Seagem Logs 2011

SEA GEM JOURNEY 2011

Passage South


CLICK ON DATE FOR LOG ENTRY
APRIL
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3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
MAY
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23
Closing the Logs
and farewell to Sea Gem
Sunday, April 10, 2011 -
After a final farewell to the family at Caroline’s 17th birthday we left next morning assisted by our stalwart neighbor,
and fellow sailor, Cheryl, who drove us to Titusville for departure.

Monday, April 11 -
Charlie says “The hardest part of any sailing trip is leaving the dock.”
Charlie finally got a break from work when High Speed Rail died, so it’s time to be off for another adventure, even though he carries the office with him.


Tuesday, April 12 -
We actually took our dock lines on board , and left the Titusville Municipal Marina at 0900.
Titusville is a lovely spot and has constantly been improved and upgraded by the city and the marina staff. .
With a front approaching we decided to go south via the ICW. The sail was a dream, 15 to 30 knots off the beam, no waves and beautiful weather.

The first night we spent at a fine anchorage near Sebastian Inlet with a good breeze and no mosquitoes.
The front moved through during the night bringing cool dry air.


Leaving Titusville
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011 Our first stop for visiting was Vero Beach where our long time friends Betty and Sonny Bishop live,
as well as our nephew and niece, Randy Hagood and Maria Sparsis. Sonny provided taxi service to go ashore to his home,
and then out for dinner, as well as ferrying us to meet Randy the next morning for breakfast.
We had a chance to visit both as well as Maria and Randy’s “Tea and Chi” to add to our supply of tea aboard.


Betty and Sonny Bishop


Nicoletta and Saundra

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Thursday, April 14 - We headed south to a pre arranged destination to meet Alfredo and Nicoletta Giacon,
friends we met on the Millennium Odyssey over ten years ago.
They are from Italy and circumnavigated in 2000 and have continued to sail, as we have.
Since they were traveling north in the ICW and we were headed south, we met at Peck Lake, an anchorage with close access to an Atlantic Beach.
On the charts Peck Lake shows little depth but Alfredo knew there was plenty of water there for Jancris, his boat, that has a deeper draft than Sea Gem.
Cruising down the ICW is a far cry from ocean sailing. The waterway varies in scenery from natural to manicured grounds and homes of the rich, famous or not.
Areas of carnival atmosphere are interspersed along the way with boats packed together, loud music, lots of bikini clad girls, beer, people on stand up paddle boards,
kids in inner tubes, jet skis, little boats, giant boats, law enforcement boats, kayaks and canoes. It is a melee of activity and depending on your inclination, heaven or hell.
The intercoastal is also graced with lots of bridges that open on a set schedule, so that many times a holding pattern is required to wait for the next opening.
It is fun to see the sights but your attention can never waver when you are at the helm with strong currents and winds pushing you around.
Many places there is little depth out of the channel .


Nicoletta, Alfredo and us

Jancris
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Saturday, April 16 - Continuing south we spent the night in Loggerhead Marina due to a front with high winds and little choice of places to anchor. Until later from Sea Gem...


Early Boaters' Stopover

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Sunday,April 17 - 07:30 - There is dense fog; in the next hour the fog lifts, and we leave the dock.
Last night's wind has settled and we proceed down the waterway headed for Ft. Lauderdale and our friends, Ann Harsh and Ralph Nehrig.
I need to describe the ICW in South Florida. It is a Carnival of activity, insane activity, on this Sunday afternoon.
There are large yachts, kayaks, canoes, people standing on paddle boards, kids in inner tubes and loads of runabouts filled with bikini clad girls,
driven by tanned and tattooed young men. There also seems no shortage of beer and no shortage of police boats to monitor the situation.
To complicate progress further the bridges are scheduled for openings and if you miss the time you wait, trying to maintain position
in a sometimes fast rushing tide with this incredible activity all around you.
We plan to use Ann and Ralph's dock, but as the day wears on, and our progress is slower than expected we decide to stop overnight
at Las Olas Marina, where we can pump our holding tank.
We called ahead, were assigned a slip and told there would be no one there to assist after 5:00 p.m.
What we did not anticipate was the fast running tide.
Captain Charlie did an exemplary job of bringing Sea Gem in while the loan deck hand(me) scrambled to get lines on.
As we got the boat secured the fellow in the next boat stepped out and asked, "Can I help?"
Las Olas brings back memories for that is where we stayed just before we left in 1999 for the Millennium Odyssey.
It is Ft. Lauderdale's Municipal marina and very nice.
Ralph and Ann picked us up for a lovely dinner at their home. The next day we moved over to their dock and they took royal care of us.
We used their car to visit the Ft. Lauderdale office of Gray-Robinson, see many partners and staff, and view the beautiful offices.
Then a trip to the other important places: Blue Water Books and Charts, West Marine and Publix, what more can we ask?

Crazy Sunday Afternoon

Fun on the ICW

Police Presence

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Wednesday, April 20 - 08:30 We left Ann and Ralph and proceeded to Lauderdale Marina where we took on 150 gallons of diesel @ $4.76 a gallon.
We also got gas for the outboards for the dingy at well over $5.per gallon. It sure makes the wind look more valuable.
We have sailed most of the way down here and will sail as much as possible. After fueling we cleared the 17th Street bridge,
which is almost high enough for us to go under, but with caution we preferred to wait for an opening.
We sailed south until 4:30 when we entered the channel to Biscayne Park to find an overnight anchorage.
We passed many of the outlawed stilt houses that still stand as relics of the free- wheeling past.
By 5:30 the anchor was down in good holding and we prepared to cook a steak and relax for the night.
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Thursday, April 21 - The next morning we took off before sunrise, put in a twelve hour day and entered Channel 5,
passed under a 65 foot fixed bridge and looked for good holding ground for the night in 25 kt winds.
We found it on the second attempt and I'm glad it was good holding, for during the night we had a sudden squall
with winds over 40knots and a sudden, brief and hard rain.

One of the many drawbridges

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Friday, April 22 - We left our anchorage about 09:30 and headed for Bill and Rose Pease' place in the Bonefish Marina on Marathon Key.
We pulled in at noon and were guided to a nice slip which belongs to one of Bill's friends who is away for the summer.
Visiting long time friends is always a treat and Bill has sailed with us on several bluewaterl trips.
May everyone have Blessed and Happy Easter, from Sea Gem on Marathon Key, until later…
Bill and Rose
upon the SeaGem arrival
Ann, Ralph and Charlie
Bill & Rose on "Tinker"
Bill, Rose and Saundra after dinner
Ralph, Ann and Charlie
"Sea Gem" at Ann and Ralph's
"Sea Gem" at Ann and Ralph's
at low tide
A stilt house on Biscayne Ba
another view of
a Biscayne Bay stilt house


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Monday,April 25 - We left Bill and Rose Pease at Bonefish Marina and headed south.
We anchored overnight in New Found Harbor with good holding and left the next morning headed for Key West.
We had made reservations ahead for Westen Marina and docked there by 3:00 p.m.
We made arrangements for a mechanic to come aboard the next day to diagnose the water maker problems
and also problems we were having with one of the air-conditioning units.
We were in luck, we had called ahead to Salt Marine and they sent Jason who was a crackerjack mechanic
besides being a super nice guy. Soon all problems were solved and we also feel we have a new friend.

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Tuesday, April 26 through Thursday, April 28 - Key West: one of a kind: Numeral 0 on U.S. Highway 1, southernmost city in the U.S.,
90 miles to Cuba, the Conch Republic,
The Rock, lots of bars, beautiful churches, home of artists and con-artists, bustling tourist attraction, laid back lifestyle, busy port,
Coast Guard Station, steeped in History, welcoming the future, Key West is intoxicated with itself and loves every minute.
There is strong Bahamian influence here in the architecture and in devotion to the sea. It would be hard to visit Key West and not have fun.
We loved the restaurants, enjoyed visiting the southernmost law office of Gray-Robinson and were treated well at the marina.
As our dock mate said, "Key West makes you feel better about yourself."
We watched the cruise ships disgorge hordes of tourists, spilling them on to the quay for various activities, later to vacuum them up and sail away.
We heard lots of different languages, and were surprised at many of the clerks, and help in the shops, were here from various countries:
Israel, Czech Republic, Croatia, etc.
We barely scratched the surface of Key West but we did take with us a famous Kirmit's Key Lime Pie.
Sea Gem left to back track, head up to Ocean Reef to visit our friends we met sailing many years ago, Duke and Betty Marx.
Two cruise ships disgorge
passengers
At Kermit's Key Lime Pie
Church entry
End of US1
Hard Rock
Notorious
Old Church walls -
two feet thick
Sea Gem's view of cruise ship
Southernmost marker
Typical Key West Architecture

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Friday, April 29 - We are anchored tonight at Indian Key anchorage, jumped in the water for a swim.
From a good anchorage at Indian Key, we headed to Ocean Reef and the home of our long time sailing friends, Betty and Duke Marx.
We met them on the America 500 in 1992 and got to know them far better on the Millennium Odyssey.
They are not only world travelers but have the unique ability to engage people where ever they travel.
Their interests are broad and their talents so many. Their personal warmth attracts friends from all points,
including their "Chinese daughter" from Singapore.
Being in their home is visiting a world museum filled with artifacts from far flung places, plus the wonderfully intricate models Duke has made
of many famous old sailing ships , as well as their own "Distant Drum", which decorate the airy spacious rooms.
The collection of Haitian Art, the carvings and the multiple levels of the home make every turn a delight.
Our hosts took us on a tour of Ocean Reef by car, pointing out all the amenities, as well as the mature Canary Island palm they brought
from Spain on their 1992 voyage.
Ocean Reef is truly one of a kind development. The governance will keep it climbing as the owners actually manage the city.
We tied to Betty and Dukes dock and enjoyed all the luxuries of a first class marina.
We luxuriated in the tropical beauty and profusion of flowers including the spectacular orchids everywhere including those filling the Marx home.
Saundra and Betty
Saundra with Duke and Betty
An Ocean Reef orchid display
Duke with two of his
many model ships
One of Duke's models
"Sea Gem" from
Duke and Betty's home
"Sea Gem" in front of
Duke and Betty's home
A stilt house party

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Sunday, May 1 - We left the Marx dock after a delicious buffet at Ocean Reef and headed north for Biscayne Bay
for an overnight in preparation for picking up David Hendrix on Monday in Miami.

Monday, May 2 - We will head into Miami Beach Marina to top off our diesel tank and pick up David Hendrix.
We will be checking weather and determining our entry point to the Bahamas. Until later from Sea Gem, preparing for the crossing.
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Tuesday,May 3 - David Hendrix met us in the Miami Beach Marina, definitely a classy spot in South Beach,
the marina most accessible to Government Cut.
We had anchored the night before back in Biscayne Bay and sailed into Government Cut the afternoon of May 3rd
in rough seas and winds over 25 knots.
We had planned to leave as soon as David arrived but with the winds and sea condition decided to take a slip for the night.
It was a good choice. Not only did we get better weather the next day we had the opportunity to have dinner at Texas de Brazil,
the restaurant right there in the marina which was a delightful experience.
Our crossing to the Bahamas was smooth; sailing close to the 12 to 20 knot Northeast wind most of the way to the northern edge
of the Bahama Bank, we were able to hitch a ride on the powerful and constant north flowing Gulf Stream.
Since our destination was in the northern Bahamas the 3+ knot advantage of the stream reduced the time and miles
we would have to motor directly into the East wind.
We turned east rounding Matanilla Reef, caught a barracuda which Charlie cut up and vacuum sealed for bait for deep drop fishing later.
We entered the Sea of Abaco at Strangers Cay, an entry we have not used before, but all went well navigating through the reefs.
We anchored there for the night and enjoyed our first swim in Bahama Water, always a delight.
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Thursday, May 5-We headed directly for Green Turtle Cay where will get great conch salad, Bahama bread and New Zealand butter.
Upon arrival, we inflated our 11 foot dingy, attached the 15 hp Mercury, and Charlie and David went to town to check in at Customs & Immigration.
Arriving at 9 minutes before 5 PM, official closing time, the office was closed.
The great news was that we had arrived just in time for the annual celebration Friday and Saturday, of The 8th Annual Island Roots Heritage Festival.
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Friday,May 6 - we checked in with a very pleasant official, filled in all the forms and paid our $300 fee required to enter the Bahamas.
Our first order of the day was to buy freshly baked, still warm bread from Sid's Grocery.
The conch salad will be plentiful and fresh at the festival and we will not only eat our fill there but take a supply back to Sea Gem.
David is getting an introduction to the Abacos and we can both tell he is smitten with the beauty and ambiance of the islands.
Our attendance at the festival included meeting with the Prime Minister, Honorable Hubert Ingraham, and perhaps one of the most charming ambassadors
we have ever met, a ten year old young lady who befriended us at lunch.

2011 Heritage Festival
Green Turtle Cay
Cleaning Conch
David, Prime Minister Ingraham
and Charlie
Festival Emcee
Got a program!
Shopping at the
Man O War Sail Shop
Police marching band
Pirates!
Making conch salad
Little Bahamian ambassador
and David

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Saturday, May 7 - We left Green Turtle anchorage early, and headed for Man O War Cay.
We enjoyed having David with us and it was real serendipity for the festival was starting the next day.
We have attended the Green Turtle festival before and it is always a great place to be, to eat conch salad
and celebrate one of the delightful communities of the Abacos.
After laying in a supply of conch salad and fresh Green Turtle bread we set sail for Man O War to show David
our son and daughter-in-law's beautiful island paradise, Sea Glass Found.
We tied up Sea Gem in the harbor and took the Lady Stacey over to Marsh Harbor so that David could catch his plane home
Bayside
Another view of Bayside
Channel facing out to sea
Sea Gem docked at
Sea Glass Found
Cable Ride and Dive Tower
Cable ride
Grandkids
John, Caroline, Savannah,
and Kristen
Ocean Side Beach
The Pavillion
Haziel and John at the Pavillion
another picture of the Grandkids
Sea Glass Found aerial shot
Sea Glass Found Home
Sea Glass Found Harbor
Gray Bahama Paradise

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May 8th - MANJAC CAY. We took David to Marsh Harbor for his flight home.
Marsh Harbor is the "Big City" of the Abacos, with the largest airport,
larger stores and the most service industry.
We will be here in the Hub of Abaco for awhile, with family visiting from time to time
After David left we sailed up to Manjac to meet our very welcoming friends, Bill and Leslie Harrington
who have developed a real fan club of sailors who like to anchor in their harbor and make new friends
and renew old friendships also.
Lulu and Gigi were there, waiting for a weather window to sail to the Chesapeake to leave their boat.
They will fly to Switzerland to visit family and re-enter their land bound world.
After our visit to the unique island home that Bill and Leslie have created we continue to marvel at the wonderful things
they have done. They are as close to being self-sufficient as anyone we have ever seen, with solar powering everything.
Their gardens and arbors supply them with food as well as what they catch from the bounty of the sea.
We will be flying home ourselves for a short stay for Charlie's law firm annual business meeting and retreat.
It is hard to leave paradise once you have visited. Until later from Sea Gem in the Abacos…

Leslie coming to welcome us
Great 360 degree porch
Cactus flower
Beautiful house they built
House pet
Bill & Leslie
Work station
Wine from their grape arbor
the orchid house
Breadfruit tree
Upstairs to bedroom
Sea Gem anchored at Manjac Cay
Strawberries
Big vegetable garden
Mulch worker
Grape arbor
House guest
Welcome Beach
Calling the mainland?

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May 23rd - THE COUSINS - We loved having "the cousins" visit John and Stacey's beautiful complex on Man O War,
staying in the Sea Spray House while we stayed aboard Sea Gem. We did a lot of reminiscing, boating and a whole lot of eating
great Bahamian food at various places and also cooking at the pavilion at Sea Glass Found.
We have found we didn't have to "do" a lot to have fun with people you enjoy just being with.
After "the cousins" George and Aggie Albright and Mike and Linda Rou left Charlie's sister Linda Bergman arrived to stay aboard Sea Gem with us.
We again did a lot of relaxing. Linda left and Stacey's Mom and her husband, Vicki and Jim Kurley, arrived
and we enjoyed the beautiful amenities of Sea Glass Found, the island homes John and Stacey have so lovingly developed into an island paradise.
Carting around
Lunch at the Pavillion
Saundra, Aggie, Linda, Mike,
George and Charlie
Saundra's Birthday, May 31

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Farewell to Sea Gem - If I could pick music to accompany the last logs I am writing I would use the plaintive strains of bagpipes.
Bagpipes play in my head as I think of all the wonderful adventures we have had aboard our beloved Sea Gem.
I find it hard to think about the adventures on Sea Gem being behind us. That chapter of our lives has closed.
Experiences we have had sailing, and traveling around this beautiful world, have enriched our lives beyond our wildest dreams.
Forever we will be enriched by depending on each other. We experienced the beauty of sunrises and sunsets on the ocean,
making landfalls in exotic and remote places, and then meeting people living out very different lives from our own, yet in human terms so much the same.
Moving the twenty-five years of accumulated "stuff" from Sea Gem was like moving a whole household and incorporating it into our land bound home.
The new owners of Sea Gem have made her their own with a totally new look in the decorations and a wonderful boat dog to boot.
They will be live aboard as they pursue their careers in Miami, he is a lawyer and she is involved in non-profit agencies.
We wish them well and our prayers are that they have as many wonderful adventures and experiences as we had over the miles, the oceans and the years.
Until later and another adventure….
Sea Gem at dock in Titusville
A closer look at dockside
View of the Captain's aft cabin
another view of Captain's aft cabin
Forward Cabin
the Galley
the Quarter Cabin
The Engine Room
Main Salon
another view of the Main Salon
another view of the Main Salon
a last "Farewell"

South on the ICW

It is hard to recap the last days of our trip this summer. At the time I did not realize that the were the last days.
Perhaps it is best that we cannot see around corners or see what is ahead in our lives. We had a fine time. We loved cruising down our beautiful state and
visiting many friends on the way south.

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A Further Note about our decision:

Saundra doesn't like to mention problems, but part of the reason we decided to part with Sea Gem was
the pulmonary embolism she developed in June.
Because of the insistence of our son, John and I, she agreed to get checked out.
The medical resources are limited in the islands, but there is a fine retired physician, Dr. Malm, who has a home on Man O War.
John called him and he came in his golf cart to Sea Gem to make a "boat call". We were docked at John's place on Man O War.
He examined her and insisted, while consulting with her cardiologist by cell phone, that she fly home immediately.
Lots of miracles happen, not the least of which was being able to get her doctor, Zulima Nickoloff, on the line while Dr. Malm was on the boat.
We called Art and Louise Yergy, who were at their home at Marsh Harbor. They gave us the use of their plane to fly back to Orlando.
Saundra has recovered well after a six-day stay in the hospital in Orlando.
We still don't know the cause of Saundra's blood clot in her leg that moved into her lungs as many clots.
And because of this, I've been advised by her doctors that we should not be sailing anytime soon in areas
that would not have access to quality medical attention.
This influenced us to consider the third couple that wanted to buy Sea Gem. Until now, she was not for sale.
But a young couple who planned to purchase a boat and live aboard in Miami were persistent in their interest in purchasing Sea Gem.
After meeting them, we decided that if we were ever going to sell Sea Gem, this young couple would be the ones
who would love her and maintain her in the condition we had always done.
In August, we closed the sale and helped them off to Miami where she will be docked as their home,
and I am sure, will have many more adventures.
The buyers, Eric and Krissy, maintain a Blog, "Our househasananchor.blogspot.com".
Eric and Krissey
The happy buyers


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"THANKS TO JAMES AND JO ANN ALTON"
These wonderful years were made smoother by the expert advice and talent of Jim and Jo Alton.
They have maintained Sea Gem with their expertise, with varnish, fiber glass, plumbing and electrical work,
but they have also been "trouble shooters" and prevented problems by checking and examining equipment
to keep everything in tip top shape. Over these years they became fast friends, and at times joined us on sails
to beautiful places like Bra d' Or Lakes in Nova Scotia, where they have set up residence.
Jim and Jo have a lot of loyal customers in their business, both in Florida and Nova Scotia.
We hope to stay connected with them over the coming years.
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