Posted by: rminchin | April 20, 2015

Back in Florida

The time we spent with Dawn & Juan then Scott & Sara sailing, snorkeling, and hiking the Exumas was fabulous! We visited Eluthera, Cambridge Cay and Wardrick Wells within the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park as well as Allen’s Cay with its endangered iguanas.  The weather cooperated for the short time they had to visit and we sent them home rested, exhausted, and a bit tanner. After Scott and Sara headed home we settled back into our routine of just the two of us onboard and started working our way back up around the Berry Islands for a bit more hiking and snorkeling while preparing to return to Florida and head north for the summer.

Cruising with a buddy boat was a new experience for us and allowed us to help each other out with equipment repairs. Sandcastle had alternator and a few overheating issues and we had a failed watermaker. Ron helped work on the issues on Sandcastle while Tom and Sue made water for us. We also managed to break our spinnaker pole and tried to put on a replacement end fitting but the 1968 tubing was not the correct size for the new end fitting so we’re in the market for a whole new pole.

The 132 mile sail back to the US from Great Harbor Cay delighted us with fair winds, calm seas, and good sailing on a beam reach.  The only time our navigational skills were challenged was when we entered the deep waters of the Gulf Stream at the intersection of the Straits of Florida and the Northwest Providence Channel where we shared the waters with many freighters and cruise ships heading in and out of the busy ports of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami and on to Nassau and ports around the world. Crossing paths at several points we had to dodge more than one ship at a time. Coming within 1 mile of a 1,000 foot long freighter going 19 knots in the dark can be an interesting experience. We are so glad we installed our AIS (Automated Identification System) which receives the location, course and speed of all ships in the area as well as broadcasting our information to them. Knowing their location and “closest point of approach” allowed us to make adjustments to make it a much safer and less stressful situation.

We are now anchored in Manatee Pocket, Stuart, Florida looking forward to visiting Kathy’s Aunt Barbara and Uncle Stretch then our friends Ed & Patty tomorrow. The nice thing about being back in the US is convenient access to phone and internet.

We have the rest of the photos from the Islands uploaded to the 2015 Photos page so check them out for a taste of what it’s like over there.


AIS targets

AIS targets all the yellow triangles are ships and we are the blue boat

Scott and Sara sailing the dinghy off Nomans CayIMG_4355Sara and the Iguanas of AllansCay



  1. Please say Hi to Ed & Patty for us as it’s been over 5 years since we have seen them. Glad you are back in the USA.

    Pete & MA

  2. Glad your adventures were all pretty tame.
    Sashay just got into the water too this past
    Weekend….but still more spring work to do.
    Fair winds to you.

  3. might be able to find a spinnaker pole for you the only thing is it might be bent at a right angle
    looks like all had fun
    crowded area to cross
    say hello to Ed and Pat for us

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