sub par fishing


IMG_5980After 5 minutes of fishing with a coke tab and a piece of string we gaze sadly at our measly catch.



























Just kidding there was a fishing tournament and that was the winning boats catch.

Food from the ocean

We’ve managed to catch a few meals by hook, spear or hand (in the case of spiny lobster.)


However on one day while slowly sailing, Shad wanted to check out the bottom for lobster as we had seen some locals doing. Vaguely aware that we were effectively trolling for sharks, I hollered to Shad when I saw this!

Fortunately this blog post title has the word “from” rather than “for”, as the dorsal belonged to a dolphin.

No sooner had Steph spotted the dolphin, she began tearing her clothes off and jumped in which both surprised and scared me a bit. Not that I was worried about her safety of course, but I had heard rumors of women swimming with dolphins and somehow this affected their ability to conceive. And then in this confused state of emotions (my son is shark bait, my wife wants to conceive) from the bow of the boat comes the sound of a recorder!What’s happening! Rachel had heard another rumor that dolphins enjoy music so began performing every song she has ever learned! Which may have worked as the dolphin spent quite a few minutes going between the creatures being dragged behind the boat as well as enjoying the talented musician at the bow.

It’s good to be alive today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Royal island

Time to catch up. Currently we are anchored off of Royal Island. It’s Sunday we think and we are doing great. We went snorkeling at a wreck off of Egg Island yesterday although the waves were a bit high to be ideal we still managed to have a good time. So many fish and the broken up ship added interest. A few too many sharks to comfortably spearfish so we found our anchorage and Steph cooked up one of my favourites from Winnipeg, sweet and sour farmer sausage with rice. The kids and I are also experimenting with baking in our bemco backpacking oven over our barbecue and have had fresh bread a couple of times. Steph has been amazed at our results.


The Kindness of Strangers

We have been anchored in two different harbours along the coast of Eleuthera for the past two weeks. It is a picturesque island with caving, bodysurfing, fishing and snorkelling opportunities. We caught our first lobster here and ate the first fish caught on our rod (a type of mackeral called a cero)!

Lovelier than the scenery have been the people. We were advised that the way to see the island is to stick out your thumb and hitch a ride. We were told that everyone here stops if they can and that it is completely safe. At first, we were reluctant to do this and looked into renting a car (too expensive) and hiring a taxi (hard to connect). So, we hesitantly tried it. The first people who picked us up were a mother and her young daughter on the way home from school. Since then, we have had rides in the back of trucks, sometimes crammed in with other hitchhikers, more rides with mothers and children, with a silent, dredd-wearing gentleman, a retired Canadian couple and, quite amusingly, from the taxi-driver we had tried to contact earlier! (I am not sure it is a great business strategy for a taxi driver to pick hitchhikers up…but it certainly is generous!). We’ve also been picked up when we were not hitchhiking, but were obviously heavy-laden with our clean laundry. Basically, we get the sense that in Eleuthera, if you have something that someone else does not have, it is yours to share.

It is so inspiring to visit a place where people still trust others and are trustworthy, and where they notice those they pass by, assuming that it is their responsibility to help each other if they can. Besides free rides, we have been given fruit to try and a free book by a local author. The owner of the pizza restaurant we visited got in her car and went and purchased us drinks (her children had finished off all her own beverages for sale!).

The sailing community behaves in a similar way. Dave, from the boat “At Last” spent about three mornings on our boat helping Travis try to figure out our alternator problems. Another boater gave us a fuse, when the new alternator blew one while being installed. There is the understanding that sailors need to help each other – it is a small community and you may be the only person who can give the assistance needed.

I realize I am a long way from living like this back at home. And I don’t think that the culture around me models this sense of inter-connectedness. Instead,

I think that too often we feel ashamed if we need help and we believe that if someone else doesn’t have what we have, it is our own choice whether or not we share it. There is no concept that what is mine has been given to me to share. I am going to ponder this some more and invite God to change my understanding of what belongs to me and who belongs to me!

The kids ran ahead as we made our way back to the cave entrance. I am looking at them through stalactites and stalagmites.

I’m looking at the kids though stalactites and stalagmites

The kids ran ahead as we made our way back to the cave entrance. I am looking at them through stalactites and stalagmites.

Rachel’s First Blog Post!

Hi sorry that I have not yet posted anything. I’m going to start from the beginning of the trip.

While we were driving to Florida, we saw this many road kills:

56 deer

2 skunks

6 foxes

3 rabbits

10 birds

1 mountain lion

5 squirrel/weasel-type things

1 armadillo

And bugs.

And 2 male African elephants.

A lot of road kill, eh? And don’t ask me how they managed to run over 2 elephants!

We went to two hotels during the trip and we stayed at our great aunty and uncles’ place for about two weeks. They had two hot tubs and a pool there.

Then we went to Universal Studios! The first day was dedicated to the special effects part. It had one roller coaster called the Rocket. We also went to the other part of the park which has mostly roller coasters and went on one roller coaster there called the Hulk. They were both really fun! You go up and down and loop-dee-loop and side to side and zig and zag! Then the next day we went to the other part of the park and it was all roller coasters and simulators. There were water rides too where you got soaked! By the way it was really warm that day…tee hee. My favourite roller coaster was the Chinese Dragons. That was in Harry Potter Land. We got to go to Diagon Alley, which is a place in Harry Potter books and Hogsmeade. We went in all the stores…Mummy didn’t let me get a wand, though. I did buy a chocolate frog (my card inside was Salazar Slytherin) and a box of Bonko’s Every Flavour Beans. The sausage one was disgusting. There were so many shops in Harry Potter Land. We went to Fred and George’s Joke Shop. Fred and George are two characters in the Harry Potter books. We drank Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. They are both really good but I like Butterbeer better! Then we drove home with lots of memories and tonnes of fun.

When we moved to the marina where our boat got put in, I caught my first two lizards there! I celebrated by running around, dancing and drinking orange cream soda.

After a lot of shopping for food and necessities, we were finally ready to go. We made our way down to a place called Clearwater. The water wasn’t actually that clear. We took our dingy, “Emma”, to a place where there were lots of street performers. We saw a guy get out of a strait jacket covered in chains and a guy who lit whips on fire and cracked them really loud. And we saw a guy who made glass nick-knacks with a big torch and glass sticks. You should search that up on the internet because I don’t know how to describe it.

After that we sailed some more. We saw our first dolphins ever! They are so beautiful!

When we got to Bimini in the Bahamas, we met a family there who had a daughter named Ava and we spent a week with that family and we spent Christmas with them. Then we parted. And then we went to Nassau where we met my Grandma and Grandma and Uncle Eric and Aunty Karmen Neta and Odin. They live in Africa and they came from there to visit us in Nassau. We had lots of fun catching lizards, playing on the beach and playing in gianormous really fun waves. We left Nassau to go to a place called Spanish Wells. We went snorkelling at a shipwreck together and saw lots of fish and coral. It was so cool! While I was in the dingy with my daddy, mummy saw a shark and jumped in the dingy and then Aunty Karmen Neta jumped in the dingy and then grandma jumped in and then Uncle Eric and Odin jumped in and Shadrach jumped in too – our small 8 ½ foot dingy! It was a very funny sight to see us all crammed into a tiny little dingy!

After a week, they all left us on a ferry.

We went to a place called Egg Island. We lit a fire and had hobo dinners and roasted marshmallows – then we went back to our home/boat and had a good night’s sleep.

After we went to Egg Island, we went to Eleuthera. We had pizza…it was pretty good. We hitchhiked for the first time. It was fun! We also went to a big cave where we went down WAY deep – although it got pretty low and we had to crawl on our hands and knees so we went back. It was really hot down there and at one point we turned off all our lights for a bit and it was sooo dark. Then we turned them on and kept on going. When we got out of the cave it felt really nice outside because it was so hot in the cave.

We saw lots of goats and I got 10 feet away from one. There were twin baby goats (called kids) – they were so cute! They just roamed free all over the place. It was kind of weird but also cool. There are also chickens and sheep that roam free. There were little chicks running all over the place!

We went to a beach where there were big waves. A big wave crashed over me and I was being dragged in the sand. Then I felt something pokey in my shorts! It kept poking me and poking me in the hip…I thought it was a sea urchin or a jellyfish. But then, when I ran out of the water screaming “Ouch, ouch!”, I looked in my pants and there was a little fish with its pokey fins! We ate it for supper…just kidding! It was only two inches long.

We went out to sail from Eleuthera, but the waves were too big, so we had to stop at a marina. When we got there, I got a ne0 w pair of flip flops, because one of my other ones fell overboard. Then there were people cleaning fish and throwing parts of fish in the water. There were three big Bull Sharks and about a dozen nurse sharks all going for the scraps of fish. A little while later, some marine biologists came to see the sharks. They had a big fish head on a hook and they were throwing it in. They were trying to get the Bull Sharks with a hook and they had buoys on the end of a rope that the hook was attached to. When the Bull Shark would grab the bait on the hook, then they would throw the buoys in and they would jump in a boat and go and follow it. They let us come in their boat too! They were trying to catch the shark so they could put tags on it/tracking devices. They put two on her dorsal fin and one beside her stomach. They had to do surgery! I got to see a real, live shark surgery! After the stitches were done, I got to touch the shark’s stomach. It feels like sandpaper.

I will try to blog more. Bye for now – love Rachel.


This is Shad again if you have not noticed your comments. it is because we have to approve them I plan to remove this setting. so the responsibility of reporting spam, crude, language, etc is now on you. email me about and bad stuff at please do not email me for any other purpose.



Hi this is Shad. me and Eric have been having fun with the pole spear. we went spearing around a wreck and Eric speared a huge 3-4 foot amber-jack while he was wrestling with it, he ran out of air so he let go of the spear. the amber-jack somehow managed to wiggle the spear out. 5 minutes later I saw that same amber-jack get bitten by a shark which we were pretty sure was a reef shark. the ladies were snorkeling at that time as well so when they saw the shark they, naturally trashed around a lot and piled into the dingy. I thought it was pretty fun listening to Eric trying to use the “come over here” method with someone screaming in the background. we did not get any fish on this trip because they were all to big. We hope to try again today. having lots of fun not being in a cold front!!


A Giesbrecht Family Adventure

We are near then end of 12 lovely days with my parents and sister, her husband and son. We have had lots of adventure and fun in the sun! As they are still with us and we want to go out snorkelling and spear fishing soon, this will be short. Here are a few pictures instead of thousands of words!

Girl time at Sands Beach Bar

Girl time at Sands Beach Bar

Travis and Eric (a temporary "first mate"!)

Travis and Eric (a temporary “first mate”!)

The view from my hammock

The view from my hammock

Our transportation on the island. My Mum, normally a reluctant driver, has been tearing around everywhere!

Our transportation on the island. My Mum, normally a reluctant driver, has been tearing around everywhere!


Even though there have been many steps and places I have enjoyed in getting to this point, it does seem like we’ve arrived! Christmasy (at least how I have known it) it’s not; however, the occasional carol heard reminds me of what I’m missing. The only white stuff is warm and soft, found at the fringes of the crystal clear blue waters, and the only reason to shovel it is if you want to dig a hole or build a castle.
We arrived in Bimini this morning after a beautiful overnight passage across the Gulf Stream. There was no moon so the only lights were the stars and occasional cruise ship, lit up like the small cities they are. There was a glow on the western horizon from Florida and you could still tell where Miami was as we neared Bimini. Cleared customs, acquired our cruising permit and hoisted the Bahamas courtesy flag which should stay there for the next 100 plus days. Life is good!


Ghost dolphins at the bow…overnight passages.

We are now safely in the Bahamas! Travis is napping after our all-night passage, Rachel is fishing off the dock with a newfound friend, and Shad is impatiently waiting for his dad to wake up and return to customs to get him a spear fishing license. I am showered and finally feeling awake after a lovely chat with the Mom of Rachel’s new friend.

We have had two overnight passages – a new thing for us. We were excited and apprehensive as we set out the first evening (to Key West from Marco Island). The first half of the night was amazing. As soon as it got dark we could see phosphorescence in the water. Soon after, at least 10 dolphins approached our boat and swam just in front of our bow for a long time. We couldn’t actually see the dolphins, but as they swam and played, they were perfectly outlined by a silvery blue glow from the phosphorescence. I think it may have been one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Added to all this, was a sky filled with stars.

After midnight, it became more difficult to maintain the feelings of awe and wonder! I found myself counting the minutes until my shift at the helm was done. Because the winds were light, we motored the whole night…and it was hard to sleep in the noisy, vibrating, diesel-scented cabin. By morning, I was very relieved to arrive in Key West, turn off the engine and crawl into bed for the morning.

I wasn’t excited to repeat the process last night…But the only way to arrive in Bimini during daylight is to make at least some of the passage at night. So, we left Islamorada, Florida at 4:00 pm yesterday. I slept a bit early in the evening, and then took the 10 pm to 1 am shift. This time I pulled out my headphones and listened to music as I kept watch and kept us on course. It made an incredible difference. I was listening to songs selected for us by Diana…many of which had lyrics pondering God’s great love for us, the majesty of his creation and his constant guiding presence. I felt my soul swell with love and gratitude – beautiful stars spread out endlessly above and over 2000 feet of water supporting us below. A song by Gungor contained the lament “How long must we wait” and as I gazed up at the sky and echoed this – “we love you so much – Why don’t you come for us?” – it felt like the heavens shouted back “I love you more!” How wonderful to know that my life, our destiny, lies in the hands of one who loves us so much more than we can ever love him!

So, it was a much different passage, my deep sense of God’s presence calming me as I tried to discern in the darkness how close approaching ships were (i.e. how close we were to death!).

We are very happy to be in the Bahamas. It is warm, sunny and the water is so clear, even in our marina, that we are seeing all kinds of sea life already. Once Travis wakes up it will be time to start exploring!