they had organized the Long Island event as well.  At Island Breeze on Thompson Bay, they also provided the dance music with Ron acting as D.J.  Great music (Rod & Eveline are terrific jitterbuggers!), great fun.  But the hoot of the evening was when Ron announced that he was going to play a “sing along” that some of us might not know but that we would be able to pick up on pretty quickly.  He also added that he had received management’s permission to play it (which should have given us a clue).  Have you ever heard the song “Alice?”  Well, we hadn’t.  It’s a young man singing about the fact that he couldn’t believe that he had spent 23 (I think) years living next door to Alice (and letting you know that he obviously hadn’t appreciated her until it was too late).  The chorus (and Ron was right…it doesn’t take much to get on board with it) goes “Alice?  Alice?!!  Who the ?!*#! Is Alice?!”  Al cautioned me against putting this on the blog, saying that you have to have been there to fully appreciate how funny a bunch of drunken sailors are when they’re singing about Alice.  If you don’t know it, "You Tube" it.  It’s hysterical. But only sing it if you’re drunk…or well on the way to being there.

The day we left Long Island, Manatee headed out again and, according to their reports, all is well on their journey south.  (Next year, they plan on being in the BVI and we’re hoping to see them there.)  Upon returning to George Town, we have run into both Emerald Seas and Orion (well not literally) and it has been great seeing Jim, Renate, Lyle & Julie again.  Julie drew us a map of all the great snorkeling spots to hit on our way back up the Exumas.  Thanks, Julie!

Sophie & Chelsea are demanding daily dinghy rides (they truly bug us until it happens) but recently we have had to institute a “two paws planted” rule in the dinghy, making them keep their two hind legs on the floor of the dinghy.  Prior to that, Chelsea, and to a lesser degree, Sophie, spent a lot of their time balancing on the tubes of the dinghy and would occasionally lose their balance, resulting in a soaking wet dog having to be dragged back aboard and returned to the mother ship for a fresh water rinse.  This began to get old, hence the “two paws planted” rule.  They’re adjusting, but not happily.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Oh, wait!  I just remembered one of the fun things I was going to tell you.  When flushing the head (toilet to you land lubbers), we have always used fresh water whenever in marinas or close to shore.  But here, at Stocking Island, the water is so clean that we simply pump sea water into the head to flush with.  One day, after pumping in the sea water, we noticed something in the head.  It was a baby (and I do mean baby, as in tiny) octopus!  Al fished him out (carefully) and we deposited him gently over the side into the water.  It somehow warms the cockles (whatever cockles are) of your heart.

I would love to tell you what our plans are now, but we’ve almost stopped making plans.  We will probably begin the trip north in about a week (IF we receive the battery charger and IF the weather cooperates…and IF nothing else breaks).  In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying our time in George Town and can see why boaters have a tendency to camp out here.  The temperature (80ish, requiring no heaters, no A/C), the almost constant breeze, the gorgeous water, the great boating community, all the new friends we've made…it’s awfully nice.

Once again, wish you were here.

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer,
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Saturday, February 26

A week's worth of activity to catch up on!  (And for those of you who have been asking for more pictures, boy, do we have pictures!)  After leaving Nassau, we three boats (Wind Dancer, Emerald Seas and Orion) made it to Allan's Cay in the Exumas, a lovely little cay with a wonderful, protected anchorage.  After dinghying to shore the next morning, we were greeted by a horde of iguanas (some of whom were pretty aggressive in wanting their grape-on-a stick!).  In any case, we were glad we used the sticks to create a little bit of room between our fingers and the grapes.  But it was great fun and not to have been missed as one of the things you simply must do in this neck of the woods.  Allan's Cay is the only place on earth that these particular prehistoric (and not too attractive) iguanas exist, so it really is special to see them.  (It's the one place we forgot to take the camera.  Sorry.  They would have been great pics.)

After overnighting at Allan's Cay, we sailed just a few hours south to Norman's Cay and anchored out.  A couple of hundred feet from our boat there was a delightful little island (as in tiny island) that we dinghied Sophie & Chelsea to, and did they have a ball running around the island, splashing through the water, and getting loaded up with sand.  What fun!!  That was followed by a quick dunk in the ocean for the dogs, which was then followed by a quick fresh water rinse.  They loved it!  

The next day, the six of us (Jim, Renate, Lyle, Julie and ourselves) took a walking tour across some of Norman's Cay and had lunch (and, of course, rum & pineapple juice!) at a great little open air restaurant & bar called the Norman's Cay Beach Club.

While at Norman's Cay, we also saw Chuck & Marianne on their boat, Symphony.  We had met them while staying in Nassau at the marina there.  In any case, while talking with them at Norman's, the subject of boat names came up and we had to confess that when we re-named Wind Dancer (originally Ithaka), we had not been aware that a mandatory re-naming ceremony is required, involving much drinking and merrymaking with other sailors.  If this is not done, Neptune frowns upon you and you apparently are taking your life in your (or his) hands every time you set sail.  However, never having heard that the ceremony could not be done retroactively, we decided that the old adage "better late than never" applied and the ceremony was scheduled for that evening.  Lyle & Julie arrived in costume (he in a Scottish kilt, beret and scabbard and she in piratical garb) bearing a Tiki god, and Jim, Renate, Chuck & Marianne joined in the fun.  It was decided that any ceremony involving a Texas boat had, of necessity, to include the imbibing of margaritas, so Sue made her really, really good homemade margaritas (remember those, Nancy & Daren?) and a great time was had by all.  A marvelous poem provided by Lyle & Julie had excerpts read by all in attendance and, with a Sue & Al kiss and the obligatory splashing of alcohol on her bow, Wind Dancer was toasted by all and was officially christened, hence to be smiled upon by Neptune and his friends (hopefully).

Then the next day it was on just a little way south to Shroud Cay, where the draw is that the island is covered with mangroves.  We took advantage of a mooring ball at Shroud and the next day we took the three dinghies across the island, dinghying in an extremely shallow creek through the mangroves to a beautiful little beach and reef where we had lunch and then snorkeled.  The surprise of the day was when we returned to the dinghies, only to find that the tide had gone out, leaving them high and dry.  All we could do was take the motors off each dinghy and then everyone joined in lifting (and dragging) each dinghy, followed by another trip with each motor, carrying each one more than one hundred yards (approx. the length of a football field).  It was exhausting work and, boy, did we learn our lesson.  Pay attention to the tides! Once we were finally able to be afloat, we took another (almost equally shallow) route on the return trip, which took us to another cool little beach where everyone took a well deserved swim before heading back.

And this is what we were greeted with when we tried to leave.

After spending one more night at Shroud Cay, we left on Thursday, sailing south approximately five hours to where we are currently:  Warderick Wells Cay.  Warderick Wells is home to the park headquarters for the Exuma Land & Sea Park, a 176-square mile area set aside as a land and marine protected area.  The park is 22 miles along and extends out four miles on either side of the cays it encompasses (15 large cays and several tiny ones).  Its purpose is to "provide a safe haven and replenishment area for the wildlife native to the Bahamas and to educate the public in saving this beautiful environment for future generations."  It is a "no take" area, wherein no fishing, no conching, no lobstering, etc. is allowed.  Warderick Wells is a very popular destination in the Exumas, and we were lucky to get a mooring here.  A front with some pretty strong winds is due to arrive on Sunday/Monday, so we plan on staying here a few days before heading south to our next planned destination of Cambridge Cay, followed by Staniel Cay and then Georgetown, a large (by Bahamian standards) town with a population of a little over 1,000 people, which will allow us to do some replenishing and have our refrigeration system (which has been on the fritz lately) worked on.  In the meantime, we are able to buy ice here at the park headquarters, so all is well insofar as being able to keep our food chilled (heaven forbid if we couldn't have cold beer!).  The park even has a happy hour on Saturday nights, which we plan on attending this evening.  All the cruisers here at the moorings descend on the beach, everyone brings a dish to share, along with their own drinks, and the park provides ice for everyone.  What fun!

While I've been typing, Al has spent the the afternoon in the water, in his wetsuit, mask & fins, scraping barnacles off the hull of Wind Dancer.  Well, somebody has to do it (and it's not going to be me).  I put on my wetsuit, mask & fins, got into the water with him and two minutes later a six-foot shark swam by directly underneath me (and we're only in 12 feet of water, folks).  That was the quickest I've ever climbed a swim ladder, and no amount of telling me "It's only a nurse shark, babe" was going to get me back in there today.

Back to the Exuma Park.  Due to their being protected, the lobsters within the park area grow to be huge.  Al and I have decided that we need to buy a spear gun so we can catch (and eat!) our own lobsters after leaving the park.  (We'll let you know how that goes.)  Another delicacy enjoyed in the Bahamas is conch and according to park literature "The concentration of conch inside the Exuma Park is 31 times higher than the concentration outside the park.  This conservatively provides several million conch outside the park for fishermen to harvest each year."  That's a lot of conch.  And it's prepared in a jillion different ways:  cracked conch, conch chowder, conch fritters, fried conch, you name it.  It's a little chewy...but most people like it (Sue being the exception).  Also, daily at 6:00 p.m. it's traditional for those cruisers who have queen conch shells aboard (and who know how to blow them), to simultaneously blow their conch shells throughout an anchorage.  Too cool.

Was going to post this on Saturday but our internet connection got a little screwy and it didn't happen, is now Sunday.  The happy hour on the beach gave us a chance to meet the other cruisers here and we met one really nice couple (Hank & Trisha on Aventura) who is on the same page with us environmentally, knowledgeable about plastics, etc. so we have made new friends.  The front arrived overnight as predicted (we currently have 25-30 mph winds) so we're hanging out here for another day or two until the winds die down before heading south.  There are several marked trails on Warderick Wells and Al and I plan on walking on at least one of them today (we've chosen the Boo Boo Hill Trail that takes us to the other side of the island for starters).

Well, that's it for news.  We've tried taking pictures of the water to show you how magnificent the colors are but our camera simply cannot do it justice.  Exquisite water.  Easy to see why the Exumas are labeled the best cruising grounds in the western hemisphere.  Absolutely beautiful.

Sophie & Chelsea have come to expect their daily dinghy ride (so much so that they bug us until we take them).  Here's the typical ride, with Chelsea on the left, butt in the air and head as close to the water as she can manage, looking for dolphin.

Off we go trail walking.  Thanks as always for following us.  We'll keep in touch as we're able.  Until then,

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Thursday, February 16

We've been having the dickens of a time getting wi-fi connections here in Nassau, so please excuse our tardiness in updating the blog.  We arrived in Nassau last Saturday after an overnight sail from Bimini.  A lot of conversation took place on the VHF in the morning concerning whether we (Wind Dancer) would accompany our friends on their three boats on their planned route or whether we would head north, going around Bimini and then down to Nassau (a longer route by approx. 40 miles but with deeper water for the entire trip).  Our draft of 6 ft was deeper than that of the other boats and there was cause for concern since we were slated to go over an area of very shallow water.  One boater (whom we did not know) got on the radio and said "Don't even think about it.  No boat with a six foot draft EVER goes that way!"  Well, we decided to trust our friends and go with them but, yes, it did get shallow (but gorgeous!).  It was between eight and nine feet deep for a substantial portion of the trip (the lowest we saw on our depth finder was 7.8 feet, so we were okay).  But what was funny was that after all the VHF discussion in the morning before leaving Bimini, when we four boats finally left harbor, four other boats (whose occupants we did not know) came racing to catch up with us and then stayed right behind us all the way to Nassau.  Al and I figured that they, having heard the VHF traffic, decided to follow hard on the heels of Wind Dancer.  If we could make it, so could they!  In any case, all of us managed to stay fairly close together for the entire overnight trip and arrived in Nassau harbor Saturday morning like 8 little ducks, all in a row.

While in Nassau, we took one day out to simply be tourists and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  We walked over the bridge to Paradise Island and toured the really impressive Atlantis aquarium there.  The battery on the camera chose that day to require a charge before it would continue, so we didn't take as many pictures as we would have liked.  Sorry about that!  It really is worth  seeing.  (Pictures will be posted next time; in our haste to get to the Texaco station tonight to take advantage of their internet access, where we are now, we completely forgot to bring the USB cord to download the pictures.  Sorry about that!)

As far as our time in Nassau goes, we have spent it doing what seems like a jillion things getting us and Wind Dancer prepared for the next part of the journey, which is heading for the relatively uninhabited Exuma cays where we'll be anchored out the vast majority of the time, using our dinghy to get to shore, and, in general, having to be more self-sufficient than has been necessary so far.  But it's the part of the trip we've looked the most forward to and we can hardly wait to get going.  We're leaving for Allan's Cay tomorrow morning (having stayed at the Nassau Harbour Club Marina while here, where Peter, the dock master, took great care of us).  Among other things, Allan's Cay is known for having a substantial population of prehistoric iguanas who apparently come out to see what you're all about when you dinghy in to shore.  They have been led to expect handouts from cruisers and we understand that they absolutely love grapes, apples and, of all things, weiners.  Unfortunately, they often can't tell the difference between the weiner and your finger...and they bite!  We had initially decided that there would be no feeding of the iguanas by Wind Dancer but have since been told that a grape-on-a-stick is enough to make an iguana happy and that sounds doable.  We'll see.

We sail tomorrow w/o Manatee; Rod & Eveline left a couple of days ago and are headed for Grenada.  But, as much as we will miss them, we have met many people here at the marina who are headed for the Exumas and we'll no doubt be running into many of them as time goes by.  We may even run into Rod & Eveline next year in the Virgin Islands.  Sounds good to us!

Sue celebrated her 65th birthday here on Monday and has decided that 80 degree weather makes for a much better celebration than does the typical February Houston weather!  

Well, that's all the news that's fit for reporting. Heaven knows when we'll have internet access again but we'll keep you posted as often as we can.  Thanks once again for following us!

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Thursday, February 9

Leaving Boot Key Harbor

We made it!  We left Boot Key Harbor on Tuesday afternoon, with Chris Parker's blessing for an easy crossing of the Gulf Stream...and it was gorgeous!  We sailed overnight with three other boats (Emerald Seas w/ Jim & Renate, Manatee w/ Rod & Eveline, and Orion w/ Lyle & Julie), arriving in Bimini, Bahamas at approximately 10:00 a.m.  And what a crossing it was!  Beautifully calm seas with a full moon and a 3-4 knot current zipping us along.  Although we motor-sailed most of the way, at one point Al turned off the motor and, with all three sails flying, we flew along at 8 knots.  How nice!

Dawn on the Gulf Stream

The water here is simply not to be believed.  There's a reason The Bahamas are known as having the most beautiful waters in the world; absolutely exquisitely clear water with every shade of blue and green imaginable.  At one point when we were approaching Bimini, Al asked me what the depth was.  When I replied "60 feet," he said "I can see the bottom."  Truly breathtakingly beautiful.  And so remarkably clear!  How fortunate we are to be here.

Weech's Marina in Bimini

Bimini Island is a delightful little community.  Very quaint with extraordinarily friendly people.  Our group had cocktails last night at the End of the World bar and then went to a little restaurant overlooking the water where we feasted on fresh lobster (at half the price of lobster in the U.S.).  Since lobster is my favorite seafood and rum & pineapple juice is my favorite drink...and both are half the price we're used to paying...I'm happy!

Our group of four boats (we call ourselves the Moonlighters) is heading off tomorrow for Nassau.  It's another overnight sail with the weather forecast not quite as great as it was for the crossing of the Gulf Stream, but it s/b fine.  We hadn't initially planned on going to Nassau, thinking we would prefer to visit the less inhabited out islands, anchoring out as much as possible and dinghying around the various islands as opposed to staying at marinas.  However, the water here is chillier than we were used to when we snorkeled in the Virgin Islands and our friends have convinced us that we really do need wetsuits to be comfortable.  Did I mention that Bimini is quaint?  So much so that there is no place on the island to buy a it's off to Nassau we go.  Most of the trip will be spent sailing in approximately 15 ft of water and s/b stunningly beautiful.

Sue in a Bahamian sari (100% cotton, of course!)

We'll keep you posted as to our wanderings whenever possible.  We have lost the wi-fi access we had in the states whereby we could use our Sprint "hot spot"to connect to the internet.  We now have to go searching for free wi-fi on land (this post was typed in Bimini while sitting on the bench where you see Al sitting below; a rather odd place to find wi-fi but delightful nonetheless), so we may not be able to post to the blogspot as often as we would like.  In the meantime, now, more than ever, we truly do wish you could be here with us.

Our new open air "office" offering wi-fi (also known as Bimini's answer to Starbuck's)

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea

Monday, February 6, 2012


Monday, February 6

Just a quick update (no pics today).  We have been anticipating being able to leave for The Bahamas almost every day for the last several days but the weather pattern has been very unusual (according to the experts) and forecasts keep changing.  It now appears as if we will be able to leave tomorrow.  (The trip will be an overnight sail taking approximately 24 hours total, with arrival planned for mid-day at Bimini on Wednesday.)  We will be traveling in the company of three other boats (new friends Jim & Renate on s/v Emerald Seas, Rod & Eveline on s/v Manatee, and one other couple [whom we have not yet met] on s/v Orion).  Emerald Seas and Manatee have both made the crossing to The Bahamas before so we're delighted to be in their company.

Our friend Jon Siewers on s/v JonNe drove up from Key West on Saturday for a visit with us.  His wife Renne couldn't join him; she's been out of town with her hospitalized daughter recently but the prognosis for her daughter's recovery appears to be good, so we're glad about that.  Jon & Renne had initially planned on making the crossing with us but boat maintenance problems have necessitated their staying in Florida for awhile.  Hopefully, they'll be able to leave soon.  We'll look forward to hooking up with them later in the islands.

Cross your fingers for us for the crossing, folks.  We are SO looking forward to getting to The Bahamas and seeing that exquisite water.  We'll include lots of photos in the blog once we're there.

Thanks again for following us.  We'll keep you posted with any new developments.

Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al,  Sophie & Chelsea