Our Impromptu

Captain & Crew



Family & Friends





Family & Friends: Visit with Byron and Family in the Bahamas

During our Bahama adventure, we met up with Byron and Family (Amy: wife, Ariel: daughter (17), Drew: oldest son (10), and Aiden: youngest son (7)). They happened to have chartered a catamaran for a week from April 1 to April 8, and since we were going to be in the Bahamas at the time, we agreed to meet in the Abacos, near Marsh Harbor.

Well, we actually met in the evening of April 1st - not a joke of April fool's day- after having left Treasure Cay at high tide and anchoring pretty much all day in a bay of Man of War Cay before we could finally dare enter the harbor at close to high tide around 1800.

We all enjoyed seeing each other - we had not seen Amy and the boys in at least three or four years. Byron and Ariel had been visiting with us in New York just before we departed for Florida. We spent the evening together, including dinner. On April 2nd, after a leisurely stroll through "town" (Byron, Ariel, Aiden, Juergen and I) and a few purchases of food supplies, we all decided to take our dinghies to the beach and, possibly, snorkeling. The Mogers are well prepared with wet suits. Juergen does not have one and, therefore, did not go snorkeling as the water was still fairly cool. Amy, Drew and I walked along the beautiful beaches, admiring the incredible shades of blue of the sky and the water, and just had a great time overall before heading back to our respective boats for lunch.

Then Byron came to tell us that they needed to go back to Marsh Harbor because Aiden did not feel well and Amy was worried, wanted a physician to see him - only possible in Marsh Harbor. Since we had paid for the night's mooring already, we decided to stay here and follow them tomorrow morning at high tide.

See the pictures of our time together so far:

Click on photos to enlarge!

Juergen sitting on "Starry Night", the catamaran Byron had chartered
Ariel, happy on the Boat - with Byron, Amy and the Boys
Amy, tired as she had not slept well before the one engine flight piloted by Byron
Byron "cooking" Dinner
Banana Trees on Man of War Cay
A stroll over the Island
Local Home - Picturesque
Back from Snorkeling
The various Shades of Blue
Wind-swept Tree
The Kids on the Beach

Ocean View

Map of Man of War Cay
Byron, the Sea Monster

April 3 - Tuesday, we met up with the Mogers in Boat Harbor on Great Abaco Island after they got back from the doctor. Ayden has a feaver and some viral infection hurting his glands. He was happy to see us, and we decided that they would take their boat to Hope Town on Elbow Cay - we would come along and return to Impromptu in Boat Harbor by ferry. I quickly prepared some lunch for Juergen and I and whoever else liked it, packed Juergen's bathing trunk, a few beverages (no alcohol) and my camera backpack and off we were. The trip was short. Upon tying up to a dedicated mooring, we took the dinghy straight to the lighthouse, famous for its kerosene light which, thanks to its Fresnel lenses could shine as far as up to 20 nm. It needs to be "rewound" every 90 minutes during the night. Unfortunately, nobody was there to show us how it works, but we climbed up (no charge, mind you) and had a breathtaking view over the entire island and beyond.

Below, you will find a few pictures taken at the beach where Byron, Juergen and the three kids went into the water and had a blast, while Amy and I were tending the cameras, clothes, and whoever needed attention...

Click on photos to enlarge!

Arrival in Hopetown Harbor, Elbow Cay
In Hopetown Harbor
Vistas of Hopetown Harbor, including the famous Lighthouse, lighted by Kerosene and visible through Fresnel Lenses from over 100 Years ago
Ariel, ready for picking up the Mooring
Lighthouse Stairwell
Ariel, posing
The Moger Family
Vistas from the Hopetown Lighthouse
Amy and Byron
Fresnel Lenses of the Hopetown Lighthouse
Vacation Home - one of many really beautiful ones

April 5 - a day of some excitement. The day before we had all "sailed/motored" up to Manjack, Byron attempting to fish, we just to get there leisurely. After everyone got settled, anchoring, the Mogers came over for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and dinner - shrimp in tomatoe sauce, brown rice, peppers and zucchini. We all had a great time, but we also all were tired and the Mogers went back to their boat around 2030. We, too, fell into bed, reading.

This morning, Juergen alerted Byron and family of a predicted weather change which might render the Whale Cay passage unpassable beyond "today". So we agreed that they would go snorkeling for a few hours and then get on their way. We wanted to see whether I could upload the website - no such luck, despite the fact that we had had wonderful internet access the first day we ever were anchored in Manjack bay - then we wanted to go into Marsh Harbor per se while they wanted to get back to their dock in Boat Harbor. It is a very expensive marina (not for Byron, because his boat "belongs" there, but for us, and we wanted to investigate the town a little. In the end, we went to Boat Harbor again because the three marinas in town which we had called to reserve a dock for us, were all full for a boat our size and with our draft. After all, it is Easter weekend.

Suddenly, we heard that someone was calling "Starry Night", Byron's boat, but nobody was aboard. Juergen responded to my question whether they would have their handhelt VHF radio with them and talking to someone that I should check whether their anchor was dragging. O my God, it had been dragging tremendously and the boat was approaching land fast. We had already taken the dinghy engine up onto Impromptu (easier towing with less stress on the dinghy and the lines) but quickly got it back onto the dinghy. We went over to see whether we could drive the boat out of its danger zone. No such luck. We could not get either of the engines started, had no reading glasses with us and, therefore, could also not really see any description of the various buttons at hand. Juergen decided to go check whether he could find Byron to get him back to his boat fast while I stayed aboard.

It took for ever, and the boat was drifting ever closer to shore. I had attempted a few times to start at least one of the two engines - nothing. I was slowly getting desperate. Here I was on a strange boat, captain's license "in hand" and not able to save the boat from hitting shore? Impossible. I tried to start the port engine one more time and, voila, it did start this time. Why, I still have no idea (and even after formally showed me how to start it, I am actually even more amazed that it finally had worked). So I just drove forward, away from shore, leaving the anchor and chain "as is" as I had no idea where the instruments were to lift the anchor. After quite some time, I finally saw the two dinghies approaching. Boy was I relieved. Byron came aboard, Ariel, then the rest of the family who had gone with Juergen. I jumped back onto our dinghy. They lifted anchor - Ariel knew how to do this, Byron started driving away. We went back to the boat, raised our dinghy engine back to its dedicated spot, lifted our anchor and also began moving towards Whale Cay and Boat Harbor. Byron and Amy called me a hero and wonderwoman. Well, without wanting to brag, I was happy that I had managed to avoid the seemingly unavoidable. - What a captain's license all accomplishes...

On our way into Boat Harbor, we hit bottom. It was low tide after all, but Juergen got us off in the middle of the harbor channel to get stuck again right in our dock. We got in far enough to wait for higher water about 2 hours later to set all lines properly. We had dinner in the marina restaurant - Byron invited. And, again, we went to bed early.

April 6 was a very rainy and cool day. We hung out on the boat and about the marina, the kids went fishing inside the marina. We played a lot of Backgammon, had gotten up late, had pancake breakfast, all the usual to make time pass. In the late afternoon, the sun started coming out. This time we invited everybody for dinner in a restaurant. The food was ok, not great, and the wait way too long. We got back to the boat tired and ready for bed.

April 7, the last day of boating for the Moger family. They decided to take their catamaran to John's Cay, a tiny island inmidst of "scattered coral heads" which made for a rather interesting trip into this labyrinth. They wanted to snorkel and see whether they could catch "dinner". Byron did a perfect job steering. Ariel managed the anchor remote. I ran back to shorten our dinghy line - too late. It got stuck in the port engine propeller. Yes, the catamaran has two engines which operate independent from each other. We continued anchoring to ensure that we were firmly secure. Then Byron donned his diving / snorkeling gear and dove to undo our dinghy line and to check that the anchor had dug into the sand.

He, Ariel, and Aiden took their dinghy out towards the coral reef. Drew wanted to fish from the boat. I wanted to keep Amy company, and Juergen was still acclimating to the situation. In the end, he took Drew along to "visit" with the other three, but came back quickly with both boys. Aiden had gotten very cold. - Funny, but here in the Bahamas, the water does not seem to be as warm as we had anticipated, and Byron was also surprised - that though he has been to the Bahamas often and though he and his family all have been wearing diving suits. Then Juergen went back out to watch Byron and Ariel. But they, too, came back rather quickly for the same reason. And then it all happened. Ariel was back onboard off their dinghy. Byron was trying to get onto the boat, but the water was rather choppy, his dinghy hit under the catamaran while Byron tried to step off. He slipped and fell and... you should have seen his ring finger on his left hand. It was bent 50% sideways - awful to look at - worse for Byron as he of course incurred a tremendous pain. All kids became histerical, Ariel let the dinghy go. Juergen had to go after it to retrieve it as the current was strong... Of course, we needed to get back to Marsh Harbor so Byron could see a doctor - on Saturday afternoon on Easter weekend. After Juergen was safely back aboard, I started the two engines and eased forward while Byron instructed Ariel to lift anchor. With Byron's, Ariel's and Juergen's help, I steered clear of the coral heads and got us safely back into Boat Harbor. Amy had called the charter company who has someone "on call" for emergencies, repairs, etc. He instructed me to tie up at another dock if I did not feel comfortable getting the catamaran into its slip. I was relieved as these engines were a pain to work with and steerage at low speed was virtually impossible. Bob came aboard and took the cat the last few yards to its normal spot. A car was already waiting for Byron to be taken to town where the Government clinic's emergency staff was already waiting for him. Juergen accompanied him, just in case.

Aiden had been crying the entire trip back, traumatized by his dad's injury. Drew was very quiet and drew a beautiful little picture with a note "Dad, I hope you feel better soon". Ariel just sat and looked at the water. Juergen tried to cheer up Byron who seemed in agony though he tried to hide it. Now, the kids had sort of calmed down and Amy and I took them to lunch to the marina restaurant for them to take their minds off the accident.

Before we knew it, our two men were back, the finger straightened - the doctor did not know whether it had been broken - which is what Byron assumed - we were not sure... he will only find out at home in Tampa today (April 8, Easter Sunday). Byron took the boys back fishing in the special spot within the marina, and Aiden had a ball as he actually caught a fairly good size fish - which was released and thrown back into the water. In the process of watching the kids, we saw a nurse shark - about six feet long, a stingray - about the same length and a wingspan of four feet at least - amazing, at the very end of the marina. We saw needlefish and two fish in the family of seahourses - I forgot the name. It was fascinating.

We were invited to steak and pasta dinner on Byron's boat for 1930. We got there, and Byron was trying to get dinner ready - one-handed. So I helped a little while Juergen ensured that the steaks would not burn on the barbeque - another sort of first, as Juergen is not really a fan of barbequeing - though he loves to eat the very tasty meat. Amy began readying their things for the early morning departure.

April 8, the good-bye was nearing. We promised we would accompany the Mogers to the airport. Ariel was on a commercial flight back to Fort Lauderdale, the rest of the family went to their private plane. We got to see it and took a bunch of pictures - see for yourself. Before we knew it, the week with the Mogers was over, they were up in the air on their way to Fort Pearce, the first "port of entry" where they had to clear custom's and immigration. Another hour of flying time from there they would be back home in Tampa. About now that I am writing this, they might have touched down or should be pretty close as the weather is gorgeous, not much wind, very few clouds, both here and in Florida's East Coast. The West Coast was to have some shower activity, but nothing major. Now we are eager to learn what the Tampa doctor's verdict of Byron's injured finger is. We might call tonight to find out.

And we will be going back to our normal Logbook with further reports and to our normal Gallery for future pictures.

Remember to click on photo to enlarge!

Stowing the Luggage
Preparingn for Takeoff