Monday, February 28, 2011

Looking Closely

A million things to see in this little square of sand
The cruising life forces one to slow down.  We are all on "island time" down here and while this might be frustrating to some, we love it.  There's more time to dream, more time to reflect, introspect and just think.  There is also more time to look around and take it all in.  It's amazing what you see when you just sit still and watch.  The beauty of life is all around us no matter where we are.  A tender interaction between a mother and daughter, a tiny hermit crab scrambling across the street, the way the clouds move or a itsy-bitsy fish swimming around in a little tide pool...all of these things make me smile.  There is so much to see if we look closely and patiently and only now am I really beginning to get the hang of it.


Brittany & Scott

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Little Farmers Yacht Club

Inside the cave.  It is truly impressive.
We really enjoyed our stay here.  This island feels so remote that time seems to stand still.  The moorings the yacht club offers are affordable ($20 a night)* - and include shore showers (our last had been in Nassau!... tmi?) and also included free wifi.  In addition, the owners son, Julian, and his wife Daryl are wonderfully hospitable.  When they heard we wanted to explore a nearby cave on Great Guana Cay, they took one look at us, one look at our respective rowing dingy - and offered to take us on their boat.  What a treat.  Brian, Lara, Scott and I piled into Julian's island hopper and flew off along the Exuma Bank.  It was so completely exhilarating to feel that boat open up along the flat, clear water.  None of us had moved that fast in months and Lara said it best when she said it felt like we were on a roller coaster.  Water whizzing by, wind in our hair, gliding along effortlessly with perma-grins on our faces...

If you are in Little Farmers, look for Julian and his wife.  Afterwards, head over to Ali's Bar (any local can tell you where it is) for a cold Kalik and some dominios.  It's just a little shack no bigger than a one-car garage that you would otherwise miss, but don't!  You are sure to run into the islands most colorful of characters in this little place and Ali himself is a total riot.
Ali behind the bar - playing a lively game of Dominos.  Lots of table-smacking!

Brittany & Scott

*One heck of a current rips through where the yacht club is (as you may have learned from my last post) - so if you don't take a mooring - they recommend anchoring on the eastern side where there is better holding.

Also - there are many, many more pictures and tidbits on our Facebook Page Be sure to "like" us there so you can get the full experience!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Impromptu Slumber Parties

Lots and lots of power in this Ocean!
As former "Great Lakes" sailors, the world of tides and currents has been foreign to us.  We are beginning to get the hang of it - but every now and then we are caught by surprise.  Like last night.

Brian and Lara of s/v Illusion came over for dinner, as per usual.  Because we all had originally planned to make the long haul to Georgetown the other day (from Staniel Cay) they put their dinghy and (very heavy) eight horse power motor on the boat for the offshore passage.  Plans changed (shocker!) and we are now cruising a little slower due to the wind direction blowing from exactly where we want to go (again, shocker!).

Our dinghy is easier to launch, but our lil' motor has been Scott rowed over to pick them up, a gesture for which they were very grateful.

We had a lovely dinner enjoying the peace and calm of this quiet and secluded anchorage with some great conversation and slightly less potent sangria.  And then it was time to go night-night.

Scott got in the dinghy and immediately said, "hmmm....quite a current in here....".  Regardless, they all jumped in - loaded their things and were about to shove off when I said, "How about I hold the tow-line to make sure you can row into this current".

Thank god I did, because if I had not - Lara, Scott and Brian would be camped out on a beach somewhere north of here subsisting on leftover pasta and bread, awaiting rescue.  I am not kidding.

The whole "rowing" thing was not going to work.  So we checked the tides and saw that it wasn't going to turn until the following morning.  Oops.

Slumber party!

Like the troopers they are - Lara and Brian just cuddled up in the aft cabin to sleep it out and wait until the morning.  Sometimes you just have to let nature win.  There is just no use fighting it.

Something tells me that Brian and Lara will be launching their dinghy from now on.  Eight horses is a lot of power...

Brittany & Scott

Friday, February 25, 2011


I feel we are all islands - in a common sea.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Brittany & Scott

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Kind of Place

Staniel Cay Yacht Club is one of those places that make me feel like I belong in the Islands.  Nestled along the southeast side of Staniel Cay, it's a tiny, unassuming little bar where you can kick back with a cold one and just watch the world go (slowly) by.  It has a Humphrey Bogart vibe (oh how I love Bogie!  To Have and Have Not might just be my favorite film - yes, I think it might even beat Casablanca) and you get the feeling that this place has a lot of stories - the pictures on the wall only begin to scratch the surface.  If walls could talk...My grandfather (a very "larger than life" sort of man) was actually commodore of this place at one time.  Sitting here I can just imagine him holding court at the bar in the 60's & 70's; a cigar clenched between a big, toothy grin, martini in hand.  He was a "Big Kahuna" kind of guy and hanging out at his old haunt (and even finding his name on the wall!) was a wonderful experience.  Though he died when I was thirteen - I now know we must have had more than a few things in common.

If you are in the Exumas and looking for that "one particular harbor" where you can feel right at home and kick back with a cold Kalik with not a worry in the world, this just might be your place.  I know it's mine.

Brittany & Scott

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life Aboard Rasmus

A lot of people wonder what our day to day life is like on our boat.  It's pretty simple really. So here's, more or less, how our days go by at anchor:

We (well, Scott more than I) wake up almost every day at 6:30am to listen to Caribbean weather guru Chris Parker who gives cruisers a pretty detailed weather report every day on the SSB.  From there, we usually pool over our chart and guide books to plan for days activities.  While we're doing that, I throw on the kettle for tea (the French press for coffee was a HUGE pain to clean, so we are straight-up tea drinkers now) and make a breakfast.  Typically we have a half of a bagel with peanut butter - but I have been known to whip up scones or muffins on occasion to change it up.  I water our plants and put them out in the sun.

After breakfast, we usually switch on our radio to 78A - the channel that has become a phone for our little flotilla.  We make jokes - some clean, some dirty - talk smack, and make our plans for the day.  Sometimes it involves a snorkel or lounging on the beach, sometimes spearfishing or a hike and pretty much always involves a group meal at the end of the day.  Those are some of the best times.

After our excursion of choice, we retire back to our boats.  Scott and I will take quick aft-deck showers* with Joy dish soap (yes, I bathe in dish soap now) and have a siesta of sorts.  Sometimes this is time for boat projects (there is always, and I mean always something to maintain or fix), sometimes a nap and often time for reading.  If there is Internet, I will crank out a blog or two - if not, I'll just write.  In the middle of all this we do boat tidying.  A place for everything, and everything in it's place. We run a tight ship over here!

All the while we are monitoring 78A to hear from our friends.  Around 4pm we usually all get on to chat and plan for dinner.  This almost always occurs on Rasmus because we have the bigger boat of the fleet and our little enclosed cock-pit with the Christmas lights has become the group living room.  Everyone brings a dish and their own dinnerware (plates, silverware, drinks - makes clean-up MUCH easier).  Sometimes, if I'm feeling dangerous I whip up a killer sangria** which pretty much means we all miss Chris Parker the next morning.  We all retire between 9pm and 11pm (unless I make multiple batches of sangria) and we do our dishes, hang out the dish towels, batten down the hatches and rock to sleep like babies with the sound of waves gently lapping against the hull.

Then, we wake up and do it all again.

It's a good life, for sure.  One that I do not think we will ever tire of.  I've never felt more at home.

Brittany & Scott

*The aft-deck fresh-water shower we installed is one of the best systems on our boat.  We love it.  Being able to rinse our gear and ourselves before we get into our boat makes life much, much more comfortable and a lot less salty.

** My sangria recipe was given to me by Brian and Lara, and then I made it 'killer'.  Here it is:

  • 1 bottle of wine
  • Very hefty pour of flavored rum (so far we have used mango, coconut and pineapple)
  • Generous scoop of country-time lemonade and some water
  • 1 can of mixed fruit cocktail in lite syrup.

Beware, this drink packs a punch!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Magic of the Dorado

There is no fish that quite stirs up the soul - or the tummy- to me like the Mahi Mahi...known also as Dorado or Dolphin Fish (but less so, as it is often confused with Flipper) they are truly proof positive that the ocean is full of magic and mystery.  These fish cruise the worlds oceans en masse; they are the fastest fish in the water and seafaring wanderers throughout time have been graced with the presence of these fish in the farthest reaches of the ocean.  They are smart, fast, strong, curious, and very intelligent.  I don't know what it is, but there is truly something about the Mahi that illustrates a higher level of being...there is a wisdom in these fish that you just don't see in many others... but enough of the poetic mumbo jumbo...

We caught our first last week when we were passing on the "outside" from Allen's Cay to Norman's.  Despite the wind blowing 20-22 out of the east (making for a VERY bumpy ride) we decided to brave the ocean side and troll.

"I'm catching you a mahi mahi today" Scott proclaimed.

He rigged his offshore rod (thanks Brandon!) with a simple $11 cedar plug and out it went.  We knew enough to know to troll in deeper water, so we motor-sailed along the ridge where the water was about 200 feet.  We were cruising along at about 6 - 6.5 knots in a 4 foot swell and wind gusting to 25.  Not ideal.  I think I might have said something to Scott to the tune of "You had BETTER catch a mahi for this!".

No sooner had I said that when we heard the telltale whizzzzzzzzzzz of the line being taken out to sea.  Hearts started racing.

I was at the helm, slowed the boat and rolled in the jib as Scott got his fishing gloves on and prepared to reel in our catch.

After about 15 minutes of reeling in, we saw it jump magnificently out of the water.  It was electric blue, and I mean electric blue.  It was still too far away to tell, but for a second we thought we had caught a shark!  Scott continued to reel our fish in when he jumped again.  And then we knew - it was a mahi mahi. This time, though, he was bright yellow and vibrant green.  I couldn't stop saying how beautiful he was - he honestly took my breath away.

Scott continued to fight the fish until he was by the boat.  He was changing all the colors of a mood ring,  his emotions and his vigor showing through his scales.  Amazing.  We reeled him in, I grabbed the net* and the grain alcohol, poured some down his throat and we brought him on deck.

And then, almost instantly, all his color went away.  Just like that.  Gone.  Like his soul left him in that one final flash of a rainbow.  Incredible.

The sea was bucking and rearing so we got to safe harbor and Scott immediately got to filleting with what have now become known as "surgeon hands".

That beautiful fish fed six of us for 2 days.  We wasted nothing, and thanked him for what he gave us.  Nature surely does provide when you are in the right element.
Someone's happy.  This was taken once we were safely anchored.
*We now know you do not "net" a 45-50lb mahi mahi, you gaff it.  We learned this when his razor-like fins cut right on through our net.  Whoopsie.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bread...In a Pan!

Don't let the looks fool you - this bread is deeee-lish!
I am not a natural cook.  I have never been 100% comfortable in a kitchen and I would not list cooking as one of my fortes.  However, living on a little sailboat, in remote islands, on a very tight budget demands that you make your own meals.  Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

The day was gray and rainy and we were holed up in the cabin.  I decided I would try my hand at baking.  I thumbed through recipe after recipe - but the traditional bread recipes just seemed to be a big pain in the but, what will all that rising and covering with a cloth and all that.  I was just about to give up my search when I found, in a tiny little Bahamaian cook book my lovely mother-in-law gave me (Thanks Sue!) a recipe for "Johnny Bread".

Apparently it got it's name from "Journey Bread" which used to be a staple on the square riggers back in the day.  I now know why, it is dense, delicious, and super easy to make.  In fact, you don't even need to bake it!  You just cook it in a pan.  Easy peasey.

Here's the recipe:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup of shortening (I used butter)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
2/3 cup water or milk (I used water)

Mix it up, knead it up and then put it in a hot pan with a small layer of oil, cook until brown on each side (about 15-20 minutes) and VIOLA!  You have a giant, delicious biscuit that tastes like heaven with some jam and makes a great addition to a soup.


Brittany & Scott

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pot Lucks and Movie Nights

The crews of s/v Rasmus, s/v Illusion, s/v Panacea and s/v Pirat have enjoyed a little respite here in Shroud Cay. We've pretty much had this idyllic little spot of beach to ourselves and (before the giant mega yacht showed up) we feel like we're the only ones in the Bahamas. It's been great. Last night we had a fabulous 'pot luck' on the beach and we ended the night aboard Rasmus for "movie night". Scott and I lowered our dinette table and made (essentially)one giant bed where all eight of us (yes, eight of us)lounged while we watched the "Fantastic Mr. Fox", ate chocolate chips and cajun popcorn. We are most certainly not doing "without" - furthermore - we have spend pretty much ZERO dollars since entering the Bahamas and that also puts big fat grins on our faces.

Also, just fyi - we don't have "internet" connection(I am only updating this through SSB, hopefully it doesn't look too bad!) so I have been unable to update Facebook and check our gmail for the past two weeks or so, so please be patient...we are hoping to get "connected" again today or tomorrow as we make for Staniel Cay whence I will post more pretty pictures and blogs for you to enjoy!

Brittany & Scott

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Testing Blog Through SSB

We've finally got our "Sailmail" email address working. Sailmail is an email service which allows us to send and receive email* through the magic of radio waves. Scott has been feverishly working on this for the past three days and, honestly, it is nothing short of hieroglyphics to me and if I had been working on it, it would most certainly be at the bottom of Allen's Cay by now. Scott is a genius.


We are back! Hip hip hooray! We have been having an absolute blast with what has become known as the "78 Alpha Crew" (Channel 78A is what we all monitor and talk on, much like a telephone; probably to the chagrin of other cruisers in earshot); sailing, snorkeling, hiking, chilling on the beach, having long philosophical debates into the night...oh! And Scott caught his first Mahi Mahi which stuffed the 6 of us for two days in a row. Our lives are settling into a routine of simplicity and joy. Our "crew" consists of three other sailboats of young cruisers more or less like Scott and I. We have become something of a floating commune and it's great. More on them later...

The point is - we are back! More posts to come soon...Lots and lots of good fodder over here.

Brittany & Scott

*Text email only - we can't get photos

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Scott and I are cut from the same cloth when it comes to "diving in head first".  Sure, what we dive into might be different, but we both go about our passions with vigor.  Take fishing for example.  Though he has never been a 'fisherman' per se, Scott has always known that a life at sea would not be the same if one cannot enjoy it's bounty.

So he started fishing.  And then he became obsessed with fishing and the associated gear.

Every land excursion led us to a fishing store for lures, line and tips.  My brother and Scott's god-cousin(?) bestowed up on us rods and reels.  Nearly every day he tried to troll - to no avail.  He was getting frustrated.

We were a little sad to kill him.
Scott had read early on about the "cuban yoyo"* and asked fishing stores down the entire east coast if they had them.  No one seemed to know what the heck Scott was talking about until we got to Florida when he finally got one.  A "yoyo" is a simple hand line wrapped around a giant spool.  It is the most rudimentary of fishing gear, but - so far - the only one to bring anything in for us.

It happened the other night.  Scott had put the "reel" around a winch with a little shrimp lure on it.  We retired to the cabin - he took a snooze, I was reading by my head lamp.  Night was settling in.  

All of a sudden we heard a loud dragging sound on deck, jarring us from our peace.  We looked at each other - listened some more - looked at each other again - when finally Scott jumped up and said, "fish on!".

Sure enough, we caught a fish.  A beautiful skip jack at that.

...but he was good eating!
Taking a life is not easy, in fact - I really want no part of it.  When those fish look up at you with panting gills and big shiny eyes, it literally hurts my soul.  We were going to throw him back because neither of us were hungry and we have no refrigerator to keep him fresh.  But then we saw the hook...waaaaay down his throat.  And it was go time.  He was a goner.

I got the grain alcohol out and poured it down it's throat, and he quickly gave up his fight.  I got sad, Scott got sad - but we realized that we are just part of the circle of life.

And then Scott got to work filleting.

Boy was that fish good.

* Apparently they are also called just a "yoyo" as our friend, Brian, learned when he went into a fishing store and asked a clearly Cuban lad for one, which he replied a little snarky, "You mean, a yo-yo?"  Guess they don't need to be Cuban after all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Young Cruisers

Our good friends, Lara and Brian of s/v Illusion

We had heard that we, as "young" cruisers, were in the minority.  People warned us that 90% of people who are doing what we are doing are doing so in retirement.  I do believe this to be true, however, we seem to be surrounded by cruisers not in retirement.  It seems everywhere we go we are met with the smiling faces of cruisers around our age (31 and 34).  This has been a very pleasant surprise.

Right now, as I write, we are in the company of two other boats with cruisers around our age - and when we get to the Exumas, we have arranged to meet up with two more boats of young'ns.  Perhaps it's because we all some how attract each other?  Perhaps because we are all very "like minded" we are drawn to the same anchorages?  Perhaps it's dumb luck?  Perhaps it's woven into all of our destinies?  Whatever the case - it is a lot of fun to be cruising with some folks our age.  Not to say we don't enjoy the older cruising folk either - because we do!  Many have become dear friends and mentors - but there is something nice about being surrounded by your peers.

I think our generation is a very unique one.  (Some of us) have learned that life is not about stockpiling away riches for the future, working one job in misery for twenty years only to look back and wish you had done something more...We want to live simple, healthy lives; see the world; and connect in a way that only our generation has been able to do.  Sure, we might be spoiled (comparatively).  Sure, we might like instant gratification.  Sure, we might not have any substancial retirement funding...but either will a lot of good people who did things "right" thanks to some greedy folks on Wall Street.

Life is too short.  Although I am only 31 I know this.  I can feel it everyday.  From what I hear, it just keeps getting faster and faster.  I just re-read Steven Callahan's book "Adrift" about his miraculous 76-day survival at sea and I think he says it best when he says, "...we cannot control our destinies, but we can help to shape them; we must try to make life hop a bit, but we must also accept that we can only do the best that we can."  Seems like there are a lot of people out there, young and old, shaking a leg, and making life "hop" to the best of their ability.

PS.  Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Drawing A Wish

School assignment: "Think of one wish, and draw about it."

Our niece, Nycole's, masterpiece: A boat.

Her Description: "If I had one wish, I wish I could take a vacation on Uncle Scott and Aunt Brittany's boat. Can I please do that again Mommy?" 

How precious is that?  I love it. And Nycole - yes you can!

What would you draw if you could draw a wish?

Brittany & Scott

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Blog, or not To Blog

Burden?  Not exactly...
A reader asked me a very interesting question the other day (in the form of a very generous comment). He wrote, "...I was going to write just before you left for the Bahamas and ask if you thought the blog and facebook and stuff was going to conflict with the lifestyle that draws you to your adventure".

I think it is a very valid question and one that I had to think about. As in anything in life - the answer is not black and white. There is definitely a sense of duty I feel to this blog and I do feel a slight (very slight) anxiety if I am unable to post to it with some sort of frequency. This is a problem when we are somewhere without Internet for a few days or so - but it does not hinder my enjoyment of enjoying everything else that we are experiencing.

I absolutely love writing and sharing this adventure with you all. It has become not only a hobby of sorts, but a passion. It is something I truly love to do. Some people knit, some whittle wood, some fish - I blog. It is not a burden, but a pleasure. When we experience something - be it big or small - my instinct is to think of ways to describe it to people so that they understand. The human experience is about sharing - and this is the way I share. We have made so many friendships through this blog, gotten some great advice and it has even been (a teensy bit) lucrative for us. The sense of duty I feel to post comes more from me than anywhere else. When I do something, I do it full on. There is no halfway. Diving in head first has always been my style. Reckless, perhaps - but it's just my nature.

So no, it does not conflict with my lifestyle (on the flip side, if Scott was posting every day - he would be miserable! It's just not his thing) and, in fact, I believe it enriches the experience for me. Being able to write and share enables me to always see things through fresh eyes. To each his own, as they say.

What's even more is that people seem to really like it which is just icing on the cake. We get oodles of email from people all over the world telling us how we inspire them, how reading about us following our dream has inspired or re-kindled theirs, how they just simply love to check in and see how we're doing. It's like we are all one big happy family and that is pretty darn neat.

So, for the time - I'll keep blogging (when the Internet gods allow). And if it does become a burden and no longer provides me with joy, I will stop. But for the time being, I want to keep sharing experiences and telling stories. Because to me, that is what life is all about.


Brittany & Scott

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lessons from Robinson Crusoe

I am currently reading Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and all I've got to say is WOW!  What a life this epic character led!  Driven a by the lust for the sea, he leaves home as a teen, gets shipwrecked, gets back on another ship only to be captured by pirates, becomes a slave to said pirates, escapes on another ship, becomes a prosperous land owner in Spain, gets on yet another ship whence, finally, he was shipwrecked for the last (I think?) time on the deserted island we readers and non-readers alike all have come to know.  All before the rip old age of twenty-seven.

The book is magnificent and despite it's heavy 18th Century English it continues to resonate with me.  While his circumstances are much more extreme and dire than ours, I find so many parallels between what Crusoe is going through and our cruising experience.

There is something beautiful (and, possibly, tragic?) about how a life can drastically change shape based on choice and circumstance.  For example, Crusoe makes this observation, "In a word, the nature and experience of things dictated to me upon just reflection that all the good things of this world are no farther good to us than they are for our use."  While he had a chest full of gold and silver, it was of no use to him on his deserted island - yet he would have done just about anything for a pair of shoes.  Again, we are not at all living in such bleak circumstances - but it seems each and every day we shed something of our former land life.  Make-up is a think of the past - as are daily showers.  People no longer ask "What do you do?" because, out here, it doesn't matter.  Instead of the news we listen to the weather, and each and every day we continue to learn how easy it is to live without the modern-day conveniences that we had previously grown so accustomed.  It's an interesting study, for sure.

This is, however, a life of extremes.  Crusoe says it best when he says (after discovering Cannibals live on his island, where he thought he was alone and walked around freely for twenty-some years), "How strange a checker-work of Providence is the life of man!...Today we love what tomorrow we hate; today we seek what tomorrow we shun; today we desire what tomorrow we fear.....Such is the uneven state of human life...".  What a great, honest, oh-so human observation and one that we who live on the sea deal with daily.  Today we love our engine when tomorrow we might curse it; today we enjoy a peaceful calm anchorage when tomorrow we might awake in the midst of a squall; today the sea is calm as glass and our friend when tomorrow she might be angry as hell and our mortal enemy.  You just never know what is in store...

So many observations, so many insights, so much to be learned from books and extreme circumstances. Lessons on fate, on destiny, on making one's lot in life and choices.  Just thought I'd share.


Brittany & Scott

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Anchor Management

We read in our guide book that anchoring in Nassau Harbor was tricky.  The holding isn't good, there are strong currents, and you are subject to the wake of all sorts of traffic from cruise ships to whalers...ugh.

The thing is this:  anchoring is free.  That equals zero dollars which is equal to more beer.  No brainer, right?

So we opted to anchor.  We felt that with our 275 feet of chain and our (way) oversized 55lb anchor we'd fair okay.

Anchoring is an art that we have admittedly not quite mastered.  There is so much to factor in - from length of scope (that's the amount of chain you let out, usually either 5 to 7 feet for every 1 foot of water), to swing room (your boat will pivot on anchor, it will not stay in one place); current, wind, and tide also play a big roles.  But most important is staying clear of other boats so you don't swing or drag into them.  That is a major boo-boo and a big no-no.

This particular anchorage was a little crowded and Scott and I dropped and retrieved our anchor twice before coming to what we thought was our final resting place.  Just as the sun set and we kicked back with some wine and ukelele tunes - a local man who was quite over-served dinghyed over to us and started cursing and swearing like a crazy man and kept saying something like, "@#@()#*&()@*&$ two anchors! #$)(&@$@)* two ya hear what I'm saying...@#*&^@ do ya understand?!"  Thinking this guy was - quite literally - crazy - we weren't sure what to do - but after some time we realized he wanted us to have to anchors down so we didn't swing into his boat (due to the current here).  He was right.  He, in his own little way, was trying to be helpful.  We decided to just move.

I'm guessing he felt bad because shortly after we started pulling up anchor he dinghyed back over to our boat to try to explain the Bahamian Moor style of anchoring (with a lot less cursing), all the while slurring his words as he bobbed about in his boat.  He was even nice enough to offer to come over at 8am the next morning to teach us more.  Neither of us were surprised when he didn't show.  That must have been some hangover.

After three attempts to set our anchor, we finally got it dug in.  It turned out to be a win/win.  We learned how to set a Bahamian moor anchor (though did not do it) and found a better place to anchor just a few hundred feet from where we were - with plenty of room to swing and pivot to our little hearts desire.  Believe it or not, there is a lot of peace of mind in that.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Fun with the Chute

The spinnaker (...or chute, or kite...) might just be my favorite sail of all.  Not only is it beautiful - it is light, powerful, and if you are flying it - it means you are sailing downwind, which is (usually) a very comfy and efficient point of sail.  However, as in everything in life - there is a yin to this yang.  The downside of this sail is also that it is notoriously tough to handle and can be dangerous if the sailor isn't in control of it.  Lots of cruisers seem scared of their spinnakers for some reason.  Being former racing sailors with a spinnaker tacker (see it on the furler?) we are not.

We knew we had a spinnaker, but we had never used it before yesterday.  We left Frazer's Hog Cay early in the morning with the hopes of meeting the forecasted 12-15 knots of north wind that were expected and taking them all the way to Nassau.  Alas, they never came and we were left with a meager 5 knots instead.  Sigh.  What to do?  We were fledging alongside our friends, Lara and Brian, when Scott got the idea that we should try to fly our kites.  Brilliant! The wind was light, the conditions were right and after some fumbling around with sock, I figured it out and got her flying.  Isn't she a beauty?  

We sailed along like this for a while, and while we were making good speed based on the wind conditions, we wouldn't have arrived in Nassau until today so we all opted to motor along to speed things up.  Kind of a bummer, but c'est la vie!

So we are here in Nassau, staging for the Exumas.  We are anchored in the harbor; running errands and getting a few things (like a couple of cases of delicious Kalik Bahamian beer!).  While prices are higher here than in the US, they are cheaper than they will be anywhere else being that this is the most populated city of all the islands (something crazy like 70% of the people who live in the Bahamas live here). One must-get item?  A (plexi)glass-bottomed bucket* which we now own and which I am VERY excited about!


Brittany & Scott

*These (we hear) are great for checking your anchor setting when you don't feel like diving it, for looking for good snorkel spots, and just looking at sea life from the comfort of your dinghy!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

This is what Cruising Feels Like...

Kicking back with the sun on your toes, a warm breeze on your face, a sky so magnificent it actually looks photo-shopped...and your dishtowels drying.  All kidding aside,  this picture somehow just captures the essence for me.  Makes me smile.


Brittany & Scott

PS.  If you want to know more about where we are, what we're doing and pics to prove it - join our Facebook page!  Lot's to see over there!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

We are DEFINITELY in the Islands, Mon...

Today we are headed for the Berry Islands - we read that they are totally underutilized by the cruising community and if you are going to find that anchorage where you are all alone, it's there.  We kind of liked the sound of that!

Brittany & Scott

Friday, February 04, 2011

In the Bahamas

Sunrise in the Gulf Stream

At long last, we are finally in the Bahamas!  I don't know how to explain the feeling of finally accomplishing this first "big goal" but let me tell you - it is like a big, happy, sigh.  In through the nose, out through the mouth style.  The team of Scott, myself and (of course), Rasmus have come a long way and we couldn't be more proud.

After making a quick breakfast, doing a final weather check, checking the engine fluids and doing one last "once over" of the boat to make sure all systems were "go" - we left at the unruly hour of 4am from Biscayne Bay with our good friends Brian and Lara behind us in their boat Illusion.  The wind (as predicted) was directly out of the East (on the nose, shocker!) so the plan was to motor across the stream as fast as possible and get our boats to crystal blue water.

The night's air was thick, damp and warm as our two little boats motored out for open water in the quiet stillness of the night...

The passage was (wonderfully) uneventful.  We did motor through a feeding frenzy of some type of school fish but even more spectacular were the thousands upon thousands of Portuguese man of wars that were all over the place.  I'm not sure if it's some sort of migration season or what, but if anyone had the hankering for a swim out there it would not have been pretty.  As I watched all of them bobbing on the water, I was struck again by how amazingly ornate, beautiful and odd creatures from the sea are.  If you have never seen one - take a look at this pic.  Nature is pretty damn amazing, I gotta say.

As the hours slowly passed us, Scott and I just sat in the cockpit - thinking, talking, observing.  It was wonderful.  Scott's calculated course of 110 degrees* was spot on, and the stream brought us right where we wanted to go.  She was tame this day.

We made landfall around 2pm, complete with howls and yelps as we watched the amazing water change from Persian blue to teal to crystal-clear turquoise.  This water is truly (truly) take your breath away clear.  Again... nature - what a thing.

We are here folks.  We have arrived!

Flying the Bahamian flag, a must-do courtesy when sailing abroad.

Brittany & Scott

PS.  Future cruisers, Bimini offers a great place to check in.  We are at the Seacrest Marina.  Not only are they a mere 85 cents a foot, but they will provide you with the proper paperwork and customs is a hop, skip and a jump away.   We had read to 'dress up' for immigration - so Scott and Brian did and we cleared in in a matter of minutes without a hitch (and we each got 150 days!).  Of course it's because they looked so fine!  Be sure to "LIKE" us on Facebook and you can see ALL the pics! 

*Note to cruisers:  When calculating your course, you draw a "rhumb" line to where you want to go (this is the most direct point from A to B) and then you must factor in (the WHOLE way) a 2 knot current pushing you North.  You then subtract that from your original course and draw that line and sail to that point (significantly further south then where we "wanted" to go).  As loyal readers know, I am terrible at math - so Scott did the number crunching as was pretty much spot on.  You can learn more here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Bahamas Bound

Image courtesy of

The weather has been checked...
The charts have been plotted...
The deck has been scrubbed...
The guidebooks poured over...
The stores have been stowed...
The spares have been bought...
The deck has been lashed...
Food has been pre-made...
Paradise awaits!

All that is left to do is top off our diesel tank and we are good to go.  We will be leaving around 4am and should be arriving in North Bimini around 2pm.  We would appreciate any and all positive vibes and thoughts if you feel so inclined - see you on the flip side everyone!

Ready or not, here we come!

Brittany & Scott

PS.  Don't forget to join our Facebook page!  We update it a little more frequently and impromptu - you can get your Windtraveler fix in small bites! :)
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