Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble !!

Sunset at Key West
Just pretty

Boca Chica Key
 Well, we finally sailed south to the Florida Keys after hearing for years from many of our fellow boating friends how great it is. And how right they are.

It was a fantastic Fall sail down here. With mostly fair winds at our back and kindly seas on the quarter. On our way we visited most of our familiar gunk holes like Vero and West Palm, Fort Lauderdale and Key Biscayne,and made a few new ones like Boca Chita Key and Rodriquez Key.  And now we are settled down in Marathon for the Holidays. At this moment in time we can't think of a better place to be to celebrate the 2013 Holiday season. It is a perfect place for family and friends to come visit if they want to escape from the cold for a bit. The first weeks of November Linda Haith came from Kansas City to join us on a sail down to Key West for a few days. She has some experience on the water so she was a great hand along the way. We had a fun trip out to the reef for some spectacular snorkeling.

Now settled in our slip in Marathon as the winter northerlies blow. Our Thanksgiving will be spent with fellow sailors at the newly opened Docksider Bar & Grill at our marina. It should be a hoot !!! We are thankful for so many things in our lives but especially our family and friends both old and new. But none of this would be possible without the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we give thanks and wish you all a happy and fun filled Thanksgiving.



Snorkeling on Sombrero Reef

The girls in Key West!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ride with the Wind

When it come to cruising in Florida they say July stand-by, August you must look out, September remember, October it ain't over. These are words to live by around here and so far it's proving to be true. We are keeping a watchful eye out for developing Atlantic lows mostly coming up from the SW Caribbean as we continue to wrap up last minute boat projects, complete some super fun dental work, dig out the pre-cancer lesions from my skin and give departure notice to our gym and marina.  Finally we have filled the boat with food and liquor preparing to cast off the lines and sail south to the Keys.

Ahh but first we want to share some of the "summer fun" we had here in Florida. Family visits, road trips, day sails, museums, plus heat, heat and more heat.  Here is a visual documentation of Summer 2013 for the Kings, hope your summer was just as active.

Sand Play

Send him to Washington
Nephew James at rest
Pirates beware !

Flying high at NASA

Michelle, good seed:)
Good friend from KC
Not so good friend:(
Elvis is alive in Cocoa!
Mom & daughter

Next life

What can I say 

So there it was. Please follow us on instagram "PURELFE" through the Florida Keys the next couple of months.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Abaco Triangle

Our arrival at Hope town was a milestone for us.  We had planned for so long to get here and we finally made it.   We were not disappointed and as a bonus our arrival was greeted by a “Super Moon”. The evening sky was glowing with the biggest and brightest moon we have ever seen.  After a few days in Hope Town we sailed at the morning high tide with a fresh breeze at our backs onto Marsh Harbor.  We had a great time at March Harbor even though it was extremely low tides and our depth finder’s alarm went off many times.  Our boat was even sitting comfortably on the sandy bottom at one time.  Our new favorite party spot is the Jib Room restaurant and bar at Marsh Harbor Marina.  The food is fantastic and the staff and entertainment was the best.  Cherie learned from the locals how to play music with a saw.  

We moved on after a couple of fun filled days and nights at March Harbor to Man-O-War Cay. A side trip to Fowl Cay for some reef snorkeling was a treat. Treasure Cay came next where we stayed for a few days.  This cay has the most beautiful beach in the Abaco. We think we should just stop writing and show the pictures.

Man-O-War Marina area

King calls this Jack Sparrow house!

Man-O-War Cay

By the way Man-O-Way Cay is a religious community and sale of alcohol and tobacco are not permitted!

Treasure Cay

Fresh conch salad on the beach.

Angie's Place

Limbo Night at the Jib Room.  He even carried me under earlier!
After stopping back at Green Turtle Cay we sailed on to Manjack Cay for two days while waiting for the Stranded Naked party on Fiddle Cay.  

Fiddle Cay

Stranded Naked Party on Fiddle Cay
Free drinks & cheese burger with fries!

         This is the start of Abaco Race Week celebrating independence day for the Bahamas.  So many cruisers told us that we had to stay for the kick off party (aka the Stranded Naked party) and boy were they right.  Since partying so much on the 3rd we thought we’d have a quite night on the 4th on Great Sale Cay but we had a great surprise when a large power boat anchored a few hundred yards away and decided to put on a great fireworks show off his boat for the few of us lonely sailors anchored there. The next morning we sailed into West End to prepare for the “crossing” to Florida.  The following day we sailed our way to St. Lucie inlet.  It was our 3rd choice entry point into Florida but the state of the large seas forced us 30 miles north of our 1st choice at Palm Beach. It was not our best sail across the Gulf Stream. Large seas and numerous squalls is not what you wish for on a crossing. But after 3 previous good crossing we knew that our luck would run out at some point. As Hemmingway once wrote “ When you sets out sailing on the high seas in a small boat you do not go out looking for foul weather, the foul weather will eventually find you”.  I say there is no great challenge sailing in smooth seas with a fresh breeze at your back but there is great satisfaction in arriving safely at your destination after a day of rough seas and nasty squalls.  

Friday, June 28, 2013


For those of you sailors who thought June was not a good month to come over to the Abaco, due to the start of hurricane season, we say it is wonderful so far.  Although it may be the height of tourist season for the Abaco it is not the height of the cruising season so the mooring balls are wide open and the anchorages have been empty and beautiful.  The weather now seems to have settled into a wonderful steady pace of east to southeasterly summer breezes with daytime temperatures in the 90’s and cooling down to the pleasant 70’s in the evenings.  The evenings are especially comfortable now with our new customized wind scoop trapping the soft summer breeze and throwing it down the hatch into our “near” naked bodies. (Thanks Michelle Poerstel for fixing that up for us.)

Once we left West End and it’s tantalizing paradise beach pool we made our way to Great Sale Cay where we were the only boat in the east anchorage for the evening. Umm we ask ourselves “are we really alone or did we pick a bad anchorage?”  I think when you are out in the middle of the ocean with no one else in site you question your decisions. Well later into the lonely night we got a random call on the VHF radio looking for anyone anchored in Great Sale Cay. It turned out that there were several boats anchored on the west side of the island, the opposite side as us. Are we on the wrong side? Our weather guru predicted winds clocking to the west so we picked the east side to anchor on. Turned out that those boats were heading back to the states and leaving at 10pm for the long night sail west across the Gulf Stream.   Once again weather guru Parker called it correctly and we had a quite night protected from the brisk westerly winds that kicked up that evening. The next morning we only had a short 30nm sail to our next anchorage in Allen’s Cay so we slept in and enjoyed the summer morning breezes and the quiet solitude before continuing eastward.

Allen’s Cay is usually the first stop for eastbound sailors going to the Abaco. It is also an introduction to the keen navigation skills we will need for our journey through these islands. The pathway into Allen’s Cay is shallow and narrow. If you miss time the tide or cut the entrance short you will find yourself hard aground.  After winding our way into the cove we dropped anchor and began our “Anchor Down” tradition of celebrating with a bit of Rum. Those pirates certainly knew the medicinal quality of a good stiff rumrunner. 

Now we have finally reached the Sea of Abaco. If you remember our very first blog entry last February this was our destination when we departed Cocoa. But Mother Nature had other plans for us back then and we ended up down in the Exumas instead. So here we are and the question is “where to next”? There are so many places we want to visit here. Places we have been reading about for the last year preparing for our journey. So we studied the charts and pick Green Turtle Cay as our next destination. Once again our navigation skills are tested by moving sand bars and shallow reefs in our path and of course a shallow narrow opening to the anchorage. 

Green Turtle Cay

This one was particularly shallow and if we missed timed the tides we would not be getting in without considerable embarrassment.  We happen to be in a spring tide and it’s a “super” moon on top of it so the tides are at the most extreme of the year. We slowly approach the small intimidating opening and at the last minute we chicken out and do a 180. A power boat approaches the opening looking like he has done this all his life so we hail him on the radio and ask him to read the soundings for us as he goes through. 7 feet he calls out, then 6’ 6” as he moves slowly through, then 6’ and he is through. Well we draw 5’ 6” and change so we slowly go through sweating all the way with a mere 6” between failure and success. And we make it through. Once in we picked up a mooring ball and found out it belongs to a local by the name of Rick Sawyer.  He happens to be the great-great-great-grandson of Robert Sawyer one of the founders of Green Turtle Cay.  Nice guy and he was a little surprised we knew all about his great-great-great-granddaddy. As I said we have been reading a lot about this part of the Bahamas. And once again we celebrate our arrival with a bit of Rum.

We moved on after a couple of days exploring Green Turtle Cay to Great Guana Cay anchoring in Fishers Bay.  We picked up a mooring ball from Troy Albury at Dive Guana and we asked him where the good snorkeling was on the island.  He indicated,  “in the water” was in fact the best place. Best come back line we have heard since leaving our good friends Jeff and Terry on Ariel.  In fact we found one of the top snorkeling reefs in the Abaco on the east side of Great Guana Cay which was just out side of the famous Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill.  Good spot for lunch and more Rum after an afternoon of snorkeling.

Great Guana Cay (east side beach)

We are now sitting in Hope Town. If you are looking for a storybook settlement setting this is the place. Attached to another mooring ball we stared at the candy-striped lighthouse built in the 1800’s and still lit up by kerosene every night giving sailors a light for safe passage. 

Hope Town Harbon from Lighthouse
Hope Town is an adorable village with pastel cottages and a short walk over to the beach.  We did have an exciting time getting in the shallow channel here and thanks to our new friend Ron on Inherit the Wind who gave us a sounding at 5’ 8” when we draw 5’6” we made it in just fine. Now we are happy with a mere 2” between us and the ocean bottom. Any less and we would be tossing out stuff from the boat to lighten it up. I really must say it is Captain King who makes all our navigating the best.  He checks the tides and knows his navigational stuff better than anyone especially the captain on the boat Last Call a Harden that got stuck in the channel at low tide that very day.  A barge that needed into the channel with supplies for the island came and towed him clear so he could get in.

Hope Town anchorage
  Never a dull moment cruising as Ron says, “you are either entertained by the boating show or you are the boating show.”  Thank God we have mostly been entertained by the boating show. More Rum.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Abaco or Bust

First we want to thank all our family and friends for making Michelle's graduation from the University of Kansas a very special and memorable occasion. The entire weekend was full of celebration and glowing parental pride. We are lucky for having two very independent and bright daughters. We are confident that Michelle will be a hugely successful teacher and that she will make a difference in the lives of many of her young students. 
Exiting the Bell Tower

We are back for the second half of the sailing season and it isn’t starting out so good, with Tropical Storm Andrea putting us in a holding pattern anchored down in Lake Worth, Florida.  On the positive side we had ample time to explore Peanut Island and discover new things we hadn’t found in the Palm Beach area before.  

Peanut Island
Like the public docks we found right in downtown West Palm Beach (free all day until midnight) south of the Lake Worth Inlet and south of the Flagger Bridge.  If you ever get a change check out this area, it is really a lot fun and we enjoyed our time there especially since it was free all day.  On top of that they have a free public tram that runs all day long. And as a bonus it stopped right in front of our favorite grocery store chain. We also discovered a development very much like Zona Rosa but much larger.  And of course anytime we find a Starbucks it makes Captain King happy. So lets recap our stay at West Palm; Free dock, free transportation, grocery store, Starbucks and lots of bars with Happy Hours.  Question is “why did we ever leave”?
West Palm Dock

Because the weather finally cleared so we made the 50 km jump to West End, Bahamas.  It was a light wind day but we went for it because this had been the least rainy and/or squally day we have had in weeks.

After a 9hr crossing we arrived at West End and decided we’d anchor out after researching a good spot on the north side of the island giving us good protection from the south winds.  The water here still amazes us on how crystal clear it is.  But we didn’t stay anchored long because after we barbequed a nice arrival dinner we saw a squall on the horizon with an unbelievable lightning show in it coming our way.  So we decided a dock at the marina that night would be the prudent thing to do.  These summer squalls here are nasty and any sailor worth his salt seeks shelter as soon as possible when they appear.

Old Bahama Bay Resort & Marina
 The Old Bahama Bay Marina at the West End is a beautiful tropical resort development and a perfect spot to tie down through the squalls. They have a beautiful full service marina, a magnificent pool, a beach bar and the staff is as friendly as they come. And a nice nightly tab that comes with it also. So like our last trip over here where we discovered that paradise is expensive continues to be true. But we are sailors and after one night and a day enjoying the spoils at the resort we moved back out to the anchorage leaving the resort to the millionaire crowd with their mega motor yachts.  But it is fun to pretend sometimes!  

Speaking of mega motor yachts. Steve Job's floating creation is proof that you can create something different. 

So off we go into the unknown and hopefully the weather will settle down a bit and we can enjoy our last month before the Hurricane season set in.