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S/V Koinonia Weekly Cruising Log - 2 Weeks in The Berrys, Bahamas (Tue Feb 21 - Tue Mar 7, 2023)

Updated: May 31, 2023

We thought it might be fun to post a log of our daily cruising adventures, once a week. For one thing, not everyone sees our posts on social media, and this will give folks who follow our blog a chance to see more frequent updates. Also, keeping a log for posterity will be something we can personally look back on for many years to come and it holds us accountable to keep track. This will be a factual log with the good, bad, and ugly.

For those who haven't heard, I am taking a sabbatical from work for a few years so we can cruise internationally and focus on making the most of this time in our lives as a family. Since I will have a little more time on my hands, I've started a short log of our daily activities along with any notable happenings.

Amber suggested I start like this...

These are the voyages of the sailing vessel Koinonia, it's mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where few families have gone before! Captains log: sea date 3/8/2023. These are the adventures of the sailing vessel Koinonia and her five intrepid crew. We've now been living aboard our vessel for 2.5 years exploring the eastern coast of the US and it's familiar waterways. Now, we embark on a new mission: to go beyond the borders of the US territorial waters and explore the Caribbean Islands and beyond!

Now for the first log. This will actually cover the past two weeks of cruising, dating back to the start of our adventures in the Bahamas:

Tue - 2/21 Arrived at Great Harbour Cay Marina today after a 24 hour passage from Lake Worth in West Palm Beach, FL; had to slow down significantly to arrive during daylight. Checked in and cleared customs by mid-day, kids dropped the Q flag and raised the Bahamian courtesy flag. Anchored off Cistern Cay in Bullocks Harbour; took the kids to a small beach on the southern tip of Cistern Cay; we were the only people on the beach; slept hard.

Wed - 2/22 Snorkeled the shallows on the west side of Great Harbour Cay in Bullocks Harbour at low tide; made water for the first time with our new SeaWater Pro 40gph Watermaker. Success and a huge relief!

Thu - 2/23 Washed clothes; filled Jerry cans with diesel/gas; took out trash, cleaned Koinonia’s waterline, went lobster hunting. Caught our first spiney lobster off the south side of Rat Cay; unfortunately too small and no others sighted, so released it unharmed.

Fri - 2/24 Took the crew for a long dinghy ride from the west side of Great Harbour to the entrance of Shark Creek at high tide; went to Shelling Beach and had a good meal at The New Beach Club; kids sang "Cheeseburger in Paradise." Sand here is like baby powder and the water incredibly clear; saw lots of sea turtles and large rays.

Sat - 2/25 Weighed anchor and departed Bullocks Harbour and moved to the east side of Great Harbour Cay, off Shelling Beach. Caught a wahoo and a blackfin tuna in route off the NE ledge near Great Stirrup Cay. Sadly, we lost several other large fish. Anchored on the south side of Shelling Beach near Shark Creek entrance; good holding despite what the chart/ Active Captain reports say.

Sun - 2/26 Snorkeled around Petit Cay, Hawksnest Cay, and the entrance to Shark Creek; kids marooned on small beach; Amber and I swam with Eagle Rays, parrot fish, and tons of other tropical fish. No lobsters or live conch to be found anywhere.

Mon - 2/27 Today is the start of Ben's last week of work; Amber and the kids resume homeschooling. Hung out in the hammock on deck. Changed oil in the Honda generator. Made carbonara for dinner (one of the kid's favorite meals).

Tue - 2/28 Work and school; lunch again at Beach Club; island time service but food is good; Maddy picked a few coconuts after getting permission from the restaurant staff; Tommy and Tracy of "Sailin’ Shoes" arrive at our anchorage; sundowners on "Sailin’ Shoes." Blackened Wahoo tacos for dinner back on "Koinonia." Galley faucet is having issues. Attempted to disassemble and clear sediment but unsuccessful. Will likely need to replace. Darn...

Wed - 3/1 Work and school. Motor sailed down to Soldier Cay and immediately after anchoring, a number of nurse sharks start swimming around the boat. Lizzy and Amber jump in and swim with these harmless sharks. We spot a barracuda and one large reef shark. Collected shells on the beach. Had an amazing pot luck dinner on "Sailin’ Shoes."

Thu - 3/2 Ben’s final full work day. Sailed north back to the east side of Great Harbour off Shelling Beach to weather strong S/SW winds anticipated late Thu through Sat morning. Kids went ashore with Tommy and Tracy. Celebration meal and drinks for Ben’s last day of work.

Fri - 3/3 Today was Ben's last day of employment in corporate America (for now). After 23 years in banking and fin tech. God has been very good to us. To celebrate, we took the kids to the beach and enjoyed a stroll with Tommy and Tracy of "Sailin' Shoes" across Great Harbour. It was very windy, so the dinghy ride ashore was wet, but the views and the good company were worth it.

Sat - 3/4 left Great Harbour for Hoffmans Cay and the infamous blue hole on the southern portion of the cay. Enjoyed a nice quiet evening at anchor and dinner aboard S/V "Sailin’ Shoes." (As I write this, I realize how badly we need to host Tommy and Tracy on our boat for a change!)

Sun - 3/5 worship on the beach with Tommy and Tracy and another boat. Explored the blue hole and jumped in from the ledge. Met a cool Swedish family, Olof, Annie, and their children Lisa and Felix on S/V "Happy Pancake." The kids had a great time hanging out on the beach. Dads attempted to go lobstering off the east side of Hoffmans in 12-20ft of water. No lobster. Dinner aboard S/V Koinonia with our new Swedish friends. Mushroom risotto and grilled wahoo and tuna.

Mon 3/6 - left Hoffman’s for High/ Frozen Cay to stage for crossing to Spanish Wells. Some shenanigans with running aground on sand and S/V Sailin’ Shoes dinghy coming untied but otherwise uneventful. Anchored in the lee of Frozen Cay. Free diving off an amazing reef just south of the channel. Caught our first live conch, which Amber spotted, to make ceviche and our first lobster, a slipper/Spanish lobster, which was grilled and absolutely delicious. Cheese plate for dinner along with the grilled lobster tail. Ooops...we find out in about an hour that Amber may be allergic to lobster, which is making her very sad.

Tue 3/7 - sailed off our anchor at 6:10am and left the Berry Islands for Spanish Wells. Beautiful weather with a SW/W wind. Trolled for about an hour off the ledge but only caught barracuda. Arrived at the east side of Meeks Patch by 3:30pm. S/V Sailin Shoes and S/V Happy Pancake meet us there. Kids all played on our boat for a few hours. Potluck dinner aboard S/V Sailin’ Shoes. Very peaceful night of sleep.

Stay tuned for another captains log next week! For those who have been awaiting Pt 2 of our recommended cruising gear post, it's in the works.


Ben Ward

S/V Koinonia

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