Silver Maple Blog

The Voyage Continues!


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Happy 2013 everyone!

We have had a wonderful Christmas in the Bahamas with our many new friends. And, we are very happy to have Jackson back as part of the crew while he visits during his Christmas break from University of Guelph. He will be here to ring in the New Year with us. Yeah!

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23rd to MONDAY, DECEMBER 24th — DAY 124 to 125 (Great Guana Cay to Marsh Harbour)

On Sunday, we head to Great Guana Cay with two other boats, ‘Dawn Treader’ (Dawn and Ron) and ‘Kankita’ (Sharon and Pete) to go to the pig roast at the world-famous Nippers Bar and Grill.  We moor Silver Maple in Fisher’s Bay. It’s a popular spot! And, a lovely day and evening.

Lee and Randy at Nippers

Lee and Randy at Nippers

Our new friends, Sharon and Pete (from the boat 'Kankita') at Nippers

Our new friends, Sharon and Pete (from the boat ‘Kankita’) at Nippers

BOAT TRIP Great Guana, Marsh, Hopetown 035

Sunset at Great Guana Cay, with water that looks like liquid metal

Heading back to Marsh Harbour for Christmas

Heading back to Marsh Harbour for Christmas

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25th to  WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26th — DAY 126 to 127 (Marsh Harbour)

For Christmas we are back at the beautiful Marsh Harbour Marina. We have a quiet day. It’s 80 degrees F.  For Christmas dinner, the owners of the marina cook a turkey and all the people on boats bring side dishes for a great pot-luck, Christmas dinner.

Leo Opening his Christmas gift

Leo opening his Christmas gift

Christmas festivites at the Marsh Harbour Marina

Christmas festivities at the Marsh Harbour Marina

On December 26th (Boxing Day), Jackson arrives!  He spends some time resting by the pool and then joins in the sunset conch horn blowing. Great to have him back!

BOAT TRIP Great Guana, Marsh, Hopetown 076

Jackson resting up after trip here

Jackson joins in blowing the conch horn at sunset

Jackson joins in blowing the conch horn at sunset

Its a beautiful sunset

It’s a beautiful sunset

Leo with his doggie friends, Lucy and Eli at the sunset conch horn blowing festivities

Leo with his doggie friends, Lucy and Eli at the sunset conch horn blowing festivities

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27th to FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28th— DAY 128 to 129 (Lynyard Cay and Tahiti Beach)

The next day we head down to one of our favourite places, Lynyard Cay.  We anchor with ‘Promises Kept’ (Debbie, Dennis, Tara, Tessa and Eli) for the evening.

The full Silver Maple Crew is back together!

The full Silver Maple crew is back together!

Debbie and Dennis (from 'Promises Kept') come by for a visit on Silver Maple

Debbie and Dennis (from ‘Promises Kept’) come by for a visit on Silver Maple the evening before they leave for the Exuma Islands

On Friday, Debbie, Dennis and family leave us for the Exuma Islands further south. Very sad to see them go, and we sincerely hope to run into them again during our travels. We head back north with Silver Maple and do some snorkeling at beautiful Pelican Cay on our way to Tahiti Beach.

Jackson snorkeliing

Jackson snorkeling

Beautiful Pelican Cay

Beautiful Pelican Cay

When we arrive in Tahiti Beach, Sharon and Pete on ‘Kankita’ meet us. We go to the Junkanoo parade together at Seaspray, the local marina and restaurant. To get there we have to take the dinghy a mile and a half in the dark. The parade is really fun and colourful.

Junkanoo parade is part of holiday celebration

Junkanoo parade is part of holiday celebration

This young fellow is very good!

This young fellow is very good!

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29th to SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30 — DAY 130 to 131 (Hope Town)

On Saturday, we head to Hope Town and leave ‘Kankita.’ Sharon and Pete are heading back to Marsh Harbour for New Years, and we plan to spend it in Hope Town with our friends Ellen and Doug and their daughters, Emma and Sarah, from Southport, SC. They are bringing their boat ‘Trillium’ across to the Bahamas and we are expecting to see them on the 30th, but they show up on Saturday! Great to see them again. Sunday we spend at the beach and relaxing.

Sunrise at Tahiti Beach

Sunrise at Tahiti Beach

'Trillium' docked next to 'Silver Maple'

‘Trillium’ arrives a day before we expect her and docks next to ‘Silver Maple’ in Hope Town

Jackson with Sarah and Emma

Jackson with Sarah and Emma at Captain Jack’s for dinner

Hopetown sunset

Another gorgeous Bahamian sunset in Hope Town

Ellen, Doug, Emma and Sarah with Lee and Jackson

Ellen, Doug, Emma and Sarah with Lee and Jackson on the beach near Hope Town

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. We will be celebrating the arrival of 2013 here in Hope Town. Should be fun!

All the best for the coming year to everyone! Cheers!


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Merry Christmas from the Bahamas!

Although we are here and not sending out Christmas cards or doing the usual holiday visits, spending time with friends and family back home, you are all in our thoughts and we hope everyone is having a great holiday season.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 17th to TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18th — DAY 118 to 119 (Hanging out at our new favourite place, the Marsh Harbour Marina)

We have settled into a routine and seem to be using the Marsh Harbour Marina as our base these days.  It’s a lovely marina. The town of Marsh Harbour is just a short bike ride or dinghy ride away. Best of all, we have made some great friends here.

Clearly have outdone myself with this years Christmas decoring

Clearly we have out done ourselves with this year’s Christmas decorating

The beautiful Marsh Harbour Marina and Jib Room Restaurant

The beautiful Marsh Harbour Marina and Jib Room Restaurant

View of sunrise from Silver Maple during morning coffee

View of sunrise from Silver Maple during morning coffee

Randy learing to play dominos with new friends at the Marsh Harbour Marina

Randy learning to play dominos with new friends at the Marsh Harbour Marina

The boat next to us called 'Dawn Treader' has a boat pet too!

The boat next to us called ‘Dawn Treader’ has a boat pet too! Cody the cat on watch in the morning

Our boat pet

Our boat pet

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18th to THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20th — DAY 120 to 121 (Snorkeling in Sandy Cay and anchoring at Lynyard Cay)

On Wednesday, we head out with two other boats of friends from the Marsh Harbour Marina — Debbie, Dennis, with their daughters Tara and Tessa, and dog Eli, on ‘Promises Kept’, and Sharon and Peter on ‘Kankita.’ It is a perfect day.  We sail to Sandy Cay where we dinghy over to the reef to do some snorkeling. Afterwards we anchor just off of Lynyard Cay close to a beautiful beach.

'Promises Kept' and 'Kankita' next to us on the way to Sandy Cay and Lynyard Cay

‘Promises Kept’ and ‘Kankita’ next to us on the way to Sandy Cay and Lynyard Cay

Leo enjoying the trip

Leo enjoying the trip

BOAT TRIP Marsh Harbour to Lynyard Cay and Back 046

Great day for a sail. ‘Kankita’ and ‘Promises Kept’ in front

Captain checking the sails

Captain checking the sails

We put up the big sail -- first time since we left Lake Ontario

We put up the big sail — first time since we left Lake Ontario

The next day we spend the morning on the beach and then head back to Marsh Harbour. It’s another beautiful day for sailing, but bad weather is moving in so we want to get back into harbour before it arrives on Friday.

Sunrise over Lynyard Cay

Sunrise over Lynyard Cay

Gorgeous beach with the boat anchored nearby

Gorgeous beach with the boats anchored nearby

The group on the beach

The group on the beach

Leo and Eli enjoying the beach

Leo and Eli enjoying the beach

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21st to SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22nd — DAY 122 to 123 (Back in Marsh Harbour)

Friday was windy and stormy. Glad we are back in harbour.

Today, Saturday, is nicer, but it has cooled down to the 60s. We finish up Christmas shopping. Lee does some baking. In the evening, we join friends at the end of the dock for sunset cocktails. Once the sun drops below the horizon, it is tradition to sound the conch (pronounced ‘conk’) shell horn, which Ron from ‘Dawn Treader’ demonstrates.

Sunset cocktails

Sunset cocktails on the dock

Ron blowing the Conch horn

Ron blowing the Conch horn

Randy consoling Leo, who is afraid of the Conch horn and starts barking at it

Randy consoling Leo, who is afraid of the Conch horn and starts barking at it

Tomorrow (Sunday) plan is to head over to Great Guana Cay to go to a pig roast at Nippers, which is a well-known bar and restaurant here. Monday we will return to the Marsh Harbour Marina and stay here for Christmas. Jackson arrives on Boxing Day on the 26th to stay with us for the week. We are really looking forward to seeing him!


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Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…not!

Crista and Fritz from Switzerland have gone home, and we are carrying on with our visits to various spots in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. Although its just a few days from Christmas, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Even with the decorations the locals have put up and those that other cruisers have hung on their boats, somehow the 80 degree F weather just doesn’t give you the same holiday spirit as the snow. Regardless, we continue to have a great time and are meeting lots of wonderful people and cruisers, like us.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8th — DAY 109 (Snorkeling and scuba diving in Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas)

On Saturday morning we head out from Man-O-War Cay with a local dive guide named, Michael (Dive Time) to Fowl Cay where there is a great reef and protected area for snorkeling and scuba diving. It is a beautiful day — sunny, 80+ degrees F and not too windy or wavy.  Randy, Michael (the guide) and a fellow from the UK named, Graham, scuba dive while I go along with them watching from above with my snorkel.  We see lobster, ray, turtle, barracuda and schools of large fish. Just fantastic!

Silver Maple in Man-O-War Cay

Silver Maple at the dock on Man-O-War Cay

On our way to Fowl Cay in the Dive Time boat

On our way to Fowl Cay in the Dive Time boat

BOAT TRIP Hope Town with C&F to Marsh Harbour 020

The scuba diver, ready to go in

Ready to go snorkling!

Ready to go snorkeling!

When we get back to Man-O-War Cay, Crista and Fritz are there having lunch. We agree to meet up later in Great Guana Cay and have dinner at Grabbers along with their nephew, Mark, and his girlfriend, Julia.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9th to WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12th — DAY 110 to 113 (Wrapping up visit with Crista and Fritz)

When we get up on Sunday, it is cloudy, but looks like the rain will hold off. It doesn’t.  Just after we pull away from the dock the skies open. It rains sideways. We, and everything on the boat are soaked. When we arrive in Hope town it is still raining. Later we hear that we have received over 2 inches of rain.

Leo getting very wet in the pouring rain -- and not happy about it

Leo getting wet in the pouring rain — and not happy about it

Having fun in the rain that is coming down so hard that you just have to laugh

Having fun in the rain. Its coming down so hard that you just have to laugh

The next day we spend in Hope Town cleaning up and trying to get things dried out. Later we have cocktails on Silver Maple with Deana and Ted from Annapolis who just arrived on their boat, ‘Odyssey.’

Back in Hope Town on a beautiful morning

Back in Hope Town on a beautiful morning — thankfully the rain has stopped

Tuesday we head back to Marsh Harbour and spend the day with Crista and Fritz. They have rented a car, so we drive around the island. It is very rural and mostly reforested pine forest.

Rental car reminds you that in the Bahamas they drive on the other side of the road

Rental car reminds you that in the Bahamas they drive on the other side of the road

Out for a drive with Crista and Fritz

Out for a drive with Crista and Fritz

Taking a break at Pete's Pub in Little Harbour

Taking a break at Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour

Near the end of the day, we stop at a new real estate development area where Fritz was told by the car rental people is the best place to see the endangered Abaco Parrott. When we stop the car, Fritz says, “well, lets roll down the windows and see if we can hear any parrots.” As if on cue, four parrots fly towards us and land in the tree next to the car. Unbelievable and very funny since we really weren’t expecting to see any.  The birds aren’t the least bit afraid of us as we get out of the car and take pictures.

The endangered Abaco Parrot -- we see four!

The endangered Abaco Parrot — we see four!

Wednesday, Crista and Fritz leave ‘Cloudy Bay’ at the dock and join us on Silver Maple for a sail. We anchor and have lunch by Fowl Cay. Unfortunately, the current is too heavy to do any snorkeling, but its a lovely day.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13th to SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16th — DAY 114 to 117 (Treasure Cay and back to Marsh Harbour)

On Thursday, Crista and Fritz fly back to Switzerland and we head out in on Silver Maple to Treasure Cay. We have heard from other cruisers that it is a lot like Florida. When we get there, (once again in the pouring rain) we find a real estate development of condos. Not very interesting so the next morning we go back to Marsh Harbour.

As we enter the harbour, we see ‘Promises Kept’ moored in the bay. We met Debbie and Dennis when we were in West End and spent a few days with them in Great Sale Cay, but haven’t seen or heard from them since. Great to see them! We agree to meet later for happy hour and dinner.

The last two days we have spent here at the Marsh Harbour Marina. Its a very friendly place, so we aren’t in any hurry to leave. Yesterday we rode our bikes into town to the farmers market. Later, we had dinner at the Marina restaurant and watched a rake and scrape band. Rake and scrape music is basically played by keeping beat using a screwdriver that you rub over a saw blade.  I get up with one of the other women, Sharon, to give it a try. Fun!

Today we did our cleaning chores and we are now relaxing.  We are thinking of heading to Sandy Cay early in the week to do some more snorkeling and anchor out for a few nights if the weather is good.


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Sailing with our friends from Switzerland

All is well! Its been very windy since we got here with occasional rain, but we really can’t complain about the 75 – 80 degree F weather given back home we hear it is now snowing!

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1st to MONDAY, DECEMBER 3rd — DAY 102 to 104 (Stuck in Hope Town, Bahamas on Elbow Cay)

Because of high winds and unsettled weather we stay in Hope Town for a few days.  The wind is blowing us on to the dock at almost 30 knots — too much to exit our slip safely (or at least not worth the chance).  We head to explore the lighthouse that’s not a far walk from the marina. After climbing the stairs, we enjoy the amazing view. The Elbow Cay Lighthouse is one of the last three, continuously operated, kerosene-fueled, hand-wound rotation lighthouses in the world.

Elbow Cay Lighthouse

Elbow Cay Lighthouse

Walking to the lighthouse in Hope Town

Walking to the lighthouse in Hope Town

View of Hope Town Harbour from the lighthouse

View of Hope Town Harbour from the lighthouse (Silver Maple is tied up at the dock on the extreme right of the photo)

Finally, on Monday we are able to get away and head up to Marsh Harbour.  Our friends, Crista and Fritz from Switzerland arrive in the morning, and we meet them on the dock just before noon. Great to see them!  We have dinner at a nearby restaurant called Mango.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4th — DAY 105 (Marsh Harbour, Bahamas to meet Crista and Fritz then off to Sea Spray, on Elbow Cay)

In the morning, we head out in a convoy to Sea Spray on the south end of Elbow Cay.  Crista and Fritz, on their rental boat, ‘Cloudy Bay’, immediately have problems with their navigation equipment so they follow us closely for the 2 hour trip and into the marina at Sea Spray. It is a beautiful day, so we put the sails up on Silver Maple. Gorgeous!  One of the best sailing days yet.

Crista and Fritz on 'Cloudy Bay'

Crista and Fritz on ‘Cloudy Bay’

Randy and Leo on the dock at the Conch Inn and Marina in Marsh Harbour

Randy and Leo on the dock at the Conch Inn and Marina in Marsh Harbour

Sails up on the way to Sea Spray on Elbow Cay

Sails up on the way to Sea Spray on Elbow Cay

Beautiful blue Sea of Abaco water

Beautiful blue Sea of Abaco water

Crista and Fritz on 'Cloudy Bay' following close behind

Crista and Fritz on ‘Cloudy Bay’ following closely behind

When we get to Sea Spray, we head out in the dingy to a beach nearby called Tahiti Beach. Beautiful.  Leo loves running in the sand and on the sand bar. It was a bit wavy on the way back so we get covered further with more salt water.  Dinner that night is in the Boat House Restaurant at the marina. Very quiet — only one other table, but very good.

On Tahiti Beach

On Tahiti Beach

Dinner at the Boat House Restaurant at the Sea Spray Marina, Elbow Cay, Bahamas

Dinner at the Boat House Restaurant at the Sea Spray Marina, Elbow Cay, Bahamas

Leo on the dock at Sea Spray Marina, in front of 'Cloudy Bay'

Leo on the dock at Sea Spray Marina, in front of ‘Cloudy Bay’

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5th to FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7th — DAY 106 to 108 (Hope Town to Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas)

The next morning it is a lovely day. Sun is shining, but the forecast is for thunderstorms and high winds the next evening and day. We have to cancel our plans to anchor out that night, and  head to Hope Town instead. We wait for high tide so that we can exit safely the marina channel, which has a shallow area. Hope Town is a close half-hour trip so we are tied up at the dock within an hour. That night we head to Captain Jack’s restaurant in town for wing night.

Silver Maple and Cloudy Bay at the Hope Town Inn and Marina

Silver Maple and Cloudy Bay at the Hope Town Inn and Marina

Over night the winds pick up and the rain comes. The next day is relatively nice though. We go for a walk in town and the four of us have dinner on Silver Maple.

On Friday (today), the day starts out really nice, sunny and 80 degrees F, but a squall rolls in late morning.  Randy and Fritz rent kayaks from the marina and get caught out in the storm. But it clears, so by 2pm we are off.  Crista and Fritz on ‘Cloudy Bay’ head back to Marsh Harbour to pick up their nephew and his girlfriend, who are going to join them for a few days. We head to Man-O-War Cay just a short hour sail away.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we have scheduled a guide to take us snorkeling (Lee) and scuba diving (Randy) at a nearby reef in the morning. Really looking forward to it. Crista, Fritz and their Nephew, Mark, and his girlfriend, Julia, will be regrouping with us Saturday afternoon in Man-O-War Cay. From here, plan is to all head to Great Guana Cay for the Sunday Pig Roast at Nippers.


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Seeing the islands

We continue to work our way south through the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. The weather has been mixed — sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy — but its generally very nice and in the mid-70s. Hard to believe it is almost December!

Back home, work on our new house is progressing. To see the progress go to the blog site (www.silvermapleblog.wordpress.com) and click on the ‘Our New House Back in Canada’ page.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25th to MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26th — DAY 96 to 97 (Leeward Yacht Club on Green Turtle Cay)

Our first day at the Leeward Yacht Club in Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay (Island) is Sunday, but we head into the nearby town of New Plymouth in our dingy to get a few groceries. We hear there is a store open until noon. The town overlooking the Sea of Abaco, is gorgeous with pastel painted buildings and homes.

Later we ride our bicycles to one of the beaches nearby and have dinner with our friends, Carolyn and Peter.

Leo in the dingy heading to town

New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay is a picturesque little town on the sea

  New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay is a picturesque little down on the sea

Homes painted pastel colours

Homes in pastel colours

Beautiful beach nearby

Leeward is full of Canadians! This row of boats includes folks from Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Nova Scotia

Silver Maple, as the sun sets, is tied at the end of the dock at the Leeward Yacht Club on Green Turtle Cay

Visiting Carolyn and Peter who come every year to the Bahamas from Oakville, ON

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th — DAY 98 (Orchid Bay on Great Guana Cay)

While at Leeward, we wait for a weather window to make the next required ocean crossing around Whale Cay. Tuesday is the day, and when we head out the sun is rising and the winds are good, but on the nose — so no sailing.

Nice morning for the Whale Cay crossing

Nice morning for the Whale Cay crossing

Crossing Whale Cay

After we do the Whale Cay crossing, we arrive safe and sound in Great Guana Cay and tie up at the Orchid Bay Marina. Unfortunately, it is another very deserted place and we are the only boat there. Everyone tells us that we are early and things will get busy in December. Hope so! Its a bit weird there being so few people around.

We tour the island on our bicycles and visit the world-famous, Nippers. This bar is on a beautiful beach with some of the softest sand we have ever seen. It feels like all-purpose flour to touch.

Silver Maple alone again, this time at the Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay

Silver Maple alone again, this time at the Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay

Orchid Bay is very nice, but empty

Orchid Bay is very nice, but empty

The famous Nippers Bar on Great Guana Cay in the Bahamas

The famous Nippers Bar and Grill on Great Guana Cay in the Bahamas

Lee and Randy in Nippers

Lee and Randy in Nippers

Beautiful soft sand on the beach in front of Nippers

Beautiful soft sand on the beach in front of Nippers

BOAT TRIP Bluff House to Hope Town 078

Sun setting on the Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th to FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30th — DAY 99 to 101 (Hope Town Marina, Hope Town, Bahamas on Elbow Cay)

The next day we head to Hope Town on Elbow Cay.  It is a beautiful calm morning, and the water is so clear that we can see star fish on the bottom when we are in 12 ft of water. Incredible.

Calm morning heading to Hope Town

Calm morning heading to Hope Town

Nice sunrise

Nice sunrise

Approaching Hope Town

Approaching Hope Town

When we arrive in Hope Town, the marina is very nice and there are lots of boats and other cruisers around. We sit by the pool and then take the ferry shuttle to town across the bay from the marina.

BOAT TRIP Bluff House to Hope Town 116

Leo hanging out by the pool

Hope Town, Bahamas on Elbow Cay

Hope Town, Bahamas on Elbow Cay

Golf cart is main form of (land) transportation

Golf cart is main form of (land) transportation

Randy and Leo in Hope Town

Randy and Leo in Hope Town

Silver Maple in the Hope Town Marina with lots of other boats.

Silver Maple in the Hope Town Marina with lots of other boats. Yeah!

BOAT TRIP Bluff House to Hope Town 142

More pool time

View off of the back of Silver Maple here at Hope Town Marina

View off of the back of Silver Maple here at Hope Town Marina

Shortly after we arrived in Hope Town, the weather has been rough with winds of 25 mph, so we have stayed put and enjoyed the town and island. Tuesday we head to Marsh Harbour to meet our friends, Crista and Fritz who are arriving from Switzerland and renting a sailboat for a week to join us. Really looking forward to seeing them!