Published: December 19th 2011December 19th 2011
As of today, it looks like the answer may be Nassau! We are currently sitting out a big blow at Nassau Harbor Club in Nassau Bahamas.
This year we stayed home in Guelph until the end of November. I had a really great job this summer with my past employer Centennial Optical and we were really enjoying our house and just being home. By the end of October, the cold weather was settling in and the lure of warm weather, beautiful Bahamian waters, and the peaceful boat life motivated us to head south - like the birds!
After visiting our friends the Huibers in North Carolina, and the Verlaques in St.Marys Georgia, we arrived at Fort Pierce Florida, where About Time safely sat out the summer and hurricane season. We left the boat further south this past summer, as we visited our daughter, and her family in Malaysia in April cutting last years sailing season a little short.
We are always very careful and spend lots of time preparing the boat for summer lay up, including covering the boat with a sun screen cover that protects her from the hot weather. We also have many things we have
learned from other cruisers to keep mildew away and protect the boat. Except for a seam opening up in the solar cover everything seemed fine on the boat, and we started the process of unpacking things. The boatyard in Fort Pierce isn’t ideal for staying at while working on the boat, so we found a great little motel down the road. There are lots for cruisers that leave their boats in Fort Pierce so we got to see lots of old friends, including Ron from White Diamond, who was also working on his boat. Within a few days we launched the boat and moved to Harbor Town marina in Fort Pierce to do boat projects, maintenance and provision for the winter.
While at the marina we found that our windlass (brings up the anchor) wasn’t working. At first we thought it might be serious, but it turned out to be a switch and I was able to fix that. Next while doing the engine maintenance we got worried that we had a serious engine problem. We hired a guy to look at it and he thought it wasn’t serious so we prepared to leave for Miami, where we planned
to cross to the Bahamas.
We sailed the next night down to Miami arriving on Thursday morning December 1st. We had not anchored in Miami and were intimidated by the size of Miami, and all the boat and cruise ship traffic. At first we couldn’t find a comfortable anchorage, but after consulting friends, we found the perfect spot where other cruisers were anchored, at South Beach, Miami Beach. Right next to us was the sailboat “It’s About Time”. With a name so similar to ours, lots of people confuse us so we have spent lots of time over the past 4 years explaining that “we are not Sally and Conrad on ITS ABOUT TIME”. So it was fun to spend time with them and really get to know them. They are a terrific couple and helped make our stay in Miami much more enjoyable. Also at the anchorage were Bob and Gail from Star, and lots of other boats we know.
This year there have been very few opportunities to cross to the Bahamas, and the day after arriving in Miami there was a opportunity to cross. However, we were still concerned about our engine so decided to
stay in Miami. It turned out the problem was a simple $18.00 part, so we got that, installed it (with the help of Conrad) and fixed that problem. We have a great new engine so it was a real relief to know that it wasn’t something serious.
Now in Miami we started checking for weather to cross to the Bahamas. The wind was really strong out of the North East, (not good for crossing) so we waited in Miami for 2 weeks for the right weather. During that time we took a side trip and anchored for a few days in Key Biscayne. We ended up back in South Beach as we really enjoyed the South Beach area. People watching is incredible in South Beach. There sure are lots of interesting people there, and lots going on!
Finally on Dec 17th
we were able to leave Miami for Nassau. By now there was a huge backup of boats waiting to cross. Just after leaving Miami we saw dolphins playing in the water off our bow, and seeing dolphins at the beginning of a trip is always our sign of good luck and safe sailing. We had an easy
Lincoln Road South Beach
Great place for people watching.
crossing to Bimini, then across the banks and on to Nassau, making it in 27 hours. When we approached the North West light, (A very narrow area to navigate) it was about midnight and it seemed like there were about 30 boats all converging at the same time, plus a tug pulling a barge the other way, and a big fishing boat again, going the opposite way. It was like Toronto at rush hour! We made it through and had a peaceful sail onto Nassau. Finally we had that peaceful sail and now we feel like we are in the Bahamas.
Arriving yesterday in Nassau just before a strong cold front we decided to take a dock. The plan was to leave about Wednesday for George Town after the strong wind in the wrong direction slows down. According to the morning forecast that may not happen, so we may be here in Nassau for Christmas. Oh well maybe the forecast will change, and if not, it will be pretty nice here. There are lots of other cruisers we know also here, and wherever we are will be fine with us.
This Christmas our daughter Dawn, son in law
Paul and grand kids are in Malaysia. Our son Steve and his fiancée Audrey are just returning from visiting our daughter and will be in Guelph before heading out to Banff Alberta to start an incredible adventure in another beautiful place. We are really missing not being with our family and seeing our grandkids this Christmas. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful life on the boat but there are sacrifices to everything in life and while we will really miss them, we are healthy and happy, and will be with them soon.
Sharon and I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. We are always interested in hearing from you and look forward to that.
Happy Holiday from Sharon and Doug
Aboard SV About Time
There are more photos below