Category: Bahamas

Gulf Streaming

We are waiting out Tropical Storm Ana in Charleston, SC right now (don’t worry – so far it’s just been a bit blustery and rainy), which has allowed us a chance to sort through some of our fave photos from the past couple of months.

Our Gulf Stream crossing was relatively easy – we anchored on the Little Bahama bank the night before (basically anchoring in 10 feet of water with no land in sight) and then headed out at 3am for a 15-hr close haul sail to Fort Pierce, FLA.

We mostly dodged the thunderstorms that had been following us around in the Abacos, except for a solid shower right before making landfall in the US of A.

Awesome sail day to Eleuthera from the Abacos. Caught a deep sea monster but couldn’t get him on board.

First American-style grocery store in 3 months (Marsh Harbour) = SURFnTURF DINNA

Bearded man and the sea


Pink House in Green Turtle Cay. There was a cat by the conch but I scared it away.

Nautical book club

Power Shower




Our dinghy guard bird


Sunrise in the Gulf Stream



Excited for new adventures in the USA.




Family Visit & Assorted Bahamas Memories

SO, we’re back in Florida, and are trying to get caught up on photos/etc. now that we have Wifi again (the irony is that the Wifi at this marina sucks)


Here are a few photos from the last month or two in the Bahamas, including an awesome family visit!


Storm front approaching, anchored at Big Majors (with no engine)

Storm front approaching, anchored at Big Majors (with no engine)


“The night is dark and full of terrors”


Still adorable, even as the front approaches



Might as well have a good laugh




Rich neighbors with toys.


Anticipating the arrival of my broski


Lil’ lady


BROOOOTHERRRRR! Slash Jetsetter slash private plane


So pumped he’s here!


First beer behind Ida’s laundromat…Andrew seemed pretty stoked (and surprised by how nice the water was). SUCCESS!


Various modes of transportation to pick up guests at the airport


…annnnnd and empty waiting room.


Parents arrival! Victory #2!


Mom n’ pops going for their first beach walk in Black Point


Caitie n’ a Kalik


View from the cottage with our busted golf cart in the foreground


Look at that smile, m-I-right?


Wally’s lovin’ it.


Scorpio’s happy hour – watch out for those 2-for-1 rum punches!


The rum punches take effect :)


I think Dad’s beard got longer during the visit


Saying goodbyes at the Black Point airport (yes, that yellow building is the airport)


White point “Bonsai”

In May of last year, we went to Japan.  It was an amazing experience – I could write a hundred posts detailing how incredible the experience was (but I’ll spare you).

During one of our exploration days out of Tokyo, Caitie indulged me and hopped on the train out to Omiya, which is a town that hosts several Bonsai nurseries, and even a Bonsai Museum.  Even though it was blisteringly hot, we managed to check out some amazing 100+ year old trees…in pots :)

Now, I’ve had a weird fascination with bonsai for a long time.  Going to Omiya was like making a small pilgrimage in a way…Now here we are in the Bahamas, and as I was strolling around the bluffs at White Point, I saw tons of wind-swept/weathered trees that reminded me of our visit to Omiya last year.

Caitie will laugh, but here is my inspiration.

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Home Sweet Boat Home

We have been trying to do this post for ages, to finally show y’all what this little boat home looks like.  However, mostly it looks a lot messier, so when we had cleaned it all up for my (Caitie’s) parents’ visit, it was our chance to capture it in a moment of calm and cleanliness.

Welcome to TARA!


Companionway stairs hide the Universal/Westerbeke 44HP Diesel engine. Navigation station to the right of the photo (which is the port side of the boat), and cabin (aka our bedroom) on the starboard side.



Nav station, VHF radio and power switchboard for the fridge, lights, fans, etc. We are constantly turning things off to save power…although less so now that we have awesome sunny days powering the solar panels!


Galley! The fridge is top-loading (the two rectangles on the left side of the picture) as well as an amazingly sweet bottom-access door, mostly leading to a cool compartment of beer. The stove and stovetop are run on Compressed Natural Gas, which unfortunately is not refillable outside of a few key stops in the USA, so we often cook outside using a propane Coleman stove or BBQ. Double sinks, including a salt water foot pump, are a lifesaver when piling up a days’ worth of dishes. Gear hammock sadly devoid of fresh fruit, but awesome for preventing bruising underway.


Salo(o)n converts to be a double bed, as well as a large table for dinner and dominos matches. Our dry food stores are in the wall cupboards as well as behind the settees (couches). Water tanks (108 gallons) hide under the settee cushions.


The head! There is a shower behind the door, but we exclusively shower using a solar bag in the cockpit, to save water/power.


V-berth / guest suite all cleaned up for my parents! Normally filled with all sorts of fishing gear, extra sails, cold weather clothes…


The master suite.

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White Point

We’ve been doing short hops up and down the Exuma bank now that the weather has started to cooperate.  It’s been blowing 10-20 from the east/southeast every day for the past two weeks, which has allowed us to stay in the lee of Great Guana Cay as we jump from anchorage to anchorage (no more than 5 miles a day).  It’s great!  We’re finally settling in :)

White Point beach

White Point beach

Caitie was smart to pick up this dinghy anchor in Ft. Lauderdale.  We use it every day!

Caitie was smart to pick up this dinghy anchor in Ft. Lauderdale. We use it every day!


Scruffy Captain

Scruffy Captain

Amazing rock formations along the beach

Amazing rock formations along the beach

Here's a screensaver

Here’s a screensaver


Pat’s Pics! (aka Caitie’s Mom)

SO, we were pretty distracted with our engine “issue” (physically and emotionally), then we jumped right into hosting Caitie’s parents (Pat n’ Steve) – we frankly haven’t been taking many pics nor caring about blog updates.  We’ve been feeling a bit guilty, but alas…

The good news is, Caitie’s mom Pat took almost a thousand photos, and before we dropped them off at the airport I asked if we could snag a few for the old bloggity blog.  Thank god she said “no problem mon!” because otherwise we wouldn’t have much to post…

We had such a great time visiting with Pat & Steve, and finally had some PERFECT weather.  We miss you guys already!  annnnnd thanks for being on top of the photos 😉

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All is well!!! Engine is fixed.

Sorry for the lack of follow up on our last dramatic post!  We managed to install our new pump and the engine is working well.  Phew #1!

Caitie’s parents had an awesome visit and we all had a fun time sailing aboard TARA in gorgeous calm conditions.  Phew #2!

There are no northerly fronts forecast for the next week and we are looking forward to some calm and quiet days.  Phew #3!

PS Caitie’s mom took some amazing photos which will soon be spicing up our lazy blog!

Mark and Caitie 

Broke Down (and Out)

Ok, first of all – we are safe, as of writing this post, and the boat is too.  But it was a challenging few days after our first engine failure of the trip, which happened this week (on Valentine’s day, but who’s counting?).

We were en route to black point from Georgetown in the Exumas to meet Caitie’s parents for a week visit when we heard a squeal and a hint of burning coming from our Diesel engine.  We cut it quickly (thankfully) and after a quick series of deductions and tests discovered that our fresh water circulating pump (that which circulates the coolant) had seized and was not allowing our alternator vee belt to cycle around.   Despite spending a lot of time and money organizing spares for this trip, this, of course, was not one of them, so there was no easy way to fix it on the spot.  We were headed almost directly upwind and there was no way we could sail to black point before dark, especially since this involved getting through one of the high current cuts from the Exuma sound (aka ocean) side of the islands to the bank (aka shallow) side.

Since there is no real coast guard or towing service here, we issued a pan pan and luckily had two high powered dinghies come assist to pilot us in through a cut and onto anchor.  This went smoothly enough, except for the fact that we were now anchored at an uninhabited island, 30 miles from civilization and our newly arrived guests.  To add insult to injury, our cell phone cards had unexpectedly expired and we had no email or phone communications.  DRAMA!

After taking our dinghy to a few nearby sailboats we managed to get an email out to Caitie’s parents as well as a weather check to decide what our plan would be.  After much deliberation, we decided to continue up to black point and try to fix the engine on anchor there (with the assistance of a newly flown in part from Florida), with the hopes of still salvaging some of the visit.  A very kind Bristol 47 sailboat towed us out of the cut the next morning at slack tide, which was still very scary as the wind created a “rage” condition of steep, short waves that jerked us around.   We managed to sail the 30 miles up the Exuma sound in high swell but safe conditions and had an adrenaline filled downwind run through Dotham cut (hitting over 8 knots), passing by the steep rock walls closely but safely.  We anchored under sail and even managed to get in to have a celebration drink with Caitie’s parents at their rental cottage.

We’ve ordered our replacement parts and have had to sail off and onto anchor again, to move to a slightly safer location for a heavy northerly front coming in tonight.  We have been channeling the spirit of Lin and Larry Pardey (wherever they are), as their books of sailing around the world in small boats without engines have been sources of inspiration and awe on our trip so far.

Although this has been really challenging, emotionally and logistically, to deal with this situation, it has been a learning experience and will hopefully make a good story… Once it’s all sorted out :)

PS – Thank you so so much to our boat friends (and family) for reaching out to offer assistance, encouragement and kind words these past few days.  We are beyond grateful and only hope we can pay it forward.

M & C