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  • Writer's pictureSailing Koinonia

S/V Koinonia Weekly Sailing Log - The Final Voyage (May 22nd - June 4th, 2024)

Highlights: departed from Spanish Wells, Bahamas on our final passage to Florida; whale pod sighting in NW Providence Channel; sailed 880NM in the month of May; arriving in St Augustine, FL; unloading the boat and traveling to Georgia with family.

Wed May 22 - as we prepared to depart the slip in Spanish Wells, LaToya and Isaiah met us at the dock for one last hug and “see you soon.”  We were underway by 7:45am, following in the wake of good friends, Tommy and Tracy on SV Sailin’ Shoes, bound for Great Harbour in the Berry Islands. No wind today, so we motored the entire trip. Ben caught a Mahi Mahi on a hand line on the passage.  Amber made quesadillas for lunch. Caught an annoying number of barracuda but no more fish worthy of the freezer. We arrived at the anchorage of Stirrup Cay, just north of Great Harbour, around 6pm and watched a beautiful full moon rise.

Koinonia at anchor - Photo Credit to Tracy Knox

Thu May 23 - got underway by 7:30am bound for West End, Bahamas.  Motor sailed most of the way with the wind averaging 6kts. Around 10:45am, we sighted a pod of whales passing in the opposite direction not more than 100ft away.  As we continued to watch them spouting astern, we could smell their breath and then we watched in amazement as they jumped into the air, full breech, THREE TIMES!  Sadly we didn’t get a video of the aerial show but it will live forever in our memory.  Trolled most of the trip but only caught a few Barracuda; as we approached the anchorage, two rods went off as we fished the south ledge off West End and we landed two blackfin tuna. Madelyn landed our largest nice blackfin tuna to date. Pulled into Ginn Sur Mer anchorage a little after 7pm with Sailin’ Shoes leading the way to check depths.

Fri May 24 - after a calm night at anchor, we got underway for our final ocean passage on Koinonia, as a family, at 8am. We staged outside the Old Bahama Bay Marina while Sailin’ Shoes topped up on fuel.  Got underway in earnest around 9:45am.  Trolled lines and only caught a couple of Barracuda.  Excellent conditions for crossing the Gulf Stream; averaged 8-9kts during the day as we turned north with 2.5-3kts of positive current driving us toward our destination.  We cut the engine around 7pm as the wind filled in from the East at 9-11kts. Lost radio contact with SV Sailin’ Shoes shortly after. Beautiful sunset with a red sky, followed by an amazing red full moon rise at 9:30pm.  Ben took the first watch, wind clocking to the South.

Sat May 25 - beautiful morning with winds out of the South West, clocking West at 10kts. Greeted by several pods of dolphins who swam playfully beside the boat and in the bow wake, after we left the ledge of the Gulf Stream. Incredibly, for the second time while on an offshore passage bound for Saint Augustine, FL, a tiny bird visitor joined us in the cockpit of Koinonia.  Transited the bridge of Lions at 6pm and picked up our ball in the south mooring field after our successful passage of 242nm and 32.5 hours.  Cleared in via CBP Roam and then went to the marina office to check-in. Then, took the whole crew ashore for showers. A strong line of storms came through and we were thankful to be in port and secure on a mooring ball. Enjoyed a well deserved dinner ashore at Meehan’s Irish Pub.

Sun May 26 - slept in then got ready to go ashore to meet with our friends, the Vergits family. Went to their home and the kids played and did a hilarious dress up game where we were supposed to guess which kid was which, and it was surprisingly difficult.  Went to their neighborhood pool, which had a water slide and a lazy river.  Ordered in pizza and had a great time reconnecting.

Mon May 27 - kids did school; Ben and Amber went ashore to do laundry and to meet Ben’s brokerage colleague Marcy for the first time in person.  She was kind enough to let us borrow her Bronco for the afternoon to make a grocery run. Went to Walmart and stocked up on a few essentials, then picked up Chick-fil-A for lunch for everyone. Dropped everything off at the boat and then took the car back to Marcy. Went to dinner with Marcy and her boyfriend JJ at Sarbez, which served craft beer and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  It also had a large arcade which the girls talked about for days afterward.

Tue May 28 - the weather made us change our plans to go into the marina today.  Decided it was best to delay until tomorrow. Went to the marina office to pay for another night on the mooring field. Kids did school.  Enjoyed a slow day but started getting stuff organized to begin unpacking the boat.

Wed May 29 - checked out of the marina and got off the mooring ball.  Topped up on diesel fuel at the municipal marina, then took the boat over to River’s Edge Marina. Got tied up in our slip and plugged up to shore power. Went out to lunch with Bill and Marcia Hamilton, friends and fellow believers we met almost two years ago. They treated us to lunch at the best local pizza place in St Augustine.  Had a great time catching up with them.  Went back to the marina and continued getting our stuff organized so we could unload the boat once Amber’s parents arrive tomorrow.

Thu May 30 - kids did school while Ben and Amber continue emptying cabinets and organize to pack and unload the boat. Met with a notary to get some of our paperwork signed to change our state of domicile to Florida. Amber’s parents arrived at the marina with a truck and an enclosed trailer around 1:15pm.  Spent the afternoon packing and getting a lot of stuff unloaded and packed into the trailer.  Had a very nice dinner right next door at Hurricane Patty’s.

Fri May 31 - got up and continued packing. Went to Walmart to get more boxes, packing tape, and cleaning supplies. Our good friend Marc Doubleday, of SV Mer Du Jour, stopped by and hung out for a few minutes since he was in the neighborhood. We finished getting everything off the boat around 3:00pm, then everyone got showers. We took what are likely our final family pictures with Koinonia, our boat home of 4 years; some tears were shed and Aliza gave the boat a big hug. Drove downtown to eat at Meehan’s Irish Pub.  We got to see Marc again and met his brother at dinner, then connected with Ben’s colleague Marcy and a mutual client, Naftali. After dinner, we stopped at Kilwin’s for an obligatory ice cream fix, then went back to the boat.

Sat Jun 1 - got everyone loaded up around 9am and started our roadtrip to take all of our belongings to Georgia and reunite with family. While in route, we began the process of updating all of our accounts to our new Florida address. Arrived in Upatoi, Georgia (Ben and Amber’s hometown) around 4:30pm.  Ben’s parents came over to Amber’s parent’s house and we all had dinner together.

Sun Jun 2 - went to worship with our parents, then went to lunch with Amber’s Grandfather, Mac McGowan, to celebrate his 99th birthday.  Mac is a WWII Navy vet and he still drives and lives at home by himself after retiring (again), just last year.  Went back to Ben’s parent’s house and the kids went fishing for a few hours with their cousins Jayden and Andrew.  Since Aliza wasn’t feeling well, Ben took onky the teens to go visit his cousin Brooks, his wife Virginia, their son Ezra, and the newest addition to their family, Sydney Elizabeth in Hamilton, GA.  Brooks made homemade pizza on his Green Egg for dinner.

Mon Jun 3 - Aliza is better today so we drove the whole family to Warm Springs, GA to visit with Ben’s paternal grandmother at the rehab facility there; she is 95 and recently broke her leg.  Drove back to Columbus and at lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, then went back to Amber’s parent’s house so the kids could do school. Ben went to pick up his mom to go visit with his maternal grandmother, Jean, who is in very poor health. Went to the grocery store to buy some essentials before returning to Upatoi.  Ben cooked dinner for everyone at his parent’s house.

Tue Jun 4 - kids did school; Ben has a number of work related calls; kids watched a movie with “Gran,” then went back to Hamilton, GA to have dinner at Ben’s cousin Brooks’ house, so Amber and Aliza could meet the baby.  Went to “G” and “Pop Pop’s” house to visit for a few minutes before heading back to “Gran’s.”

God Bless,

S/V Koinonia

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