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Bob’s Motor Clinic

Bob BrattonMy dad was a mechanic. He always smelled like grease. His fingernails were black, and the creases in his hands where either black from the grease, or white because they never saw sunlight. And he could fix everything… from his front engine, front drive German Goliath, to a rear engine rear drive VW, and all the Fords, Chevy’s and Studebakers you could put in between. He even went to trade school to learn refrigeration, and he could fix anything, and I mean anything. From a Japanese transistor radio to Aunt Mary’s Sewing machine.

His was a different age, and he lived his life to a different set of rules. Bob’s Motor Clinic was a small garage in a whisper of a town called Moses Lake. It always was full of stuff waiting for parts, or waiting for Dad to get around to them. More magic happened in that shop than the back lot of Disney. Dad couldn’t just fix it, he had to improve it in the process.  He did have a lot of money, but he had a ton of ingenuity, and creativity, and the skill to use both.

The day I turned 16, I got my drivers license with a motorcycle endorsement, got a job working for the local crop duster, got my student pilots license, and destroyed my dad’s almost new Volkswagon by rolling it down a sand dune, folding his pride and joy into a sheetmetal scrap ball.

He sat in a rocking chair for 24 hours not saying a word, and then… just went back to work. A month later a package arrived with some blue prints, and dad started to work on the “EMPI”. This was when the idea of a “dune buggy” had just started, and dad had bought plans to turn the mashed VW bug into one. It took months of late nights, but he built an “EMPI Sportster” out of the wreck… and THEN told me to pick the color to paint it. For a 16 year old, that was quite an honor, and I even got to watch as he sprayed the bright blue enamel.

Since I was in high school and only had a small motorcycle to get around on, dad offered to trade me vehicles so I could “ask girls out on a date.” I drove the EMPI all the way though high school… and most of those stories will be in another post. This one is about Bob’s Motor Clinic.

Dad was not a normal dad. He wasn’t much with a ball, and didn’t really get into the sports scene… he fixed stuff. He didn’t make very much money, because for him that wasn’t the real goal. For him all the really mattered was that he FIXED IT, and that it was better than original. If parts were no longer made for a something, Dad would make new parts out of stuff laying around. If there was no manual, he would sit up at night reading other manuals until he figured out a way to make it work. Seldom could people actually pay him for all the time he spent to do this, so he just accepted what they could afford. It was only important that he had found a way to make it better than original.

He took us fishing, but first we had to build a boat… and a pole. He taught us how to pitch a ball… sort of… but first we had to weld up a backstop. He taught me how to sail, in a kayak with a bed sheet sail on an electrical conduit mast and scrap aircraft aluminum lee boards.

My Dad died on my birthday at the age of 67. When you approached the casket at the funeral, you could still smell the transmission fluid and grease that no amount of embalming could remove from Dad’s pores. I flew from Florida to Seattle to speak a few words at the service, but almost couldn’t get them out. The little church in a whisper of a town, was packed with over 300 people who had come to pay their respects to the little mechanic from Bob’s Motor Clinic. To this day, I have no idea how one simple man could have made such an impact on the world around him.

DAD left a legacy that only in my own retirement do I finally begin to understand. He wasn’t trying to leave a legacy, he was just trying to do the best job he could at every task that came in front of him…. including raising two sons. His life “values” were helping people that needed help by fixing what they couldn’t. Doing only that, my DAD became the greatest man I have ever known. I strive every day to be as good as he was. Thanks Dad.

The most danger we have seen in the Caribbean

Yes, there are pirates here, and sharks, and even hurricanes… but those are NOT the most dangerous things a cruiser faces down here. The most dangerous is a “bus” ride into the “city”.

van tripTake today for an example. Who would have guessed that it would only take 5:45 hours to ride on 3 busses, visit a new town, buy groceries, eat lunch and travel 76.63 miles! Now thats makin’ time. We learned a few other little details too.

1: A small Toyota van can be fitted with enough seats to seat 16 passengers.van
2: There are not enough small Dominicans to fill a Toyota van without massive overlap.
3: Dominica is only 4000 ft high, but you must climb that height at least 6 times to cross the island once.
4: White people will turn much whiter when sitting in the front seat at 100kph facing a 400′ drop-off into the sea.
5: There are many, many 400′ drop-offs into the sea available in Dominica.
6: Massive passenger overlap is not better than a seatbelt, but seems to work when seatbelts are not available.
7: A Toyota van can actually get 100kph at 9000rpm, uphill, in second gear and NOT throw a valve for an amazing distance.
8: 14 bus passengers will only snicker when the two white ones are moaning, whining and grabbing the ceiling every time the anti-lock brakes chatter, or a rear wheel lifts off the pavement.hand van
9:You have no business driving around blind corners at these speeds here unless you are truly expert at using your horn.
10: All bus drivers are not equal. The really fast and crazy ones have names that start with the letters A-Z.


I Love The Smell Of Napalm In The Morning

Smell that? You smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill …
Unlike Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now,” we love the smell of burning Styrene and the chatter of air powered grinders in the morning, but the effect is much the same.

We are still living on Country Dancer, in the Pensacola Shipyard, while she gets her hull re-skinned. So far, there has been over 7 days of labor with a “peeler” cutting a very precise layer of gelcoat and CSM fiberglass off the bottom. The rest of this 5 month “Tour” has been just sitting around waiting. The ripping chatter of the yard machines makes it feel exactly like we are living in a war zone. Every time the “peeler” touches the bottom it sends out an intense blast of vibration and racket into the hull, and we flinch like soldiers hiding in a fox hole. IMG_3572Today, we have two of the yard guys dressed is combat Tyvek and face-shields smoothing out the ridges with 8” air powered grinders. As the fiberglass gets sheared away it heats up releasing the embedded Styrene… which is a solvent used during the hull layup. This Styrene is the very distinctive “smell of fiberglass” that begins our every morning.
There are other parts of our current situation that are also reminiscent of Francis Coppola’s famous film. Our “hill” is at the top of a 12’ ladder lashed to Dancer’s stern. Our normally plush accommodations are cluttered with tools and covered in blue dust and everything we touch – including the dog – has to be carried up and down that ladder. Since we are in the middle of a parking lot we are not allowed to “discharge” anything and Jodi does the dishes in a 5 gallon bucket. The nearest rest room is 1/4 miles away behind a locked gate, and we use our holding tank for “emergency #1”. But there no pump-out up here so the first job every Saturday is to pump the tank into jerry jugs and cart them to the pump-out station. Maybe we should just burn it in a 55 gallon drum like they did in the “Nam.”
IMG_4518In the movie it seemed like the air was always thick and misty. Here the air so thick with ground bottom paint and fiberglass that everyone working here wears a full respirator. Even inside, any air movement causes swirling and sparkling clouds of dust and glass fibers that have drifted into every nook and cranny.
Across the river the Blue Angels have started their daily practice sessions and they add the screaming shriek of jet fighters twisting and churning just above our heads. All we need now is a couple of “lifts” of Huey helicopters churning up surf in the river and it would make you think a weekend pass into Saigon was due.
“The horror! The horror!”…. fade to black.

(this is a “dramatization” which is “basically” true… we have really enjoyed out time in Pensacola, and the Shipyard has been very good to us.)

S/V Country Dancer introduces “The Phlog”

Since the beginning of time, sailors have needed a way to record where they had been, so they could calculate how to get to where they wanted to go. They created the “log book” as a place to record all the “stuff” that was important to a ships voyage…the weather, the heading, the sea state and then other important events and encounters like “maintenance.” This “Ships log” was so critical to sailing that it soon took on the power of law, and things written in “the log” were accepted as legal fact, even in Court.

Suffice it to say a ships “log” is a most important document.

As we progressed into the electronic age, it was recognized that the same kind of log in a computer could track important events in the operating system. These “Binary Logs” have always been created automatically by the operating system so we can go back and see what was happening in the machine when a error occurred.

Someone, somewhere, realized that these “Binary Logs” could also be used to record purely human events on the computer as well. These early logs even pre-dated the Internet and Social Media, and became known as B-Logs… then shortened to just “Blog”.

Blogs have became so popular for recording human stories and events, that some of the most important software of our age started out as a simple “Blog”. “WordPress” software today supports well over 10 million web sites, and every one of them is based on the basic “Blog” format.

So as Blogs matured, they became ever more powerful. ASCII text gave way to “rich text” with fancy fonts, and word processor formatting. Then sound and even photographs could be added to the “Blog post.” Today nearly all Blogs can support full “multi-media” as a standard feature.

The SVCountryDancer website began as a Blog too. At first it was a lot of fun to write long articles that flowed from my innate story telling nature. Then it started to become a lot more work, and then it evolved into a tiresome obligation. Our neat new Blog stalled out when telling the story writing became more important and time consuming than actually living the story. Still, we enjoyed shooting the pictures and videos that were using in the Blog, I just ran out of energy for having to write a story before I could share them.

This winter we started counting our photos…. lots and lots of photos… in the last 4 years, we have taken over 20,000 photos and videos. These the the treasures of our adventure – but how do you MANAGE and then SHARE that?

This inspired me to create the “Interactive Map” on the SVCountryDancer website. For the first time, I could use automation to show our GPS track on a map, and link all those photos to spots on the map as well. Still telling the story wasn’t happening, but at least cataloging the photos and recording the track were automated to the point where they were no longer a burden.

Then I realized something important. All this time I had been writing stories and supporting them with photos. What would happen if I let the photos tell the story and used the written words only to support the photos, instead of the other way around? Instead of a written log, I would create a visual map and “photo log” accented and supported by written commentary. In other worlds it would be a photographic log, instead of a binary log. The “Phlog” was born.

Now maybe it should be a Vlog for Video log (like Active Captain suggests), but I use more than just videos. Maybe it should be a MLog for Multi-Media log, but neither of those have that nautical “ring” that I wanted for a name.

“Phlog” does.
Pronounce it like the captain did when applying discipline to a wayward sailor as he was tied to the mast and then “flogged.” (Sometimes I thought having to keep up with the Blog was worse than a good flogging). So “Phlog” it is. The worlds first “Phlogging site” is now

On our Map Page, click on the button on the right titled “Phlog View” and the screen re-configures to show a photographic and video record of all the important events of our adventure. As you scroll though the images, you will see the map move to show the location, and any gaps in the story are filled in by the onscreen commentary. Want to jump to a date, just click the calendar bars. Want to see photos or hear the story from a certain location? Just click that yellow spot on the map.

The “Phlog” may not work well for recording things like oil changes or how many gallons of fuel we took on, so the Ships Log isn’t going away soon. But for the rest of the story, please check out “The Country Dancer Phlog.”

Notorious – or Newstorious ?

The most northern and western Atlantic seaport is actually 1344 miles from the Ocean. It’s Duluth MN and her sister Thunder Bay Canada. Much further north than Toronto Canada, and within a hair of being as far north as Ontario Canada, this is the winter-land of dog sleds, ice caves and sailboats – WWWWHHHAAATT.

Country Dancer spent the winter of 2015-16 in a slip at Spirit Lake Marina, Duluth. Our adventure included a couple boat bucks worth of shrinkwrap and insulation, 3 electric heaters, 2 ice-eaters and a partridge in a bare tree.

2014 Holiday Season – no rest for the wicked!

Merry Christmas ?


Gary and I decided to give Country Dance a face lift for Christmas, being that she is 15 years old and starting to look a little long in the tooth. Starting with the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, I would have extra time to help Gary with this project, so lets go!

Not real bad, just sort’a dated – and maybe a little shabby.

It all started with a new flush toilet. Gary has always disliked the Vacu-Flush, so this is where it began November 25th, 2014. Of course putting in the new Marine Elegance toilet left a few blemishes that needed repair, so Gary decided to paint around the base of the toilet, which led me to ask for a small cabinet next to the toilet to hold extra TP. Electric_headWhile looking at that project we decided to replace the counter tops so the whole room would be like new. The question was what type of counter tops?
We tossed around several ideas – Corian, Formica and several others that just didn’t fit. We end up agreeing on Oak Butcher Block style. Gary had built a cedar plank canoe with epoxy and figured the same technique would work here. So we went on the hunt for the “WOOD”.

We changed our minds on the style as the butcher block was going to be a ton of work. The final plan ended up getting (3) squares/bundles of solid oak flooring to use as counter tops. These were tongue and groove which would help make up for our lack of a “real” shop.  While getting them on to the boat, Gary missed a step and went straight down into the water at the back of the boat. The bundle of oak balancing between the aft of the boat and the dock as Gary bobbed in the water. A cracked rib and 1 bundle more to get on the boat, we were ready to start our counter tops (11/27/14).
We tore out the (2) tops in the forward head and proceed to layout the oak planks for the top. We counter sunk the sink for a cleaner look and added a fiddle on the front to keep items from slipping off.(not in this photo, sorry). The tops turned out beautiful and only took a week.

IMG_1369 IMG_1367  IMG_2859
So on to the next counter top – THE GALLEY


Yes, that is our salon being used as a wood working shop.

We started tearing out the “kitchen” counter tops; we did the left side of the galley first and worked our way around leaving the sink for last. We began laying out the pieces of wood as they will be on the counter. We tried to stagger the colors so we didn’t have too many light woods together. After laying out every top we proceed to glue all the pieces together.IMG_2869Yes, thats epoxy on the salon table IMG_2900

As Gary looked at the refrigerator and freezer he decided to redo these also with new insulation. This is the one appliance that uses the most energy on the boat. So when I got home from work, I was in IMG_2893IMG_2906IMG_2874shock that we no longer had refrigeration. I had brought all of our freezer food to our neighbor’s boat for storage while the counter top was off; the rest was stored in a cooler with ice. A month later, the freezer is a little smaller, the fridge a little bigger, and both MUCH better insulated. Our neighbor had allowed us to share a freezer for the whole month.

TaDa. Now THATS a galley

TaDa. Now THATS a galley

Once all the counter tops were in place the real work began!!

Sand———Epoxy——-Sand——Epoxy——-polyurethane———sand———-polyurethane———sand—Epoxy——sand..      Grandma arrived for her annual winter stay on Jan 9th, and try and we might, the top was ALMOST, but not quite done.  Along the way, we added some space in a cabinet, made a new spice area, and ……boat project.  Added some under cabinet lights and POW…. a galley unlike any C470 you have ever seen.

How was your Holiday?


The Bahamas “Right Side”

The “Right Side” of the Bahamas gave us a whole new group of friends and thousands of pictures. We also got to dive some cool places, explore some fabulous caves, catch some fish and confirm that we are coming back here! We worked our way north through Eluthera, Little San Salvador, Spanish Wells and on to Little Harbor, Abaco.

banana hole

Cat Island Banana Hole


Country Dancer and a Cruise Ship


Alien Beach


Governors Harbor Club Med ruins

Rock Sound's Cathedral Cave...Batman would be proud !

Rock Sound’s Cathedral Cave…Batman would be proud !


Glass Window Bridge


Spanish Wells

Harbor Island gadgetGeeks

You have to be a geek to understand – Harbor Island

Shopping in Harbor Island

Shopping in Harbor Island

Milli Envisions

The Harbor Island Fleet


Dinghy riding – Georgetown Style

hopet Dinner on the hoof

Hope Town dinner “on the hoof”

Hopetown Kathy

Kathy getting the money shot on the Hopetown lighthouse


TreasureCay SeaBeans

Treasure Cay Sea Beans


Hopetown RioMarshHarbor

Levi Group

Levi reserve – Governors Harbor

Police Band

Governors Harbor Royal Police Band


Glass Window


Gregory Town Harbor

They grow the Mahi mahi big and strong down here.

They grow the Mahi mahi big and strong down here.


The Abaco Fleet


Rock Sound Blow hole

Harbor IslandDillyDally

Harbor Island Dilly Dally

Harbor Island Easy Jacques

Harbor Island – easy Jacques

Sunrise on the "Devils Backbone"

Sunrise on the “Devils Backbone”



“I think we go left there”

those crocks are red - not pink - Really!

those crocks are red – not pink – Really!


Hopetown fleet dinner

Treasure Cay Tourist

Even tourists know to use sun screen


MarshHarbor Mahi

A year, a week and a day

That is how long it’s been since we “threw the dock lines” and began the adventure called Country Dancer. A year, a week and a day. It has truly been like living the soundtrack of a Christopher Cross song!

bucket duty

So what’s changed in 373 days?

One of the first things I notice, is the new skills and interests. Jodi just came across the cockpit to show me the crop of early morning photos. She has had a few sun rise and sun set cycles to practice on, and there is a blossoming talent for capturing “drama” in the sky. Maybe rather than talent, the correct word is Eye. She hasn’t gone way down the road on learning technical photography, but rather has developed a very keen sense of what make an engaging photograph. And not just sun rises, but people, and landscapes, and things that are just “interesting.”

Another is food. When we left we had heard that cruisers spent a lot of time on food. In the work-a-day world, meals were all pretty much made of the same stuff over and over. It was good, mostly healthy, and varied enough to be interesting, but in the cruising world there is a difference. First there is time. Jodi now spends time almost everyday looking at recipes, or looking at food to come up with interesting new variations to try. Second there are new option, and limits on the old options. Much of what we normally ate at home is simply not available or affordable here. So you try new stuff. And third, there are so many people to share a meal with. The cruising life is much of the time very solitary. Long watches by yourself, and long passages with only Us. When we hit an anchorage, it just seems natural to meet both new and old friends, and share drinks and a meal. Jodi claims that we haven’t had the same meal twice since we left home. Granted, that may mean that this is the first time we have used boxed milk on our Cheerios, but it is a great goal, and I think she is onto something here.

Friends. The word seems to mean something else now. In work-a-day, we seemed to hang out with basically the same groups for extended periods of time. You can get to know people pretty well when you share a sidewalk for a few years. Yet there is something to be said for the “speed dating” pace of making friends out here. It seems at least a couple times a week, we are exchanging “boat cards” with new friends. Some we spend hours and hours with, some just some time around a pool, and some we re-meet over and over again. Yesterday, we were walking a new beach and met two couples with two little girls coming our way. Jodi said, “didn’t we meet you in Rock Sound”. The next five minutes was spent listing off ports of call until we found a pool side “sundowner” in Spanish Wells that we were both at. We then shared our latest adventures, our latest beach treasures, and wished them fair seas until we meet them again somewhere.

Making friends seems to be fairly easy. After all even to be here, we have to have quite a bit in common. The people who do this are cut from a little different cloth, and tend to have strong personalities to match the challenges we face. But names get tough. “Look, isn’t that ‘Hot Chocolate’ standing over by the fountain” is really referring to the couple sailing the boat named “Hot Chocolate”. They are Bill and Sandy…and I am pretty sure they will correct me if I am wrong. We become the name of the boat instead of our given names. It’s just easier for all of us.

And in contrast is the feeling of lonely. Never in my life have I been somewhere that makes me feel so completely alone. The completely empty horizon is 35 miles away so on a typical day we are in a bubble 70 miles across without another living soul. Our only contact with another human has to be by SSB radio, bouncing invisible waves of energy off the ionosphere at the edge of space. If something really bad happens, we better have a solid working plan to save ourselves, ’cause help just isn’t close enough to “help”. Now that’s “alone”.

Another feeling is that of constantly being pursued. Pursued by malevolent weather. As I write this, 50 miles east of Bimini, it is severe clear with hardly even a breeze. We are motoring because it is no fun baking out here with the sails slating back and forth with nothing to even hold them out. And even so, we are running from the weather. It is almost June, the start of hurricane season and we need to be someplace that we can hunker down if needed. At the moment we are in the center of hurricane alley and hundreds of miles and days of traveling before we could be safe. Even “little” weather drives us like sheep from wolves. We must get across the Gulf Stream before the next weather front moves out into the Atlantic. If we move too slowly, we will be faced with seas too large to power into and we will be swept up the coast and even further from safety. 99% of the time we are able to sail in glorious conditions! but every day and every move is controlled by the need to avoid that 1% day of miserable and potentially deadly storms.

Then there is Time, and yes, time changes character when you are sailing. I just pulled in a 6 pound tuna, after trolling a lure since dawn. Thats 6.5 hrs of “fishing” for one little tuna. But so what. We are moving over the same sea at the same speed as if we actually were fishing. But we are cruising, moving through time and space, and the fish is only a momentary sideline. One fish in a whole days isn’t so great, but with cruising time, we went somewhere and got a fish too. Actually, it has taken far more time to clean the blood out of the cockpit than to catch the fish!

We have talked about the other aspects of time before, but a whole year later, it seems more important. Just think, in the last year we could have saved more for our retirement, or I could have built a dozen websites, mowed the lawn 52 times, dug up and replanted a flower bed-twice. But instead we moved over 6000 miles, met hundreds of new friends and saw places that only another cruiser will ever see. Rainy days and overnight passages are still twice as long as work-a-days, but the year went by every bit as fast. I feel good about the shape and character of time now.

Pure Joy. I have lived 60 plus years hoping for the day that I might actually begin to “live the dream.” No other words come close to explaining what it is like to take the wife of your dreams, on the boat of your dreams, and actually set out to live it.

So 373 days later, we are headed back to Seminole. There are things that need attention, so we are going to get a slip, and pay them some Attention. Then ??

Cat Island

Cat Island

The Bahamas can be roughly divided into 3 vertical sections. Using the nomenclature of the Explorer charts those are the “Near Bahamas” on the left including Abacos, Bimini, Nassau, and Andros, the “Central Bahamas” including the Exumas, Jamentos and the Raggeds, and the “Far Bahamas” including San Salvador, Cat, Long, Conception and Eleuthera Islands on the right hand side.
Since we had come south with Jodi’s mom down the Exuma’s chain, we wanted to go back north on the Eastern “Far Bahamas” route.

3000 to 20 at CatAny way I look at it, crossing 8000 feet deep ocean is kind of a big deal, and that is the water depth between the Exuma’s and the Far Islands. The east coast of San Salvador drops to 16000 feet, or over 3 MILES deep. Although we missed San Salvador this year, it is the historic landing site of Christopher Columbus in “The New World” in 1492. In fact there are no less than 4 stone markers that each mark the EXACT first landing site of the the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Cool huh.

Since we had sailed to Long Island and Conception Island during our travels with “the Great White Fleet”, heading north to Cat Island wasn’t too daunting of a task. A simple one day sail from Georgetown north across the Tartar Bank to Hawks Nest Point.

The 3/4 scale Hermatige on the highest point in the Bahamas

The 3/4 scale Hermatige on the highest point in the Bahamas

The color change as the water shoaled up from 5000 to 18 feet was absolutely remarkable. We scooted across the the huge bay and dropped the hook in New Bight.

The Hermitage on Mt Alvenia

The Hermitage on Mt Alvenia

Neat little town that also claims the highest point in the entire Bahamas – Mount. Alvernia at 206 feet above sea level. In 1939 a Jesuit monk create a 3/4 scale monastery on the top of the “mountain” named The Hermitage.

Mount Alvernia

Mount Alvernia

I absolutely marveled at the amount of work done to create this little tribute, and the work done since to maintain it. And all this at then end of an isolated little dirt road in the middle of “nowhere.” A day here and it was time to roll on.

A couple we met from NH that were on their anniversary.

A couple we met from NH that were on their anniversary.

Fernandez Bay Resort is at least one of the prettiest little horse shoe beaches we have seen. The Resort has about 10 cabins, is very nicely done, and the harbor is “protected” by a pair of little islands and a fist full of coral heads. We met a couple from New Hampshire that were here for their 40th anniversary, and as such things work out Jodi invited them to the boat and to go snorkeling.

Cat Island weather

Cat Island weather

The girls dove on a couple of corals, and then we took the dink up Fernandez Creek looking for turtles. I think we may have made their day, as much as they made ours.

Jodi found a spot on the chart labeled “Bat Cave” about 1/2 way up the Cat Island west coast. The anchorage was VERY exposed, but how do you say no to a REAL bat cave. We dropped the hook again and patiently waited for morning to go exploring. Alas, morning showed a rocky and very turbulent shore line and no place to land our dink. A weather front was moving in and the wind was going to be coming from the west.. and we were without any cover so we ran north to Bennett’s Settlement.

Make sure to check out the Rays Video, with a neat surprise for Jodi !

Make sure to check out the Rays Video, with a neat surprise for Jodi !

Bennett’s has a very small harbor, and it looked too small and too shallow for us, so we ended up anchored just south around a point of rock sticking straight out into the banks. We shared this spot with 2 other boats for two nights while the front passed through and rocked and rolled us all night without mercy. Town was a mile dinghy ride. With the wind blown waves it didn’t look like much fun, but we needed to get off the boat. Then I saw something on the chart that looked like a river or creek that went from the end of the rocky point back through the mangroves and came out in town. If this was really true, we could head down wind out around the point, ride the river down to town, and then head down wind from town back to the boat. IT WORKED. Not only did it work, it was a FABULOUS adventure, with hundreds of sea turtles, sharks and rays in the creek. We made the trip “into town” several times…even when we never got out of the boat on the town side. Make sure to see the Eagle Ray video, its very cool!

Our "River" trip to see sea turtles, rays and sharks.

Our “River” trip to see sea turtles, rays and sharks.

Rental bikes for our first Sea Bean hunting adventure.

Rental bikes for our first Sea Bean hunting adventure.

The really cool folks at the Orange Creek Store. This place was wonderful

The really cool folks at the Orange Creek Store. This place was wonderful

Our last stop on Cat Island was at the Orange Creek Settlement, the last protected anchorage on the north end of the island. Every place we stop is getting to be better than the place before. Here we found Darian and his mom running the Orange Creek Inn. Wonderful folks, and probably the nicest, cleanest and best run Inn/Store we have seen to date. We rented a couple of bikes from them and rode across the island to the windward side to do some shelling. Remember where I said the highest point on the island was 206′? Well our little 3.9 mile “trail ride” must have climbed to 500′ several times. The “road” was cut and blasted out of the limestone and in many spots was almost too rough to climb, let alone ride. But we made it, walked a couple miles on the beach and succeeded in finding our very first “Sea Beans” – 3 “hamburgers” and 3 “seaheart.”

This is how you find sea beans

This is how you find sea beans

Waterproof camera to film a "blow hole"

Waterproof camera to film a “blow hole”

Sea cave near the "Bat Cave"

Sea cave near the “Bat Cave”