You've seen me write that wherever two or more DeFevers gather, there's bound to be a party...well you can only imagine the party when it's been planned and there are almost 40 DeFevers together!!
The weather didn't really cooperate with us on Sunday afternoon - it was blowing stink about 30 knots and kicking up quite a sea but the Gypsies were not about to miss out on the final cocktail party/dinner of the DeFever Rendezvous! So we got decked out in our foulies and braved the wind and seas in our mighty (if undersized) dinghy.
After the first wave crashed over my head and the shock of the cold water hit me, all Colleen and I could do was laugh as each successive wave drenched us! I'm sure if anyone had heard us, they would have thought we were crazy (OK so maybe we are just a little) laughing like wild hyenas as we got drenched, but what else were we to do? Funny how the guys always sit in the back of the dinghy and seem to arrive pretty dry (funny ha ha - we'll be addressing this at the next family meeting!)
We arrived at the party a little worse for wear but in great spirits - one by one each of the other dinghies from the anchorage (or the DeFever ghetto as we had nicknamed it) came across to Cabbage Key braving the winds and seas. We are after all cruisers and this was free cocktails and dinner!! Bob from September Song had a great idea to take advantage of our "salty" tresses - grab a bottle of tequila and some limes! But I digress....the party, which was the culmination of the Rendezvous, was a great success - it was tons of fun hanging out with friends both old and new. No one wanted the party to end (especially Robin from Adventures who we last overheard telling a very patient Jim "just ten more minutes I promise...") but we had to get back to the ghetto before darkness set in!
The next day mother nature continued to assault us with high winds and waves so while a few boats hightailed it over to Pelican Bay for the apres rendezvous party, many of us stayed in the anchorage or at the marinas. We opted for a quiet day (just kidding - with the waves pounding against our hull there was nothing quiet about it) at the anchorage reading and generally just being sloths - that is after Doug dinghied John in to meet up with Colleen's parents so he could fly home to NH again.
We did enjoy a magnificent sunset over Cabbage Key though - with the unsettled weather rifling through the anchorage we were treated to two totally different sunsets all in the course of one evening!
Tuesday arrived and the wind was still whipping but not quite so bad - channel 17 on the VHF was humming with DeFever chatter about heading over to Pelican Bay for the post DeFever rendezvous party. Aurora and Sea Pearl went first, with Last Laugh, Tide Hiker and Rickshaw following - Bob from September Song was nice enough to hang out in his dinghy to guide people in to the anchorage past a very shallow bar (which was saying a lot since they were serving mimosas on Adventures!) We were assured that there was plenty of room for us so we made our way over to Pelican Bay and after several "skinny water moments" we dropped the hook with some guidance on depths/locations from Last Laugh, and proceeded to enjoy a spectacular anchorage (the cold beers of course flowed as we sat topsides enjoying the view - we only traveled about 4 miles to get here but it is tradition after all!)
We had towed the dink from Useppa so soon enough it was time to go exploring (OK it was really socializing, but....) We saw Robin from Adventures and Steve and Di from Aurora out kayaking but we missed Norm doing his backward paddle and swan dive into the drink (where's the camera when you really need it!!!) Through the coconut telegraph we heard that drinks were on Tide Hiker at 5:00 pm so after a quick change, we were off again in the dink to (surprise, surprise) another cocktail party. A good chunk of the Gang of 12 from Marathon were reunited on Tide Hiker for an evening of fun, great food and cold drinks - how does it get better than that???
Today we woke up to see a GrandBanks trawler keel side up high and dry on the sand bar that cuts across the anchorage - guess he thought it was OK to cut across the bar going 5 knots....we had to wonder if he didn't own a chart or maybe even a depth sounder???? Bummer of a way to start the day but for us the sun finally outshone the wind and we were treated to a glorious day - we all dinghied in to Cayo Costa State Park where about 20 of us gathered for a day on the beach and a picnic lunch.
We rode from the dinghy landing to the beach in a glorified hay wagon with seats but easily could have walked the mile through the cactus scrub (as Norm and Colleen chose to do) .
The beach was beautiful although the shelling was scarce - we did see the footprints of wild hogs and I actually got to see the "beak" on a sea urchin (thanks for pointing both of those out Jim!)
Lunch was a festive affair on picnic tables under a big thatched roof and then it was time to head back to the boats.
This afternoon we all congregated on September Song (drinks in hand) for an "info session" on the Bahamas led by Steve and Di of Aurora. Of our gang, they are the only ones who have been over there by boat, so we all were sponges soaking up all their "local knowledge" about where to cross, where to anchor, what bars not to miss (we took especially good notes on that section...just in case there will be a quiz later...), where to snorkel, etc. Cruisers are so great at sharing information - we all made plans to email what information we had to each other and I of course will pass around my homemade spiced rum recipe in return! Many of us are headed over to the Bahamas in the next several weeks so hopefully the Gang of 12 or at least part of us will continue this crazy journey of ours...together!
Click here to see a Google map of our anchorage in Pelican Bay.
Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!
4 days ago