Silver Maple Blog

The Voyage Continues!


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Another sailing season comes to an end…

Saturday, April 1st to Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

It is a sure sign of spring… Silver Maple is wrapping up its sailing season. Hard to believe it is over. We’ve had a great time, but we are always happy to be heading home.

We arrive in Green Turtle a few days before our scheduled haul out date to give us time to do some chores around the boat. It also gives us time to catch up with friends and enjoy Green Turtle. Always lovely and quiet here, but this year between road construction, forest and dump fires, staying at the Green Turtle Club is less than perfect. We move over to the Leeward Yacht Club in the next sound over which is a bit further away from the dust and smoke to wait for our day to pull out the boat out of the water.

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Dinner at the Green Turtle Club with Linda and Vince (Fortnight)

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Beautiful sunset at Green Turtle Cay

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Sunset over Silver Maple at the Leeward Yacht Club on Green Turtle Cay

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Silver Maple at the newly renovated Leeward Yacht Club. Very nice!

When the day finally arrives, we are ready and the weather is perfect. She is pulled out of the water without a glitch. We then spend the next four days cleaning and putting her to bed. Always a big job.

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Ready to go!

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…and she is out of the water!

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Putting Silver Maple on blocks in the Abaco Yacht Services yard

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All tucked in and put to bed

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Saying goodbye for another summer

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Lovely view from our apartment in New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay, in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas

Randy with his mean machine, our transportation while we are putting the boat away on Green Turtle Cay

We fly out on Tuesday, April 11th. It takes two days to get home, so it feels like a very long trip. Randy is invited for a weekend golfing with the guys in Florida, so Lee leaves him in Ft. Lauderdale and carries on home via Washington, DC while Randy drives to Port Charlotte, FL for the weekend.

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Lee waiting for the ferry to take us to the airport at Treasure Cay

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Randy at the ferry dock and ready to go

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Gear ready for loading onto the ferry to go to the Treasure Cay airport

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Treasure Cay International Airport

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Our favourite airport lounge

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Randy enjoying his last Bahamian Sands beer

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Waiting at the gate. Okay, there are seats inside too, but we like these!

 

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Randy’s first day golfing in Florida. Oh oh! Looks like he is guarding it!

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Hmm…what could go wrong here?

 

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He’s not going to let it go. Guess it is his ball now! Yikes!

Back at home in Canada, the weather feels spring-like, but there is still ice on the lake. Great weather for raking and cleaning up before the bugs come out.

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The lake is still frozen at home, but looks like the ice will go out soon

Well, that’s it for another season. Wish you all fair winds and following seas. Until next time! Cheers!


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Barefoot Man, Jackson, and then off to Green Turtle Cay

Friday, March 17th to Friday, March 31st, 2017

Our last few weeks here in the Bahamas have been busy, busy, busy. Well, okay, not really. Its still pretty low key and laid back. Who are we kidding!

The weather gets nice so we head to Great Guana Cay and the Nipper’s Bar for St. Patrick’s Day Barefoot Man concert. The Barefoot Man is kind of the Bahamas’ answer to Jimmy Buffet. The concert is a lot of fun. We dance and meet up with boat friends from Hope Town and Marsh Harbour.

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Sails are up as we head to Great Guana Cay for the St. Patrick’s Day Barefoot Man concert at Nippers

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Barefoot Man concert in a great setting

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Our friend Sharon (boat Emerald Lady) having a blast at the Barefoot Man concert

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Sunrise over Silver Maple in Fisher’s Bay at Great Guana Cay, Bahamas

Then, a few days later Jackson arrives! We have two great days of weather, so we take off to visit Lynyard Cay and anchor there. In the afternoon we go via dinghy to Little Harbour to visit Pete’s Pub. It is a beautiful day! Afterwards we take a swim at the beach and enjoy a gorgeous evening.

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Jackson arrives!! Woohoo!

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Heading to Lynyard Cay, Bahamas

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Jackson enjoying the ride

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Silver Maple has her full crew back together!

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Parking at Pete’s Pub

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Bellying up to the bar

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Randy and Jackson enjoying the Pete’s Pub signature drink, the Blaster

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Lee and Jackson at Pete’s Pub over looking Little Harbour

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View of Little Harbour from Pete’s Pub

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Randy and Jackson going for a swim on the beach at Lynyard Cay with forest fires burning on the horizon

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Beautiful sunset at Lynyard Cay thanks to those nearby forest fires

The next day, we take the dinghy in search of the Abaco blue holes that are said to be nearby. After some searching, we finally find them. The mangrove lagoon is less than 2 feet deep until you reach the holes then it drops away into darkness. Apparently they connect to the ocean which is about two miles away. Divers have died trying to explore the underwater caves and a memorial is located on shore.

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The Lynyard Cay anchorage in the morning

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Randy pulling us in the dinghy into the lagoon to search for the blue holes. The entrance is too shallow for the motor.

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Lots of turtles in the water

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A blue hole!

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Cruising the lagoon around a blue hole

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Memorial on shore to divers who died exploring the Abaco blue holes

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Chilling on our way back to Hope Town. It is too calm to sail. Boo!

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Still gorgeous!

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Clear Bahamian waters where you can see a star fish at a depth of 15ft

When we get back to Hope Town, the weather turns ugly for the rest of Jackson’s visit, so once again we are stuck at the dock in high winds and intermittent rain. Regardless, we keep busy playing games, biking and catching a few rays at the pool when the sun shows its face.

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Back in Hope Town!

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Out for dinner at our favourite pizza place in Hope Town called Sip Sip

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Stopping to enjoy the view while on a bike ride around Elbow Cay, Bahamas

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Lunch break from our bike ride at On Da Beach restaurant

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After our bike ride waiting on the dock for our shuttle ride back to the marina

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Jackson boarding the ferry to Marsh Harbour to catch his flight. Bye!

And then when Jackson is gone, the weather turns lovely again. Of course! And, it is time to start heading back north to prepare to put Silver Maple to bed for another season and head home, but since the weather is so nice we make a couple of stops along the way. Our friends, Joanne and Toby on their boat Comocean join us on the trip as far as Great Guana’s Fisher’s Bay where we anchor for the night before heading out to do the Whale Cay ocean crossing. Then, we have a lovely night at Manjack and arrive safe and sound at Green Turtle Cay.

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Silver Maple on the way to Great Guana Cay. Photo courtesy of Comocean.

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Captain gets the big sail out!

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Nice to see the gennaker up! It does not happen very often.

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Silver Maple looking colourful! Photo courtesy of Comocean.

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Heading off towards the Whale Cay ocean passage on a beautiful day

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Silver Maple anchored at Manjack Cay

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Sunset and moon rise at Manjack Cay

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Silver Maple safe and sound on the dock at the Green Turtle Club on Green Turtle Cay

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View of sunset off the back of Silver Maple on the dock at the Green Turtle Club

Silver Maple gets pulled out of the water next week and put into storage for another season. Lots of chores to be done to get it ready before then, so it will be a busy week. Its very sad to have another season of sailing wrap up, but we are ready to go home.


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Fun with friends!

Friday, February 24th to Monday, March 16th, 2017

Well, the theme of this year on the boat has been relaxing and hanging out since that is pretty much all we have done. Last week, our friends Ruth and Bruce from Canada came to visit. They are recently retired and have been staying in Florida, so they took the short flight over from there for a few days. So great to have them here!! Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate so we were on the dock most of the visit.

The day before Ruth and Bruce arrive, we take Silver Maple over to Marsh Harbour to meet them. When they get in we chill by the pool and then go to Rib Night at the Jib Room Restaurant at the Marsh Harbour Marina. Afterwards, its dancing and limbo party!

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Silver Maple settled at the beautiful Marsh Harbour Marina and Jib Room Restaurant awaiting Ruth and Bruce’s arrival

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Relaxing by the pool with Ruth and Bruce after they arrive

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Amazing Limbo by Desmond at the Jib Room

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Ruth and Lee dancing up a storm at the Jib Room

The next day we hit the water! Its is a perfect day for a sail. We head back to Hope Town because unfortunately, bad weather is moving in and we need to get tied back up to a dock. In Hope Town we show Ruth and Bruce all the sites and play lots of games when the weather is bad.

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Captain Randy and Bruce enjoying a perfect day for sailing

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Thumbs up from the new sailor. She loves it!

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Randy and Bruce checking out the sails

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Ruth getting salty

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Arriving in Hope Town Harbour

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The lovely Hope Town Harbour at Sunset

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We head over and climb the Hope Town lighthouse, the only kerosene burning lighthouse left in the world

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View of the Hope Town Harbour from the top of the lighthouse

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This guy wakes us up VERY early every morning with his crowing. Ugh!

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Ruth chases the rooster down as payback for the early morning wake up calls

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Ruth at the Hope Town Inn and Marina

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We stop for a beverage while out for a bicycle ride on Elbow Cay

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Heading out for dinner on a cool evening in Hope Town

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Sunrise over Silver Maple at the Hope Town Inn and Marina

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Bruce playing Bocce ball with Randy, Ron (Legacy) and Brian (Miss Informed)

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Ruth and Lee playing Mahjong with Linda (Fortnight) on a rainy afternoon

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Ruth and Bruce heading out to catch the ferry back to Marsh Harbour for their flight back to Florida. Bye!

The day Bruce and Ruth leave the weather turn nice again. Of course! So, we head out for a few days of sailing and anchoring at some of our favourite spots: Tahiti Beach and Lynyard Cay. Shortly after we arrive and anchor at Tahiti Beach, our friends Sharon and Pete arrive on their boat, Emerald Lady. So great to seem them and what a nice surprise! We go for lunch together at Cracker P’s, a bar on a nearby island. In the evening, we meet on Emerald Lady for cocktails and games. Great to be with our old friends!

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Heading towards Tahiti Beach

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Captain loves to be on the water!

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Lunch at Cracker P’s with Sharon and Pete (Emerald Lady)

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Lovely view from Cracker P’s at lunchtime

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Sharon and Pete (Emerald Lady) at Cracker P’s

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Sharon and Pete (Emerald Lady) in their dinghy heading back to our boats after lunch

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Moon over Tahiti Beach

The next morning we head to Lynyard Cay. It is dead calm and the weather is supposed to be perfect all day. The weather man neglected to inform mother nature of that though, so when we arrive at the anchorage and a unexpected squall blows in. We anchor in 24 knot winds. Crazy!

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Anchor up and heading to Lynyard Cay on a beautiful day

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The calm before the storm…

After the rain passes, we go to the beach for a walk and a swim. It is a lovely day on the boat. We head back to Hope Town the next day and we’ve been being dock potatoes since then.

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Randy walking the beach at Lynyard Cay

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Randy swimming at Lynyard with Silver Maple anchored in the background

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Sunset over Little Harbour from Lynyard Cay

Last night we had a Jack and Jill wedding shower for our friends, Cassie and Brian (Miss Informed). They were very surprised. And, since the season is wrapping up it was one of our final ‘get-togethers’ before folks start to head home. What a great group of people and wonderful friends we have met this year.

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Sunset over the Hope Town Marina taken from the back of Silver Maple

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Surprising Cassie and Brian (Miss Informed)

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Toasting to a life of love, happiness and fair winds…

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The happy couple!

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Great group of fantastic people!

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Brian and Cassie (Miss Informed) enjoying the party

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Such fun friends! (from the left) Cassie from Ancaster, ON (Miss Informed), John from Halifax, NS (PrimeraVista), Thomas from Peterborough, ON (Hope), Lee from Boston, MA (Shalaylee), Brian from Michigan (Miss Informed), Lee, Randy and Sheryl from Boston, MA (Shalaylee)

We are now looking forward to Jackson’s arrival next week for a visit. Woohoo! Fingers crossed the weather will cooperate.


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Chillin’ in the Abaco Islands

Friday, February 10th to Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

When we arrive in Hope Town we spend some time getting back into the Bahamian pace of life… slow! And now that Randy is fully recovered from his cold, we head back out on the water. Woohoo!

We have a great trip over to Great Guana Cay and spend the day strolling on the beach with a stop for lunch at Nippers. Fisher’s Bay at Great Guana Cay is one of our favourite places to spend a quiet day and evening. It is just beautiful.

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Silver Maple moored in Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay, Bahamas

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Leaving Silver Maple in the dingy and heading to shore for a walk-about

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Grabbers Pub on the shore at Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay

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Lee on the beach in front of Nipper’s Bar and Grill

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Lunch at Nippers

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Full moon over Great Guana Cay at Fisher’s Bay anchorage

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Morning in Fisher’s Bay with full moon still in the sky

After a day at Guana Cay, we head over to Tahiti Beach just off Elbow Cay. It is another gorgeous day. We walk the beach near Sea Spray Resort and have lunch in the new restaurant at the resort.

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Back on the water on our way to Tahiti Beach

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Beautiful clear water of the sea of Abaco

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Captain checking the anchor is well set

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Sunset while anchored off Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay, Bahamas

A few days later when we are back in Hope Town, it is the annual Hope Town Songwriter’s Festival which hosts the writers of some of country music’s most popular songs. They tell the stories of how the songs originated and play some great music. Fun even for non-country music fans!

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Fun group of friends enjoying the cool evening at the Hope Town Songwriters Festival at the Hope Town Inn and Marina

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Great music… even for non-country music fans!

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Lee and Randy at the Songwriters Festival

This month we also attend the Man-O-War Flee Market which is a big fundraiser for the community of this small island. We take the dingy over. It is a four and a half mile trip and a bit rough. Unfortunately, on the trip back it is even worse. Couple of sore butts for a few days after that trip!

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Entering Man-O-War Cay harbour in our dingy

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Dingy parking at the Man-O-War Flee Market

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Gorgeous day at the Man-O-War Flee Market

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Sunrise over the Hope Town Inn and Marina. Photo taken from the back of Silver Maple.

Back in Hope Town, life is good and the weather is fine. Our friends Ruth and Bruce arrive next week to spend a week enjoying the islands with us. Looking forward to that! Stay safe and stay warm everyone!

 


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Back on the Water!

Sunday, January 21st to Friday, February 9th, 2017

Well, its been a challenging few weeks since we arrived, but we are back on the boat and happy to be here. Nothing serious, just viruses and weather to contend with as well as things on the boat to be repaired.

Lee is sick with the flu before we even leave for the Bahamas and within hours of arriving, Randy comes down with a bad cold too. Nonetheless, we manage to get the boat prepped and into the water. While we are working on the boat we stay in a cute cottage on the ocean called ‘The House on the Point’. Very rustic, but very nice.

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Our rental cottage called ‘The House on the Point’ where we are staying while prepping the boat in Green Turtle Cay

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View from ‘The House on the Point’

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Our wheels while in Green Turtle. Golf carts are the main mode of transportation here.

We spend three days cleaning and putting things together to launch on the Monday, but unfortunately, the weather turns bad and a storm front moves through the Green Turtle area just as we are scheduled to launch. Our Launch is moved to Tuesday and even then, the winds are pretty high. Once Silver Maple is in the water, Randy tries to fire-up the engine. Nothing. Dead battery. The bow-thruster battery is dead too so both are replaced. And, the winds are so high that we don’t move beyond the wall where they put us in the water. We just tie Silver Maple on and spend the night right there.

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Silver Maple being moving to the launch area

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Lowering her in

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Back in the water! Woohoo!

The next day, the winds are calmer so we head over to the Green Turtle Club in White Sound, the next sound over. We spend the day doing final prep and putting sails up.

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Captain is under the weather but glad to be back on the water

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Silver Maple safe and sound at the Green Turtle Club

In the morning, we are up early and on the water to do the short ocean crossing through the Whale Cay passage and into the Sea of Abaco. It is a beautiful morning and we have a great sail over to Marsh Harbour where we spend the rest of the day provisioning and stocking the boat with essentials like wine and groceries.

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Heading out towards the Whale Cay passage on a beautiful morning

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The captain at the helm

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Good to be sailing again

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Waves hitting Whale Cay as we pass by

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Making great time and doing well over 7 knots most of the way to Marsh Harbour

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Gorgeous day!

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Sunset over Marsh Harbour

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Out for dinner at Curly Tails in Marsh Harbour

In the morning, we are off to Hope Town. Randy is still sick so we lie low once we arrive until he gets his health back on track. To make things worse, on the day we arrive, the marina has a power surge and our battery charger blows. Ugh! That was over two weeks ago and Randy has spent every day since trying to arrange to have a new one shipped to us here in the Bahamas. The good news is that it appears to be close now. Last we heard Fedex has it in Nassau. Fingers crossed we will see it next week.

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Silver Maple in her slip on the dock at the Hope Town Inn and Marina (in front of Hope)

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The beautiful Hope Town Inn and Marina

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The flowers are blooming in Hope Town

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The first day Randy is feeling up to venturing far from the boat we take the dingy over to Cracker P’s for lunch

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Securing the dingy at Tahiti beach for a beach walk after lunch.

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Beautiful Tahiti Beach

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Lovely Hope Town Harbour

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Silver Maple at sunrise at the Hope Town Inn and Marina

It seems that we have been tied to the dock in Hope Town forever, but now that Randy is feeling back to normal, we are planning to take off tomorrow and get back out on the water. Yeah!


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Happy 2017 from the Bahamas!

January 19th to 20th, 2017

We made it! Sounds easy enough, but our trip to the Bahamas from Toronto wasn’t quite as smooth this year as it has been other years. It started with freezing rain the night before our two hour drive to the Toronto airport. Then, our flight is delayed leaving Toronto. We arrive in Newark in time to catch our connecting flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Whew! Oh, that flight is also delayed for over two hours. When we finally land in Ft. Lauderdale after midnight we find that our hotel reservation has been cancelled. Not surprising that hotels in Ft. Lauderdale in January are pretty much all full. So, we end up in a nasty hotel — and I mean nasty — and manage to get a little sleep before heading back to the airport for our flight to Treasure Cay. And you’ll never guess…yes, delayed too!

When we finally do arrive in the Bahamas, we are exhausted and both of us are sick. But, life gets SO much better. People are smiling. Sun is shining. You can’t help but feel better.

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Islands come into view from the plane. Yeah!

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On the ferry dock with all of our gear

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First view of Green Turtle Cay from the ferry

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Happy to be here after a challenging trip

We are now settling in and adjusting to ‘island time’ in this beautiful place. The place we are staying while we prepare the boat for launch is a cute little cabin on the beach. In our spare time, we are enjoying New Plymouth and Green Turtle Cay, as we always do!!

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On the beach in front of the cabin we are renting while we prepare Silver Maple for launch and so happy to be back.

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Silver Maple is looking good! Just a few days of work and she will be back in the water.

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Dinner at Harvey’s in New Plymouth. Great food and friendly people.

During the day while we are here, we are on the boat cleaning and putting things back together. Silver Maple’s launch is scheduled for Monday, but right now the forecast is for heavy winds and thunderstorms so we may get postponed. Fingers crossed!


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From Bahamas to Scottsdale with Love…

Saturday, February 6th to Sunday, February 28th, 2016

We spend the first couple of weeks of February at the Green Turtle Club on the Bahamas’ Green Turtle Cay preparing for Silver Maple’s haul-out scheduled for February 8th. Lots of work to do like taking down and folding the sail (jib), waxing, oil changes and cleaning. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t cooperate much and we are fighting high winds to get things done. Thankfully, on Monday, February 8th, the sun is out and the winds have died down. It is the perfect day for pulling Silver Maple out of the water and ‘putting her on the hard’ for the season.

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Dinner at the Green Turtle Club restaurant after a day of working on the boat.

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Our favourite hostess at the Green Turtle Club restaurant. She remembers us every year and seats us at the same table. We are regulars!

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Getting ready for haul-out.

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Lifting Silver Maple out of the water at Abaco Yacht Services on Green Turtle Cay.

 

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Cleaning and moving Silver Maple to her storage place.

When the boat is settled in the storage yard, we move into our usual apartment for three nights in New Plymouth while we finish up getting her ready for storage. All goes well and we are finished all the storage prep work with a day to spare.

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View of sunrise from our apartment in the town of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay.

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Captain coming out for the last time this season.

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Silver Maple is put to bed for this year.

On February 11th, we fly home with an over night lay-over in Chicago. When we get home it is really cold, but it is still nice to be back.

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Home sweet home!

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The lake is well frozen now.

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What?!! Okay, that is cold!

It doesn’t take much of the cold Canadian winter to move us on to our next adventure. We hit the road after two days at home and start on our five day drive to Scottsdale, Arizona. We stop along the way to break up the trip for a visit with our friends, Stacia, Paul and their kids, Celia and Andrew in Ann Arbor, and then again for a few days skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. Jackson and his girlfriend, Laura, fly down and join us. We have perfect skiing weather — sunny and not too cold.

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Laura, Jackson and Lee on hill in Breckenridge, CO.

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Out for Mexican food in Breckenridge with Laura and Jackson.

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Driving in New Mexico…nice!

When we arrive in Scottsdale on February 24th it is 80 degrees F and lovely. Good to be back and we are still recovering from all the travel with lots of down time at the pool.

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Recuperating by the pool in Scottsdale. Good to be back in warm weather. It is 80 degrees F. today.

 

That wraps up the blogging for this season. Have a great year everyone! Cheers!

With love — Lee and Randy