Frank is a lot happier than the tuna is.
We had an excellent passage from Conception Island to Providenciales and we managed to catch some yellow fin tuna on our way!
Beautiful tuna steaks!
And what is the best thing to do when you finish a passage and arrive at a dock with fresh fish? Share it with you dock neighbors!
New neighbors and familiar friends!
I am surprised to report that we have spent nearly three weeks on Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos. While many cruisers stop here just as a layover until they have a good weather window to or from the Dominican Republic, we chose to have our kids fly in to visit us, so we are hanging around a while until they arrive.
Turquoise waters draw many tourists.
Provo is an upscale island with a well established tourist trade for those arriving by airplane or cruise ship. The island has several very cushy, all inclusive resorts on white sand beaches overlooking turquoise water where visitors can lounge all day, play golf or visit nice boutiques.
A view of South Side Marina from a nearby hill.
As easy as this island is to access by air and cruise ship, as cruisers we found it less accessible than other islands we have visited. The people here are very nice and extremely welcoming, but the anchorages tend to be exposed to wind or swell, so cruisers must hunt for quiet waters. Once a protected spot is found, we did not find any support facilities nearby unless we went to an actual marina.
Provo is well developed with many amenities, including beautiful groceries, but a car is necessary to get around unless you are prepared to walk a long way.
The ladies hanging out at Bob’s Bar – Captain too!
Even though access to the island is a challenge, we have enjoyed Provo. When we arrived, we stopped at South Side Marina, owned by a great guy named Bob. South Side is very small with about a dozen slips and Bob’s Bar; a fun place to gather for drinks and Bocce Ball. Plus Bob is super helpful and will arrange to have Customs and Immigration come to the marina, and he offers to take folks to the grocery every day around noon.
Bocce Ball ~ where spectators have a ringside seat!
While we were in South Side, we became friends with the other cruising boats and almost every night we gathered for drinks or bocce ball or pot luck dinners.
We went to the Provo Fish Fry with Ken and Laurie of Mauna Kea.
The social life was in full swing for those first 10 days before our friends took advantage of an excellent weather window to go either to the Dominican Republic or back toward the States. But we stayed behind to await the arrival of our sons.
Captain enjoyed free roaming and a new friend, Maddie, while at South Side!
In addition to the social time, the wind was exceedingly cooperative and we were able to kite board several days! Long Bay is the most perfect place to learn to kite I have ever seen! The water is beautiful and shallow and the floor of the ocean is sand with only an occasional seashell to mar its surface.
Long Bay has miles of shallow water!
Frank kited 6 days in a row! I kited four times and loved that I could be completely self sufficient in this location! That is a huge accomplishment for me as a new kiter.
A bit sad to see this abandoned resort.
When the winds settled and we had had as much marina time as we could take, Frank and I sailed to West Caicos Island, home to an abandoned Ritz Carleton Resort. Apparently the Ritz invested $150 million in this resort, then halted construction. The partially finished buildings remain but those are the only structures on West Caicos.
Love those pictures using a red filter!
However, on the western side of the island are several buoys placed by scuba diving companies and each one is named on the electronic charts of the area, theoretically giving you an idea of what you will find below.
Why does this make me think of Dr. Seuss?
We had a very nice dive along a deep wall in a current free area that allowed us to relax and enjoy the scenery. This dive was not as clear or colorful as the one on Conception Island, but it was definitely worth the effort.
We see you Mr. Ray.
After the dive we needed to move LIB to the east side of West Caicos to protect us from westerly winds. As we rounded the southern end of West Caicos, we saw something in the water and were not sure what it was. We were in about 25 feet of water and wondered if it was an unmarked obstacle…..
Whales in the shallows.
But as we approached, the “obstacle” blew out spray from its’ blow hole – WHALES AHEAD!
We were able to get pretty close to the whales so I drove and Frank jumped into the water to swim with the whales. Once below, he found two humpback whales – a cow and calf!
I didn’t realize that humpback whales have all white flippers! It was very easy to see the solid white appendage in the water even from above. Fun fact – a humpback’s flipper can be up to 1/3 of its body length! I guess that is a good thing as it helps propel their huge bodies.
After a very peaceful evening anchored off of West Caicos, we sailed to Blue Haven Marina on the northeastern part of Provo where we hung out and prepared for our kids to arrive.
As always, thank you for stopping by to read our blog. If you want to see what we are up to more often, check out our FB page: Let It Be, Helia 44. We would love to hear from you.
Frank caught a beautiful bull Mahi on our way to Emerald Cay Marina.
After our Sail to the Sun Rally friends left from New Providence, Frank and I spent the day provisioning and trying to buy a few things only available from a large city like Nassau. I had thought the ongoing search for the elusive red filter for my GoPro was completed in Nassau when I bought a very nice red lens cover and GoPro adapter from a dive shop.
However, much to my dismay, the adaptor they sold me does not fit my GoPro 4**, so once again I do not have the correct equipment to get beautiful underwater pictures….. which I find very frustrating! Not bringing my GoPro into town was a really dumb move on my part and the result is that I have a beautiful red lens just staring at me, waiting to allow me to share fabulous underwater pictures, and I can’t get it to fit my GoPro!
Gratuitous sunset photo.
Speaking of big cities, Frank and I spent more than 30 years living in Dallas, Texas which is truly a large city with a population of 1.258 million as of 2013. It is a very different experience here in the Bahamas when we visit various Islands and find them sparsely populated yet boasting of many “towns.”
Our visit to Long Island really drove home how incredibly different this new lifestyle is for us.
Physically, Long Island is large island by Bahamian standards. It is approximately 80 miles long and the width ranges from 3/4 of a mile to 4 miles, for a total of 230 square miles; yet Long Island has a total population of only 3,094 as of 2010! The people who live here do not gather into small cities, but are spread among many small villages usually where their ancestors settled long ago. Even well known towns have very few residents, like Clarence Town, the capital, which boasts a population of only 86 folks!
A modest monument to Columbus.
Long Island was originally called Yuma by the indians who settled there and later was named Fernandina by Christopher Columbus. After the American Revolution, many Americans from the Carolinas moved to Long Island and tried to recreate their plantations but the cotton crops didn’t last long and only ruins of those homes remain. Today farming is still important on Long Island but the planting is “pot farming.” My understanding is that soil accumulates in holes in the limestone and it is in these holes that most planting is done. I admire the tenacity of these people and how well they use the resources of their island.
Regardless of the relatively small population, Long Island has a lot to offer, so Laurie and Ken of s/v Mauna Kea and ourselves, rented a car and set out to explore. Car rentals are on a 24 hour basis and we could pick up the car at any time. We decide to begin our tour at noon and explore the south part of Long Island one day and the north part the next.
Our first stop was right on the road where a local man is in the process of building his sailboat in preparation for the upcoming Long Island Regatta. This regatta is raced by locals who make and sail their Bahamian Sloops.
As soon as we stepped out of the car and began looking at the boat, two residents came over to chat and tell us all about the boat. Apparently their son is building this boat and has been working on it for two weeks. We were amazed by how much he had accomplished in so little time! He must work quickly though as the race is the end of May!
The pool and buildings at Flying Fish Marina are great.
Our next stop was Clarence Town, population 86. There is a very large marina in Clarence Town called Flying Fish. Flying Fish Marina was completely renovated and reopened in October 2016 after damage from hurricane Joaquin.
The exterior of Fr. Jerome’s Catholic Church
Clarence Town also boasts two churches designed and build by Father Jerome. Father Jerome was born in England in 1876. He began studying architecture then changed to theology and was ordained in the Church of England. Father Jerome patterned his approach to religion after St. Francis of Assisi and later converted to Catholicism. Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, Father Jerome had designed and build an anglican church in Clarence Town. After his conversion, he wanted to build a larger, catholic church and did so on the highest available point in Clarence Town. Though he is best known best for the Hermitage on Cat Island, Father Jerome also built and repaired churches as far away as Australia. All told it is said that Fr. Jerome built five churches on Long Island. We visited the two largest ones in Clarence Town.
Churches seem to be the preponderance of buildings on Long Island behind residences! The one below is said to be the oldest Spanish church on Long Island.
The Spanish influence is visible in the beautiful arches.
Perhaps the most beautiful stop during our exploration of the southern side of Long was Dean’s Blue Hole. This hole, where the world free diving competition is held, is said to be 660 feet deep with a cavern that extends 4,000 feet laterally once you get to the bottom.
Yeah, we don’t have any pictures of the 4,000 foot cavern!! But here is a stunning view from above.
Guana Cay was another pretty stop and Frank was quick to observe the kiting potential of this bay. For you kiters, Frank definitely kept his eye on the wind and later in the week managed to get in a bit of kiting here.
Long Island has many caves that were once used by ancient residents as dwellings or places to hide during hurricanes. We sought out Leonard, an older gentleman whose family has owned Hamilton Cave for many generations, to give us a guided tour. Leonard had many stories about the history of the cave and pointed out five different types of bats that live there…. Laurie and I were NOT thrilled when some of those bats swooped down toward our heads!
Sunset was approaching so we turned toward Chez Pierre, a well known restaurant on Long Island. Like every place we visited off of the main road, Chez Pierre was found down a long, rocky, pot-holed road that meandered several miles without any signage to reassure first time visitors. We did manage to find Chez Pierre and had a fabulous Italian meal?? Yep, Italian at Chez Pierre!
The picture isn’t great but the food was!
Pierre was the waiter, chef and check out person, so he was a busy man. The bar was self serve and on the honor system which was unique and fun. We highly recommend Chez Pierre if ever you visit Long Island.
Locally grown produce and homemade breads.
Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 am to noon. We arrived at 8:30 but already most of the produce was gone.
Sarah displays her woven goods.
Straw and sisal work is common on most islands in the Bahamas. You will find straw markets and stands in front of homes where locals sell everything from purses to placemats to hats and baskets.
Sarah’s sample board.
Sarah, at the Farmer’s Market, had a wonderful display of items and she had a poster of the various plaits available. This is the first time I was able to see all the weaves used and I found it interesting.
The boating community at Thompson Bay, Long Island has to be one of the finest I have encountered. The boaters and the Long Islanders have developed a wonderful relationship in which both recognize the positive skills each brings. The people of Long Island are kind and welcoming and clearly enjoy the boating community. The boaters are very aware of the needs of the islanders and contribute tangibly to those needs.
Most recently, there was a push to bring trees to Long Island to donate to the islanders. After hurricane Joaquin, boaters brought much needed supplies and food to Long Island and helped rebuild many damaged buildings. In fact, the day before we arrived, a group of boaters volunteered and replaced the roof on a home.
The relationship between the boaters and islanders seems unique and wonderful to me. I can certainly understand why so many sailors return to the area every year. This is the first time I have seen island life and boat life completely intertwined and it was truly beautiful to see.
Lest you think we are neglecting Captain, let me assure you that she goes with us on most of our escapades. Here she is enjoying the pool and view at Latitudes on Great Exuma Island.
**For those who own GoPros, apparently their is the standard underwater housing and the “diving” housing. We have the regular underwater housing and the attachment I bought was for a diving housing.
Our sail from Eleuthera back to the Exuma Islands was more and less exciting than we expected. We anticipated an easy spinnaker sail but the wind was shifty and we ended up changing sails two or three times. So that was a little “more” than we expected.
Spinnaker sailing is probably my favorite!
On the other hand, Frank diligently employed the fishing techniques Paul, our Eleuthera guide, had taught him, but our only bite was a barracuda. So the fishing was “less” exciting than we had anticipated.
The fun news is that we were able to raise s/v Radiance on the VHF and made plans to meet at an anchorage on Compass Cay. Surprisingly they ended up entering Conch Cut, an entrance from the Bahama Sound into the Exuma Islands, at the same time we did! So we followed them through the cut and we anchored right next to each other.
We shared sundowners that evening and plotted activities for the next few days. S/V Radiance only had a few days before they were off to Nassau to pick up guests so we wanted to pack in a lot during our days together.
Celebrating our reunion!
Susan had saved some “bubbly” to share and we managed to consume all of it… waste not, want not!
The first day together, we packed into our dinghy, Day Tripper, and headed to the marina where we could swim with the nurse sharks then hike on Compass Cay. We trekked from the marina all the way to the Bubbly Bath at the north end of the island.
Frank, Susan and Kevin on Compass Cay.
At five miles round trip, the walk was a bit longer than we anticipated, but the views along the way were great.
Frank “dunks” a rock at Hester’s Gym, an abandoned bar on along the walk.
The Bubbly Bath was a fun place to hang out in the shallow water and enjoy the waves as they broke over the rocky ledge that separated us from the ocean. We agreed that this was a place we wanted to revisit!
Susan is making a beeline for the Bubbly Bath at the right end of this picture.
When we returned to the marina, Kevin and Captain found a breezy, shady spot to cool down and Susan and I watched Frank swim with the sharks. Unfortunately my camera battery died so I don’t have pictures.
Next we moved the boats to Cambridge Cay which is the southern most part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. We grabbed mooring balls and were delighted when we realized that s/v Tatiana was on the very next mooring ball!
I think these fish were looking for nibbles.
Kevin, Susan, Frank and I went snorkeling the next day at “the Aquarium.”
Sorry for the picture quality, I don’t have my red filter yet!
There was only one other dinghy at the snorkel site and they were just about to leave when we arrived. I was busy getting out gear when I heard, “Frank?!” HA! The folks in the other dinghy had shared our dock in Annapolis during our last few weeks at Jabin’s Yacht Yard! Art and Celeste were doing some refit work on their catamaran in Annapolis and we knew they were headed to the Bahamas, but we were surprised to run into them! What a small world!
Susan and I decided we really needed a second visit to the Bubbly Bath, so we invited s/v Tatiana to join us. We packed a cooler and some floats plus our snorkel gear. The six of us, and Captain, took off in Day Tripper and stopped at the Rocky Dundas snorkel site. We swam into the caves and poked about checking out the coral and sea life.
Kristen, James, Frank, Kevin and Susan…. Cap and I are in charge of pics.
After an arduous snorkel (not) we really needed to relax, so the Bubbly Bath was next up.
It’s important to have plenty of toys and snacks!
Frank and I on the edge of the Bubbly Bath
Cappy divided her time between a shady hole in the sand and my lap in the water.
We had a great time floating about, sharing drinks and stories as we watched the waves begin building and breaching the rocky surroundings. What a fun way to while away an afternoon!
It was great fun meeting up with Susan and Kevin again and we enjoyed several days together exploring Compass Cay and Cambridge Cay. Although we were only together about 4 days we managed to hike, snorkel, share dinner aboard both boats, gather at an anchorage beach sundowner event, listen to Kevin and a new Canadian friend jam on guitars and float about in the Bubbly Bath twice.
Susan even managed some down time on the hammock she and Kevin made from beach ‘finds.’
We were sad to see s/v Radiance leave head north, but we have plans to meet again very soon!
Frank kiting off Cambridge Cay
The wind has piped up a few times and allowed us to kite board. Frank had probably three days of boarding and he continues to try to increase the height of his jumps. Our kids gave Frank a small electronic device called a “Woo” that attaches to his kiteboard. The Woo records the height of jumps and Frank loves trying to improve his “personal best.”
Sundown after an afternoon of kiting.
My kiting on the other hand seems to go two steps forward and three steps backwards. Some days I am comfortable and don’t need any support, but other days I am very happy to have Frank “on watch” to help me if I become discombobulated!
After s/v Radiance and s/v Tatiana departed, Frank spent the next week or so exploring Black Point and Pipe Cay, then returning to Cambridge Cay. We resumed our usual activities of hikes, biking, swimming and general dinghy exploring. Instead of boring you with details, here are some pictures.
The anchorage at Black Point.
Regardless of location, all little kids love to play with smart phones!
Probably the most beautiful spot we have seen; Pipe Cay.
Hiking along a rocky ledge.
A small private island. They seem to have a few extra comforts available!
Who needs a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card?
Just another sunset!
Thanks so much for reading about our journey. Let us know if you are nearby! Next up – George Town; cruisers central in the Bahamas!
Eleuthera is a long, skinny island that is shaped a bit like a half circle with a sling shot on the bottom. Or at least that’s what I think. It is 110 miles long and in parts is only one mile wide. Eleuthera is estimated to have an area of 176 square miles. Now I realize that our former home state of Texas is significantly larger at approximately 268,000 square miles, but traveling by boat, the island of Eleuthera felt pretty large to us!
Originally we thought we would spend a few days on Eleuthera while waiting out a weather system, but we ended up spending more than two weeks exploring various anchorages and I know we missed many interesting places.
After exploring Spanish Wells, Harbour Island and Royal Island, we sailed southeast back through Current Cut so we could explore the southeastern section of Eleuthera.
Current Cut was an interesting opening on Eleuthera that required some timing because of the strong current ~ yes, appropriate name. As you can see from the picture of our instruments, our boat speed through the water was 6.4 knots but we had the current going with us and our actual speed over ground was 10.1 knots indicating that we had almost 4 knots of current during our trip through this fairly narrow passage.
LIB sitting pretty in Governor’s Harbour
Our first stop on the eastern side of Eleuthera was Governor’s Harbour. We spent the afternoon walking the town and poking into the few shops we found that were open. We arrived late on a Saturday so most places were closed and they don’t open on Sunday.
Fancy and clean food truck
We did find a food truck and decided we to indulge in some ‘take away’ dinner. See the menu in the window…. what would you choose?
I’m not sure what it is, but there are some stops that call to us or click with us more than others. Governor’s Harbor didn’t call much to either of us and a weather shift dictated a move further south after only one night.
Rock Sound was our next anchorage of choice and this one we enjoyed more than expected. It is located just above the slingshot shaped part of the island. The first night we anchored in the undeveloped northern part of the sound to protect us from some northern wind. But the next day we moved to the eastern part of the sound when the wind changed from that direction. The town of Rock Sound is deceiving and at first glance you might think it has little to offer but we found plenty to do.
St. Anne Catholic Church, just like home…. I wish we had been here on a Sunday!
This sign made me smile.
We enjoyed a cool beverage at this restaurant overlooking Rock Sound. As indicated, the entrance was around the back where an open patio offered a cool breeze from the sound.
One morning we toted our bikes to shore and explored as much of the town and surrounding area as we could. Our bike ride allowed us to see the varied terrain near the anchorage.
Unpaved roads and very little traffic were perfect for our mountain bikes.
Not a bad dead end for one road.
This time our road ended in a grassy, palm treed yard.
Mining for sand???
This was our most unexpected dead end on our bike ride. This hill of sand must be 40 feet high. Our guess is that they were excavating the sand and moving it elsewhere? Anyone have a guess?
Several places on Eleuthera have ocean holes in shore. These are pools fed by the ocean from underground. It was pretty amazing to ride our bike through town and come across this ocean hole.
Frank was happier than he looks in this pic.
You would expect this to be a fresh water pond, but in actuality it is ocean water with salt water marine life. The town has built a park around the hole so locals have a nice place to gather and enjoy the water.
The park around the hole is simply green space.
Rock Sound has a well stocked grocery store where we were able to buy some fresh produce and a few odds and ends to shore up our food reserves on LIB. We stopped in a cute little shop called The Blue Seahorse where I bought some earrings made of sea glass. I consider the owner of the Blue Seahorse (Holly?) a bit unusual here in the Bahamas because she is very marketing savvy and interested in increasing her business. We saw signs for her business in several places and she hopes to advertise in some of the cruising guides. You should stop in and see Holly at the Blue Seahorse if you ever visit Rock Sound! She has some great items and she makes them all herself.
After enjoying several days in Rock Sound, we raised the anchor and moved further south toward Davis Harbour Marina. This small marina has about 25 slips and most are used by local fisherman, by scuba diving trip operators or by fishing guides. Davis Harbour is a small, well protected marina with super nice people and much more than expected.
Our first night here we enjoyed dinner at Frigates Restaurant right in the marina. It’s always a positive when I get a break from cooking, plus the dinner was tasty and the atmosphere pleasant. It is interesting that these places are so small that one person is the bartender, waitress, cook and cashier!
Dusk at Davis Harbour Marina
Our plan was to stay at Davis only two nights as we wanted to fish along a submerged rock formation called The Bridge located between Eleuthera and Little San Salvador. So we headed out early in the morning and fished for several hours with the intention of anchoring in a small area off of Lighthouse Point at the very tip of Eleuthera.
There is a Yiddish proverb “Man plans, God laughs.” That happened! We caught only one skipjack tuna and a barracuda. Plus while we were trolling for fish, the wind direction became more southerly and made our planned anchorage untenable. Yep, God had a good chuckle about our plans.
So back to Davis Harbour we went and we were very happy to have such a calm spot after a day of waves.
We spent the next day exploring nearby creeks in our dingy. There were three creeks very close, so we took Day Tripper as far as we could then hopped out and explored on foot. Captain loves jumping around in the shallow water but she isn’t much help when we try to bonefish!
Captain is a front seat driver in the dinghy!
Frank decided to bike to Lighthouse Point, the anchorage we were unable to visit due to weather, but I bailed. I know I could have ridden the 25 mile trip, but I wanted a day at “home.” When I saw the pictures he took I regretted skipping the trip.
Seeing the pictures made me sorry we were unable to anchor at that beach!
The actual lighthouse might need some repair.
Remember our friends Kristen and James of s/v Tatiana who shared the adventures at Harbour Island? Well they decided to join us in Davis Harbour for a day of diving! Paul, a local man, climbed aboard LIB and spent most of a day with us. Paul showed us two nearby dive spots where the coral was in excellent condition which again was encouraging to see.
James captures some coral with scuba bubbles in the background.
Thankfully James had his GoPro with the red filter and his pictures were great.
Look at the colors!
Really, what was I thinking moving onto a boat in crystal blue waters and not bringing a red filter?!
Hahaha, you have to be able to laugh at yourself, right? Conehead much?
After our second dive, Paul taught Frank and James a few fishing tricks using live bait. We didn’t have any luck catching fish while Paul was on board, but we have some new techniques to try.
We returned to Davis Creek and said goodbye to Paul. What a great guy he is and so generous with his knowledge. We are lucky to have met him.
Of course Kristen and I decided that after a “long” day of water sports, we needed to be pampered with dinner at Frigate’s, so the four of us shared our evening meal and discussed our next move.
We have been in contact with Rally buddies, Kevin and Susan of s/v Radiance, and Frank and I decided it was time to head back toward the Exumas and see if we could rendezvous with them.
Perhaps on our sail we can put to test some of the fishing pointers Paul shared…
I am sure most people think Frank does all of the boat work on LIB and I just reap the benefit of his efforts, but I do actually contribute. Case in point is changing the anodes on our engine propellers, which I did last week.
New zinc on the left and what was left of the old one on the right!
Anodes are dome shaped pieces, usually made of zinc, designed to be ‘sacrificial anodes’ that counteract galvanic corrosion between metals on the boat. Essentially, zinc will give up its’ electrons more quickly than other metals such as the bronze of the propeller or the stainless steel of the propeller shaft on the boat and therefore absorb the galvanic action of these metals. Zincs are there to protect our propellers and other metal pieces.
I zinc it’s missing on the left! New one installed on the right.
Anyway, we had checked our zinc anodes while traveling the ICW and they were in good shape (greater than 50%), but this week when we looked, they had eroded completely! So I donned mask, fins and a dive tank and replaced our anodes.
The point in telling you that is to prove that I am occasionally useful and to remind boaters out there to check their zincs periodically.
I completely forgot to share with you the fun we had with our Rally friends at Shroud Cay (pronounced “key”). We had read about a cool cut, like a small river, that you can take your dinghy through and move from the west side of the island to the east side.
One bright morning, we followed the cut to a breathtaking beach on the east side of Shroud Cay. There was nothing to do on this beach except enjoy the water, play in the sand and climb up a small hill for a birds eye view. We were happy to spend the better part of a day perfecting these activities! The pictures are better than words.
Crystal clear water of the cut on Shroud Cay
The water in the cut was so shallow and clear that I wanted to capture it with the GoPro. Unfortunately, the camera ran out of battery, but still photos will give you an idea of the view from our “car.”
Arriving at the east side of Shroud Cay
The “hills” aren’t very high, but the view is still great.
We left Shroud Cay and pointed north toward Spanish Wells in the Eleuthera Islands while our Rally buddies headed south. Our route to Spanish Wells required us to navigate through the Middle Ground, a section of the Bahama flats that is very shallow, probably 12 to 20 feet, and extends for miles. The water is clear enough to see through but it is dotted with coral reefs throughout the area and you must pay attention while navigating between the reefs.
As we motored, the wind was nearly non existent and the water was dead calm so it was hard to believe that predicted bad weather was driving our decision to move to Spanish Wells. In fact it was so calm when we were maneuvering through The Middle Grounds we decided to drop our anchor and snorkel a couple of the reefs.
What a great decision! These reefs were the most vibrant we have seen since we moved onto LIB. We did not see many fish, but we sure saw some lively and colorful coral. It was such a pleasure to see healthy reefs for a change! The pictures don’t do it justice but here they are. (Time to buy an underwater filter of some sort for my camera!)
Spanish Wells was a long trip from Shroud Cay, but it was definitely worth the effort. The Yacht Harbour Marina was rebuilt less than a year ago and the results are impressive. The docks are very secure and clean which was good since the weather did change and brought some strong winds and rain. The pool, restaurant, bathrooms, laundry room, etc are all first rate at Yacht Haven Marina. The dock master, Treadwell, is fabulous! He met us at the dock to catch lines and secure LIB and every day his attitude was upbeat and helpful. The office was exceedingly clean and the staff was very pleasant. We cannot recommend this marina highly enough!
The restaurant at Yacht Harbour Marina with the slips in the background.
As for the town, we first explored on our bikes, then we walked parts of it and finally we rented a golf cart. The town of Spanish Wells is amazingly homogenous. The houses were pretty uniform in size and we didn’t see an extremely wealthy or very poor areas. Plus the yards and homes were well tended and most had gardens.
A typical street in Spanish Wells.
Frank and I had read a lot about Harbour Island and specifically the pink sand beach there. But the two options for visiting Harbour Island from Spanish Wells were to take a ferry and stay for about 5 hours or hire a pilot to take LIB through a treacherous pass called The Devil’s Backbone. We compared cost and decided to hire a pilot.
Kristen and James at Pink Sand Beach
Then we invited our dock neighbors, Kristen and James on s/v Tatiana, to join us on LIB and spend two nights on Harbour Island.
Bandit is a super pilot and great guy!
We hired Bandit as our pilot and we were very glad we didn’t try to make the trip on our own. The water was churning and Bandit didn’t follow the chart at all. He followed a curvy track between breaking waves and hidden rocks that only an experienced driver would recognize. We were happy to have Bandit at the helm.
Bandit and his ancestors have lived on Eleuthera for generations and he had a ton of stories to share about his life on the island. I enjoyed learning about him and his various occupations which included farming 20 acres on Eleuthera.
The first day on Harbour Island we walked the town which didn’t take more than 2 hours at a casual pace.
Library on Harbour Island
MISSOURIANS where are you? Not one plate from The Show Me State!
I just liked this.
We saved the pink sand beach for our second day and Frank’s birthday! The four of us took a short tour of the area via golf cart then stopped at the beach. The pink tint is difficult to capture but you can see when on the beach. Pink Sand Beach is absolutely beautiful!
The weather was perfect for hanging on the beach, playing in the water and turning Frank into sand sculptures.
James and Kristen treated us to lunch at Sip Sip. It was fabulous!!!!
The birthday boy enjoying “Sky Juice” at Sip Sip.
We contacted Bandit to take us back to Spanish Wells and he arrived bearing gifts of sour limes from his farm and baked goods from his wife. The limes taste a bit like sour oranges to me and per Bandit’s recommendation we have used them to marinade meat. Yum!
Departing Spanish Wells for Harbour Island
On the way to Harbour Island
Frank and Cap as we sail through aquarium clear water.
Returning to Spanish Wells.
After leaving Bandit, Kristen and James in Spanish Wells, we headed south toward Royal Island where we could wait out the next predicted weather front in a secure anchorage but first we took a detour to a small spot near Egg Island, south of Royal Island.
We had read about a ship wreck off of Egg Island in the 1970s. A Lebanese freighter named the Arimoroa was on its’ way to Europe from South America when a fire started in the galley. The cargo was fertilizer and the fire spread so quickly that the captain had to head for the nearest visible island to get his crew to safety. No one was injured but the ship was lost and supposedly the wreck smoldered for three months.
As a result of the leaked cargo, the reefs were poisoned and destroyed as was the sea life in the area. However, the regrowth around the ship wreck is now a point of study for scientists from several schools in Florida which are trying to understand the drastic turnaround of this area. Today the area is well known for its’ abundant fish population and unusual number of grey angel fish, very large parrotfish and even stingrays.
Of course we wanted to try to dive this wreck even though the weather wasn’t really cooperative. We anchored near the dive site, dropped a grab line in case the current became difficult, then proceeded toward the wreck.
You can see it was murky even though we were in shallow water.
For the first time in my diving experience, I did not do well on this dive. The current was intimidating, the visibility was not great and I was a little disoriented. We dove for about 30 minutes and were only about 18 feet down, but I could not enjoy the dive. The little we could see around the wreck did show a LOT of fish and I would have loved to have a better day to enjoy snooping around.
We knew the day was not a good one for diving, but we wanted to see the wreck while we were in the area. Essentially we tried to force our activity when the weather wasn’t right. Hopefully we won’t make that mistake again.
Once we were safely back on LIB and I finished “feeding the fish,” we picked up anchor and quickly motored to Royal Island and the sedate anchorage it offered. I was really, really happy to enter the harbor where the water flattened out completely!
Sunset at Royal Island
Thankfully I felt better quickly and was able to enjoy a sundowner and the sunset before heading to bed early for a recuperative night of rest.
Charleston is a lovely and large city. We visited once years ago traveling the conventional way of airplane and automobile. I enjoyed Charleston more that first trip than I did this time. But that isn’t the city’s fault, it has more to do with Charleston feeling so big compared to the places we have been recently.
Hotel cottages around a small pond were a pretty backdrop for walking Captain.
We docked at the Charleston Harbor Marina which is across the Cooper River from downtown Charleston. We were placed on the bulkhead furthest from land and we were pretty isolated from all of our rally members. The walk to shore felt like a quarter of a mile! I was reminded of our stay in Puerto del Ray, PR and that large marina.
Also, we have enjoyed fabulous, sunny, warm weather and Charleston is where we first felt a turn in temperature. That alone is enough to put a damper on our enthusiasm. I am amazed at how wimpy Frank and I have become about cold weather, but we just don’t like it much. And we didn’t really pack that much cold weather gear.
The marina provided shuttle service into Charleston and a water taxi also picked up from our marina, so it was easy to get into Charleston.
Our first afternoon in in the city, we tried to get a walking tour but had missed times didn’t work, so Frank found an online tour and acted as our tour guide. While he did a fine job of navigating and identifying the important buildings, tour guide Frank was thirsty after only 45 minutes and required a stop in a brewery to refresh his speaking voice. 😉
That pretty much ended our tour, but we still had a great time. Here are several pictures from our walk.
The Pink House
This building is supposedly the second oldest structure in Charleston. Built in the 1690s, it was originally a tavern for sailors visiting the port. I found the iron work, especially the lantern above the door remarkable.
Hallway to a sunny courtyard.
I can’t remember the facts about this building, so maybe some Charleston person can tell me (Annie?). I believe at one time the rooms off this hall were court rooms, but today it appears to be a residential building of some kind. Regardless of its’ use, the age was apparent by the wood and construction. I found the way the sun highlighted the bright, green hanging plants enchanting.
Fountain at Waterfront Park
The pineapple fountain seems to be more photographed than this one in Waterfront Park of Charleston, but I thought the way the water was caught in this shot particularly interesting.
Dappled sunshine on ballast stone streets.
Charleston is full of cobblestone streets made from ballast stones. Ballast stones were placed in empty ships to balance them as they crossed the ocean. Once the ship arrived in port where it was picking up cargo, the ballast stones were thrown out and replaced with cargo. The ballast stones were then used to build streets in many port cities.
I liked the look of this ivy covered doorway and steps.
Right near our dock on Patriots Point was the USS Yorktown (CV-10) an aircraft carrier which was renamed to honor the Yorktown (CV-5) destroyed at Midway in June 1942. Also at the Patriots Point Museum is the USS Laffey (DD-724), the most decorated WWII era destroyer still in existence, and the USS Clamagore (SS-343) a cold war submarine.
A close up to give you some size perspective.
Frank spent a long afternoon exploring this museum and catching up on his WWII history while I wandered around Charleston. Now and then it’s a good idea to spend some time apart when you live on a boat.
Leaving Charleston provided some equally beautiful views.
Stately commerce buildings
And stately residential buildings
One very special happening during our stop in Charleston was a visit from Annie S. Annie is a fellow sailor who resides in Charleston. We first met Annie in the BVI when LIB joined in the first sailing gathering of the Women Who Sail Facebook group. Annie was on one of the WWS sailboats and Let It Be joined the rally in several BVI spots.
It was awesome to catch up my WWS friend and hear all that is happening in her boating life. We shared a delightful dinner on LIB and spent the evening jabbering away. Thank you so much, Annie, for making time for us! (Can’t believe we didn’t take a picture!!)
Next city on our ICW stop is Beaufort, SC….
Sun up in a deserted Georgetown, SC
Georgetown is a darling little town. I am pretty sure I could live here if I didn’t live on a boat.
The day we arrived, the town was hosting Taste of Georgetown and, for a donation of $20. each, we strolled and ate our way along the main street sampling food from the sidewalk tables as we acquainted ourselves with the town.
Captain was prepared to catch any food that dropped!
The following day there was another fundraiser, this one for a local school. One more $20 donation bought all the steamed oysters you could eat. I didn’t partake, but I think Frank ate for a solid three hours!
At one point, Frank and several of our rally buddies took a break from eating proclaiming they were “stuffed.” But not five minutes later the streamed crab was brought out and suddenly everyone found room for more food!
The East Coast equivalent of “football fare?”
One skill Frank and I have learned while living on LIB is line splicing. We have found this very useful and have completed several projects, such as replacing our life lines, because we have this skill.
Always one to share knowledge, Frank hosted a splicing class on LIB. Eight or nine boats were represented at the class and before it was over everyone had ideas for new boat projects. (Yippee!) I played TA to “Professor Frank,” which means he taught the class and I got to flit around and answer questions when I could.
Professor Frank oversees line splicing.
The next scheduled marina is Charleston which is about 60 miles from Georgetown. Several members of the group, including us, broke the trip into two days and anchored overnight at Whiteside Creek, just a smidge off of the ICW.
My photo card stopped working so I don’t have pictures, but we had a stellar time. Frank, Captain and I dinghied down a tiny cut with tall grass on both sides. I feared we were going to suddenly come to a screeching halt because the engine got stuck in shallow water, catapulting Captain and me out of the dinghy OR as we moved through the reeds an alligator would jump right into the boat!
Thankfully neither happened, but we did scare a bunch of mullet fish that literally jumped out of the water to avoid us. Captain was hopping from one side of the dinghy to the other trying to catch the jumping fish.
I SO wish I could have captured that on film! I’m certain Frank was reliving his past when he and friends would fly through the bayous of Louisiana. I was holding onto the dinghy and Captain telling Frank to slow down. But actually ~ it was exhilarating and beautiful.
Photo credit to Diane Mercaldo.
Once back at Whiteside Creek, we joined the rally group for a dinghy raft up. We shared drinks, snacks and conversation as the sun set behind us. Sundown brought much cooler temperatures, so everyone zipped back to their respective boats.
The next morning we were up early and motored toward Charleston. The Charleston Harbor looked huge when we left the narrow ICW and the city itself will be hard to cover by foot.
Charleston looms large
Be prepared, Charleston is such a pretty town with it’s French Quarter and long history, that the next post will be full of photos if I manage to capture what we see.
In the mean time, here are two pictures from this week…
Has Forrest Gump been here?
This random, happy pirate made me smile as we made our way down the ICW. I hope you smile too.
Serenity becomes visible at sunrise.
“Located on the Virginia Peninsula, Williamsburg is in the northern part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It is bordered by James City County and York County.
Williamsburg was founded in 1632 as Middle Plantation as a fortified settlement on high ground between the James and York rivers. The city served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution,” per the popular site Wikipedia.
Williamsburg was our second stop along the Chesapeake History Sail. Frank and I had a great time walking this incredibly well restored town. My favorite part was listening to the costumed employees who engagingly recount the history by sharing their “personal” stories as if they were still living in the 18th century.
We had one exceptionally talented young woman who discussed “current events” as we ambled along the street. She pointed out homes of former residents as if they still lived in the houses and “gossiped” about what they were doing. She spoke about voting rights (privileges) that were restricted to white, male, property owners over 21 years of age and delivered the information as if she were outraged that she had as much vested as others but had not right to vote.
Having history told as a conversation as we walked the street allowed me to absorb the information while observing the beauty of the area. History is literally brought to life here and I would have loved to spend several days exploring Williamsburg and participating in all of the demonstrations!
Frank reaches in to gage the temperature of the ice house.
We were surprised to learn that back in the 1700’s ice houses existed for the wealthier colonists. Apparently, during the winter, ice was harvested from frozen rivers, lakes or ponds and stored in an underground area, packed in straw and cloth. We were told that the ice lasted well into summer! I received conflicting information about if the ice was used in drinks or just to chill bottles and such. Perhaps it depended on where the ice was harvested and how clean that water source was.
Awww – they made me think of Hunter and Clayton.
Little boys and their guns! It doesn’t matter what era, the fascination exists! I spotted these two little boys absorbed with their “pop guns” in their world of make believe and I was reminded of my own two sons. Of course I had to snap a picture!
Speaking of “little boys”…. actually, Frank has a picture of himself in the stockade from a family vacation to Williamsburg when he was about 11 years old. I had to get this picture for his mom.
No English Colony would be complete without a hedge maze! These gardens were popular in England between the 16th and 18th century and any young girl who reads historical romance novels will probably be familiar with this concept. Though a bit small, the hedge maze in Williamsburg was fun to see and walk.
But the real surprise we received at the gardens was bumping into some friends from Texas! We had no idea the Sullivan Family was nearby, but we ran into them at Williamsburg. So of course, we invited them to visit us on LIB.
Plans were hatched and the Sullivans agreed to join us for an afternoon sail and dinner on LIB. This is the first time Trinity and Arwyn had ever sailed and we loved having the chance to introduce them to it.
Sullivans and Stiches with Captain front and center.
Our afternoon sail involved tacking up the York River which was pretty choppy especially since our wind angle was only about 40 degrees. We tacked several times to move upwind and that gave the girls the opportunity to feel like real sailors by working the jib sheets.
I’m not sure they loved the motion of the boat while we were going upwind, but once we turned to sail back and LIB was on a broad reach, the boat motion improved and the Sullivan Family got a taste of why sailing is fun!
Orthodontist and former patients smile for the camera.
Trinity and Arwyn are the first former orthodontic patients we have had on board Let It Be. We spent many an hour teaching friends and patients how to wakeboard behind our ski boat, but this is the first time we have had the chance to share sailing with any of Frank’s patients. I can’t think of two nicer or more game girls to kick off the experience!
Trinity and Captain explored a bit on the SUP.
Once anchored back in Sara Creek, the SUPs were launched and some of the crew went for a sunset paddle. Captain refused to be left behind. She was certain Trinity wanted her company!
We are extremely flattered that the Sullivans were willing to take some of their family vacation time and spend it with us on LIB. We truly enjoyed catching up with them, hearing about their impressive taekwondo accomplishments, learning what is current in triathlons in Coppell and discussing the latest news from our former hometown.
We had a wonderful time sharing our new lifestyle with friends from our Coppell life. Thank you Sullivan Family for including us in your vacation time!
Old Glory was a welcome sight.
The picture isn’t very good, but the sight of the American Flag flying at Fort Macon by the Beaufort Inlet, N.C. was a grand welcome to the end of our crossing from the Bahamas to the U.S.
We have been out of U.S. territory for six months and off of the mainland for almost nine months. I was ready to be “home.” The contrast of Beaufort and the Caribbean is stark. That is not to say one is “better” than the other, but being back in our home country and enjoying the culture we grew up with is certainly agreeable!
Arriving for the Independence Holiday weekend accentuated the patriotic feeling of our return and gave us the chance to truly celebrate being American.
American pride dotted the Beaufort neighborhoods
Beaufort is a darling town that feels almost Mayberry-esque. For those too young to understand this reference, it feels old fashioned; it feels small town; and being American is a statement of pride.
Alluring homes along Taylor Creek
The homes along Taylor Creek are very well maintained and the creek is a busy boating lane. Although we saw some very nice homes scattered throughout the Caribbean, the equitable, manicured waterfront and neighborhood homes here in Beaufort were a pleasant change.
We chose to rent a slip at the Beaufort City Docks and the experience has been excellent. The folks here are incredibly nice and very accommodating. In addition to great slips, free wifi, free water and consistently available electricity, Beaufort City Docks offers a free loaner car which we happily borrowed for provisioning.
Rocking a 1995 wagon!
I felt like I was 12 years old again riding around in this old station wagon. I wanted to sit on the tailgate while Frank was driving like we used to do when we were young….but I’m quite certain we would have received a few tickets for that!
I had friends tell me that when we got back to the States and went to the grocery we would be overwhelmed. I wouldn’t say we were overwhelmed, but we bought WAY more than usual because we were so happy to find such rarities as seedless grapes, cherries, peaches and other fruits and veggies. The plethora of options was delightful and hard to resist!
We Americans are spoiled by the plenty – and I kind of like it.
The neighboring boaters here are amazingly friendly. We have visited with many people and marvel at how open everyone seems. One couple, Sue and Michael, had stopped on the docks for a few minutes before heading out to Carrot Island to meet friends. They kindly invited us to meet them, so we packed some snacks, grabbed Captain and headed over in Day Tripper.
Wow, boat picnic-ing is a popular activity for the 4th of July weekend! Just for fun we scouted out the scene before meeting Sue, Mike and their friends. We have not had to deal with tides and currents while sailing the Caribbean, so it has been interesting to see how the locals use those tides to their advantage. When the tide goes out, several sand bars appear and these become day stops/party spots for local boaters.
One small section of day boaters and a lot of flags.
We completely enjoyed hanging on the beach with our new friends and hope to meet up with them later in the year when we begin working our way down the ICW. They will be back from their Caribbean charter and we want to hear all about it.
As one would expect of a patriotic small town, there was a July 4th parade. I loved watching the locals call out greetings from the sidelines to paraders.
Pirates are big in Beaufort.
The wreck of Blackbeard’s ship was found near the entrance to Beaufort Inlet, so pirates play a major part in Beaufort celebrations and themes.
Captain did not appreciate the large costumes or the skeleton on the bike!
I loved seeing these sweet, little kids jabbering away as they walked behind the large form of the pirate and the skeleton riding a tricycle. If you look, you can see two firecrackers walking down the street in front of the big pirate.
Main Street (Front Street) is right off the docks.
Beaufort also is home to Shackleford Island where wild horses still roam today. This sanctuary is directly across Taylor Creek from our bow. Wild ponies roam the island undisturbed, eating the tender grass and drinking from fresh water lakes.
A younger me would have tried to catch and tame one of these horses.
Frank and I toured Beaufort on our bikes. We had a great time coasting around without a bit of worry about traffic or road rage. The spokes on Frank’s wheel seem to be having issues as a couple of them broke. But my super handy hubby knows how to fix a broken spoke if he has spare spokes. Beaufort Bikes to the rescue!
Steve sold Frank the spokes and allowed him to work in the shade by the garage
Steve, the owner of Beaufort Bicycles, arrived here over a decade ago in a boat. He was thinking about returning to land and found the people in Beaufort the nicest he had every encountered. So, he bought a house, set up a bike business and has been here every since. He is a great guy and if you need anything while visiting Beaufort, he will happily help.
Recently Linda and Kevin contacted us via this blog and shared with us their love of sailing and told us they are buying a Helia! One conversation led to another which eventually led to them agreeing to drive to Beaufort to share drinks and dinner with us. Linda and I hit it off immediately and not long into our conversation, we realized we both grew up in St. Louis, MO. Then things got really weird…. turns out, Linda and I both graduated from the same all girls, Catholic high school! (Though she is TEN years younger than I am.) YEP, low and behold, we two St. Joseph’s Academy grads have found each other through sailing. What are the chances?!
Frank and Kevin with two (St. Joe) Angels!
If you are interested in chartering a brand new Helia, Counting Stars will be available this fall!
I write this blog primarily because I enjoy it but also so we will have a journal of some sort whenever this adventure concludes. I have learned from my past that I am not a ‘scrapbooker’ and I stink at putting together paper journals. This electronic medium is a bit time consuming when we have slow internet, but I like to think that if someone is interested in the cruising lifestyle, they can get a little feel for it from our blog. Finally, I write so our family has an idea of what we are doing and where we are.
I never imagined that other people might reach out and contact us because of something they had read in this blog. I am very flattered just knowing that someone is reading what I have written and I am thrilled that we have actually met a few people because of this blog.
SO, if you have the inclination, we would very much like to hear from our “readers out there.” You are welcome to ask questions about sailing, our boat or whatever piques your curiosity.
Before I get this question several times over….. yes, Captain does go to the bathroom on the boat. We have a piece of astro turf she uses – but she doesn’t like it and much prefers real ground!
Thanks for reading! We would love to hear from you…
We were greeted by Frank and Mary Grace in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. They picked us up in their dinghy, Day Tripper, and took us to Let It Be. We brought some essentials that Frank and MG needed, like charts for the Bahamas! Plus a few extra goodies that we figured they hadn’t had for a while. Can you say USDA steaks? (Thank you guys! They were fabulous!!!)
Although we are usually pretty good about traveling lightly, this time we had supplies for LIB, food and snorkeling gear, so it took two dinghy trips to get us and our luggage to the boat.
Treasure Cay in the background.
We set sail immediately for Treasure Cay. The wind allowed us to sail part of the way, but after entering Wale Cay, we were nose into the wind and dropped the sails.
Wow! Treasure Cay was beautiful with its’ white, soft, sand beaches! We swam to shore, then walked along the beach as evening arrived.
The winds were forecasted to start from the south and west early in the week then come from the east so we planned our stops based on wind and anchorage protection.
Clouds and rain didn’t stop our adventures.
The next morning we sailed to the northern part of Manjack Cay where Frank had read about some excellent snorkeling. The Atlantic side of the island was too rough for the dinghy to get us to the mooring ball, so we headed back into Manjack Bay.
Luckily, a day charter group was in the bay feeding the sting rays near the beach. We joined the crowd and waded in the water to see the rays. They swam right up to anyone standing in the water and would rub our legs as they glided past. They were so soft and slippery it felt like silk gently slipping against your skin.
Of course, some sharks had to join the party and they swam very close to us as well.
Not our favorite sea life.
The wind and weather were very changeable while we visited. The first 5 days we had rain and clouds but we still managed to have fun and explore wherever we stopped.
Very strong southwest winds with rain were predicted one evening so we anchored in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay. The rain subsided around sundown so we decided to throw out some fishing lines. The only lures on board for the light reels were fresh water and we didn’t get one bite. I guess salt water fish like salt water baits?!
No fish, but we caught a rainbow
Next, we decided to head back toward Manjack Cay but this time we anchored on the southern end. This was a perfect place to paddle board and the visibility was so good that we could spot turtles, conch and starfish while paddling.
Only a few people live on Manjack, and they have cleared two very pretty walking paths that are open to the public.
The foliage is beautiful.
One path leads to a dock overlooking the ocean.
See how we braved the rain.
The other, longer walk, leads to the Atlantic side of Manjack. Like Treasure Cay, this beach was stunningly white and soft but there were some rocky patches that added a bit of elevation.
Whispering Pines litter the southern side of Manjack
Great Guana Cay was our next stop. We anchored in The Settlement, grabbed our snorkeling gear and hiked over toward Nipper’s on the Atlantic side. Sunday is a very busy time at Nipper’s so we decide to skip it and walk to the southern end of the beach where there was supposed to be another excellent snorkel.
Frank and Mary Grace are way more comfortable snorkeling a distance from shore so we waited for them to check out the reef before going in ourselves.
They took us to reefs that we never would have been able to snorkel! (We would’ve been too scared.)
Captain enjoyed the hikes and made friends with a few chickens (kind of). She wanted to join in on everything we did.
We made sure she got plenty of attention while we were on LIB.
Let the spoiling begin!
Even when sleeping Captain got some lovin’.
The weather kept us from seeing the fabulous sun sets that MG and Frank share on their blog but they served great gin and tonics, wine and food, so we didn’t miss them too much. We ate some of the big wahoo Frank caught during their passage and even those who are picky about fish enjoyed the fresh catch.
Steak dinner deserved fine china!
One thing we really wanted to do was sail with the spinnaker. On our previous trips to LIB, the wind didn’t work for it, but this time we were able to see her fly. Sailing the red spinnaker up was really peaceful and we made good time in light winds.
Preparing the spinnaker.
We cannot possibly cover everything that we did in 6 days but it was amazing. We really enjoyed our visit and we want to say a special THANK YOU to Mary Grace and Frank for sharing this adventure with us!
Missing our sailing friends Nancy and Tanya!
Blog post by Anneva, Dana, Cathy