Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Magus in 2015

We had some nice sails around Casco Bay early in the summer, including a couple of overnight trips with Sophi, Travis and their son Felix, both to Jewel Island.

Because the boat had not been out of the water for bottom paint since 2013, there was some noticeable growth.  We pulled up to the Army Pier on Peaks Island for a quick wash, and painted the waterline.  That was a big help, not that it lasted very long.  Next year, the full haul and  bottom job...

We had hoped to sail to Penobscot Bay for a couple of weeks, but circumstances conspired against us.  Jenny went out to visit her sister in Seattle at the end of the summer, planning to stay for awhile, so Albert decided to make a dash for Vinalhaven over the weekend of September 19 - 20, leaving Friday night at 5 pm and arriving in Carver's Harbor at 7:30 the next morning, just before it fogged for awhile. Overall, the weather was excellent, though.  

Albert was the consultant for designing and constructing the unique landfill cover system on Vinalhaven in 1997, and he wanted to see how it was holding up.  It was doing good, but a few trees were bigger than expected.  Everything needs to be maintained, and these should be removed.

On Sunday, the sail was beautiful along the west side of Vinalhaven and then across Pen Bay to Rockland.  Our friend Carter had a mooring that we could use, and he gave Albert a ride back home to Freeport.

I turned out that Jenny came back to Maine, so we will both go up to Rockland and sail back to Portland, soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Planning for 2016

Our next big trip will hopefully happen in 2016, when Albert plans to retire from his full-time job.  

PhotoVoyaging on the boat takes some planning.  Our initial plans have been a bit of a fantasy, but they are based on the real factors of wind, weather, schedules, boat and crew capabilities, etc.  Then as we started to look into the “social” realities and formalities of visiting various countries (with two dogs) things get tricky, and they will be more of a challenge that will greatly affect our plans.

So, the general idea has been this.  Get Magus all ready in May (2016) with new bottom paint, and a fresh survey so we can get insurance for anywhere.  Then we can leave Peaks in June and cruise along the coast of Maine, then to Nova Scotia for the summer.  A visit to St. Pierre and Miquelon (just a few miles south of Labrador, and which is a territory of France) would be interesting.   In September, we could sail to the Azores (about 1,200 miles from that area) and take it easy by spending the winter there.  The next spring, we could sail to Ireland (about 1,000 miles) and cruise around there, Scotland, England, and arrive in the Netherlands at the end of August.  Then, it would be possible to travel through the canals to Paris and across France to Marseilles on the Mediterranean-- leisurely in two or three months.  Then head south along the west coast of Italy, and spend the winter somewhere.  Because of VAT tax issues, we would need to stop in north Africa, like Tunisia for a few weeks or months within 18 months of first entering the EU, which would have been St. Pierre & Miquelon the previous year, so we’d have until January.  Then sail around the Med the next summer, visit Greece, get to Gibralter by October, then sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean in November/ December for the winter.  We could then sail back to Maine the next summer, or even leave Magus somewhere and fly home for the summer, and go back to the Caribbean for more cruising.

From an article in Sail Magazine, Feb. 2013

But the above is not legally possible because of a thing called the Schengen Agreement relating to visas.  This rule says that a non-EU resident can only stay 90 days out of every 180 days in all of the Schengen countries, which is practically all of the EU not including the Brittish Isles.  This rule has been on the books since 1985 apparently, and has been routinely ignored.  There have only been rare cases of problems; but the problems are serious, like forfeiting the vessel and big fines to get out.  But now, there is more awareness of the rule, and we have two dogs that will add the the formalities, so we are not likely to ignore it.  There are all kinds of “work arounds” that we are researching, like one-year visas, but then you become a temporary resident and they get you for the VAT tax-- 20% of the value of the vessel as they determine.  There’s also the paperwork annoyance of getting an International Certificate of Competence for operating the vessel and a similar licence for the canals, but these can be resolved with time and money.  There is now supposedly a proposal to change the Schengen rules to allow US and some other nationals to stay for longer in those countries, but no one knows when this will happen.

Given all the above, we don’t really want the hassle, so we’re looking at options.  Not to mention that we don’t want to be so far away from our daughters and the grandchild(ren).  If we cruise to Nova Scotia and visit St. Pierre and Miquelon, it could still make sense to sail to the Azores and visit for a month or so in September/ October on the way to the Caribbean.  One could sail directly from there (about 2,500 miles,) or detour a little to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands on the way (about 4,000 miles; the extra 1,500 miles is about two weeks of ocean sailing, not really that long). There’s still the Schengen rule for a maximum total stay of 90 days in the Azores (part of Portugal) and the Canaries (part of Spain), but that’s not hard, since its best to get to the Caribbean in January/ February. 

Or we could bail on the whole thing for the first year or two, and just head south along the East Coast.  There are plenty of places we haven’t seen in the Caribbean basin, and even Key West might be fun.  With the recent changes for visiting Cuba, it would be very interesting to visit there.  And Jamaica is basically on the way I’d want to go; from the north or east, not west around.  We’ll really need to get better with our Spanish; Puerto Rico didn’t help us much because everyone spoke English with us, right after we tried saying “Buenas Dias”.  

And we joined the Seven Seas Cruising Association (which is also on Facebook).  They seems like a great organization, with their Seven Traditions including Leave a Clean Wake.   They have “gams” of boat raft-up social parties in various places every year, and a regular one is in Isleboro Maine.  We plan to go to the one this summer from July 31 to August 1, 2015.  Members and friends invited. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Maine in 2013 and 2014

There was not much adventuring done on Magus during 2013 and 2014 because we were too busy with other life events.  In the fall of 2012, we had moved back to Peaks Island after a two-year diversion in Bowdoinham; that is a huge story not detailed here.  We were happy to still have our house on Peaks, but we wanted to “down-size” our overhead, and we bought a nearby cottage in disrepair.  Then we had a big renovation project for the next year, moving into “Nirvana” for the summer of 2014.  In the fall, we sold our original house on Peaks.  During this time, we were renting the original house by the week in the summers, living on Magus at the marina at times, and doing a lot of family things.

One of the family things was becoming grandparents in August, 2013.  Sophi and Travis continued to live on their boat Seabird for the next 9 months or so in Portland, then moved to a great apartment in Bath, Maine, and had Seabird on a mooring in Bath for the summer of 2014.  They were disappointed to sell Seabird recently, but they’re hoping to use Magus some.  We enjoy seeing them and Felix every few weeks, and that’s pretty wonderful.  They may still have a blog of their adventures.

Also in 2014, we had a big reunion of Jenny’s family.  

Near the end of their stay, a lot of us went for a sail to Fowler Beach/ Sandy Beach/ South Beach on Long Island.  We went out for sails and visits throughout the summer, too.

As for Magus, we love the bowsprit and new roller furling jib.  We still have a lot of projects to get done in 2015.  We had a big mooring installed on Peaks Island, so that’s nice to have in addition to the Dimillo’s marina slip in Portland, that we will probably give up in May, 2016. 

I’ll do another blog on our overall plans for voyaging in 2016.  In the meantime, we’re going to attend the whole weekend “Safety at Sea” workshop in Boston in March, 2015.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Magus in Maine– 2013

This blog is the story of our major Spring maintenance and upgrade project for Magus.  This work is a combination of the regular Spring commissioning work like bottom paint, catching up on some deferred maintenance like the topsides paint, and my favorite project: build and install a new bowsprit.  The bowsprit will allow for a larger jib on a roller furler, in addition to having the working jib (on hanks,) essentially where it has always been. 

The location for this work is Falls Point Marine at the Dunning Boatyard property in Freeport.  Falls Point Marine is owned by Carter Becker, and his company does marine contracting work like wharf floats and ramps, as well as mooring work throughout Casco Bay.  He does a great job of stepping and un-stepping masts right from a boat on a mooring, and he can do pretty much anything related to boats and marine construction.

So, Falls Point Marine and Dunning Boatyard are located at the old Porter’s Landing on the upper reaches of the Harraseeket River.  At low tide there is a shallow trickle of water through the mud flats for almost a mile before reaching the upper end of the harbor/ channel in South Freeport.  Carter takes his work boats and barges up to the yard at high tide on a regular basis (and lets them ground out when the tide drops,) but not many pleasure boats with a 5 foot draft go up there.  There is a boat ramp that can be used from mid-tide or higher, and a boat hauling truck and hydraulic trailer can pick up a sailboat and put her up on the hard.

The unmarked channel is not easy to find at high tide, so I studied the channel at low water, and got some good advice from Carter before making the trip.  The trip from Dimillo’s was made on Saturday, April 27 with Jenny and Travis, and Sophi drove up to meet us and bring us back to Portland.  The winter boat cover had just been removed, so we stopped on Peaks to drop off the frame and a few things.  The night before we had snow flurries, and we ran the gas heater on the trip to Freeport.  All went well, and we got Magus set up at the yard by about 2 pm.  Then Jenny and I borrowed Carter’s pressure washer and got real dirty cleaning the bottom.  We left before dark.

That was the beginning of all the cleaning, sanding, and painting that continued steadily for weeks, while planning for all of the other projects.  All this work made me realize that the bottom work we had paid for in Ponce, PR was well worth the money.

The other projects included replacing the through-hull fitting for the engine cooling water and replacing the valve on one of the cockpit scupper through-hulls.  I was planning to install some high-tech material on the prop shaft packing box, but Carter recommended that the cutlass bearing should really be replaced also.  He was absolutely correct, but I hadn’t been planning on that project, so I persuaded him to help get that bugger off, which took a combination of several tools (that I didn’t own) and a lot of experience and skill that I also don’t have.  Then we discovered that the bearing was a metric size which is OK, but that it did not match the sizes that are typically used (and sold) in the US.  The short story on this is that we got one procured from Europe through Jerry at Nautilus Marine in Ellsworth, Maine. 

On one of the nice Sundays that Jenny and I were sanding and painting, a guy with his wife and dog on their motorcycle stopped by to look at the boat.  He asked if it might possibly be a Banjer 37, maybe hull #50, once named Magus (the name was removed for our painting work.)  When we asked how he could possibly know any of this, he said he was a previous owner of Magus in the 80’s, and he sold her to Vern and Patricia who we bought the boat from.  His name is Jim Horowitz ( and we’re looking forward to seeing him and Louise over the summer to share stories.

This is being posted just before the tentative launch window over the Memorial Day weekend that is forecast to be all rain, so that’s not going to help with getting the other boats painted so they can go in at the same time.  We’ll see how all that turns out…

Again, many thanks to Carter for helping to get the cutlass bearing out and back in, and the super great job with the bowsprit and mast and rigging modifications.  Here’s a photo Carter took while re-stepping the mast.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

St. Mary's to Maine

This is the the trip that needed to be done the fastest, like in one week, and its still 650 miles. But first,we got to enjoy the waterfront at the school, meet Echo's friends, and relax a little. Travis and Albert arrived on Tuesday afternoon, May 8, a beautiful hot day. The official policy of the school is we can't stay overnight on the dock, so we acted like we didn't, and they were very welcoming and accommodating. We caught up on things, like laundry, and got some free meals in the cafeteria and as part of some nice school events.

On Thursday, we went for a boat ride up the St. Mary's River with Echo and a crowd of her friends, sailing downwind on the return trip. Later, Jenny and Sophi arrived by plane and rental car to Lexington Park where Albert and Travis met them in Echo's car for a ride back to SMCM and Magus. We were late getting back to Magus to meet up with Albert's old friend Ed Chambers, his wife Karen, and son Adam, who drove down from Calvert County. Echo had a school event to go to, but the rest of us went to an outrageous seafood restaurant, Cortney's, where owner Tom told us some great stories.

On Friday, we walked around historic St. Mary's City, relaxed, and went to the Family Picnic for dinner. There was a convocation ceremony that evening, and then we turned in to get some sleep for the commencement/ graduation ceremony the next morning. After photo events, we had a nice potluck lunch with Echo's roomates and parents, and helped Echo pack up her stuff for a short move to a different dorm for the summer.

Echo's move happened on Sunday morning. It was about noontime when Sophi and Travis left to drove Echo's car to Maine, and Echo, Jenny and Albert prepared Magus for the voyage to Maine. We invited Ed and Adam to come with us on the first leg of the trip, overnight to Annapolis. Karen made us a nice package of chicken sandwiches and snacks. It was a cloudy evening, with enough wind to put up the sails, but not enough to turn off the engine except for a couple of short spells. We got into the City Dock by about noon. Albert met up with his college friend Bill Ball and wife Katie, and with friends from 30 years ago in Annapolis-- Jum and Linda Mumper, and Bob Mumper. Karen had driven up to get Ed and Adam at about the same time. A little too much all at one time, but it was great to re-connect a little.

We left the next morning in the fog and rain, but it slowly improved to calm and hazy. We lucked out on the current timing in the C&D Canal, and tied up to the north side dock at the bridge in Chesapeake City, that had still not re-opened, so no fee. We talked to the new dockmaster and his wife, and they said they're only open on weekends now, and starting slowly. We left early the next morning, Wednesday, and motored into no wind all day, going through the May Canal at about 4 pm.

We tied up at Utsch's Marina, ate a bunch of seafood, and worried about the weather. It was supposed to blow from the northeast for the next four days, 10-20 knots, with stronger gusts sometimes. That's straight into the wind for our planned course to the Cape Cod Canal. We also noticed that the forecast showed lighter winds up near New York City and Long Island Sound, so we left in the afternoon to arrive in the City the next morning. The wind started off strong, but followed the forecast and was not much the next morning.

We checked the timing of the current up the East River, and needed to wait a couple of hours before it turned favorable at 3 pm, so we anchored in Coney Island Creek between a park next to a housing project, and wrecked ruins of boats on the other side of the creek.

The trip up the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty, past the construction of the new World Trade Centers, the Brooklyn Bridge, lots of ferries and everything else, it was all fun and overwhelming.

Then we checked the timing of the currents at the Race- between Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound- and at the Cape Cod Canal, and realized that we needed to keep the speed up to make the best currents. With not much wind, we just kept chugging away, and made it to the CC Canal before dark on Saturday, and called ahead to Seafood Sam's near the Sandwich East Basin to get a seafood take-out order. The guy at the gas dock said he needed $10 for us to tie-up, but then he got nicer when we said no problem, and he wouldn't take our money when we went to walk to the restaurant, then he was gone when we got back. Nice guy.

After that short stop, we kept on going towards Portland, and again there was essentially no wind, and we pulled into Dimillo's Marina at 4 pm, with Sophi and Travis at the dock to help. That was a very successful delivery: 650 miles in 7 days, an average of 93 miles a day, the fastest of any part of the whole trip from Puerto Rico. For one thing, we were very fortunate with the weather and the current timing. And really, that was true the whole way along, compared to some times. Next time, we want to have a lot more time, and stop to see where we are more often. It was still great as it was, though. Now we have to get back to our “normal” life, and we still won't have time to fix up Magus as much as we want, but slowly it goes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Leg 2: Nassau to St. Mary's City

Haven't had time to write anything about this until now.  I got to Nassau on Saturday, April 21.  Travis and Greg had gotten in a day or two earlier.  This is more of a delivery than the first trip with Jenny when we got to swim and snorkel a few times.  I found Greg on the Cruiser's Forum web site, not sure if either Jenny or Travis would be coming on this part of the trip.  Having the three of us would make it easier on the night watches in particular.

Everything was fine with the boat and the marina, until we tried to start the engine and it wouldn't turn over.  After trying to jump from the house batteries with old cables that also didn't work, I decided to spring for a new starter battery first thing on Monday.  The fishing guys in the nearby boats had a connection at a battery shop that would deliver.  The delivered battery wasn't right, so I got to ride back to the shop and get the right one in a car with a broken seat back.  Nassau is a big small town with no highways to speak of, so it was no problem.  Everyone in Nassau was great in general.

The battery worked perfectly, and all was well.  In fact, even though it seemed like it was the good battery compared to the house batteries, it had been the bad one during the earlier trip, because now it was possible to run the 12-volt cooler with the engine running and the batteries stayed charged. Electrical systems are often mysterious.  

So, we had been watching the weather forecasts for the crossing to Beaufort, NC, using either, or the phone apps with the same info.  It seemed like we could maybe keep moving and squeeze the trip in before the next north front came through, so we left that afternoon for the Abacos.  That was a bit of a rough night, and we went through the cut at North Bar Channel the next afternoon, anchored for the night, then went on to Marsh Harbor the next morning.  We had an engine oil problem and needed to buy oil, got some food while we were at it, and left just before sunset on Wednesday, April 25.

Dolphins in mid-ocean
We wanted to make good time, so we essentially ran the engine for the next four days.  The wind was light and from the south or east the whole time.  It was supposed to go north and get strong on Sunday morning, but fortunately it didn't come in very strong and we took a full four days to go almost 600 miles, averaging over 6 knots.  We did a poor job of sending out position messages with our Spot locator, so Jenny was understandably worried, and I'll know to send those out more often next time.  We were surprised to hear the Coast Guard on vhf channel 16 over 200 miles from shore (but not who they were talking to,) so they must have very good antennas.

Travis was taking videos during the trip, and afterward, he and Sophi put together this nice edited version, even if its still a little long.

In Beaufort, we cleared in by phone, but a CBP guy had to stop by the next morning, and he confiscated our apples, but not all the other leftovers we had, which was weird.  Greg decided he really like Beaufort, and he wanted to stay and visit the area, and since Travis and I could do fine without him, we wished each other well, and said goodbye.  For now, here is a quick summary of the rest of the trip so far. 

ICW scene

Travis and I left in the afternoon of Monday, April 30 for a short sail/ motor on the Intracoastal Waterway to a creek just short of the Neuse River.  This made the next day's trip to Belhaven not too long, and we got in there early enough to do some shopping and visit the funky town history museum.   

Tuesday was a fairly long run to an anchorage on the Little Alligator River just before Albemarle Sound.  The next day was only 30 miles to Coinjock, where we stayed at a marina and visited with friends I met through Echo, Lisa and Drew Wright, and their parents, and one of their sons, Ian.

The next day was "bridge day," only 50 miles, but just making the many bridges and the lock at Great Bridge in time before the last bridge opened at 3:30 pm and then was closed until 6:00.  It was also the day we met Lewis from London on day 62 of his rowing adventure from Miami, on his way to New York (if his Visa got renewed.)  We gave him a tow for a few miles to the first bridge.  We ended up staying at a great public wharf in Portsmouth, and he left us a note on Magus while we were out.  We hope the rest of his trip is successful.

Portsmouth, VA public harbor

The next day, Saturday, May 5, we left for Mobjack Bay, staying at a great little place Compass Marina, owned by Albert's friend from college Martin Coffee and her husband Keith Jones.  The next day had a good breeze from the north, so we stayed and went kayaking on the East River, eating some outrageously good fresh oysters we picked on the way.

Menhaden fishing vessel, Reedville, VA
On Monday, the wind picked up good in the afternoon and we actually sailed without the engine for several hours.  We went to Reedville, where we met Captain Emery Lewis on his 80 foot cruising motor-sailer ketch, and heard lots of great history stories about the area.  Everyone here was also very friendly, and although none of the restaurants were open, we could have eaten at the American Legion and heard more history stories at the local school, but we just stayed on the dock.  We also walked around the fishing/ marine museum that was closed. 

The next day we left for St. Mary's City, arriving at 3 pm, as predicted by Travis.  The trip log showed 997 nautical miles from Nassau, in 15 days, an average of 66.5 miles per day, including the stops and lay-overs.  That's good, meaning we had good luck and good weather.  By contrast, the trip from Puerto Rico to Nassau was about 920 miles in 24 days, about 38 miles per day.  However, the first trip had rougher weather and we had to wait out some fronts instead of swimming and snorkeling, which we also did some. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The rest of the first leg

The rest of this part of the trip went fast enough that I couldn't blog; also, there were technology issues, and it seemed like there were no good wi-fi places, but we just didn't take the time to stay anywhere long enough to get to them in some cases, anyway.

Or, they were really hard to find, like in Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos, where we never found one. This place was completely out of the normal tourist sphere. There were some cruising boats that came through, and a mailboat maybe more than once a week. We ate at the one restaurant a few times-- compared to the super-high food prices, the restaurant was reasonable-- for basic West Indian bar food. That means the meal of fish or chicken or whatever comes with rice and peas, mac & cheese (baked,) and cole slaw. All meals came this way for the rest of our travels to Nassau. OK, in some places, they would have plaintain or some other choices, but not usually.

We had some good times with Jens and Hanne on s/v Viau at Big Sand Cay and Cockburn Harbor. They are the couple who organized the radio contact list, and we spoke to them and the others on our way from Boqueron to T&C. When we arrived at Big Sand Cay, we asked them if they bounced around a lot like we did, and Hanne said oh, yeah, that's the washing machine experience; you get used to it/ [They sailed from Europe to the caribbean somewhere in 21 days, so they should know.] At Cockburn Harbot, Albert and Jens walked around the town together to clear-in. First, it was off to Customs, and then across the village to Immigration. Albert was too late to go to the Health Department for Tigerlily's final approval, but the lady at Immigration said it would be OK if we never got to them, so we didn't. Albert had to do the same rounds to clear out after the second day, so that part could have been easier.

The Boqueron trip ended at Big Sand Cay, where we just anchored and spent the night until we could go to Cockburn Harbor the next day.   Here's a video from the Boqueron to Sand Cay trip

Cockburn Harbor was quite a place, maybe a few hundred people live there. The fishing seemed to be very good, with many fisherman coming into the town dock in the afternoon, cleaning their fish, selling any they could, but then taking most of it to one of two packing plants in the town.

Abandoned resort near Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos

There were two humungous tourist developments that were abandoned, and I never got the full story, but much of the town had abandoned buildings, so it all had a feeling of being passed by, but it was OK. People were all friendly and helpful. 
Municipal water system in Cockburn Harbor, T&C

Making another great dinner
Jens and Hanne with Jenny in Cockburn Harbor

Hanne and Jens on Viau, leaving Big Sand Cay

Here is a summary of the most of this segment of the trip, with some dates:

Boqueron to Sand Cay (T&C) March 10-12 (50 hours)
Sand Cay to Cockburn Harbor, T&C March 13 (5 hours)
Cockburn Harbor to Mayaguana, Bahamas March 15 (about 20 hours)
Mayaguana to Clarence Town, Long Is, Ba. March 18 (about 24 hours)
Clarence Town to Calabash Bay, Long Is March 20 (a long 8 hours)
Calabash Bay to George Town, Exumas March 22 (a nice 6 or 7 hours)
George Town to Lee Stocking Is CMRL March 24 (about 5 hours)
Lee Stocking Is to Staniel Cay March 25 (about 8 hours)
Staniel Cay to Warderick Wells March 27 (easy 5 hours)
Warderick Wells to Nassau March 30 (fun 8 hours)

The whole trip, Salinas to Nassau, ended up being 920 n. miles. I had planned on 950 miles, so we did it efficiently, with at least one longer trip than I thought we might take, and that shortened the miles to go into other harbors. Lots of motor-sailing, just to keep moving, and shorten the time; also, to run the engine and charge the batteries every few hours at night.

Leaving Cockburn Harbor, we needed to cross the Caicos Bank during the day, and we picked a fairly deep route, so we didn't have to worry too much. Here's what the paper chart showed:

A coral head on the Caicos Bank

Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana, Bahamas

Mayaguana was even a more passed-by kind of place, but we cleared into the Bahamas there, and people were friendly, but in a more desperate kind of way... the Customs lady was saying you want a restaurant? I'll call my friend, make you dinner? Many of the buildings still had roofs blown off from last summer's hurricane. 

Pothole farming on Long Island, Bahamas
Clarence Town was more real, and had just the beginnings of touristy. We never made it to Dean's Blue Hole, because I made us leave after just one day, which was a day too early. On the day we were there, though, we met Cecile from Ontario, and she took us on a car ride halfway to the north end of the island, stopping at the bank, a couple of stores, and a couple of great little mini-farms.

In George Town, there was a full tourist service feeling, but it is still out of the normal tourist circles—plenty of cruising boats, and a few tourists who come to stay at one of the luxury or fishing resorts on the island. One of my favorite things here was buying some fresh grown produce from the farmer's pickup truck, with his kids running around. The barbeque at the Peace and Plenty resort was nice, and hanging out at the Chat-n-Chill on Stocking Island was fine, too. We left with a crowd of maybe 20 boats all headed north, on Saturday morning.


We thought we were going farther, but decided to stop at Lee Stocking Island, at the Caribbean Marine Research Laboratory. We had time to walk over to the ocean beaches, and check out the site. The gift shop was not open.

The next day was a mostly traveling day to Staniel Cay, home of the snorkeling grotto where the movie Thunderball and others were filmed. It's a bit over-visited, but we found some good snorkeling around the corner where fewer boats go.

We stayed a second day here, and then moved on to Warderick Wells, headquarters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park. There is some excellent snorkeling here, although it was blowing hard, so the visibility was down. Very interesting place, nice little store, had to stay on a mooring that cost a big $15 a night. This is because the anchorage is so small, and they packed it with moorings. It felt safe when the wind got strong for a day or so.

Warderick Wells, whale skeleton

Then one more full day sail and we were in Nassau. The place where we are keeping the boat is Bayshore Marina, that has mostly local boats, with no facilities of any kind. But we negotiated an excellent rate, and there is 24-hour security, and the guys on the boats at the dock are nice and helpful. We didn't have much time to see Nassau, but we still got around. For now, here are a few photos.