30 August 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Sailboat Racing At Black Point Settlement, Bahamas

Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - These guys would zip around racing each other in the evenings when we were anchored at Black Point settlement on Great Guana Cay in the Exumas.

2 - It was like having dinner and a show. Scott would grill something for our dinner and we'd eat it in the cockpit while we watched the racing.

3 - Scott really wanted to join in the fun. I thought it looked like fun too, until I saw how easily they capsized.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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28 August 2017

The Most Amazing Place In The Bahamas | Going For A Walk To The Hermitage, Cat Island

Note: Our blog lags reality by many, many weeks. So while you're reading about our cruising adventures in the Bahamas, in reality we're actually back at Indiantown Marina working on boat projects. Cruising in the Bahamas was much more fun. {Sigh}


I hate when people ask what our favorite place has been in our travels. That's such a hard question to answer. How can you pick just one place? There's usually something interesting about every place we've been to.  It's like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. How can she? Every child has lovable qualities.

But, if you force me to answer the question, "What was your favorite place in the Bahamas?" (and by force, I mean promise me a plate of chocolate chip cookies in exchange for the answer), I'll tell you - it's The Hermitage on Cat Island.

The Hermitage sits on top of Mt Alvernia (also known as Como Hill), the highest point in the Bahamas. It's 206 feet tall. That may not seem that high to you, but in Bahamian terms, it's like scaling Mt Everest. The Bahamas are flat, so when it comes to walking uphill, I'm terribly out of practice.

I paused to catch my breath here. I told Scott that we needed to stop so he could take a picture of this archway. In reality, it was my middle-aged, out-of-shape body screaming at me, "Why are we going on this stupid walk?! Let's go back to the boat and eat cookies instead."

After you walk a little ways, you have a choice - scramble up the hill through the Stations of the Cross or go around and walk up the more level path. I thought my mom would like to see pictures of the Stations of the Cross, so I scrambled up the hill, feeling muscles in my legs I had forgotten were there. See what a good daughter I am? I must be her favorite. Not that she'd ever pick a favorite.

Want to know why I like The Hermitage so much? It's tiny. Like a dollhouse that humans can just about squeeze into if they don't eat too many cookies. The priest who built The Hermitage, Father Jerome, used to be an architect, which is a handy background to have if you want to build a scaled down model of a European medieval monastery.

It has a tiny bell tower, a tiny bedroom, a tiny kitchen and a tiny chapel with one tiny pew.

Father Jerome built The Hermitage in 1939. He lived here, leading a contemplative life, until his death at the age of 80 in 1956. Supposedly, he's buried somewhere at the monastery, which seems fitting. It was definitely worth the hike up the hill to see such his extraordinary and adorably tiny creation.


Cruising Log | Monday, 26 June 2017 - Wednesday, 27 June 2017

We finally left George Town! Anchor up at 8:30 AM. Anchor down at 6:00 PM at New Bight, Cat Island. Chartplotter went out multiple times while getting out of Elizabeth Harbour. Not good at all considering the many boat-destroying obstacles you need to avoid. Once we got through the cut, then of course it started working fine. Uneventful sail. Autohelm uncooperative. Lots of hand steering. Nautical miles = 53. Engine = 3 hours 15 mins. Spending = Nil.

Left dinghy on the beach and visited The Hermitage. Checked on dinghy after walk, everything looked good. Walked down to the store. Met a nice lady who gave us some mangoes. Kind of disappointing selection at the store. Came back to find the dinghy swamped and getting more swamped by the minute. Yet again we don't have a bailer. When will we learn? Saved by the kindness of strangers who lent us one. Wind was kicking up so moved over to Fernandez Bay. Tried north side first. Anchor got stuck in the bow roller. Good times. Moved over to south side. Made bread and cake both of which were disappointing. Nautical miles = 8. Engine = 1 hour. Spending = $2 on two cans of pop.

Do you like tiny things? Did you ever have a dollhouse? What's your favorite place that you've traveled to?

If you're interested in more of our Going for a Walk posts, click on Walk underneath Labels on the right hand side of the blog.

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25 August 2017

Going For A Walk In Search Of Hamburgers & Monuments | Stocking Island, Bahamas

Note: Our blog lags reality by many, many weeks. So while you're reading about our cruising adventures in the Bahamas, in reality we're back at Indiantown Marina working on boat projects. Cruising in the Bahamas is so much more fun. {Sigh}


We seriously spent way too much time at George Town. It's a place that draws cruisers in and never lets them leave. Some people call it Chicken Harbour because folks make it all the way to there but then chicken out when it comes to carrying on further down the Bahamas and onward to the Caribbean.

While we didn't have any plans to head to the Caribbean this season, we really, really wanted to get the heck out of George Town and explore more of the Bahamian islands further south, places like Long Island and Conception Island.

We waited and waited and waited for a decent weather window. {Spoiler alert - it never came and we eventually said, "Screw it, let's head to Cat Island instead."}

In general, we were complete and utter slugs while we waited except for the one day we decided to go for a walk on Stocking Island.

Because we were anchored off of Monument Beach, we figured we might was well go check out the monument on top of the hill.

The landscape on this side of the hill is pretty cool. From far away it kind of reminds me of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland if you squint just right, ignore the bright sunshine and pretend its drizzly and cold. Once you're up close and personal, it doesn't look anything like it.

Turns out there isn't a trail head on the south side of the hill, or at least one we could find, so we took our dinghy over to Hamburger Beach. There used to be a shack selling hamburgers there. Nowadays, it's all boarded up, which was a shame as I always get hungry when I go for a walk. A cheeseburger would have been nice to munch on along the way.

Looks like some cruisers might have painted this on one of the boards. Notice the ship peeking out from underneath her hair?

Cruisers like to leave signs everywhere to mark their visits to places.

Behind the old hamburger shack are some tumbled down outbuildings. Guess this one used to be the bathroom. See the toilet underneath?

We finally found the trail head and headed off in search of the monument.

It was a bit of a climb up the hill. Thankfully, the wonderful volunteers who maintain these trails, installed a rope to help pull yourself up the tricky bits. Once we got up to the top, we paused to take in the views. Look there's Tickety Boo!

There are a couple of well-protected holes that people leave their boats in during hurricane season. It's looking at things like this that remind me that we're cruising during hurricane season, which seems a bit crazy at times. But on the plus side, things are so much less crowded.

After checking out the monument, we walked back down the hill (always so much easier walking down than up) and headed over to the Atlantic side of the island to check out the tide pools.

We finally made our way back along the trail to Hamburger Beach. I might have whined again for a little bit about wanting a cheeseburger. Instead we settled for leftover spaghetti pie for dinner.


Cruising Log | Wednesday, 21 June 2017 - 25 June 2017

Solstice party at Hamburger Beach. Cool people, guitar playing and fun chit-chat. Met a guy on a trimaran planning on heading to Indiantown Marina for hurricane season. Maybe we'll see him there. Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

Lazed about. Added a new recipe to my repertoire - spice cake. Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

Moved the boat to Kidd Cove and went into George Town. Got a 60-day extension on our visas. Got provisions at Exuma Markets. The mail boat with the fresh meat must have come in, but the one carrying dairy products appears to be lost at sea. Got 15 gallons of RO water. Went up to Fowl Cay, but didn't look good for anchoring so headed back to old spot at Monument Beach by Stocking Island. Nautical Miles = 8. Spending = $28.50 (groceries) and $3 (trash).

Went for walk on Stocking Island. Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

Another lazy day. Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

Have you ever been stuck someplace waiting for decent weather? What did you do to pass the time? Do you like hamburgers? 

If you're interested in more of our Going for a Walk posts, click on Walk under Labels on the right hand side.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!

23 August 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Wind Scoop

Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - The winner of the Most Valuable Player award on our boat should probably go to our wind scoop. 

2 - When we're at anchor, the hatch over our aft cabin (where we sleep at night) faces the wrong way and we don't benefit from all of the lovely cooling sea breezes. And it gets hot. So hot. So very, very hot. Miserably hot. You get the idea.

3 - When we hang our wind scoop up, the wind blows into it and gets funneled down over our bed. So much nicer for sleeping.

4 - Of course, if it starts raining in the middle of the night, someone has to scramble up on deck and take it down, usually getting soaking wet in the process. For some reason, I usually get nominated for this task. Not sure why. Hmm.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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21 August 2017

Dumpster Diving In George Town, Bahamas | Is This Really The Cruiser's Mecca?

Note: Our blog lags reality by many, many weeks. So while you're reading about our cruising adventures in the Bahamas, in reality we're actually back at Indiantown Marina working on boat projects. Cruising in the Bahamas was much more fun. {Sigh}


So we finally made it to George Town. No, not the one in Washington D.C., the one in the Bahamas. People describe it as Mecca for cruisers. It's the hot spot. The place to be seen and to anchor your boat. People make their way there for the season and never leave, it's supposed to be that much fun.

During peak season you can find around 500 boats anchored in the harbor. When we were there, I think there were probably less than 20.

During peak season there are tons of activities going on - volleyball matches, yoga classes, dog costume competitions, craft lessons and the like. When we were there (and we were there way too long waiting on weather), we only heard of one gathering - a solstice beach party.

Other than the beach party, probably the most interesting time we had in George Town was dumpster diving for something to use to bail water out of our dinghy. I guess that's the downside of cruising during the off-season - less social activity. Although, for a couple of introverts like us, that can also be an upside as well.

Don't get me wrong - George Town is a nice enough town, it has lots of amenities, its a great place to resupply and the people are super friendly, but my overall impression was meh...nothing to write home about.

Even if there's nothing to write home about, there's always something to blog about. So come have a little wander around George Town with us.


Have you ever ridden that Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland or Disney World? Taking your dinghy into George Town kind of reminded me of it. You make your way through choppy water across the anchorage, go through this tiny tunnel with the current pushing you along at rather a jaunty clip and pop out the other end at the dinghy dock.

All of the bright colors help you forget what a dreary and overcast day it is.

I thought this was an interesting building. Those placards have verses from Exodus and Psalms written on them.

I love the shutters on this church.

One of the liquor stores in town. We were in search of reasonably priced rum. We didn't find it here. We did find it at the other liquor store where we waited out a heavy squall. A squall that swamped our dinghy. A squall that made us remember, Oops guess we forgot to get a new bailer for our dinghy. Guess it's time to do some dumpster diving and find a cup or something. It was gross, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.


Cruising Log | Thursday, 15 June 2017 - Tuesday, 20 June 2017

15 June
Early start means using the generator. Took four tries to start the engine with the generator running out of gas between attempts #3 and #4. Anchor up 6:45 AM. Anchor down at 5:30 PM at Hamburger Beach, Stocking Island. Had to motor the entire way. Lumpy at beginning, then settled down. Not much traffic. Nautical Miles = 43. Engine = 10 hours 45 mins. Spending = Nil

16 June
Took the dinghy over to George Town. Very lumpy ride. Had to wait out a squall in the liquor store. The dinghy was swamped when we got back. Didn't have a bailer, had to dig a cup out of the trash. People in Georgetown super friendly, but the place is kind of meh. Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine = Nil. Spending = Whatever a reasonably priced bottle of rum costs.

17 June
Learned our lesson and moved Tickety Boo over to George Town, rather than take the dinghy to get supplies. Got 20 gallons of free RO water at the Exuma Markets. Easy-peasy, just fill up your jerry cans at the dinghy dock. Got diesel and gas at the Shell station. Dumped some trash. Headed back over to Stocking Island and dropped the hook at Monument Beach. Nautical Miles = 3. Engine = 1 hour. Spending = $73.62 ($55.62 - 10 gallons diesel and 2.5 gallons gas; $15 -eggs, 6-pack of coke, crackers, eggs and cumin & $3 -trash).

18-20 June
Lazed about. Many naps interspersed with reading, writing, cooking and watching TV. Complete and utter slugs. Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

Have you ever been to Georgetown? What was your experience like? Ever done any dumpster diving? What would it take for you to stick your hand in a pile of trash?

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18 August 2017

Cost Of Cruising In The Bahamas & Florida | July 2017

We track and report every penny we spend living aboard and cruising on Tickety Boo, our Moody 346 sailboat for a couple of reasons.

1 - It helps us see where our money is going, helps us make informed choices about where to spend our money, which in turn helps us stretch our money further so that we can keep adventuring longer.

2 - We found it really useful to check out other people's cost of cruising when we were starting out, so we figure we can return favor by sharing ours.

You can find details of how much we spent cruising in the Bahamas and Florida during July 2017 below. We spent the majority of the month in the Bahamas, returning to Florida at the end of the month. Keep in mind that this is what works for us. Everyone has their own budget and priorities and everyone tracks and reports things differently.

You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves (on Tickety Boo, camping across the States and our previous boat in New Zealand) and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist.

Cost of Cruising In The Bahamas & Florida  | July 2017

Overall, we spent $803.88 during July.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the details of what we spent, here are a few things to note:

1 - All costs are in US dollars. The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar, so no conversion was required. It's pretty cool that you can use US currency in the Bahamas. No need to worry about exchanging money.

2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:
(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising costs.
(b) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka ACA/Obamacare), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition.
3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report. Florida has a 6% sales tax. The Bahamas has a 7.5% VAT.

GROCERIES | Total = $404.54

This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.

We spent more than I would have liked to over the past month, but the temptations of Maxwell's grocery store in Marsh Harbour were too much to resist. Sure, we could have cooked meals from the canned goods we had left on our boat, but relatively reasonably priced ground beef and chicken were much more appealing. Not to mention a few cans of Lays Stax chips and packets of digestive cream cookies.

When we got back to Florida at the end of July, I remembered why I like American grocery stores so much - the choices! the cheap prices! IPA beer!

PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $10.38

This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like bug spray.

ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $42.96

In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, DVD rentals and going to the movies in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.

We only went out a few times while we were in the Bahamas - once at a church fair, a beer at the Jib Room at Marsh Harbour and a couple of beers outside the liquor store at Hope Town. And of course, we got a Little Caesar's pizza when we got back to Indiantown Marina.


Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a $60 monthly GoPhone plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. We continued with that plan while we were out cruising so that we can keep our US cell phone number.

BOAT FUEL | Total = $201.13

We've bought 35 gallons of diesel in the Bahamas during July. We ended up doing far more motoring and motor-sailing then we would have liked. It seems like wherever we want to go, the wind is pointing the other way or it disappears completely. When we got back to Florida, we topped up our tanks, buying 18.8 gallons at Riveria Beach Marina.

LPG & BUTANE | Total = Nil

We have a LPG (or propane) cooker on our boat. Not long after we left Indiantown Marina, our stove broke while we were cruising in Florida. Fortunately our oven still worked, so between that and our BBQ, we were able to get by cooking-wise until we got back to Indiantown Marina and picked up our butane camping stove. The camping stove worked fine as a temporary solution until we're able to replace the cooker sometime this summer, but butane cartridges are pretty expensive, especially compared to LPG.

MARINA COSTS | Total = Nil

Anchoring out is one of the things we love about cruising. Not only is it nice to relax on the boat in a quiet anchorage and fall asleep to the waves gently lapping against the side of your boat, it's also free. We like free! Of course, anchoring out isn't always all that it's cracked up to be - we've been in our share of roly-poly anchorages and not been able to sleep at night wondering if we're going to drag anchor, but it's still free!

BOAT STUFF | Total = $26.00

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as repairs and maintenance costs. Fortunately, nothing broke during July and the only expenditure we had was for the renewal of our Coast Guard documentation.

TRANSPORT | Total = $21.20

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to keep it going and drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. We also paid $21.20 last month to store our vehicle at Indiantown Marina while we were off cruising.


This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance.

Although there were a few cuts and bruises while we were cruising, neither of us needed medical attention.

OTHER | Total = $29.67

In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry and trash disposal.

Did we spend more or less than you would have expected? Do you track your monthly expenditure? What are your cost saving tips and tricks? 

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16 August 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Rubber Duckie

Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - I made Scott take a picture of this rubber duckie. I thought it was cute, but I think he might have rolled his eyes at me while taking the photo. 

2 - Remember when Ernie from Sesame Street sang about bath time and his rubber duckie?

3 - I love taking bubble baths. But living on a sailboat means that they're few and far between these days. Heck, we don't even have a shower on our boat, let alone a bathtub.
What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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14 August 2017

The Coolest Laundromat Ever | Black Point Settlement, Exumas, Bahamas

Note: This blog lags reality by many, many weeks. So while you're reading about our cruising adventures in the Bahamas, in reality we're actually back at Indiantown Marina working on boat projects. Cruising in the Bahamas was much more fun. {Sigh}


Remember that combination laundromat/wholesale liquor store we visited at Staniel Cay? Well, we found an even cooler laundromat at Black Point settlement on Great Guana Cay. It's possibly the coolest laundromat ever.

I know you're dying to know why, so I'll cut to the chase - they serve food! Snacks while you're doing laundry, can you imagine anything better? Except of course someone else doing your laundry for you while you're enjoying a gourmet five-course dinner, but I don't see that happening anytime soon on Tickety Boo.

At first glance it looks like any old laundromat. You know, washers, dryers and a place to fold your clothes. Except if you've been cruising for a while, you'll know that this is a fancy laundromat. The washers and dryers are new and clean. They all work. And there's lots of them. See what I mean, fancy.

The next thing to notice is all of the brightly colored signs on the wall. They say things like "Haircuts - $15," "DVD Movie Rentals - $2 Per Day," "Conch Fritters - $2" and "Patties - Chicken & Beef - $2.50."

Scott's eyes lit up when he saw the conch fritters sign. I think conch fritters are gross (heresy for cruisers in the Bahamas, I know), but my stomach was rumbling and I needed a snack. It's possible I was getting a little grumpy, a known side-effect of walking in the heat without regular feedings. So I took the gamble and ordered a chicken pattie. Such a good gamble. Kind of like a pasty, but with a curry chicken filling.

We went back the next day for more. This time we ate out back at Miss Ida's gazebo. Great views and great food.

One of the things I wish we had on our boat is a watermaker. A washer and dryer would be nice. Unrealistic, but nice. But a watermaker - now that would be heaven. Imagine making your own water whenever you want instead of lugging jerry cans to shore and filling them up with water (sometimes free, sometimes not).

All of the cruising guides and sites talk about easy access to water from a spigot on the government dock. So off we went in search of water. Turns out the spigot was broken.

And so the water procurement adventure began. Because what's life as a cruiser unless you have a little adventure in search of another water spigot? Sure you'll probably get dehydrated walking in the stifling heat in search of water, but fortunately Miss Ida also sells cans of very refreshing root beer for $1.

We heard whisperings about another spigot near the Regatta Point on the other side of town. And another cruiser at the laundromat confirmed its existence. {That laundromat, it's wonderful. Laundry, root beer, snacks and intel on water spigots.}

Off we went, exploring the town along the way.

Some houses have roofs, some don't. Some houses are new and modern, some aren't in such great shape.

Boats are everywhere. And that gorgeous blue water the Bahamas is famous for - that's everywhere too.

We asked the policeman if he knew where a water spigot was. He was polite, nattily dressed and tried to help, but he wasn't sure. I have a feeling he doesn't need to get water from a spigot on the side of a road like we do.

Finally, we made it to Regatta Point, where the settlement stages their annual regatta.

The water spigot is nearby. It's not necessarily easy to find unless you know where to look. Not that I looked. I stayed with the dinghy to keep it off the rocks while Scott lugged the jerry cans to the spigot, filled them up with water and lugged them back. If you've never carried a 5-gallon jerry can full of water, don't. They're heavy.

Have I mentioned how much I appreciate Scott's biceps? I should probably do that more often.


Cruising Log | Monday, 12 June 2017 – Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Anchor up at 9:00 AM. Motorsailed to Black Point. Dolphins! Anchor down at 10:45 AM. Went to Miss Ida's to do laundry and exchange books. Water spigot at government dock broken. Some cruisers from South Africa told us where an alternative spigot was. Nautical miles = 9. Engine = 2 hours. Dinghy racing in the anchorage. Fun to watch. Spending = $8.00 ($3.50 wash and $4.50 conch fritters and hot pattie).


Dropped off some trash. Walked over to cemetery and beach. Dinghied over to Regatta Point to search for water. Filled up two jerry cans. Went back to Miss Ida's for more conch fritters and hot patties. Lots of adorable schoolchildren in cute green uniforms having fritters and patties too. Hung out on the gazebo and chatted with other cruisers. Miss Ida didn't have change and told me to come back later to pay her what we owed her. Very trusting. More dinghy racing. Nautical miles = Nil. Engine = Nil. Spending = $9.00 (conch fritters, hot patties & pop).


Sailed to Little Farmer's Cay. Furling line lead broke. Went to check out cut, but too much current so anchored around point for a few hours. Discovered a whole bunch of maggots in the v-berth. Very gross. Fired up the generator and used the shop-vac to get rid of them. Not sure what they were - flies? Found a suspicious leak on some stuff in lazarette - from the holding tank? Extremely gross. Went back out and scoped out the cut and then anchored for the night on the west side of the island. Nautical miles = 17. Engine = 5 hours. Spending = Nil.

Have you ever used a laundromat or are you one of those lucky people with your own washer/dryer? How far would you walk in search of water? Ever had a hot chicken pattie?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!

12 August 2017

Saturday Spotlight | Tides By Jonathan White

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday about our eccentric travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.


Today, I'm featuring Jonathan White's fascinating book - Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean.

I was intrigued by the subtitle - science and spirit. Let's face it, sometimes science-related books can be a bit dull (and I know, I've read my share of some real yawners in graduate school), so a dry, boring scientific explanation of tides is enough to put me to sleep, but throw in a discussion of the spirit of the ocean and the impact of tides on humans at a visceral level and I'm hooked.

White interweaves stories - both scientific and spiritual - into his book. Like the chapter on Mont Saint-Michel (the tidal island off the Normandy coast of France). In medieval times, pilgrims would make their way across treacherous tidal flats in order to reach the abbey and pray to St Michael. White recounts his visit to the monastery and discussions with the monks on the connection between God and the tides, alongside a history of early scientific attempts to understand how tides, the sun and the moon are interrelated.

It felt like White was sharing his travel stories with me over a cup of coffee, while sneaking in a few scientific and historical facts and tidbits here and there. Without realizing it, I was drawn in and had actually learned something about tides. Which is really the best way to learn something in my opinion - over coffee with interesting people who know how to tell a story.

Mont Saint-Michel {Via Jonathan White}

If you live and cruise on a sailboat like we do, it's important to understand and pay attention to the tides. To be honest, until I read Tides, I didn't really understand much about tides, but I did know enough to pay attention to them.

For example, we time going through certain cuts with slack tide or risk the wrath of Mother Nature. She's been known to reward sailors' ignorance and stupidity by slamming their boats into rocks before. Even for cuts that aren't that tricky, taking the tides into consideration can make all the difference between a quick passage or a very long one depending on whether the current is in your favor or not.

And when it's time to drop the hook, we need to know when the next low tide is and what the tidal range is. Our boat has a 5' draft (depth of our keel from the waterline). At high tide, we might have anchored in 7' of water, but at low tide, we might find that the water has dropped to only 4'. I'm no math whiz, but even I can figure out that that would be a big problem.

Even though we haven't been caught out by the tides when anchoring our boat, we have had a few misadventures with our dinghy resulting from our complete and utter lack of attention to the tide tables. Like leaving our dinghy on the beach, going for a delightful hike and returning only to find the foreshore dried out for what seems like miles. Do you wait until the tide comes back in or carry your extremely heavy dinghy to where there's enough water to float it?

Rocky Bay on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. Yep, we carried our dinghy a long way until it floated.

To give you an idea of how dramatic tides can be, check out these photos of Perranporth, England at low and high tide. Imagine reading a good book and drifting off to sleep on your beach blanket at low tide, only to be rudely awoken at high tide by the water rushing in and getting you and your book sopping wet. There's a lot of other great pictures showing the difference between low and high tides in White's book.

Beach in Perranporth, England {Via Jonathan White}

And here's an even more dramatic one - a tidal bore at Qiantang, China going over its banks. I was intrigued by White's account of his visit to the Bore-Watching festival which attracts over a million tourists each year. Some come for spiritual reasons, others for holiday celebrations with family and friends. Some people are so fascinated by the tidal bore that they risk their lives standing too close, only to get swept away and drown.

The Quatang tidal bore as it overtops its banks in China {Via Jonathan White}

If you're into sailing, beach-combing, fishing, surfing or other activities influenced by the tides, this is a book you'll want to check out. Even if your daily life isn't ruled by the ebb and flow of the tides, I bet you might still find this book fascinating, because, after all, the ocean affects us all in one way or the other.


Book Information & Blurb

In Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, writer, sailor and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. In the Arctic, he shimmies under the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for mussels in the dark cavities left behind at low tide; in China, he races the Silver Dragon, a twenty-five foot tidal bore that crashes eighty miles up the Qiantang River; in France, he interviews the monks that live in the tide-wrapped monastery of Mont St. Michel; in Chile and Scotland, he investigates the growth of tidal power generation; and in Panama and Venice, he delves into how the threat of sea level rise is changing human culture – the very old and very new.

You can get your own copy of Tides on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound and Bam!

If you want to find out more about the book and its author, check out Jonathan White's site.

Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
Trinity University Press
Publication date : February, 2017
ISBN: 9781595348050

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of Tides in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. 


What about you - have you ever thought much about the tides? Ever been caught out by the tides? Do you live in an area which is affected by tides? 

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11 August 2017

Here Piggy, Piggy | Big Major's Spot & Staniel Cay, Bahamas

Note: Our blog lags reality by many, many weeks. So, while you're reading this post about our cruising adventures in the Bahamas, in reality we're back in Indiantown Marina for hurricane season working on dreary boat projects. Cruising in the Bahamas was far more fun. {Sigh} 


There are a lot of tourist draws in the Bahamas - snorkeling, walks on the beach, swimming and pigs. Yes, pigs. The famous swimming pigs at Big Major's Spot in the Exumas. It's one of those things that you're supposed to tick off of the list. And since we were anchored right off of Pig Beach, it seemed like we should do what everyone else does and feed the swimming pigs.

To be honest, I didn't expect too much, especially after we had seen their lesser-known cousins, the non-swimming pigs at No Name Cay in the Abacos, a couple of years ago. Those pigs were kind of disappointing. So disappointing that my post from our visit to No Name Cay focuses more on wearing a toaster on my head than the pigs. Yes, you read that right. I wore a toaster on my head. Strange, but true.

Good thing I didn't expect much because visiting the swimming pigs was just okay. They are cute though. You have to give them that. And they do like carrots. I like carrots too. So we have that in common.

It wasn't all pigs while we were at Big Major's Spot. There was also ice cream, rum, socializing and snorkeling.

The snorkeling at the famous Thunderball Grotto (remember that James Bond movie?) was kind of a letdown (way too many people there), a bit like the pigs, but the ice cream, rum and socializing didn't disappoint.

So if you find yourself in the area and want some ice cream, rum and socializing, here's how you go about it.

Get in your dinghy, head over to the neighboring island of Staniel Cay and dock at the Isles Grocery Store. Check out the price of hot dog buns. Put the hot dog buns back down. Buy a Klondike Bar instead.

Smile nicely at the owner and ask if you can leave your dinghy at the dock while you explore the rest of the town. She knows and you know that what you're really planning on doing is checking out the competition to see if anyone has a better price on hot dog buns. She reluctantly says yes.

Remind yourself for the millionth time not to walk in front of Scott because he keeps taking pictures of you wearing that ridiculously bright dry bag.

I bet it'd be fun to drive one of these.

Check out prices at the blue store and the pink store. Yes, the two other stores in town are called the blue store and the pink store. It might have something to do with what color they're painted. Just a guess. We bought cheese at the pink store and eggs and milk at the blue store. And yes, we went back to the Isles Grocery Store and bought hot dog buns there.

I don't know why we don't have pictures of the blue and pink stores. But we do have pictures of people's laundry. It's colorful, just like the houses.

Next stop, the combination laundromat and wholesale liquor store. Makes sense to stock up on booze while you're doing your wash. This is where the rum comes in. A very overpriced bottle of rum. I guess by wholesale prices, they really mean over-inflated prices that rich tourists and desperate sailors will pay.

Now you know how to get ice cream and rum at Staniel Cay. If you want to find socializing, you'll have to dinghy back to Big Major's Spot and head over to Pirate Beach. It's easy to spot with all of the decorations that cruisers have left. Folks get together here for sundowners. I think it will be easy to figure out what we drank that night - yep, rum.


Cruising Log | Friday, 9 June 2017 – Sunday, 11 June 2017

Anchor up at 8:00 AM at Bell Island. Motored into wind, waves and tide. Very choppy. Then turned towards Sandy Cay and put the headsail out. Checked out west side of Big Majors, but really choppy, so went to east side. Anchor down at 12:20 PM. Very crowded anchorage. Hung out there for a while. Another Indiantown boat, S/V Teho, came by in their dinghy to say hi. When the wind switched, moved over to west side of Big Majors and anchored near Pig Beach at 5:00 PM. Nautical miles = 20. Engine = 5 hours 15 mins. Spending = Nil.

Dinghied over to Staniel Cay. Split a Klondike bar at Isles Grocery Store. Yum! Walked into town and checked out the other two grocery stores, the combination laundromat/liquor store and the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Went to Thunderball Grotto. Way too crowded and a bit of a letdown. Headed back to Staniel Cay and got provisions. Had sundowners in the cockpit and watched all of the punters at Pig Beach. Nautical miles = Nil. Engine = Nil. Spending = $51.45 (groceries and rum).

Went and fed the piggies in the morning. The little ones were especially cute. Did some cleaning and a temporary fix to the bimini with giant safety pins. Went for sundowners at Pirate's Beach with other cruisers in the anchorage. Fun evening. Nautical miles = Nil. Engine hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

Have you ever fed pigs (swimming or non-swimming)? Do you like carrots? Ever bought liquor at a laundromat?

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