Welcome to the cruising blog of Wayne and Michele Sharp!
If you want to learn a little bit about cruising, satisfy your curiosity, live vicariously, or be entertained, I think you've come to the right place.
Feel free to ask questions or post comments in the comment section of each post; I will respond to all of them. You can also email us at email@example.com.
We've written a book based on the blog from our first journey in 2007 - Adventures of a Once Reluctant Sailor: A Journey of Guts, Growth, and Grace. It is available online from my website at reluctantsailor.net, and from Apostle Islands Booksellers, Copperfish Books, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Your local bookstore can also order it for you. We've included over 170 color and black and white photos.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
|Can you find Lena Bea?|
|Lena Bea with Hope Town lighthouse|
Friday, April 26, 2013
|Hurry with the picture, already!|
I need to find me some GRASS!
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Friday, April 19: We are tucked in at Green Turtle Club Marina, docked next to Ginny C, with Change, Chatty Cat, and Broadwater II close by. And as you can see, we finally have internet access. Not dependable, but we have it at the moment, and that will probably be the case from now on.
Our internet service here isn't allowing me to upload photos, or do much else online for that matter. I'll try again later.
Sunday, April 21: Since weather didn't appear to be favorable for them to cross the Whale in their trawler until Tuesday or Wednesday, Chris and Ginny decided to spend a week here and wait it out. Ginny C and Change had a horrendous time crossing the gulf stream—with horrendous bruises to show for it— and they weren't eager for that kind of excitement again. The Green Turtle Club Marina gave them a good weekly rate for dockage and golf cart rental, the primary means of transportation on the island. It's three miles to New Plymouth and the four of us drove down on Saturday morning.
As we made our way through town, dozens of people garbed in black clustered around the church made it obvious that a funeral was about to begin. As we walked about town we saw several signs on shop windows saying they were closed for George's funeral. Two hours later when we passed by the church, the funeral was still in full swing. As we finished lunch and ice cream at McIntosh Restaurant and Bakery across from the cemetery, we watched the mourners finally congregate at the gravesite.
Last night after dinner ten of us gathered in the resort lounge for a rousing game of Catch Phrase. It was only a warmup and we didn't keep score, but there will be a rematch and the guys better watch out, because the women are ready.
It's rainy today, but winds have calmed down and Wayne and I are ready to tackle the Whale. Chatty Cat and Broadwater II will take the inside route, since they are catamarans and don't draw as much as we do. We hope to make it to Great Guana in time for the weekly pig roast at Nipper's Beach Bar.
Monday, April 15, 2013
We had a safe passage and docked at Old Bahama Bay in West End of Grand Bahama Island at around 2:30. YAY! Before we could do anything else, we had to clear customs. While Wayne went up to do that and check in, I checked to see if I could pick up a wi-fi signal from the Marina and was successful. YAY again!
Only we, Ginny C, and Chat-Eau have taken their boats to the Bahamas before.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Wayne and Dennis had decided to skip our planned stop at No Name Harbor, 44 nautical miles from Rodriguez Key, and continue on to Fort Lauderdale, about 70 nm. Dennis was understandably anxious to get his auto pilot taken care of, and Wayne thought we might have a weather window favorable for crossing to the Bahamas on Sunday rather than Monday. Moving on to Fort Lauderdale would give us options.
As the sky became darker and the warnings more ominous, I became scared and desperate to head for the relative safety of No Name Harbor. Wayne and I "discussed" it at length, but the captain overruled me and tried to be reassuring.
I like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, so I scurried about the cabin, securing everything in sight, grabbed all of the portable electronic devices and stashed them in the microwave to protect them from lightning, helped Wayne put up extra sections of our cockpit enclosure, and whatever else needed to be done. I then hunkered down in the aft cabin with Emma to wait out the storm and buried myself in a book in an effort to distract myself from what was happening outside.
Some time later Wayne stormed into the cabin and said, "Call Shirla! I've been trying to hail Aurora on the radio and Dennis on his cell phone, but they don't answer! I want to make sure they're okay."
I called Shirla but got her voicemail.
When I joined Wayne in the cockpit, I was relieved to see that the storm had passed and the rain had mostly stopped. Wayne had been watching the radar carefully and turned to the southeast, away from the storm, when it appeared that we were headed right into the worst of it.
A little while later, Dennis finally called us on his portable radio. Aurora had sustained a lightning strike that had damaged their electronics, including the VHF radio, but he and Shirla were fine. Thank goodness!
|Aurora, approaching Fort Lauderdale later in the day|
|Yes, that's a cruise ship - Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas -|
yes, she's moving, and yes, we're directly in her path.
|Shirla took this photo of us (that's us on the left)|
The dockmaster gave us a slip right next to a beautiful yacht. She was custom built for Tiger Woods in 1997, according to the two guys who had been hired to detail the engine room.
We were all exhausted, but famished and not excited about cooking, so we walked over to Bubba Gumps for dinner.
Dennis has been taking inventory of the boat, trying to determine what's working and what isn't. I'm not clear on that, so I won't attempt to give details. What I know for sure is that the antenna at the top of their mast is gone and in its place is a black blob and lots of things don't work. The insurance adjuster won't be out until tomorrow, so Dennis and Shirla will wait and take it from there. One thing is clear: they won't be crossing to the Bahamas with us tomorrow. We hate to leave them behind, but there's nothing we can do to help. I feel so bad for them. After months of preparation and provisioning, it's a huge disappointment, but their attitude is amazing. They are amazing. So positive and matter-of-fact. On the plus side, they have no time constraints, so we are still hopeful that they will get their repairs done and join us in the Abacos in a week or two.
Our friends on Chatty Cat and Broadwater II who are docked at the yacht club, took the trolley over and joined us for dinner at Coconuts this evening. Tomorrow morning they, Toucana, and Chat-Eau will join us to make the 4:30 a.m. bridge opening and head across the gulf stream to the Bahamas. Mary and Rich onboard Change and Ginny and Chris onboard Ginny C. (trawlers) crossed yesterday, apparently also under less than desirable conditions. Ginny's email to me this morning said, "We got battered way too much yesterday. Lots of bruises and broken stuff. Poor Ginny C is boasting her first duct tape."
Things can only get better, right?
Mary, if you are reading this, Happy Birthday! You did it! YAY! I hope you had a fabulous time celebrating both events in the Abacos. See you soon.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
|Aurora in the Florida Keys|
Yes, that was the actual color of the water yesterday
|Aurora sailing off into the sunrise|
(wish I'd thought to get this photo earlier)
Shirla called while I was writing this. They have decided to have the part(s) shipped to Bahama Bay so that our departure won't be delayed.
Emma seems to have settled in more quickly than usual on this cruise. When we first set out on a trip, all she wants is to be in our bed—with me—and sits at the bottom of the stairs waiting for me to come down, unwilling to join us in the cockpit. This time she was content to be down below by herself after a day or so, and moves back and forth from the bed to the settee. I wish Emma enjoyed being in the cockpit with us (at anchor she's okay with it), but what matters most is that she is content. I divide my time between sitting with her and sitting with Wayne.
I noticed this morning that Emma's ear seemed to be bothering her, so I checked and found that it seems to be infected. Fortunately, I have the stuff to clean it out and medication to treat it with. Poor baby.
We may skip our intended anchorage at No Name Harbor this evening and go all the way to Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale. Conditions are favorable to keep on truckin,' so truck we will.
If you haven't checked out the Cesaris' (Aurora) blog yet, it's a must-read. Shirla writes so eloquently, I pale in comparison. http://thecesaris.blogspot.com/
Motor-sailing now. The sail was nice while it lasted.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Wayne had to run in to West Marine to get a remote microphone for the VHF radio. The one we have in the cockpit has been misbehaving and Wayne sometimes has to bang it on something to get it to work.
Valhalla, Aurora, and we dinghied over to Burdine's Waterfront Restaurant for dinner.
|This was posted on the menu|
In my prayer when I woke up this morning, I said to God, "Please let this be the day when things start to go in our favor." It was not to be.
I've told you about a few of our mishaps, but it's the many minor things not worth sharing or reading about that tend to wear you down. Make no mistake, though, it's all small stuff.
Wayne and Dennis determined that, because strong ESE winds would not be in our favor today, it would be best to spend a second night in Marathon. I was excited about the options available to us with a full day to do as we wished, even if all I did was work on my to do list. Two things I CAN'T do when we're underway, though, are to go for a walk and do errands, so I decided to make a final run to Publix, possibly my final opportunity before crossing. Surely there was SOMETHING I had forgotten to bring!
I looked up at the sky as we prepared to get in the dinghy and, although it was mostly clear, there were some ominous clouds to the southwest. "Is it supposed to rain today?" I asked Wayne. It's been very warm, so we had three hatches and a number of port holes open. He wasn't sure, so I checked the weather app on my iPhone. Zero percent chance of rain. We're good. I casually stepped down on the bedroom hatch which is directly over the bed, thinking, "Well, it's not going to rain, but there's no reason to take a chance." Normally, we never leave hatches open when we leave the boat.
Off we went, to a dock Wayne had tied up to on a previous Publix trip, about a mile and a half away. Unfortunately, the whole area was under construction and we could find no public dinghy dock. We finally asked a woman sitting in her backyard if she knew where we might be able to tie up. She offered her friend's dock (she was visiting), so Wayne left me there and off to Publix I went.
I was a woman on a mission, walking along the plaza, eyes fixed on Publix half a mile down the road, when suddenly I felt a strong force drawing me to the door of a shop. I walked in and lo and behold, I was at the Sandal Factory Store, with possibly more sandals than I have ever seen in one place before! I was in sandal heaven!
I called Wayne to see if I had time to browse or if he wanted me to hurry. Take your time, he said. YES! Ten minutes later he called back to tell me that it's pouring out, he's soaked to the skin, we left hatches open, and he was headed back to the boat. "Finish your shopping, wait until the rain stops, and take a cab back to the marina," he said.
WHAT??? It's raining??? I glanced out the window. Sure enough. Okay, I can deal with that. There are worse things than being stranded in a sandal shop during a rainstorm. A few minutes later it dawned on me that I keep a couple of plastic rain ponchos in the dinghy bag for such occasions. I started to call Wayne but he was already soaked. And slowwwly making his way at no-wake speed back to and across the mooring field. Oh, well.
I must digress here to explain that I am always on the lookout for comfortable walking sandals. I have really tender feet and if I walk more than about a mile in a pair of sandals, no matter how comfortable they are, I can't wear them again for several days because my feet need to heal. If I know I"ll be doing a lot of walking, I'll even bring an extra pair with me so I can switch. Thus, I need several pairs so I can rotate them. Or just not walk.
The deluge didn't seem ready to stop, but I was tired of trying to wait it out, so I paid for my (one pair of) sandals and continued on to Publix. As I crossed the parking lot, a gentleman returning to the car with his wife and their purchases dropped a bottle of wine on the ground! I couldn't believe that it didn't break! A woman pushing her grocery cart behind them admonished him, "That's alcohol abuse!" True story.
The marina was just over a mile away, so I chose to walk instead of take a cab. I called Wayne when I got close. He said that he and Emma would be waiting at the marina to pick me up. They weren't there when I arrived, so I waited a bit, then tried to call him. No answer. He finally showed up. The dinghy had run out of gas and he had to row half a mile against strong wind to get to the marina while keeping a careful eye on Emma. She and I stayed behind to minimize weight while Wayne rowed back to the boat, filled the tank, and returned to pick us up forty-five minutes later.
Wayne had a big mess to clean up when he returned to Lena Bea during the downpour. Lots of rain in the cabin to wipe up and dry out, but nothing serious. Thank goodness I closed the hatch over the bed!
We'll be leaving at 7:00 tomorrow morning for Rodriguez Key.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Sunday, April 7, 2013
We left our home in Punta Gorda on Friday. Our boating club, the Mariners of PGI, had their annual regatta and weekend blast at Burnt Store Marina, which about 100 people participated in, including us. We had a great time, as we always do with the Mariners, and left Burnt Store a little after 10:00 this morning after stopping at the fuel dock to top off our tank and get a pump out.
|Fellow Mariners of PGI friends|
who will be traveling to the Abacos
After months of planning and preparation, it feels great to be underway at last. We hope you will join us vicariously on our latest adventure.