April 3, 2013 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY WAYNE!!! Left George Town at 7:00 A.M. - motored to the outside and then set sail - we sailed all day til about a couple of hours from our destination - Cat Island. The winds averaged about 17 knots and we hit a high speed of 8.4 knots. Got quite a bit of spray over the boat from the waves, so the boat sparkles with sea salt. Hoping for a downpour to clean it off. We hit a wind gust of 25 knots, but at that time we were into the bay of Cat Island and had already dropped our sails as we were heading into the wind and the waves were down to about 2 feet so we heard more than felt the winds. We were heeled over quite a bit for the most part. Getting used to it, BUT still uncomfortable if I have to go below to say, use the head. I usually wait til the last possible moment. Our head is on the port side (left) of the boat. This day the winds were at a close reach on the starboard side (right), so when sitting on the toilet, my chest was leaning on my thighs (and I don't mean leaning over, I mean actually laying on my thighs) and with the boat lurching with every wave it hit, it was a tad uncomfortable (my stomach was in knots for a couple of hours after that) - not fun and then to try and get up from the toilet - brother - actually the hardest part is trying to pull up the pants - it would be rather comical if it wasn't for the fact that you are trying not to trip and fall while you are being thrown about. When we first started sailing, I had gotten quite a few nasty black and blues - getting my sea legs, now. A long day - leftovers for dinner - shower - blog - reading then bed.
We are expecting high winds and possibly some squalls of 30 - 40 knot winds - we are going to stay put and leave on Saturday. Today we took a walk on Cat Island to a Hermitage that was built early part of last century. From the beginning of the road - the building looked rather imposing, but when we climbed up to it, it was rather small. Interesting to walk around - I climbed up the wooden ladder and rang the bell. Walked more of the island - a large island, but nothing on it. Brian and Adrian decided to check out a coral head and went snorkeling. Brian speared a lion fish, but when Adrian tried to help him put it in the bucket he got stung by the fish. Not good. Adrian was taken to the clinic and given an antibiotic and pain killers and has to use very, very hot compresses on the arm all during the night - the venom is horribly painful.
Brian and I took the dinghy out and checked out some coral heads looking for fish and a few beaches looking for any treasures - didn't find anything, though when we were walking along one of the longer beaches I noticed a small shark shadowing us. He followed us for about a ¼ of a mile. If you stepped into the water to get a closer look at him and slowly turned away, but once you came back on shore, he turned in and continued to swim along beside us as we walked; the tune from Jaws kept playing in my head - lol.
Our last night on Cat Island we went to a "Rake and Scrape". The group consisted of an older gentleman who played the squeeze box, a young woman played a huge bongo drum and the third instrument was played by several people - a carpenter's saw - with the end taped off (wouldn't want anyone hurting themselves). The handle of the saw is held on your lap while you hold the taped end and slightly bend the saw and use a metal piece (in this case it was a flathead screwdriver) and you tap and scrape the saw keeping in rhythm with the rest of the players. In attendance with us was "Dolphin" and Jonathan and Dorothy of "Egret" and a few Bahamians. We ate fried chicken and talked to the locals. Nina of "Dolphin" tried her hand at the saw - it was a riot - they played a waltz so she wouldn't have a problem keeping the beat. There was one local who looked like he had a difficult life, but he was rather jovial. His clothes were shoddy and ¾ of his teeth were missing. He showed us his burn scars on his ankles and played the saw and sang - THOUGH, none of us cruisers could understand one darn word he said - and he was a yacker - but you could tell he was a happy soul - could be because he had also been drinking. For the most part, the Bahamians are a rather friendly, hospitable people. Everyone waves and greets you - even the children. Some of the teenagers seem a bit distant (but they're teenagers). They will go out of their way to help you out if you need it. They all seem to enjoy stopping what they are doing and take the time to talk to you about their island and way of life.
April 10, 2013
From Cat Island we sailed to Little San Salvador - it was a wonderful sail. Brian trolled the fishing line and caught two barracuda - let them go. Saw lots of flying fish. Took us 7 ½ hours to Sail to LSS. Once there, we took a walk on the beach to stretch our legs. Adrian's arm looks awful, but it is healing and he is not as much pain now unless someone accidentally brushes up against it or grabs his right shoulder instead of his left to hoist themselves out of the dinghy up the ladder to the dock (his wife - oops!) Adrian is a big joke teller - he never seems to run out of them, though I've noticed the last couple of days he's been a bit quiet, so I know his arm is still bothering him.
Dinner: Fish tacos from the fish Adrian and Brian speared with a salsa of fruit and vegetable
Reading: Lauren: The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson
Brian: The Jack Reacher series and catching up on his Cruising World magazines through the IPad
Spent one overnight at LSS - this island is owned by a Cruise Line and is used by the passengers to sunbathe, snorkel, fish, glass bottom boat rides, etc. and they have eating areas set aside for them. The non-guests have to ask permission to access the beach above the high-tide mark. Left LSS and sailed to Rock Sound Harbor which is on the Eleuthera Island - a rather bumpy ride to start - large quartering waves, but once we turned and followed the island it was a much calmer sail. Sailed for several hours before the winds died down - we were sailing at a whole 3 knots - at that rate our arrival time would have been about 10 PM. Late afternoon, finally turned on the engine and motored sail for a bit then just motored the rest of the way. Didn't catch anything trolling other than seaweed. I lost my baseball cap while looking up to check the direction of the wind - off it went. Brian lost one about a week ago while standing on the foredeck. Also one of our small solar lights went in the drink.
While here at Rock Sound we rented a vehicle with "Dolphin" and spent almost 12 hours exploring the island. Have to remember to stay on the left side of the road while driving or it makes for some tense moments. We took a few side roads just to see where they would take us, checked out a wonderful library, had lunch at the Laughing Lizard - a very spicy jerk chicken wrap. This island is about 110 miles long - one main road from tip to tip - isn't as trashed as previous ones we've been on. Stopped at a roadside stand and bought fresh veggies and fruit.
Nina and I were passengers for the first ¾ of the trip. We were discussing how liberating it was to not wear makeup (lots of sun screen, though); it's acceptable to throw on a wrinkled shirt; sometimes (gasp) go braless (big deal for me (don't laugh); going barefoot or wearing sandels is the norm; don't have to worry about accessorizing; the only jewelry I wear are the earrings, wedding band and an anniversary ring that I left with and oh, and a black hair elastic on my right wrist as I'm always throwing my hair up in an impromptu ponytail.
Bahamian dinner at Sammy's
Reading: Lauren: The Devil in the White City
Brian: Finished another Jack Reacher series and is also reading the Cruising World magazines on the IPad
Left Rock Sound and headed to a quiet cove - Hatchett Bay (Still part of the Eulethera Island - about 35 miles from here for an overnight then on to Spanish Wells. The sail was rather invigorating - quartering waves and winds averaged about 17 knots. Brian was pleased to not see any panic on my face when we would be hit by a wave that would heel us over quite a bit and rock the boat. I actually did some reading - guess I am getting use the the feel of the boat and am getting a bit more comfortable with seeing how the boat handles the winds and waves. Getting into Hatchet Bay was a tad nerve wracking. The entrance is 90 feet wide, but as you are coming upon it, it looks like the boat will barely make it through. The problem was that because the winds hadn't died down and we had dropped the sails, coming
into the channel (albeit a short one) was a bit of a challenge with the boat rocking side to side - once through you have to stay on course, as there were rocky shallows to either side of the boat. I thought I handled it pretty good (I managed the helm). There were free mooring balls to pick up (they are not maintained); the first one had no loop so we bypassed that one; the second one was rather iffy looking, so.... The third one looked good but it took us four tries to grab the ball - the winds were so stiff that I had a difficult time keeping Brian on the ball so he could pick up the lines - finally snagged it - talk about stressful. Stayed an extra night.
Dinners: Fish tacos with the rest of the fish Brian and Adrian caught.
Grilled chicken with salad - mango and sticky rice for dessert
Grilled chicken and salad
Reading: Brian: Jack Reacher series along with Mark Twain stories
April 12, 2013
Left Hatchet Bay - going through the cut was fine, but no sooner did we get passed it we were slammed with, yet again, quartering waves. I was at the helm and we were really rocking that my knee would bend so much that I thought I was going to hit myself in the side - this went on for several miles. Finally, the rollers quieted down a bit but every so many seconds a larger one would hit us and send us rockin' 'n rollin'. We actually sailed along averaging close to 6 knots and the winds averaged 20 knots - hit a gust of 25 knots. A dolphin swam up to our boat and then under and off it went - pretty neat!! Other than that, no other marine life. We had to travel through another cut - Current Cut. Needed to time it so that we were either going through at slack tide or slightly against or with the current - it's runs a bit fast through there. We checked the tide charts before we left and were able to navigate it just fine. We figured we hit it at outgoing tide and it carried the boat along at over 9 knots. Once through, we made our turn and the waves were down to about 2 feet, but the winds didn't abate, so it made for a great sail. Coming into Spanish Wells was a bit iffy as we thought we were hitting it near high tide (which we found out later - not). Anyway, we felt a slight bump-bump, but it didn't stop us. Once into the mooring field, it was pretty tight to navigate. Spanish Wells is a fishing community and on the way to the mooring field it's a bit narrow - thankfully, no one was heading out or we would have been squeezing by each other. The mooring field is all of 5 balls. We had called the day before and lucked out in getting one for us and one for "Dolphin". We were told that the balls went in order of 1,2,3 - 4 was missing, then 5, then S - do not take the S ball as it was near a very shallow area. So, what's available, but the S ball. We snagged it, but it made us a bit nervous as depending on which way the winds were blowing, we would have been backed into the shallows and stuck. The people on #5 came back after a few minutes and apologized - they were late in leaving - undid our lines and whipped around in the little bit of room we had to maneuver and picked up the new ball.
Took a walk about town - everything and I mean everything closes down at 5pm. It is the cleanest and neatest town we've been in in all of the Bahamas. Spanish Wells is a lucrative fishing community and it shows - they take pride in their gardens and brightly painted houses. We could rent a golf cart to get about town, but I think we've already walked quite a bit of it. No facilities here for cruisers, though Brian will fill up on diesel while here. I can always do laundry in the ole bucket. Ended up with a nasty migraine, so a quiet evening. Tomorrow the town is hosting a Junkanoo Festival - we will definitely check that out. The one beach that we briefly stepped on was absolutely devoid of shells and most important, garbage.
Dinghied to the park for the Junkanoo festival. Had cheeseburgers and met a few locals. Nothing else going on except a blowup bouncy castle for the young children and a ring toss. The older children had competed in a Junkanoo contest with children from other islands. The Spanish Wells children won first place, so we were looking forward to seeing them perform with their costumes. That wasn't going to happen til 8pm AND they were not going to be wearing their costumes - too bad - would have been a wonderful photo opportunity. We rented a golf cart (main transportation) and tooled around the island with "Dolphin". We never made it back to the park for the night time festivities.
Monday, we took the fast ferry to Harbour Island - that's the fastest mode of transportation we've been on since we sold our car. Harbour Island has numerous celebrity homeowners (Mick Jagger, Ron Pearlman, etc.) and famous visitors (Queen Elizabeth and family). Rented a golf cart and stopped and gawked at these multi-million dollar properties, checked out a few local shops and had lunch. As we were tooling around in the golf cart, Brian, who was driving discovered he had no steering at one point. Brian and Adrian checked it out and some very important doodad was missing - you could actually pull the steering wheel out of the shaft. Thankfully, this didn't happen when we were traveling on some of the rather steep streets. We called the company and they came right away. The golf cart was put on a trailer. Nina and I were passengers in the pickup vehicle and Adrian rode shotgun - Brian and the other helper sat in the defunct golf cart on the trailer. We were given a second golf cart - it didn't work all that great, but it got us around. The waiter who took care of us for lunch at Ma Ruby's was of the family that owned the restaurant and he had lived in Boston for a few years. He's now working at the restaurant and trying to put in a golf course on Northern Eleuthera. Lea (his name is much longer, so goes by the first three letters) is also a dentist. It was interesting talking to him about all of his ventures, the Bahamian life and his life in Boston.
Brian spent the morning working on the boat getting ready for our trip north to the Abaco's while I spent it prepping for dinner, lending Brian a hand if he needed it and doing bucket laundry - found that my hands are a better agitator in cleaning the clothes than the plunger. We will be leaving hopefully no later than 6:30 A.M. as it will take us about 11 hours to get there. Here's hoping for favorable winds and a calm sea state.
Dinners: Chicken Salad
Beef stew with veggies and pineapple upside down cake
Fried fish fingers (grouper) with salad
Conch Fritters with salad
Eggplant Parm with chicken roulades (capers & a schmear of anchovy for filling) with salad
Reading: Finished the Devil in the White City and waiting for Brian to finish his latest Jack Reacher book, so I can have a try at the Kindle to see if I like reading on it.
March 11 - 29, 2013
From Big Major we sailed (no motor sail) to Black Point on Great Guana Cay. It took only a few hours to get here. Once there we dinghied over to a luncheon that was being held to raise funds for the local school. $10 bought us stir-fried rice, potato salad, tossed salad, cold slaw and then a choice of either barbecued chicken, ribs or fried fish. There was so much food that I told Brian this was going to be our main meal for the day and it was delicious. Walked off the lunch and checked out part of the island.
Spent the morning on the boat, cooking, cleaning, researching the area while Brian worked on the head (toilet). Our macerator pump quit (that is what empties the holding tank) - he took it apart and discovered that the impella was shredded. Brian was able to cut the hose to bypass our waste going to the holding tank to directly overboard. After he did this, Rich from "The Great Catsby" heard about our problem and offered to sell us his backup as he has two heads on board. So now Brian will be able to patch the hose he cut with hardware that Adrian of "Dolphin" is offering and connect the new macerator pump - yeah!!! In the afternoon we took a walk to another part of the island and found a blow hole AND several pieces of sea glass - finally!!! There was quite a bit of near the blow hole - I think I got some decent pieces, but will have someone check them out to make sure they are good pieces; walked a few small beaches and then headed back to Lorraine's Café for dinner; again, a lot of food and very good. Bought cinnamon raisin bread, coconut bread and a guava cake from her - her mom bakes the bread every day.
Met Lorraine's son, Joshua, a precocious, three-year old cutie patooty - not shy about going up to anyone and start chatting them up. When he saw my IPad - his eyes lit up and asked if there were any games he could play; found Ant Smasher for him and he already knew how to play it and for a three-year old, his hand/eye coordination was excellent. Took a bit of doing to get the IPad back from him as he was a bit rough with it. He didn't like the fact that I was hovering and constantly telling him to be gentle; finally got it back - he wasn't happy with me and wouldn't smile when I wanted to take his picture - so I told him "No picture unless you smile for me", so I got a 3-second smile and then back to folding the arms in front of him and scowling at me - it was actually pretty funny.
Took a dinghy ride along with "Dolphin" and "River Rat" to look for turtles and do some snorkeling. Found a tiny beach and was able to collect a few urchin shells. Saw a few small fish while snorkeling, but as we were finishing up I saw two barracuda. The water was chilly and a rather strong current. I am now able to hoist myself into the dinghy from the water after snorkeling - not an easy feat and I'm not very graceful, but keeping the fins on helps quite a bit. I think I've developed a little upper body strength, probably from constantly hoisting the outboard and dinghy up all the time.
Adrian from "Dolphin" showed me the basics of Soduko. I've had the Soduko for Dummies for quite some time and every once in a while I try my hand at it - very frustrating. Maybe now I'll have a better chance at figuring out the puzzles with the tips from Adrian. Also found out there is a sequel to The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - one of my all time favorites. The book is titled "World Without End". Can't wait to read it!
Reading: Brian - Litigators by Grishom
Lauren - finished Cornwell's Red Mist and also Alex Cross by James Patterson. Now reading The Killing Ground by Jack Higgins
Dinners: Grilled marinated grouper with cornbread and salad
Sausage stuffed w/ Mozzarella wrapped in lasagna noodles and baked in marinara sauce w/ salad
Pork chops with rice and veggies
Yesterday, met up with Nina from "Dolphin" and Debbie from "River Rat" at Lorraine's Café for a cheeseburger and to play Mexican Train (Dominoes); Carol and Rich from "The Great Catsby" showed up and Carol taught us how to play the card game Hand and Foot - didn't take us long to get the hang of the game. Rich took over Carol's last hand so he became my partner - "We take no prisoners" - he must have had an inkling that I'm just a tad competitive. We lost, but not by much - thoroughly enjoyed the game. Rich and Carol have been married 50+ years and just recently sold their Cat (beautiful boat) and have bought themselves an RV to continue their travels. They still own a home in Florida and if we are in their neck of the woods they would like us give them a call. It would be nice if someday we could visit them.
Brian and I got up and off the boat fairly early - wanted to get to a beach at low tide to find sea glass. Had fun - I got soaked a couple of times by the waves and tumbled around a bit (like a rag doll). Good thing I brought along a changed of clothes - we were both soaked and sand everywhere. Our last night on Black Point was spent in Scorpios having a cheeseburger, meeting other boaters and I played two games of pool and won both - either they were really bad at the game or I was just darn lucky.
Left Black Point and sailed a couple of hours to Hetty's Land (still part of Great Guana Cay) to snorkel for the afternoon, though it's very windy and the water is a bit chilly. Alternator belt broke along the way - thankfully we have a spare, so another repair at another anchorage. Have decided to head north after today and stop at islands we missed on the way down. Want to see family and friends this summer. On the way out of the anchorage spotted "Lirica" - didn't realize they were in the same anchorage - would have stopped by and said "hello". We met them (Raul & ??) while were in Charleston - they had given me some tips on crabbing.
Went for a walk into town (Black Point); couple of miles. On the way back, we were offered a ride from a guy who lives in the "castle" on the island. He was driving a front loader. We were all carrying a rum punch drink and he said to "step right up". We did - what a riot. Nina was trying to take a video of our joy ride while holding onto her drink while holding onto the front loader - part of her drink ended up down my back. I'm surprised the rest of us didn't lose our drinks or fall off - it was a rather bumpy and fast ride (anything is faster than sailing), BUT fun!!!
Didn't stay at Hetty's Land as there was nothing to see when snorkeling.
Left Hetty's Land and motored to Big Majors. On the way we stopped at Little Iguana Cay. We walked around for a bit and took pictures of the Iguanas. Nina and I decided to swim back to our boats as the water was fairly calm. Boy am I out of shape - made it, but was tired. Guess I need to do more swimming.
We are still leaking transmission fluid (even when the engine isn't running) and we just can't seem to locate the leak. Were able to buy the fluid, but at this rate..... Brian's seriously thinking about changing out the engine and the transmission. We could just replace the transmission, but the engine is old (original to the boat which is a '79), parts are corroded and there's been too much work done on it already.
Last night dinghied over to the beach on Big Majors and played a game called Corn Toss - girls against the guys (it was a grudge match). This time they won. Steve and Theresa from "Seaquell" played the losers - this time we won. Didn't stay long on the beach - the sunset was beautiful, BUT the no see ums were horrid - we were all doing the slap dance.
Dinners: Grilled marinated strawberry Grouper with couscous mixed with sautéed veggies, salad and blueberry buckle
Pulled barbecue pork with red cabbage salad by Nina of "Dolphin"
Leftovers - defrosted the freezer and cleaned out the fridge
Reading: Brian downloaded several books by Lee Childs regarding the Jack Reacher series. In between he's reading stories by Edgar Allen Poe
I just finished A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett which Brian also read.
Anchored for a few days at Cambridge Cay. Before reaching Cambridge Cay, Brian hooked a barracuda - we will use it for bait fish. Took about a mile and half dinghy ride to a coral garden - lots of fish. The sergeant majors apparently are use to people feeding them. As soon as we entered the water they started right at us - felt like they were nibbling my legs - it tickled; I was laughing so hard, I couldn't get the snorkel mask situated on my face - fed them part of a granola bar - once it was gone they backed off. Current was pretty strong - swam against it for a bit and then just floated back to the dinghy looking at all the fish. Too bad we couldn't fish here - saw some big grouper.
Today we dinghied to a nearby coral head to check out the marine life. More marine life here than there was at the coral garden. Brian and I were swimming along when he spotted a very large barracuda just hanging out in one area and out of the corner of Brian's eye he saw a dark object, so he turned and a big nurse shark was coming closer to Brian to check him out. Brian took off one of his fins and poked the shark in the snout - it backed off. I turned around and started swimming back the direction we came from with Brian following - the shark left us alone. It was a bit hair-raising - the nurse sharks are supposedly harmless, but he was about 6 feet in length and we didn't want to hang around to find out otherwise.
The winds are suppose to change to out of the north starting tomorrow and continue for the next several days. "Dolphin" and we have decided to sail to George Town after all, since heading north at this time would just be strictly motoring as the winds would be on the nose. Looking forward to "civilization" for a bit - need to stock up on some fresh veggies and fruits. We will most likely stop at Lee Stocking Island for one night then continue on.
Dinners: Brian caught a monk fish outside the park limits - grilled it - tasted good, but way too many bones; slow cooked several garlic cloves in oil, then sautéed veggies in same oil - added long grain rice and simmered; conch salad
Roasted herbed chicken thighs cooked over onion rings; mashed potatoes flavored with garlic, carrots and corn muffins
For breakfast one morning, made French toast with the coconut bread we bought at Black Point - mixed cinnamon and nutmeg in batter - yum!!!
Reading: Lauren: finished Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (she also wrote The Time Traveler's Wife) Started Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Brian: still reading the Jack Reacher series that he had downloaded
Sailed from Cambridge Cay to Lee Stocking Island. Left at 8:00 am and arrived at 4:00 pm - it was a perfect sailing day - no motoring. The winds averaged about 15 knots and we averaged about 6.5 knots in speed. Brian trolled a line and as soon as we heard the zing of the fishing line, I knew we had to slow the boat so he could bring in his catch. We took down the head sail which slowed the boat down and Brian was able to real in a 4 foot Mahi Mahi. It put up a bit of a fight, jumping out of the water and then swimming down - but Brian persevered. What a colorful fish - blues, green and yellows with stripes and dots (when they are alive). I held the fishing pole while he gaffed the fish and brought it on board. We brought with us an old heavy wooden baseball bat and used that to gently persuade the fish to quiet down (sorry). It was not a pretty site - blood spatter everywhere - our cockpit is rather small, so I stood on the seat area while Brian put the fish out of it's misery. Once the fish was dead (I told the fish "sorry" but that he was going to a good cause - our stomachs), it immediately lost all of its color. Brian gutted it and cut it in half and then bagged and refrigerated it. Later we were told that once the fish is on board to just put a heavy wet towel over the fish's head instead of using blunt force trauma - the towel will calm the fish and he will eventually cease to live. Definitely sounds more humane and there would be less of a mess.
When we arrived at Lee Stocking we were able to pick up a free mooring. It used to be the home of the Perry Institute for Marine Science's - Caribbean Marine Research Center here on Lee Stocking, but now the whole island is abandon. Brian and Adrian dove down on the mooring balls to make sure they were in good condition - they are practically brand new. Took a swim to cool off and then showered off the salt. Had the Mahi Mahi for dinner - excellent!!
Storm came through here at Lee Stocking - lightning and heavy rains (Brian went out at 5:30am and scrubbed off the decks while it was raining. The storm brought cool weather and winds so we decided to dinghy around to Leaf Cay which is supposedly owned by Nicholas Cage. No one lives on the island - lots of pink iguanas and it was rumored that there were lots of sea beans to gather - didn't find any. From Leaf Cay, we dinghied back to Lee Stocking and spent ¾ of the day walking around and poking through all the buildings. So much stuff left behind.
On another line of thought - we just can't get over the trash on these islands. Lots of the stuff is washed up on shores from storms - tons of plastic and a gazillion shoes - Really!!! I should have taken a picture of the sign when we first landed on Black Point - "Black Point - Keep it Clean, Keep it Green, It Starts with You". Then I should have taken a picture of all the broken bottles and trash that lined the roads. So its not just storms that bring trash onto the islands. Some islands put out dumpsters so boaters can use them and then the garbage gets burned. We had started picking up some of the trash and putting it in garbage cans or bagging it as we hiked around the islands, but it got to be a full time job. I was so upset when we were having our luncheon at Black Point for the school fundraiser, 'cause the playground was littered with broken glass and the kids were running around it barefoot - they didn't seem to mind - guess they are use to it.
Because of the high winds and 8 foot swells, we decided to wait another day before heading over to George Town. Took another hike around the island and checked several beaches for any shells, sea glass (non-existent), etc. though Brian and Adrian collected quite a few ripe coconuts. We now know how to open them - the coconut water is mild and the coconut flesh is a great snack - crunchy!!! The sand on one beach was so, so soft - like a baby's bottom when you powder it, like fresh dough bread when you knead it - it was such a pleasure to walk in it. When we got back, Adrian and Brian decided to go snorkeling - they got a grouper - can't wait to eat that.
Dinners: Grilled Mahi Mahi with tossed salad and leftover rice mixed with spinach, breadcrumbs and herbs (by Nina)
Pasta with home made mushroom pesto with left over chicken mixed in
Grilled Mahi Mahi steaks with tossed salad and apple cake
Reading: Brian taking a break from the Reacher series and reading "Never Say Impossible" (The Life and Times of an American Entrepeneur) by John Perry, Jr. (Perry Institute)
Lauren: I thought I was going to be reading King Rat by James Clavell - author of Shogun but someone replaced the cover of the book with the King Rat cover - the book is actually "The Understudy" by Elia Kazan
Left Lee Stocking Island at 9:30 and sailed to Stocking Island which is across Elizabeth Harbor from George Town - sailed the whole way - the winds were a broad reach (I'm actually starting to retain and understand some of the sailing lingo) out of the South East averaging about 15 knots - the waves varied from 2 - 4 feet. Arrived in George Town and anchor down at 3:30PM - was an exhilarating sail - rather cold, though. Saw "New Moon" roaming around looking for a place to anchor. When we dropped our anchor, I realized that "Mezzaluna" was in front of us. We haven't seen Katie or Jeff since Marathon. Took a dinghy ride to the Chat and Chill and split a rib plate with Brian. "Mezzaluna" and "Dolphin" joined us along with Keith and Eda of "Cheers" - they are traveling with "Mezzaluna" and will be heading south. We would also be doing that, but because of the constant transmission problem, we have decided to head north to have the transmission and engine looked at and that way we get to see family and friends.
This morning took a very long hike with "Dolphin" on Stocking Island looking for treasures - found only one piece of sea glass. We didn't want to walk the beaches back so we found a trail to the other side of the island and thought we could get back to our dinghies, which we couldn't unless we went for a swim in one area. The one time I decided NOT to wear a bathing suit plus we had cameras with us. Luckily we were offered a short dinghy ride by two couples from Canada to the Chat and Chill and from there we walked the parameter of the island back to our dinghies, except part of it we had to walk in the water so Brian gave me a piggyback ride where the water was deep enough for me to get my clothes wet - I'm hoping Nina of "Dolphin" was NOT taking any pictures. Back to the boat for a late lunch and Brian and Adrian decided to take their chances at a volleyball game on the beach with other boaters - I stayed behind to work on the blog, clean and made a hummus dip from scratch - added roasted red peppers and red pepper flakes to zip it up a bit - it was a bit hit - none left.
Last day in George Town area we moved our boat across the bay (distance was about a mile and a half) and anchored so we could provision before leaving. It was a very long and hot day. Brought in four loads of laundry to do, but the one laundry facility that provides transportation to and from was not answering. I walked to the closer one while Nina watched all of our stuff to check it out - there were lots of washing machines and dryers, but the place was mobbed. I did find an employee that was willing to come and pick Nina and I up with all of our laundry - he wasn't quite ready to leave, so I walked back to wait - he was a no-show - frustrating! We were sitting outside a small eating establishment called the Bikini Bottom and the girl behind the counter tried to contact the owners of the laundry mat that was on the outskirt of George Town - she ended up giving Nina and I a ride there (turned out she and her husband own the Bikini Bottom - she looks all of 15). We were so happy that we paid her what would have cost us for a taxi - she was very personable. She did find out that the owner/husband was off island and that his wife got called to the medical facility for an emergency. When we arrived at the laundry mat the wife came in and told us she would take us back to the dinghy dock when we were done. Got back about 2:30 and then off walking to do errands - a long day. Schlepping laundry isn't fun, but a tad better than sitting on board and using a bucket and plunger and then waiting all day for the clothes to dry. The sea air keeps the clothing damp once it gets wet.
Dinners: Nina prepared corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots; I made a gingerbread with lemon sauce
Fried grouper with veggies
Baked mac and cheese with ham in it - served with a side of corn. Didn't have enough extra sharp cheddar, so I used Queso Fresco (Mexican) for the mix.
Note: Noticed quite a few boats have a "Moon" name: Mezzaluna, New Moon, Luna, Moon Dog, Blue Moon, Moonbeam, Moon Shadow (every time I here someone call Moon Shadow - Cat Steven's Moon Shadow song pops into my head) to name a few.
February 10, 2013
Backed out of cooking dinner for Tim on Legacy as we are just out straight with work. Did have him over though for sun downers. I gave him the beer bread recipe and a container of home made marinara sauce - he thought that was great. A couple of days ago I decided I was ready to tackle the blue stripe around the boat - never did like it. Brian stood in the dinghy and moved it along the boat while I taped off above and below the stripe. I held the boat with one hand and painted with he other; Brian held the paint can while moving the dinghy alongside the boat with the other. We were doing rather well, until we got near the bow of the boat; we were starting to lose light, but also, the winds and waves kicked up - the dinghy started moving under the bow, Brian had a difficult time keeping out from under the bow; he wanted me to grab the can of paint, but I couldn't grab it as one hand was holding on to the rim of the boat and the other held the wet paint brush, SOOOO, down went Brian with the paint. On the upside, he didn't go overboard with the paint and the paint didn't land on him. On the downside, we lost almost 90% of the paint in the bottom of the dinghy - what a mess. I wish I had taken a picture. Usually I would probably have blown a gasket, but I started giggling - I couldn't help it - we were just hoping no one was watching. It looked like we gutted a pig in the dinghy. It definitely was a Kodak moment. The next day, I could barely move - just standing in the dinghy the day before and going around the boat - between our leg muscles quivering from trying to keep balanced, our hand grip on the boat and our arm muscles constantly flexing with the movement between the dinghy and the boat holding tight to the boat, taping it off and painting the stripe - it was physically challenging - great isometrics workout. Wanted to get the job done, so back in the dinghy and taped the other side, then a coat of paint, back to the first side and painted the second coat and then stripped the tape off that side - turned out pretty good - looks great from a distance. Had Brian dinghy me around the boat while I used q-tips dipped with paint thinner and took off any dribbles. Mid-afternoon, the other side was ready for the second paint job, but weren't sure if we should attempt it as the winds were up quite a bit and the water was rather choppy. I just didn't want this job to drag on, so we went ahead. Brian really had a tough time holding the dinghy in place; I was just afraid of the paint getting spattered all over the side of the boat or on the dinghy (this time we set the paint can on a rag on the dinghy seat ((worked much better than Brian trying to hold it up for me and also try to hold the dinghy steady)). Again, stripped off the tape and q-tipped off any noticeable muck ups. After that, I sat in the dinghy and scrubbed all of it with paint thinner except the bottom - not sure if I'll leave it as is or just work on cleaning it up another day. Overall, the stripe looks much better than the blue that was on it.
Met with Wayne after work (7:30pm) and had pizza and beer under the Tree of Knowledge - the local hangout for drinking and commiserating (mostly drinking)
Today we met with several other couples who are looking to head to the Bahamas at the next weather window which looks like it starts Tuesday. We may wait til Wednesday as West Marine ordered a propane tank for us that is suppose to come in Tuesday. It would be nice to have the extra one on board - we would have 4 total. They are 10 pounds each and each one lasts us about a month. I think I need to cut down on the baking - that may stretch them a bit longer. Did some last minute grocery shopping locally and picked up another 5 pound gas tank. That gives us three 5 lb cans along with two 5 lb diesel cans to lash on deck for our travels. We also have a 5 lb gas can that stays hooked up in the dinghy. Our water maker is working just fine and between the wind generators and solar panels we should be ok. Plus Brian bought a battery charger that seems to work wonders in getting the batteries charged up rather quickly. Our navigational equipment, SSB, all nav lights and engine are in working order. So it looks like we are good to go as soon as the weather is favorable. Yes, I'm nervous, but a bit excited. Just still not looking forward to the night watch that I will have to do alone so Brian can get some sleep.
Dinners: Pasta with home made marinara meat sauce and salad
Sausage and pepper sandwiches
Pizza and beer
Rice with left over sausage and peppers mixed in
Roasted herbed rubbed chicken thighs with a pat of Boursin cheese under the skin along with roasted potatoes and carrots
Boiled salted new potatoes with spinach salad and sautéed boneless skinless chicken breasts
Reading: Whipped through 61 Hours by Lee Child
Sailing Grace by John Otterbacher
The Winner by David Baldacci
Unlikely Passages by Reese Palley
Onboard Weather Handbook by Chris Tibbs
Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy
February 15, 2013
Decided to make the run to the Bahamas - Wayne was sad to see us leave - he wanted to go with us. He figures in about a year's time, he should be ready to head out from Marathon. Mixed emotions leaving Marathon with all its conveniences, but.... I'll probably miss the laundry the most. I bought a plunger and Brian bored a few holes in it so now I can do laundry in a pail and use the plunger to agitate the clothes (can you just picture it??? - LOL) I'm sure we will come across some laundry facilities, but in the meantime, it will be the plunger and a bucket. Left Marathon February 13th at 7 a.m. with two other boats: "My Pleasure" and "Bob Ra Anne". Once we cleared the buoys from Marathon, we saw the biggest sea turtle ever - it had to be no less than 5 feet from head to tail! Also saw quite a few flying fish - they are always neat to watch. I was a bit nauseated both at beginning and end of the trip, but never truly got sea sick. My first ocean passage and did much better than I thought I would do as, again, I was a bit nervous about doing an overnight watch. It went rather well, though. I was mesmerized with all the stars. Used my IPad and pulled up the app for Starwalk - I was able to pinpoint the constellations - I really enjoyed that; I counted 4 shooting stars and Brian said he saw a few; also played a couple of games of scrabble on the IPad. Every two hours I wrote down our position, wind speed, barometer, course and temperature.
31 hours to get to Morgan's Bluff. (pics) After arriving at Morgan's Bluff, Brian set the anchor and then went in the water with a mask to make sure the anchor was secure - it was sand over coral - so a bit precarious. Once he was satisfied with that he picked up Jim from "My Pleasure" and Bob from "Bob Ra Anne" and dinghied over to check in - it went rather smoothly, except when Brian roped up to the rock there was a young man there requesting money just because he helped choose the rock... Jim from "My Pleasure" gave him $5.00. Then the guy thought he could get more out of them, so he picked on Brian - Brian said "no". They guy said he had to feed his family (we were told later by Dave of "Dotori" that this guy was a drug dealer. He ended up having a staring contest with Brian - Brian wouldn't budge and the other two guys with him were a bit uncomfortable - Brian didn't care and by the way, Brian won the staring contest - apparently he used to do that all the time with his brother, Wayne when they were kids. While the guys were gone, I swam a lap around the boat - it was refreshing - after all that sailing we were caked in a thin film of salt and all of our clothing was damp from the salt air and any waves that splashed onto the boat and us. After the dip, I did a nice hot shower in the cockpit - soooo nice!!!!
Reading: Finished The Winner by David Baldacci
Brian is reading Close Combat by W.E. Griffin
Dinner: last night was Kraft Mac N Cheese (and when we arrived in Morgan's bluff - the left overs) - yes, from the box
2/15/12 Left Morgan's Bluff about 7:30 am after listening to the weather report. We were originally going to head to South East side of New Providence Island as it would have been good protection from the weather coming in. But the weather pattern changed significantly, so we headed instead to Nassau as did the other two boats (that was their original plan). We were able to sail all but the last hour coming into Nassau - it was rather nice. The other two boats did a motor sail and got in quite a bit earlier than us and went to a marina. We were in no hurry as we were planning to anchor. We put out a fishing line, but didn't catch anything - had cut up a nice fresh pineapple and used the rind as chum hoping it would lure some fish. Did see a good size fish jump clear out of the water and a few flying fish. It took us several tries to get the anchor down in a good spot - boats were close, we did it, but a bit nerve wracking. So to alleviate my anxiety, I started right in with fixing dinner while Brian contacted family via SSB email to let them know we made it.
Dinner: Roasted Roma tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar and herbs served over pasta and home made chicken fingers (saving all the stale crackers and using them as breadcrumbs). We opened the bottle of champagne my sister, Lisa had gotten for us to celebrate arriving safely in the Bahamas. Would have celebrated last night, but we were so exhausted after our travels that it was a very early evening. (Thanks, Lis - it was very good!) We sat out after dinner on the foredeck of the boat and had our champagne and listened to the goings on and took in all the lights on land.
Reading: Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
2/16/13 Took a bus ride around the island to the mall looking for a telephone store to get a sim card for our phone. Costs $1 for the ride no matter how far you go. Boy, sometimes, we just don't know how lucky we are. The poverty; every home, the schools, most businesses further away from the marinas are fenced and have razor wire on top. We were told not to go anywhere alone even during the day and at night to absolutely not go out unless it was just across the street to the shopping plaza - ok with me! Though, everyone is so pleasant, always smiling and very friendly except for the guy at Morgan's Bluff.
2/17/13 Blueberry pan cakes with bacon to start the day. Went out and about to the Straw Market - a building that is just so crammed packed with "stuff" (mostly imported) - some clothing and lots of chatzkies - I basically held onto Brian - I just didn't like the closeness of it all. Prior to that, we walked through a section of vendors that were selling their wares along the street: all of the items were made locally and the vendor has to be at the table - no imports. The baskets were all shapes and sizes and the work that goes into them is incredible. I so wanted to pick up a straw fedora for our grandson, Colin, but trying to find a post office and getting it mailed out would have been hassle and probably would have cost us three times the hat. The jewelry was made from sea glass and conch shells - just beautiful (no, I did not buy any). We found a Dunkin Donuts and I got my coffee. From there we walked up to Fincastle Fort and toured the ruin - cost us a dollar each to have a look see inside and the view was spectacular! Then we walked down the Queen's Steps; the young man standing at the top gave us an impromptu history lesson about the steps - he did such a wonderful job that we tipped him. And yes, I forgot my camera and the story behind that is the day before, we discovered the weather was going to be worse than we had anticipated, so we opted to get a slip in the marina for a few days. We probably would have been ok where we were, but it all depended on the direction of the winds, the tide and current and even though we have a wonderfully heavy 73lb Rochna, being the newbies that we are, we just wanted to be safe (forget the budget) and not be up all night watching to see if our boat was going to drift or watching all the other boats around us not holding. So we were actually out getting a sim card for our phone when the dock master asked us to get right back before the tide changed so that we could get our boat into the slip. The heavens opened up and it just poured; it rained so hard that the streets were flooded and it looked like waterfalls coming off the buildings. So off the bus, we ran down the dock to "My Pleasure" (our dinghy was tied to their boat), dinghied to our boat, take off the outboard and haul that up, haul up the dinghy, set up all of our lines for the dock - we looked like drowned rats and, of course, the winds were picking up and the temp dropped significantly - a tad uncomfortable. Everything in my small backpacked got dumped on the table to dry out and the camera was put away for safe keeping (hence forgetting it the next day). Brian asked me if I wanted to navigate the boat to the slip and I decided to give it a try. I am proud to say I got the boat safely into the slip without incident, though I came within an inch or two (really) from hitting the concrete dock with our bow anchor. Brian kept telling me to put the boat in reverse and I kept yelling that I was in reverse. What I wasn't doing was giving it a bit of throttle, but it finally clicked - gave it a bit of throttle and voila snug and safe - whew!!!
Last night on our way back from a walking tour (I did over 10,000 steps) we stopped under the bridge to check out several "shacks" (restaurants) - and decided to try the local cuisine. First we watched Ali (pic) to learn how to get the meat out of the conch shell - he then cleaned it for us, dribbled it with fresh lime juice and sprinkled it with sea salt - it was delicious - the meat has a bit of sweetness to it (yes it was raw). Then we ordered cracked conch which is very lightly breaded and fried and a tropical salad that consisted of fresh fruit, habanera peppers, conch and drizzled with fresh lime and oranges - they were both wonderful! Brian can't wait to try and get his own conch. We had heard it was very difficult to get the meat out, but with a little practice, I think he will do just fine.
2/18/13 Took a walk across the bridge to the Atlantis Island (pics) and walked around the casino, ogled the humongous yachts, all the hoity toity stores; we wanted to go to the aquarium, but it was $40/person - passed on that. Did have a lunch (mine was a salad with lightly barbecued pork and beef - three meals out of it plus used the leftover meat several days later for dinner) and walked back - stopped at Starbucks to check the weather update on the internet. The winds have picked up significantly and we may stay one more day and leave on Wednesday morning - we will see what it's like in the morning.
2/19/13 Not too long ago we discovered a hose had come loose from the cockpit shower unit and we lost quite a bit of fresh water straight into the bilge - Brian fixed it. This morning he was looking for a part for another project and discovered that the previous leak created more problems and some damage that we were not aware of; the whole aft berth where all of his tools are stored had been flooded. So EVERYTHING was taken out and spread all over the boat; inside and out to dry out - the cockpit was layered in all of the sandpaper he brought - took all day for everything to dry out. I caught up on laundry which takes hours but it kept me out of his hair and off the boat. Also downloaded pics from Joey of "My Pleasure" and copied some of ours to her thumb drive - this was a big deal for me as I'm not great with the computer but I figured it out. Joey and Jim hoisted Brian part way up the mast to reset his spinnaker pole (pics)
2/20/13 Left Nassau. Brian maneuvered the boat out of the slip; we were just about aground, but it was sandy so we gunned through it. Once out, I took over the helm and pulled around to the next dock down for diesel. There was already one boat on the diesel dock and another one waiting, so I got in behind the waiting boat and then "Bob Ra Anne" and "My Pleasure" got in line behind us. It's not easy trying to keep the boat in line - between the current, wind, tide..... and jockeying around so that you don't hit any other boats and there was a rather large trawler that was trying to cut in front of us - he would edge in then I would move closer to the boat in front of me - after a couple of times, it just got too risky - didn't want to hit the boat in front of me so Brian finally yelled over that there was a line - the trawler finally backed off. I was able to finally bring the boat to the dock without much ado. About a third of the way to Allan's Cay our boat started making some weird noises and then just stopped motoring (we were motor/sailing). Come to find out we were completely out of transmission fluid. Yes, we checked all that needed to be checked on the engine before we left. Brian thinks that with all the bucking around the boat was doing in the slip because of the high winds, that when he did his systems checks the fluids must have been sloshing around so it looked like we were good to go. At first Brian thought we had a prop problem; we brought the boat into the wind and dropped the main sail, dropped an anchor (it was shallow traveling), he jumped overboard and checked. Prop was in place and looked fine and there was nothing tangled on it. Once on board, he rechecked all of the fluids again. In the meantime, we radioed our traveling companions - both boats turned around for us. "My Pleasure" was going to tow us back to Nassau if it had been anything major - geesh!! Awfully nice of them!! Once we were on our way again, Brian radioed "Bob Ra Anne" and "My Pleasure" and offered to share his unopened bottle of Macallans with them - the guys jumped at it. Sorry, Bobby - we originally were going to open it when you and Cait came to visit us, though there is plenty left. The guys thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dinners: Pork chops with sautéed mushrooms and onions along with couscous with parsley
Community Dinner with Bob Ra Anne and My Pleasure: Grilled Pork Loin, Green Bean Casserole and twice cooked red potatoes
Had my first rum and coke - tasted similar to cream soda, but a bit too sweet for me
Baked mac n Cheese - the real deal
2/21/13 Brian helped Bob of "Bob Ra Anne" with cutting down his battens to properly fit his sails while I chatted with Barbara - she liked my Cinderella dress. Prior to that Brian and I went around and checked everyone's anchors to make sure they had stayed put as it was a rather windy night and a pretty strong current running through - a bit of bucking (the boat - lol) going on all night, but not uncomfortable. We all dinghied over to another outcrop of an island to check out the iguanas - took pics, collected shells, walked around the spit of land that takes 20 minutes total if you don't stop. Once back around to our dingies, we took a swim - refreshing!!! The colors of the water are incredible - just like the post cards - so many different shades of blue and blue/greens. There are probably about 10 boats total that are anchored in this area.
Reading: Brian: Corsair by Clive Cussler w/ Jack Du Brul
Lauren: Finished Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener and started Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz
2/22/13 Left Allan's Cay and headed for Norman's Cay. Haven't seen much for marine life except for two dolphins. Brian dived the 20 feet to check everyone's anchors. After that he spent some time snorkeling around the boats - not much down there, mostly sand, though he did find the biggest sand dollar - he brought it up and just before he broke the surface the sand dollar broke in two - very disappointing. Spent two days at Norman's - took a long walk partially around the island and Brian found a nice starfish totally intact. One day we all dingyied to the other side of the island looking for conch. Other than tons of conch, not much else - a few little fish. Snorkeled around and enjoyed the water. On the way back to our boat the occupants of our dinghy saw a huge ray jump out of the water and crash back down - awesome sight!!! Brian cleaned out two large conchs, refrigerated them and we haven't decided what we will do with the meat yet. We did sample a raw piece with fresh lime juice and sea salt - it was good. Gave Brian a haircut -he was looking rather raggedy. Shook out the rug and comforter, wiped inside of boat down and vacced.
Community Dinner: Appetizer was conch fritters - very good along with pan fried tilapia, ratatoullie, mashed potatoes and my contribution was a spice cake (boxed) with home made cream cheese frosting
2/34/13 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY BONN!!!
2/24/13 Left Norman's Cay and headed for Warderick Wells (Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park). Absolutely no fishing within the park boundaries which covers 176 protected square miles of subtropical waters, coral reefs and fish-breeding grounds. Coming into this protected area to moor is just absolutely breath taking. Postcards and I'm sure any pics I take will not do it justice; looks like we will be here for several days. "Dolphin" is here and Adrian came right over to tell us about a good area to snorkel, so Brian and I jumped right in and dinghyied over to the spot. The current was running a bit, so it was rather tiring - I did start to panic, but worked hard to get back to the dinghy - hung onto the dinghy for a few minutes to catch my breath and let my heart slow down. We got to see lots of colorful fish, tons of different coral and even a nurse shark.
Dinner: White rice with leftover pork from a salad and made a sweet and sour sauce with cut green pepper, leftover fresh pineapple chunks
Taught Bob and Barb from "Bab Ra Anne" to play Liverpool. They requested a game tonight - who am I to pass up a game of Liverpool - lol and boy, Barb is a tad competitive - enjoyed the game.
2/28/13 Two days ago a group of us decided to take a hike to the pirates lair - we were told it was a two hour hike - we left at 9:10 and made it back to the dinghy at 3:45. It was exhausting!!!! Jim and Joey from "My Pleasure", Bob and Barb from "Bob Ra Anne" and Pat (Paddy) from "New Moon" joined us on this adventure. I was a bit concerned when we picked up Pat from her boat as she was wearing crocs with no back strap - Pat is 73. We were told the hike was going to be a bit of a workout. She said she would be fine and she was for the most part. About 10 minutes into the hike we had to cross a black mangrove nursery - the tide was up, so Brian led our party across - the sand was rather soft in one spot - the water was up to our hips. Jim who trailed last lost his croc and then his balance and almost went completely down, while trying to keep Joey's camera out of the water - the camera got wet. Not a great start to the day. I was glad I actually wore an old pair of sneakers as most of the hike is over iron rock - treacherous - you have to constantly look at where you step - tons of holes and sharp edges. We all brought food and water (not enough water), took a dip on the Atlantic side of the island to cool off. About ¾ of the way through, Pat started to flag and she fell twice, but didn't get hurt - just her pride. She was upset 'cause she felt she was holding everyone else back - I think everyone else was glad for the little breaks we took so Pat could cool down and catch her breath. She finally called it quits and hailed her husband with her handheld VHF. We waited with her on a beach while John came to rescue her. Barb went back with them also as she has knee problems and was hurting. After that 15 minute break, the rest of us just didn't want to move, but we pushed on and actually lost the trail for a few minutes - not well marked. Finally made it back - we were too tired to even talk to each other. We took pics of the island and the anchorage. Weather is not suppose to be great end of this week, so we will stay put til it clears. Plenty of snorkeling and hiking to do while we are here. Are not allowed to take any shells from the area - they do like us to pick up trash, though, so we do that when we go out for hikes. No services here, but we like it - it's quiet and protected from high winds. Absolutely no fishing.
Learned how to play Mexican Train - a dominoes game - lots of fun.
Brian made home made cinnamon roles - Yep - they were a huge hit!!!
Community dinner on our boat. Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad by Nina from "Dolphin", apps and drinks by everyone else and I made a creamsicle pie with a chocolate cookie crust and whipped topping
Reading: Finished Dean Koontz' Lone Survivor
Starting Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay - recommended by my friend Judy
Brian is reading Strange Highways by Dean Koontz
3/3/13 HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAM - (3/1/13)!! "My Pleasure" and "Bob Ra Anne" left to start back north. Hopefully someday, we will see them again. Went for a short hike to Boo Boo Hill to check out the blow holes and then over to Boo Boo Beach and then back to the boat. Took a walk with Nina on the sand bar at low tide - that was a workout especially when we had to turn around and walk against the current - saw two smaller rays and lots of sand dollars, but you are not suppose to collect anything from the park or do any fishing. Saw a huge ray the next morning near our boat. Got together with Kathy and Mark from "Nancy Lu" and Adrian and Nina of "Dolphin" for a community dinner. Yesterday had a cold front come through - a bit of rain, but the winds hit gusts of 39 knots. We were actually rather comfortable - not much moving around - the winds kept up all day and through the night. Nina and Adrian came over for a movie and then ended up staying though dinner. We taught them how to play Liverpool and Adrian taught us how to play Wist - some similarities to the game of Spades.
Sitting tight for today - rather cool here and waiting for the weather to die down a bit. Will leave tomorrow morning and head further south.
Dinners: Community dinner: Grilled marinated chicken thighs, green beans and left over spaghetti mixed with dices tomatoes, kale, mozzarella, sautéed garlic and onion, shredded parm cheese on top and baked
Carrots and tuna noodle casserole made with left over spaghetti (cooked way too much pasta the other night, but easy enough to use the leftovers)
Cheeseburgers with potato salad
Out of most of my fresh vegetables and fruits - once we get to George Town, we will be able to re-provision
Some of the Baking I've done: Cranberry nut bread - but used cranraisins, molasses lemon cookies, beer bread, blueberry buckle, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, butternut chewies, blueberry lemon bread, peanut butter cookies, white bread with yeast....and a banana bread with coconut
Reading: Finished Sarah's Key (thanks, Judy) and started The Litigators by John Grisham
3/7/13 We've been anchored at Big Majors for the past 2 ½ days. Did a little bit of snorkeling and enjoyed the swimming pigs. Saw some huge rays and quite a few brown sharks (big), which are nurse sharks (pic). Brian speared a "lobster" - they are actually not a lobster, but a mutant crayfish, but it got away. Saw tons of sea urchins - we may get a few and see what they taste like - we've been reading about them and how to prepare them. Brian has been working all morning on our macerator pump for the head - he discovered that the impella inside the pump was shredded. He finally took off for the island to see if he could get a part (I'm thinking, not). While he was gone I did a small load of whites (hung everything out except my panties ((I refuse to hang them out for the world to see)) and cleaned up from breakfast - bacon and eggs and toast from a home made white bread we bought from a woman on the island that bakes and sells only breads (if she was baking in the states, she would have been shut down - not exactly the cleanest kitchen, BUT the bread is delicious!!). Yesterday the winds and waves picked up (we were expecting the front). Took the dinghy out anyways for a bit looking for new areas to snorkel - it was like riding a bronco. Last night the winds were rather strong and the boat was rocking quite a bit, but have to say we were not at all uncomfortable - do I dare say, I'm getting use to living aboard??? During the night we both checked to make sure we were not dragging our anchor - all was well and I actually slept pretty well. This morning got up about 6 and took a peak out - noticed a loose dinghy banging against the rocks - we let our dinghy down and Brian picked up the guy next to us, 'cause we noticed his dingy was gone - he went with Brian, but it wasn't his, though he did find his - it was deflated and underwater - hopefully he will be able to salvage the outboard. Found the owner of the missing dinghy - they were grateful for the rescue.
The day before we left Big Majors Brian set out a fishing pole from the boat with a small fish head - it attracted a good sized nurse shark. Then a manta ray swam in and the nurse shark kept edging the ray away - this went on for about a half hour. The shark did grab the bait but let it go.
Reading: Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell
Brian finished Strange Highways then whipped through Vince Flynn's American Assassin and is now reading Pinkerton's Secret by Eric Lerner
01/06/2013, Marathon, FL
Bake mac n cheese with ham and a cut up leftover tomato mixed in (did not go to the pot luck Christmas Day
Boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated in olive oil, soy sauce, lemon zest and smashed garlic with long grain rice and sliced tomato
12/30/12 The day after Christmas, Brian noticed that our dinghy was tied to the boat - we always had it hanging off the davit lines. Apparently the clevis pin had worked its way loose (heavy winds last night) and the dinghy was floating away. Our neighbors on Legacey, Tim and Mimi were on their veranda having coffee and came to the rescue (Thank you again, Tim and Mimi). Apparently we were not the only boat to have things worked loose from the winds and went for a swim. After reviewing the last entry, looks like I need to review them a bit more carefully and use spell check. Last couple of days, we've been out walking the "strip". Started wearing a large-brimmed hat to protect my face from the sun (don't like wearing hats). I told Brian I was wearing it 'cause when we walked the "strip" it's lined with high tension wires that just sizzle really loud (want to protect what brain cells I have left - lol). Brian says I should line the hat with tin foil - brother!! I thought maybe I'd make note of any interesting signs I see along the way. The only one we could think of was the one we saw while in Charleston (mentioned below). Stopped at Lenchos, a Mexican restaurant and had an appetizer - very good. Bought ourselves a pedometer and I have it clipped on 24/7. (Brian likes to see how many miles he can put on it after 8 in the evening ((Brian, of course, wrote that - ha ha)).) It's interesting to see how many steps I actually take while on board (actually, I'm mostly crawling, bending, climbing over or in things, etc.) Haven't been able to meet up with Wayne and Corey much - he's working overtime. We are hoping the four of us can get together to take a bus ride to Key West to spend a day. The Marathon City Boat Yard has wonderful amenities. Decent sized library to exchange books, lots of tables in the office area for everyone to spread out and play games, read, check their emails and snail mail; yoga several times a week (yes, Judy I joining in); picnic tables at the Tiki Hut for anyone's use; plenty of showers and restrooms so you're not standing around waiting for one to open up; laundry room, recycling: cans, paper, plastic, gasoline, oil, etc.; an activity field nearby for baseball, soccer, tennis etc; skateboard park; and at 9am every morning on the VHF (very high frequency radio) there is a chat info session that features scheduled activities in the area, trivia session (Rona from "Hello World" always has interesting trivia - she also sails single handily) and then a buy/sell/trade session. Once the program ends anyone who wants to make connections with others relays what channel they want to converse on. Best of all the Pump-Out Boat comes around every week to empty everyone's waste tanks, so it keeps the harbor nice and clean.
Last night a cold front came through - the winds were whipping - 20+ knots. A good morning to bake something (Blueberry Lemon Bread). Brian has the generator going to recharge our batteries and also the water maker is doing its thing. Yesterday, Brian took a walk to West Marine and Home Depot. Waited for two hours for diesel mechanic to show and that fell through. We both took a walk to Walgreens to pick up an antibiotic for my sinus infection and then decided to take a dinghy ride to a beach our niece pointed out to us. I thought maybe a swim would help clear up my sinuses. The water was surprisingly cool, though very warm by New England standards.
Dinner: Potato Salad with Cheeseburgers
Signs: "One Free Beer with Haircut" Brian did see a sign that said "No Train Whistle" Wanted to know if we should take up a collection. I like hearing the train's whistle.
Reading Three Daughters of Madame Liang by Pearl S. Buck
Brian is reading Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy
12/31/12 Can't believe it's the end of the year! Took a yoga class this morning while Brian went, yet again, to West Marine. Found when we were running the generator we losing quite a bit of diesel - so he replaced the filter and bought Teflon paste. It solved the problem. One more problem down and too many to go. Got a dinghy ride back to our boat from Jeff and Katie of Mezzaluna - our neighbors. Tentative plans to meet at the Tiki Hut for New Years Eve Celebration.
1/1/13 Went to the Tiki Hut last night and there was a gentleman playing music on a synthesized keyboard - he had a wonderful voice - played a variety of music and even a CCR song (my favorite band). We brought Prosecco (of course) with nibbles and everyone there had a wonderful time. We did meet up with Jeff and Katie. There was a conch blowing contest and Jeff won - his prize was a bottle of pineapple rum. At 9pm we celebrated the New Year 'cause as live-aboards, 9pm is sailor's midnight. Brian and I headed back to the boat and sat out in the cockpit for a while just taking in the lights and sounds of the marina. We made it to 10:45. During the day we dinghied around the area and went looking for iguanas - saw a few of them - all different sizes. Brian couldn't resist showing me a large spider hanging out in the bushes lining the waterway - ugh! Stopped at the beach for a bit - saw Bonnie from yoga - met her husband, Phil and we all had a lovely time chatting. Brian bought himself a yoga mat (I know, can you believe it Judy? LOL)
1/2/13 Brian went for a run and I cleaned. Went to yoga while Brian met with Chuck Rose, a carpenter, we've used before. The yoga class was held at the Amphitheater on the town field - really needed to concentrate on listening to the instructor as there was soccer practice going on right next to us. At the end of class, we do a rest period and you're suppose to not think of anything (I'm bad at this - my mind goes a mile a minute - always) and concentrate on the music the instructor is playing (suppose to be clearing our minds). Anyway, I could barely hear the yoga music as someone at the far end of the park had Janice Joplin playing, dogs were barking, traffic noise, airplanes, bells on bicycles dinging and ZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZzzzz of those power lines - I chose to listen to Janice Joplin - worked for me. Chuck is remaking the box for our batteries. BTW: our dinghy is our vehicle - so in order to go ANYWHERE (groceries, gas stations, Home Depot, K-Mart, West Marine, pick up and drop of contractors, etc.), we dinghy to the dock and then WALK everywhere. I suppose we could take cabs, but unless it's absolutely necessary or just too far to walk, we just don't do it. So, dinghy to yoga, pick up Chuck, dinghy back so the guys can work on the boxes (in the bilge of course). Fortunately I was able to get a ride back with our neighbors. Was not thrilled to see the mess they made especially after the cleaning I had just done. But, the box they took out just disintegrated - it made mess (wood mixed with moisture) and was all over the place - so while Brian took Chuck back to the dock, guess what I did? Before they could even start that project, Brian had to shut all power down, disengage all wiring to the batteries and then pulled them all out - they are h-e-a-v-y!! Thankfully, he thought to label all the wiring as it made it a bit easier to reconnect. Later in the day we went for a walk and gave the pedometer a workout.
Dinner: Garlicky kale with rigatoni and plenty of freshly grated Pecorino
1/3/13 No yoga today. Brian went for a run, came back and cleaned out the dinghy then wiped down the boat - there is so much moisture in the air the boat is covered in the morning - he was working so diligently that I made him blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Our batteries are draining down too fast and we thought maybe because the freezer had such a build up of ice in it that we should defrost it. So, first we had to empty one of the outside lockers (it's deep - Brian can stand up in it) in order to get out our buckets to put food in (we had also borrowed his brother's cooler). So we had lots of lines, fenders and miscellaneous stacked in the cockpit along with full cooler. Chuck called and had the boxes (decided on two) ready for fitting so Brian pulled out the batteries and labeled the wiring again and went and picked him up. I got relegated to the cockpit while they did their thing - I had my scrabble game and started reading the National Geographic issue that is all about the brain - fascinating reading. Brian took Chuck back to the dock with the boxes - he has to tweak one and fiberglass and gel coat the boxes. Brian attended a class about batteries at the Tiki Hut - I offered to stay behind and work on the freezer and fridge box. We started the generator in order for me to use a heat gun as it had already been several hours and the ice just wasn't melting. Now the freezer section is deep - Brian can barely reach the bottom - so here I am hinged at the waist and hanging as best as I could in the freezer with the heat gun - not so good for the back. Oh, and for those that don't know of my usual hang out garb, I wore my usual working garb - my "Cinderella" dress (pics). It's a calve-length, sleeveless dress that has paint on it with a few holes. Before we moved aboard, I cleaned, gardened, painted, etc. in it - it's just plain easy to throw on and comfy. Glasses are always on top of my head 'cause I can't read a darn thing and now my hair is long enough to put in a ponytail. Not winning a beauty contest here - lol. I eventually got the front of the panels defrosted but the backs of them were still pretty iced up. Heated two kettles of water and reached in and flung cupfuls so that the water landed behind the panels - worked like a charm. Now to get the water off the freezer floor - there is no drain. I dropped a bath towel on the floor of the freezer to soak up the water but couldn't reach it to pull it out, so I used my kitchen tongs to pull it up and wring out the towel - lost track of how many times I did this. Then on my hands and knees sopped any water that was at the bottom of the fridge (fridge has both top and side openings). Because the freezer is so deep, we had bought two 4 or 5 gallon jugs of water - drained them a bit and placed them at the bottom. If we ever lose our power, these jugs will be ice blocks and keep our food a bit longer for us. So, I get those back in and start putting all the freezer food in when I get half way done, I turn and see two wooden racks that were suppose to be placed at the bottom. Out comes the stuff (using tongs) and worked liked the dickens to get out one of the water jugs - I could grasp the spout and pull it up, but I couldn't grab the handle because the opening to the freezer wasn't large enough - boy was I sweating, grunting (ok and a bit of swearing), BUT I did get it out. Hung upside down again and put the grates in and the jug back in and all the food (I also made a list of everything and quantity to ad to my excel sheet). After filling the fridge back up, then it was clean out the buckets, cooler, sop up the floor, put the rug and all the towels and rags out to dry and Brian came back from his meeting just as I was about to drop (perfect timing). This whole ordeal took hours. He took me in to the showers and when we got back he gave me a wonderful back rub (actually it hurt, but I knew it was going to help and it did). Finally able to meet up with Wayne for .25 c
1/4/13 Brian went for a run and joined me for yoga. Then we took a walk to the Hurricane for a Seven Seas Meeting (our first). Actually it was just a get together this time for lunch, but we did get to meet other boaters and discuss problems and upcoming events. Last night we discovered that our water pressure pump keeps running, but Brian had a spare pump and changed it out and the broken one is still under warranty - yeah!! Another issue is our new wind generator seems to work well - always whipping around, BUT it's not producing any power - so as I'm writing this, Brian is working on that issue. I suppose with all these problems, it certainly keeps Brian busy and we are certainly learning about the workings of the boat. Someone told us that this is what sailing is all about - going from port to port and once there, you fix things. Gosh, I hope not.
Dinner: Herbed rubbed chicken thighs with leftover potato salad
1/5/13 - Happy Birthday Dad!! Very hot and muggy today. While deciding what to do, if anything, we played Boggle and Brian did not fair so well, but he usually beats me at Cribbage. Went for a walk to West Marine with the failed water pump - none in stock but should have the replacement next week (could have rung us out by the time we got there - AC - yeah). Caught up on laundry and went to the Tiki Hut after dinner to listen to "Easy Listening" and a few other musicians that joined in. There was also a very young brother and sister that played and sang. Met people, some brand new to this way of life as we are - really interesting and funny conversations. Someone mentioned that we can take our dinghy and get to a dock fairly close to the Publix grocery store - that would be a great help. Not that we mind the walk, but you can only carry so much.
Dinner: Cut up leftover hot sausage with onions and peppers and sautéed with the leftover pasta and garlicky kale and of course, lots of freshly grated pecorino
Readin: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky
12/14/12 - Ray the mechanic worked on our boat for 7 hours today. Replaced hoses, replaced transmission to engine seal that had bolts sheared off, replaced broken engine mount changed out the impella and also replaced the transmission neutral sending unit that was broken and was leaking transmission fluid. Brian and I stayed off the boat and worked on trying to figure out our new blog site - very frustrating. I'm not computer literate, so Brian slaved through it. Finally gave up after several hours.
We found out the part Brian had ordered to fix our navigation lights did not arrive by UPS even though we had paid West Marine for overnight shipping. Needless to say, Brian was not very happy. Brian called WM and went up the ladder until he got someone who would listen to him and not say "Oh well". The part will be in on Monday unfortunately, BUT the supervisor waived the overnight shipping charge and credited our account in the amount of $300 - Not Bad!! So, looks like we will be on our way Tuesday morning. Weather was miserable all day, but for dinner we bundled up and walked to the Olde Downtown Daytona business section and found a pizza joint - very good.
Some of books we have read thus far:
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice
Zero Day - David Baldacci
Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew - Lin Pardey
Sensible Cruising - Don Casey & Lew Hackler
City of Thieves - David Benioff (also watching his series Game of Thrones)
Dirty Blonde - Janet Evanovich
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Pigs in Heaven - Barbara Kingsolver
And at the moment - Prince of Tides - Pat Conroy
12/15/12 - Much nicer today - walked to the farmer's market and bought some vegetables and fruit (I do not like my pic taken - can you tell?). Brought back our purchases and decided to take the hike to Daytona Beach. The tide was in so most of the beach was covered, very windy and surf was a bit rough. Just a handful of souls walking the beach. Walked part of the boardwalk and stopped for lunch at Sloppy Joes - service was wonderful, but the food was mediocre at best. Our total walk for the day including the trip to the farmer's market was close to 8 miles.
Dinner: sausage and pepper sandwiches with fresh strawberries and Prosseco on the veranda aka cockpit watching the sunset.
12/16/12 - Started off sunny but clouds rolled in and stayed for the majority of the day, but the clouds made it comfortable to be out walking around. Brian checked the bilge pump this morning and seems to be ok, finally. Then he replaced the kitchen faucet with a more functional unit. We took a walk after lunch to the Olde Downtown for the exercise and stopped in a Chocolate shop and Brian got his piece of fudge and I got my turtle with pecans and dark chocolate - yum! From there, we headed back to Daytona Beach except this time we walked across one of the fixed bridges and at the highest point watched a sailboat motor under - didn't have my camera ready for this pic but did get a few nice pictures for the blog. We walked back to town via another bridge. Not quite as long of walk as yesterday. Saw our first manatee in the marina.
Dinner: mishmash from the fridge and for dessert split a role of oreo cookies - usually that serves as a serving size for me - lol.
12/17/12 - Beautiful day!! Brian worked on banking and then we walked to the Post Office, stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant- it was just ok - and then stopped at West Marine (of all places) to buy line for the Main Sail so that we can reef down when the winds get a bit much. Our part came in for the NAV lights and Brian started working on that and I bet you can guess where he had to go again - yep, West Marine - so back out of his grubs and into something a bit more presentable and off for the walk. When you think you have every screw, nut, bolt, gasket, hose, extra part, etc. that you could possibly need or use, there is always something new that is needed. Stayed behind and did some reading - The Prince of Tides. That night Brian worked on the nav lights - we could not get it to change: It should register as navigation lights, anchoring lights and a white strobe - he spent over an hour on it doing every combo of wire connection and I stood outside on the dock yelling to him if anything came on: He would yell "ANYTHING?" And then I would yell back with either of the following which were not the correct responses: "NAV LIGHTS", or "BLINKING NAV LIGHTS", OR "NOTHING," "NOTHING", "NOTHING" - it's was mostly yelling "nothing" - got a crick in my neck from standing there staring up at the top of the mast and I hope no one in the marina was listening to us - geesh! So when we anchor, we turn on our arch light and spreader lights - can't miss the boat with those on.
Dinner: Chicken schnitzel with sautéed, garlicky kale and sticky rice with mango (thanks, Donna and Dang)
12/18/12 - Left the diesel dock in Daytona at 8:15 - about 4 hours later, motor started making not-so-funny noises - pulled over and anchored out of channel - loose hose - leaking transmission fluid again. Filled, but engine wouldn't start - Brian jumped it with a screwdriver then turned off engine and restarted engine proper way - it worked. Part of our trip was through a short stretch of mangrove and we had a dolphin escort us through. I had my nose in Skipper Bob's book reading about bridges and anchorages and the snort from the dolphin startled me (it was so close, I could have touched it) and off came my reading glasses and overboard they went - good thing we stocked up on the reading glasses. Continued on til we anchored in a protective cove with two other boats just before sundown. Quick dinner and in bed reading til 9. Woke an hour later with a M-I-G-R-A-I-N-E. So, sick - up all night.
Dinner - leftover stuffed peppers with cheese melted on top.
12/19/12 - Decided to try and get a long day in today - again, engine would not start and discovered, yet again, that we were just about out of transmission fluid. Brian filled that up again, started the engine with a screwdriver and we motored til we found a marina that had a West Marine within walking distance. Brian took off in the dinghy to buy the transmission fluid (Postman told Brian of an Auto Parts and bought his supplies there) and I stayed behind to catch up on the blog (Charley - we love that ladder you attached to the arch). The engine runs great, just need to find that leak - when Brian gets back we will diaper all the hoses in the bilge if any of the required fluids are down. And who says living on a boat wasn't fun! BTW: Brian came back with two glazed donuts (how did he know I've been thinking about Donna's Donuts in Tewksbury). Wonder if we can get La Carretta in Nashua to overnight their Nachos Santa Fe. Found a nice quiet anchorage and took our first skinny dip (please do not try and picture that - lol). After the engine cooled down, we check all fluids and found to our wonderful surprise that we did not lose any today. Of course, that's because Brian stopped to buy the transmission fluid. Better safe than sorry. During part of our trip there was a boat that was sailing north and I do believe the skipper chastised us because we were not "sailing". She said we should get ourselves a motor trawler. Wondered if she said that to all sailboats she passed as 99% of the sail boats motor the ICW. One: we couldn't sail as the wind was just about on our nose - they were traveling in the opposite direction and took advantage of the light wind; two: there really aren't too many areas that you can actually "sail" on the ICW since you have to be vigilant about staying within the markers or you will definitely go aground. And we are still neophytes at sailing. Brian says she was just trying to make conversation; I think she just wasn't playing nice. So for the heck of it, we did raise our Genoa and found that it actually slowed us down. I know we are not on a schedule, but we did at least want to try and make it to Marathon to spend Christmas with Brian's brother and our niece and with all the engine problems we've been having, we are making slow progress.
Dinner: Spinach filled raviolis with semi-home made marinara meat sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Won't be making my three-day sauce while living aboard.
12/20/20 A bit of a current and light winds last night made the boat gently shimmy, shimmy, shake, shake, shake (think that's from a song - but that's what it felt like), but boat didn't budge from our anchor spot and we both slept great. Again, Brian had to start the motor with a screwdriver - it just won't cold start. All fluids looked fine. Several hours into our motoring I noticed the boat suddenly slowed and we heard that funny sound again coming from the engine - put it into to neutral while Brian opened up the bilge and check fluids - the transmission fluid was down. Continued on and found an anchorage at the St. Lucy Inlet next to a bridge that is beautifully lit at night. We are the only boat anchored in this area. The day started off with not much for winds, but they picked up to 26 knots and there was a bit of chop to the water - felt like I was wrestling with the wheel. Mixed up dough for white bread while dinner was cooking. Winds stayed strong through the night and the anchorage dropped lower than Skipper Bob's book said, so when I woke about 10:30 and discovered the boat was healed over way too much for my comfort, I freaked out a bit. I refused to go back to bed and tried to sit in the salon but was in a ¾ stand. Didn't bother Brian at all - "the tide will change and the boat will come back upright ." Didn't appease me at all. I sat (sort of) for almost 2 hours watching the boat heave even more. All I could think of was when Nana would visit her sister in Florida and if there was a tornado threatening, they would get dressed and sit at the kitchen table with their pocketbooks ready to go - even if it meant sitting there all night. Anyway, went back to bed about 1pm and had to hold onto the side of the bed so that I wasn't laying on top of Brian (I'm sure he wouldn't have minded). Woke about 3:30 and discovered we were back upright (just like Brian said, guess I should listen to him more often) (Brian added that last part), so I got up and punched down the bread and readied it for baking - back to bed.
Dinner: One pan: Roast chicken thighs, roasted herbed potatoes and roasted asparagus
12/21/20 Rained for a bit about 6am and the winds were still whipping. Small craft advisory out for a couple of days and a cold front going through. Weren't sure if we should hold up in a marina as I wasn't about to spend another night in this anchorage. We decided to just go for it. It was cold and the winds didn't let up all day. Thankfully the sun was out. Going was a bit slow as we had to go through many bascule bridges and some of them are on strict schedules and others you have to request permission (we request permission on all of them anyways), so we have to time our progress to coincide with the openings. One bridge description was incorrect so we had to hold our position for 45 minutes along with another boat. I was at the wheel and it wasn't easy between the winds and the currents to try and stay in a restricted area. Brian ended up doing the same thing at another bridge. We also had our first major grounding and had requested Sea Tow's help - embarrassing, especially since we were trailing two other boats from a distance and notice that they cut across the bay instead of staying with the buoys, but Brian didn't want to take that chance as our draft is about 6'2" with the boat loaded, so we went buoy to buoy and still got stuck - the other two boats made it through. While we were waiting for assistance, we saw a manta ray and the biggest starfish we've ever seen. The Sea Tow guy was wonderful, but made me nervous when he used our halyard to pull us off the sandbar while Brian gave the boat some power and the boat healed over to port (left side) enough that it made me panic. But, it was over and done within seconds. A draining day. On the upside, we got to view homes and boats that were rather impressive. Vero Beach area was wonderful to look at the houses, but when we got to the Palm Beach area, we got to see how the one-percenters live - some of their boats were bigger than all of the houses we've ever lived in and their houses were just massive - the only people we ever saw out that these places were the pool boys and the lawn maintenance crews. I was giving myself whiplash checking out all of the properties on both sides of the canal.
Dinner: BLT's with home made bread and the produce from the farmer's market
12/22/20 Woke up to a light frost on our bedroom hatch - brrrr! The winds are still whipping. The anchorage is good so we decided to stay put for the day. Skipper Bob's states that the police stop by this anchorage and request a permit fee of $30 if you spend more than 18 hours here and they did stop by, but just checked to make sure we were ok. Brian let them know we would be leaving first thing in the morning - was not asked to pay for a permit. Brian is going to chart our way and try to figure out where we should head outside to do an overnight sail to Marathon. The winds and cold are suppose to be gone by tomorrow morning and the seas will be down for a more comfortable sail on Monday - I hope. Good day for making marinara sauce, also put together a bake mac and cheese and cooked several hard boiled eggs. Finishing the Prince of Tides and maybe I'll even bake something. Every place we've anchored, or moored or docked, there has been the sound of trains - I love it - Johnny Cash's song "Folsom City Blues (I believe - that starts off "I Hear a Train a Coming") always pops into my head. Guess we have to thank Henry Flagler for the trains.
Dinner: Seared Pork Chops, smashed potatoes with butter and black pepper and the last of the asparagus - did not bake anything
12/23/12 Left Lantana and motored down the ICW through numerous bridges - only two were on request, rest were scheduled openings. Unless we can gage our speed to each one, we would have to sit at each bridge crabbing back and forth in usually a limited area with other boats waiting for the bridge to open - can be very stressful. Makes for a long day. Saw some massive homes and yachts. Pulled into Lake Sylvia and anchored for the night - actually it's a small salty pond surrounded by nice houses - busy pond but plenty of space to anchor. Our original plan was to take mooring ball two bridges back and had called ahead several times to make sure one was available. Only one was and it was on a first come first serve basis - we called three times and the last time was just at the bridge where they were located - the mooring ball was still available and was ours, so I readied to pull in, Brian got the boat hook ready and the sailboat who was tagging along swooped in and took the mooring ball - really! How exasperating - apparently they were monitoring the calls. We were concerned that we would have a difficult place to anchor as places were very limited in the area where we would end up for the day and our draft is about 6'2". We continued on to Lake Sylvia - tight getting in, but we did it and was glad to end the traveling for the day (can you tell from the pic of me in the cockpit with my face covered? I was exhausted). We ended up having a nice quiet evening. On the way, we passed another boat that was docket with the same name. The owner saw us go by and called us up to chat after we anchored. We had heard each other two days prior when we were both negotiating the bridges - I think the bridge tenders were getting a bit confused when one Que Sera Sera went through and then again another boat with the same name shortly after - the bridge tenders log the boats passing through.
Dinner: Leftover hot sausage, pepper and onions chopped, stir fried and added to freshly made marinara and served with egg noodles with freshly grated parm
Pasta always seems to hit the spot after a long day.
12/24/12 Left Lake Sylvia for Marathon at 7:30am. Negotiated one last bridge and then out to the ocean. Winds and waves were a bit more than the weather report indicated. We motored sailed for quite a ways as the wind was on our nose, of course. As we made our turns towards Marathon, we able to cut the engine and sail for quite a while - so quiet and a nice sail. Nervous about the overnight as our first one brings up lousy memories, but all went well. The sunset was spectacular (see pic) - Brian and I sat in the cockpit watching the sunset, holding hands and wished each other a "Merry Christmas". (Actually, Brian was holding my hand, I was clenching the blanket on my lap with the other hand and sneaking peaks at our navigational equipment - what's the wind speed?, how much depth do we have?, where's the next buoy?, are we staying in the channel? ((it's very shallow off the Keys)) - ugh!! Oh, and the smell of diesel fumes when we had to motor - so romantic! We arrived and were on our mooring ball Christmas morning at 8:30am. It was so good to stop. Wanted to shower in the cockpit, but we are surrounded by many boats, so cleanup was in the bathroom - felt good to clean off the salt spray. Made a bacon and egg and toast breakfast as our food consumption during the night was limited - I did not trust myself to cook a meal while underway even though I took Dramamine. We ate cold leftovers and had plenty of snacks. Difficult to actually sleep - I was just too nervous, but we managed to each get about 3 hours each. Saw a wonderful cloud shaped just like a lobster - it was remarkable (maybe I was sleep deprived and/or famished). After breakfast, Brian hit the bed and was comatose before his head hit the pillow. I was tired but wired, so cleaned the dishes, put stuff away, contacted Wayne to let him know we safely arrived - will meet up with him and his daughter, Corey this evening. Listened to the local marina news channel - pot luck at 1pm - come one, come all. I think I'll just the baked mac n cheese that was prepped and put aside the other night. Called family to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Dinner - cook's night off - yeah!!! Merry Christmas to me!
12/26/12 Never went to the pot luck - just too tired and we were meeting Wayne and Corey for dinner that evening. Corey did stop by to visit while waiting for Wayne to get off work. Went to a buffet at a restaurant on the water that was very good, sat and had a drink and people watched before dinner. Wayne gave us a box of goodies that my mother-in-law had mailed to us. She made "worry dolls" and attached a note to the dolls that said: When you think you want to climb the walls and stand right up and shout, here's a little dammit doll you cannot do without. Just grasp it firmly by the legs and fina a place to slam it, and as you wack its stuffing out YELL DAMMIT --- DAMMIT--- DAMMIT!!!! What a riot! (Thank you, Polly) Wish I had that doll when we did our first overnight sail - it certainly would have alleviated a bit of stress. Woke up the next morning with what seems like a bad cold - stuffy head, sunny nose, can't stop coughing - Wayne thinks it may be allergies - with me, that's probably true. Took a walk with Brian to West Marine and took it easy for rest of day - mostly reading.
12/27/12 Laundry day and catching up on the blog. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!
12/5/12 Last night we were invited to have cocktails with Nina and Andre from Clinton, MA along with their friends, Judy and Tony from New Foundland. I brought deviled eggs and a bottle of Prosecco. Once the appetizers were dispensed, Nina announced that she was also serving dinner as they were heading to family for the holidays and wanted to empty her fridge. Andre grilled a pork loin, Judy made a stir fried rice and Nina roasted butternut squash --- delicious meal and a wonderful evening. Judy rode a bike down to our boat the next morning to say goodbye. Left Brunswick, GA to Jekyll Island. Before leaving Brunswick we met with Wayne, the mechanic, for the marina and he showed us how to bleed the air out of the engine as we think that is part of our engine problem. Our first motoring on the ICW - I navigated the short trip of 6 hours. There were three other boats in the anchorage, but no one on board on any of them. Our first anchorage and it went smoothly. Dinghied to fishing dock and started to walk into town, when Joey, who had been fishing, offered us a ride closer to town - we accepted - he was very pleasant. Walked the beach for a bit and then walked through the historic area of the Island - beautiful old homes now a resort - inns, restaurants, bike paths, shops, etc. It used to be a private resort for the railroad barons.
12/6/12 The next morning motored to Fernandina Beach, FL (yeah - made FL). Took five hours. Overcast and warm, but the breeze was chilly. Just as we anchored in Fernandina, the fog rolled in. Brian found an oil leak and repaired that and also tightened all clamps on the fuel pickup trying to find the air leak still.
Dinner - chicken parm with pasta
12/7/12 We motored to Little Sister's Bridge and then anchored. One other boat anchored next to us. It was a cloudy, then a rather foggy day - about ½ mile visibility, o other sailing vessels on the ICW except fishing boats. Showered in the cockpit as motoring all day gave us nice hot water, but BRRRR, the air was cold. Got ready for bed early as we were tired, but the Coast Guard showed up as our navigation light was lit instead of the anchoring light - WHAT??? Don't know when or how that came about as when our recent survey was done for insurance purposes, the anchor light was working just fine. So, while they were on board, they check out everything - all safety equipment, the head - to make sure we weren't dumping into the ICW and chatted us up - four of these guys and so, so young and very pleasant - only gave us a warning to get the anchor light fixed within 15 days. Called our electronics guy from Charleston right away - what gives? Trying to figure out that problem now. And here Brian was worried about us being bored - with so much to fix, repair, replace, etc. - LOL
Dinner - baked mac and cheese with ham chuncks
12/8 & 9/12 We traveled to St. Augustine Municipal Marina, an eight hour day. We weren't even sure we wanted to leave this morning as it was foggy - about ¼ mile visibility. Guess we needed the adventure. Fog was supposed to lift about 11 and did about 12:30 - such a strain on the eyes. Miles and mile and miles of marshland - lots of fishermen out today - looked like there was a tournament going on - our guess was they were throwing nets to catch shrimp. Brian saw a bald eagle. Part of the stretch we did today was listed as Roscoe's BLVD - big houses right on top of each other and rather elaborate boat launches for nearly every house. Made it to the Lion's Bridge in St. Augustine on time (it's a Bascule Bridge and have to wait for it to open) - only had to idle for about 5 minutes waiting for it to open. As soon as we were through we picked up our mooring ball and the fog immediately enveloped us completely. Early evening we saw all kinds of commotion near the bridge and discovered a parade of lights - too far to really get a good look, but a few boats did come our way. Next day, we explored the town of St. Augustine. It is a nice old town but a little too touristy.
Dinner - Pork Chops and sauted spinach with chunked tomato
12/10/12 Upon leaving St. Augustine, discovered the transmission would not shift into gear - Brian added one quart of transmission fluid and we were ok - seal problem?? Nice sunny and warm day - we actually had a few boats keeping us company on the ICW - first time. I learned how to use the VHF radio to talk to passing boats (see I can do 2 things at once). Saw quite a few dolphins and love watching the pelicans skim along the water - for such a prehistoric looking bird, it is so graceful when it flies, but when it dives for a fish it looks like it's hitting hard ground. Brian got our water maker up and running and we were able to fill our water tanks - yeah!!! Stopped early near the now defunct Cement Plant as inclement weather was imminent and according to Skipper Bob's book on traveling the ICW, there was nothing else within miles for good anchoring. About 3 hours later, a tornado came through - the hard rain, high winds and lightning (scary). The lightning freaked me out and then I was a nervous wreck about not holding our anchorage. We were fine, though I did not sleep well. Thankfully, the tornado zipped in and out of our area rather quickly, though, not quick enough for me.
Dinner - Pancakes with black raspberries and bacon
12/11/12 We decided the night before to try and get an earlier start than usual which we did try to do. The engine would not start - brother!!! Brian checked all the fluids for the engine - all looked good. Noticed the batteries were just about out of juice - should not be - they are brand new. He started up the generator and within 3 minutes the engine started - guess we don't need Sea Tow today. Called ahead to a service marina in Daytona (Aquamarina) to get dock space for repairs. Had our first grounding - I was at the helm and thought I was still in the channel when I realized the boat just stopped - Brian came to the rescue and quickly backed the boat off and I resumed entering the marina when, my attention was drawn to the Chart House Restaurant as we were motoring in and I was so focused on maybe a steak dinner that I almost ran into the green piling BUT, fortunately I did not. Continued on after a mental slap and we brought the boat safely to dock with Brian at the helm (yes I chickened out) - I handed over the lines and we actually did a good job - no crash landings. Brian met with Ray the mechanic. He was just leaving for a trade show but will be able to work on the engine on Friday (think I'll catch up on laundry that day). Today is Tuesday - yep, there goes the budget for this month. I don't mind anchoring, but do like the marinas - real showers, laundry, get rid of our garbage, etc. Maybe we will get that steak. We've actually have been eating rather well - stocked up in Charleston at a Costco - lots of meats and Prosecco. We mostly pick up bread and milk and some fresh fruit and veggies when we can. Learning to cook for two as I don't have the fridge or freezer space for lots of leftovers. Brian discovered a West Marine nearby and went for a walk and I'm sure he won't come back empty handed.
Dinner: Roasted chicken thighs, carrots and scalloped potatoes
12/12/12 Cooked a bacon, egg, homefries breakfast and used up last of the home made bread for toasting knowing that Brian was going to have the floor opened up and working on the engine, yet again and would most likely not stop for lunch. After the breakfast clean up, I baked chocolate chip cookies and made darn sure I looked before I took any steps in the galley - don't need any broken legs. Brian would be up to his elbows in grease and discover he would need a part, so a walk to West Marine - about a little over a 1/2 mile one way. Change back into his grubs and back to work - oops - another part needs to be replaced - change clothes and walk back to WM - change back into grubs and after a while - geesh! need another replacement part - good grief! The third time he had to go to WM, I joined him for the walk. The weather was cold and damp and windy, but the walk felt great. By mid afternoon Brian called it quits. Made stuffed peppers for dinner and used up the leftover mexican rice to mix with the hamburger - not bad.
12/13/12 & 12/14/12 Winds very high - still damp and spitting and so gloomy. Ray the mechanic stopped by to get started on the engine on Thursday for a bit and is working on it all day today. He discovered that that bolts in the transmission seal were sheered off among other things that have to be fixed. New parts have to be made. Not sure if we will be able to leave here tomorrow. Caught up on laundry and Brian got this blog site up and running for us. Last night took a walk into Daytona' main drag and stopped for a pizza. If we are here tomorrow, we will check out the farmer's market and maybe head towards the beach area for a look see. Right now, it's raining yet again. Yesterday's weather report said that this low was moving out - doesn't look like it - can't wait for that Florida sunshine and warm weather we've always heard about - lol.