June 12 - We really are leaving. Our new, revised departure date is June 14th. Several things have conspired to keep us in port. The best and happiest reason is ... our daughter Hillary has announced her engagement! We just had to stick around for the party! She is going to marry Brian Murphy, a wonderful young man ... we are very happy for them. The wedding will be after we get back from cruising - maybe next May.
Independence is full of fuel and water, we are provisioned and the weather is looking good. With any luck we'll be in Bermuda for Father's Day.
June 14, 2004 - Departed St. Thomas bound for Bermuda. The passage was pretty easy; no wind for 2 days, pleasant breeze for 2 days and a little more wind than necessary for 2 days! The last made for an exciting entrance into Bermuda, with lots of buoys and markers to sort out, but we made it to the Custom's Dock in St. Georges without mishap and were tied alongside by 10:30 a.m. on Father's Day. We made the 935 mile passage in just under 6 days - not too bad. The officials here are SO NICE!
June 29, 2004 - We have had a wonderful stay in Bermuda! We've enjoyed it so much that we plan to return in October. Highlights of our stay included ...
Dragging our anchor! Fortunately, Pieter saw it happen. We were ashore making phone calls. We dropped the phone and bolted for the dinghy, making it back to Independence as she fetched up alongside the only other CSY in the harbor! Somehow, during her drift she avoided a large, rusty, steel wreck - the damage was only a few scratches. Several Bermudans came to help us and pulled us off the CSY that Independence had cozied up to - a boat called Island Woman. (Turns out that the anchor had picked up a big piece of dead coral wrapped in a line. It wasn't a problem until a squall passed through.) Later, when we went back to thank our helpers, we found out they were from Bermuda Tug and Salvage. They would not accept any money from us - even the owner of Island Woman insisted he had no damage. Not so amazing, really, as we found Bermudans to be very friendly and helpful people.
The finish of the Newport to Bermuda Race happened during our stay - very exciting to see. Several hundred yachts compete every other year in this prestigious event that is hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Our neighbor on our mooring in St. Thomas, Ruth Miller, was of of the race judges. We met her at the yacht club and got a good look at some of the top race boats in the world.
We had a visit from Pieter's sister, Anne, and niece, Lesley. There is nothing like visitors to get you out sight-seeing. Bermuda has a great ferry and bus service - we went everywhere! We wandered the the narrow streets of St. Georges and loved the Dockyard. We took the boat to Hamilton and visited cruising friends (who found a mooring for us) who have a lovely home on Hinton's Island. We did more exploring and toured the Bermuda Historical Society, where we learned a lot about our ties with Bermuda during the Civil War. There is so much to see here - I'm happy that we're planning to be back soon.
Fair Winds -
Pat and Pieter