Monday, May 14, 2018

May 2018: From Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach

Fri, 11-May….to Old Port Cove For Scheduled Maintenance

We had excellent weather and sea forecasts for Friday, 11-May and the morning sun and light breeze seemed to support that, so by 1000 we had departed the dock at Pier 66 Marina and were back underway.  We exited the Port Everglades channel in light traffic and pointed Ghost Rider north, paralleling the Florida coastline about a mile offshore.
Southeast Florida Departing Fort Lauderdale....but the Entire Coastline
Pretty Much Looks the Same All the Way to Palm Beach

Temperatures hovered in the upper 70’s with a northeast breeze around 10 knots, making the humidity quite tolerable.  Sea conditions were nearly ideal – a light wind chop on top of a small swell at pleasant intervals, so the ride was excellent. Those conditions brought out quite a few other boats, especially the local fishermen along the numerous fish havens located in this area, but only occasional evasive action was required. We handled the helm from the perch on the fly bridge the entire day, averaging about 8 knots of ground speed.

At 1530 we entered the Lake Worth Inlet in calm waters, joined the ICW and followed it five miles north, arriving at Old Port Cover Marina in North Palm Beach at 1605. Rick pulled Ghost Rider bow first into her assigned slip, where she would be staying for about the next month for her annual service call at Yacht Tech.  For an idea of what that consists of, see our summarized punch lists below.

As predicted, the weather went to hell in a hurry shortly after arrival.  A combination of an upper level trof, a Bahamian high pressure center, and a developing low in the eastern Gulf of Mexico quickly led to a massive area of precipitation that smothered the Florida peninsula and most of the western Bahamas in squalls.  So while we had to cut our Bahama cruise short by a few days, we were content that we had made a good decision to return when we did.
Ghost Rider Tucked Back into OPC Marina....if the Shot Looks Familiar,
It Should....We're in the Exact Same Slip as Last Time

Thus concludes our Bahamas adventure for this year.  We covered 527 nautical miles in the 34 days since we had departed OPC back on 08-April, consuming approximately 420 gallons of diesel fuel along the way (still leaving 900 gallons in the tanks....with the generator accounting for a good portion of the fuel burn.)  From Grand Bahama, through the Abacos, the Berrys and Bimini we visited 12 different islands, including 11 anchorages and 4 marina stops.  Overall it was an excellent experience and enjoyable journey, making for a very thorough shakedown cruise, and helping us get to know our Nordhavn that much better.  Weather challenges intervened a bit too often for our tastes, but we still made the most of the opportunities we had along the way.  And we will likely return next year – at some point we want to visit Eleuthera, The Exumas and Andros.
There is a Lot More to See in the Bahamas....Hopefully Next Year

We also gained more insights into proper provisioning for food and supplies as well as spare parts.  Chelle did a fabulous job stocking the boat and galley with all our food and drink needs, and usually found the expected local opportunities along the way to replenish certain fresh foods.  Mechanical spares and fluids were over-stocked in most cases (no worries, they eventually will get used), the main exception being some repair parts for the Racor water separator fuel filters.  Towards the end we did run short of fruit juices needed for the Goombay Ghosts, but who could have predicted that new development?

The boat itself did very well.  From the mechanical propulsion and electrical generation perspectives it was nearly perfect.  The “boat business” issues we did encounter were relatively minor and certainly did not impact the journey or the schedule.

Boat Business: The Punch List

Nevertheless, after a long cruise, the vast majority of it in areas with little or no boat services available, it’s typical to develop a list of things that require attention – some by experienced pros, others that we can attack ourselves; some qualify as routine or scheduled, others as repairs. 
Rick Placed Aluminum Baking Pans Under the Main Engine's Oil Pan
to Measure Loss Rate and Cut Down on Absorbent Pad Use

Our list for the pros includes: address main engine oil pan leak (again…warranty item); replacing the wing engine transmission’s torsion coupling (old age); repitching the main prop so we can attain the rated RPM at WOT (on the list since we bought the boat); replacing the main shaft’s cutless bearing (old age); bottom paint and zincs (a below the water line bi-annual event); coolant flush and valve adjustment for the generator (every 600 hours); and install a new sonar unit for the dinghy (the old one is dead).

The list for ourselves includes:  restocking some spare parts and supplies – filters, light bulbs, shop towels, engine oil, that sort of stuff; ditto for re-provisioning the galley; remove, clean and reinstall the generator’s starter/solenoid cables (previously tightened when the genset wouldn’t start, just a precaution); take an oil analysis sample from the generator (a good periodic practice to be sure the engine internals don’t have developing issues); remove & replace the generator’s water pump impeller (another periodic maintenance task); change the oil on the wing engine (done annually); seal a rain water leak in the radar arch (an old cable hole requires re-caulking); repair a fraying ground wire on the wind instrument in the pilot house (new discovery); replace the leaking Racor filter water drain (and get at least one spare to carry, we don’t like fuel leaks); replace or repair the clam shell seals in the toilets (old age).
A Large Baggie Over the Search Light Seems to Have Halted Its Rain
Water Leak....Not Elegant, but Effective.  Poor Housing Design.

We’ll be able to attack some of these items in the coming week before we leave Florida for some dirt-dwelling time with family.  But we won’t be able to get the boat hauled out for paint and prop work until the end of May – apparently it’s a busy time of year for the local boatyards – so that’s why we’ll have the boat here for close to a month before we sortie again.

In the meantime we are looking forward to spending some time with Chelle’s family in Oklahoma City for our nephew’s graduation; followed by Rick’s family in the Lake of the Ozarks for some inland boating with the kids and grandkids, and then in St. Louis for more family time and an annual charity event.  When we return to the boat in early June we’ll have an update on all the boat business action items, along with a better idea as to when we’ll be departing for our east coast cruising this year.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

May 2018:The Berrys to Bimini & Then the USA

Mon, 07-May to Thu, 10-May….The Berrys To Bimini & Then Back to the USA

Early in the Leg to Bimini We Had a Thunderstorm Dead Ahead
On the morning of Monday, 07-May we were up by 0700 and underway at 0800.  We departed on a rising tide, and while we never saw less than a foot under the keel, it was good to get out into the open water of Great Bahama Bank and eventually find depths greater than 50 feet.  Both Mystic Lady and Just Us had departed about an hour earlier just after first light; they were planning to make the run all the way to Palm Beach today to take advantage of good Gulf Stream crossing conditions.  Of course they were moving along at twice our best speed.

Skies were overcast and there were showers in the vicinity but as we departed the docks at Great Harbour we had dry conditions.  Temps hovered in the mid 70’s with humidity in the low 80’s. The overcast persisted a good portion of the day, but sea conditions were very tolerable…as we got out of the lee of Great Harbour initially they picked up to two to three feet out of the south, but within the next two hours laid down to two feet or less.

Same Storm Cell on Radar....You Can See We've Deviated Left
of Planned Course to Give Us Plenty of Separation
Showers and storms came and went most of the morning, but between our XM weather display and the Furuno radar set it was fairly easy to identify range and motion (generally to the north), so avoidance wasn’t a problem.  By around noon the local precip had cleared out and only distant storm clouds were visible.  High cloud cover remained, but some sun filtered through.

We ran the boat’s water maker all day.  With potable water priced at $.50 per gallon at GHC Marina, we had gone through 140+ gallons of our own water while at the dock, emptying both wing tanks.  So while we still had about 100 gallons remaining in the forward and rear water tanks, we were planning on anchoring out once we arrived at Bimini and needed to do laundry and run the dishwasher; thus our goal was to replenish much of what we had consumed during the past week.  
The Weather Improved Considerably Later in the Day and We
Dropped Anchor Here on the Northeast Side of Bimini

As we got closer to North Bimini the breezes died out quite a bit leaving only a light wind ripple on top of a one foot swell, which boded well for our intended anchorage site on the northeast side of the island.  We arrived there around 1800, finding fairly calm water in about 10 feet of water, and dropped the hook about 350 meters from the shoreline, letting out 125 feet of chain and setting the anchor per our normal procedure.  We had a peaceful night at anchor, running the genset all night to stay free of the noseeums and to keep cool in the building humidity.

On Tuesday, 08-May we awoke to some rollers coming in from the east that gave Ghost Rider some mild hobby horse motion, but otherwise had good conditions – already warm in the low 80’s, with partly sunny skies, and NE winds at 10-15 knots.  The anchor was still where we had dropped it.  (See footnote.)  Since the genset was still running we took the opportunity to get some laundry done.  We weren’t planning to move to the marina on the other side of the island until later in the afternoon to take advantage of a high tide and slack current....both of which are pretty much prerequisites to a good docking experience over there.

Ghost Rider Tucked into Our Berth at Sea Crest Marina
With Copious Fendering
Around 1330 we completed our preflight checks, raised the anchor and looped around North Rock at the top end end of North Bimini and headed south down the western coast line.  It was only an 11 mile sortie to the Sea Crest Marina but it required an entry through the cut between North and South Bimini; the current can rip through there, so we were hoping our timing to arrive just after high tide would provide good depths and minimal flow. 

We discovered the charts don’t necessarily match the way the entry channel is currently marked, but still found our berth without drama, although there was enough nervous angst along the way.  The good news was we had finally found a dock low enough to use the normal boarding door; on the other hand its pilings were overly tall, so we had to get creative in deploying our “fender boards” on the starboard side to protect the fiberglass.  Good tie offs and fenders are required here as there does not appear to be any no-wake zone; if there is everyone ignores it.
The Entrance to Bimini Big Game Club

Chelle Enjoys the Signature "Big Game" Drink
After securing the boat (no wash-down today, they charge a lot for water here) and completing post-flight duties we relaxed for a while and Chelle took a quick walking tour of the area.  Later that evening we both got off the docks and walked a bit north to the famed Bimini Big Game Club for dinner.  Rick had the cracked conch (good) and Chelle ordered the Seafood Marinara (also good.)  The portions were hugely generous, so we got a couple meals out of that outing.  Their signature “Big Game” fruity rum drink was tasty, although not nearly as good as our own Goombay Ghost.

Once again we slept in the next morning (Wednesday, 09-May) and enjoyed some relaxing time on the boat while at the dock.  After finishing chores – preflights for tomorrow’s early departure, weather checks, that sort of thing – we grabbed a rental golf cart and toured North Bimini Island.  With a length of seven miles, a width of only 700 feet, and only one real town (Alice Town), there isn’t much here beyond some very nice beaches on the western shore line, a few marinas on the eastern side, and a few clusters of small stores and restaurants.  Its permanent population numbers around 2,000.  Not unlike some other islands in the Bahamas, it first became popular during the prohibition period in the U.S. – a rum-runner’s haven.  Hemingway lived here for a couple of years back in the mid 1930’s.  Tourism, especially centered on sport fishing given the proximity to the U.S. east coast, is its main industry today. 
The Casino at the Hilton's Bimini Resort

At the far north end of the island is Hilton’s sprawling World Bimini Resort, which now includes the obligatory casino, and stands in stark contrast to the modest structures that typify daily life here. Much more appealing are the public beaches south of there, with their gin clear waters, local eateries and bars.  We enjoyed some excellent conch fritters and experimented with more rum drinks at Sherry’s Beach Bar.  Broadly speaking, anything that’s served from a carved-out coconut has to be interesting.
But This is What the Real Bimini Looks Like

One of our more interesting stops on our impromptu tour was the Dolphin House Museum.  Its sole architect and builder (and tour guide) is Ashley Saunders, an island native, who says after he swam with the dolphins he was inspired to build this place.  The three story structure (the third is being added and is a work-in-progress) is an eclectic, klitchy explosion of color and inventive artistry -- all built into the structure by Ashley.  He scours the island and beaches, finds "stuff" that interests him, and melds it all into the building itself.  In addition to at least forty dolphin images in varying forms, there are hundreds of conch shells, crab pot balls, ceramics, sea glass, driftwood pieces, beer and liquor bottles, license plates (from all 50 US states) and all sorts of other odds and ends either molded in or hanging from the walls and ceilings.  And, according to Ashley, the whole thing is hurricane proof.  (It is on relatively high ground and has survived at least six hurricanes we know of.)
And Then There Are Some Beach Bars Always Worth Trying

It was with mixed emotions that we prepped the boat for departure early on the morning of Thursday, 10-May.  But we were underway by 0730 as planned, with a decent tide and only minimal current with which to deal while getting off the dock.  After snaking out of the harbor channel about 15 minutes later we entered the open waters of the Gulf Stream, with partly cloudy skies, temperature around 80F and the typical late spring humidity common at this latitude.
The Dolphin House...There are More Pics at the Bottom of the Blog Entry, So
Be Sure to Check Those Out, Too.
Seas were predicted to be an average of three feet with wind at 15 knots, both from the northeast, and initially that was pretty much what we saw.  The stabilizers got a bit of a workout with the short intervals and as an occasional bigger wave would broadside the boat, and of course the northerly wind component chopped up the Gulf Stream current as the two collided.  But Ghost Rider dutifully held its course as we wallowed our way back towards Florida.

Approximately half way across, however, the seas and winds picked up considerably, with frequent six footers on the beam and a healthier wind chop on top driven by a northeast breeze that had increased with gusts to 20 knots.  Ghost Rider heeled occasionally to some interesting angles as an occasional seven or eight footer rolled in; the lag in the stabilizers provided a healthy snap-back.  You had to be careful moving about the boat, and cautious when opening cabinets and fridge doors as stuff was moving around.  One or two particularly square waves rearranged some furniture in the salon as well as some boxes of spare parts and an air compressor in the lazarette.  We’ll need to find a new bungee cord arrangement back there.
Salon Furniture Rearranged by Some Sideswiping Waves

Still, the boat itself did not seem to care much, it just kept plugging along, averaging 8 knots in the sloppy conditions.  At around 1330 we poked the bow into the Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) entry channel, turned the corner under the bridge, lowered the flag of the Bahamas, raised the yellow “Q” flag, and then backed into our slip at Pier 66 Marina just before 1400.  Ghost Rider then got her most thorough wash down since we’d left the USA over a month ago, and it was surely needed.
Chelle Was Sitting at the Salon Table When it Tried to Tip Over, So
She Laid it On Its Side Before It Could Do So On Its Own

We checked into customs using their new smart phone app, ROAM (very convenient), lowered the quarantine flag, and called it a day.  Chelle got some pool time in before dinner; while Rick updated Wheelhouse and also assembled the latest punch lists for the boat – one for Yacht Tech and one for himself – that would need attention over the next few weeks.  But that was the original plan anyway, as we knew we would be due for some regular service after returning from the Bahamas – bottom paint, zincs, valve adjustments, that sort of thing.  There are also still few lurking annoyances that still need to be tended to, but we’ll provide more detail about that later.

For now the weather looks good for tomorrow's short (six hour / 50 mile) run up the coast to Palm Beach and Old Port Cove Marina.

Our Loop Through the North Central Bahamas Over the Past Month Or So

** We’ve been asked how we monitor our anchor for drag.  At the time that Rick releases the windlass brake to free fall the anchor to the bottom, we also (as simultaneously as possible) activate an anchor alarm using a laptop copy of the Nobeltec TimeZero software; that laptop also has a GPS antenna plugged into it.  The TimeZero software allows us to set a radius for a swing circle (equal to the amount of rode, or chain, we deploy.)  If at any time the boat departs that defined circle it sounds a very loud siren.  We leave the laptop running all night.  You can accomplish the same function using either the Furuno MFD or the TimeZero software on the ship’s PC, but the laptop draws fewer amps when we’re running the boat only on batteries, which is often.  See screen capture below.

This is What Our Anchor Alarm Software Displays to Us...As Long as We Remain in That Circle Then We 
Know All is Good.  A Really Obnoxious Siren Alarm Sounds if We Don't.
Some More Pics from Bimini....

Chelle Trying Out a Beach Bar on Bimini
The View From the Deck of Sherry's Beach Grill
Third Story Being Added to Dolphin House
Entry Way to Dolphin House
More of the Dolphin House....Note the Rows of Embedded Conch Shells
Dolphins Everywhere
Eclectic Decor & Collections Inside Dolphin House
More of the Dolphin House Interior
A View of the Beach on the Southwest Side of Bimini
And the Wreck of a Steel Ship Washed Ashore Long Ago

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Tue, 01-May to Sun, 06-May….Hanging at Great Harbour Cay (Berry Islands)

Exploring the Ruins of What Was Once a Thriving Island Getaway
On the morning of Tuesday, 01-May our friends Jerry and Christine guided us on a walking tour of some of the nearby ruins that remain from the glory days of Great Harbour Cay.  Back in the ‘60’s this island had been “discovered” by a large clique of the rich and famous who made it one of their preferred island hangouts during that era.  A mix of Hollywood types and wealthy industrialists comprised the main clientele and drew considerable investments to the island, and a slew of new amenities sprung up:  waterfront townhomes, an expanded and updated marina, an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, and a renovated runway that provided an easy entry / exit for those with access to private aircraft.
It Isn't Hard to Imagine the Luxury This Place Used to Offer

But it didn’t last.  When economies started to crater in the 70’s both the interest and investments in this place dried up.  At the same time drug-running became popular and the proximity of Great Harbour made it a hub for the smugglers.  By the time the various law enforcement agencies had completed their crackdown on the illicit trafficking, the island had completed its total nosedive.  Apart from the cruise ship activity on the northern end (and their private beaches) today this area of the Berry Islands is mostly a stopover for vessels making the transit to other places in the Bahamas.  Its marina, however, remains active, being especially attractive for those needing shelter from the weather.  And the beaches on its eastern shoreline are still some of the most beautiful – although largely empty – strips of sand in the entire island chain.
The Flats Beach....Would Be Great for Shelling if There Were Any Shells There

By the way, Jerry authors an interesting blog of his own, and being something of a history fanatic, there you will find some more intriguing information about this area.  Click HERE to see more of his perspectives.

Following lunch at the marina snack bar – where the hogfish fingers are really good – we rented a car and drove from one end of this seven mile long island to the other.  Apart from a couple of spectacular beaches, along with a handful of fairly new homes and one beach bar perched on their overlooks, there isn’t a lot to see here.  But if you want a gorgeous and deserted beach all to yourself, this is certainly one place you can easily find that.

A View of the "Cave Beach"
Two of the beaches were particularly striking.  The first at the southeastern end of the island is what we called the “flats beach”.  At low tide its sugar white sands reach far out into the ocean waters, and you can literally walk in zero or ankle-deep, gin-clear water for hundreds of meters.  Interestingly the locals call this beach the “shelling beach”….upon which we found absolutely no shells.

Then there is what we called the “cave beach” further north on the island’s eastern shoreline.  Here we found large outcroppings of gnarly looking rock where the pounding surf had carved out concave curves and burrowed out a couple of small caves – which you can access only at a low tide.  Climbing to the top of the rocks provided for some stunning views.
Rick Pausing in Front of One of the Caves

We wrapped up our day back at the marina with some social time among our fellow cruisers, and then a quiet dinner aboard.

The next day, Wed, 02-May, we continued to pester Jerry and Christine by joining them on their dinghy for a spin around the harbor area and a closer inspection of the island’s immediate western shoreline.  It was fairly windy (as forecasted) so we took some occasional spray in some of the open areas, but we enjoyed the company and the tour.  Some of the coves within the harbor area are surprisingly deep – twenty plus feet – especially when compared to the very shallow approach just outside the channel entry.  Using the small, maneuverable dinghy to head back out that channel towards the open waters to the west, and then back in, gave us a chance to take some photos of that narrow waterway without worrying about hitting rocks or going aground.
The Rock-Walled Entry Channel to GHC Marina...the Dinghies Give
You an Idea of How Narrow It Actually Is

Later that afternoon we decided to “swap ends” in the slip….turning Ghost Rider around so she faced bow out.  While that put our port side on the finger pier, thus positioning our only boarding door on the wrong side, it wasn’t doing us much good anyway given how tall the fixed docks are here.  Additionally, we wanted to be able to launch our own dinghy for use over the next few days (which can only be deployed from our boat deck to the starboard side.)  A big thanks goes to Jerry and Dave for helping us with the dock lines in the breezy conditions.  As it turned out, this move actually made it easier to get on and off the boat from the elevated Portuguese bridge port side deck at low tide, and from the cockpit gunwale at high tide. 
Just Us and Mystic Lady Moored Together at GHC Marina

That evening Jerry and Christine invited us aboard Mystic Lady for dinner, and were joined by their boating buddies and marina neighbors Dave & Michele, whose Viking sport fish, Just Us, was moored next door.  The BBQ pork chops were tender and flavorful, and the ample sides and desserts were delicious.  And Jerry’s frozen rum drink – made with papaya juice and a mango rum, and which he calls the “Mystic Marvel” – rivals the Goombay Ghost for flavor and a punch.  It was another good evening.

The winds on the morning of Thu, 03-May had kicked up to 20+ MPH as predicted, and while the offshore waters were churning like a washing machine, inside the GHC marina we were nicely protected.  We launched the dinghy to our newly accessible starboard side and readied it for use.  We wouldn’t be able to wander too far from the protected harbor or the lee of its western shoreline based on wind velocity, but it served as a distraction for Chelle when she tired of being boat or shore-bound – which was inevitable.  She dinghied around the harbor inlets and then over to “Bardot Beach”, a short strip of sand on the western edge of the island and just south of the marina entrance, supposedly made famous by Bridget Bardot as her favorite spot to hang out back in the glory days of the ‘60’s.  It was a peacefully deserted place good for some sunning, shelling and reading.
There Are Some Nice Homes in the Harbor Inlets

Rick in the meantime enjoyed some quiet time on the boat….which included a blissfully quiet napping interval.  Later in the day Jerry stopped by and he & Rick compared weather forecasting notes – which generally synched up, meaning the next several days would likely be occasionally wet, very windy and generally lousy enough to keep us all in port for a few more days.  That was OK, we were in no particular hurry.

Thursdays at the marina feature pizza night – place your order in the morning with preferred delivery time, and later that evening it shows up at your slip at the designated hour.  We took advantage of that, and the meat lover’s edition was pretty good, although here they don't seem to be great believers in tomato sauce.

View of Ghost Rider Pivoted to Stern-in with Dinghy Launched and
Michelle Working on Cleaning & Waxing the Transom
As expected the morning of Fri, 04-May started out very pleasantly, windy but with comfortable temperatures and scattered clouds passing rapidly overhead.  We had left the boat open overnight to enjoy the Bahamian breezes and remained that at least for the morning hours.  We spent the first part of the day messing about the boat handling various chores.  Rick attacked some standard Wheelhouse preventative maintenance – mainly cleaning out the A/C strainer, as well as updating our navigation computers with the latest GRIB file and Active Captain databases.  Chelle went to work cleaning the transom area, as it had accumulated weeks of generator exhaust film that was turning the gelcoat color from grey to black.

Later in the afternoon the shower activity picked up considerably, pretty much washing out the afternoon as the stiff breezes drove the rain in squally fashion.  The marina announced it was postponing its weekly "Chill and Grill" until the following evening in the hope the weather would be more hospitable by then.

The Tender Taskforce Gathers for the Day's Expedition

We kept the boat closed up overnight until the morning of Sat, 05-May, which dawned partly sunny and dry.  The forecast for today looked mostly benign (except for the winds) so after a quick breakfast we jumped into the dinghy and joined three other tenders (including those from Mystic Lady and Just Us) to take a tour of the western side of the island.  We had a few objectives in mind – find the “blue hole”, explore a couple of beaches, and locate a plane wreck that was supposedly nearby.

First we found the blue hole tucked back into a cove just to the north of GHC Marina.  A blue hole is a small, somewhat circular, sudden and deep drop-off in the ocean floor, likely formed during the ice age when sea levels were considerably lower.  The Bahamas boasts several.  Because they are so (relatively) deep, the water appears to be a dark blue color, whereas the shallower waters surrounding it – in this case four to five feet at a mid tide – appear to be light green in color.  We measured 175 feet of depth, and the diameter of the hole couldn’t have been much more than 60 feet across.  It was basically a small vertical cave in the ocean floor.
One of the Two Beaches We Invaded

On the two strip of beaches we found we got the opportunity to try out our “anchor buddy”, which is a second anchor with a bungee-like rode attached to the stern of the tender….shortly before the bow reaches the beach you toss it in the water to get it set, then stretch it a bit while motoring to the beach.  Once close enough to the beach we deploy the bow anchor on the beach; the rubber-band like stretch in the stern anchor’s line keeps the tender sprung off the beach’s shallows.  It’s ideal in outgoing tides, and while it takes some practice it seems to work well.

The beaches were small – perhaps a hundred meters of fine, clean sand bordered on either side by rock outcroppings.  But the gin clear water allowed a good viewing of numerous manta rays that were cruising just above the sandy bottom in less than a foot of water as they strafed for zooplankton meals.  The largest we saw had about a three foot wingspan (although they are reputed to go up to 20 feet.)  Upon departure we also found the location of the small plane wreck just about 100 meters off the of the aircraft were just visible a few feet below the surface, but about all you could discern was that it was likely a small, single engine craft.
The Outlines of a Small Aircraft Visible Just Below the Surface

To close out the day, later that evening the marina’s weekly “Grill and Chill” event provided another fun social event with the other cruising couples at the nearby picnic pavilion.  The menu choices were BBQ chicken, ribs and steak.  (Hint: avoid the steak, the other dishes were very good.)

On Sun, 06-May the winds finally started to subside and bright sunshine dominated the day’s weather.  Rick and Jerry spent a good portion of the morning checking various weather and forecast sources, and agreed that the conditions would be good enough to support an early Monday departure for the long leg to the Bimini Islands.  So a portion of the day was also used to perform preflights and boat preps to allow a quicker get away the next morning.

Chelle had enjoyed the previous day at “Bardot Beach” so much that she decided to return there today in the dinghy and take advantage of such good weather.  When she returned to Ghost Rider later in the afternoon we gave the tender a quick bath and hoisted it back on the boat deck, latching it down in preparation for a long day of cruising tomorrow.  We got as many other boat preps done so we wouldn't get rushed in the morning.

Our Rental on GHC....a Motorized Roller Skate.  The Wheel is on the Right
Side, You Drive on the Left Side.  Except When Dodging Pot Holes.
Another Relic From the 1960's

But You Find Isolated New Construction on the Eastern Shoreline.
The Airport Consists of a Strip of Concrete and One Building
Another View of the "Flats Beach"
Another View of the "Cave Beach"
There's Always Seems to be a Beach Bar on Each (Inhabited) Island
The Marina's Snack Bar Menu...It's All Good.  The Caribbean Conch Salad is Fabulous.
Another Nordhavn -- N60 My Harley -- at the Marina
A View of Ghost Rider From the Other Shore Before We Turned Her Around
A View of Ghost Rider (from the Dinghy) After We Turned Her Around
The "Chill & Grill" Picnic Pavilion
The Bar at the Chill & Grill....Rum Anyone?