Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 10, 2016 Nassau to Cave Cay Marina

February 10, 2016 – Nassau to Cave Cay, Exuma

12/16/2015 Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau Harbor Club 171 nm
12/23/2015 Nassau Harbor Club to Nassau Harbor Club 11 nm
12/24/2015 Nassau Harbor Club to Nassau Harbor Club 15 nm
1/01/2016 Nassau Harbor Club to Hawksbill Cay, Exuma 48 nm
1/02/2016 Hawksbill Cay to Pipe Ck. 25 nm
1/05/2016 Pipe Creek to Cave Cay Marina 27 nm
1/08/2016 Cave Cay Marina to Elizabeth Island, Georgetown,Exuma 40 nm
1/09/2016 Elizabeth Island to Thompson Bay, Long Island 25 nm
1/11/2016 Thompson Bay to Georgetown 38 nm
1/16/2016 Georgetown to Cave Cay Marina 42 nm
1/18/2016 Cave Cay Marian to Little Bay Great Guana Cay 14 nm
1/20.2016 Little Bay to Black Point Settlement 3 nm
1/21/2016 Black Point Settlement to Cave Cay Marina 16 nm
1/25/2016 Cave Cay Marina to Black Point Settlement 15 nm
1/26/2016 Black Point Settlement to Cave Cay Marina 15 nm
1/30/2016 Cave Cay Marina to Rudder Cay 3 nm
2/03/2016 Rudder Cay to Bay Rush Bay, Great Guana Cay 10 nm
2/04/2016 Bay Rush Bay to Western Bay, Little Farmers Cay 2 nm
2/06/2016 Western Bay to Cave Cay Marian 7 nm

Total Miles To Date: 1324 nm

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”
James Michener

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Buerthold Auerbach

Yea I know it has been a while. The weather this year has sort of dominated our thoughts an paths for that matter. It won't take you long to figure that one out for yourselves. A quick glance at our “ping – ponging” in and out of Cave Cay Marina for West wind protection will leave no doubt of that in your mind. Besides I've just been lazy and the stories just would not come.

Despite the weather we have managed to delivered our relief supplies to the Long Island Children, taken this years school photos at Black Point Settlement and Little Farmers Cay, found 2 mermaids off Rudder Cay, taken in the Five Fs with our friends Cori and Dale on “Hi Flight” (a meeting 2 years in the making), and generally had a good time while slowly going broke paying slip fees. 

Da Gang at Ty's Beach Bar

Mermaid Does Her Hair

Dale / Cori
Cori & Dale


Life is full of the everyday but every once in a while something “magic” happens. These are the moments we all live for. I was on a collision course with one of those moments but didn't know it.

We had made our way to Little Farmer's Cay a few days before their “First Friday in February Farmer's Cay Festival” better know as the “5Fs.” The weather was perfect to snuggle up to the Island in Western Bay and make the run in to take the school photos at Little Farmers All Age School. I had called Ms. Cox, the one and only teacher at the school, the day before and set up a shoot for around 10:00 on Thursday morning. 

Little Farmers All Age School

I guess one should not have favorites but this school is mine none the less. The kids greeted me with warm Bahamian smiles and their usual display of proper manners. All the kids quietly came up to me, introduced themselves, and shook my hand with no prompting from their Teacher....all 9 of them. Nine kids thru 8th grade. What teacher would not love to be able to give their undivided attention to only 9 children?

As you can see from the photo the shoot went usual. The children went back to class and Ms. Cox stayed out side to speak to her janitor / aide. I went in with the pupils to put my stuff away...and here is where the “magic” comes in. As I was packing my camera. Arron came up to me, looked up with his typical Bahamian soulful soft brown eyes, and asked, “Mr. Cope-lee (they can't seem to get the Copelan right) do you want us to sing you our “Island Song?” I was a little surprised by the offer but of course my answer was yes.

Aaron took me by the hand and lead me around the partition where all the kids were sitting at a table working on their computers. Aaron took his seat and at some unseen lifting of the baton they all started quietly singing in perfect unison and in perfect harmony....

Little Farmer's Cay
smiling in the turquoise sea,
Lazing in the Sun at noon,
dreaming safe beneath the moon.

Where sky meets sand and sea-
my precious island, Farmers Cay.
This is home to me and it will always be.

Daytime on the Cay
thrashers singing in the tree, buzzing bee,
sun is shining down on me.
Swaying of the trees,
rising tide and rising breeze
what a perfect place to be.

On Little Farmers Cay-
smiling in the turquoise sea,
lazing in the sun at noon,
dreaming safe beneath the moon.
Where sky meets sand, and sea-
my precious island, Farmer Cay.
This is home to me and it will always be.

Three stanzas into the song something changed. Nathan, the oldest boy in the class, became the leader. No word was spoken or sign given but Nathan became the leader. He began to sway as if he was one with the palm trees and the breeze was gently, quietly, putting him in motion as well. The rest of the class followed his lead. The rythems became more “island” with a syncopation known only here. Nathan leading just a beat ahead of the others all swaying gently to the music of their Island....

In the falling dark-
laughing voices and dogs bark, at dock
boats are sleeping peacefully.
Windows golden light
a million stars are burning bright-
what a perfect place to be.

Back home on Farmers Cay-
smiling in a turquoise sea,
lazing in the sun at noon,
dreaming safe beneath the moon.
Where sky meets sand and sea-
my precious island, Farmers Cay.
This is home to me and it will always be.

This is home to me and it will always be.
This is home to me -
My precious island, Farmers Cay.

The singing ended or rather didn't end it faded into me like a dying breeze at sunset...peaceful, safe, with a touch of reassuring magic. I was spellbound and totally consumed by the moment. Those children could not have given me a better gift. That moment will live in my heart forever. In future when ever my thought turn to Farmers Cay it will awaken somewhere deep down in my soul the music, water, and breezes sung to me by Nathan, Aaron and his classmates on that Thursday, February 4th, 2016, in their school, on Little Farmers Cay...smiling in the turquoise sea, lazing in the sun at noon, dreaming safe beneath the moon, Little Farmers Cay.

Smashie & Smashie
It is funny how friendships evolve. In the cruising community you develop a keen sense of “people.” In our world place and time are so transient we don't have luxury of the bullshit and formalities of land-side relationships. Most new friends just drift away with the wind and tide to be pickup again when next we meet on that never ending circle. However, some friendships become strong as iron and nothing will break them. You are truly a lucky person if you can count 2 or 3 of that variety in a lifetime that, like Kipling wrote will standby you true and true. “Smashie” Van Fergerson from Black Point Settlement I consider one of mine.

It started my first year in the Exumas. We were “newbes” and Mac and Shirley on “Cats Paws 2” took us under their wing and we cruised with them off and on for 2 winters. Mac and I became fast friends and Shirley, Gigi's – 2 friendships made of iron. During that time Shirley introduced us to Smashie who worked at Sampson Cay. We didn't know it at the time but Smash was a living legend in Bahamas racing/boat building circles and was to became our first introduction to Bahamian sloop racing.

Smashie is about 5'6” tall, stocky, with a big Bahamian smile. He has big hands...the hands of a craftsman and big wide bare feet to match. As a matter of fact I've never seen him with shoes on but once – the day he was inducted into the Bahamian Sailing and Boatbuilding Hall of Fame. On that day he wore a lavender, 3 piece suit...and yes “shoes” all bought by his son Bo especially for the occasion. He walked right past me on his way to the podium and I didn't recognize him until he spoke. 

Smashie with Shoes

Nothing upsets Smashie. He is quiet, unassuming, and a true gentleman on and off the race course. I saw “Whitty K” hit him so hard in the Five Fs a few years back it contributed to a cracked mast that he lost it in the second race. Whitty K won the race and the series. All Smashie had to say in his soft Bahamian lilt was, “Dats alright. I get him next time.” 

Whitty K

On our next trip to Black Point on our second year of cruising we looked Smahie up and he introduced us to Agnes, his wife. We casually asked Van where we could get some “real” Bahamian food and he said, “I tink Aggie will make you some on Sunday. You come for dinner. OK?” It was delicious and The next trip to the Point Gigi went to church with Agnes and she took her on a “stroll” latter that afternoon. In case you don't know what a Bahamian “stroll” means “introduction” - introduction to EVERYBODY. Agnes took Gigi to almost every house in Black Point and introduced her to everyone including the new babies. For some reason we had gained their friendship and respect. We four have been fast friends every since. 

Ten years ago Van was a force in Class C Bahamian racing. Over the years we have know him not so much. Something always breaks, goes wrong, or the fates just didn't align properly. This year at Five Fs he got “Smashie” (his boat) moving again. He took first in the “Ocean Race” (banks not really ocean) and a second overall in the series behind..guess who...his old nemesis Whitty K.

Typical of Van not everything went smoothly. Between the second and third race Bo raced over to Salty Turtle in the skiff. Vic, Vic you got a big hose clamp? Da rudder she starting to separate. We need a hose clamp to shore her up.” I got a hose clamp, a half dozen screws and the screw gun and off we went. Five minutes later “Smashie” was ready for the next race.


Van is always at the helm of his boat but the last race something unprecedented happened. Van was not at the helm of his beloved “Smashie.” Van Fergerson had turned over the boat to Bo, his son, and his crew.... They took a second to Whitty K of course. It seems a slow changing of the guard it taking place. 

If you ever make it to Black Point Settlement go over to the house across the street from Lorain's Cafe and you will probably find Van and his wife Agnes sitting in the shade of their porch plating palm fronds. Introduced yourself and tell them you know us and I will bet you 2 Sands beers he and Aggie will break into a big smile. You see, they are our friends...a friendship made of iron. 

Van & Agnes

We hope to make it up to Staniel Cay the end of the week when (and if) the weather breaks. Now if you guys would do your part and keep those nasty Cold Fronts up North where they belong it would be most appreciated.

Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,

Vic Copelan

F5s Start of Race


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015/11/04 Morehead City, NC to Fernandian, FL

November 4, 2015 – Morehead City to Fernandian Beach, FL

If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother..” Wilber Wright

10/08/2015 Morehead City to Wrightsville Beach, NC 82 nm
10/09-10/2015 Wrightsville Beach to Lady's Island Marina, Beaufort, SC 212 nm
10/19/2015 Beaufort to Bull Ck, SC 27 nm
10/20/2015 Bull Ck to Buckhead Ck, GA 40 nm
10/21/2015 Buckhead Ck to Kilkenny Ck, GA 9 nm
10/22/2015 Kilkenny Ck to Fredereica river, GA 50 nm
10/24/2015 Frederecia River to Brunswick Landing Marina, Brunswick, GA 15 nm
10/31/2015 Brunswick Landing to Brickhill River (Cumberland Island), GA 21 nm
11/02/2015 Brickhill River to Fernandian Beach, FL 21 nm
Total Miles To Date: 477 nm

A pair of dolphin arched their way to the stern of the Turtle just as the colors of dawn spread across the marsh. I could hear the unseen explosion of the pelican's plunge as they dove for their breakfast just off the confluence of the Brickhill river and the little creek that lead inland. My little world was at peace welcoming the dawn and so was I. It was a time to enjoy a quite cup of coffee and reflect on the past weeks voyage.

Bucket list...Wrightsville to Beaufort, SC

For 30 years my best bud Mike Yount and I had been dreaming of an off shore trip around Cape Fear to Charleston, SC, but for some reason or another it just never happened – weather, timing, commitments and a muddle of others. That off shore passage had lain dormant in my “bucket list” forever. Hurricane Joaquin was going to change that for Gigi and I...and change this years cruise as well.
After Joaquin passed Morehead it left us with 3 days of excellent calm weather and a real problem for the ICW in NC, SC, and GA...big time flooding. It didn't take long for us to make our decision. We would jump off shore to Wrightsville spend the night and then go back out around Cape Fear and in at St. Helena Sound and up the Coosaw River to Beaufort, SC.

The trip off shore to Wrightsville was as good as it gets except for having to dodge a war ship or two off Camp LeJeune engaged in maneuvers including a helicopter and harrier jump jet aircraft carrier and a hover craft doing it's hovering thing at speed...pretty impressive I must say.

By my estimation it would be about a 24 hour trip from Wrightsville to the entrance buoy for St. Helena Sound so at 7:30 with the first good light the Turtle hauled her anchor and were at sea by 8:30 AM headed for a new adventure and a check mark on my “bucket list.”

There are only 2 spots in the whole trip that require a little “attention.” The first is Frying Pan Shoal Slue, a narrow channel thru Frying Pan Shoal that stenches from the Cape Fear about 15 miles out to sea. The second is the big open water entrance to St. Helena Sound and good visibility would be a real plus when we hit the outer buoy.

About 2 miles out of Flying Pan the GPS quit. What the heck..or words to that effect! After a moment or two of an “Oh! Shit!” attack we calmed down and remembered we have 3 backups aboard – Gigi's iPad with minimal chartplotter App (works quite well by the way), Navigational software in the computer (already up and running below), and a compass. I shut the chartplotter down and restarted it cold and it came back to life (it was to periodically take a break over the next 20 hours). Two days later I called Garmin and after 2 hours on the phone with them the problem was diagnosed as a combination of software and an antenna going bad. I downloaded a software update and installed a new antenna and the GPS is now good to go.

Frying Pan Shoal Slue Mark

Gigi and I have always enjoyed our night filled nights with little land light pollution. If you have not been at sea on a dark star filled night you have truly miss one of the great beauties in this world. About an hour before dusk I fixed pork chops on the grill for supper, Gigi cleaned up after, and I prepared the boat for a night at sea. When I flipped on the navigation lights the port light (red) and stern light (white) came on but the starboard (green) did not...shit another gremlin. I left them on for a few minutes and cycled the switch and the stern and starboard came on but the port didn't...has to be corrosion somewhere. Finally they all came on and stayed on..another job when we get into Beaufort (I was right by the way, all the contacts on the bulbs needed cleaning).

We hit the sea buoy for St.Helena Sound at 7:35 AM with plenty of light to work our way in but with a light fog. We had shut the navigation lights down at sunup but with the fog nav lights are required by rule. This time they stubbornly refused to re-light at all. There had been rumors that some of the St. Helena sound markers were off station or no longer there period. The rumors turned out to be least something was going right.

By 11:45 AM we tied up at Lady's Island Marina in a driving rain storm. Steve, the dockmaster, welcomed us “home.” Lady's Island does feel like home...a week later as we warped the Turtle off the dock heading South Steve hollered from the dock, “ Ya know what they call folk that leave Lady's Island? Quitters!.”

Lady's Island Marina
While at Lady's Island my cousin Stacy and her husband Paul gave me one fine gift. They brought my Aunt Christine for a visit. Christine is the last of my Dad's sisters and is quite dear to me. It made my year. Thank you Stacy and Paul. Time is the best gift a person can give.

A Different Adventure This Year..

I knew from the start this year would not be normal. Hurricane Joaquin made sure of that. The South end of Long Island, Rum Cay, Crooked and Atkin Islands and San Salvador sat under the eye of Joaquin for 2 days before he moved on. The islands were over washed homes destroyed, schools in ruins, stores gone. Little was left even the palm trees had been stripped of fonds that they use to make their beautiful baskets and hats. Gigi, Salty Turtle, and I knew we could not sit back and do nothing. We had to give back to the communities that have been so good to us with their time, friendship, and open hearts. It is our turn to give.

She looked at me, I looked at her, and the Turtle said, “load me to waterline with stuff for the kids and I will get you to Long Island by Christmas.” And so a pact was made between the three of us and with the help of friends we are doing just that. My my Aunt Christine, cousin Stacy, and her husband Paul Brannon brought us the first load while we were at Lady's Island. Bill Morris, Helen and Bill Brinson, and John and Vicki Skemp sent toys and books. Steve and Aggie Knox not only contributed toys, books, and clothes but have allowed us to use their home to have stuff mailed to them for pickup when we reach Titusville.

If any of you want to raid your attic and help you can send clean children clothes (all ages), books, school supplies, good used toys, games, sports equipment, etc. to us and we will stuff the Turtle till the water line doesn't show. Give me a call (242-944-5514) or drop me an email ( and I will get you and address to send your stuff – cut off date Thanksgiving.

We hope to leave for the Bahamas as soon after Thanksgiving as possible and beat feet for Long Island as fast as Salty Turtle and the weather will allow, deliver our stuff to our contacts on Long, and then assess how we can help or if we can be of further assistance. Then.....who knows?

A Maze of Marsh:

We spent a couple of peaceful days anchored by ourselves in bend of the Brickhill River with salt marsh to our West and Cumberland Island to our East. There were no other boats anchored in the river. It was ours to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, speak to the dolphin as they cruised by to examine Salty Turtle (and us), and listen to call of the numerous water fowl as they discussed their day. You can sit in the Brickhill and see the boats across the marsh on the ICW a few miles distant on their own mission headed South. I've always wondered, “Why don't they stop” This is a wonderful anchorage. Full of nature's magic and healing peace.” But they don't stop and the magic belonged to Salty Turtle... at least for a while.
Frederica River
The Brickhill winds it's way for about 5 miles thru a salt marsh that extends from Cumberland to the horizon. The Marsh is almost a sea unto it's self with small creeks and waterie leads that thread their way thru the marsh in a maze of tributaries and dead ends. After a good nights sleep Gigi and I decided to take the dink, head over to Plumb Orchard, and try and catch the tour or just go for a walk on Cumberland. 

It's about a 4 mile dingy ride from our anchorage to Plum Orchard so off we went. I'd taken a quick look at the chart before we left and noticed Mumford Creek wound thru the marsh and back to the Brickhill about a mile from Plum Orchard. “Let's do a little exploring,” says I. Right here is where I made my first error...

We ran Mule (dink) to the tree line on Cumberland in deep water and followed a lead that lead to the over head power cables that supplied the island with electricity...until the water ran out that is and we were just at the start of the ebb (high dropping tide). Time to do turn about. We followed what we thought was the main body of the Mumford until it dead ended within sight of the Brickhill but no way thru. Some how we had missed the lead that would take us thru to the Brickhill. Time to give up, do a back stroke, and go back the way we had come to the Brickhill. Easier said than done that was.
All the leads and creeks started to look alike – marsh grass is marsh grass ya know. We could see the Turtle across the marsh about 2 miles distant. We could see the terminus of the power lines that we knew ended on the Brickhill. But...we couldn't seem to get there. Up one lead...dead end. Up the next same story. At times we could see the main channel of the Brickhill or Mumford (or we thought we could) but maze gave up it's exit grudgingly. After an hour of feeling like an idiot Mule stumbled on the main body of the Mumford and we made our way back to Salty Turtle just a bit humbled by the experience.

There is no moral to this story but there is a lesson – A Maze of Marshes are Just That. I dined on humble pie...and rum.


The Turtle is anchored in Bell River off Fernandian, FL. We are headed for Palm Coast tomorrow to visit with Gigi's cousin Tom and his wife Olga, replace a busted stereo, and finish our provisioning before heading further South.

Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,

Vic Copelan

PS – Don't ya just love signs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2015/09/23 Summer 2015

2015 June to September: Iowa to Vancouver / British Columbia

Just outside the harbor a way out on the water a ship is under sail.
I wave bye bye.
I wish you God speed. I wish you lovely weather. More luck than you need.
You only sail in circles so there's no need to cry.
Oh, I'll see you again one day...and then I'll wave Bye Bye.”

Jimmy Buffett (Pretty much describes the life of a cruiser. Thanks Jimmy. VC)


This morning's coffee on the aft deck included a visit from “Fall” – a precursor of things to come. There was a thick, soft, moist fog that enveloped our world. Everything disappeared in the soft glow of dawn. There was the deep throated resound of fog horns around the harbor, and the air had the coolish nip typical of a season being born. Boat tail grackles were swirling off their night time roost looking for the mystery that leads them South. South where Fall lingers all Winter. South where the “snowbirds” gather be they winged or two legged. The same stirrings are strong is us as well...and it is time for us to follow in their wake. This week we hope to loose our marina bonds, take in our dock lines, and (if the weather cooperates) head out on this year's adventure.

But a little catch-up first...

It has been a full summer...and that is an understatement. A summer of doctor's visits, flying “Madogs,” Black Bears, Ice fields, and...Layla. I spent June on a road trip visiting Noel, Celine, and my Grandson, Malo (Madog) Copelan. Malo and I had planed all last winter to share a birthday – his is in late June and mine mid-July. What fun. Malo has taken to the water like his Dad, Grandad, and Great Grandad before him. The boy is a duck. The flying Madog photo was taken in France in August. The lady in the chair is Annie, his French Grandmother, and the “topless” little girl is his cousin.
Madog, Vic & Noel
Flying Madogs
 The old Buick and I made it home just in time to attend the “Temples Point 4th of July Parade” - an event not to be missed. The Parade is what the 4th is meant to be – tractors, dogs, kids, hamburgers & hotdogs, beer, friends, family..., and love.

Gigi spent 2 weeks exploring Vancouver and British Columbia including their famous ice fields with her daughter Becky. According to one of her tour guides BC is “Mountains, mountains, mountains, waterfall, waterfall, waterfall, lake, lake, trees, trees..and if lucky wildlife, wildlife, wildlife. After a while they start to all look the same.” But Gigi would add, all beautiful and different in their on subtile way. She loved her time with Becky. It was special...a bucket list trip.

Layla in Prison
I thought long and hard about how to tell this story and finally decided to just let it unfold the way it happened by letting you read the original emails. This makes the story a little long but so be it. Here is “Layla's story. She is one of the lucky is Layla's story.


August 31st


Dear Friends,

A few days ago I went down at Mathews Point to do a little work on Oconee (needed a break from working on the Turtle). It was early in the morning. David had just returned from his morning walk and had a "tag along" - a pretty brindle boxer mix pup about a year and a half old. She was friendly and just seemed to want to be around people.
After a few minutes talking with Jett and David I wandered out to Oconee to start work. While I was below hunting down a can of Cetol I felt the boat move. Stuck my head out the hatch and peered around the dodger and came nose to nose with the boxer. She had invited herself aboard and was standing there wanting a little attention.
I finally got her off the boat and down the dock we went to find David (David said he knew the owners). While David was looking for a line to tie her up with until he could get in touch with them I just on an off chance asked her to sit. She did and looked up as if to say, "is there anything else?" David found a line and tied her up and said he would get in touch with the owner.

I went on about my business, finished the Cetol and dropped by Davids to see how he was making out getting in touch with the owners. David said, "I got em alright. They took the dog straight to the pound." I was in shock. That sweet dog in the Pound. Why would anyone do that? David said they just didn't want her.
I went by the Carteret County Animal Shelter to see if she had been adopted. Her name is Layla and she had not.
This dog "spoke" to me. If I did not live on a boat I would not be writing this email. She would be mine.
If you or anyone you trust would like a nice dog. I will gladly pay the $125 to "spring" her and will deliver her to here new owners.
Thanks for your help. Layla is to nice a dog to waste away in the pound.
September 1st

One day later my friends John and Vicki in the mountains of NC responded:

Vicki said that if you can't find someone closer to you, "Bring her on"?
I wrote back immediately:

Thanks John and Vicki. I can not think of a better home for a dog. Ill check with the pound tomorrow. If we bring her may we stay over night? I suspect she will be like Bob...your shadow.

September 3rd

I will be going by the Pound today and discussing things with them. The $125 fee includes shots, deworming if necessary and spay. I expect that will take a day or so. And no I don't want any help with the money. For some reason my heart feels she is my responsibility.

If we are able to get Layla Gigi and I are thinking about bringing her on 10th and returning on the 11th if that will work for ya'll? That makes for a might short visit but at this time of the year everything turns up a notch in preparation to head South and time is precious. My buds Mike and Jennie have agreed to keep Layla until I can bring her up...they love dogs almost as much as you guys.

I never expected you guys to take Layla but knew you would help find a good home for her. I feel like she has won the lottery.

September 4th

Well yesterday was a frustrating (read infuriating) day. I went by the Animal Shelter yesterday. Told the beady eyed bitch that was behind the counter my Layla story. Explained that I had found a good home for Layla (the best imaginable) and even showed her a photo of you guys on your porch with your pups. I explained that I would like to pick Layla up on the 9th and arrange for an early pick up if possible..we had 350 miles to drive. That's when thing went to hell in a hand basket and Old Vic got frustrated...pissed...and just plain mad.

The Bitch said, "We would have to meet them." They would have to bring their dogs in to see if they were compatible." ...And, that they could not hold a dog for me. They were full to the brim and needed space (figure that one out). They had someone guaranteed to give Layla a good home in 7 days and that was not acceptable? Yet they were going to take the off chance that someone might walk thru the door today and adopt Layla.
At that point I was in shock..and getting in a very augmentative mood. After a few minutes of discussion and my blood pressure rising every minute Gigi herded me out the door before I strangled the Bitch.
I left my phone number for the Bitch's supervisor to call me back..of course she did not.
The problem was I was honest thinking that they would want their dogs to have a good home. That was my big mistake. Us Copelans are pretty case you haven't notice and this ain't over. I am going to call back, and (if they will let me) start adoption procedures for Layla. I'll tell them I had a change of heart, felt responsible for the dog, and wanted her my self.
I hate lies but this day and time lying seems to be the way of the world. I'll let you know how things go.
Frustrated, Mad, Pissed....
I was afraid something like this could happen.

If you thought it would do any good, you could show them the blog post below which shows how we dealt with adopting Bob and introducing him to the pack. Or if the woman you spoke with (or better yet, her supervisor) wanted to call and talk to me, my cell is XXXXXXX.

If you want to read a story of good hearted people take the jump over to Vicki's blog and read her story of Bob. Vic

One More Thing...if the adoption does not work. I will promise them that if they harm one hair on Layla's body I will take the story public to Channel 12, 7, 8, and 9 and visit the mayors of Newport and Morehead City.
September 5th

The Ride
Well it's a done deal...all it took was to lie.

I went by the Pound yesterday told them I wanted to adopt Layla myself and problem.  They brought her out and lead her to a small holding area with a wooden gate to put her new collar on but when she saw me she broke free, busted down the gate and came straight to me. Nothing was going to kepp Layla form getting close enough to touch me.  Nothing.

When I lead her outside I had planed to take her for a short walk and then to the car.  Layla had other ideas.  She went straight to that old white Buick, jumped in the back seat, and would not come if to say, "Get me the hell out of here...NOW!"  I did what she asked.

Jennie and Mike had agreed to keep her until I could take Layla to John and Vicki so we headed for Washington, NC.   I patted the front seat and Layla slowly came up and sate beside me.  She looked around for a bit and then laid down beside me and put her nose on my leg and when to sleep.  She was content and safe and she knew it.  

Leg to nose
Layla did well at Mikes and quickly settled in.  She knows the "no" word.  All you have to do is say "no" with authority and she stops what she is doing and says she is sorry.  She asks when she needs to go out...but don't say the "go" word unless you mean it.  If you do she want to go to ride.

You were right Layla adopted me. She did not want to be far from me.  When Mike, Noel (my son), and I were talking she wold lay at my feet.  I've never had a dog so clearly say, "You are mine." before.

It was very hard to leave her at Mikes.  Noel will be taking her to her new life with John and Vicki in the mountains on Sunday. I told Layla she is one lucky dog to  be selected to go live in a dog's paradise in the mountains with her own pack, and the best people in the world.
Layla and Bob
She will love you guys. She is a smart dog so watch out. She likes men and I expect she will be following you around in short order.
John, Layla, & Noel
I really don't understand what attached her to me. I only saw her once before the Pound but the attachment was clear. Jennie said she went to the door and cried when I left...broke my heart. She is clearly a special dog to me.
Da Spoiling Began

Noel delivered Layla to her new home with John and Vick on September 6th and Layla and Bob, one of their other dogs, became fast friends. The rest of the pack especially Willa is taking a “wait and see attitude. Layla is in dog heaven running with her own pack of dogs..and humans. Here is a link to Vicki's Blog that gives her take on the Layla Story.

John & Vicki

From the bottom of my heart thank you John and Vicki. You are good people.

Fairwinds and Rum Drink,



Layla is Home

Friday, March 13, 2015

2015/03/13 Pipe Creek / Big Major Spot/Black Point / White Point

March 13, 2015 Pipe Creek / Big Major Spot/Black Point/White Point:

2/02/2015 Black Point to Pipe Creek, Exuma 14 nm
2/19/2015 Pipe Creek to Big Majors Spot, 5 nm
2/20/2015 Big Majors Spot to Sampson Cay, 4 nm
2/23/2015 Sampson Cay to Staniel (for groceries)/ Black Point 13 nm
2/26/2015 Black Point to Pipe Creek (Causeway) 13 nm
2/27/2015 Pipe Creek to Big Majors Spot 9 nm
3/08/2015 Big Majors Spot to White Point, Jack's Bay 12 nm
3/12/2015 White Point to Black Point
Total Miles to Date: 1236 nm

White Point Beach N,
To look at the face and not see humanity is to lack humanity.” Edward Curtis pioneer in photography and author of “The North American Indian”

As we frequently need to remind ourselves, history is generally written by the victors and, as such, can be exceedingly misleading, when it does not deliberately lie.” Farley Mowat

Pipe Ck Sands
Salty Turtle has been anchored off White Point about 5 miles S. of Black Point for the past few days enjoying a little solitude with a nice snorkel, some exploration, and a couple of beach walks thrown in for good measure. White Point is “beaches” thus white. Black Point is “iron rock” thus black. White Point is a tiny peninsula of land barely 300 feet across with beaches on both sides that extends about a half mile out into Banks off Great Guana Cay. 

We had shared this peaceful spot with only one other boat and a resident osprey...until yesterday when the “world” decided to descend on White Point (2 other boats showed up). Guess it's time to head for Black Point and see if the wifi gods will let us up load this blog....

Conch Walk
The Storm...

We wait...
Coming Storm
It was a flat calm evening in Pipe Creek – a magic kind of night. Wild Tamarind and Little Pipe cays were etched black against the magenta sky of a dieing sun. Pipe Creek was spooky quiet. Not a ripple. Not a bird. Not a human sound. The Turtle hung in the current as if suspended in a black pool and did not move...she too was waiting. We both know what is morning Pipe Creek will be a different place. The storm with its strong West winds will be upon us. 
Pipe Ck Sands
We had re-set the anchor. Added as much scope as possible. Lengthened our snubbers to 20 feet and not only had a loop of chain between the boat and the snubber but had added a pile of chain on the bottom for the winds and currents to have to drag around. The charplotter was on and so was Gigi's iPad both track the Turtle's ever move. Elongated “O” for a track indicates all is good but “Q” shapes do not give warm and fuzzy feelings and something must be done 'cause the anchor is (or has) been moving. We were as ready as could be. 
Joe - Da Mayor of Pipe Ck
It is not like we haven't been thru this drill before without incident. The last 5 weeks had been a series of cold fronts with strong West winds the like of which no one in living memory can remember. 
By morning the winds were exceeding 30ks in gusts out of the WNW (NNW winds will blow straight down the Ck). The snubbers were taught as a banjo strings fixing to bust with a shock load every minute or so from the 3' waves that were beginning to march down the creek, but we knew the worst was yet to come with the switch of tide at 11:00 AM. With the start of the incoming tide wind would be fighting current, waves would build to a short staccato chop slamming the hull every few seconds and wind would turn us sideways to the current. We waited keeping a sharp eye on the chartplotters and the reefs to our W and E both of which we clear by less than 100'. 
By 12:00 Noon the winds and clocked to the NNW and the winds built to a steady 30k with higher gust. The fight between the current and the wind was becoming a real problem. We were circling our anchor about ever 5 minutes. Our 88 pound Rocna anchor is an amazing piece of gear. It was holding and veering as we circled..but no anchor can keep up that kind of punishment and stay in the bottom. It was was time to go. When it is bad enough to leave a relatively protected anchorage for the Banks where we would be looking at huge seas you know it is bad.

Gigi cranked the “Lolls” (what I call the engines because of the deep throated sound they make) and I went to the windless to plan my strategy. With the howl of the winds and the din created by the canvas being shook like a dog with a rat, it was obvious all communications were to be by hand signals. I prayed to the boat gods we got it right the first time...there would be no second chance. 
We waited until the current over came the wind and the Turtle started her circle around the anchor so there would less pressure on the rode to over come. With hand signals to Gigi we followed the rode. I don't know how she did it but she put Salty Turtle exactly where I signaled her every time. Little by little the 100' of rode crept in until it was straight up and down. One more gust and the anchor broke free and Gigi got the “thumbs up” signal that the boat was free and hers. 
Now it was time to do something with that damn dingy. It had been tied along side. Gigi eased us into the current in the wind shadow of Wild Tamarind Cay and I re-tied the dink off the stern for towing – no way could we lift it on deck in that wind. I can hear you asking why the dink was in the water in the first place with a storm coming on? Answer: safety. What if you needed to take a second anchor out or go the assistance of another boater – with the dink in davits that can not happen. 
The 4 foot seas were a piece of cake after the anchor drill and by 1:00 PM the Turtle had her anchor down in the NE corner of Big Major Spot with 150' of chain on the bottom and we could breath again. We were rolling our ass off but we were safe.

Time for an anchor's down R U M! Gigi and I had 2. By dark the winds had gone due N and settled the roll to something liveable.

All was right with our world again. Which just goes to show a little fear can move mountains.

Dave & Diane

Then There Was... the wedding and (before you ask) definitely not mine. 
Dave & Diane
Pam and Ron on “Legacy,” a Defever-44 like ours, had spent most of the year in Pipe Creek with us and “Just Ducky.” They had been excited ever since they entered the creek at the start of the year. Their best friends, Dave & Diane ,were coming to spend 10 days with them the first of March. Then came the phone call. Things were changing and changing fast. 
Dave walked into work on or about the 16th of February and his asshole of a boss strolled in and erased his name off the “vacation board” and penciled in his own. Dave protested. He had had the vacation approved for months with tickets purchased and everything. His boss said, “so?” or words to that effect. Dave had been considering retirement and quit on the spot.
Dave, Diane, Pam, Ron, & Gigi
He went home, talked things over with Diane, his lady friend, and decided to put his home on the market and move in with her. It sold the day it hit the market...Dave was on a roll. Might as well go all the way, why not get married when they were in the Bahamas – they were going anyway and damn Dave's Boss. Good plan!

Bouquet in Progress
That's where the phone call came in and Gigi and I entered the picture. Ron knew I was a photographer and all weddings need a photographer...right? Of course I said yes. Now all that was left was to find a preacher and a church. They went looking for Burkie Rolle. Burkie works the gas dock at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, is part owner of Isles General Store with his wife Vivian, distributes propane for the Cay, is the best outboard mechanic on the island, the one armed pastor of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church (the one armed part is a story in its self). Burkie said yes and the date was set for Saturday, March 17th at 3:00 PM.

Pam & Diane
The wedding day was a splash of color as the dinghies sped over the calm waters sprinkled with shadows of scudding clouds dancing before the sun making a kaleidoscope of ever shifting blues and greens. They were headed for a pre-party and lunch at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. After a great lunch, a number of Kalik beers, and few frozen daiquiris the wedding party headed out to pick the brides bouquet (note I said picked not pickup). Pam had come prepared and she and Diane stopped by the bougainvillaea that grew along the road on the way to the church and did a little trimming of the bougainvillaea. Pam even brought scissor for just such a need – nothing but the best for this bride. 
Vivian & Burkie
We arrived at the church early. The ladies were dressed in their finest beach attire and sandals. Dave actually wore long pants..and sandals. Burkie came “formal.” He wore his “arm” (never seen him with two arms before). Ron and Pam gave the bride away. Vow's were given. Fifteen dollar rings they picked up at the last minute in Nassau were exchanged and by 3:30 Burkie had pronounced them “Man and Wife.” It was a simple, quite beautiful ceremony. Vivian, Gigi and I were the witnesses. Burkie's service was perfect. And the Bride and Groom were happy and left hand in hand for the stroll back to the Yacht Club least one more beer. 

For the price of a meal, two $15 dollar rings, $150 for the church, $20 for Brukie, and an odd beer or two Dave and Diane were husband and wife. The wedding its self was simple, stress free, and as perfect as a wedding can be. Weddings don't need to cost fortunes (although Dave said they blew the budget on flowers). All a perfect wedding really needs is love, good friends...and maybe a beer or two.
Hand in Hand

Post Party

We will probably spend Easter at Black Point and then head for Rock Sound in Eleuthera, do a little exploring, and then head on up island to Spanish Wells and up to the Abacos. Until next time.

Faiwinds and Rum Drinks,


PS – If you want to find a “private beach” then the Exuma Sound side of Jack's Bay Cove off Great Guana Cay is your place.
Jacks Bay Cove Beach