Memorial Day Weekend

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.

Memorial Day Wreath

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!

Race Snacks

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!

Spanish Wells

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.


Bahama Crypts

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.

Burial Vault/Crypt

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.

Spanish Wells

For Gary M/V Knot Dreaming. Blue Waters

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.

Under section of the fried solar panels

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.

Meet Max

Max Etienne, Harbour Island

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

Pinks Sands

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.

Pink Sands

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.

Capt Rick and crew, Craig Adford
**** and $$$$

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!

Miami Vice Central

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).

Salami Blossoms

Roger’s Dock – For Connie & Roger 🙂

Private Dock for 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?

Tribute to Queen

Local Favorite.

photo by Capt. Rick

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.

Testing Negative

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

Breathe, Costume Designer: Alisha Silverstein

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 🙂

Sweet Bahama Blue

North Bimini

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. 

Dock Closed

The competition continues, Kalik vs. Sands!

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. 

Power boat.

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 …

time for a short nap

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.

Securite, securite, securite – motor vessels entering the cut …

Local Bar

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. 

Local Dive Bar

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

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.

Bahama Map

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.

Capt Gail Bernstein

Picturesque Bahamas

Gary (Tarheel, Knot Dreamin) asked for water photos – so here we go. First you might wonder, why is the water soooo blue?

sweet blue waters

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.

Bahama Sands

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. 

Chub Cay

Chub Cay Sunset

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!

Hello Craig and Maureen

Distracted by the Hooters Girls

Imagine Capt. Ricks delight when this boat showed up adjacent to us in Chub Cay.

Hooter Patrol X

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.

Hello to our Fort Myers Neighbor, Champ

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.

Next Up:  Spanish Wells Yacht Haven

Miami Charm and Bahama Mamas

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 tycoon Henry 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.

Cement Pond, Coral Reef

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.

Coconut Grove, FL

Our adventures included a self-guided tour of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, home of John Deering.

Harp for Faye

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!

Capt Rick, Capt Dave Floyd, and Steve Jones; Wynwood, FL

But first, a decadent Cuban Sandwich, possibly the best Cuban food we have EVER enjoyed.

Cuban Good, Enriqueta’s
Cuban Gone

And now for some more Wynwood Miami Art!

Wynwood Wall
Wynwood Tour
For Zach and Eli, Wynwood

Key Biscayne

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.

Biscayne Key

Key Biscayne was restful.

Capt Gail and Capt Rick, chill mode.

Sunset Dos Palmas – Good bye Florida

Sunset at Biscayne Key. Dos Palmas, a tribute to 224 LaVerne

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 Islands

Bahama mamas – OH YES!

Our port of entry is Bimini – staying at the Big Game Club Resort & Marina. Welcome drink delivered with a smile.

Hello Valentino!

Capt Rick opted for a Miami Vice – Bahama Style for MO


First night in the Bahamas was magical, beginning with a beautiful moon rise.

Moonrise over Bimini, May 14, 2022

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. 🙂

Signal Flag O

Signal Flag “N”

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.

The Origin of Mother’s Day

Waffles for Mother’s Day

For as long as I can remember, we have eaten waffles on Mother’s Day. Thanks Capt. Rick for keeping the tradition alive.

Waffles with raspberries and whipped cream.

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 …

Snooks Bayside

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).

Snooks Bayside at Sunset

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.

African Queen, tours in Key Largo.

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.

African Queen ~ circa 1945

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!!

Gail B, JoAnn and Claude Welles, David B, and Capt Rick

If you have had the privilege of staying at Ocean Reef (several of you have!) you will recognize this sweet bird.

On the Same Page

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!

Ocean Reef, the Point, Key Largo, FL

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!

Coconut Grove, evening magic

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.

Thank you

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.

Anchors Aweigh

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

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.

Maddie Sue on duty, near Marco Island

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!

Marco Island

Safely docked with Tonto’s Reward at Marco Island Yacht Club, we launched a dinghy to explore the neighborhood.

Exhale and Tonto’s Reward at Marco Island

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.

Black Pearl, Marco Island

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.

Russell Pass. April 25, 2022

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 Cape Sable, April 26, 2022

Anchorage at Sandy Key – a little cloud magic.

The third anchorage was quiet and serene with dinner onboard Exhale.

Sunset over Tonto’s Reward. Sandy Key, April 27, 2022.

Faro Blanco, Key Largo, FL

Enjoying a little deja vu, we spent two nights at Faro Blanco.

Faro Blanco, Key Largo, FL

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.

Snapper with mango salsa

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.

No Name Pub

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.

In the Money, Big Pine Key, FL

Marathon Marina

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.

Marathon Marina for Tom and Faye

From the flybridge of Tonto’s Reward we witnessed a spectacular sunset!

Let Freedom Ring. Marathon FL

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.

Next Stop: Pilot House Marina, Key Largo