This blog shares random bits and pieces of numerous journeys on a comfy North Pacific trawler, the M/V Exhale. Launching from our home port in Fort Myers, Florida the first big adventure was a 6,000 mile journey known as the America’s Great Loop (in 2018), we also traversed to the Bahamas twice, and navigated the cool waters of Maine. In 2023 we are embarking on a journey to northeast Canada.
breathe out in a deliberate manner.
“she sat back and exhaled deeply”
The trawler: North Pacific is based in Surrey, British Columbia, CANADA.
We returned to Half Moon Bay, wishing that #8 would arrive again by train. This location is convenient for car rentals (Enterprise closes early, check their hours). You can also tour by train.
The sunset is breathtaking.
Boater’s Tip – the dockhands are “challenged”; trust your instincts when docking. RED FLAG: As you ease into a narrow slip also LOOK UP, if there is a chunky metal lift in the next slip protruding into your assigned transient slip, your docking space has suddenly narrowed. Beware, the sound of metal scraping is both loud and terrifying. AND, damage while docking is hard to resolve, especially in the midst of emotional confusion.
Samurai Sushi and Hibachi, Croton-on-Hudson
BEST sushi on the trip, so far. Highly recommended. It’s a long walk, or a short drive.
Sleepy Hollow is an easy drive (with a rental car).
As long as you are driving around, navigate to the Gorge, it’s a must see! Fashionable socks are just a bonus.
Touring West Point – History and Tradition Cemetery tour
Travelers tip: You can only book your trip to West Point online, the best tours sell out fast. Go early to enjoy the museum at the Visitors Center. The tour is a mixture of a bus ride and a LOT of walking. Bring water and wear comfy shoes. Our tour guide, Steve, was a wealth of information.
History: Overlooking the West Bank of the Hudson River, General George Washington recognized the strategic value of the fortress at West Point. In 1779 Washington moved his military headquarters to West Point.
Tradition: There are now seven chapels on campus, ranging in age and size. Some of them are shared by multiple faiths.
Our first stop was Cadet Chapel. We were told “attendance is no longer compulsory.” The lady next to me sneered, “maybe legally, but that’s not true in practice.”
Given the rigid placement of the hymnals, it’s hard to imagine anything is “optional” on campus.
The Old Cadet Chapel, built in 1836, is simple in its décor (sorry, no photos), with a wall commemorating past Commanding Generals – including a plaque for more than one of the men in the following quiz. Keep reading, Commodore Greg 🙂
West Point Cemetery
We walked though the cemetery, appreciating the shady trees. Unlike a national cemetery, grave markers vary widely.
Fun stuff about West Point: Our tour guide said roughly 10% of the 12,000 annual applications are accepted. Fact check from Mr. Google yielded 10.7%, trust but verify. In 2022 there were nearly 14,000 applicants. Average GPA was 3.9 – serious academic rigor. Also required: excellence in sports, leadership, and extracurricular activities. He also said on average 80% graduate. Schooling is fully funded (valued at roughly $250k), unless that cadet doesn’t graduate, then he/she may be on the hook to fully reimburse the program. Ouch!
West Point Quiz:
Quiz: Which of these eight men are alumni of West Point:
President George Washington (1732-1799)
Brigadier General Benedict Arnold (1741 – 1801)
Washington Irving (Author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”) (1783-1859)
President Ulysses S. Grant (1822 – 1885)
General George Armstrong Custer (1839 – 1876)
General George S Patton (1885 – 1945)
President Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)
President Jimmy Carter (1924 – ) – He’s 99 years old and still kicking!
We said goodbye to Half Moon Bay, with another lovely sunset. Capt Floyd, you should have been here.
Hudson River Lighthouses!
Hudson River Maritime Museum
Boaters Tip – the museum is closed on Tuesday. Likewise, most (but not all) of the shops and restaurants are closed. It’s a nice time to cook on your boat.
If you time it right, you might get a local concert under the bridge, where the echo is perfect!
Donovan’s Shady Harbor
Another quiet stop.
I’ll spare you the battery replacement story. Let’s just celebrate that it was finished, and thank David Bernstein for the extra muscle.
This is for Ray and Caryl, obviously!
Waterford – Decision Point
If you read our blog from 2018 (found in the archives) you will know when you reach Waterford you must make a decision whether to traverse the Erie Canal or the Champlain. Height limitations, from fixed bridges, impact the choice. Since we took the Champlain route five years ago, almost to the day, this time we are headed west to explore more of New York!
New York Canal System
Erie Canal, here we come. Dear Lockmasters, please be gentle in those locks!
Boaters tip: Wear Gloves! Have your boat hook ready, and plan to wash the boat when you finish. In the words of Capt Rick, Mister Toad’s Wild Ride now begins.
Schenectady Yacht Club, NY
Our first stop was quaint. Dockmaster Ed and the members of the yacht club were super nice. At $1.50 a foot, we were delighted. Thanks for the book!
Restaurant tip: Order Pizza to be delivered to the boat. Glenville Pizza & Deli Inc, 80 Freemans Bridge Road, Glenville, NY (518) 952-4101
Answers to the West Point Quiz – aka History Trivia.
Can you identify which of these 8 men, if any, were West Point graduates?
Washington, Arnold, Irving, Grant, Custer, Patton, Eisenhower, and Carter
Fortress West Point dates back to 1776; in 1802 it officially became the United States Military Academy, now known as West Point.
West Point Graduates = 4
President Grant, President Eisenhower, General Patton (Ole Blood and Guts) and General Custer (he’s buried in West Point Cemetery). Another example of the non-traditional military headstones.
Commander of West Point = 1
Not a graduate of West Point, Major General Benedict Arnold was given command of Fortress West Point in 1780 by President Washington, who was known to genuinely like, and admire him.
Wait. Isn’t that the guy whose name is synonymous with “traitor”. Yes. How did he fall so far from grace? Benedict Arnold claimed that he was being passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress, and that other officers were being given credit for some of his accomplishments. Maybe it was an HR thing.
Repeatedly, Arnold faced court martial. Charged with corruption, he was acquitted, more than once. But when Congress investigated his finances, it determined he had misappropriated government funds to maintain his lavish lifestyle. Forensic Accountants Rock, MO!
When the financial mess became public knowledge Benedict diabolically planned to seek revenge against his former ally, POTUS Washington. Conspiring with the Brits, he shared a wealth of military secrets and plotted the capture of West Point; in return, the Brit’s made him a Brigadier General.
Fortress West Point was never captured by the British.
A memorial plaque for Arnold hangs in the Old Cadet Chapel, sufficient details remain to clearly identify him, although his name is intentionally blotted out.
Not graduates = 3
President George Washington never attended college.
Washington Irving, author of “Rip Van Winkle” was named after the founding POTUS, he was also self-educated.
President Jimmy Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, the heated rival of West Point.
Thanks for keeping us safe, Sideways, we love SeaBees!
Now, a Really Cool Boat Name: One Moor Day, saying Hi to boaters Andy and Lisa from Seneca Falls.
Birthdays – June 1, Craig Adford, Anda Saylor, June Bug Skyllar, Mark Marlow; June 2, Sue Gillespie; June 3, Lorrie Swink; June 9, Finnigan; June 10, Debra McGhan.
Next Stops along the Erie Canal: Amsterdam Riverlink Park, Little Falls , Rome, Sylvan Beach, and Brewerton!
See you VERY soon, Sandy, Iron Bear, Caryl and Ray (aka Sideways)
Still Waiting for #8.
Once again we covered a LOT of ground in the span of a week, thanks for following us. Comments are encouraged!
We recommend staying at the Delaware City Marina, say hello to Tim and his lovely wife Beth (the feisty red head) . Their hospitality is top-notch. Charlie, aka Shorty, is also quick with the lines.
Boater’s Tip: The Marina is a continuous floating dock (no slips) with a side tie. 1) provide your true length overall 2) set fenders and lines on both sides of the boat as you will initially dock on the starboard side, then marina staff will help spin your boat around to the port side to depart with the outgoing tide. 3) The current is horribly strong near the marker at the channel entrance so don’t get too close, but also don’t get too far away as grounding is a real risk. Listen to the dock masters directions carefully 4) Do not miss the afternoon Captains meeting to hear the latest on the wind and water conditions for your departure.
Enjoy the local talent on the marina deck – brother and sister duet, delightful.
Also be prepared for an early departure, subject to tides and commercial barge traffic. We left shortly after 5 am!
South Jersey Marina – Cape May
For Exhale and Tonto’s Reward a two-night stay was too short. Sadly, with a boat repair underway, David B and Capt Rick did not get to explore the town.
Cape May Historic trolley tour!
Highly Recommended: Gail and Mary bought trolley tickets online, if it it looks like the tours are sold out, check back, we discovered they often add extra tours.
Sandy Hook – Weather Decisions
Buttercup often rides alongside Captain Rick in the Pilot House, sharing his wide helm seat.
We put a lot of thought and planning into when to “stay or go” because of the weather. Capt Rick has four separate apps that feed him meaningful data about the tides, the wind, the rain, and the depth of the water. We could see the conditions were not perfect, but we could also see the weather was predicted to get much worse, so we fired up Sally the seakeeper (stabilizer), and left as early as possible believing the winds are gentler in the morning.
Sadly, the water was rougher than expected and the bumpy ride made our young dog toss her cookies, literally and repeatedly. Tragically she was sitting on the lap of Capt Rick. I am sure you can imagine the mess. Drenched in doggy puke, Rick seemed unphased. After retrieving a change of clothes for Rick and some wet towels for the puppy my hypersensitive nose prompted a frantic dash to the galley sink, to sympathetically puke, multiple times. Another reason to be thankful for a garbage disposal! 13 hours later, we dropped anchor, followed by showers, laundry and a stiff drink. It was a rough day.
For us, anchoring out is usually a relaxing experience, but Buttercup greatly prefers to dock at a marina and then take a leisurely walk to a lush patch of grass to do her business. Anchoring out means she has to use the grass patch in the cockpit, while the boat is rocking and rolling in the waves, which she does not like.
Anticipating our trip to Sandy Hook, we acquired a patch of sod for Buttercup.
The Mighty Hudson River
The efficiency of the ferry system – back and forth from New Jersey to New York – is beyond compare as commuters whisk across the brutal waters, ripping up a current that is not for the faint of heart. It is also easy to visualize how the nimble captains were heroes, rescuing 155 passengers after Captain Chesley Sullenberger, “Sully”, flawlessly executed the water landing of Flight 1549 in 2009, known as the Miracle on the Hudson. Another great Tom Hanks, Warner Bros. movie, for Mija and other fans.
Boater’s Tip: Get OUT of the way and expect a heavy wake from the ferry traffic.
In 2018 the original Exhale anchored out behind the Statue of Liberty with Meanders and Vagabond; in the distance was Houlegan, again (well before we learned to love Sideways).
We recommend you dock at Liberty Landing where the view of Manhattan is magnificent!
There is also a magnificent restaurant near the marina, with a popular a game of chess.
A personal note: Happy Birthday Zach, my Grand Master Wizard.
Observing Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey and New York, a time of thanks and reflection.
Tonto’s Reward joined us on a ferry ride from New Jersey’s Liberty State Park with stops at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
It’s so nice when someone else takes the wheel.
Boater’s Tip: Take a bottle of water – it’s a LOT of walking.
Here’s the History lesson, Commodore Greg
Fun Trivia: Long before it became a way station for people looking for a new beginning, Ellis Island—named for its last private owner, Samuel Ellis—was a place where condemned prisoners met their end. For most of the early 19th century, the island was used to hang convicted pirates, criminals, and mutinous sailors. The last hanging was in 1839.
Ellis Island is overwhelming, just knowing that our ancestors came through there makes it a treasured visit. It was easy to imagine the music, and the chaos, of countless languages as anxious families went through the grueling process of medical exams and interviews, with the fear of being detained or rejected. On average, the inspection process took approximately 3-7 hours.
From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island was America’s largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million immigrants were processed.
David B noted on the tour that we were surrounded by a similar mixture of languages, and the sounds of English seemed less than dominant.
For Danielle and Sandra
Curious about your ancestors who came through Ellis Island, click here! The Passenger Search database contains records from 1820 to 1957.
Hudson River Beauties
As we cruised along the Hudson River we continued to admire the exquisite architecture of both Jersey and New York. Capt. Rick said this magnificent structure appears to have a private landing pad for George Jetson.
What do you think?
Little Island – Pier Park
Have you seen the park that seems to magically rise above the Hudson? NYC’s first “floating park,” a $260 million gift to the city from billionaire Barry Diller, is phenomenal. Little Island opened in May 2021. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, Little Island is a public park that rises out of the water some 200 feet off Manhattan’s West Side. By land it’s Pier 51, located at 13th Street and Hudson River.
The 2.4-acre project includes an amphitheater – what a fabulous venue.
Thanks to the NY Times for the great photos, here’s the full article. NY Times Article
May 28, Brennyn; Scott Ginsburg; May 29, Doug Belknap, Joe Solari; May 31, Pamela Ledward
Anniversaries: May 26, Jeff and Patty North; May 27, Carly and Brandon Maurer!
While Tonto’s Reward was leapfrogging ahead of us to Burr in Annapolis, we meandered to Alligator River with NP43 owners, Lisa and Greg Palmer.
Lisa from Beach Breeze
Be sure to walk into the marina office/gas station; order the fried chicken early, before the cook goes home!
Coinjock, North Carolina
For the first time, ever, we secured a section of the wall at Coinjock. The prime rib was exactly as expected – delicious. Because it was Mother’s Day the crowd was overwhelming.
Boaters Tip: Reservations require a party of 6 or more, so make new friends with the boats tied up on the wall and enjoy. We recommend the prime rib, just ask for a smaller cut! We will spare you the photo of the consumed cow meat.
Tidewater Marina, Portsmouth, VA
Boaters Tip: Believe the reviews on DockWa. The staff at Tidewater Marina is great! BUT, when you read “the marina is under construction”, it’s more than just a small inconvenience. If you have a critter you can expect a LONG detour, visualize an obstacle course through a construction zone on floating docks that rock and roll, for fun – add a little pouring rain. Buttercup was not impressed.
For now, Waterside Marina – across the water in Norfolk, VA – is much better.
When you walk about the historic district of Portsmouth you will find stunning examples of buildings from the 1800’s, rich in character and color. Zoom in to see the Narwhal carving over the grand porch, to the left side of the magnificent entry steps!
Before the civil war, Portsmouth had dreams of becoming one of the largest deep-water ports. So, what happened?
Are you ready, Commodore Greg?
In June of 1855, the Benjamin Franklin – a stunning 183-foot steamship from the West Indies – left St. Thomas enroute to New York. The Franklin unexpectedly detoured toward Portsmouth for repairs when she became so leaky that the passengers (not crew) were desperately working the bilge pumps to keep her afloat. Its boilers were sputtering, and a sailing mast needed reinforcement. The condition of the ship was shocking to the affluent passengers, since she was only 4 years old. Tragically, the shipbuilders cut LOTS of corners in her design and craftsmanship.
Two days after the ship arrived, a body washed up at the fort. Reportedly, “His hands were as yellow as lemons.”
Yellow Fever quickly rampaged Portsmouth and Norfolk, ultimately killing nearly one-third of the population. To read the full article, “The Fever,” Originally Published July 10-23, 2005, click here: https://www.portsmouthva.gov/513/The-Fever
Thanks to science and effective vaccines, Yellow Fever is now uncommon in the US. However, for International Travelers, it is still a concern. So, how does one get Yellow Fever? It is transmitted to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes, who got it from infected primates (human or animal) and then transmit the virus to other warm-blooded humans or animals.
Visualize an infected needle that is re-used, over and over again. Each time the mosquito pokes you and sucks out your blood, it left the virus behind. No wonder Capt. Rick HATES needles!
Here are a few questions you might have pondered about mosquitoes.
NON-READERS, it’s okay if you skip ahead to the next set of photos:
Do all mosquitos suck blood? No, the male is a strict vegetarian. On the other hand, females are like vampires, biting their victim repeatedly.
What is the life span of a mosquito?On average, females live 42-56 days, while males generally live for about 10 days. However, with a steady supply of blood, a female mosquito can live up to 5 months. Found dead on Exhale, without any report of bites, this mosquito was probably a harmless male.
How fast do they multiply? Once full of enough blood (either human or another warm-blooded animal), the mosquito will rest for two to three days before laying her eggs, generally about 100 at a time! Roughly 14 days later, the cycle repeats.
Where do mosquitoes thrive? Just a small amount of water; dog bowls, fountains, tires, barrels, vases and any other container storing water makes for a great “nursery.” Eggs are very hardy; they stick to the walls of a container like glue and can survive drying out for up to 8 months— even over the winter.
Stinky Feet attract mosquitoes – that’s also why they often bite your ankles! We have read that mosquitoes hate the smell of lavender, citronella, clove, peppermint, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary.
Boater’s beware: The mosquito’s favorite mode of transit is by boat. The bigger, the better, preferably with lots of smelly bilge water! Another great reason to regularly check and clean that bilge.
That’s enough about mosquitoes.
Shortly after we departed Portsmouth we were surprised to see the AIS reporting a submarine, we kept a respectable distance.
Special Message for Beach Breeze: “one ping”
Spring Cove, Maryland
One of our favorite respites, Spring Cove is a great spot for Thai Food. We have tried two local favorites: one tiny spot is within walking distance of the marina; the second is a short drive over the bridge, to a more spacious location. Don’t be discouraged by the sad little strip mall near West Marine– the service is delightful, and the meals are delicious. Both Sawatdee Thai Restaurants are the same owner!
Spring Cove is also the home of Zimmerman Marine. It was nice to see you, Steve!
Annapolis Mooring Field, Maryland
We re-connected with Tonto’s reward in Annapolis, where Buttercup had her very first doggy restaurant experience at the Federal House. She was very happy with the Sweet Potato Fries; the server disclosed it’s the same fries they serve humans, minus the salt, plus the doggy bowl. She also whispered “the price is only $3 for the pupsters!” Generously, Buttercup shared.
A shout out to Tim and June, Subject to Change. It’s still a fun place to hang out, although we miss Maddie and Maggie.
Annapolis Reunion – Iron Bear!!
The best part of Annapolis is connecting with Sandy! Gail and David Bernstein, Tonto’s Reward, and Exhale were private guests for her “soft opening” . Sandy’s new kitchen is FANCY.
Top of the line appliances talk to you!
Her crab cakes are yum-i-licious as always. Sandy said “Hello” to Ray and Caryl.
Sandy – we hope you and Iron Bear will join us in Baddeck, Nova Scotia where Alexander Graham Bell adventures await!
May 25 Anniversary: Gail and David Bernstein, 49 years!
Birthday: mijo, Zach Silverstein, celebrating 42
Next up: Anchoring out, followed by Delaware City, followed by South Jersey
I am resending this post, after learning it got caught in spam by many of our followers. Happy Monday everyone.
The historic port of Charleston dates back to the 1670s. Our blog entries from earlier trips offer a few fun facts about some of the historic buildings, dating back more than 350 years!
Hotel Bennett, 404 King Street
Located in Marion Square, the Hotel Bennett appears to be a meticulously preserved structure in the heart of Charleston. Capt. Rick guessed the spectacular 9-story building would date back at least one hundred years, similar to the Francis Marion Hotel, built in 1924.
Guess again. The former site of a county library, the 5-star hotel was completed in 2018. You read that correctly, 2018! Giving significant credit to the architects Fairfax & Sammons who designed this gem.
Magnificent spaces with a historic flare, crowned with the modern touch of a rooftop pool.
Halls Chophouse,434 King Street
Thanks for the recommendation, Tracy and Tim Harris, the steak at Halls was so tender you could cut it with a fork. Note, the prices are not for the faint of heart, but the portions are large, so sharing a REALLY delicious meal is strongly recommended. Oh, and a star sighting of Stanley Tucci was neither confirmed, nor denied, by the maître d’!
One of our favorite stops is Georgetown. The abundance of Shrimp Boats at the dock is a reminder that a short walk with Buttercup – to the Independent Seafood Market and Shrimp Dock at 1 Cannon Street – would lead to a spectacular meal on Exhale, with Gail and David.
If you heard rumors about the market closing, don’t worry, they are just relocating to the opposite side of the river.
The smell of a paper mill is NOT a pleasant experience, but International Paper has been operating steadily since 1937 and it currently employs ~ 700 people.
And, we did enjoy an exquisite Sunset.
Wacca Wache Marina
located at ICW Marker #383 on the Waccamaw River in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, this remote little spot is often the lowest fuel price in the region. We paid $3.34 per gallon for diesel. Both Exhale and Tonto’s Reward filled up their tanks.
Myrtle Beach Yacht Club
Finally, a lighthouse photo.
We reunited with Tim and Tracy Harris, NP45 Golden Ours, in their homeport of Southport.
What can we say – Buttercup was spoiled rotten at the Lola Harris Doggy Resort.
Words cannot describe the decadent southern hospitality of our hosts, Tim and Tracy, who invited us and the Bernstein’s to stay in their little slice of heaven. The meals prepared by the Harris duo were phenomenal (better than any restaurant!), and the company was even better.
It was an AMAZING respite, thank you AGAIN. Bonus shot for Mija, jasmine at the entryway of the Harris resort.
Introducing the e-Moke
This electric moke was spotted in Charleston.
Fun fact: Formula 1 drivers have recently been seen transiting the tunnels of the Hard Rock stadium in Miami – headed to the winner’s podium – via electric mokes! Last year, a fleet of 20 electric mokes were customized – one for each of the FI qualifying drivers! Click here for a picture of Max at the Miami Grand Prix in 2022. Don’t worry Gail, it’s from Last Year!
One more fun fact: An F-1 can exceed 230 mph, an electric moke tops out at 25 mph.
Anniversary: May 7, Ray and Caryl. Birthdays: May 8, Danielle Ginsburg; May 11, Michele May Jackson.
Next Up: Hempstead, NC – topsail beach, Moorehead City Yacht Basin, and then Oriental, NC (Craig, we wish you were here!!)
Golden Ours and Exhale traveled together to a rustic gem. The Kilkenny Marina is one of our favorite spots in Georgia. A few hours (by water) south of Savannah, it’s a quiet little haven, surrounded by magnificent trees. Thanks, Golden Ours, for joining us.
And then there were three. Hello Chapter Four! NP45, Holly and Dave Lubs are celebrating a full year on the water. We waved hello as we passed by the Isle of Hope in Georgia, another great stop from prior journeys.
Hilton Head – Finally reunited with Tonto’s Reward
It was sooo great to finally reconnect with David and Gail. Golden Ours, Exhale, and Tonto’s Reward docked next to each other at Hilton Head. Resort Shopping by the women meant all three men got something new – lucky boys.
Beaufort, South Carolina
This city with a view is pronounced “Biewfurt”. It is absolutely one of our very favorite stops along the east coast of the US, with unique small shops, wonderful restaurants, and a walking trail along the coast that is spectacular. The historic homes are beyond comparison.
Rick’s favorite meal is the lamb shank at Old Bull Tavern in historic downtown Beaufort. Reservations are a must, so plan ahead and don’t miss out!
Yes, Craig Adford, that’s an old fashioned in Rick’s hands.
Port Royal, South Carolina
Now for the promised history lesson.
The Battle of Port Royal was the largest naval engagement ever fought in American waters.
On November 7, 1861, a Union naval squadron under the command of Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont sailed into Port Royal Sound and captured Hilton Head Island on the west and Ft. Beauregard on the east side of the sound.
A deeper dive into history makes me wonder why it was called a “battle”- since the sheer numbers would imply it was more of an aggressive invasion, a seizure, or a scandalous land grab of the waterfront property.
The naval maneuver from Union forces, including Du Pont’s squadron, consisted of seventeen warships, and thirty-three transports, carrying approximately 12,000 soldiers.
In defense, the only Confederate naval presence in the area comprised of a converted river steamer, and three tugs, each armed with two or three guns. Yep, you read that right.
On land, Fort Beauregard was armed with twenty cannon and roughly 640 Confederate soldiers. Across the sound, Fort Walker was armed with twenty-three guns (with limited range), and roughly 1,600 men – mostly plantation farmers with no training.
Thankfully, the battle lasted only 5 hours before the woefully outnumbered Confederate soldiers threw in the towel. Horribly overpowered and outnumbered, it is surprising that the casualties were not greater; the Union squadron casualties counted eight dead and twenty-three wounded. Confederate losses totaled eleven dead and forty-eight wounded.
The reward for rising early is a spectacular sunrise. 7:23 am
Lions Bridge opening, St. Augustine
It was an early departure from St. Augustine – with only a slight delay as we waited for a sailboat to pass under the Lions Bridge.
Once we arrived in Jacksonville, Buttercup stretched out!
Tim, Tracy and Lola Harris have a beautiful new North Pacific 45. We met up with them in Jacksonville.
Lola likes to sit on my foot.
Jekyll is Special
What’s so special about Jekyll?
Jekyll Island, GA was named after a wealthy Brit, I was disappointed to learn there was no connection to the infamous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (by Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson).
In 1886, the exclusive Jekyll Island Club was known as “the richest, most inaccessible club in the world.” Early club members included J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt, and Marshall Field.
Fun trivia: under the ruse of a duck hunting trip, in November of 1910 Jekyll Island was the location of a secret meeting hosted by Senator Nelson Aldrich (R-RI), Chairman of the National Monetary Commission. Sequestered together for a full week were the nation’s greatest bankers and a rep from the US Treasury Dept., entrusted with the arduous task of creating a central banking system for the US. Ultimately the Aldrich currency plan laid the framework for the current “Federal Reserve System”.
No mention of killing or consuming duck was found in Wikipedia.
Devasted by the Great Depression and World War II, the club was shuttered in 1942, Reopened as a luxury hotel in 1985, the resort has since been gracefully restored, you can check out some of the historic buildings via this hyperlink.
Dressed for Cinco de Mayo, when we were here a few years ago, this critter was dressed for St. Patrick’s Day.
We strongly recommend eating at the Riverhouse, located at the marina. The fresh seafood is really, really fresh. And Happy Hour prices (from 3 to 5 everyday) have not changed since our visit 5 years ago! Best of all, the wait staff is delightful.
The floating docks allowed the two North Pacifics to tie up in tandem.
Don’t be fooled by the yawn, she’s very busy barking at everything.
Next Up: Kilkenny Creek, GA followed by Hilton Head, reunion with Tonto.
Passing: Harry Belafonte, 96 years young. March 1, 1927 – April 25, 2023. My mom’s favorite songs were “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell.”
Thanks to Tracy Harris, a delicious espresso martini toast to the silver fox. Thanks for the magic.
We covered a lot of water over the past week, connecting with Tonto’s Reward in Stuart and Vero Beach, then off on our own to Melbourne, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast and St. Augustine. Sharing a few highlights, with some solid trivia towards the end of this post to explain “the Oldest”.
This is for my cousin, who was in Stuart with us last year. A belated Happy Birthday, John.
Vero Beach Beauty
Thank you to the architects who designed this Vero Beach bridge with pizazz. The pedestrian walkway motivated us to get some steps in – while in the shade -with Tonto’s Reward.
Buttercup is keeping a close eye out, from her favorite vantage point. Thanks, David, for teaching her this fun trick.
Now in our 7th year of boating on Exhale, trust me, we have learned the value of monitoring the weather! As much as I prefer to sleep in, an early morning rise meant we escaped the heavy, heavy rain in Melbourne.
Hey from Phil and Brenda, thanks for a lovely evening.
New Smyrna Beach
If you stop in New Smyrna, we recommend the Outriggers, Tiki Bar & Grille – try the fish dip. This is Jenn and her Rainbow Pens
Patience is mandatory, as you often wait for Bridge Openings. Timed perfectly, this opened on arrival.
Thanks Chris for shipping the package to St. Augustine. Buttercup was happy to supervise as Captain Rick installed a VERY cool ceiling fan in our cabin. Normally Chris is the co-pilot in projects like this …
Ceiling panels, removed, so many electrical wires to chose from.
A work of art – as if it was factory installed!
Coveted Title – the “Oldest”
Apparently, there is an ongoing dispute about whether St Augustine is the oldest city in America, especially after Pensacola dug up remnants of an olive jar dating back to 1559 – random trivia for the Bernstein’s – who despise olives.
Brilliantly, St. Augustine advertises itself as the Ancient City. It appears that smart marketing tactics date back to the September 8, 1565 arrival of explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Thankfully, Pedro named the colonial settlement after St. Augustine, as his landing coincided with the saint’s annual feast. Whether Pedro was a humble explorer, or just a brilliant marketer we don’t know – BUT just imagine, fellow mariners, having to hail the municipal marina if he had named the city after himself?? And, in a city with LOTS of pubs, it doesn’t hurt that St. Augustine is known as the brewer’s saint.
A lovely walk-about, beyond the tourist distractions, will bring you to the campus of Flager College. The most well-known building is the former Ponce de Leon Hotel. Built in 1888 by railroad and oil tycoon Henry Flagler – the target customers were rich and famous visitors; after World War II the hotel closed.
Decades later, a true visionary was found in his grandson, Lawrence Lewis, Jr., who collaborated with Mount Ida College to transform the shuttered hotel into a private girls college. In 1968, the Ponce was converted into classrooms, the famed Tiffany glass dining room into a cafeteria, and original hotel rooms into student and faculty housing. This magical historic redevelopment reminds me of the impossible transformation of a certain abandoned railway building into a community treasure – accomplished by someone who is always listening.
The Molly Wiley Art Building, built between1885 and 1887, the LARGE chimney stack used to contain four electric dynamos – to supply electricity to the Ponce de Leon Hotel and artists’ studios. Renovated in 2007, the building is now the proud home of the fine arts and graphic design departments. To my disappointment, to get inside, I needed an art student escort. Next time I know who to bring with me …
Future ports: JAX (to connect with Golden Ours!), Jekyll Island, and Hilton Head (to reunite with Tonto’s Reward).
Milestones: Birthday: April 13, Piper Jackson; April 14, Meghan Reese; April 19, John Gill, Jr.
Enjoy Life. Every moment is precious.
Life is a balancing act – hold on gently. You’ve got this!!
Say hello to Buttercup – Our sweet little mascot is a Cavichon – that’s much easier to say than Cavalier King Charles Bichon mix!
We are Heading North!
Our home port is in southwest Florida, but as the heat and humidity rises, we morph into waterbirds, migrating north to cooler weather. This year our long-range boating destination includes two Canadian Provinces: Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Islands – visualize this: a quest for moose and P.E.I. mussels.
Once again, we will cruise with our close friends Gail and David Bernstein, Tonto’s Reward, that is as soon as they overcome their A-SEA power board issues. By now, David probably has a more colorful name for the mother board challenges.
First, a little music trivia quiz related to our destination: Can you name this Carly Simon song and finish this line “you flew your learjet up to Nova Scotia to see …”. Music Trivia Answer at the end of this post :-0
Here’s where we are headed!
Before departing FL, we took a little side trip to visit family in Cleveland for the Passover/Easter holiday. Our youngest grandson, Tyler, turned 7!
Happy Birthday Tyler
Thanks to Scott and Cindy for visiting – our regular followers know that Rick loves ice cream; it’s official, the quest for the best soft ice cream has begun!
Buttercup said a quiet goodbye as the sun sets over our community in Fort Myers.
With this I am sending a little note to my very first friend in Fort Myers, who is always listening. Wishing you a wonderful new journey in your new life adventure!
HURRICANE IAN UPDATE
We were extremely fortunate – sustaining very little damage compared to so many of our friends and neighbors. With that said, here’s an update on our oak tree that David Bernstein was confident would be fine. He was right.
EXHALE IS HEADING NORTH
We started the migration north on Tuesday, April 11. First stop: LaBelle – formerly known as the Rivers Edge motel, they recently rebranded as the LaBelle Yacht Club, seriously!
Thank you to Caryl and Ray who met us on day two in Clewiston – to ensure our journey begins in style. Say hello to George, the resident mascot. Photo by Caryl.
In 1973, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” was a No. 1 hit in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; it reached No. 4 in Ireland and South Africa.
A MESSAGE TO OUR FOLLOWERS
Whether you are a loyal follower, or someone new, we encourage feedback. On occasion please indicate you “like” the posts – to let us know you are reading or viewing the photos! AND, in the event that you find our random research incomplete, like the six-conch limit, please share your insights.
Thanks for following us! Capt Rick, Mary and Buttercup.
In the words of Capt Rick, the seas crossing the gulf were “not as advertised”. We departed at 5:55 am, well before breakfast.
The first three hours we rocked and rolled, but eventually the seas calmed down significantly. No traveling refrigerators. No life vests needed.
CORAL RIDGE, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – SOME FUN FACTS
After a LONG day, we were very thankful to return to the US, arriving in Fort Lauderdale roughly 10 hours later.
Now for a few fun facts. The area is also known as the Venice of America, thanks to over 300 miles of canals and channels. One of the best ways to see Fort Lauderdale is by water taxi. If you are lucky, you might see this familiar face. It was great seeing you Capt. Floyd!
Originally known as the “Little River Settlement” in 1838 Major William Lauderdale led a detachment of Tennessee Volunteers south along the east coast of Florida to capture (steal) the agricultural lands and battle (brutally decimate) the native population.
Year-round temperatures rarely dip below 60 degrees, yet, on January 19, 1977 it snowed. Never before, and never after.
We named the SeaKeeper “Sally”, for no particular reason. Once a cherished stabilizer, she has been on vacation for more than a month. Her respite was Unauthorized. As we crossed the gulf once again we bemoaned her failure to perform.
Thanks to a very persistent Capt. Rick the warranty work happened shortly after (yes AFTER) we made the big gulf crossing.
ROYAL PALM – BOCA RATON
We enjoyed a short visit at this magnificent club. Founded in 1959 (an easy year to remember for several of us), the club was recently remodeled.
BYE BYE DUFFY
Our little wine and cheese boat was a retirement gift for Rick (who only retired for two weeks). With a little sadness we said goodbye to our sweet Evie III. Best enjoyed in Long Beach, CA she is now in Naples, FL, with new owners.
Hey Chris – thanks for the watchful eye. We appreciate you contacting Sergeant Johnson at LCSO when she disappeared.
PALM BEACH – phone booth, this relic is now an art piece. Notice the cat on the roof.
Hello, Cousin John!
Introducing my beloved cousin, John Glenn Gill, Jr. A deckhand for my dad in Seward, AK in our teens – and a well-seasoned world traveler – we were thrilled when he decided to vacation with us!
LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT – Celebrating our 12th Anniversary – loving a dozen years so far, toasting to many, many, many more.
Dinner, prepared by Chef Rick and Sous Chef John: a flavorful medley of encrusted wahoo (from the Bahamas), sautéed garlic shrimp, and braised asparagus – gently resting on a nest of fettuccini. The broiled Bahamian garlic toast was courtesy of Gail.
Thanks for the Hanzell Chardonnay, Reg and Kelly, it was superb!
We close with a personal note to Doug and Dana. Tumbleweed, we are Super Sad about Oscar. Sending you deep love.
MILESTONES AND CELEBRATIONS:
Independence Day: July 4 (tonight we will enjoy the fireworks with Marty and Anders in Stuart!)
Anniversary: July 4 – Tanja and Jason Elliott celebrate 19 years.
Birthday: July 3, Kathy Avanzino is eligible for Medicare; July 7, Reality Rodger; July 10, Jamie Hendry
NEXT STOP: Crossing Lake Okeechobee (aka the “Big Ditch” or “Lake O”)
Sadly, we part ways with Tonto’s Reward on July 5; she is staying in Stuart for a scheduled spa visit while David, Gail, Bert and EJ go on a Baltic Sea adventure. We look forward to traveling with them again later in the summer.
Meanwhile, we hear the bananas and mangos are ripe on Wittman Drive, see you soon!
A few gusty days in a row kept us at Spanish Cay. Sheltered by trees spared by Dorian, we relished a shady walk.
The grounds surrounding the marina were resplendent with mature Palm Trees, Royal Poincianas, Frangipani, Wild orchids, Bougainvillea and Hibiscus – a surprising contrast to neighboring islands that had few, if any, robust foliage post Dorian. We did not see any Spanish Moss.
SFYC Encounter – almost
When Rick and David made a mid-day trip to the bar, to imbibe in a Spanish Fly, they found this. Nicely done, SFYC Bahama cruise.
The Point House Restaurant
Back to the marina restaurant, the food was excellent (repeatable), and the atmosphere amusing, as demonstrated in the random wall posters.
Sweet attitude, Flying hair!
Air-conditioned game room, complete with a pool table (for Caryl).
It was a peaceful, easy evening, with only the sharks hanging out.
GREAT SALE CAY
By design, our final anchorage in the Bahamas was also the starting anchorage of our 2019 trip.
it was serene to sleep with open windows, enjoying a slight breeze all night long.
The clothes hanger in the tree is for Mija.
Thanks to the generosity of a fisherman docked next to us in Spanish Cay, we dined on the FRESHEST of tuna as we watched another glorious sunset! Thanks Capt Rick for the perfect sear on that tuna! And thanks, Gail, for the sushi lesson, now I understand it’s all about the rice – ours was beyond yummy because she added champagne vinegar! So sorry, there are no food photos.
Jonathan hung out, hopeful we would share. Scout’s feathered mascot seemed disappointed when the meager table scraps were from the salad.
WEST END, OLD BAHAMA BAY
Reversing our 2019 Bahama adventure, our final stop is West End. Entering the Bahamas required a Health Visa, with proof of negative COVID testing. Now, two full months later, COVID testing is not required. Hoping the world is getting healthier!!
West End (also referred to as “Settlement Point”) is the oldest town in the Bahamas. Only 55 nautical miles from the Florida coast, for most US boaters it is the first port of call in the Bahamas – unless you opt to be a contrarian (like us), and make it the final port of call.
The settlement achieved notoriety, and a significant economic boost, as a rum-running port during prohibition. Warehouses, distilleries, bars, and supply stores sprang up all over West End. After prohibition ended, the wisest entrepreneurs shifted to fishing and tourism industries.
The north side of the island has very shallow water, making it a popular destination for bonefishing (mostly catch and release).
For more than 60 years, cultural icon Israel Rolle, known as “Bonefish Folley” was a renowned fishing guide. Featured by National Geographic as a master of his trade, his clients included some familiar names – Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Richard Nixon, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Ernest Hemmingway, actor Robert Taylor, and actress Lana Turner. In 2012, the legendary Folley passed away just, before his 92nd birthday; more evidence that the Bahama lifestyle promotes longevity.
Just a few parting words for the repeatable Bahama experience.
The people: irrepressible in spirit, full of character, deeply rooted (the equivalent of old vines for wine), and generous – especially the fishermen.
The food: hearty portions, uniquely spiced, both sweet and savory, with a mouth watering blend of fabulous conch, fish, and rum drinks.
The islands: BLUE water, sandy beaches, pure clean air, well-fed flies (Bahamian and Spanish) followed by spectacular sunsets and starry nights.
One more thing worth repeating. The conch adventure was a true highlight. Nice try Grant J, while your comments were informative and amusing, there were two vessels, so our limit was 12. Exhale caught only 1 conch, while Tonto’s Reward caught 6. All were legal size. It is true 7 were consumed. Next time, Mimi’s Oasis, consider joining us – when you are ready for another boat, give Trevor a call!
MILESTONES AND CELEBRATIONS:
Anniversary: June 27 – Jamie and David celebrate 13 years
Canada Day: July 1 (enjoy the fireworks, Bushranger!)
Birthday: July 2, our grandson Leo will be 13!
NEXT STOP: Back in the USA – Fort Lauderdale, FL.
On Friday, June 25, at the first glimmer of light (for Dave Lubs) we will depart West End, Old Bahama Bay, to cross the Straits of Florida. At 7.5 knots, we estimate 10 hours on the water, weather permitting.
Both Capt. Rick and Capt. David have been closely watching the weather – causing us to adjust our departure plans. Unfortunately, Sally the Sea Keeper has not returned to work, so we are trying to minimize the rockin’ and rollin’. On Friday the prediction is less than two-foot seas. Real experience (a toppled refrigerator) reminds us that weather forecasts are Subject to Change (right Tim and June!). Once again, the life raft and life vests are nearby. Murphy’s Law.
Looking forward – my cousin John Gill will be joining us on Exhale very soon! Marty and Anders, we expect to arrive in Stuart by July 1 leaving July 5, weather permitting.
Capt Rick was confused. “I just don’t remember being at Orchid Bay, are you sure?” he asked, repeatedly. “Ooh yes, we were here”, responded David G., the proof was in the photo.
GREAT GUANA KEY
Orchid Bay, Great Guana Key is home to two infamous bars, Nippers and Grabbers. Although both are very colorful, there are notable differences.
We wrote kindly about Nippers in 2019. But after the hurricane, we felt Nippers put lipstick on a pig – let’s just say it was a wimpy effort – with wobbly tables, warped floors, and a sloppy paint job.
The staff at Nippers seemed tired, like the building, and the blaring loud music did not help. The rum drink was a disappointment. We didn’t even try to order food.
In stark contrast, Grabbers was immaculate. To be fair, the site was completely destroyed by the hurricane. Not a single tree was left standing.
With a clean slate, they chose to build back better. Now, from the docks to the picnic benches – everything looked strong, built to last.
Another major difference, the staff at Grabbers were friendly and attentive. The logo says it all!
We went to Grabbers twice to enjoy the mix of reggae and peaceful island vibe. The food was great. BONUS: Floating rings, reminiscent of a certain Miami Vice experience in Antigua – but this time no drinks were spilled!
Grabbers was restored to maximize its natural beauty.
Cleverly, loyal patrons supported the rebuild of Grabbers At Sunset by adopting (sponsoring) Palm Trees! The campaign worked – the restaurant is now surrounded by beautiful trees. Additional donations are encouraged.
Back to Rick’s memory issues – perhaps it was just too much rum in the Bahama sun. No worries, the meals on our boat(s) remain unforgettable!
We had NO idea how exhilarating it would be to catch our own conch! Thanks to Rick’s persistence – and a handful of YouTube Videos – Rick, David, Gail and Mary found, collected (Mary dove for the first one, then David caught the rest), cleaned, prepared, and consumed 7 fresh conch.
If you follow the Tonto’s Reward blog you will see some action shots from our photo journalist Gail 🙂
It was a feast!
Milestones and Celebrations: June 23, Michael Gillespie (worth repeating).
The Abaco Islands are steadily making a comeback. It was heartwarming to see the Far Side Castle, standing strong.
Marsh Harbour – Welcome Back to Wally’s
We returned to Wally’s (which reopened only two months ago), for a memorable meal. The menu is limited – a clear sign that the food is fresh – and the service is impeccable. When we shared photos with the owner – from our 2019 visit to Wally’s – she was amused by the table side picture of sterno, which they still use to keep away those annoying flies!
Marsh Harbour – Notable Events.
If you conduct a search, or ask Siri, “What is Marsh Harbour known for” you are likely to find an article about the tragic airplane crash in 2001. If you are not familiar with Aaliyah, (pronounced Ah lee ah) allow me to introduce one of the most soulful voices, ever.
If you already know of her, yes, I am aware of the R. Kelly scandal and her teenage marriage. Although scandalous in the US now, teenage marriage remains fairly common, especially in less developed countries.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001), was an American singer, actress, dancer, and model. She helped to redefine contemporary R&B, pop and hip hop, earning her the nicknames the “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop”.
At age 10, Aaliyah performed with Gladys Knight. Her first album was recorded when she was only 14, “Age Ain’t Nothin But a A Number”; and it sold over six million copies worldwide in the first release.
Her exquisite voice was one of Mija’s favorites. If you are not familiar with her voice, here’s one of my favorites, released in 1994: At Your Best (You are love). LISTEN HERE
Aaliyah was only 22 when she died in an airplane accident in Marsh Harbour. Tragically, the overloaded Cessna 402B crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all nine on board. The negligent airway should never have allowed such a heavy load (LOTS of music equipment), and the pilot should not have been cleared to fly, based on traces of cocaine and alcohol found in the pilot’s body. Even more ridiculous, it was later discovered that the pilot did not have an active license AND he was not technically qualified to fly that class of plane. A tragic loss that should have been avoided.
When you hear familiar songs from your past, do you step back in time? Maybe it’s that moment in 1973, triggered by the magic of Stevie Wonder, “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing”. I found the video, David B,without the long intro:
For me it’s the California summer of 1976, memories of sewing with Aunt Dianne Gill while listening to Starbuck, “Moonlight Feels Right” – the song climbed to number 3 that year, so it was on the airwaves A LOT. Take a Listen
Man-O-War Cay is a boat building island. Home of the Albury’s.
And now, the story of a successful teenage marriage …
In 1820, Man-O-War Cay founder Benjamin Albury was only 16 when he and his stranded crew were found, wrecked, on the reef off Man-O-War’s eastern coast. Among the rescue party was 13-year-old Eleanor Archer, daughter of a wealthy British Loyalist hiding out in the Bahamas after the American Revolutionary War ended. Just one year later, the teens were married. Reinforcing, age is just a number.
It’s no wonder the cay remains dominated by the Albury family since Ben and Eleanor had 13 children.
Quoted from a new book by Jeremy Sweeting, “Man-O-War was meticulously planned out by Eleanor. She allocated land for roads, a cemetery, a church and a school. Her vision, combined with her husband’s seafaring knowledge and history, would create a vibrant community and successful boat-building center.”
If you look back in this blog, you will find plenty of stories from our 2019 journey to the Bahamas. Over the course of 8 weeks, we had the privilege of visiting a wide array of remote anchorages, quaint villages, and bustling towns – along with Tonto’s Reward and our expert fisher friends Treble in Paradise. It was a splendid introduction to the Bahamian culture, its natural beauty, lively sounds, sweet aromas, and unique fresh flavors. If you peruse those old posts, you will also find that Maddie Sue loved the Bahamas, except for those rascal pigs.
In 2019 we left the Bahamas in late July – shortly before Dorian pummeled the islands.
On September 1, 2019, the Category 5 hurricane Dorian struck Hope Town, Elbow Cay, in the Abaco Islands with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h), the highest wind speeds ever recorded at landfall in the Atlantic. As a comparison, 2021 Hurricane Ida was a Category 4 Hurricane, with winds of 150 mph when it hit Louisiana.
Dorian went on to strike Grand Bahama at similar intensity, stalling just north of the territory with unrelenting winds for more than 36 hours. Never before had a hurricane been so brutal.
Damage in the Bahamas was catastrophic. Prolonged and intense storm conditions, heavy rainfall, high winds and storm surge left thousands of homes destroyed. Structures were flattened or swept to sea, and ~70,000 people were left homeless. At least 77 direct deaths were recorded, and 245 people were still missing one year later.
These photos are from Hope Town United (more on that later.)
Nearly 3 years have elapsed since the natural disaster. As we continue to explore the Bahamas we wondered, why did some communities seem to be paralyzed after the devastation, while others have been more resilient?
A few places seemed to be spared. A little like the lottery – some had winning numbers. True to the story of the Three Little Pigs, construction materials are a major factor. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a great example.
Although she looks weathered, that old girl was built to last.
We took the dinghy’s to Pete’s Pub, a familiar spot in the Abaco’s, and determined it was doing well! A hefty clean up, and a fresh batch of autographed shirts and burgees hanging from the ceiling put it back into business in short order.
There was a new addition for loyal patrons – Front Row Observation Seats.
Returning to the question of why some, but not all, places successfully rebounded? I am absolutely convinced, it’s the Power of Community with GREAT Leadership – when people bond together, the phoenix will rise out of the ashes! Hope Town, so aptly named, is the most dramatic example of a community that has successfully “re-opened for business.”
On the topic of leadership, let’s take a look at just two of the families, the Malones and the Sands, who were key in the revival of their communities.
The Malone Family
The Malone family helped build Hope Town almost 240 years ago. In 2019 Vernon Malone and his son Brian Malone, the former Hope Town Fire Chief and emergency responder, were early leaders in the resurgence of their hometown.
Vernon Malone is a seventh generation descendant of Wyannie Malone, who arrived in Hope Town in 1785, as a young widow, with four children. Brian Malone is eighth generation, also born and raised in Hope Town.
Nine weeks after being evacuated from Hope Town, at 81 years young, the island’s beloved grocer, baker and Methodist minister went home to reopen his store and bakery, dig through the rubble of his flattened home and sketch out a plan to rebuild.
The Sands Dynasty
Dating back to 1648, the Sands family tree of entrepreneurs is deeply rooted throughout the Bahamas. In 1945, at age 21, Marvin Sands launched the humble beginnings of Constellation Brands, now the largest multi-category beverage alcohol company in the world.
Check out this link and see how many international brands you recognize and consume, including Kim Crawford, Prisoner, Mount Veeder Winery, Belle Meade Bourbon, Corona, Funky Buddha and LOTS more https://globalbrandcenter.cbrands.com/
Oh but wait, can you guess what popular Bahamian brewksi Constellation Brands doesn’t own? Sands beer!
More Sands Family Members
Yet another great Bahama leader, Everette Sands, was the patriarch of Bahamian Brewery. Born in 1925, he passed away the same year as Dorian, at age 94. His son, Jimmy Sands took over the Brewery and launched Sands Beer, later passing the torch to his son, Gary Sands, at age 27!
The formation of a grass roots nonprofit – Hope Town United
The Sands and the Malones, supported by a LOT of community members, formed Hope Town United – the economic engine that lead the restoration of Elbow Cay. To truly understand the level of devastation, set a-side a moment in your busy life and watch this short video. It’s a testimony to how a community can come together, in a moment of tragedy, and rebuild with true grit and purpose. “Picking up just one piece of garbage at a time.”
WATCH THIS VIDEO: OUR VISION FOR HOPE
The list of first responders is heartwarming and overwhelming. You might recognize several.
Restoration in Progress – Vernon’s Grocery
As we strolled through the town we found numerous brightly painted renovations and we could see and hear more construction underway. We were also thrilled to see Vernon Malone behind the counter at his iconic Vernon’s Grocery – where masks are mandated, and strictly enforced. Now in his mid-eighties, he continues to keep his mercantile well stocked to provide for his community. Still an active Justice of the Peace for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and a master baker, this beloved preacher nourishes the bodies and souls of the island.
He also has some very humorous signs on the walls:
Another note about that lighthouse. Yes, we climbed up, and Capt. Rick was very brave. A total of 101 steps to the Lantern. It’s 120 feet above sea level.
The view was spectacular. Full of hope.
Cap’n Jacks – something for even the most difficult diner!
We strongly recommend you dine at Cap’n Jacks. Here’s the menu, zoom in. No wonder the kids love it here!
Bonus Photo from the marina- Bridget’s Rare Rums for Ray
Sandy and Iron Bear Arrive
Welcome to Sandy and Iron Bear, guests on Tonto’s Reward, so glad you are here! Special note to Ray and Caryl – Sandy said hello!
Sending a little hope to Meghan and her family, and a little celebration of the sun for my little sister, Frances, and my Aussie sister, Heather.
Celebrations and Milestones
Birthdays: June 9, little sister Frances (Finny); June 10, cousin Debra McGhan; June 15, Heather Rutherford; Anniversary: June 14, Paul and Celeste
This Memorial Day weekend we offer a humble thank you for your service followed by a heartfelt thanks for surviving to our active and retired military family members and friends.
Did you know this federal holiday dates back to 1865? Officially observed on May 30 up until 1971 – when the Monday observance supported a 3-day holiday – it began as a day of remembrance for the loss of soldiers who tragically died in the Civil War. The holiday was originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags.
Formula 1 – Chub Cay
Sunday, May 22 was the exciting Formula 1 Race in Barcelona. Courtesy of David B, who tapes the race, we skipped the commercial breaks, and enjoyed a magnificent spread aboard Tonto’s Reward as my favorite racer overcame the challenge of a malfunctioning DRS (Drag Reduction System) to win the race in Spain. Go Max Go!
Fortunately for us, Craig Adford (crew from Exhale) is a master chef; yes, he outperformed, again, with his infamous charcuterie board. Recognize the nautical cutting board? It’s the People’s Choice Award from the Trawlerfest in 2018! Gail’s spinach dip and Jo’s addictive pretzels (One Fine Tolly) rounded out the feast!
At 6:00 am on Monday we left Chub Cay for a bucking bronco ride to Spanish Wells. After a long day on the water, we were rewarded with another spectacular Sunset.
Perfect timing for Memorial Day Weekend, Maureen spotted the burial vault in this photo. In the Bahamas, instead of stones, memorial shells are often placed on the graves. Vaults were often found along the side of the road.
Similar to New Orleans, burial plots tend to be above ground because the water table is so high. At the time of this post, it is raining HEAVILY. A casket will float if it fills with water – is that why they say “you can’t keep a good man down?”
As we searched for sand dollars, crabs and starfish, Craig and Mo found a place to totally chill.
For Gary – M/V Knot Dreaming. Blue Waters
Harbour Island, aka Briland
If you say Harbour Island real fast, with a few silent letters, you get Br-i-land, the local name for this lovely oasis.
Solar Panel Repair time – Our solar panels gave up almost a month ago. Capt Rick identified the necessary repair, but needed an extra set of hands, preferably from someone agile enough to crawl onto the hardtop.
Time for a Boat Wash! Max Etienne was found meticulously washing the boats at Ramora Bay. Happy to lend a hand with the successful Solar Panel repairs, he then washed Exhale with care and precision. Give him a call from anywhere on the island: 1-242-470-2069
A trip to Harbour Island MUST include a walk along the pink sands. Stretching three plus miles, the beach is as wide as 100 feet. Although a rare beauty, the phenomenon can be found in several countries, including Bermuda, Greece, Indonesia and French Polynesia.
When ever possible, Capt. Rick will take a dip in the local pool – so far this one at Ramora Bay is one of the best.
Briland Club. Best Burger $$$$.
Adjacent to Ramora Bay, a new marina for mega yachts is under development. Situated on 27 acres of land, built to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane, the marina can accommodate yachts up to 300 feet! A local fisherman told us the Club served an outrageously good burger. Forewarned the portions were generous, the three couples ordered a total of three burgers, splitting each one in half. Although pricey (Capt Rick said that was the most expensive burger he has ever ordered), it was delicious, earning four stars! We strongly recommend you go to the new Club by dinghy. It was a nerve wracking challenge in our golf cart as the road is under construction. With limited signage, and no help from Siri, we took numerous wrong turns.
Miami Vice Time – any visit with Craig and Mo is a chance for Capt. Rick to make his magnificent blender drinks!
More Chart toot er ie – Check out the Salami Blossoms! Craig told us all that he trained with a master Sushi Chef in Japan (fact check pending).
Roger’s Dock – For Connie & Roger 🙂
Mask up Bahamas
Masks are still required in most of the small retail shops in Harbour Island. This is by far the best sign we have seen (thanks for spotting it David). A lovely tribute to Queen. Can you hum along?
This little gem of a store has a nice array of fresh veggies and produce. Clever Signage – make sure you notice the spelling, one g in each word. Not to be confused with the major grocery store in the US. which uses double g’s.
Covid Test Time
Craig and Maureen departed on Saturday, unintentionally leaving behind Mo’s persistent sniffles. By Sunday morning my use of a large quantity of tissues prompted concern by our boat mates. With rapid tests on board we were able to determine it was not Covid. So thankful.
Sharing is Caring.
Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco
Sunday, May 29 is race day! As recent retiree Dave Lubs, North Pacific 45, noted – the harbor in Monaco is quite spectacular, with an overwhelming presence of mega yachts. Let’s just say Exhale would be minuscule by comparison, think of something teeny tiny … you get the idea.
One Proud Mama
Bravo Mija – Congrats on landing a new project – filming in Philadelphia begins June 1st.
Keep an eye out for this action thriller sci-fi film – credits will include a VERY talented Costume Designer. So proud!
Celebrations and Milestones
Anniversary: May 27, Carly and Brandon (sorry I missed it in my last post)
Birthdays: May 28, Brennyn (she is six!) and Scott Ginsburg; May 29, Doug Belknap and Joe Solari; June 1, Craig Adford, Mark Marlow, Amanda Saylor and penguin fan June Bug – Skyllar Gill; June 2, Sue Gillespie, and June 3, Lorrie Swink.
Next destination: somewhere in the Abacos, early reservations in Hope Town pending, trying to rendezvous with SFYC 🙂
From North Bimini we decided to explore with the dinghy. When we could not find a safe place to tie up for lunch, we returned to the big boats and walked. Jonathan kept watch while we enjoyed a few brewskis.
The competition continues, Kalik vs. Sands!
We have talked about these local brews in the past. We can now confirm that Kalik is more popular with the locals as we got the last two chilled brews, leaving only Sands for Gail and David. Can you guess what American beer sells more than Sands? You are right if you said Capt. Rick’s favorite Bud Light.
Things that make you go hmmm. For all you finance nerd herds, here’s a question. Typically a boat is a non- liquid asset – but, what if you name it Crypto Bucks? Like cash, she goes fast …
When a water crossing begins at daybreak and stretches for more than 8 hours, you can find me (Mary S) at the helm while Capt. Rick takes a break, sadly, without Maddie Sue …
Great Harbour Cay
The trek to Great Harbour Cay included an unexpected storm – As Tim and June know, weather is Subject to Change. We had been warned to travel slowly into the narrow channel entrance.
There were very few options available for dinner. A local bar seemed busy, but there were some clear warning signs we should have paid closer attention to.
First, David B accurately assessed that the band setting up was soon going to be loud – so he wisely insisted we order our food to go. Although he got that right, we had no way of knowing the band would have squalling speakers AND they were greatly lacking in talent.
Second, there were beeping fire alarms – every 15 seconds the one above my head would chirp (yes, I counted the painful time interval), followed by a second annoying chirp, across the room. With very low ceilings both alarms were within easy reach, so there was no excuse to leave them beeping – unless 9-volt batteries are in dreadful short supply similar to US baby formula.
Finally – we really should have walked out – when over the course of 30 minutes multiple disgruntled customers returned with one or more Styrofoam containers, complaining their order was not right. Visualize a thunderous tirade from a hungry, Bahamian woman who unleased her venom on the bartender. Well, next time you hear the phrase Bahama Mama, you should know it is not just a tasty drink, it’s also a violent force to be reckoned with.
With all that said I won’t go into detail about how bad the food was … let’s just disclose that I could not imagine feeding the fish the unfinished meals.
New Beach Club
Contrast in Quality – We highly recommend the New Beach Club. Chirp-Free, it was exceptional food with a smile. Beautiful all the way around.
Thanks Gail for the perfect visual aide to my fun facts. The Bahamas consists of roughly 700 islands of which only 30 or 40 are inhabited. Total Coastline is about 2,200 miles, total land mass is approximately 4,000 square miles. To put that land mass into relevant perspective, Florida is slightly less than 54,000 square miles, while Texas is more than 268,000 square miles. Alaska tops the charts at 586,412 square miles, of course. Bragging rights are good.
Gary (Tarheel, Knot Dreamin) asked for water photos – so here we go. First you might wonder, why is the water soooo blue?
The lighter aqua colors are shallow water where the sunlight is reflecting off of the sand and reefs near the surface. Water temperatures average around 80°F year-round.
Google Earth has precise images that prove just how incredible the colors are, ranging from crystal clear turquoise to ultramarine, azure, cerulean, royal blue, sea green and even rich purples.
It also helps that the water in the Bahamas is exquisitely clean – except perhaps where those darned pigs foul up the water daily.
Another fun factoid: The tongue of the ocean (also known as TOTO) is found in the Bahamas – It’s a wow factor to discover the TOTO – not to be confused with a dog from the VERY flat Kansas – plunges to depths of 4,000 meters, or 13,100 feet. Visualize massive canyons – fully submerged – with an ocean floor dating back 20 million years.
We returned to Chub Cay, a delightful respite, to rendezvous with Craig and Mo, our dearest friends from CA. Welcome Back to Exhale! They flew over from Fort Lauderdale to Chub in a private plane. Since they were the only passengers, a very happy Craig got to be the co-pilot!
Distracted by the Hooters Girls
Imagine Capt. Ricks delight when this boat showed up adjacent to us in Chub Cay.
It turns out it was our neighbor, Champ, who lives two doors down from us on Wittman – Champ owns 8 Hooters restaurants. What a small world.
Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio
With Craig and Maureen onboard, tonight we are going to watch the F-1 race in Catalunya Spain – it’s recorded so don’t spoil it – Go Max Go!
Milestones and Celebrations:
Birthdays: May 25, Zach Silverstein (Mijo); May 28, Scott Ginsburg, May 29, Doug Belknap and Joe Solari. Anniversaries: May 25, Gail and David Bernstein; May 26, Jeff and Patty North.
With over 6 million people, and more than 300 skyscrapers, it might seem out of character to use “charming” as a descriptor of Miami, BUT if you opt to explore – in chill mode – you can find some absolutely lovely neighborhoods.
Fun fact: Miami is the only major US city founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle, a local citrus grower and a wealthy Cleveland native. Julia Tuttle convinced railroad tycoonHenry Flagler to extend his Florida East Coast Railway to the region, for which she became known as “the mother of Miami”. Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896, with a population of just over 300.
Coral Reef, Coconut Grove, Miami
Mother Nature delayed our departure to the Bahamas, causing us to stay in Miami for a full week. In true Chill Mode – Capt. Rick made daily use of the restful cement pond.
Miami architecture is bright and colorful, offering old world charm, like these Cuban-styled tiles that date back more than 100 years.
Vibrant murals are common throughout Miami, and artistic graffiti is encouraged. This butterfly mural is for our granddaughter, Abby.
A spectacular peacock mural was found on the wall of a high end jewelry store. It is also a reminder of two live peacocks we saw – just strolling along in someone’s magnificent yard. Startled by the noise of the royal birds, Susie G, now I understand how LOUD they can get.
Our adventures included a self-guided tour of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, home of John Deering.
The home was completed In 1916. Known to be a generous host (there were 9 guest rooms), Deering enjoyed serving the finest of alcohol to his guests. Yes, to all you history buffs, that was during prohibition. Random observation, the code name for liquor was “comforters” that arrived as a shipment of “quilts”. Rather Clever.
With the help of our trusty tour guides from Fort Lauderdale, we ventured to Wynwood, a district renowned world wide for its artistic flavor. Thanks Steve and Captain Floyd for the amazing tour!
But first, a decadent Cuban Sandwich, possibly the best Cuban food we have EVER enjoyed.
And now for some more Wynwood Miami Art!
Our final stop in Florida was Key Biscayne. With a weather window opening we were now ready to venture across the Florida Straits.
The Sea Loves Those Who Fear It. An appropriate reminder as we waited out the weather.
Key Biscayne was restful.
Sunset Dos Palmas – Good bye Florida
Crossing the BIG Water
BEFORE sunrise, and definitely before breakfast, we waved goodbye to the Florida shores. Thanks to our trusty Sea Keeper (Thanks, Maddie for turning it on early), the crossing of the Straits of Florida to Bimini Islands was uneventful. A MUCH better experience than when we traversed in 2019!
Bahama mamas – OH YES!
Our port of entry is Bimini – staying at the Big Game Club Resort & Marina. Welcome drink delivered with a smile.
Capt Rick opted for a Miami Vice – Bahama Style for MO
First night in the Bahamas was magical, beginning with a beautiful moon rise.
NAUTICAL FLAG ANSWER Ocean Reef – Signal Flags
We received a lightning fast update from Ocean Reef, and now we are excited to report the flags at The Point were corrected – BRAVO!
Thanks to all of you who sent in a guess regarding “what was wrong” with the signal flags. Here are the proper positions of the flags that were hung “upside down” provided by Gail B. 🙂
Milestones/Celebrations: Birthdays – May 10, Michele Jackson
Our next stop is Great Harbor Cay. Our Island wiFi connection is good so far! Thanks for following us.
For as long as I can remember, we have eaten waffles on Mother’s Day. Thanks Capt. Rick for keeping the tradition alive.
Mother’s Day History Lesson
Dating back to 1905, the founding of Mother’s Day is attributed to Anna Jarvis, a well-known peace activist. Renowned for her gentle care of wounded soldiers from both sides of the American Civil War, Anna was well respected in both the north and the south.
During the war, Anna joined forces with another peace activist, suffragette Julia Ward Howe. Together they called upon mothers of all nationalities to band together to promote the “amicable settlement of international questions, for the general interests of peace.”
In 1908 Jarvis formally appealed to Congress to set aside the second Sunday in May to honor all mothers “Because,” she said, “a mother is the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.” Sadly, her mother had recently passed away.
Congress rejected her proposal, reportedly laughing at the request.
Undaunted, Jarvis got affirmation from the State governors who independently adopted Mother’s Day as a state holiday. Bolstered by state support, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day a national holiday by presidential proclamation.
Protesting Mother’s Day
Less than 10 years later, Jarvis was arrested for protesting the very same holiday she had founded. You might be wondering, how is that possible? Well, in the early 1920’s Hallmark Cards, candy makers and flower vendors began to heavily market the popular holiday. No longer a day of honor and respect, the loving holiday founded by Jarvis had become heavily commercialized. Outraged, Anna organized boycotts, threatened multiple corporate lawsuits and ultimately staged a protest at a national candy makers convention in Philadelphia. Her valiant efforts were rewarded – with a jail sentence, ironically, for “disturbing the peace.”
And now back to our regular scheduled program …
It was a treat to return to Snook’s. No surprise, the food was great, sunset spectacular, and Cabana Boys attentive (that’s for you, Maureen).
On multiple occasions we have enjoyed the sunsets at Snooks with Maureen, Craig, Sue and Mike. Notice the fish, it’s a Wyland orginal.
African Queen on the Water!
What a shock to see the African Queen on the move. No, it’s not a replica, it’s the real deal! More than 100 years old now, this boat was popularized by Bogart and Hepburn in the movie of the same name (actually, the boat was renamed to match the movie). Capt. Rick spotted it first, sorry the pic is so grainy, we could not get any closer.
The oscar winning African Queen is one of Capt. Rick’s very favorite movies. Random trivia, while filming in the Congo, the entire cast and crew, save two people, got dysentery. Apparently Hepburn got it the worst. Only Bogart and the director, John Huston, were spared the discomfort. They attributed their immunity to a diet of whisky and cigarettes. So now we know yet another reason why boaters drink heavily.
Hanging on the wall at our next stop, Ocean Reef, was a much better photo of the African Queen, for your viewing pleasure.
Ocean Reef, Key Largo, FL.
Staying at Ocean Reef is magical. The hospitality, the view, the food, and did I mention the DELICIOUS ice cream and gelato. Capt Rick went back three times in three days. Thanks Morgan!!
If you have had the privilege of staying at Ocean Reef (several of you have!) you will recognize this sweet bird.
To me this bird represents a fleeting hope -that folks COULD get on the same page. With the upheaval in the Courts and the distressful fight to preserve and protect Roe v Wade, it is doubtful. RBG must be more than livid right now!
Now for a nautical test. Gail Bernstein you are NOT allowed to spoil the answer. Can you identify the problem(s) with these signal flags found at the entrance to Ocean Reef? By the way, we shared the observation with management, I am confident the mistake will be remedied soon.
Thank you to Luann, Morgan, Pam and Greg for an exquisite respite.
Coral Reef, Coconut Grove, FL (near Miami)
What a beautiful evening!
A sad goodbye to Claude and JoAnn as they head back home.
Next up – The Formula I – Miami Grand Prix – Go Max Go. If you know the outcome, don’t spoil it, we are watching it shortly on tape.
As we close out this post on Mother’s Day, a personal thanks to all the moms, grand moms, and great grand moms out there who have enriched our lives! Equally (actually more) important, a heartfelt thanks to all the kids and grandkids, young and old, near and far, virtual and stuffed (Bert & EJ), who make life so sweet.
Milestones and Celebrations: Birthday – May 8, Danielle Ginsburg; May 11, Michele May Jackson.
Next Stop: We are currently waiting out the weather in the Miami area, extended our stay at Coral Reef, Coconut Grove; target departure to the Bahamas on Saturday, May 14.
Where did that phrase come from? Often misspelled as “away”, it’s an old Dutch sailors expression that means the anchor is up and the ship is ready to leave the harbor. Now that Exhale is on the water again, it seemed like a fun piece of useless trivia.
Anchors Aweigh is the well known march song for the US Naval Academy, dating back to a 1906 Army Navy football game. In the 1940’s my father served in the Army and my uncle served in the Navy – so those rival football games were a BIG deal in our house.
The phrase and the song were made popular in the 1945 musical comedy, of the same name, starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Kathryn Grayson, with a special appearance from beloved cartoon characters Tom and Jerry. You can probably sing along – – –
Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh! Farewell to foreign Shores, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay; Through our last night ashore, drink to the foam, Until we meet once more, here’s wishing you a happy voyage home!
That nautical trivia may have been far more than you ever cared to know …
On the Road (water) Again!
On April 23 we traveled from Fort Myers to Marco Island. This familiar run on the water is bittersweet – with a little tribute to our VERY favorite water photo of Maddie in 2016.
First a little commercial break to thank our dear friend, Joe Solari, for resolving our AC issue. Critical to our efforts to CHILL. Stay healthy Joe!
Safely docked with Tonto’s Reward at Marco Island Yacht Club, we launched a dinghy to explore the neighborhood.
The name of this tourist boat seems relevant – given a certain celebrity story in the national news. Not taking sides, it’s just a nod. You might recall we saw the original boat from the Pirates of the Caribbean a few years back.
After Marco Island it was time to Drop Anchor – the opposite of Anchors Aweigh. Anchoring out can be serene. It’s definitely not fun if the weather is bad – as David B. says, “we don’t anchor out if it’s blowing like stink”.
Russell Pass anchorage
Our first anchorage was spectacular.
From the anchorage at Russell Pass it was an easy dinghy ride to Everglade City, where we found a few Florida craft brews.
Cape Sable anchorage
The second anchorage gave us a superb sunset.
Anchorage at Sandy Key – a little cloud magic.
The third anchorage was quiet and serene with dinner onboard Exhale.
Faro Blanco, Key Largo, FL
Enjoying a little deja vu, we spent two nights at Faro Blanco.
We were not disappointed when we witnessed another Faro Blanco wedding – and dinner at the marina was yum-a-licious! Yes, it was a whole snapper 🙂 Gail B. swears the fish was gasping in distress! Delicately prepared, the taste was reminiscent of dinner with Reg & Kelly in Belmont Shore. Perfect meal for two. Sorry Craig there were no Rodriguez cigars this time.
Big Pine Key
With a rental car (courtesy of Tonto) we got to explore Marathon. If you have the time, a quest for the no name bar is well worth the drive. The slogan is “a nice place if you can find it.” Renowned for it’s pizza, the No Name Amber Beer is crave-able.
In the late 1930’s the site was a brothel. Perhaps tips for scantily clad dancers were the impetus for the dollar bills hanging everywhere, one can only imagine. A news article on the wall, dating back to 2018, estimated $90,000 decorated the bar.
Thanks for the memories Tom and Faye. We were happy to return to Marathon Marina. Thanks Caryl and Ray for making the drive to say hello! So sorry Maddie Sue wasn’t at the boat to greet you.
From the flybridge of Tonto’s Reward we witnessed a spectacular sunset!
Arriving Sunday, May 1: Claude and JoAnn Welles 🙂
Milestones and Celebrations: Birthdays – April 18, Liz turned 40!; April 19, John Gill, Jr.; April 27, Katrin Ericson; May 2, Celeste Amish.
Tyler J. Hendry was born on 4/8/16. As a math lover, the perfect progression of numbers makes me smile. In April the family gathering in Cleveland is predictable; deep hugs, lots of laughter, AMAZING food, a little snow, all wrapped up in wonderful memories with the kids and grandkids.
When our 6-year old grandson realized we were departing – after a 4-day sugar-injected birthday celebration – he sobbed. In the words of his mom, “it was full on ugly crying“. Tragically, the phrase was very meaningful to us. In fact, we knew exactly what unconsolable loss felt like, first hand.
In 2009 Captain Rick decided to give himself a birthday present, in the form of an 8-week old puppy he named Maddie.
Truthfully, I was not thrilled with the new addition, especially since Rick, a legitimate member of the United Airlines million mile club, was traveling extensively back then. With intermittent abandonment by Rick, Danielle (his youngest daughter) took on the task of potty training as I begrudgingly took on a new routine: feed the dog, walk the dog, clean up the mess, bathe the dog, brush the dog, you get the idea.
As it turned out Maddie was an extremely reliable alarm system. She knew the sound of Rick’s vehicle and would bark excitedly, jumping and spinning around at the door; she knew the sound of the amazon delivery truck, and was excited at the sound of the postal woman (she had treats); she did not like the sound of the garbage truck (although it was a helpful reminder to take out the garbage). Anyone else who came too close to the house or the boat would get the angry bark – except for Ray, who DEFINITELY got the happy wagging tail in exchange for treats.
When we moved to Florida, her name gained a southern extension – Maddie Sue, “the craziest dog you ever knew”. She was also a loyal KC fan with Mo and Craig.
Extremely comfortable on the boat, the malti-poo was well known in many marinas. She warmed the hearts of our close friends, including some that professed to “not like dogs”, and was often found in the cockpit of a certain Fleming, where she enjoyed a heartwarming belly rub. She also liked a frosty beer with a friend.
When we visited her vet I heard him say, “she has a little heart murmur. Let me know if she develops a cough.” The vet let me listen to the little swishing sound. Little did we know – when the tiny heartbeat stopped just a few weeks later – our hearts would break.
The loss of our Admiral was not expected. We had just spent the perfect day at Pelican Bay, our favorite gunkhole, with Ray, Caryl, Gail and David. On board Exhale and Tonto’s Reward were bottles of champagne to celebrate New Years.
It all happened so fast. Maddie was having trouble breathing – it felt like a panic attack. When she died in Capt Rick’s arms there was full on ugly crying – the type that is unconsolable.
For weeks the tears continued, followed by numbness. Months later there is still a deep hole in our lives.
Maddie was our constant companion for 12 years. Our followers have watched her adventures on Exhale (she was delightfully photogenic), and, if there was an airline frequent flyer program for pets, she would have been a tier one traveler.
Tragically, she crossed the rainbow bridge – sadly our grandson keeps asking why we don’t “go get her and bring her home again”. If only we could …
Traveling without the Admiral
For us it is hard to envision boating without Maddie. It feels incomplete without our SeaRaider alarm, and without the perfect vacuum cleaner. Never mind the piercing eyes that continuously begged for food. I don’t know who penned the phrase “time heals all wounds”, somehow I doubt they were talking about the loss of our beloved Admiral.
Exhale is Going Back to the Bahamas
Our plan is to head south on Saturday, April 23, weather permitting. Once again our Traveling Boat Buddy is Tonto’s Reward, the spectacular Fleming 58 we followed to Maine last summer (2021), and the same friends who previously traveled with us to Key West and the Bahamas (2019).
If we happen to see any feral pigs (rumor has it they are in multiple locations now), we will tell them Maddie said WTF! She hated those pigs.
As a follow-up to the life altering events described in our last blog post, we want to share with you a little update from the survivors.
Larry Bell called me after Ms. Andrea called. To correct the earlier post, Larry was the one wearing the heavy boots. Thankfully he is a very fit 61 years of age.
Their fishing buddy, Charles Jones, lost one sock.
Larry’s 45-year old son, Dana Gent, was the one who lost his pants.
Larry calls us his angels. An extremely proud father, he quietly said “my son Dana almost didn’t make it.” Words cannot express the flood of emotions I felt as his words sank in; one or more of the men really could have drowned, bringing tears to my eyes.
Why do the men have blue towels?
You will notice the photographs, of all the survivors, include a blue towel.
Here’s why. After the men climbed on board Exhale I gave them water and food to help them recover. I also gave each one a soft towel, in an effort to wipe away the salt water from their faces. To my delight I noticed – as they departed from the boat – all four men had the blue towels over their shoulders, sparking a little joy in my heart.
Larry Bell said he is hanging his blue towel on the wall of his home, as a reminder of the day he, his son, and his two fishing buddies were able to exhale.
A little message to the survivors – we are so thankful everyone is okay. Thanks to each of you for reaching out!!
A special message to Alvin R. Dawson, Jr.
Your bravery, strength, and cool head in a moment of duress helped to save yourself and your fishing buddies. You are deeply loved by your friends and family, especially that beautiful mom, Ms. Andrea, pictured in the earlier post.
Alvin, Larry, Dana and Charles – we hope you keep fishing – with life jackets! Next time we are in the Vero Beach area, we will reunite.
Thanks Anders and Marty
We parted Stuart, on a sweet note. Keeping up with a long standing tradition, Anders brought us a small box of local pastries. Thanks for the sweets Anders.
We close with a spectacular shot of the clouds. As the sun was rising on a new day, full of hope, we say a thankful prayer for the Liljequists.