Had a good drive east on I-10 to Lamont, FL, just east of Tallahassee. We pulled into a campground for the night at about 11:00. All is well.
Our next trip to the Bahamas will be over the Easter holidays – April 13-23, 2017. We’ll leave after school on Thursday April 13 and drive to Tallahassee. Friday will bring us to Key Largo, and Saturday we’ll set sail for the Bahamas. We’ll return home on Sunday April 23. Now is the time to act if you would like to go – we have only one spot left on our crew. Contact Captain Dan right away if you would like to go!
During the spring trip, we do a lot of fishing, island-hopping, and reef diving. The dolphin sighting high month is in April, so we will probably see a lot of them. Be sure to check out the Galleries to see what the spring trip looks like!
Well, we made it! What a great trip!!
Our last overnight was at Dove Rest RV Park in Marianna, FL. It was perfect for an overnight stay – quiet, clean, uncrowded, and the staff were quite funny. We’ll definitely go there again.
We unpacked and cleaned the RV and, sadly, everyone went home. Bonnie literally went the extra mile to drive Hugh to New Orleans to see his friend there. There are lots of stories to tell and pictures to view, so check out the gallery of photos from our trip!
Today, while traveling toward home, we visited Rainbow Springs State Park and ate at the 19/98 Grill. We are settled in for the night at a nice RV park in Marianna, FL called Dove Rest RV Park. We expect to return to Ocean Springs around noon tomorrow. All is well.
We had a great night at anchor at Rodriguez Key just off Key Largo. This morning we organized our belongings and cleaned things up. At about 10:00 am, we motored the short distance to Port Largo canal, refueled the boat, and then returned her to her dock. Then we began the labor of off-loading our gear from the boat and loading onto the RV. We were definitely not excited to be going home! We all discussed the idea of just going right on back to the Bahamas!
Reason prevailed and we began the road trip home with several hours consumed going into Miami to clear customs. They seemed particularly inefficient and it was around 6:00 pm before we got onto the Florida Turnpike headed north.
We stopped at our favorite overnight campground at Lake Panasoffkee for a good night’s sleep.
We had a beautiful return Gulf Stream crossing and are safely anchored at Rodriguez Key, just off Key Largo. We’re going to decompress, eat hearty, get some good rest, clean up, and organize while at anchor. Tomorrow morning, we’ll refuel the boat and return to port. After that, we’ll make our way to customs in Miami (by road), and then continue on to our overnight RV park- either Lake Panasoffkee or Blue Springs State Park. This has been a most amazing trip. Everything went as planned or better and we’ve had no mishaps or injuries. All the kids have gotten along well, contributed to the success of the group, and have been awesome. Lots more to post and many photos to come!
We’ve turned Hugh into a sailor! Hugh sailed back with us to the U.S. and will be visiting his friend in New Orleans.
We had a fantastic time at the Berry Islands and just returned to Weech’s Dock in Bimini. We explored Great Harbor Cay and met our friends, the Govatos/Willis/Nell family, at Hoffman’s Cay. We swam and jumped into the Blue Hole at Hoffman’s Cay. We made red beans and rice for everyone. We had a bonfire on the beach and roasted marshmallows. Suffice to say, we had a great time in the most incredible place. The sail there and back was smooth. We will depart Bimini to go back to the U.S. tomorrow morning. We’ll anchor tomorrow night at Rodriguez Key, just off Key Largo.
So, we’re anchored at Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands planning to meet our friends at Hoffman’s Cay. We contacted them via VHF radio first thing in the morning. They were excited to know we were on the way and we were excited that we would see them again in what would turn out to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
About an hour and a half later, we dropped our hook near Tanda Malaika just off of Hoffman’s Cay. We had cays rising up from the water all around us and the water was crystal clear. Aiden and Glade paddled themselves from Tanda Malaika to Big Easy II on a tow-behind inner tube. We were very happy to have them aboard and, soon after, their siblings would join us too. Thereafter, the adults all assembled aboard Tanda Malaika where we planned our day at the Blue Hole on Hoffman’s Cay.
Two dinghies full of people made their way to a little cove behind Hoffman’s Cay. The beauty there is incredible. The sand was very fine, the water crystal clear, the green fauna lush. In short – paradise. We landed on the beach and made our way through a narrow little trail about a 1/4 mile inland to the Blue Hole – a 600 ft deep natural pool with a cliff to jump off of! We spent the rest of the day there enjoying the beauty of the place and the good company of friends.
While at the Blue Hole, we met a troop of Boy Scouts from Atlanta who sailed in from Nassau. They were on a 5-day Bahamas expedition.
That night, Tyler made red beans and rice for the crews of both boats and Belinda served up some delicious cole slaw to go with it. Believe me when I tell you, this was synergy in action. It was a delicious dinner. Tanda Malaika had a nice treat for us afterwards, having previously stacked wood for a bonfire on the beach. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores and played night games on the beach. Wow, what a night!
Today we left right at 6:00 am from Weech’s bound for the Berry Islands. It was dead calm when we left building to a comfortable 12 knots of breeze for most of the 100 mile journey. Along the way, we dropped a couple of lines in the water and got some good hits. One was a huge fish that unfortunately got away. The wind decided at that moment to freshen up to about 20 knots, so it was hard to slow the boat down to reel in the fish. No matter though because soon after, Beckah reeled in a very nice Tuna that would feed us all quite generously that night.
We anchored in Great Harbor Cay, a large anchorage at the north of the Berry Islands. We dinghied ashore and explored the island, visiting the marina and exploring an abandoned hotel. We saw only a few people on the island – a very nice couple named Clife and Lillyette who had flown out there on their Piper airplane, and a couple from Covington, LA, of all places, aboard their powerboat in the marina.
Our shore excursion took longer than we had planned so we got back to our dinghy after dark. It was a bit of an ordeal shuttling people back to the boat in the dark, but we made it safely. During this operation, Tyler and Beckah cooked up the tuna and, upon our return with the final members of our crew, served it up along with delicious asparagus, mixed vegetables, and some other thing I can’t remember the name of (grain with pineapple). What a feast!!
We had a free day today to do whatever we wanted to do! We sailed to the Sapona and dive around and in it. We also climbed up on the ship and jumped off. It was simply amazing.
While the kids were enjoying the Sapona, Dan was trying to talk to people at SSC. Back in Bay St. Louis, the school was in a near panic with no internet. Cell service is not that great around Bimini and Dan found it difficult to communicate with people back home. Karen came to the rescue signing him up for the international calling and texting plan. That helped, but it would turn out to be an arduous task troubleshooting from 1000 miles away. It turned out that the internet provider did an upgrade which left us hanging.
That didn’t dampen the activities though, and after the Sapona, Big Easy II, headed southwest to Honeymoon Harbor where our crew visited the stingrays. After that, we headed back to Bimini for more Junkanoo!
Dan and Tyler played music onstage for Junkanoo and later, Tyler entered and won the watermelon eating contest. He is now the reigning 2016 Junkanoo Watermelon Eating Champion and has the medal to prove it!