UPDATE#32 11/26 thru 11/30   

Howdy Everybody,

The adventures of 2006, 2007, and 2008 through 11/25/08 have been published on the website.  We continue with the latest edition.

 UPDATE 2008 #32   11/26/08 thru 11/30/08

At last update, we had just completed our crossing of the Atlantic Gulf Stream from Florida to the Little Bahama Bank.



     A relatively weak cold front made its way through our anchorage sometime in the middle of the night yielding a some rain showers and a wind change coming from the north. 

     The anchor was up and being washed clean at 6:20am.  We had been fortunate to find good holding in a thick, sandy bottom.


     CHABLIS started out of the anchorage area a few minutes behind AMARSE but soon found her way around the slower boat.  There was a breeze from the north and that had the seas kicked up to at least 2 feet.  The air temperature was almost 70 degrees already when the sun poked itself up at 6:38am.


     We heard ROYAL SERF and CANADIAN ODYSSEY chatting at the Great Sale Cay anchorage.  We were able to make contact with them and wish them good sailing toward Boat Harbour.  They will be on dock #5 again this year.

     In the middle of what seems to be no-where, we approached the “Center of the World Rock”.


     Since we have not yet cleared Customs and Immigration, we were required to fly this yellow quarantine flag.  No person or vessel is allowed to make landfall or visit anywhere before clearing in.


     Spanish Cay lies ahead…


     At precisely 9am, we tossed our lines to the wooden pilings at Spanish Cay marina.  The Customs lady met us briefly and said she had to make a run to the airport and would return soon.


     In less than 15 minutes, she held true to her word and boarded AMARSE to help us finish filling out the required paperwork.  This is really the quickest place to obtain clearance anywhere in the Bahamas.  The inspection agent is very efficient and completely helpful in every way.  She is cheerful and hopes that even more cruisers will make this their first port of call.  We paid our $300 dollar fee and received our clearance papers and our fishing license with spearfishing endorsement. 

     We had a quick visit at the docks from Fred and Sherry aboard CHIPKA FIRE III.  They had just finished the clearance process and were ready to proceed to Boat Harbour too. 


     The docks were surprising empty.  I would hope that they develop some kind of special marketing plan to attract more visitors.  Those marinas that have adopted special amenities and pricing strategies for the cruisers have been quite successful in increasing their revenues.


     At 9:33am, we were off the docks and underway.


     Although doable, the Whale Cay Passage sounded a bit lumpy for a comfortable ride.  We decided to try the shallower route through “Don’t Rock Passage”.  The water can become too shallow in the lowest tide conditions.  Seeking a smoother circumstance, we figured it would be worth the try.  The tide tables indicated that we would be only 1 hour from dead low tide when we got there.  I donned my special polarizing sunglasses that enable me to see more clearly through the water and to “read” the depths visually.  The glasses are affectionately nicknamed, “the blast shields”.  They work remarkably well and I reserve this pair exclusively for occasions like this when I desire enhanced visual conditions.




     Combined with some good waypoints in the GPS chart plotter, we slowly and cautiously made our way through the area.  Without this sunlight angulation, the passage would have been much more tenuous.  Under the circumstances, we didn’t see anything much less than 5.7 feet in depth. Remember, YMMV (your mileage may vary).


     If we had arrived late in the day, the sun would have been too low to make accurate readings of the depth.  Perhaps you can even see in this picture where the shallowest areas stretch out from Don’t Rock.  We passed Don’t Rock at 12:40pm.


     Remember NOT to try this passage either when the Whale Cay is very bad and in rage condition.  The rolling waves and wind chop will bounce you around and will stir up the bottom too much to get any visual cues.  In those types of conditions, the prudent mariner will seek a safe harbor like at Green Turtle Cay.

     Once through the Don’t Rock Passage, the Sea of Abaco opens up to provide comfortable depths.


     By mid afternoon, we had the sea wall of Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina in sight.  We are almost home…


     A couple of VHF radio calls had friends, fellow dock mates, and Howard, the dockmaster standing by to help with lines.


     As the song says, “Gee but it’s good to be back home again”.


     Around here, it’s any excuse for a dock party.  Our dock mates quickly and spontaneously organized a sunset party under the guise of our welcoming get-together.  “Hot Lips” Graham faithfully accomplished the tradition of sounding the conch horn.


     Wink lorded from this relaxed position seated on his “kingly throne of Royalty”.  The thought crossed my mind, “…It’s a good thing to be a King”.  Maybe, you’ve heard the old saying, “Once a ‘King’, Always a ‘King’; but, Once a ‘Knight’ is often enough?”  I don’t know; maybe, maybe, not.


     It was a great gathering with visitors from the other docks too.  What a great way to start off our season here at Boat Harbour.




     The morning was clear, bright, and fantastically beautiful.  We have an unimpeded view of the resort complex main office and welcome center.  Soon, all of these open slips will be filled with trawlers, yachts, and sailboats.  The reservations are in and they’re on the way.  We’re looking forward to meeting them and having lots of fun.


     We have so much to be thankful for in this life…  I was just thinking, we are a lot like the Pilgrims of 1620.  Although this is our third season at Boat Harbour, it is really our first Thanksgiving Day here in the Abacos.  Similar to their first Thanksgiving, we will be enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving feast with a group of our closest friends.  Much like the Pilgrims, we arrived by “boat”.  I think that someone even said that MAYFLOWER spelled backwards is AMARSE.  I’m not sure I believe them on that one.

     Wink and Wilma came by to say “good morning” and “Happy Thanksgiving”…  I had the thought that he just might look a lot like Myles Standish this morning.  What do you think?


     AMARSE, “looking good in the neighborhood”…


     This is the view looking out into the main anchorage area of Marsh Harbour.  There are still a lot of prime anchoring spots available for the choosing.  All of that will change rapidly as more and more sailors make their way here.


     Seen at Long’s Landing, this poignant sign has a succinct way of expressing its thought-provoking message.


     The luxury, resort condominiums are now completed and available.  On the upside, the landscaped grounds are immaculate.  On the downside, our beloved Tiki Hut is gone forever.  Oh, well, I guess we’ll just have to find some other place to congregate.  I haven’t had a tour of the insides yet but the building sure looks nice on the exterior.  Maybe you’d like to place an offer for one of the end units.   


     Tony and Fran Relow were just arriving in their fabulous, Fleming motor yacht, TOURELOU.


     Caught in the act…  “Whatta we gonna tell your Mama, Whatta we gonna tell your Pa, What are you gonna tell our friends when they say Ooh-La-La?”


     The dock #4 group of slips at Boat Harbour Marina at the Abaco Beach Resort…


     The two buddies, Judy Law (AMARSE) and Barb Bluto (CHABLIS)…


     We were invited to join the feast of Thanksgiving aboard the Great Harbor 47, JOHN HENRY.  Captain Wink Thornton was standing by to welcome us on board for the festive dinner at 2pm.


     The gals got together and decided what each would bring to the table.  Each one volunteered something of a favorite; the tables were soon filled beyond capacity.


     This crab trap made for an elegantly nautical serving table for a picturesque appetizer platter.  Those black olives won’t last long with Wink and me around.


     Salads, potatoes, savory stuffing, oyster dressing, squashes, green beans, noodles, gravy, cranberry sauce, and the legs and slices from two big turkeys were some of the culinary treats arranged for the feast.


     All of it was wonderfully delicious.


     Thanksgiving dinner for 10 aboard JOHN HENRY topside…

        In pic:  (L to R in pic):  Janet and Ken (Sue’s daughter and son-in-law), Judy Law and Fred Reed (AMARSE), Wink Thornton (Host and Captain of JOHN HENRY), Sherry and Fred (CHIPKA FIRE III), Sue and Paul Graham (ODYSSEY).  Wilma Thornton was taking the picture.


     The weather cooperated perfectly for the outside dinner.  Wilma (aft) passed around the brownies for dessert while Judy cut generous pieces of chocolate-pecan pie. 


     On this fabulous day, all around the marina seemed peaceful and tranquil…

     This is the sport fish weigh-in station.  The summertime is more active for the fishing tournaments,


     Even the swimming pool area was strangely quiet.  I guess since everyone has been eating constantly, it becomes impossible to wait a whole hour after eating before going swimming.  Let me think about this, “Eat or Swim?”.  …Hmmmm… 


     It must be sunset because “Hot Lips” Sue is puckered up big time.  I wonder if she can play “B-17”?


     Dressed to the Nines, my dear friend, Rita Wieczorek (MAGNUM OPUS), looked absolutely fantastic.  She was joining with another large group to dine at the Angler’s Restaurant.  Everyone raved about the great dinner presentation put on by the Abaco Beach Resort. 


     Inside their main saloon aboard JOHN HENRY, Wink and Wilma hosted an encore performance for leftovers at 7pm.  I wonder if the Pilgrims had leftovers too.

     It has been a great day, in a great place, with great food, and, most importantly, with great friends.  It is no wonder that we are all so very thankful.



     Dock #7, affectionately called “Oceans 7”, is located around the marina nearer to the Sea of Abaco.  They enjoy a very nice, tree-lined grassy area perfect for hosting.  The resident group of cruisers organized and invited everyone to join together for cocktail hour.  Per usual, everyone brought their own drinks and some snacking things for the community table.


     The late afternoon view southeast revealed an unusually passive Sea of Abaco.  I can’t remember ever seeing it in this calm of a state.


     I seems as though Fred (Chipka Fire III) has captivated the attentions of all these gals.  I’ll bet he’s telling tall tales of heroic adventures of sea travel.



     We were just thinking about ways to enjoy this wonderfully sunny day when Bob Williams (SHADE-MOR) came by to invite us to join a group of friends aboard their beautiful, 65-foot Hattaras motor yacht for a day trip to Nipper’s Beach Bar on Guana Cay.

      Susan Harward (SUSAN’s COVE) and Judy Law…  Susan was poised to enjoy the trip, especially since she is a former resident and was a landowner on Guana Cay for many years.  I like it when she tells of the earlier years when the little island was very rustic and secluded. There is a famous song that asks, “What happened to little island I used to know?”  Of course, she still knows nearly everyone on that Cay (pronounced, “KEY”) and they all know her.


     Wilma and Wink (JOHN HENRY) and Janet (Sue Graham’s visiting daughter)…


     Janet and Ken…


     Karen O’Brien (CHRISTMAS), Sue Graham (ODYSSEY), and Judy Law (AMARSE)…


     Steve O’Brien was celebrating his birthday.  Happy Birthday, Steve…  Do you think he’s telling the truth about being 39?  I always thought he was much younger than that.  Right..!


     Sue Graham (ODYSSEY) and Judy Law (AMARSE) are very close friends.  They share many of the same interests and hobbies.


     Dick Cunneen (RAGGEDY ANN) and Paul Graham (ODYSSEY)…


     Janet and Ken, Becki Boelke (POKEY), and Karen O’Brien (CHRISTMAS)…


     After an hour or so of cruising in the Sea of Abaco, we arrived at these brand new docks in Guana Cay harbour.  The old place was always called, “Earl’s Dock”.  Everyone knew that he didn’t own them but he was always there to help with lines and collect the small fee for daytime dockage.  All that has changed as the old docks have been torn down and Earl is gone too.


     An interesting focal piece of island charm…  Folks will tell you that the outboard motor was running just yesterday.  Are they pulling my leg?


      Susan remembers when a group of gals got together and painted up this old scoop loader…  I guess it was kind of an island beautification project…


     Wink and Wilma Thornton (JOHN HENRY) at the entrance pathway to the world famous, Nipper’s Beach Bar…


     The ocean side beach at Guana Cay…


     Little Johnny, Alexis, and their Mom, Amy…  If you remember, Amy gave me lots of good advice when my leg was injured last year.


     How’s this for a perfectly romantic and secluded wading pool at the Guana Cay oceanside.


     Las Sirenas (mermaids)…  A bevy of RMHYC Beach Babes at Guana Cay...

Wilma (JOHN HENRY), Judy (AMARSE), and Sue (ODYSSEY) ...


     Judy Law “in the land of the sun, sand, and sea…”


     Fred Reed (AMARSE) and Wink Thornton (JOHN HENRY)…


     “Look - - It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman”...  No, Fred, it’s just another seagull…


     Judy says, “The sand feels soooo good between my toes”.


     Wilma and Wink…   Hey, what do you guys think you are, Rock Stars?


     How beautiful is this?  As the song says, “I’d rather be here than in Chicago, I rather be here than Toronto, I rather be here than in Miami, I’d rather be here than Calgary…”


     The pool at Nipper’s…


     Maybe you better ask Sue if the Fish Sandwich is as good as it looks.  I’d bet you already know the answer.


     Kathy Sales (LO KEE) and Judy Law (AMARSE) at Nipper’s…


     SHADE-MOR patiently waiting at the dock in Guana Cay harbour for 33 RMHYC guests to return from Nipper’s...


     Grabber’s waterfront bar looks out on Fishers Bay and the Sea of Abaco from Guana Cay.  Mooring balls are available from Troy at Dive Guana on VHF 16.


     Anyone not on board at 3pm can plan to find alternate transportation back to Boat Harbour.  It is an excellent way to ensure that everyone keeps to the schedule set by the Captain.


     Sue (ODYSSEY), Kathy (LO KEE), Audrey Crone (JAFTICA), and Henry Jamrozinski (OH HENRY)…


     Wink (JOHN HENRY), Tim Boelke (POKEY), Sue (ODYSSEY)…


     Wilma (JOHN HENRY) and Judy (AMARSE)…


     Our fabulous and gracious host, Judy Williams, Admiral of SHADE-MOR, told us a heartwarming tale about a problem with Bob's car.  The real problems began when she decided to adjust a couple of loose nuts.


     At the upper helm station, Ann Cunneen (RAGGEDY ANN), Susan Harward (SUSAN’s COVE), Dick Cunneen (RAGGEDY ANN), David Crone (JAFTICA), and a gal that was our hosts’ guest from Michigan.  Wink (JOHN HENRY) and Tim (POKEY) chat in the foreground…


     The beautiful, waterborne chariot, SHADE-MOR, which so comfortably carried us to Guana Cay under the capable hand of Captain Bob Williams…


     We had a spectacular dinner tonight.  Wink and Wilma gave us two beautiful, spiny Bahamian lobster tails.  I sautéed them in lemon butter and served them with rice.  Thanks, Wink…  Thanks, Wilma…




     Sometime during the night, Miriam Grafer passed away in her sleep.  We extend our deepest sympathies to George and their family.  Miriam will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all those who knew her.

     George and Miriam were in the midst of their cruise toward south Florida in their boat, TIME OUT.  They were anchored out near St. Augustine, FL at her passing.  This is a personal loss that we are feeling deeply.  They had become treasured friends over the years since we first met in Marsh Harbour.


     Today in the Bahamas, the early morning started out dark, overcast, and very windy. 


     Nobody else was walking today so Judy dawdled along with me today.  She normally walks much faster and further when she is with the girls.  We walked out toward the beach at Mermaid Reef on the other side of the point.  All along the way, we felt the pangs of anguish at Miriam’s passing.


     Continuing to the Jib Room, we walked their docks before tracking back toward the marina.  We also made a stop at the commercial fisherman’s docks and Skagg’s Market.  We were gone about an hour.

     The island has lots of these lovely trees about.  They are called “Christmas Palms” because of the stalks of red and green berries.  They are quite interesting and add lots of tropical color to the walking route.


     Judy got the bikes down today.  I attached a white, plastic crate carrier to this one and a red bag to the other bike.  These are the used bikes that Judy bought when we were back in Brunswick.  It was especially fun because this is the first time that I have ridden a bike in many, many years.  I have a feeling that we will ride a lot more this year. 


     Later in the day, the wind continued to increase from the south and southwest.  It got much cooler and there were occasional showers throughout the afternoon.  Everyone around kind of just hunkered in to keep comfortable.

     In the evening, the wind was jamming AMARSE hard against the dock piling at amidships.  It was an above average high tide and the main blue fender slid away from between the boat and the piling.  Judy and I tried our best to push the boat away to reset that fender but our efforts were to no avail.  The blowing forces against all of AMARSE’s windage were more powerful than we.  Fortunately, I had attached a fender to the dock and piling that served to absorb the brunt of the contact but the rub rail still made a very slight rubbing on the piling. Of course, we will rearrange the protective fenders to preclude any further occurrences as soon as possible.


     Late this night, I received a deeply saddening email from George Grafer.  Not knowing how to say it any other way, I will share that email message with you:

            TO ALL OUR FRIENDS,





     Our hearts ached with sorrow and grief.  We found ourselves tearfully mourning her passing.  In contemplative thoughts and quietly spoken words, Judy and I pensively reflected our remembrances of Miriam.

     We first met Miriam in Marsh Harbour, Abacos, The Bahamas.  In that season, TIME OUT was docked in the same slip that AMARSE now occupies.  AMARSE had just completed the America’s Great Loop cruise and George and Miriam were interested in learning more to help their planning.  The following summer, they guided TIME OUT through that Loop adventure.

     Last spring, we had the good fortune to meet up with them just a few days after their Loop completion.  In the company of several other “Loopers”, we shared an evening of joyous reunion.  Both gals were serious about their jewelry-making art.  Miriam was an artistic master of the ‘crocheted wire’ style of making necklaces.  She kindly shared so many of her talents, hints, and techniques with Judy. This photo of Miriam and Judy was taken while anchored at Cumberland Island just north of the Florida-Georgia border. 


     While relaxing in Georgia, we had the great opportunity to share a lot more memorable moments with George and Miriam.  We visited lots of places together and we enjoyed every minute of every day.  We will cherish our memories of Miriam and she will always be remembered for her great smile, adventurous spirit, and loving friendship. 

     As he asked, we will keep George and their family in our thoughts and prayers. 

     This wonderful photo of George and Miriam was taken at the sandy shores of St. Simon’s Island, Georgia in the spring of this year.







       We sincerely hope that you will review the previous years of compilations to give context to the current editions.  Please let us know if you have any special suggestions and thoughts.


     REMEMBER:  The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.  You can review any of the 2006, 2007, or the upcoming 2008 logs and learn more about the crew and our plans.  Enjoy.



   You may contact us via email anytime.

Thanks for allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.

Lotsa Luv,

Fred Reed and Judy Law



 "AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".            Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .