Welcome to Gypsea Heart

This blog documents the adventures of the sailing vessel Gypsea Heart and her crew Rankin & Sandy. Thank you for visiting our blog and we encourage y'all to poke around and explore. We have many features which will enable you to keep track of us and in touch like subscribing below. We hope you enjoy your visit and follow our adventures.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tilloo Cay

After Christmas, we stayed in Marsh Harbor until Friday, December 30th.  Between Christmas and the 30th on December 27th to be exact, we along with the crew from Dreamer II (Bill, Kim, Walt & Pat) rented a car to run errands around Marsh Harbor and explore a bit driving down to Pete's Pub, a little eclectic place, located south of Marsh Harbor.  After a 30 minute drive, remembering to always drive on the left side of the road, then a turn left down a slightly bumpy dirt road and presto we arrived at Pete's Pub. 

Since our last visit in 2003, Pete's Pub has expanded but overall it has not changed much especially the "Blaster" which is still an excellent rum cocktail with a well deserved reputation.  Pete's Pub has a restaurant that looks as though it's been put together with whatever is lying around the beach and a gallery which houses artful bronze castings.   We relaxed, walked along the beach and shopped in the gallery before enjoying a delightful lunch consisting of fresh grilled fish sandwiches.  After a few hours at Pete's Pub, we returned to "downtown" Marsh Harbour, ran a few more errands (i.e. grocery shopping) and then called it a day.  It was sad to see, but, Kim, Bill's wife, left the Abacos on Friday and returned back to the States.  Kim was a delightful presence in our group and it was truly a pleasure to meet and get to know her.  She will be sorely missed and hopefully we'll have the opportunity to travel with her and Bill again soon.  Bye Kim!!

Pete's Pub Gallery
Hermit Crab Crossing

Pete's Pub
Art work!


We spent a few more days anchored in Marsh Harbour then set sail on Friday, December 30th for Tilloo Cay which we heard was having fireworks and besides it was on our way south to the Exumas.  We left Marsh Harbour around noon arriving in Tilloo Cay at 3:30 p.m. having a very nice sail along the way.  We had Dreamer II (Bill, Walt & Pat) over for dinner and enjoyed a wonderful display of fireworks which lasted about 45 minutes.  It was a wonderful treat.  The next day we went snorkeling where Pat spotted a lobster and Walt managed to capture it. YEAH!!  With fresh lobster in hand, we all returned to our respective vessels and rested.


After a short nap, we left Tilloo Cay around 4 p.m. and sailed overnight arriving in Highborne Cay around 2 p.m.  Now, Highborne Cay was not our original destination which was Cambridge Cay roughly 26 nm south.  I know it was New Years and we did yell a celebratory "Happy New Year" into the VHF on channel 16 while simultaneously dodging the large ships which traverse the Northeast Providence Channel.  We safely passed in between several large vessels and also heard them exchanging "Happy New Year" celebrations between them.  Everyone was ringing in the New Year.

We arrived at Fleeming Channel around 7 a.m. which was intentional since we wanted to cross the banks with good light.  Good light became imperative crossing the banks called the Middle Ground, because we were continuously weaving around coral heads especially as the water depths dropped.  We managed to sail through the banks without incident but another vessel wasn't as fortunate.  They apparently hit a coral head and came to a sudden stop.  Though it was quite concerning, no damaged was sustained to the vessel and they continued their travels across the banks.

After crossing the banks, we decided to divert to Highborne Cay because Dreamer II was experiencing a mechanical problem.  Both vessels came through the pass without issue and anchored at Highborne Cay.  The guys (Walt, Rankin and Bill) troubleshooted and resolved the mechanical issue aboard Dreamer II then, after we had cocktails to celebrate everyone a bit tired from the trip, turned in for the night.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Marsh Harbor - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

We arrived in Marsh Harbor and took a slip at the Jib Room as a Christmas present to ourselves ... water, electricity, cable which means football.  AAAHHH what a nice gift.  Shortly after we docked, we had a special visitor drop by ... Santa Claus and his Sumo Wrestler Elf! 

What a surprise.  So,naturally, we invited Santa and his Sumo Wrestler Elf on board and since we didn't have any cookies made we offered Santa and his helper a cocktail.  So, Santa and his Sumo Wrestler Elf came aboard and shared a few cocktails with us.  It was such a joy getting to know Santa and his slightly overweight helper personally.  Thanks Santa and Sumo Wrestler Elf for sharing the holiday spirit with us.

On Christmas Day, we prepared and gathered our potluck dishes and had a very nice holiday dinner at the Jib Room where the owner's Boo (Linda) and Tom supplied the ham and turkey and the cruisers supplied the side dishes.  Thanks to Boo, Tom, Steve (their son) and the other chefs who help prepare a fabulous Christmas dinner.  Y'all made a wonderful meal.

Jolly Mon
Potluck dishes
Rankin waiting to eat!
We stuffed our bellies with food and mimosas and then gathered for a quick games of dominoes before continuing the celebration aboard Gypsea Heart.   We had a wonderful holiday celebration with good friends and also made a few new friends though we truly missed our family and friends who couldn't be here to celebrate with us.  We hope you all had a very, very Happy Holiday!!  Until the next time!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Abaco Islands

Before we began our update, we want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season.   We hope you had a wonderful holiday celebration as we did here in the Bahamas. 

We've spent the past few weeks cruising around the various islands which make up the Abaco Islands.  In between bouts of high winds which keep us in harbor, we cruised around to Treasure Cay, Hope Town, and Great Guana.

On Wednesday, December 7th we left Marsh Harbor and had a wonderful slow sail to Treasure Cay.  Like Marsh Harbor, Treasure Cay is part of Great Abaco Island, however, it is located north west of Marsh Harbor.  Treasure Cay is a vacation community and you can see cute light colored yellow, green, blue and pink condominiums dotting the waters edge near the anchorage.  It's a small community with a just few shops, a grocery store, bakery, and a couple of restaurants.  One restaurant, the Tipsy Seagull has a swim up pool bar and another nearby (of course everything is nearby) restaurant, Coco Beach, has a spectacular view of a long beautiful white beach which runs along the Abaco Sea.

After a day or so in Treasure Cay, we sailed back to Marsh Harbor arriving on December 9th to join up with our friends Dave & Camilla on Southern Heat.  Weather had kept them hold up on another island, so this was our first opportunity to meet up with them in the Bahamas.   The weather kept us harbor bound for almost a week and when you can't snorkel the other alternative is to eat, drink and be merry.  We entertained ourselves watching football (Army vs. Navy ... go Navy!) and making homemade ice cream (YUM!).  Rankin got a Cuisinart (CIM-22 Series) ice cream maker for his birthday and this was our first opportunity to use it.  We made vanilla ice cream and it was delicious.

I think he likes his birthday present
Camilla & Dave like it too!

We waited almost 7 days for winds to abate finally on Thursday, December 15th we left Marsh Harbor along with Southern Heat destination Hope Town.  With winds blowing 15-24 knots we had a nice and quite fast sail to Hope Town racing along with Southern Heat who arrived ahead of us.  Hope Town (downtown) is located on the northern part of Elbow Cay and it is an idyllic Bahamian town with it's quaint cottages decorated for Christmas and the candy striped lighthouse decorated with Christmas lights which serves as a backdrop.

Upon our arrival, we walked around town enjoying the beautiful scenery as we quickly made our way to Vernon's Grocery for a Key Lime Pie.  If you haven't tried Vernon's Key Lime Pie it's worth a stop and the $15 cost.  The next day (December 16th) we rented a golf cart and along with Dave, Camilla and Rider (their dog) puttered around Elbow Cay exploring the northern and southern part of the island.   We were surprised to see many large beautiful rental cottages, homes and a few resorts  located in the southern part of the island along with pretty Tahiti Beach.  

Construction near White Sound
Great Holiday decorations

Our friends Walt, Pat and Bill (Pat's brother) recently arrived Marsh Harbor on the sailing vessel Dreamer II, so we departed Hope Town on December 17th and had a nice downwind, watermaking sail to Marsh Harbor.  Once in Marsh Harbor, Walt & Pat joined us on our boat while Bill and his family and friends (Kim, Catherine, A.J., George, Laurie & Abbey) stayed on Dreamer II.  Now, it's time to cruise with Dreamer II.  We stayed a few days in Marsh Harbor just long enough to enjoy a little bocci ball before returning to Hope Town again on Monday, December 19th.   We spent the night in Hope Town exploring the downtown area with Dreamer II this time skipping the Key Lime Pie.  The next day (December 20th) we left Hope Town and sailed south to Baker's Rock near Tahiti Beach.  We arrived around 2:30 p.m. which gave us enough time to snorkel around Tahiti Beach and then everyone came aboard Gypsea Heart for a steak dinner.  George, Lauri & Abbey were kind enough to donate steaks for the entire group.  Thank you George, Laurie & Abbey for sharing the delicious steaks with us.

Pat & A.J. bocci ball champions!
Everyone enjoying dinner @ Harborview

We left Baker's Rock early (around 8:30 a.m.) on Wednesday, December 21st to catch high tide for our sail to Great Guana.  It wasn't a fast sail, but very peaceful and pleasant dropping the hook in Great Guana around noon just in time for lunch at Nipper's.  Nipper's is a restaurant and bar just a short walk from the anchorage.  Upon our arrival, we relaxed and enjoyed the wonderful Caribbean music, the beautiful view of the ocean, a Nipper's cocktail and the BEST cracked lobster ever!   Unfortunately, we were limin' and did not get a single photograph perhaps during our next visit.  Once everyone was finished with lunch and exploring the beach, we returned home (Gypsea Heart).

The next day we left Great Guana motored a short distance to the tip of Baker's Bay had a quick snorkel and then sailed to Treasure Cay.  We were again at Treasure Cay this time with Dreamer II then later Southern Heat (Dave & Camilla) dropped a hook.  We spent just a couple of nights in Treasure Cay having lunch at Coco Beach restaurant, enjoying cocktails at the pool at the Tipsy Seagull, and making a few purchases at Abaco Ceramics where you can buy hand painted items and meet the artist, Karen.  

On Christmas Eve after doing a few chores, we left Treasure Cay about thirty minutes after Southern Heat and had a very nice and quick sail to Marsh Harbor.  During our sail, we caught a nice photo of Southern Heat as we passed. 

Southern Heat (Dave & Camilla)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marsh Harbor, Bahamas

We left Great Sale Cay on Monday, November 28th and enjoyed island hopping along the Northern islands (i.e. Carter's Cay and Powell Cay), something we had wanted to do for years. We especially liked Allans-Pensacola Cay with it's protected harbor and small, pretty beaches.  We had several days of downwind foresail only ghosting which was lovely.   We peacefully cruised around 4 to 6 knots (foresail only) fast enough to make progress but slow enough to appreciate and absorb the scenery. 

On Thursday, December 1st, we came through Whale Cay Channel, which can be dangerous with northerly winds and opposing tidal currents, at slack tide with 2 to 5 foot beam waves.  From personal observation, we remember this situation would have been a bit uncomfortable in our mono-hull, however, we now find these conditions pleasant.   We continued our downwind foresail only sailing through the Whale Cay Channel and until we arrived in Marsh Harbor around 3:30 p.m.

Since we've been in Marsh Harbor, we splurged and purchased internet service through Out Island Internet (OII) which was quite pricey at $99/month.  Though, the service does cover several other islands we plan to visit during our stay in the Bahamas and it has been pretty good.  We are definitely getting full use out of this service. 

After being on the boat for about 12 days straight, yesterday we decided to put some clothes on (just kidding ... we've been wearing clothes) and make a trip into town for the Christmas festivities.  We jumped into the dinghy and went ashore.  After making a quick trash deposit, we walked about a mile, asking for directions several times along the way (that was me, Sandy, asking for directions), before we reached the Christmas festival. 

It was a lot of fun watching the kids play and get their faces painted, doing a little shopping, listening to a local children's choir and jamming with a local military band who had the first woman drum major.  The band was dressed out and marching while playing Silent Night with an island flair.  While shopping, we met a man from the local bikers group called Scurvy Few and knowing that the island is small we asked him where they ride.  To our surprise, he said they ride about a 120 miles, further than what we thought, and that the road is one long straight road so they rarely get lost.  We didn't buy much, but did enjoy some tasty cracked conch.

Christmas Tree
Face Painting
Scurvy Few

Local Children's Choir
First Female Drum Major
Local Military Band

After a few hours at the Christmas Festival, it was time for our hike home and then what would probably be a wet dinghy ride back to the boat since the wind had been gusty all day.  We had a great day out and even managed to stay dry during the trip home.  The winds been blowing pretty good here, so we'll stay a few more days in Marsh Harbor until the weather settles down.  Then we hope to explore some of the other islands located in the Abacos, and we hope you'll join us.  TTFN!