Onward’s Cruise Journal 2018
Cruise to the Bahamas


Updated: 13 Feb 2018


February 2018

01 Feb 18; Thursday; Vero Beach

  • Another 12-hr day working on Onwards Boat To Do List

02 Feb 18; Friday; Vero Beach
  • Another day on the OBTL At 1600 I went into town to run errands and found A1A highway closed near Rt 60 bridge. I saw a bike rider and thought "this is a bad road to ride on". It took me ~1hr to get around the traffic and do the 15 min of errands. I later learned that the road had been closed because a cyclist was killed on the bridge…

03 Feb 18; Saturday; Vero Beach / Marco Island
  • A Great Day, I got to drive to Palm Beach International Airport to pick up Peggy who returned from her week of nursing daughter Valerie in Andover MA. Once she was securely back in my presence, we headed to Marco Island to leave the car at the condo.

04 Feb 18; Sunday; Marco Island
  • We spent the day catching up on this-es and thats before treating ourselves to dinner at Nacho Mamas dinner. Dinner done and sated, I was beat and never bothered to watch the Super Bowl.

05 Feb 18; Monday; Marco Island to Vero Beach
  • We picked up the rental car, closed up the condo, and headed to Vero Beach and Onward. We did our last minute fresh-food shopping on the way. Enterprise dropped us and our goods off at 1500 at Grand Harbor Marina. We found the water level to be 1 - 2" above the crustacean level on the pilings and thus in John Miller's safe zone for exiting the channel. As I have zero ability to predict the water level pattern here, I decided to depart immediately.
  • Onward departed GHM at 1600 and headed to Vero Beach City Marina where we pulled in to take on fuel before going to a mooring. We lucked out and got the only open mooring in the field.
  • Settled for a bit, we then focused on stowing all the gear and supplies littering the salon and berths.

06 Feb 18; Tuesday; Vero Beach
  • We spent the day in preparing Onward for offshore sailing.

07 Feb 18; Wednesday; Vero Beach to Ft. Pierce Inlet to Gulf Stream
  • We spent the morning continuing to stow gear in preparation for the crossing. At 1100 we dropped the mooring and headed to Ft. Pierce. The GPS started behaving a bit flakey for the first 20 min but the settled in before I had to breakout the backup unit. We arrived at the inlet about 1400 and anchored just NW of the Coast Guard Station on the G side of the inlet channel. I rewarded myself with a shower before continuing on with the stowing chores.
  • Heeling Time and Spellbound, another Catalina 470 based at Harbortown Marina departed the marina and met Onward in the inlet. We headed out at 1600. Winds were 10 - 12 kts from the ESE. We found some 4-6 waves to greet us at the mount of the inlet (all anchors stayed aboard this time). But other than a few small cascades over the foredeck, all was well.
  • We had a good crossing of the Gulf Stream. We departed Ft Pierce inlet at 1600 on Wednesday with ~ 4’ seas and 10-12 kts from SE. The wind angle was of no use to sail so we motored across the GS. Wind and seas decreased as the night went on.

08 Feb 18; Thursday; Gulf Stream to Little Bahamas Banks
  • We crossed onto the Little Banks at Mantanilla Shoals at ~0400 Thursday. From there we headed toward Great Sale Cay. I got to see an incredibly beautiful dawn and sunrise on my watch.
  • Our bad: we are out of practice and forgot to send Spot messages. We will try to do better.
  • We bypassed Great Sale Cay and continued on into the Sea of Abaco. We anchored at a new location for Onward, Crab Cay, recommended by Spellbound who along with the Talkingtons on Heeling Time were the other 2 of 3 Catalina 470s who crossed together.
  • There was, of course, a celebratory cocktail party on Heeling Time.
  • Peggy discovered Thursday morning that she had picked up a cold — so she remained aboard and went to sleep.
  • We managed to get checked in by Bahamas Customs & Immigration soon after we got here so now we are legal for the next 90 days.
  • Somehow, when I get here, I aways feel it has been magic.

09 Feb 18; Friday; Crab Cay to Green Turtle Cay
  • Peggy and I put into the Green Turtle Club marina on Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos at 1300 today.
  • Tom and I quickly rented a golf cart and headed into New Plymouth to the Customs & Immigration officer. For some strange reason, I ended up driving instead of Tom, the owner of a golf course — go figure. Let me warn readers: Do not believe anything Tom says about the trip like many wrong directions, backing over walls, etc — no one could be that bad at driving a golf cart! He was just jealous of my "interesting" skills.
  • We got there at ~1415 to find that the office was closed. However the officer was still inside. She said she had to close early so she could prepare for making the weekly office deposit in the bank at Marsh Harbor. Tom was quick witted and told her that he already had the forms filled out. She relented and while she dealt with Tom, I filled out Onward's forms. We were done by 1445 and headed back to the Green Turtle Club.
  • We noticed that Spellbound came in later and picked up a mooring.
  • We had dinner with the Talkingtons at the Green Turtle Club and celebrated again our arrival in the Bahamas for another cruising season. Great to be back in the Bahamas.

10 Feb 18; Saturday; Green Turtle Cay
  • Tom & Dana drove us back to New Providence where we walked around and did some shopping. I was impressed to see how well stocked, neat and clean Curry's Market had become. We stopped in at our favorite boutique where I found some gifts.
  • We stopped at the Leeward Yacht Club for lunch at the pool bar-restaurant and I got to meet James Cotman the General Manager. He told me they would have no problem accommodating Onward on one of the face docks. They have purchased another waterfront property with a pier to the E of them to expand the YC. They also have bought the property at the head of White Sound right across from the Green Turtle Club: Fiddlers Green which has slips and cottages for rent.
  • After a delicious lunch, we continued to explore the island by golf cart. Tom liked showing off the fact that he can drive a golf cart better in reverse than I can in forward!
  • In the evening we headed over to the Bluff House by dinghy where we enjoyed a C470 cocktail hour with the Heeling Times and the Spellbounds.

11 Feb 18; Sunday; Green Turtle Cay to Marsh Harbour
  • After breakfast, we noticed the wind had shifted to the SW. I was unable to get a Whale passage report from any vessel but we made the snap decision to depart ASAP as low tide was ~1100. I topped up the water tank, paid the bill, and headed out. I was able to use a spring line to the port bow to kick the stern out and we were off in <20 sec at 1000. Heeling Time followed. We had a min of 6.7' in the channel.
  • Once in the Sea of Abaco we made for Whale Passage and as we first got sight we saw 2 catamarans heading E followed by a sloop that departed GTC just ahead of us. Seas at the passage were <2'. The wind was 10 - 14 kts from the SW; this put both the E and W sides of Whale Cay in the lee of land. The passage was easy and pleasant. The best kind.
  • As we passed Bakers Bay, I could see a good deal of construction — but not as much as last year. They seem to be close to running out of waterfront lots. Some day I need to find a way to visit there.
  • Once E of Foot Cay, we headed for the entrance of the Marsh Harbour Channel. We anchored in 10[ to 12' just to the W of the shipping channel off the small cays that protect the commercial harbor. That done, Peggy and I were both done in and spent a nice quiet afternoon and evening reading.

12 Feb 18; Monday; Marsh Harbour; Marsh Harbour to Hope Town
  • Just after 0900, we headed into town with the Heeling Times. We found a fairly recently installed dinghy dock located along the shore N of the seafood store. It was built by donations from cruisers and the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club. A young boy was there to assist us and I gave him $2 for his help.
  • We headed directly for the BTC store and were there at 0930 just as they opened. We had to buy new SIMs because ours were deactivated because we failed to keep them topped up. We must do better this summer! They

13 Feb 18; Tuesday; Hope Town
  • I received an email from the Exuberants that they would be on the lookout for a mooring for us. So, I settled in to a relaxed morning sorting out all the stuff we've been engaged in. About 0915, Burt called to say he located a mooring we could use for a few days nearby Exuberant. So, I quickly got underway. The tide was higher than when we went in yesterday but it was falling so there was no time to waste.
  • We had no problem in the channel along the shore or in the entrance channel. This time I remembered about the sandbar and steered well E of it. Burt was waiting in his dinghy at the mooring off Exuberant's port bow. It is a mooring owned by a local resident, Harold, who has a home just N of the Hope Town Marina. It is his only mooring and the pennant had just been replaced with Burt's help. However it was 5' shorter than it should be so we needed his help to pick it up. I gave him the Grab 'N Go Hook and he just clipped us on. I then launched Venture to attach our mooring bridle to the pennant. Nice and smooth.

14 Feb 18; Wednesday;

15 Feb 18; Thursday;

16 Feb 18; Friday;

17 Feb 18; Saturday;

18 Feb 18; Sunday;

19 Feb 18; Monday;

20 Feb 18; Tuesday;

Feb 18; Wednesday;

Feb 18; Thursday;

Feb 18; Friday;

Feb 18; Saturday;

Feb 18; Sunday;

Feb 18; Monday;

Feb 18; Tuesday;

Feb 18; Wednesday;

Feb 18; Thursday;

Feb 18; Friday;

Feb 18; Saturday;

Feb 18; Sunday;

Feb 18; Monday;

Feb 18; Tuesday;

Feb 18; Wednesday;

Feb 18; Thursday;

Feb 18; Friday;

Feb 18; Saturday;

Feb 18; Sunday;