The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – a season’s retrospective

This season was full of big changes aboard Strathspey. First and most importantly, we left Strathspey down in Green Cove Springs, Florida over a pretty hot, wet summer; locals tell us that the summer of 2013 was one of the wettest on record. Arriving back in Green Cove Springs in late December we felt guilty when we saw Strathspey’s green, algae-covered decks to say nothing about the heavy grime from the dirty boatyard. After installing all new electronics, a new water maker, a new holding tank and radar and buying a new dinghy we realized our late launch had effectively shortened our cruising season and, most importantly, our cruising range. So, here we are, back in Green Cove Springs, at the end of a cruising season and we take stock….what worked, what didn’t and what would we do differently. It’s mostly good, some bad and some a little downright ugly.

Leaving Strathspey in Florida was good because it meant we didn’t have to slog south for over a thousand miles before finally getting warm. But, and this is a big bad but…..the heavy summer rains in Florida combined with the humidity turned Strathspey’s decks an emerald green. Even uglier, a less than perfect seal in our companion way caused water damage to our beautiful teak and holly floors down below.

Teak and holly floorboards

Our late launch was good because it meant we spent a fun Christmas with our children back in Ottawa. But it was a pretty bad time trying to get Strathspey ready to launch in Florida in January. Sure, it was measurably warmer than Ottawa but it was still cold to be on a boat when the outdoor temps sometimes hovered just over the freezing mark. On top of that it was hard to get a good weather window to cross over to the Bahamas at that time of year. It was a good thing to spend the winter in the Abacos and explore all sorts of new (to us) neat little anchorages and harbours. But it was a bad thing that the Abacos in the winter is soooo windy because you really aren’t far enough south to avoid the continuous cold fronts stretching south. In fact, there were a few fronts where our weather guy, Chris Parker, actually said it was gonna get ugly.

Atlantis Booster Rocket and fuel tank

Our new instruments were an absolute necessity because our chart plotter had failed us in Cuba last year and, given that they were almost 13 years old, it was time to replace them. The bad (well…not really bad but definitely not good) was that there was a big learning curve with these instruments. When we crossed onto the Bahamas Bank and Blair lay down at the end of his watch, I ended up hand-steering for almost three hours in the middle of the night rather than disturbing his desperately needed sleep. I knew how to do a Heading Hold on our new instruments (just continue on this heading forever) BUT I couldn’t figure out how to do a GO TO (pick a point on the chart 20 miles ahead and trust the auto pilot to take care of drift and current and correct your headings accordingly). That meant I had to keep correcting my Heading hold every 10 minutes or so as the current pushed us North. Another good thing about staying in the Abacos for the winter was that we had lots of easy sailing from one anchorage to another rather than a season of destination-driven sailing of long distances. This gave us time to really familiarize ourselves with our new Garmin instruments. Oh and yes…I now know how to do a Go To!

Our new dinghy was a big Ugly disappointment. There is no Good aspect to it. We purchased an Achilles Hypalon soft-bottomed dinghy and, despite our best efforts, we struggled all season to keep that sucker inflated. Blair pumped the air floor up almost every day and the days that he didn’t, we really knew it; the dinghy would go squirrely and cavitate until we would almost come to a complete stop before it recovered. It had a pair of snap-apart oars that were great to store down below in one of our lockers until one of the oars finally seized up and would not come apart at all, making for a big storage problem. The D-ring on the bow actually started rusting after one week of use, which was really surprising. After using our dinghy for this past season, we don’t think this particular model is well-suited for life in the Bahamas or any further south. So, back here in Florida, we’ve returned it to an Achilles repair shop and are hoping to trade it in on a hard-bottomed AB dinghy.

St Augustine sidewalks

Our water maker is good, all good. We love this new addition to Strathspey and can’t imagine cruising without it. We have a Spectra 150 that is rated for 8 gallons an hour. Realistically though, we think it is closer to six gallons per hour. We swim more often, knowing we can have a fresh water shower. We anchor in more remote areas knowing a lack of drinking water won’t drive us back to town. We even, on occasion, before we got sensible, used it to give our toilet a fresh water flush. Now that it is properly plumbed into Strathspey, it’s even better.

Adding two new solar panels was all good as well. This doubled our power to 340 W and, most importantly, put power consumption way down the list of things to worry about aboard Strathspey. We had purchased a Yamaha 2000 diesel generator and tucked it down below in our starboard locker in case the solar panels couldn’t keep up with our power usage but we only dragged that thing out twice and only because we wanted to make water while sitting at anchor. Also, on the power end of things, we replaced all five of our AGM batteries this year and are happy to report that they held a charge without issue, unlike last year when our seven-year old AGMs would not stay charged.

Our new holding tank and new waste plumbing system was sort of good….and sort of not good. The persistent eau de sewage smell from last season was eliminated immediately with these new installations. However, later in the season, it re-surfaced and Blair spent many hours trying to determine where that smell was originating from. He tightened clamps, he applied silicon gel to all fittings, he even spread soap on the inspection plate of the actual holding tank to see if it was leaking. Now, here we are ready to haul-out next week and the smell is completely gone. A mystery to us and here’s hoping it stays gone.

Communications was sometimes good and sometimes bad. Number one on my list of pet peeves while cruising on Strathspey is Communications or rather the difficulties of Communications; it’s important that I can stay connected with our children. We wistfully remember our first cruise South in 2007/2008 when getting emails was as easy as hoisting our wifi antennae up the mast and logging in via un-secured routers. Not so anymore. It was easy, albeit expensive, to stay connected while in the USA – we have a pretty rudimentary cell phone on which we can receive phone calls and texts and we purchased a Verizon MIFI, a wireless hotspot, so as to receive emails while in the US. Once we crossed to the Bahamas, we inserted our Bahamian Batelco SIM chip into my iPhone and purchased a data plan and a voice plan. So, I can happily confirm that we stayed connected to the kids but the cost was pretty ugly. Blair always tells me that in the future, Internet will be the highest priced utility for Canadians and I definitely agree after totaling up our Communications bills for this past season and seeing that we are close to $700.

Reynolds Park Yacht Center

We’ve spent the last week readying Strathspey for another summer in the South. We’ve stripped the canvas off, applied a final, protective coat of wax on her topsides, off-loaded anything that can be damaged by mildew, made trip after trip to our storage locker and are about to do a final wipe down of the interior with a mild bleach solution. Strathspey will be hauled out on Monday and then we start heading home to Ottawa. A great season!

Boat maintenance in the land of plenty

Harbortown Marina is an easy place to stay if you have some boat work you want to accomplish. And Fort Pierce itself is one of the easiest places to clear Customs in Florida. After arriving from the Bahamas, at 6:45 pm we’ve arrived too late to clear Customs but Blair calls the 1-800 US Customs office and gets a clearance number and is told we have 24 hours to go to the St Lucie International Airport to clear into the USA in person. Our friends, Jim and Nancy, live here in Vero Beach and the next day they very kindly drive us out to the airport to clear in. Then we stop for Mexican food and catch-up on what’s been happening with them since we last saw them in January.

So, now that we are on terra firma (well sort of…it’s a dock that’s attached to terra firma) the boat maintenance begins again. For the first job, Blair is awarded lots of ‘Attaboys’ from me. He rebuilds our toilet. No, not the actual toilet, just the toilet guts – all that stuff that you never think twice about when you’re at home. Because we don’t have access to unlimited fresh water, we actually flush the toilet with salt water that is sucked in from outside the boat. All the effluent water is routed to a 22-gallon holding tank and then the final solution for this effluent depends on where we are. In the Bahamas, there are no sewage pump out facilities so when we eventually get to an area with good tidal flow out to the great wide ocean the effluent is routed out through a mascerator and diluted and dispersed. In the USA and Canada, this is a no-no and most every marina we stop at has sewage pump out facilities that we engage.

Tornado Watch

But, salt water is hard on marine toilets and eventually all the pipes and valves start seizing up and need replacing. Now, if I had my way, I’d just heave the toilet overboard at the end of every season but that’s expensive and Blair ‘graciously’ performs this task and I say ‘Attaboy’ and have a nice cold beer for him when he finishes.

This season, there’s a ‘first time’ in the never-ending toilet maintenance saga. Our mascerator pump has burned out. This is a 16-Amp pump that is a 100% necessity if we are going to use our holding tank. And we absolutely must use our holding tank in the Bahamian harbours and anchorages. And now that we’re back in the USA, not using the holding tank results in some pretty big fines. Besides, it’s just NOT NICE to pump your sewage overboard willy-nilly.

Blair is the master of redundancy aboard Strathspey. He has spares for just about everything and has tucked them into any available hidey-hole…behind cushions, under floor boards and if I didn’t complain about the lack of space for groceries, he’d be storing all these parts in amongst the tomatoes, I’m sure. So we do have a spare mascerator but the replacement job isn’t fun and involves an intimate handling of some nasty parts of the toilet that never see daylight. This is definitely a ‘blue’ job. Blair gets to it and, as the pump is removed, it is clear what has caused the burn out. One of my covered hair elastics is wrapped around the mascerator blades, holding them immobile. Our friends Katy and Rick on Makana have taken problem toilets apart multiple times only to determine that one of Katy’s elastics is the culprit. When I heard that story from Katy, I thought ‘Oh that’s just bizarre…, how on earth could that happen’. Well, I’m not so smug now and resolve to keep a closer watch on my hair elastics while in the vicinity of our toilet.

Engine apart

The next job Blair tackles is a change of all the gaskets on Strathspey’s engine timing gear. We’ve had a persistent oil leak with this engine all season and hopefully new gaskets will do the trick. He’s filthy with this job though. His hands are blackened with grease and oil and, when he slices his finger on a sharp bit, I can see the blood but I can’t see the gash because his hand is so black. I make him run his hand under fresh water and, just in time, stop him from wiping the blood up with his oil rag. He says, ‘Ah, just squeeze some Polysporin on it and cover it with a bandaid and I’ll be fine’. He’s a little offended when I offer him Windex to take all the black off and asks me if I’d prefer a belt sander instead.

Engine back together

The weather in Fort Pierce is hot and humid and there is a Tornado watch during our time here. It blows over late in the day but the temperatures continue in the low 30’s Celsius. We spend five days at a quiet dock here at Harbortown Marina and then one morning, we slip the lines and head 12 miles North to Vero Beach Harbor where we secure a mooring ball. We have some minor work required to complete the installation of our water maker and decide that Vero Beach is a good location for this work. Back in January when Blair installed the water maker we decided not to plumb in the brine discharge hose. After the water maker filters fresh water from salt water, this hose takes the leftover salt water and pumps it overboard. We wanted to make sure that we were happy with the way the water maker was functioning before we plumbed the hose in and, while in the Bahamas, we’d simply hung that discharge hose over the side of Strathspey. It worked fine but wasn’t very efficient (or pretty) as the hose had to be routed out through one of our hatches and firmly tied to the edge of the boat so the salty water actually made it into the sea rather than all over our decks and cockpit. So, here in Vero Beach, Blair drilled a hole in Strathspey’s stern and fitted it with a through-hull plate and then plumbed the hose from the through-hull back to the water maker. Looks very tidy and there’s another job off the list.

Here in Vero Beach, we make the occasional trip to Riverside Café for their happy hour (beer at $2.75 a pint from 4-7 pm) and their blackened fish tacos. Riverside Café, a five minute dinghy ride from our boat, is always full and their outside deck which faces the ICW offers up wonderful nightly sunsets. It’s an easy trip over. We hop in our dinghy and motor slowly through the mooring field, speeding up slightly when we pass the last boat on mooring #1, making a wide arc under the ICW bridge and then a quick U-turn into Riverside’s dinghy dock. No one gives us a second glance as we scramble out of our dinghy as folks arrive here via foot, car, dinghy, kayak and even some of those floating couches (aka pontoon boats).

We’re still in slo-mo mode and working our way slowly North through Florida right now. We hear that it is still cold and snowy in Ottawa these days but Spring will be on it’s way soon. It’s hot here in Vero Beach now…usually high 20’s Celsius, occasionally breaking 30. But one evening this past week the temperature falls dramatically and at some point during the early morning hours, Blair wakes up and covers us with our big down comforter. When we wake up around 7:30 am it is 8 Celsius in the cabin and we scramble to dig out our polar fleeces stored deep in our lockers. A quick look at the weather forecast assures us that is a brief anomaly and the temperatures will climb to 27 Celsius by Friday when we’ve planned to drive up to Kennedy Space Center. Neither of us has been to the Space Center before and we’re both pumped to take a break from maintenance work and explore the center.

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.

The above quote from William Arthur Ward is especially true in the Bahamas. Weather guy, Chris Parker, tells us that it’s going to blow and blow hard for the next 48 hours. The forecast is for 30-35 knots of wind from the Southwest initially then clocking through to the Northeast over two days. We decide to anchor in White Sound at Green Turtle Cay. We drop anchor just opposite Bluff House Marina and back down on the anchor, revving Strathspey’s engine to 2000 RPMs…this should be sufficient to set our anchor. We hold fast, and despite an increasing wind all day and a huge squall with high winds around 4 am, Strathspey doesn’t budge.

But, around 10 am the next day, just after the wind direction changes to Northwest, I notice that we’re slowly bearing down on a large catamaran that, up until now, has been a good 50 feet off our starboard stern. We quickly move into action; I start the engine and Blair goes forward to the bow to pull in 75 feet of chain and our anchor. As soon as our anchor is off the seabed, Strathspey is drifting sideways to the wind, all 27 knots of it. I power forward, gaining control, and we make our way to the far Northwest end of the anchorage, hoping to get some protection from the low-lying shore up there. We pick our spot and drop anchor again but, after 10 minutes of watching and waiting without turning off Strathspey’s engine, we know our anchor hasn’t set well. Up again, circle, drop anchor once more. Again, the anchor hasn’t set – its weedy here and our Bruce anchor likes mud not weeds. Each time Blair brings up the chain, he’s thankful that we have an electric windlass for this heavy task. Each time, it’s like we’re farmers, plowing the seabed and then disappointed when Blair pulls up the anchor with a beachball-sized clump of mud and seagrass. We need good mud and sand for our Bruce anchor to set and this Northwest corner of the anchorage is mostly sea grass we figure.

Our trail at Green Turtle Cay

We motor back to the far South end of the anchorage where we had been initially and as soon as Blair can see a good patch of sand, he signals to me and I gear down to a dead stop as he drops the anchor. He pays out 75 feet of chain and we sit, watching the shoreline to gauge our drift, watching the boats beside us and ahead of us. Strathspey stays put and we think we’re good, but now we’re really cautious as we’ve rarely dragged anchor with our Bruce in the past 14 years. We have a good confidence in Bruce but…. what can I say, we dragged anchor this morning so now we’re suspicious of every gust of wind and the accompanying sideways swing of Strathspey’s stern – back and forth through a 40-50 foot arc. All day, it’s a steady 25 knots, gusting 30 knots but our anchor holds fast. As the day progresses other boats re-anchor multiple times throughout the anchorage. But we aren’t smug because we’re holding and they’re not. Rather…I’m cranky because it’s Blair’s birthday and we feel that we can’t get off the boat in these high winds. Blair’s happy though. He’s read all his email birthday greetings, chatted with Sandy and Brooklyn and played his guitar all afternoon. Me, I’m just naturally the worrier in this twosome and just more than a little spooked about dragging again.

Ultralights in GTC

A weird weather pattern has established itself in the Bahamas now. The wind is either ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’. If it is ‘ON’, it is blowing at 20-25 knots gusting 30. If it is ‘OFF’, it is light and variable and Strathspey’s sails luff and the boom swings lazily from starboard to port. Nothing in between! This makes it hard to move any great distance so we spend time at Green Turtle Cay and anchorages north, doing lots of snorkeling and dinghy exploring with some occasional fishing in between.

In keeping with this year’s bend toward no motoring or motor-sailing, we agree that we’ll grab the first good sailing window to cross back to Florida. Looking at the charts, we think we will work our way up to Grand Cay in the very northernmost part of the Abacos. It looks good on paper; all-round protection and a good jump off point to cross the Little Bahama banks.

We wake up one windy, cloudy morning (the wind is ‘ON’) but, although the wind is at 22 knots and gusting 30, it’s blowing from the Northeast which means we’ll have multiple choices in anchorages for protection so we decide to reef the sails and head a little further North. As Blair prepares Strathspey to leave, I tune into Chris Parker’s webcast. When propagation is poor (usually during the passage of a front…when the wind is ‘ON’), the webcast is far easier to listen to than his broadcast on SSB. Instead of straining to hear every other word over top of a constant SSB buzz and crackle, Chris’ voice is crystal clear on the webcast – I can even hear him clearing his throat and other people in the room coughing! Strathspey is listed as a participant and I type in my question about weather windows, when the front will pass and what is expected in the next week. I tell Chris that we are looking to move from Green Turtle Cay to Fort Pierce in the next week or so but we want to sail there and we’re not in a big hurry. After dealing with the cruisers who are calling him via SSB, Chris eventually gets to the webcast participants. He says ‘Strathspey, today and tomorrow are really good days to sail West’. He then proceeds to give me the forecast in the Abacos, across the banks and through the Gulf Stream, including wind, wave height and Gulf Stream swell.

Lots of ships in the middle of Gulf Stream today

Blair and I have a quick conference to digest this new information and we decide to sail North as far as Great Sale Cay, drop anchor for a bit of sleep and then up-anchor around midnight and continue across the banks and into the Gulf Stream toward Florida and Fort Pierce.

We have a wonderful sail all day and, when the sun finally sets, we have a full moon that is so bright it is like a long drawn-out dusk all night. We arrive at the way point North of Great Sale Cay and we still have a great wind blowing us along. We feel good so we decide to keep going. We waffle over whether to leave the banks at Memory Rock or go further North to Matanilla Shoal. We calculate the distances and decide that, although it is seven miles further to Fort Pierce via Memory Rock, we think that route will give us a better angle to enter the Gulf Stream and not as big a fight against the expected Northward sweep of the Gulfstream.

Luzon Strait details

We ghost across the Little Bahamas bank in the bright moonlight and by 5 am our depth meter jumps from 7 feet to 20 feet, then 35, then 85, then 250, then we go off soundings. And so we leave the Bahamas. Disappointingly, our wind drops gradually until we have only seven knots pushing us from behind. We have just our foresail out and finally it starts collapsing occasionally and then snapping open with a jerk. Eventually, it just collapses completely and we call uncle and furl it up. Now we are simply motoring but still hoping that the wind will pick up because it’s 70 miles to Fort Pierce and we really don’t want to motor all that way.

Luzon Strait up close and personal

In the end, we motor all that way; it’s disappointing but okay in the big picture as we’ve had a wonderful sail for the first 100 miles. Another disappointment is that we don’t have a huge push from the Gulf Stream. In our previous crossings back to Florida, we’d surfed down waves at 9.5 and 10 knots, but this time we rarely see over 8.5 knots. There are only about two hours where Strathspey is truly a fat-bottomed girl with her stern riding high when a swell rolls under her and skewing to port and starboard as she recovers. Once the waves and swell settle down, Strathspey carves through the miles and we arrive in Fort Pierce at Harbortown Marina at 6:45 pm, 26 hours of travel and a whole world away.

We settle into our slip at the marina, text Sandy and Brooklyn our safe arrival, have long hot showers, eat grilled fish at the marina restaurant and fall into bed at 9:30 pm. After our intermittent naps during this 26-hour sail, we’re tired and we sleep soundly until 8 am the next day. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a 10.5 hour uninterrupted sleep…amazing! Wish I could bottle it!

Ohmmmmmmmm

South of the Whale Cay Cut we saw the same boats again and again as we moved between the islands. It seemed that, after so many sightings, we actually knew them well enough to stop and chat in restaurants or while walking along the narrow streets. But in Hopetown, we came face-to-face with people that we actually did know – John and Rhoda from Trident Yacht Club strolled past us with their dogs. They were staying down the road at Seaspray Marina on their 49-foot Gulfstar so the next day Blair and I walked down to the marina and had lunch with them. As well, at Great Guana Cay, we met up with more people we knew down here; friends John and Catherine on sv Rivendell. We lunched and dined, walked on the beach, swapped stores and then, we turned North through the Whale while they headed West to Treasure Cay to sit out the impending cold front.

North of Whale Cay Cut, there are fewer boats, fewer stores and restaurants, fewer marinas and fewer places to hide from strong winds. Annoyingly there is also only one place to top up the minutes on our Bahamas cell phone. I am in the middle of a phone call with Sandy in Vancouver and, without warning, the call ends. It’s after 5 pm on Friday and that means that nothing can be done about it until Monday morning. ‘ Ohmmmm….breath deep’, I say to myself, and ‘Appreciate the slower pace here’. We North Americans expect to be able to do everything via the Internet or a quick dash into the mall but here in the Bahamas, we learn to slow down.

Jammin

We spend a few nights at Bluff House Marina waiting for the front to pass. It’s mostly warm and sunny and we enjoy unlimited power, a large swimming pool and good neighbours. Blair meets another guitarist with similar tastes in music so every afternoon he and Phil sit up near the pool or down by the beach and jam on their guitars. We walk into town for lunch one very hot and windless day and meet two ‘Second Homers’, Sally and Lynn. Sally’s family has had a home here for 45 years and she and Lynn meet here once a winter to catch up and enjoy some warm weather. We eat lunch with them and Sally regales us with stories of her job; she’s a blackjack dealer in Lake Tahoe and from the sounds of it, she’s pretty good.

Bluff House

We tell them about an incident that happened a few days earlier at a marina in Great Guana while we were anchored in a bay around the corner. An intruder boarded one of the boats at dock during the night and, when one of the women woke up, he covered her mouth with his hand to keep her quiet. He eventually made off with things like cameras and laptops. This shocks us as, here in the Bahamas, we’ve always felt really safe. In fact, this is the first incident of this nature that we’ve ever heard of in this area. We think that this is the kind of thing you hear about way down south near St Martin, Barbados or Grenada, not here in the Abacos. Sally says ‘Of course things like that happen here, don’t you carry a firearm to protect yourself aboard your boat?’ I answer ‘We’re Canadians, we don’t have guns!’ Sally says ‘That’s no excuse’……

We leave Bluff House Marina and sail north to Nunjack Cay and, despite how great our marina stay was, it was a big Ohhmmm moment as soon as we dropped anchor at Nunjack Cay. Anchoring is always nicer, more secluded, quieter, more relaxed. I can do my yoga in the morning on Strathspey’s deck without an audience, Blair can play his bagpipes without disturbing people (well, not too much). As much as we love coming into a dock and anticipate long, unlimited hot showers and dining out, after a night or two we’re itching to skedaddle out to anchor.

Starfish

We spend a few days exploring the Nunjack area, following mangrove creeks from their humble beginnings in the middle of island all the way out to the ocean. In the mangrove creeks we startle the huge sea turtles floating motionless just below the surface. They swim away from us in wide arcs, scattering in all directions, their front flippers paddling at warp speed and their hind flippers fixed and steering them. In amongst all the sea grass we see giant starfish, bigger than any we’ve encountered so far. I pick up the largest one to snap a photo and I think I’ve kept it out of the water too long. The tips of each star arch up and when I place it back in the water, it floats on the surface – it’s full of air we think. We spend a bit of time moving the starfish from its back to its underside, always keeping it underwater and with each flip, air bubbles escape from its underside. Eventually, it settles down into the sea grass and we continue on our way with a mental note not to keep a starfish out of water too long.

Crab Cay at Angelfish Point

We head further north to a more remote cay, Crab Cay at Angelfish point. I like the look of this anchorage on our charts and have wanted to spend a night here since we first passed it going south on our way to check into the Bahamas two months ago. We drop anchor, me behind the wheel and Blair at the bow paying out the chain in eight feet of water. It’s calm with no waves and we can see the sea bottom quite clearly. After 30 feet of chain, Blair says he sees an abandoned anchor lying on the seabed right beside our chain. He lets outs another 30 feet of chain and then makes plans to go anchor diving. He dons his snorkel and fins and, after the first dive, he surfaces to confirm it is a 35-pound Bruce anchor with an unspecified amount of chain attached. We surmise that a cruiser must have had to get out of here in a hurry and, when not able to bring their anchor up, had simply cut it off at the line attaching it to the anchor locker. Blair ties a line and red float to the anchor, I bring the dinghy over and together, with great difficulty, we haul the anchor up into the dinghy to get a better look at it. It’s covered with gunge but not in awful shape. The attached chain is too heavy for us to lift and then we realize that our anchor chain is lying over top of the abandoned chain. The Bruce’s anchor shackle is seized onto the chain and won’t come loose so we debate what to do. We already have a 33-pound Bruce anchor and no room in our anchor locker for a second one, never mind all that extra chain that won’t come off. Bruce anchors are good anchors and they don’t make them anymore so we wonder if we can bring it back to the USA and sell it.

Strathspey’s Bruce

We waffle back and forth all evening and finally decide that we won’t bring it aboard. So, the next day, we swap out our red float for a cheap plastic floating bottle and I send an email to the Cruiser’s Net that broadcasts every morning in the Abacos. I describe the anchor and its long chain and give the latitude and longitude of the bottle and say ‘Enjoy!’. The Bruce looked like it hadn’t been there long so perhaps the owner is in the area and heard the broadcast and may just motor way out to Crab Cay to claim his anchor. If so, there is a whole boatload of good karma coming Strathspey’s way. Ohmmmm…..