February 13-20 Rebecca and Rich’s visit

February 13

We got anchored safely out in the harbour and did a bit of cleaning up. You wouldn’t have known that we just had 5 extra people on the boat for a week. It looked pretty good! We had heard from Becca in the morning. She and Rich travelled to Montreal the night before to catch their flight in the morning. Snowmaggdon, as the storm was called was hitting Ottawa that day. It was snowing when Rich got home from work. They left right away, only to drive through blizzard like conditions just like Scot had to do for his trip. It took them almost 4 hours to get to their hotel. It usually takes a little less than 2 hours from our place to Montreal.

We needed to get some groceries so we dinghied in. Becca messaged from the airport to say the lines were long to clear customs. Mike waited at Starbucks for them while I went for groceries, which are just up from Starbucks. When I was almost finished, I could hear pounding on the roof. I went to the store window and could see the rain coming down in buckets. I finished up and as I was ready to check out, Becca and Rich arrived with Mike. It was so good to see them. Most of the walk to the store was under covered awnings so they were not too wet. They picked up a few things and then we headed for the dinghy, right when it started pouring rain again! Mike and I said we would dinghy out with all the groceries and suitcases and let them stay at Starbucks and get a coffee. Mike dinghied out with their luggage and picked up an umbrella. Then he came back for me and some of the groceries. Then he went back for Becca and Rich. We were all soaked when we got to the boat and it wasn’t even very far away! Here’s Becca and Rich arriving.

We all dried off and enjoyed the coffees while we got supper ready. All too soon it was bedtime. And it was still raining!

February 14

We were up early and weighed anchor at 06:45. Our destination was the same as our past two trips: Allen’s Cay to see the iguanas. It was a bit overcast but we hoped the sun would come out. Becca and Rich pulled out the jib and we motor sailed.

About an hour or so into our trip, the wind picked up. We had to roll up the jib. Then, it started pouring and the waves were hitting us on the beam. The boat was rolling and pitching. It was by far the worst trip we had with the kids on board. Becca felt sick and Rich too. She had taken gravol and Rich had the patch on behind his ear for motion sickness. They kept the bucket close but thankfully didn’t need it. And then amongst all the rocking and rolling, we heard some creaking and cracking. We wondered what it could be when all of a sudden, we knew! The autopilot was on but we were going all over the place. The autopilot broke! Mike quickly got the boat back on course and was hand steering. Just like the days of old! It was quite a chore with the 4 foot waves on the beam. We could hardly see out the window with the pouring rain and the waves sloshing up over the boat. No photos during the trip that’s for sure. We could hardly stand up. Lol

It calmed down a bit as we motored in to Allen’s Cay. We set the hook at 13:00 and had travelled 36.2 nm. Mike checked the autopilot, which is behind the quarter berth. The opening to get in there is small and tight. He wiggled in on his chest and saw that the mounting plate was broke. He sure bruised his ribs getting in there to get it out. What a mess we made getting all the tools out that were needed. Becca took this video:

Click here to see Mike working on auto-pilot

Thank goodness it happened when Becca was on board. We only had 2 extra people and their suitcases to move. If it was when Amber was here, we had 5 extra people and their belongings. Becca took this photo of me after Mike was finished cutting it apart and before we had to put everything back. I look like I’m crying but actually I was laughing. I was saying “I’m done with all this”. lol

We ate lunch and then dinghied ashore to feed the iguanas. Here’s some shots of our time on the beach with them:

The little finch were flying right into our bowl of lettuce

Perched on Rich’s hand

Becca and Rich feeding them

We decided we would stay at Allen’s Cay for the night. A lot of boats started coming into the anchorage in the late afternoon and early evening. They were coming over from Highbourne Cay to get shelter from the wind. There was a catamaran in front of us that had music, disco lights and dancing going on until midnight. They sure were having fun! It started pouring rain around that time and shortly after the wind came up.

February 15

We were all up early and quite frankly were worried that it would be a rough day on the water like yesterday. We weighed anchor at 06:30 and headed out of the anchorage bound for Big Major Spot.

We certainly didn’t need to worry about it being rough. It was a beautiful, calm morning.

It was so calm that Rich could even enjoy his coffee on the bow.

Some more photos of the day’s trip:

Looking like movie stars up on the bow

Love those smiles

A rainbow

We just couldn’t believe how calm it was

Rich gave Mike a break and took the wheel

The beautiful glass-like water

We had no problem making lunch down below with the nice, smooth water. We ate underway and had the anchor down at Big Major at 13:50. We travelled 45.32 nm. It was a very warm day so first things first; Becca jumped in the water. She checked and there were no nurse sharks, Easton. 🙂 Here she is in the dinghy after dropping Rich over at a reef to go snorkeling.

Before supper, we went in to see the pigs. Becca had seen them last year when she was in the Bahamas but it was new for Rich. I’m sure all you followers might be just a little tired of seeing them though. But you will only have them one more time after this, I promise. 🙂

So here’s some piggy and beach photos captioned below:

Big Mama Maggie met us

This ones name is Kenzo; we know this because of the names posted up inside the hut. (We had photos of those in Amber’s blog)

Even Captain Hook the rooster, was on shore

And a couple of little sandpipers

They knew we had food in that bucket

Tired little piglets

Three piggies in a row (the kids loved that Raffi song; me too)

And hungry little piglets:
Click here to see mama and her piglets

They finally realized that the food in the bucket was gone. 🙂

A stingray

An inuksuk

So that was our time at the beach. Rich barbequed our supper and then we had this glorious sunset. (I couldn’t choose just one). God paints a beautiful sky!

February 16

Here is the sun rising over Big Major Cay for another beautiful day in the Exumas.

Low tide was around 09:30 so Mike dinghied Becca and Rich over to Thunderball Grotto.
They were the first ones to arrive and has the grotto all to themselves! But by the time they left, apparently there were a few tour boats outside and quite a few people heading into the grotto. Becca got some underwater photos but when she was downloading them something went wrong and she is trying to recover them. I hope she does. They loved snorkelling in there with all the beautiful coloured fish.

After the grotto, we had some excitement mid-morning when a seaplane flew in and landed on the beach. Quite a few tourists got off to see the pigs.

Becca had taken Rich over to the reef to snorkel again and he swam back.

Luckily he was back on the boat before this nurse shark swam past Persuasion.

We could see so many tour boats on the beach.

And more kept coming!

We needed to get water so we took Persuasion over to Staniel Cay and anchored there. Becca and Rich also wanted to take us for lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. So after anchoring, we dinghied in.

When we pulled the dinghy up on the beach, Mike noticed a dinghy that had NS on it. I recognized it right away as Cardea’s dinghy because it had the Canada flag on the back.

We walked up to restaurant and saw Gary, Sue and Max on the terrace outside waiting for their meal. There were some empty seats at their table so we sat with them. We seem to be following them around. 🙂 Actually, they were anchored off Staniel Cay. We enjoyed a nice lunch with them. It was very busy there. We saw some of the tourists that were on the seaplane come in on a dinghy for lunch there too.

After lunch we took some photos of the nurse sharks that are right off the dock by the restaurant. There were lots of pretty little fish in with the sharks too.

People get in the water to touch and swim with them!

There is a fish cleaning station there and the sharks are fed. When they feed them, they make the people in the water stand back or get out and the sharks all go to the other side. Here is a photo of them all gathering for the fish that was thrown in for them. It’s a feeding frenzy.

They had their catch of the day displayed at the fish cleaning staion too. Some rock lobsters and crabs. And some fish, not sure what kind but they were pretty. 🙂

After lunch, Mike got our water jugs filled and Becca and Rich went for a walk up to the store.IMG_1429


We took our water back to the boat and on the way, stopped by to see Vivienne and Tom on Quandary. We saw their catamaran on the way in and hoped they would still be there when we came back. We had first met them at the dock in Vilano Beach and then again in Royal Island. We had a chat with them and heard that they had enjoyed a nice visit with their son and were expecting friends the next day. It’s always nice catching up with cruising friends that we meet along the way. Mike dinghied in to get Becca and Rich and then we pulled up the anchor and headed back over to Big Major Spot. The holding is better at Big Major and is only 1.5 nm away. We set the hook at 16:00.

Here’s Becca getting ready to get in the water. Just look at that smile. 🙂

She jumped in and floated around. Thanks for leaving the floaty with us Amber. 🙂

After a nice supper, we had a really gorgeous sunset. Beautiful!

February 17

We weighed anchor at 06:40 bound for The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park at Warderick Wells. We passed by a couple of yachts on the way out.

Becca took the wheel for a while.

It was a beautiful, calm day. We called ahead and were able to get a mooring ball in the north field. We hooked the ball at 10:00 and had travelled 20.76 nm.

The park and is absolutely picture perfect.

Becca and I went swimming and walked out onto a sand bar and then she and Rich snorkelled. You can see a black nurse shark in the last photo.

Some more of our sightings of that day are captioned below:

A curly tailed lizard that we almost stepped on!

Sea Turtles!

Becca and Rich hiked up Boo Boo Hill. We stayed back because of all the uneven rock. Didn’t want to chance hurting our knees again. The uneven ground is so hard on them.

They looked for our boat sign that we placed there in 2015 with Sarah and James. No luck! So many boat names on driftwood up there!

What a beautiful moon

And we watched the sun go down

February 18

Looked like another calm day when the sun came up.

We slipped the line from the mooring ball at 07:30 and headed towards Norman’s Cay. Whoa, there was a very large yacht out by the channel entrance!

Becca and Rich hauled out the jib and we motor sailed for a while.

Becca snapped this photo of us.

We set the hook at Norman’s Cay at 11:15. They got their snorkel gear ready and we dinghied over to the plane wreck. Norman’s Cay had a shady past in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as it was base of a Colombian drug runner and was headed by Carlos Ledher. The C-46 that crashed short of the runway into the water is now popular for divers and snorkellers. The tide was out so we could see parts of the wreck sticking out of the water. Hopefully Becca recovers those underwater photos as she got some great snaps of the plane down below!

After the snorkeling it was back to the boat for lunch, we pulled anchor and headed over to Highbourne Cay for the night. Rich got his rod out and tried for a fish along the way. He caught a tiny little guy but threw him back in.IMG_1427

We set the anchor at 14:15 and had travelled 34.45 nm that day. Becca and Rich took the dinghy over to see the sharks at the dock. After supper, we watched the sun go down.

February 19

Well, their trip was coming to a close. We weighed anchor at 06:20 and headed towards Nassau. The sun coming up as we travelled.

It was another good travel day.

Too bad Amber and Jason did not fare as well. We had so much wind for their week. Becca spotted 2 large dolphins. They were too far away by time I got the camera. She also worked on a crossword puzzle

We had reservations at the Nassau Harbour Club and got into our slip at 11:45. We travelled 37.81 nm. We ate lunch and then headed for the pool and showers. Followed by a walk and Becca treated us all for supper. An early birthday supper for Rich whose birthday was the following week. We walked about 25 minutes to the Green Parrot. It was a great little place that had a large outdoor patio on the water.

Jim and Cheryl called while we were at the restaurant. They had crossed over from Florida on the weekend and were in Marsh Harbour in the Abacos. He said they hoped to be in Nassau by Sunday. After supper, we walked back and it was a full snow moon that night. We snapped this one from our v-berth in the boat.

February 20

All good things must end, they say. We were up early showered, Rich went to get us all Starbucks, ate breakfast and I started the laundry. They had a taxi booked for 10:30. We took this selfie before they left.IMG_1343

We said our goodbyes and couldn’t believe a week had passed that quickly.

I finished up the laundry and Mike finished filling the fuel tank and water tanks and we shoved off the dock and motored out to the anchorage.

Thank you for a lovely visit, Becca and Rich. What great memories we’ll have. Thank you for treating us to great meals and for all your help in the galley. Just like home, except in a much smaller space. 🙂 Back to work and to the land of ice and snow for you guys. Spring is a coming though. Love you both. XO

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