Looks Like We Made It

In the words of Capt Rick, the seas crossing the gulf were “not as advertised”.  We departed at 5:55 am, well before breakfast. 

West End, Bahama. 5:55 am

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!

Celebrating Pride. Capt Floyd Looking Dapper

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.

Fort Lauderdale is located at the far western tip of the Bermuda Triangle.  Where more than 50 ships and 20 airplanes are said to have mysteriously disappeared. https://www.britannica.com/place/Bermuda-Triangle

SALLY REPAIRED

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.  

SeaKeeper repair in progress.

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.

Royal Palm Yacht Club – Wood Carvings

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.

Evie III, 2014, Long Beach, CA

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!

Cousin, John Glenn Gill, Jr.

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.

July 3, 2022, celebrating 12 years

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.  

Scrumptious Anniversary Dinner

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!

Spanish Cay / Spanish Fly

A few gusty days in a row kept us at Spanish Cay. Sheltered by trees spared by Dorian, we relished a shady walk. 

Spanish Cay, road to the airstrip.

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.

Kilroy was here.

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.

Garfield rules

Sweet attitude, Flying hair!

Friendly and feisty staff!

Air-conditioned game room, complete with a pool table (for Caryl).

A shark for our grandson Tyler!

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.

Great Sale Cay

it was serene to sleep with open windows, enjoying a slight breeze all night long.

Well positioned hanger

The clothes hanger in the tree is for Mija.

SUSHI DINNER

Sunset over Great Sale Cay

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. 

Hello Jonathan

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.

West End, Old Bahama Bay Marina

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.

Bonefish Folley

Bonefish Folley

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.

WORTH REPEATING

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!

7 conch for dinner

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.  

Forgettable Orchid Bay

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.

Capt Rick and Maddie Sue, 2019, Orchid Bay

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.

Entrance to Nippers

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. 

wimpy umbrellas and sloppy paint

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.

Grabbers, post Dorian, October 2019

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!

Grabbers new logo

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!

Floating Rings!

Grabbers was restored to maximize its natural beauty.

A peaceful easy feeling

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.

https://grabbersatsunset.com/adopt-a-palm-tree/

MEMORABLE MEALS

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!

Chef Rick and Chef Gail prepare a tri-tip dinner on Tonto’s Reward

FRESH CONCH

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.

A bucket full of conch!

If you follow the Tonto’s Reward blog you will see some action shots from our photo journalist Gail 🙂

Inspired by Tom and Faye – Seven Conch!
Chef Gail and Chef Rick prepared Conch Salad

It was a feast!

Chef Rick prepares conch fingers

Milestones and Celebrations: June 23, Michael Gillespie (worth repeating).

Next up: Anchoring Out in the Cays

Tan your Toes in the Abacos

Abaco Strong

The Abaco Islands are steadily making a comeback.  It was heartwarming to see the Far Side Castle, standing strong.

Actively rebuilding

Marsh Harbour – Welcome Back to Wally’s

Wally’s, Marsh Harbour

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!

Wally’s, June 8, 2019, sterno
Wally’s Mural

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.

Staying focused on her exceptional talent, did you know she was a stellar student? In 1997 Aaliyah graduated with a 4.0 GPA from the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts

Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001), was an American singer, actress, dancer, and model. She helped to redefine contemporary R&Bpop and hip hop,[2] 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.    

for Mija

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.

Music Memories

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

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.”   

Over time, one church grew to 4, one Non-denominational, one Pentecostal, one Methodist, and one Plymouth Brethren.

Built Back Better

Post Dorian – The island promptly re-built the churches after the hurricane and is now actively rebuilding the surrounding community.

Post Office

What you won’t find in Man-O-War is alcohol.  That’s right – it’s a dry island, in the Bahamas. Don’t worry, there is plenty of alcohol on board to enjoy. Thanks to Tumbleweed for the Prisoner!

Prisoner for Kelly!

Life is Good when you anchor out.

Scout, tender to Tonto’s Reward and Inhale, tender to Exhale

Red Sky at Night – Spectacular

We close this post with another jaw-dropping sunset over Tonto’s Reward.

Sailor’s Delight!

Celebrations and Milestones:

June 19, Happy Father’s Day

Birthdays:  June 22, Scott Sherman and Ann Hughes; June 23, Michael (Gonzo) Gilliespie; June 26, Joe Occhino

Anniversary: June 27, Jamie and David Hendry

Next Post:  Orchid Bay – the tale of a forgettable visit in 2019.

After Dorian – a Cat5 Hurricane

a Bahama Category 5 Hurricane

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.[2] 

These photos are from Hope Town United (more on that later.)

photos from HopeTownUnited.

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. 

Elbow Reef Lighthouse Standing Strong since 1864

Although she looks weathered, that old girl was built to last.

Pete’s Pub

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.

Pete’s Pub

There was a new addition for loyal patrons – Front Row Observation Seats.

Water View

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.”

Welcome!

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, October 2019

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/

Rob Sands, Executive Chair, Constellation Brands; and Sands Family Foundation, Board Member

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!

Gary Sands, 2017

The Sands Beer family line includes Sands Gold, Sands Regular, Sands Light, High Rock Lager, Sands Pink Radler, Strong Back Stout, Bush Crack, 66 Steps Ale, and Triple B malt drink. https://southernboating.com/life/people/sands-beer/

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:

Vernon’s Grocery

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.

Hope town rebuilt – a view from atop of the lighthouse.

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!

Kids Menu lower left – zoom in!!

Bonus Photo from the marina- Bridget’s Rare Rums for Ray

Rum 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!

Sandy and her furry friends

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.

photo by Sandy, taken on Tonto’s Reward.

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

Next Stop: Anchored out in the Abacos

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.

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.

Wynwood

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

Delicious.

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

Celebration followed by Ugly Crying

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.

Grandkids Leo, Tyler and Abby 4/8/2022
Tyler is 6!

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.

The Admiral

In 2009 Captain Rick decided to give himself a birthday present, in the form of an 8-week old puppy he named Maddie.

and they called it “Puppy Love”

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.

Maddie keeps an eye out. Belmont Shore, CA

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.

Loyal KC fan

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.

Cold Beers with Admiral Maggie, M/V Subject to Change

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.

December 29, 2021. Pelican Bay

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.

Baltimore Boat Show – Princess Cut.

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 …

Rainbow Bridge

Traveling without the Admiral

Are you sure we are following the route?

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.

A Word from the Survivors

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.

Larry Bell

Their fishing buddy, Charles Jones, lost one sock.

Charles Jones

Larry’s 45-year old son, Dana Gent, was the one who lost his pants.

Dana Gent

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.

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.

Stuart, FL

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.

Men Overboard – NOT a drill

Maddie barked in annoyance, as another small fishing boat went whizzing by us.  She is NOT fond of the loud little motors.  To me, it sounds like she is yelling SLOW DOWN!  

“Yet another fishing boat in the middle of the channel?” I groused.  As a courtesy, we consistently slow to an idle for small boats of all kinds, endeavoring not to wake them.  But when the boats elect to fish in the middle of the channel, it’s vexing. 

Roughly 400 feet in front of us, the sense of annoyance was replaced with sheer horror as we witnessed the small boat keel over, dumping the fishermen into the water.  Holy Shit, they capsized!  We could see one man clinging to a cooler, as two more latched on to the overturned boat. 

Capt. Rick was already on the radio, “Coast Guard, Coast Guard, man overboard!  Three men in the water.  NO LIFE JACKETS!  Immediately in front of us.  We will attempt to rescue them. Our coordinates are …” 

“There’s another one!” I shrieked.  Four men in the water.  Three of them hugging the hull, the fourth was still gripping a cooler to stay afloat.  Terrified of the odds, I ripped open a brand-new package of 4 life jackets (a mess I had to repair later) and scurried to the bow.  As Capt. Rick eased towards the capsized boat, I threw the life jackets towards the 4 men – with herculean effort. Success.

4 Adult Size Life Jackets

Ever steady, Capt Rick said, “Put on your headset. You go to the stern, drop the swim ladder, and throw them the life ring when we get close enough.”  Copy that.

Life Ring with 70′ throw rope

From the swim platform I yelled – “Please hang on men, don’t panic, we are going to help.  Can you swim?” 

Only one man said yes! Roughly 100 feet away, bolstered by a life jacket, Alvin swam towards our boat.  With a mighty adrenalin rush I helped him climb aboard. 

Alvin R. Dawson, Jr.

With great haste I rigged the life ring to a floating line, secured the line on a boat cleat, and then told Alvin to throw it to his buddies.  The Lifeline is only 70 feet long.  There was no time to lose.  Alvin threw the perfect toss, then together we pulled in one of his fishing buddies (Charles). 

Another perfect toss and we pulled in the remaining two, father and son (Dana and Larry).

Larry Bell and family (son, Dana Gent, upper right)

Capt. Rick reported to the Coast Guard, ALL Four Men were now on board. No-one was injured.  Shaken up, we all knew they could have lost their lives. 

Apparently, the steering failed as the wheel popped off into the hands of Alvin. Spinning out of control, he was pitched into the water.  Moments later the boat overturned, spilling the other three into the salty water.

Larry Bell was lamenting over the mistake of wearing heavy, tightly laced boots on a boat, he was sure they could have been the cause of his death – since he could not untie them.

Gone: fishing gear, phones, wallets, keys, shoes, one sock, and a pair of shorts (thankfully Dana’s briefs stayed intact). 

Saved: four precious lives. 

Boat Tracks

Garmin Boat Tracks. 1:37 pm

Let me take a thankful pause here.  These are the boat tracks – and the coordinates of the incident.  Capt. Rick remained extremely calm during this ordeal.  For the non-boater fans, let me explain.  The white section is the channel.  You can see the channel is only about 100 feet wide.  The dotted line (cookie crumbs) indicates our path.  The sideways “v” shape is where we threw the life jackets, the small circle is where we rescued the men.  This was ONLY possible because Capt. Rick is such an exceptional navigator.  Thanks, Babe.  You are amazing.

Time to Exhale

As we pulled up to the dock in Vero Beach, the men climbed out of our boat, thankful to be alive. 

Then one of them exclaimed – “Your boat’s name is Exhale! That’s incredible.  Because of you, we are all still breathing!  We will NEVER forget you.”

Epilogue – A Mother’s Love

We were enjoying dinner with our dear friends in Stuart – Marty & Anders, John & Sue – when Ms. Andrea called. Roughly 24 hours had passed since the rescue. Now, an eternally grateful mother was reaching out.  Prior to her call we didn’t know the names of the men we had rescued. And, we did not take a single photo.

Ms. Andrea Woulard

Alvin’s mother, Ms. Andrea Woulard, forever touched our hearts with her expression of thanks. She was extremely emotional as she recanted her’s son’s brush with death. She also assured me that he will never again go out on the water without proper life jackets. She’s a strong mother. One look at this beautiful soul and you know, life is good.

Thanks for the Facebook photos Ms. Andrea.

Celebrating Milestones. Birthdays: Steven “with a v” Hunt – October 27; Megan Ginsburg Newton, October 31; Gail Bernstein – November 3 (Go Max, Go!)

Next Stop: Clewiston – reuniting with Lit’l Houlegan.

Boat Safely my friends! Everyday above the water is cherished.

Chasing a Squirrel

Do you see that pesky squirrel?

Maddie loves to go for a walk, especially if she can chase a squirrel.  The only thing she loves more is a proper belly rub, on a certain Fleming of course.

Beaufort, NC

Our stop in Beaufort (pronounced “no” in North Carolina) was a great chance to reconnect with fellow Maine Event boaters from Treble in Paradise, NP45.

Faye Turke, Treble in Paradise, NP45

Hi Tom and Faye – safe travels on your slow journey back to Florida!

Wrightsville Beach, NC / Harbor Island

Kiss Her Too, iii is another beautiful North Pacific 49, hull number 4. Several months ago we saw this boat from a distance, at Spring Cove Marina on Solomon’s Island. What a surprise to find her tied up just a few boats away.

Kiss Her Too, iii.

On board are Tony and Judy Kuester and their two dogs. Can you believe she is a 2015 model?! So gorgeous.

Back at the Marina, Maddies was on a quest for cookies, alas, no luck.

Where are those cookies?
Another beautiful day on the water

We took on fuel at Wacca Wache, a teeny tiny marina on the Wacca Maw River.

Did you say Wack a something?

Georgetown – Fresh Shrimp

Thanks Gail for the suggestion to buy fresh shrimp in Georgetown. A short walk from the Marina, this place was amazing; the shrimp dinner we made was absolutely delicious.

Fresh, Fresh, Fresh

Breaking News for our Sports Fans

Did you know the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in New York City? The Giants played at the Polo Grounds in the borough of Manhattan and the Dodgers played in the borough of Brooklyn.

Ryan Mendoza, Matthew Valdez, and Javier Angulo

So proud to know these men! Friendly rivals reunited at the ball game. Oh yes, the Dodgers got to celebrate the win!! Tony and Taco were dancing in the streets. Sorry MV, it was an amazing game!!

Georgetown

Back to Georgetown – we left BEFORE dawn, surrounded by calm waters.

Sampit River, 6:53 am

Engine Room Inspection

Some tasks on board require an extra set of eyes. Thus, Maddie often supervises Capt. Rick’s engine room duties.

Everything seems to be in order, are you coming up soon?

St. John’s Yacht Harbor, John’s Island

Another early morning departure rewarded by a gorgeous sunrise.

John’s Island, 7:00 am

Beaufort, SC

We greatly enjoy Beaufort (pronounced with a “view”). It’s a town with great little shops and award winning restaurants. Scroll back in our blog to read about our stop heading north.

Old Bull Tavern. Beaufort, SC. Lamb shank braised in red wine and tomato seasoned with rosemary.

Look Craig and Maureen, we got to eat at Old Bull Tavern, at 5:30 pm! Check out this lamb-a-saurus. That’s a happy Capt. Rick.

The city of Beaufort, SC knows how to enjoy life. These popular swings, found on the promenade of the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, have a spectacular view. Their slogan is “Swing, Stroll, and Stay a While.”

Sniffing is almost as good as chasing squirrels.

Hilton Head, SC

Bruce Peck, Beverly Abel, Capt. Rick and Mary S. Dinner at Ela’s

Reunited with Sea Trek, we dined at Ela’s. Enjoying a Lemon Drop Martini, continuing a tradition with Bruce Peck.

Celebrating the Norths

Congrats to fellow NorthPacific owners, Dr. Patricia North (recently retired) and P. Jeffrey North, Esq. It was spectacular finally meeting you!  Long Cove Club was lovely.

Long Cove Club

The Norths recently opted to down-size their land base (congrats on the sale of your house) and up-size their water home.  Owners of an NP43, they are now busy customizing a new NP49 euro, scheduled to arrive in 2022. 

The challenge of selecting a clever name is in progress, contenders include “Just a Splash”, “Copycat”, or “Patty’s Way”.  With two gorgeous German Shepherds on board, I am suggesting they call their next boat “Good Shepherds”.  

That also reminds me of the 2006 movie “The Good Shepherd” starring Matt Damon and Robert De Nero, with scenes filmed at Yale (for Ryan).  Worth watching again.

We look forward to cruising with them in Florida and in the Keys this winter. Thanks for the amazing wine. 

Generous gift from the Norths

For Mija and Ynot

We leave you with a rhetorical question (that’s for Jeff). Did you know that the IATSE strike was averted?  Hooray!! With a strike off the table, Taco is extremely relieved Alisha and Tony will not have to cut back on his rations.

Celebrating Taco’s Blog Debut

Milestones:

Birthdays – Bushranger, Mark Rutherford – the month of celebrating continues! October 14: Linda Matlock; October 15: John Buckendahl, Jr.; October 22, Kelly Thorn-Hiebert

Next Stop:  Kilkenny, GA

Unexpected Winners and Losers

Ryan Davidson, PassageMaker; Mary and Rick, M/V Exhale; and
Trevor Brice, President, North Pacific Yachts

2021 People’s Choice Award – Winner, Winner!

North Pacific Yachts won the Passagemaker Ocean Navigator Trophy!  The attendees at the show vote over the course of 4 days, then the winner is announced at the end of the show. Surprised and honored, it was a great way to wrap up the festival.  North Pacific Yachts also won the award back in 2018 with the original Exhale. Thanks to the wonderful team at PassageMaker! Congrats to Exhale and Congrats to Trevor Brice!

Ocean Navigator Trophy:
TrawlerFest 2021 and TrawlerFest 2018

Leaving Baltimore, we slowed as we traversed under the Francis Scott Key bridge. A Star Spangled Banner moment.

Francis Scott Key Bridge, Baltimore, MD.

Solomon’s Island, MD

It was a short visit, back to Spring Cove Marina, departing at sunrise.

Back Creek, 7:25 am

Deltaville, VA – Regatta Point / Doziers

Another short stop in Deltaville, then we were on the road again, early. 

Deltaville, 7:32 am

The journey back to Florida is now the main focus as we begin a series of long days on the water. Thank goodness we have a Sea Keeper.

Warship

The early morning rise meant we encountered a Warship. We also saw a submarine, but did not get a blog-worthy photo.

A Winning Plan

As reported earlier, we prefer the Dismal Swamp route, but the Corp of Engineers had reported numerous massive logs floating down the canal. For the first time, we navigated towards Coinjock Marina – enticed by many well respected reports of award winning prime rib. Capt Rick loves prime rib, preferably an end cut – so we pressed on for 11 hours on the water, salivating at the thought of a delicious meal.

Coinjock Marina, VA – Loser, Loser!

A good plan, gone VERY wrong.  Did you know they have Overflow Parking at Coinjock? There is the east side dock, next to the restaurant, and the west side dock, across the waterway!

There is no polite way to describe how upset we were when the dockmaster directed us to tie up on the west side, AND, there was no staff available to run the boat launch to shuttle us to the infamous restaurant on the east wall.  WHAT???

As we approached the marina we could see long stretches of open space – it seemed there was plenty of room for more boats on the east wall. 

Coinjock Marina East Dock

Perplexed, we radioed back and asked, again, to be placed on the east wall, emphasizing we wanted to dine at the restaurant. Nope, said the Dockmaster, there were more boats on the way, and Exhale was going west.  So much for first come, first served.

It turned out, restaurant access would soon be the least of our complaints, since the entire westside dock should have been condemned, long ago.  Seriously.  NOONE should be allowed, never mind directed, to dock there.

You be the judge for yourself – here are a series of photos to document our stop.

Dangerous Docks on the westside.

There was a swimming pool, adjacent to our tie-up. With Halloween approaching I wondered if this location was ever used in a horror film.

Pool Entry Way
No Glass. No Bottles – Where is the “UNSAFE – NO ENTRY” sign?!

It was shocking that there were no signs warning you to stay off the docks, or stay away from the pool. The dock lights were broken. And there was no water –  on the dock or in the pool. There were LOTS of mosquitoes. We are talking the equivalent of Everglades mosquitoes – all you SFYC members, you know what I mean!

A swimming pool for mosquitoes

A winning moment

To be fair, there was an unexpected “winning” moment. Introducing Lance, the owner of a travel trailer on the westside – adjacent to the dock wall. One of the kitchen staff, it was his day off.

The kindness of strangers.

Lance TRIED to help us secure the lines to the pilings, apologizing that he had zero experience with this dock wall. As he said, “I have NEVER seen a boat here before.” Read that back slowly, NEVER – SEEN – A -BOAT – HERE – BEFORE … He has been living here all summer …

Lance

When Lance heard we wanted prime rib, he generously offered to go across the waterway to the restaurant in his tiny skiff, to retrieve dinner for us. Thanks, Lance.

CoinJock – look at that lovely dock wall!

Eager to continue our journey, we passed by the Restaurant at 6:48 am, frowning. That’s right, the marina is a BIG LOSER in our books.

Belhaven, NC

After 10 hours on the water, we returned to River Forest Marina in Belhaven, where Henry greeted us warmly.  Unfortunately, he also reminded us of our north bound incident – when Jim Merritt (Gypsy) dove into the water to free up a 35-foot stern line that got sucked into the thrusters. Just scroll back in our blog if you want to read the embarrassing story. 

BIG Winner, Winner! 2021 BEST Restaurant

We have been to Belhaven multiple times before, and never managed to dine at Spoon River. Let me just go on record now, this restaurant wins, hands down, the BEST Restaurant on this trip!

Spoon River Decoy Duck

Introducing the Owners, Mark and Teresa.  Mark is a farmer, and he knows fresh ingredients. Teresa is just beautiful, inside and out.

Eclectic mix of wine and bubbly
Decor for Mija. The “wine list” is open for perusal.
The view from our table, a Full House!

The service was impeccable and the food scrumptious. My tuna was exceptional. Rick’s yummy beef tips were fork-a-licious. We highly recommend the stop. Reservations are encouraged. Just text a message, and Teresa will reply :-). Click Here for the website. Oh yes, we will be back.

Sirloin Beef Tips with Mark’s winter garden veggies.

Milestones: Columbus Day – Tuesday, October 12 (celebrated Monday); Birthday – October 14, Bushranger, Mark Rutherford

Next Stop:  Beaufort, NC

Treble in Paradise – see you VERY Soon.

O say can you sea? Baltimore, MD.

Fells Point mural

Fun Maryland fact: the Star-Spangled Banner was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, who had seen, first hand, the bombardment of Fort McHenry from a ship anchored in Baltimore’s harbor.

Welcome to Baltimore

An active waterway for more than 300 years, Baltimore was once a key port for tobacco trade with England.

Exhale docked in the Baltimore Inner Harbor on Sunday 09/26 with a departure planned tomorrow, Monday, 10/4.  Why the long visit?? Trawlerfest Baltimore! A very popular east coast boat show. More about that farther down in this post.

Baltimore Public Works Museum

First, accompanied by Lit’l Houlegan, we toured the Baltimore waterfront before the boat show began. This historic gem was built in 1912; to my surprise, today the building is still an operating sewage pumping station.

Adjacent to the museum we found a tractor for Sam.

Scarlett Place

As we continued to walk along the waterfront we came upon this massive complex.

Scarlett Place

Built in 1987, Scarlett Place was cleverly designed to look like it sits on a hillside. The 18-story high structure includes 147 luxury condo-homes. No doubt, the owners have a spectacular view of the inner harbor. You will also find the Baltimore offices of Jellyfish.com on the ground floor. Now that’s a great place to work.

Supporting IATSE

Back at the boat, we think Maddie was standing in solidarity with Alisha, as she went on strike, demanded better working conditions, and tried to create a road block for the pending invasion from the Boat Show.

I am striking against the unfair conditions.

She also voiced her protest to Ray, who listened intently and then offered to increase her allotment of cookies, if she would please go back to work.

Ray promised more cookies.

Maddie’s list of complaints included the heavy coat she had been forced to wear in the blazing heat of Baltimore.

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Bear

It has been noted that Maddie did resemble a small stuffed bear.  What do you think, Bert and EJ? So, we finally found a groomer in Baltimore.  Mind you, the shop owner was a bit nutty, reminding me of Woody Allen and Gene Wilder, oh and Marty Feldman, that British guy with spastic eyeballs.  Thankfully the co-owner, Beverly, was a gentle and talented groomer.

A successful makeover.

Hello little princess – with fancy poodle boots! After a successful negotiation, Maddie looks young and spry once again; agreeing to return to work full-time. Mija – we are wishing you equal success

Baltimore Trawlerfest

The Baltimore Trawlerfest water show (think open house) began at 10 am on Thursday. The well publicized annual event is sponsored by Passage Maker.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the article about Exhale in the April edition of PassageMaker.

We understand a total of 1100 tickets were sold, explaining the constant stream of visitors onboard! Thanks Caryl and Ray for helping us to prepare the boat and to manage the crowd on Thursday.

Inhale, Exhale, breathe gently – thanks Caryl!

Hi Sandy! Thanks for joining us at the Baltimore boat show.

A little commercial break for two sweet seconds of fame. At the boat show we saw the October Soundings magazine. Wait, What??? To our delight we discovered Exhale on the cover, the photo was taken in Maine! Here’s the article!

Working at a boat show is not easy stuff, so we had to recruit the Maine lobster to lend a helping claw.

The Show was a VERY busy event. To our delight, several folks traveled a long distance just to see the first North Pacific euro style. We quickly learned brand awareness is growing, and the demand is strong.

We are proud to be a part of your growing North Pacific Yacht family.

Capt Rick and Trevor Brice, President and CEO of North Pacific Yachts

Thanks Trevor, for all the great meals and laughter.

We close with a picture from my brother, taken from his driveway in Girdwood, AK. Yes, Mike and Susie Gillespie, that’s Mt. Alyeska, where we all stayed in 2015. Maddie Sue, if you were in AK you would have wanted that bear coat.

September 24, 2021; a single night of snow

Milestones: Birthdays – October 1, Sam Straley; October 4, Mayor Scotty Harvey;

Next Up – the Solomon’s. 

Looking Ahead: We aim to be back in Fort Myers in time for Halloween, looking forward to the Wittman Drive block party.

Boomerangs

New York skyline

Traveling south, the New York skyline was breathtaking under a blue sky. 

traveling south on the East River

Like a boomerang, Ray Houle and Caryl Moulder have returned!

Platinum Loopers Ray Houle (Sideways) and
Caryl Moulder with Maddie

You may recall we began the Maine Event with Craig and Maureen on board, connecting with Ray and Caryl on the waters of the Caloosahatchee River on our very first day.

First a little boat name history. At one time Caryl and Ray had a Nova called Houlegan. When we met, their Mainship was named “Houlegan, again.”  Now they have a Rosborough, called Lit’l Houlegan. Thankfully, the person who customizes their embroidered shirts and hats manages to keep it all perfectly straight.

Lit’l Houlegan

Brick, New Jersey

To our delight, they trailered their boat from Cape Coral, Florida then launched her at the home of renowned looper authors George and Pat Hospodar, giving us the chance to rendezvous in Brick, NJ.

Curious about Boomerangs?

New resource:  Wonderopolis.org, check it out! Curious folks might wonder, 1) do boomerangs always come back, 2) what are they used for, and 3) how old are they?

Other folks, might skip this section and move on down to the photos.

really old boomerang

First, you have to throw it correctly for it to return. What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?  A stick.  Primary school humor.

Second, the natives of Australia used the boomerang to hunt animals in trees and bushes. Now the most popular use is sports leisure.

Australian hunting boomerang

Finally, when were boomerangs first used? Dating back over 10,000 years; originally the Aussie’s carved the hunting tool from bone or wood.

Bonus factoid, Guinness world record for longest boomerang throw is 1,401.5 feet. Held by an Aussie of course.

Brick, New Jersey

Back to our story. It was so much fun connecting with snowbirds George and Pat for a delightful evening of music and good food in their lovely home.

George and Pat

Dessert included cannoli and chips, thanks to Joey P.  It was decadent. 

Caryl and Ray

Manasquan River

Tied to the fuel dock we had the perfect vantage point of the official fish scales. This is a Sushi Grade Blue Fin Tuna, 189 lbs.

that’s a lot of sushi

The Largest Bluefin Tuna Ever Caught: 12 feet, 1,496 lbs., caught off Nova Scotia in 1979. Also impressive – the bluefin can swim 25 miles per hour, that’s 3 times the regular speed of Exhale.

Full Moon shining bright 8:24 pm, Manasquan River

Red Sky in the Morning – it was 6:35 am when we left the dock.

Red Sky – Sailor’s take warning

Havre de Grace

The red sky did not lie. It rained heavily in Havre de Grace.  Thanks again to Ray and Caryl who made this soggy stop delightful.

Annapolis

With Ray and Caryl on board we ventured to Annapolis, staying at one of the nicest marinas on this journey. 

Docked next to us was Noel. The family on board included 5-year-old James, and his 7-year-old brother, Troy William.  Both were extremely articulate, capable young fishermen.

James could be found fishing at the end of the dock by 7:30 am, with a life jacket over his dinosaur pajamas.  Clever layering since the pjs look pretty warm.

James age 5

Annapolis meant a lot of boat cleaning, in preparation for the Baltimore boat show.

Capt. Sideways, cleaning at the waterline

Thanks Ray for the boat scrub

Sandy – Best Blue Crab Cakes!

So what was the best part of Annapolis? Visiting with Sandy!!

Yes, this is the same Sandy who was on board Tonto’s Reward in Maine! She is also a beloved North Pacific owner, Road Trip is a rare 42.

She promised if we came to her home in Annapolis she would make us crab cakes. Let the record show her cakes were the best we had in Maryland, bar none.  Grilled to perfection. Generous lumps of crab, her secret ingredient was fresh basil.  Sooo delicious. Sandy really spoiled us!

Crab cakes, fresh corn, asparagus (for David B)
and london broil. courtesy of Chef Sandy.

Oh and Thanks for introducing us to OIB, the original iron bear.

Original Iron Bear (OIB) and Sandy

The next morning the boys were fishing again

James (5) and Troy William (7)

On the topic of crabs, thanks, Capt Rick, for passing on your cherished crab trap – those boys will put it to good use! We were touched when the handwritten notes were delivered to Exhale; these boys have exceptional parents.

Baltimore – Here We Come

Next Up – Baltimore Trawler Fest sponsored by Passage Maker – come visit! We will be in Baltimore from Sunday September 26 through Sunday October 3!! Slip A-31

Milestones: Birthdays – Bruce Peck, September 23; Lenore Bigsby, Sept 24; David Floyd (aka #8), Sept 27; Roger Berardinis;

Aussie Invasion

Heather and Mark Rutherford

We met Heather and Mark Rutherford, award-winning sailors, not too long after they acquired their trawler, the M/V Bushranger, a sturdy 38 foot Marine Trader.  Featured numerous times in our Great Loop posts we were VERY excited to reunite with our friends from Sydney, Australia.

First, what is a Bushranger?

Fun facts:  Thanks again to Wikipedia, we learned that Bushrangers were originally escaped convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who used the bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities. In 1835, Charles Darwin recorded that a bushranger was “an open villain who subsists by highway robbery, and will sooner be killed than taken alive”

M/V Bushranger, Port Washington, NY

Better a “ranger” than a “whacker”

Similar to the common mashup of Tonto’s Revenge in the place of Tonto’s Reward, marinas tend to rename Bushranger, mistakenly calling her bushwhacker.  It’s not a good thing,

“Bushwhacker” was a Civil War term that designated the lowest and meanest type of guerrilla fighter, particularly the Confederates, who often hid in inaccessible places and ambushed Union troops.

Let the record show, our Aussie friends are neither “whackers” nor “gooses”, a popular Australian reference to anyone who is rude or behaves badly. Of course in Port Washington, there are plenty of Canada geese to be found.

They are salty Great Loop adventurers,

Red and Green Channel Markers

Heather captains the boat quite well, rarely running aground,

Heather Rutherford

and she makes the most delicious of breads (onion pull-a-parts).

Port Washington

The folks in Port Washington are very friendly, and the scenery is sweet.

Port Washington

Indian Food

We were delighted to return to Diwan. The food is fresh and flavorful. The owner remembered us (Gail and David!), noting we had returned with new friends.

Diwan, Port Washington

The renowned author of Volcanic Winter,

Get your copy of his book here:  Yes, Capt Rick is a character in the book!

https://markrutherfordwrites.com/

Mark Rutherford, Penfold Chardonnay, Australia

Mark Rutherford, has great taste in wine and has mastered garlicky shrimp.

Before departing, Rick took Maddie for a morning stroll – look for her in the lower right corner of this photo.

As the geese fly overhead, Rick and Maddie walking at sunrise

Sadly, with geese flying overhead, we knew it was time to say goodbye to our sweet friends and head south.

Thanks for the Royal Wave!

Be on the lookout, they are, currently exploring the Long Island Sound.

Next Up: Ray Houle and Caryl Moulder, ‘Lil Houlegan at Hoffman’s Marina – East (not west)!

Connecticut connections, Hail Yale!

Essex, CT

Essex Island, CT

Following Tonto’s Reward, we stayed at the tiny Essex Island (13 acres).

Essex Island Marina

An on-demand foot ferry (no vehicles) crosses the waterway to Essex – ride time: roughly 5 minutes.

David and Rick wait for the ferry

Essex, CT

Birdhouses are prevalent in Essex.  In an area where real estate taxes are excessive, it is benevolent to provide such exquisite housing for our feathered friends.

Hello Anders from Griswold Inn. 

Rick talking to Anders (zoom in!)

Clinton, CT

Thanks to the staff at Cedar Island Marina

Approaching Cedar Island

Sadly, it was our last night with Tonto’s Reward. They are heading back to Florida. We MISS you!

New Haven, CT

The marina staff failed to answer the radio. Under a heavy current we gingerly approached the dock. When a friendly boater yelled out – “would you like help with your lines?” I replied “yes, please!”  In my headset Capt Rick said, “plan to jump onto the dock, they won’t arrive in time”. To our shock, a speedy little dinghy whirred into our section of the dock.  Much smoother than I could have managed alone, Joey Piccerillo, had our lines securely in hand.

Joey Piccerillo and Hilary Tomko

To Capt. Rick’s delight, Joey and his sweet girlfriend Hilary invited us to an outdoor picnic, an ice cream social, at the yacht club. We made some new friends, introducing Beverly (Carol) Carr and Scotty.

Capt Rick, Beverly (Carol) and Scotty Carr

New Haven was a slice of heaven – where else could an ice-cream social lead to a private tour of Yale? The ultimate IVY league school, alma mater of my sweet amigo, REM.  A dream come true.

Hail Yale

Yale

If you have been there, like David and Gail Bernstein, you know the campus is extremely special.

Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, then renamed as Yale in 1718, in honor of Jewish benefactor Elihu Yale, the private IVY league was chartered well BEFORE the American Revolution.

School of Law

As we walked the campus with Joey and Hilary, we continued to remark how the architecture seems flawless.   

Library

The university logo, with Hebrew characters, was devised in the 1800s by then University President Ezra Stiles. Stylish, graceful, refined, elegant.

With one shocking exception. The School of Architecture. Why the Face (WTF)?  What a disgrace!  How is it possible, in the most prestigious school we found Brutalist Architecture?  

Simple answer:  The department Chair hired himself as the designing architect. Yep, the client and the customer were one and the same!

Introducing the ugliest building on campus.  We learned that brutalist architecture is characterized by exposed, unpainted, raw concrete. Often referred to as cold and soulless – truthful and accurate.

Nothing about the 1963 Paul Rudolph design made sense. Although only 7 stories tall, the building has a complex floor plan with over 30 interior levels. It was absolutely hated by its occupants – students and teachers alike.  With ribbed, hammered concrete throughout the building the walls, guaranteed to snag and scrape both skin and clothing whenever it made contact.

Oh Ryan, if I had toured Yale sooner, I would change 7th & C …

Silliman – te amo tanto, Ryan!

Thanks to our Connecticut hosts for the private tour of multiple local Italian joints! Best CT pizza for sure!

Capt Rick, Beverly, Mary, Hilary, Scotty and Joey

Goodbye, Connecticut – yes, the best lobster roll is Connecticut style.  My favorite was from a roadside stand, thanks Rick and David!

Port Jefferson, New York

Port Jeff Yacht Club. Welcome back to New York.  Thanks, Tonto, for the suggestion to stay at PJYC.  It was easy walking distance to the little town of Port Jefferson.

Connecting with DougAndDanaAndABoat!

Doug, Dana, Rick and Mary on Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed (NP 4906 formerly known as Exhale) arrived in Port Jeff for a rare gathering of the sister ships!  It was absolutely marvelous spending time with the Belknap family!! Yes, our adventures included some ice cream and some exceptional food at Ruvo’s. 

duck extraordinaire

Follow the Belknap’s blog @DougAndDanaAndABoat, where there might be an allegation of breaking and entering … 

Evidence, or not.

Interesting that the only scrape was on Doug’s forehead, unsubstantiated to his role as an accessory to a crime that may – or may not – have happened.

Next Up – Bushranger, in Port Washington – Aussie reunion time – oh yes!!

Milestones: Birthdays – big boy Mason, September 18 – MO, I can’t believe he’s already three!

Something Fishy

Welcome to Provincetown Harbor

We traveled with Tonto’s Reward to Provincetown from Boston. The entrance to the harbor is easy to locate, courtesy of this 252 foot Pilgrim Monument. It’s the tallest all-granite structure in the US.

Provincetown or P-town, MA

For your American history buffs, the Mayflower set anchor in Provincetown Harbor in November of 1620, eventually settling across the bay in Plymouth. Actually, the pilgrims were headed to the Colony of Virginia, but the strong seas caused them to turn back to the safe harbor in Massachusetts.

Apparently the Mayflower’s captain missed the memo: boating season ends on Columbus Day (October 12) – for a reason.

Summer population ~60,000; Oct – May under 3,000.

Main Street P-town

Most recently P-town was the center of a nation-wide media storm as thousands of people, driven indoors by the rain, gathered to celebrate 4th of July.  In response to the well-publicized Delta COVID outbreak, the town instituted a mandatory mask mandate, still in effect in September.

Fish N Chips trivia

Let’s talk about fish! Capt. Rick often asks the question – what type of fish is in your fish and chips?  The answer varies widely depending on your location.  At the Showcase Lounge in Seward, AK (my dad’s old hangout), the answer is fresh halibut, beer battered!

Halibut, Thorn’s Showcase, Seward AK

Did you know the British tend to add carbonated “sparkling water” to their batter to make their crispy crust?  

In Boston, at the infamous Legal Seafood, the response to Capt.Rick’s question was “a local fish called Tillop”. Well, for all you Floridians, if it sounds suspiciously like Tilapia, a cheap, shallow-water scruffy-looking fish, you order anything else.

Tilapia

At the fabulous Tin Pan Alley in P-Town – where outside seating is prevalent – in response to the standard inquiry our waiter chuckled and said, “Since you are in Cape Cod, the fish is DELICIOUS Cod, of course!” And he was right – it was some of the very best Fish N Chips on this adventure! 

Cape Cod, Fish and Chips
Cod, Artist Rendering, FishWatch.gov

So where is Cape Cod? In 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold, after catching a “great store of codfish”, named the outermost tip of land “Cape Cod”.  Initially, the area referred to what is now known as Provincetown.  Over time, “Cape Cod” extended from Provincetown in the northeast to Woods Hole in the southwest, and is bordered by Plymouth to the northwest. Today, the Cape is divided into fifteen towns, several of which are in turn made up of multiple villages.

Cape Cod region

Thanks, Emily!

It was a pleasure to meet Emily O’Connell, longtime friend and advisor to the Bernstein’s, in P-Town. Thanks for the private tour, and for introducing us to the magnificent local food.

Pope’s Island, New Bedford – Hello Bella!

We returned to New Bedford, to connect with extended family.  Say hello to Tyler’s cousin, beautiful Bella Beales (David Hendry’s niece). 

Nicole and Bella
Waffle Cookie
Nicole (Hendry) Beales, Dan Beales and baby Bella.

It was spectacular seeing the Beales family. Thanks for making the drive!

As long as we are talking about fishy stuff, within easy walking distance of our marina we found Tuna Sashimi! Yes, it was as delicious as it looks.

Tuna-licious, Fathorm’s Waterfront Bar & Grille

Jamestown RI – Conanicut Island

Our next stop was Jamestown. Population 5,500 ish. A walk to the main town took about 7 minutes. Look at that BREATHTAKING blue sky! No filters!

Antique firetruck for Tyler

Tribute to 9/11

In Jamestown we found a precious tribute, with an actual section from the New York towers.

Tribute to 9/11, actual section from the towers.

Nearly 20 years have elapsed since the horrendous tragedy in New York. We all have stories of where we were on that day. The memories remain too vivid, the loss too great, leaving a permanent hole in our hearts. Together, we shed a few tears.

In honor of those we have lost, we hope you will take the time to watch and listen to the live performance by The Eagles – Hole in the World. Released in 2003, Click Here for the video.

Thank you, Uncle Larry, for the magnificent structure you created to commemorate those who lost their lives and those who were left behind.

photo by Derek Fulford

Fisher’s Island, NY

Nine miles long and one mile wide – the island had a great vibe, a small, quaint little stop. 

For Mike Gillespie – fishing for crabs with mini hotdogs.

Pequot – where the locals seemed freakishly tall. Maybe the ceilings were a little low in this fabulous gem, but it felt like the patrons – especially the women – could have been members of a basketball team. Reminds us of Copper River, AK – a TRUE local hangout, complete with never ending 70’s music.

Pequot fully stocked bar
Photo by Capt. Rick
For Craig – Flying Piglet

Power Guards – We were amused by the Hello Kitty and Invincible critters on guard. If you don’t recognize these characters, just ask your kids – that’s what I did 🙂

We leave you with the t-shirt of the day – from P-town

Inspired by Every Breath you Take, The Police (Sting), 1991.

Milestones: Birthdays: Eileen Pitel, September 10; Tony “Ynot” Rodriguez, September 15.

Shana Tova – (Have a good year) Thanks again, Megan, for the apple!

Next stop: Essex Island, Connecticut