Cat Island Part 2: Sidney Poitier

Right- Sidney Poitier. You know the actor? He’s from Cat Island.

So, while we definitely did not meet Mr Poitier since he passed away last year, we did make the aquaintence of a special little girl who we would call Sidney Poitier, aka Sidney Potcake, aka Sidney Bean.

From my journal April 15, 2023

“Nine days in New Bight. It has been very nice. Moving to Old Bight, now. We will be heading to GT tomorrow. While here, we went to the Hermitage, got provisions at the best store we’ve been to since Maxwells, did laundry, went to Greenwood Resort for lunch, then the healing pond. Had lunches and suppers and beers and ice cream. Met lovely people, as always. We will anchor near the Rollezz Resort tonight. The biggest event while in New Bight is having Sidney Poitier find us. Obviously not the deceased actor. We now have what looks to be a Dorgi Potcake aboard. She may still go to Ventolines, but for now is Voyager crew. She’s 3-4 months old and an absolute sweetie (when she’s not a veloceraptor).”

Remember the Twin Palm Beach Resort in the previous post? Well, Jennifer and I got dropped off there to go get a rental car from Gilberts. We hadn’t walked too far when this tiny puppy came running down the deserted road towards us as if her little life depended on it, and it likely did. And us, being us, picked her up and loved on her skinny little body. We proceeded down the road, looking for whom she might belong. We came across a young man with several other larger dogs, mostly Belgion Malanois type dogs and a bearded collie. Now, understand, potcakes are the norm. This wasn’t unusual. This little thing did not fit in his pack. He was doing some bait fishing in the lagoon nearby and said that yes, “the little weinie” is his. He thought she was funny and claimed to have just gotten her.

Let me paint a quick picture. The dogs are all very skinny. Two are younger than a year old, the mama is obvisouly lactating and he says she’s pregnant again. They all are covered with fleas and ticks. He doesn’t look to be in much better shape.

So, we put the pup down and are walking away when the older pups, then the mama go after the tiny puppy. Like seriously, goes after her. It’s become obvious to us that she does NOT belong here. I grabbed her and Jennifer asks how much. She was also eyeing the grey, mangy dog that looks like her Charles. However, she offers $20, he takes $40. We say, “done” and suddenly we have a Royal Bahamian Potcake (look it up, it’s real).

Right. Now we have A LOT of explaining to do back at home with our husbands. But honestly, we tell ourselves over and over, who could have left her there??? She is roughly 3lbs of skin and bones. She is covered in not only ticks and fleas, but serious scars from injuries. Her coat is sparse and coarse. She does indeed look like she has some dachshund or corgi in her, with her short little legs and long body. It goes without saying, we were already completely smitten with her. We really have no plan beyond getting her away from her previous home.

We continue our walk to the store to get the car. Another SUV, as she knows we are going to the healing pond- therefore another adventure. All the while planning how to explain this spontaneous new addition to crew. But, who’s crew? Is she Ventolines or Voyager? (We did also purchase a large bag of dog food and took it back to the man with we then found out, 8 dogs….)

We eventually make it back to the beach where the rest of the family is to meet us. Both dingies arrive at the same time and all at once the questions are yelled. “What is that?” “Take it back!” “Is that a puppy?” So, we told our story and no one could blame us for picking her up and running with her. But, neither of the men were especially wanting her on their boat. Her ears were so full of ticks you couldn’t see past them. They were everywhere, as were the fleas. Matthew went back to our boat to get tweezers and the flea and tick treatment we still had on board from when King was a puppy. We gave her the first dose and we all took turns plucking ticks from her skin. It was heartbreaking. She was exhausted. We called home to our vet and good friend, Lynn. She advised us on how to proceed and tell her age. She was between 3-4 months old and could safely be given the treatments. She also recommended making a Seresto collar from the ends of the big dogs, which worked well. Her pale gums showed she was anemic from all the parasites and she was incredibly malnourished. Lynn made suggestions for all of this. We can’t thank her enough!

Later, we were having supper at the fish fry and met another couple who had a chi-yorkie puppy. She just happened to have a Bahamian worm medicine that she shared with us. We bought puppy show and gave her table scraps, as this was likely the kind of diet she was used to- scrounging. So, Sidney Poitier as we had come to name her, was well on her way to becoming a healthy puppy.

We have tried at every stop to find a vet to look at her and give her shots. However, the out islands don’t have one in residence. They come for a day or week, here and there, but never where or when we are. So, as soon as we make landfall in the US, she will have all that to look forward to. By the time you read this, it will have happened.

So- her she is. Introducing our Royal Bahamian Potcake, Sidney Poitier. We have said repeatedly that she knew what she was doing when she ran to us! She has hit the jackpot when it comes to a dog’s life, regardless of who’s boat she ended up on. But, it can be confirmed that she is officially a Voyager crewmate.

Royal Bahamian Potcake:

The potcake dog is a mixed-breed dog type found on several Caribbean islands. Its name comes from a traditional local dish of seasoned rice and pigeon peas; overcooked rice that sticks to the bottom of the cooking pot is commonly mixed with other leftovers and fed to the dogs. Wikipedia

Height: 2 ft. (Adult, At the withers)

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years (Domestic)

Mass: 24 – 60 lbs (Adult)

Coat: Smooth, short coat, little or no undercoat

Color: Brown, black, white, red, cream, yellow, particolour

Cat Island Part 1

Our goal this sailing season was to see places we haven’t seen before. Cat Island was first on the list. It took us a little more than a month to get there, but we finally did. Let me just say, it was worth it. Fellow sailors on catamaran Delos, gave us some recommendations and they did not disappoint.

We first dropped the anchor in Orange Creek. Although there’s not much going on here, it’s gorgeous! We went out on the beach and walked the village. There’s a very old Anglican church and a grocery store/inn. The people we met were just lovely. When we come back next time, we will anchor a little further north and explore the area around Man O’ War beach and Shanna’s Cove. More on that area in a minute…. Keep reading.

We moved down to Bennett Harbour next. This is a special area as well. We met Kim, who has grown up here. She says her family moved here when she was a small child in the 70’s. Her earliest memories are of hauling rock from the east shore to build the house, called Shangri-La, that she now lives in. We were given permission to pass through her property to get to the main road. It was a short walk to Yardies, owned by a Jamaican woman, I wish I could remember her name! This is where we rented our first car. When we told her where we planned to go, she gave us the “jeep”. Apparently heading to the sea glass beach warranted an SUV. Kim had told us to go down “Dickies road”. This lady gave us different directions. We followed her directions and although we didn’t find a single piece of sea glass, we had quite the adventure! The next day, we followed Kim’s instructions and found the sea glass, in spades! Jennifer and I could have stayed there all day, but we had more of Cat to see.

The Jeep ^

We made it to Shanna’s cove. The other pictures and videos I took don’t do this gorgeous place justice. We had pizza and burgers for a very affordable price and met some lovely people. The owner is German, I believe, and is within his first year of ownership. The previous owners who have a stellar reputation retain a property just down the road. It is a small, quiet resort. The cottages are cute with beach access and meals are at the restaurant. There is a trail from here to Man O’ War beach and cave. We have been told the snorkeling here is out of this world. We didn’t have time for the trail or snorkeling, so it’s on our list for next time. While at Bennett, we also took a dingy adventure into the estuary and saw turtles and rays and young sharks. It was pretty neat! Matthew also got his first fish while spearing. This was the first of many more. He was terribly excited and now a confirmed spearfisherman.

The sea glass beach we found when we went down Dickies Road.

The pinkest sand.


From Bennett Harbour, we sailed further south to New Bight. We spent 9 days here. We hiked the Hermitage (above and below) and explored via rental car. One of the best grocery stores we’ve seen is here- Gilberts. This family owns many businesses in the area.

Sometimes it’s hard to find a moment for reflection with the distraction of teenage boys……

The Twin Palm Beach Resort is abandoned. We dinghied here for closer access to the store. The beach isn’t very beachy, more rocky, but man, would it be a lovely place to stay!

We rented a car from Gilberts and drove south to the healing pond and Greenwood Resort. We went in, took a float and were healed of all that ailed us, obviously. It was crazy how the extremely high salinity, comparable to the Dead Sea, kept us afloat, whether we wanted to float or not! The Greenwood Resort fed us lunch. The owner is French and caters to divers. There were two or three families there, we had met them the night before at the fish fry at New Bight. They are from South Africa and have vacationed here before. We met a lot of repeat visitors to Cat Island. We can definitely see why. Cat Island is especially special!

King and the boys floating in the healing pond.

This old cotton plantation house is along the drive to Greenwood Resort. It was fun to explore and imagine how it used to be, in the late 18th century. Andrew Deveaux was an American Loyalist born in 1758. He is known for his recapture of the Bahamas from Spain, for the British Crown. As a reward, he was given a large portion of Cat Island, where he built a house and surrounding cotton plantation. He eventually ended up back in the States, in New York where he died in 1812.

Da Pink Chicken is a well known beach bar, that is actually a shack. Drinks are brought in by coolers. I have no idea how long it’s been in business, but he has quite a reputation! It’s worth the long drive to get here!

We found out the hard way there is no deisel in New Bight…….

Another business owned by the Gilberts. This is a very nice laundry- a very important commodity for cruisers! Something we discovered recently is how many Bahamian laundries serve beef or chicken patties while you wait for your clothes. These “patties” are essentially a hand pie with a cornbread crust. They tend to be a little spicy, but so delicious!

One of many meals taken on the beach at New Bight. We miss it already! The most reasonable prices and excellent service we found!

The Hermitage is located on the highest point in the Bahamas. Mt Alvernia is 206 feet in elevation.

When we left Cat, we brought in TWO Mahi!

We also went to Conception Island. Another bucket list destination. The anchorage is pretty rolly, but it’s beautiful! We hiked and explored. When we first came in, we had fish to filet. ( There is no fishing within the boundaries, as it is part of the Land and Sea National Park.) Mike was fileting and being careful to save all the rubbish to take away from the anchorage to dump, but the smell of blood is powerful, and we soon had a visitor.


He was about an 8-foot lemon shark. We decided we would hold off on snorkeling for the time being.

There’s a sunken Spanish Galleon and American ship off the shore here. One of them is easily visible. They sunk while in battle with each other. This will be a good place to snorkel and explore more in the future, for sure.

Well, this is just a brief glimpse of what Cat (and Conception) have to offer. The beauty is unequalled. If one was to travel by air, I would recommend Shanna’s Cove and Greenwood Resort as places to stay. No one could be disappointed visiting here! I have doubts that I have adequately expressed how kind the people are, so just take my word for it!

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we discuss Sidney Potier.


Manning the Ship

In the fall of 2021, Mike was approached to go back to work at St Mary’s AveraHospital in Pierre, South Dakota where he had worked for nearly 10 years prior to moving onto Voyager. He had filled in 3-4 shifts/month as they needed help. When they called him, we were in Maine, dropping anchor and he wasn’t sure if or where he would be working when we went back to SD in the coming months. He had worked at Fall River Healthcare in Hot Springs when we were home the preceding 2 years, but they had gone a different route with staffing.

The blue “scoop” you see on deck is a wind scoop that funnels air into the cabin while we are anchored. It’s lovely. The yellow cans you see lined up near the lifelines are the diesel jerry cans we keep extra fuel in.

As Mike had decided to go ahead and take some shifts in Pierre, we had to come up with a plan for him to not only get to and from the boat to work, but how Matthew and I would manage without him. That sounds a little melodramatic, but there are a lot of aspects to take into account.

Because Pierre, SD and Rock Sound, Eleuthera are both rather remote locations, the flights and accommodations are tricky. We booked the flight from Nassau to Pierre before we left St Marys. Because we didn’t know where we would be when it came time for him to go, we waited to book the flight to Nassau. Two weeks ago, we decided where he would fly from and got that sorted. While most of the Bahamian islands have airports, flights are rarely everyday, maybe a couple times a week. As a result, Mike flew from Rock Sound, stayed at an AirBnb, then caught his flight to Denver, got a room there, then onto Pierre in time to work. This was 3 days and 2 nights to get to work. Coming home, he was able to fly from Pierre to Nassau (stops in Denver in Miami), stay one night then arrived home this morning. It’s a bit of a hassle and mental gymnastics to get him there and back! The good news was we could dingy him to and from the airport rather than him taking a taxi or hitchhiking.

If you haven’t lived, or even spent much time on a boat, there are things you wouldn’t even think of. For instance, the refrigerator isn’t on all the time. It has to be turned on/off as the temperature demands. Same with hot water. Oh and the water….. we store 200 gallons, but we have to “make” the water, fill at marinas, or carry it from shore in jerry cans. “Making water” means desalination. We take the sea water and convert into drinking water. Our electricity is from solar and the generator. This has to be monitored. Luckily most days are sunny and the solar (don’t get Mike or Matthew started on our solar) is more than sufficient for our needs. However, a cloudy day means running the genset for power to the fridge and to keep the batteries topped off.

We also had the mundane chores; laundry, regular cleaning and upkeep, obtaining fuel in jerry cans to top off the tanks, provisions, making sure the dogs get enough exercise. You get the idea.

Besides boat chores, Matthew had school and we found a few fun things to do. We went to the Methodist Church on Sunday. There is the Ocean Hole and Caves, as well. We have met many new friends and reunited with a few we met previously. Journey, a crew we met in the Chesapeake last summer was standing outside the grocery store the other day when I was walking in. What a pleasant surprise! I also met a very sweet family that follows us on Instagram, as well as others. I love these moments!

Mike arrived home today and brought “treats” from home. The most exciting of these is Starlink! We have spoken with so many other cruisers, Venotlines included, that have been using Starlink. The wifi access available with Starlink is incomparable. We are looking forward to having access for weather and float plans as well as school, movie streaming and obviously keeping in touch with family and friends at home.

My man is home!

Eleuthera Means Freedom

We’ve been to Eleuthera a few times, now. We are reminded with each visit just what a special place it is to us.

Eleuthera was named Cigateo originally. It became Eleuthera when Puritan colonists arrived from Bermuda in 1648. They were known as the “Eleutheran Adventurers”. There’s a cave on Eleuthera called Preachers Cave. I’ve written about it before, I think. It was discovered by Captain Sayles of the Eleutheran Adventurers when their 2 ships wrecked at Devils Backbone. The 70 Puritans sought shelter in the huge cave and even carved a pulpit from stone. It still stands with a placard to mark it. Devils Backbone is a notorious chain of reefs. It has quite a reputation among sailors, therefore, caution and planning are required before proceeding through.

Pink sand beaches are something else Eleuthera is known for. Today, in fact, I collected some of this unique sand in an orange juice bottle. The color comes from microscopic coral insects known as Foraminifera. ( It’s really something to behold, looking closely at the tiny pink and red flecks in the sand. When the sea washed up it becomes especially bright. The most well known beaches on the island are Harbor Island in the north and working south you’ll find Surfers Beach, French Leave Beach, and Lighthouse Beach. There are smaller ones along the way, but these are the best known. Lighthouse Beach is probably the most beautiful beach we have ever set foot on. It is now owned by Disney, however. Our second favorite would therefore be French Leave Beach or what we call the Club Med beach, due to the Club Med Eleuthera ruins adjacent to the beach. You know how we love exploring ruins and anything with any history!

Governors Harbor is where we are currently anchored and where the French Leave/Club Med beach is nearest. Governor’s Harbor was settled in the mid 17th century, when the Adventures landed. It’s a lovely little town, with beautiful people. Last night we took in the Fish Fry, which is held every Friday night from 6-9pm. We had chicken and pork, because I feel they do it so well. Then there is a limbo compatition in the street. Matthew and Wyatt participated and we danced and watched and recorded.

We have been in the Bahamas for a month already! It’s so hard to believe it. This trip, we intend to make our way to a few islands we haven’t been to before. Mike will be flying home to work the 25th of March and returning the 31st. Matthew and I will be in Rock Sound while he’s gone. When he returns, we will cross over to Cat Island. We have several friends who claim this is their favorite of all the 700 Bahamian islands. I can’t wait to explore. From there we plan to go Conception which looks like the most beautiful place on earth! The Crooked and Acklins, Raggeds and Jumentos (we have been to Water Cay there) are also on the list. We may be really hopping island to island for March and April!

So, just to review; We checked in upon crossing the Gulf Stream at West End, Grand Bahama. From there, we made our way to the Abaco Islands. Abaco, you may remember, was hit hardest by Dorian in 2019. That, incidentally, was the last time we were there. Abaco has many points of interest, most notably is probably Hope Town and the lighthouse. It is the only remaining Fresnel, kerosene powered lighthouse in the world.

Also of note is that we began our Bahamas tour with our new pretend son, Preston, 23. We met Preston in Vero Beach, Florida. He was single handing his 27′ C&C, learning to sail as he went. We were happy to take him under our *very* parental wings, along with Ventolines. While buddy boating with us, we taught him to trim his sails, a little navigation, a little fishing and we fed him, alot. He has just left us this week and God willing will make landfall back in the US today. He formed a pretty tight bond with all of us, but especially Matthew and Wyatt. Jennifer and I were pretty torn up when he left- our mama hearts were very sad to let him go. It is easier knowing his own family was waiting for him and he will continue the dream. He is off to law school this fall and we will be staying in touch. He isn’t rid of us, yet!

Matthew and Wyatt continue their brother like relationship. They have been hunting lobster and spearing fish. Matthew isn’t the angler Wyatt is by a longshot, but he tries to be a good sport about it. They also use the dinghies like a teenager on land uses the car. From hauling trash (offering to take other boats trash as well) to shore, running to the grocery store, to introducing themselves to other boats that just might have a girl on board…..  They are definitely the social butterflies of the harbor!

Sapphire Blue Hole

We have also met new friends, Sean and Rhonda on SV Peace. They are a very sweet couple we look forward to spending a lot more time with this season.

Ok- that’s probably enough for now. Mike likes to discuss all the solar power we have on board and that we are gaining a reputation as a power plant (Preston charged his batteries on Voyager). So- look forward to a blog post on powering Voyager, coming soon.

The Queen’s Baths. The boys were the only souls brave enough to go down. And the moms weren’t impressed.


Observations from Mt Vernon

Let us begin by saying, “WOW”. As amateur history buffs, what took us so long to get here?

In 2008, we skipped Mt Vernon, but took in Monticello. These farms and homes are as different as the men who owned them. Where Monticello is beautiful and a mixture of styles with Jefferson’s own inventions and constant state of remodel throughout, Mt Vernon is elegant and maybe a little understated. While there are luxurious elements, expensive paint, fabrics and furniture, the rooms are relatively small and simply decorated. Washington believed in using good quality items, whether for his home or his appearance. He inherited the home from his half brother’s widow, Anne Washington. Initially the home was a typical eighteenth century 2 up, 2 down design. By the time all the renovations were complete, Mt Vernon boasted a ball room called “The New Room”, 2 parlors and 9 guest rooms. The only one of these guest rooms known for sure to have hosted someone of significance is the Lafeyette room. It is known only due to Lafeyette’s correspondence, in which he mentions his accommodations. It goes without saying, that many other important people stayed with the Washington family, but there is no record in which room anyone in particular stayed.

The farm is expansive. At one point, he owned 8000 acres. He was known as the best horseman of his age. The stables and farmyard at Mt Vernon reflect the pride he took in his animals. His 2 favorite horses were a grey called Blueskin and a chestnut called Nelson. Blueskin especially was known to be “bombproof”. They were heavy and stout horses that could easily carry Washington’s 6ft 2-inch frame. These 2 horses went to war with him and came home with him.

We took the regular tour of the home, which begins every 5 minutes. There are so many people, that this is necessary. There is an option for an in depth tour, given once a day and includes all rooms from the attic to the cellar. It’s $60 and although more than I’d normally pay for a house tour, was really tempted to do it this time. The tour we took was very rushed. Literally 5 minutes per room, maybe a question answered but probably not, generic information given then herded into the next room. I looked longingly into the stairway to the 3rd floor….both of them. I have questions. I want to feel the presence of the Washingtons. I want to hear the stories. I want to see the room that Martha retreated to on the 3rd floor after her husband passed away in their shared bed chamber.

Something that the Mt Vernon’s Ladies Association, owners of the estate, do well, is acknowledge and honor the enslaved who lived there. Their names are spoken and remembered. There is also a memorial to tribute them, near the tombs of the Washingtons. Graveyards and graves are also noted and marked. The enslaved butler, Frank Wills was the one who, when guests presented themselves, would determine if they were worthy of a visit with the family. He had that power. Also, of note is that Washington emancipated his slaves upon his death. There is considerable debate on why he waited until that time, but it was unusual to do it at all. In the end he followed his conscience.

OK- so I am enamored with Mt Vernon. I could go on for ages. I’ll leave it here and strongly recommend that if anyone has the opportunity to visit Mt Vernon, do it. You won’t be sorry. The general admission for the grounds is $28, there is a discount for military, first responders and medical personnel. The tour of the house is $6 more (I think).

One last thing I’ll mention is that if you are arriving by boat, it’s a unique situation. We had purchased our tickets online. We dingy’d to the wharf dock. There was not a dockmaster on site. There was no one monitoring our coming and going. We first went through the farmyard and I approached a worker there, asking if I needed to show our tickets anywhere. She said we did not, only when we went into the house. So, when it was time for the house, we got in line. No one looked at our tickets. When purchasing, I had also added the guidebook to my cart. I asked a worker on the front lawn where I would go to pick that up. She said I should have gotten in when coming in through the main entrance….. and therein lies the problem. So, we made our way backwards through the “do not enter” signs and got the guidebook. We then realized there was a museum we had missed by not coming in the usual way. We went back to the boat, had lunch and returned to the museum. We were there until closing and faced our next problem. The guests were being ushered out….through the exit to the parking lot. So, we asked a guard to let us out the door that would allow us to backtrack to the wharf. “No, we can’t do that, ” said in utter confusion. Apparently, our situation is unique, or the staff we were dealing with didn’t know it was possible to arrive by boat. The end result is we were escorted and driven to the wharf by armed guards and made sure we went to our boat. However, I’m still not convinced they ever checked the wharf again after that. I would have loved to sneak back into the mansion…. yes, I know, I’m sure I would have invited a lot more attention than that of an armed escort off the property.

Until next time,



Have you ever listened to someone tell a story and felt you were there? Have you been somewhere, a museum or exhibit and there were reenactors that were so good that you believed they were the character they are portraying in real life? I’ve had 2 of these experiences. Megan was living in Virginia Beach at the time, so we had reason to visit Virginia on more than one occasion. The first was in Colonial Williamsburg in 2007. We were in the Capitol and the reenactor was a woman. She was in period clothing, obviously and was very convincing in her part. There were many of us in the group, 30-40 at least and all ages. She proceeded around the room and telling us the story of the colonials gathering in this room to discuss and plan for the impending declaration for independence. She (I wish I knew her name) would stand behind individuals in the group and whisper in their ear what was said and that person would say it out loud. The entire group was quiet and respectful, it seemed we all understood the significance of what was being said and decided. Somehow, that short tour and her presentation has stuck with me and will forever.

The second time was a year later, at the Yorktown Battlefield. Mike, Sean, Megan and I were there for a tour. The guide this time was a national park ranger, and again I wish I could remember her name. She was in ranger garb, not dressed as a reenactor. We toured the battlefield, learning about various companies and what was happening at each, as well as what was going on “in town”. This included where Lord Cornwallis had his headquarters and where when things got tough, he hid in a *cave* or something like it. The exact area isn’t known, although there is a cave where the townspeople took shelter along the waterfront. Right. At one point at the edge of a field, the guide is telling us about the last night before the last battle. It was to be a full moon, thereby enough light for each side to see what the other was up to. Cornwallis’s men had thought to make a run across the York River to Glouster Point. A storm came up and foiled that plan. The guide proceeds to tell us how this was like a Weather Channel segment of “When Weather Changed History”. Not only was there no way for the British to make a run for the other side of the river, but the storm made it possible for the Americans and French to dig their fortifications and take redoubts 9 and 10 without notice. She was so animated in the telling, I had goosebumps! Again, I will never forget.

So, here we are back in the area. We aren’t making it back to Williamsburg, but for sure taking a better look at Yorktown. Anyone who has followed us for a minute knows we love history. More precisely we like all the old stuff. Old houses. Old buildings in general. Old tools and implements. Old boats. Old furniture and kitchen gadgets. How people used to live and their stories, especially.

While Colonial Williamsburg is a living history (town) museum, Yorktown is a presently lived in town. While Mike walked dogs (King can’t be trusted alone for very long, yet) Matthew and I attended the morning worship service at Grace Church. This church was established in 1697 and has had an active congregation since then. We thought it would be fun to visit, and it was. We met a lovely couple, Betsy and her husband (I really need to get better at name retention). They asked us the usual “where are you from” questions and we talked about dogs and hunting and living on a boat and the ever present “how did you get here from South Dakota?” I told them my story about Williamsburg and the battlefield, and they introduced me to a retired NPS ranger. She was very kind and said she was already retired in 2008 but loved to hear how the presentation had affected me.

We walked all over the small town and visited the American Revolution Museum and the Watermans Museum. On The Hill Gallery features local artists, we spent a bit of time there and made a purchase. It’s just the kind of place we like to shop. There are many little beaches and because it was a weekend, they were packed. The Ben and Jerry’s is a hit as well as a couple of other restaurants and a pub. We didn’t go into any of the other shops this time, but there were a few….. Mike dissuaded me from going into the bookstore. It

We took about a gazillion pictures, so here are many of them. The Schooner Alliance was here in 2008. We took a sunset cruise on it one night back then, so it was fun to see it sailing in the river where we were anchored.

Here’s a short glimpse of our sail out of Yorktown. Sailing with winds of 12-18 knots and making 5-6 knots. We just moved a little north to a new anchorage for better protection from storms blowing in. We will be gradually making our way to Washington DC by June 7th. Mike has 4 shifts scheduled in the ER in Pierre, so we thought that seemed like a good place to spend a few days at a marina and explore some more before he leaves and while he is away.


Long Time No Write

Well, hello there!

Where to begin….. Maybe with a statement of commitment to write more. The commitment is to myself, mind you. I kid you not, I think about writing *something* everyday. It is a sort of mind exercise, that I value. Sometimes I write in my journal. I write notes during my devotions and Bible study, have taken notes and journaled during my knee replacement recovery (more on that later).

Right. So, maybe a brief 2021 summary? When last I wrote, we were beginning 2021 with hopes and dreams and learning to navigate life at what was still a time of the ongoing pandemic. Last year was a decent one for us. Our sailing and cruising plans took a 180 degree turn, but it was GOOD!

We initially sailed down to St Marys, GA. We like the boat yard there and Mike has everything he needs there to take care of our old girl. We did some bigger projects, toured around and ended up going back to SD for a few months in the spring.

Then in June we decided to head north. We thought at first that we would sail the Chesapeake, then decided to keep going for Maine. Boy, are we happy we did that! That is territory that we will go back to. We had visited before, by land 11 years earlier and always wanted to go back. I think that’s the thing with Maine. Each visit leaves you longing for more time there.

The small fishing villages, islands that feel like they have been lost in time, ruins and national and state parks, hikes and trails, even the more “touristy” areas leave their mark. We found areas run by research partys where we learned about scallops and how they are harvested, another an Audubon camp on a nature preserve. Islands without habitation, beautiful rocky bays and beaches.

And then there’s the food. Lobstah, lobstah, lobstah! I am allergic to shellfish, but Mike and Matthew enjoyed it. Actually, Matthew isn’t the biggest fish of any kind fan, but he tried it. I discovered I can tolerate mollusks, while in Maine. So- scallops! I had my first scallops in Booth Bay, with an epipen in hand. Thank the Good Lord I didn’t need it, because I would have had a hard time not finishing my meal. YUM!

Then, there’s the people and history. We took so many walks and visited with many locals. We bought art and other crafts and just marveled at the trusting and friendly natured people we met. Truly incredible.

We had friends from SD visit towards the end of August. Rick and Dr Rachel Edelin are from Rapid City. We have known Rick for years in his life as a Pfizer rep. He and Mike had talked sailing (and any other outdoor activity) as we were planning our exodus. Mike had mutual patients with Dr Edelin, so knew her in more of a professional manner. None of us really knew how their visit would go, they were the first other than family to stay with us on board. I believe we were all pleasantly surprised with how well it went. We shared meals, hiked, kayaked, paddle boarded and talked til we were blue in the face. It was such an enjoyable time and we were blessed to have them.

We had several mishaps, as is always the case. Our centerboard decided to let itself down….twice. The first time we opted to haul out where we were to make sure we were good to continue. That was a mistake….the haul out was near disastrous as the boat was dropped unevenly in the sling. We got scraped up and lost our grill. The second time was as we were leaving NYC, we knew what it was and opted to keep going despite the horrible banging it was making. We tied it up in Hampton VA and kept going. We also had some “deck love” in NYC at the most rocky dock, ever. But, NYC was amazing, so we aren’t going to dwell on the scuffs. We developed a diesel tank leak in our midship tank. That was a near disaster for a minute. Then a water tank leak presented itself. Then, there was the BIGGIE. Our hull had shown delamination from our first haulout in 2019 and it was time to fix it. This, I think will be an entirely separate post. Mike has documented it well, so I thinking we will talk about it then. I feel like there were a few other more minor issues, but they escape me at present.

We also spent a few days in Montauk, NY, Onset, MA, Province Town, Cape Cod and Newport, RI. All places we would like to visit again. We missed Nantucket and Martha’s Vinyard and several other places. They are on the list, however.

For our last leg, from Myrtle Beach, SC to St Marys, GA our grandson Luc joined us for the first time on board. He had a really good time, and we look forward to having him again this year!

So- What’s in store for this year? Well, Mike has been working on the hull and other projects since we hauled out in November. He has been home for about 6 weeks since then. St Marys is his home away from home, for sure. What he has gotten done, on his own is quite astounding. He has repaired a 12-foot section of the hull. Stripped and prepped the entire boat for painting, among other, smaller projects. I went down for a week in January, then again in February when he was driving home. Once home, he built a new gorgeous wood helm seat (aka Erin’s booster seat) and a swim platform and dog step that will be mounted to the stern. While he was gone, I worked and prepared for my knee replacement surgery. It was put off once when I got covid 2 weeks before surgery was scheduled. So, I worked a little longer. Surgery was March 22 and I have been working hard at recovery since. Physical therapy is going well and I’m going to be given my walking (sailing) papers in a week or so. Mike has also picked up some shifts in the ED in Pierre, where he had worked for 8 years, pre-Voyager. They are, of course, happy to have him back here and there.

We plan to splash the end of May. We will initially go to St Augustine. We really like the town and are hoping Meg, Jon and Luc are able to visit while we are there. Mike will fly to SD to work a few shifts. When he gets back, we will head north. The Chesapeake is our destination for now. We have plans to be in Washington DC in July when Mike has to fly for work again. Other than that, nothing definite is on the dance card. Meg and Jon are expecting their second baby the end of August. So, we will be planning and deciding on whether to be back south before then or for me to fly home to be there when the baby comes. Stay tuned on that decision.

Until next time- Slainte’ Mhath

2021 Sailing Season… We’re Back!

Woohoo! Who else is excited to see 2021?

2020 was an odd and difficult year for many of us. While we are sure to have gotten off rather lightly, we still experienced some hardship. I struggled to find inspiration to write after we left the Bahamas. We have all been challenged to learn how to navigate the new normal and while we aren’t especially social people, we were challenged none the less.

Once we came back to the states and travelling up the East Coast, we got a feel for how social distancing worked and how to navigate it. We then secured Voyager for the hurricane season in New Bern North Carolina and drove back to South Dakota. The Hot Springs, SD hospital where Mike had worked in 2019 had been calling to see if he would come back, since March. So, he let them know he was finally on his way back and would be available shortly. The further west we drove, the more relaxed the restrictions seemed to be. I was overwhelmed when I stopped for ice in Rapid City as we were arriving home and I had to go to three locations to find it. Every store was packed and there were very few masks. Once home, we pretty much stayed there. There were a few trips to get groceries, and we had our small “bubble” of people. Our kids live on the same property. My parents have been pretty isolated, my brothers family, as well, so we felt comfortable with them. Lynn and the boys are very cautious because she is a solo provider at her vet clinic. These were the people we spent the summer with. We hiked, rode mt bikes, went canoeing, kayaking, had campfires and threw axes in the yard. I will never complain about the family time we had an abundance of this year!

In August our niece Helena went to New Bern with us and we sailed out to Ocracoke, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, for a week. This is where Blackbird’s pirate ship sank. This was a great time! There are golf carts to rent and historical places to visit. Pamlico Sound is a fantastic place to sail. Matthew and Helena played and explored on their own, as well. We tried all the ice cream and several places to eat. We would recommend a visit to Ocracoke to anyone, it was splendid!

As I mentioned earlier, Mike went right back to work. We were also still remodeling our barndominium. Matthew and I volunteered with Meals on Wheels and had a wonderful time delivering meals in Sturgis. So, time at home was full. I went back to work as well, in September. I am now recruiting for Lux Travel Nurse and took an 8 week assignment at Bennett County Hospital in Martin, SD. I hadn’t worked in a hospital setting in a few years and while initially nervous, found my footing and enjoyed the heck out of it. This is my favorite kind of nursing- small hospital- frontier medicine setting- never knowing what is coming in and relying on your skill and experience to get the job done. This facility has some amazing providers, ancillary and nursing staff. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with them again.

After spending Christmas at home and wrapping up our jobs, we headed back to Voyager December 26th. We stopped in Joplin, Missouri the first night and had a brief window visit with my Mamaw the next morning. I hope by the time we head back, we can have a real visit with hugs! Mike has received his first dose of covid vaccine and she will receive hers soon. Matthew actually got the virus in November and I hope to receive the vaccine soon, as well. I pray this will enable the visit to happen!

Right- so back to Voyager. The good and sturdy ship was mostly ready for us when we arrived. The sails needed to be put up, as well as the bimini, solar panels and cockpit enclosure. Organization of the cabin seemed a little more of a challenge, for some reason and took a little longer than expected. We arrived in New Bern at 0600 Monday the 28th. And despite what needed done, we were able to throw off the dock lines and headed out of the marina the evening of the 31st. We spent the first night on anchor just the other side of the bridge in New Bern. This was New Years Eve and we managed to stay up til midnight playing games and laughing together. Boy, were we happy to see 2021 in!

We have since made our way to Wrightsville Beach, NC. We anchored in the northern end of Adams Creek, then 2 nights in Moorehead City. Today, after the rain ends, we plan to go to shore for the first time in 5 days. We spent yesterday offshore, coming in just in time for the glorious sunset. We are very near the beach, now, so will take the dogs, and ourselves, for a good long walk. Matthew and I have been craving Chick fil-A, so we may order door dash.

We did have a change in crew. Our sweet boy, Falcon passed away in October from a gastric volvulus. He died suddenly despite Lynn spending hours trying to save him. We have been heartbroken as he left a huge 100# hole in our lives. In November Mike got us a German Shorthair Pointer puppy who Matthew named King Adora. Mike calls him Freckles, so now, he needs to grow into a rather large name, King Freckles Adora! He is super sweet and smart and we are loving his company. King is adjusting to the boat remarkable well and we have gotten creative in how to exercise a puppy on a 42 foot boat. He is obsessed with balls and playing fetch and doesn’t care how short the distance is we have to throw the ball, he will do it 100 times. He has also found the highest place to sit and overlook his kingdom and does this several times daily.

Katniss is still with us and acts much older than her 8 years. She has self sabotaged, getting into things she shouldn’t, had a scary bout with pancreatitis this fall, hunted hard and is now looking forward to several months of R&R.

I think that brings everyone up to date on the important stuff. We don’t have definite plans for this season. We have toyed with staying in Florida through March, then heading back to SD until July. I have wanted to sail out to the Dry Tortugas and Ft Jefferson for a long time and we could do that. We could then sail up to Maine for the end of summer and early fall. Right now, this is what we are leaning towards. Plans are written in the sand and change with the tide, however. As always, we are at Gods mercy and will go where and when he directs.

I will try to be better at the blog. Inspiration was lacking for the last several months and I’m now feeling it, again. If you have the inclination to pray for us, please do. The virus is still very much out there and will affect all our choices. As lockdowns and restrictions continue to happen we want to remain safe, keep others safe, not add to the burden of the healthcare system and be compliant. We most likely won’t be leaving the country as a result. As always, the future is unknown.

Leaving Long Island

Our last post was written at the beginning of the Bahamian Lockdown and curfew in the Bahamas.  In the last month we have met and seen people, namely sailors behave at their best and their worst.  We spent roughly a month at Thompson Bay.  We experienced other cruisers offer their assistance with our generator issue.  We helped a few others out with movies and medical advice.  We also made friends with other cruisers.  This was expected.  What we didn’t expect was how a few could become vicious, masked as helping and well meaning advice.

We listened daily as our self elected liaison instructed everyone on what was and was not acceptable.  How we were not allowed on shore and had a specific place to run dogs.  How we were not allowed off our boats, at all.  How protecting the locals was paramount, despite the fact none of us had put ourselves at risk, therefore could not put them at risk.  We witnessed the net controller and liaison and other self appointed cruisers approach 2 boats that came in for fuel.  They verbally attacked one boat who, when answering their interrogation, gave too much information.  Rather than just answering where they had most recently been, gave a 3 month run down, which somehow made their coming from an uninhabited island sound like they had been running amok and dragging the corona virus around with them.   Due to this very public radio conversation, the fuel dock would not sell them 5 gallons of gasoline.  This was the most hostile and unwelcoming thing we had ever experienced!  They had announced they were on their way to Puerto Rico, under the lockdown, completely within reason.  We had recently had friends who had arrived in PR and were forced to move on to the USVI.  Mike wanted to share this information with them, but didn’t want to have the “gestapo” listening.  We asked them to stop by our boat on their way back from the fuel dock so we could give them information regarding their plans  for PR.  When they came by, we knew we were being watched by the rest of the anchorage, they told us they were unable to get fuel.  We shared what we knew about PR and Mike offered to go get their gas for them.  We, although far too social for the anchorage, had been there and permitted to dock for gasoline.  The procedure is to call on the radio when one arrives and the attendants come to the dock, get your can, fill it, then bring it back.  The only problem being that they didn’t always hear the call.  That happened twice that day.  So, he walked up to the store.  They reminded him of the rules and he reminded them they weren’t answering the radio so that he could.  It was all becoming very frustrating.

All this time, the net controllers came on daily and told everyone to stay put.  There was one boat, between lockdowns that said he was leaving.  He was ridiculed to a certain degree and told that they hoped he got home safely despite the order not to move.  It was all very nerve wracking.  We felt to some degree we were held hostage.  They were feeding on fear and exaggerating the Prime Ministers orders.  Mike would call the store when we were able to shop.  He would ask if they preferred us to use the 1 local woman who was shopping for a fee, thereby placing orders or to just come in.  They were so nice and encouraged us to just come in.  Then the  net controllers would say, “NO! absolutely no one on shore!”  Well, we decided Mike would do what those on shore asked us to.  He went to shore and got groceries.  There was a 2 day period between the last lockdowns while we were there.

On Saturday, the boat that was denied fuel decided to move on and make their passage to the USVI.  It was a lockdown day.  When they were sailing out, the net controller, her sidekick and another captain yelled, yes yelled, that the boat couldn’t leave.  They demanded to know where they were going and why.  The captain explained they realized the rules and orders and that as captain he had decided to take advantage of the favorable wind and make his move.  We were able to be in contact with them off the radio.  They shut off their radio to the abuse and shut off their AIS which makes them visible to other boats.  We proceeded to listen to these supposedly well meaning people yell and discuss how angry they were at this boat, debating where they were going and why they were leaving their dingy down, therefore coming to the conclusion they were only pleasure cruising and not seriously sailing.  They came to all kinds of conclusions and assumptions and then announced they were calling law enforcement to report them!  Then, they announced that law enforcement would call the Royal Bahamian Defense Force.  We were flabbergasted!  These are cruisers.  They are the ones that are supposed to stick together!  How could this possibly be happening???  Those of us that were upset and opposed to this behavior were conversing privately and we were warning the outgoing yacht.  They were appalled!  It was so over the top.  We received word the next day that they were about to cross from Crooked Island and no one had approached them since leaving our harbor.  We were relieved for them.

Three days later there were 6 boats that left the anchorage.  Voyager and Ventolines had welcomed a third boat into our buddy boat club and Jeff tagged us the Lockdown Leavers of Long Island.  We were feeling super stealthy and like rebels, even though we followed all the rules and left after the lockdown lifted.  The curfew was still in place.

We made it 70 miles that first day, getting as far away as we possibly could.  We were trying to digest how this lovely island, with people on shore who were so welcoming and we loved our 2 days on shore so much, could leave such a sour taste.  We spoke with one of the other boats that had left at the same time and he was also feeling the same things.  He said he and his wife were dumbstruck at the behavior that Saturday morning.  It felt good to know we weren’t alone.

Since then, we stopped at 3 other settlements and 6 anchorages.  In all this time, no one has accosted us on the radio coming or going.  No one has made us feel unwelcome.  No one has threatened to call law enforcement.  We were in Nassau one night and left during lockdown.  We listened to the RBDF speak with a sailboat that was anchored, asking why they were there when they had given a float plan indicating they were leaving.  The Capt explained that for weather reasons they had decided to stay and had given that information to harbor control.  The RBDF said it also needed to be given to them or port authority, but it was fine, now they knew.  It was all a very civil and not at all a threatening conversation.  Nothing like the so-called liaison in Long Island.  When we came into our present anchorage at Great Harbor we were haled by another boat.  He was looking for anyone who may be making the crossing back to Florida when he is.  This is the kind of people we are used to.  This is what we expect when we talk to one another.  Support, sharing of expertise, helping one another.  It is such a relief to be out of that toxic place.  While there, it was hard to separate the truth of the orders from the interpretation of those blasting from the radio.  It was something like being in an abusive relationship.  The reality was we could leave at any time, but the abusers pretended they could stop us.

I can count on one hand the number of times Matthew, the dogs and I have been off the boat in a little over a month.   This includes sitting on the little boat, Meg,  watching from the water as the dogs go potty and run on an empty beach that I can’t set foot on.  I need a walk.  I need some solitude and alone time.  Voyager is roughly 450 square feet of living space.  Normally in the evening we separate and enjoy our own space ie; the 2 separate cabins and the living room.  This isn’t enough lately!  There are 3 adult sized people and 2 adult sized dogs.  The things one plans for when moving onto a boat is: weather, float plans, where to be to avoid weather, where to go to shore, where to get groceries, where the dogs can run etc.  You don’t expect to be locked down on your boat for indefinite periods.  You’re basically living outside, but you can’t go for a walk.  You can’t just open the door to let your dogs get exercise in the yard.  This has been eye opening.  I doubt we will ever face this sort of thing again.  There are challenges on land and there are challenges at sea, no one could have foreseen this one.

Social Distancing- Corona Virus 2020

Corona Virus.  Covid-19.  Social distancing.  Quarantine.  24-7 lockdown.  Essential workers.  These are the terms most heard today.  No matter where you are, you are dealing with it in some way.

Generation Xers, like me have been in training for this our whole lives!  Mike who loves to have “spare” everything is in his element!

We are currently in Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas.  The weather is lovely; high 70’s low 80’s for the day time temps and the nights cool to the low 70’s.  The wind has been blowing like crazy, but we aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere, for now.   Too bad Mike did not have time to install a wind generator on the boat.

The current order from the Prime Minister says we will remain on our boats (or homes), only going to shore for groceries, the clinic, bank or drug store, fuel or for no more than 90 minutes of outdoor exercise.  Because the local enforcers have the power to interpret the order as they deem necessary, we plan to stay put for awhile.  Many would argue we can sail between islands or at least to different parts of the current Island.  Several have headed home, wherever that may be.   

Being on a sailboat is the ideal situation for this circumstance.  Most sailors will have provisioned for weeks, if not months off the grid.  We still have supplies from our last cruising season, ie: toilet paper.  Mike is an uber provisioner (he prefers prepper) and right now, I’m grateful for that.  Our current food supplies would most likely last more than 6 months without rationing.  We have been shopping for fresh produce (and junk food) weekly, but are very well supplied with canned and dry goods.  Mike began making yogurt and bakes our bread.  We started out with 300 lbs of dog food, which would hopefully last until June.  We make our own water.  The sun supplies most of our electricity needs.  We have learned to be very conservative when it comes to water and electricity usage, but that is just typical liveaboard behavior.

You may remember a few weeks ago, our big diesel Onan generator began making lower then the required Voltage.  Friends on Sea Paws loaned us a portable generator until we got to Georgetown.  There, with no easy solution for the Onan in sight, we bought a small gas generator.  This was an unforeseen expense, but with our huge fridge/ freezer full of frozen meat, cheese, milk, etc it had to be done.  The generator is necessary for the refrigerator, but also the water maker.  Matthew would argue the most important electricity need is for his PS4.

Right- our time on shore has been drastically reduced at least until the 31st.  That’s the current order as of last night.  So, just what are we doing?  We will still take dogs to shore, but maybe for shorter periods of times and we will be extra careful to isolate.  Matthew is pounding through his school work and we are taking extra time for projects in science and English writing assignments.  I try to take laundry to shore, when facilities are available.  I don’t mind paying to have it done when that service is available, usually a local woman at the laundry.  However, I’m doing bucket laundry presently.  It works, but that’s all I’m going to say.  We are reading together as a family, swimming off the boat and of course, boat projects. Never ending boat projects.  Mike has shared movies with others in the anchorage and saved a few people clinic visits.  Last night we rafted up with another dinghy for a few minutes to share the latest news.  Two other men offered to help Mike trouble shoot the Onan.  We stay in touch within the anchorage with the VHF radio and texting as well as Facebook.  Ventolines is nearby and because we have been with them for over a month now and our numbers are less than 10,  we continue to get together with them, sharing meals and letting the boys play.  

The Bahamian people that we have encountered have all been kind, calm and appearing to take this in stride.  When one considers that the country, as a whole, is very poor, it seems like being told to close their businesses would create havoc.  These are sturdy people.  The businesses are small, family owned, not franchised (except in Nassau and maybe Freeport).  Bahamians are used to getting by with little.  Every year they take the chance that a hurricane will destroy the little they do have.  They will tell you the government is corrupt.  For example the 12% Vat isn’t building new schools or paying teachers or building roads.  They rely on international tourists to provide their income.  They sell their goods or services.  Artisans sit on their porches weaving baskets or carving wood to sell, baking bread, making conch salad or frozen drinks.  These are the things we observe and learn from each island visit.  The stores are well stocked.  The liquor stores, bars and restaurants were the first to close- take out only from the restaurants.  And you know what we haven’t seen?  Panic buying, hostility, defiance of the PM’s order to stay home, defiance of being ordered to close up their shops and anger towards the tourists who will eventually bring the virus in.

These are strange and uncertain times and we are all trying to do our part to keep each other and ourselves safe.  We worry about our families at home and if they will be able to remain healthy.  The big kids are all still going to work.  My parents, although mostly at home, still need to get groceries.  Rather than being fearful, we are relying on our faith to keep us levelheaded.  Here are a couple verses from today’s devotions:

Psalm 138:7-8

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.  You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.  8 The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands. 

Abandoned marina
Effects of Hurricane Joaquin 2015
Adderly Plantation c.1790
Adderley Plantation c. 1790
The dock ruins. Obviously the sea bed has changed since the late 18th century- there could never be a port there, now.
Mike found a machete and put it to good use. He harvested some tamarind and took a few leaves for medicinal use.
Columbus Monument
Columbus landed here in 1492- this is one of 3 islands his ships landed at.
This blue hole is the deepest in the word at 600 + feet. There have been deaths here due to the underwater currents that can pull a diver to it’s depths.
So many old churches all over the Bahamas
Bucket Laundry with the Wonder Wand
Fish carved from Tamarind wood by RJ on Little Farmers Cary
The support crew
Social distancing