Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Swimming Pigs and Thunderball Grotto - Bahamas

We sailed to Cape Eutheran Marina and stayed for the night. This was just a short stay as we had some washing to do and it was a little close to see the swimming pigs.
It was a very nice island and the marina was lovely to but we all wanted to see the pigs so that's all we could think about and we could not wait to set off the next morning.
We had a lovely sail to Pig Beach even though the weather was not the best and we had showers all the way but it was the pigs we wanted to see, so the weather did not matter.

In all my life I have never seem such a funny thing a swimming pigs. It's just something I did not expect to see while I was sailing and to get a chance to swim with them and to stroke was amazing. As the weather was not the best there was no tourists around so we got the place to ourselves. If you are ever in the Bahamas then you have to go and see this for yourself as its so much fun and the pigs are very happy too.
You can feed them but you can only feed them in the water so the piglets don't get any food as it might kill them. They are just allowed their mothers milk for now until they get older. Its a great idea as you get to see them swim and if there is any bits left over it just washes out sea. You are only allowed to give them certain foods too and not anything which will affect them at all and at the end of the day they are here to help the locals make some money from the tourists.

There is a few old wife's tale that they were put on the island by a group of sailors to make space on the boat and then they were going to come back to cook them. The sailors never returned but the pigs survived on excess food that was dumped over board by passing ships. Another was they swam to the island after the ship hit the rocks and sank. Even though these are really good stories I think they were put the to help with the tourism as they do attract a lot of people to the beach. About a year ago they disappeared from the island and we were later told that some total prat, who I would to punch, gave them rum as they thought it was funny and they all died. This is why when you see them now they are all tagged and got names. I'm disgusted by humans at times if this is true but again its all gossip and deep down I hope its all lies.
What ever the truth they are here to stay and they will put a lot of smiles on people faces seeing them.

After that we went to a cave called Thunderball Grotto and if you any sort of James Bond fan this was an area it was filmed. Its a small cave been carved out by the sea and it is amazing to swim through, with fish swimming around you and very pretty. There is also a hole at the top of the cave which lets in some amazing light and as we left to go back to the boat we saw someone jumping through the middle of the hole into the cave itself. I looked at Simon and he looked at me and we both said together "We have to do that".

We all had a great nights sleep and a lovely breakfast, we could not wait to to see the pigs again and of course Simon and myself were itching to jump of the top. The weather was a little bit better and more people were around today so we headed out with high hopes of a wonderful day. The
pigs did not let us down at all and if anything they were even better than the 1st day. They were so hungry when we arrive that they nearly got into the dingy for a carrot. I have never laughed so much and they even swimming around the dingy. This was great for me as I had brought my goldfish bowl lense with me to get a half in and half out of the water pictures.

We left the pigs with big smiles on our faces and we were of to Thunderball Grotto for some more fun but just before we got there Kim shouted Stingray and before you could say Stingray again both Simon and myself were in the water swimming beside it. Wow I was blown away.

When we arrived at the grotto, we dropped the anchor and jumped into the water. We swam through the grooves in the rocks and then all of a sudden it opened up into a massive caves with a hole in the top. It was crystal clear and had loads of fish around. It is something I did not expect to be honest and again if you ever get a chance to come here then do as its amazing. After swimming through all the tunnels and caves we had a steep climb to the top and when you get there you kinda wet yourself as its higher than we first thought. I was not going to mess this one up as the hole was not as big either. Its was about 25ft high and all I can say it was a hell of a buzz. Well that's the polite words as there was a few swear ones added into that. It was Simon's turn so I filmed him coming down and I can tell you now it was so funny seeing his face when he surfaced. We looked at each other and giggled like little kids.

This was by far the best day and to make things a little bit better I was starting to feel part of the family which made things for more easier. I felt so comfortable around this family and I know they are very similar to me but when you are in their home you just want to fit in and now I was....
Why not click on this link Sailing Britican and see the video of the swimming pigs. Kim is far better than me for the videos and more consistent too.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Govenors Harbour - Bahamas

The weather was mixed as we sailed to our next destination and when we arrived we had to take a mooring boy instead of anchoring because the ground was to hard for the anchor to dig into. This is not a problem but it costs and I think we had spent enough lately. Never mind it can't be helped.
After we were all moored up we went ashore to have a look around and we decided to get something to eat there too. As we waited for our food to be prepared we were told that there was a festival on and we should go and have a look as it started about 7pm.

After some amazing food we wondered to the festival which the noise was electrifying. Lots of music being played, food stalls and beer being consumed and this was just the start of it. Sienna saw some candy floss and had to have some of it and as her back was turned I pinched a little bit. Well it was my job to wynd her up. Ha Ha.
Just after 7pm the street was full of dancers of fantastic costumes and they were being judged by some very serious judges and we later found out its a very big thing to win, plus it was on the tv too.
We never stayed to the end as it was getting late for Sienna and we were all tired anyway.

We all woke after a good nights sleep and were ready to look around and we also needed fuel for the dingy. Simon and Kim were also going to buy a sim free mobile as theirs was on its way out and they also wanted to see if they could get a good deal for the internet. After a successful day and they also got a great deal on the mobile plus internet while in the Bahamas we decided to sail to our next destination. It was only a days sail away but we wanted to that sail to be closer to the following destination where we will be able to swim and snorkel.


Monday, 12 February 2018

Wind, Rain and Sunshine - Bahamas

We never left the boat for 2 days while the wind blew up to 40 knots, the rain came down so fast that it filled up an empty bucket in a few hours but we did not let it dampen our spirits. I was reading a book about the youngest girl to sail around the world. Kim and Sienna did lots of school work and Kim also did a few blogs and vlogs on her channel. If you would like to read their blog then click here Sailing Britican
Simon was reading the forecast and looking for the next island to go too. He was also looking for a break in the weather as we had not registered in the Bahamas and needed to do so. Yes, its not our fault the weather was so bad that we could not get ashore but we did need to let them know we are here so we could pay our dues.

The second the weather cleared we headed ashore to get some bread, milk and also to register the boat at the customs. We met a couple who were moored next to us and they offered to take their boat to shore instead of ours as they could get closer. We would go in the dingy but we were about 5 miles away from customs and a big boat was better. We did take our dingy for the last little bit which was handy as the couple were going to do their own thing. Once we had paid our dues we were entitled to stay in the Bahamas for 6 months which was great and it cost £200 to be in their waters. Its funny as it would not cost a thing at home or in Europe but I suppose its a way of making money for them,

We were moored in a little place called Royal Island Bay and it was the perfect place to be during the bad weather as it was totally sheltered to all the elements. Well so off.
I went for a wander one day around the island and it was really nice to get away on my own. This does not mean I was not getting on with the gang because I was but, I just wanted to explore and after being stuck on the boat for 2 days during the storm it was the perfect way to do it.
The island was not big and did not take to long to go around it but I was really nice and I also saw a few birds that I have never seen before either. There was also a ruin of an old house which I later heard was a rich man's who had gone bankrupt and left it to fall down.

After a few days at Royal Island Bay we left and headed towards Governors Harbour which was just a days sail away.

   Thank you once again for reading our blog until next time......


Friday, 2 February 2018

Sailing to Bahamas

As dark approached all we could see were the lights of Miami as we headed out to sea. We were going to be at sea for two days so we were hoping the weather was going to behave itself and we would get there in good time with no hick ups at all.

The lights in Miami were getting smaller as we sailed into the distance but then all of a sudden it was the New Year and all the fireworks light up the sky above the city. I have never been at sea on New Years before but this was something special. All the colours of the rainbow shot up into the sky along the coastline and it looked like lots of different areas had their own display but because we were so far away from land we got to see them all together which was extra special.

After the fireworks finished I went to bed for a few hours as Simon was going to do the 1st shift and then it was my turn in about 4 hours time. After Simon went to bed I was in command and it was a beautiful night. Clear skies and stars everywhere which was amazing. I know I come from an area which is light pollution free and I tend to take the stars for granted but being out here with the waves splashing against the side the boat and nothing but the stars to look at was unreal. This is when you can let your imagine run wild and when the sunrise came up it was the icing on the cake.

Day 1 was described by Simon as Champaign Sailing, as it was flat calm, sunny and perfect winds which made us do an average of 7 knots all day.
After lunch I listened to some music, laid back in the sunshine and once again let my mind run wild with a small grin on my face. As I was enjoying the vibes I heard the clicker go on the fishing line. With no time to waste I started to reel it in and when I got it on board I realised I had just caught my first Tuna. Boy was I happy and everyone was looking forward to eating tuna for our dinner tonight. Kim got me a knife and when I started to fillet it I noticed was it was full of some sort of parasite. Little tiny white things were inside of its skin so instead of taking any chances I threw it back in. What a pity and I was really looking forward to providing the family with some fresh tuna for dinner.

I think today was the best day so far and I was really looking forward to getting to the Bahamas and just exploring the different islands.

Day 2 was a little overcast but nothing to complain about and the sailing was good to. We only had a few hours to go until we arrived at our 1st destination but we had to keep an eye out when we got closer as some parts were really shallow and did not want anymore of that, thank you.

A few hours later we spotted land and it was a really fantastic feeling knowing that in a few hours we had sailed from one country to another and we would be swimming in beautiful clear waters. I was getting very excided now and as we approached our final destination I could not wait to get anchored and get out and explore.

We were anchored in a tiny sheltered bay with 5 other yachts and it was perfect. I offered to cook breakfast for everyone to celebrate and while I was in the middle of doing it I heard Kim scream "Andrew come quickly, its a shark" The second I got onto deck I saw Simon jump into the water and swim towards it. It was massive and when Simon realised how big it was he quickly got out of the water. He shouted across to the boat that it was a Hammer Head and was about 18ft long. No wonder he got out so quickly as I think I would have done the same myself, but then I was thinking he was a a lucky git to see it so close. Oh well you can't win them all.

After breakfast Simon and I went for a snorkel while Kim home schooled Sienna for a few hours. It was clear and we spotted a lobster which we had to get but we did not have the spear gun to catch it so we headed back to the boat to find it.  When we got back to the place were we had seen it, it had gone. There goes another free meal.

By the time we got back to the boat it was about 4pm and it was time to think about dinner and a good nights sleep but that all changed in 15 minutes as the rain started and then the winds came. We had gusts of 40 knots with driving rain on top of that which was not pleasant at all.

It rained and blew a gale all night long and when we woke up the next day it was still the same. Will we ever get of this boat, who knows but you will have to wait for the next blog.

Once again thank you for reading our blog and if you would like to watch some of our videos too the click on this link for our YouTube channel


Monday, 22 January 2018

Fort Lauderdale - Florida

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 11am and the weather was much better than it was further north, but I suppose we were in the sunshine state of Florida. When we were got close, two lads were waiting to catch our ropes and once we were moored, we went over to help Michael moor up too. Once all the boats were secured we went to the office to sign in and pay for our mooring dues, find out where the showers, washers and dryers were and sort out electric. After everything was paid for, Michael showed us where to go to get some shopping and where the washing machine is and of course a little tour around the area. Michael had been here a good few times before and knew all the best places to eat, drink and told us which areas to stay away from too. There was a lot of tramps around and they had a bad name for themselves, but I later found out that this is not always true.  

After our guided tour had finished we went back to the boats to wash them down, fill up with fresh drinking water and connect them to the main power supply. After all the jobs were done we went out for a well-earned drink in what would become our local bar. My brother and his family were on holiday on America and they drove about 3 hours to meet me. It was nice to see him and his family but made me a little homesick for my family. At least I could call and text them but its never the same. It was also a bit weird being here for Christmas and not seeing my kids open their presants on Christmas Day but I suppose I knew that before I left and they wanted me to come on this trip which is really nice of them too.  At least I got to see Simon's and Kim's daughter Sienna opening her presants and then I was sent a little video of them opening theirs which made me feel a bit better.
The Browns were starting to become my 2nd family now, and that made me feel more relaxed and the boat was becoming my 2nd home too and if I look a bit down, then I just said to myself that I was very lucky and not very many people get a chance to do this so in other words give I gave myself a shake.
We were moored in downtown Fort Lauderdale and it was such a lovely area with the shops, bars and restaurants only a stones throw away. The people were very friendly and there was a real buzz about the area. There was lots of dog walkers, joggers, wildlife and lots of tourists going past the boat all day long so we were never bored. We also had loads of jobs to do so we were never going to get bored anyway and that was one of the main reasons we were here. There was an old man who used to turn up everyday and feed a homeless cat, grey squirrels and birds. It was cool for me as it was easy to get a picture and some close up videos as well. 
We were only going to be here for a week but in the end, it was longer than we wanted.

We did lots of jobs during the day and in the evening, we either went out for a walk or had something to eat but most of the time we ended up in a bar for a few night caps.

We had new batteries installed as the others had given up and we also have a new water maker installed. If you don’t know what a water maker is, then it draws sea water into the boat and filters it through its system and coverts it into drinking water. It’s a god saver when you are in the middle of nowhere and it saves you from spending money on drinking water too.

As we picked through the jobs list, we forgot to do was put new marks on the chain for different lengths or depths for when we going to anchor. We got all the chain out onto the pier and then the worst thing happened, then windlass broke and it was getting close to new year. We took it all apart in the hope that it could be fixed but we were told by a specialist that it was dead. So, after 2 days getting it out and looking to fix it we only had 3 days to get a new one and get it fitted.

In the UK we would source the item we wanted and get it posted out. We can pay extra for next day delivery or wait for 2 days but in America things don’t seen to happen like that and with new year on its way we thought it was going to be another good few days here. Luckily for us we meet a kind man called Vern who let us use his account to get the windlass cheaper and the express delivery man turned up on time which was a bonus. Now all we had to do was to fix the new one in and wire it all up and then Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt.   Everything was good to go but there was no power at all, but Vern turned up to see if we were ok and found out that the breaker was broken. Its was getting late so he said he would come on New Year Eve to finish it off.

Vern held up to his promise and turned up to finish of the job on new years eve which was really kind of him and it was a big relief to us all. We slowly connected the chain through the windlass and started to get it back onboard.  With everything working perfectly and the boat all tidy, we let the ropes go and said goodbye to Michael as he would not be joining us on our next leg. It was a total pleasure to meet him and after our final goodbyes we were off.

Once out of the river we went to get some fuel and then out into the Atlantic to sail towards the Bahamas. We first steamed south towards Miami which was about 50 miles away and then we turned out to the Bahamas were the tide and wind would take us to the perfect place to anchor. It was the first time in my life that I have spent New Years Eve on a boat and to be honest it was lush. Seeing all the fireworks going off over Miami was amazing and to know that in 2 days’ time we would be swimming with fish in crystal clear waters….

NEXT TIME……. Sailing to the Bahamas