Welcome to the Rhum Brave Chronicle. A collection of posts, pictures and videos from our adventures aboard the Rhum Brave.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Wife - Weekend in the Bahamas

Happy Birthday Sweetheart (Sunday)! This past weekend was spent aboard the Norwegian Sky in celebration of my wife's birthday.  Well actually there were lots of other families from our kids school and several close family friends that were also on the ship being that the trip was organized by one of the parents (thank you!)  We left Friday afternoon under grey skies but that did not dampen the mood as all the kids joined the poolside DJ for some impromptu dancing (boys included).  Later we had a welcome aboard cocktail party and family dinner.  The next day was spent on NCL's private island where the the big hit was the forty foot waterslide.  The girls are usually 24/7 in the water but the slide proved to irresistible.  I did a little exploring along the waterfront.  We've sailed before on the Sky (twice on the same 3-day cruise and once in Hawaii) and found that they've made some dramatic changes with the addition of a marina and building of several new shorelines.  All I can say is that some of the "improvements" would never pass muster in Florida.  Vic and I did manage to get some snorkeling in and we observed large yellowtail snapper, lobster, barracuda and grouper.  Vic said that she was glad she gave up hairbraiding on the beach in order to snorkel with her dad.  I melted.  The next day was spent in Nassau walking around the downtown and then venturing over to the Fish Fry.  I've spoken before about the conch shacks under the return bridge from Paradise Island and this place was similar in respect (but more upscale).  The Fish Fry consists of about a dozen restaurants serving authentic Bahamian seafood.  We dined at Bruno's where I was impressed with the yellow birds, cold Kalik Gold, conch fritters, fried fish platters and conch salad.  At the end of the meal we challenged the girls to eat fried fish eyeballs in exchange for a dollar.  They took me up on the challenge and I felt so guilty afterwards I gave them $20 each to spend in the Straw Market.  One of the older girls ate the eyeball in exchange for getting to stay out later (on the ship) with her friends.  Priorities!  A special thanks to everyone who broke out in spontaneous "Happy Birthday" renditions for my wife.  I've included some pictures.  Enjoy. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blast from the Past - Dry Tortugas

My best friend from Carmel (or anywhere for that matter) recently sent me some photos of our past adventure aboard the Rhum Brave to Key West and the Dry Tortugas.  He flew out to Miami for a week's worth of fishing and we "slew em".  Joining us was my former neighbor aboard his 27 foot Contender.  My neighbor had done this trip before and a trip out to the Tortugas is best when travelling in at least pairs.  We started out by trailering down to Key West where we got the boats settled into a marina on Stock Island (last island before Key West).  After stocking up on some live baits (for the next day's fishing) we cleaned up and headed out for a nice dinner on the town.  Up early the next morning we found perfect conditions and flat calm seas.   The plan was to head out to an area called "Woods Wall".  This was a location about 20 miles southwest of Key West.  The wall was a pronounced ledge several miles long (and several hundred feet deep as I recall).  There were several shrimp boats in the area but by the looks of it everyone was already asleep (they work at night) so we avoided bothering them for by-catch.  We trolled and pulled up a nice dolphin and even witnessed a large sailfish tailwalking (Joe missed it because he was making lunch in the cabin).  We arrived back into Key West with our catch of the day and headed out again for a short night on the town.  We were up early the next morning to top off the gas tank, ice coolers, water tank and frozen bait (pilchards, squid, mahoas and ballyho).  For the next three days and two nights were going to be fishing in one of the most remote locations in the U.S.  The Dry Tortugas is exactly 70 miles due west of Key West but on that day we covered well over 100 miles.  We spent the day slow trolling and visited several remote fishing sites.  About 2 hours before sunset we were well south of  Fort Jefferson and began to make our drive north to our anchorage.  It's not a good idea to try and arrive into Fort Jefferson at night due to the large coral reefs and dangerous shoals around the island.  Follow the markers or beware.  One interesting note.  As we cruised north we came across a significant wreck.  We marked the wreck and will one day return.  On my most recent trip to Key West (see earlier post) I picked up a shipwreck chart which I think identifies the wreck.  It'll be interesting to visit it again.  We met up with my neighbor and after anchoring off the beach it was time for ice cold beers and fresh ceviche (a combination of blackfin tuna and dolphin).  As the sun set in the west we grilled up some huge grouper slabs and washed everything down with rum and cokes.  That ended up being the first time I had slept on the boat.  Fortunately the fresh ocean breeze kept things cool and comfortable.  The next day we stayed close to the Fort and concentrated on catching yellowtail snapper and red grouper.  Things got interesting when several very large barracuda (the reeper) decided our hooked yellowtail snappers would make a fine snack.     We limited out on yellowtail and landed several legal sized grouper.  In the afternoon we took a break to visit the Fort and even made a visit to Dr. Mudd's jail cell.  The return tripback from the Tortugas was a straight 70 miles due east but a significant chop made for a long ride back.  We were able to make it back to the marina and pull the boat out before closing.  Somewhere in Marathon we stopped for a celebratory dinner and worked off the swaying effects of being on a boat for three days.  Here's a couple pictures from that trip.

This last one was not taken in the Tortugas!  Somewhere near Three Mile Island I think.