January/February 2020: Cruising Full Time Now!

It is real now. It is just the three of us and the dogs enjoying boat life. Sadly, we put Mak and Ella on a plane in George Town, Bahamas on December 30th with the thought that we would stay and explore the area for a few days and then start sailing south. A few days turned into a few weeks. The winds became unsettled, blowing 25-35mph and we just had to wait it out.

Sunsets in George Town were pretty nice though!
Caper and Chance learned to paddle board with Shannon.
Long walks on the beach. The beaches in the Exumas are about the best in the world.
Cruisers built a cool beach shack on Sand Dollar Beach where we anchored most of the time.
Stocking Island, Chat n Chill bay area.
Loved just hanging out on Sand Dollar Beach.
Chance enjoying a cold one after a beach walk.
We went back to the Chat n Chill a few times.
Enjoying the Junkanoo party one night in George Town.

It isn’t always fun and games. We had an electrical fire one night due to a loose screw. It took us a couple of days to find new wire and make the repairs.

After three weeks anchored just off Stocking Island, Exuma (George Town), we began to make our way southeast. We spent 4 days in Thompson’s Bay Long Island, Bahamas Jan 15-19.  We got to see an amazing natural wonder, Dean’s Blue Hole. You are just walking along the edge in knee deep water and then it drops straight down. It is 633 feet at the deepest spot. Something you really have to see to understand its beauty. 

Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas

January 18th. We had fun celebrating Addie’s 15th Birthday! It included lots of yummy food at Addie’s request – bacon, eggs, hash browns, and lemon muffins for breakfast and Shannon’s yummy fried rice and lo mein noodles for dinner.

We did our first sail into the night Jan 19-20. We traveled 110 NM from 7:00am to 2:00am. This was a test for Addie and Ashley as they had never sailed past sunset before much less into the night. We made it all the way into Abraham’s Bay at Mayaguana in the middle of the night without hitting a reef or any coral. Thank goodness for great charts. 

Amazingly clear water at Mayaguana! Lots of sand dollars.
Not a lot on Mayaguana…
Still have wrecks on the beaches from past hurricanes.

The winds picked up again so we spent January 20-26 just hanging out in Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana, Bahamas. Mayaguan is the eastern most Bahamas island. We head out east in the Atlantic ocean from here and then turn south all the way to Puerto Rico. Mayaguana is the last place we can use our Bahamas money.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything to buy!

On the morning of January 27th we lifted anchor and set sail for Puerto Rico. The distance was 470 NM. The plan was to travel at an average speed of 5NM per hour, if we were lucky maybe 6NM per hour. We were ready for 4 days and nights of non-stop traveling. Winds were light and seas were calm for most of the trip so there was not much sailing – mostly motoring.

Plenty of time for school.
And Hanging out!
Did I say Calm Seas????
We even caught a blue fin tuna.
Beautiful sunsets.
You can’t miss the cruise ships at night!
This was a Disney ship about 5 miles from our location.

Our first 4-day passage from Bahamas to Puerto Rico was a success!

Land Ho!
Made it to Puerto Rico!
From our anchorage we could see the Conquistador Waldorf Astoria resort.
We stayed at this resort about 8 years ago with the girls. They loved riding the funicular down the mountain to go to the water park and beach.

We hung out in Puerto Rice for about 4 days stocking up on provisions from the grocery store and some needed items at West Marine. We took some time to research our best cellular options, which becomes a very big deal once you head south from the Bahamas.

Caper waited patiently on the boat while we shopped.
And checked out the sites…
But our best find in PR was Ocean Lab Brewery!

After a few days, we left Puerto Rico…

Aventis arriving in St. Thomas in the USVI where we met up with our friends Kent and Kathy Meredith on Wind Ensemble.

We spent the next few weeks exploring St. Thomas and St. John’s.

We spent lots of time looking under the water.
We checked things out from a higher perspective.
Keeping good company.
Enjoying the Paddle In Tiki Bar on Maho Beach.
Shannon was not paddling fast enough, so Caper jumped off the board and swam for the beach.
One of Addie’s favorite hikes, the Annaberg Sugar Plantation on St. John’s.
We got to celebrate Kathy’s birthday!
Magens Bay on St. Thomas really is a beautiful place.
One of the best things about living on a boat – your sunset view is different every night.

We spent the last week of February over in the British Virgin Islands. It was really neat to be there on our own boat and not have to always grab a mooring ball or feel like we were on a tight charter boat schedule. We visited some of our favorite places.

Cooper Island is Ashley’s favorite. Great snorkeling, lots of turtles, a coffee shop, ice cream shop and a super fun beach bar.
The Baths on Virgin Gorda
We shared the beach at Prickly Pear with one of the last cruise ship groups to be in the Virgin Islands before being shut down for corona virus.
At Addie’s request we went back to the Soggy Dollar Bar and Hendo’s on Jost Van Dyke. She loves the food at Hendo’s and she knows Mom and Dad love the pain killers at Soggy Dollar.
Even with all the fun exploring, we still make time for school.

So, January and February were big months for us; we went two months without seeing Makenzie and Ella, which was really hard; we had our first overnight passage and our first multi-day passage; we had our first (and hopefully last, boat fire; and we were still figuring out how to be full time cruisers with a teenager and two dogs. We are absolutely having the time of our lives!

Coming Up Next Month:
Spring Breakers in the Virgin Islands (and Corona-pocalypse)

4 thoughts on “January/February 2020: Cruising Full Time Now!

  1. Your pictures are beautiful. Loved caper waiting for you on the table!! You all have nice tans. Love and miss you all

  2. You guys are becoming the experienced “salty sailors” making all those passages! Thank you for sharing your adventure through words and fantastic photos! Stay healthy and safe!

  3. You are becoming international sailors! We loved seeing the happy faces each of your faces! Can’t wait for your next post!

  4. Love reading about your adventures. Can’t wait to read the Spring Beak blog! Lily had such a great time with all of you. Thanks so much for inviting her! What an amazing experience.
    Julie Richards

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