Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's a small world after all.

I'm so glad we decided to stay in Green Turtle Cay for another day or we wouldn't have met Ray and Sandy, who arrived Monday afternoon aboard their boat, Megerin (a combination of their daughter's names; Meg and Erin) because they are from (believe it or not) Pittsburgh!! I kid you not! And I knew in an instant that I'd like Sandy, who while maneuvering into their slip, managed to convey to us that she was nervous about this particular landing, that she had insisted on washing her hair that morning and was worried that it looked like crap (it didn't!), and also shouted out a hello to Wilbur. I'm not kidding when I say this woman can multi task with the best of them. They then made me feel even better when we learned that they are pretty seasoned cruisers having spent at least four years in the Virgin Islands, but are a bit apprehensive about these Bahamian waters as they are a little unpredictable with their shoals and depths etc.. and we ended up enjoying a very entertaining couple of hours with them. They only arrived in the Bahamas yesterday and appear to be heading in the same direction as us so I sincerely hope we run into them again. Add Video This is an absolute first! Hans with a frou frou drink and not a beer. We both decided to 'go island' and order a Bahama Mama. I had two. And here's Winnie again. She's so incredibly sure footed and gracefull as she walks about her boat. Unfortunately we can never let our wild man off his lead or he'd end up in the drink for sure. We went over to the beach to watch the sunset on Monday night but this is what we saw instead. A storm had been brewing all day and we didn't hang around for very long. It's always beautiful from land. I'm just glad we weren't at anchor. This time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We are being held captive...

... in Green Turtle Cay!

And the only thing about Green Turtle that I don't care for is the lousy internet service which has kept me from updating our blog. Otherwise we've had a wonderfully relaxing time here and I highly recommend it. We enjoyed a beautiful (but fishless) sail here from Foxtown and at about 6:00 PM on Friday night we were very happy to anchor in Green Turtle Cay's White Sound. And because Hans and I will happily admit to the fact that we really enjoy marina life (Electric! Worry free sleep!WiFi!) about once a week, the next morning we weighed anchor, motored a few feet and docked at Bluff House Marina.

You can see the Knotty Cat to the left of that yellow building.

Hans talking to a fellow Canadian Cruiser.

Wilbur meets Winnie. She is quite the lady and was okay as long as he didn't get in her face.

Wilbur loves the beach. Check out his sandy mustache.

Sitting at the pet friendly Jolly Roger Bar and Bistro.

And here's a huge bonus we've never heard of, and we're calling it Docking for Dollars, Boating for Bucks, and Cruising for Cash, all of which sounds a whole lot like Dialing for Dollars! After getting us signed in Hans told me that we now had credit at the dock side restaurant for the same amount that our dockage cost. This made no sense to me and I made him explain it again. Apparently Marsh Harbour started this program in order to draw boats into their marinas and it means just that. We are a 35 foot boat and to dock here it costs 1.25 per foot (and I'm amazed at how cheap the marinas are here as I thought they'd be outrageous), and that means we have 45 or so dollars worth of food and drink written off per every day we stay here (all it boils down to is that our dockage is now free). You can look at it any way you want but all I know is like I said before, Hans and I like to be at a marina once a week or so, and free food not withstanding, for us this is a huge bonus. We are also entitled to 50 gallons of water each day at no additional charge! We took huge advantage of this and hosed all the salt off our solar panels and windows and topped off our water tanks.

UPDATE!!! Docking for Dollars etc... expires this Thursday! This is because business is expected to pick up with the April season. Wow! I can't believe we actually lucked into something good for a change.

Wilbur patiently sits at my feet while we drink our 45 dollars worth of 'free' beer. At five buck each it didn't take too long! Here at White Sound there's also a beautiful white sandy beach just a short walk away and Wilbur truly enjoyed some wonderful zoomie sessions in the water. We were also able to take him to the dockside restaurant with us and he exuded as much pit bull good will ambassadorship that any pitty possibly can. We were also finally able to listen in to the 8:15 AM broadcast about the happenings here in the Abacos and get a new weather update (which was nice since the internet here sucks!). We wanted to head into town but the water taxi service charges $5.00 per person each way, and to rent a golf cart is $50.00 per day, and the way we're tied up at the marina won't allow us to deploy our dinghy. We had planned on leaving on Monday (yesterday) and move all the way from White Sound to Black Sound (just around the corner!) and anchor. We were then going to use our dinghy to go ashore and pick up a few supplies. However we both couldn't bear to leave yet so we stayed one more day and will skip Black Sound and head instead to Treasure Island where we hear they have better shopping and a three mile long white beach.

Wilbur wants us to radio ahead and have them save him a beach chair.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More fish and a life saved from sin!

After having caught one fish on our own and then getting huge hunks of Mahi from The Dog (we just love The Dog and hope we run into him again! What a character!), Hans and I just couldn't get enough. And after Dog informed us that we'd never catch anything on our own on the banks of the Bahamas, I truly feared Hans was going to put me to work and make me walk the docks, and I'm just too old for that. So I'm very happy to relate that after leaving Grand Cay we managed to snag yet one more Holy Mackerel, and we had only traveled two miles.


Our second fish, and check out the gloves!! Probably not necessary for such a small fish but I hate getting stuck by fish fins!

We then anchored at Double Breasted Cay but I hate to admit that we never left the boat. The promised sandy beaches were way over on the other side of the rocks that we ended up in, and since getting our dinghy and motor going is such an ordeal we decided to stay put (I'm very serious when I say that dinghy davits had better be in our future).

At Double Breasted and believe it or not this is maybe the second time I've relaxed in the sun.

From Double Breasted we set out for Yankee Carter Cay and I will ask all of you now to please never try to anchor there! Our Dodge Guide to the Abacos states that the entrance to this anchorage carries a depth of 4 feet at MLW (Mean Low Water, an oxymoron if I ever heard one!) and let me tell you that it certainly does not! More like two and a half feet because that's what we draw, and I watched in horror as we left twin trails of sand behind us as we fought our way in. We had to shut down our port engine when we realized no fresh water was shooting out behind us, and we were then stunned to find ourselves in what I can only describe as a Shanty Town on the Water. Tons of working boats, non working boats, and a sunken hulk littered the anchorage and we ended up tossing out the hook in 14 feet of water and far too close to the current, and prayed that we wouldn't drift into anyone during the night. Hans cleaned out the strainer on the port engine, got it back into working order, and we ended up enduring heavy winds and currents throughout the night. While we thankfully didn't drag due to the current, we found that we'd swung uncomfortably close to a working boat the next morning. We felt tremendous relief that the Bahamians, who were on that boat, merely waved a happy good morning to us and didn't hesitate to take off in a another boat thus leaving their mothership in mortal danger of being smacked by the Knotty Cat.

This boat is a lot closer than it appears. I could have just about jumped onto it.

I heard a number of conversations on the radio from people who had anchored the night before and realized that we actually had a better time of it. One couple slept in their cockpit because they were afraid someone would drift into them. Another man got so sick of getting beat up that he weighed anchor at midnight and set sail. Stupid old me slept through the night and I figured that every time the boat shuddered with the slamming waves, meant we were still anchored.

We left at high tide, and getting the anchor up turned into a nightmare that we hadn't even considered and I can't believe we didn't ram into anyone. Hans admits that, so far, this has been the most nerve wracking anchoring we've ever made. We didn't draw a breath of relief until we were way out of that harbor and we will never EVER go back there.

I should have known something would go wrong (my good luck streaks don't last very long) since on our way to (Damn) Yankee Carter, we caught a huge Gray Snapper. Honest to God! Because my trolling line had veered straight down and out of sight I said to Hans, "What the hell is wrong with my line? I think we've snagged bottom!!" But after a bit of tugging, I felt some resistance, and I knew that I hadn't snagged a rock and that I had something more than a Holy Mackerel on the hook! After winding the line around our winch a few times, a form started to take shape and I was actually shaking as I had no idea what it could be. Finally a fat pancake shape with a big eye appeared and we were able to pull it into the cockpit. A quick look at one of our charts proved it to be a Gray Snapper at 30 inches long, and since it felt like it weighed more than a gallon of milk, I'd put it at around eight pounds. Hans would love to think it was more like fifteen but I don't think so.

Mr. Snapper didn't like the rum we gave him and he hung onto dear life for far too long. Here he's still sporting our lure.

We don't happen to have any 'Snapper Helper' on board but he was still delicious!

If you look closely you can see Wilbur giving Mr. Snapper (who's reclining in the captains locker sans beer) the 'fish eye'!

We moved onto Foxtown with nary a bite but that's okay (I have two days worth of fish in our freezer), we had hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for dinner and we endured yet one more night of winds and current. I sincerely hope the day will soon arrive when receiving weather reports won't require thousands of dollars worth of equipment. As of this time most of our information is days old and even a few hours can make a difference.

Upon leaving Foxtown, since the winds were S SW at around 15-20 knots (instead of our old forecast of NE) we took advantage and sailed toward Green Turtle Cay. What a difference it makes to sail along with following seas! We felt sorry for people heading in the opposite direction as they hobby horsed up and down into the wind and waves.

We entered Green Turtle at around 6 PM on Friday night, once again at MLW, and saw depths of four and a half feet in the channel. I'll be glad when we can finally start coming and going with some higher tides.

Another pretty sunset in the Bahamas.

BTW, internet access here is very poor at this time so I will post when I can.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moving on to Double Breasted

We're leaving Rosie's Marina (if you call it over the radio you're supposed to hail 'Love Train' but don't expect a response) and heading a whole two miles out to Double Breasted Cay. I think Hans feels a bit foolish to only move two miles and drop the hook, but Double Breasted is supposed to have one of the most beautiful beaches here. It's also completely uninhabited and I'm hoping no one else will be there and Wilbur can run free.

Last night we joined my fishing buddies (the ones who gave us three days worth of mahi) for some good food and moonshine. The 'Dog' makes his own hooch and it's as smooth as silk. Everyone drank it all night long but for some reason I was the only one who didn't end up slurring my words or seeing double.

I woke up feeling peachy keen too and when Hans finally stuck his head out into our cockpit this morning, 'Dog' asked him if he by any chance got the number of the truck that hit him.

Wilbur is very anxious to get to his beach.

After Double Breasted we'll continue to head south east through the Abacos so once again I probably won't have internet service for a bit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

There's more than one way to catch a fish

Before the winds came through Grand Cay yesterday, two other couples invited us for a drink at a raised pavilion at the end of our dock (and it's always BYOB). Even though the ladies stated that they do not like dogs I took Wilbur anyway and kept him far away from them. He was a very good boy and his feelings were a little hurt when no one told him how cute he was.

"Mama, why don't they like the pitty?" Wilbur wants to know.

This is where we sat and from here you get a bird's eye view of the harbor entrance.

While the sky continued to darken ominously and the winds began to pick up, one of the men said, "Here come the rays." I looked out over the water and immediately felt like I'd been jerked back in time to the Wild West.

Huge (at least 8 feet I'm sure) Manta (or Manta like) Rays could be seen gliding through the water of the harbor as they slowly headed toward the marina. It was like watching desperado's stroll into town complete with guns on their hips, spurs on their heels, and evil on their minds.

I didn't have my camera and probably wouldn't have gotten a decent shot anyway.

Those patches of white are sand, and at low tide stick way out of the water. They are very close to the marina and even though we only draw two and a half to three feet we were sure we were going to run aground.

The winds were still hitting hard this morning and even though we could have gone out I talked Hans into staying another day. But it paid off in the end because I'm grilling dolphin (mahi) tonight.

So how did that happen?

I call it a different kind of trolling (trawling?) and I didn't even need a lure. All I did was visit with the men in the boat next to us, and before I knew it I had a zip lock bag full of fish (Hans says he's glad now that he stayed below and out of the way). It reminded me of how years ago my friend, Michelle, and I would go out to a local bar for the evening and come home with our purses full of drink chips thanks to all the visiting out of town business men who were out for dinner. Oh, the good old days, and who'd have ever thought getting a bag of smelly fish would make me as happy as a free drink?!

Now all I have to do is find a beer boat full of slightly blind men and we'll all be happy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

And I say that because after catching a fish so very easily the first day we threw out a trolling line, we haven't had a nibble since!

This is most likely because we've been on the 'banks' which is basically the same thing as trying to fish on flooded land.

We finally left Bimini and headed for West End on Wednesday. The winds were not what we'd been hoping for and this meant we had to motor nearly the whole way through the Northwest Providence Channel for about nine hours and even in these deepest of waters our lures held no interest for the Bahamian fishies.

West End was an interesting anchorage but we held tight and actually ended up dinhying ashore the next day. Of course this meant Master Wilbur had to go with us and as soon as we were in shallow waters he was the first one out of the dinghy and he had himself a wonderful zoomie time. Poor Wilbur (whom I swear would make an excellent Blood Hound) couldn't suck up all the new smellies at the beach fast enough and was completely enamoured of every abandoned Conch shell we passed. He would brace his body and dig each and every toenail into the sand, thus bringing me to a complete halt, and would then, with eyes closed in complete rhapsody, lovingly run his tongue over every inch of shell that he could. I would eventually end his love making by yanking him to his feet and unfortunately onto the next abandoned Conch shell.

When he was finally worn out we stopped at a beach side restaurant for a couple of beers (5 bucks apiece! Ouch!) and an appetizer, and were very thankfull that no one cared that we had a dog with us. Actually just as we were leaving a woman who was sitting nearby made some doggy loving noises and we just had to stop. It turns out she and her husband have an 85 pound pitty and like all pitty owners she wanted to gush over Wilbur. During the gushing session Wilbur found yet one more empty Conch shell and at one point I feared he'd dig a hole to China he went so nuts!

We finally moved on the next day and anchored in Mangrove Cay with a few other boats and enjoyed a quiet night. The next day we set out again and this time anchored in Great Sale Cay. We dropped our dinghy in the water and rowed over to another boat we'd been in contact with throughout the day. Jackie and Seldon have an Island Packet (we have and Island Packet Cat) and it is a beautiful boat indeed! That night at anchor was possibly one of the quietest I've ever experienced and looking out over the water was like looking at a smooth pane of glass. Never once during the night did we hear a thing!

But after two days of no internet coverage we decided our next stop would be Grand Cay. Our last weather info had told us that a storm with 25-30 knots of wind was due to move through at around midnight on Sunday and at least Grand Cay had a marina with internet access.

We sailed on into Grand Cay (Rosie's Marina) at a little after noon, and after jumping on to Passage Weather dot com we found the storm had been moved up to 6 PM. (BTW, don't go into the harbour at Rosie's during low tide if you draw more than 3 feet).

The storm hit at 6:30 PM (as the updated forecast told us it would) and as of 10:30 PM it's still blowing stink out there. But we honestly feel that if we were at Great Sale Cay we'd be okay. The bottom there is a really great kind of sandy clay with great holding power and is protected from everything except a South wind.

We do not have SSB and have to rely totally on the internet. And since I have absolutely no trust in NOAA, I will continue to honor Passage Weather until it's out of our range.

We saw this water spout just as we were getting close to Grand Cay. Hans pointed it out to me and my heart just jumped as all I could think was 'TORNADO'!!!!!! Luckily after a spell it just disipated but the other boaters here in the marina saw it.

Low lying clouds here in the marina. Once the wind and rain started, it never let up and even though I'm pretty sure we'd be okay at an anchorage, I'm glad we're thoroughly tied up at a dock!

As I've mentioned before, Internet coverage is iffy but I'll post whenever I can.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Holy Mackerel!!!!

Or Holy King Fish, but whatever the hell it's called, we caught it!!
Yes, much to my surprise, Hans and I snagged a fish!

Hans and our two foot catch.

After spending two nights at the Blue Water Marina in Bimini we finally decided to move on. The family we met the night before told us they were going to go to the Berry Islands and that we were welcome to follow along. However since the winds were completely wrong for a sail it would mean motoring the whole way and Hans said he was tired of imitating a trawler. They were really nice and I was sorry to pass up their offer.

So we decided that we'd mosey around for a couple of days and then sail to West End so we could get moving into the Abacos where all the snorkeling etc... is supposed to be. On our first venture out of the Bimini Harbor I was amazed at how different things look when you're not in a hellish storm or fighting six foot seas. The water was calm and the colors stunning. Looking out over the ocean was like viewing a layered jello salad; aqua on the bottom, sky blue in the middle, and the deep inky blue of the gulf stream lying top.

My camera just doesn't do this place justice.

We anchored in thirteen feet of water off of South Cat Cay and when Hans dove in to see how the anchor looked he found it just lying on top of some very hard sand. He went down a couple of times to see if he could dig it in but it went nowhere. So we spent the night with the combined weight of the chain and anchor holding us in place.

The next morning we back tracked and anchored in Honeymoon Harbor. There were two big power cruisers rafted together (on one anchor) with tons of people and they spent the day dinghying back and forth to the island. We were fine with just sitting on the boat and once again Hans dove down to check on the anchor. This time we were in six feet of water and the anchor was wedged into a grassy area. The only concern was the huge amount of tiny jellyfish that bounced off of Hans while he was in the water. He didn't get stung so we're not sure what that was all about.
While still waiting for favorable winds we decided to go on back into the Bimini Harbor and anchor on up past the marina. It was when we were headed back that we snagged our fish. We were in about nine feet of water and let out around forty feet of one hundred pound test line with a small spoon lure attached and it wasn't long before Hans was yelling that we had a fish.

Honestly, we were so excited we didn't know what to do. So we started wrapping the line around our winch and when our fish was fully in sight I was pretty sure we had a Barracuda which I didn't want at all as you can't eat them. Then we decided it was a very small Wahoo. When we finally got it up and it was lying across the back of our dinghy, I gave it a welcome aboard shot of vodka and it promptly stopped moving.

After shutting Wilbur up down below we got out our fish guides and of course could not identify our catch. However our book on the Abacos had a very good likeness of our guy and it was either a mackerel or king fish. First we put him in a cooler with ice, then I thought it over and decided we'd better clean it now and get the fillets into the fridge. I got to use the handy dandy fillet knife that my mother gave me for Christmas and I proceeded to cut up our catch while trying not to look into its dead yet very accusing eye!

So for dinner last night we feasted on tons of grilled mackerel coated in Northwest seasoning from Penzey Spices. I then spent the remainder of the evening worrying that we were going to die of poisoning!

We didn't and I'm still doing a little happy dance!

All ready for the grill.

A huge dinner complete with rice.

And remember when I said we were waiting for the right winds so we could sail away? We are now on our way to West End and we are going to have to motor the whole way because the winds we had been promised earlier are now not going to show up.

I'm so surprised.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life here in Bimini

This was taken in Nixon's Harbour after we rode through the big blow and I was still pretty soaked. During the height of the storm, while I was on the radio, I would have to open the companionway door in order to yell information up to Hans, and the rain would hit me in the face full force. This happened too many times.

What a greedy bunch! These pelicans fought like the dickens over the fish entrails that were being tossed to them. A couple of brothers and their teenage sons came over from Miami to do some fishing (actually, they got caught in the same storm as we did and heard us on the radio!) and today, after a trip 'outside' they came back with a wahoo, a mahi, and some yellow tails.

Here is the wahoo and to get a good look at it's size, double click and you'll see someones foot at the bottom right.

I asked if I could watch the fish get cleaned as it's been years since I've filleted a fish. We took Wilbur with us and he was thrilled when a piece of fish liver got tossed to him. I had no idea that fish had livers!

Today I did a bit of sewing in the cockpit and Hans changed the oil on both engines and changed the fuel filters on the port engine (he'll do the starboard engine after we decide the port side was a success). For the fuel filter change, poor Hans had his notes from our diesel mechanic, his own notes from the diesel course he took in Annapolis, Nigel Calder's book on diesel maintenance, and the manual from Island Packet. After all was said and done I couldn't help but notice that our spare filters are 2 microns and our filters are 30!! WTF? Luckily we shouldn't have to perform this task until we're back in the states.

We took Wilbur for a tour of Bimini and while he received a lot of attention, it was not the same as it was in South Beach. The focus here was pure 'Pit Bull' and I was asked "How much you want for that Pit?" "What kinda Pit is that, he looks like a fight'n dog to me." "Is that a Reddie (red nose)?", and "That dog got all his shots?" All of these comments were delivered with narrowed eyes and calculated nonchalance. Today my baby boy ventured no further than the marina and I sincerely hoped that the interested parties didn't know where we were.

During our little tour we hit the ocean and Wilbur had many zoomie sessions (all the while on his leash) and here he is taking a rest. When Hans spotted two unleashed dogs down aways from us we beat a hasty retreat. I know these dogs eat scraps and garbage from the locals but I wasn't taking any chances that they didn't want to beat up my baby.

The water here is crystal clear and I'd entertained the thoughts of snorkeling and/or letting Wilbur hop in for a swim. But when I found out that the big dark shape we saw gliding around the marina was a Bull Shark I said No Way!! I didn't think a shark would want to venture into such shallow waters but apparently this one feeds on the remains from all the fisherman.

Wilbur may not have been allowed to leave the marina but he had fun eating crab leavings (from the gulls), trying to eat chicken and rib bones (dropped by those damn gulls), and rolling in wonderfully juicy, aromatic droppings from, guess who??? Those stinking gulls!!!

I guarantee you someone cleaned fish on the top of this cooler.

Right after we watched the fish cleaning session a family from Florida arrived on their sailboat. Their girls were adorable and wanted to pet Wilbur (who of course went nuts), and told us all about their dog; they were so nice and I got a huge kick out of them. After the husband set off for customs a man rowed up to the marina with a bunch of Conch for sale. He would only sell a dozen at a time so we asked the newly arrived wife if she wanted to split a batch, and she did. So tomorrow we will be grilling Conch while at anchor as we intend to head on out in the morning.

A very tired piggy pitty after a day of socializing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We're in the Bahamas!!! And I have to wonder; why the hype?!

I didn't mind having to wake up at 3:30 AM in order to traverse the channel out of Dinner Key Marina.

I didn't mind getting sea spray in my face as I knelt on the bow of the boat while using a rapidly dying (yet new) spot light in order to find day markers and those bizarre houses in Stiltsville (homes just outside of the channel, and really truly built on stilts, and I have to wonder how they feel about spotlights in their houses as many a sailor heads to the Bahamas).

I was okay with the 2 to 3 foot seas that NOAA had predicted, and was quite proud of myself when I waited until we were nine nautical miles from Bimini to puke.

I wasn't overly thrilled with the wind as it remained E SE for most of the day (even though we'd been promised S winds) which meant we had to motor the whole way and never had a chance to sail. Our time in the water went from 8 hours to possibly 12.

I was dismayed when right behind us I saw huge blue black clouds marching across the sky like Nazi soldiers when we were only 7 miles away from Bimini's shore line.

I was more than a bit frightened when the skies opened up and winds hit us clocking up to 51 knots (that's nearly 60 MPH folks!) and visibility went to nearly zero.

I would've liked to puke (but my stomach was empty) when Hans told me to get on the radio NOW and ask for information about entering the Bimini channel.

Thank God some good citizen (as all officials ignored us) answered me, plotted our location, and told us that our best bet was to head into Nixon's Harbour in South Bimini and anchor for the night. I felt a huge sense of relief when he said, "Get yourselves settled and enjoy the evening." Gee, maybe we wouldn't die after all.

Forty five minutes later we rode the wind and waves into Nixon's Harbour and after two attempts at dropping the hook, it stuck. And then we got to spend the rest of the night hoping we wouldn't drag into the ocean.

But when my French Press broke this morning, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
" I'm. Not. Happy!!!!!" I stated. "Period!"

Welcome to Bimini!

Who would have thought we'd arrive wearing foul weather gear, life jackets, and jack lines!

This morning we navigated the channel into Bimini with 20+ knot winds and hellish waves. I'm not exaggerating! There are boaters here who refused to go out today.

The quarantine flag goes up.

And thank God for miracles, we got through customs and immigration with no problems.

Wilbur our poor little Salty Dog (who hid in our bunk shaking with fear), poses with the Bahamian flag.

Wilbur takes a much deserved rest atop Hans' safety harness.

Of course Internet is expensive and iffy but I'll try to update whenever possible.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Welcome to Miami whose motto is Yankee Go Home!

It was very exciting to actually motor past Hans' old family home in the Venetian Causeway area. We could have anchored there if we'd wanted to but the winds were too strong so we ventured onward.

We ended up anchoring in a very small yet pretty area called Sunset Lake near Belle Isle. It was here that it was pointed out to us that we, who have been on this earth for over 50 years each, are not nice people and are really the scum of the earth.

We had no sooner dropped anchor when a land owner buzzed over on his jet ski and informed us that we had a problem. Why we even talked to him I don't know. I guess we were just trying to be polite. But anyway this poor guy apparently has the nastiest wife in the world or as he put it, "My wife is driving me nuts! She won't leave me alone and insisted that I ask you to move." We told him we weren't moving and then when we informed him that Hans was from the area, it seems they actually know a lot of the same people. So things took a bit of a different turn and he said he'd tell his wife we're friends of his and that we could go ahead and stay but only for two nights.

Whatta guy!

Then since we were now good old buddies he filled us in on how awful his life is. Obviously forgetting that we were on a sail boat he told us how his wife can't function when dirty sailors drop anchor in their lake. She fears for their children's safety (like maybe we're all pedophiles), she can't open the drapes in her bedroom (like we really want to look at her anyway), and don't even get him started on the 'filthy Canadians' (and I only wish we had a Canadian flag on board as Hans is a citizen of Canada) whom he's had to chase away. His tactic is to move his motor boat out beside the offender and blast them with rap music until they leave. Personally I like rap music but I can't imagine his neighbors appreciate this. He pointed to various houses and told us to ask anyone and they'd tell us the same thing; all of the wives are miserable (I wonder what their excuse would be if they didn't live on a lake?). One neighbor even put up huge ugly privacy hedges so they wouldn't have to view our nasty boats and we wouldn't be able to spy on them all day. Oh, the sad sad life of the wealthy folks of Hysteria Lane.

And could we believe it? One sailor had the gall to tell him he should divorce his wife! When he finally left I laughed and said to Hans, "Guess who isn't getting any tonight."

The next day he came over again but we were down below and when Wilbur (who's pretty darn smart) saw him he went nuts. We didn't know he could bark like that and so Mr. C. went back home. We weren't so lucky on our third day when he returned again and this time he was very sad. "Now we really do have a problem." he mourned.


"My wife is hysterical and I can't take this anymore. She won't shut up! You said you'd leave in two days and you're still here. I can see I'm going to have to bring my motor boat out here and blast you with rap music."

Hans was very nice and informed him that we could stay for as long as we liked and did his wife has some psychological problems.

"She certainly does!! She's under extreme emotional duress because of you! She feels like a prisoner in her own home!" Then he told us that he wasn't sure if we were aware that during the night a storm washed through (we live on a boat! Of course we knew a storm washed through, who the hell does he think closed the hatches, our hired help!!) and he was sure our boat was going to drift into his dock and damage his boat, and that our anchor had dragged.

Our anchor did not drag we assured him.

Hans finally ended it by telling him we were leaving anyway and not because of him but because the winds were going to be in our favor.

All I know is that for the most part we had a very lovely weekend when we weren't being harassed (and that's exactly what it was and you didn't see us knocking on his door and telling him we thought his ugly house was offensive). On the other hand, he had to listen to his shrew of a wife, he had to come out to our boat three times, and he couldn't sleep one night because he spent it watching our boat.

I think it's true that money certainly can't buy happiness.

I wish I'd taken pictures of the lake but between going ashore, taking care of boat chores, and spying on the residents, I just forgot. So if any of you out there enjoy a spirited debate, I encourage one and all to please anchor in Sunset Lake while in Miami.

This is the only picture I took while in Sunset Lake. As our boat swayed on the hook, the palm trees would appear and disappear.

Finally, Ma and Pa Kettle and their fleabag pooch Wilbur, reanchored in another body of water.

After being treated like low life's in Sunset Lake, we decided to treat ourselves to a trip down South Beach, Miami, and there we were treated like royalty.

Wilbur went with us and you'd never know pit bulls are banned in Miami as I think we counted at least 4 of them along with an 8 week old pup. Wilbur was fascinated and got nose to nose with it but I didn't get any pictures.

Wilbur was hailed and cheered and petted and fawned over so much so that you'd have thought he was a visiting prince.

This is the hotel Hans' family used to own and it's in the Art Deco district. I'd never heard of this area and if you ever have the chance to come here you've got to see it. Block after block of renovated buildings and sidewalks full of cafes. We couldn't believe how busy it was for a Monday afternoon.

Hans and Wilbur taking a rest on the steps of the hotel.

Here we are in front of the church where Hans' father and his step mother were married.

Our handsome man sitting under the table like a good boy. South Beach is very pet friendly and they even bring water to your pooch if it needs it.

We ended up having lunch with a good friend of Hans' brother. Ros worked with Peter in Switzerland and now spends the winter months in Miami before going back to Geneva. We didn't get to spend much time with her but we had fun.

Sunset over Miami.

We passed up an iffy chance to cross to the Bahamas a few days ago but tomorrow the winds are supposed to be S SE 9-12 knots, becoming S SW with 2-3 foot seas so we're going to give it a shot.

Of course I ran into someone at the marina who told me that the people I saw arriving at the mooring beside us this morning, crossed over last night and they had 20 foot seas!!! We did hear about some Gulf Stream warnings but 20 foot seas?! I'm hoping to hell they were exaggerating as I'm sick to death of all the horror stories associated with the Gulf Stream.

So tomorrow at 4 AM we should be departing but Hans already knows if I'm not happy with how things are looking we are turning around and that's it!