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Headed North....but not too quickly

On the mooring ball.....

So we last left you with the crew of Liberator III in Black Point. We left there and made our way North to Staniel Cay again as it seems we can’t get enough of the Yacht Club. So for all of you who have not been there - it’s NOT a Yacht Club. It’s a Marina with a funky restaurant but so much fun. Yet again, met an awesome group of folks. Our dock neighbors Jason and Melanie made it particularly fun on day when we were going to go out for a snorkel to check out the wreckage of a small airplane a little ways away. As we pull away from Liberator on the dinghy Jeff notices our A/C is not pushing out the normal steady stream of water. U-turn back to the boat to check it out. Lets just say, 4 hours later and the tide was no longer favorable to snorkel the wreck but we got out to see it anyway using our bathe-scope. (Another cool piece of gear). So why did it take us 4 hours you ask? Well, yes it seemed like a quick fix at first - just clean out the strainer and remove the sargasso weeds that got sucked in from the water intake for our A/C unit - but then there was stuff in the lines, so those had to be removed from the fittings and the lines had to be flushed out. Now we’re dealing with WetVac, tools, ugh…..and its getting hot in the boat. On top of that, we had an old copper fitting that broke, so now we have to search the spares to make sure we have one that fits. Jeff, AKA: MacGyver figured it out and I sit in a cool boat today writing this blog because of it! Doing boat work in beautiful places……Staniel Cay is not only fun but most folks know it for “swimming with the pigs” and Thunderball Grotto (which we got to snorkel again and this time we went all the way through since we picked the right tide to enter.) We met a NASCAR engine designer and his lovely wife. He encouraged me to pet the sharks….next thing you know, they’re on our boat asking how they can do this too! Yes, we are spending the good word and evangelizing everywhere we go.

We took some longer dinghy rides, snorkeled and explored things we did not get to see last time we were in Staniel. It will always be a with fond memories that we think of SCYC!

We spent 4 days in Staniel Cay before heading out to Waderick Wells. One of my favorite places in the Exuma island chain because you can only get there by private boat, the water is amazing, on low tide you can see islands and its one of the places where they filed Pirates and you see them walking on a small island surrounded by water - well, it’s here. It’s beautiful and words or pictures do not do it justice. What was to be a 2-3 night stay (we did see some weather coming and thought this would be a great place to catch a mooring ball and pass the weather - ended up being 7 nights. The weather kept us there longer than expected. 30+knot winds and rain for days. Let me just say that this time, my catching the mooring ball technique was sorely lacking. I had the GoPro on my head because I was going to show you all how it’s done - like a professional. Well, IF I showed you the video, you’d see that when the boat hook caught the float it went in the loop and the next thing I know I lost the boat hook in the water…..its floating away. We’re in strong wind and current, coming in after the park closed and it’s starting to get dark - and I have now lost the only tool I have to secure us to the mooring ball. Fabulous! MacGyver quickly comes to the rescue and he gives me the boat brush on the end of the boat cleaning wand to use because I only have one chance to "go get the boat hook.” Yeah, easier said than done - he slowed the boat down so I could reach the floating boat hook before it got away too far and we would have to get around other boats in this small maneuvering space, and I got the boat hook! (thank you God). Then he turned Liberator around and somehow I caught the mooring ball, put the line through it and secured it - with my heart pounding so hard I thought it would come out of my chest. Jeff turned off the engine and came up to help me put on the second line and we high-fived each other and did the happy dance at the bow like two crazy people. Whew….not only was that close, but it was so ugly. Yet again, I was humbled. Just when you think you’re all that and a bag of chips Lib. Not so fast! So what happened to the “instructional” video? Well in the commotion of trying to get the boat hook back, I took off the GoPro and all you hear are expletives and me running around to get the extension and brush - so enough for me to say that you probably will not see that footage……ever! (just imagine it okay) Maybe worth $10k on America’s Funniest Videos tho?

Another thing that is of note at Waderick Wells: There is very little and sporadic internet and no cell phone coverage. (Well, maybe a little if you go to the beach and stand by the Red Box (labeled Red Box) near the park office and lift one leg, hold your breath and hold your phone up high with the other arm.) So a little stressful when I’m trying to get some work done but finally got a hold of folks and let them know I was not ignoring them, just needed a few more days to get proper communications and then I got a chance to relax.

We read, I cooked, we worked on some small boat projects and we watched some movies. Wow, took a nap too. Amazing! It was not cold, so we could wear our swimsuits and go out to the beach in the rain, hike up to BooBoo hill again and catch the sights - we were going to get wet anyway on the ride there. It’s all about your outlook right? Lately, ours has morphed into work with what you have and make the best of it. Jeff and I can laugh at it all - especially after the fact and when we’re not bleeding. (yes, we still get boat bites - his toe two days ago and my thumb yesterday - there was a little blood but overall we feel really fortunate not to have major injuries given some of the stupid things we’ve done in the past 6 months.) We met some Italians on the beach in Waderick and I got to practice my Italian a little. Every day at 5:30 we would hit the beach and have sundowners, play some Rake’ n Scrape and even the park ranger would come to join us.

We left on a Saturday and made our way to Nassau - Palm Cay where we stayed at a marina and got our laundry done, some provisions, filled up water and diesel - got a little sightseeing and duty free shopping out of the way. We spent 4 nights there so we got to explore a little more of Nassau. We toured the John Watling’s Rum Distillery and had a tasting of course. We also toured the famous Graycliff Hotel where the British royals and PM’s have spent time on holiday. So we made dinner reservations of course. We had a wonderful “fancy” dinner and got a tour of a wine cellar like we’ve never seen. The cellar has different floor types and is kept quite cold as some of the wines are from the 1700’s. (Probably vinegar) Some incredible wines in this collection. Let’s just say that Screaming Eagle is NOT the most expensive wine they have. White, Red, Sparkling, Ports and Cognac - all catalogued and carefully stored. The catalogue is huge and the collection was started in 1978 by the family that owns Graycliff. California, Italy, France, were very well represented and although no pictures were allowed (one small section of a wall alone was valued at $1.8M - the pictures in my head will not soon fade away.

We left Nassau and spent the night in Soldier Cay. Good holding but not much protection from the wind and surge. Did not get a good nights rest, so tonight we are tied up at the Marina in Great Harbor Cay. Not much wind, no surge and we are plugged into shore power so the A/C is running and we ordered a Hawaiian pizza for dinner which will be delivered to the boat.

Cool huh?

Slowly and safely we are picking our weather and making our way back north towards the good ‘ol US of A. Missing our friends and family - looking forward to catching up with most of them in the coming months and showing them even more amazing pictures and footage than what we’ve posted. Life is a gift - live it as such!

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