Silver Maple Blog

The Voyage Continues!


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The Exuma Islands in the Bahamas

Saturday, February 14, 2014 to Sunday, February 23, 2014

The trip is going very well and we have been very lucky with the weather.  As expected, internet availability is more limited as we move south and we are at anchor much more than in the past, so we are getting very good at conserving water, fuel and food.

We leave Spanish Wells after a great visit and head out with Haidi Girl (Jules and Kathy) and Monarch (Dauphin and Jodi) towards Hatchet Bay. Winds are light but its a good day for travelling. We hit the dreaded Current Cut at just the right time so the current and the tide are in our favour. No problems.

Great Valentines Day dinner at the Shipyard Restaurant in Spanish Wells

Great Valentines Day dinner at the Shipyard Restaurant in Spanish Wells

Haida Girl and Monarch travelling with us to Hatchet Bay

Haida Girl and Monarch travelling with us to Hatchet Bay

Silver Maple on the way to Hatchet Bay (taken from Monarch)

Silver Maple on the way to Hatchet Bay (taken from Monarch)

The entrance to Hatchet Bay is narrow but the harbour is well protected from the wind and peaceful. There are already numerous boats anchored there. We have a quiet evening and dinner hosted on Monarch.

Entering the narrow cut into Hatchet Bay

Entering the narrow cut into Hatchet Bay

The next day we leave Hatchet Bay, again with Haida Girl and Monarch, and head for Cape Eleuthera. Winds are up and it is a fantastic day for sailing. We have Silver Maple going the fastest it ever has!  When we arrive at Cape Eleuthera, is a lovely but quiet marina. We have dinner at the restaurant at the marina and call it an early night. We have a long day tomorrow doing the ocean crossing to the Exumas.

Enjoying the ride from Hatchet Bay to Cape Eleuthera

Enjoying the ride from Hatchet Bay to Cape Eleuthera

Silver Maple at its best! (taken from Monarch)

Silver Maple at her best! (taken from Monarch)

Docked at Cape Eleuthera

Docked at Cape Eleuthera

Sunrise over Cape Eleuthera

Sunrise over Cape Eleuthera

For our trip crossing to the Exumas the ocean is dead calm. The calmest we have ever seen on any ocean crossing (granted…we haven’t had all that many).  The water is like glass. Lee puts out a fishing line to pass the time and does some trolling. Surprise! We get a hit. In fact we get three. The first two get off the hook just as we are getting them on the boat. The third we land. Mahi Mahi for dinner!  When we get settled in the Exuma Land and Sea Park mooring at Warderick Wells, we invite Dauphin and Jodi from Monarch to join us for a fresh fish dinner.

On our way to the Exuma Land and Sea Park

On our way to the Exuma Land and Sea Park

Incredibly calm day on the ocean

Incredibly calm day on the ocean

Mahi Mahi for dinner!

Mahi Mahi for dinner!

Catching the mooring ball at the Exuma Land and Sea Park (taken from Monarch)

Catching the mooring ball at the Exuma Land and Sea Park (taken from Monarch)

After we arrive at the Exuma Land and Sea Park at Warderick Wells, we stay for almost a week, enjoying beaches, snorkeling and exploring the islands — and waiting for some bad weather to pass. When it finally does, we head down to Staniel Cay where Silver Maple is moored right next to Thunderball Grotto, the place where the James Bond movie, Thunderball was filmed. We swim over to the cave from the boat. Great experience. Amazing fish and wildlife all around it.

Anchorage at Warderick Wells in the Exuma Park (Silver Maple is 4th from left in background)

Anchorage at Warderick Wells in the Exuma Park (Silver Maple is 5th from left in background)

Dauphin and Jodi from Monarch

Dauphin and Jodi from Monarch

Exploring the park by dingy

Exploring the park by dingy

Curly tailed lizards in the Park

Curly tailed lizards in the Park

Silver Maple moored at Thunderball Grotto

Silver Maple moored at Thunderball Grotto at Staniel Cay

Goodbye to Jodi and Dauphin on Monarch. We leave them in Staniel Cay and move on to Black Point.

Goodbye to Jodi and Dauphin on Monarch. We leave them in Staniel Cay and move on to Black Point.

From Staniel Cay, we go just a short distance south to Black Point. This is a small town Bahamian town that’s not touristy at all. Very nice. We anchor in the bay and take the dingy into town to do laundry at the Laundromat and then in again for dinner. It’s a very warm evening so we sit outside at Lorraine’s Café, a Bahamian restaurant where Lorraine took our order and then went into the kitchen to make dinner. She asked us to help ourselves at the bar. Needless to say, very casual — and very fun.

Good sailing to Black Point

Good sailing to Black Point

Black Point harbour

Beautiful Black Point harbour

The dingy dock -- every takes them to get to town for laundry, groceries, dinner, etc.

The dingy dock — everyone takes them to get to town for laundry, groceries, dinner, etc.

Today, we moved to Little Farmers Cay, a very quiet place run by Roosevelt and his wife. We are the only boat at the dock and the only ones in the restaurant for dinner. And, a beautiful setting.

Silver Maple docked at Little Farmers Cay

Silver Maple docked at Little Farmers Cay

Tomorrow, we have an 8 hour ocean passage from Little Farmers Cay to Georgetown. The weather is forecast to be low winds and fairly quiet seas. Should be an easy trip.


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Enjoying Eleuthera Island

Friday, February 7 to Thursday, February 13, 2014

We head out of Marsh Harbour on Friday, February 7th and move down to Tahiti Beach to anchor out for the evening. Being at Tahiti Beach makes us a bit less dependent on the tides required to exit and enter harbours.

Last view of Marsh Harbour.  We will miss it and all the folks at the Jib Room

Last view of Marsh Harbour as we leave. We will miss it and all the folks at the Jib Room.

Heading to Tahiti Beach

Heading to Tahiti Beach

As soon as the weather looks good we want to make the ocean crossing to Eleuthera. Unfortunately, when we get up the next day, it looks like the good weather window we need to make the crossing has now pushed out to Monday. So, we move a short distance to Boat Harbour, one of the few marinas we haven’t explored yet in the Abacos. Its a lovely resort and marina, but a bit pricy. We enjoy their pool and beach and relax.

Heading from Tahiti Beach to Boat Harbour. Beautiful clear water.

Heading from Tahiti Beach to Boat Harbour. Beautiful clear water.

Randy tying off the boat at Boat Harbour

Randy tying off the boat at Boat Harbour

Chillin' on the Boat Harbour Beach

Chillin’ on the Boat Harbour Beach

Sunday morning we are up early and on our way to Lynyard Cay.  The wind dies to nothing so we just float for about an hour. Its a beautiful morning and we don’t have far to go, so we sit and enjoy. Finally, the winds pick up again and we make our way to Lynyard. Later a storm rolls in. We are glad we didn’t attempt to make the crossing today.

Early morning to Lynyard Cay

Early morning to Lynyard Cay

Happy Captain

Happy Captain

Calm waters

Calm waters

Beautiful morning

Beautiful morning

Monday we are up just before 5 AM and on the water before the sun is up. We exit via the South Barr cut with no problem — and we are on our way!  The winds are light and the waves and ocean swells are tolerable.  About an hour into the trip we see another boat behind us. We radio them. Its a boat called Monarch owned by Jodi and Daulphin who live in Texas. They are heading the same way as us, so we stay in contact along the trip and arrive just before them in the anchorage at Royal Island that night.

Sunrise over the ocean

Sunrise over the ocean

Happy first mate!

Happy first mate!

Very nice ocean crossing

Very nice ocean crossing

Sleepy Captain after an early morning and lots of sea sickness meds

Sleepy Captain after an early morning and sea sickness meds

We are glad the crossing is over and relax on deck and watch the sunset. The next day we make the short trip to Spanish Wells. Apparently, bad weather is moving in so we want to get settled and tied to a dock somewhere. Looks like we might be here for a few days. Not so bad since it has given us internet access well before we had planned.

Woohoo! We made it!

Woohoo! We made it!

Sunset all settled at Royal Island

Sunset after we are all settled at Royal Island

Spanish Wells is a working town and not a touristy place. It is mostly engaged in fishing including providing much of the lobster for Red Lobster.  Its a cute town. We meet Jodi and Dauphin for lunch when we arrive then do some exploring around town.

Heading to Spanish Wells

Heading to Spanish Wells

Entering the harbour at Spanish Wells

Entering the harbour at Spanish Wells

At lunch in Spanish Wells

At lunch in Spanish Wells

The next day we take ferries and a taxi to Harbour Island, on the bigger island nearby. Apparently, it is known for being a place the rich and famous stay. The island has a really friendly Bahamian town with a beach on the other shore. The beach sand is pink and beautiful. We have lunch with our friends, Jodi and Daulphin from Monarch, and Kathy and Jules from Haida Girl, then explore the town and walk the beach. Lovely.

Town at Harbour Island

Dunmore Town at Harbour Island

Lunch with the group: Jodi and Dauphin (Monarch) and Jules and Kathy (Haida Girl)

Lunch with the group: Jodi and Dauphin (Monarch) and Jules and Kathy (Haida Girl)

Randy on the pink sand beach of Harbour Island

Randy on the pink sand beach of Harbour Island

Thursday we do laundry and groceries in the morning. In the afternoon we take the dingy to the beach and on the way back the bad weather moves in.  It pours rain and thunders. We are soaked.

In the dingy to the beach

In the dingy to the beach

Tonight we are heading out to dinner to celebrate Valentines a day early. Tomorrow we will be back on the water now that the bad weather seems to have passed. The boats, Monarch and Haida Girl are heading out with us. All of us will be in Hatchet Bay tomorrow night (Friday, Feb. 14).  Fair winds, everyone!


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Back in the Bahamas!

Sunday, January 26th to Friday, February 7th, 2014

We arrive back on Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas on Sunday, January 26th. Silver Maple is in the water there waiting for us. It is beautiful and sunny with a temperature of 78 degrees F., and it stays that way pretty much for days. Apparently, before we arrived was cold and rainy. Looks like we brought the good weather!

SAILING 2014 - Jan 25 to Feb 5 049

Arriving at Green Turtle Cay by Ferry from Treasure Cay with all our gear

Silver Maple waiting for us on the dock at Leeward Yacht Club, Green Turtle Cay

Silver Maple waiting for us on the dock at Leeward Yacht Club, Green Turtle Cay

We spend the first few days cleaning and prepping the boat. Then, on Tuesday, January 28th, we do the passage called “The Wale” from Green Turtle to Marsh Harbour. It is lovely and calm in the morning when we head out. Perfect for an ocean passage — in fact we could use a bit more wind for sailing. No complaints. Its a beautiful day and great to be back on the water.

Gorgeous calm morning for doing the Whale Passage.

Gorgeous calm morning for doing the Whale Passage.

On Friday, Jan 31st, Deb and Joe from Chicago (Cary, IL), arrive for a one week visit. They settle right in with a swim at the pool and cocktails on the boat. We take the next week with them to revisit all the sites in the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas that we enjoyed so much last year.

Deb and Joe arrive on Silver Maple

Deb and Joe arrive on Silver Maple at Marsh Harbour

Deb and Joe arrive at Marsh Harbour and settle in

Settling in

New crew gets the knack of sailing very quickly

Getting the knack of sailing

New crew is great! Deb and Joe jump in to help with chores.

Deb and Joe are great and jump in to help with chores!

On the beach at Great Guana Cay

On the beach at Great Guana Cay — our favourite beach

Dinner at Grabbers on Great Guana Cay

Dinner at Grabbers on Great Guana Cay

On the water!

On the water!

Tahiti Beach

Tahiti Beach

Deb on watch

Deb on watch

Deb and Joe both try their hand at Rake and Scrap the Bahamian-style music

Deb and Joe both try their hand at Rake and Scrap the Bahamian-style music

Deb and Joe leave on Thursday, February 6th to head back to the cold and snowy north. We spend the day preparing for our trip south to the Exuma Islands in the southern Bahamas. Our original plan was to leave Marsh Harbour on Saturday, February 8th to do the first ocean crossing to get south, but a weather window has opened today so we are heading out now instead. We will be on the water and anchoring for about 3 weeks, so will be out of touch and without internet until we reach civilization again. That will probably be in Georgetown, Bahamas at the end of February.  Cheers to everyone and happy sailing!