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Great Guana Cay

The Whale

Around 30 boats left Green Turtle Cay for Great Guana Saturday January 20 and a Canadian couple that I had made friends with asked me if I’d like to go along and I’m glad i did.  It was just the push I needed to get moving as I was pretty darn comfortable sitting on that mooring.  Call it Newton’s second law or anxiety or whatever, after I sit for a while I’m resistant to moving Skylark or traveling.  It’s as if I’m not sure I can do it.
In order to get south of Green Turtle a boat must pass through the Whale Cay passage which is one of those places you do not want to be at the wrong time as the wind, ocean swell and tide can combine to form what’s called  “A rage”.  No subtlety and no kidding.  We went through around high slack tide with 10-15kn SE wind  and saw 4 foot swells with a moderate chop on top.  Not crazy rough but not calm for sure.  The picture above is the surf breaking on Whale Cay.  We were able to sail for a few miles but the wind was contrary for most of the 15 mile trip.   Exhilarating.   

Fishers Bay, Great Guana.

 Great Guana is larger and a lot more lively than Green Turtle Cay.  Lot’s more golf carts too.  Several anchorage with protection from the east, restaurants, beaches, bars, and lots of friendly people.  Friday is $10 rib night at Orchid Bay Marina restaurant and cruisers all love a dinner special.

Terrific performance by a couple of cruisers

Before dinner two of the cruisers played gutair and sang at the “Last Stop”.  Very talented and so much fun.

Life in the islands as found on the men’s room wall

I can’t wait to explore the island and write what I find.

Seeking sailors

Here’s the mail I sent out to my sailing buddies describing my next trip.

Ahoy all you salty sailors,

It’s almost time to head south and I’m looking for crew.  I’ve divided the trip into segments so people can join and leave at convenient locations.  I’ve addressed this mail to all so feel free to reply all.  We all welcome your questions, thoughts and suggestions.  I’ve tried to describe the boat and the trip as best I can but I’m sure I’ve left a lot out.  It’s long but great reading.  I’ve broken the trip into segments that made sense to me different endpoints are possible and might be preferable for reasons I haven’t considered.  Dates are also negotiable at least initially until people start to sign on and make travel plans.  Segments could be combined, this could shorten then time betweeen.

Overview.  The plan is to sail from Haverstraw, NY to the Florida keys and then head for the DryTortugas and or the Bahamas leaving Haverstraw NY Oct 1 and returning Haverstraw May 1.  Boats and plans are usually incompatible so we’ll see how it goes.  This will be  the 2nd trip to florida for Skylark and me.  I’d like help sailing Skylark south particularly with the overnight runs. 

All distances are in nautical miles and approximate, travel time is based on a 4kn average speed, departure dates listed are the date I expect to be able to leave that location so you can be reasonably confident I’d be waiting for you in the place we agreed.  At that point we may need to wait for weather.

Transportation.  You need to find your own way from home to the origin of your segment by bus, car, train, uber or plane and home from the destination.  Google maps is awsome for this, it will route a public transportation route for you.  We’d agree on a location for Skylark to be waiting for you and a place to drop you off.

Gear.  Layers and rain gear.  Expect anything from warm to low 50’s and it may be wet.  Nothing is more miserable than getting cold and wet on a boat.  

Seasickness.  It happens sometimes.  If you have medication you’re comfortable with, bring it.  There are patches and Dramamine aboard Skylark.  

Provisioning.  Skylark will be provisioned with staples and snacks and we usually go grocery shopping in most ports we stop at.  There’s a small fridge on board so we’ll usually be eating fresh food.  Super salty sailors usually eat cold beans from the can.  If there is a food or snack you love and want, bring it.

Skylark equipment.  Skylark is a cutter rigged 1983 Pacific Seacraft Orion sailboat, 27′ on deck and 31′ overall weighing 10,000 lbs empty.  A heavy, solid blue water cruising sailboat.  People have sailed the Orion around the world multiple times.  She has 2 separate berth (bunk) areas but don’t expect much privacy, it’s a small boat.  Skylark is equipped with a motorized dinghy, refrigeration, propane galley stove with oven and a well equipped galley, sun shades, insect screens, heat, water maker, Garmin GPS chartplotter and backups, radar, AIS, shortwave and multiple VHF radios, EPIRB, PLB, jack lines, harnesses and inflatable life jackets, automatic inflatable life raft, flares and other safety equipment, pressure hot water, deck shower, multiple oversize anchors with lots of rode, long range Wi-Fi and good coffee.  She’s small but safe and very comfortable both underway and at anchor.  

Here’s the working segments and schedule:

Haverstraw to Cape Charles / Norfolk 312 miles, 3.25 days, leave Haverstraw 10/1.  We wait for our weather in Haverstraw or preferably Sandy Hook.  Down the river, through the harbor, under the Veranzano bridge and down the coast.  We’ll be 2- 10 miles off for most of the trip.  Most likely to do this in one shot but it’s possible to stop overnight in several places along this coast.

Norfolk to Morehead City 180 miles, 5-7 days, leave from Norfolk or Cape Charles 10/10.  This is a 5 or 7 day run through the ICW and the Dismal Swamp canal.  Mostly motoring in confined water but there’s a few open spaces.  Anchor every night as it’s only possible to move in daylight.

Morehead City to Beaufort 263 miles, 2.75 days, leave from Morehead 10/25.  Heading SW down the coast here, hopping over the crescent shaped bays along the coast so we’d be up to 35 or 40 miles off shore.  Several stops are possible.

Beaufort to St Augustine 145 miles, 1.5 days leave from Beaufort 11/8.  Another outside run down the coast of Georgia and North Florida. Augustine is a cool town.

Augustine to Ft Lauderdale, 260 miles, 2.7 days leave St Augustine 11/19.  Outside run, north to south  Florida.  Linda gets on the boat in Augustine and off in Ft Lauderdale. 

Ft Lauderdale to Biscayne bay and the keys  25 miles to Biscayne bay, 1 day, leave Ft Lauderdale 12/1.  Explore the keys.  The water turns a beautiful blue in south Florida.  No particular end date, we’re here.

Dec-Jan Explore the keys, maybe go to the Dry Tortugas and or the Bahamas.   No specific plans.

April  Start heading back to Haverstraw 

I’d love to have you guys join me at any point along the way.  Please let me know what dates and segments work for you.


We drove (the car) to Georgetown, SC for the eclipse.

We were really lucky as the clouds moved in just after totality. 


Rob met us in Myrtle beach.

We made a 2 week trip out of it and had a blast.  Atlantic City, the Cape May ferry, Fenwick island, Ocean City, MD, Myrtle beach, Georgetown and a sail on Ron’s boat Shearwater.  And a side trip to Bacon sails.  

And Roger the squirrel

St Augustine


St Augustine bridge of Lions.

I did an overnight solo trip from Savannah to St Augustine last night.  I was hoping to catch the north wind from the last frontal system but it was just too cold.  33 degrees, 25 knot wind, following seas and single handing didn’t sound like a good idea.  There was pretty much no wind for the whole trip so it was 26 hours of uneventful motoring in mostly flat seas.


After a cold night I was treated to a beautiful sunrise, and when I looked over the side I saw a pod of dolphins swimming alongside Skylark.   They swam with us for a long while, graceful and looking like they were enjoying it as much as i was, then they veered off and swam away.


Bridge near Savannah.


I left Skylark in Savannah to go visit Linda in Sunny Florida.


Got a root canal 🙂


Ďrove around on A1A.  Always wanted to do that.  Like a Jimmy Buffet song.


Florida parking lot wildlife.