Lionheart Cruise:  Bahamas 2008

Relaxing at the Sheppard's dock again!

The view from the cemetery in Alice Town, Bimini

Sherry's Palapa Bar where the cruisers and other tourists meet for drinks, conch salad, conch fritters, and the glorious view of sunset.

It was a sunny day, with very flat conditions when we crossed from the Berry Islands to Nassau.  The Captain fished and caught several beautiful Dorado.

 

Nassau Harbor lighthouse with Atlantis to the left and cruise ships to the right.

The government buildings in downtown Nassau on a lovely tropical day.

 Presenting Mr. & Mrs. Michael Mayne, March 1, 2008

C.T. nabs a Second Place Trophy in the Poly Soap Box Derby 2008

Bob and Laurie in Nassau Harbor with Atlantis in the background.

Iguanas on the beach in Allens Cay, Exuma Islands

Up close and personal....isn't he cute?

Photos just never really do justice to the many beautiful shades of blue in the waters of the Bahama Islands.

Paula and Phil from Tramp

Lisa and Dennis from Lady Galadriel

Looking over the marina at Sampson Cay from the highest point on the island.  Many big yachts to be seen in this fantastic spot.

Magellan (the cat formerly known as Nikolas) loved exploring the rich vegetation at the Sampson Cay Marina.  Hiding in the rocks and rolling around in the dirt were among his favorite activities.

The Huntress, one of the 100 largest yachts in the USA.  Owned by some nice people who live in Orange County.

While we are yet to see pigs fly, we did see swimming pigs!  These guys want food and will jump in your dingy if you let them.

The Conch Salad Man on Volleyball Beach, Georgetown

Local school boy choir entertaining at the People to People Tea in Georgetown.  What a hoot!

Girls dance troop doing the colorful and fast moving Bahamian dances.

Black Point residents weaving palm fronds into long rolls of matting material which will be used in many native craft items.

Cape Eleuthera....another beautiful beach in paradise.

A picnic on the beach at Broken Rock, Great Abaco Island, and an afternoon of sea glass gathering with the Michigan Van Gemerts.

Our last sunset in the Bahamas, April 19, 2008.

The Club House at Jekyll Island Resort.

Jim & Jo Ann on Longhaul took us to visit the Lighthouse on St. Simon Island, GA.

 

 

             HOME

 

Lionheart departed Brunswick Landing, Georgia, on January 28, 2008, at 6:30 AM.  The sun rising at 7:15 over the Atlantic Ocean was a beautiful sight.  We traveled 28 hours (over night) down to Cape Canaveral.  During the day we saw Right Whales, had a problem with the 5KW generator, and talked with our buddy boat Beso.  The moon that night was in and out of the clouds but allowed us to see quite well .  We passed the NASA installation at the Kennedy Space Center about 8:00 AM on the 29th, seeing it for the first time from the ocean side.  Pulled into the dock at the Cape Marina in the middle of the morning.  The day was spent cleaning the boat and working on the generator again.  The next morning we went through the Canaveral Lock,  passed into the ICW,  turned south and proceeded to Vero Beach.  We took a mooring at the municipal marina and caught the free bus into town for shopping, lunch and a general look around.  On February 1, we waved farewell to Beso and headed south to Lake Worth to anchor and await the arrival of Sistie and Jerry Sheppard back at their house in Pompano Beach. 

On Sunday, Feb 3, Lionheart pulled up to the Sheppard's dock once again and shared a great 4 days with our "Closet" Looper buddies.  They drove us around to get cruising guides from the Blue Water Bookstore in Ft. Lauderdale.  Sistie took me to Sears to get herb plants for a new floating herb garden for Lionheart.  They had given us one the previous year and we had very much enjoyed our fresh herbs all winter.  We did some other shopping, lunching and, of course, evening food fests as only "foodies" can appreciate.  We also received word that a wonderful lady and mother of a dear friend, Marge Klein, had passed away.  Marge RIP.

On February 7, it was time to head to the islands.  Nick was terribly unhappy with this departure.  He started pacing and trying to get off the boat as our goodbyes were said to the Sheppards.  When the Captain fired up the engines he just sat down and tossed his breakfast right on the saloon floor!  Then he laid himself down and became catatonic until we arrived in Bimini in the late afternoon.  It was a very smooth crossing to Alice Town on Bimini, the island made famous by Ernest Hemmingway.  After docking at Weech's Marina, the Captain went to the government offices to "check in" to the Bahamas and pay our $300 cruising fee for the year.  Weech's is right down the town quay from the Big Game Resort and Marina where Hemmingway brought his fishing boat and drank whatever he drank.  This is also where a Colorado governor made a poor choice by going fishing on Monkey Business 30 years ago.  Not much has changed since the days of Hemmingway except the hurricanes have wiped out several of the old hotels that were featured in his book Islands in the Stream.  There is a new resort under construction on the north end of the island.  It is very beautiful and very large.  The condos and single family homes are built in the Bahamian style with wide porches, shuttered windows, pitched tin roofs, and bright colors.  There is a very large marina with very few boats at the dock, a beautiful white sand beach, swimming pool and kids camp.  However, the golf course that was part of the original deal to build the resort has been put on hold by the Bahamian government.  I can't imagine that the early buyers are thrilled with that news.  We saw the same type of development last year all over the Abacos.  What we also noted is that while some of them are complete, most have stopped construction before the major amenities like pools and golf courses were added.  Still, some of the most beautiful resorts in the world are in this part of the world.  It is very close to the US but offers blue water vistas and a laid back atmosphere that is simply not available in the States, not even on the barrier islands.

Spending a week in Bimini gave us plenty of time to tour the island in a golf cart, bicycle, and on foot.  We spent several happy hours at Sherry's Sunset Bar.  It is a wooden palapa on the highest part of the island.  It is on the beach facing the west.  Unless it's cloudy, sunset is a view worth enjoying.  Sherry also makes the best conch salad I have ever had.  I was pretty much "conched out" after the Caribbean but her rendition of this dish reinvigorated my interest in this example of Bahamian cuisine.  Since Sherry's was a short walk from the dock, we visited several times.  A big windstorm kept us on board for about 2 days while it blew through.  It was rockin' and rollin' at the dock.  It was blowing so hard, it blew my contacts out of my eyes.  We also met other cruising boaters who were stuck at the dock.  One particularly interesting vessel was a ferrous cement sailboat named Oasis.  Oasis was not pretty because the builder obviously couldn't decide on whether it would be a sailboat or a motorboat until late in the building process.  And then there was the matter of the plywood deck house and the rivulets of rust on the hull.  Before she came to the dock, she was aground out in Bimini Bay which gets real shallow at low tide or in a big blow.  Unfortunately, there will be more on Oasis later in this report.  While in Bimini, we were able to buy some very nice lobster tails at a very good price.  Eating out in Bimini at the tourist restaurants looked pretty pricey and pretty dull, so we stuck to Sherry's or the Pilot House Cafe on Lionheart.

On February 15, we crossed to Chub Cay (pronounced KEY) and stopped at the Chub Cay marina.  This is yet another development that is really very nice but not quite complete.  We had planned to anchor out but the wind direction was not favorable for the anchorage so we went to the marina.  Right across the dock from us was a big blue sailboat named Tango.  Boating is a small world:  We knew Tango when she was being built in Philbrooks Boat Yard in Canada.  The owner of Tango was not completely happy with the design he had wrought so he sold Tango and built Foxtrot.  Now Tango is living in the Bahamas and, as of 2002 Foxtrot was at the dock in Canada where she was built.  Also in Chub Cay was the 94-foot Sunseeker, Marigar.  This is the boat on which our former Canadian crew member, Liz, used to work.  We also met another DeFever named Miss Grace.  They were in their first season of fulltime cruising.  Unfortunately, we never hooked up with them again, at least so far.

On February 16, we arrived in Nassau Harbor and took a place in the harbor anchorage.  From this central spot one could see the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, the cruise ship dock in downtown Nassau, and the quay that runs along the entire length of Bay Street in downtown Nassau.   The island ferry terminal was close by, as was the tourist boat ride terminal.  We had a front row seat for all the "Booze & Beach" tour boats, the 12-meter sailboat adventure cruise, and the harbor tour boats as well.  This was convenient in that we got to hear the tour information from the guides using loud microphones without having to take yet another boat ride! 

There were lots of things to do in Nassau, however, e-mailing was not one of them.  For some reason our ISP would not send mail from Nassau so we had to use our single side band radio which limits the size and use of e-mail.  Also, our Verizon cell phones don't work in the Bahamas.  Not being in touch with family and friends was a hardship for moi.  I made up for it with much touring around and gawking at the amazing Atlantis and the huge yachts docked in their very private marina.  On a number of occasions we took our dingy into Atlantis Marina where we tied up and went sight seeing.  The resort is based on the Lost City of Atlantis theme and it is indeed beautiful.  There is an aquarium in the lobby which features manta rays and other beautiful fish of the Bahamas.  There is a swim with the dolphins pool, swimming pools, beaches, casino, spa, and the requisite designer shopping mall.  There are 4 fabulous glass sculptures in the casino.  The rest of the "sculpture" is from Disneyland I think.  They have a Bobby Flay restaurant, a Nobu, a Carmines and a Nathan's, as well as an ice cream shop where you can get a triple cone for $9.  Transient boat slips range from $4/foot to $7.50/foot per day, depending on location!  The Captain required resuscitation after getting this news.  Hence, the dingy trips in for lunch and photography.  We saw several of the worlds largest yachts sitting at the dock at Atlantis, kept gleaming to perfection by their fulltime crews.  One of the yachts was so big, it's tender (dingy) had a fulltime crew!

From the ridiculous to the sublime:  We took the local bus out to Cable Beach which is the old resort area of Nassau.  It costs $2 each when you get off.  So, we got on in town and rode all the way to the end and back and saw it all.....$4 total.  Downtown is the old colonial styled government buildings made recently famous by the Anna Nicole case which played out right there in Nassau in 2007.  While hoofing it downtown on Bay Street to find the official rum cake of the Bahamas one can watch the Dole pineapple boats unload, the cruise ship tourists taking horse drawn buggy rides, and the starched uniformed Bahamian police keeping order.  One needs to be sure to stay well out of the way of all the drivers in the road!  The rum cake was worth the effort.  It cost $40 at the Atlantis gift shop but at the bakery, which you could smell a mile away, it was only $14.  Several visits were made to make sure we had taste tested all varieties.  I think chocolate was the final winner but I have to say I loved them all.

While enjoying one of our afternoons out, that old cement boat, Oasis, slipped into the harbor and anchored way too close to Lionheart.  The Captain, uncharacteristically, let that slide without a word to the Captain of Oasis.  I told him, "there goes the neighborhood."  The very next day, we returned to Lionheart after lunch at Nathan's to find the tide and the current playing havoc with the anchorage.  Within a few minutes, Oasis was drifting our way and her crew was not on board.   She drifted down on us and we could not fend off her 40 tons.  RVG got in the dingy and drove it against Oasis.  Pretty soon some other Captains from other anchored boats came tearing over in their dingys to help drive her off.  In the end, she did hit us and put a small gouge in Lionheart and a large dent in the Captains philosophical reserves.  We moved our boat and gave the Oasis Captain a good piece of the Lionheart Captain's mind.  Actually, Oasis made a small cash restitution and apologized for the incident.  They left the anchorage the next day and we have not seen them since which is a good thing.

On February 27, I flew from Nassau to Los Angeles (the captain had to cat and boat sit) to attend the wedding of Michael Mayne and Heidi Asimus, 2 young people I have know since before they were born.  Meaning, I knew their parents while we were all at USC in the 60's and 70's.  They credit me with introducing them when they were students at USC in the 90's.  Michael now works as a fund raiser at the USC School of Medicine and Heidi is an event planner.  Their wedding was at the Korakia Pension in Palm Springs and believe me, it was an event to remember.  It was wonderful to see so many family and old friends on this momentous occasion.  My best friend and first sister-in-law, Joanne, is the mother of the groom and Marge Klein (mentioned above) was his grandma.  I am happy to take credit for the introduction that led to this wonderful union.....Best wishes to Heidi and Mike for a wonderful rest of your life.  We love you!

While home I did get to see my grandkids and their parents for a much needed "family fix".  They are all doing well and managing to stay busy.  Jillian and Zack at 18 months and 4 years respectively, are growing so fast that I feel like I am missing out on important mile stones.  Charles Thomas and Riley are so busy with school, Scouts, music lessons, sports, etc., that I know I have missed lots of high spots.  However, it's the price Grandma pays for all the wonderful new places and people that have filled up the past 30 months of the Big Adventure.  When I do get back to California, I will enjoy all their special times with them.  I certainly will appreciate the opportunity!

I returned to Nassau on March 5.  Flights both ways were fraught with delays.  Since my cell phone was temporarily disconnected, I just had to deal with changing schedules like we used to do......you'll know I'm there when you see the whites of my eyes.  My flight arrived late and I was anticipating meeting Bob and Laurie Van Gemert, who were flying to Nassau for a week on Lionheart.  I knew their flight was delayed through an early morning phone call while I was still in CA.  I waited for the next 2 incoming flights, then gave up and took a taxi back to the Nassau Harbor Club where the Captain was wondering what had happened to me.  Bob and Laurie arrived about an hour later.  We had a great week, touring Nassau and going out to anchor at Rose Island which is about 5 miles outside of Nassau harbor.  In fact, you can see the high rise profile of Atlantis from the anchorage.  We had planned on heading to Eleuthera for the week but the winds were strong and the seas were uninviting.  Rose Island was actually very much like all the islands we visited later and did provide snorkeling and an out-of-town environment.  As Bob and Laurie prepared to depart on March 12, we received word that Marion Van Gemert had fallen and broken her hip and shoulder.  They arrived back in Colorado just hours after her surgery.  Unfortunately, this accident proved to be too much for our 94-year old Mom to overcome and she passed away on April 4.  Mom Van Gemert RIP.  She was a wonderful lady and will be sorely missed by her family.

We left Nassau on March 12, traveling south to Allens Cay in the Exuma Islands.  It was a beautiful day to cross a deep body of water called The Tongue of the Ocean to the Exuma Banks.  Allens Cay is just north of the Cays which make up the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park which is operated by the Bahamas National Trust. It is locally famous for the many iguanas living there.  Actually, it is part of one of the beach tours one can take from Nassau which is 50 miles away.  Less than an hour in a roaring cigarette boat.  They roar into the anchorage and let the tourists walk with the iguanas for about 10 minutes and then roar off to the next attraction.

In the Sea Park you can snorkel and dive but you cannot fish.  However, since Allens Cay is not in the park, fishing is permitted.  We met several cruising boats  in the anchorage where we stayed for a week while the wind blew.  Since we were all trapped in the same paradise, we started meeting for cocktails each evening with Bold Endeavor (New Zealanders on a sailboat), Lady Galadriel (Californians on a sailboat), Tramp (New Englanders on a GB 46), and Fantasy Island (Floridians on a sailboat).  Dennis and Lisa on Lady Galadriel went out snorkeling on days when the wind allowed that activity and brought back lobster which they shared.  Occasionally, transiting boats would come in out of the wind and try to anchor in what was already a crowded, wind effected, and current effected anchorage.  After one sleepless night of boats dragging and resetting anchors, Lionheart's Captain decided to inform all newcomers of where was a good place to anchor and where not to do so.  He became known to the happy hour crowd as the "Harbormaster."  His advice did make for less active nights for all concerned.  One gouge in Nassau was enough for him.

On March 21, we moved south to Warderick Wells Cay which is in the Sea and Land Park.  The beautiful clear water was delightful.  Transiting the area required close attention to channels and depths because the water is skinny around the Cays.  We saw another California boat in this mooring field.  Distant Drum is a big sailboat from Seal Beach.  The next day we moved south to Cambridge Cay.  While picking up the mooring in this fabulous lagoon, we lost a pole used for retrieving stuff that falls in the water.  The Captain also lost most of the skin on his left arm trying to not lose the pole.  This rather large open wound kept the him out of the water until it healed.  I was able to find the pole while snorkeling and we were able to retrieve it 2 days later.  The wind once again kept us stationary for 4 days.  Our friends on Tramp were anchored next to us, so we continued to enjoy company in the evening.  On March 26, we traveled a few miles further south, out of the Sea and Land Park, to Sampson Cay which has a beautiful anchorage and a beautiful marina.  We opted for the marina so that I could do the laundry.  The marina and surrounding resort bungalows were really lovely.  Again, it's just hard to describe how beautiful the water is when you look out to the horizon.  The wild vegetation on the dunes is also just a delight to behold but usually bug infested!  We were docked next to a Nordhaven 65, Exodus, and enjoyed meeting Captain Arnie and Crew Susan.  Susan is from California so we shared our stories of coming through the Panama Canal and getting to the east coast.  In her case, she left California with her husband, and then left her husband at the Panama Canal.  She loved the cruising but not the Captain.  She has changed Captains and enjoys bicoastal cruising.  Exodus is based on the east coast.  Exodus Too, a GB 42, is based in San Diego, where they spend their summers.  We encouraged them to take Exodus Too to the northwest.  Perhaps we will catch up with them when we return to the west coast.

When we left Sampson Cay we passed The Huntress, a 180 foot yacht owned by a couple I met through my work at USC and SCR.  She is a magnificent vessel, but way too big to get into Sampson Cay.  We saw her later down in Georgetown Harbor.  We headed for Big Major Cay which is adjacent to Staniel Cay.  Big Major Cay is famous for its swimming pigs and Staniel Cay is home to Thunderball Cave where the James Bond flick, Thunderball, was filmed.  Again, beautiful water, beautiful beach, however, you add swimming pigs and a bunch of cruisers and you have yet another unique adventure in paradise.  There were about 50 boats anchored in the lee of the cay, including a boat named Summer of '42 which we had last seen in January in the ICW heading south to Florida.  While at Great Major, we took the dingy into town in Staniel Cay to buy fresh veggies and fruit.  The Captain had to be revived yet again when a few onions, potatoes, bananas, M&M's and a couple of other items came to $46.  Yes you could actually get everything into a canvas ice bag and have room left over!  The reason everything is so expensive in the Bahamas is that it is all imported.  There is no agriculture on the islands and no manufacturing, except for basket weaving.  And, there is no income tax.  Tourism is the main source of income.  In a place like Staniel Cay, the tourists mainly come from cruising boats.  There are a couple of resorts but not the kind that bring major numbers of people to the area.  There are also some vacation homes and a cottage rental business.  However, this is a remote destination and the locals have a simple life in a beautiful setting, and their food is expensive!  After a sunset beach party with the other cruisers (held on a beach where the pigs do not roam) we moved south to Galiot Cay on the 28th, and on to Georgetown on Great Exuma Island on March 29.

Georgetown is a major cruiser destination.  As many as 500 cruising boats mainly from the US and Canada anchor in the harbor for the months of November, December, January, February and March.  They have many activities organized by the cruiser regulars.  Volleyball beach is the site of daily volleyball, exercise classes, yoga, bridge, and a lot of sitting around enjoying the company of others at the Chat & Chill Beach Bar and the Conch salad man's little palapa.  The whole scene is like the Marsh Harbor Yacht Club experience we had last year in the Abacos.  However, by the time we arrived, more than half of the cruisers had left to go either south or north for the summer.  We anchored in the area called Monument beach, off of Stocking Island, across the harbor from the town proper.  The Peace and Plenty Hotel, which is located in the town, has a beach bar on this beach.  There is also access to trails that take you to the beach side of Stocking Island where one can walk for miles enjoying the beautiful water and the surf breaking on the reefs off shore.  It was very windy for the week we were there, making a dingy ride to town a very wet affair.  We spent time with our new friends on Exodus and Fantasy Island and had a great time hanging out.  A special treat came on April 4, when were invited to a People to People "Tea" sponsored by the Tourist Council with the purpose of introducing cruisers and vacation home owners to the arts and culture of the Bahamians.  First, there was the dingy ride to town.  We arrived pretty much soaked.  Then there was the hour long bus ride to the site of the event at a beautiful spot called Three Sisters Resort.  The Three Sisters are 3 rocks just a bit off shore.  Very picturesque.  The resort is a small establishment on yet another beautiful beach.  During the bus ride to the event, we stopped and picked up a bunch of school boys, ages 8-12, who were to be part of the day's entertainment.  In fact, they were the boys choir from the school in the area.  Cute kids and very well mannered.  The "Tea" was Bahamian tea and Bahamian pastries which were quite tasty.  Artists exhibited their wares of paintings, raffia weavings, clothing and bead jewelry.  I really wanted to support the cause but just don't have room on the boat for extra items that are not an integral part of boat life.  After the boys sang and danced (choosing ladies in the audience to participate!), there was a troop of girls aged 6-12 who performed native Bahamian dances.  Then there was the bus ride back to town which went all over the area delivering the kids and some of the Tourist Bureau workers back to their homes.  We had a great time and we learned a lot about the way the Bahamians live and play, and where they live as well.  An enlightening afternoon that we enjoyed very much.

April 6, was the beginning of our return journey north.  Our first stop was  Emerald Bay Marina on Great Exuma.  Staying for 2 days, we had a lovely farewell dinner with Exodus and Total Return.  Then we day hopped northward to the Abaco Islands.  April 8th was spent at Black Point which is famous with cruisers for coconut bread.  Black Point is a small settlement of about 200 residents and looks very much like the small settlements along the beaches in Baja or the Sea of Cortez.  There is a Batelco office (Bahamian phone company), a small store, 2 small restaurants, a school of about 50 children (K-12) in several multi-grade classrooms, and a government office building at the town dock.  It's a small place but a popular cruiser destination.  We walked into town to make phone calls and get coconut bread.   We stopped and watched the locals who were sitting under shade trees weaving palm into woven strips that are used to make mats, totes, hats, and many other items which we had seen in the "straw markets" in all the larger towns.  Anyway, the coconut bread was excellent for French toast.

Our first stop on Eleuthera was at the Cape Eleuthera Marina.  Another resort in the making.  However, it does have one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen, and I have seen many as you, my trusty reader, know!  No kidding, this one is a smooth half moon shape, facing west, with palm trees and a row of chaises.......but there is no one there!  It must be the beach they used in the Corona beer commercial.  We were the only boat in the marina.  The power went out in the middle of the night so we had to start our generator to keep the refrigerator and AC running.  So much for going to the dock for power!  The next day was spent cruising just off Eleuthera and anchoring in Alabaster Bay (the only boat there).  Some local fisherman came out to the boat and sold us stone crab claws.  They were big and delicious and a whole new food item for us.  On April 12, we crossed from Eleuthera to Marsh Harbor and were back in the Abaco Islands where we spent 2 months in 2007.  The harbor was full of cruisers waiting for a weather window to head north.  We did not see any familiar boats and figured our Marsh Harbor Yacht Club friends had all gone home for the summer.  Fortunately, Bob and Marne Van Gemert, whom we had visited in Michigan in 2006, have retired and were in residence at their vacation villa on Treasure Cay.  We went to the Treasure Cay Resort Marina on April 13, and enjoyed catching up with the Michigan Van Gemerts.  They are not related, as far as we know, but Bob is a retired dentist and they own a DeFever - quite a coincidence.   They took us to Marsh Harbor by car to do errands and have lunch one day (Treasure Cay is about a 45 minute car trip, or $65 by cab one way!) They also took us to Broken Rock Beach for a picnic and to hunt for sea glass.  Sea Glassing is a huge pass time (sport?) in the Bahamas and on the east coast.  It is the collection of shards of glass that have washed up on the beach.   Ten years ago only the locals engaged in sea glassing but now it's very popular with visitors and the glass is becoming difficult to find.  In any event, the Captain and I collected enough that afternoon to fill a nice jar which will make a keepsake of our time in the Bahamas.  We were also delighted to find Dennis and Lisa on Lady Galadriel out in the Treasure Cay anchorage.  We spent some quality time playing cribbage and catching up on our separate cruising endeavors.  I would also mention that Bob Van Gemert has taken up water color painting and we were amazed by his obvious talent.  This is a new hobby for him since retiring.  Of course, the beautiful scenery in the Bahamas is an inspiration for anyone with an artful eye and, in his case, talent.

On April 17, we began our trip back to the States.  It started with a 5 mile trip across the sound to Great Guana Cay where we had enjoyed Nippers and Grabbers, 2 locally famous beach bars, last year.  We spent our last sunset at Grabbers with the Lady Galadriel crew and  some of their friends.  The next morning we left Great Guana and had a rough ride around the "Whale" which is one of the passages between islands.  Big, rolling waves pushing us through a small opening in a reef with a big sailboat close by.  It was a white knuckle ride but we made it okay.  The rest of the day was flat.  We stopped that night at Great Sale Cay.  After listening to our weather Guru, Chris Parker, on the single side band, we decided to head north from Great Sale Cay, across the Bahama Bank and into the gulf stream.  We left in the wee hours (2 AM) on April 20, with the intention of going as far north as the weather and our bodies could make it.  We had a beautiful full moon and flat seas until around 10 AM.  The gulf stream was not cooperating with our plans to ride it north because it was only 10 miles off shore at Ft. Pierce but 50 miles off shore in Brunswick, GA.  Therefore, we could not conveniently hitch a ride.  We went into the night with another full moon and decided we would set our course for Brunswick Landing, GA, where our friends on Long Haul were staying.  April 21, dawned with a  magnificent sunrise while the full moon was still in the sky.  We arrived at Brunswick at 3:30 PM completing a 325 mile run, taking 35.5 hours.  Also, this day marked 30 months since we left Long Beach to embark on the Big Adventure.

We were, as always, really happy to be back in the Good Ole' USA.  Checking in with Customs and Immigration was uncharacteristically easy.  We rested up and cleaned the boat.  We played farkle with Jim and Joanne and they took us to St. Simon and Jekyll Islands.  We had passed by these scenic outer bank islands 2 times on the ICW but had not had the opportunity to explore them by land.  The Jekyll Island Club was built in the late 1800's as a club for the east coast tycoons of the day.  They built a beautiful club house that kind of resembles the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego.  Then they built condos which were owned by the club members.  The condos still exist but have been whittled down to modern sized accommodations.  It's just one of those historic places that's off the beaten path, at least for west coasters, that we enjoyed seeing and learning about.  Brunswick is a nice little waterside town on the St. Simmons Sound.  The area was plantation country in the 1600's, Confederate during the Civil War, and supported by a paper mill in the 20th Century.  Much like the other waterside towns on the southeast coast, it seems to be surviving nicely on the paper mill and local tourism in this century.

On April 25, we left our friends and started the trip north to position ourselves in NYC by late May to begin our DownEast Loop, which is planned to be our last major cruise on the east coast.  This trip will take us north to Lake Ontario, east through the St. Lawrence Seaway, around Nova Scotia and back down the east coast of the US.  We plan to be back in California by early 2009 with Lionheart "For Sale" somewhere on the east coast.  However, one of the major lessons taught by this adventure is to be flexible when making and executing plans.  Future web pages will document our progress on the current plan.