|s/y Nine of Cups
Eastern Seaboard USA, the Bahamas & Canada
|Beginning the new year 2001, we were
still berthed at the Charleston Maritime
Center and already had several
commitments. Shane Brinkman, a family
friend celebrating his Master's Degree,
was to meet us at the end of January in
West Palm Beach, FL to crew with us to
the Bahamas. His parents and sister
would join us later in Marsh Harbour,
Abacos for a week. We needed to
make ready and get trekking… but not
too fast! After all, we’re on a boat.
But first things, first. One of the great
things about Charleston, in addition to
the city itself, is its proximity to other
charming cities like Savannah. Although
we could have sailed there, we didn’t.
We drove to Savannah to have our life
raft recertified and while there, had the
opportunity to play tourist.
|“The Waving Girl” is one of Savannah’s
most famous statues, depicting an actual
woman who greeted arriving ships for 46
years anticipating the return of her lover.
|Installation of the wind generators and
solar panels was completed just before
we left Charleston. Our take pertaining
to anything on a boat: “Nothing’s ever
easy and nothing’s ever cheap."
|We met Fay & Doug Grimm at the Charleston Mari-
time Center aboard their little 32’, “Nip and Tuck”.
We chanced to meet up with them again in West Palm
Beach. Doug’s sister, Judy, invited us for dinner and
gave us fruit from her trees to take on our trip.
|Charleston, SC - 32N47 / 079W55
|Lake Worth, FL - 26N77 / 080W05
|We left Charleston on January 24th, 2001
for our 4 day, 400 mile passage to Lake
Worth in the West Palm Beach area. It
was freezing cold, the wind was 25-35K
all the way, the waves were big, and we
were seasick. All in all, a memorable
passage only because of its uncomfortable
nature. But we survived, arrived a few
pounds lighter (that’s a plus) and soaked
up the sun and warm temperatures. It
took us about a nanosecond to shed the 6
layers of clothing including long johns in
favor of short and teeshirts.
Shane arrived around midnight on January
31st and took a cab to a nearby marina
where David met him with the dinghy.
(Remember: Nothing is easy on a boat!).
|Rafting up with "Nip 'n' Tuck"
|Great Harbour Marina - Berry Islands, Bahamas - 25N75 / 077W86
|The weather window for crossing the Gulf
Stream was good, so we left the next day (Feb
1, 2001) to make the overnight passage to the
Bahamas and the Berry Islands.
Shane turned out to be a good sailor and an
amiable crewmate. He stood watch, helped
navigate and taught us several new card games
including Duck which kept us occupied on
|Our first port of call was Great Harbour in the
Berry Islands where we would clear
Customs. The entrance to the cut was very
narrow and all unknown territory, but we
managed just fine.
|Cups berthed at Great Harbour Marina
|The marina had a huge mountain of conch shells
and Shane was intent on taking home a conch
shell with him. He rifled through the lot to find the
best one…he also found the second best one and
brought it back for Marcie.
|Ahh...another little dragon to be slayed!
We had never cleared Customs before in a
foreign country and weren't quite sure what
the correct procedure should be nor what to
expect. The marina staff took it all in stride
and arranged a visit from the Customs official.
We presented boat papers, a pet permit for
Jelly and our passports and along with $100,
we were cleared in for a three month stay with
permission to fish. Voila...another dragon
down, just like that!
|We island hopped in the Berry Islands rowing the dinghy ashore when we felt like it to explore.
Norwegian Cruise Lines uses Great Stirrup Cay as its fantasy island. We landed on the opposite
side of the island to check it out. The Great Stirrup Cay Lighthouse built in 1863 was neat, but not
functional. The airport sign was our favorite sight: arrow pointing up "departure"...arrow pointing
|Great Stirrup Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas - 25N82 / 077W92
|Marsh Harbour is considered a pretty good
sized town by Bahamian standards, but it was
quite small and walking from end to end of the
town was not difficult. One morning we
arrived at the dinghy dock to find a truck
parked in the middle of the harbor. It never
moved while we were there and may have
become a permanent fixture for all we know.
|The beaches in the Bahamas are awesome.
The water is warm, clear and aquamarine.
We found deserted beaches and walked for
miles, it seemed, beachcombing and
delighting in the beauty of it all.
|We noted these jelly-fish looking critters
floating in the water with what appeared to
be little sails sticking up providing a neat form
of locomotion. We captured one to observe
it more closely and named it a “Sail Jell”. It
is, of course, a Portugese Man of War. Duh!
|Marsh Harbour, Abacos Islands, Bahamas - 26N54 / 77W05
|Shane left us in Marsh Harbour, Abacos
and his parents, Kent & Marlys and 7-year
old sister, Amy, met us there. The
Brinkman-Davis’are old friends and it was
their first time on a boat and first vacation in
several years. We snorkeled, walked,
played cards (they taught us how to play
canasta), read, visited and generally relaxed.
|Amy enjoyed being on the boat and decided
to be helmsman for awhile.
|Because the anchorage is so shallow
in Hopetown, we took the Albury
Ferry to Hopetown. Above,
Hopetown Lightr. Below, the view
from the observation platform at the
top of the lighthouse was spectacular.
|“Potcakes” , stray dogs, were everywhere in
Marsh Harbour trying to find a place to stay
cool in the heat. “Potcats” were also in vast
number and local cruisers contributed funds
to house, feed and neuter unwanted animals.
|Dry Tortugas National Park - 24N60 / 82W80
|Our time in the Bahamas was much too
short. We needed to get to Key West to
meet David’s brother, Paul. We crossed the
Gulf Stream to Miami and anchored off
Government Cut. This skyline of Miami is
beautiful. But after the Bahamas, the noise
level and boat traffic was overwhelming.
Between cigarette boats, cruise liners,
fishermen in the middle of the channel and
regular boat traffic, it was good to find a
quiet anchorage. We daytripped to Key
West anchoring overnight along the way and
made it to Key West in plenty of time for
Paul & Donna’s arrival. We were
celebrating Paul’s 50th birthday. Since they
had limited time to spend with us, we
planned a quick overnight trip out to the
|We toured the fort and walked around the
island. We snorkeled, swam and generally
enjoyed the day.
|A seven-mile-long archipelago of seven low-lying
islands forms Dry Tortugas National Park, a bird
and wildlife sanctuary. Fort Jefferson, a relic of
19th century, sits in the middle of this tranquil area
and it's nearly overwhelming to see it on the
horizon in the middle of nowhere as you approach
(Aerial Photo: National Geographics)
|Paul was also anxious to try his hand at
deep sea fishing.
|Fort Jefferson is the most southern park in the
U.S. National Park System and for many years
was also a prison. This is where Dr. Mudd
was sent for incarceration after he treated John
Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin.
|While Marcie was on watch, she noticed
the boat was a bit sluggish. On arrival at the
Tortugas, we found “6 miles of foul”
wrapped around our prop. David & Paul
worked long and hard to cut away the line.
|Key West, Florida - 24N34 /081W49.50
|The Dry Tortugas are “dry” in that they have no
fresh water supply and the “tortugas” are the
large sea turtles which inhabit the area.
|No trip to Key West is complete without
at least one or two drinks at the Hog’s
Breath Saloon on Duval Street. We
managed to watch a sunset or two at
Mallory Square, shop, have lunch at the
Hard Rock Café, have a couple of beers
at Rick’s and generally play tourists, then
it was time for them to leave.
|Paul’s 50th. The plan was to stay out late, drink
and get rowdy. We all managed to stay awake till
around 10PM, then sleepily headed back to the
boat and went to bed. Something about turning
50, I guess! What a bunch of wimps.
|Cayo Hueso, bone island, was the original
Spanish name for Key West. It was bastardized
when translating it to English.
|Two days later, our friends, Jeff &
Peggy Burandt from Wisconsin, arrived.
It was their first time on a boat, too and
Peggy, God love her for being such a
sport, was sick from the first. We
enjoyed the visit, but kept most of our
activities land-based which suited Peggy
just fine and gave David & me a chance
to see some of the Key West sights
previously missed. Our visits included
Hemingway’s House with his many multi-
toed (polydactylic) cats; Whitehouse
Street with the “birthplace” of Pan Am
Airlines and its huge banyan tree and the
|From Key West, we slowly started
making our way back up North. It was
late March now and we were intent on
having plenty of time to spend in Maine
and Canada this summer. David & I are
still working part time as consultants and
several commitments needed to be met.
We headed towards Charleston as a
base of operations for a month or so
with a few stops along the way including
St. Augustine which we had missed on
our previous trip down.
We're not sure why, but it always seems
we're in a hurry to get somewhere!
|Charleston Maritime Center - Charleston, SC - 32N47 / 079W55
|The center of Key West's historic
waterfront, Mallory Square stages
the famous Key West sunset celebration every
|As always, David took the opportunity to get
some work done on the boat. This time,
varnishing the brightwork…made much easier
by the use of a float borrowed from the
|Arriving at the Charleston Maritime Center was
like arriving home. From the warm welcome on
the VHF announcing our arrival to the hugs on
the dock once the lines were secured, we were
glad to be back.
|The Maritime Center is right on the Cooper
River, a main shipping channel, and next to the
Wallenius terminal. This huge ship carried
BMWs manufactured in North Carolina to
distribution points around the world.
|Theodore Tug managed a visit to the Maritime
Center while we were there. Theodore
Tugboat is a Canadian PBS children's
television series about a tugboat named
Theodore who lives in the Big Harbour
(Halifax, Nova Scotia) with all of his friends.
|David’s Mom, Becky, got a chance to visit
for a couple of weeks. At age 83, with a bad
hip, she did splendidly on the boat and gave
us an excuse to be tourists. Above, a replica
of the USS Hunley…an early submarine
which sunk during the Civil War and which
was recently recovered with all crew aboard.
|Cypress Gardens was really interesting. The
movie, “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson was
filmed here. The Old Spanish Mission
shown here was constructed specifically for
the movie and the set was left in tact and
seems to fit in.
|The Charleston Aquarium is right next door
to the Maritime Center, so it warranted a
visit. This is about as close as I really want to
come to a moray eel.
|We paddled through the swamp and bayou and
saw several alligators and lots of babies.Though
you can't make them out in the photo above,
most of the lily pads had baby gators on them.
|Several tall ships visited the Maritime Center, but
none so interesting as the “Avontuur”. Hailing
from New Brunswick, this 110’ steel ketch, built
in 1911, had only a crew of 3 and still delivered
its freight under sail. They were delivering a load
of angelique wood from Surinam to Charleston
which was to be used to lay the keel for the new
tallship, “Spirit of Carolina”.
|Ship's Cat Loses One Life
One of the crew aboard “Avontuur” was Andy.
While we were away from our boat one day
and Jelly was out visiting, some bad dogs raced
down the dock and caught Jelly off guard. She
was stranded at the end of the pier and forced
to jump into the water to avoid becoming dog
lunch and was not able to get back on land.
Andy noticed her and plucked her out of the
water, thus saving her life.
|Work on the boat continued. There’s
always something to be repaired,
replaced or maintained. Above, David
does maintenance on the windlass,
used to haul in the anchor.
|A view from the top of the mast as David cleaned
and greased the sail slide track, replaced the
anchor light and repaired the bow light. How does
he get to the top? He sits in a canvas boatswain’s
chair with his knees hugging the mast. A halyard
is attached to the chair and Marcie manually hauls
him up the mast using a winch. This is not the time
for David to piss off Marcie…she’s got leverage!
|Hurricane season was fast approaching and
we were ready to head back North. We left
Charleston on May 24th and with only a
quick stop in Beaufort, NC, we once again
headed up the Gulf Stream around Cape
Hatteras destined for Bristol, RI.
Way out in the ocean, markers are few and
far between so sighting the one marking
Montauk Point at the end of the Long
Island, NY was a welcome sight after 560
nautical miles and 6 days at sea. We were
getting close to land.
|Jelly is quite comfortable in Marcie’s lap
|Spend Summer 2001 with us in New
England and maritime Canada.