A Bad Day in Florida is Better than a Good Day Anywhere Else.

Hi Friends!  img_0686We’ve been busy getting our feet wet in the Florida scene and i’m sort of obsessed!  The weather has been flawless – warm; breezy; sunshiny. We’ve had an abundance of visitors and several weekend excursions (another stint in the keys; Palm Beach; Delray).img_0698Tom’s parents joined us last week for a cruise to Key West.  img_0688Our prior visits to Key West were chock-full of bar crawling and boat riding so this time we threw ourselves into the history of the island and, of course, the cuisine scene.img_0703We literally ordered Key Lime Pie at every single restaurant we went to.  While I can’t complain about any of them – Hot Tin Roof had the tastiest, creamiest pie of all! img_0701img_0700The historic Hemingway House was interesting on its face, but our tour guide wonderfully narrated a story line through each room leaving us with a real sense of what Hemingway’s life was like.  Definitely worth the $14! img_0696hemingway collageFrom there, we headed over to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.  What a treasure! (pun intended 😉)  If you have to pick between the two – do the Mel Fisher Museum.  I was genuinely captivated by the story of the Atocha shipwreck and the 16 years of blood, sweat and tears it took to uncover the “mother load”.   This treasure sat on the bottom of the ocean floor for 363 years before it was discovered and now is held in the form of a necklace that Tom gifted to his Mom for her birthday!

img_0694Tonight looks like this:  Popcorn, blogging, wedding planning and mapping out our plans for making our way up the East Coast….Savannah/Charleston we’re coming for you!

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***If you missed the Facebook announcement, our boat is officially FOR SALE!  See the tab at the top of the page for details!

 

Bahamas: The Hit It or Miss It Run Down

Sorry about the lack of blog posts!  Wi-fi is scarce and to be candid, its a lot of the same day in and day out.   See above if you’re wondering what we’re up to on the daily!

We’re now making our way back to the States – traveling each day as the wind/weather permits.  I’m sooo excited to be back in Florida!  It may sound silly, but how many piña coladas can you actually enjoy?  With that being said, here’s our Hit It or Miss It list, island by island, cay by cay!

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1. Bimini:  Hit.  This gem is just two hours off the coast of Florida  AND there’s a (new) legit Hilton hotel that is stunningly beautiful.  There’s a casino, multiple relaxing pools, bars, good wi-fi, a fitness center and several dining options.  Offsite, Big John’s is worth hitting (newly remodeled) and its worth taking a short boat ride over to Honeymoon Harbor  – where you can swim with the stingrays.  We’re told the fishing here is also fantastic…but that also means the water is riddled with sharks!…so maybe not the best diving area?  Not sure, we didn’t risk it.

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2.  Nassau:  Hit.  As mentioned in my previous post, we had an absolute blast at Atlantis.   Everything at the marina is first rate – the service is friendly, the docks are impeccable and the hotel itself is grand in nature.  “Paradise Island” was appropriately dubbed!   On our way back, Atlantis was fully booked so we opted to stay on the other side of Nassau at Palm Cay Marina.  Another little slice of paradise…The marina is new, has the cheapest fuel we’ve seen in the Bahamas and has an excellent staff.  Cars are on site for rental, the area feels fresh and clean and it appears that its only getting better (fitness center and condos under construction).

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3.  Berry Islands:  Miss.  Maybe i’ll get some different opinions here and maybe its a product of having been in the islands for too long and not being able to truly appreciate it but unfortunately, there wasn’t much take away from the Berrys.  The people on the island were incredibly friendly (inviting us to attend a cookout on the beach) and the marina we visited had free bikes and was reasonably priced – but just another 3 hrs. south (see # 5) puts you at the gates to pure bliss….so if we had to do it over again, we’d bypass this stop.


4. Allen’s Cay:  Hit.  Because…iguanas!


5.  Highbourne Cay:  Hit!  Highbourne Cay Marina is what vacation dreams are made of.  Let me start with the surreal water.  I have no idea why, but its a different, more brilliant color than anywhere else we went in the Bahamas.  But once you get into your slip, it just gets better and better.  As you make your way up to the office to check in, the grounds are plush and clean and incredibly inviting.  The staff are friendly and efficient.  The onsite grocery market is seriously the best stocked and cleanest in all of the exumas (yes, better than Exuma Market in Georgetown).  They offer complimentary bikes to explore the island, which you could spend days doing….making your way to Horseshoe Beach (with complimentary beach chairs, kayaks and paddle boards)  or to the Hawk’s Nest – perched on a high point of the island and fully equipped with workout gear (free weights, TRX straps, resistance bands, yoga mats, etc.).  The onsite restaurant is delicious and (true to form) has an amazing view and perfect ambiance. They even have Whispering Angel rosé on the menu!  (score!)

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6.  Norman’s Cay:  Hit.  This was one of my favorite anchorages – it was peaceful and the sunset was unreal.  We had dinner at MacDuff’s.  It was priiiicey but good.

 

7.  Warderick Wells Land & Sea Park:  I’m on the fence about this one.  There’s not much other than the scenery to take in.  We took a decent hike up to the cliffs and Tom did a fair amount of snorkeling but you can’t fish or spear anything on the island, there are no amenities (i.e. restaurants, convenience store, water, ice, power or any trace of cell service).  If you go into knowing this, then it could be fun for a night or two.  We used the opportunity to learn a new card game and lounge under the stars.  No complaints, but not exactly enchanting either.


8. Staniel Cay/Big Major Cay: Hit.  Who doesn’t want to see the swimming pigs??   The Staniel Cay Yacht Club also has a good thing going on!  Friendly staff (Jen, is sweetest!), a fun island vibe and the food is incredible.  Definitely do the evening sit-down dinner!  Its romantic and priced on point.  Its also worth noting that we spotted Bono dining here…Tom was awestruck. 😍

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9. Farmers Cay: Miss. This was a sore disappointment for us.  There’s nothing noteworthy here that you can’t see elsewhere and the docking facilities were in sad shape. Goat photos not taken at “Farmers Cay” but too cute and appropriate not to post! 😂

10. Emerald Bay:  Hit. Tom would harshly disagree with me on this but (!) given that Great Exuma was supposed to be…great…i’d have to say, in my book, this was the shining star of the big island.  The Marina at Emerald Bay is owned/operated by Sandals and it has its act together.  You can purchase day passes to the Sandals Resort or walk directly across the street to Grand Isle Resort for an idealistic beach experience.  The Marina at Emerald Bay has free laundry and free wi-fi…rarities!!


12.  Georgetown: Miss.  I feel a little sheepish saying it but Georgetown was a huge disappointment.  The area is riddled with litter and frankly, everywhere we went we encountered rude staffing – from the grocery store to the restaurants (with the exception of Lumina Point – which I guess is technically Stocking Island, not Georgetown proper).   The hike up to the monument is nice for some physical activity and the happy hour at Lumina Point was refreshing….the cocktails were tasty, the view is on point and the staff seemed genuinely happy to be there.

Life is Simple; Just Add Water

The past few weeks have been insanely indulgent – yet more simplistic than I had imagined this part of our journey would be…


Every part of the trip until now has been somewhat scheduled and full of information and options (i.e. what marina has the most amenities; where to get the cheapest fuel; closest grocery store; best dining options; etc.)  NOT the case in the Exumas!  Most islands have one marina; one restaurant; one “convenience store”; no wifi…you get the idea.  So while its not always luxurious…its relaxing.


Tom even caught dinner a time or two…so we’ve been testing all sorts of lobster recipes! 

So what else?  The PIGS!  I’ve been practically counting the daaaays to get my hands on these little guys.  Turns out, they aren’t so little!  😯



We saved scrap fruits and veggies for a few days prior to our visit, but in hindsight, we didn’t even need the bait.  They’re happy to see you regardless.  I’m secretly hoping that we’ll be able to stop back by on our return trip and that maybe someone will have had baby piglets! 😬

Up next: George Town.  And another friend hoping on board for a few days! See you next week! (wifi permitting!)

Time Well Wasted

The weeks are flyyyyying by!  We left Bimini and made our way to Atlantis – where (obviously) frozen concoctions and water slides ensued.

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After a 4 day childlike binger, we decided to make our way to the Exumas!  We provisioned accordingly in Nassau and untied the lines.  The weather was perfect and the cruising was uneventful…but when we arrived at Highbourne Cay, Tom noticed that something was awry in our engine room. A belt had completely disintegrated while we were underway.

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Thankfully, Tom and Shawn were able to diagnose the problem and get a new belt ordered/overnighted to the nearest airport…so it was ultimately a small hiccup.

Highbourne Cay could only be described as majestic.  The water (if possible) was even prettier than we encountered in Bimini and the Highbourne Cay Marina staff have thought of EVERYTHING you could possibly want in an island retreat.  We hiked; we biked; I got a workout in; Tom napped…and the guys even found time to snorkel and tinker around with their water toys.

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Needless to say, we are having a fantastic time.  (All those locks and days of whining have finally paid off!) 😎

Palm Trees, Ocean Breeze.

We have finally made it to paradise! 🌴  The locks, the murky Mississippi River and my AT&T internet service are all things of the past!  We’re docked in Bimini at The Hilton Resort.  The marina is chic, the sun is shinning, the breeze is warm.   Life doesn’t suck. 😎


Our friend, Shawn, jumped on board earlier in the week while we were in Ft. Lauderdale.  The week in Lauderdale was mostly uneventful in the realm of blog worthy content. Errands (lots of stocking up on our favorite U.S. staples – protein bars, my vitamin stash, beauty products, soda water, etc.)  and routine maintenance to the boat (oil change, windshield wiper repair, washing and waxing).


On Friday morning the weather/wind was ideal for our short jump to Bimini.  We watched the inauguration while we were underway and before we knew it, the turquoise water was upon us.   Margaritas/vino/snacks subsequently ensued and then we started scheming for our Saturday afternoon activities.


The first official day in the in the Bahamas looked like this:

Blogging next from Nassau.  Fingers crossed for more wildlife encounters. (Except for sharks, of course.) 😬 🐬

This Way To The Keys…

Hi!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Yes, in the time that’s passed since my last blog post – we crossed the Gulf, flew to the east coast to visit with my family; flew to Arizona to visit Tom’s family and then made a mad dash to the Keys to celebrate the New Year.  I know I left you in limbo about the crossing, but once our “window” finally appeared – we were on the RUN!  We hopped across the Gulf and beelined to Fort Myers in order to make our flights…and then got caught up in all of the holiday bustle.

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So, to rewind….I wish I could tell you that the crossing was uneventful.  But to be candid, it was exhausting and at times, down right scary.  The wave/wind conditions were ideal (Eddy’s Weather Wag said so!) but no one told us about the dense, dreary, dreadful FOG!

Our usual 25 knot cruising speed slowed to a 8 knot crawl and we ultimately ended up arriving in Clearwater, FL in the dark.

The time with our families was a whirlwind.  Indulgent food, a few hikes, too many Christmas gifts to count…and before we knew it, we were making our way back to Florida for New Year’s celebrations.

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Apparently, booking a slip in Key West happens m.o.n.t.h.s (some times even a year) in advance of a holiday weekend…so in a complete scramble to get plans panned out, Paige at Snag-a-Slip saved the day.  Even sprucing up our celebratory weekend with welcome goodies waiting for us at the marina.   I cannot say enough about the phenomenal customer service these guys offer!

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Arriving in Key West with friends on board and intercepting these goodies turned out to be just the tipping point of an EPIC weekend.

On our second day on the island, we were enjoying cocktails at The Porch when I got a message from a Power & Motoryacht reader who has been following the blog.

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Jen was newly engaged and spending the week on a yacht with her fiancé, Dieter.  They were en route to Key West – and offered to buy Tom & I a round of drinks.

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Drinks turned into dinner…which turned into an incredibly generous invite aboard their 90 ft. Leopard for a New Year’s Eve cruise to Marquesas.

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The boat was beautiful, the weather was gorgeous and a new friendship was born.  It was truly the best way to send out 2016 and embrace all of the possibilities 2017 has to offer.

…The Waiting Game…

Its 6:50 a.m.  Tom nudges me, “the weather report”.

“Okay, yes, one sec.”

I open my eyes, reach for my phone and scroll through the plethora of emails (most of which are holiday “sales”).  There is it, Eddy’s Weather Wag.  I click on it anxiously and read it aloud – morning – after – morning.

Its been nine(!) days since the last weather window for crossing the gulf – and once again, it isn’t looking good.

I toss the phone back into the windowsil and doze back off, hardly noticing in the moment that the boat is rocking in what I would typically describe as “violently”, but somehow at 7am when you’re under the covers and in bed…its rhythmic and soothing.

Now that you’re armed with the above mental picture, we’ve been in Panama City for solid week and it looks like we’ll be settling in for another 6 days.  The current predicted weather “window” is Monday, December 12th.  FINGERS CROSSED!

So how have we been keeping busy?

There was an alligator farm…img_0051img_0061

Dinghy rides…which included a dolphin encounter!dolphins

An epic night at Flora-Bama.  (I met Cam -who owns the Flora-Bama with her husband- while at a MOXIE class while we were docked at the Orange Beach Wharf. She casually mentioned that we should stop by – and i’m so glad that we did!  Cam graciously invited us into her VIP booth with her family -giving us access to the best seats in the house and we had so much fun!)

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A tour of the USS Alabama.battleship

And a short stop in Destin.

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Our *one* regret of the trip so far is that we didn’t make a run for New Orleans.  Had we known we’d be sitting idle for two weeks, we would’ve made the trek but at the time…we didn’t think we had the time to spare.  *sigh*

Sweet Home Alabama

What comes to mind when you think of Mobile, Alabama? While I don’t know what I was expecting…what I got was delightfully delicious! We were only in the city of Mobile for one night but the sensational meal we had at “The Dumbwaiter” left us with a lasting impression. img_0035img_0020img_0016We left Mobile for a quick run across the bay to a small, oh-so-charming town called Fairhope.  We happened to arrive just in time for their Christmas tree lighting!  img_0015It *may* have been 78 degrees…but the streets were bustling with cheer, hot chocolate and even SNOW!!  Its been hard getting into the swing of the holiday spirit with the warm weather, but the vibe in Fairhope made is apparent that the magical season is upon us!  (I will also admit that i’ve been binge watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies!🙈)

We took the next day to clean the boat, do some routine maintenance, and enjoyed watching this guy make countless dives for lunch…img_0021

Our visit in Fairhope was wrapped up with dockside cocktails at Sunset Pointe while we started plotting our next stops through the ICW and across the gulf. img_0033

Blogging today from The Wharf at Orange Beach – its AMAZING and I can’t wait to blog next week – there’s ice skating in our future! Stay tuned!

Bless Your Heart; Good ‘Ole Boy; Fixin’ To; Roger That…

Hey Y’all! We are blogging today from Alabama!  The southern drawl and jovial sayings are a REAL thing and it.is.THICK!  (I love it!)  Its been one of my favorite weeks on the water – the weather is gorgeous, the people are incredibly genuine and the gulf is proving to be more alluring than I could’ve expected.   To rewind a bit…last week we attended the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show.  Tom was like a kid in a candy store. 🍭  We did plenty of yacht lusting and spent some much needed time with friends (which we apparently enjoyed so much that we totally forgot to take any photos…😭).

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From there, we were back on the water making our way down the Tenn-Tom River.img_0014

The boating was uneventful…one winding river that allowed for full throttle cruising and lounging. 

And at our last stop before officially making it to the Gulf, I made a new friend! img_0024picmonkey-collage-2

“Lulu” worked her way into my heart and onto the boat in no time!  Saying goodbye made me yearn for having a pet on board…The sweet company was the best! 🐶

Annnnnd then…Our laaaast lock! (at least the last until we start heading up the east coast next next June) I’m wiggling in my chair as I type it! img_0018

So, with that, we are finally back into a more robust area – lattes, spin classes and salads are abundant and i’m loving every second of it!

More from Mobile, Alabama and the Gulf Shores in the coming days!

See you then!

P.S. – If you didn’t already see it, catch our interview with Power & MotorYacht Magazine by clicking here!

From Music Row to Charm City…and back to the Loop!

Did you miss us?!  It’s been three weeks – sorry for leaving you hanging!  We hopped off the boat for a short rendezvous in Nashville, a week-long respite back in Baltimore aaaand made a quick appearance at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.

We got back to the boat yesterday (currently docked on Kentucky Lake @ Green Turtle Bay)…and the long haul down the Mississippi is a faint memory.  We did Nashville in our true-to-form fashion…with our tastebuds.  Up first:  Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.  Ridiculousness. And then I ate kale the rest of the week to make up for it! 😂  (kidding, sort of.)hattie-bs-collagekale-collage

We browsed Music Row, checked out the Cumberland River and went to the movies (twice).  Its also worth mentioning that it was our first night in a “real” bed since June – and while the Hutton Hotel was beautifully appointed, we actually missed sleeping on the boat!

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After 4 days in Nashville, we were off to Baltimore!  Being back in the house was surreal. Tom and I both dove head first into the two luxuries we’ve missed most since we left house in June.  For me…baking.  For Tom…Xbox Live.  🤓 lemon-pie-collage

We hosted dinner at the house with friends (which allowed for even more baking opportunity), Tom caught up on Canton Car Wash matters, we VOTED! 🐘 🗳 🇺🇸 and before we knew it, we were off to the boat show. (More on that next week).

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We are currently glued to the Election Day media storm, cleaning the boat, catching up on laundry, fueling up…and looking forward to make our way to the Gulf!