Monday, April 14, 2014

Towards her new home

It's been a labour of love for the past week - scrubbing, dusting, decluttering (yes, we had a huge about of clutter! ) washing and polishing our beloved SeaMorr.  She looks better than ever and we arrived today at the place we have entrusted to help us find her a new family.  I'll admit it was emotional turning her engine off at the dock.  She has been an amazing boat for us - so many awesome memories we will have forever.  Tomorrow we are headed back to Great Exuma - one more dose of Bahamian sunshine, blue water and pancake batter sand before we return to the real world.  (which on a positive note we hear has finally given up most of its snow!)

To all buyers:
Good things come in small packages...
The boat on the right is a WAY better deal! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Aaron!

16 years old today - Wow!

In what has become our boat tradition the day started with Aary's birthday gift  - cereal of course - a Variety Pack this time - 10 kinds of cereal to choose from.  What a treat !  We successfully threw him in the pool - but it is getting to be more of a struggle as he keeps getting taller and stronger. The other people around the pool just stared….

We tried to surprise Aaron, having found a "Sticky Fingers' online in north Miami, however unfortunately when we arrived it was no longer in business.  We quickly realized driving around North Miami wasn't in our best interest, sketchy to say the least,  and we headed back to Fort Lauderdale.  We came across what turned out to be an amazing restaurant for awesome red meat - Prime Rib, Filet, and Ribs - we were all stuffed by the end.  The ice cream cake he requested would have to wait to the next day.

We found a DQ who had a great cake just waiting for us - an excellent choice for breakfast the next day as a 16 yo boy!

We will head to watch the Leaf's play Florida later in the week to complete the birthday celebration.  Happy Birthday Aary!

The SeaMorr Awards!

To finish off an amazing trip we would like to name off some awesome memories.

Best Beach:

1. Honeymoon Beach, Cambridge Cay, Exumas
2. Tropic of Cancer Beach, Great Exumas
3. Coco Plum Beach, Great Exumas (because of all the sandollars) 

Best Restaurant (because it's all about the food):

1. Sticky Fingers, Charleston, South Carolina (our streak continues to be 3 nights in a row)
2. More Sticky Fingers 
2. Even more Sticky Fingers 

Best Colour of Water 

1. There all AMAZING!

Best Deli Sever (yes, just yes):

1. LB (but we called him pound), some small sketchy town on the ICW
2. Can't even compete LB was the best
3. Agree with #2 

Most Annoying Carridge Tour Women:

1. I don't remeber her name but she was on the blue carridge tour, Beaufort, South Carolina (she's gonna get a ticket).
2. After that experience we never went on one again 

Best Museum, (cause Kimmy made us):

1. The Baltimore Aquarium 
2. The Virgina Air and Space Museum
3. My favorite was Ripleys Believe it Or Not, Baltimore 

Best Ghost Walk, (even though I didn't want to):

1. U.S.S Yorktown, Charleston, South Carolina 
3. Beaufort, North Carolina - too SCARY 
P.S if you're wondering why there is no #2 it's because we only did two but I didn't like the ghost walk in Beaufort.

Best Adventure:

1. SCUBA diving, everywhere 
2. Jet Skiing in Key West, Florida
3. Zip Lining in Hilton Head 
This one was tough

Grossest Things That We Ate:

1. Alligator or Gator, Alligator Creek, North Carolina  
2. Steamers or Mussels, Long Island, New York 
3. For Kimmy, Mushrooms  

Best Dingy Adventure:

1. Palm Cay, Nassau (Aaron, Corey, Julio, Jonathan and I went lobstering when there was 4 footers)
2. Exiting North Bimini to go to South Bimini (because we didn't want to take the ferry in 4 footers)
3. Those were the highlights

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hey Mon…..stay in the Bahamas….

SeaMorr decided she wanted to head back to the US so she would be available for a new family to love. We packed up everything and set the autopilot to 288 degrees west at 7:30am from Bimini. The trip was uneventful as the waves were less than 2', the Gulf Stream was pretty much non-existent (less than 1.5 knots heading north) and there was a slight wind from the south east. We had an extremely easy crossing that non-eventful and non-stressful.

SeaMorr heading west at 288 degrees. 
SeaMorr generating a two foot wake as we headed west.

The one thing we learned from our trip south, was to NEVER-EVER-EVER travel in Miami or Fort Lauderdale on a weekend. Friday, Saturday or Sunday are days of the week that should not be involved with moving a boat in the southern part of Florida. If you think that grey haired snowbirds have a problem driving a vehicle, you should see testosterone filled individuals who have no regard for COLREGs or the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972.

VIOLATION: COLREG #6 requires that: "Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed...". The Rule describes the factors which should be taken into account in determining safe speed. 
This vessel was being towed on a Saturday in Fort Lauderdale…NOTE: Remember the part about individuals who should NOT be in command of a vessel? This captain was good, it was everyone else around him that made him be a tax on the American Medical System.

Remember the high levels of urine at that pool in Key Largo? We weren't able to test the levels of e.coli or urea here, however, after spending several months in pristine aqua blue waters, we would not have spent anytime on this "Sandbar of Scum".
As we headed toward the marina, we had the "Jungle Queen" traveling so closely, that when we looked in the review mirror, it said "Objects are WAY CLOSER than you think…". We spoke to the captain of the Jungle Queen (again, someone with high levels of testosterone) and allowed him to pass us on one of the narrow stretches of canal.

"This is Captain of the Jungle Queen….please lift the bridge as I am really, really, really close and need it opened now!"
 SeaMorr now has 1000 hours on her main engine! We started our trip at 524 hours in Marlboro, New York in September and have put over 476 hours on her and traveled 3,307 miles. We burned on average 3.5 gallons per hour with an average speed of 7.5 knots. It was an uneventful trip as we didn't have any issues - that 440hp Yanmar Turbo diesel is probably the most solid and best piece of technology around!
SeaMorr now with 1,000 hours on her main engine.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Trip summary....

A family journey that includes three countries (not including Brazil - the land of Julio, Russia, Finland, Sweden & Copenhagen) from September 2013 to April 2014 can not be easily summarized in a few words. There are wondeful highlights including traveling over 3,200 miles across many waterways and meeting many new friends and learning many new things. There are things that make you aware that you need to pay attention, including two large yachts that were resting on large rocks due to a lack of preparation and forethought (one yacht owner decided he knew how to pilot a yacht and dismissed the hired captain, the other did not have the forethought to make sure they were docked during high winds and their anchor broke at 3am and they had to evacuate the guests.)

People have asked, what has been the highlight or the best part of the is kind of asking someone where can you get the best food......for an answer you need to consider, what sort of food are you looking for, where are you located - my point is there is a lot of variables to consider, and here are some of mine.....

I would definitely do the trip again as I am certain there are things that we haven't seen or done, but hard to consider that when you think of all the things we have done. There are anchorages everywhere and the next trip would probably have more 'off the beaten path' side trips as there are over 700 islands in the Bahamas and we have probably only seen or been on 75 of them. There really isn't a place that isn't more wonderful than the last as you head south down the Exumas. The beaches, the people, the views are truly spectacular! We will be spending the next several years in Georgetown during inclement weather and will be flying there directly to hang out on the beaches and to keep the taste of the Bahamas going until we return by boat again later.

The highlight of the trip has to be the people and their stories. People who sail from Gilbraltor on a 40' sailboat with two individuals who have zero sailing skill and make it to the Bahamas. People from Detroit who wanted to sail for only one year and are now on year eight and still heading south. People from California and their two young kids who are heading to Belize after traveling all over the Caribbean and will return sometime late in 2014. The five boats that got together in Cave Cay to watch an almost green flash evening overlooking our neighbour "Magic Man". Jeffrey the Bahamian fishing guru on Farmers Cay who took us to learn how to catch lobster (in fact showed us a lobster in 12' of water, however that lobster was able to survive after an hour of harassment). The taxi driver in South Carolina who wanted to know where we lived and we said two hours east of Toronto - BIG mistake.... thank you crack smoking, drunken stupor, "I will kill you" mayor! The woman who had 78 pairs of shoes heading with her boyfriend southbound.....and Aaron explaining to her that she didn't really understand Obamacare. All in all, everyone has been incredible and the stories have been incredible. Many people are doing extremely interesting things and some would argue we fit that category.......

The end is in sight (which usually is said happily. Not this time. This is a very not happy time)

Bahamian adventure ends tomorrow. Thought I'd just put up a little point form list about what we did here. If you don't want to read the entire blog, this is like a gloss over.

  • We drank so many frozen drinks. Daiquiris, Coladas, I think someone even had a Mojito at one point.
  • I know that we dodged a bullet by skipping the worst winter in, like, 30 years, but it was still occasionally cold here. Like, not "put on a sweater" cold, but if you just got out of the pool, and your beach chair is in the shade, and there's a slight breeze, it becomes uncomfortable to drink a frozen drink.
  • We went scuba diving. Several times. Kimmy, Corey and I are now PADI certified rescue divers.
  • Good, solid wifi is a godsend. I never realized how important that extra mb/s really was.
  • The stars here are beautiful. 2 days ago, middle of the ocean, no land in sight, with a new moon. It's a toss up between then and in Algonquin park for where the brightest stars I ever saw were.
  • You meet some really weird/awesome/interesting people on a trip like this. 4 different families had sold everything they owned and now lived on a boat for life. 1 person had 76 pairs of shoes. 1 person was crewing on a boat that had crossed the Atlantic. It was the first time that he had ever been on a boat in his life. He was cool.
  • We ate some really good food on this trip. Ribs at a bar in North Bimini. Cracked conch on a picnic table on Little Farmer's Cay. Chicken Wings at Sticky Fingers in Charleston. A pulled pork sandwich in Key Largo. 5$ burger night at Sharkey's. Onion rings on Staniel Cay. A daiquiri on Harbour island. Prime Rib in Solomons. Mexican food on Great Exuma.
  • There is a rumour that if you watch a sunset over the ocean, there's a flash of green just as it goes under the horizon. I've watched many sunsets, and I have yet to see it.
  • Never, ever speak ill of your boat. It will get mad, and the next day something will break. This has happened to us three times.
  • Granny Smith apples are better than Galas.
  • The butcher shop on Exuma is amazing.
  • The water here is bluer. This isn't some "The water's always bluer on the other island" thing, it is actually bluer.
I'm probably going to add more bullets later.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It's Better in the Bahamas

Quite sentimentally,  (in my mind anyway, some may call it sappy, but that's ok too) we spent our last night anchoring on SeaMorr in the Bahamas.  Literally in the middle of no-where (confirmed by looking at the SPOT location) we set anchor well off the channel in the middle of the Great Bahama Bank surrounded by nothing but water in all directions, no land in sight.  It was awesome.  It was beautiful.  It was peaceful.  Ok well maybe it was a bit bumpy all night but it was still a wonderful thing to do together in the Bahamas.

We drove most of the day on calm waters, watching the water change from the blue Tongue of the Ocean to turquoise of the Banks.  The only excitement of the day being a MayDay call from a fisherman who's engine had died leaving him adrift.  Too bad where he said he was (because he could see it on a clear day) which was close to our location, and where he actually was 20 miles south made it quite impossible for us to do more than call Bahamas Air and Sea Rescue to help him.

In this case pictures don't begin to describe the scenery or ambiance (especially as panoramic pics don't work so well on a moving boat, and I have yet to figure out how to take pictures of the stars).

This is the view in all directions

We BBQ'd chicken and watched the sunset, complete with the Conch horn and slept under the stars.  (Ok maybe we stayed up most of the night with the boat rocking, but the stars were impressive scenery)

The next day we continued driving across the open Banks & were happy to see dolphins again, even if just briefly at the bow.   I will never get bored of watching the water and just hanging out together on SeaMorr - it has been an awesome adventure. I'm finding neither the words nor pictures to describe….getting quite sentimental all over again :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chillin at Atlantis

We are clearly reluctant to leave the Bahamas and not in any hurry to get back to the US so decided to head back to Atlantis one more time for some sun & swim time in the water park.  It certainly was far less crowded in January - but the frozen drinks are just as good!