UPDATE#35 12/21 thru 12/31   

Howdy Everybody,

The adventures of 2006, 2007, and 2008 through 12/20/08 have been published on the website.  We continue with the latest edition.

 UPDATE 2008 #35  12/21/08 thru 12/31/08

At last update, we were aboard AMARSE at the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina in the Bahamas.




     It was the Sunday before Christmas and Judy attended a local church service at the invitation of her friend Sue.

     The weather was as nice as you might possibly imagine.  We decided to take to the waters of the Sea of Abaco in our dinghies.  The first order of business was to fuel up the tanks for a full day of running.  Wink has a built in tank feeding his 50 hp outboard powered skiff.  Our rigid inflatable requires us to use a portable 6-gallon tank for the 15 hp outboard.


     Wilma, the “boat bunny”… Ain't she cute?


     Judy, the “boat bunny”… Ain't she cute too?



     We ran about 8 to 10 miles south to a lovely little sand beach area.  Wink dropped anchor and we rafted up to them.  For protection and to ward off the chill of the sea, we all donned our wetsuits.


     Wilma was all suited-up and ready for some serious snorkeling and shell hunting…


     Fred (AMARSE) was all suited up...



     On the first swim, Wink located this fantastic helmet conch.


     Although I did not personally locate any of the helmet conchs, all of the other three swimmers were more successful at finding some.


     The girls headed off to the south into the current…


     Wink wanted to cover some more area so he had me tow him behind the skiff.  With our inflatable still rafted alongside, we idled around the area in search of interesting underwater objects.  After a while, I realized that I had lost one of my swim fins off the inflatable.  Having no idea where it fell over, we tried in vain to locate it.  The current was fairly swift in this area and it could have easily carried the fin a goodly distance before it sank to the bottom.

     After the swims, I towed the trio into shallower water to ease their re-entry into the skiff.  Judy and Wilma grabbed hold of Wink’s legs and we idled up against the current flow. 


     We parted the two dinghies and headed back to Boat Harbour.


     It had been an absolutely wonderful day of fun in the tropics.  In her final display of glory, the sun painted the evening sky with incredible beauty.  Is it any wonder that we love this tropical paradise?


     This evening, the time of sunset marked the important beginning of Hanukkah for those of the Jewish faith.  Also called the Festival of Lights, the eight-day holiday commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem. Centuries ago, the sacred Temple had been desecrated by warring forces attempting to defeat the Jews.  Following the victory by the Jewish forces, there was only enough olive oil available in the Temple to keep the eternal flame burning for one day.  Miraculously, the flame continued to burn continuously for a full eight days giving the religious leaders just enough time to press, prepare, and to consecrate fresh olive oil.  In recognition of the miracle, tradition has families lighting a different candle of the Menorah over the eight-day period. 

     We were honored with an invitation from some of our Jewish friends to join them for the first night of celebration.  In addition to the lighting of the Menorah, traditional foods and drinks were offered.  We sincerely thank our dear friends for including us in their time of remembrance.

     Later in the evening, Judy joined up with another group that wandered the various docks to sing Christmas carols.  They would visit and sing at each boat along the way.  It is truly that joyous time of year for all to celebrate their holidays.



     As happens so often, I worked on picture files and on log updates for most of the morning.

     Judy attended a watercolor painting session and lesson given by Fred (CHIPKA FIRE III).  Fred is an accomplished artist and has studied extensively with this medium.  At poolside, the group learned some of the finer points of watercolor wash techniques.  Judy did a remarkably great job and her interest has been kindled.  I look forward to more of her artistic endeavors.

     I took a bicycle ride into the town center.  There were lots more boats at anchor in the Marsh Harbour anchorage seeking shelter from the increasing breezes.


     This dinghy dock is very popular with sailors and cruisers in the anchorage.  From here, they can have close access to supplies and services in Marsh Harbour.  The dock was funded, constructed, and is continuously maintained by the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club (RMHYC).  Of course, the dock facility is available for all boaters.


     As invited guests of Dave and Barbara Bluto, we joined the celebrating group on Dock 5.  Each year, Dave and Barbara host a special Eggnog Social.  Several gallons of the richly sweet mixture were cheerfully ladled into sipping cups.  There were lots of other sweet treats to accompany the deliciously creamy concoction.  This was really a fun event and we were privileged to be a part of it.  Thanks, Dave and Barb.



     It was quite cool and very windy all day.  By cool, I mean a high of only around 70 degrees F but, of course, you must consider the wind chill factor.

     At 11am, the RMHYC club regalia items were on sale at the Marquis Tent.  Members could buy various designs of shirts, hats, tote bags, and other club gear emblazoned or embroidered with the world-famous RMHYC logos.  Needless to say, we availed ourselves of some of those handsome designs.  Many members took advantage of the book exchange to trade their titles for other titles.  Lots of folks here are prolific readers and are on the constant search for new material.

       Sue Graham had the use of a loaner car for a couple of weeks.  She kindly drove several of us to the Price Right Grocery store to pick up provisions for the upcoming holiday events.

     Judy spent most of the day baking batch after batch of sweet stuff.  She arranged a nice variety of cookies and candies, and then she wrapped them festively as gifts to many of our friends around the marina.

     Our evening was very special.  Along with David and Audrey Crone (JAFTICA), Judy and I were invited to dine aboard the fabulous yacht, CHABLIS, as guests of Dave and Barb Bluto.

     (L to R) David Crone, Dave and Barb Bluto, Audrey Crone, and Judy Law.


     (L to R) Barb and Dave Bluto (CHABLIS), Audrey Crone (JAFTICA), Judy Law and Fred Reed (AMARSE)…


     Audrey and Judy admire the elegantly festive décor in the main saloon…


     Everyone loved this beautiful Christmas decoration…


     The dinner began with appetizers and cocktails.  For the main course, our hosts chose to roast a magnificent Prime Rib of Beef.  The melt-in-your-mouth slabs were served just the way everyone liked.  My piece could not have been more perfect or more delicious.  Perfectly complimented sides included mashed potatoes, Italian green beans, and fresh carrots.  Barb baked a wonderful apple pie for our dessert.  Awesome is a definite understatement…


     Dave is a master of artisan breads.  He made this special loaf especially for our dinner.  A piece of fresh, warm bread and a few sips of hearty wine served by loving friends were ever-so rewarding to our inner souls.


     A wonderful evening of relaxing conversation followed the thoroughly enjoyed dinner.  One of the holiday decorative items was this loveable pooch that sings Christmas tunes while joyfully dancing.  The antics brought huge smiles to everyone’s faces.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave and Barbara. 




     The morning was windy and overcast enough to have our water aerobics class cancelled. 

     Judy continued her baking for her Christmas gift plates full of sweet goodies.  I managed to elicit enough galley time to prepare part of the foodstuff contributions for our marina party tonight.  I made a savory salsa concoction with fresh ingredients including tomatoes and onions combined with finely diced and chopped green chili peppers, black and green olives, fire-roasted red peppers, and mushrooms.  The evening gathering was to celebrate everyone’s holiday preference.  Being Christmas Eve, many of the celebratory plates had that festive theme.  In honor of our Jewish friends, I decided to decorate the salsa bowl with a representation of the Hanukkah Menorah. 


     Several of the RMHYC members got together and decorated the area by Dock 6.  As the revelers began to arrive, the tables began to fill with sumptuous dishes of their favorite holiday choices.


     Choices, choices, choices…


     After the party, Wink and Wilma invited a small group to join them aboard JOHN HENRY for a game of “Pit”.  The game idea simulates active commodity trading of the exchange floor.  The game is fast, loud, and full of tension.  I think I’m getting too laidback for all that much jumpy intensity and pressure.  I generally prefer a more tranquil pace at game time.


     Wilma gave Judy her festively wrapped gift containing some fine brushes and special paper to foster her watercolor artistry.  That made Judy very happy and appreciative.




     It’s Christmas Day and you get a horrendous toothache.  Everything is closed…  What would you do?  Where would you ever find a dentist?  Well, how about in the next-door slip?  When Sherry woke up to severe pain, she was fortunate to get the attention of her neighbor, Ron (SUN “N” A BEACH), who happens to be a renowned orthodontist.  Okay, Okay, just open wide and stop screaming…


     For most of us, it was the perfect morning for relaxation.  Wink enjoyed cleaning up some excellent specimens of fossilized coral and crystalline rocks.


     At noon, a group of RMHYC friends on Dock 4 gathered to share their midday luncheon.  Our brightly colored clothing may not have been traditional but we felt very Christmassy is our tropical finery.


     Judy Law (AMARSE), Sue Graham (ODESSEY), and Wilma Thornton (JOHN HENRY)…


     Judy and Sue…


     Sue loves “seahorse” things…  Judy made this unique necklace for her Christmas gift.  I think the color, theme, and design compliments her holiday outfit perfectly.


     How festive is this?  Christmas tree socks and your favorite “Crocs”…  It just couldn’t get better than that…


     While some of our friends traveled back to the mainland to be with other family, these Dock 4 folks were here in the islands to celebrate with their RMHYC family.


     We were invited to Christmas dinner aboard JOHN HENRY.  The dockside ladder makes entry to the aft deck much easier as the tide ebbs.


     Wink has an aquarium where he often displays small fish that he has netted in the local waters.  This “grunt” will enjoy its dinner while swimming around the pretty tank.  Now displayed next to the aquarium, the pack of cute drink coasters that say, “Wink, I’ll do the rest”, immediately caught our eye in the gift shop.  Judy and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to conjure the humor.  We thought the phraseology could represent a myriad of different meanings.  Those twists made the present even more fun.


     Sue roasted the turkey and Wink did the artful carving…


     Everybody brought his or her specialty dish and everything was delicious.


     It is not just Christmas, it is also the fifth evening of Hanukkah.  Although this Menorah may not be made of fine silver, it served well to bring remembrance and honor to the “Miracle of the Oil” and the “Festival of Lights”.  On this rustic Menorah, the ninth and larger candle, called the Shamash  ("helper or servant"), was the flame used to light the other candles.


     Some people say that it’s the “tryptophan” enzyme derived from eating turkey meat that makes you sleepy.  For Sue, it may be that she worked so hard roasting the big, meaty bird.


     Judy made this awesome “Rum Cake” for one of the desserts.  I got a mellow glow from just looking at it. 


     Wilma cleverly arranged the “Haupia” in the shape of a snowy-white Christmas tree.  Now, that is what I call, tropically festive…


     There were no games for entertainment this night.  We simply enjoyed the wonderful joy of being with and chatting with special friends.



     We made the morning walks before jumping in the resort pool for water aerobics.  Because it was quite windy, it felt quite cool, even chilly, although the actual temperature wasn’t that cold.

     In the Bahamas, it is “Boxing Day”.  As a national holiday, almost everything in the islands was closed.  Boxing day is not about fighting.  Legend states that in former times, the local servants all had to work on the holidays and, as such, would not have the opportunity to be with their families.  Many of the wealthy would allow the “boxing” of the remaining feast leftovers, along with some small gifts, for the poor families to share on this excused day off.

     Most of us here just found ways to enjoy a lazy, relaxing day.  Our neighbor, Mary (PROPINQUITY) found her comfortable place in the sun suspended from a halyard on their sailboat.


     We went aboard SEA ISLAND GIRL for an evening of “Farkle”.  We all enjoy that fun dice game.  Robert and Carolyn are always fun to match those lucky dice rolls with.  Maggie looked on, perhaps thinking that she’d love to get her paws on those tumbling dice cubes.



     Wink, Paul Graham, and I walked out past the main anchorage area of Marsh Harbour on our way to the commercial docks zone.  Judy and the speedy girls walked the other way toward the eastern shore.


     Part of the morning was needed to start cleaning up these fantastic shells that we found on our snorkeling trip last Sunday.  They have been soaking in a bucket of fresh water and now we will dry them in the sun for a while.  After the full treatment, they will be almost completely white.  These various “sea biscuits” were mostly covered with sharp spines when they were alive.  When we found them, they were already dead.


     I find them fascinatingly intricate in structure and design.  They are extremely fragile and will break very, very easily.


     While Judy availed herself of some tanning rays at poolside, I endeavored to learn more about a slideshow computer program. 


     Wink spent the afternoon making delicious Turkey Soup for our dinner.  The flavorful broth came from the leftover meat and bones from Christmas dinner.  As were the rest of us, Judy was having lots of fun too.  After super soup, the “Farkle” dice were rolling.  Wink taught us a new dice game called “Ship, Captain, Crew”.  It is an easy game that doesn’t require a lot of serious concentration and, for me, that is a great game.  I hope we get to play it again real soon.  Do you want to learn how to play too?  Come on over, there usually room for a couple more players.



     A few of our friends went underwater fishing today.  They brought back a bountiful catch from the rock ledges.  These are some of the largest and finest, spiny lobsters that I have seen in these parts.  As you might expect, Paul boastfully claimed, “…mine is the biggest”…

     (L to R) Wink, Wilma, and Paul Graham…


     Returning from the depths with their awesome catch of the day, they reminded me of some of my favorite storybook characters.

     Wink Thornton is AQUAMAN…


     Wilma Thornton is THE LITTLE MERMAID…


     Paul Graham is the legendary DAVY JONES…


     Paul Graham is the inimitable, swashbuckling CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES…


     Well, so much for that kind of fun…  Wink’s lobster weighed in at a huge, second best of show.


     Akia (SUN “N” A BEACH) marveled at the enormity of this giant, spiny crustacean.


     ORINOCO, a 48-foot Tollycraft, with Captains Robert and Patty Mitchell, along with Maggi, the Wonder Dog, arrived on Dock 5 to a bunch of cheering friends.  We have been friends for several years since we first met on the Tenn-Tom Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. We were so glad to see them after their voyage south from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

     At a little after 5pm, a nice group of RMHYC boaters walked over to Snappa’s Restaurant that is perched at the shore of Marsh Harbour bay.  Bette arranged the reservations for two biggest tables for her get-together.

     David and Bette Bauereis (TAR HEEL) with daughter, Sara, and grandson, Ethan…




     Weather-wise, it was an absolutely fabulous day.  In every other respect, it was even better.  The air was warm, calm, and clear.  The Sea of Abaco was tranquil enough to be classed as perfect.  Today was definitely an ideal dinghy day.

     We did our morning walk and then attended the water aerobics session.  A half an hour was all it took to chill us enough to head out for some sunny warmth.

     The dinghy was lowered from its lofty perch atop the sunroof, then loaded up with stuff for our sunny day, inter-island cruise.


     In a northerly direction, we headed up through the channel between the main island and Sugarloaf Cay.


     After crossing the Sea of Abaco, we turned right out of the Man-O-War Cay entrance cut into the eastern bay…


     Mirror-like conditions in the eastern anchorage and mooring field at Man-O-War Cay…


     Man-O-War Cay has a population of about 300 Bahamian residents and about 135 foreign resident families. The island is famous for its boat-building history. William H. Albury was famous in the country for his tremendous boat building skills. He built his first schooner at the age of 14. Albury died in 1972, but the boat building on the Cay still lives on.  I am pretty sure that this lovely, old wooden ketch-rigged sailboat was constructed right here on this island.


     Heading west brought us into the main dockage area and anchorage/mooring field.


     Our dinghy trip continued out through the western channel.  The waters got very shallow and we even needed to tilt the outboard motor to keep from churning too deep.  We turned back across the Sea of Abaco because the swells near the North Passage to the Atlantic Ocean were rolling in making the ride too uncomfortable.  Sliding past Mermaid Reef at about 20 mph, we zipped back toward Boat Harbour.

     After a late lunch on AMARSE, the dinghy beckoned us to head out again.  This time, our path took us east to Elbow Cay and White Sound.  An 85-foot motor yacht was churning up the sandy bottom as we slowly followed it in toward Sea Spray Resort and Marina.  Just as the huge yacht was trying to enter a dock slip, the sand’s suction grabbed hold of it and left it motionlessly aground.  We didn’t bother to hang around long enough to watch their 28-30 foot chase boat tender helping them off.  Fortunately, the incoming tide would help their efforts with a little more time and a few feet more water depth.

     Still wanting more boating enjoyment, we headed further south to nearby Tahiti Beach and the Tiloo Cut.  Soon, it was getting later in the afternoon and it was time to head back to Boat Harbour and the comforts of AMARSE.

     I was so worn out from all the activities of the day that I found myself tired enough to “hit the sack” at 7pm.



     After our morning walking group, Judy and I rode our bikes to the local Standard Hardware store.  A tube of caulking compound was our original goal but I also found a set of swim fins to replace the one I lost.

     Back at AMARSE, the work began to seal the portside, aft seams and windows.  Two years ago, a latex-based material was used and proved to be inadequate for long life in the marine environment.  This time, I will do the job and use a 100% silicone sealant that should have a much greater endurance.

     Using the dinghy as a work platform, I handled the arduous digging, scraping, and cleaning prep work.  Judy followed behind to do the masking tape duty.  She does a great taping job.


     Using a fresh tube of high quality, silicone sealant, I ran the beads around the seams and smoothed them with my finger.  Judy was handy with the paper towels for quick cleanup.


     As the sun was in setting mode, I was just finishing up the sealing process.  Then, the unthinkable happened.  As I began to strip away the blue masking tape, I saw that the sealant had already started to skin over.  Instead of pulling away cleanly, the sealant was sliding off the tape and building up unsightly ridges and generally ruining the job.  I have never seen this happen before even though I’ve done lots of caulking over the years.    The 3M-brand sealant that I prefer has a longer setting time.  This other brand sets up much faster as fully explained in the directions.  Perhaps, next time I’ll read those instructions a little closer.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day and this can be fixed.


     Wink and Wilma (JOHN HENRY) joined us aboard AMARSE for dinner.  I grilled sausage on the Barbeque and we served it with wonderful scalloped potatoes.  After dinner, we played some “Farkle” dice games and finished up with a few games of “Ship, Captain, and Crew”.




     The final day of 2008 offered us perfect weather conditions.  The views on our morning walk were spectacular and invigorating.


     The chilly pool water was also invigorating during our morning water aerobics session.  Both Judy and I find that we can get quite chilled and it seems to take a while to raise our body heat factor again.  Riding our bikes back to the hardware store for more supplies helped our circulatory systems to raise our core temperatures.  Another tube of silicone sealant was at the head of our shopping list.

     CHIPKA FIRE III had been anchored out overnight and returned from the Sea of Abaco midday.  Josh had caught a fish.


     The proud fisherman, Josh, posed with the catch of the day. His mom, Sherry, and his brother, Henry, shared his pride of accomplishment.


     Being city kids, they asked for some assistance in identification and cleaning technique.  They wisely chose Wink Thornton (JOHN HENRY) for their mentor.  At a quick glance, he identified the fish as a Spanish mackerel.  With a razor sharp knife, Wink made the precise incisions to yield perfect fillets.


     As an instructional demonstration, Wink conveys the methodology to Josh, Rachael, and Henry.


     At 3pm, CHIPKA FIRE III slipped all lines, raised sails, and treated 15 folks from Dock 4 to the beginnings of a sunset sailing cruise.  The perfect weather of the morning was replaced with overcast skies and threatening showers.  A quick analysis of the impending rain threat, wind factors, and an impromptu straw poll urged the crew and guests to alter course and continue on toward Hope Town under Genoa and Mainsail.


     Captain Fred enlightened us with tales of how he displaced his well-earned, “purist” sailing skills for an electronic, wireless remote-controlled autopilot.


     Even though those heavy rain showers were evident to the south, our evasive course change yielded only a dampening mist.  Some guests sought shelter below while the more hardy folks donned foul weather gear to ward off the mist and chill. 


     Ikia (SUN “N” A BEACH) enjoyed the shelter of the bimini top and windscreen.


     Rachael, wife of Henry…


     Josh (CHIPKA FIRE III) and Ron (SUN “N” A BEACH)…


     Henry (CHIPKA FIRE III)…


     Being an avid fisherman, Wilma (JOHN HENRY) could not resist the temptation to cast a line.  It wasn’t long before she had her first one hooked.


     Captain Fred reduced vessel way to ease the struggle with the rod and reel…


     Without the benefit of a net, the team successfully landed this colorful Candy Snapper.


     Soon, the weather began to clear up and sails were furled in ready for anchoring near Hope Town channel.


     Judy (AMARSE), Sherry (CHIPKA FIRE III), and Sue (ODESSEY) put together the munchies for the guests enjoyment.


     Looks like Wilma has caught a little barracuda…


     Albury’s Ferry Service operates scheduled trips between Marsh Harbour and Hope Town on a regular basis.  On one pass, they came very close to our anchored position causing quite a wake.  Captain Fred moved his anchored position to reduce further wakes.  This next picture shows one of their ferryboats maintaining a respectable and safer distance.


     With the Hope Town lighthouse adorning the view, we enjoyed a nice, little fireworks display.  I’m thinking that it must have been especially for us.


      Our gracious host and sailor extraordinaire, Captain Fred…


     Wink was anxious to get his hands on the huge, suede leather covered wheel.  JOHN HENRY has electronic lever steering controls and does not have a control wheel.


     Josh, Henry, and Rachael enjoy relaxing on the fantail…


     Ron and Ikia (SUN “N” A BEACH) provided champagne for the New Years toast.


     From this anchorage, the sunset was spectacular.  What a great way to finish out the last moments of daylight during the last hours of the year.


     As the sun slipped away, the deck crew of Josh and Henry awaited the Captain’s order to weigh anchor.  In their younger days, anchor duty required lots of muscle and manual labor to retrieve the heavy chain rode and stout anchor.  With CHIPKA FIRE III, the powerful electric windlass provides plenty of motive force to lift, separate, and stow the heavy ground tackle.  Look Ma, No hands…


     With the onset of twilight, Wilma casts the lure for the last time while Ann and Dick (RAGGEDY ANN) observe.


     Everyone enjoyed the last cruise of the year…


     As this year comes to a close, Judy and I decided to enjoy the evening together aboard AMARSE in quiet reflection of a wonderful year.  At midnight, we shared an affectionate kiss expressing our appreciation for all the many ways that we have enriched each other’s life during this passing year.  We are looking forward to another great year to enjoy each other and we are excitedly anticipating even more wonderful adventures in 2009…






       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 2008 logs and learn more about the crew and our plans.  Enjoy.



   You may contact us via email anytime.

We wish you and yours the happiest of new years.  May your lives be prosperous and fulfilled with endless joy with each successive day.

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


Lotsa Luv,

Fred Reed and Judy Law




"AMARSEis pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".

        Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .