May 2013 - Cruising/Life Log for S/V Freedom - a 1996 Gemini 105M - Jim and Deb Faughn

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The Abacos Gemini Invasion - 2013


Jun 3 - Sorry about no update last night. We had too much fun at the pool then had dinner and to bed. Right now, I'm 38 miles from the St. Lucie Inlet and our expected arrival at the inlet is 4:30 pm. Hopefully it will be close.

Back to the story!

We left Green Turtle, with a 20-25 knot wind. The forecast was for it to be windy on Friday, dropping on Saturday, then low winds on Sunday. The forecast is actually getting better at this time for our crossing on Monday. We all took off, one at a time, for Fox Town. The winds were so good that all I put up was the head sail. We were ranging from 5.8 knots to 7.5 knots depending upon sea conditions and the winds. You can see in the picture below my sail number is 536. This, as I understand it, is the 36th 105 made by Performance Cruising. So that means, I've got one of the older boats in the fleet. She still is a good boat however.

Cameras always tend to flatten seas. Regardless, you can see they were a bit "lumpy" and I estimated them at 2-3 feet but the good news was they were going with us for the most part.


The picture to the left is the one of Bob passing Coopers Town. We stopped there on the way down but this time there would be no stopping. Wave action was just too much.

After we passed the point and made an easterly turn towards Fox Town we probably should have turned in and anchored. The seas turned out to be running directly with us. As it turns out, there would be no place to hide at Fox Town for an anchorage.

Before we arrived at that conclusion, we passed the Centre of the World. Well, at least the Centre of the World Rock. I can't tell if it is misspelled on my chart plotter or if that is how they wanted to spell Center. Doesn't matter, at least we know where the Centre of the World is and passed it once again. You can see Wayne and Holly passing the rock below.

We were booking it under sail and it was a great day of sailing.


A chance meeting with another Gemini. This time a 3200 who was Pound Pounding Away.

We were thinking "don't do it, don't do it." It was just after this we had to turn into the wind and pound about 30 minutes to get to a protected area for the night. And a good night it was.

The next morning the winds had died some and it was sailing time again. I was able to setup and launch my spinnaker while Deb was still sleeping. This was starting out as a great day.

Everyone was sailing and the newer 105's were showing their stuff with the screecher and larger main sails. When the winds came up I pulled down the spinnaker for a squall that passed by us. Then I put it back up again. Winds were about 13 knots apparent and the apparent wind began to move forward and the spinnaker would collapse. I was just about at the point of taking it down again when all of a sudden it wrapped itself around the furled jib. (forward sail) I mean it was a mess. Now comes the "fun part" After trying to run in circles with the boat to un-wind the sail, Deb and I came to the conclusion I needed to unwind it from the bottom, then I could unwind the top part. Keep in mind, this is in 15 knots of wind and the boat is rocking up and down. Did I say "fun part?" Forward I went taking the two sheets (lines that hook to the back of the sail) with me. Next I had to un-tie the two lines that hold the sail to the deck on my forward cleats. I should have seen the next thing coming! I un-wound the sail from the bottom and then I heard "WOMP." That is the sound of the sail filling and the only thing holding it down was me. As I began being lifted off the deck I let go and thought - this is going to hurt! I landed on my back on the forward deck and fortunately didn't go overboard. Now we have a 35 foot long pendent flying from almost the top of our mast.

We turned into the wind, I got the main sail down and then had Deb turn back with the wind and speed up the engine so we could cut the apparent wind and I could grab those lines again. Fortunately, I was able to grab the lines and un-wind the sail at the top. Since it was free, I was able to "snuff it" (pull the bag down from the top so it can't go WOMP again) and then pull it all down on deck. Unbelievably, the sail came through unharmed to fly another day.

Pisces had started to turn back but since Quiet Place was closer they stood by in case I went overboard"playing with the sail." Overall, an interesting day!

Upper and to the left is a picture of Quiet Place with Paul and Peggy sailing away. Now the only real problem was they passed us. Darn.

Wayne and Holly were flying the Pirates Flag when they passed us all and we were thinking about throwing water balloons at them in self defense. However, we just didn't know what kind of arsenal they had so it was probably best if we didn't start anything!

We got everything out of the freezer for Pizza night which I had been promising everyone. It was going to be a great evening when we all get reassembled at Mangrove for our final happy hour and dinner this time on Freedom.

Five Gemini's and a Mainship are now at Mangrove so it's time for more food prep and time to get to eating!

Wayne had spent a couple hours making a Mutton Snapper Ceviche, Holly brought smoked fish dip, Jean made a wonderful desert. So after some good appetizers it was time to get to cooking.

Food is being consumed and people are once again having a great time.

I think you know everyone now but it is nice to see everyone having fun!

Me, I'm cooking Pizza and enjoying every bit of it. I made 8 of them on this night and they were all eaten fairly quickly. Everyone was different from seafood, london broil, salami, shrimp, smoked turkey, mushrooms, onions, olives, you get the idea. It was a pizza sampler and they turned out pretty good too.

As you can see to the lower right, everyone arrives with their dinghy's.

The next day was very calm and the weather was paying attention to the "game plan."

Deb and I checked into the marina again just because we wanted to. Turned on the airconditioner and then went to the pool. Had great conversations with people at the pool, Garry and Jean, Paul and Peggy, then Bill and Sissy, along with Bob. We finished up happy hour then off to dinner. Thank you very much for the dinner Garry and Jean!


To the right is Bill and Sissy with their Gemini anchored off of the sand beach at Old Bahama Bay.

This morning, Monday, we left at 5 am and 4 of us headed for St Lucie Inlet and Quiet Place headed for Lake Worth Inlet. We had radio contact for the first 5 hours then they faded into static. Overall, the day has gone as planned and I'm estimating the seas are 1 foot at 11 am as I am writing this. We are further south on our course this year so the Course to Steer was better calculated this year but we did have to make a couple of corrections because of a current off of West End which slowed us down. Regardless, it looks like it will be a good crossing.


Ocean Date - June 3, 2013 - 3:10 pm - We are currently 8 miles offshore and have a signal. We should be arriving through the inlet at about 4:30. Back in the US.

Great trip, Great people, Great boats.

May 31 - On our way, sailing, from Guana up to Green Turtle, we passed the Whale and went through "Don't Rock Passage." The picture to the right along with the one lower left shows you what it looked like out on the Whale Passage. A bit rough for me.

So we took my old favorite Don't Rock. This is a passage that is shown on the charts which is for shallower draft boats. It is one my friend Larry on Skipper always told me that he took too before we came to the Abacos our first time, I guess now 5 years ago.

Below right you can see the last set of rocks that mark the end of Don't Rock Passage as you move left. In addition, in the background you can see Treasure Cay.

Here is a picture of Bob on High Cotton along with Bill and Sissy on Pisces as we were making our way just past Don't Rock. Pisces was headed off to snorkel and look for Conch while we were headed for Green Turtle to anchor for the evening.

Later, we got together at Pineapples with some of the crews. The picture to the lower left is just a few of the Conch shells that are discarded after being cleaned for fresh Conch dishes.

There was also this bird feeder that was entertaining and Deb and I contributed some of our Bahamian money towards seed. I think we are missing Jimmy Buffett - our parrot.

Then we moved back into Leeward Yacht Club for final preparations before we depart. Everyone wanted to check over their boats, get wi-fi, and basically "chill" because we've been going ever since we left. Who said cruising was relaxing. We are going to need a vacation when we get home.... just joking.

So last night we all gathered at the Wrecking Tree. As it turns out, they typically aren't open for dinner on this day. However, since I stopped by and told them we had 11 people who would like to have dinner there, they stayed open. Good food too. On top of that, they had some more walk-in's so it was good for them.

What was going to just be a farewell dinner, earlier in the day became an awards dinner as Deb and I were talking about the cruise. We picked up, literally, and bought some inexpensive items to just have some fun with some awards. Of course the big award was procured by one of our members and it was a secret how it arrived on the scene but I know they went to allot of work. More about that later.

The first award went to the boat with the most questions. That could be none other than Quiet Place and everyone knew Paul would have a question about something. He received a Coconut with Question Mark along with Wilson on the back.

During the trip there was actually an Iron Chef competition or so to speak. It was between Woman and Man given the same ingredients and the same preparation. In other words, White Swan prepared two Key Lime Pies and they both needed to be baked. Seemed like a simple job even for a guy to accomplish so one of our fine Captain's volunteered. Let's just say that "he" got his pie whipped! I won't say which Captain it was that was on Freedom but his pie came out just a bit wrong with a few burnt places on the top not to mention the wrong temperature setting. Let's face it, guys don't really hear anyway. Bottom line, White Swan and Jean were pronounced Iron Chef of the Gemini Abacos Invasion.
During the trip Pisces - Bill and Sissy - were working to buy another house. I won't go into the fact that they haven't actually seen the house but they've been going back and forth with a realtor and it looks like they are getting the house! It's on the water but words something along the line of "we may have to go back to work" got us thinking. They received the Lighthouse award to ensure the lighthouse continued to show them the way back to sea and they shouldn't just go back and "get into their old working lives." Good luck Pisces, I know this is the house on the water you really want but we expect you back on this trip next year!
We've been eating very good on this trip and everyone's expectation to loose weight hasn't come true. One of the best things, besides the pies and other food coming out of the Iron Chef's boat, has been the fresh fish. You've seen the pictures so it was time to give up the award for the best Fisher People on La Dolce Vita - Wayne and Holly. Any time the weather/winds would allow they were off into the Atlantic to catch some more fish which they shared generously with all of the boaters on the trip. Many thanks!

Last but not least was High Cotton. We could tell a few stories about High Cotton but won't. Well, just one. Evidently Bob made it known that he just loved Stu's hat and wanted one like it. One of our group made the effort to acquire the hat and this evening was originally set up just for presenting the hat. It grew a bit but this was something everyone was "in on."

So the time came and everyone was anticipating the event.

Anticipation mounted.
Anticipation mounted and finally Bob got his hat. I just wish Shearwater with Stu and Dorothy were here. I think they would have gotten a "kick out of it too."
To the right is our Chef who stayed over to ensure we had the opportunity to have our dinner with each other. The food was very good too.

Once again, we are all together at sundown enjoying each other's company. I promised a couple of people that they would make life long friends on this trip and I believe that is what has happened.

For me, it has been a very successful trip. We have 3 new boaters who have crossed the Gulf Stream. We've had a wonderful month in the Abacos. And it looks like we are going to have a great crossing back to the United States on Monday with winds below 10 knots and seas at 2 feet or less. How can it get any better?

As it turns out, we will probably be together at least one more time at Mangrove Cay where I've promised Pizza before we get to West End. At Mangrove Cay, La Dolce Vita will head south and go through the cut through the big island to the south side. Then at West End we have 3 routes planned out. We have at least one boat going to West Palm at the Lake Worth Inlet, several boats including Freedom going to the St. Lucie Inlet, and possibly another boat heading up to the Fort Pierce Inlet. More about all of that later.

For now, this was the groups final "official picture" together. It has been a great trip. We will have more on Sunday when we will have wi-fi again from West End.

May 26 - Wow, I just sorted through 225 pictures and we've been out-of-touch for a couple of days. Let's go back to the day before we left Marsh Harbour.

We met David and Jordan who helped us get a good rate at Mango's. This turned out to be a wonderful time not only fixing a few boat problems with a number of boats but also getting to know David, who owns the last Gemini made by Performance Cruising before Hunter took over the manufacturing process. But also to get to know Jordan along with the owner of Mango's.

David was so happy to get to learn from the group that he organized a dinner for everyone at Mango's. It was a wonderful time as you will see in the pictures that follow.

Below is a picture of many of the boats that came in. In addition, Bob along with Stu and Dorothy stayed anchored out.

Below right you can see the group picture with David's boat in the background. Let's see if I can name everyone.

Back row - left to right - Dorothy, Sissy, Deb below Sissy, Bill, Jean, David, Jordan, Peggy, Holly, Wayne, Bob

Bottom row - (the kneelers) - Situ, Jim, Garry, Paul

All the cruisers on the Abaco's Gemini Invasion.

To the left was a toast to our host, David. Once again, thanks David for a wonderful meal and commodore.

Below left a different view of the group.

Then the "couples pictures."

Below right - Garry and Jean.

Below lower left - Holly and Wayne

Below lower right - Stu and Dorothy

Left - Bob

Lower left - Jordan

Lower right - David

Right - Bill and Sissy

Lower left - Peggy and Paul

Lower right - Jim (that's me) and Deb

Everyone was very grateful for David's generosity. Almost everyone had time to pass on some wisdom to David about the Gemini. He's even made the commitment to ensure he is over next year so he can sail with us and I think Jordan may take some time off work to help out his friend too.

We got some time to take care of some questions on his boat with regards to the batteries along with some wiring explanations too. It was fun talking through the systems on a boat that was wired correctly - in my opinion!

I also had some time to talk to the owner of Mango's about a project with regards to vocational training. It was fun and I think in two discussions we were able to get a very good focus for his pilot program. It was nice to be "back in the grove" again - focused, focusing, and helping to determine the outcome desired so it can be measured and evaluated. Something I previously did back at my old full time job. Hopefully, I have helped create a program that will ultimately put Abacos people to work. A very productive adventure!

Then we were off again. This time to Tahiti Beach for a great anchorage and a surprise that you will soon learn about.

I said that I would provide a picture of my new motor mount that we "finally" mounted here in the Abacos. I've only had it floating around for 6 months but only on this trip did I have the time, with Bill's help, to get it mounted. It is a great backup and a wonderful place to put the dinghy engine. A very nice bracket with a backing plate I made to support it all. We had it installed in about 20 minutes since I already had the backing plate cut to size.

Below left and right you can see us approaching the Hopetown along with the Lighthouse. We went there last year and if you haven't checked that out, you should. Especially you should see the video we created last year about lighting the Hopetown Lighthouse. All you really have to do is search that phrase on YouTube and you will find my video.

But we didn't stop. Instead we headed south to Tahiti beach to pick up an anchorage and a good view of the full moon. We had a call from Wayne and Holly that they had fish, wait, not just fish - a big fish on board. I've heard two numbers but bottom line is I went over to clean this fish you are about to see. It was a 35-40 pound King Mackerel. Dinner is going to be good.

Now that is a big fish and there was a Cero Mackerel too.

These are just 3 of the 15 steaks that were cut from the fish. By the way these were about an inch and a half thick for each one.

Then came sunset. I'm a sucker for sunset!

We picked up pictures of Bill and Sissy....

Wayne and Holly to the left

and Jim and Deb, lower left.


Then the sun was going away. It is beautiful on the water.

The moon started up and it was FULL, FULL, FULL.

I ran around on the dinghy taking pictures but the one below was probably one of the best I took of our boat. Nothing like a picture of the boat with a full moon right off of the mast.

I got back just in time for "Fish is Done" - Dinner Time.

Doesn't that look good?

Then came the call - ROCKET LAUNCH!!!


We had no clue there was to be a launch of a military satellite tonight. You can see the vapor trail to the lower left as it took off. We watched in amazement after being amazed at the wonderful dinner we were having. It took a bit of time for me to think Camera. Then it happened. The separation of the first and second stages. The picture to the lower right shows the first stage of the rocket along with the parachute that is lowering it down to the ocean. Now that is a cool picture! What a cap to a wonderful evening.

We looked back at the vapors left and into the nebulous, well at least that is what I think Captain Kirk called it.

Next morning Deb and I were off to Man-of-War. This is another nice island with a uniqueness that is only here. There is the Aubry boat building "factory," where they make new boats along with restoring boats.

Then there is the Aubry Sail Shop which has long since become a bag sewing establishment. The ladies work all day sewing their part of the bags being made. Then pass it on to the next lady for their part. A production workshop meant to construct the bags just the same way the ladies mother did it, even with cotton thread.

I had already took this picture and later when we were walking on the beach who showed up? Same lady. Very nice.

The obligatory direction tree showing the direction to all of the different islands.

We had lunch at the "Dock and Dine" which turned out to be a nice restaurant. The dinghy dock you can see below to the lower right.

May is not the busiest time of year for any of these islands. They are starting their fishing tournaments and this summer it will get busy. I really like coming at this time because we miss the bulk of the cruising boats which means we can always find a good anchorage. Plus we can get a few deals at some marinas who will bargain a bit to get a group of boats to come in.

This was sunset on Sunday evening at Man-of-War. At this point and time, Deb and I are here by ourselves. Our cruise so far has been very successful. We've had wonderful experienced people helping those that don't have as much experience on their boats. We all fixed others problems, taught how to read charts, and in essence, helped give some of the boaters more confidence to get out on their own. And that is what everyone is doing. The boaters who have been here are off visiting places they love or the new people are seeing the best islands before we start heading back.

Right now we are faced with a pretty good front which is to become a trough over southern Florida on Wednesday probably hitting us on Wednesday night or Thursday. This means stronger winds. We are already having 15-20 knot winds but they should increase to over 25 knots (over 30 mph) by Thursday with one forecast saying 40 knots by Saturday.

Deb and I took the "off time" to start refinishing some of the wood (bright work) on the outside of the boat. Monday, Bob joined us at anchor along with Bill. We got together with Bill, Bob was feeling a bit ill, and cooked up some cracked conch. It was good.

Today, Monday, we are heading up to Guana to get wi-fi so I can post this update along with get a better handle on the weather charts.

Overall, our goal is to find a time early or so next week to cross back over to Florida. Of course our timing will be dependant upon the weather and the sea height in the Gulf Stream. We will keep everyone up to date.

Monday afternoon - we just sailed up to Guana and are back in Fishers Bay again. This is to get wi-fi. It was a great sail with no engine expect to position out and in. Waves offshore are really starting to look impressive so we were on the inside again. Deb and I are off in minutes to post this.

 Adventures of Quiet Place by Paul

The New Anchor


 Before we left for our first Gulf Stream crossing and trip to the Abacos, I heard “Honey you should buy another type of Anchor before we leave” the Admiral said. I decided the anchors we have would be fine. So, we travel 12 hours north on the ICW from Hollywood, FL to Lake Worth, FL and anchor with a Danforth type anchor. Then we had happy hour on “Freedom” Jim & Deb Faughn’s Gemini. Was I exhausted? Then came 2 am and my anchor alarm awakes me 8 different times during the night. I got little sleep because my anchor alarm tortured me. When dawn broke my leaky dingy made it to shore to buy a new Rocna Anchor. This anchor isn’t supposed to trip out when the current/wind shifts. Also, I leaned a bit more about how close to set the anchor alarm.

A few nights later we all had a bad storm and my new anchor held. But Wayne and Holly from “La Dolce Vita” were rudely awakened by my air horn as they dragged anchor off my port side. I almost grabbed Wayne’s boat with a stainless steel boat hook but missed. With all the lightning in the storm, I began having second thoughts about how much conductivity a stainless boat pole could have and if I should be waving it around trying to catch another boat.

Another lesson was learned, make sure you have the right size and style anchor for where we are going to be anchoring. Of course there is that lesson that maybe I should listen to the Admiral.

Back to Jim

May 22 - Wow, it's rained all day and the thoughts have moved on to -what is next? When will we start back north? ISN'T it COOL that we have the LAST GEMINI built by Performance Cruising at the dock with us? YES, we are having fun. Let's get back to the story.

It rained, pretty much all day. In a lighter shower, after I used some of Wayne's waterproofing on my rain jacket, I was off to the grocery. These pictures are actually as I was leaving the store. This is Maxwell's and it is as close to a major US grocery as you can get. I walked with someone who was in a hurry so I didn't get much time to wonder the aisles. Still, I had time to pick up some Goat Peppers which I'm looking forward to drying several to get their seeds and plant them back at the house. As I understand it, from taste and reputation, they are much like habanera peppers Sounds good doesn't it! In addition, I picked up some New Zealand Lamb along with some Irish butter. Yum, Yum.

Maxwell's is a very large grocery story by island standards. It is well stocked, and if you look for the right items, it isn't priced too badly. Overall, you always have to remember that the price includes taxes and of course shipping on boats to get it here.

To the left is the landscaping at the front of the grocery.

The pictures below are simply to remind you that they don't drive on the same side of the road as we do. They aren't just avoiding us walking. It always makes me wonder if they drive on the wrong side of the road or if we do?

Unfortunately, like us, they have to protect their assets with some very sharp wire.

Back to Gemini's. Partner Ship is the new boat that is with us right now. It is the LAST Gemini built by Performance Cruising. I had the privilege to go aboard and explain some of the electrical, check the batteries, and also check out the wiring on the back of the electrical panel. I was determining which position the master switch needed to be in for the house batteries. We were able to determine that on this boat the position is number 2 for the house bank with some quick electrical measurements. That isn't the story. The real story is that this was one of the best electrical installations I have seen on a Gemini and I congratulate the people who wired this boat compared to my boat or some of the other Gemini's I have seen. This truly says that just because this was the last Gemini delivered from Performance Cruising, quality was not dropped. Nice job!

You can see the 5 masts from Gemini's at the dock. There are two more out there we should catch in a bit.

Below is what happens when you have projects completed for the day. Fun discussions about what is next along with the weather. Of course in the distance you can make out the blurry picture of Deb and Sissy enjoying a bit of wine up at Curly Tails.

I joined Deb after I got to show a wonderful guy our boat. He is thinking about buying a new Gemini and keeping it up in the Chesapeake. He really enjoyed talking about Gemini's and I really enjoyed talking to him about the businesses he has and has run. Currently he has a 42 foot Nordic Tug.

The pictures you see to the left and at the bottom are just a clue of the many conversations that have occurred. Here, Stu was talking with Jonathon and David (David, green shirt, is the owner of the last Gemini Performance Cruising boat built).

Probably the most interesting thing with these Gemini gatherings is the conversations between everyone!

To the right - the 5 Gemini masts and, at the end just before the big Yacht, the Mainship. Below, is a picture of Bob's Gemini and is out at anchor. Between the two other boats is Stu's 3400. So right now we are a force of 7 Gemini's and the Mainship.

I have to say this has been a great day because we are having some down time. More importantly, we are having some time for maintenance and good conversation.

Just in case you are wondering, IF you go cruising, you better be ready to fix things. We all say, It's a Boat. That simply means that things break. We put them in a corrosive environment and use "off-the-shelf" components that sometimes break. If you are heading out to the Islands, you should be ready to fix things and from my perspective, it should be with a simile.

The picture you see above is the view from our perspective at Curly Tails. Beautiful Marsh Harbour.

To the left and bottom you can see one of the two ferry's leaving. The lower portion of the Abacos is run by Aubry's Ferry Service. They take kids to school, people who need to work on other islands, and of course tourists who flew into Marsh Harbour and heading on to another island.

You have to go to last year's posting to see the Aubry boat building facility. They make honest boats!

Below right is a picture I took of the Gemini's while I was standing on top of one of the white poles you see. The camera is held as high as I could. I like that picture. The clouds give it a very interesting effect.

I'm still pretty blown away with all the Gemini's here. I can't wait until next year! I keep thinking 10-12 or even more. Next year may be my last year for this trip since other adventures are in our future. So start planning to join us now!

May 21 - As promised, I am providing a story in each update from Paul and Peggy aboard Quiet Place. Honestly, you just can't make some of this up!!!!

Adventures of Quiet Place by Paul

The Inflatable Disintegrating Dingy

The next morning, after the anchor dragging, lightning crashing storm,(another story) it was time to patch the leaking seam in our PVC dingy. The PVC glue had begun to fail. However, after picking up some PVC glue, I tried to re-glue the seams and it did not hold. Next came the old reliable DUCK TAPE to the rescue. Confidently we motored into shore, but the boat started leaking and we franticly started bailing. The transom started separating. At last in shallow water as I jumped out - the transom and motor fell off.

The motor was saved but the dingy was lost. I had to get a new dinghy so we "borrowed" a shopping cart from Publix and headed off to West Marine. With many thanks to Bill and Jim Faughn for their help transporting the brand new West Marine dingy on top of a Publix Shopping Cart. Picture this, here we are walking down the sidewalk with the dinghy balanced on top of the Publix Shopping Cart when unfortunately we were stopped by the Police for this bizarre looking sight. You have to consider it from the policeman's perspective. He sees three guys in shorts, tee shirts, flip flops, a "stolen" shopping cart with a new dinghy on top. What do you think he's going to do? He has to ask the simple question - "What do you guys think you are doing?" To this, the answer was simple - Jim says "Taking this dingy to the dinghy landing so Paul can go back to his boat." I say, "I've got the receipt from West Marine if you want to see it." And Bill was thinking - "What does it look like we are doing?"

The Policeman, scratching his head, said "Go ahead."

We forgot how all of this might look with the "borrowed" shopping cart. By the way, we did return the shopping cart.

 May 19-21 - As you know, we had stopped in Guana the last I posted. I should have been able to post yesterday but I had some troubles with my computer along with the wi-fi here. So, it is today instead.

The picture to the right is one I took in the graveyard on the road over to Nippers. This one was interesting because the "well" was being filled up with sea glass. Sea glass is simply glass that was broken years ago and has been rolling around in the sand. This is something that is collected especially some of the blues and green colors. People make jewelry out of it. However, in this case it seems it is a sign of respect for this person who was buried here. I'm pretty darn certain that people don't take the sea glass from here. That doesn't seem like it would be too good for your future.

Some of the other stones appeared to be abandoned. It does make you wonder about how long we "last" once we are gone. I think it is in the memories we leave. I hope I leave good ones!

Then we were off to Nippers. The signs showed us the way. Some of our group were already there saving a table and others were behind us.

You might remember shots like the ones to the lower left and right from last year. The beach here is beautiful and Nippers sits up on a bluff overlooking the beach.


 We arrived before the "party" really got started. That was fine because there was plenty of food. Deb and I split a plate of their pulled pork and once again it was good.

Below left you can see a picture of some of the rest of our party enjoying their lunch too.

Following Nippers, we headed back to Grabbers. We found out they were having a Caribbean band that afternoon by the pool.

 This band was good and so good that they have been invited to play in Miami at a concert of the "best of the best" so this may be their big break. They were all from Marsh Harbour and the two singers were really good "giving it up" for each other during the songs. They shared the stage equally and were both very good with their voices complementing each other. The rest of the band was good too. It was a cross between singing rap but in a Caribbean style.  

 We hooked back up with more of the Gemini Invaders, as we've been calling ourselves. To the left is Scott and Jessica but Jessica is also known as "The Boss." They have been having a great vacation with Bill and Sissy. They were even challenging some cruiser couple to a game of bean bag toss and held their own.

This party was pretty crowded but very enjoyable. Some of the party was up by the pool and others in the Gemini Invaders were out at the picnic tables.


 All of our boats were featured in the harbor, or as they spell it here harbour.

Deb and I took a short break then came back in just in time to see a big splash and the band telling everyone, "No more cannon balls in the pool. It hurts our equipment." I found the person responsible. I'm not mentioning names here but his picture is to the lower right......


 Deb and I headed back to our boat to say our bye's early. We were leaving the next morning for Marsh Harbour. Remember my autohelm is broken. I believe it is only the drive unit and I need to replace it. However, I won't do that type of work in a harbor where there isn't a good hardware store unless I have to. In this case, I don't have to so we would be moving to Marsh Harbour first thing on Monday morning. It was to be a motoring trip just off the wind in 2 foot seas and 16 knots of wind. In other words, pounding.

Once I arrived, I got anchored and went right to work. Pulled the wheel off the boat and pulled off the old wheel drive. You might notice some of the bad places externally on this wheel. WIthout a doubt the motor is bad but I don't have a motor and on top of that, this drive has over 30,000 miles on it. I've fixed it before and it just makes sense to change it out.


 Overall, the new drive wheel is very easy to install when you consider such projects. Raymarine has made it easy to locate the right holes to drill out so the clamps will fit your wheel with positions indicated for your number of spokes. Once everything is mounted, I had to elongate the previous hole from the old motor since this wheel is slightly bigger. Since I had a saber saw on board, that was no problem. I also had to remount the pin which holds the motor portion of the wheel in place so the wheel can be turned.

Like I said, a pretty easy project overall and it was even easier because I went over to Bills boat, Pisces, before I left and saw how he did his.

Back the wheel went on the boat and I was done. The unit now powers up properly, goes to autohelm "Auto" without giving me the "low battery" alarm so it certainly appears to be fixed. I guess we will see when we really get it underway.


 My friend Larry on "Skipper" always had told me, "Jim, you should anchor between those two docks and pull in close to shore. I always did." This time I did take Larry's advice and good advice it was. Thanks Larry.

As the day progressed, we had more boats showing up and by the end of the day we were over on White Swan having a good time again.

Yesterday, a great deal was worked out with Mangos to go into their dock. Some people need to do some maintenance, others want to simply be at a dock for the rain that is coming, and Deb wants a long hot shower. For the price they gave us, it was a no-brainer to go into the dock.

We had a great day and I picked up some bolts to mount my secondary engine mount plate. I'll have pictures next update. We had a great day with some people enjoying the pool, others lunch, we went to Don Wood's art studio, and then back to have Key Lime Pie on White Swan. I think there were 15 people on their boat at one point all eating pie.

Honestly, I didn't get pictures because I was also chasing this computer problem along with the wi-fi issue. If you are reading this, then we got things under control to a partial degree. More pictures in the next update.

May 16 - 18 - We last left you when we were in Green Turtle Cay. We almost got sucked in by the Leeward Yacht Club with their nice facilities and good rates. It was a good deal. But it was time to leave after a Captain Ron party and we left. The winds were behind us and we had a whopping 5 mile trip up to Manjack. So, we simply put out the head sail and put on a snatch block off of the base of a stanchion to hold the sail out further. The pictures show what the sail and how full it is. The snatch block is below right.

We sailed along in about 8 knots of apparent wind at 4 knots. It was fun, fun, fun. There is nothing like shutting off the engine and putting out the sail and enjoying the quiet along with the water running past the hulls. Sailing!

We could see the seas breaking on the reef as we passed a cut. It seemed clear that the water was going to be a bit more than we were asking for to go snorkeling. However, I did try. But given the lack of an inflatable RIB and having a Port-a-boat, it was a no-go.

Our anchorage at Manjack was very protected in these winds. You can see the Mainship and Quiet Place anchored enjoying the wonderful weather.

Speaking of weather, it has been very, very good over here. The sky has been clear and there haven't been the fronts we had last year.

So the big plans were that we would go fishing tomorrow - Friday - in the Atlantic. I've heard that Wayne and Holly are pretty good fisher people so I was wanting to learn.

Now for the bad news. I forgot my camera for the trip. However, I did remember the sandwiches, wine, tea, and a snack or two.

To the left you can see a few fish. We first headed out offshore to about 1,000 feet of water. This we pretty darn unproductive. The key to a good fisherman is to change the tactics. So, in Wayne went to the reef making our way back to the pass. We lost a couple of fish as we got closer and then we picked up the Rock Grouper. This fish, was about 26-28 inches long. The Cero Mackerel was even longer. Now the fun thing was the yellow tail hit a spoon that was on top of the water.

Overall, I learned allot on the trip and I am very appreciative for being able to go along. When we got back, Wayne let me clean the fish. Maybe I should rephrase that. I insisted on cleaning the fish. That is something I can do. Although I reeled in the fish, that didn't mean I caught them - at least in my book. The Captain put out the baits, selected the water, the depths to fish in, and of course had that tackle. To think that because I reeled them in meant that I caught them, well, I've been in the same situation in fresh water and Wayne is the guy who "caught" the fish. I'm the guy who reeled these three in and then cleaned them. That's about all I could do other than help cook them later. Thanks again Wayne and Holly.

So here we are rafted up getting ready to host another dinner on our boats. When we got a radio call about wild pigs hanging out on the beach. These pigs are drinking salt water. This is very weird to me and who knows why their system will allow them to drink salt water when it won't allow me to drink salt water. Answers?

The pictures are pretty cool I thought.

The dinghy's arrived with the grills going and the fish getting ready to go on and be cooked. The plan was to blacken the Cero Mackerel and then foil pack the grouper and snapper. It was all to be delicious.

People began arriving by the appropriate dinghy's and then mixing it up a bit with conversation. There were other boats that were out there that were thinking, I wish I was hanging out with those Gemini's and the Mainship. But no, they didn't call to see if they could bring a side dish so they were left out.

Sorry, fresh fish for just the Gemini Invasion force.

The fish is ready and being revealed.

Looks good doesn't it.

We also had some more people join us. Bill and Sissy had their daughter and her boyfriend fly in. In addition, we had another boat which was an Irwin join us and they just happened to be from Cape Coral. New friends only about 15 miles from where we live.

The party is getting started and the food is getting ready to be served.

It was good eats all around with more that we could handle.

Life is good on the Gemini Invasion of the Abacos.

But wait, there is more to come!

Mar 18 - Saturday we were a bit lazy getting up after a wonderful meal of fish from the night before. We left Manjack at about 10:30 am and headed towards Fishers Bay to get a good anchorage. Our plan was to go ashore on Sunday and head over to Nippers for the big Sunday party. It seems everyone goes to Nippers for the Sunday pig roast.

Se we back tracked past Green Turtle Cay and then on to the Whale passage.

You have two choices to get through or around this point the comes out from Treasure Cay to the Rock/Island you see in the picture to the left. The first is for shallow draft boats such as ours and it is "Don't Rock Passage." That is typically the pass I will take but today, we were hoping to catch a fish out in the pass in the Atlantic. So that meant we would go out just to the left of the island and then over to Guana through the Ships Channel.

It was about now that I was feeling pretty good about all of the electronics I have replaced after the lighting damage. My GPS/Chart plotter/Graph is working well and it is talking to my VHF radio and to the autohelm. It also has a cool feature that it sends out a Wi-fi signal and I can monitor and control the entire unit from my Goggle Nexus pad. Not a big deal on my boat but it is a big deal on a larger boat if a captain wants to monitor what is going on from some place other than the helm.

All the remanufactured ST 60 instruments were working great. The panel on the inside consisted of a new VHF with an integrated AIS receiver, the stereo, a new propane detector along with the external speakers for the VHF along with the stereo. In addition, I just got the new charge controller wired for the solar panel and it is working great. Then the autohelm gave me an alarm saying low battery. I quickly figured out that wasn't true and I had the right battery voltage. So, now what?

It was time to simply hand steer and think. The big thing for me was to get to a manual. I had one downloaded on my pad so that is what I headed for first. Seems that fault is to be listed on page 16 according to the index. Problem is, it isn't listed on page 16. We continued on navigating and hand steering which wasn't a problem but I called Bob on High Cotton and he had his manual. To get a bit ahead of the pictures, Bob brought it over when we anchored and it wasn't in his book either. I needed the internet and I knew just where to head. However, we weren't to the anchorage yet.

We've been hearing Fish ON from La Dolce Vita it seemed all day. Last call was they needed a bigger cooler. Something seriously delicious to think about. More fresh fish.

Before they arrived in the anchorage, I was able to get set, remove the autohelm control and do a final test on voltage right at the unit. Again, no low voltage. However, I began thinking that a failure of the drive unit, especially if it had shorted, could cause the same indication on the unit. A false low battery. Now, it just so happens I've been expecting that my old wheel drive for the Raymarine ST4000+ was about to give up. I have repaired it 3-4 times and I have a new one on-board just for the occasion that it failed. So, I pulled it out and plugged it into the head. It worked and stopped giving me that Low Battery alarm. Cool, now I just have to pull the wheel, cut some new holes and temporarily mount it. I will redo the installation when I get back to fix some relocated holes and fill them but for the trip, I will have the autohelm back. Not bad.

Then La Dolce Vita came into the anchorage with some nice smiles on their faces. The mighty fisher people have arrived. Let's go see just what they have in that cooler.

Looks like they did need a bigger cooler!

Nice fish. Two really good rock fish, a big mutton snapper, and another Cero Mackerel.

After getting this picture we headed into Grabbers for a drink and I went to confirm my diagnosis on the internet. When I got back to Grabbers, Deb and Bob were finishing up and Wayne and Holly came in. We worked out a deal with Grabbers for a fixed price preparation for the fish. We were to buy the sides and drinks there. It was a VERY reasonable 25 bucks to prepare the cleaned fish plus we pay for the sides. Looked like we were having dinner at Grabbers for the entire crew. Now two things needed to happen. Clean the fish and let everyone know.

Deb and I met Wayne and Holly back on their boat and I cleaned the three "smaller" fish. After all, if you are going to eat some of them, you should do some of the work. Wayne cleaned up the biggest grouper to keep for the freezer. With the other three fish we had more than enough for dinner.

This was just part of the filets that we were going to eat. You will see the entire batch shortly.

Below is a preview of where we were going to have dinner. Next to the pool at Grabbers. In the background are some of the Gemini's that have made the trip.

Then lower right is a picture I took when I broke off to get that internet connection. This is what you do when your wave runner's engine quits. Put a different engine on it, of course.

So all of the Gemini's are back together except for Pisces. They anchored at another location and will be joining us tomorrow, Sunday. With their guests on-board they were still snorkeling at some great locations. We however, were preparing for a feast.

Below you can see some more pictures of our boats. We now have represented the Gemini's model numbers of 3400, 105 M, and 105 MC.

The sun is about 30 minutes from setting and the fish arrive. Well, they were appropriately carried in by the now, world famous, fisher people - Wayne and Holly. It seems Holly caught most of these fish.

That pile of fish is going to be one delicious meal.

The sun is setting over the anchorage while the kitchen is preparing peas and rice, baked macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and of course fish which was coming out grilled, blackened, and fried.

Once again, the conversation moved the evening and people were having a great time. The food came out and everyone ate, drank, and talked until they were past full. It was a very good meal. Bob made arrangements to pay for the meal for everyone without anyone knowing it. Darn that Bob. I had already collected 5 bucks from each couple for the preparation of the fish so that went towards the tip. Bob tried to get away before everyone figured out that he had paid for the meal but I wouldn't let that happen. Once again, thanks Bob. And of course, thanks Wayne and Holly for the wonderful fresh fish!

It was a special night at a beautiful setting.

I took this picture with my zoom, cropped it a bit then fixed the exposure in Lightroom. It was the end of a beautiful evening. The trip is half full and I, for one, am looking forward to the full glass given how much fun the half glass has been.


Our plans are to go to Nippers on Sunday then on Monday morning Deb and I will head over to Marsh Harbour while the rest of the group probably goes on to Hopetown. I want to be near a good hardware store and get the new wheel drive installed. More about all of that later.

Finally, starting with the next update we will have a new short column by Paul and Peggy on Quiet Place. Paul has been learning a few things on this trip by experience and his account is pretty darn funny given some of the things he has gotten himself, and Peggy, into.

 May 15 - Boat Day. That is essentially what my day was. I washed the salt off of the boat, checked all systems, polished up the windows and then Deb and I headed in for lunch. The first thing I saw in the dinghy was a boat aground in the entrance to Black Sound. I couldn't pull my camera out fast enough that you can see their bottom paint but I did catch this picture of the boat pulling them off.

They got back into the channel, went out, then came back in but this time staying in the channel. I guess they now figured out where the shallow water was.

I had already been called by three different boats when we came in who were asking about depths and where the channel is. The thing to remember is in the Bahamas, you better learn to read the water because they simply don't have the buoyage (marker) system we have in the states.

Also we worked on inviting more people to the Captain Ron Party. We planned to show the movie Captain Ron and as it turns out, Bill on Pisces knows just about every word to the movie.


Deb and I were finishing up lunch when Peggy and Paul, center, came in along with some more people who were on a 41 foot Irwin and very nice too. Bob was along and took the picture. Deb and I stuck around and we had a great conversation.

We invited more people to the "party" as we walked down the streets of New Plymouth. It is easy picking out a cruiser - they are typically carrying a backpack, a canvas bag, or some other means to carry back supplies. So, that means more invites.

The people at the Leeward Yacht Club were very nice and set up a TV and DVD in a separate area. It ended up being almost too small an area but was fine. We watched about 1/2 the movie with Bill previewing most every line then called for an intermission. The sound had been a bit weak and although Wayne had brought up his external speakers, there wasn't a place to plug them in. At intermission, my brain went off of vacation and I went down and got my laptop. Then we had sound to fill the room. However, in the next section of the movie my laptop decided to update itself. Ahh, another intermission.

We had a great time and ultimately got through the full movie. The people traveling with us now have a better idea about where all the sayings are coming from. They believe now they are living the Captain Ron movie and realistically, we are!

After all, every time we get lost - we just pull over and ask for directions.....


Thursday, Pisces is headed to Marsh Harbour to pick up their daughter and son-in-law. Shearwater and White Swan are staying here with White Swan heading on a Sea Turtle viewing experience tomorrow. Freedom, Quite Place, High Cotton, and La Dolce Vita are headed off to Manjack for an afternoon of snorkeling and then Friday boarding Wayne and Holly's boat to go out and do some fishing in the Atlantic. Wayne has been getting some reports of good dolphin catches - Mahi Mahi for the non-Florida people.

For me, I'm ready to get back out at anchor. I also finished up another project and installed an external speaker for my RAM mic and I can hear it much better. The electronics installation is just as I had hoped it to be. I still have a new solar charger to install but it really isn't a priority so it will get installed when it happens.

Finally, it will probably be another 3-4 days before we update again. I'm guessing Saturday or Sunday so don't worry. Everyone's boats are doing great and more importantly, everyone is having a great time.

May 13 & 14 - Green Turtle Cay - New Plymouth - As you know, we arrived and started pretty much having a good time. But before we got here, there was some sailing involved. We had a good beam reach so there were 4 of the Gemini's sailing together as we headed over to Coopers Town.

We have some updated charts so we decided that since we were on the Atlantic side anyway, we would just stay in the lee of this wind and sail down this side until we reached the northern part of Spanish Cay then head across. We passed a couple of places that might be passes but the one to the lower right shows what happens if you are wrong. High and Dry.

The better picture of old, High and Dry is to the left.

We anchored off of Coopers Town and that was a sight to behold. First, I've never been able to stop here because it is unprotected except for if you have a SSW or West wind. This happened to be the day so we stopped. It isn't a bad place, actually it is very friendly and is the governmental hub for the Abacos. That said, it doesn't have the tourist attraction because of the non-protected anchorage. The town thus shows it with the lack of tourist income. Regardless we had a delicious lunch and walk around the town.

Even here, the Conch remains are displayed proudly along the beach as seen below left.


We had stopped at Richie's Restaurant and the lovely lady to the left was our waitress and cook. Deb and I had some wonderful baked chicken along with peas and rice and baked mac and cheese. If you've never had baked mac and cheese, go to my recipe page and it is a clear knock-off of what to do for this dish. Really, Really Good.

Gary and I took off to take a walk through the town and see what was there. We found the Government District offices for Northern Abaco. Nice facilities and well kept.

We found the ladies and watched as a squall was hitting the island just to the east of us. Bill and Wayne were on their boats fishing still on the Atlantic Side. So, we gave them a call and they had clearly seen this approaching. In addition, they told us they had also seen 6 funnel clouds behind them too. Such fun we are having.

Plans were changed and instead of heading for Manjack, most of us decided to go to the newer marina Leeward Yacht Club. This had the best rates, and it ended up a pool and good food.

As we started down the water we met a freight vessel we had seen over in West End. It's a small world. It looked empty so I'm sure it was heading back for more supplies.

Even though the best food has been on our boats, the food here is very good too since we don't have to prepare it!

With my trusty tripod - my elbows on the edge of the chair - I caught this picture of the moon. We are still debating if it is waxing or waining - Wax on, Wax off.


This morning most of us headed into town. Bob had rented a golf cart so some went with him and Gary, Deb and I went by dinghy. We went to New Plymouth for lunch. The place we had chosen wasn't serving because the power was out on the island for planned maintenance. Yes, the entire island was out of power unless people had backup generators.

So, off we went for lunch at Harvey's which had a backup generator. This was a good lunch and some had to head home. Deb and I ran into Wayne, Holly, Bill and Sissy and decided to head back to the place which was closed since the power was back up. While they ate, we had fun and got a recipe for the cracked conch and conch fritters. Now we are talking a good time.

We finished our conversations and their lunches and off to head back to the boats. We stopped for a picture at the Green Turtle Cay Festival Sign and as you can see, in the middle, Bill is getting into the Island Spirit(s).

It has been the saying that my job is like herding Cats. The reality is, I AM herding 5 to 6 Cats. Of course they are Gemini Cats and it is a fun "job" to have.

Below right you can see a couple of school kids spinning tops out in the street. They were having fun and it was special they allowed me to take their picture.

Off the crew was heading.

We love getting our pictures here and really do love this island. You can see part of it below right but please believe me when I say they are friendly, the town is very neat, and the prices are not outrageous. It's a fun place to be.

So here are the Cat's we've been herding from time to time. Five of them lined up here and you might be able to see Stu's out on the mooring to the far right.

Unfortunately, Stu has been chasing engine problems and from what I understand he is working with Mercury for a solution. I think Mercury has come around to his way of thinking about what is wrong with the cooling on his engine.

And now to the picture of Wayne and his Mainship. This picture is for some Facebook friends I have who are wondering if this is the "Main Ship" or a Mainship.

As you can see, it is the brand of the boat. But more importantly, it is a fish catching person and machine. We may be heading out in the morning for some fish catching fun.

And here is a picture of Wayne doing some finish cleaning of some Conch on the stern of his boat.


This one is in date order from oldest to newest from the time of the last update.

May 10 - Wow, I took a bunch of pictures yesterday and then lost them somehow last night trying to download them when the memory card said full. Bottom line is I only have a few and lost the rest it appears. There is always today as we move to the next anchorage. So, back to the story.

We had a great time at Old Bahama Bay with everyone still learning about each other. Bob decided to take off on his own and make the trip doing his own navigation. This was great because when we arrived he had the dinghy in the water, engine on, fenders put away, and ready to greet everyone. He is pretty darn independent at this point. His first "solo" in foreign waters.

I did get another picture this morning showing the boats all lined up because it was kind of fun to do.


This picture shows the large "holding area" or the turning basin which you come into first through the channel leading from the Atlantic. There is plenty of room so people just hang out here until they call for you to dock and then go check in.

Since there was a "mandatory water" fee, that we paid but somehow others didn't (How does that make it mandatory??) then we took the opportunity to was our boat on the top sides again and then fill up the 2 gallons of water we used from our water tanks since we filled them in West Palm Beach.

Deb and I walked back over to the Grill that was on the beach to split a breakfast. It was delicious and we were set for the day. As a matter of fact, since it was a late breakfast we never ate lunch.

Then we had the best of best times leaving at 11:15 am and heading over to Mangrove. We motor sailed and once we were through the channel and onto the Abaco Bank the water became 10 foot and we were in the open. Deb and I sat on the front of the boat on the seats I had made looking into the water finding Starfish after Starfish. It was cool letting the boat drive itself and just breaking our rules for avoiding sun and enjoying the view.

Everyone made it to Mangrove and some went snorkeling and others worked on things on their boat. But me, I had been talking to Wayne and he and Holly had caught some more fish. I had already taken some of the afternoon and made conch salad so the feast was planned. Everyone planned a covered dish and Wayne rafted up to me where I was anchored. We did our preparation and Pisces was on the way too. They had stopped to snorkel and found the "Mother Load" of conch. That of course means we have more conch for conch salad tomorrow. Everyone came over to our two boats once Bill and Sissy rafted up on our other side. We did take a bunch of great pictures but they have been lost to the digital world of snafo's.

These are the only two I could salvage out of what was missing.

Once the party broke up, we sat cleaned up and decompressed then broke up the other two boats. I don't like staying rafted up in this open of water. Good thing too. A storm came in last night and one of the boats drug so it was a bit of an adventure for the two boats involved. Didn't appear any harm was done so we are now in the world of somewhat unknown anchorage bottoms. Regardless, all the Rocna's held and some others too. It was probably only a case of a bad seabed in that one spot.

Well, more pictures as we get underway today. I think we are going to head for Great Sale after some exploring. It is only 21 miles away so it should be a no-brainer to get there.

May 10 - The rest of the story. It wasn't a no-brainer. Winds were such that we pounded into them so it was 4 1/2 hours of motoring into, actually just off of the seas. We all arrived and had a good anchorage and guess what? We decided to get in the water a bit and then to get together this time on Pisces.

The picture to the right is White Swan and Gary is shown finishing up his coffee before we got underway.


Paul was out playing with his new dinghy and has the motor running again. Something about turning on the gas. I'll give you a preview but I'm still trying to get Paul to do a "guest column" on my website. He is making just about every new cruiser error there is and having a ton of fun learning about it. He has had to buy a new dinghy, we got pulled over by police taking it back to the boat on a shopping cart, and ..... but I can't go on - I'll give it all away. Trust me, if he doesn't decide to write it, I will. It is just too funny and really will provide information for other "new cruisers."

Here is Freedom and we are still have our shade cover up. The shade cover I sewed just before leaving to give us some protection on our aft area from the sun which can be brutal this time of year. I already have a bit of a sunburn on my back from running during the day with only my swim suit on. I have to be a bit more careful.

The life jacket is out because Deb was out swimming the day before. This time she was swimming, or should I say floating, on purpose instead of falling in.

Bill on Pisces was out cleaning up the bottom of his boat. Actually, this is a pretty typical sight to see Bill. In the water.
Bob, on High Cotton had his dinghy in the water and was at the anchorage since he left earlier. He is talking about getting off on a side trip and meeting back up with us.

We all gathered on Pisces. Each night it seems someone is hosting a get-to-gather. I love these because we have so much fun talking to all of our old and new friends. You can see Bill and Sissy to the left with the dinghy's tied up behind them.

Below left, Gary and Jean the to the right Deb and I (Jim)

Lower left, Paul, Gary, Jean, and Wayne.

Lower right - Peggy, Holly, and Deb inside getting the food ready.


And food there was. These gatherings are pretty fun as I have mentioned. They are also delicious because you taste food seasoned in a way you don't normally do yourself. This has also been a time to get everyone acclimated to the cruising culture.

Bring a dish, what you want to drink, your own plate, eating utensils, and a wonderful attitude! Perhaps the last item is the most important.

Why bring all the dishes etc? So the host boat doesn't have to use their water to clean your dishes. Really, they have enough clean-up to do before and after anyway.

And a rainbow came out just as evening was setting in. You can't ask much more than a day with a rainbow.

The sun set about the regular time and we could see the clouds building in the background. As it turned out, the afternoon storms missed us which was just fine.

Tomorrow, we are off for Alans Pensacola. It is a good anchorage and a wonderful beach to explore along with another place to pick up conch and perhaps spear a few fish.

May 11 - As determined, we got underway about 9 ish heading for Alans Pensacola. The winds were such that we hoped to sail the entire way. As it turned out we sailed and motor sailed because after we turned the corner the winds were just a bit too close for us to sail into them. Regardless, it was a good day and we ended up where we intended.

To the left is Pisces

Lower left - Quite place

Lower right - White Swan

Bottom left - Pisces again

Bottom right - White Swan and Pisces

It is fun seeing the boats under sail. They look good and the weather here is wonderful.

I particularly liked the picture to the lower right with the shallow water just off of White Swan's port side.

One thing is certain, Gemini owners do enjoy to be out on the water and this Abacos trip has been a great way for people who haven't ventured as far from home to do so with some relative piece of mind. That said, to quote Captain Ron again - "If it is going to happen, it's going to happen out there."

As we were arriving at Alans Pensacola I went to put up my port board (the centerboard on my port side acts like a keel. It's purpose is to help prevent side slip and to allow the boat to go to the wind better.) When I loosened the nut and started to crank up the board, the shaft broke. Well that's a problem and it did happen out here.

Actually, it has been happening for a while as you can see from the pictures. It was only holding together by a bit shown by the shinny part. Well, that isn't fun but something I can and will fix when I get back. I just have to have some new parts fabricated and I will replace both of the shafts.

I anchored in deeper water so having the board down won't be an issue. Ultimately, I took apart the cover and worked up a way to hold the board up so I can get back into shallower water anchoring.

Now to get my attitude back before we join everyone on White Swan for another wonderful gathering.

And more good food, conversation and fun.

By now you can see everyone is all smiles and we are looking forward to the walk over to the beach tomorrow morning to see the beautiful beach and the signing tree. For those of you who don't know what a signing tree is, you will find it very interesting.

May 12 - Here are the mighty Gemini Abaco Invaders. At least most of us. Wayne and Holly are on their way over and Bob headed off to a different island and will be joining us either this evening or the next.

The signing tree - well to some it looks like a bunch of litter. However in traditional cruising tradition a boat or a group of boats makes up their own sign with the boat names on it from something they find and hang it from the tree. It is always fun to do and something to look for the next year when you pass this way again. We have a group picture of our "sign" but it is on another camera. I'll get that when we get together and we aren't having so much fun simply enjoying life.

The pictures below give you a better idea of the signing tree, or should I say trees.

Bill, Gary and I went ahead to the place we were going to snorkel from and the rest of the crew followed. I got these pictures so you would see just how beautiful it is here in the uninhabited islands of the northern Abacos. This is a place we can enjoy for quite some time. But there is this cold front approaching so we have to move tomorrow and get to a protected anchorage just in case.

Here comes the crew watching their step and looking for sea glass at the same time.

The Atlantic side was so calm, we decided to move our boats over. It is more protected and it was a unique opportunity to anchor over here. After a snorkel, we headed back and moved the boats.

Later, one of the boats got a wind forecast that said the wind might be shifting this evening so some of us decided to move our boats again to a bit more protected area but still close enough for the fire tonight.

Instead of getting back in the water myself, I took about an hour to do the finish cleaning on the conch, cut, beat it with a meat tenderizer, then make conch salad.

That was the feature for the evening. At the approximate appointed time - you see we are now on island time and don't know what day it is nor show up on time either - we arrived at the beach with the fire having been started by Bill and Wayne.


Dinghy's on the beach, Wayne with the machete, and everyone arriving for the evening feast.

Lower left - Wayne and Holly

We had a great time eating snacks and once again the day was brought to an end with the sun setting. At that time the bugs start coming out meaning especially the no-see-um's.

People went down to stand in the water so at least their legs wouldn't get bitten. This means the gathering is about to break up. Sun is heading down, people heading for the dinghy's, and the fire is looking wonderful.

Another great day cruising and with good people.

Just another day, another day in paradise.

Tomorrow, we are keeping a good eye on the weather and ultimately have to decide if it will be Manjack or Green Turtle. So far the plans are for pizza and a movie on Freedom. That means we will be watching Captain Ron and serving pizza with whatever toppings people want to scrounge together. Perhaps a conch pizza.


As a side note, this trip has been everything I had hoped for again this year. It's all about people, the islands, and the boats. The Abacos is such a wonderful place to get your first experience of the islands and encourage you to go further.

May 13 - We have arrived at Green Turtle Cay and decided to stay at the Leeward Yacht Club. The main reason is they are 60 cents a foot less. Even with water, it is less expensive than the Bluff House. Too bad they Bluff House wouldn't work with us. Really too bad. We've had a good time there in the past but that just made us find someplace else. We followed Gary's lead and he hooked 4 of us up for 90 cents a foot. On top of that, we have run into Shearwater again. It will be good to talk to Stu finally.

More tomorrow but for now, I'm going to take a shower, get some dinner, and tomorrow see if I can fix Bob's windlass. My cursory examination is something in the Lewmar supplied parts has failed. I'm happy it wasn't my installation but still, it needs to be fixed. I may have to McGiver it.

Pictures about today, tomorrow.

May 8 - We made it - again...

We left at 4 a.m. No, we didn't wake up and then think about leaving, we left. That means we were up earlier, pulled out our anchors and left heading for the Lake Worth Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. We are going to sea!

The one thing I don't like and Deb really hates is a rough crossing. So, we waited a couple of days for a good one. This crossing was to say the least, was a good one. No, it was a great one yet another year and all we had to do is wait 3 days fixing a few problems on a few boats.

We did see some ship traffic. This was really cool this year because I could see it with my AIS receiver integrated in my new VHF Radio before you could see the boats visually. I could actually pick them up 30+ miles out to see they were coming. All you can see them visually is about 8 or so miles.

Let me apologize for the pictures because I just haven't taken the time to fix the black/contrast, etc. I'm here having a good time and the 2 hours I'm writing this are actually happening late,so "sorry" about the non-traditional lack of quality.

Regardless, we did get up and personal with a few vessels and I'm out in front to face them off. Well, I'm chicken so they always win. Besides, they can't move much anyway so they still win regardless of what the rules say when I have the right of way such as the picture on the lower left and he wouldn't give.

Here comes the Mighty Pisces. We motor sailed across about 2/3 of the Gulf Stream and the seas were wonderful comparatively. Coming up behind was Quite Place.

We were boarded on this trip. We had several hitch hikers and we didn't have to declare them. The birds have figured out that they can come and hang out to either dry out without regards to sharks - bird left - or to try and find a free meal - bird right.

Let's talk about bird right. He/she hung out with us for several hours. We called him whiskers because he had some forward whiskers that were for, I think, helping him catch flying bugs. He was meticulous about searching the boat for bugs. I'm talking inside and out. I tried to talk him into heading over to another boat which held more bugs but he hung out with us. We only saw him pick up two bugs in 3 hours of searching. Pretty good if you ask me......... Well maybe not so good.

This is a picture of White Swan. Garry and Jean. They were up here having a great time too. They were waiting for 3 weeks to cross and joined our group. They are great people.

The picture to the lower left is Bob on High Cotton. He is also from Ft Myers.

Next, to the lower right, is the Mainship. I've received a number of questions about the Main Ship. However, Mainship is the brand name of the boat. Wayne and Holly are coming over on Holly's first crossing and Wayne's first time in the Abacos. They LOVE to fish and on this trip have already caught a Tuna and a Mahi Mahi so we should have some fresh fish in the next few days.

Personally, I picked up 7 cleaned Conch at the dock today for a contribution to a great happy hour.


I called over to White Swan to get a picture as they were waving to us and their friends. With my new camera I caught the picture.

Then a few more of the "Mainship" which also has a boat name but I will reveal that later.

Here we see some of the boats as they are heading for West End.

Remember Whiskers? Here are a few more pictures.

He decided that landing on Deb's head, leg, and arm was a fun thing to do when he wasn't looking for those bugs inside and outside of the boat.

He's kind of cute too. If you look close, you can see some of the whiskers that point forward.

About 2 pm we were about an hour out and it was time to put up the Quarantine Flag. This is a flag that has been flown for hundreds of years saying nobody can board the vessel or leave except the Master. Master, that means the person in charge or the Captain.

You must check in with Customs before people are officially allowed to leave the boat. Afterall, who knows where these people have come from and if they are sick or what? We have to sign declarations that nobody on-board is sick.

Below left and right you can see that we are approaching West End. A very protected harbor and one that is very easy to approach. They provide wonderful assistance at Old Bahama Bay Marina and have figured out they are in a service indus try..

Following our check-in at Customs then the marina, we had priorities. Get Conch Salad. This is it to the left. Fresh Conch with peppers, onions, goat peppers (hot), and then "cooked" in Lime juice and Lemon juice. Great stuff. Of course there had to be a bit of wine or Klick's (Bahamian Beer) too.

Bottom line, as you can see below, it was a great time!


People are having a great time and food is coming out in typical Bahamian style. It arrives when it arrives and not in the order that it was ordered! If you don't understand that, you should probably stay in the states. We are on vacation and the people here work hard, under paid, and still are nice to everyone.. It comes out when it comes out and we are happy it comes out when it does. Plus, there is always the wine.

Bob made his first single handed crossing of the Atlantic and did a great job at it. He will probably sleep the best tonight.

Below right you can see the Gemini's all in a row. There will probably be more pictures a bit later.

It was cool having 6 Gemini's show up along with the Mainship.

Here is another view. That's Freedom on the near end.

Below left - La Doice Vita

Below Right - White Swan

Right - Shearwater

Below Left - Pisces

Below Right - High Cotton

Right - Freedom


Left - Quiet Place

Then, a couple of sunset pictures of the Gemini's all in a row.

What a beautiful day!

What a beautiful group of people!

What a beautiful marina!

What beautiful water!

Can you tell, this is fun!!!! Tomorrow, we will be doing a short trip over to an island to snorkel and explore. The next day to another island. The next day to another island. The next day to another island.

All of the first islands are uninhabited and some will have good reefs and good spear fishing.

Bottom line is, I'll be taking pictures and will be updating on the computer but this is the last update we will post for at least a week. We are going on vacation in what is a cruisers best world. No other people. Only Gemini's, a Mainship, Great people, and beautiful water. What more can you want.

See you in about a week or week and a half. Life is VERY good out here!

  May 7 - The feedback on the reverse posting is pretty good. Reverse sequential is working well for everyone. So here is what's up. We had a busy day today. We helped fix things on other people's boats and fixed a few on our own boat. Overall, I think everyone is ready. Well, at least they are all moved and anchored ready to leave in the morning at 4 am. We should arrive between 3:30 and 4 and perhaps even earlier if we get some helping winds. It really does look like a good crossing tomorrow. I've run all the numbers and have our Course to Steer, Projected Speed, all based on the gulf stream forecast for tomorrow. It is interesting because the speed this year is less than last year at this same time. That made about 4 degrees difference in the Course to Steer. When we are about 15-20 miles out we make adjustments anyway and it is really easy with the new GPS's as long as you don't let them do the work for you in this case.

So enough about the fun stuff that you learn in Captain's classes. We are all PUMPED up for a great time in the Abaco's. I have even just found out we will probably run into Bill and Margie again on their new boat heading back home. They are planning a long trip out in the ocean when the weather allows skipping most of the east cost and staying out in the Gulf Stream. This is something Deb and I have been talking about doing either next year or the following. We just don't know.

We have friends with a Spot which allows you to see where they are. This shows up on my Facebook page and if you are a friend I believe you will see it too. So, if you want to be friends, you better do it tomorrow because I will have to accept it over at West End in the Bahamas.

As the first warning, we will check in tomorrow evening but then it will probably be a week and a half. We are taking a slow route across the north this time in uninhabited areas so NO wi-fi.

If you can't tell, we are very excited about getting our water time, rejuvenating, and overall just enjoying our Salt Life again living our dream even if just for another month.

 May 6 - We are getting ready for a wonderful crossing. Today we headed in for lunch and I took my camera but, ok don't get shocked, I forgot to take a picture of the 9 people that were there for lunch. We did have a great lunch meeting Stu and Dorothy who are going with us on another Gemini.

After lunch we met Wayne and Holly who have now anchored near us on their Mainship. Just for clarification, the Mainship is a really great boat and they are heading across with us fishing along the way. We are all rooting for them to catch tons of fish.

So back to the boats and Gary and Jean volunteered to host Happy Hour on their boat.

Great spread which is typical of great boaters get-to-gathers. To the left is Paul, then Peggy, and Jean. Jean is one of the owners of this boat.

Bottom right is Holly, Wayne, and Sissy. We just met Holly and Wayne. They are on the Mainship.

Then to the lower right is Gary and Bill.

Bob and Deb were hanging out on the aft hammock. Bob is doing great with his dinghy and boat. He is so independent it is amazing.

Me, I'm hanging out taking a picture at arm's length. Life is good hanging out waiting on a good weather window. We are definitely leaving Wednesday morning at O'Dark thirty. As we've calculated, it should take 11 hours to cross since we will be going partially into the Gulf Stream. We are planning on no help from the sails which is no problem because if we get some help we will just adjust our heading.

Looks like we will be able to post again tomorrow then I will be able to post again from Old Bahama Bay on Wednesday evening. That said, we will not be posting again for at least a week or week and a half. We are really planning on a wonderful time exploring the islands heading across and experiencing the best the Bahamas has to offer - the water!

We will keep you up to date as much as possible.

May 5 - Life is interesting here. We now have 5 Gemini's anchored at Lake Worth. But once again, I'm getting ahead of myself. Lets go back.

We crossed Okeechobee with a northwest wind and it wasn't bad at all. Once we got to the west side, we came though the lock and passed through the 49 foot railroad bridge which is raised. We cleared it easily but still, I slow down and go through slowly. As you can see, an aluminum mast will not stand up to steal.

So through Bill and Bob went and off we went to the St Lucie lock. That one was to drop us about 6-8 feet

Once we were all in we headed down with a hand line that was dropped to us. These locks are interesting because in all of the locks Deb and I have been through, these are the only ones that pass us lines to hold on to while we drop or raise. Other locks have either bollards or we provide the lines.

So going down now, we were heading to the east coast.

These are also interesting locks because they open the doors to let the water out verses the rest of the locks that open valves and the doors stay closed. I making this up but I'll be the reason has to do with the amount of drop or rise that we are going through. I'm thinking that if it is over 15 or more feet then the have to put in valves instead of just opening doors.
We arrived on Saturday and now we are heading in to the dinghy "dock" which is an area behind a house where you can lock your dinghy and go to town. We've come in and out of here about 5 or 6 times because it has easy access to a Publix, Duffy's and of course the enlarged West Marine. Given the tidal rise and fall sometimes you are wading in 2 foot of water in the frontal area of the dinghy's. Other times it is dry as you see now.

Speaking of Duffy's, we were there for lunch today.We had a great time as you can see to the right. I've only given you Gary and the women. Left to right - Sissy, Deb, Jean and Gary.


The guys headed to West Marine to pick up a bunch of stuff and the women stayed behind to enjoy the rest of their wine.

Ultimately we all headed back to the boats and here are three of them.

The rest of the day was filled with some projects and then Happy Hour. You can see Bill working on his stainless with a can of stuff I gave him. Really good stuff. It is shining now.

Happy hour followed on our boat and I put up my new shade cover which essentially covers the aft end of the boat. It actually worked and will stay up for the next few days before we leave for the Abacos.

Weather is such that it still looks like we will be crossing the Gulf Stream on Wednesday. Life is good here. We have 5 Gemini's with us now and a Mainship will be joining us tomorrow before lunch. We will probably be heading back over to Duffy's for lunch since I was provided the managers card so I can get them to set up a big table. We really love Duffy's - especially their Ahai Tuna.

Below right you can see the guys having fun too at lunch. - L-R - Jim, Bill, and Bob.

For Happy Hour we had everyone over to our boat. From left to right you can meet Paul and Peggy, Bill, Deb, Jean, and Sissy. I was taking the picture and Gary and Bob were on the starboard side. Everyone is great as all Gemini owners are, we can't wait to get over and enjoy the camaraderie and the water in the Bahamas.

May 4 - So here is the scoop. It appears that most of the people going would like a nice crossing We are deciding between Tuesday and Wednesday based on the weather. The good news is that with the wind dropping all we should really have is swells and the wind waves will be going with us. So we just have to figure a 3 foot wave with a 9-12 second interval would really be not much of anything. Well, that's the theory anyway. We will talk it over with everyone in the next few days and decide. I really don't think we have a bad decision going for us.

Ok, Jim - where's the pictures. Tomorrow I'll put a few up in the morning. We've been moving and the traffic on the weekend has been - let's just say busy. Pictures tomorrow.

 May 3 - This will be a very short post.  The weather is very different when you compare Windfinder with NOAA. This makes it impossible for me, at least, to determine at this time if we should leave Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. The good news is we don't have to decide today.We will make a better choice tomorrow and then again on Sunday.

Right now we are at Stuart FL and will be heading down in the morning. I expect to arrive at Lake Worth, north end, tomorrow afternoon. There are some things I need from some various sources and I should be able to pick them up on Sunday. I also expect to take Deb up to Duffy's and pick up a few things at Publics.

For now, that's it. We will all talk either in person or on the phone tomorrow afternoon when I arrive. The decision will be mutual as much as it can. I will lean to the easier crossing verses I have to get there quick. If someone wants to go earlier then that's fine too.

See everyone tomorrow.

By the way, watching The Story of Pi and I don't want to repeat their adventure.

 May 2 - My friends Steve and Linda told me awhile back that I needed to change my posts and put the newest stuff on top. So that's what I'm going to try and do for this trip, the 2nd annual Gemini Invasion of the Bahamas. As you know, if you've been following us, we have 6 confirmed Gemini's heading over to the Abacos along with a Mainship. It will be a great trip. Let me bring you up to date on the last minute preparations.

Yesterday I was heading out for my simple, yes, simple fluids check. I found a half a quart of oil below the engine. Not good. However, I also found the oil filter was loose. I cleaned everything up - fun, fun, fun - and the started up the engine. After running for about a half hour all was good so pack it up and get ready to leave.

We've been busy so we haven't really had the right amount of time to prepare. Regardless, I have all the new electronics in after our lightening damage so I figure I can sort the rest out underway. The good news is, the electronics are working WONDERFULLY and the new Matrix VHF with AIS is performing beyond belief coupled with the Raymarine E7D which also talks to all of our other Raymarine electronics. I won't bore you with the details of data sentences just say it works great.

So we hurried up and left this morning heading out for the Franklin Lock. Yes, Three Gemini's in a row.


 Of course we all have had issues. Me, I ran off and left my wallet which I figured out about 20 miles from home. Oh well, called a neighbor and he picked it up. I didn't need it anyway. I will be a kept man on this trip. Deb will be my escort and we will have a wonderful time. At least I didn't leave the cash or the passports. We are home free. I don't plan on driving anyway.

It was raining pretty much all day. The fun part of this picture is the lady walking out on the bridge is the bridge operator. Yes, she has a little building she hangs out in but she has to walk out and operate the bridge from the center.

This entire bridge rotates and the cool part is this is what we pay our tax dollars for. Yes, Deb and I get our money's worth from our tax dollars. With the bridges and locks that open for us we might just be ok on paying our taxes.

Below right you can see the lady with the colorful umbrella - it kind of looks like our spinnaker. Too bad we couldn't sail through.

Yes, we did bring our spinnaker and hope to be flying it next week!

I just had to post this picture. I have the absolutely latest in electronic GPS along with a Platinum chart which was just updated. This simply drives home the point that a GPS and chart is a "GUIDELINE." The boat is currently shown on the land and we were in the middle of the channel.

I can give you tons of reasons this is true from chart scales and inaccuracies but the real reason for showing it is that your head should really be looking out the window instead of at the cool electronics.

We made a bit over 50 nautical miles today and passed through 3 locks. We are currently tied up between two dolphins. Dolphins are those poles that come together which have a cleat on them primarily for barges to tie up. However, we put one boat in to tie up fore and aft then raft up. Last year I was the guy in the center and this year it was Pisces - Bill and Sissy.

Bob on High Cotton had called earlier and he had a complete instrument failure. That was the bad news. The good news is that after we got positioned for the evening, we got that troubleshot to a bad circuit breaker and fixed in about 5 minutes. Time for happy hour!

We had some great cheese, crackers, conversation, common stories, community, and complete fun. Did you like all the "c's"

Below is what it looks like outside of Roland Martin's marina before you head east to cross the big Okeechobee. We leave in the morning between 7:30 and 8 - yes, we are getting on cruising time which means we will leave when we are ready and no longer on a schedule!

This cruise is just what I've been looking forward to along with meeting all of our new friends I haven't met yet waiting for us on the east coast. Wish you were here, the weather will be wonderful. The water will be clear, the diving will be great.

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