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Dee Light - Cruise Log
Bahamas 2014- Log H
Highbourne to Fort Myers
Links to Log A or Log B or Log C or Log D or Log E or Log F or Log G or Log H
 Current Position  - you can follow our travels from Fort Myers thru the Bahamas by clicking on the  CLICK HERE  photo link above .. our current location is updated once an hour .. check out the Google Maps .. zoom in and out .. etc ..
first day at Highbourne Cay 
 
 
 
photos albums - every day we post a daily photo album .. to view all of the photos for each day click on the small daily photo icon located in this column 
 
 
Sunday July 27th - Staniel Cay to Highbourne Cay ..
 
left the Staniel dock at 09:15AM and snuck past the boat directly on our stern with a generous 4+ foot clearance off his tender .. the captain of the larger boat on the end of the dock had kindly moved their 'stuff' so we had no issue backing out and clearing their stern ..

reflecting on our time at Staniel Cay as we were leaving and heading for the 'ICW' of Exuma Sound we were very glad we took the extra time to extend our stay there as we have thoroughly enjoyed our visit this year ..

as predicted it has turned into an absolutely picture perfect day for a cruise .. actually the nicest and calmest seas we have experienced since leaving Fort Myers and starting on this trip .. we arrived at Highbourne Cay and were docked by 12:15PM .. in the slip right next to the one we were in on our previous visits ..

we have a 16 year old dog named Autumn and we often are reminded that she is a lot smarter than we give her credit .. our usual routine right after tying up at the dock is to put on her leash and take her off the boat for a walk .. today she was beside herself and was sooooo excited .. she raced along the docks and acted like a puppy .. we think she knows exactly where she is at and that we are on our way back to our home port! .. and we have to agree it is nice to be back at Highbourne .. not only for its reliable and high-speed internet but for its laid-back and relaxing atmosphere .. whereas Staniel Cay has the Key West / FTM Beach party atmosphere Highbourne Cay is much more relaxed .. much like a Sanibel /Captiva beach house  ..

after being warmly welcomed by the staff and registering the boat we walked up to the Xuma bar for a drink and made dinner reservations .. the weather forecast looks to be the same for the next couple of days so we launched the dinghy to do some exploring tomorrow ..
 
we enjoyed another outstanding meal at the Xuma restaurant .. we had made an early 06:30PM reservation with the idea of making it an early evening after an active day .. we were seated and just finishing our salads when another couple ( about our ages ) were seated at the deuce table right next to us .. well of course we got to talking and before we knew it our waiter had moved our two tables together so we could continue our conversation and have dinner together .. John and Nora are from Sarasota and had just arrived in the Bahamas on their 42' Egg Harbor Sportfish .. Nora is former mayor of Sarasota and a current county commissioner and John is a semi-retired attorney and they intend to head down to Warderick Wells next .. they also were very impressed with the food and we all complimented the chef when he stopped by our table .. so much for an early evening as after finishing dinner John and Nora invited us to their boat for a 'nightcap' of vanilla Hagan Daz ice cream with fresh peaches as a topping ..
 
 
afternoon on the beach with the Iguanas
 
 
afternoon on the beach with the Iguanas
 
Monday July 28th - Highbourne Cay Marina ..
 
today was once again sunny and very hot ( it is almost August after all ) but the waters are super calm and clear and great for dinking around .. it had been several years since we had visited the local iguana beaches so we set out for Allen and Leaf Cays where there is a protected colony of these critters that have faces only a mother could love .. honestly they are pretty ugly! .. we ended up hanging around on the beach and in the water most of the afternoon and had a great time watching a group of about 25 tourists arrive on the Nassau tour boat to feed the iguanas 'grapes on a stick' .. we swear the seagulls can also tell time as there must have been at least a couple hundred on the beach waiting before the tour boat arrived and only a few stragglers after the boat left!

after deciding we had enough sun we left the beach to return to the marina and Dee Light for a nice shower and to chill in the cool A/C of our aft cabin before preparing dinner .. Xuma is closed on Mondays so we dined on board tonight with a nice romaine salad and pasta ..
 
Dinghy Dock
 
 
another great day
 
Tuesday July 29th - Highbourne Cay Marina ..
 
the last couple of days spent at Highbourne have been very laid-back and low key and we are just enjoying the boat and island living .. we took the dinghy out Tueday afternoon for a ride around the island but decided we were too lazy to make the trip down to Norman's Cay .. besides we are told it is presently under construction by a Turkish developer and no one seems to know if McDuff's is even open any longer and have not heard them return any radio calls .. after returning to the marina we went ahead and stowed Little Dee back on the bow and got it ready for our next departure ..

it's too hot to cook on the boat unless it's our only option .. particularly since we have lost our salon A/C blower .. we still have 4 working A/C units on Dee Light ( including the aft deck ) but the galley tends to heat up pretty good in the afternoons/early evening .. it's also too easy and more fun to walk up the hill to the Xuma with its nice breezes overlooking the water! .. so the last two evenings we have availed ourselves of the fine cuisine prepared by Chef Devon at the Xuma ..
 
lot of boats on the move today
 
Wednesday July 30th - Highbourne Cay Marina ..

on Wed afternoon the Highbourne marina turned out to be a very busy spot with boats leaving and others arriving right behind .. 3 boats came in for lunch and it soon became apparent this was a first visit as they were unfamiliar with the layout of the marina and didn't know where the office or restaurant was located .. as they off-loaded about 45 adults and big and little kids from the boats it sort of looked like a Chinese fire drill! .. eventually they found their way up for a buffet lunch and some beach time before heading back to Nassau .. later as we were at the bar we noticed another boat entering the harbor and said to ourselves 'that sure looks like High On The Hog from Legacy Harbour Marina but not likely' .. sure enough as we returned to the boat we saw The Hog docked two boats from Dee Light and stopped by to say hello ..

we have checked with Cleo at Atlantis Marina for dockage on Thursday so we stopped in the office to let the Highbourne staff know that we would be leaving them in the morning after refueling ..
 
the first time we stopped at Highbourne Cay in May with Jon and Jenn aboard we were treated to a wonderful buffet dinner at the Xuma .. tonight we were lucky enough to have the same dinner on our last evening here .. and the grilled lobster tails were just as delicious as the first time and just as plentiful!
 
Dee Light at Atlantis
   
Thursday July 31st - Highbourne Cay Marina to Nassau ..
 
we left our slip at 08:15AM for the fuel dock .. we had not taken on fuel since leaving Spanish Wells on June 26th .. after fueling and checking out we were off the fuel dock at 09:35AM and had another beautiful picture perfect day for our cruise to Nassau .. we arrived at the Atlantis Marina and were docked and tied up just shortly after noon .. we were really glad we decided to take the time to fuel before leaving Highbourne as 2 boats were hovering off the fuel dock waiting to get in at Hurrnicane Hole Marina with another boat already on the dock fueling .. we have enjoyed every stop of our summer voyage in the Bahamas but it is sure nice to be back at Paradise Island for a few days ..

Mario our 'Atlantis Boat Detailer Supreme' stopped by Dee Light after we returned from registering at the office and said he would be back to wash Dee Light .. around 03:00PM Mario showed up and got right to work .. except for when Jon was aboard and cleaned up Dee Light and a few quick 'licks and promises' to get the salt and surface grime off the windows and cockpit area while traveling this summer Dee Light has not had a really proper boat washing since early May when we were last docked at Atlantis so Mario had his work cut out for him today .. after we showered and got cleaned up for dinner we found Mario still hard at work .. finally around 07:30PM he was satisfied with the job and let us head out for a bite to eat at The Point ..
 
Autumn's view from her Back Deck
  
 
 
photos albums - every day we post a daily photo album .. to view all of the photos for each day click on the small daily photo icon located in this column 
 
 
Friday August 01st - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
the second tropical storm of the Atlantic season formed early this morning .. TS Bertha is presently located east of the Lesser Antilles and is expected to pass east of the Bahamas late Sunday / early Monday .. we will stay here at Atlantis until the storm passes us by .. when we originally made our dockage reservations it was thru the 11th so there is no need to hurry anywhere else and there is always lots to do here ..

this morning we slept in, had a leisurely breakfast while watching the Today Show and decided it was time to get caught with the laundry chores and really wanted to get all the towels and sheets laundered today too .. 

a couple of workers showed up on our dock and began work on installing a base with a tall pole attached to it and we assumed it was for some sort of new dock lighting .. nope wrong guess .. turns out they are installing a new wifi antenna right in front of our slip! .. should be functional by the first of next week .. Dee Light usually receives a fairly good signal because we have an external Wave antenna but this should make a big difference in wifi reception here at Atlantis ..

later in the afternoon we walked up to The Point bar .. we ordered an icy frozen Margarita and a cold drink with extra ice from the bartender and settled onto a couple of shaded lounge chairs to take in some pool and hot tub time until it was time to get cleaned up for dinner .. had an interesting conversation with a charter boat captain now living in Fort Lauderdale who shared his boyhood memories of growing up on Paradise Island in the 1960's when it was still undeveloped and he went to school by boat .. his parents had purchased land here in 1947 .. he also shares our opinion and advises now is the time to enjoy and savor the Exuma Cays before they become completely overrun by the mega-yachts and their hordes of 'tourists' .. he believes there are just too many huge yachts in the area now trying to anchor and visit the same spots ..

we really hadn't made any definite dinner plans and before looking for dinner we visited the Atlantis box office to pick up a couple of tickets for tomorrow's evening show .. OK we really wanted to see Rascal Flats but unfortunately they will not here until the end of August so we had to settle for the Miss Teen USA Show .. at least the photographer in the family should be happy and we have never been to a 'live' beauty pageant so it should be interesting evening ..

.. having a 'yen' for some Chinese fare we decided to try out Chop Stix at the hotel and ended up with pork pot stickers and a lo-mein noodle dish ..  the food was ok but the restaurant was very noisy and it doesn't begin to come close to the food (or service ) at Ichiban our favorite Oriental in downtown Fort Myers .. the highlight of our meal was the adorable little 4-year-old photographer at the next table and his lovely parents visiting from Puerto Rico ..

our evening ended on a somewhat disappointing note as we were looking for dessert and coffee after dinner .. one of our favorite spots has always been the bar lounge at Cafe Martinique .. however when we arrived we were told by the maître 'd that we could only be served at the bar because 'flip flops' are not allowed in the lounge .. Marv's Birkenstocks are not exactly flip-flops but we think it might have also been the bare knees along with the bare toes! .. we elected to pass on the bar service tonight and instead opted to come back another time ( with trousers ) .. as we left it started to sprinkle lightly so we decided to call it an evening and headed back to Dee Light ..
 
yup .. we have tickets
 
Saturday August 02nd - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau .
 
this morning was cloudy with rain off and on .. but mostly on .. the boat traffic in and out if the marina has been almost non-stop the last couple of days .. we think that due to the generally unsettled weather and TS Bertha on the horizon many boats and crew have been repositioning themselves in case there is a blow ..

we generally hung out on the boat until it was time to get ready for dinner .. we had called and made a reservation for a 6:00PM dinner at Olives in the Atlantis Casino
( allowing plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely meal before the show ) .. again it was a very busy night but we were seated within 10 minutes of our arrival and tonight we were seated with a direct view of the kitchen and enjoyed watching the preparations .. just like Chef Gordon Ramsay's show Hell's Kitchen but without the continuous stream of obscenities coming out of his mouth .. just totally professional and super efficient! .. enjoyed a wonderful variation of a crab cake appetizer and butternut squash ravioli ..

after dinner we headed to the Grand Ballroom for the Miss Teen USA Finale Show .. we had great seats .. we were directly behind the crew doing the live TV feed of the show and could watch all the promos and the rest of the 'geek' stuff that goes on behind the scenes ..

pause for a little editorial content .. coming of age in the Gloria Steinem era it was a pretty common thought among my generation that the beauty pageant scene was a throw-back to another era and it didn't really have much relevance in a modern working women's world .. it was with this ambivalent (and admittedly a slightly jaded and superior attitude ) that I attended my first 'live' beauty pageant .. by the evenings end I admit I was totally impressed by the amount of dedication, poise, determination and commitment that is required by these young contestants to get this far in a national competition and then get on stage in front of a live camera to do what they do .. it ain't easy folks!  .. don't get me wrong .. I still believe that these competitions promote a mostly unattainable ideal and genderized model for the average young woman who is unlikely to achieve this level of 'society's definition of beauty' .. however after this evening I do admire the dedication of these young women and the unending support their families provide as they come along to cheer them on ..
.
view this am from our back deck
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
Sunday August 03rd - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
Emancipation Day in the Bahamas ..

1540AM and 105.4FM .. the radio voice of the Bahamas .. before noon all tropical storm watches for TS Bertha were cancelled for the southeastern Bahama islands .. sunshine and partly cloudy blue skies returned to Paradise Island once again ..

being an avid photographer one of our online sites and resources is Nikonians.com for a wide range of photo issues .. it is an invaluable resource and once you post a question you get a myriad of answers back almost immediately ..
during an exchange with another photographer he suggested we vist the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo http://www.ardastra.com during our stay in Nassau .. after a quick google search we asked the office for a taxi and Everett picked us up and delivered us to the front entrance of Ardastra just after 2:00PM ..

located just a couple of miles from downtown Nassau and originally built in 1936 it was featured in a National Geographic magazine spread in 1957  .. it is a 4 acre hidden gem within a very urban landscape and the staff is great .. we went to see the flamingos but we had no idea that flamingos could be trained! .. what a hoot!  .. they put on quite the show while their drill master asked them to stop, pose, do an 'about face' and then 'pick up the pace' as they strutted their stuff around their arena! .. after the show they have complete free roam of the garden grounds and you can continue to interact with them .. the rest of the facility is equally as nice and very interesting with mostly a wide variety of birds, some reptiles and a few mammals .. they have certainly packed a lot into the 4-acre site and we enjoyed our afternoon immensely ..

Ardastra closes at 5:00PM so at 4:30 we called Everett our taxi driver to pick us up .. we had talked with Clay ( our friend who lives in Nassau ) and we arranged to meet at the Poop Deck for a drink and dinner .. unfortunately Rita-Kay is back in Texas visiting her Mom so she would not be joining us tonight .. one of The Poop Deck's speciality dishes is whole fried fish ( usually Snapper ) Bahamian style with the head and tail attached .. they bring the whole raw fish to your table on a platter so you can 'inspect the catch' and decide if that is what you want .. cooked it comes out with a very thin and very crispy crust and inside is the most moist and succulent fish you can imagine .. one of these days just got to find out how they cook a fish like this!

when we returned to the boat we found Autumn watching the first pre-season football game on TV .. NY Giants v. Buffalo Bills .. wow! NFL football is finally back!
 
many boaters on the move today
Monday August 04th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
Emancipation Day Holiday Monday

with many shops closed for the 'official' Monday holiday we decided to wait until Tuesday to do some shopping .. Clay dinghied over to Atlantis and Dee Light .. he brought his new computer with him and we spent the afternoon helping Clay to update and reload the Nobel-tech Navigation software onto his new computer .. when it comes to computers it seems it is never an easy or fast process .. however it appeared that the updates were successfully loading so Clay left his computer with us overnight in order to finish up everything and to test it out ..

later in the evening we walked up and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner at The Point overlooking the harbor with a really nice evening breeze ..
 
 
shopping
 
 
 
dinner with Clay
 
 
Tuesday August 05th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
in the morning Clay stopped by to pick up his computer ( now completely updated with the navigation program ) and said he would be sure to check it out this afternoon to make sure everything was running properly .. we made plans to meet at Cafe Matisse for dinner later ..

after Clay left we called our trusty taxi driver Everett for a ride downtown .. our first stop was the Bahamian Hand Prints Boutique & Factory .. as we got out of the van Everett said he would wait for us .. it was a great stop because we found 5 pillows that we thought would look perfect in our stateroom to compliment our new headboard addition we had previous purchased in Harbour Island .. and as a bonus they were on sale at a great price! .. it is a terrific shop with some really nice home decor items, clothing, handbags and accessories and fabric yard goods with everything hand printed in their adjacent factory and sewn on site .. www.bahamahandprints.com .. 

after we left the boutique with packages in hand Everett said we were welcome to leave our purchases in his van while we did some more shopping downtown ..
and of course our first stop was the ice cream shop for a little extra energy .. we then headed for the Blanc du Nil clothing store .. all the merchandise is cotton and white and only $35 per item and we picked out a couple of nice shirts and a sleeveless top and sweater .. after that we also made a visit to the Straw Market and then had to stop in at Señor Frog's for a cold drink and amused ourselves watching the cruise passengers party-hearty while dancing the Macerena with multi-colored balloons stuck on their heads and those bright yard-long plastic drink glasses in their hands .. what a gold-mine!

after a little more shopping we ended up at the liquor store for a couple of nice bottles of wine and some basic stock-up items for the liquor cabinet in order to take advantage of the great duty-free prices here in Nassau .. by now we began to think of Everett as our private limo driver .. he picked us up on the corner of the liquor store for the ride back to Atlantis and we asked him to pick us up for dinner at Cafe Matisse later .. www.cafe-matisse.com ..

when we arrived at Cafe Matisse Clay was already waiting for us and we opted to be seated in the comfortable air-conditioned dining room for dinner .. we had never seen octopus soup before on a menu and had to give it a try .. was very similar to a conch chowder ( perhaps with a bit more tomato ) and was quite good .. we shared a special of pasta carbonara accompanied by a large plate of a variety of grilled vegetables and the best part last .. creme brûlée with ice cream and a great cup of fresh brewed coffee ..
 
 
Wednesday August 06th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
it was a rainy morning and a fairly dreary day so we spent most of our time around the boat .. the rain finally cleared out before dinner so we walked over to the Hurricane Hole Marina to check out The Green Parrot for a bite to eat .. it had been a couple of years since our last visit and we noticed that the property had really deteriorated during that time .. it's obvious that little or no money has been put into the restaurant or docks and it is now really is showing its age and lack of maintanence .. however they still serve great onion rings and the wait staff is prompt and very friendly ..
 
water taxi to Nassau to do some shopping
 
Thursday August 07th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
we took the water ferry into downtown Nassau .. we liked the shirts and tops that we bought at the Blanc du Nil shop so much we went back to pick up a couple more items for each of us .. the rest of our time was spent mostly window shopping, an ice cream stop and we found a really nice new restaurant .. Via Japon .. it is located right across the street from the cruise ship entrance and has a beautiful sophisticated decor with a comfortable outside seating area and free wifi to boot .. we only stopped in for a cold drink but looking at the selections they delivered to the next table we will seriously consider going back to try them out for lunch or dinner sometime .. wish we had known about this place when the Edmiers were here on their cruise  ..
 
a day at the Water Park
 
 
 
photos albums - every day we post a daily photo album .. to view all of the photos for each day click on the small daily photo icon located in this column 
 
 
 
Friday August 08th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
our afternoon was spent at the Atlantis water park .. the Lazy River was an absolute mob scene but had a hoot watching all the kids (big and little) having a blast of a good time and we just sat back on our float tube and went along with the flow of humanity .. and since we were too lazy to get off our tube we ended up going around twice!

Atlantis is a great place for a family vacation and to bring kids of all ages as they offer such a wide variety of things to see and do .. and it seems that as often as we visit we still find ourselves stumbling on to new places .. today we took a different route from the hotel entrance and found the Blu Lagoon Pool with a full service bar and grill .. the tempo is a little more adult and relaxed and the DJ spins nice tunes you can still understand the words to! ..

it appears to us that the recent advertising and promotions have obviously paid off for them as this year we have seen the most people ever during August and this must be the last blast before school starts .. while we were downtown yesterday we ran across another Nikon 'shooter' and stopped to talk shop .. turns out he and his wife are from Kuwait and flew from Kuwait to Washington DC and now are on the Carnival Cruise out of Baltimore .. we also met a nice couple on the water ferry visiting from the Netherlands ..

..and while the marina was pretty empty during the first part of the week by the time we returned to our boat most of the slips were again filled with new arrivals .. we also had a nice surprise on our way back when we ran into Capt Bruce and Sheila from the Beacon Won  .. they had just arrived at Atlantis and were docked in the slip right next to us! ..

during our trip to the water park we noticed Virgil's BBQ and decided we had a taste for some BBQ ribs and made reservations for dinner tonight .. holy cow! ..  we ordered the trash ribs from the appetizer menu and our waiter brought a heaping plate of meaty and very tender riblets  ..  if you ever had these at Applebee's this is what they are except bigger and meatier  ..  took over half home in a doggie bag and know Autumn will be especially happy to see us tonight .. we also recommend the mac 'n cheese and the coleslaw sides ..

we topped off our evening at the Cafe Martinique bar for our favorite dessert of coffee with bananas foster prepared table-side .. oops - that is bar-side as they still didn't let us sit in the living room to have dessert .. we are thinking people must have abused the privilege somehow because this time we made sure we were properly attired! ..
 
Beacon Won heading up North
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Potters Cay
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Captain Bruce and Sheila
 
Saturday August 09th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
since we had a fairly 'late night on the town' we had a leisurely breakfast and used the morning to catch up on our photos and the log ..

yesterday we were invited to join Capt Bruce and Sheila on Beacon Won tonight for their annual End-of-Season and Farewell Party at the Nassau Yacht Haven Marina  .. after completing 25 charter trips to the Exumas with Beacon Won this summer they will be leaving Nassau this weekend .. after a stop in the Abacos they will take Beacon Won back to South Carolina to finish the renovation work and install the two new sailing masts and rigging this winter in preparation for next summer's charter season ..

before meeting up with Beacon Won at Yacht Haven we met up with Clay for a late lunch at Potter's Cay .. Potter's Cay is most definitely a 'locals' place' .. located under the twin bridges connecting Nassau with Paradise Island it is a colorful collection of cobbled-together shacks with electricity provided by portable generators and serving fresh caught fish, conch and other native dishes .. and lots of colorful frozen alcoholic beverages too! ..  also since all the cargo ships and freighters use Potter's as a port of call you usually can get fresh produce from thru-out the Caribbean islands from stands that line the street ..

after dodging the many portable gas powered ( and noisy ) generators with their snaking orange extension cords that crisscross the road we checked out the various stands lining both sides of the road and ended up at one of the more 'up-scale' establishments with 'inside seating' which overlooked the harbor and had a bit of breeze .. Twin Brothers Seafood and Daiquiris .. grouper fingers, fried potato wedges and conch fritters .. we also watched as the young man on the outside deck prepared us a take-away order of fresh tropical salad ( basically conch salad with the addition of mango and pineapple ) to bring along to Sheila for the get-together on Beacon Won ..

after leaving Potter's Cay we hopped onto one of the local buses (  $1.25 ) for the short ride down to Yacht Haven Marina where we stopped in at The Poop Deck .. and when the bartender brought us the plate of complimentary happy hour conch fritters we quickly offered them to a young family from Delray Beach who had just walked in the door .. the mom said 'thank you - my husband LOVES conch fritters'!

after a quick drink we wandered down to the end of the dock where Beacon Won was moored and joined the group for - yep you guessed it - yet more food!  .. the crew had laid out an awesome buffet in their galley and Bruce was busy tending to chicken wings in his famous turkey deep-fryer on the dock .. it was a fun evening catching up and touring their boat and because we were not able to get back to Compass Cay this summer where we usually have dinner with them we were so pleased that we had a chance to spend some time with Bruce and Sheila before we all left the area ..

after watching a beautiful and almost full super moon rise over the bow of Beacon Won we wished them a safe voyage and took a taxi back to the marina .. after checking on Autumn and the boat we walked up to The Point to check out what looked to be an interesting boat that had docked at the very first slips at the entrance to Atlantis  .. imagine our surprise when we rounded the corner and caught sight of the 154' US Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark sitting at the dock!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USCGC_Paul_Clark_(WPC-1106)

while enjoying a nightcap and key lime pie at The Point our bartender told us she is docked here for some brief R&R for the crew .. nice duty under a full moon!
.
another great day
 
Sunday August 10th - The Marina at Atlantis Nassau ..
 
our last full day at Atlantis .. and it is hot hot hot! .. even the dock assistant who gave us a ride in the golf cart agreed this is the hottest August they have seen in some time and the heat really zaps away your energy .. so we suppose it is time to head back to the States and watch it rain for a month or so ..

our driver dropped us off at the little shopping center across the street and we walked over to the liquor store and then shopped for some Bahamian Music CDs to take home with us .. over the summer months we often tune into the local radio broadcasts on the Voice of the Bahamas Radio .. AM 1540 and FM 105.4 as they broadcast all throughout the Bahama Islands and it is a good source of weather, local happenings, the prayer hour and a smattering of local politics .. plus the music is a really good selection of old and new Bahamian recordings .. we found a nice CD by music legend Ronnie Butler .. however had no luck finding one of the songs we were looking for .. 'Stop the World & Let Me Off' by Ezra Hepburn .. so far the only place we can locate it is on YouTube .. http://youtu.be/5dHxiQJqJi8 .. now just need to figure out how to get it on the IPod! ..

after we returned to the boat to check on Autumn we changed and enjoyed some pool and hot tub time at the pool area located right by the marina  .. by the time we got there the sun was now a little lower in the sky and we found a couple of nice lounge chairs in the shade to chill out with a cold drink .. The Point bartender makes an excellent frozen Margarita and we decided to have our last dinner while at Atlantis right there while we watched the full super moon rise over the Sidney Poitier Bridge behind us along with the honeymoon couple at the next table!
 
 
our last morning here
 
 
 
 
our crossing
 
 
Monday August 11th - Nassau to Miami ..
 
we checked out and left the dock at Atlantis at 08:15 AM .. after we entered the main channel we radioed Nassau Harbor Control for permission to leave the west end of the harbor and found ourselves traveling with 2 other motor yachts in the same direction .. on the VHF we heard something about 'a pilot and the Disney Dream' .. sure enough .. just as we were approaching the last set of markers to leave the harbor here comes the huge cruise ship Disney Dream around the corner! .. Needless to say 3 boats quickly did an about-face and idled about until she passed us by and the control boat waved us on .. it was about 08:45 when we finally cleared Nassau Harbour ..

our original plan was to stop at Bimini to check out the new Resorts World complex and Casino (formerly Bimini Bay) that they have been working on for the last several years .. however before we left the dock this morning we had a new Tropical Weather Report which showed some active tropical development just off the African coast and headed west and potentially to the Gulf of Mexico ... as we discussed our options in the coming days we knew this was an ideal day to make the crossing to Miami .. dry air, blue sky with fluffy clouds and most important calm seas! .. with a couple more systems in the hopper we didn't want to take a chance of getting hung up in either Bimini or the Keys so even though we got a later start than usual we played the part of the 'prudent mariner' and decided to continue on to the Miami Beach Marina .. the weather and seas for the crossing could not have been better for a great crossing .. then we arrived at busy port of Miami just in time to stay out of the path of 3 cruise ships setting sail out of Government Cut .. UFFDAA!

we finally got docked at 06:45 PM and were too late to take on fuel as the fuel dock was already closed .. but our dockhand Griffin was super and had us tied up and our water and electric hooked up in a heartbeat ..

we try to comply with all the Customs and Border protocol and in theory all we need to do is to make a phone call and give them our SVRS (Small Vessel Reporting System) Float Plan Number and they in turn are supposed to give you an arrival and clearance number since all our info is supposedly already in their computer .. we knew when the polite young voice on the telephone started asking some additional questions that we were in trouble .. Yep .. it seems when the Master of the Vessel renewed his passport the new number didn't get into their system and he will need to go in person to the Homeland Security Office at the Port of Miami to get his passport info updated .. we tried the 'oh but we are old and decrepit gambit' but he didn't buy it and said he didn't have access to the 'system' to make the changes .. he suggested we could come by tonight as they weren't very busy and were open until 10:00 PM .. DOUBLE UFFDAA! .. after a long day on the water all we wanted tonight was a nice shower, dinner and bedtime - not a cab ride to the Port of Miami ..  besides we had a whole 24 hours to report! .. and dinner was only was a short walk over to Monty's for a hot and comforting bowl of She Crab soup ..
 
the crew from the boat next to us
 
 
 
 
our welcome back .. see dialog
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
dinner at
 
 
 
 
Tuesday August 12th - Miami Beach Marina, Florida..
 
after a long day yesterday we slept in and awoke to a nice rain shower which rinsed away most of the salt from yesterday's trip .. surprisingly Dee Light is still quite clean after the superb washing Mario gave her at Atlantis a couple weeks ago ..

we adjusted the lines and fenders and added a couple additional lines to compensate for the tidal current that runs though the marina and as we were on the dock we had a chance to meet our dock neighbors .. we were given the royal treatment when the captain offered to deliver breakfast to us .. seems as their chef had leftovers from their charter guests and didn't want to just throw it out .. wow! .. she had prepared little elegant individual egg, sausage and potato casseroles in a puff pastry shell, mango pancakes and crispy fried bacon which we thoroughly enjoyed on our aft deck .. Autumn must have thought she was still asleep and dreaming! ..

finally we bit the bullet and got ready and got our docs together for our trek to the Customs Office at the Port of Miami .. we grabbed a cab on the street outside of the marina entrance .. there must have been a bit of a 'language barrier' as all of sudden we noticed we were headed for Fort Lauderdale .. 'Oh I thought you said you wanted to go to Port Everglades' .. Nooooo - the Port of Miami .. either that or he wanted to jack up the fare and was quite successful in doing so .. welcome to Miami! ..

we finally arrived at Terminal H (as instructed) which turned out to be a temporary tent structure for the Resorts World Bimini Fast Ferry but it is right next door to the permanent 2-story building housing the Homeland Security's offices .. Whew! .. Paid the driver and sent him away and up the elevator we went ..

we walked into a typical 'government office' with plain vanilla walls and plastic waiting area chairs but since there were no cruise ships docked at present it was also NOT busy .. we were greeted by a smiling very pleasant officer from the other side of a glass window with the requisite slot and presented all our 'stuff' .. we think he might have tried to stump us by asking us for our Customs Decal Number but .. AHHHAA! .. we were ready with the answer ..

after all the computer stuff was finished they then asked the 'Master of the Vessel' to accompany another officer behind the security doors and he was electronically fingerprinted! .. we didn't ask why and just figure it's the world we live in today .. obviously you can run but you sure can't hide! ..

OK we were good to go .. now how do we get back to the marina? .. although another officer gave us the phone number of a taxi company we had noticed a little restaurant on the side of the street opposite the cruise ship terminal and decided to walk over for something cold to drink and thought it might be easier to catch a taxi there .. as we reached for the door (with a hole where the doorknob should be) we were pleasantly surprised to walk into a very clean, airy and well appointed dining area with an outdoor patio and community pool behind it! .. after purchasing our drinks we asked the proprietor if there were any taxis around .. he told us no - they will not come out to the Port if there are no cruise ships and it would be easiest for us to walk across the bridge and then catch a cab on Biscayne Blvd/US 1 when we reached the base of the bridge ..

after our hike over the bridge we walked into the lobby of the Holiday Inn right on Biscayne Blvd and the concierge kindly waved down a taxi for our trip back to Dee Light .. that was enough of an outing for the day and the A/C on the aft deck felt perfect for an nice afternoon nap and the local Fort Myers news which we had Direct TV switch over for us earlier in the day ..

after a nap and shower we felt rejuvenated enough for the 1/2 mile walk along the waterfront park to Smith & Wollensky for dinner .. with the sun setting and enough of a breeze to keep it comfortable we elected to sit outside on the water .. with another great sunset it is also a good spot for people watching while we split a ribeye steak with sautéed onions and mushrooms and even shared a couple of tidbits with the resident waterfront cats .. walking back to the boat we stopped at Texas de Brazil to inquire about dessert and coffee and were shown into their bar lounge where the waiter brought out a beautiful tray of desserts .. we picked out the bananas foster cake with vanilla ice cream and alongside was a banana that had a caramelized sugar crust like creme brûlée .. it was absolutely delicious! ..
 
last day at the Miami Beach Marina
  
Wednesday August 13th - Miami Beach Marina, Florida ..
 
stayed in port on the boat getting ready for the last legs of our trip .. checked engine fluids, took out garbage, cleaned up the refrigerator leftovers etc .. we then spent the evening strolling Ocean Drive on South Beach after first having dinner at Hosteria Romana on Esplanano Way .. we are sure there are those who would say there are better Italian restaurants on South Beach but we really enjoy the atmosphere provided by the singing and very handsome waiters while watching all the pedestrian street traffic from a sidewalk table ( Esplanano Way is closed to vehicle traffic so everyone walks, bicycles or skateboards ) .. and they also pour a fine Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine by the glass .. after dinner and a short walk down Ocean Drive and taking in the street entertainers we finally stopped in at Lario's - Gloria and Emilio Estafan's restaurant - and had a coffee and dulce de leche ice cream before grabbing a taxi ride back to the marina
 
underway to Marathon
 
Thursday August 14th - Marina to Marathon Florida..
 
we were up at 06:30 AM and after a quick cup of coffee we were ready to untie Dee Light from her slip and were on the fuel dock at 07:25 AM .. by the time we were done fueling and off the dock and cleared Government Cut it was just 08:35 .. not too bad ..

we again picked a great travel day .. winds about 5-10 from the SSW and seas less than a foot .. except for having to dodge a maze of lobster traps the last half of the trip it was uneventful ( just the way we like it )  and we arrived at Pancho's Fuel Dock at 03:15 PM after 7 hours running time .. we again took on fuel as it would too tight for comfort if we tried to make it all the way into Fort Myers tomorrow without refueling ..

Debbie and Ed - our friends on Any Excuse who we met over the summer - called us on our cell phone around  01:00 PM while we were underway and we made plans for them to pick us up at Pancho's at 06:30 PM For dinner ..
 
we met Ed and Debbie at the bar at Castway's Restaurant located right at the entrance to Pancho's .. our original plan was to go to Marathon YC for their Pub Night but after they arrived and ordered a drink we decided to stay for dinner at Castaway's instead since they had lion fish on the menu and none of us have had an opportunity to give it a try .. also Castaways has really upgraded their restaurant since our last visit and even have white tablecloths and live music on their outside patio area .. the lion fish was prepared very nicely but we all concluded that it is pretty much on the bland side with not much of a distinctive taste at all .. probably good for kids and people who don't really care for the taste of fish ..
 
where is Marco ? ..
 
Friday August 15th - Marathon to Marco, Florida..
 
UFFDAA! .. it turned into a very long long long day with the Captain concluding that he would not want to be trawler owner ..

we left the dock first thing at 07:00AM on a dead low tide dodging a few lobster traps as we headed for the Seven Mile Bridge .. it looked to be a good travel day weather-wise with calm seas and we set our course for Fort Myers Beach ..

along with previously losing our salon A/C blower earlier this month upon leaving Miami Beach Marina we have been having an issue with a corroded and leaking fitting on our A/C water pump and have been babying it along .. this morning the pilot house A/C unit also decided to bite the dust .. we thought ok no big deal .. we will take care of the whole system after we reach Legacy and had already put in a call for service on our return ..

we had been cruising along nicely for about 3 hours at 17+ knots and around 10:00AM Marv commented 'everything seems to be going perfect' .. shortly after the first mate heard a 'beep beep beep' and says what's that? .. dang! .. the engine coolant level light is blinking on the port engine panel .. we immediately shut the engine down while Marv went down to the engine room and Carol attempted to keep us on a straight course line with only one engine .. we finally determine that we have ruptured a hose to our internal engine cooling system which means no coolant and therefore no engine .. Ugh! .. Dee Light was not designed to handle well on only one engine and with our power steering pump also located on the port engine it was going to be a very loooong day on the water traveling at 7.5 - 8 knots and hand steering the entire way .. oh yea .. did we mention we lost our pilot house A/C too?! ..

we were almost halfway between Marathon and Marco Island just off Cape Sable when we lost the port engine and wanted to immediately call our mechanic to ask if it was possible to run with just the raw water cooling .. of course we had no cell phone service .. after skirting with a couple of storm cells off Cape Romano it wasn't until 2:00PM when we were about 20 miles from Marco that phone service returned and we were able to reach Wendall .. unfortunately he told us NOT to run the engine without the coolant as this would cause additional problems ..

our captain actually considered continuing past Marco but the skies were looking dark and ominous to the north so the first mate decided it was time to pull out the Waterway Guide and scope out our docking options .. we quickly phoned the dockmaster at The Marina at Factory Bay .. explained our situation and he said no problem they could accommodate us with a side tie on one of their t-head floating docks ..

never having been into Marco Island with Dee Light we were a little apprehensive navigating the winding and snaky channel but it actually went much easier and better than we anticipated on the one engine .. just as we approched the Snook Inn we radioed the marina and Mike their dockmaster was waiting on the dock for us and by 4:00 PM we were securely tied to the dock .. hot, very sweaty and very tired but also very glad to be safely in port with most of the heavy rain cells staying well to the north of us ..

after checking in with the marina office and making arrangements with the mechanics to come tomorrow morning it was time for cool showers and a fresh change of clothes .. we found that the nice thing about Marco is with a phone call they will provide free transportation from the marinas to the various restaurants .. we enjoyed an early, delicious and very satisfying dinner at the Snook Inn and then thankfully retired to our cool stateroom for a well-earned good night's sleep .. just as we stepped onto Dee Light the first big heavy raindrops started to fall ..
 
the water hose

 

Saturday August 16th - Marina at Factory Bay, Marco, Florida..
 
about 07:45AM the cell phone rang and Steve with Gulf Marine Diesel said he on his way and would be at Dee Light in about 15 minutes so we took our coffee to the aft deck and waited for him to arrive .. the hose we needed to replace turned out to be sort of an odd-ball size - 7/8ths after checking around and it being a Saturday and not much in the way of parts being available on Marco Island we decided to wait until Monday to complete the repair when Wendall could pick up the correct hose size .. in the meantime we determined what fittings were needed for the A/C pump and they will plan to take care of that at the same time .. so it looks like we have a weekend to spend in Marco Island (we used to call it the land of the 'newly wed and nearly dead!) .. we might even plan to launch the dinghy if the rains stay away! ..

as we left the boat to walk up to the office to let Mike know we would be staying at least until Monday he was on the dock waiting for Sea Tow to bring in a 51 foot SeaRay coming in with no engines and a Halon system that had gone off .. seems it had just come out of the yard in Fort Myers .. and we thought we had problems! ..

returning from the Snook Inn last night we spied a nice looking restaurant on the left side of the road just north of the marina and made reservations for a 07:30 PM dinner at Marek's Bar & Bistro located about a 1/4 mile down the street ..
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a lazy Sunday
  
Sunday August 17th - Marina at Factory Bay, Marco Island, Florida ..
 
since we found ourselves with an extra free day in Marco we just sort of vegged out and enjoyed a 'do nothing' sort of day .. we briefly thought about putting the dinghy in the water to buzz around the island but when we looked out on the bow and saw how neatly and securely she was stowed with the canvas cover buttoned up we had second thoughts considering the amount of time and effort it would require to get it down and put back away again in this heat .. besides it's the off season here on Marco Island and Stan's Idle Hour down in Goodland is closed until October .. so instead we put fresh sheets and pillowcases on the bed and did some more laundry ..

we also thought about dinner plans and considered a couple of other places to eat but again settled on the Snook Inn .. we like their salad bar with pickle barrel and they had a good guitarist/singer playing on the outside patio  ..
 
Autumn is so happy that her boat is getting fixed
  
Monday August 18th - Marina at Factory Bay, Marco Island, Florida ..
 
morning was mostly spent waiting .. Wendel finally arrived with parts in hand a little after 11:00 AM and got right to work replacing the problem hose along with a couple other hoses and clamps while he was at it .. however it was nearly  2:00 PM when he emerged from the engine room and told us to 'fire her up' .. after checking for leaks and the coolant level Wendel pronounced us 'good to go' and as he left Dee Light told Autumn she would be going home now! ..

by this time the afternoon was quickly passing us by .. with still no working pilot house A/C and the late afternoon heat and thunderstorms soon upon us we said the heck with it .. what's another night in Marco and decided to stay and get a fresh start first thing in the morning when it will be cooler traveling .. later we again walked up to the harbormaster's office to pay for another night and to thank Mike for all his help ..  now that we know how to get in here we will certainly consider making it a stop again on our way to or from the Keys ..
 
after making the decision to stay in Marco another evening we got a phone call from a fellow boater who was in the area and also a follower of our Daily Buoy Reports .. Ed was single handedly sailing a boat from Corpus Christie, TX and headed to Key West ..

after dropping the hook a short way across the bay Ed brought his gas propane powered dinghy over to our dock and the 3 of us took our trusty local car service to the Snook Inn for dinner again .. this time we opted to sit in the nice air conditioned inside dining area and had a great time getting to know this new cruising buddy .. we have a friend who dubs these kind of encounters with fellow boaters as 'my 5 minute friends' .. we enjoyed a good meal with some great conversation about boating, cruising weather and life in general ..
 
sunrise at Marco Island

 

Tuesday August 19th - Marco Island to Fort Myers, Florida ..
 
 as we got ready to leave the dock this morning on Marco we watched a very pretty and interesting sunrise thru the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) .. this is a layer of dust and dry air that has come off the African continent and now has covered the area from the Atlantic to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico and brings us redder than normal sunrises and sunsets .. with the dryer air mass the chance of thunderstorms and rains showers diminishes and the temps and heat index also soars .. later today when we returned to Fort Myers we learned a record high temperature was set of 96 degrees ..

we left the dock at 07:45AM and cleared the last channel markers just after 08:00 .. we enjoyed a mostly uneventful trip in less than 6" seas except for the brief time around 10:00 AM  (AGAIN!) when another alarm sounded on our instrument panel .. this was a new one for us that had never gone off before - the high engine room temperature light on the SB engine! .. after checking below and finding nothing out of order ( except for a really hot engine room! ) we concluded that Dee Light was telling us it is just too hot for boating in Florida at this time of year! ..

it was a great feeling when we finally cleared the Sanibel Bridge and entered San Carlos Bay .. we slowed down for the Manatee area and took our time enjoying our cruise up the Caloosahatchee River .. we had expected very little boat traffic as it was a mid-week day, it was hot and school classes had already begun in Lee County .. however due to the SAL it was a clear and sunny day with no thunder bumpers in sight so we actually saw quite a few small runabouts on the river today

we radioed Eric, Legacy's harbormaster and he met us on the dock at 11:45AM .. we were happy to be back safe and sound and Dee Light sure looked good sitting in her slip at our home port ..

our afternoon was occupied with going thru our 'street mail' and Brian with Felix Marine came aboard to fix our leaky A/C pump .. he also fixed the unit on the bridge and found we only needed 2 new blowers for the salon unit which they ordered and will install on Monday .. that evening we met up with Carol's bowling group for dinner at Cibo .. http://www.cibofortmyers.com .. had some great Italian food and got caught up on the local news ..
time for hair cuts
 
 time to head back to our home port
Wednesday August 20th - Legacy Harbour Marina, Florida ..
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this concludes our Bahamas 2014 Cruise Log ..
 
 
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