July 1, 2013-07-09
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM AND GLENN
July 9, 2013
Back on board. Left Annapolis in mid-June and headed to Tewksbury, MA and stayed with Brian's mom for a week helping her out with chores and such - she appreciated it. Got to see our children, our grandson and friends. It was great seeing everyone and being able to spend time with them. While there, Brian worked on re-screening our hatches and making new hand rails that were missing from the topside.
Headed out to NY and stayed with my sister, Lisa and her family for a few nights and helped with some prepping for the reunion. My parents knew about the reunion part, but didn't realize the extent of the get together. Lisa had tracked down our mom's remaining high school graduates and all were able to attend plus there were old friends and acquaintances and cousins that we haven't seen in years. The 80th birthday/60th anniversary/reunion was a big hit even though we had a couple of torrential downpours during it. Tons of great food, of course and plenty of leftovers, so no cooking during the week we stayed with my parents.
Brian spent part of the week finishing up the woodwork for the boat. Took my parents out and about: toured antique tugboats at the locks in Waterford, took them for a ride to Lake Champlain to visit one of my dad's brothers who was unable to attend the celebration; checked out a few antique shops, ice cream establishments, any errands they needed done and housework and weeding; took them to Five Guys (they had never been) and they enjoyed those hamburgers. The weather was rather oppressive the whole week - even with thunderstorms every afternoon, it didn't abate the heat - we were thankful for my parents' pool. Sad to leave, but.....
Left my parents' house on the 8th about 7:30 a.m. and arrived in Annapolis about 4 p.m. Met with Chris from Portside Marine to go over the job done on the shaft and some more issues they discovered, but that's finally done. Tomorrow Chris will replace our decrepit water muffler. Marine Tech out of Hilton Head is still refusing to foot the bill for their blunders, so still fighting that. Today we have numerous small jobs that we will work on plus grocery shopping, return the rental and then leave tomorrow morning heading north.
Reading: Lauren: House by Dean Koontz, Prey by Michael Chrighton, started Chrighton's The Great Train Robbery, but couldn't get into it - will most likely try again.
Also read several others - just can't remember them as I left them behind for someone else to read. Currently reading Sandra Brown's Unspeakable which will get finished today
Brian finished Dante's Inferno and is currently reading a lengthy book called An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa by Rick Atkinson
July 10, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVAN, ANNIE and JEFF (always in our thoughts)
Left Bert Jabin's Boat Yard in Annapolis and motored around the point to downtown Annapolis. Was sprinkling but got off the boat anyways and decided to take a tour of Annapolis Academy - wonderful tour - the facility and all that it encompasses covers 338 acres. Impressive! The sun came out along with the humidity. We stopped and enjoyed a buffet lunch at one of the two eating establishments open to the public on the grounds - took our time and enjoyed the a/c. From there, Brian and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the downtown; window shopping and checking out the various artists exhibited. Back on board late afternoon - watched sailboats coming in from a race and then parading their boats around the harbor - hopefully some of my pics came out half- way decent. Just as the last boat came in, the winds picked up, the sky turned black and it started pouring. We turned on our instruments and the wind speed reached 37.5 knots. The storm didn't last too long. Played a dominoes game of Mexican Train - Brian beat me again at this game, but this time only by a few points.
July 12, 2013
Left Annapolis 8:45 (late for us) yesterday - we're watching the weather - it was cloudy and drizzly, but we decided to head out and see how far we got. We got further along than we had anticipated as they skies cleared, though, again, so muggy. No wind to speak of and what there was, was on the nose, so we motored all day. Made it to the C&D Canal (Chesapeake and Delaware); passed a freighter going the opposite direction - they are just huge and it never seems like there's enough room for you and them in the channel - my stomach was in knots til I realized we were ok - thankfully the channel is deep out beyond the buoy markers, so if I had to, I could have given the freighter a wider berth. We motored only two miles in to the first fixed bridge and found the one and only place for boats to anchor when traveling through the canal. Started heading into the mouth of the anchorage when we ran aground - the charts show 10 feet of water at low tide. Apparently with all of the heavy traffic of freighters, the bottom shoals up in places. We were able plow through it and anchored among four other boats. Don't you know, right where we ran aground, there was a restaurant at the water's edge (it figures), so they were entertained for a bit. Watched as another boat coming in and did the same thing. Talked to the people next to us and he gave us advise of which side of the mouth was best to enter and exit - duly noted for when we leave. While anchoring, Brian discovered a problem with the roller for our Rocna Anchor - this is the anchor we always use - a heavy duty anchor. The nut on the end of the bolt apparently had worked itself loose and fallen off. Thankfully, the bolt did not work itself loose or we would have lost that along with the roller the anchor chain rides up and down on. Our backup anchor was already rigged, so we anchored with that. We are in a nice little hidey hole - so shouldn't have to worry about any current dragging us about. Just another job for Brian.
Raining today - we may still head out later and travel the rest of the canal - another 12 miles and then hole up in an anchorage beyond it as we would not make it to Cape May before dark. Keeping busy with housework (always), updating the blog, etc. Maybe even a rematch of the Mexican Train.
Lauren: Dan Brown - Deception Point
Brian: Kurt Vonnegut - The Sirens of Titan
July 14, 2013
It's 8:15 a.m. Just getting over a miserable migraine (are migraines anything but???). Well Brian and I did have that rematch of the Mexican Train game and I finally won a game - woo hoo!!! The night before we dragged three times - our Danforth Anchor just couldn't hold in the silty mud - so we were out there in the pouring rain resetting the anchor; on the 3rd time we dragged, Brian decided to pull the Danforth and put the Rocna Anchor down - he had tied seizing wire around the bolt and that held it in place while he lowered the anchor and when he pulled it up again, thankfully it was still in place. Once we get to Cape May, we will find either a hardware store or a West Marine to replace the lost nut. Left our little anchorage and got out into the canal without running aground. The current was running with us - which is great - but we took it off autopilot because there was so much movement of the boat - back and forth, back and forth adjusting to the current. I felt more comfortable actually taking control of the helm. The next issue was hoping we wouldn't see any freighters - it's a bit scary watching one of them come at you in a channel. We lucked out and didn't see one freighter the whole twelve miles. The trip was mostly uneventful - we saw several pods of dolphins - haven't seen them in a while and we ran into three rain storms - the first one was accompanied by thunder and lightening, but thankfully didn't last long and the last two were just rain and there was no gusts of winds or build up of waves with any of them.
Our original intention was to get through the canal and then drop anchor another couple of hours out as Cape May was just too far - don't like getting in anywhere in the dark. Turned out we actually made it just outside of Cape May and anchored near a beach and dropped anchor just as it got dark. Got up in the night (always) to check on the boat - to see if we had drifted, etc. The first time I checked, we were good; the second time I could hear the lapping of the waves on the shore, so I knew which way we were facing and I swear I could hear dolphins - wish I could have seen them - never get tired of watching them.
Today we will motor around to Cape May - should take us about an hour and half.
July 16, 2013
Well, we didn't stop in Cape May; truly disappointing as I've wanted to visit this area for many a year, but things happen, so we are booking it North. Just outside of Atlantic City, Brian saw about a 9 foot Great White jump clear out of the water. We heard that they are the only shark to do this - to check to see what's around - scary!!! We also saw two good-sized sea turtles. Sailed and motor sailed all day, through the night and all the next day to New Harbor (Block Island) - 22 hours. I've decided that if we can get away with traveling overnights, I'm all for it; just way too stressful for me. I always seem to get sick which means I don't eat hardly a thing for all those hours and I just can't sleep when I'm suppose to - always frazzled to the point, that I just don't want to be on the boat. We traveled through several large fishing vessels - they were spread out a long ways. It's not like we intentionally plotted our course to end up in the middle of their fishing grounds. One of them kept going back and forth in front of us - Brian kept adjusting his course to stay out of the vessel's way and when we got closer, the fishing vessel did an about face and almost hit us. Brian repeatedly tried several times to hail the captain on the VHF, but no response.
There must have been several hundred boats in New Harbor. Finally found a decent place to drop anchor after tooling around the harbor for a bit; dropped anchor, got it set, wrote in our log book the weather conditions, engine hours, any problems or interesting sites, our position, etc. - this is done at the beginning and end of each day). We just sat down to chill out when I pointed out to Brian that the people on the boat behind us were at the bow of their boat taking pictures of our boat. We thought maybe they were looking at our arch system as we've gotten quite a few compliments on the structure (thank you Charlie!!), so Brian stood up to say "hello". Well, they were not very kind - they were upset because they thought we anchored too close and that our boat was going to do a lot of swinging on it's anchor. She was taking pics just in case we dragged anchor and hit their boat. Brian tried to reassure both of them, that one: we were over anchored and had the appropriate amount of chain out for the depth we were anchored in, our boat is heavily built and does not "swing" and also the weather was predicted to stay mild; basically no winds and being in a protected cove, there would be no major current pushing the boats about. They wanted us to move, but the only other place to anchor was in over 50 feet of water which would have meant that all of our chain had to be put out - Brian does a ration of 5 feet of chain for every foot of water depth, so.... We were very confident in our choice to anchor and that we were not going to hit anyone. Maybe they just didn't want anyone near them. A little bit of wind did kick up and guess whose boat was swinging? Not us!
Next morning, we were still in the same place. We pulled up anchor at 5:45 and started out. We were out of the bay making our turn north, when Brian decided to wipe off a bit of sea water that was crusting up on the engine, when all of a sudden his paper towel got sucked in the air intake valve which Brian didn't realize was just below the part of the engine he was wiping - ooooops. He immediately shut off the engine and thankfully we were not near anyone or anything so that we could drift about while Brian started to dismantle the new engine to see if he could get the paper towel out. It came out in one piece from the air intake compartment - whew. Like we needed another headache. On our way again. Got to sail for a bit, but the winds didn't last so we motor sailed and then just motored. Saw a few freighters up close, but none in the Cape Cod Canal as we traveled through; anchored in Plymouth Harbor. Tomorrow should be a fairly short travel day to Salem, MA.
Reading: Lauren: Finished Dan Brown's Deception Point and Jay Bonansinga's Perfect Victim; starting the trilogy The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Brian: Deception Point and Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz
Arrived and stayed in Salem, MA for almost a week. Got some jobs done on the boat. Brian replaced two winches that worked, but are not compatible for our boat. We walked about Salem a few times and also took the train into Boston for a day. Got to visit Brian's mom and our kids.
July 22, 2013
Motored sailed to Isle of Shoals. We saw either a young or small whale. Also saw a huge seal with a large flounder (we think) in it's mouth flapping it around in the water. Picked up a mooring ball.
Next morning we were fogged in and then it rained all day, so we stayed put.
July 24, 2013
Left Isle of Shoals 6 a.m. heading to Portland - weather looked promising. Half hour out and we hit fog. Re-programmed our navigational equipment so that half the screen was radar, so that we could tell if we would be traveling near any fishing vessels. Our visibility for four hours was about a half mile plus peeling our eyes out for lobster buoys created a bit of tension. About 10 a.m. the fog lifted - yeah - and made traveling a bit more comfortable. We dropped anchor on the back side of Cliff Island - looks like a large area for anchoring, but between outcrops of rock in the bay, there is not room for very many boats. Thankfully, we were the only transient boat - there were a couple of other boats, but on private moorings and in shallower areas. The anchorage was a bit rolly, but very quiet. We dropped out dinghy and went looking for mussels. It's been quite a few years since we've been in this anchorage, but the last time we found tons of mussels, so we were really looking forward to collecting a few. We found exactly one - thousands of opened ones - must be either sea gulls or maybe seals??? Disappointing to say the least, but it is still nice trolling around the area in the dinghy. We did come across a headless seal floating around - guess it got too close to some fisherman's pots.
July 25, 2013
Made an appointment at Gowan's working marina in Portland to have our final inspection done on our new engine. There's been quite a bit of vibration again with it - don't think that is normal. The marina is definitely a working marina - lots of fishing vessels - large and small. There was only one other sail boat here getting serviced. There will be no charge for us to be on the dock since they will be servicing the engine AND we are steps away from downtown Portland.
The mechanic stopped by at 7:45 the next morning - wow! After starting their inspection, they noticed some issue yet again with the install. Will this never end???? The mechanic could not adjust the height of the engine to realign the shaft (it was vibrating more than it should have been). As the mechanic says, "It was vibrating the peanut butter right off the bread." The mechanic that installed the engine (Marine Tech) had made the aluminum mounts the wrong size, hence the engine cannot be adjusted up or down. The mechanic also found that the original installer had reversed the rear and front engine mounts. One of the studs on the engine mount had sheared off, SO, yet again, we are sitting here waiting for new aluminum mounts. On the upside, we do not have to pay dockage fees and there are tons of restaurants and shops to peruse.
July 27, 2013
Today, Brian installed new chalks at the bow of the boat - these chalks are used to guide any lines used to tie up at the dock - there were none previously on board. I did a major cleaning inside the boat and then worked on polishing and waxing the stainless steel on our arch system - worked up quite a sweat. Today was our first good weather day in several days. Tomorrow it will be in the 60's and rainy - I think the week is supposed to be cool and rainy.
August 2, 2013
The engine job is done and we took the boat out for a trial run - there is now a minute vibration with the shaft and all looks good. We discovered that the original installer did not register the engine as they should have when the job was initially done, so Yanmar did not have any records on file for us - that would have been the start of our warranty period. Took care of that. I'm sure Marine Tech of Hilton Head is just going to be thrilled with the bill they get for the latest work that was done because of their muck up and Yanmar won't cover the cost of one of the engine mounts that broke (it was installed on the wrong end of the engine and with all the vibration that was going on, it broke) because it was "an install problem". The weather is messy today, so unless it clears up this afternoon, we have permission to spend the night. Good time to catch up on the blog.
Brian: Finished Jay Bonansinga's Perfect Victim and almost done with Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown (an Indian history of the American West)
Brian has his scuba diving license from way back so he's brushing up on that through PADI doing online study session and testing.
August 3, 2013
Weather looked like it was going to clear yesterday, so after lunch we left Gowen's Marina; stopped at the next dock and filled up with diesel. It's definitely a diesel dock heavily used by the fishing vessels. The dock hand said that when some of these boats fill up their bill is between $30,000 and $40,000 for diesel and ice. On top of that, there is maintenance of the boat, insurance, employees, etc. You wonder how they can make a living? We motored out and once we were beyond the harbor we cut the engine and hoisted our main and head sails and had a nice sail all the way to within a half hour of our anchorage. I was so excited to actually spot two loons and one of them was singing out his call; I just love that sound. I actually really love listening to birds that make that mournful sound - owls, loons, morning doves, etc.
We picked up a mooring ball several miles short of our intended stop; Sebasco Bay. We had stopped here years ago when we had Evan with us on a sailing trip; it was his 16th birthday. I remember a dinner/play we had attended. We had also signed up for a kayak trip; the day we were scheduled to do that, it was pouring - the rain was coming down at a slant, wind blowing and rather chilly, but we were game and our guide was pleasantly surprised that we still wanted to go out. I recall that we all had a wonderful time! This time, we just spent the night and left mid-morning towards Boothbay Harbor. Found a place to anchor and took our dinghy in and walked about town.
August 8, 2013
Left Boothbay after spending a day and a half . From there we sailed to Tenant's Harbor (actually Long Cove off of Tenant's). It was a cold sail - raw and windy and it's August in Maine..... and so, so many lobster buoys to navigate around. Last time we were in this area, there were no mooring fields, no lobster buoys to contend with and even on land there were many more houses. Spent one night here anchored and then onto Rockland.
Spent a couple of days here - lots of walking - laundry, groceries, home depot... Walked around town a few times - again so built up from our last visit.
At the moment we are on a mooring ball in Camden - Cait and Bobby are coming for the weekend - yeah!!! Again, so crowded - it's all mooring fields - we were hoping to anchor - and mooring balls are not cheap - geesh!!! Brian's on land checking us in while I cleaned up lunch dishes and readied the boat for Cait and Bobby.
August 18, 2013
Well, Cait and Bobby came to spend a weekend with us in Camden, tho the evening they arrived, it was pouring, cold and the swells in the harbor were rocking all boats. Bobby started feeling uncomfortable within a few minutes. He felt it would be wise to get a room at an Inn. Next day, we met them for breakfast on land, stopped at a pharmacy for Bobby and then walked around town for a bit for the meds to kick in before heading back out to the boat. This time, he did just fine. The swells were finally down, no rain, but the wind was up which made for a great sailing day. Bobby was game, so off we went for about an hours sail - both Cait and Bobby enjoyed it.
Brian and I left Camden and motor-sailed to Swan Island; the winds were really flukey; up then down all day long and from different directions. Saw a few seals and ton and tons of lobster buoys to navigate around. Nice quiet bay - three other boats came in to bay to anchor - nice quiet night.
Arrived in Bar Harbor on the 12th and anchored outside of the mooring field among lobster buoys - kind of hard to anchor among these buoys and not expect your boat to rub against them; anchored next to Gary and Jodi and their dog, Reo from Country Dancer. Jody is a three-time world country dance champion - impressive! Our boat got rocked quite a bit between the lobster boats and tour boats going in and out all day, but hey - anchoring is free!! While in Camden we perused the downtown; did the three mile walk around Jordan Pond and then stopped at Jordan's Restaurant for their famous popovers and a cup of chowder - perfect for such a grey and damp day. We also walked a tiny portion of the 45 miles of historic carriage roads that are open for biking, walking and equestrian use. Mt. Desert (pronounced Dessert) Island offers free use of their shuttle busses to connect the park with surrounding communities and we took advantage of them. It would have been nice to have more time to spend here to explore all the hiking trails, etc.
Left Bar Harbor this morning and did a ten-hour motor-sail (wind mostly on the nose) to anchor in Tenant's Harbor. It was cold, overcast and damp - not a great day to travel on the water especially when our cockpit is open to the elements - brrrr!!!! We did notice that when we looked up towards the sun, it was surrounded what looked like to be a huge soiled cloud-like disc which in turn was completed surrounded by a rainbow - pretty neat - could only see if it you were wearing sunglasses. From here we will do another long day to Portland and spend at least a full day there before heading to Provincetown.
Reading: Lauren and Brian: J.F. Freedman's Above the Law & Lauran Paine's Open Range (we've seen the movie starting Robert Duval and Kevin Costner)
Lauren: Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Castaways of the Flying Dutchman and also The Angels Command both by Brian Jacques
Brian: Jack Higgins' The Killing Field, Vince Flynn's Kill Shot
August 20, 2013
Anchored in Portland Harbor and after dinner sat out on our life raft at the bow of the boat and watched all the comings and goings of lobster boats, tour boats, tiny rental sail boats, etc. Almost a full moon - so bright!
Someone interested in our Yamaha 6/hp outboard that we've been trying to get rid of for quite a while, so we will pick it up from the consignment shop here in Portland and bring it back to Mass for pickup. Took a walk about town and stopped at Hamilton Marine. Nice big marine store and much less expensive than West Marine. Picked up new lines for our dinghy davit (actually they were remnants, so an even better deal!). Once back on board, Brian changed these lines out while I did a load of bucket laundry - nice sunny, breezy, warm day for hanging out laundry.
Dinners: Have gotten away from writing our meals down, though, hard to believe, people really like to read about what we eat.
Chicken thighs in red wine sauce - Basically, sautéed chopped bacon with onions, mushrooms and garlic - brown chicken skin side down - add wine and chicken broth - cover and simmer
Cheeseburgers - used the left over mushroom mixture from above to top the burgers along with chopped jalapenos, etc.
Cheesy potatoes (added roasted red peppers) and pork chops
Cut way down on the baking, but do occasionally bake cookies
Home made hummus with the last of the roasted red peppers added in - seems to be a big hit - this time we served it with a cut up baguette
Chicken salad - always cook extra chicken to use in other dishes
August 26, 2013
Our good friends, Pete and Judy came and stayed on the boat with us this past weekend here in Portsmouth. We had a wonderful time! Since they had a vehicle, we took a ride to the Kittery Trading Post and checked out a few of the outlets. We toured downtown Portsmouth, poking around in the shops; went to a Brew Pub and Pete, Judy and Brian tried a few of the beer samplers (I stuck with the Scotch); toured Strawberry Bank (flower gardens); played cards and just had a great time being with each other.
We are scheduled to have the boat pulled and dry-docked for most of September in Newburyport and we tried to get in early, but they have no slip space for us right now, unless we want to stay on the town dock, but we've done that before there and anyone can walk by the boat and/or sit on benches practically right on top of the boat - so really, no privacy at all. We will stay here for a few days and then anchor a mile back in Pepperell Cove before heading to Newburyport.
At the moment, we are actually at the Prescott Public Town Docks here in Portsmouth, but on an end dock, so we have some privacy. We sat out in the cockpit and listened to the musical "Annie" - the actors did a wonderful job. Tuesday evening, the Park featured The Avengers on a large screen - we were able to hear and see it from our boat.
August 29, 2013
Discovered Newburyport Harbor Master had a few mooring balls available, so we reserved one instead of heading back to Pepperell Cove to anchor out for a few days. Left Portsmouth late Wednesday morning and got off the dock unassisted and without incident - yeah!! As we were motoring out of the channel, I happened to glance to my right and about a half mile out there was a bridge. Behind the bridge, it was either smoke from a large fire or fog rolling in; it was fog. As we cleared the last buoy out of the channel, the fogged just about enveloped us. Brian put on the radar screen overlapping the chart plotter - it was a big help - actually showed us all the lobster pot buoys plus all of the fishing boats. We did fine, but there were quite a few fishing boats of all sizes plus some pleasure boats crowding the mouth of the channel getting into Newburyport. We proceeded slowly and just as we were looking for the Newburyport Harbor Mooring balls the fog started lifting - as soon as we snagged the ball (on the first try) the fogged dropped around us again.
Today, it is windy and raw. A great day for puttering. Brian has been prepping the topsides for painting. He is going to tackle this very complicated, detailed and time consuming job. He started by filling in any holes or cracks with the West System - once it's dry, it's then sanded down and sometimes refilled a couple of more times. He's been on his knees for day crawling around the deck filling these holes and dings (not from us) and I went behind him today and taped over any fillings that were on corners or upright sections, so that the filler wouldn't run out. The boat looks like it's got a lot of boo boos - so many pieces of blue masking tape all over the boat - I should take a pic - it looks ridiculous. This poor boat was neglected in so many ways for a lot of years. One reason for doing the paint job is because Que just needs a face lift and the other reason Brian is doing it himself is because the cost for someone else to paint the boat is astronomical - really!!
It's getting way to darn cold to be taking our showers in the cockpit, so Brian took off to find some plumbing parts and odds and ends to jimmy the faucet in the bathroom (head) so that we can shower in there - it would be way warmer though will have to figure out how to retro fit a shower curtain so there would be minimal cleanup afterwards. While he was gone, I thought it would be a great time to take inventory of our food supplies - that was fun; crawl, squatting, lifting, pulling out, putting, back (quite the workout) and then update my excel sheet. Well, Brian's back and his trip was a complete bust.
We are scheduled to have the boat hauled out on Saturday, but we discovered there is a Riverfest scheduled here this weekend, so we rescheduled the haul out to Monday. That gives us a bit more time on the water to get things squared away for the haul out and to dinghy in to enjoy the festivities.
Dinners: Cheesy Potatoes with roasted chicken thighs and carrots
Steak tips with couscous mixed with sautéed onion, garlic and spinach
Chicken Schnitzel with left over cheesy potatoes
Judy's sausage and peppers on rolls
Left over sausage and peppers mixed with rice
(rest of S&P will be mixed in marina sauce)
Reading: Brian finishing Dean Koontz' Sole Survivor and lots of material on how to
paint the deck of the boat
Lauren - Ken Follet's Fall of Giants
Arrived safely at Fort Pierce - picked up the ICW to get to the marina and boy was getting to our slip at the marina a bit confusing! Instead of saying "hook a left off the ICW at marker such and such, take a right into the marina and at first dock take a left and your slip number is ...., but NOOOO we got this whole rigamarole that just confused the heck out of us (apparently also "Dolphin" didn't understand their directions either). Anyway, we missed our dock and had to turn the boat around in a very crowded marina - it was a bit nerve wracking as; one, the boat does not turn on a dime (though, if we had a bow thruster, .... one can only dream) and the boat does not back up "worth sh_t" as Brian would say. We managed to get the boat turned around without hitting any other boats or docks and made it into our slip without incident. We've never been at a slip that we've had to tie off at pilings (basically a telephone pole stuck in the ground); we were not quite sure how to lasso the pilings as you are also handing off lines to the dock hand while trying not to plow into the pier in front of you, or scrape the boat sides, but we managed albeit not the smoothest operation, though the dock hand said we were doing just fine - it definitely helps when you have dock hands that are calm and can give precise info as to the how's of it all. Asked the dock hand if anyone was watching - he said "no and that you did just fine". He lied - come to find out, we were so absorbed in getting the boat docked that not even 150 feet away there was a restaurant with a large outdoor section that overlooked the marina - SOOO, everyone was watching! Geesh!!! We celebrated that night by going out for a pizza - the first one since we started our journey.
Brian met with a mechanic regarding our engine - we were all set to go forth and replace the engine by the time we got talking with him, but his boss couldn't guarantee that the new engine would be shipped by no later than next Tuesday. We want to get North and staying a night or two at marina is a treat for us - we can't afford to stay here for two weeks, (we were willing to spend a week to get the engine replaced) though the showers were wonderful, the laundry facility is brand spanking new, the facility is very clean and neat and we are meeting cruisers that we've met on our trip throughout the Bahamas.
Went to leave the marina, but our draft is 6 feet and we were in 5 feet of water - couldn't budge the boat - got to stay another night for free.
We were able to leave the marina next day - nervous about backing the boat out of the slip - I was at the helm while Brian took care of all of the lines. Thankfully, it was calm and early in the morning, so we didn't have an audience. We did just fine.
May 12, 2013
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Have been motor/sailing the ICW. Hit a couple of rain squalls with thunder and lightening, but no high winds - they didn't last long. Long days!
Reading: Lauren - finished "Galilee" by Clive Barker and onto "Dracula" by Bram
Brian - finished "Snowman" and is catching up on his Cruising World issues
Dinners: Pork chops with left over potato salad
Pasta with asparagus
Left over pizza
Pasta with peanut sauce and broccoli
From Fort Pierce we've motored the ICW to Cocoa, FL - Mother's Day breakfast out, then off up the ICW rest of day and anchored just south of New Smyrna Beach Bridge.
Next day a 12 hour motoring day as the wind was on our nose all day - anchored on the Matanzas River, 7 miles just shy of St. Augustine - long day!!! Onto St. Augustine and picked up a mooring ball for a couple of days. While in St. Augustine, we walked the town and found another restaurant that offered pizza - way better than we had in Fort Pierce.
From St. Augustine, we motored, motored-sailed and sailed all of 28 and ½ hours to a marina in Hilton Head, SC so that we could have the engine looked at and hopefully replaced. I took first watch from 8PM - 11PM. Brian and I opted to sail several miles (about 10 miles) out from the mainland - "Dolphin" sailed along the coast. The sunset was beautiful. Saw some fireworks about 9PM - even as far out as we were, they were still pretty impressive and kept me occupied for a bit. Don't like doing the night watches. The sea was fairly calm, so that alleviated some of my apprehension. Still, our cockpit is not comfortable - no cushions - it's open to the elements which means it gets cold and damp. I played some scrabble and just kept an eye out for other cruisers, freighters/tankers, constantly watched the monitor to make sure we stayed on course and that we had plenty of water depth - it actually was pretty shallow for being about 10 miles out - average depth was about 40 feet; didn't have to call Brian for anything. Second watch for me was 2AM - 5AM. After that shift though, I only slept for a half hour. Went above and kept Brian company. Early morning, the waves calmed down even more, so we opted to take showers. The water was nice and hot from running the engine and I didn't have to worry about any peering eyes as we were still out quite a ways, though getting closer to land and our entry to the ICW towards Hilton Head. Boy, did that shower feel wonderful!!!
Reading: Brian: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
Lauren: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (have read before - excellent!)
Dinners and lunches on the ICW/and on the outside - anything I could get made up ahead of time and eat cold, because 1) depending on the weather - I don't do well in the galley when it's unsettled and 2) after traveling non-stop for 2 days - who really wants to cook let alone eat - we just want to crash
Talked to the mechanics today regarding our engine - we have decided to stay here and get it replaced. We said our goodbyes to Nina and Adrien of "Dolphin". They anchored out and will be moving on tomorrow. Hopefully someday we will be able to meet up with them. We have been traveling with "Dolphin" since we met up with them the second time in Warderick Wells, Bahamas - we will miss them. Tomorrow we move from this marina to the working dock. Brian is going to break down the engine and do as much as he can to cut down on the cost of the job. We are going to rent a vehicle while here and do a bit of site seeing once they start working on the engine. We are hoping that all of the work will be done before next weeks long weekend - can't believe it's almost Memorial Day Weekend! Our friends, Gale and Glenn are here at Hilton Head for two weeks and we have tentative plans to meet up with them on Monday afternoon.
May 26, 2012
The last couple of days, Brian has been dealing with the mechanics. We have to install a new shaft for the propeller as ours will be too short for the new engine - the boat will have to be pulled from the water for this. One of the mechanics ran wire to two negative terminals of the two battery banks and Gary, who will install the engine, came and took several measurements so he will have everything in order for the install. After the engine was pulled, Brian and I spent the afternoon with Gail and Glenn. Late afternoon, Brian and I cleaned out the bilge; what a mess, between the sludge, grease, the sweat (it was so humid) and the non-latex paint we applied to the bilge, we looked like we hadn't showered in a week - we were rather gross. Gail and Glenn generously let us stay at their time share for the night so we wouldn't have to smell paint fumes - nice!
Yesterday, we took a ride to Savannah and walked around for the day. There was an actual chill in the air - almost felt like Fall - refreshing! We had a wonderful walking tour of Savannah.
This morning Brian worked on putting together and installing his hot water manifold that runs to the bathroom and kitchen sinks and also to the cockpit shower. It took all morning, but went rather well. Running the new hose went much smoother than he had anticipated. Of course, there was quite the clean up afterwards - always is. In order to do any work on the boat, the boat has to be torn apart - literally - and then find places for all the stuff that has to be moved so it's not in the way. When the work is done, we make sure the areas are thoroughly cleaned before closing all compartments back up and then everything else gets put back in its place - this is done for EVERY job! I did go and do one load of laundry just so I wasn't underfoot all of the time.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day - Hilton Head does not have a parade, but there will be some speeches and singing - we may attend.
June 1, 2013 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!
Spent Memorial Day in a "Doc in the Box" - nasty sinus infection and migraine - was there for almost three hours - very busy place (actually we beat in the crowd, but there were a couple of emergencies - which I didn't understand why they weren't at a hospital). My initial wait wasn't long, but once in the examining room, well..... The doctor actually stopped in after an hour and profusely apologized and "Do you mind if I take care of the emergencies?" Really??? Jimminy Cricket!!!! Told him to please, please go ahead - I was ok. When he finally got around to me, he couldn't stop apologizing (told you the Southerners were so polite). He even called me the next day to check up on me.
June 3, 2013
This morning knowing it was going to rain all day and waiting for the marine tech (we are expecting him at 10), I decided to make us our version of Egg McMuffins - they were yummy! Yesterday, being Sunday, knowing I wasn't going to be disturbed by having floors taken up for work, I baked oatmeal raisin cookies - that's an all morning diversion. Very frustrating that we are still here at Hilton Head as it's been one thing after the other with the engine install. There are always delays of some sort, but geesh, it's going on our third week here!!! Today we are hoping the work will finally be done (we are assuming it will take all day ((very slow)), then there is the test drive, so maybe leave tomorrow????, though it's suppose to rain all week, so since we are already on the monthly payment schedule here at the marina, we might just stay a few more days til the weather clears. Brian has laid out our route for the outside (weather permitting) and if and where we can duck into the ICW if need be. Nothing exciting going on here as the rental was returned on Saturday 'cause we thought we were leaving that day. Brian and I take daily walks. Hilton Head comprises of many gated communities; the marina we are staying at is one of them, so in order to get back in we have to have a pass (and remember to take it with us when we go walking). I'm not sure I would want to live in a gated community. Downsides are the fees associated with it and so many rules and regulations that are strictly enforced. On the upside, there is no yard maintenance (yah, I know - me, who loves to garden), everything is nasty clean and neat and I suppose there's a bit more privacy from the public, though the houses are literally on top of each other and the access to so many of the bike and walking trails, though you would have to have a pass for each gated community. Also, if I was to live in the South, I would most definitely have a pool. Swimming pools here seem to be almost non-existent. As in Charleston, here at Hilton Head the techs move at their own pace, even though they assured us we would be on our way a week ago; can't even get too upset with them as they are so darn polite. Today is so humid that we actually plugged in to the dock and started our a/c - figured the techs would appreciate that.
Spent one morning (waiting for the tech) and defrosted our freezer and cleaned that and the fridge out. Doing lots of reading and catching up on emails. Also, as everyone knows, I really enjoy playing Scrabble on my IPad - me against the computer. I started making a list of words that the computer comes up with and looking them up in our Oxford dictionary - ¾ of these words are not listed - hmmm can the computer cheat??? Think I'll have to invest in a new dictionary. If I look up the words on the Scrabble dictionary, it just tells you if it's a useable word - doesn't give the meaning of the word.
Brian got some great pics at the marina; a heron that came in each evening and beautiful sunsets with an old dock system in the foreground.
Dinners: Tuna noodle casserole and corn
Pasta with sautéed onion, bell pepper and tomato (starting to go) mixed in with left over spaghetti sauce
Home made nachos with lots of jalapenos
Pork Chops with sautéed asparagus
Reading: Brian - finished the Jack Reacher series that he downloaded, then Tom Clancy's "Changing Of The Guard" and is now onto "The Emporer's Bones" by Adam Williams
Lauren: Started the Jack Reacher series, jumped to Karin Slaughter's "Undone", then Lisa Gardner's "Live To Tell" and then just finished Vince Flynn's "American Assassin"
June 8, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY!!!
Well, this morning at 6:45 we were finally able to leave Hilton Head; three weeks to get the new engine installed, then we had to negotiate their fee down - it ended amicably, thank God. Headed out to sea, but yet again, the waves and winds were not what was predicted - we persevered and motor sailed (have to break the new engine in - for the next 50 hours we actually have a schedule to run the RPMS). We were doing fine til I had to go down below, then I ended up not feeling well. Our plan was to travel all day, overnight, next day and another overnight. Just before Charleston, the bracket for the end of the outhaul on the main sail busted; Brian temporarily fixed it in place with heavy duty line, but didn't want to use the sail in case the line chafed. That was about the time the sea sickness got the best of me, so we opted to head into Charleston and up the ICW for a bit. The Charleston area seems to be a jinx for us. When we initially started our journey, it was at Charleston and if you remember it was the trip from hell. Anyway, dropped anchor at 8:15PM - cockpit shower and leftovers for dinner; reviewed charts and bed.
June 9, 2013
Traveled the ICW - 2 knots of current against us for the 12 hour trip, so a lot slower than we had planned. Saw an alligator partially submerged near the shore, quite a few turtles and some huge osprey nests. Brian took some pics of the trees along the shore that had their roots exposed. One thing about traveling the ICW is that I can go below without getting sick, so am able to cook; even though it's slower travel there are some upsides. The water we traveled through all day looked like the color of tea. We had lots of company of enamored dragonflies (they were flying all over the boat in pairs ((actually they were mating as they were flying)). Also, Brian was kept amused for several hours trying to fly swat dear flies - they were so annoying. Pulled off the ICW in a Cypress swamp; it actually has a large cut through for boats. We anchored and sat out and ate dinner just listening to the quiet. Saw a family of ducks swim across the channel; lots of bubbles surfaced - don't know if they were turtles or alligators, fish jumping, etc. So quiet and peaceful here. Tomorrow we will try to have anchor up by 6:00 and get a long day of travel in.
Reading: Lauren: Whipped through Lisa Gardner's "Live To Tell" then onto Vince Flynn's "Consent to Kill" (love those espionage stories). Now reading Ken Follet's "World Without End" follow up to his "Pillars Of The Earth"
Brian: "The Inferno" by Dante
Dinners: Hot dogs with potato salad
Chicken with pasta salad
Spaghetti with marinara meat sauce
June 10, 2013
Just before pulling up anchor at 6 a.m. and meandered to the other end of the Cypress swamp then out to the ICW, Brian saw an alligator swim across the bow of our boat. Did well today - tide was not against us all day like yesterday - we motored sailed 86 miles. All went well til we grounded and hit pretty hard at Shallotte Inlet, SC - I instantly got upset as I was behind the wheel - we were in the channel where we were suppose to be. We first tried backing up, then plowing through it, but we were stuck. Called Sea Tow and sat waiting for them - it was going to be about 45 minutes. The wind was blowing pretty good (too high for our mail sail), so I suggested we put our head sail back up again; we did and it tipped the boat enough for us to use the engine and work our way off the shoal. It worked!!!! Called Sea Tow back to let them know we did not need their assistance. The next area that gave us a bit of worry was Cape Fear River, NC. It was so windy (again, too windy for our head sail and we still can't use our main sail til that bracket gets fixed - the main sail would stabilize the boat in the washing machine waves) and an incoming tide with an opposing current, which made it a bit uncomfortable for many miles; also a storm was brewing and we certainly didn't want to get caught in that. We made it safely to an anchorage at Carolina Beach, SC before the storm hit. We are the only boat in the anchorage, though we are literally surrounded by houses, condos, apartments, and tons of boats - so guess we are waiting til dark to take our cockpit showers.
June 12, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRY
Well, we are still at Carolina Beach. Pulled anchor yesterday just before 7 and headed up the ICW - followed my cookie trail out of the anchorage and grounded even though we were still in the channel - got off easily enough and continued on. Didn't get a half mile when it felt like we were hitting bottom again, but the chart plotter showed us we were in 12 to 17 feet of water, then the boat made a funny noise - actually it scared us as we just put in the new engine and we shouldn't be having any problems. Brian opened up the bilge while I stayed behind the helm with the engine running to track down the noise (it was a rather loud squeal); I yelled down to him that we had stopped moving forward - he looked out and said we were still moving - nope that was the current taking us. The shaft had come loose from the engine. I put the boat in neutral and let the current take us to the edge of the ICW and Brian dropped anchor; called Sea Tow and sat for about an hour. Phillip from Sea Tow turned us back around and took us to the first fuel dock. The dock hand called a mechanic for us and we were told they would be right out (this is mid-morning) - the mechanic arrived at 3. Anyway, he went over the problem with Brian. Well, our new problem is that the coupling for the new shaft was not properly attached; there is suppose to be a keyway that holds the coupling to the shaft - it was cut off when the new shaft that was ordered. It was a bit too long and when it was cut, the keyway was taken off with the excess. So, only two little set screws were holding this unit and they sheared off gouging the shaft as it was trying to turn in the coupling instead of with the coupling. The next hour Brian spent on the phone going back and forth between Bearing Marine's boss and Gary from Marine Tech that did the work in Hilton Head - it went well enough - the engine is still under warranty (Mack Boring) and MB has say as to where the shaft should be fixed and, of course, they wanted us towed way off our route (hours off of our route), then wanted the boat hauled, then..... &&**&^^%%$#$. Gary from Marine Tech did not want to pay for that and okayed the local company, Bearing Marine that is certified by Mack Boring. He requested that they drill a hole through the shaft and coupling and bolt them together as the fix solution. Bearing Marine had wanted to pull the engine, take the shaft off, re-taper and re-key it. Marine Tech would not allow them to do that. We were not asked for our input on this. End result is they will be able to fix the problem here on the dock but not til tomorrow morning and then hopefully we can be on our way again. At this rate, not sure if we will make it to NE with the boat for the family reunion. Will have to ditch the boat along the way and rent a car to get there.
Was able to do several loads of laundry last night and we went for a long walk after dinner to blow off some steam. This morning Brian tried to saw off the broken main sail outhaul car bolt but his blades just started melting - does anything ever go smoothly??
Ate 7oz of peanut M&M's last night - stressed?? or I just can't stop at 10 (they are a favorite) - lol.
June 13, 2013
The Bearing Marine mechanic drilled a hole through the coupling and the shaft and bolted it all together, though he went through several drill bits doing it. Ran the engine through its gears and all sounded and looked good. Left the fuel dock about 12:30 and headed up the ICW and this time we made it to Wrightsville Beach 2:15pm without incident. We sat and watched all the goings on; jet skis, paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing, water skiing and then quite a few smaller motor boats buzzing around - very busy place; mostly really young adults and plenty of young women showing quite a bit of skin - Brian was enjoying himself. We both took a catnap in the cockpit, then discussed our next route - do we go outside or continue up the ICW? Of course, it ALL depends on the weather. We looked at all the weather and wind APPS and decided to make a run for the outside; took my seasickness pill, had dinner and pulled up anchor at 7:30pm. The winds were about 12 knots and we decided to sail even though we only averaged about 3.5 knots. The waves were only 2-3 feet, so it was a nice relaxing and a quiet sail. We actually did our cockpit showers while under way. I stood first watch at 8:30 - all went well til just before Brian's watch at 11:30 - I got seasick - not just queasy (that always happens and lasts for a while) - this was ooops - sick. So, I lay down while Brian did his watch, but I felt so miserable, I couldn't sleep, so I kept Brian company for a while. I eventually got a 2 hour rest and felt much better. Made it to the entrance to the ICW after sunrise and turned on the motor several (wanted to beat the high winds and waves that were predicted) miles out from the ICW to continue traveling for the rest of the day. Jumped on the ICW about 8:30am and dropped anchor on Pantego Creek in Belhaven, NC at 5:55pm. We were exhausted. We kept getting storm weather alerts - we knew the winds were suppose to get worse and we did see 33.4 knots and the waves really kicked up so we were heeled over quite a bit a few times; getting use to the heeling especially if the boat stays heeled to one side for most of the sail - it's the swaying back and forth over and over again that is so uncomfortable - it's hard to not get knocked around and if your behind the wheel, the legs and abs get a great workout, but I don't think it's worth it. The area that this occurred in was wide open and probably on the same square footage as Lake Champlain - there was no where for us to run and hide. We persevered and several hours after finally dropping anchor a storm did come through - the sky was a mass of angry black clouds and the winds whipped through at 40.4 knots (we turned on our instruments to check the wind speed); some thunder, lighting and a few sprinkles - it passed over pretty quickly; just glad we were done for the day.
June 15, 2013
Yesterday we did another 12 hour run. Brian had a difficult time getting the anchor up - he thought it was stuck on something. He actually dove on it (again - this water is so brown, you can't see an arm's length in front of you). Anyway, the anchor was not stuck on anything, it was just buried so deep in the silty mud. I put the engine in gear and drove forward over the anchor to dislodge it - that worked. Sailed across another very large open bay - winds bounced between high teens and 20 knots - it was actually a decent sail, except we kept hearing a low rumble, but mostly felt vibrations in the floor of the cockpit every time the waves pushed us from the side. Brian opened up the bilge to make sure the shaft was ok. Of course, everything looked just fine at a glance. We were just hoping to get across the bay and out of the rough weather. Finally out of the bay into Alligator River for quite a few miles and, no we didn't see one alligator; had to drop the sail as the river was bordered heavily by large trees that cut the wind.
Today we actually got a great sail in across part of Pamlico Bay before having to turn on the motor, though once the engine was running, we could still feel that vibration that just doesn't seem "normal". The most interesting part of the day was when we reached Norfolk, VA - it was mile upon mile of battleships, carriers, a medical ship, submarines, destroyers and cargo ships - absolutely impressive! Dropped anchor after 11.5 hours in Phoebus/Old Point Comfort anchorage area - we are the only ones anchored here - nice!!!
Continued on to Annapolis - Brian called Mack Boring to get the name of a marine tech that could do the 50 hour service on the new engine. We found the marina after traveling 12 hours. It was after hours, so we had to dock the boat ourselves and, of course, I started worrying about it miles before we got there. It was a pretty narrow channel passing by several other marinas - so many boats. The wind was down and current pretty calm; Brian walked me through what had to be done to dock the boat; we did just fine. Sometimes, I have to shift the boat into reverse for a couple of seconds to stop it from going forward, but I didn't have to do that. Brian was able to just step off the boat onto the dock - I threw him the lines and he tied off the boat - a perfect docking and no one to see it - it figures - lol! We got cleaned up and went for a ½ mile walk to a restaurant. Then we walked another mile and ½ to a grocery store and picked up a few items.
The next morning we met with Chris, the marine tech scheduled to do the 50 hour service. That's when he discovered that the "new fix" on the shaft was broken. The new hardware was lying in the bilge - the bolt had sheared right off and the set screws had gouged the shaft even more. That may explain the vibrations we were feeling. Chris was so upset about how the "new fix" was done; not done properly which would have been to haul the boat and redo a new shaft with the keyway - NOT drill through the shaft and the coupling and attach it with a bolt (this is actually how Bearing Marine at Carolina Beach wanted to do it (the correct fix), but Gary from Marine Tech wouldn't approve it because they didn't want to pay for the more expensive fix even though it was the proper way for it to be done and their responsibility. Chris stated that if at anytime we had shifted into reverse, the shaft would have shot back and major damaged to the prop which would have rendered our boat useless. Needless to say, Brian and I were a tad upset. Chris absolutely will not fix the problem any other way but the way it should have been done the first time. So here we are again back and forth with Gary from Marine Tech and our new tech, Chris Oliver of Portside Marine trying to resolve the problem. Gary, at this point is taking no responsibility stating that it was Bearing Marine's problem - not true - Marine Tech "hired" Bearing Marine to fix their mistake. Brian told him that wouldn't fly, so now Gary is saying we are at fault. Hello????? How could we possibly be at fault? We aren't techs. We hired Marine Tech to install the new engine and to do it properly - not take shortcuts. Instead of taken a week to week and ½ to do install the engine, he held us up for three weeks. He sent us on our way with the instructions to make sure we get the 50 hour service done on it and signed off on the trial runs - which is why we were in Annapolis. Gary is upset because he doesn't want to pay for the fix yet again, but that is his responsibility, not ours since he mucked up right at the start. Now our boat is being hauled and will be out of the water for three weeks. We rented a car and unloaded stuff on the boat that we didn't need and headed to Tewksbury to stay with Brian's mom for about a week. We will get to see our children and friends. We received an email from Marine Tech, they are taking no responsibility for the shaft. They say it is our problem. Then next week, we will head to NY for my family reunion. Our boat is scheduled to be put back in the water about July 8th. Guess we will not be heading to Maine as originally planned. That's okay, there will always be another time for that.
Received a call from Chris letting Brian know they hauled the boat and discovered that the shaft that was installed was still the wrong length - way too long! This was probably the cause of the vibrations we kept feeling. Brian called Mack Boring (the engine manufacturer) to discuss with them what has been going on. The engine works perfectly; the problem is that Marine Tech who is a Mack Boring rep botched the original install and will not make good on the job. So now we are basically homeless, unless Marine Tech steps up to the plate and makes good on their installation. Brian called the credit card company to dispute the payment to Marine Tech.
Staying with Brian's mom; helping her with odds and ends, cleaning, gardening, etc. Running around doing errands, seeing our children and friends. Thoroughly enjoying ourselves, but the engine issue has definitely put a slight damper on our time away. Brian took our screens off the boat and replaced the damaged screens, sanded all the woodwork and is in the process of varnishing them. He also cut out new hand rails for the top side of our boat that were missing when we purchased it. Heading out to New York next week for my family reunion and celebrate of my parents' 80th birthdays.
The Abacos -
Sailed from Spanish Wells to the Lynyard Cay in the Abacos - Northern Islands of the Bahamas. Left at 6:30 A.M. and arrived and set anchor at 5:30 P.M. - long day. Motored sailed all day - was glad when we could shut off the engine. Saw many flying fish. Brian caught a Mahi Mahi and this time I had a wet towel ready to cover its head when Brian landed it. It worked like a charm for a few minutes, then the Mahi got a second wind and started bucking around the floor of the cockpit and off flew the towel. It was amazing to watch the colors come back on the fish once the towel was off. Threw the towel on its head again and this time I stood with one foot on the towel to keep the fish still - that worked. Brian fillet the fish. No sooner did we get everything cleaned up from landing the Mahi, when out zinged the line on the fishing pole - this time we hooked a Marlin - that was exciting. The Marlin jumped clear out of the water and took our line out with him; he got himself off the hook - that was probably a good thing as Brian wasn't sure he could have landed it.
Took a dinghy ride with Adrien and Nina to check out some coral sites for snorkeling. We found one promising area that wasn't coral but a tiny outcrop of land. Nina stayed in the dinghy - she had family business to take care of and needed to make calls while the rest of us swam around. There was little for marine life and the bottom was pretty clear. What we did find were quite a few dead sea biscuits - Brian and Adrien swam down for them. When I was done with my swim, I hoisted myself onto the dinghy, turned around to sit on the side of the dinghy once I was up and the next thing I knew I was on my back on top of a few sea biscuits and the gas tank. Before we left, I had slathered myself with sunscreen - so once I was wet, I was like a greased pig. I was so stunned from the pain - I had hit my tail bone right on the corner of the gas tank - I didn't move for a minute or two. Nina was peering over me asking if the look on my face was pain or was I getting ready to laugh - I finally blurted out in a whisper "pain" and it was so very painful. The dinghy ride back to the boat was very, very slow.
Next day we started out to Tilloo Cay, but Nina's uncle had passed away and Nina wanted to be in a place to have internet access so she could help her mother with everything with funeral arrangements and other concerns. Brian was able to guide Nina on some Probate Law - that was a big help to her. On this sail we hit 24 knots of wind and topped out at 6.6 knots of speed. I was at the helm for the most part - I placed a float cushion on the teak seat and then made a donut out of a large beach towel and sat on that for most of the day when I wasn't standing to see where we were heading. It helped minimize the pain in my butt when sitting.
Later, early evening, Brian and I were sitting out in the cockpit playing a scrabble game, when he says "Someone is out for a swim." The harbor is busy, the water not so clear and swimming at night probably isn't a great idea - then he says "Someone's Dink - uh oh." I turned around and Adrien was swimming after his dinghy. Almost wanted to laugh as this is not the first or even second time that his dinghy has not been secured properly, but the current was taking it away at a pretty good clip. Our dinghy was still up on its davits and would have taken way too long to get that and the outboard down to help him. Adrien managed to catch up with the dinghy and climb aboard and bring it back. The next day Brian casually mentioned to Adrien that he noticed was out for a swim - "Exercising?" lol Come to find out, this time it wasn't Adrien's fault - he had a technician on board helping him with his refrigeration system - the tech had "secured" the dinghy, soooo guess we couldn't rib Adrien. (PS: Have been spelling Adrien's name incorrectly - "e" intead of an "a").
Dinners: Grilled Mahi Mahi, salad and corn muffins
Fried Mahi Mahi with salad
Chicken with pasta and salad
Reading: I haven't found anything that piqued my interest on Brian's Kindle so I read and finished The Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddon
Brian is reading The Devil in the White City
Spent our first day in Marsh Harbour out walking the town. Met up with Pat and John from "New Moon" for lunch. Checked out local stores including all the hardware stores for the guys. Storm coming in tonight. Last night we had 20 knot winds, but anchor held just fine. Looking forward to the rain tonight so we can wash off the boat - it's a bit crusty from the salt water.
Nina cooked dinner last night and we played cards - I think they are hooked on LiverPool and Adrien enjoys playing Whist with us (similar to Spades). Brian got up and went out and scrubbed the deck of the boat while it was raining - squeaky clean now. Made water all day. I spent from 8 AM to 1:45 PM in the galley; breakfast, then baked lemon squares, butternut chewies and chocolate cupcakes along with peanut butter frosting for the cupcakes - also made a marinade for the chicken for dinner and a dressing for the broccoli; made egg salad for lunch. By the time I finished cooking and cleaning my back wasn't feeling so great - down for a rest.
Took a ferry to Hope Town and walked and golf carted around the island - what a quaint town and so, so clean.
Dinner: Baked chicken, hot broccoli salad and potato salad and a choice of desserts
Reading: Lauren - 9 Years on the 7 Seas
Brian - The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
From Marsh Harbour we motored over to Man-O-War. Brian brought up an orange juice for us to share. I was behind the helm and not paying attention to him, so when he handed the juice container to me, I automatically started shaking it before taking a sip. Unbeknownst to me, Brian had already opened the container and left the cap off, SOOO, the juice went everywhere - what a mess. Thankfully, our shower hose was conveniently located near our feet, so we sprayed down the console and everything else that the juice hit. Other than that it was an uneventful motoring (1 ½ hours). We were able to anchor in a secure harbor. Man-O-War is a boat building community. Walked around town and found a lovely elderly couple who sold baked goods; bought cinnamon rolls and also their own special blend for conch fritters. The museum was closed (we never seem to get to tour the local museums - they are run by volunteers and they don't always show up when scheduled). Met a sailor from our neck of the woods and chatted with him for a bit.
Dinner: Chicken Adobo (I used pork chops) EH!! - new recipe - will make changes to it - it was ok. Also made a spinach pie
From Man-O-War we sailed (and it was a great sail) to New Province Town on Green Turtle Cay. Left at 9:00 AM and dropped anchor at 2:15 PM. Had to reset the anchor as it didn't take hold the first time. Numerous turns on this sail to get to our destination - waves averaged about 5 feet and moved us along. Winds hit a high of just over 22 knots. One spot we had to navigate through is called Whale Cut and when we listen to the cruisers' net in the morning, one of the questions always asked is if anyone has either sailed through or been near the cut that morning and what is the condition of Whale Cut. If the winds are up, mostly likely the chop will be rough going through. We took advantage of leaving today to get through it as we heard the weather was going to deteriorate the next couple of days. The waves were about 5 - 6 feet and pushed us around a bit. The donut and floaty I was sitting on slid around and off I went onto the cockpit seat - OUCH!!!! Didn't help the ole tailbone - so very painful - stood the rest of the way even though we were knocked around til we got through. We sailed right through cut, though we had the key in the ignition just incase we were going to have problems and had to push through it. I was fascinated with the color of the water through here - a milky light turquoise - just beautiful. Passed a tanker that had hit the reef and has been sitting there for several years - bet there's great marine life around that. Once through the cut and making a turn, the island blocked the waves, but we still had great wind to keep us moving along - made it a tad more comfortable. Tiring day.
Walked around New Province Town - it was Sunday, so everything was closed - streets were very quiet. Brian and I found a beach and went for a several mile long walk. Found a few shells and a sea biscuit. Met up with Adrien and Nina for a late lunch and then more walking. Next we took a dingy ride to check out a marina - we like looking at the other boats (I especially like checking out their names - ((Breaking Wind - really??? And here's a good one "Lakanukie" (Hawaiian? Lol- that's on a fishing trawler that goes out for about 4 - 6 weeks at a time); the guys are always guessing what type of boats they are and critiquing the rigging; what bothers me is that they will stand in the dinghy sometimes to check out the boats - told Brian that someone is going to think we are casing them out and are up to no good. As we were leaving that marina to head to another one we spotted a dinghy near "Dolphin", so we all raced over to make sure they weren't up to no good. Turns out it was a couple (Ted and Barb) that had just set anchor and have the same type of boat as "Dolphin". We bobbed around in our dinghies chatting for a few minutes and then decided to continue on to check out another marina. On the way in we saw two huge parrots - at least from a distance they looked like parrots except that they had exceptionally long tails. (Later checked out local birds - there are Bahamian parrots, but these two didn't match the pics in the book. Got off the dinghies and walked around - nice, clean marina AND reasonably priced if we decide to stick it out here for the incoming storm. We all ordered drinks (there is always a special going on - mostly rum punches; too sweet for me) and sat around dangling our feet in a very clean swimming pool. Ted and Barbara of "Rosa dos Ventos" may continue to the states with us. For now we have squalls coming in and have decided to stay put.
April 29, 2013
Happy Birthday Meghan and Pete!!! Yesterday, we all met on "Rosa-dos Ventos" to discuss the incoming weather and our options (marina?). I made a blueberry cake that was a big hit. "Rosa dos Ventos" and us will most likely sit out the squalls on our anchor; Nina likes the marinas, so they will most likely get a slip. There are only a few boats here in the anchorage and I have to say, I want to see how we do in 50 knot winds on an anchor. If for some reason we start to drag - we are well clear of any other boats and the shore. We also downloaded an APP that will set off an alarm if we start to drag. All of us walked the town again and got to poke through a shop or two, tour the museum, walk a different beach and meet other cruisers. Saw Herb and Linda of "Utopia" - Previously met them in Hatchet Bay. Herb has been catching all kinds of shark and has a freezer full of meat - heard it was good eatin'. Recently he was told that it's illegal to catch any shark. Nina bought a grouper for dinner - she can't seem to get enough of that fish. Just before dinner - noticed Ted heading out to sea with his dingy wondering what the heck he was doing - rescuing another dinghy (nope, not Adrien's) that got loose from a yacht. After dinner, we taught Ted and Barb to play Liverpool - we got back to the boat about 1 A.M.
Dinner: Grilled marinated grouper and tossed salad by Nina, stir-fried rice (me) and a wonderful black bean hummus by Barbara.
Stir-Fried Rice: Sauteed chopped carrots, celery, peeled broccoli stalks and garlic; added rice previously cooked and cooled, two beaten eggs - then added sherry, sesame seed oil, soy sauce and then because I felt it needed some more zip - added a bit of Hoison Sauce - very good
High winds last night, but not near the 50 knots they were predicting, so not at all uncomfortable. The sky looks ominous this morning. Took pics of the clouds hovering over land behind us this morning; out to sea is rather dark. Good day to clean, read, maybe watch a movie, figure out meals, etc.
Yesterday's weather was rather benign. No high winds, no rain near us, but watching the clouds the "storm" skirted our area. Did a load of laundry - have given up on the plunger and bucket - with the tailbone problem it was painful to sit in the cockpit leaning over the bucket. I now do the laundry in the smaller side of our divided kitchen sink. I found by standing, I have more leverage when using my hands as agitators to clean the clothes - works just fine. Brian and I took the dinghy out as my tail end wasn't giving me any grief - looked for coral heads in the area and didn't find any. Stopped at two small beaches; Brian found two good coconuts and then went snorkeling - I walked the beach and picked up trash and looked for treasures. Found a few urchins, two shells and lots of broken bottles that I piled into an old cooler that someone left and was being used as a garbage can. Brian only found one fish - he's been trying to figure out what kind it was - from the description, I thought it might be a flounder. Brian said it was so well camouflaged that he almost missed it; the head reminded him of a turtle and the fins were bent like it had elbows and it "walked" along the bottom on the fins - how bizarre! (later found out it is called a Bat Fish)
No storm last night and today it's sunny, but lots of heavy clouds hovering - no wind, so a bit stifling. Supposedly there's a storm brewing for end of week, but Chris Parker (our weather guru on the SSB) won't commit that far in advance. So today, I provisioned for produce and we motored an hour and a half over to Manjack Cay - we were joined by "Dolphin" and "Rosa dos Ventos". Once we arrived, Brian and I immediately went for a swim around the boat - so refreshing! All of us took a dinghy ride through an extensive mangrove - saw quite a few turtles - boy can they swim fast! Also saw tons of jelly fish lying on the bottom along with sea urchins. The sea urchins cover themselves with leaves and shells - you wonder how they do that. The water was very shallow so it was neat looking at the bottom as we meandered through. Saw a large puffer fish and numerous very small fish - we were hoping to find Grouper. Walked a beach and found very tiny shells - I collected a few and once back on the boat rinsed them and put them out to dry. In the morning half of them had wandered off - apparently, the shells had the tiniest crabs inside of them - I needed my readers to see them - sent them overboard. Nina found a large red starfish - we took it back to the boat to take pics then we put him back in the water. It was fascinating studying it and feeling the texture and it had some heft to it.
Rainy day. Prepared an appetizer for tonight, cleaned, put out a fishing line and Brian scrubbed the outside of the boat while it was raining. If it clears up, there is another beach to explore and apparently a path to the Atlantic side. Great day for reading and catching up on the blog. As I'm writing this, we heard the zing of the fishing line. Brian put out a smaller rod with a piece of barracuda that we keep in the freezer for bait. He attach we got out to the cockpit, we saw the splash rings in the water from whatever ended up taking not only the bait but also the hook. Brian put out more bait except on our heavy duty fishing pole. We saw two small remoras swimming around, but they are to small to have taken the bait and hook; wonder if there is a nurse shark swimming nearby.
Baked mac 'n cheese (the local extra sharp is so bland, so I added goat cheese for a bit of tang), vegetable medley by Nina, artichoke & sun-dried tomato bruschetta by Barb and a home made apple cobbler (Brian peeled the apples for me)
Macaroni salad from left over pasta, sliced tomatoes
Took the walk to the Atlantic side of the island - no treasures, but it was good to get off the boat and stretch the legs. Left mid-morning and motored back to Green Turtle Cay for the Heritage Festival (Island Roots Festival) the town was hosting - it's actually a reunion of sorts. Decades ago, Bahamians left the island - actually broke down their houses and shipped them to Key West, so Green Turtle Cay hosts a get together every year and people come in from all over to participate and enjoy. Watched a Bahamian marching band - that was very good; they would stop and break out into impromptu dances and engage the audience, strolled through a few booths and watched school children perform songs and a mayflower dance, saw a film of the sea life of the Bahamas and how the Bahamas were the first to create a land and sea park and have since extended these parks throughout the Bahamas. Back to the boat for a break and get cleaned up to head back in again to listen to several bands, BUT the skies darkened and we watched with fascination as a water spout developed. It was on the other side of the island and we're hoping it would dissipate when it hit land as all of the tents set up would have been blown away with everything under them - food, crafts, etc.; we could see everyone running for shelter. We battened down the hatches and picked up anything that would fly off the boat, then grabbed the camera. It hit land, but took a few minutes to fall apart; it apparently hit a couple of house as we could see roofing shingles flying through the air. Even though it was so fascinating to watch the movement of the spout - the sucking up of the water and twirling to form the spout, it was also a tad scary as we along with a couple of other boats were in direct line of it. Brian said if it continued we would close up the cockpit hatch and sit it out; glad it didn't get to that point. Not sure how I would have handled being in the middle of such turbulent weather; though we did get the high winds and then the heavens opened up with a torrential down pour that lasted for several hours - I actually enjoyed watching the rain - it came down so hard that it would bounce back up from the water causing a haze a couple of inches above the water. Didn't sleep well; Brian was up checking the chafing gear for the anchor as the wind was moving us around a bit; and the some of the lines were slapping against the mast - the noise was annoying, so he took care of that, but there was still a tap tap tapping noise that was driving me nuts. I went out with a flash light to try and track it down - the winds were howling; made sure I held on tight - Brian sleeps soundly, he wouldn't have heard if I had gone overboard. Couldn't track down the noise, so I stayed up and played several games of Scrabble at 2 AM. Back to bed about 4 and up at 7. Fixed a coffee and wiped down the woodwork, windows and stainless steel. Noticed Rosa getting ready to leave - hope to meet up with them down the road.
Because of the storm yesterday, needless to say, the music events scheduled at the Festival were cancelled. We were all looking forward to hearing the different groups. This morning went back in and picked up some produce and walked out to the area where the water spout came ashore; trees snapped, rocks thrown around, leaves were shredded. Fortunately no one was injured but a couple of houses got hit pretty hard.
Dinners: Chicken parm with salad
Spice rubbed pork loin served over salad; garbage cake for dessert
Nachos and a Disney movie
Chicken, pasta and chorizo dish (Barb on "Rosa"), stuffing wrapped in bacon (me) and for dessert we had fresh pineapple chunks dipped in red pepper such as cayenne (different, but actually very good)
Garbage cake is a recipe I found in a Yankee magazine years ago and just got around to making it. The woman who made the cake would grind raisins and orange peel and add it to the batter - her kids thought it didn't look too appetizing, so hence the name. When the cake comes out of the oven, you poke holes in it and spoon on a mixture of orange juice and sugar and let it soak in. The cake was delicious!
Stuffing with apple and wrapped in bacon and baked off - yum - a big hit
May 5, 2013
Cinco de mayo!! Should have made the nachos for today. Left Green Turtle Bay and motored (no wind) to Crab Cay. Linda and Herb on "Utopia" traveled along with us - we all anchored together. Andrien from "Dolphin" along with Brian and I went snorkeling. Saw lots of colorful fish and coral. The guys each found a "lobster" (it's actually considered a craw fish) - Brian speared them both. Even though it's a craw fish, I refuse to eat it as the last time I had lobster, I had a horrible reaction. Brian is also allergic to lobster, but he has tried the craw fish and it didn't bother him. "Utopia" invited us to their boat - contributed a roasted red pepper hummus to the get together. Herb is quite the guy - he's a sculpture, paints, plays several instruments, sings (he and Linda both sang a song they wrote - cute little ditty), he worked on the ship the Bounty (the one that sank during Sandy) for many years and was just heart broken when he heard of the sinking. His latest project is writing an autobiography and some fiction work. When we got back to the boat, Brian worked on trying to tighten the alternator belt - it's brand new, but is too loose, so our gage that shows the RPMS isn't working which means the batteries are not getting charged as we motor along, BUT between the wind, sun and our generator we will be ok. Just another issue to resolve once we are back in the states.
May 6, 2013
Left Crab Cay at 8 A.M. and decided to head for the states - our initial goal was to Fort Pierce, FL, but ended up at Lake Worth. Started out motoring, then motor sail, then sail with winds at about 17 knots and made a high speed of 8.5 knots WHICH is fast and would have gotten us into Fort Pierce at 11 the next morning, BUT, a rain squall hit us and changed all of that. Even though the winds stayed pretty steady, they changed direction to on our nose which means we were not making much headway and the waves were coming at us from all direction - felt like we were in a washing machine - both Brian and I felt a bit nauseous for quite a while. It took us 37 hours to make it to Lake Worth - got in and dropped anchor at 9PM May 7th - cleaned up any messes that the waves wreaked havoc on below, quick bite to eat, cockpit shower and off to bed. Slept great!!
PS: one highlight of the crossover from the Bahamas was that several hours out from Lake Worth, we started having small birds land on our boat - they were migrating north and needed a rest. The first one looked like a New England Chickadee, but its cap was brown instead of black; the second one was a Sparrow; and the other four were a type of Vereo - one female and three males. The first two birds only stayed maybe a half hour, but the Vereos stayed for a couple of hours - they acted like butterflies - they never stood still - flitted and fluttered all around the cockpit. One landed on my head, on our laps, our shoulders, hopped all over the cockpit - we had to look before we made any moves lest we accidently hurt them. They certainly kept us entertained.
CONGRATULATIONS Cait and Bobby on your engagement!!!!
This morning we left Lake Worth and headed to Fort Pierce - we are going to indulge ourselves and get a slip in the marina. Brian checked all of the fluids (oil, transmission, diesel and anti-freeze) and added any that needed to be topped off; found that the new alternator belt was starting to go, so he replaced that - and our alternator gauge is actually working now. On our way, another Vereo came flying in behind us - went to land on our dinghy, missed and fell into the water on it's back - I was horrified and so wanted to rescue it, but... It actually was able to flap its way out of the water and came flying again to the boat - this time he landed safely. You could tell it was exhausted - he stayed with us for a bit to dry out and rest. When we arrive in Fort Pierce Brian will have someone look at the engine - new problem - it sounds like a button in a dryer flopping around - click, click, click - we were so worried yesterday with running the engine ¾ of the day - didn't want it to conk out on us, especially when we got within 7 miles out from Lake Worth. The current and adverse winds were against us and it took us hours to get in - so frustrating. I was nervous about heading into the anchorage at night as it is a very busy port with tankers, fast ferries, large and small fishing boats, pleasure boats, etc. and when trying to pick up the navigational aids (red and green buoys) against all of the lights on land - confusing and bit of tension and my night vision isn't the best, but we made it just fine; not like coming into an anchorage in the Bahamas at night (so much easier). Normally we would never come in at night, but once you are on your way, you can't predict or always rely on the weather forecasts.
Once to Fort Pierce, we will give the boat a good outside scrubbing as it is encrusted with sea salt and get some laundry done at a laundry facility - wooo hooo!!
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