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Sunrise: Chasing the dream
Life filled with adventure, both actual and spiritual.
Recovery day!
Bill
12/08/2012, Los Roques

Today was a day of rest and recovery. We all napped and read and hung out on the boat. Finally this afternoon we got in the water and did a little snorkel to check out a small reef system that is 50 yards off our stern. Water is not super clear here, visibility about 40 feet or so. (Since we are protected by a huge reef that is a half mile east of us and several smaller reefs between, and since the wind is blowing 20 to 25 knots the crashing waves over those reefs stir up the water.) This little reef was teaming with small fish... all under 5 inches... and really teaming... Many different species some in schools of a hundred. Really great to be back in the water again. The most notable thing we say were three Cuddle Fish. We don't have photos... maybe you can google them for an idea of what they look like. A very bizarre fish!

There are now three boats in this anchorage although we haven't made contact with them... maybe tomorrow. Oh, and just for the record our average speed for our passage was 7.0 knots! That is fast.

These posts are via HF radio and we will not be able to upload photos until we reach Bonaire and WiFi. We did check in with friends this morning also on the HF radio. Waka Irie is in Cartagena with Dolphin of Leif, and Orion is in Santa Marta.

12/12/2012 | gil
Wonderful.

Sleigh ride passage
Bill
12/08/2012, Los Roques

While Bill contemplates yet another sail change, Carl and Isobel hung out on the dinghy and ate oranges in hopes of staving off scurvy. (photo credit Carl Lill)

We left Grenada at 1130 on Thursday and arrived here at 1530 (3:30 pm AST). 359 miles...

We expected a pleasant downwind run... and didn't quite have that as there was a pretty good swell out of the NE that gave the boat a pretty good roll as we zoomed along. It was a fast passage. With new bottom paint and a current with us we had speeds in excess of 7 knots over the ground with hours sailing at around 8 knots! That is fast for our boat as the theoretical hull speed is around 8.1 knots.

We started with the main and genoa "wing and wing"... realizing during the middle of the night that at first light we should change to two head sails poled out and ditch the main. This is what we did... poling out our genoa and code zero. Even though this was too much sail, the ride was much smoother as the boat was being pulled evenly... I have a 100% storm jib I need to sew up so we can fly it from our continuous line furler... that would have been a much more appropriate sail than the code zero which is about 150% of the fore triangle space.

This was Carl's first passage and I was hoping it would be nice for him... he described it as "knarley"... sorry Carl. it was knarley, even after the swell dissipated after 24 hours... there was still a good swell from behind and since we were over canvassed it felt like a headlong rush... Luckily at Los Aves there are no airports... so, I guess he will stay for the ride to Bonaire... then we will see!

All it well once we are here. A really beautiful anchorage with two other boats and a lot of Gannets and Brown Footed Boobies. We might have to stay for a couple days to snorkel and explore...

12/09/2012 | Uncle Readie
Glad to hear you're rocketing past Venezuela. Keep safe!
morning
12/07/2012, en route to los Aves

Just before daybreak we started dodging squalls to see if we could make it to Los Aves while we still had good light for entering between the reefs. Lots of rainbows and great cloud watching. Isobel likes to entertain herself when things get slow by looking for animals in the clouds...

Rob's Birthday
12/05/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Here was the birthday sunset Carl was looking for last night.... we will take it though and toast Rob, Lara's brother with this sunset.

Tomorrow we are off west... into the setting sun...

Carl's Birthday
12/04/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

We didn't realize that Carl would pass his birthday with us on the boat. Lara dug through her recipes to find a gluten free brownie that came close to the requested chocolate volcano cake! We had a wonderful although very relaxed day... sorry no big party Carl!

Up the mast
12/02/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

On a boat it is good to have dual purposes for everything.... So up the mast I went. The main objective was to change out the block (pulley) that carries the Halyard (line that pulls the sail up the mast) for the Spinnaker. This was one of the only blocks on the boat that we had not changed yet since we bought the boat. The old one was showing some wear and as we are now turning down wind, I want to have confidence that the block will not blow apart...

The other purpose of the climb was to make sure we had a secure way of going up the mast while at sea. Since we are in prickly bay... there is a good swell rolling in so the boat is rolling and this would simulate a gentle swell at sea. We tried several configurations and ended up with a static line run up tight to the mast with two climbing ascenders, one connected to a climbing harness and the other to some loops for my feet. Up I go like an inch worm, standing on my feet and pushing my body up... then sitting in the climbing harness and pulling my feet up. Repeat... tight to the mast, I could grip the mast with my feet and grab on to the mast or shrouds to keep my self from swinging as the mast swung back and forth.

I hope I never have to do it at sea... and I think we have a system that gives enough control.

New Lithium Battery
11/30/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Isobel shows off the extra space left by removing the old lead batteries. THe new battery occupies 1/2 the space and weighs less then half of the lead batteries.

So far we have enjoyed the constant 13 volts. Today was the first day since we installed it that we had to charge with the engine. We have definitely been harvesting more energy from the sun (The lithium looses only 1% to heat compared to 20%+ with the old Lead batteries).

We have used the vacuum and a rope cutter off the inverter, and we have Carl, who has joined us for the passage... another computer charging and more water used etc...

So, we ran the engine for an hour, and charged at 77 Amps the entire time.

Dinghy Engine Carb again...
11/26/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Yes, again I have to clean and rebuilt the carburetor in the dinghy engine...

Thanksgiving day splash
Bill
11/22/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Here I am writing this as the sun sets...

Well, We might try to go back and fill in some photos from our trip to Colorado. We had a wonderful time with Lily and Pete and met some new wonderful people who are up to some amazing things.

I returned a couple days ago and spent those days working on the boat, which was up on the hard. Today it went back in the water with new bottom paint and polished top sides... and the port side rub rail properly affixed!

The yard was hot and dusty... now I am thrilled to be back on the water with a breeze and a gentle rock... I might even sleep in the cockpit tonight since there are no bugs out here and no security lights!

There are some Thanksgiving meals available around, none like family would produce... but, I will see what I can find... If I can get the dinghy engine started... hmmm.

The girls are in VA with a bunch (25) of family, and most important, two cousins close to Isobel's age.

11/22/2012 | Uncle Readie
So that's why I didn't see you when I Skyped the VA Thanksgiving. "25" seems pretty big when it's written down, not so much when you're there. Lara's brother Rob carried her laptop around so I could take a virtual tour, it was fun! 4AM Friday here in Perth, so it was almost like sleepwalking, but what are you gonna do? :)
11/23/2012 | gil
Uh, I think you are supposed to point that camera the other way bro.
11/24/2012 | Alan & Nancy
Hey Bill, We hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving on the island although it is strickly a USA custom. Please know that you will always have a seat at our table. Be safe and keep doing what you are doing, somebody needs to!
Start battery
11/13/2012, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Here is our new start battery... a G34 lithium battery weighs only 12 pounds... 900 CCAs and it will last about 10 years.

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