Lee Stocking Island Anchorage

Lee Stocking Island Anchorage
Can't get enough of the water color !

Monday, April 18, 2011

Back To Rum Cay

Hey All,

It has been awhile and have a lot of catching up to do. Good thing Robin writes on our calendar and in her journal where we are everday.

On Mar. 22nd after spending a few days in Blackpoint and celebrating Corbett's birthday with Tortuga, SunCat, Sea Camp and Some Dream we headed back south. Sea Camp accompanied us and we stopped at a few snorkeling spots on the way to Galliot Cay, the others headed north. After good dinner Sea Camp decided it was time for them to start slowly heading back to Ft Pierce, Fl. The next morning we said our goodbyes and went a few miles south to Rudder Cut Cay then on March 24th we sailed for Calabash Bay, Long Island. Up early we continued on to Rum. No fish were harmed while underway!

Got into Rum Cay around 1300, that's 1pm for land lubbers, and pulled into the same slip we had last visit. It was kinda quite. Within the next 24hrs the place filled up with a flotilla of trawlers led by Wayne and Sharon on "My Sharonna". We had met them in Georgetown around Christmas and found that Wayne was a S. Cal. surfer. He did not bring a board and since Cookie Monster travels w/two we said that when he gets to Rum we will surf together. On Sun. Mar 27th after Robin returned from church about 15 of us at the marina piled into marina owner Bobby's boat and set out for a circumnavigation of Rum Cay. First stop was the ruins of an old village on the NW shore in Flamingo Bay. A large bay with many coral heads just below the surface. Bobby, knowing each one by name, calmly navigated to within 100ft of a sandy beach and dropped the hook. Some of us checked out the beach and ruins and others SUPed(stand up paddleboarded) . It was hard to imagine that this was a thriving settlement in the early 1900's. Completely overgrown and now home to the wild cattle roaming the island. Apparently there are good sources of fresh water for them in this area. Back on board Bobby was preparing the fresh conch salad that JJ(The Conch Master) just caught. As we munched on the conch salad, wahoo salad, prepared by Paul and Sue on "Independence" , and other snacks we motored on to Gin Hill. This is a great surf spot on the North Shore. Wind was from the SE which made for "offshore" conditions on the 5ft swell. Bobby, Wayne, and Corbett jumped off the boat after it anchored within 100yds of the break. This spot breaks about 1/2 mi off the beach and is only acessible by boat. Corbett forgot the board leashes and had to surf "old school" along w/Wayne. They both go back to the leashless days so not that big of a deal. After a fun 1 1/2 hr session we pulled anchor and continued east. It is a true wilderness feeling along this coast as there are no buildings, beautiful beaches, sheer cliffs, sea caves and more than a handful of deserted surf breaks. The wind direction was not cooperating and we motored on. Around the NE corner is a surf break called Gun Bay. Conditions were choppy but as we passed and looked back you could see the swell wrapping down this bay and could only imagine how good it can get! Bobby sights a humpback whale breaching about 2mi away. As we head towards it the breeching continues, probably more than one. They seemed to be moving faster and we could not catch them. Still it was a great sight even from a distance! Adjusting course we headed towards SE point. This is a relatively "shallow bank" area that juts out about 5mi ,and is a few miles wide, from the island. It stays at 100ft depths and then drops off to 6000ft in a matter of boat lenghts! Needless to say this makes for fantastic fishing as the food sources for big fish flow on and off these banks with the tide and north flowing current. Getting closer to shore on the south side there is a 30ft wide entrance of swift flowing water to the Salt Pond. The massive area behind it is full of mangroves, sand bars, lots of sea life and of course salt flats. These natural salt collectors were a large source of income back in the late 1800's-mid 1900's. We took our dinghy back to explore and found it quite fascinating. Bonefishing is reported to be world class, and some do it on SUP's! The water is so pure and it is home to many turtles and conch. Back to the marina after taking the shallow route through the coral heads that are so close together we avoided them with our dinghy! Bobby takes it in stride and barely squeaks his 35ft single engine boat through with a sly smile on his face!

On the surf front this would be the only day of surfable waves during our 9 day stay. For us there are so many other things to do such as snorkeling, renting an "off-road" golf cart bicycling around and of course Robin putting in her teaching at the school that time flew by! We went fishing one day with Bryan who keeps a boat at the marina. Caught a few yellowfin tuna. Made dinner for Bryan and Ben, a charter boat captain who lives on a 68ft sportfishing boat at the marina, at Bryan's home. Bryan, and his wife Cathy, have been on the island for 8+years and he fishes with a passion. He is originally from Parsippany Hills, NJ! Ben is a native from Eleuthra and has an extensive nautical background. He captained mailboats all over the Bahamas and has delivered all sorts of boats throughout the East Coast and Caribbean. Also he has a produce farm back in Eleuthra. He is a true ambassador for the Bahamian people with a personality second to none. His wife is a teacher on Eleuthra and will be moving back to her birthplace on Rum Cay to teach in Sept.

Well it was tough leaving and after saying our goodbyes to Bobby, Chris, Rasta, Harley, JJ, Paul, Sue and Ben we headed to Long Island.

During our visit there in Jan/Feb we along with Tortuga, SunCat and Two Of A Kind, anchored at Harvey's Bay and met Dan & Pam Deal who where born and raised here. A wonderful family and we immediately became friends. Dan is a lobster/conch fisherman and Pam works partime at the Beach Bungalow Bar, which we described in an earlier post. Dan's birthday is on March 29th and we decided to get together between his fishing trips and celebrate his and Corbett's birthdays. Robin baked a cake .

We made last minute flights from GeorgeTown back to NJ to celebrate our niece Molly and now nephew Clayton's wedding celebration on April 9th. Also throw in her Grandparents 50th anniversary. This was a covert operation and absolutley no one in NJ knew we were coming!

Just showed up at the party. It was great as everyone thought we were going to Skype them.

More to follow.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update on the Black Point School supplies


Hey All,
Came into Emerald Bay Marina yesterday, along with Bill and Margee on Tortuga, from Little Darby Island. A 5hr motor sail in some pretty choppy conditions, however we did catch a small Blackfin Tuna and a Mahi-Mahi. Nice being back here again. Our first time this year. It really spoils you with FREE washing machines/dryers, a well stocked supermarket(by Bahama standards) and a great liquor store nearby with free transportation. Of course the showers are phenomenal and there is a beautiful lounge complete with pool table, TV and sitting area. All this for $1/ft per night.
After leaving Lee Stocking Island we went to Black Point and visited the school which we delivered all the supplies to from home. They were very happy to see us and could not thank us enough. We had dropped them off during the Christmas break so we did not get to see them in action. Needless to say Robin was "summoned" to teach the following day. Corbett took some pictures of the teachers and kids. We were invited to Rev Kevin Rolle's, also the Police Chief, surprise birthday party. A real feast! This is still one of our very favorite places. The next day Robin went over showing the Math teacher, Mr Musgrove, how to make copies of the overhead tranparencies and a few more teaching tips.
We also met up with Solitare, another Morgan Classic, and had a happy hour. The next evenings happy hour was on First Edition, they are from Roseland,NJ, along with Wind Dust and Solitare.
Finally we moved on down to Musha Cay. We anchored behind this very private island. Google it. After some exploring the surrounding cays we moved down to Little Darby Island to meet up with Totuga who was already anchored there. This was only two miles away but, a whole different place. This island and Big Darby are also private but you can go onshore with permission. It also houses a small marine research center for the Univ. of Miami. The islands are separated by a 100ft wide cut. Big Darby was, so the stories go, once the home of a WW2 Nazi sympathizer. He built this fortress like mansion on the top of the hill and supposedly sent secret messages from there. In the 70's and early 80's it was taken over by drug smugglers and the two islands had three airstrips between them. Now only the remnants and stories remain, save for the research center, and a few private homes on Little Darby.
The following day SunCat and Two Of A Kind showed up and we had a great happy hour catching up. We have not seen them since Margee's sister and boyfriend,Jan and Larry left some 10 days prior.There was some really nice snorkeling and beach combing to be had.
That evening we were all invited to a reception on the research vessel Coral Reef, which was at the dock. They were on a two week cruise of the Exumas along with grad students and professors. What a great bunch of "way underpaid people". The amounts of work they do in the name of science and humanity is nothing short of exhausting.
The next day Two Of A Kind headed north and we stayed a couple more days before leaving SunCat there as we needed some serious restocking of fresh produce.
All for now,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Different Takes


Hey All,
Sitting at anchor on the western shore of Lee Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas. This island houses a research center, Perry Institute for Marine Science, and has hiking trails, great snorkeling and even a few “top ten” beaches! A cold front came through late yesterday along with some heavy rains and temps dropping to the low 70’s. Today it is clear and blowing 25-30kts out of the ENE. This is a protected anchorage for any winds from N-SE and has good holding for our Delta anchor in 7.5ft at low water. There are 3 other boats within about 200yds of us.
Cruising has been a lot easier this year as we now enter anchorages and settlements that are very familiar to us. Also on a weather note, there has been about 1/5th the number of cold fronts. This allowed us to stay in places longer without having to leave and find a hidey-hole! Some long time cruisers are claiming that it has been the best winter in 6+ yrs! 
One interesting new find was to rent a car on Long Island(no not that Long Island!!) with some other cruisers. It is 70mi long and it is the home of Deans Blue Hole, the deepest in the world. The day we were there snorkeling we met the wife of the current free-dive record holder as she was practicing. Brittany was routinely going down to 120ft! Her husband , Will Truebridge, broke the record in Dec. 2010 at 101 meters, 331+ ft! We heard that just two weeks ago he went, unofficially, another 20 meters, 65+!! This is with just a gulp of air, goggles and a soft weight that he wears around his neck!
We also got to see the Santa Maria Monument on the northern tip of the island. Apparently Columbus visited here, some say his first stop, …and also ran aground!
Stopped at the “Beach Bar” on Harvey Bay. A new place which is right out of a Jimmy Buffet song and just opened a few weeks before. This was right before the Super Bowl and we were looking for a bar to view it. The owner and locals were really friendly and we ended up taking our boat along with 3 others to anchor off the bar. Well this bay cruisers pass right by because at first glance on the chart there isn’t much water unless you are on a Hobie Cat. We looked a little harder and found a decent anchorage for our 5ft draft up in the corner. The other boats were catamarans and got in much closer. We dinghied to the Super Bowl party, met more locals and they said we were the first sailboats to anchor there in 30 yrs!! Ended up staying there for 5 days and even took a local lobster fisherman with his family out for a sail! Yeah you guessed it, their first time on a sailboat.
Well there are plenty more tales but we will save them for the summer. Looks like we will be returning to NJ in early June “boatless” as the Cookie Monster will be summering in the S. Georgia/N Fla area. The ICW is really nice but after two round-trips it takes a toll. 250 hrs on the engine one way and 3-4 weeks really adds up. Also next year we are planning on going to the San Blas Islands in Panama so this will give us a head start to get there by mid-Dec.

All for now,
Corbett & Robin
S/V Cookie Monster

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On To Rum Cay

Hey All,

Well the wind gods finally got us to Rum Cay! After 3 attempts last year we made it on the first try this year. Arrived on Jan. 19th. Caught two small tuna on the way from Calabash Bay, Long Island.

What a place! The island is about 9mi long and 5mi wide. It has about 80 inhabitants! Over 100 yrs ago there were 3-4000!! At the time it had a big-time commercial salt pond. Fishing is big time here having deep water “drop offs” and a strong current off the eastern side. Record big game fish such as Blue/White Marlin, Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, and some giant Wahoo are never more than a couple miles offshore. On the reefs there are Grouper, Snapper, and some pretty large Spiny Lobster(no claws). In some areas the water depths go from exposed coral heads to 6000+ft in less than a ¼ mile!! This type of underwater set-up is also ideal for surfing. With the island being oblong shaped, in an east -west orientation, this allows waves from North Atlantic storms to literally jump up as they get into the shallower water and wrap around the Cay. The wind will always be off-shore somewhere. There are numerous reef breaks and a sandy bottom point on the SW corner.

The first two days here we anchored in the bay just west of Sumner Point Marina. There was a bit of a “roll”, which means there was a small swell/surge coming from an angle different from the way the boat was facing. This tends to get a bit uncomfortable after a night or two. So with an approaching cold front, and not much protection, we decided to head into the only marina on the island. This place is in a “time warp” as most marinas go. Laid back is way to stressful sounding for this place!! We expected John Wayne in “Donavans Reef” to show up at anytime. Bobby, the owner, comes out to escort you to your slip and grab your dock lines on a standup surfboard. He has been coming to the island since the 60’s first vacationing from Florida and eventually living here full-time. Needless to say he is the go-to guy for any activity, especially surfing. We proceed to find out that there was a small swell hitting the eastern side and a couple guys were surfing it. The next day Bobby says he is loading up his boat and we are all welcome to surf/dive around the SE side. Two kite surfers are going to follow us there. During the 20 minute ride these guys were zipping all around the boat making for some interesting background. We anchor and 4 of us paddle out to a 3-4ft reef break. A good day to get the arms back in shape.

The next day, Sunday, Kathy, a local, picks up Robin along with Bob&Diane, From Two of a Kind” and drives them to church and then a tour of the island. I stay on the boat doing some systems checks and cleaning filters, etc. As they get back from touring Bobby is again ready to go. Same drill only we are headed to Sandy Point.

There is a NW swell and it is about 4-5ft, w/offshore winds and some very long rides. This time there are 6 of us. After anchoring getting out involves paddling/dinghy to the lee shore, maybe 75yds, walking across a hundred yard wide sand spit, then proceeding 300yds along the sand/rock shore to the “jump off” spot. This is a flat rock ledge that comes straight up from 15-20ft of water. You time the waves hitting it and jump in. Much easier than it sounds and then paddle to the take off spot. After each wave it is an easy paddle back out. Find out that the arms are not in shape yet!

Monday the surf does not cooperate and Robin goes to the school to help out. There are 15 children up to 9th grade and one teacher!! Of course she ends up helping for another two days. Mon. night we attend the 79th birthday party of the island “Matriarh”, Delores Wilson. She is the owner of Kaye’s Bar and has lived on the island her entire life! A energetic, warm-hearted, fascinating woman and a host to numerous celebrities, dignitaries and thousands of cruisers from around the world. The bar walls are “papered” with autographed pictures of Jackie Onassis, Mohammed Ali, Sydney Poitier, heads of state and regular crusing folk. The entire island was invited, cruisers included, to a dinner at the bar. Everyone brought a dish as well as the bar preparing trays of local favorites. Rum drinks flowed and the dancing ensued. What a time to visit Rum Cay!!

Tuesday finds the surf is up again and it should be good on the north shore. The first break is 2-4ft and not very consistent. We stay for about an hour. There are 4 people already out who flew in from the central Exumas. Decided to move east and find a beautiful right break about 4-5ft and very clean. The three of us stayed there for about 4hrs.

Wed. we went back to the same place and it was 5-6ft and really long rides, 250 yd, glassy waves. Again only 3 of us out.

Thurs. again back to the same spot but the wind shifted more and we surfed yet another break on the NE side. By now my arms were shot and we called it a day by 11am. At 12:30 I went out fishing with Bryan on his boat. He has been here for 10yrs. We only caught one small tuna and a barracuda. It was really amazing to watch his depth sounder as it would go from 80ft to 600ft+ in only a couple of boat lengths!

The whole time here we had a number of "potluck" dinners which mostly consisted of fresh fish/lobster and some really great company. A special thanks to Bobby, Chris, Rasta, Hartley and the rest of the Sumner Point Marina crew and cruisers.

We will be back here again very soon. Monday we are heading for Conception Island, about 20mi, for a couple days then on to Long Island (no, not that Long Island!) to re-supply and do some more exploring.

All for now,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year

Hey All,

Well we made it to Georgetown, Exumas so far. Had a good Gulfstream crossing, along with Tortuga and SunCat, on Dec 4th from Ft Lauderdale down to the tip of Key Biscayne and then across to just north of Bimini. We left at 630 am and were anchored in the Berry Islands by 930 am on the 5th. On the 7th we checked into customs at Nassau. After losing a few bucks at Atlantis we decided to head out of Dodge! After visiting a few Cays on the way and dodging a couple cold fronts we ended up in Georgetown on Dec 23rd.
Looks like we may be heading down to the Jumentos Wed for a few days.
Met up with alot of old friends and plenty of new ones.

All for now,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Running from the cold!

Hi All,

Well our daughter's wedding is over and we ran "out of Dodge". Trying to get to the warm climes. Arrived in Myrtle Beach on Nov 10th only to be greeted mid-40's but at least it went to the mid-60's and the sun was shinning.

Oh yeah back to our daughter Marcella's wedding. Seems like a blurr! 300 relatives, friends and strangers with 5hrs to say Hi. That's one(1) minute per/person! However, it was a blast. We can't take total credit for the success because Adam(our new "son" who came into our lives "potty trained", pretty cool,huh? ) & Marcella planned most of it. A few surprises thrown in( Cigar roller, replace classic Father/Daughter song "Daddy's Little Girl" with "Pink Cadillac" and the list goes on...). So far have not heard anything less than fantastic from the attendees. Can one of you promise us that you will invite us to a wedding like that so we can dance, drink, and eat? Other highlights included our son, Corbett 3rd, flying home from Santa Barbara and we got to meet his girlfriend, Flannery. Two days after he arrives the surf( yes NJ gets waves) goes bigtime and we(Dad) get to spend sometime together surfing in the cold water along with our nephew,JJ. Of course Marcella was sweating it out if there was going to be waves the next day, Saturday! Well it wasn't good enough to miss the wedding and Father & Son showed up.

Left Wacca Wache Marina today. This was the perfect location close to Myrtle Beach airport and even more important right in the backyard of the "star" of our very 1st blog entry, "Country Bobby" and his wonderful wife, Claudia. these two cannot be outdone when it come to Southern Hospitality. Don't know where to start. Airport service,shopping, laundry, Oyster Roast... did we say Oyster Roast, tours of the area...and the list goes on!! Thanks again you two!!!
Also got to have dinner with part of our "new" family, Scott & Terry Rosenberg, Adam's uncle and aunt. They live nearby. We relived the wedding and woke up the marina as we laughed the night away on the boat!

We had a good day today as we made it to just 10mi from Charleston. It was cold. Again mid-40's. Gloves, wool hat, wool socks..... Got up to 65. Mostly motoring but, that's the ICW.

Next summer we are seriously considering leaving our boat down south so we could avoid the weather delays and wear and tear on the Cookie Monster.

All for now,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boring is good when your underway!

Hi All,

The tittle says it all. Cruising down the ICW can be boring at times. Smoothe water, a little bit of current against you here and there, miles of wetlands and of course miles of houses! The one thing that is good about boredom is the fact that everything on board is working properly! No alarms going off, no mechanical or crew issues, etc. Since leaving Norfolk the weather has been nothing less than stellar. A few hours of thunderstorms near Carolina Beach,NC but no winds of any concern.
We have not been meeting many boats along the way because everyone seems to be heading south with a vengence, including us. Now that we are sure to make our flight from Myrtle Beach to NJ on Fri eve, we have slowed down some. The last two nights were spent in Calabash,NC. Walked about 1 1/2 mi. to the Calabash Presbyterian Church. Wonderful people and a great pastor, Rev Jack. Why is it that at home the churches don't seem as friendly? They had coffee and cake going on and invited us into their Sunday School, which happened to be all adults! A little later on that afternoon we were joined by our friends, Bill, Margie, and the "boys"(Casey & Oscar their dogs) on S/V Tortuga. We cruised with them in the Bahamas last winter for awhile and they visited us in NJ for a few days in July on their way to New England. It was great catching up and comparing our plans for the upcoming winter.
This morning we left for our marina, Wacca Wache, where we will be keeping the boat at for the next 3+ weeks. Will be back on the boat Nov 10th after our daughter's wedding, Nov 6th.

Looking forward to seeing "Country Bobbie" and his wife Claudia who live about 15mins. away and Scott and Terry( our future son-in-law's aunt and uncle) who live in the area also!

All for now,

Dolphin on the ICW

Dolphin on the ICW

Great Bridge Lock, VA.

Great Bridge Lock, VA.

Country Bobbie

Country Bobbie
A NJ ex-pat moved here in the early '70s. Now he is more local than the locals.It was like having our private historian and wildlife expert onboard!!