South Seas Resort Cruise

South-Seas-016South Seas Resort on Captiva Island was the January destination of the Cape Coral Cruise Club.  Always a popular location, eighteen boats signed up for the cruise, however, illness or mechanical issues left eight boats unable to participate.  The ten boats that made the cruise were MOONLIGHTER, Lee & Brenda Jetton – BOW’T TIME, Terry & Laurie Carlson – Y KNOT, Phil & Pat Kryger – MARKATE, Mark & Kate Lewis – DESPERADO, John Lynch & Debbie Schwab – DAISY MAE, Bob & Bonnie Martin – SHARON ANN, Len & Sharon Palmisano – SUNKISSED, cruise leaders Phil & Lyn Quick along with Phil’s brother Lee – HAPPY OURS, Gary & Kathy Taake, and STILL CRAZY, Jeff & Joanne Zeimer.

Unusually cool weather limited pool activities, so the first night’s activities began with cocktails and snacks in the Captains Lounge, where the group was joined by members Rusty & Marlene Glover who had rented a condo at the resort, along with John & Pati Queen and Rich & Robyn McGloin who had driven.  This was followed by a resort trolley ride to Doc Fords for 6:00 pm dinner.  After great meals and fine libations, the group trolleyed back to the resort marina for conversation and games.

South-Seas-060The second day at South Seas began with a marvelous pancake and scrambled eggs breakfast in the Chart Room prepared by Susan Herzog and Mary Ann Habich. No one left hungry.  A number of the ladies then played cards in the Chart Room while the men explored the resort or fished off the fishing pier.  Competing with a large group of aggressive pelicans for the fish, several men caught a number of keepers even with the cold water and gusty winds.  One group rode the trolley to the shopping center, and another group walked to lunch.

After cocktails at 4:30, a dinner of grilled pork tenderloin (expertly grilled by Phil & Lee Quick) was offered at 6:00 along with an abundance of side dishes and desserts prepared by the ladies. Here the group was joined by members Larry & Mary Ann Habich, Hal & Dee Moss, Mark & Sue Thompson and Sue Herzog who had driven to the resort.  After this “feast”, a trivia contest was held. A prize was given for the highest score with Sharon & Len Palmisano winning a portable charcoal Barbeque grill. Another prize for the lowest score was won by Jeff & Joanne Zeimer, a 3-pack of LED flashlights.  There were lots of laughs with some of the incorrect answers, including one by Gary & Kathy Taake who stated that one of the Triple Crown winning horses was “Trigger”.  The night concluded with ten people playing “99”, and Lyn Quick winning the pot.  The chilly night made the pleasant hum of boat heaters necessary.

The final day began with a light continental breakfast of pastries and fruit in the Chart Room.  Then it was off for shopping, fishing, biking, or exploring, while a number of ladies concluded a game of Mexican Train Dominoes, with Brenda Jetton winning the pot.  Several of the men had a great day fishing with Phil Kryger, Gary Taake and Bob Martin filling a large bucket with fresh fish.  Two groups rode the trolley and then walked to the Green Flash for a late lunch or early dinner.


After cocktails in the Chart Room, left-overs from the Grilled Pork Dinner were served and again, no one left hungry.  A few then went for ice cream at “Scoops & Slices” before retiring for the night.

Saturday morning, the group departed for home with fond memories of South Seas Resort.  Special thanks go to Phil & Lyn Quick for their efforts in planning a great cruise, and to Harbormaster Charles Martz and his knowledgeable and courteous crew who made our stay so enjoyable.  You can be sure South Seas Resort will be a club destination in the near future.

The Cape Coral Cruise Club is open to new members who own a boat with overnight accommodations. For membership information please contact Larry Mitchell at 239-560-2823. View a short picture video of Club activities and review additional Club information on its website,

By Lee Jetton

ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 9 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson


Sunday – I got up early, got the coffee going and enjoyed a most pleasant, quiet, breezy morning topsides finishing up this log. It was moving day, back to the states. It was also clean up day and there was a laundry list of items Dave had drafted that needed to be taken care of for the next round of folks using the boat. The goal is to leave the boat clean as a whistle, with no remnants from the past users, including personal effects, food, etc. The Squirrel took on the job of cleaning the top sides, and Em was a maniac, cleaning the boat’s interior. Dave kept assigning me responsibilities from the list. Fortunately my incredible mechanical talents (right), along with the longest arms of anyone on board, made me the optimum candidate to bail the water from around the bow thruster buried deep in the anchor locker. I also filled up both water tanks, which took forever. Dave had lots of little, mechanical chores which I enjoyed doing, being Mr. Fixit at home prepared me for which end of the screw driver to use.

We finally got everything done, offloading all of our gear and dive equipment onto the dock, then took showers. I was aghast at the amount of gear sitting on the dock and wondered how we would get it all into the airplane. I swear there was even more stuff than we had before, in part because we were bringing some things back we didn’t bring when we came over. I was hoping it would be an even trade out with the beer, liquor, and groceries but was further horrified when we loaded it into the taxi.

Amazingly enough we got it all into the plane, again. Fortunately The Squirrel is one of the best pilots I have ever flown with and on the top of his game. With such a big load it was full throttle, full flaps, and a few Hail Mary’s and we were off the ground headed back to Naples. It was a relatively uneventful flight, my favorite kind. We landed, unloaded, then scattered to our various directions.

I enjoyed the adventure, and I am sure Dwight did too. There is no better feeling than to be completely exhausted; smiling inside with the memories of a wonderful time; possessing a cooler with fresh tuna, snapper, and conch; and future stories to tell. It was not unlike the gazillion boat races I shared with my Dad. I think he would have enjoyed the ride, and I hope he did, a least in spirit. I always loved when the sailing crew was headed off his boat, the Beschwipst, to their cars. As they headed off to points beyond he would tell his friends “Drive Cheerful”. I think my new expression would be “Boat Cheerful”. I can’t wait for the next adventure.

ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 8 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Saturday – Not starting out great this morning.  Slow to rise and feeling a touch hung over but no headache, so that was good.  I fixed a big ham and cheese sandwich and drank a bunch of cranberry juice.  I am sure my liver appreciated that.  The wind was still from the east but had simmered down to about 10 knots, like it does in the morning.  We pulled out early to go offshore while it was still relatively calm and get in a dive.  We anchored in 70’ of water and the boat rocked and rolled.  By now I was feeling better but not great.  I knew a dive would be just the thing to clear the cobwebs. Dave and The Squirrel were the first in to scope out the area, spotting some nice Hogfish and picking up some deep water conch.

Now it was mine and Em’s chance.  She wanted to take pictures and I wanted to sight see.  The reef was beautiful with coral heads rising up from the sand 12’ to 15’.  There were lots of reef fish and small groupers poking their heads around the corner.  I kept my eye on a 6’ reef shark that kept circling and getting closer. Finally, the shark annoyed Em’s photography session enough that she turned and charged him.  He took off, never to be seen again. I guess you just don’t mess with a woman when she is on a mission.

I saw a nice scamp grouper and a big Nassau that worked his way up into a hole.  I was simply intent on hovering like a bird mid air, diving low to see things under the coral heads then cruising up above them to enjoy the little reef fishes up close.  We finished out the dive at the anchor where we hung for a few minutes at 15’ for safety reasons.

After cleaning up the gear and hanging it to air dry, we struck a course for New Providence and Old Fort Bay.  Before our dive that day we had lost the starboard engine because of a broken fuel sensor. So it was a slow, agonizing five hour grind back, with the wind off our starboard quarter and the waves parallel to the boat.  Oh, it was a long slog.  My saving grace was steering the boat for a couple of hours, which made me focus on the horizon, and eventually a cold Gold Kalik.  Actually, it took two beers and half a hamburger to fully recover.  I’m not sure if it was the drinking, the relentless wind, the constant motion of the boat, or the combination of it all for a week, but I was pretty exhausted.

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We were about an hour from port when we came upon a flock of birds.  They were everywhere. Dave said “I bet you can find some black tuna under them”.  Oh what a tease. Dave and I debated whether we had the energy to put out a line but I couldn’t resist.  I had not contributed any fish to the cooler all week and now was my chance.  I gamely retrieved the big rod with the cedar plug from down below as Dave circled around.  The adrenaline was pumping as I reeled in the first little tuna.  Paying out the line for another pass resulted in my second hook up.  This time the adrenaline had backed off and the fatigue set in.  For such a small fish I was whipped.  But, one more pass for good measure put a third fish in the cooler.  All right, fresh tuna!  While the boat continued it’s combination of quartering and side to side rolls, I sloshed around the aft deck with my arms in the cooler, big knife in hand, cutting off heads and gutting the fish to bleed them out.

We fueled up at Lyford Cay, home of some gorgeous old boats and big mega-yachts.  It must be nice to have money like that, for sure.  However our boat was still a beauty and a great boat to tour the Bahamas.  I bet we have more fun than the rich folks on their mega yachts. We finally got to our marina slip at dark, and ate whatever we had left on the boat.  The food was so good, we were all ravenous, and totally exhausted. I finally crashed about 10:30 with a full belly and slept poorly the entire night.  Weird dreams, light sleep, and lots of acid in my system, I will be glad to get into my own bed.

ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 7 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Friday – We woke up to a beautiful, quiet anchorage in the Creek. The tide came in during the evening, with high tide about 1:30 a.m.  The boat had rotated in the channel so I got up to relieve myself and check everything.  The stars were amazing and the east wind actually dropped a little to more of a breeze.

I was up early as the tide had started back out around 5:30.  The sunrise was beautiful and I enjoyed a little Spa channel on the XM satellite radio and sipped my first cup of coffee while stretching my back.  It has been a tough week for physical fitness but at least I am staying limber.  We eventually came to the conclusion that we would wait for the bottom of the tide then add a few hours before we made the trek across the North Bight.  High tide on the east side of Andros coincides with low tide on the west, with the high tide hump traveling across from east to west.  So to hit the high water in the middle we needed to leave on the low tide on the west and hope that as the tide dropped on the east we would have enough draft.

The Squirrel suggested we start the day with Bloody Mary’s, which was an excellent option considering we were in one of Dwight’s resting places and one of his world famous Bloody Mary’s seemed appropriate.  I fixed up my best mix and it was delicious, using my dad’s special blend, of which I refused to reveal the ingredients.  Dave was onto the Worstershire Sauce but could never guess the rest. I wasn’t telling.

We were all sitting enjoying the salon, reading, writing, doing puzzles and enjoying the respite from the relentless wind and doctor flies.  They had been atrocious all week.  We were killing time, waiting for the tide when we spotted a conga line of spongers headed to work.  They looked very solemn as they headed out into the open waters. I was working on this story when the next thing I see is Charlie Bethel pulled up next to us in his 31’ Jupiter, with twin 250’s.  He was headed to town to pick up a generator and had one of his crew tailing along in a big Carolina skiff.  That was our sign that is was time to up anchor and head across the Bight.  The Squirrel and I finished our third Bloody Mary (yes it was a GOOD morning), pulled anchor and headed out, thankfully with Dave at the helm.

Loggerhead Creek is a nice, wide, deep waterway with mangroves on each side with a reputation for sharks. As you proceed upstream the depth quickly peters out to nothing, except the wheel channel.  Dave eased us into this narrow channel and we continued our slow motoring to the east.  It was a nice, uneventful run with adequate water and an occasional show of a turtle or some sharks.

We arrived just off shore from Crazy Charlie’s and decided to take him some of our extra supplies. It would be me and Em this time since The Squirrel and Dave had already been there.  I mentioned to the group that Charlie Bethel, on his return from town, would probably stop by.  I suggested they invite him in for a beer and to tour the boat.  I knew he would be interested in the set up having already seen her from his helicopter.

Crazy Charlie was living in the Bang Bang Club but had no power and we wondered about his water supplies.  We took him some bottled water, beers, some things he couldn’t eat (apples, peanuts) because he had no teeth, and stuff he could eat like peanut butter.  I did a quick tour of the cottages and main building while Em engaged Charlie in conversation.

When I returned from my brief tour of the run down club, he was in full storytelling mode.  As we sipped our beers, I finally asked him how he got the name Crazy Charlie, and thus began the background.  He was guiding some corporate big wig from the United States and they were striking out on the bonefish.  Charlie had a fly that he had tied special, which is about all he does these days, called the “Nasty Charlie”.  He suggested the bigwig try it and they did very well.  The story gets a little blurry, remember now I had gone from Bloody Mary’s to beers all afternoon, but my recollection is that the Bigwig asked if he could have the fly copied.  Charlie agreed, and was paid something on the order of $80,000 for the rights. However, to market the fly, they couldn’t call it the “Nasty Charlie” so instead they opted for the “Crazy Charlie”.  He was holding the fly that was now his namesake and handed it to me to look at.  I don’t know squat about flies or fly fishing, so he could have handed me a hook with a button sewn on (The Squirrel or Dave got one of those) and I wouldn’t know the difference. I handed it back and he said “Keep it” then offered any of his flies to Em as well.  I felt very privileged to receive his namesake fly and have put it in a special place.

By now Charlie Bethel had arrived so we invited Crazy Charlie to come out to the boat and visit.  He was enjoying the cold beers and I bet he would enjoy both the coolness of the salon, no doctor flies, more beer and the company of our crew.  He elected to motor out in his flats skiff and Dave tied him off of between the dive platform and the Jupiter.  Oh what an event, having these two native Bahamians sitting in the salon telling stories.

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Bahamian Story Telling Hour in the salon. L to R – Me, Diamond Dave, Charlie Bethel, The Squirrel, Crazy Charlie.

One of the stories Charlie Bethel told was of a hurricane that washed all his fuel and railing right off the deck of his 50’ sportfish they were using on a crawfish adventure.

Crazy Charlie filled in with some of the details as well, including the loss of five Bahamians that were also out on the banks.  Of course Crazy Charlie would be happy to talk all afternoon but after about an hour or so Charlie Bethel needed to leave.  He had his generator to deliver and would be traveling the wheel channel with the sun in his eyes on a falling tide.  Not the optimum situation but I am sure he has dealt with it before.

Both gents left the Gone Astray and we pulled up anchor and continued east to the North Bight.  We set anchor and the water was clear and beautiful, not like the milky waters on the west side.  Em was out snorkeling and I jumped in to sober up a little and enjoy a swim.  The sun was setting and I was perfectly comfortable resting on the dive platform enjoying the warmth of the sunset.  I don’t know for how long but soon enough I was sitting at the dinner table eating leftover spaghetti with blue crab claws in it.  The two biggest mistakes I made for the day was letting The Squirrel talk me into Bloody Mary #3 and not drinking enough water.  It seems I never drink enough water on these cruises.

ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 6 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Thursday – It was a perfect anchorage behind Williams Island.  I slept like a baby, as I usually do on the boat, like in a rocking cradle.  We were up and at them early because we wanted to make it back to Flamingo Cay and have a proper lunch with Charlie and Cindy.  The wind was howling from the southeast so it was a long slog against the wind and waves.  Our normal hull speed is 11 knots at 1200 rpm, but the wind slowed us down to 7 knots.

We were close to our anchorage and next thing we know Charlie is hanging off of our stern in his helicopter, maybe all of 20’ off the water.


Our chopper pilot and Flamingo Cay host, Charlie Bethel.

We eventually reached our anchoring location where Dave volunteered to stay on the boat and fix things (windlass, broken toilet seat), keeping an eye on the anchor.  No need having the line part and the boat drift off to Cuba, realizing some refugees dream.  We piled into the dinghy and headed to the wheel channel leading to the Club. It was rough but we stayed dry and got into the channel, in spite of the steering going bad on the dinghy. Cindy and Charlie met us at the dock and we were immediately plied with Stella Artois on tap.  Charlie didn’t indulge, after all he was piloting the chopper.  We loaded into his cart and headed to the airstrip.  He had a 10 passenger Turbine Otter stored under a fabric hangar and the Eurocopter parked out in the open.  Charlie set us up in the chopper, The Squirrel as co-pilot, me and Em in the back, and we were off for an aerial tour of Flamingo Cay.

The Bethel family has owned the property since 1926 and it is about 32 square miles (over 20,000 acres!).  It was originally set up as a hunting camp, with duck hunting the predominant sport and bonefishing the water sport.  Charlie continues to operate it as a premier bonefishing and hunting destination.  We cruised over what seemed to me to be desolate lands.  Open shallow waters with deep tidal creeks, turtles, bonefish, and lots of open mangroves, including a flock of flamingo’s spotted in the distance. We were really treated with the helicopter tour and being able to see so much of the area in such a short period of time.


An turbine helicopter amusement ride in the middle of Andros!  Who’d a thunk.


Bonefish flats and deep access channel. 

We ended back at the camp for a ground tour of the accommodations. Top shelf is the only way I can describe the “camp”, which is Charlie’s preferred connotation for the property. Luxury resort seemed a more appropo term.  He had used a South African hard wood for all of his furniture, trim, and flooring.  The rooms were beautiful.  He took us through some of his family history, particularly the rum running days of the Bahamas supplying the United States during prohibition.

We retired to the open air dining room on one of the docks and gorged ourselves on blue crab salad, stone crabs, and white wine.  Charlie and Cindy dined with us and it was a most wonderful event.  Both are really charming hosts and I got the sense that they were happy to have the company of friends, not having to cater to the high end guests that show up to let their hair down.


Cindy giving instruction to The Squirrel


Sitting down for crab lunch.


The Flamingo Cay Logo


Roger Waters prize bonefish


Mila and Lou, awaiting the toss of the stick

We finally left the camp around 4:30, headed out the long channel to the boat. Once there we immediately pulled anchor and headed for our overnight berth in Loggerhead Creek.  As the sun set, The Squirrel joined me on the back deck for a toast to Dwight.  They all started dinners (hamburgers and salad) as I quietly placed some of his ashes in the creek.  It was a beautiful sunset and I am quite sure my dad would be pleased with the beauty and remoteness of the location.


A martini toast to Dwight and a beautiful sunset in his name. 

ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 5 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Wednesday – The wind has been relentless, blowing out of the east for days, with speeds probably averaging 15 to 25 knots.  It has been good for blowing away some of the doctor flies, and keeping the boat positioned to see the sunset, but after a while you feel like you are in a wind tunnel and going below into the still air with the air conditioning is a treat.  After my usual morning stretching routine I finished off the potato salad, ate a chunk of smoked sausage, and completed my meal with a slice of pumpernickel raisin toast.  Mom would be proud to see her boy eating in the German way, for breakfast no less.


I made a list of beers to name our dive sites and continued studying the maps for the next route or river to the hidden treasure.  We decided to head north to Williams Island, home to a famous drug running airstrip, with crashed planes around it.  It was my turn in the water, so I geared up with my full wetsuit, anticipating the water temperature, which was 75 degrees, to be too chilly for a shorty.  We headed off to investigate our next round of dive sites.

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I splashed in on Busch Light, which was all seagrass with some scattered sponges.  The next site, Abita, was a little different.  It was covered with lots of sponges, sea fans, and bottom algae, but again, no ledges or rocks and therefore no fish.  I modified my dive plan. Instead of swimming off and around the sites like Dave and The Squirrel did with the boat waiting in the background, instead The Squirrel would drive the boat over the site and I would tow along in the water, holding onto the grab handle at the back of the dinghy.  If something came up interesting I would free dive the 15’ to the bottom to check it out. The rest of the dive sites, Kalik Light and Rolling Rock, were all basically the same as Abita.  A beautiful dive but nothing much to shoot for dinner, not even any conch.


We decided to move on to the west side of Billy Island, to check out water depths and an anchorage for the day. We were joined by a school of dolphin at the bow of the boat.  It was a rather nice display and I got some good pictures.


At the north tip there was an old DC-3 plane wreck in about 8’ of water.  The Squirrel checked it out for fish and asked for a spear, seeing a Mutton Snapper.  Dave decided to anchor so we could all get in the water and explore the wreck.  It was pretty cool, with one of the props actually sticking into the air.  Tons of snappers, a few small nurse sharks under the debris and lionfish abounded on the wreck.  I didn’t see anything to shoot so after I explored the wreck I took up killing Lionfish.  Nasty little bastards, and they are proliferating on the reefs, so it was satisfying taking them out.


We pulled anchor and motored over to the west side of Williams Island, close enough to for a dinghy ride.  The Squirrel and I took a cooler and headed to the airstrip.  After a short hike through the clay and short mangroves we made it to the strip, checking out the three plane wrecks.  It is hard to believe that they actually landed planes on the site, but drugs and money will make you do some pretty daring things, so I am told.

Relict DC-3 from the drug running days of Williams Island. Yup, dem ders bullet holes.

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We got back to the dinghy then motored up a couple of the tidal creeks.  The tide was going out and it was really cool how the channels had been cut into the clay terrain. I took some action shots of The Squirrel coming through the channel then we headed down the coast to check on a weird stick pen the locals had built, probably to hold conch, sponges, or turtles.  We came to a point where the waves were in our face so we headed back to the boat.

I took a wonderful warm shower.  All my dive gear was dry as the sun beat down relentlessly on the back deck.  It was hot so everyone was upstairs in the shade enjoying the cool breeze, although it was more like a gale.  Eventually we all went below to get out of the sun and wind.

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Stick pen

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Mangrove Creek & The Flying Squirrel.

The sun was finally setting so I asked The Squirrel to join me on the back deck for a martini in Dwight’s name.  We sat and talked a little then it was dinner time. Dave rustled up grilled Mutton Snapper, The Squirrel grilled some vegetables, Em cooked rice, and I was on clean up duty.  I had a lull while they were busy with dinner so I placed some of Dwight’s ashes in the water.  “I think you would like this” I said to his spirit as the ashes dispersed in the clear water and the sun set.

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Sunset over Billy’s Island. Dwight would like this. 

Dinner was delicious and afterwards The Squirrel joined me on the back deck for a nightcap and a cigar.  We turned off the deck and underwater lights, then just enjoyed the night sky.  It was an early evening. Once again I was the last one down for the night, resting peacefully in my bunk listening to Blade Runner on my Droid.  I was tired and it was a busy day.  Our anchorage was very calm and even though the wind kept up, at least there wasn’t any roll in the boat like we experienced off of Wide Opening the night before.


ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 4 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Tuesday – I woke up to my usual routine of peeing off the back deck, sipping coffee, and stretching my back. The raisin pumpernickel has been a hit with The Squirrel, particularly when I added crunchy peanut butter to it.  I reworked the graphics The Squirrel brought, adding match lines so you can quickly compare pages, then wrote down beer names for all the GPS coordinates for our potential dive sites. Go figure. We weighed anchor and headed off to check them out, at a leisurely 1,000 rpm’s and a hull speed around 7 knots.

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At anchor in the milky blue waters of west Andros.

Dave was the man in the water for the day.  We would pull up to a site and he would bail into the water with snorkel gear, checking out what bounty lay below.  The first site, Bud Light, was a wooden wreck and he brought back an interesting bronze and copper valve assembly to add to the decorations where we have our Board meetings. No fish.

The second site, Mutton, had a big fuel tank. Dave requested his spear and the next thing we knew he had a nice size mutton snapper, wrestling it to the boat.  That was about all for that site so we moved on to the next one.

Kalik was a very productive site.  There was a center console from a boat in the middle, seemingly a set up for fish habitat versus a true boat wreck.  Dave checked it out and found another Mutton snapper tucked up under the console, sharing space with a big nurse shark.  It wasn’t long before Dave had snapper number two, swimming to the boat, and commenting about his fight with the shark, it taking a pass at the fish on his spear.  Good thing Dave was in the water, the muttons are a fast fish and hard to shoot.

I enjoyed running the boat, keeping it headed into the strong wind and waves, and trying to keep it from snap rolling when we got sideways to it all.  Having someone in the water and watching out for them is a big responsibility but I enjoyed it.

The last site we hit, Miller, was just an open grass flat covered with pilchards.  Dave came on board and we pushed to get to Flamingo Cay and the crab lunch we had 2:30 reservations for.  Yes, there was civilization in the middle of this desolation, courtesy of the Flying Squirrel and his Bahamian connections.  We arrived at Charlies’ C-16 waypoint, which also matched our Coors site, which showed some manner of habitat on the aerial.

The channel to Flamingo Cay Rod and Gun Club was what we now famously describe as a wheel channel. Basically they run a boat through the channel, over time, prop dredging to get additional depth.  The Squirrel, Em, and me piled into the dinghy and blasted down the channel to the resort.  The steering on the dinghy was slowly failing, apparently low on hydraulic fluid, so it was a challenge to keep it in the channel.  Dave didn’t like the surrounding depths so he moved the big boat further offshore.

The waterway “Wide Opening” was choppy and after a fairly long run we peeled out of Wide Opening and into a mangrove tidal creek.  The resort was very nice.  We missed our lunch reservations but Charlie and Cindy, our hosts, sat with us and fed us some snacks, Elk sausage and Blue Crab claws cooked in a wonderful Cajun sauce.  I had run back out to pick up Dave and came back in to join everyone.  Lots of talk about the resort, how Charlie manages it, water issues, how he hauls his recyclable trash back to New Providence, etc.  They were getting ready to feed their resort guests, mostly Bonefishermen and their charter guides, so we loaded up and headed out of the mangrove cut and into Wide Opening.

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The Squirrel and Diamond Dave hanging at the Flamingo Cay Rod and Gun Club.

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Welcome statue at the resort.

Everyone was feeling good, in part because we missed lunch but kept on drinking, our Bahamian tradition.  I am sure Dave was feeling good because he shot some fish and had loaded the fridge with food.  I felt great from being able to learn more about running the boat in heavy wind.  The Squirrel felt great because his was off the clock, satellite phone wasn’t working, no one could reach him, so he had no choice but to relax.  I think Em felt the same way for the same reasons. So we decided to chug up the coast for a while since we still had some daylight.  Em was at the helm, the music was turned up, and we continued our drinking party.

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The wiggy brothers dancing on the foredeck, much to the amusement of “Capt. Em” at the controls, below. 

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When we finally anchored, it was a beautiful sunset, and The Squirrel set about cooking while Dave cleaned the fish.  We ate the last of the bratwurst, added some smoked sausage, finished almost 90% of the potato salad, and also heated up the left over spaghetti, adding some crab that Charlie gave us.  Everyone was pretty toasted and it wasn’t long before we crashed.  I can’t go to sleep on a full belly, so I sat on the back deck looking at the stars, listening to the tinkle of ice in my scotch.  I turned off the deck and underwater lights to see the stars and Em joined me for a little while.  It was so windy you couldn’t sit upstairs on the foredeck.  I listened to some music on my Droid, then finally crashed.  It was a good day.

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Diamond Dave and Capt. Em with a nice Mutton Snapper.



Summer Fun at Fort Myers Beach

Well it’s that time again.  Summer is here, the pace is a bit slower for boat sales and the weather and waterside sites are also less busy. That is the perfect excuse to get on the water and do some restaurant hopping. One of our favorite destinations is Fort Myers Beach. It’s an easy cruise and there is plenty to do when you get there.


We enjoy stopping at Nervous Nellie’s which is the first restaurant before the FT Myers Beach bridge. The dockage is free and the food and drinks are always great and well priced. It is also any easy walk to the main part of the beach called Time Square. Plenty of shops to look through and the newly replenished beach is really nice now.

Hop back in your boat, go under the bridge and to your immediate left is Bonita Bill’s which is one of the locals  favorite  watering  holes. Good food and a laid back attitude. Just around the corner to the left is Doc  Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille. They have also free dockage and an extensive menu. They have entertainment on the weekends and occasionally book signings by the author of the Doc Ford book series, Randy Wayne White.

A little  east you can dock at Salty Sam’s Marina and you have a choice of the Big Game Club which is an open  sports style or Parrot Key restaurant which is more resort style. Both are good, so you can’t make a mistake.

A mile or so farther east and south is Snook Bight Marina which is sporting new floating docks and the very nice Bayside Bistro restaurant which has an upscale menu and one of the best views of the bayside that you can find.

So, even if it is summer, you can find plenty of places close by to have a lot of fun with boat. On the way home, pull out in front of Sanibel Island beach, drop the hook and hop in the water for a cool down and a cold one.

Next time we’ll talk about other boating spots close to home.

See you on the water!

Paradigm Yacht Sales & Brokerage


ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 3 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Monday – We departed early to catch the tide, headed through Middle Bight.  I am getting used to picking our way over shallow waters, with only a foot of clearance below the props. The boat, a 46’ Newton dive boat, reconfigured by Dave for Bahamas cruising is designed well for this type of exploration.  I had the helm for a while and was trying to use the charts when it seemed we were getting shallower.  Dave took over and we finally spotted the aforementioned “wheel channel”.  Sure enough that was how Charlie Bethel gets his landing craft and boat supplies to Flamingo Cay, so we followed it, giving us about an additional foot of clearance.

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Following a “wheel channel” through Middle Bight.  This is at high tide. Check out the stirred up mud behind us.


We scared turtles out of the channel on occasion but that was about all we saw.  It really narrowed down as we entered Loggerhead Creek.  It was beautiful but made me nervous about navigating the boat in such tight quarters so I turned it over to The Squirrel.  We were not expecting the numerous sponge divers and boats in the creek and were a little disappointed to see anybody, expecting desolation. The Squirrel’s expectations were that no one would be around.  A few terms were bandied about regarding whether they were Dominicans poaching conch or Bahamians, and we finally decided they were Haitians working for the local Bahamians collecting sponges, owed in part to the boat we saw at Mangrove Cay loaded with sponges.  I didn’t think this was still a viable industry but apparently I was wrong.

We explored the three channels leading into the west side then anchored up in the Creek to get our dive equipment ready and to eat lunch.  The Squirrel got into Mom’s potato salad so we grilled the brats and had a great lunch.  We logged in some of the GPS numbers The Squirrel’s staff put on the Google maps showing interesting locations.  We also discovered the battery charger was broken so I helped Dave with handing him tools as he put in a spare.  He is always prepared for the worst, an important trait if you are going to be boating in the middle of nowhere.

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Checking out Loggerhead Creek


We headed south and didn’t see much on the three GPS locations.  The Squirrel was the man overboard for the day but of the three sites only one had any rock surface, the others were just grass.  After we checked them all we headed back north to the south exit from Middle Bight and to anchor up for the night.

Em and I took the dinghy to shore to explore what we thought was a sandy beach.  Turns out it was all clay with just a little bit of sand at the top of the shoreline, creating a “dune”.  It was a really weird shoreline and there was basically no trash to be seen, which is unusual for most shorelines in the Bahamas.  It is kind of a shame so much trash washes up on the Bahamian beaches, taking away from the natural beauty of the area.


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The clay banks of the west side of Andros Island.

We headed inland through the mud and mangroves, pausing at a crab hole to take a picture.  It was a huge hole and Em commented about not wanting to have to spend the night on the island, fearing the crabs would take over.  With a claw about the size of my hand, I too would not want the pleasure of meeting up with one in the middle of the night. I walked out to a mangrove island, checking out the middle in search of the treasure The Squirrel promised we would find. I headed back to meet Em, we walked the beach a little, then headed to the boat.


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Man eating land crab, awaits the dark and it’s next victim.

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Mudding my way to the mangrove island where treasure awaited.

I was tired but happy with being able to do a little exploring.  The drinking continued as usual, and I enjoyed another night on the foredeck watching the stars.  Saw my two favorite satellites and another shooting star.  Constellation watching is becoming one of my favorite Bahamian past times. Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle said the scotch in my coffee cup. Dwight’s ashes were safely tucked in my gear bag, but I am sure he was enjoying the constellations with his son.  I’m not sure if he was looking up at the stars or down at me but I could feel his smile.


ANDROS GOLD aka Dwight’s West Side Story (Part 2 of 9)

Written by Hans Wilson

Sunday – We unloaded the dinghy and used it to head to Moxeytown to make dinner reservations at Mr. Greens restaurant and drop off some trash.  Dave had stayed with the boat, a theme common to travelling with him.  It is his baby and he likes to spend time making sure she is just right. We headed over to Gibson Cay, which had a blue hole in the middle of it.  Em dropped back to walk the beach as The Squirrel and I worked our way over the karst, in our flip flops.  It was a typical first day mistake for walking gear but we were careful.  We got to the blue hole, which was probably 400’ wide.  I could not see the bottom except at the edges, which I estimated to be 30’ deep.  I paused long enough to drink the Gold Kalik I had nurtured in my back pocket, then we picked our way carefully back to the shoreline.  Eventually we found Em and headed back to the boat.

Dave and The Squirrel did some scouting of the Middle Bight since we were mixing routes between the waterway guide and GPS points Charlie Bethel gave us.  Charlie Bethel owns the Flamingo Cay Rod and Gun Club and makes the trek across the island on a regular basis, providing supplies to his resort.  The boys stopped in to see Crazy Charlie (not Bethel) who was living out his life in a run down resort famously known as the Bang Bang Club. Charlie tied bonefish flies, drank his homemade Sapodilla wine, and told the boys stories of his time running the club.

Meantime Em and I stayed on the boat and I actually did some work for the business.  As time got on we started to worry a little since the boys didn’t respond to our hail on Channel 14, the agreed channel to monitor on the VHF.  Turns out when they arrived and checked in, Dave handed the radio over to The Squirrel, who inadvertently switched the radio to channel 16 instead of 14, doing his best distress impression for Em and I, only to broadcast to the world instead.  I guess I am sorry I missed it, maybe not.

They finally got back to they boat for our dinner reservations. The wind was howling out of the east, probably 10 to 15 mph, and the dinghy ride was pretty far for a late night run back to the boat.  Dave made the call to relocate the boat closer to Moxeytown on the south side of the bight so we had a short dinghy ride to the restaurant.

The Green’s restaurant was basically a tiki hut with bar, some plumbing, a sand floor and a kitchen in the back.  The Squirrel put in an order for a seafood mix for all, except no conch for Em, and Mr. Green refreshed the vodka drinks we brought with us to the restaurant.  We chatted with the locals, met Mike, a retired special forces guy (we later learned) and got some good information on the tides and the “wheel channel” that Mike admonished us to stay in as we trekked across the Middle Bight to the west side of Andros.  The conch was opened fresh by Mr. Green on the “dock” and his daughter, Anastasia, was prepping conch salad right in front of me.  It was fascinating watching her chop and prep the salad, seemingly with her eyes closed.  I complimented her on her abilities, as “poetry in motion” and received a big grin filled with beautiful white teeth in return. We finished our meals, dropped about $100 in the bar, then loaded up for the now short dinghy ride back to the boat.  Good call Dave!

Mr Greens




  Hanging in the “restaurant” at Mr. Greens. 





I retired once again to the top deck for my evening solitude, scotch tinkling in my coffee cup, and watched the starry sky.  It is so beautiful in the Bahamas, with the various colors of the water, sunsets, and unadulterated starry skies.  I always enjoy these trips and was happy to be relaxing.

 Bahamas Sunset


  Bahamas sunset in Middle Bight.