Christine and I are still working our way through our recent “difficult but clear” decision to send our beloved dog Ruby off on her final passage which you may have read about in my last update Iposted here. We both want to say thanks to all of you who sent such kind thoughts in your comments, text messages, Emails and calls. All much appreciated and we are most grateful for bringing us even more memories of all our adventures and travels with Ruby the Wonderdog.
As the randomness of life would have it, it turns out this was just the warmup for us as we now find ourselves confronted with an even more “difficult but clear” decision to make which I will explain as best I can below.
I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but I have recently received confirmation that I have a rare condition called Ménière’s Disease that affects my inner ear and balance. In my case, the primary symptoms are sudden onset Vertigo which makes me dizzy and disoriented without any warning when I am moving around and increased tinnitus that has been ringing in my ears for many years. Currently, there is no cure or treatment for Ménière’s disease, and the symptoms are predicted to increase in frequency and severity over the coming years. We will just have to wait and see.
Right now, these random bouts of vertigo are not too frequent and only occur when I am moving around. The bigger problem is when I am unable to grab onto something, and I lose my balance and fall. In several instances over the past months while we have been underway on Möbius, I’ve hit my head badly and worse, I’ve aggravated the four cracked disks in my back from a serious motorcycle accident I survived many years ago. This has triggered severely painful spasms that incapacitate me for several days. I’m no stranger to pain and can deal with that, but as you might imagine, with this all happening on a moving boat while underway, it has been very stressful for poor Christine. She has often reminded me that her worst fear is waking up for her night watch and finding herself alone on the boat. With this news, and her first-hand observation of a fall or two, she tells me her anxiety level has skyrocketed.
After much discussion of our options and processing through stages of denial, anger and frustration we have both come to accept the painful but clear conclusion that it is no longer safe or sensible for us to continue our nomadic adventures exploring the world by sea aboard the good ship Möbius. After investing and immersing ourselves so completely for the past five years to bring our Goldilocks “just right, just for us” dreams to the reality that is Möbius, ending our voyages just as we were getting started is sad and disappointing to say the least. Yet for us, this does not diminish in the least the incredible experiences we’ve had joining forces with SO many eXtremely talented people to collaboratively design and build this boat of our dreams. We remain eternally grateful to each one of you. In the short time since setting off to eXplore the world on her, we have already had so many truly awemazing adventures together visiting places we had never seen before and making the transition from sail to power. Mirroring our recent experience with losing Ruby, it will be painful to let Möbius go, but it is equally clear to us that this is the smart and right thing to do. She is an amazing boat, and we adore her, but she deserves and needs owners who can take her on the ocean-crossing voyages she has proven to be so capable of and is currently tugging at her dock lines to continue.
I’m not sure that it has fully sunk in for either of us yet, but we are going to be “swallowing the anchor” as the saying goes. However, we have accepted the eXciting new challenge of dreaming up a whole new home for us and new way of equally eXtreme eXploration of the world by land. At this point in time, we have no idea just what that will look like, but we’ll figure that out over the next few months and are anxious to get started on this as soon as possible. We love these kinds of challenges, and we think we have been quite successful so far. Why would we change now?! Heck, we made the transition from voyaging by sail to power and transformed our aquatic Goldilocks dreams into reality by designing and building Möbius, and we have just covered over 8200 nautical smiles since leaving Turkey at the end of October. How hard can the next transition from sea to land be? Maybe we’ll end up following that natural progression with age I’ve heard some mention: Sailboat –> Powerboat –> RV –> Hearse. hehehe
So, what’s next for us? Our immediate plans are to stay living aboard Möbius safely docked here at Tidewater Marina in Norfolk VA where we recently enjoyed having our son Skyler here for a week long visit and our two Granddaughters and their parents aboard for the July 4th week. Now that we have been able to spend time with our thee children and grandchildren and discuss our big decision with them, our top priorities are to get our personal gear down to the bare minimum on Möbius and get her spick and span and shipshape as we seek out her new owners. As most of you know, Möbius is our full-time home and everything we own is onboard so it will take a good bit of time and work to transfer all our personal gear from the boat to shore.
Trust me when I say that I know this is a LOT to take in and process! We are feeling more than a bit overwhelmed by this sudden and complete change in plans, but we both wanted to deliver this news to you as directly and transparently as possible as we work our way through it all. It won’t be fast or easy to find the new owners for Möbius, but now that we have made the decision we are highly motivated to find them so she will be the deal of a lifetime for someone out there such that we and they can both begin our new adventures right away.
And of course, if YOU have been dreaming about exploring the world by sea sooner than later on a boat that has proven herself an eXtremely capable exploration passagemaker, here is your chance to fulfill those dreams NOWl! So, if this boat is calling your name or you know anyone else who might like to become the new owner of Möbius, please email us at email@example.com. It will take us a few weeks at least to get Möbius decluttered and ready to put on the market and we will create a “Möbius for Sale” blog post with videos, photos and details of all her equipment and systems and publish that as soon as we can.
I realize that this is likely as unexpected and surprising to you as it has been to us, and I apologize for veering off onto this personal tangent on the Mobius.World blog. Having each of you choose to join us on this grand “Project Goldilocks” adventure has been a huge part of what has made the journey so far so special and meaningful for both me and Christine, and we are grateful for your encouragement and companionship throughout. Therefore, it seemed only appropriate to share this unexpected new development with you directly today.
That’s more than enough from me for now. Please don’t fret or worry, as this is NOT a life-threatening condition, just a lifestyle-threatening one. I’m still very appreciative and grateful for everything I am so fortunate to have in life. At 70 years young, I still lead a very charmed, adventurous and eXciting life. Despite this new wrinkle, I’m otherwise very fit, healthy, and energetic. I have the best partner in life and love, my Captain Christine at my side. And I have more love and care from more family and friends like you than I deserve. So, could I be any more fortunate? Methinks not!
I appreciate that you may be feeling the urge to respond to this update, and I thank you for that, but no response is needed nor expected. For us it is onward and upward, as we close out one set of adventures and begin the next.
So don’t worry, we’re not done yet! We’ll keep you posted here on our next steps as we continue our newest round of awemazing adventures in life.
I don’t recall just when or how she acquired the moniker of Ruby the Wonderdog, but it was very early on as a pup and my First Mate aboard the Good Ship Learnativity as we sailed out of San Francisco back in 2007 and set out to explore the world together. This is my very first photo of her the day I picked her up on the 12th of October, 2007 when she was about six weeks old.
Today, almost 16 years later, Ruby weighed her last anchor and headed off on her final passage. As you might imagine, Christine and I are riding life’s rollercoaster of emotions today which includes a lot of sadness but if you chose to continue reading, I hope you will indulge me this personal detour. I’d like to remind myself just how much Ruby was THE Wonderdog as we celebrate and appreciate the profound joy she brought into our lives and that of countless others she met along the way. Like most of the awemazing events in my life, Ruby came into my life when the forces of serendipity and synchronicity combined to have us meet and be bonded forever after.
As I was preparing to head off sailing around the world singlehanded, I had thought I might get a cat at some point but my dear friend Grace happened to mention that her two dogs had just had a litter and she was looking for a good home for the last one. It was the classic love at first sight ,and we’ve been together ever since. Ruby was a “Spoodle”, cross between Poodle and Cocker Spaniel and both her parents, Grace’s dogs, were Spoodles. And when I say she was small I’m not exaggerating as you can see here in this picture with my daughter Lia’s little Papillion “Piglet”. And Oh, the places we did go! We started by sailing down the West coast of North, Central and South America to Rapa Nue aka Easter Island where we turned right and headed West to Pitcairn, Gambier and on through most of the Polynesian islands. Westward to more islands such as American Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Vanuatu with multiple passages between all of these for about the next five years. Aboard Möbius this past year, the Wonderdog sailed with Christine, myself and her buddy Barney, along the coasts of Turkey, Greece and Sicily then across the Med and North Africa, across the Atlantic to Martinique in the Caribbean and up through the Bahamas to Florida and now her final port here in Portsmouth Virginia. Being all Black other than a small White blaze on her chest, Ruby was typically difficult to see in photos but if you look closely or click to enlarge, you’ll see her on the other side of me as we crossed the equator in 2009. This would be our first of seven times we crossed the equator together. In 2013 when serendipity and synchronicity again combined to have the awemazing Christine and I meet for the first time in Fiji, Ruby was there too as seen in this first photo ever taken of us a few hours after we met. That first photo above was taken on our dear friends Ian & Coleen’s boat Summer Spirit in Vuda Point Marina. Ruby fell in love with both of them, and vice versa, probably spending more time aboard Summer Spirit than Learnativity in all the years we were back and forth to Fiji and Vuda Point. Ruby loved running up and down beaches and this one in Majuro in the Marshall Islands was one of her favorites. In multiple passages up to Majuro from Fiji, we probably spent over a year’s time there, the last two with Christine aboard as well. The Wonderdog was always a marvel of balance that would make any gymnast or circus act envious and perched herself at the bow every dinghy ride no matter the conditions and never fell off once. Though she jumped off as soon as we got near the beach as she just couldn’t wait to swim ashore and hit the beach running. Another of her many skills, she became and expert and sniffing out and then digging out crabs no matter how deep down under the sand they went, and then eat with great gusto and lips carefully bared so as not to get bit by their claws. On rare occasion she would take a back seat to her best buddy Barney as long as it meant another trip to the beach. We soon became a family of four when Christine’s dog at the time Barney joined us, and he and Ruby became best buddies immediately almost more than did Christine and I. However it quickly became apparent that Barney was “my” dog and Ruby was velcro’d to Christine from the very first day they met. In any case, we were now a family of four. Both Ruby and Barney were great snuggle buddies, sometimes along side us sometimes alongside each other. Always at the ready for the next adventure, or the next meal. Can’t say that it was her favorite thing to do but Ruby was no stranger to dressing up for special occasions such as being Bridesmaid along with Barney as Groom at our wedding in 2015. And celebrating each Christmas with us as Santa’s little helpers. Along for the ride with all our family and friends such as one of Lia and Brian’s many times aboard starting with this first one in Puntarenas Costa Rico along with their little dog Piglet. Son Skyler on one of our many visits to Vancouver BC. And my apologies to SO many other friends and family I’m leaving out here.
If you believe in dog years, Ruby would be about 110 years old now and Christine and I have known for the past few months that age was beginning to catch up with her. She had lost most of her hearing the past year and was developing cataracts in both eyes, but she was still as frisky as a pup at times racing up and down the side decks, eating, drinking, pooping and sleeping well and seemed to continue to enjoy life together with us. So we’ve been keeping a close eye on her, and this past week she started to go downhill down rapidly. Barney noticed the change as well this past week and in an apparent common scenario, for the first time he began to give her some very serious grooming sessions licking her head to toe for half an hour or more multiple times a day. Ruby seemed to signal us as well as her appetite diminished as did her weight this past week, and she ate and drank very little the last 24 hours.
The decision was not easy but it was clear to all four of us that this fateful time had arrived. So a few hours ago, we snuggled together with our dearest friend and crewmember for one last time, shed more than a few tears and kissed Ruby the Wonderdog Bon Voyage for her final passage in this life, with us by her side.
Over our years together the boats Ruby and I have lived and sailed upon have changed, but I’d like to think that we have both stayed largely the same and as bonded together as ever.
This was us in Fiji in 2009 and ….. …… this is us this morning in Portsmouth Virginia, fourteen years later.
FYI, totally unintended coincidence but yes of course I’m still wearing the same shirt!
We have seen a lot of the world together and watched a lot of sunsets over the years, my dearest Ruby. My rough guesstimates are that together we’ve checked into more than 33 countries, flown almost one hundred thousand air miles, tens of thousand road miles in cars, trucks, RV’s and motorcycles, countless more miles on trains, taxis and busses and sailed over 60 thousand nautical miles.
Ruby, words can not possibly articulate how rich and charmed my life has been since you first entered it. I will never be able to thank you enough for all the many gifts and profound joy you have given me during our almost sixteen years together. I think I may be ready for a world without The Wonderdog in it, but I’m not at all sure if I will ever be ready for a world without my partner Ruby.
Lucky for me, there really is no such world as I will always have and cherish the treasure trove of memories from all our shared experiences in life together.
Thank you my friend, my partner, my beloved Ruby. Fair winds and following seas as you weigh anchor and set out upon your latest voyage with me at your side as always!
Another 2+ weeks go zipping by and May is already half over! Lots of changes for us in this time as we crossed over from the Bahamas where we left off in the last update, and entered US waters for the first time on Möbius as we begin to make our way North along the East coast of the US. Here is a quick summary of our travels the past two weeks.
Bahamas to Florida
In the last update we were anchored off of Coopers Town on the NE coast of Great Abacos waiting for a storm front to pass and provide us with a good weather window to make our second “Atlantic crossing” over to Florida.
We left Coopers Town on May 3rd and anchored for the night on the NE corner of a tiny little island Mangrove Cay which Christine knew from past visits here on her boat, would provide us with a good jumping off point for the crossing.
Speaking of jumping off, SpaceX was thoughtful enough to provide us with quite the send off as you can see in this great shot Christine captured with the twilight launch of their latest “Falcon Heavy” rocket on our last night off Coopers Town. It was much more spectacular when seen from this distance compared to the close up view she got when we were anchored off Cape Canaveral last week.
Not to be outdone, Mother Nature also helped to send us off on our crossing with this beautiful sunset as we were anchored off Mangrove Cay.
My reference to “skinny dipping” in the title is because we have spent most of the past month dipping our very skinny boat in the very “skinny” waters with depths of under 3m/10ft in most places. In the Bahamas this is known as “The Banks” and you can see this very vividly in the sat photo here with all that light turquoise coloured skinny waters. This is one of the many reasons we worked so hard to keep Möbius as “skinny” as possible with a draft of about 1.3m/4.3ft so we are good in up to about 5 feet of water. Seeing these skinny depths is a bit disconcerting at first but you soon get used to it and just pay a lot more attention to depths on the charts as you go.
Our spot off Mangrove Cay was very peaceful and next morning we had the anchor up by 7am and headed for West Palm Beach which was just a bit south of due West. In this heat map you can see the warm waters that create the Gulf Stream that flows North at up to 6 knots at times so we “crabbed” our way across it with the boat pointing ESE at times in order to make the straight line across to West Palm Beach. Our Furuno Auto Pilot worked well to make this very easy and the crossing went without any problems taking about 10 hours with an overall passage average of about 8.2 knots in spite of fighting the current a bit.
Back in the USA!
We have both been into West Palm Beach inlet on previous boat trips in the US and it provides a very easy entry and is an official Port of Entry which we needed as this was our first landing in the USA. As with most countries the checking in process is getting much faster and easier being done online and with aps on your phone. In the USA this is done with the “CBP Roam” app from US Custom & Border Protection which we have been using in the USVI and Puerto Rico so it all went without a hitch once we had anchored inside the inlet near the bottom of this photo.
With one more passage in the logbooks, it seemed worthy of a celebration so we popped the cork on a cold bottle of bubbly fresh out of the fridge and took in all the entertainment provided by all the commercial and recreational ships and boats in this very busy spot in the good ‘ole USA.
We anchored in the lower Right corner of what is labelled as the “Turning Basin” in this chart as this is where lots of the big cargo and cruise line ships dock over on the far Left of this chart. We were also back in more skinny waters anchoring in 5-8 ft of water but all worked out fine. Next day we took the dinghy ashore in the dinghy and I went to the nearby CBP office to get a Cruising License while Christine headed for the grocery stores to top up our fridges and freezers for the next few weeks.
Fun with Family & Friends
Our Grandson Liam lives just a few miles South of West Palm so Christine had made arrangements for Liam, Tim, Ashley to drive up for some more time aboard on the weekend. Ashley’s Dad Dan was also able to make the trip so he got his first visit onboard and even caught a feisty little Mangrove Snapper from the Aft Deck! Christine and Tim cooked up some burgers on our grill to top off the evening. Tim & Liam stayed for a sleep over to put the icing on the cake and then Ashley came and picked them up on Sunday afternoon. Way too short but a great visit none the less.
From West Palm we made our way North along the coast before heading into the Intercoastal Waterway or ICW at Fort Pierce near Jensen Beach were our dear friends Steve & Kathleen live. A good anchorage on the South side of the bridge with a very well done dinghy dock to make it easy to come and go ashore and we spent three days anchored there enjoying some extended time with Steve & Kathleen both on Möbius and in their home where Kathleen treated us to a “low country boil” meal of shrimp, sausage, corn and more. Steve was kind enough to loan us his pickup truck for our stay so we were able to get lots done and had a great visit with them.
We continued up the ICW to Coco Beach that is close to where our friends Pam & Dave live and we were able to host them aboard Möbius for their first visit and then go ashore for a craft market that was going on that day. In the next few weeks we will be day-tripping our way North to Norfolk and we will do quite a bit of that travelling along the amazing ICW that you can see in the map above. The ICW is quite fascinating and though it keeps you busy steering the constantly winding narrow channel we enjoyed more “skinny dipping” our way along this scenic “Ditch” as it is often called.
The deepest sections are typically about 8-12 feet deep at best but is well marked on the charts and with Red/Green markers like this one to guide your way. Popular amongst the animal kingdom as well! Traversing the ICW involves going under lots of bridges, some that are fixed such as this one and others that are draw bridges where we have to time for an opening to get through. We have an air draft of about 8.2m/26.9ft so there are also some bridges with clearances of around 30ft that we can go through without needing them to open. From Coco Beach we decided to head back out of the ICW to make the jump up to Charlottesville South Carolina offshore and avoid the tighter sections along Georgia that Christine is not too fond of having spent a LOT of time cruising the ICW in many of her previous boats over the years.
Launching Off Shore
Even better though was that this gave us a chance to go have the very interesting experience of traversing the lock at Cape Canaveral and
….. have a truly front row seat of the launch of yet another SpaceX rocket in the wee hours of the 14th that Christine stayed up to grab this photo.
If you click to enlarge this photo, the one below and the chart above you will see how interesting this route out to the Atlantic was. We took a hard right turn off the ICW just North of Coco Beach as per the chart above, to traverse the canal you can see at the top of this photo. That involved just making it in time for the 17:00 opening of the bridge that is just off the top of the photo that is looing due West.
Here is the opposite view looking due East towards the Atlantic with Cape Canaveral off to the far Left. We anchored just to the Left of the breakwater sticking out near the bottom of this photo to put us right beside the entrance into the lock on the Left. The Canaveral lock opens for business at 6am so we had the anchor up about 5:50 to catch the sunrise and round the end of the breakwater into the lock just after six. Christine slid us alongside the well built rails on our Starboard/Right side and I tied two lines fore and aft just to secure us while the doors closed behind us and then soon opened in front. Not too dramatic as there is less than a foot of height change but still a fun experience. Exiting out of the lock we called the bridge keeper to ask for his next opening and soon slid our way through. Passing several large cruise ships and then some commercial docks you see here as the sun rose to welcome us back out into the Atlantic. As usual, Weather Wonder Woman Christine continues her masterful work at scheduling our passages in just the right weather windows. The passage up to Charlottesville was about 300 nm/345 miles/556 km and we had the anchor down in the ICW just North of Charlottesville just under 31 hours after entering the Canaveral Lock. That averages out to 9.7 knots which is our fastest passage time ever thanks to getting off shore enough to catch some of the Gulf Stream which had us doing up to 13 knots at times. Fuel burn for this trip was equally as great averaging 1.38L/nm or 2.75 USG/nm We knew when we left that we would likely get “spanked” a bit by Mother Nature just before arriving in Charlottesville and things were a bit more “sporty” for the last two hours as we made our way back to shore and into the welcoming arms of the breakwater. However we were soon back into calm waters once inside the breakwater leading into Charleston.
Back in the ICW
Once inside we turned Right to get back into the ICW for about an hour of smooth sailing up the ICW and pulled over into a small waterway in the tidal grasslands where we enjoyed a very peaceful anchorage and a great sleep that night. The green on this screen grab from Google Maps is all grasslands and marsh and will give you a bit of an idea of our fascinating scenery the past few days as we snaked our way along rivers that all interconnect to provide a shallow passage inland. We anchored for the night of May 15th just off the SW corner of Butler Island which I’ve tried to show on this crude little map. There was a big blow forecast for last night (Wednesday May 17, 2023) so we motored about 15 nautical miles (28km/17 miles) further up the Waccamaw River and then took a fork to the Left at Bull Creek where we have now been anchored for the past 2 nights just off to the side of this narrow river. So far we’ve only seen two small boats with local fishermen go by so we’ve been enjoying the eXtremely relaxing scenery and wildlife. The tidal based currents flowing through these rivers gently swings us around about twice a day and this our view looking South. It is quite the amazing feeling to be so truly isolated in this magical wilderness where the only sounds are the wild birds ashore, the buzzing of dragonflies like this one that wildlife photographer eXtraordinaire Christine managed to capture on one of our lifelines. and the occasional splash of alligators alongside the boat. Click to enlarge and look close in about the middle to see one that stopped by yesterday. Turned out to be a smart spot to lay over as we have been far enough inland that we hardly got any of the 40+ knot gusts apparently happing over on the cost beside us. Today (Thursday) has been an overcast and drizzly day so we’ve been enjoying a quite day in the SuperSalon surrounded by this ever so peaceful greenery surrounding us allowing us to catch up with some online jobs such as getting this update put together and posted for you. We’ll pick up the anchor tomorrow and continue to day hop our way up the ICW and various rivers as we make our way North to Norfolk where we have a reservation in a marina there starting on June first and where we will likely stay put for the rest of the summer. Lest you think I’ve forgotten I am still working on the second installment of what has worked out best and least well of the features and equipment on Möbius and will get that uploaded in the next week or so as time allows with cruising every day. The logbook says we just passed 7900 nautical miles in the past 8 months with an eXtensive range of experiences along the way and hope that sharing those with you will be of interest and use so do stay tuned for that and my chronicling of our travels as we work our way North through all these awemazing waterways.
Thanks for taking the time to join us here and please do leave any questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
The past three weeks have flown by as we enjoyed having friends aboard and we continue meandering our way from USVI to Puerto Rico and now into the Bahamas.
Picking up where we left off in the last update, we were in St. Thomas USVI after a super fun week with our Grandson Liam and his Mom & Dad, Ashley & Tim as we sadly took them over to the airport to fly back to Florida. We then anchored Möbius over on the East end of St. Thomas so that we could pick up our very good friends Bob & Sue from Victoria BC when they flew in a few days later. We spent the next few days moving Möbius along similar routes to the ones in the map above to show Sue & Bob around St. Thomas and St. John Islands. Bob & Sue were keen for some passage time aboard Möbius so they set up their return flights out of San Juan so they could join us on the relatively short trip from USVI over to Puerto Rico. So we moved over to Brewers Bay on the West end of St. Thomas for the last night in USVI before making the short jump over to the small island of Culebra that is part of Puerto Rico. The RED route on the map here. (click to enlarge) Christine & I had been to Culebra doing delivering a catamaran for some dear friends back in 2017 so it was fun for us to be back in this small island again as well. Next hop was over to Salinas on the South coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, GREEN on the map above, which was another spot that we had been to previously on that same delivery. Timing also worked out just perfect as some long time sailing friends of Christine were spending their last night on their sailboat in Salinas before sailing off to Antigua the next morning. We joined Willie, Mark, Dick & Deb for a fabulous group lobster dinner in the small restaurant at the Salinas Marina to send them off in grand fashion.
Mark kindly extended the lease on his rental car so we enjoyed that luxury to spend the day on the road with Sue & Bob seeing more of Puerto Rico including a stop for some delicious lunch at a roadside pig roast spot that was a favorite of Willie’s and then dropped Sue & Bob off at the San Jose airport. Bon voyage nos Amis, thanks for the memories.
And !poof! just like that everyone was gone and it was back to just the two of us on Möbius as the Captain took us out of Salinas Bay for our next leg of the journey. We needed to check out of Puerto Rico so we moved over to the small anchorage in Puerto Real on the far West end of PR. WHITE on the map. We stayed in Puerto Real for the night and enjoyed a good dinner out at the local restaurant by the marina. This was our first time in a marina this year, last time was in the Canary Islands in December before heading out on our Atlantic Crossing. Solar panels are working eXtremely well and we have not needed shore power since we left Greece back in October nor most of the past year but being on the dock was convenient for doing the check out and a date night before heading off for the Bahamas. More and more countries are automating their marine check in/out process to be done online and this is working better and better but still has some odd bugs in the system and took us a few hours to complete but all went well in the end. We anchored outside the marina for the day and left later in the afternoon to time our arrival in the Bahamas to be in daylight for good visual navigation. This would be about 600 nautical miles (690 miles/1,110 km) passage and would take us a bit less than three days. We decided to head for Clarence Town to check into the Bahamas, a favorite of Christine’s from her many years sailing the Bahamas in her previous boats years ago. You can click to enlarge this map but it is challenging to show the Bahamas on a map as it consists of more than 3,000 islands, cays, and islets and most of these only show up when you zoom way in. But the RED line in this map will give you a rough idea of our route. It is estimated that the Bahamas’ territory encompasses 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space with a total population of 400 thousand people spread across this area. As usual, Weather Wonder Woman Christine found us another great weather window with very calm wind and seas making for smooth sailing as we settled into passage making mode for the next three days. For those interested in the boat’s performance, I’ve highlighted some of the key stats on our Maretron N2KView screen here. I’ve set up two different SOG Speed Over Ground SOG meters, the one in Green is showing 9.5kts SOG averaged over about 3 minute intervals to give a better reading vs the one in Yellow showing 10.6kts which is the instantaneous SOG at the moment. When calculated for the entire 560nm passage our average SOG anchorage to anchorage was 8.5kts and our overall fuel burn average for the passage was 1.7 L/NM or 2.2 NM/USG. The RED circle is the EGT or Exhaust Gas Temperature showing 359 degrees C / 678 F which translates into about 80% load. We keep the EGT between 330-360C most of the time as this seems to be the best combination of ideal load, fuel burn and speed. We will continue to try out other settings and report on the results in future updates.
As you can see, conditions were ideal for power boating for most of our three days at sea and we only put the paravanes out for one night to reduce the roll when we encountered some larger swells out of the NE. The canine crew seemed to approve as well. We pulled into the well protected bay just off of Clarence Town on the North coast of Long Island and had the anchor down just after 10am Thursday, 13th of April. As you can see depths in most bays and cays in the Bahamas is very shallow, averaging about 2.4m/8ft here and will help you understand why we worked so hard with Dennis to minimize our draught which is about 1.4m/4.6ft. This is a relatively remote Port of Entry for the Bahamas and we had checked in online before arrival and then spoke with the agent by phone when we were anchored. He is based over in Stella Maris on the other side of Long Island but he kindly offered to make the 90 minute drive and met us at the Government Wharf I’ve pointed to above and we completed the paperwork and got our passports stamped there and we were now officially in the Bahamas! Christine went ashore the next day to stretch her legs and got a kick out of the slightly dark humour of the location of this Covid Test center from months previous. Fortunately she reported no dead men sighted. We had a good night’s sleep and woke up to find over 10 other boats anchored around us, the nerve! So we pulled up anchor and headed up to the very North end of Long island Green route here. Christine had picked out a lovely little bay just around the Northern tip of Long Island at Cape Santa Maria and she maneuvered us in and I dropped the anchor onto the sandy bottom in about 2.5m/8ft of water. This is the view looking South as we enjoyed sundowners just the way we like it; the only boat in the bay. After enjoying the tranquility of our private anchorage, we continued to follow our previous wakes through many of the small Bahamian islands and cays and yesterday morning we made the jump North to another favorite anchorage at Rudder Cut Cay. This photo will help you see how thin and small these cays are. This spot is quite famous amongst cruisers as it has a sunken statue of a mermaid playing a piano in the shallow waters here. I went into our archives and dug up this photo from May 8, 2017 with me checking it out. The mermaid said that she was working on her next composition and didn’t need any of my help so I let her be. There are also several of these large caves carved into the shore just beside us here and are large enough to take your dinghy inside of and make for some fun snorkeling.
And that’s a wrap for this Mobius Update folks. We continue to live and move on The No Plan Plan but in general we will continue to enjoy our time as we wander through the Bahamas and make our way North up to the East coast of the US. It is looking most likely that we will spend the summer months up in the Chesapeake Bay area where we can stay put for several months so Christine can have the time and quiet to focus on writing her next novel. I will continue to post updates along the way once or twice a month with some brief updates on places we get to and things we see. Hope these travel logs are of some interest and please let me know what you’d like more of and less of as well as any questions you have as we go.
We continue to enjoy our times here in the US Virgin Islands aka USVI where the weather has been in that Goldilocks zone where it gets cool enough at night 25C/77F) for comfortable sleeping and comfortably hot (30-32C/88-90F) during the day. The easterly Trade Winds are blowing about 15 knots most of the time, sometimes dying down to 5 and sometimes gusting over 25 kts when we are out in the channels when on the move and the water is a consistent 27C/81F. Hard to ask for much better and easy to understand why this area and the whole Caribbean is so popular at this time of year.
It was Christine’s birthday on the 15th and our wedding anniversary on the 21st so we treated ourselves to some time in places like this idyllic beach in Honeymoon Bay. This was a particularly special treat for Christine as she had spent lots of time anchored here in Honeymoon Bay on her sailboat Sunrise which she and her husband Jim had built and then chartered for several years out of the USVI in the 80’s and then again in the 90’s with Tim aboard.
The far end of the beach you can see in the photo above had a small bar where everyone was hanging out but to our delight we found this old wooden picnic table at the other end of the beach and enjoyed an extended B’day lunch all to ourselves. Then we moved back to Brewers Bay which is tucked in behind the extended runway of the St. Thomas airport creating the ideal breakwater to keep us well protected from the swell. The runway is the length of rocks you can see in the background here. Brewers Bay is is part of the University of the Virgin Islands UVI so the beach is part of a park area of the campus and is a very peaceful spot being on the far western side of the island with every little traffic or population. While in Brewers Bay we had another terrific treat in the form of a visit with a high school friend of my daughter Lia who has been living and working here in USVI for over 20 years. She reached out to us when she read that we were coming here and came out to spend an afternoon with us aboard Möbius. Trish was a very impressive young lady and we all thoroughly enjoyed our conversations about times old and new. Thanks Trish! Brewers Bay was also the perfect spot for us to wait the last few days before our Grandson Liam (7) and Christine’s son Tim and wife Ashley flew in from Florida. I took Christine ashore the day they arrived and she walked over to the airport to meet them. If you look closely at this photo (click to enlarge) you’ll see what I mean when I say that while I was back on Möbius I could also watch their plane come in and land right beside me! At last! We have a real pirate aboard and a very modern one who also a space pirate as well apparently. Here is a map of the routes we took with Liam and family. Brewers Bay on St. Thomas Island over on the far Left where we started and Francis Bay on neighboring St. James Island over on the far Right where we ended up. With no time zone change and a relatively short flight from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas everyone got a good night sleep aboard Möbius and next morning we headed out on our first trip seen in Red on the map here. We stopped and anchored across from Crown Bay marina which as you can see here is also beside one of several cruise ship ports here on St. Thomas. Christine took Tim ashore so they could do the grocery shopping for the rest of their visit. Then we continued on to Francis Bay which is another spot that Christine and Tim had been to when Tim was a young boy aboard Sunrise. It was a real treat for Tim to be able to show Ashley and Liam this part of the world where he spent several years when he was about Liam’s age. Hard not to have a good time on secluded beaches like this! And watching sunsets from the aft deck. Although you probably can’t top the ultimate combo of a dog, an iPad, Mac’n Cheese and Goldfish! At least for a seven year old. We spent two very fun days and nights anchored in Francis Bay doing what one of the big motor yachts beside us we called “Chillaxing”. Everyone got time to swim, snorkel and suntan and had fun doing a whole lot of nothing. Just what vacations are for. Much to Liam’s delight, Christine got the drone out and showed Tim how to fly it off the foredeck of Möbius and they were able to get some super aerial shots just before sunset. On Saturday we pulled up the anchor and headed back over to St. Thomas Island to our next anchorage in Christmas Cove, the Green route you can see in the map above. In spite of this being the USVI Yacht Race weekend, there are not too many boats on in the bays. Christmas Cove is particularly well known as being the home for the famous Pizza Pi boat Tim & Ashley treated us all to Pizza Pi last night. Thanks Tim & Ashley! No surprise that pizza was also a big hit with Liam in particular and a fun way for us to spend our last night together.
As I type up this blog post, Christine is ashore taking Liam, Tim & Ashley back to the airport as sadly their time with us here is up and they have to fly back to Ft. Lauderdale later this afternoon. Christine rented a car so she could take them on a bit of a tour of St. Thomas and she took them up to Mountain Top overlooking Megan’s Bay on the North coast of St. Thomas. As you can see, it was a great day with an incredible view of all the surrounding islands in the background.
Safe trip home Tim, Ashely and Liam. Can’t wait for our next time together.
That’s a wrap for now folks.
Next week we have our good friends Sue & Bob from Victoria BC flying in to spend a week with us and they will probably join us for the passage over to Culebra and Puerto Rico which is where they fly out from. So Christine and I will enjoy a few days to ourselves and getting the Guest Cabin on Möbius ready for our next guests and our next set of passages. I’ll have all the details on that in the next update here and till then our sincere thanks for taking the time to join us on these adventures and hope you’ll be back for the next update in about two weeks as we get another new month started. Yikes! How did that happen so fast??!!
Whew! July has been one of the most “social” months we’ve had for a long time and we have just bid a fond Bon Voyage to our latest friends who spent the past week with us aboard Möbius. Earlier in the month we were overjoyed to have our two granddaughters, Mom Lia and Dad Brian spend two weeks with us. Brynn and Blair who just turned 8 and 6 respectively this month brought an explosion of laughter and energy onboard and everywhere we went. All in all an awemazing month though I must admit that we two introverted Nauti Grandparents are now enjoying the chance to catch our breath and recharge our batteries. I’ll do my best to give you a quick glimpse into our times with family and friends this past month and hope that a wee bit of our joy comes through on your end as well.
This week’s title sums up one of my perspective on life in general and is one of the key reasons that I think I gravitated to this life of living on boats and sailing the world. For boats themselves as well as the life of sailing them around the world (yes, whether powered by wind or sails we still refer to it as sailing) change is the one thing you can consistently count on and as so often seems to be the case, that is both the good and bad news. Changes in systems, gear and equipment on the boat, aka breakage/failure, changes in the weather and changes in location, scenery, people, etc. For the most part, I’ve always enjoyed change and accepted it as a constant in my life, indeed something I actively pursue and set myself up for and I believe that most people actually do like change. Who would want things to always stay the same? What I think most of us do NOT like is “being changed”. Changed by others and not of our choosing. All this as my long winded way of setting constant change as the context for the past month and likely that of the next few.
Kalymnos; Our Changed Location
For some geographical context you may recall that in the last Update we had checked out of Türkiye and checked into Greece on the island of Rhodes which is the gold star in the bottom Right of this screenshot of our maps.
(Click to enlarge any image in the blog) We had been heading for Athens to meet with our family but guess what?!? Yup, change. For a confluence of reasons that are a MUCH longer story for another time, we changed and headed for the relatively small Greek island of Kalymnos which is the Red pin in these two maps. Photos are much more revealing that maps and here is the view off the Port/Left deck of Möbius. Now let’s climb up to near the top of that mountain across the way ………… …. and here’s the view from that elevated vantage point with some text to show where Möbius is tied up. Over the years, our family and friends have come to understand that if they want to come visit us, they can chose a Date OR a Location but NOT both! Think about that for a moment and you’ll soon appreciate how challenging that is. It takes a LOT of perseverance and adaptability to come visit us and fortunately our family and friends are eXtremely flexible and willing to go to these great lengths to come for a visit. Lucky us and our deep appreciation to all of you who take on these challenges and come to visit us.
Experiencing Life Through 6 and 8 Year Granddaughters
And so it was that on July 9th, Lia, Brian, Brynn and Blair flew into the tiny little Kalymnos airport literally perched atop a mountain top to the NW of Möbius which is the light patch in the middle of this sat photo. A 15 minute downhill run later, we had their feet in the cool Aegean waters on one of the countless beaches here on the island. We had outings every day, sometimes in a rental car to explore the 68 kilometers of coastal road around Kalymnos and sometimes just a short 15 minute walk into the town near where we are docked so we all got to know this small island quite well. Wherever we went, Blair and Brynn mostly wanted to swim and this was our local swimming beach a short walk from Möbius which you can see in the upper Left of this photo, snuggled in between two much larger ships. We sought out and found lots of small harbours like this one that typically had several restaurants to chose from, some local boats and of course more swimming. They all had the Goldilocks combination of places for the girls to jump in for a swim ….. ……. with tables on the waters edge for the adults to chat while easily keeping an eye on our simmers while we enjoyed some shade, drinks and food. We seemed to be able to find this ideal combo…… ……. everywhere we went along the coast…… ….. and a grand time was had by all. Some evenings we would stroll into town and wander the small alleyways soaking up the local ambience.
In town, there was no shortage of little sidewalk restaurants along the waterfront to enjoy more delicious Greek food, wine and conversations. One day we got going a bit early and caught the short 40 minute ferry over to the larger island and city of Kos. Kos is a central hub amongst these islands so much busier and more tourists but also much more green and of course more ruins to see before we caught the ferry …. …. back home to Möbius (seen in the background) complete with a bronze statue of the girls favorite; a Mermaid! All too soon though, it was time to take the family back to the mountaintop airport for them to start their marathon of planes, trains and automobiles to get back to California. Thanks Lia, Brian, Brynn and Blair, missing you already and can’t wait for our next time together wherever that may be.
Two days later our good friends Jeff and Kate came over on the ferry from Kos, where they had flown in, and spent a week onboard with us. They too had been real troopers in adjusting their travel plans and itinerary for their two month long European adventure to be able to get to us here on Kalymnos.
While our current location is ideal for us, its certainly not a dream destination for most and this is the view off our bow at night. Not to be outdone, this is the view from our stern. But Jeff & Kate were very understanding guests and we had lots of time to enjoy just hanging out and catching up with them. They certainly left with some good stories to share about their unique adventure on Kalymnos and aboard Möbius. All too soon though, Jeff & Kate needed to catch the ferry back over to Kos a few days ago and are now continuing their European tour to Venice, Milan and then on to Spain and France before they wind up their grand European adventure and head home to Vancouver. Thanks Kate & Jeff for being such good sports to make all the changes needed to get here and for fitting into our unique accommodations and ambience!
Just right, Just for us
When we were designing Möbius one of the ways we described our design goals was to have a boat that would blend in very well to a fishing or commercial shipping port and stick out more in a fancy marina. As you’ve been seeing in some of the photos, I think we, thanks to our awemazing designer NA Dennis, have met that design goal very well!
The Goldilocks “fit” here for us here in Kalymnos is not just our “hood”, but that we have a side tie to a concrete dock that is at deck level and makes getting on/off the boat an easy one step operation which is VERY rare in this part of the world. Pretty much every other place requires that you Med Moor by backing into the dock and then having a ramp or passerelle to get on/off the boat. Works OK, but with Christine’s mobility still not fully returned after her knee surgery this presents a more serious issue and is one of several reasons why we have decided to take a break to allow Christine’s knee to fully recover and stay here in Kalymnos for the next month or two.
While it would not suit most others I suspect, for us this is the latest version of what I frequently refer to as living on The No Plan Plan. It’s a great example of the true freedom afforded by this way of living we are so fortunate to have that allows us to make such decisions and do what is just right, just for us.
We pretty much have the whole concrete jetty to ourselves and with local surroundings like this …… ….. and sunsets like this from our SkyBridge at night, perhaps more of you can appreciate how this can feel like the ideal home for us right now until we decide to move on to the next location that is calling our name.
For the next while these Update posts will likely be a bit irregular as I’m not sure I will have enough content to warrant weekly Updates. However, rest assured that I will continue to post Updates as things evolve here and I’ve got several posts to catch up on some technical topics I’ve promised for some time. Please continue to send your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and keep an eye out for those notification Email alerts if you’ve subscribed to the Möbius.World blog or check in from time to time as our grand adventure continues.