Split Decision

Beneteau 36CC

 

 

 

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Split Decision is owned by Herb and Linda DuBois

 Homeport Annapolis, Maryland.   

 

            

Sunday, October 7 - Departed Annapolis Landing Marina with crew Herb, Linda,  son Ryan (19) and Nate (9 month old Miniature Australian Shepherd).  Ultimate goal is to winter in the Abacos.   We anchored in the harbor at Solomon’s lsland, VA for the night.  We are trying to get Nate to do his “Walkies” on the boat.  It has been 12 hours now and still no luck.  

Monday, October 8 – Late start because we needed to refuel.  Linda took Nate ashore, he was very relieved.  It was another day with southerly winds and we motored all day.  We were so tired after we anchored in Fishing Bay (near Deltaville, VA) that we didn’t want to cook.   We finally had success with Nate using his Pup Head at 3:00 AM.  We had problems with the genset and will need to get it fixed somewhere.  

 

Tuesday, October 9 – Before we left, after an hour of encouragement,  Nate used his pup head again.  He was very relaxed after his success.  Hopefully, this will get easier.  

 

Linda and I spotted our first school of dolphins this morning.  Later in the day, we were passed by this small submarine heading into the Norfolk Naval Base.

 

We stayed at Tidewater Marina in Portsmouth, VA for four days to get the generator fixed.  This was a very nice marina located at Mile Zero of the Intercoastal Waterway.  Only 1054 miles to go to Lake Worth Inlet where we will cross to the Bahamas.

Saturday, October 13th - We left Portsmouth  and proceeded into the Dismal Swamp Canal.  These are some pictures of us going through the lock system that lifted us eight feet above sea level into the canal.

 

We spent Saturday night at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center just across the North Carolina state line.  We met a really nice group of people from Catalina Fleet 30 and traveled with them the next day.   

Photo Courtesy of Catalina Fleet 30

 

The Dismal Swamp Canal was really beautiful.  

 

Our next stop was Elizabeth City where cruisers are welcomed with free dockage and volunteers to help you tie up in your slip. 

 

The Fleet 30 group graciously invited us to join them at dinner that evening in Elizabeth City.

Photo Courtesy of Catalina Fleet 30

 

This is the beautiful sunrise that greeted us as we left Elizabeth City.

 

We spent the next 10 days traveling through the Carolinas.  Many beautiful houses on the Intercoastal Waterway.  This is one of my favorites.

 

 

We had pleasant anchorages with great weather.  We went right through Thunderbolt, GA outside of Savannah on the Wilmington River.  This is a picture of the riverfront of Bonaventure Cemetery where the DuBois Family Plot is located.

 

We stopped in Brunswick, GA to allow tropical storm Noel to pass.  We then continued into Florida where we were able to visit for a couple of days with family in Jacksonville.  

We had dinner with Herb's Family the first night and with Linda's family the second.  We borrowed Anna's van and caught up on our shopping.  We continued south passing St Augustine the next day.  Here are some shots of the waterfront.

We anchored for the night near Ft. Matanzas south of St Augustine.  It was a beautiful spot.  This is a shot looking out of the inlet.  We were anchored right next to the fort.

We continued south and spent about a week in Vero Beach waiting for a weather window to cross over to the Bahamas.  The day before Thanksgiving, we moved down to Lake Worth Inlet near West Palm Beach and crossed to the Bahamas on Thanksgiving Day.

We started moving at about 2:45 AM and crossed over into the Little Bahamas Bank at about Noon.  The trip was bumpy all of the way over.  Nate was glad to get out into the cockpit for some fresh air and rest.  Note the color of the water.

We decided to stop on the Bahamas Bank and let Ryan swim for a few minutes.

 

We continued to travel until 8:00 PM when we anchored near Great Sale Cay (pronounced key).  We anchored in the dark and were surprised when we found that there were several other boats sharing the anchorage.  We got an early start the next day and motor sailed to Spanish Cay where we cleared customs and immigration.  This is a private island and resort that is almost empty at this time of year.

 

Ryan finally got to fish.  He caught a Mangrove Snapper and a couple of Angel fish.

 

 The water was so clear that the boat almost looked like it was suspended in the air.  You could see the fish swimming around it. 

 

We left Spanish Cay and moved on to Green Turtle Cay.  The town of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay has narrow streets and really cute cottages.  Most of the residents use golf carts to get around.  

 

The colony of New Plymouth was settled during the American Revolutionary War by those who refused to support Independence.  They were called "Loyalists" when they settled in the Bahamas.  This park memorialized those settlers.

 

We anchored out during our stay at Green Turtle Cay and got some good shots of Split Decision at anchor.

 

 

 

We moved on to Marsh Harbor where we staged out of the Conch Inn and Marina.  Beautiful sunsets.

 

 

After our arrival at Marsh Harbor, Ryan and I started SCUBA lessons.  We chose Dive Abaco for our certification and have not been disappointed in the individual instruction that we received.  

Here are some shots from our pool time.  

 

 

Ryan and I are receiving last minute instructions from our instructor, Marvin, before working on our open water dive skills.

 

 

 

 

Ryan and I completed our training with four open water reef dives.  The water was clear and the coral and fish were beautiful.

 

 

Gary and Dana Vance from Caldwell, ID accompanied us on all of our open water dives.  We really enjoyed their company and became friends during their vacation in the Abacos. 

Photo Courtesy of Dive Abaco

 

 

 

The grouper were friendly and allowed us to pet them.  Here Keith, the owner of Dive Abaco and our Dive Master, shares his mask with a local resident.

 

 

 

Ryan  pets another grouper.  We also saw other exotic marine life on our dives.

 

 

 

 

We visited a different site every dive with Keith leading all of them.  He had an amazing knowledge about the reefs we visited and went out of his way to show us around.   This dive was called "The Tunnels".  Here  Ryan and I follow Gary through a passage under the reef.

Photo Courtesy of Dive Abaco

 

 

Our daughter, Terri and her family joined us for a winter vacation.  It was crowded on the boat, but we had fun.  Here is a family dinner with everyone present except Linda who was behind the camera.

 

 

 

The weather was not great during their visit, but we made the best of it.  Here we are on our way to Mermaid Reef for some snorkeling.

 

 

 

We spent a couple of days in Hope Town.  This is a picture of the Lighthouse from the mooring field.

 

 

 

One of the first things we did was visit the lighthouse.

 

 

 

The views from the Lighthouse were amazing.  You can see the channel into the anchorage in the background.

 

 

 

This shot shows Hope Town Harbor with the town in the background.

 

 

 

Split Decision at Hope Town

 

 

 

The girls and Nate enjoyed the beach while the others snorkeled.  I got to be the lifeguard.

 

 

We also visited Great Guana Cay.  You can see waves breaking on the offshore reef.

 

 

 

 

Here Don and the kids snorkel on the 
Beach at Great Guana Cay.

 

 

 

Shortly after Don and Terri flew home, my sister Kathy and her family joined us for a long weekend.  Here they tour the harbor in the dingy.

 

 

Enjoying lunch on the deck at Curly Tails, the marina restaurant.

 

 

 

Curly Tails is named for this native lizard which lives in the foliage around the marina.

 

 

 

We were able to anchor close enough to the reef to snorkel off of Split Decision.

 

 

 

Terry found a large starfish.

 

 

 

Rick, Terry and Nick joined Ryan and I for a SCUBA dive trip with Dive Abaco.

 

 

 

Here the group poses behind a coral formation called the Armadillo.

 

 

We left the Abacos in late January and reentered the USA at Ft. Pierce, Florida.  We continued North to Vero Beach where we left the boat and drove to Jacksonville to visit ill relatives.

 

We later moved Split Decision to Jacksonville, Florida and flew home for two months.

Linda and I returned to Jacksonville and moved Split Decision back to Annapolis.  We were able to sail offshore from Jacksonville to Cape Fear then up the Intercoastal waterway. 

This portion of the trip took only 10 days because of the time we saved with the offshore sail. 

This was the trip of a lifetime, a great adventure for our family.