07 October 2017 | Port Denarau, Fiji
05 October 2017 | Denerau, Fiji
23 September 2017 | Musket Cove, Fiji
23 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
15 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
08 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
06 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
01 April 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
31 March 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
26 March 2017 | Lee Stocking Cay, Exumas
20 March 2017 | White Point, Exumas
17 March 2017 | Staniel Cay
02 March 2017 | Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera
24 February 2017 | Little Harbour, Abacos
16 February 2017 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
14 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas
11 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas
10 February 2017 | Offshore South Carolina
09 February 2017 | Old Bahama Bay Marina
06 February 2017

Farewell, Fiji!

07 October 2017 | Port Denarau, Fiji
Preparations went better than expected, so we will soon be underway for The Marshall Islands. Phil and I expect to make Bligh Water by late afternoon, then sail out of Fiji after dark.

Weather looks good, winds a bit light later in the week, but we have a spinnaker. We hope to be in Funafuti by Thursday.

The tracker is on. You can navigate to the map by clicking the link, "Tracking Page" on this site. And here's a cool goodie: From the map it's even possible to send us a message! Just click the word, "Message" in the left column of the map. Give it a try. We'd love to hear from you!

Ready For The Marshalls?

05 October 2017 | Denerau, Fiji
Tammy left yesterday for home, so now Phil and I are busily making lists and crossing things off as we make our final preparations for The Marshalls on Tuesday. The boat is in good shape for the passage, having come from New Zealand just three months earlier. Still, there are the usual pre-passage issues that arise, and we are dispensing with them thanks to good marine services here in Denerau. As usual, the goal is to have the most boring passage in the history of passages.

The Marshall Islands are about 1,800 nm north of here. There are two potential stops, Tuvalu and Kiribati. These are VERY remote Pacific Island countries. I read that Funafuti, the main atoll of Tuvalu, has 150 visitors each year. Period. If conditions allow, we will stop. When will we ever be this way again?

We had a wonderful time this past week with Tammy on board. We loved the decadence of Musket Cove, but the highlight was the island of Waya. We met the tribal chief, and presented him with kava root in a ceremony called sevu-sevu. In this way we gained permission to anchor in his harbor and explore his island. There are some experiences that only a cruising boat can provide. This was one of them.

I have added a new link to the blog's home page called, Tracking Page. It's under "LINKS" at left. Click it, and you can see our position in real time. As always, thanks for watching!

It's Good To Be Back

23 September 2017 | Musket Cove, Fiji
It's good to be back.
It's good to be back.

Tammy and I are in Fiji aboard "Moon Dancer," a Tayana 55 based out of Florida. I met the owner, Dr. Phil Kellett, online. He was looking for crew to sail to The Marshall Islands, a 2,000nm sail across the equator and safely out of the southern hemisphere for cyclone season. We exchanged several emails, and, well, here we are.

Tammy will stay two weeks, just enjoying Fiji and helping out with some of the pre-passage boat chores - a very kind offer of the owner. Thanks, Phil! We have no itinerary for the Fiji cruise. Fiji is an archipelago of some 300 islands, so there's no shortage of possibilities. Yesterday we sailed 10nm from Nadi here to Musket Cove, a delightful anchorage with two beachside resorts. Cabanas on stilts and beach massages. Yes, it's touristy, but who cares? I smoked a cigar beneath a coconut tree while Tammy got a spa treatment. So much for drinking kava with tribal chiefs!

We're both getting our sea legs back and learning our way around Moon Dancer. It'll be a sad day when Tammy leaves. I hope to be in Myrtle Beach in early/mid November.

It's good to be back.

How Tammy Buys Bananas

23 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Life on the hook in Jamaica is, well, different. We love Clive, who lives in the mangroves at the harbor's edge. When it's not raining, he paddles to a nearby deserted island, picks bananas and mangos, then sells them to the boaters. As you can see, he can drive a hard bargain!

UPDATE: We are still in Port Antonio, Jamaica. We are waiting on weather to depart for Providence, Columbia, probably later this week.

Our Jamaican Life

15 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
We have settled into a Jamaican rhythm here in Port Antonio. When we go ashore, we greet people by name. We end sentences with mon, not because it's cute, because that's how they talk. We go to the market for the day's shopping. We walk. We experiment with Jamaican produce and recipes on our own stove. We have our favorite ice cream parlor, coffee shop, restaurant, grocery, market. We consume so much data on our phones, they now know us by name at the phone company. Our wallets are filled with Jamaican money, and we recognize and make change easily with their strange array of coins. We've learned a few words of Patwan, their strange English dialect, e.g. "How are you?" equals "Wahgwan?" (What's going on?).

Today was market day, and we returned with a great haul. We particularly love the papayas, which are almost creamy and are great in smoothies. Also among our loot is soursop, mango, coconut, peppers, pineapple and much more.

Our plans may be best described as "fluid." We arrived here on our way to Cartegna, Columbia. We are now looking at the jungles, gorges and rivers of Guatamala with stops in the Caymans and Roatan, Honduras. But that could well change again.

While in the Bahamas, a cruiser noted our slow progress through the islands and commented that we were "circumnavigating 100 yards at a time."

Well, okay.

A Few Words About The Ganja

08 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
On a busy street corner here in Port Antonio, Jamaica, the raft captain was giving us his excursion pitch, showing us his credentials, including an official looking license. I had a hard time getting past the marijuana roach tucked in the corner of his mouth. On another occasion we were in the market buying produce, and ganja sellers approached me with the ease of someone selling mangoes.

In a nearby park, we met a lovely man (pictured here), who showed us a few local fruits and vegetables he had gathered himself. He let us taste a Star Apple, smell the lemon grass and take home some large Bay Leaves that were the most aromatic I have ever smelled. Then, just as naturally, he moved on to the ganja.

Marijuana, or ganja as it is called here, isn't just here and there; it's omnipresent. Technically, small quantities are subject to a $5 fine, but for practical purposes it is legal. And it makes perfect sense. Alcohol, the vice of the first-world, is expensive and difficult - even dangerous - to produce yourself. Ganja can be grown with a few seeds, rain and sunlight, raw materials in abundance here.

As for Tammy and I? While we are all for walking in another man's shoes, we really don't need to take on yet another vice at this point in our lives. I'll stay with my cigars and scotch; Tammy with her wine.
Hailing Port: Myrtle Beach, SC
Crew: The Hetzers: Tammy & Michael
About: Email: michael (at) webhenmedia (dot) com
Home Page: http://www.sothishappened.me
Album: Heat Exchanger Replacement | So This Happened
Photos 1 to 18 of 18 | Main
It all started when I decided to investigate a small leak around the endcap of the heat exchanger
I pulled off the endcap to reveal the corrosion.
I removed it from the boat and began to chip away at it. It fell apart like chalk. I needed a new heat exchanger. Unfortunately, the heat exchanger and exhaust manifold are the same casting, so it all needed to be replaced.
The replacement from Yanmar is not a duplicate. It requires two new hoses with different shapes and, as would learn later, a larger belt. Several parts are borrowed from the old unit. Unfortunately, the four pins were unsalvageable, and I spent a week waiting for $2 worth of pins to arrive. Yanmar should have supplied these, IMHO.
Changing the impeller on the 3JH engine is a nightmare. It
The old cover and the new. The new cover uses a slot for two of the holes and four, large thumbscrews. (Previously, I used a right-angle, ratched screw driver and tore up my knuckles on the change.
The empty cavity for the new impeller.
A neat trick for inserting the impeller in the tight space: Wire-tie the vanes (in the correct orientation, of course).
Went in with no trouble.
The new Speed Seal cover in place.
To replace the heat exchanger, you must remove the starter relay, the exhaust elbow and 6 hoses. I found that removing the alternator really helped me access the space, as I could also work from the front.
All water hoses were replaced, whether they needed it or not. It was the time to do it.
Hoses replaced, now I
Fail. This seemed like a good idea at the time. Holding the gasket in place while matching it with the heat exchanger requires 8 hands. I called my local dealer for advice. Sure enough, there
Polytex RPV liquid gasket was the ticket. Just a small bead, let it get tacky, then stick it on.
Installation complete, from front. The alternator actually resides slightly farther from the fresh water pump, hence the need for a larger belt. (Yanmar sent it with the heat exchanger kit; at the time I had no idea why.) Well done, Yanmar!
Installation complete, from top.
I replaced the exhaust elbow just a month earlier, so the entire cooling loops, both of them, are rebuilt or replaced.