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Happy Birthday to Grant!!–and other adventures

Sometimes we wonder why so many people, us included, live in places that are so dreary and cold a good chunk of the year. We are reminded of this every time we use Grant’s birthday as an excuse to visit a tropical locale. Three years running. Last year was on Velocir in Spanish Wells, Eleuthera.

by Velocir

We made a delicious turtle cake, making do with whatever baking pans were available.

by Velocir

For dinner, we skipped the sunset cruiser’s raft-up to enjoy some fine dining. We watched the sunset and the moonrise about 30 minutes apart.

Besides birthday celebrations, we’ve been reading, knitting, snorkeling and walking the beach.  Relaxing in the Caribbean!

by Velocirby Velocirby Velocir

We stopped our lazy ways and got to work, taking Motu Iti out for a sail!  The forecast was 10-15 kts with light chop.  Sailing the Sea of Abaco, Motu Iti did a fine job gliding through the water, not wanting to heel too much even with some puffs.

by Velocir

At the end of our sail, Amelia got in the dinghy and anchored it, while Motu Iti sailed back and forth to get some great photos.

by Velocir

It’s hard to have good sailing pictures of your boat when you’re always on it!

Here’s some fun video of the sail:

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Good bye snowy Annapolis, hello Bahamas!!

We awoke at 0230 to drive to the airport. Three inches of snow on the ground…..great. We drove with one highway lane cleared and little salt on the road. We were almost to the airport parking lot when we slid sideways to a stop inches in front of a pole. Luckily, it was all very slow motion because we were not driving fast. Definitely the right time to get out of Annapolis, leaving Velocir in the snow, and head for the Bahamas to visit Amelia’s parents on their cruising sailboat, Motu Iti. (www.sailmotuiti.com)

Motu Iti by Velocir

Goldwin and Nancy have been relaxing in the Abacos this last month, and we are very happy to join them. Our first day was a bit breezy, but we headed over to a favorite of ours, Tahiti Beach, for some low tide nature viewing. The beach is a long sand bar that appears at low tide. The area is full of starfish, sand dollars, juvenile conch and other creatures.

Starfish by Velocir

Even though we have explored these waters before we always find something new, like this green starfish.

Conch by Velocir

A rare sighting, this juvenile conch came out of its shell for us (trying to turn over).

Conch eyes by Velocir

The eyes always get us, they are oddly adorable making them extremely hard to turn into a meal.  Luckily this one is not legally large enough to eat.

Runabout by Velocir

We zoomed around to a few good snorkeling spots. When Grant goes spearfishing he uses a pole spear with an elastic loop at the end (making it a homemade Hawaiian sling), dive weights to help him get down to look under crevices, a knife for safety and gloves to protect his hands from sharp lobster etc.

Snorkeling by Velocir

He found a spiny lobster in a grassy bank offshore, and speared it for dinner.

Lobster by Velocir

We also speared a few Lion Fish, an invasive species with no natural predators and dangerous spines.  It is very much encouraged to spear them.

Lion fish by Velocir

To finish our great day, Amelia made some conch fritters out of fresh-caught conch and a local batter Nancy had gotten.

Conch Fritters by Velocir

Georgia Offshore…then Inshore

We found a good weather window and decided to go offshore from Calibogue Sound (just north of Savannah, GA) to Brunswick, GA.  They were predicting winds 10-15 kts decreasing to 5 kts overnight and 2-3 ft waves.

Sailing Velocir Offshore

We got about 3 miles offshore and found a steady 15 kts with seas 3-4 ft.  It was a bumpy ride but we got the Navik set on the Albin Vega and split into watches.

Sailing Velocir Offshore

Amelia was on the first watch, feeling very seasick and stressed.  She is not used to being on such a tiny boat in the ocean, but toughened it out and on the watch change went below to feel better.  Very quickly going down below did not result in her feeling better, and the decision was made to head in rather than risk safety having one person at less than 100% before dark.  Also, the swells were bigger then expected and being out there in 5 kts wouldn’t have given us much distance.

Grant used his watch to head into Wassaw Sound and anchor outside the channel just before dark.  We were disappointed (we probably lost time going outside and back in than doing a normal day on the ICW) but knew it was the right decision.

The next morning, the wind was less than 5 kts and reports of waves still at 3-4 ft.  We made our way back to the ICW for a long day of motoring.

As we rounded into the ICW on Skidaway River we entered fourth in a line of five sailboats, the last being a little farther behind.  Minutes later a Sea Tow boat came zooming by all of us in the other direction (northbound) throwing a big wake.  One of the boats in front of us said “Thanks for the wake Sea Tow.”  Then one or two muffled exchanges we didn’t hear clearly.  Then Sea Tow said in a threatening voice “Which boat was that? I’m coming over and we’ll’ ‘talk’ about it.”  He turned around and then buzzed up to all three sailboats in front of us to confront them (apparently).  Seems like no one came forward because he left again, throwing another wake.  We were a little bit shocked Sea Tow would A) throw the wake and B) threaten a cruising boat.  Well, it was entertaining for us and bad for Sea Tow.  Headline:  Sea Tow throws wake on line of cruising sailboats and then turns around to threaten them.

ICW by Velocir

As we got further into Georgia we saw this boat anchored and thought “Welcome to Georgia.”

ICW by Velocir

Here is another boat to add to Grant’s growing collection of “Sunken Boat Pictures.”

ICW by Velocir

More and more beautiful marshland surrounds us.  The air smells sweet.  We can hear the birds and see dolphins.  We even passed a sign indicating Manatees are close-by!  We hope to visit Fort Frederica and Cumberland Island in the coming week to explore more of this unique natural habitat.  Also, there is a big Cruiser’s Thanksgiving in St. Mary’s, GA we plan to feast at!

ICW by Velocir

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