Casey 2009

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6 June 2009

Hi Gang,

This is old news to some of you because you have been part of our activities since arriving back in the port of Niceville.  Carolina Breeze has been tied up at her new digs for over two weeks now and her steadfast crew has been very busy ever since with activities involving family and friends.  Our crossing from Tarpon Springs was a good one although we had to motor more than we like due to headwinds for most of the trip.  We put in at Port Saint Joe and spent a couple of days there visiting relatives and relaxing before heading toward Niceville with stops at beautiful Crooked Island, Shell Island, and West Bay before taking the ICW canal into Choctawhatchee Bay.  We had intended to spend one night on the hook around Four Mile Point but wound up running from a big thunderstorm and made it all the way into Rocky Bayou before setting the hook just off the beach adjacent to where our son Matt lives.  He and one of his room mates Jason, came out for a spaghetti dinner and brought along some pizza to go with it.  The next morning we took Carolina Breeze to the dock and got her settled in.  We have had a wonderful time ever since catching up with old friends and family.  We have already spent a week at the fish camp with mom and dad and Cat's brother Marty and his wife Rossie.  Got some fresh water fishing done and did some roof repair.  Our plans for the summer include a trip to Washington State to visit our son Ian and his family for the birth of our newest grand daughter, spending lots of time at the cabin in North Carolina, and helping my Mom and Cat's dad celebrate their 80th birthdays.  Somewhere in all of that we also need to Haul Carolina Breeze and get some work done on her.  By the way, we closed on the sale of our other boat Soaring Eagle the day after we arrived back home, sad to see her leave the family but it is nice to be only a one boat owner again.  We wish you all a great summer and happy sailing.

Love,

Larry and Cat

Carolina Breeze at the dock

Carolina Breeze at the dock

Carolina Breeze at the dock

Carolina Breeze at the dock

Big Bluegill at the camp.

 

3 May 2009

Ahoy!

     The Admiral and I are spending a few days in Tarpon Springs and environs after a successful voyage around the Florida Keys and up the west coast.  We spent a few days in Marathon Harbor on a very nice city mooring before heading north and really enjoyed that cruiser friendly port.  While we were there we met up with some other cruiser's from the Niceville-Destin area, Roland and Leta Kok aboard Kokomo and Jim and Molly Edwards aboard Gitana.  We are all headed back home on slightly different schedules but maybe will make our Gulf crossing together.  We made stops at north Cape Sable (very remote part of the Everglades National Park), Marco Island, Cape Coral, Useppa Island in Pine Island Sound, Bradenton Beach and Dunedin area before reaching Tarpon Springs.  Our good friends Ade and Liz Nielsen in Cape Coral were nice enough to feed us and provide local transportation for supplies while we were there just like cousin's Marnie and Gerry Valent did for us while in Key Biscayne.  One of the highlights of cruising has been meeting up with old friends and making new ones.  We have had a ball getting reacquainted with the dolphins, bald eagles, ospreys, pelicans and manatees here in Florida.  It was surprising to us that you see very few of those critters in the Bahamas.  While in Tarpon Springs we have gotten our broken wind generator repaired by John at SVHotwire at a very reasonable price and thoroughly enjoyed the Greek cuisine at some of the local restaurants.  It had been a while since we had eaten good Greek food and John and Libbie from Hotwire were very helpful in pointing out some of the best establishments.  We had better be underway soon or I will need to increase my belt length.  The plan is to head out of here today and spend a couple of days anchored off Anclote Key enjoying the beaches and fishing before sailing for Appalachicola.  We will make stops in Port Saint Joe and Panama City area before heading up the ditch to Niceville.  Destin bridge is too low for Carolina Breeze to clear so the outside route is not a possibility.  We keep hoping that one day the bridge will be rebuilt with a higher clearance.  We are looking forward to seeing you all next chance we get.

Larry and Cat

No Name Harbor

Sunset, Marco Island

Sunset, Dunedin

Tarpon Springs Harbor

City Marina, Tarpon Springs

Pelican friend

Another pelican friend

Tarpon Springs Harbor

Sponge docks

Water front, Tarpon Springs

 

17 April 2009

Morning Boater Friends,

     We have made it back to US waters safe and still afloat!  After Matt flew back to Niceville, we cruised our way back north up the Exuma chain and made stops at all of the places that interested us.  Maybe the photos will do it justice, but it is hard to describe how beautiful the water is there. So clear and with every shade of blue possible depending on how deep it is.  We snorkeled in many different locations and were very excited by the variety of sea life we saw.  The best areas were in the Exuma Land and Sea Park which is a no take area so fortunately for the critters none ended up on our dinner plates.  Except for the few private resorts and marina's most of the islands are very lightly inhabited or uninhabited and the people there live a pretty simple life making a living working at one of the resorts, fishing, making straw items or operating businesses that depend a lot on cruiser's like us for their existence. We found them to be very friendly and helpful and nice to be around.  Also life there revolves around when the next mail boat arrives bringing supplies from Nassau or ports beyond.  Just about everyone in the settlement walks down to the community dock to meet the boat.  Departing the Exumas just south of Ship Channel Cay we made our way south of New Providence Island and over to West Bay on it's western shore for an anchorage.  From there it was up the Northwest Channel south of the Berry's and across the banks to Cat Cay for a couple of days, then on across the Gulf Stream to Key Biscayne where we are now anchored in No Name Harbor.  The entire trip was mostly uneventful with a good mix of sailing and motoring depending on the wind and waves.  The only big excitement was a midnight rescue of a fellow cruiser (pretty inexperienced single hander) who managed to get himself blown up on a sandbank off Cat Cay.  We plan to leave Key Biscayne tomorrow morning and head down the Florida Keys to Marathon where we will turn north across Florida Bay and up the Florida West Coast.  There are several stops we plan to make along the way to visit various folks so we anticipate an arrival in Niceville area around mid-May.  Enjoy the photos.  

Love,

Larry and Cat

Pigs on the beach at Big Major's Spot.

Feeding the fish at O'Brien's Cay.

Nurse sharks and fish at Compass Cay docks.

Tucker grilling burgers for cruisers at Compass Cay.

Cambridge Cay anchorage view.

Hole in Bell Rock.

Cat feeding the bananaquits at Warderick Wells.

Kayaking  a tidal creek at Shroud Cay.

Conch at Shroud Cay.

How much farther Admiral?

Tidal creeks on Shroud Cay.

 

26 March 2009

Hi Gang,

Since our last note we traveled down the Exuma chain of Cays and are now anchored in the George Town Harbor area.  Matt joined us on the boat last Saturday and we have been having a ball showing him around and introducing him to some of our cruising friends.  The wind and waves have kept us from leaving the immediate area while he is here but fortunately there is a lot of beautiful scenery here and many activities to get involved with.  The first night Matt was here we had some squalls come through with 25-30 knot winds and at three in the morning another boat drug its anchor and wound up tangled up with us so we had quite a drill at o'dark thirty to sort things out and get us settled again.  Damage to Carolina Breeze was limited to a couple of bent rail stanchions fortunately.  We finally decided to tie the other boat off our stern on a long line and get the anchor rodes untangled in the daylight.  That worked well and later in the morning we were able to dive the anchors and get us separated without further problems.  On the way down to George Town Cat and I visited several anchorages and most enjoyed Big Majors with the pigs on the beach and Black Point with a great laundry and very good happy hour at a local Bahamian bar with the crew of Silver Heels III.  We also spent one night at Lee Stocking Island and toured the Perry Institute of Marine Research there with some other cruisers.  Things were pretty slow while we were there but are expected to pick up soon with the arrival of many groups from various universities around the world for summer internships.  There is daily volleyball on the beach and well as cards, domino's, and so on at the Chat and Chill Bar on Stocking Island (no relation to Lee Stocking Island) across the harbor from George Town.  Cat, Matt and I have enjoyed getting back into volleyball with the beach crew and playing a few other games as well.  There are some good hiking trails on the island as well as some good snorkeling spots so we are not suffering from a lack of things to do.  Cat and I plan to start our trip back north for a leisurely cruise up the Exuma chain to Nassau sometime after Matt leaves on Sunday.  The weather is finally breaking so the wind and seas are forecast to subside over the next few days.  More pictures are attached.

 

Love, Captain Larry (officially) and Admiral Cat (always)

Sunset, Emerald Rock, Warderick Wells.

North mooromg field at Warderick Wells.

Relaxing with other cruisers on the porch at PIMR

Perry Institute of Marine Research (PIMR), Lee Stocking Island.

Rainbow at Rat Cay.

Cat playing volleyball at Chat and Chill.

Volleyball beach, Stocking Island, George Town harbor.

Carla Rister and other Internet warriors trying to stay connected, St. Francis Restaurant,

     Stocking Island.

Larry and Matt at the Monument summit, Stocking Island.

View to the NE from the Monument.

Cat and Matt on the beach, Stocking Island

Local supply boat departing the harbor

Monument Beach from the deck of Carolina Breeze.

 

11 Mar 09

Good Morning All,

The Carolina Breeze is now on a mooring in the Emerald Rock anchorage area of Warderick Wells Cay, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.  We arrived here yesterday afternoon after an uneventful crossing from Powell Point, Eleuthera and are just amazed at how beautiful this area is.  We have loved all the areas of the Bahamas we have visited so far, but this is what you should find when you ask your search engine to find you a picture of the Bahamas.  Much to my surprise they have great wireless internet service here out of Park Headquarters and it is relatively inexpensive.  We left Marsh Harbor, Abaco on the third of March, spent one night at Lynyard Cay, then sailed out the cut at Little Harbor bound for the Spanish Wells area.  After a rather sloppy crossing, wind from the northeast building to 20-25 by the late afternoon and seas in the 7-9 foot range, we were very happy to arrive in the lee of Royal Island where we anchored in Royal Harbor.  We spent a couple of days in the Spanish Wells area before motoring through the Current Cut and into northern Exuma Sound.  Sailing down the west coast of Eleuthera Island was a very nice experience with several anchorages along the way and some beautiful scenery there as well.  Cat found some nice driftwood, seabeans, and fishing floats for her collection.  The winds stayed mostly from the east to slightly southeast at 10-15 so we were able to sail almost the entire way, motoring only the last few miles to Powell Point on the last day there.  We met up again with Ed and Cathy Saltmarsh aboard Freyja while anchored at the "Glass Window" and buddy sailed with them all down the coast of Eleuthra.  They are the boat that we crossed the Gulf Stream with from Lake Worth back in January.  They stayed at Cape Eleuthera (Powell Point) yesterday to supply up then they planned to cross today and make landfall in the Exuma's north of our location at Highborne Cay.  Hope we will meet up with them again, we enjoy their company.  We plan to make our way south from here over the next 10 days and meet up with Matt when he arrives in Georgetown to spend some time aboard with us.  More pictures are attached to share with you.

 

Pete and the C(K)athy's at Grabber's Bar.

Dinghy dock at Grabber's beach.

Marsh Harbor sunrise.

Sailing to the "Glass Window".

The "Glass Window".

Natural bridge, Atlantic coast, Eleuthera.

Rugged coast.

Cat searching for driftwood.

Cliff dweller's, eastern Eleuthera.

Sunset at Warderick Wells.

Love,

Larry and Cat

4 Feb 09

Morning Boater Friends,

Since our last email we have made our way across the Gulf Stream to Great Sale Cay and then on to Spanish Cay where we cleared customs and then to Green Turtle Cay where we relaxed and rode out a couple of Northers.  White Sound on Green Turtle is a nice harbor with land protection all around but the holding for the anchor is not the greatest.  During the first frontal passage one of our neighbors (a Canadian couple) broke loose and drug anchor about 0400 (real early in the dark morning) and managed to miss us but nearly collided with another neighbor down wind.  They were very fortunate that Cathy was up to check things about that time and noticed them drifting by.  We blasted them with the horn and spotlight to get their attention and they got the engine fired up and got control just before crashing into a large motor cruiser a few hundred feet behind us.  In the process of recovering their anchor and resetting they managed to dislodge ours as well so we were both doing the o-dark thirty anchor drill in 25 kts of wind, some in our skivvies and others not so well dressed (fun).

 

Yesterday morning after having decided that we had seen enough of Green Turtle we made a run for it through the Whale Cay Passage (can be pretty rough but passable yesterday) and down to Treasure Cay where we met up with our friends Rick and Linda Clayton aboard "Sojourner".  It was very nice to hook up with them again and we plan to hang here for a couple more days before heading to Marsh Harbor for some repairs and a few supplies.  I failed to mention earlier that our passage across the Gulf Stream was as smooth as glass, hardly a ripple on the big ocean, but that meant a lot of time motoring.  Just before we reached Great Sale Cay (105 or so NM east of West Palm Beach) a hose clamp broke on an exhaust hose and it managed to spray our alternator, among other things, with a stream of hot salt water so bye bye alternator. Thus the above mentioned repairs.  I have a spare alternator which I installed but it is not a high output version and has a hard time keeping the batteries up to speed with all of the amp eating things we have on the boat. 

 

It seems that so far we have spent more time fixing things and dodging storms than we have relaxing but hopefully that will change in short order and we can get more into that "Its Five O'clock Somewhere" mode.  We hope all is well with every one where ever you are.

 

Love,

Larry and Cat

Sunrise on a Quiet Gulf Stream

Admiral on Deck

Storm approaching Green Turtle

Storm approaching Green Turtle

Quieter times on White Sound

At the dock at Treasure Cay

 

24 Jan 09

Hi fellow sailors,

We have finally gotten underway for our cruise this year and did it in a big way.  We departed Brunswick Landing Marina on this past Wednesday the 21st and arrived here in Lake Worth at Palm Beach yesterday the 23rd after a 48 hour 300 NM run down the coast of Georgia and Florida on the outside.  The weather and sea conditions were perfect for the run except that the winds were very light to non-existent so we burned 50 gallons of fossil fuel instead of using our sails.  At least the ride was smooth and uneventful.  We topped off the fuel tanks today and plan to depart Lake Worth tomorrow morning around 0030 and head out for Great Sale Key, about a 100 NM run.  There is at least one other sailor who plans to cross with us so we will have some company.  We had a neat experience today while kayaking around the harbor, we passed a water making plant that has a warm water discharge and there were 25 or 30 manatee's hanging out in the area.  They were curious about us so we got some very good up close and personal views of them.  Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera along so no pics.  It will probably be 3-5 days before we have internet again so we will be out of contact until then.  I included some harbor pictures for your enjoyment.

 

Love,

Larry and Cat

Lake Worth anchorage

Where some of the rich folks live.

Cat enjoying the sunset. 

 

5 Jan 09

Happy New Year All,

After spending a great summer and fall in North Carolina and Florida we are finally putting away the last of Christmas here at the cabin and getting ready to head for the boat toward the end of this week. We have visited her several times over the past few months working on one project or another and hope that within a week or so after arriving in Brunswick we will be stocked up and ready to sail her south for another few months in the beautiful Bahamas.  The plan this year is to cross to West End, cruise through the Abaco's for a month or so, then head on down to the Exuma's.  We have some sailor friends from Florida visiting us in the Abaco's and our son Matt plans to visit while we are in the George Town area.  The plan now is to sail from the Bahama's to the Florida Keys and then on up to Northwest Florida and Niceville to spend the next summer and fall.  We are looking forward to cruising again and hope to meet up with some of our boat gypsy friends from cruises past.

Pop's 80th birthday celebration - 31 May

Hiking on Mt. Hood Oregon

Walking trails at the cabin

Carolina Breeze in the Brunswick Landing Marina

New siding at the fish camp

Walking trail work in progress

Rafting the Nantahala with the kids