The fixer

Capt. Rick loves projects, and he keeps the engine room pristine clean (you can never have too many paper towels, right Sideways!?). Thankfully Capt. Rick has a keen ability to diagnose and fix almost anything – including the air conditioner sensor. The task of putting everything neatly back into the cupboard was a bigger challenge.

What would Rick do?

Plans? We don’t need no stinking plans!

It is no surprise that before we commenced our planned adventures on the Great Loop (~ 9-month voyage in 2018) both the schedule and the route were carefully charted. Ah yes, all you experienced boaters, you can hear the roar of laughter.  

IF you stick to a schedule, you find yourself in rough waters. Simply stated, a rigid schedule is dangerous. For us, the reality of the ever changing water conditions, and a credible threat by the crew to jump ship, taught Rick to relax his planning mode a little (I said a little).

Three years after completing the Great Loop, the journey to Maine is “subject to change”. A loose schedule makes sense, EXCEPT when you face a national holiday.  Memorial Day weekend is the official launch of summer boating everywhere. Translation: Good luck securing a last minute reservation at a marina, and forget about finding a quiet spot to anchor.

Giving Thanks to Mother Nature!

A nasty storm did us a favor, causing fair weather boaters to cancel their holiday plans, and opening up space at a well-protected marina, a respite from the storm.

Windmill Point, Virginia – May 29 (Saturday) and May 30 (Sunday)

The marina was “sold out” for the weekend. Sincere thanks to the harbor master who put Exhale on the wait list; he said only a handful of boats would arrive before the storm. Tied securely we stayed for two nights, pounded by the rain.

Spring Cove Marina, Solomon’s Island, Maryland – May 31, 2021

With the rain behind us, we traveled north to the beautiful Solomon’s Island.

Hello Annapolis, Maryland! – June 1 and June 2

Two days in Annapolis, rain free. Can you believe it Tim & June? Tied to a mooring ball (at $35 per night), we reunited with Tonto’s Reward (thanks for slowing down, Bert and EJ). Treble in Paradise arrived on June 2.

Annapolis architecture is divine, with well-preserved structures dating back nearly 400 years. Home to the US Naval Academy and St. John’s College, constructed in 1696, the area is extremely walkable with LOTS of local shops and restaurants. And it’s very dog friendly!

Celebrating June Pride

Annapolis City Center bronze statues – “Alex Haley, shares stories with a diverse group of children.”

“We must be in this place as one village. It is not enough that we learn to live together, we must learn to respect and love each other.”  Mandinka Elder, Roots 

Still Pond anchorage, Maryland – June 3, 2021

Anchored out with Tonto, we found a lovely gunk hole. What’s a gunk hole you ask?

Wikipedia says: Gunkholing is a boating term referring to a type of cruising in shallow or shoal water, meandering from place to place, spending the nights in coves. The term refers to the gunk, or mud, typical of the creeks, coves, marshes, sloughs, and rivers that are referred to as gunkholes.

Maddie takes her time on a little beach walk with the boys.

Delaware City, Delaware – June 4, 2021

The marina in Delaware City was a bit remote. Although it was slow to get an Uber or Lyft driver, there were plenty of bikes.

With great effort, the 3 musketeers are together again.  Treble in Paradise, Exhale and Tonto’s Reward docked in tandem.

Thanks Treble for speeding up.

Milestones:  Craig Adford, Amanda Saylor, Mark Marlow and Skyllar June bug, all on June 1; Sue Gillespie, June 2 and Lorrie Swink, June 3.

Congrats to #DougAndDanaAndABoat! The NP4906 – original Exhale, and former Mimi’s Oasis (Hello to Grant and Nancy Jonsson) – was officially named Tumbleweed; she’s “Back in the Saddle Again” :-). Looking forward to our reunion Doug and Dana!

Next Stop:  Cape May – South Jersey Marina

Swamp Swamp

Since European Settlers in the 1700s referred to swamps as “dismals”, wouldn’t that suggest the Dismal Swamp is really just a Swamp Swamp? I say, yes, yes! But, we’ll get back to the story of the Great Swamp in a moment. First a beautiful sunset from Georgetown, where we anchored out with Treble.

Sunset, Georgetown, NC – May 20, 2021

From Georgetown we traveled to Myrtle Beach. Destination: Barefoot Beach Marina. You were right, Beverly and Bruce (SeaTrek), don’t waste your time or your taste buds at the marina restaurant.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Swing Bridge – May 21, 2021

Looking for Real Estate in a Super Charged COVID market? Location is key. Celebrating Tiny Houses!

Oak Island – May 22, 2021

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Anchored out with Treble we were delighted with a spectacular sight – the end of the ILCA Atlantic Coast Regatta, 113 Lasers registered, plus all of the coaches and judges. Here’s to Gail, who is a former Certified Judge of that regatta.

Wrightsville Beach Anchorage – May 22, 2021

Beaufort, NC

Welcome back to Beaufort – that’s No Bow in North Carolina, of course. With easy access from the Town Dock, this quaint little town is home to some of the very best fresh crab. We highly recommend walking off the beaten path to the Beaufort Grocery Co. When it opens at 5 pm there is a line, for a reason.

Beaufort Grocery Co., blue crab (soft shell)
Beaufort, NC – May 23, 2021

Belhaven, NC

River forest Manor, Belhaven, NC – May 24, 2021

Welcome aboard Jim and Susan Merritt. While the boys were doing yet another boat project, Susan and I got a private tour of the River Forest Manor, built in 1899. The dockmaster, Henry, is one of a handful of local residents who had the heart and vision to restore this gem into a magnificent wedding destination. The interior is stunning – check it out here: River Forest Manor

Elizabeth City, NC

Jm Merritt, it’s time to relax.

Thanks to Gail Bernstein who encouraged us to progress on, we docked at the Mid Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City. The small dock located at the university was very accessible.

Mid Atlantic Christian University dock, Elizabeth City, NC
Elizabeth City, NC – May 25, 2021

Trust me, you won’t find Sarah Palin here. This vibrant city is home to Ghost Harbor Brewing Company, and a growing number of trendy restaurants, romantic outdoor seating strung with Edison lights, all surrounded by exquisite historic buildings. REM – you would love the redevelopment!

Spectacular Super Flower Blood Moon – May 25, 2021

Dismal Swamp, Visitors Center – giving thanks to George Washington

In 1728 William Byrd II named this coastal region the Dismal Swamp on a series of survey maps that established the boundaries of North Carolina and Virginia. Here’s a random factoid – although known as a scandalous philanderer, the well established lawyer and politician was admired for his early advocacy of small pox inoculation. Consider this a shout out to all of you who are now fully vaccinated!

In 1763 an opportunistic George Washington saw the potential for development. Originally more than one million acres, the canal section, connecting Elizabeth City, NC to Norfolk, VA was completed in 1805.

Dismal Swamp, connecting NC to VA – May 26, 2021

We docked at the Dismal Swamp Visitor’s Center, a familiar and fabulous stop. Ynot, there is another turtle bobble coming your way.

Be forewarned, the swamp has a plethora of snakes crawling around – Tyler will tell you definitively, “Grandpa doesn’t like snakes“.

Smokey the Bear says, watch out for snakes!
A Snake for Grandpa Rick

Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend

It is with great respect that we remember those who fought to give us liberty and life, and we thank those that made the ultimate sacrifice for us. You shall never be forgotten.

Thanks to my WWII veteran father. This is for you.

Waterside, Norfolk VA – May 27 and 28

Norfolk, VA is home to the WORLD’s largest naval port. Fathom this military power: 75 naval ships, 134 aircraft, 14 piers and 11 aircraft hangars. The extremely active training center boasts 275 flights per day, the equivalent of one every six minutes.

Battleship Wisconsin – BB64

Is it just me, or does this look like a Pixar character? Comments encouraged!

Battleship Wisconsin BB-64. Norfolk, VA – May 28, 2021
Nauticus Museum, Norfolk, VA – May 28, 2021

More Pixar inspiration

Sunrise, Norfolk, VA – May 29, 2021, 6:11 am

Goodbye and thanks to Susan and Jim Merritt, Gold Loopers, who traveled with us from Belhaven, NC to Norfolk, VA. Looking forward to seeing you later this summer!

Capt Rick, Mary S, Susan and Jim Merritt

Milestones: May 28 – Happy Birthday to Scott Ginsburg and Miss Brennyn (5)

Congrats to Danielle, Sandra, Abbey and Leo – on the road.

Next stop: Windmill Point, VA. Roughly 8 miles north of Deltaville.

A Magical Concert and a BIG Tank of Water

Steamboat Landing anchorage – May 15, 2021

Did I mention how much we enjoy anchoring out? It’s peaceful and serene, with a little touch of magic.

Steamboat Landing – May 15, 2021

Sunset Concert

Traveling with Tom and Faye Turke is like hanging out with Mary Poppins – they magically transform the flying bridge on their boat to accommodate a shocking array of activities: 1) a well loved exercise bike, 2) a top-notch pellet BBQ – to smoke a leg of lamb, 3) a professional quality sewing station – to design, sew and repair anything, and 4) a performance stage with high-tech equipment for a superb concert! In the words of our Grandson Tyler Jaxson – what the heck?!

Faye Turke, Musician extraordinaire – May 15, 2021
Craig, Maureen, Tom Turke and Capt. Rick

Thanks for another private concert, Faye 🙂

Charleston, SC – May 16 thru May 19

A little Aquarium Magic

With so much time spent ON the water, we never tire of the majestic mysteries found IN the water.

Where is the Largest Aquarium in the World? Have you been there?

Singapore’s SEA (Southeast Asia) Aquarium holds the title of the largest aquarium in the world. It has over 12 million gallons of water and more than 800 species, with nearly 100,000 aquatic inhabitants in total.

South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston

First some stats: The Great Ocean Tank holds 385,000 gallons of water, at a depth of 42 feet, over 500 native critters can be seen swimming around.

South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston – May 17, 2021

Mesmerized by the Great Tank, unexpectedly, I found myself responding to the questions of a confident four (4) year old, in search of the giant eel. Amused, but happy to help, I quietly wondered – when, exactly, did I start looking like an approachable Grandma? Meanwhile Craig had captured the attention of a staff member, who surprised us with the offer of a backstage tour. Meet Jaxon (pronounced Jackson) Visit SCA

Craig Adford and Jaxon – the dolphin shake – May 17, 2021

A rare treat, this video is taken from ABOVE the tank. Where they feed and care for the magnificent marine life.

video temporarily not available – check back later for this upload.

This is for Caryl

for Caryl, SCA

This is for Gail – Lobster tease – looking forward to Maine!

Caribbean Spiny Lobster, South Carolina Aquarium

Home of the Sea Turtle Care Center, if you are looking for an opportunity to support the rescue, rehab and release of Sea Turtles you should make a Donation to the South Carolina Aquarium. scaquarium.org. Make sure you mention that your contribution is in “honor of Jaxon“!

Ciao for now, Craig and Mo. On board from Fort Myers thru Charleston, Thanks for the Memories!

Let Your Nose be your Guide

My sense of smell is my super power. My husband is not happy about my hyper sensitive nose – pungent cleaning solvents are discouraged and verbally disparaged in my world – but he believes me when I say I smell a problem in the bilge, or spilled diesel, and will eventually find and resolve any leak.

For me, the best part of my super power is that I KNOW when I smell good food! With Rick working in LA for a few days, I got to meander on my own in the French Quarter of Charleston. Let me just share the Lunch Menu (click here) from this French gem. Gaulart & Maliclet Cafe. Mija, you would have enjoyed this, too! Te Amo!

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Couscous, Honeydew Melon and French Pressed Ice Coffee, Charleston, May 18, 2021

Special Visitors: Our last night in Charleston included a bonus visit from Leland and Karen McClellan (Gold Loopers, Tiki Queen). Thanks for the great stories and great food (May 19, 2021)- See you in the fall, maybe in McClellenville.

Goodbye Charleston – we shall return.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – I26, Charleston, SC – May 20, 2021

Celebrating Milestones: Zachariah, May 25 – so Proud of you. “Life really begins at 40, up until then you are just doing research.” Carl Jung

Also May 25 – Happy Anniversary David and Gail Bernstein. We shall see you soon.

Taking time to stop and smell the flowers

Next Stop: Georgetown, SC

Creative Exceptions

Kilkenny is timeless, by design. Situated in Richmond Hill, Georgia it was a good reminder to slow down, and not be so stressed.

Marker 107, Kilkenny Creek, GA – May 8, 2021

Thankful for the trees

Spanish Moss, Richmond Hill, GA – May 8, 2021

Kilkenny Creek Marina

The narrow floating docks are wobbly and plagued with intermittent gaps (Maddie refused to walk), but the folks working at the Marina were wonderful.

Thunderbolt, GA

Thunderbolt Marina was a short drive from Savannah. Look at these beauties.

Exhale and Treble in Paradise, Thunderbolt Marina – May 9 & May 10

Hello Savannah, GA. You could spend a full week in Savannah, and barely scratch the surface!

Savannah, GA, Riverwalk District – May 9, 2021

American Prohibition Museum – Did you know the 18th Amendment did not make it illegal to drink alcohol during Prohibition? Instead, it made it illegal to buy or sell; a devastating blow to vendors. Yet, the creative, flexible entrepreneur prevailed. In 1919 a small drugstore, with 20 stores in Chicago, capitalized on a CREATIVE legal EXCEPTION – “prescription” whiskey. In a brilliant partnership with the federal warehouses, more than 8 million gallons of “seized” whiskey was repackaged, and sold by pharmacists nationwide. The drugstore’s name? Walgreens.

The story resembles the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 as bars were forced to shut down – dramatically impacting the spirit distillers – we saw retooling of nationally recognized factories who could rapidly produce – and cleverly brand – hand sanitizers. Most notable was Anheuser-Busch, who brilliantly used alcohol that was already in the distillery.

APM, Savannah, GA – May 10, 2021

Nice Try … Then there was Yuengling Ice Cream, made in Pottsville. Can you imagine buying Ice cream from a Beer Manufacturer? It is no surprise, the product failed.

Harbour Town Pier, Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head – May 11 & May 12

Hilton Head is renowned for its golf courses. For me, the most phenomenal, and truly memorable experience was dinner at the Links at Sea Pines.

Beaufort, SC

Hello again to Beverly Abel & Bruce Peck (B & B) from Sea Trek, and sister-in-law Marie. Thanks to Beverly, we offer a way to distinguish Beaufort SC from Beaufort NC. Spelled the same, but pronounced differently. Starting in the south, say “Bew or Biew – fert” which sounds like view or beautiful. This view is officially preserved.

Bew with a View – May 13 & May 14

In the north, remember No Bo, or Bo knows diddley. No is also the abbreviation for north. In the north they say bow (like bow and arrow), or Bo-fert. If you want more explanation, check here 🙂

While in Beaufort, take a long walk. The historic homes are breathtaking. This one is for my AK family, a very blue house – familiar fantastic color.

CA 1887, Beaufort, SC – May 14, 2021

Historic Beaufort has lots of restaurants to chose from. My favorite was Lost Local – taco extraordinaire, and unexpected Hockney Magic – for Alisha!

David Hockney, 1981 – Beaufort, SC

Lost Local

Special Tribute to Aunt Dianne Gill. Born in Hollywood, CA. Mother of 7 (two of my cousins, Frank and Kathryn, born in AK),  20 grandkids,  and 29 great grandkids.  An incredible legacy from an exceptional woman who was 92 years young. Thanks for your unconditional love.

Dianne Gill, 1929-2021

Milestone: Before we go, Congrats to Danielle and Sandra who closed on their first home, in Cleveland, OH. So very happy for them! Thanks Jamie and David, Uncle Scott and Aunt Cindy for making the move go so smoothly.

Next Stop: Steamboat Landing anchorage, roughly 30 miles south of Charleston Harbor.

Special Shout Out. DougAndDanaAndABoat, looking foward to your NPY4906 reveal. Thinking of a classic Audie Murphy (Jim Harvey) movie …

Sunrise, Sunset

St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach and St. Simons

In the St. Augustine Muni Harbor we picked up a Mooring Ball in the north field, easy peasy. Thanks June and Tim, Subject to Change, for teaching us the tricks in Annapolis. We can’t wait for you to get back on the water.

With a fabulous view, the Dolphins dropped by to say hi to Tyler.

May 4, 2021

St. Augustine, FL

Hello Tonto’s Reward! It was great reconnecting in St. Augustine. Maddie felt VERY privileged when she was invited on board their Fleming. Dinner at Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House with David and Gail B. was deeelicious. Salivating yet? We recommend the shrimp and grits.

St. Augustine is a walker’s paradise; wide sidewalks and abundant trees offer a welcomed respite from the hot sun. The temp on Cinco de Mayo was 94, breaking a record. Maureen said it felt like more than 100 degrees; I agree.

St. Augustine – May 5, 2021
St. Augustine City Gates – Castillo de San Marcos, constructed 1808

Fanning Island

Mayport Naval Station, Fanning Island

Traveling again with Treble in Paradise, we headed to Fernandina Beach. Enroute we were mesmerized by the military ops.

Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, FL

Nassau County Historic Courthouse

Built in 1891, Italianate style, the unique courthouse features a bell in the tower that served as the city’s fire alarm until the mid 1930’s.

Sunrise or Sunset?

Did you guess correctly? Thanks for all the fun comments we received! Those of you who have traversed on the water with Capt. Rick have the advantage, for sure! Special Kudos for the most exquisite detective report from Maaack, celebrated author of “Volcanic Winter” (available on Amazon in Hardcover, Paperback or Kindle). Yes, BushRanger, the Stuart photo from our last blog was a sunrise! Now here’s a few more sunrise and sunset photos.

Sunset at Fernandina Harbor, May 6, 8:40 pm
Sunset, Fernandina Beach, May 6
Sunrise over Amelia River, May 7,2021 6:10 am

Google Maps versus the Real-World

I really appreciate Google Maps, but, it gets a little confused when your starting point is on a boat, on the water. When I requested a route to the local tavern, the result required a ferry, destined to Georgia. Not kidding, the joint was only a few blocks away, but google was certain we needed a water rescue first, then took a circuitous walking route, totaling 126 miles, complete with a warning “may not reflect real-world conditions”. You can’t make this stuff up!

courtesy of Google Maps

Turn by Turn, page 1

Amelia Island Brewing Company (AIBC) Amelia Tavern

A “repeatable stop” in Fernandina Beach. This one is for Sideways – a refreshing variety of local beers that you would have enjoyed.

Beer flights for Sideways

My Flight: Canary Cross, Laura Joe (for Mom), Dolores, and Smok’n M’rtha, for my cousin. Loved it. And the pretzels were insane.

Pretzel in Paradise! Faye and Tom Turke. May 6, 2021

Palace Saloon – Florida’s Oldest Bar. Cute on the outside, but, it smells like it’s the oldest bar. Enough said.

St. Simons, GA – Morningstar Marina

Welcome to Georgia! It’s not easy to explore St. Simons, and it was quite breezy. We left the dock at first light. Treble in Paradise waited patiently for me to release the lines, and take this photo.

MorningStar Marina, Treble in Paradise – May 8, 2021, 6:00 am

NEXT STOP: Kilkenny Marina, Richmond Hill, Georgia … on my mind.

Happy Birthday Danielle Ginsburg (May 8)

Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow (Sunday, May 9). Thank you, to my grown up kids, who make it a true privilege to be your mom. I am SO proud of you. CW just announced the renewal of Stargirl! Season 2 releases on August 10, and filming for Season 3 begins this fall. BRAVO!

We leave you with this visual aid from my cousin, Martha. Thanks Muffin! Ponder 10cm for just a little while …

shared, without permission, #mothersday

Cruising with Friends

Clewiston, Stuart, Melbourne, New Smyrna Beach

We left LaBelle with Treble in Paradise and Lit’l Houlegan following close behind.

Lit’l Houlegan and Treble in Paradise

It all seems so familiar, cruising with Capt. Sideways. Platinum loopers, these boaters are extremely experienced in the locks.

Lit’l Houlegan – April 29, 2021

Early to Rise

If you followed our blog in the past, you know that Capt. Rick is an early riser. That means we often start our morning on the water with the sunrise. Good morning from the Clewiston Lock.

Clewiston sunrise – April 30, 2021, 6:30 am

It is such a pleasure, boating with our friends on Lit’l Houlegan. It was hard to say goodbye in Clewiston. Maddie said thanks for all the cookies, Ray, we trust you will trailer that sweet little boat somewhere fun this summer! Join us again, anytime.

We also parted ways, briefly, with Treble in Paradise. We plan to reconnect with them around St. Augustine.

Remote Office

In a COVID world, it’s extremely common to work remotely. For all our clients and colleagues, who were wondering if we really work on the boat – rest assured, this highly productive office opens with the sun!

MO, Command Central – May 1, 2021

Stuart – Manatee Pocket

One of our favorite places to visit is Stuart, where we reunited with MeAnders. Marty and Anders are the REASON why we bought our first North Pacific. We absolutely fell in love with their boat (and with them) and could not wait to have a NPY of our own. It was great seeing them. THANKS for the ice bucket!

Stuart, FL – May 1, 2021

Sunrise or Sunset?

Stuart, FL

Here’s a fun test – leave a comment with your guess. Answer in the next blog.

Melbourne

We typically run the boat from the pilot house (inside); heading to Melbourne it was a perfect day to run from the flybridge – for Tonto’s Reward.

Crew Craig Adford, Capt. Rick – May 2, 2021

We spent the night in Melbourne, dining at Ichabod in the familiar marina. Took a nice long walk to stretch our legs. Note to self, next time we visit Melbourne we should eat in the vibrant historic district, the options are abundant!

Melbourne Harbor Marina – May 3, 2021, 6:28 am

Yes, it’s common for Capt. Rick to leave at first light

Anchored out near New Smyrna Beach

We anchored out, surrounded by sailboats – it was actually a little crowded. Since the WiFi was a problem (for future reference), the office closed early. Better than any restaurant, a charcuterie feast, prepared by our Chef. It is such a treasure to cruise with our dearest friends, Craig and Maureen. We are very spoiled!

May 3, 2021

With a departure at 7:15 am, it felt like we finally slept in!

Ponce de Leon Cut, near New Smyrna Beach – May 4, 2021, 7:17 am

Useful stuff: Bowline Knots

It turns out, Craig is really good at tying a bowline knot. Confession time – I thought they were called bowling knots. But as I see the correct spelling of the nautical term, I realize a “line” (definitely not a rope) makes more sense. BushRanger, what do you think, can you can use the same knot on the stern? Just wondering. For those of you who want to master this useful knot, here’s a great visual aide.

Next Stop: St. Augustine Mooring Field – See you tonight Tonto’s Reward!

Start Your Engine(s)!

On Thursday, April 29, 2021, the new adventure began – destination Maine! We departed from Fort Myers with our North Pacific friends on Treble in Paradise, Capt Tom and First Mate Faye Turke.

At the helm is Capt. Rick. Crew on Board includes the Admiral, Maddie Sue; First Mate, Ms. Mary; beloved Master Chef, Craig; and Chief Petty Officer, Maureen (officially responsible for promoting and maintaining a high sense of values and standards).

Admiral Maddie Sue is happy to be in charge!

First watch – navigating the popular Caloosahatchee River, where we met up with Lit’l Houlegan. It’s great to travel with Sideways again! First Destination: City docks in LaBelle, FL.

Lit’l Houlegan, Capt. Ray Houle and First Mate Caryl Moulder
LaBelle is known for it’s yummy honey, hello Bert & EJ!

When travel options ground to a halt by the pandemic, an over-whelming number of pent up, testosterone-filled idiots opted to buy boats in Florida. Bizarrely, unlike an automobile, driving a boat does not require any proof of skill or knowledge. So, just imagine – countless small, crowded, boats – aggressively zig-zagging through narrow channels, as if on a racetrack. To us, the inexperienced boaters are a dreadful blend of “annoying” and “dangerous”.

Stock photo: Exhale on the hook

For us, cruising at a slow pace is a lifestyle choice. We enjoy the water, and often anchor out. We can travel for months without refueling. Seriously. With 920 gallons of fuel on board, we have a range of 3,500 miles running at 1600 rpms, or roughly 7 knots per hour. Slow and steady, tortuga style.

Unlike the NOISY guzzlers with 4 outboards off the back. To be fair, with a high performance boat you could easily run at 70 mph, and if money is no object, you could exceed 180 mph. In exchange for excess speed you would have to spend a LOT of time at the fuel pumps, supporting the economy.

Our boat is slow and QUIET, like a turtle (tortuga).

Flashback Photo for Gail B: from Exhale in the Bahamas

Here’s a little Turtle Trivia: Most sea turtles walk at the speed of 2 MPH, and swim at 10 MPH. The fastest variety is a Leatherback Sea Turtle, which can weigh around 1500 lbs and averages 22 MPH. Did you know the Russians sent a turtle to space in 1968? That rocket turtle set a world record when it traveled 24,790 MPH.

Next Stop: Clewiston – home of the Bubba Burger! Special Message to Tonto’s Reward – we can’t wait to catch up with you.

Waiting to Exhale

Inhale, exhale …

It’s been a long time … 2020 was a year like no other. A year of great loss and personal reflection. Yes, we are among the very fortunate. Persistent caution has been rewarded after canceling travel plans, avoiding human interaction, wearing a mask with diligence, and washing our hands until they ache; YES we are VERY thankful to be alive and well.

You may have heard, in December of 2019, before COVID19 spread into a global tragedy, we sold the original Exhale in anticipation of her replacement – the exact same sized boat – with a fresh design. Well, the waiting is finally over!!

After more than a year on dry land, Capt. Rick and his first mate are now fully vaccinated (thanks, Moderna!) and ready to travel with our beloved friends on Tonto’s Reward (Fleming) and Treble in Paradise (another North Pacific). IF you want to know more about our friends, take a look at the 2019 Bahama adventures in this blog.

YES! Blog posts will begin soon … the new M/V Exhale plans to navigate the waters from southwest Florida to northern Maine, and possibly into Canada if it opens up. We have no firm plans, but we expect to be on the water from late April through October (tbd) of 2021. On board for the first leg of our journey will be familiar crew, Craig and Maureen! Life on the water is great with a private chef – YOLO! We hope you will follow us.

But first, here’s an introduction to the new coastal beauty. Yes, that’s her, the first North Pacific 49 euro style, cruising on the cover of the April PassageMaker! Click here for more pictures (be sure to check out the Gallery of photos in this link). Thanks, Andrew for the great story!

With significant input from the captain, North Pacific Yachts designed the new 49′ pilot house trawler with state-of-the-art navigation and operating systems, including a water maker and gyro stabilizer for long journeys. And for the first mate – LOTS of natural light from those gorgeous windows.

Yes, Maddie Sue approved the numerous interior upgrades!

Admiral Maddie Sue
Captain Rick, aka Grandpa Rick

Curious to learn more about the journeys of the original Exhale?

FROM THE ARCHIVES

FEATURE STORY:

Ohhh, Canada!

As you approach the Canadian border by water you are supposed to fly a yellow quarantine flag, signaling you have not yet cleared customs.  Once you are processed by the authorities, you are allowed to lower the yellow and raise the cherished maple leaf!

Keep reading

Bahama Journey Completed!

Little Shark Anchorage

We anchored out one last time. Little Shark Anchorage in the Everglades National Park.

Swim Noodle silencer in progress.

A spectacular sunset, a fitting tribute on Laura Jo’s birthday.

Out of cell phone range. Surrounded by peace and quiet. We finished the final episode of Longmire. Thanks Ray and Caryl for sharing.

And I finished another book, the captivating tale of a young woman’s fight for survival in a remote village in south central Alaska. An exciting page-turner, the author successfully depicts the enchanting rugged existence in my beloved home state. Thanks Celeste!

Naples Bay Resort

Thanks to Ron and Jan Austin who stayed in close contact during our journey. Thanks for inviting us to join the southwest yacht club cruise in Naples, where we connected with:

 

Ron and Jan Austin

 

Bob Koop and Kathy Hamlin

 

Rebecca and Jim Boo Boo Hill

Jerry and Sandy Houlder

Back To Chicago

Thanks Ron and Bob for securing front row seats at this intimate concert. We enjoyed the exceptional 8-member tribute band, Back To Chicago; best of all, the Trumpet and Trombone players are local band teachers! What a fabulous final stop on our journey.

Captain’s Log

May 20 thru July 15, 2019. Nautical Miles = 1,136, Engine / Running Hours = 164, Fuel consumption = 681 gallons diesel, Generator (running at anchor) consumed 120 gallons of fuel over 240 hours = AC for Maddie.

Number of stops = 35, Days on the Hook 22 (39%) / Marinas 34 (61%)

Guests on Board: Dale Morgan and Ann Hughes

More cool air, please.

Thanks for another great adventure!

Next Up: Tween Waters with Houlegan Again. Guests arriving: Jamie, David, Tyler, Danielle, Sandra, Abby and Leo. 💕

Key Largo, Florida

Back in the US, our first stop was the Pilot House Marina. Thanks for the recommendation Tom and Faye!

This party shack marks the channel entrance, locally known as Crash Corner. The developer was brilliant at maximizing the water view and use of outdoor space.

Hello Key Largo

The peaceful canal, with an eclectic mix of homes, reminded us of St James, Tiki hut for Ray.

We had an Amazing meal at the pilot house marina, complete with live music.

Talented Local musicians with exceptional harmony. Their song list ranged from the Beatles to Indigo Girls. The ukulele reminded us of Piper Jackson.

Evacuation Route. By Appointment Only. Priceless.

Happy birthday Laura Jo. 7/13.

Next stop: TBD. Headed west, and then North. maybe Cape Shore anchorage.

Chubb Cay and Alice Town

Luxury is … floating docks!

The Berries – Chubb Cay

Chubb Cay was more than elegant. Seemed like a great place for a destination wedding, with a cute little chapel and lots of private villas.

Spectacular service and delicious food.

The view from the infinity pool was breath taking You might like this pool, Eric.

Bimini – Alice Town

Departure at first light with Tonto’s Reward, we headed to the Biminis.

Our last stop in the Bahamas. Another perfect water day.

The infamous Radio Beach, proclaimed the most popular in Bimini. With a year round population of 300, not sure how many folks were surveyed.

Not a good day for this boat.

Hello to my little sister, Alice!

We decided the contest was for a Hemingway look a like. This Capt is Definitely a contender.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Another early departure with Tonto’s Reward, our last morning on the water as boat buddies. Thanks Bernstein’s for an amazing Bahama adventure. See you in Fort Myers. Hope your journey to Stuart is enjoyable.

The water crossing the Gulf Stream was not smooth. Heavily tossed in the Straits Of Florida, Sadly, there was a tragic loss – Rick’s electric toothbrush fell in the head. Super Yuck.

Anniversaries: Miss you Mom and Dad. You would have loved the Bahamas.

Next up – Key Largo, Florida

Nassau and Atlantis

After enjoying the gentle pace of the provincial lifestyle in the islands, the manic activity in Nassau Harbor was an adjustment.

Here’s a little data. In 2019, the Bahamas has an estimated population of 389,000. By comparison, Wyoming, the least populated US state, is about 580,000. Currently about 266,000 live in Nassau. I’ll save you the math – that’s 68% of the country’s population in one small city.

We walked with the Bernstein’s from the Nassau Haven Marina to historic downtown. Along the way we found colorful murals.

For Mike Gillespie. Save water. Drink rum

To Sir, with love

It was exciting to discover the bridge to Paradise Island was officially named after the globally renowned Bahamian, beloved Oscar-winning actor Sir Sydney Poitier. My favorite of his movies are Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and, To Sir, With Love. Born in 1927, yes, he’s still alive. 💕

Nassau Parliament Square

Officially draped for Independence Day. Forward together, upward, onward. One people united in love and service.

The flamingo-pink buildings in Parliament Square were constructed in 1815 by the Loyalists.

This fish tank is for Tyler. And Eric. Sushi time!

Atlantis – Paradise Island

Background of Atlantis. The property was originally part of the Paradise Island Hotel and Casino, which opened in 1968. It was owned by Resorts International, a Merv Griffin company. In 1994, Merv sold to Sol Kerzner. Kerzner created Atlantis on the site over the course of the next four years, spending over $800 million to build the massive resort. The resort was expanded in 2007.

Atlantis Courtyard

Unique watercraft

This craft looks like it belongs in either a Bond film or a sci-fi movie. I imagined it could rise into the air, at warp speed. To my friends with security clearances, can you shed some light?

Zoom in. Look closely at the stern of this craft. Is that a Machine gun or dinghy lift? You decide.

Hog Island

Fun factoid – Paradise Island was formally known as Hog Island, until savvy developer, Huntington Hartford renamed it in 1962. He successfully convinced parliament wealthy tourists would prefer to spend money in paradise, rather than on an island for swine.

The historic lighthouse retained its original name, the Hog Island Lighthouse.

Built in 1817, this is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the West Indies. It is located at the western tip of Paradise Island, marking the northwest entrance to New Providence and the Port of Nassau.

Happy birthday Anders (7/9) and Jamie (7/10)

Next up: Chubb Cay

Allen Cay Iguanas, Highborne Cay and New Providence Island

Allen’s Cay is one of the few places where you can still find these fearsome looking creatures, which are protected by law.  Accustomed to visitors, rather than hiding, the iguanas appear at the sound of human footsteps.

I think the critters might have been disappointed that we only brought cameras.

Highborne Cay Anchorage

Acquired in Canada (we miss you Craig and Mo) this violet is celebrating a full year on Exhale.

Thanks for joining us on our anniversary, Gail and David. And thanks for the crew hats, Bert and EJ. Sorry you missed out on the champagne. To celebrate, Rick grilled filets, with blue cheese crumbles, local veggies, and baked potatoes; paired with an exquisite Zin from the Bernstein’s wine cellar. The perfect meal with wonderful friends. Happy Anniversary my love.

New Providence, Palm Cay Marina

After nine nights in a row on the hook, when we arrived in New Providence we tied up to a slip in Palm Cay, and basked in the luxury of AC. Such a marvelous invention.

The Marina is situated on the south eastern part of New Providence, away from the hustle and bustle of Nassau. The expanding community is still under construction, but seems to have lots of potential.

Open for only one month, the staff at the Palm Cay Restaurant were great. Given a little time, we are confident they will work out the few kinks in the kitchen.

Fort Charlotte

We make a practice of asking the marina staff for suggestions of places to explore. Miss Abby told us of a local treasure, not heavily frequented by the overwhelming cruise ship traffic. An important detail there were 4 massive ships docked in Nassau.

Lovers Tree, at the edge of Fort Charlotte. A sweet local tradition.

One of the best forts we have ever experienced, the limestone fort was constructed in the late 18th century by British colonial governor Lord Dunmore after the end of the American Revolutionary war. The fort has never been used in battle. How convenient that both the Queen and Dunmore’s wife were named Charlotte.

Cricket Club Restaurant and Pub

Best of all we got a recommendation for lunch – oh my!

Serving British and Bahamian specials, it was the best local cuisine we have experienced in the Bahamas.

Food photo for Sarah O. Clockwise from top left: Sheppard’s pie, Bahamian shrimp, curried chicken, and minced lobster.

An experience worth repeating. By the way, we were the ONLY folks, in the pub, that were not locals. Delicious. Here’s their website: https://bahamascricket.com/

It’s a must stop for sure. Special note for Ray, the draft Cricket Ale was Sideways worthy.

Don’t be fooled by the open tables, they were full before we left!

Thanks Abby for the courtesy car!

Hey D Floyd (aka #8), to date we have been on the hook a total of 20 nights in The Bahamas 😊

Happy Birthday Rodger. July 7.

Next stop: Nassau

Exuma Sea Park and Norman’s Cay

The pilgrimage to Boo Boo Hill is an adventure best timed at low tide, since the trail is completely washed out at high tide.

Tourists from around the world leave carved driftwood at the top of the hill, in memory of the souls lost at sea, or, to commemorate their visit.

Rick said the pile would make a heck of a signal fire for the lonely park staff stuck on the remote island.

The view was spectacular

Limestone cliffs above boo boo beach.

Thanks, Gail and David, for taking us snorkeling, several times, around Warderick Wells Cay, we even saw a hog fish Tom and Faye!

Sperm Whale

Tragically, this 52 foot Sperm Whale was found dead on the beach, with plastic in its lungs.

What a magical day! Climbing, and snorkeling, followed by a flash rain storm – also known as a fresh water bath for the boat. Gail suggested we have rum cocktails on the beach – with submerged beach chairs and umbrellas in the water. Best of all, Gail made her Malaysian style seafood fried rice for dinner. Special dessert was Chocolate covered pretzels. Wow! Wow! Wow! Life is good.

Norman Cay

We anchored out at Norman Cay with Tonto’s Reward, the most notorious island in the Bahamas.

A member of the infamous Medellin Cartel, Carlos Lehder began taking a shine to Norman’s Cay in 1978. Remote enough to remain relatively inconspicuous, while also still within close proximity of the U.S.Within short order, he purchased large portions of the small island, drove off the local population, and effectively took over.

In the late 1970’s, drug kingpin Pablo Escobar erected a fortress in Norman Cay, protected by armed guards and surrounded by attack dogs, most notably constructing a 1000m-long runway, at a strategic point for drug runners to rest and refuel on their way to the United States from Colombia.

Today the anchorage at Norman’s Cay is best known for the Curtiss C-46 Commando that landed well short of the runway in 1980. Now a popular snorkeling site, the sunken WWII-era military transport plane was used to fuel Escobar’s expanding cocaine trade to the USA.

Yet another magical day

Welcome to the world Tate Merritt Michelson.

Happy Birthday Leo. Can’t believe you are 10!!

Next stop: Highborne Cay, maybe. Subject to Change, for sure.

Black Point Settlement and the infamous Pig Beach

Who needs sunscreen when you have awesome looking UV rated clothes? Always looking great, Ann.

Black Point Settlement, population 414, is the home of Club Scorpio, serving the best rum drinks on the island.

Celebrating Pride Week, thanks Michael Gillespie for the rainbow umbrella. It provides good shade on the back porch.

Sunset special.

Another serene evening, Anchoring with Tonto’s Reward is so peaceful. Life is good!

Wild pigs – Big Major Cay

The feral pigs are said to have been dropped off on Big Major Cay by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them, but never returned. Another legend has it that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to shore. Others suggest that the pigs were part of a business scheme to attract tourists to the Bahamas. Given the number of shore excursions to the beach everyday, it appears to be a highly profitable venture for tour operators.

Swimming with the Piggies

Rick and Dale took Maddie on a dinghy ride to see the Pigs. Poor Little Maddie was completely terrified by the pigs, who aggressively tried to climb onto the boat. The plan to swim with the piggies was abruptly abandoned.

Don’t be fooled. These are not domestic pets. On the beach you will find more than 40 pigs, of all shapes and sizes. The pigs eat, swim, produce tootsie rolls, scrounge for more food, swim again, sleep, repeat.

Swim at your own risk. We stayed inside the boat.

Fowl Cay

We enjoyed a very Special dinner with Tonto’s Reward at the stunning Fowl Cay resort.

Rick, Mary, Gail, David, Ann and Dale.

Stunning view from Fowl Cay.

Thunderball Grotto – Staniel Cay

If you are an old school James Bond fan, you might recall the magnificent underwater caves. More amazing than we could have ever imagined, we snorkeled into the spectacular caves at low tide 🐟. Sorry we don’t have any pictures from inside. You have to experience this natural wonder!!

Surrounded by calm waters it was Paddle board time.

Thanks Steve Hunt.

Good night Piggies.

Happy birthday Joe Occhino. June 26

Happy anniversary Jamie and David. June 27

Today we are super sad to say goodbye to Ann and Dale. The concert was much too short.

Next stop: somewhere between here and there. Anchoring out in the Bahamas. Everything is good.

Great Exhuma Island

Scenic Emerald Bay

On Sunday you will rest. Translation – the stores and restaurants are closed. Closed. Closed.

Solution – Rent a car to explore the Island. Drive from Rokers Point to Georgetown – where there are more shops and restaurants – a lovely country drive, but everything is closed. Wait a minute – That parking lot is full. Yep, it’s the local church.

A tiny sign read “open”, but there were no cars.

Augusta Bay was open! Sunday special was a delicious lamb chop.

The church crowd arrived shortly after us, filling up the joint, and scarfing up the daily special. Sorry, Gail, it was delicious.

Conch Salad

The recipe for conch salad is … a secret. Or a mystery. We have experienced some really delicious versions, a few that were more than memorable. Key ingredient – fresh conch.

Conch man

Local beers. Cold and delicious.

Beautiful sunset. Repeat

Farmer’s Cay

While Dale was running the boat, Rick was enjoying the smooth seas.

Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club. Total slips = 4.

4 boats. The marina is full.

Ann and Dale. Time for a dinghy ride.

The conch men told us the island population is 46, maybe it was 55, they weren’t sure.

Remnants of yet another tropical storm.

Sunset. Spectacular.

Hello? hello? Anybody out there? Has anyone seen Maddie?

Dinner at the Farmers Cay Yacht Club was cooked by the dockmasters wife.

Dale and Ann went to bed. Maddie could NOT believe she was not invited.

Sad to say goodbye to Karen and Rick Smith, guests on Tonto’s Reward. So nice spending time with you.

Next Stop: Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay.

Cape Eleuthera and Cat Island

Abundant in Cape Eleuthera, Nurse Sharks are slow-moving bottom-dwellers and are, for the most part, harmless to humans. 

In the early 1970s the very tip of the Cape Eleuthera peninsula was a favoured playground of the Kennedys, boasting its own 6,500 ft-long airstrip that could facilitate them flying directly to and from New York. 

Vivid in color, Royal Poinciana trees line the rural roadways.

Ocean Hole

This world-renowned blue hole, an inland ocean/swimming hole, is located on the southern edge of Rock Sound.

A seemingly bottomless natural limestone formation, it is said to have been explored by Jacques Cousteau. 

Rock Sound

Rock sound international airport. That’s it. The whole airport.

Hello Ann and Dale!

Maddie. Sleeping with Dale. When he wasn’t feeling well she never left his side.

New Bight – Cat Island

Were you pondering, “What’s a bight?” Wikipedia says it’s a gentle curve in the coastline, with water more shallow than a sound.

Exhale anchored out with Tonto’s Reward and Rejoice at Cat Island.

Tonto’s Reward

Rejoice anchored at New Bight.

The Hermitage on Mt. Alvernia

Monsignor John Hawes, known to Cat Islanders as Father Jerome, was a skilled architect and sculptor. Using local stone, he built The Hermitage on the peak of Mt. Alvernia in 1939, a small medieval monastery where he could get away from the world.

Technically it should not be a “mount” since it is only 206 feet above sea level; the official sign reads Como Hill, the highest point in the Bahamas.

The way up the hill to the monastery is via a winding trail, terminating with a hand cut stone staircase on a steep rocky incline.

Thanks Gail B for introducing us to The Hermitage! Bucket list item checked. Well worth the walk in the sun, with Tonto’s Reward and Rejoice, all 10 of us survived the historic trek.

Ann and Dale

Capt Rick staying cool in the shade.

Conch Salad time – it’s doesn’t get any fresher. This Local vendor caught and prepared the Local delicacy.

Capt Rick is fishing for dinner. Life is good!

Happy Birthday Ann Hughes (June 22). You are our Star. Wondering, What’s for breakfast? Bahamian Coconut French Toast. 😎

Next Stop – Emerald Bay

Hatchet Bay and Governors Harbour

First, A friendly Hello from a visiting turtle.

Hatchet Bay

We anchored out at Hatchet Bay, a well protected “pond” that was opened up to sea – courtesy of tons of dynamite that blasted open a narrow cut in the limestone cliffs.

Maddie just wanted to know if she could have some of that well chilled arrival beer. Sorry little girl.

Governors Harbour

Eleuthera’s capital is a little village dominated by a Marriott signature resort, strategically situated with a magnificent view.

An enterprising mixologist from The 1648 Restaurant (a clever reference to the birthplace of the Bahamas, dating back to 1648) encouraged our three dinghy’s to dock, followed by a scenic visit to the stunning Marriott property.

According to David, once upon a time there was an up scale Club Med at this spot, enjoyed by Claude and JoAnn more than three decades ago. At some point the Club Med was abandoned. At this point in the story David shrugs his shoulders and says, “It is no surprise the beach is now called the French Leave.”

Note to self – if you let the Mixologist chose your cocktail you should not be surprised when the result is something you would not have ordered on your own. Although electric blue is one of my favorite colors – for house paint.

Another marine life visitor. A Giant Ray

A short dingy ride to shore with Be Glad, Governors Harbour consists of roughly five city blocks, easily walked by all.

The grounds of St Patrick’s Anglican church, dating back 170 years, were well maintained.

Hey Subject to Change, dogs are welcome here!

Thanks to Amanda, we now know Bahama mutts (randomly mixed dog breeds) are lovingly called Potcakes. http://littlehousebytheferry.com

A full moon over our anchorage, the “city lights” were shining bright. Sleep well boaters.

Happy birthday Heather Rutherford (June 15) – thanks for bravely leading the way.

Next Stop: Cape Eleuthera. See you soon Ann and Dale!

Harbour Island – Valentines Marina

Harbour Island in the Bahamas was originally inhabited by Arawak, a tribe of the Lucayan Indians. Shortly after Christopher Columbus discovered this area in the Bahamas’ Out islands the entire tribe of Lucayans was wiped-out by the Spanish Conquistadors. By the middle of the 16th century Harbour Island was desolate, it remained uninhabited for over 100 years.

Presently, it appears there are more chickens on the island than people. Population as of census 2010: 1,762 residents. Number of chickens: growing daily.

The Marina office provided a good introduction to the colorful island, the six foot metalwork is a fitting tribute to the abundance of roosters wandering aimlessly through the streets.

Pink Sands

Today, the island is a wedding destination, known for the long pink sand beaches stretching along its eastern shore. 

Remote Island Life

Cargo for the island arrives by miniature commercial ships.

Resourceful recycling – these repurposed wine bottles now serve as a retaining wall.

Yes, Mike Gillespie, you would have enjoyed the hot dogs on the beach.

Narrow winding streets are the island standard since the main mode of transit is a golf cart.

Tourists hale from far and wide. Can you find your home state plate?

Local pubs are the best!

Stairs to a waterfront pub, where the electrical work is “creative”. This photo is for Dale and Ann. Can’t wait to see you on the 19th!

It’s raining again, but Maddie doesn’t seem to mind too much.

Another glorious sunset.

Next stop: Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera

Lynyard Cay and Spanish Wells.

We anchored out at Lynyard Cay.

In a protected cove, joined by Rejoice and Tonto.

Photo of the Week by Rick G.

This boat should be called Darwinian. The passengers are drinking and swimming in those underwater blue lights. Potential Shark Bait?

Reminiscent of our trip on the Great Loop, we pulled up anchor at the break of dawn, for an early morning departure. With roughly nine hours running ahead of us we were greeted by a spectacular sunrise. This sea day was completely surrounded by water, with no land in sight. The water was gentle, with slow rolling waves, and, we arrived in full light.

Spanish Wells

Starbucks served here.

Sashimi courtesy of Rick C.

He caught A Rainbow Runner!

Spanish Wells is an adorable seaside village.

Now that’s a great boat name, Radar Love.

Bandit

To navigate the Devils Backbone it is local tradition to hire a “pilot” to lead your boat through the windy route, well known for shoaling. It turns out, with modern charts and gps you could safely navigate the route on your own, but we were happy to support the beloved local grand daddy, aptly named Bandit.

Bandit leads the way for Tonto’s Reward, followed closely by Exhale and Rejoice.

Next stop: Valentines Harbor and Marina.

Happy Birthday Cousin Debra McGhan.