by Mandi Sorg
MARCH 1ST, 2020
Today marks our last day in our Merritt Island marina. My parents spent the morning with us, helping with last minute errands. It was a beautiful day with light winds. As we left our slip for the final time, my parents jumped on board, and my dad helped take lines off the pilings. We waved goodbye to our neighbors as we backed out of the canal and on our way to the fuel dock. Our friend Chris, who works at the marina, was there to greet us and helped us to fuel up. We said goodbye to my parents, and exchanged hugs and a few tears before they stepped off the boat. We headed south down the intracoastal waterway (ICW). Along the way we passed our marina friends on the water, Phil and Jordon, and we enthusiastically waived goodbye and blew kisses at each other. Due to leaving so late in the day, we made it to the Eau Gallie Causeway Bridge, where we anchored to the northeast of the bridge for the night. We celebrated our leave over our favorite beer – Bells Two Hearted!
20 NAUTICAL MILES MILES SAILED
MARCH 2ND, 2020
We continued heading south down the ICW. The average winds were at 25 knots, coming directly from the south. The day was filled with very narrow channels, surrounded by shallow waters. Due to this, we had to motor the entire way to the Fort Pierce Inlet. Passing through Vero Beach was interesting, if not just for passing the over sized homes. This brought on a lot of discussion between Brian and I about what we feel is important in life, and gives us a sense of worth. Once through the North Fort Pierce Bridge, we anchored north of the island inside the Fort Pierce inlet. We anchored two separate times, since we became worried of how close were to the catamaran after our first anchor setting.
63 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
MARCH 3RD, 2020
We spent the day at the same Fort Pierce anchorage. After our ritual coffee and breakfast, we thoroughly cleaned the boat. That afternoon, we were prepping our dinghy to explore the area when a neighboring boat’s dinghy approached us; shortly after, so did another. Jennifer and Giles, in the first dinghy, were a newly retired couple, in the beginning stage of their first sailing journey. Greg, on the second dinghy, had been doing various boating for years. They hung on to our transom while we sat on the aft deck seats and the five of us talked for sometime. Eventually we made our way across the channel in our own dingy, and checked out the marina’s in the area. We putted under a sketchy, short bridge built for trains, in order to make it down Taylor’s Creek to see if we could sneak in to Publix the back way – an idea gathered from the afternoon powwow. Turns out, we would have had to hike up a rocky hill and jump the fence to get to Publix. While out, we watched a sailboat being towed of a shoal. It had grounded pretty hard and was heeled way over on it’s port side. Once back to our boat, we decided to stay in the anchorage for a few more days until the upcoming strong north winds passed. The neighbors had described to us how well the anchorage was during the most recent front, with strong north winds they swear gusted over 50 knots.
MARCH 4TH, 2020
Immediately upon waking up, we began working on the water maker. We were very close to being done before we realized we were missing vital hoses and plumbing pieces. Jennifer and Giles knocked on our boat to let us know that Greg would be going in to town later if we wanted to join – what a happily inviting coincidence! We made a list of items we needed and were ready to leave when Greg came by. With Greg in his dinghy, and us in ours, we set off for the Riverside Marina. David, the dock master, greeted us and was extremely kind and allowed us to dock free of charge. Greg, also having errands of his own, drove us around town in his Jeep, which we were so very grateful for. We visited Marine Connection (one of the best marine stores we’ve ever set our eyes on – acres of every boat piece imaginable!), Publix, and Ace. After checking off all the items on our list, Greg took us to the Fort Pierce inlet’s beaches where we walked around and enjoyed the sun and waves. Once we returned to our boat, we finished the water maker – which makes an impressive 0.9 gallons of water a minute!
MARCH 5TH, 2020
In the same anchorage, we had a productive morning. We worked on our individual media projects, tested making calls via our sat phone (satelitte phone), and I created the tracking page for our website. We took the dinghy to Fort Pierce’s Harbortown Marina. The rumor is, this used to be affiliated with our home port’s Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island (though this one is much nicer). We docked our dinghy and had a few beers. We chatted with a very nice couple, Dale and Alice, who were sitting next to us at the bar. We brought some trash with us in the dinghy, which we disposed of after we finished relaxing, and then dinghied back towards our boat. We knocked on Gary’s boat and spoke with him for a time. He gave us a new metal fire extinguisher holdster in exchange for a fitting for his fuel line project he had been working on all day. Brian and I then went to the nearby island and explored by playing in the sand and waves. Back on our boat, we had dinner and hot choclate on the deck, and went to bed early. Brian expressed how he was not looking forward to the north wind and wanted to dock at the marina during the next few days until the front passed. I replied I wanted to stay in the anchorage and tough it out, see what it was like to go through a front on the hook, and see what we could learn.
MARCH 6TH, 2020
Another morning spent sitting at anchor, and working on our projects. Our freezer’s compressor became the big issue for the day. The evaporator plate was covered in ice, but only on one side – which turns out to be the side with a hole in the cabinet where wires were going through. We took everything out of the freezer, took out the evaporate plate, installed a new temperature sensor, then sealed up the hole. Our hopes were that by filling the hole with expandable foam, getting the ice off the plate, and having a digital thermostat as opposed to the analog, would save the life of our compressor. Later that evening, the clamp by the macerator pump in Brian’s forward head (bathroom) seemed to be leaking. Sewage from the holding tank had been slowly dripping out, causing an awful stench. We cleaned up what we could, opened the forward cabin hatch, and went to sleep.
MARCH 7TH, 2020
I could hardly sleep the evening before due to the smell radiating throughout the boat. Though the door to the forward cabin was shut (and therefor, closed to the head as well), the smell was still overwhelming. I tried to open the ports to allow oxygen flow, but Brian insisted that plan would only draw out the smell from the stringers under the floorboards and make it worse. When we woke for the day, we learned that the macerator pump was actually broken and it was not a faulty clamp on the hose as originally thought. Luckily we had a spare macerator pump, and decided to replace it. Brian went to empty the holding tank so he could make the switch (no, you should not empty a holding tank unless you’re 3 miles out to see, but we had no choice). Before the contents even passed the pump, shit water suddenly began shooting everywhere from the pumps seals and under the sink cabinet, followed by our gagging. I ran and fetched a bucket, which Brian filled, while I prepared the entire cabin and deck with towels in case of spills. Brian and I yelled at each other like we’ve never yelled before, but then again neither of us had been in such a situation before either. Brian made three trips up the companionway to pour the sewage overboard. The boat was a disaster, and we both felt like pure hell. We spent hours methodically cleaning and disinfecting. Once the debacle was over, we napped on deck for an hour, and not very well. During the mayhem, we hardly noticed how badly the wind and current had been beating us around in the anchorage. Outside were sustained 30 knot winds, with gusts that felt much higher. With just a look, we apologized for how we treated each other, hugged, and went to sleep early.
MARCH 8, 2020
Another sleepless night, as our boat was being tossed in the dark. With the strong current and opposing winds, our boat had been spinning in complete circles every few minutes throughout the night, causing our snubber line to get wrapped around our external bow thruster. Brian dove the boat in the morning and reported the line was tightly wedged between the hull and the thruster. We tried pulling it out by wrapping the line ends around two winches, but with no luck. There was no other option but to cut the line (a ~$400 item). This made for a less than ideal job for taking the load off of the windlass and bow roller. There is still a bit of rope stuck between the hull and the thruster, which we may never get out. We were not able to focus on much because of our unhappiness in our situation. We had hardly eaten since the day before yesterdy. The anchorage was turning to absolute hell. By the afternoon we had to move our boat. We popped up through the companionway to the realization that we were sitting right on top of the trawler who had anchored a day after us. Luckily, because of our vessel differences, our boat had not hit the trawler due to us spinning at different speeds. After we re-anchored, we were still miserable. Greg came by on his dinghy as we sat on the bow, resetting our anchor alarm. After telling him the stories of our recent plights, he told us “this is Neptune weeding out the weak”… “that is where dreams die”, as he pointed to the boats in the nearby marina. Brian tried calling the marina to see if they had a transient slip available, just in case, as the evening was to bring even stronger winds – they did not. That night was hell. Wind gusts past 35 knots, strong opposing current, and a full moon had us spinning wildly. Our anchor alarm continued to sound each time we spun as the anchor would pop out just to reset a few feet west. With our double lined snubber now down to one line, prior to any spin, our anchor chain would grate against the front hull of our boat, creating an intensely loud and ominous sound that echoed through the boat. Our minds were shot, our bodies unfed and exhausted, the hours that past seemed surreal and other worldly in the dark. No sleep was had this night by either of us. Every fifteen minutes we popped our heads outside just to be punched with wind, rain, and confusion of unknowing if we were dragging or not.
MARCH 9TH, 2020
The sun shown on dreary faces upon rising. We hadn’t eaten much in days, we were utterly exhausted. Our boat looked like it had moved 40 feet to the west overnight. We dinghied south, under the Fort Pierce bridge to check if there were anchorage spots available there. The wind was between 15 and 20 knots, the current was ripping through the inlet, and the waves on the other side of the bridge maybe 4 feet high. I huddled in the front of our dinghy as Brian bashed through waves; my knees hitting the bottom of the boat, and my back feeling like it was crushing on itself. Disappointment was found on the other side since too many boats were anchored in the already narrow, shallow spot, and they still didn’t seem to have much more protection from the winds than we did. We came back to the boat, and Brian took out the storm anchor to see if it would help with the spinning. I pulled out the navionics map to look for another anchorage further south. Brian began explaining his plan for the storm anchor when I said no, I would not stay here another night. I found an anchorage by the Jensen Beach bridge, which was just 14 nautical miles south. We took the risk to leave, and potentially loosing our anchorage spot (albeit one from hell), and headed south. We passed Jennifer and Giles who also looked like they had dragged overnight. The wind was a steady 30 knots from the east, and we only past one other sailboat on our way south. It was rainy, gray, and uncomfortable. We began to feel like maybe we had made a mistake in moving. Once we saw the bridge, we became more hopeful. Through the binoculars we could see calm waters, because of the bridge blocking some wind and the land mass was closer together than anywhere else in the local channel causing less wave movement. We anchored, and cried with relief and happiness. An anchorage from heaven! We dinghied to Conchy’s Seafood restaurant and ate and drank well in celebration.
77 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
MARCH 10TH, 2020
We slept for 12 hours, and it was an amazing sleep! We dinghied to town after leaving it on a small patch of beach near the bridge. We walked with a load of laundry on our backs and washed our soiled clothes and towels from our previous macerator mishap in a local laundry mat. Then, we walked to ACE, West Marine, and then Publix for some other items. We ubered back to the dinghy instead of walking as we had been all day. The anchorage proved itself again to be heaven.
MARCH 11TH, 2020
We stayed on our boat in the new anchorage at Jensen Beach. Our automatic identification system (aka “AIS”, a maritime tracking system to avoid collisions with other vessels) had not been working, so we spent the day on the phone with Garming troubleshooting. We downloaded the new updated software, and it seemed to no longer have error signals, but we were going to need to purchase a GPS extender from West Marine. Overall, a quiet and relaxing day.
MARCH 12TH, 2020
We went in to town for our last errand run. West Marine, a gun store, and Publix for extra provisioning. Everywhere we went was met with interesting conversation, and many had insightful sailing information in one form or another. We were very conscious to not touch our faces as the coronavirus, which we had our eye on since January, seems to now be spreading in the states.
MARCH 13TH, 2020
We left early to make our way down to Lake Worth. Before getting out of the anchorage area we soft grounded the boat three times. Our Garmin charts were not accurate, and our navionics charts were not updating in real time. The saying goes, you are not a sailor until you’ve grounded the boat.. Coming down the ICW was very stressful. Just as we crossed the St. Lucie Inlet, a monstrously tall and wide mega yacht veered its head around the corner we were headed to on the canal. An enormous ship, five stories tall, barreling through with no warning on the VHF. With 2 -3 feet shoals on either side of the hundred foot wide channel, we did not have enough time to maneuver ourselves before our vessels met. We hailed them on the radio, “we have one foot of clearance” they replied to us, “we have a keel, how do you want to proceed” we say. There was silence on the other end, and we stayed in place on the edge of the shoal as the titanic ship glided by. We could have high fived the men we saw on the stern of the boat, who were scowling at us. There were many bascule bridges with timed openings, and we reached each bridge just in time. Most boaters whizzed by with no regard of safety, vessel closeness, or wake in this area. We almost took the light out at the Blue Heron Bridge in Lake Worth – we’ve now learned that we do not pass under a bridge if the board shows less than 63 feet. A quick stop was made to fuel up once we passed the bridge. The area was absolute mayhem, and we learned there had been a boat show. We anchored nicely just south of the Lake Worth Inlet.
111 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
MARCH 14TH, 2020
We stayed anchored in Lake Worth. We marked all of our future anchorage spots along the way of our planned routes for when we’re in The Bahamas, while considering places to hide away or move to during any wind shifts. We prepped our boat and our minds for tomorrow’s gulf stream crossing.
MARCH 15TH, 2020
Today we set off for The Bahamas! We left at 6:30AM, before the sun rose. It was very dark, and I could hardly see the anchor chain against the water. Our roles seem to have solidified already on this trip, with me as the navigator and anchor setter, and Brian the captain steering the boat. We make it out of the dark inlet with me on the bow holding the navionics, telling him where to avoid and where to keep heading. Once passing the jetties, we started to make a south heading, but a tanker with a pilot boat was getting ready to enter the inlet and was blocking our south exit. This caused us to not make as south of a turn initially. The crossing was beautiful and serene. We hardly saw any boats, but lots of flying fish! At one point we thought we would need to save a person in the water, but it turned out to be a floating red helium balloon. We arrived to West End in just over nine hours, making great time! Unfortunately there was not enough favorable winds to fly our sails, though we did pull our main sail to balance us out with the waves. We docked at customs at Old Bahama Bay, and Brian went ashore to file paperwork. Customs took his speargun. We stayed on the customs dock for the night, but not before grabbing some Kalik beers and heading down to the beach for a quick snorkel. We saw a huge starfish, and many beautiful sweet fish I’ve only ever seen in pictures.
169 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
MARCH 16TH, 2020 – – – REST AT WEST END
We stayed at The Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End today. We left the customs dock and anchored just outside of the canal to run our water maker. Once our water tanks were full,
we came back in and pulled in to our slip. Our slip neighbors, Matt and Lucy, who also arrived the day before, helped us with our lines. We took the dinghy outside of the canal, in to the ocean, and found some spots with small rock shelves to dive. We looked for lobster and fish to pole spear, though had no luck with either. We saw beautiful leafy coral, lion fish, a sting ray, and an array of gorgeous fish. That evening we chatted with our other slip neighbors from Canada, while sitting on our respective boats. The marinas bread lady came by with a cart and we bought still warm and delicious banana bread and coconut bread. Ronnie, a man from the office, was kind enough to grab us two SIM cards while he was in Freeport, and brought them to us at our boat.
MARCH 17TH, 2020 – – – SAIL TO LUCAYA
We woke up and got some last minute shots of the marina and planned our day out for our sail to Lucaya. We officially met the neighbors on the other side of us, Matt and Lucy, and talked briefly. Coincidentally, they were also headed to Lucaya. Brian and I left West End and sailed south. I hoisted the head sail and was at the helm all day. We passed three cruise ships that were anchored outside of Freeport, by the oil rigs, either waiting to be cleared to come in (unlikely), or actually had positive covid19 cases on board (neither of which we know for sure). Brian tried fishing off the side of the boat, but with no luck. We pulled in to Lucaya and found a perfect anchorage in front of the resort, just to the left of the inlet entrance. Matt and Lucy were not far behind, and anchored deeper inside the canals. We later dinghied to them to say hello. We had a few drinks and shared great laughs and conversation, and left just before sunset. That evening I sat on the bow listening to the sounds of a soothing bird before falling asleep.
196 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
MARCH 18TH, 2020 – – – KICKED OUT OF THE ANCHORAGE
Matt and Lucy came by on their dinghy to ask if we wanted to go to the Soloman’s grocery store with them. We declined their tempting offer because we were getting so much productive work done that morning. Not long after, while sitting in the main cabin, we heard a shouted “Captain!!” I ran to the deck to find a local man on a small boat, practically touching our stern. “Give me the captain!”, he shouts. There were others on the bow of his boat, tourists it looked like, who were awkwardly smirking. Brian comes out to inspect. “You can’t anchor here, it’s dangerous, there’s sewage lines, we gave you one night, one night!, we didn’t harass you, but you’re still here, you can’t be here, you must leave, the signs say no anchoring, you’re still here!!!…”, the absolute aggressive behavior was shocking, and we could hardly get a word in as he wasn’t pausing for breaths between his own words. Brian says “our charts showed this as an optional anchorage, where are the signs?” The man replies, “do you think I’m lying?! Get in my boat! I will take you to the sign!” During the confrontation, we noticed his boat was from the Grand Bahama Yacht Club, a marina within the canal. Brian gets on the mans boat. “Are you coming?” the man says to me. “Absolutely not!”, I replied. “Then I hope you can handle your boat.” “I can!” The boat takes Brian up to the sea wall, where apparently there was a small sign, with small writing, pointing in the opposite direction, making it completely impossible for a cruiser intending to anchor to see. I continued to hear the aggressive voice echoing over the water and its unsettling laughter. Eventually, the man brings Brian back, but to the side of the boat instead of the back transom, where Brian had to hoist himself up over the life lines. He tells me they are forcing us to either leave the canal, or stay in a marina. The man leaves, and we pick up the anchor. We stay at a nearby marina, and purposefully not the Grand Bahama Yacht Club. The evening’s marina was just around the corner. We thought of anchoring by Matt and Lucy further down the canal, but we did not want to risk being seen passing to their spot and having them be kicked out of their anchorage as well. We pulled in to a slip at Port Lucaya Marina, and met the neighbor on the Oyster sailboat next to us who was waiting for a weather window to go back to the states. The marina was attached to a very large outdoor mall, filled with trinket shops, bars and restaurants, no doubt a spot for cruise ship passengers. We dinghied to Matt and Lucy to tell them the news, and then made our own one mile trek that evening to the grocery store and gather more food. The store was surprisingly large, and well stocked. We bought as much as we could carry and made our way back to the boat. That night the port’s market blasted club music all night, which we found slightly more obnoxious as the night dragged on, like a close dorm room party you didn’t want to be invited to.
MARCH 19TH, 2020 – – – COVID19, BAHAMAS FIRST ORDER
It was a very productive day. I worked on an article recounting the boat yard days, and Brian made a lot of progress on a video. We got a text from Matt and Lucy informing us to check the news. A covid19 case had been reported in Nassau. The Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Dr. Hubert Minnis, declared the islands were to be under a 9PM curfew, there was to be no reporting to non-essential work, no groups of ten or more, and to not leave your house unless for essential purposes. We saw hardly any movement at the marina all day, except for those who had a boat on the dock. No one picked up in the office when we hailed them on the VHF. That evening, a boat full of young men, which we suspected to be a treasure hunting boat, made a startling midnight screaming match. The energy of Lucaya was changing, and there was no music that night.
MARCH 20TH, 2020 – – – DESERTED MARINA
I finished my article and sent it in to a sailing magazine. This was my first time ever submitting an article, and I was very excited. Brian continued to do great work on his video. The marketplace at the docks were quiet and deserted. Again, no one answered the VHF when we hailed the marina office. Our neighbor, in the Oyster sailboat, tried to leave the docks to go to a restaurant and a security guard would not even let him leave the marina gate. The treasure hunting neighbors left the docks, but not before shouting “fuck you, coronavirus!” to the oblivion. We weren’t sure what our plans would be with what was happening, and even more confused as to how the new order effects us. We decided to stay one more day at the marina before anchoring out near Matt and Lucy, where we planned to continue to watch any covid19 developments.
MARCH 21ST, 2020 – – – RELOCATION
We spent the morning working on the narration audio for the videos. The Oyster neighbors left for the states before we woke up. Again no one answered our VHF hailing, and we never saw anyone else at the marina, or at the port’s shopping areas. We left the docks around 3PM and anchored near Matt and Lucy. It was past the Grand Bahama Yacht Club, which we held our breath while passing, and around the corner to the right. A small round anchorage, surrounded by a rock wall and puffy Bahamian trees. There were a few townhomes, but far enough off to not feel like you anchored in someones backyard.
MARCH 22, 2020 – – – CRUISERS HEADING HOME
The anchorage is a perfect spot! We spent the day working on our projects. We saw a man “lobstering” in the area, snorkeling the walls in a wet suit with a cooler in tow, so we later tried ourselves (minus the floating cooler). We did see lobster, but they were just babies. Four sailboats flying the Canadian flag came in and anchored farther down the canal. One sailboat with a Norway flag came in to our anchorage and dropped anchor much too close to Matt and Lucy, and butted right against the sea wall – were a north wind to come, they would surely crash in to it. The coronavirus continues to be a scary, ever-evolving pandemic. We’re not sure as cruisers what to do – many visiting Bahama cruisers are unsure – and it seems the vast majority are already going back to the states. We’ve decided to continue with our plan, respectfully and cautiously, to go south to the Berry Islands when the wind is right. In times like this we need to be very careful about our fuel consumption.
MARCH 23RD, 2020 – – – ORDER UPDATE, AND THE FIRST OF THE NORWEGIANS
Another morning spent working on our projects. We’ve begun to create a schedule for ourselves these last few days in order to stay productive. First, coffee and breakfast, then personal project work until lunch time, where we break and eat. Then we wrap up our work for the day and the remainder is free time. After our projects, we did some major house cleaning and organization. We have a rule of not wasting food, but our sausage that smelled like fish had to go. We tossed it overboard and the fifty plus seagulls had a FIELD DAY! More Canadian flagged boats anchored down the canal, along with a few American. The Norwegians rode their dinghy to our boat today. They are an older couple, perhaps in their late 70’s, strong and weathered. They questioned how long we would be on our hook for. They, somehow kindly, passive aggressively informed us the spot we were anchored in is their usual anchorage spot, and that some time ago they were just where we are for an entire month, and it had the best holding. At 7PM the Prime Minister made an announcement with an updated order. There is now a 24 hour curfew, no inter-island transit, no leaving your house unless for essential gatherings and for essential items (in which all essential businesses have strict guidelines of how many people can be in a building together at one time). The Prime Minister says visitors and Bahamians did not take the first order seriously enough, and The Bahamas cannot afford to loose 800 people in a day. Their coronavirus case count is slowly increasing in Nassau. For the time being, we will stay put in our anchorage until an update to the order has been made on March 31st. Matt and Lucy are still here as well.
MARCH 24TH, 2020 – – – NORWEGIAN HARASSMENT AND CRAMPED QUARTERS
Another morning spent working on projects. The previous days Canadian sailboats left that morning, to which I assume back to Canada. We went for another try to find some lobster in the rocky wall at the anchorage, but again no luck. We briefly saw and spoke with Matt and Lucy as we were swimming in the water. They are planning to leave soon, heading to Beaufort, North Carolina and then to Chesapeake Bay. Considering the worlds situation, we are interested in the idea. A few more Canadian boats anchored down in the canal. The Norwegians came by again and kindly harassed us on how much longer we would be in “their spot”, circling our boat in their dinghy until the conversation became silent and awkward. Close to evening, another small sailboat came to the anchorage, making for some very cramped quarters!
MARCH 25TH, 2020 – – – FRIENDS RE-ANCHORE, YOUTUBE VID BEGINNINGS
Matt and Lucy re-anchored in the adjacent bay. Whether it was due to the new sailboat or the crazy close Norwegians, I’m not sure. Funny enough, the Norwegians took their spot almost immediately. Brian and I spent the day filming our first YouTube video, which we had fun with. More sailboats continue to anchor overnight, just to leave the next morning, heading back to their respective homes.
MARCH 26TH, 2020 – – – CHATS WITH THE NEIGHBORS
Matt and Lucy left for their trip back to the states. The Norwegians came up to our boat and asked about how much longer we would be in the anchorage in general. Their glaring faces looking up at us, contemplating their stealing of the entire anchorage’s real estate to have the swing, and we think to potentially spend their time on deck in the nude instead of their underwear. Their sailboat is quiet large, a 53 footer, and a mast with three spreaders. We continued working on our video, though we ended up happily drowning the afternoon away with whiskey once we made amends after a trivial and tense fiasco over a “you said this, and I did that” filming disagreement. By evening, I went for a swim as the sunset. The man on the smaller newly anchored boat was at the bow and we three began to chat. He was from the Chesapeake Bay and said it was well worth the trip to go, even if just to see the wooded canals and never go in to the towns. We are heavily considering the change of plans.
MARCH 27TH, 2020 – – – VIDEO WRAP UP
We spent the entire day wrapping up the video. The small boat and the Norwegians have both gone, and we now have the anchorage all to ourselves. We had a lot of fun today, drank a bottle of champagne, and my bum got burnt!
MARCH 28TH, 2020 – – – VENTURING IN THE OCEAN
Brian worked on editing the video and I spent what felt like hours in the kitchen cleaning up after the past few busy days of filming. We took the dinghy out in the afternoon to the ocean to see if we could find food in the reef closest to the channel. The waves in the ocean were high and rough, and by the end of the day the dinghy was flooded from barreling through them. No luck finding anything to eat, it was a fish desert. It was also discovered that I cannot pull the roller on my brand new pole spear more than halfway up the pole. Until I can order a Hawaiian sling, Brian will be the pole spear master. Once we returned to the boat, we did a small batch of laundry, and hung the clothes in the sun to dry. That evening we realized the release for the pole spear was missing, most likely lost in the ocean, and we made a makeshift one out of a clip I spotted on the bear pepper spray can. The Norwegians also snuck back in to the anchorage while we were at the reef.
MARCH 29TH, 2020 – – – COVID19 ORDER UPDATE AND WATER MISHAP
The coronavirus news is becoming surreal. Our downtime these days is spent reading of its happenings around the world. Our plans for sailing seem to change almost everyday. Will we continue through the Bahamas? Will we go back to Florida? Will we go to the Chesapeake? Will we still try to get through Panama? The Bahamian government has updated its 24 hour curfew order with now essential stores only to be open from 9AM to 1PM, and grocery stores to be open to people by last names only on specific days. Grand Bahama, the island we are currently on, now has a few confirmed cases, non being related to recent travel. We ran our water maker and filled up our water tanks today. During it, as we switched to fill the aft tank, Brian accidentally switched the wrong thru valve and the water pressure in the lines blew a hose off the A/C unit. Water went everywhere, so we spent an hour cleaning it up and drying it out with the fan. We then went for a dive in the anchorage. Brian was on a mission to find a fish or a lobster. I spotted a schoolmaster snapper, but it was too small. We were, again, not lucky with our fishing.
MARCH 30TH, 2020 – – – A RUNAWAY BAHAMIAN AND A LOBSTER
I made breakfast and then spent the morning killing flies. Yesterdays morning bacon drew them in and it’s been an annoyance ever since. After breakfast, Brian set out to the Grand Bahama Yacht Club, our marina nemesis, with an empty fuel can and propane tank, to ask about how he could fuel up. He came back just ten minutes later, telling me as he neared the dock, the man in the office spotted him and headed straight for his bike, which he got on and quickly pedaled away (a real wicked witch of the west move). He went further down the canal to the Port Lucaya Marina, where we previously docked, to find a sign on the office door saying “temporarily closed”. Around noon we took the dinghy to a new reef spot farther out in the ocean. It was beautiful! Big, colorful coral and rock shelves. Brian held the spear, and I hunted with my eyes, periodically telling him of spots with potential. All kinds of fish! Angelfish, snappers, grunts, jacks – all beautiful! I became good at spotting conch shells, but no one was ever home. After an hour or so of trying to find a suitably sized fish, we got back in the dinghy and tried a few other spots with no luck. All of the reefs there were “nurseries”, we called them, all filled with baby fish. During our reef time, I dove to grab a conch I spotted under a rock shelf. I saw a seemingly small fish inside but far enough away from the conch that I payed no mind. I reached inside and as I touched the shell a fat cute puffer fish emerged in to view. His mouth, round and wide, and his eyes were bulging. He slowly got rounder and it startled me! I drove us back in through the channel, and to the boat. Brian dove in the anchorage and came back with… a lobster!! I made a buttered caper meal with the meat, and we ate well!
MARCH 31ST, 2020 – – – RUNNING OUT OF FUEL, NO LONGER WELCOMED
All day was spent working on our projects. Brian had planned on leaving early and walking to Freeport to fill up our propane tanks – but the walk would take all day, over eight hours, and we decided against it. Public transportation is not running, and cabs are not picking up anyone either. We tried calling Grand Bahama Yacht Club to see if we could pay anyone to fill our propane for us, but no one is helpful. It seems as though our presence is not welcomed and, in some ways, I could understand. We let out more scope in our anchor to prepare for the front that is to hit us late this evening; predicted 20+ knot winds from the north. We are planning on making an extensive grocery trip within the next few days, and once the front passes fully, we are heavily considering starting to make our way back to the states. Too many people are writing in forums that the government and defense force are not taking lightly to cruisers continuing on for pleasure. Since we don’t know how long this is going to last, we can’t seem to get our propane tanks filled (which we need to cook), and we don’t want to wait in the same anchorage for another month of prolonged updates, we want to move along and become fluid with a new sailing plan.