Tropical storm Beryl is headed for the east coast, but it looks like we will be well outside of the worst sections.

We've decided to hole up at Marineland marina just south of St. Augustine until Beryl moves west and takes the rain and wind with her.


Staniel Cay

We departed Waredrick Wells 4/25 for Staniel Cay and had some great wind, so without delay we raised the main and the jib and were soon cruising without the engine at a cool 6kt.  We even passed someone!!!

Two other boats from the park were also cruising to Staniel Cay, Winterlude and Big Storm, and we ended up lined up in a row at the same dock at the marina.  ^_^

While we were chatting with the folks on Winterlude, we heard a “WHACK” and looked to see a seagull had flown into our wind generator while the blades were turning!  The poor bird was bobbing in the water (very much alive) trying to shake it off.  He attempted to take off several times, resting in between, before finally taking flight.

The bar at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club

After tying up and restocking some supplies, Ransom and I took the dinghy over to Thunderball Grotto for some snorkeling. 

(FYI: They filmed scenes from the James Bond movie, Thunderball, here in Staniel and other locations around the Bahamas)

The snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto was AMAZING!!!  Tourists come here and feed the sergeant majors, so when you swim up they crowd around you looking for a handout.  They get so close you can almost touch them, but they always dart away before you make contact.

The best time to snorkel here is at a low slack tide, because you have to swim through an opening in the rock to get inside the island!  There are openings in the ceiling and when the sunbeams shine in the light penetrates the water and you feel like you are in a postcard.

The following day we loaded up the dinghy with dogs and supplies and went exploring!  We went to several beaches and the dogs got some much needed off-leash time.

We came upon a couple of wrecks, an airplane (intact) underwater and a portion of a sailboat hull on the beach, the boat wreck especially was a reminder of how wrong things can go and how important it is to respect the elements when sailing.

We met some great people here at Staniel Cay, some locals with great knowledge of the area, and some visitors from Canada and Ohio. 

We went out with the locals a couple nights and one night we were treated to a whirlwind tour of the island.  I even got to drive the car, something I haven’t done that since February!!!

Big Dog Bar

Taste and Sea Cafe, where to go for a tasty dinner!

"The Original Yellowman"

The couple from Canada was on their honeymoon.  They got married at the yacht club and then stayed 2 additional weeks.  We hung out with them on our last night and had them over to visit the dogs and see the boat. 

It was an ego boost to have non-boaters on board oohing and aahing over little details we have become accustomed to.  You get tired of being aboard (and sometimes confined in the cabin) so it was nice to have visitors to remind us that, yes, our boat is awesome!!!

After we checked out of the marina we ran into the couple from Ohio and after chatting with them about how the marina doesn’t offer showers and we’d been swimming in the pool to clean off; they graciously offered us a shower in their bungalow.

It was HEAVENLY!!!  We hadn’t had a real running shower since Nassau (18 days prior), just the shower bag and the yacht club’s pool.

Waredrick Wells

Waredrick Wells mooring field (view from atop Boo Boo Hill)

We moved to Waredrick Wells on April 17th and grabbed a mooring ball close to the park headquarters. 

To obtain a mooring you put your vessel on the waiting list the day before your desired arrival.  The lady that runs the office, Darcy, is strictly business and comes across to most as being cold and crass.

There is so much to see and do here and since we’re in no rush we ended up spending 8 nights in the much protected mooring field.

To earn some instant karma and get on Darcy’s good side we picked up 3 XL bags, 1 Lg bag, and 4 med bags worth of debris (over 100 lbs. of plastics, ropes, and glass) from Bullion Beach, about a 45 min hike from the park office.

This volunteer work earned us the title of Darcy’s “new favorite people.”  ^_^

Bullion Beach

Instant Karma

Debris found on the beach

Plastic doesn't go away, it just gets smaller and smaller

Curly tail lizard

If you don't make any sudden movements, these little guys pose for you  ^_^

There are some incredible hikes here on the island on somewhat treacherous trails composed of eroded carbonate rock (we geologists know it as “moon rock”), rock fragments, and “sinky” sand.

Trail marker
Ransom down in Murphy's Hideaway.  When he was 15 he and his brother, Stuart, filmed a James Bond home movie and used Murphy's Hideaway in a scene. 

Beryl's Trail to Davis Plantation Ruins

Restoring balance...just ignore the hutia...

However, we saw most of the island by foot and on the high spots we got some great vistas.

Unfortunately the island is infested with Hutia, a native and endangered (but also invasive) large rodent that looks like a cross between a wombat and a guinea pig.  When skirting the island by dinghy the damage is obvious and it’s sad to see the habitat so out of balance.  We think loosing Charlie on the island would reduce the numbers somewhat (he was built for chasing small furry things), but without a natural predator these rascally varmints have decimated the flora, eating just about every plant they can find.  

The hutia have resorted to eating the bark off trees and are trying to eat the markers!


As for water activities, there are plenty of good snorkeling sites around the island and you get to see lots of exotic fish.

The Land and Sea Park serves as a renourishment area for the Bahamas and is protected by both land and sea.  This means no fishing, shelling, conching, or lobstering within the park grounds…and there were several times when you would spot a giant spiny lobster and think, “DINNER!!!”

We spent an entire day in the water and saw over 25 different species of “sea critters,” including Spanish Hogfish, Tube Worms, Elkhorn Coral, Queen Angelfish, a Nurse Shark, Snappers, a Pufferfish, Sea Cucumbers, Hamlets, Wrasses, Parrotfish, and the invasive lion fish (underwater photos coming soon!).


Since the dogs were only allowed on the beaches on leashes (eat your heart out Dr. Seuss), we got permission to let them loose on the sandbar at low tide.  Apparently this was a source of entertainment for the other boaters to watch us chase the dogs, and Charlie and Rei chase each other.  

A park tradition is to hike up to Boo Boo Hill and deposit a piece of driftwood with your boat's name written on it.  We found a great piece of treated wood on one of our clean up days and used an industrial strength liquid Sharpie to ensure our mark would not fade.

Contributions to Boo Boo Hill.

Our boat sign...see if you can spot Vitte in the background  ^_^

On our fifth day in the park a westerly front started blowing and that night we got buckets of rain dumped on us.  There is something to be said about experiencing a storm on a boat.  Outside lightning flashes, thunder crashes, water slaps your hull, and rain beats heavy on all your windows and hatches, but inside its comfy cozy and dry.

The other boaters that hunkered down in Warderick for the storm quickly became our friends, even Charlie and Rei met a new acquaintance, a 9 month old lab mix named Jib who gave them a run for their money on the sandbar one day!

This is the kind of cruising I looked forward to when planning our trip, the experience of felling like a part of a community and sharing the thrill of living on the open sea.  


Sunrise hike to Boo Boo

Back yard


Highborne to Shroud Cay

Exumas Baby!!!!

We departed Nassau on April 11th for the Exumas!!  We traveled in the company of another boat, Le Bonne Vie, from St. Pete, FL!

Crossing the Yellow Banks was fun; I sat up on the bow as lookout and pointed out the coral heads to Ransom.  It is truly amazing to see straight to the bottom in water up to 30ft deep and spot a sea star on the seafloor. 

We made a pit stop at Allen Cay to see the iguanas and say adieu to Bonne Vie before moving on to Highborne Cay.

The anchorage in Highborne is nice, lots of room, good holding, and plenty of room ashore to let the dogs have some off leash time.

I took this picture at dawn, the sky and water blend into one;  the line you see is our anchor chain under water.

Highborne sunrise

There were a lot of big boats here and for the first time Vitte looks very small to us.


There is a nice reef off of Highborne with a healthy ecosystem.  We spent the better half of our second morning here swimming with the fishes and identifying the different species with our reef guide cards.

We moved to Shroud Cay on Friday the 13th and our jinx for the day was realizing our holding tank was leaking (YUCK!!!).  Probably the worst job on board is fixing a stinky, smelly, leaking holding tank.  However, we got the job done and hopefully this will be the last time we have to work on that.

Shroud Cay, an uninhabited island, is part of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.  The island itself is a rocky archipelago that surrounds mangrove forests and is bisected in several places by tidal creeks.  We packed little Freyja for a day trip and went exploring, but we didn’t hit the tide right and ended up pulling the dinghy on foot most of the way across the island.  

Salt line

Not much wildlife at shallow tide, but we did see a juvenile shark that freaked out at sighting us and erratically swam away.  Charlie was very surprised as well and wanted to give chase…I had to wrestle him to keep him in the boat.

For my geology friends

We eventually made it to the east side of the island and picnicked on the berm under Australian pine trees.

The dinghy ride back was a lot smoother since we could actually float and use the engine.  The dogs were so pooped; they slept the whole way back!