02/26/2013, Riviera Beach Marina, West Palm Beach, Florida
The weather window that we were waiting for at Christmas never did materialize, so we opted to stay in Stuart. We went for dinghy rides, long walks, went to the movies and just relaxed and enjoyed spending our time together. All too soon, it was time for me to head back home to work. Wayne is going to stay in Stuart until my return mid-February.
During his time in Stuart, he was having trouble with starting the engine. After a call to the Indiantown Marina where they had done the maintenance work, it was determined that he should take the boat back there so that they could check things over. The starting battery decided to die about this point, so he had to go get a new one. It was about 7 years old, so we can't complain. At home they last longer, but in the hot south, their life is shortened. New battery installed, Wayne headed back to Indiantown. They discovered that there was a small crack in the new Racor filter that had been installed as well as a crack in one of the new fuel lines. Everything was replaced and Wayne was back in Stuart a couple of days later.
I arrived on the 17th of February and once again we were waiting for a weather window. We left Stuart on the 20th and headed for Peck Lake, enroute to Lake Worth which was to be our staging area for the crossing. While at Peck Lake, we met up with friends Rob and Susan off of Mandate (we had originally met them in Annapolis 3 years ago) and met a young couple (Reed and Naomi) who had just bought their boat and were headed to the Abacos as well. We decided to buddy boat together since it was their first time. We spent 2 days in Peck Lake enjoying the scenery and the fantastic beach and on the 22nd headed to Lake Worth in anticipation of crossing over to the Abacos on the 24th.
The gremlins that have been persistent this year on the boat decided to rear their ugly little troll like heads again and our fridge started to act up. We figured it was a voltage problem because the fridge would work fine on the generator or when the motor was running, but just not when on battery power alone. Then, as we were coming to Lake Worth, the smoke alarm sounded and we had some sort of smoke in the boat coming from the engine compartment. Nothing notable could be seen, although there seemed to be some dried salt water on a couple of the engine components. We figured it would be best to trouble shoot once we got to Lake Worth.
Saturday morning (the 23rd) we started looking around the engine to trouble shoot the smoke problem and discovered that the engine compartment was covered in black soot. Upon closer inspection, we found that the exhaust riser had broken (hence the water) and raw exhaust was filling the engine compartment coming into the boat. We called Eric at Indiantown Marina and he was kind enough to offer to come and look at it but we had to get it to a marina. We pulled up anchor and struck off for Riviera Beach Marina and met up with Eric. He took the broken piece off as well as a couple of other things and was gone again in about an hour. He'll be back likely in a couple of days to reinstall everything.
We missed our weather window and although there is a possibility of one again before I have to go back home on the 8th of March, we have reluctantly decided to head back to Indiantown and not go to the Abacos this year. Wayne figures that if he takes the boat back, he can get some jobs done that he was going to do later in the season and be home mid-April. I was planning on coming back to the boat at that time because it's our 25th wedding anniversary, but if he's home, that's just as good (well, not really - Canadian weather vs. Abacos weather - doesn't really compare).
So this is the season that wasn't, sort of. We did get some cruising in, although I can't really say that it was fun filled or relaxing. But the good news is that all the problems we discovered were where we had access to services and not in the middle of the gulf stream and of course, there is always next year. Here's to cruising!
12/27/2012, Stuart, Florida
Wayne left Oshawa on November 12th and headed south in the truck. Destination - Indiantown, Florida. The plan was to get to Indiantown, do the jobs that needed to be done, get the boat in the water and be ready when I arrived on the 14th of December. As you know, things never seem to work out the way they're supposed to. Our engine had about 1,000 hours on it and Yanmar recommends a preventative maintenance program. Having spent a significant amount of money on a new engine a few years ago, we thought it prudent to follow the recommendation. Wayne got an estimate from the workyard and authorized the work. It seemed like every time they looked at something, something else needed done. So, to make a long story short, not only did the preventative maintenance get done, we had to have a new bracket made for the secondary alternator (the other one had broken) and we had some water in the transmission fluid caused from a broken filler cap (we had a spare cap on board though). Once we got the mechanics off the boat, we thought we were all set, but of course, boats being what they were, the propane regulator decided to pooch out the day before we were leaving and had to be replaced. None of these things were significant, but when you want to get out on the water, everything seems significant. Needless to say, we didn't get away from Indiantown until about 5 days after we had thought we would. The extra time at the dock allowed us to get all of our provisioning done and stored before we left Indiantown which was helpful.
On Saturday, December 22 we cast off the lines and headed out onto the St. Lucie Canal, destination Stuart, FL. We love Stuart. We have been in Stuart at the start and end of each of our seasons since bringing the boat down and it is always a welcoming spot. We picked up a mooring and figured we'd settle in here until after Christmas. (The lead picture is the sunset on Christmas eve). We're waiting for a weather window to go across to the Abacos, but so far, nothing has materialized. As it stands, it looks like it will be another few days and most likely after the weekend before we see any weather suitable for crossing. I have to be back to work on the 7th of January and have a flight booked out of Orlando on the 6th, so I just need to get myself back to Orlando the day before. Whether it is from the Abacos, or whether it is from this side of the pond, only time will tell.
On Christmas day we awoke to sunshine and warm weather. We opened our presents to each other, celebrated with Mimosas and spent a leisurely morning reading and enjoying the weather. We talked to our families and enjoyed talking with our grandkids about all the presents they had gotten from Santa. As much as we love being in the sunny south, there is something about talking with your grandkids on the phone and hearing their excitement that tugs at your heart strings and for a fleeting moment makes you wish you were there with them.
Today is boxing day and although there is more movement around the marina, it is still relatively low key. The winds are fairly strong so we'll just stay put in Stuart again today and see what tomorrow brings. So, we sit and catch up on last year's log book and do the odd little project on the boat. There is always something to do.
10/17/2012, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
The signs are undeniable.....temperatures are dropping, the Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone, and there is a growing crop of boxes filled with boat stuff taking root on the floor of our condo bedroom. All are sure signs that it's time to start heading south again.
The summer has been both a lot of fun and incredibly busy. We figured out the other day that we were home exactly one weekend since I got home in mid-May. We used our camper nearly every weekend....traveling to sail with friends, taking the granddaughters camping, visiting with family, traveling through Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire to explore the New England coastline (see lead picture,) and most exciting, welcomed a new grandson into this world. See I told you it was busy....and a lot of fun.
Lately though our thoughts have turned to reuniting with Leeway and heading back to the Bahamas for the winter. Over the last couple of weeks we booked Ciindy's holidays so we can maximize our time together on the boat and we'll cruise together for a few weeks over Christmas and New Years, again at the end of February and for 3 weeks in April which should provide some good times and memories.
So over the next couple of weeks we'll reload the camper on the truck, pack the boxes, throw in my clothes and head for points south. The plan is for me to arrive in Florida by mid-November to get the boat ready and in the water so that when Cindy arrives in mid-December we can head straight across the Gulf Stream for a winter in the Abacos.
Here we go again. Stay tuned.