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2006 Bahamas Cruise – From the Start June 21, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Several people have asked me to reorder my posts on our cruise so that it would be easier to read. This should work:

Try this link which reverses all my posts that reference the Bahamas. However, in this order, my first post refers to an earlier cruise. For the 2006 cruise, start reading the second post down and note that when you get to the bottom, clicking on “older posts” will actually continue to the next part of the story.


Also additional supporting photos can be found in my Flickr set here:




Back Home… June 18, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Skyway Bridge

Thursday afternoon, after a smooth run from Cabbage Key near Boca Grande, we tie up at our home port in Tampa around 1600 hrs.  It has been a great month cruising around Florida and the Bahamas but it was time to get home and the sighting of the Skyway Bridge at the entrance of Tampa Bay was a welcome one.  Our overnight stay at Cabbage Key had been enjoyable and we awoke to absolute calm conditions… so calm in fact that we had no problems continuing our journey in the Gulf thereby saving considerable time on this last leg of our journey home.  Before leaving Cabbage Key though, we had a leisurely breakfast and spent some time enjoying the local scenery.  It was very quiet and we were able to observe numerous good sized snook and other fish feeding under the dock while a great white heron was busy trying to capture some of the bait spooked by these fish.  Several ducks also wandered the docks ignoring us as we just enjoyed the early morning activity.  The trip home was uneventful.  While it was very calm, the water was still cloudy and as expected, we saw no feeding fish.  We did observe a pod or "ring" of tarpon offshore from Boca Grande that was interesting.  There must have been a dozen or so fish in it and we were able to bring the boat right along side with bothering them.  We did not bother them but continued our journey home.  I suppose we were just fished out; until next time that is…

Just a reminder – Additional photos of the entire cruise can be found in my photo archive at Flickr also accessable from my sidebar.

Cabbage Key June 14, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cabbage Key

Today the storm conditions seem to be better so we will continue our trip home. It is still cloudy and a bit breezy as we leave the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin a little before 1000 hours but nothing to worry about. We are in no hurry as we don’t expect to reach Tampa before tomorrow. By the time we reach Pine Island Sound, the sun is winning out over the clouds and patches of blue increase. Shortly after noon, we approach Cabbage Key and decide to dock for lunch. It has it’s normal lunch crowd but we are able to get a slip and walk up to the Inn and get a nice table on the screened in back porch under a giant white mangrove tree. The dining room and porch are crowded and we have to wait a bit for service but we don’t care… It is pleasant and when we finally do get the food, it is good. Tommy and I have the rubin on rye and Ralph has the hamburger. Tommy and I also have key lime pie for desert. Cabbage Key is so pleasant, we decide to stop early today and dock here for the night. It’s almost 1500 hrs now and the rest of the crew is napping while I write this.

Foiled by the Weather June 12, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Storm over Lake Okeechobee

            (Storm over Lake Okeechobee)

We are sitting at the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin where we will spend the night.  It looks as though the storm will go in somewhere north of Cedar Key tomorrow so we will decide in the morning whether to remain another day here or head north in the ICW.  Here are some notes I Made over the past few days:

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Lets see…  where did I last leave off?  Oh yes, our journey home had just been delayed by the closure of one of the Locks on the Okeechobee Waterway and we had decided to wait it out in Stuart instead of traveling back south around the Keys and then up the West Coast to Tampa.  As it turns out, that was probably a wise choice though we couldn’t have seen it at the time.  We spend Wednesday through Friday nights in Stuart at the Pirate’s Cove Marina.  It is located in what the locals call the “Manatee Pocket” in the company of quite a few other marinas.  One of our cruising guides describes the place as being more like a series of New England maritime villages than the typical grouping of marinas in Florida.  The Pirates Cove had all the necessities to make our stay as comfortable as possible including swimming pool, restaurant, ships store and even provided complementary continental breakfasts during our stay.  Friday, we decided to try our luck fishing offshore part of the day but to no avail.  While we saw several “billfish” (even one swordfish, we think), we didn’t even get a strike.  Its being very calm and an almost full moon the night before might have had something to do with our success.  Anyway, when we returned, I made a call regarding the status of the Lock and was told it had been repaired ahead of schedule and that it would be open for business at 0600 in the morning (today).  We also learn that an area of unsettled weather was moving from west of Cuba into the Gulf and could be expected to intensify… possibly into a tropical storm.  We decide to leave this morning and at least try and get across Lake Okeechobee before the weather gets bad.  I am writing this from Moore Haven (Riverhouse Marina), west of Lake Okeechobee and about halfway across the state.  Our latest weather report indicates the storm has moved into the Gulf and is expected to reach tropical storm force in the next several hours and, if it does, will be named Alberto.  Projected path has it heading north along the west coast of Florida sort of aiming for the Cedar Key area sometime Tuesday.  That being the case, we will have to check the weather very closely in the morning and decide if we want to try and make it in to Ft. Myers or not…  No Wi-Fi so I can’t post this evening.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Well, the latest report this morning states that the storm has yet to reach tropical storm strength and remains unnamed.  However, what ever you might call it, it is still heading north in the Gulf and we need to keep an eye on it.  As I write, a feeder ban stretches from between Naples and Ft. Myers across the state and as far east as Grand Bahamas.  This band is moving in our direction and we expect to get some weather sometime this morning.  For the time being, we will probably stay here at the docks in Moore Haven.  The cost is reasonable ($1/ft/night) and comes with free electricity, free ice and clean restrooms with showers.

Non-Weather Hold June 8, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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We are on hold again but it's not the weather this time. We arrived at Stewart, FL day before yesterday afternoon after crossing and cruised up the St. Lucy Canal to Indiantown Marina near Lake Okeechobee to spent the night expecting to leave early yesterday morning for a day's journey to the Gulf before sundown. Not to be… As we approached the last lock on the east side of the lake and asked for it to open, we were notified that the Franklin Lock (on the west side of the lake)  was closed until next Monday. Ouch! Alternatives are (1) – backtrack then swing south around the Keys and then back up the West Coast to Tampa. This would add over 400 miles to our trip plus take several days… or, (2) – to hang around and wait for the lock to open again on Monday. We decide on the 2nd option but did travel back to Stewart for better accomodations. We will spend a night or two at the Pirates Cove Marina, get some laundry done and just kick back. We might also get some fishing done out in the Atlantic here. Kingfish are supposed to be running and some Sailfish are being caught. I will keep you posted.

Weather Hold… June 5, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Storm at Fresh Creek

                  (More photos on my Flickr sidebar link…)

Yesterday, we ran from Fresh Creek on Andros to Port Lucaya in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  We were dodging ahead of weather all the way.  The photo above, taken as we left Fresh Creek, shows the storm we were interested in getting ahead of…  Our first intintion was to go into Great Harbour in the Berries but, as we approached, another storm head prevented us from attempting to navagate its shallow water entrance .  So, we headed on to our alternate, Port Lucaya, and clearer skys.  We arriving around 6:00 pm missing all the bad weather.  This morning we woke to a heavy downpour and a weather report that suggests we may be holding up at Port Lucaya for a day or two.

Back to Nassau June 2, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Highborne Collage

Yesterday we returned to Nassau.  Our game plan was to spend the morning trolling where we had caught the four Dolphin the day before to try for some more of those big fish before traveling back to Nassau in the afternoon   However, it wasn’t to be.  We did get out early and start trolling and actually had several hits, but building clouds to the south and west prompted us to cut the fishing short and seek out Nassau before these fast developing storms moved in upon us.  As it turned out, we made it back to the same moorage we had previously just before the rains (and that noisy and flashy stuff) started.  It was a good decision though it didn’t add to our fish count.

A quick check of the weather on the internet shows bad weather through at least today and possibly Saturday so we elect to spend the day in port.  We will check the weather again later today to see if tomorrow looks any better.  The above photo stack is some of the shots I took at Highborne Cay.  The actually photos can be found at my Flickr link on the sidebar.

The Exumas May 31, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Part of our daily catch...

We are at Highborne Cay in the Exumas.  Here are some notes from the past couple of days plus a photo.  More photos can be found by visiting my Flickr site from my sidebar:

Tuesday, May30, 2006

We decide to go south to the Exumas today.  Our first stop for fuel is a no-go.  Seems the dock attendant had taken the fuel keys home with him and no one could find the duplicate set.  After waiting a half-hour or so, we move on to the next dock and take on 213 gallons before leaving Nassau Harbor.  We have about a 2 hour run across a shallow bank before reaching the northern end of the Exuma Sound.  The weather is beautiful… almost dead calm.  As we enter the sound and deploy our fishing gear, Tommy spots a bill-fish, heads for it and circles.  Within a few minutes, Ralph hooks, and lands a nice Dolphin.  No sooner do we have the lines back into the water, when there is another strike and I grab the rod.  It’s another nice Dolphin and a fighter at that.  I have him on our smallest rod and get several long runs and jumps before bringing it to the boat where it manages to free itself just before the gaff.  On well… there are more fish out there.  Perhaps we will have better luck with the next one.  As the day goes on, fishing slows.  It is a couple of hours before our next hit and it’s Tommy’s fish.  We are just off Allen Cay and had been zigzagging on and off the drop-off when something big hits.  After a long fight, it turns out to be a giant King Fish… probably close to 50 pounds.  At first we thought it was one of the elusive Wahoo’s we have been trying to catch but it is a King.  That was the last fish before we call it a day.  Tommy calls ahead and makes reservations for a slip at Highborne Cay Club Marina.  After docking, we use their cleaning station to clean the fish.  It is an interesting spot.  Located just at the entrance to their rock enclosed marina the waters around the station are swarming with large Sharks, Jacks and a few large Snapper and Grouper… all looking for a handout.  The trimmings from our cleaning effort create quit a commotion.  The birds have first shot, the Jacks next and if both of those miss it, one of the Sharks usually prevails.  We turn  in early after a supper of Frehitas.  Tomorrow we hope to do better with the fish.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It’s another beautiful day.  Our plan today is to troll back over the waters we tried yesterday and travel back to Nassau this afternoon.  Not long after we clean the Highborne Cut, we have our first fish on.  It is a beautiful Dolphin which we boat after a long fight.  Shortly there after , another strike…  It too is a large Dolphin.  Two fish in the boat and we are less than an hour out of Highborne Cay and the day is early.  We had a second strike at the same time but the fish bit the leader and took our lure.  A short time after this activity, we have another double hookup.  This time we are successful and boat both fish.  These too are very large Dolphin.  We have a dilemma… four fish and only three will fit in the ice cooler.  We decide to head back to Highborne Cay, spend the night and try our luck again tomorrow.  Let me tell you, cleaning four of those big fish is an afternoon’s work.  These are not your little school Dolphin, these are all four monsters.  However, they are all cleaned, vacuum sealed, and in the freezer (which is filling fast).  I save out some of the fish and broil it for supper serving it with baked beans and Texas toast.  Tomorrow we will try again but expect to actually end up in Nassau this time.  Incidently, the Sharks at the cleaning station had a feast too.

A “Down Day” May 29, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Yesterday, (Sunday), we did pretty much nothing.  We did get some laundry done and Ralph and Tommy went on seperate walking tours of Nassau while I remained onboard trying to figure out what's going on with my computer.  Day before yesterday its battery charging circuitry started acting up.  I have had problems with it before and still have yet to figure out what's happening this time.  However, we have two other computers onboard so I will still be able to post whenever we dock near a "hot-spot".  Ralph and Tommy are out for breakfast this moring and I am using Tommy's computer to post this.  More later…

Nassau May 27, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Entering Nassau Harbor

We make it to Nassau today. The following are some notes I made over the past few days. Additional photos can be found by linking to Flickr from my Flickr sidebar.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It is an overcast day with some dark clouds to the east of us… in the direction we need to travel if we are going to Chub Cay as planned. The only weather we can get reports scattered showers over south Florida, but nothing for the Bahamas. There is no wind to speak of so around 0930, we decide to go ahead. We will be crossing the Bahamas Bank for most of the 85 mile trip to Chub Cay so we won’t get much fishing today. As we turn east through the Cat Cay cut, it starts to sprinkle but still no wind. Actually, the seas are almost flat and will remain so for the whole trip today. We do get light showers off and on all day but otherwise it is great cruising. We arrive at Chub Cay around 1630 and, as expected, we are unable to raise an answer from either the Chub Cay Marina or the Berry Island Club. Both outfits are being remodeled and were supposed to be open for business this spring, but considering “Island Time” it doesn’t surprise me that they aren’t. There is a decent anchorage just outside and west of the Chub Cay Marina entrance that we choose for the night. There are a couple of sailboats already at anchor and before nightfall, we will be joined by several other sports fishing vessels. Not a bad spot except for the noise of a dredge working on the channel into Chub Cay Marina. We also notice extensive construction ongoing on the island. Several new, large homes and what appears to be an elaborate club house are nearing completion. It looks like it will be a class act once completed but I suspect it will loose much of its charm as a lazy, laidback fishing commuity. I suspect the finished produce will look much like any golf or yachting community in the States. For supper, I warm up the Ropa Vieja to serve with Yellow Rice and Corn-on-the-Cob… this was after the Bahama Mamas of coarse. We have a pleasant night with some surge (rolling) but all sleep well.
Friday, May 26, 2006

Today we will fish the waters around Chub Cay and near the north end of Andros. It isn’t long before we are spot a large bunch of feeding sea birds. However, trolling through them doesn’t seem to work. We do pick up a small Barracuda but nothing else all morning. Early afternoon, while trolling near several other boats we were checking out, Tommy hooked and landed a nice Dolphin in the 20 pound class. Before the day is over we will pick up one more small Black Fin Tuna, but all in all, fishing is slow. We return to the same anchorage off Chub Cay well before dusk and I get the dubious honor of cleaning our catch. The birds love it though. Have you ever noticed when cleaning fish, that no matter there are no birds in sight, once you have cut into the fish there they are… yelling “feed me, feed me”. Out here, it’s not only the birds, but before long, we have several sharks circling and looking for handouts too. Not a good time for a swim. For supper, we have hotdogs with potato salad and slaw. Ralph is successful in latching onto someone’s Wi-Fi so I was able to get a post up to my Blog.

Saturday, May 27, 2006
The plan today is to troll east to Nassau. It’s another beautiful day. Light to no wind and the sun is out. While still in sight of Chub, my reel sings out… really sings out. By the time we get to it, more than half of its 700 plus yards of line is off the spool. This is a big fish and it is sounding. Because of this we suspect it is a big tuna. With the drag “full-on”, I am still loosing line. Perhaps I need to readjust the gross drag settings for the reel, but that will have to wait until there isn’t a fish attached to the other end. A slow process of regaining lost line ensues. The fish remains deep never coming to the surface. Ralph, on the controls, has to switch between neutral and forward to keep the line from going under the boat. I gradually recover the line eventually bringing the fish close enough to identify. It is a Blue Marlin… probably 5-6 feet in length. I little one… Tommy brings it to the stern and releases the fish. It is my first Marlin…ever.  Now, all of us on this trip have caught a Marlin; Ralph and Tommy on a previous trip and I catch one on this trip. We continue trolling and before long, we have another strike. Same rod again… Tommy brings in another nice Dolphin. That makes three for this trip so far. We hook one more large Dolphin but it gets away before Tommy decides we should bring out lines in and head for Nassau to find dockage. There is a large black cloud approaching us and he figures it will be better not to have it hit as we are entering Nassau Harbor. We arrive around 1530 and find dockage at Nassau Harbour Club… the same place we stayed our last trip. After cleaning the fish we clean up a bit and go to the Outback Steakhouse for supper. Ralph and I return to the boat and Tommy takes a side trip to the Treasure Island Casino.