Silver Maple Blog

The Voyage Continues!


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Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Wednesday, December 16 to Thursday, December 24, 2015

Before we head home for Christmas, we organize a holiday cocktail hour and potluck with the other boaters, and we get out for one more snorkeling trip with Brian and Cassy (Miss Informed). In the morning, we take the dinghies just outside of the Hope Town harbour where the Sea of Abaco meets the ocean. Great snorkeling! There is some nice coral there and lots of fish. Lovely!

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Hope Town is decked out for the holidays! Photo by Miss Informed.

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Silver Maple with her Christmas lights on.

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Cocktail hour with other boaters at the Hope Town Inn and Marina.

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Brian and Randy swimming above the reef. Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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Beautiful coral and fish snorkeling just outside the Hope Town harbour. Photo taken by Miss Informed.

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Our ferry ready to leave Hope Town for Marsh Harbour. From there we take a taxi to Treasure Cay Airport to catch our flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

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Randy on the ferry and ready to go!

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The bar at the Treasure Cay Airport must be one of the best airport bars in the world.

When we arrive home in Canada, we have a snowy drive home. Normally, this isn’t anything to write about, but this year everyone had been telling us how warm its been and that there was no snow. We think they were pulling our leg!!

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Snowy drive home when we reach Canada.

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What we wake up to the morning after we arrive.

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Leo loves the snow and is happy to be home.

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Lake looks cold, but not frozen over. Very unusual.

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We are all ready for Christmas!

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Leo wants to open his presents now!

Since we’ve been home, we have had lots of rain so the snow is all gone. Today, Christmas Eve, it is sunny and warm. Randy and Jackson took Leo out for a hike through the bush for an hour. Definitely the nicest Christmas Eve weather any of us can remember.

Merry Christmas to all and all the best in 2016!   Cheers!

 


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Rain, rain, go away…

Monday, December 7th, 2015 to Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

To say we are tired of the rain would be an understatement. Some days it rains all day, and on others it comes and goes. It always seems to be around, so everything is always wet. Until today!  Today feels like the first day without rain in weeks. And, it was a beautiful sunny day in the 80s. Gorgeous! Great for getting things dried out.

Regardless of the rain the last few weeks, we get out and about and enjoy ourselves. The Hope Town Song Writer’s Festival event at the Hope Town Marina was very lucky and manages to take place during a few hours of dry weather without howling winds. And, the next morning the sunrise is breathtaking.

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Hope Town Music Festival was really good!

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Performers are the writers of many of the current hit country songs.

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Our table at the festival’s Hope Town Marina event, from left to right, Randy, Cassy and Brian (Miss Informed), Susan and Brian (Good Morning Vietnam), and Lee.

 

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Sunrise over Hope Town harbour the day following the Song Writers concert.

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Beautiful sunrise deserves two photos.

On Thursday the rains stop in the morning, so we take the opportunity to sneak out of Hope Town and head down to Lynyard Cay. We anchor there and dinghy in to see Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour. Unfortunately, Silver Maple needs more depth than what this harbour offers, so we can’t bring her in. Pete’s Pub is a cute beach bar with sand floor and picnic tables. Next door they have a great art gallery displaying bronze sculptures made at the on the premises foundry. We eat lunch at the bar, visit the gallery, explore the ocean side beach, and tour the harbour.

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Calm day heading to Lynyard Cay to visit Pete’s Pub.

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Water so clear you can see starfish on the bottom at 15 feet. Amazing!

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Sails up but not much wind.

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First Mate enjoying the view.

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Randy on the dock heading towards Pete’s Pub.

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Dinghies parked at the Pete’s Pub dock. The transportation we all use from our boats at anchor.

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Lee and Randy with Cassy and Brian (Miss Informed) at Pete’s Pub.

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Pete’s Pub is a funky, fun place.

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Lee and Randy at Pete’s Pub. Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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Needles are washing up on the shore around the Abaco Islands from the debris of the El Faro container ship disaster. Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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The guys examine an interesting beach find. Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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Foam and metal from a container of El Faro, the ship that sank during hurricane Joaquin. Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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Lee and Randy exploring Little Harbour where Pete’s Pub is located. Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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The caves in Little Harbour. Apparently the first settlers to this area lived in these until they were able to build other shelter.

The next day, it is pouring rain when we wake up. To be expected these days. Thankfully, it stops in a couple of hours so we head to Snake Cay to explore the mangrove waterways and do some snorkeling. It is overcast, but trying hard to clear. Bad weather with very high winds are forecast for the next day, so our plan is to get back to Hope Town before night fall. We have a great day and see an amazing amount of sea life.

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On our way from Lynyard Cay to Snake Cay. Wind on the nose, so no sailing. Boo! Photo courtesy of Miss Informed.

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Lee and Randy enjoying the trip. Photo taken by Miss Informed.

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Exploring the Snake Cay mangrove waterways required constant checking of the depth with the hand held depth meter, as well as a map so we didn’t get lost.

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The mangroves have lots of roots and are able to survive in salt water. They make great homes for wildlife and apparently help to clean the water.

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Lee and Randy exploring the mangrove waterways at Snake Cay before we jump in for some snorkeling. Photo taken by Miss Informed.

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The waters behind Snake Cay are full of turtles. They swim really fast, but Lee managed to catch a photo of this guy.

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We see Eagle Rays where we are snorkeling. Beautiful! Photo taken by Miss Informed.

Back in Hope Town, it is a rainy weekend but thankfully the sun has now finally won out, so we are enjoying a few days of some good weather before we head home.

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Finally, a day of nice weather in Hope Town.

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The Hope Town lighthouse is decked out for the holidays.

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Randy out cleaning Silver Maple now that the weather is nice. Always lots of work to be done!

We leave on Friday for Canada for the holidays. Really looking forward to seeing Jackson, Leo and the house again.

 

 


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Out and about in the Bahamian Abaco Islands

November 23rd, 2015 to December 6th, 2015

After about two weeks of being socked-in at the Hope Town Inn and Marina, we finally break free on Saturday, November 28th. Up until then, we keep busy working around the boat and during breaks in the bad weather, we volunteer for a beach clean-up, ride our bikes, climb the lighthouse and generally keep busy so we don’t go crazy.

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We volunteer for a beach clean up. It is very windy so you have to hold on tight to your garbage bag.

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This is the foam we are cleaning up off the beach. There is lots of it everywhere on the shore. Apparently it is remnants of the container ship El Faro that sank during Hurricane Joaquin. In addition to the foam we find things like jars of mayonnaise and needles. What a mess!

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Getting the folding bikes out and put together.

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Out for a bicycle ride while the weather is nice.

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Riding on Elbow Cay just north of town.

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Randy on top of the lighthouse in Hope Town.

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Hope Town lighthouse.

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View of Hope Town Harbour from the lighthouse.

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Ocean looking raucous outside the harbour.

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More Bocce Ball to kill time — with Ron (Legacy), Brian and Mario (Miss Informed) and Randy.

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Canadians using US Thanksgiving as a great excuse to go out for a nice dinner at the Abaco Inn.

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The group at Sip Sip for Friday night pizza and a game of Wits and Wagers — Ron (Legacy), Mario, Brian and Cassy (Miss Informed) with Randy and Lee.

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Silver Maple looking ship-shape after days stuck at the dock with lots of time for cleaning and tidying.

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The new cushion we bought in Florida for the bed says it all.

When we do get off the dock and head out, the wind and waves are still very high, but we endure the weather so that we can finally break free. Thankfully, we aren’t going very far — just heading to Marsh Harbour for a change of scenery and to hit Steak Night at the Jib Room Restaurant at the Marsh Harbour Marina. When we arrive, the first thing we do is indulge in a Bilge Burner, their signature drink, and Randy has his favourite, the fish Rueben sandwich.

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Even the ferry is struggling with the wind and waves.

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Captain is happy to be back on the water even though it is raucous.

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Silver Maple settled in Marsh Harbour. It is nice to be back.

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The beautiful Marsh Harbour Marina and Jib Room Restaurant.

From Marsh Harbour we head to Great Guana Cay and anchor in beautiful Fisher’s Bay, one of our favourite places. We meet Brian, Cassy and Mario (Miss Informed) at Nipper’s and have cocktails before dinner at Grabber’s.

In the morning, we head out of Fisher’s Bay, where there is a lovely rainbow and we make the short sail over to Man-O-Way Cay. The weather has finally settled down and it is a gorgeous day. We haven’t been to Man-O-War for a few years and had forgotten how nice it is. Walking around town, it is a very well kept and pretty island and the Man-O-War Marina is great.

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Sunset over Fisher’s Bay, Great Guana Cay taken from the open air Grabber’s Restaurant and Bar.

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Gorgeous morning in Fishers Bay at Great Guana Cay.

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A beautiful day for a sail. Too bad we aren’t going very far.

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Man-O-War Marina is very pretty.

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Silver Maple at Man-O-War Cay.

From Man-O-War, we sail over to Tahiti Beach and anchor just off the beach. The weather is fantastic. For lunch we take the dinghy over to Lubber Landing, a restaurant and bar about a mile away and we have the best margaritas. Afterwards, we head to the beach for a swim and a walk. Last year there was a shark attack here, so you keep a look out when you are in the water. Later, Brian, Cassy and Mario (Miss Informed) and Deana and Tea (Satisfaction) arrive and anchor with us. The next day, its another gorgeous day. We dinghy over to Channel Cay and do some snorkeling. Just beautiful. Its about a six mile ride, but with our new dinghy that’s a piece of cake. Later in the afternoon, a boat named Good Morning Vietnam anchors near us at Tahiti Beach. Susan and Brian come over in their dinghy to say hello and invite us for cocktail hour. Very nice people.

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Silver Maple anchored at Tahiti Beach.

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Randy in front of Lubber’s Quarters, a fun bar we try for the first time.

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Lubber’s Quarter’s salt water margaritas are very possibly the best margaritas we have ever had.

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On Tahiti Beach. The annual photo in front of the tree root.

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Ted and Deana with Randy on Silver Maple for happy hour. Their boat, Satisfaction, is anchored in the distance.

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Out for a snorkeling trip to Channel Cay. Beautiful clear water.

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Sunrise over Susan and Brian’s boat, Good Morning Vietnam, at Tahiti Beach.

After two nights at Tahiti Beach, it looks like bad weather is moving in again, so we prepare to head back to Hope Town. Just before we leave, Ted calls over from Satisfaction. They have a leak and would like Randy to come over to help. Brian and Mario from Miss Informed join them. Unfortunately, they can’t seem to find the source of the water, but it seems like it is a slow leak so safe to head to harbour. Miss Informed, Satisfaction, Good Morning Vietnam and Silver Maple all head back to Hope Town Harbour.

Now back in Hope Town, it has been raining on and off. We are keeping busy with chores on the boat. Randy and some of the guys have also managed to squeeze in some more Bocce Ball games between rain drops and I have been learning to play Mahjong from some of the other ladies on the dock. It seems like an Asian version of Rummy but played with tiles instead of cards. Tonight we are going to the Hope Town Song Writers Music Festival. Should be fun!