Friday, December 30, 2011

We Have Bahamian Souls

We are having a wonderful time! Our Internet is a little sketchy so I just want to share some pictures. Our friends Dan & Cheri came from Marsh Harbor to ring in the New Year with us. It's been so great hanging out again!? Tomorrow is New Years Eve & there is a huge party on Green Turtle called a Junkanoo. It's a parade on steroids . Not unlike Carnival in Rio. We are so excited! Should have some great pics! Love & miss u all!!!

This gives a whole new meaning to Banker's hours!

All I can say is Ouch!

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Location:Green Turtle Caye

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Welcome To The Bahamas, Mon' !

Yay!!! Have Internet hookup now!! So, we made it! Waiting for the perfect weather window proved to be well worth it because we had a very smooth crossing.
We have made some great friends in our flotilla that all crossed together & we are in the islands! About 4 hours into our crossing Scott caught a Mahi Mahi, about 20lbs.

Mahi Mahi ceviche

So exciting! 14hrs into the crossing, he caught a 3ft Barracuda.

It took us 18hrs to get to our 1st anchorage @Great Sale Caye. We slept for 5 hrs and then traveled 8.5 more hrs to Green Turtle Caye. We LOVE it here. We have decided to stay here for awhile. Time to slow down & enjoy the journey we've dreamed of. For Christmas, all the boaters had a potluck @ a local dive shop. It was so great & really helped that homesick feeling.
Tomorrow we are going to another small island called Munjack Caye for our 1st lobster hunt. Then back to Green Turtle for New Years.
Jib did wonderful on the crossing & learned to swim on Christmas day. :)

Special shout out to the nurses @ Phoenix Baptist L&D...Scott & I finally enjoyed the bottle of Dom on our own private beach Christmas morning!

Love you all!! We're having the time if our lives!!
Miss you all so much. To our families...we will try to call ASAP. Hopefully before New Years.

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Location:Green Turtle Caye, Bahamas

Monday, December 26, 2011

We Made It

We made it!!! Very sketchy Internet so just a quick note. We had a wonderful crossing & a great Christmas.

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Location:Green Turtle Caye, Bahamas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bahamas, Get Ready...The Schapker's Are Coming!

Glorious sunrise this morning

Hip Hip Hooray!! Our weather window is here!!! We're leaving early @ dawn heading to the islands. I can't believe this day has finally arrived. It's been such a journey already & yet, we feel like the real journey is just beginning. We should have just about perfect conditions tomorrow as evidenced by the 50 boats that arrived in this anchorage today! It's going to be a traffic jam getting out of here tomorrow! We're traveling with 5 other boats. Our own little flotilla..boat lingo for convoy.
We've spent the whole day securing everything on the boat for what is our BIGGEST ocean crossing !! We're excited & a little nervous. I'm so proud of us! I have to admit. This is 6 months of REALLY hard work & 18 months of planning.
I will update the blog as soon as possible...which will probably be Monday or Tuesday.
Merry Christmas everyone! We love & miss you all SOOOO much!! Stay tuned....

This is the harness we wear if we have to go on deck while we're moving...connects us to the boat just in case we fall off

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hanging Out On The Hook

Me & Jib hanging out on deck

"On the hook" is sailor lingo for being anchored out somewhere, as opposed to a mooring ball or in a marina. So far today, the word around the anchorage is Friday is the day for crossing.

You might be asking (as I have recently) "What the hell is the Gulf Stream anyway?" The Gulf Stream is a powerful, fast moving, warm ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico & flows Into the Atlantic ocean. It follows the eastern coastline of the U.S. & then crosses the Atlantic to northern Europe & the west coast of Africa. It becomes very narrow between Florida & the Bahamas because there are only 50miles separating the 2 land masses. becomes a VERY powerful underwater river. A huge river. If you combine the volume of water flowing through EVERY river on planet Earth, it is still less than 1% of the water flowing through the Gulf Stream. If we try to cross in less than perfect conditions we could encounter very rough seas. The waves in the Gulf Stream with the wrong winds are called "elephants". Um...No thanks. That's why we wait. If crossed in good conditions, we have ourselves a nice 12hr sail. At least, that's how I understand it.
So we wait...and hang out on our boat in southern Florida. Not a bad place to be in December.
Stay tuned...right now we're looking at leaving VERY early Friday morning. Of coarse, those plans are etched in jello.

Salt water shower followed by fresh water rinse

Scott watching other sailors anchor

Jib loves hanging out on deck. Otherwise, he's just busy sleeping & growing. Still loves his toys so much

Love & miss you all so much.
Michelle, Scott & Jib

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Location:N Lake Way,Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas In The Bahamas?

Our little tree

Scott & I were up early ready to move Malaika to Peanut Island. We made our dreaded stop at the fuel dock which lived up to all expectations & was horrifying. The wind was pushing us all around, super small space. Malaika was sandwiched between the fuel dock & a dozen gazillion dollar mega yachts. We had a near miss with our solar panels & a dock piling. Ugh!
The stress level in those situations is unbelievable. It's the same feeling as when we have a medical emergency at work. When it's over, we are wiped out. Anchoring in our new spot went very well & the excitement about leaving tomorrow started replacing the anxiety of the fuel dock. And then....Chris Parker (weather guru for all sailors) said No Go for tomorrow. Or Thursday. Now it's looking like Friday. I almost started crying. So here we sit. It is a pretty area & the water around us now is very clear & looks Caribbean blue when the sun hits it just right. Not all bad.
Some good news that made our day was to hear our friends from Colorado, Chad & Kristi, will be coming to visit us in the Bahamas in February!! Yay!! I promise we'll be there by then! :)
Missing everyone!! I'm feeling very homesick as Christmas nears. Love you all!
Happy Birthday to my brother Joshua!! Hope you had a great day! Love you!

More Hurry up & wait

Location:N Lake Way,Palm Beach,United States

Monday, December 19, 2011

Anchors Up!!!

Sunrise over North Palm Beach

Woo Hoo !! Looks like we have a weather window on Wednesday . We are SOOO excited!!! So, early tomorrow morning we are pulling up the anchor & moving Malaika closer to the Departure point which is called Peanut Island. It's only 30 minutes away but closer to the inlet opening we will go through when we leave early Wednesday morning FOR THE BAHAMAS!!! We do have to make one stop en route to Peanut Island at a marina so we can top off the fuel & water tanks. That means docking. I hate docking. I think it's one of the most anxiety provoking experiences in sailing. And I'm not even doing the hard part, which is parallel parking a 25,000 lb sailboat to a little dock. Scott does that. All I do is throw lines to guys on the dock & the whole experience still just makes me want to vomit. I know other 1st mates out there can relate! :)
I should have phone service until Wednesday so I hope to do one more blog before we go...after that it may be 7-10 days before I have Internet. So, just in case.... Merry Christmas everyone! We love you all so much!! XXXOO

Jib enjoying a dinghy ride

Watch Jib get from dinghy to boat on his custom made (by my hubby) step

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lazy Days

Jib's new favorite sit out on deck & spy on the neighbors

Waiting for weather is like watching paint dry. Since we are no longer at a marina, we can't just walk off the dock & head out to check out the town. Usually when we're anchored somewhere we just hop in the dinghy & go to town but due to the dinghy motor theft problem I mentioned before that's not really possible so.....we are on the boat most of the time. Don't get me wrong, we love our boat. I have decided I even PREFER to be anchored more than being tied to a dock. However, we get a little bored. We don't have any boat projects (knock on wood) that must be done before we cross. Scott thinks this has really been his most relaxed week since we left. Sometimes being a little lazy feels good.

Doing a lot of reading these days

We still do little we now have 2 beautiful lanterns hanging in the salon (living room) which give off the coziest glow at night.

I'm going to do a deep clean of the boat while we still have a chance to refill our water tanks for free. We go for dinghy rides & check out all the insane mansions & Megayachts in the area. Jib LOVES riding in the dinghy. He has adapted perfectly to the boat. He still doesn't like water too much though. And his land manners need some work. He's struggling with the leash thing.
All I want for Christmas is to make it to the Bahamas!! That's our Christmas wish this year...hope it comes true!
Missing everyone so much!!!! Especially as Christmas gets closer...
We have met some very nice people here & had a great time at Happy Hour this weekend. Not the same as being with friends & family during the holidays but it helps. :)

Look at the dinghy line up for Happy Hour on s/v Bella Sera from Maryland. Thanks Bob & Chel for hosting!

Much Love--Michelle, Scott, & Jib. XXXOOO

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Location:Marine Way,North Palm Beach,United States

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Crossing

The latest weather report says there is a VERY small window to cross the Gulf Stream & head for the Bahamas Saturday. We consulted with several other cruisers & decided the window is just too small. Plus, there is really no chance for the ocean to calm down before that window opens, waves could still be pretty big & unpleasant. We have had 15-20knot North East winds for DAYS. The ocean needs a little time to calm down. There are about 50 boats here & so far, everyone we've met have decided to pass on this porthole of a window. Sorry Dan & Cheri! Probably will be another week or so before we catch up to you guys! We might have the guts to cross if we had more open water experience but we think it's best to be patient . My feelings were somewhat validated when I saw a cruiser we met yesterday, who has crossed 6 times before & already been here 2 weeks, decided to wait until Wednesday...the next projected window.
We took a long dinghy ride to a little park where we could pull ashore & walk a couple blocks to the post office. Thank You Aaron & Greer from SPYBO Marine for forwarding our last piece if mail at Hidden Harbor Marina . Jib's permit to enter the Bahamas finally arrived the day we left St. Augustine. I applied for it 6 weeks ago. We all have our "passports" now. Ready to sail whenever the wind allows!

Parking spot for our dinghy on a trek to the Post office

I am a bit nervous about the crossing. To experienced cruisers, this is a pretty easy crossing as long as there are no North winds but for us newbies, it's a BIG deal!! Truthfully, part of me is glad when I hear we still don't have a window, & part of me will just be glad when it's over. Always an adventure! That's for sure! Tonight we are headed to our first happy hour with the other cruisers in this anchorage...our new Canadian friends! I think we will very likely all cross together so it'll be great to meet everyone.

We were passed by the Geico racing boat on our way to the post office

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!! We are missing you!
Michelle, Scott & Jib

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wind Chasers

More boats arrive everyday to wait for the next weather window to the Bahamas

So, the North winds just keep on blowing with all their glory at a steady 15-20mph. For days now. The last Chris Parker (boating weather guru) report we heard about said the next weather window to cross the Gulf Stream is Wed., Dec 21. Another week. I'm sure that North Palm Beach is a great place but exploring it is limited due to the high rate of theft cruisers experience here. Scott & I are making the most of being stuck on the boat so much. Jib is totally trained to go to the bathroom out on deck now. He goes, we wash it off with a bucket of water. Easy. Jib has also mastered using his custom made step to get on & off the boat to the dinghy.

Lake Worth Dinghy Dock

He also will get in the water now. He kind of swims. We have some work to do there.
Our goal for the next few days is to meet some other cruisers who are headed the same direction as us & see if we can "buddy boat" to the Bahamas. So far the Cruisers we've met (on dinghy watch at the dinghy dock) are going other places. I'm sure we'll find some fellow Abaco's bound sailors. That's the 1st group of islands we're visiting. The Abacos . One new fun ritual we have in the morning is to listen to all the weather reports & then tune in to a Bahamian radio station for "Wake Up Bahamas!", sort of their "Today" show. Love their island commentary & Bahamian pop music! Nothing like steel drums to get you moving in the morning!
SOOOO excited to be there. This first chapter in our epic journey is almost accomplished! We've come so far in 6 months!
Love & miss everyone!!! XXXOOOO
Happy Holidays!!

Look at Jib using all his muscles to climb the ladder to the cockpit.

Our Megayacht neighbors

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hurry Up & Wait!

So we're just hanging out here anchored at Lake Worth in North Palm Beach, Florida. It looks like my interpretation of the the forecast was correct & we will be here for about a week... Hopefully not too much longer. Im bored here, and I'm just Sooooo ready to be in the Bahamas!! North wind...GET OUT
OF THE WAY!!! There is a great dinghy dock here, even has soft white sand. It is just 1 block from a grocery store & a few blocks from West Marine however, dinghy motors are stolen frequently here so Scott & I are afraid to leave the dinghy unattended which means we have to take turns going to whichever store while the other watches the dinghy. No fun.
We are trying to make the most of it & just have a little fun. We explored the canal system yesterday in our dinghy. A journey I would call "Mansions, Mangroves, & Megayachts". Stay tuned for photos!

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Location:North Palm Beach, Florida

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weather Window...Where Are You?

Sunset @ Lake Worth Anchorage

Scott & I were a bit worn out after the past 2 & 1/2 days. We hung out on the boat today & just sort of took it easy. Well, after tackling a couple difficult chores. Chore #1 was to fix our all of a sudden not flushing toilet! Ugh!!! This had potential to be an EXTREMELY unpleasant project but luckily, it turned out to be a minor fix & Scott had it figured out quickly after reviewing Nigel Calder's trouble shooting text. Nigel is famous sailing guru who knows all. His books are essential tools when you live on a boat. Thank You Nigel!
We also tackled our "Yachtboy SSB " radio. That effort was not as successful as the toilet mission. I don't even know how to explain SSB radio to you except that having it opens global communication opportunities for us. Most importantly, the best weather forecasts possible. If any sailors reading this blog can help me figure out our Grundig G4000A...I will be forever in your debt.
Weather conditions must be ideal for us to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. We can't cross if there are any north winds in the forecast. Any wind from the North makes crossing dangerous. This is the season for "Nor-Easter's" so we just have to wait. There are about a hundred boats around us right now also waiting for the next "window".
Tick. Tock.
I think it'll be about a week. I'm new at this however, & my interpretation of the forecasts I've seen could be wrong. We hope to consult with the many sailors around us. If you read this blog & have a Chris Parker hook-up, please share what you know! :) Chris Parker is famous in boater world for most accurate weather forecasts re:passages.
Love & Miss you all !!!
Michelle, Scott, & Jib

The Great Migration...Waiting for Mother Nature

South Florida..The Land of High Rise Condos & Mega Yachts!

Location:North Palm Beach, Florida

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sailing...Take Me Away....

We have spent the past 2 & 1/2 days traveling on our boat. Non-Stop. We couldn't go outside
(out of the ICW & on the Atlantic)when leaving St Augustine as originally planned due to weather. So the 1st night we did 100 miles on the ICW in the dark. That's like driving on a freeway that has a few lights here & there... In the dark. A boat moves very slow compared to a car but crashing is crashing. Aaron from SPYBO Marine came with us & we took shifts that 1st night. One person driving, the other lighting up markers (road signs) with a spotlight, making coffee, reading the chart... Etc. The 3rd person took a nap for 2hrs.. And so on. We were TIRED!! We missed a bridge opening outside of Canaveral so we anchored there for a few hrs & slept. Also did some maintenance on the rudder & the bilge. We didn't leave Port Canaveral until about 4pm. But then...out onto the Atlantic. Malaika had all 3 of her sails up & engine off...for the next 16 hours! Pure sailing all that time!! It was awesome. We had perfect winds the entire night & SAILED 100 miles into Lake Worth. This is the jumping block to the Bahamas for many cruisers.
We can not thank Aaron & Greer from SPYBO Marine enough for all that we have learned from them. If you are a boater(sail or power)anywhere along the East coast from New York to Miami and need some expert service, they are the people to call. They do it all! Captain services,
deliveries, rigging, instruction, electrical, mechanical, woodworking, fiberglass, and so on!!
Plus, they are super fun to hang out with too! We learned so much & made some great friends.
We highly recommend their services & friendship! You can contact them at
I'm writing this entry from the iPhone & of coarse, can not get pics to download. Will try again tomorrow!
Love & miss everybody!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Countdown To Launch !!

So great to be back in the water!! The Military Fort behind Malaika

     So, the time has been set for 11ish am tomorrow morning to launch Malaika towards Lake Worth, Florida. Once we get there, as soon as there is a weather window we will set sail to cross the gulf stream & reach our 1st destination, The Bahamas. Woo Hoo !!  I think I may be losing my wifi access for a few days. (Thank You SOOO much to Greer & Aaron from SPYBO Marine for lending me your wifi card the past couple of days!) We are going "outside" (out in the Atlantic, about 20miles off shore) for the trek to Lake Worth. I'll try to post blogs as we travel from the Iphone. This is so exciting!
   It has been so awesome to be back on the water. The marina is great because of all the ammenities but it can't compare to the feeling of being on anchor or a mooring ball. The little waves rocking the boat, lulling us to sleep. Sooo nice. There were dolphins next to the boat this morning when we were having our coffee. Jib seems to like it too. He's been running around the boat much more than he ever did at the marina. Almost too confident---one of us is always watching him because falling in is probably inevitable. Still trying to get him to go to the bathroom on his little patch of astro-turf. He's not really going for it yet.
  We're about to dinghy into town to do some last minute errands, I'll write any time I can!! Stay tuned to hear about our biggest sailing yet.
Love & Miss Everybody!!
Scott & Jib hanging out on the bow
Another view of the old fort from Malaika's bow

We are going to miss beautiful St. Augustine

Bridge of Lyons