A Red, White and Blue Land Ho!


I bet you thought Captain Letskeepgoing got his way and we sailed off into the great blue yonder.  Or perhaps you thought a giant kraken finally sunk his teeth into us and we were nothing but kraken caca.  No, no.  We are safely in Marco woefully dismantling Echoes for her season of rest on the dock.


Our return trip was another cosmic ride in the transitions elevator only this time from sea level to land.  We began the return with a glorious nine hour sail to anchor completely alone on the Mackie Shoal with nothing but sea around us for over thirty miles in any direction.  We were alone because others wisely waited as the seas were a bit unsettled.  We bounced around uncomfortably at anchor until it settled down in the wee hours.


From there we had another lonnnng day until we reached Cat Cay and anchored for a couple of nights to wait for the appropriate weather to cross the gulf stream.  We enjoyed a couple of quiet days swimming,


Captain Makingswimangels

watching a remora sleep,


and gathering our wits to return to the states.


We watched a beautiful sunrise behind us as we left Cat Cay to cross the gulf stream.  After nearly four months on the water the seas turned to an eerie, glassy reflection for the first time.   I reflected in its reflection.


I reflected on the beautiful, friendly Bahamian people we have come to love along with their relaxed way of life.  No one is a stranger to them.  If you are there, you are theirs.  For instance, a little boy ran out of his house and stood in the road when he saw us coming up the street.  NONE shall pass!!  he yelled, Until SIMON says!  And so we laughed and played and earned our right to continue on our way.   Everyone who drives by you waves or asks if you want a ride.  A grocery store clerk told us at length how she wrecked her eyesight by working in an office cubicle but now that she can see the sea her eyesight is getting better.  She told us this long story as there were a line of five people waiting and no one seemed to be bothered by the delay.   It is rude not to make small talk with everyone you meet.   I reflected on the joy of receiving basic human acceptance.  Bahamians don’t look through you or try to hurry you along out of their way.  It is heartwarming to be seen by a whole entire community.


It was if all my kraken fearing stress had finally worn the darn sea out.  Even when we reached the gulf stream the waves were nothing but a little role.  We did get a bit concerned when we smelled smoke.  I took my professional sniffer (I do smell research when I’m home in Minnesota) into the cabin to make sure it wasn’t coming from there.  It wasn’t.  We noticed a haze in the sky and realized it was smog from Miami as we approached.  What a difference a mere fifty plus miles across the sea makes.  It was a bit of a culture shock.  We went from buying local fish from a couple of teenagers to standing in Fresh Market in Coconut Grove awestruck.  I swear we were in the grocery store for two hours spinning on the possibilities.  An hour of that was in the wine section.  And then we went out to glorious restaurants… Indian, Italian.  The first night, we were a mile off of our mooring ball and a block from the marina when Captain We’renotintheBahamasanymore realized he was barefoot.  We had to stop and buy slides for him.  Mostly, Captain Itsthebestwaytoshop laments that he can’t drink beer while grocery shopping.  I realized quite suddenly as I was surrounded by Miami TV type beauty that I look like a ship hippy; no make up, my hair hasn’t been cut or colored since December, my clothes are functional, are sorta cleanish and who wears a bra on a boat?  Miami was enjoyable but shocking.


We worked our way down the keys as far as Fiesta Cay.  We had a special private party with a rack of lamb, shiraz, a full moon rise followed by heat lightning and dolphin swimming around our private anchorage.  It was a memorable night.  A few days later we chose a new route that uses the intracoastal to reach the Everglades sooner.  It was fun to try new navigation but it was stressfully shallow and we hit a submerged piling of some sort even though we were going very slow.  BAYAYAYAYNG!  It was scary.  Captain Igottoseethis dove our keel and said there is a nice, large semicircle dent in the iron keel.  We won’t take that short cut again.

We love the Everglades.  There are miles and miles to get lost fishing in.  The birds are back in their splendor and plenty because of the fresh water.  It is beautiful and abandoned.  We enjoyed gunkholing and our last days at sea.  Our boys and daughter in love were coming to Marco in a week to visit.  We had much to look forward to.


We have limited cellular access in the Everglades but I received notice that my dad was in the hospital.  We got to Marco as fast as we could and went from the dock to the hospital.  He had a kidney infection, blood infection and double pneumonia.  The night before I arrived my mom was in the hospital with a kidney infection although she refused to be admitted.  They like to do things together.  Remember my post on my dad, my hero?  It is fitting I started this years blog adventure with him and end it talking about him as well.  He is an inspiration and he just happens to be my biggest blog fan.  I was going through his paperwork and bills and found mounds of printed blog posts.  My, I am prolific!  My dad is stable now, he is in his retirement center in the Chicago area and we have hope he will be back to his golfing, dancing, joking ways soon.  But it was touch and go and a difficult two weeks.  I do not believe in coincidences.  Once I got to Miami I downloaded the book Echoes’ previous owner wrote, Selah in the Storm, by Ana Donovitch, that I mentioned in a previous post.  I read about her trouble with Florida healthcare after her Captain was tragically hit by a car.  Ana’s book helped to prepare me to earn the hospital staff’s nickname for me, the General.  I am thankful for Echoes, Selah, Ana’s book and the universe’s timing.

Tomorrow we will be driving in a meandering way back to Stillwater, Minnesota via St Augustine, Nashville, Kansas City, Chicago and home.  As we tuck Echoes in I am melancholy leaving her behind but am so incredibly grateful for our adventures this year and super excited to explore more of the Bahamas next year.  Maybe we will stay a little longer.  At the same time, I am reminded of truly the greatest adventure of all.  The adventures of the heart.  Like sailing, love is a privilege, a pleasure and often a pain in the ass.   Like all great adventures there are storms, bugs, kraken, smooth and rough seas, and wondrous surprises.  Never take the people and the love you have for granted.  Never stop stirring up new love adventures in this great big beautiful world full of crazy people that are hungry to love you back.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent, celebrate, refelct and poke fun at Captain Nowhedoesn’tgettotellmewhattodoalldaylong!  Captain Myspecialloverwhotakesmeongreatadventures and I look forward to blogging and sharing with you next year.



To Great Harbor Cay Marina



We anchored at Royal Island to position ourselves for an early departure for a long sail to the Berry Islands.  It was rough and roly and I was wrassling with B.P. who was being a big B.  She ripped the snubber out of my hand.  The snubber sank along with Captain Iknowwhathewasthinking’s mood.  He jumped in the water and dove often and deep to finally find and retrieve it.


The snubber is the rope with the black plastic.  It hooks on the chain and you cleet the other end off on the boat.  I works as a shock absorber and also reduces wear on your boat from the chain.

Before we anchored we took Echoes out the unfamiliar and unmarked cut we would be using the next early morning so that we could follow the breadcrumbs on our navigation unit when we left in the dark.  We awoke at 5:00 am to begin our full day sail.  We put up the sails and followed our breadcrumbs out to the Providence Channel as the sky began to brighten.  Unfortunately, the wind was worn out and was determined once again to give all humankind weather predictors the middle finger.  We took the sails down and engined for eleven hours.

At long last we dropped B.P. after Captain Optomizeoptomizeoptomize checked out a gazillion possible anchor spots on two different islands.  We grilled the last of Elmer the Mahi.  Mmmmm.


We sailed the following day for six hours through some persistent and wicked rain to Great Harbor Cay Marina.  There was heavier weather coming with fifty mph gusts predicted for the next couple of days.  The marina was packed full and had to turn away boats looking for safe harbor.  That night the marina hosted a pot luck with music from the cruisers.  Some friendly retired musicians on a beautiful and spacious power cat brought out their keyboard, amps, disco lights and microphones.

20180414_202450 The professional couple were accomplished musicians and singers but leaned toward show tunes and hymns with heavy falsetto.  A marina employee jumped in and picked up the pace a bit.  Average Joe finally worked up his nerve to come to the mike for his first public appearance with his out of tune guitar.  He sang Cover of the Rolling Stone with a cracky voice and the crowd went wild.  That gave courage to a barrage of shoddy musicians with excellent taste in music and the crowd doubled in size, singing and dancing.


It was here that we met Charlotte and Diane and the research vessel Garvin’s team.  Garvin was a boat full of thirteen Marine Biologist PHDs and PHD students on a trip to repair and collect data on echo tracking devices for whales.  There are five kinds of whales in the Bahamas.   Charlotte and Diane own and operate the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization.   Google their website, watch some cool videos about whales and leave a donation!  We told them about Echoes, from the Pink Floyd song :), and how our boat’s name is related to the Echoes of whale calls.  They were giving a presentation to the other scientists gathering information with them.  They invited us aboard Garvin the following morning to attend.


It was a two hour, fascinating presentation on everything whale.   I particularly enjoyed hearing about gathering whale doo doo to analyze diet and stress hormones .   Some whale species’ keester cakes float and some sink.   It is not easy to collect.  The collectors are dragged along the side a boat (the sharks are more likely to attack if drug behind the boat) until a whale blasts a deuce.  It is a voluminous affair.  Then they have to dive through it to collect it in special nets.  We learned that the Sperm whales in the Bahamas are smaller than Sperm whales in other parts of the world.  They believe this may be due to limited feeding ground and dwindling food supply.  Also, they are working with MIT as they are finding dead beaked whales with blown out eardrums due to the Navy using a part of the Providence channel to practice submarine sonic cat and mouse mock warfare.   They are trying to find a way to protect whales from entering these waters during these times.  These ladies have dedicated a whale share of their lives to whales.  We were grateful to have spent time with them, their lively group and to learn a great deal about whales.  And, they were just plain fun.



Spanish Wells



Spanish Wells is a small town on the tip of Eleuthera that got its name from the Spaniards in the seventeenth century who used this as a safe harbor while they transported their riches from the new world to the old.  Now it is a fishing village that exports eighty percent of the fish and lobster that come from the Bahamas.  The residents are hard working, industrious and take great pride in their boats, homes and town.  It is a vibrant fishing village of charm and color.


Some residents use their yards as a canvas of sea art.  The flowers you see on the ground are made from shells.


As is Captain Optomiseishismiddlename’s custom, we first checked out several anchorages, then tried to get a mooring ball but it was too shallow, then tried an anchorage only to abandon that and go to the Yacht Haven Marina.  Squalls were coming and we would sleep better being tucked in.


It had been over a month since our last marina stay.  It is luxurious just to step off your boat and be right in town.  We prefer to anchor for a number of reasons.  One, it is more private and two, it is free.  The marinas in the Bahamas charge anywhere from $2.00 to $4.25 per foot (multiply your boat’s length), per night.  Plus they meter and charge for electricity and water.  This marina cost us about $100.00 to stay the night.  We heard that Freedom, the million dollar restoration behind us, was once John F Kennedy’s boat.  Freedom was the talk of the marina.


We took a long walk around town.


And enjoyed a glass of wine.


The Lazy Pot Coffee Shop at the boatyard was open twenty four hours a day.  Just leave a quarter in the jar, or not.

The town was alive and working well into the night.


Spanish Wells
Preaches pastels
Boats and shells
Shipyard bells
Tall tales tell
Of mermaid spells
Bringing fish on ocean swells


Alabaster, Current Cut and Royal Island


We sailed along with Soul Divers stopping at several unpopulated anchorages.   We enjoyed a couple of beaches and few quiet inlets.


We had some beautiful, long sails.  Soul Divers deployed their spinnaker sail as the wind was calm and just right.  It was a thing of beauty.


Echoes had her best sail of the trip so far on the way to Current Cut.  She had a bone in her teeth and slid over the water like it was ice.  She flew so fast that we had to purposefully slow her down so we could go through Current Cut at slack tide.



As we approached Current Cut the kraken stirred in waiting.  I saw a tentacled arm reach out for Echoes as he kicked his other seven legs with the current against our way.  But the weather was much calmer than on our maiden trip through the cut and Echoes has proven herself tenacious.  She drove right through the krakens’ churning breeding ground with her mast held high.


Image complimentary of Dr. Googlesearch.  I love this one because the kraken are trying to steal wine.  My worst nightmare!


We set anchor outside the cut and settled in for the night.  It was a long, hot day and I was considering a swim and a transom shower.  Captain Theycanlookatmybuttiftheywantto takes all his showers off the back of the boat but I am a little more finicky and don’t like a possible audience while I shower.  Some extra water usage is worth it to me.  Captian Nevertiresofgivingdirection was encouraging me to see the transom shower light.  Let me show you how to do it, he said.  Believe it or not, I replied, Even with my squirrel sized brain, I already know how to bathe.  First…, he demonstrated ignoring me, you soap up your head.  Then, you move to your torso.  I interjected, I don’t start with my head because soap gets in my eyes….the legs, he was still talking over me and demonstrating and rubbing his stinging eyes.  Then you move on to, and here I will leave out the rest of the lecture.  Then, he said at last, you jump in for the sea water rinse before the fresh water rinse.  Splash!  And then, Ooouuch!  Or perhaps it was a more sailorly exclamation.  He was stung by Jezebel the jellyfish all the way up his arm and onto his shoulder.  Captain Countinghisluckystars was grateful the sting was not located somewhere more personal.


Needless to say, I did not take a transom shower that night.  The Jezebel sting stuck around to burn and then itch for days and days.


It has left a bit of a scar.   Captain Brightside said, Well, at least we got some use out of our $300.00 first aid medical kit.  Shhhh,  don’t tell him vinegar works just as well as the jelly sting ointment.


Five days after the sting


Soul Divers was continuing on to sail the Ababcos and Captain PoutyMcPoutFace and I were heading slowly back to the states via the Berry Islands.  We had buddy boated with Soul Divers for a month and so enjoyed their companionship.  Matt is a retired Major in the Air Force and a licensed Captain which is an admirable and difficult accomplishment as well.  I will miss his sailing expertise, passion for anything on or underwater and his fantastic sense of humor.  I will miss Sadie’s generosity in all things material and of the heart, her quiet capability and her glorious food.  At the Royal Island anchorage they had us over for a princess worthy bon voyage meal of homemade pizza (including from scratch pizza dough) and avocado salad, mouth wateringly scrumptious.


My heart ached when we woke up the next day and they had left already.  Baby dolphins jumped in the space where Soul Divers had vacated.  Fair winds and following seas, Soul Divers.



Governor’s Harbour and Cupid’s Cay


We turned the screw (engined) from Black Sound to Governor’s Harbour as the wind was on our nose.  This is Captain Instantlyexcitedandboyish’s favorite time to troll for fish because we can stop on a dime when we hear the reel drag.  He put on his favorite yellow jig and we pointed Echoes north for a couple of hours ride.  We were settled into a long blue water day dream when we heard the tell tale drag of the line.  Captain Giddywithaculinaryplan pulled in Cyrano de Bergerac the Cero Mackerel.  Captain Fillet-o-fish very meticulously cleaned Cyrano minutes after landing him while underway and tossed him in the fridge.  Two hours later we had Matt and Sadie over for all of the Mackerel Sashimi (raw sliced fish) dipped in soy and wasabi that we could eat.


It was delicate, soft and delicious.  The princess was happy.  Sadie purred with every bite.


The Captains Carnivores growled satisfactorily.

We followed up our sashimi with an unusual food pairing of grilled hot Italians served on a toasted bun with of a slice of provolone, smothered with Italian red sauce and sprinkled with raw onion.  I even had a mouth watering Montepulciano to serve with it to work its magic on Matt.  We are moving in the right direction for another conversion for the winos.  Properly fueled, we were ready to join the party in town at the Anchor Bay Fish Fry.


The above quaint building hosts the Friday night Fish Fry and street party at Governor’s Harbour.  Do not let the totes adorbs looks deceive you.  There are gallons of their “World’s Famous Rum Bubbas” in there.


Rum Bubbas are made with rum, punch, rum, rum and a whole lot of dancing juice.  It is quite the locals and cruisers party.


There was a limbo contest.  This was the ending and the winning contestant.  Are you kidding me?


And then the dancing began.  By this time Sadie and I had a couple of Rum Bubbas swimming in our blood stream and we were wiggly.  So we joined the dance and shook out our happiness.  Shortly,  a short local gentleman came to dance with Sadie.  I am using the word short generously.  I think maybe “little person” might be a more accurate description.  Anyway, he would put his arms around Sadie while dancing and his arms would conveniently extend from his shoulders and wrap around her stern, her fanny, her patootie, her badonkadonk, you get me?  The Captains Wedon’tdance were hanging out nearby.    Shortstop would look over and when Matt made eye contact with him his arms would quickly reach up to her waist but as soon as Matt turned his head his arms would quite naturally and understandably fall to a more comfortable level around her magnetic gluteus maximus.  My belly hurt the next day from laughing so hard.  And maybe for other reasons, too.


Read the sign.  🙂

The following day we woke up to bucking roly polys.  Echoes was anchored in a particularly bouncy section of the anchorage and we later ended up moving her becasue of it.  I turn green in these conditions normally so this particular morning I could not get off that boat fast enough.  We spent the day in town like four teenagers loitering.  We had a long lunch at Buccaneer.


Who did we have lunch with you ask?  Rickrack the little baby lamb in a diaper having a bottle of milk.


We hung out in the park with a beer each in little paper bags because the cashier told us the bags provide insulation.  The friendly locals would come and hang with us in the park for a while.


We made friends with Dr. Seabreeze the world famous calypso singer.


We ate some memorable BBQ and then hung out with the artists of this wonderful creation.

Governor’s Harbour is truly my favorite city in the Bahamas.


Return to Rock Sound, Eleuthera



It was a sublime sailing day for our sail from Cambridge Cay in the Exumas to Rock Sound, Eleuthera.  Captain Idon’twanttogonorth and I are slowly meandering our way back to the states.  We were  happy to be sailing with Soul Divers as neither of us had pictures of our boats under sail.  We threw up our sails, set up the fishing poles and enjoyed a long, picture perfect day.  I asked Captain Inhisglory if he could sail a little closer to Soul Divers so I could take a picture.  As we approached they began to slow down.  No, they’ve given up on trying to ditch us, it wasn’t that.


Souls Divers

Look closely at Matt’s fishing pole.  He was wrestling with a fish.  It is difficult to catch large fish on a sailboat because you can’t just stop suddenly.   Also, sailboats aren’t designed to reel in or land fish easily.  It takes a bit of panache.  Sadie sprang into action, pulled in both sails and slowed the boat down.  Matt tied himself to the boat with a belt so he wouldn’t be pulled over.  We sailed on but watched the beginning of the catch.  Thirty five minutes later they landed a big Mahi.  Sadie named him Elmer because he looked like Elmer Fudd.   They guessed Elmer to be about four and a half feet and around thirty five pounds.


They filleted Elmer up once they were underway again.  Check out Sadie’s technique of rolling back the skin and ripping it off the meat.


The consumption of Elmer was rapturous.  Sadie made Mahi Ceviche to start with.  Ceviche is a process where the raw fish is “cooked” in the acid of fresh lime juice.  Then she added jalapeno, yellow pepper, red onion, avocado, seeded roma tomato, salt and pepper.   We ate it with corn chips. That was just the appetiser.  For dinner they grilled marinated mahi and served it with a cucumber/carrot salad and fried rice.  We ate like royalty and until we were about to burst.


Although Elmer was clearly the highlight of Rock Sound, we also enjoyed checking out some caves.


There were lots of little bats and also a lot of mosquitoes in the caves.  The tree roots were fascinating.


We hiked on a hot afternoon to the Ocean Hole.  Jacque Cousteau explored this mysterious ocean hole.


We cooled off in the ocean hole water which is rumored to have healing powers.  All hangovers magically disappeared!


Rock Sound is an excellent stop for provisioning so we stocked up at the best grocery store I’ve found in the Bahamas and also, liquor (WINE!!!  Oh happy, happy day!) and of course, Evon’s bakery that she sells at the hardware store.   I was happy to be back in Eleuthera!


Soul Divers gaining on us

Cambridge Cay

The Cambridge Cay story is best told picture book style.

Once upon a time there was a Sea Princess who went to Cambridge Cay Fairytale land in the Exumas Land and Sea Park.


The Sea Princess and her Captain Notalwayscharming picked up a mooring ball.  A mooring ball is a tethered, secured line you hook up to your boat.


The witchy anchor B.P. was happy to have a well deserved rest.


There was a friendly host boat that collected the $20.00 a night mooring fee and told sea travelers wonderful stories on where to go and see magical things.


There were big Beyonchee (what Captain Notquiterightinthehead calls Beyonce) types of fancy schmancy boats.  The Sea Princess wanted one.  She wondered if she could at least sneak aboard for a bottle of excellent wine and a long hot shower.  But the Sea Princess forgot her robe that makes her invisible so she had to drink vodka sodas and bathe with a cup of cold water.


Big Blue Shmancy boat wanted the host boat’s mooring site as they liked the host’s location the best and Big Blue was the best.   Big Blue asked if they could pay the hosts to move their boat to another ball.  The hosts said Big Blue didn’t have to pay them but they should bring some water and diesel to the little YoungandDumb sailboat that was in a pickle because they didn’t plan properly and were stuck and thirsty.  Big Blue sent their not so little tender with their not so little, handsome crew members to deliver the water and diesel to YoungandDumb in jerry jugs.  The Sea Princess enjoyed this very much.


That day the Sea Princess and Captain Needstobuyheracrown went snorkeling with Soul Divers.  Matt and Sadie are gopro profun let’sgo pros.  We swam around a little plane that crashed to the bottom of the sea.


Someone may have crashed the plane on purpose because it was probably filled with magical pills that took some customers to magical lands and made the sellers very rich.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0140.Then we went to snorkel the Coral Garden.  The Coral Garden  is a cleaning station for fish.  The Sea Princess doesn’t like to clean but she doesn’t mind if the fish do.  The fish made a pact.  The big fish promise not to eat the little fish if the little fish will eat the annoying parasites that cling to them.  The big fish will even open their mouths to let the little fish clean their teeth just like the dentist.


The Sergeant Majors above ate all of Captain Fullofhotair’s hair.


The Sea Princess and her friends have been looking for Bob Lobster’s cousins before lobster season ended because they wanted to eat them.  Matt played tag with one around a reef for a while but lobsters are faster than you would imagine and they hide in holes.  Matt has a tickle stick to taunt Bob’s cousins out of hiding and then he puts a net behind them as they swim backwards.


Bob boldy came out to flip us the bird now that lobster season is over and we were in a protected park anyway.  This is from my cousins, he said.


That evening it rained just long enough to make two rainbows to frame the magic land.


Then there was cloud entertainment.


Mr. Messyhairbigheadman blocked the sunset.


I asked Captain Alwayspredictable what he wanted for dinner and he said, Mmmmmeat!  We had steak with grilled, roasted asparagus and potatoes.


The next day the four friends went on a beautiful hike around the magical land.  We walked around the island in a circle.


At the end of the walk we had to wade waist deep in the bright blue sea to get back to the dinghy.  The Sea Princess took off her shorts and carried them above her head as even semi fresh laundry is precious to her.  She was wearing black underwear so she figured no one would know it wasn’t a swimsuit bottom.  Captain Thinkshe’sprettyfunny stopped purposefully to chat with a couple on the beach as the Sea Princess stood there feeling foolish.  Then Captain Willpayforthislater said really loud as we bid them farewell, DID YOU ENJOY TALKING TO STRANGERS IN YOUR UNDERWEAR?  The Sea Princess did not.


Next we took our dinghies to snorkel in the crazy Rocky Dundas caves.


They had tremendous stalactite and stalagmite formations that looked like the many tails of a scary cave monster.


The Sea Princess hit the wrong setting on Soul Diver’s gopro and accidently took five hundred rapid fire out of focus pictures and chewed up their batteries.  She is not allowed near it anymore and Captain Meanman said to them, I told you so.


On the snorkel between the two caves Sadie found Sleepy the nurse shark.


This living coral wonder took over two hundred years to grow.  It has tons of little coral polyps that are mostly stomachs with mouths and they like to eat algae.  Gross.


This is Smiley the puffer fish.  We see you.


The second cave was even more of a wonder.


Next we got into our dinghies and went a mile or two to check out the infamous bubble bath.  We walked along a creek.


We reached the cliffs by the Atlantic side.


It was a mystical place with hundreds of rock temples.


There was a bath where you sit and wait for the waves to crash over you with a bubbly tickle.


The Sea Princess took a long bubble bath.  The bubbles were cold.


Most of us were worn out after a long, fun day but Matt still had some wiggle in him.


The Sea Princess had a royal last day in the magical Exumas kingdom.  She fell asleep grateful and happy and dreamed of more enchanting seas beckoning to her.


The End.