OMG - It is almost time!
01 August 2009
Oh my, I am not sure it is possible to describe my excitement! Steve and I are preparing to leave for some undetermined amount of years to cruise around the Caribbean. We will island hop and explore tropical paradises and meet wonderful people. Our target date to depart is Oct 15th (if Hurricane season behaves). There is a cruising workshop we will take in just a day or so south of us, then we head to Key West and hop the keys around to Biscayne Bay. There we wait for a calm weather window and we are off to the Bahamas. We hope to spend at least a month there and it could be much more. After that we meander south through the Turks and Caicos and end up in the Virgin Islands. Not sure which route we will go yet so check in often! Either option here is difficult sailing, heading into big wind and seas. From the V.I. it is easy and SLOW going all the way to Venezuela!
This is an opportunity of a lifetime! All systems are go!
Wood has been sanded and refinished, fiberglas has been patched and painted. Engine inspected, repaired and extra parts stored. We don't even want to mention scrubbing and cleaning. There is a new refrigeration system, freezer, hot water heater and cooktop. We have a new V-Berth mattress, Sea Anchor and folding bikes, and these are just a few of the things that have been added. Other big items include the Solar Panels, Water Maker, Electronic Chart Plotter, Life Raft, Dingy Davits and new Staysail. The list goes on and on.... All this has been hard work - but a labor of love that has lasted over a year. I need to add that none of this would be possible without Steve's fabulous ability to fix, customize, fabricate and work through everything needed.
For the Library I have purchased paper charts, books on crossing the gulf stream, navigating around the Bahamas, multiple Cruising Guides for the Leeward & Windward Islands and Spanish for Cruisers. I now have books on weather, life afloat and emergency planning. There are first aid manuals that cover acne to amputations. A full first aid kit has been assembled with everything like salve, skin staples and scalpels. The ditch bag is full and ready to grab in case we have to abandon ship.
Now we are compiling provisioning lists for food and necessary items. We are buying canned bacon and chicken, dried fruits and mushrooms and powdered butter and eggs! Again Steve is worried that I will sink the boat. In reality, we would like to have enough provisions for 3 months so we do not have to be in a hurry or be concerned about food. We will purchase local fruits and vegetables on the islands. Food is available everywhere but everything is more expensive in the islands, certain islands are worse than others. When we are in a major port we will restock the freezer and load up on dry goods and canned items.
This is my last entry until the day we untie the dock lines and head off into the sunset. Thanks for reading my words, I hope they can give you an idea of what I am feeling.
07 February 2009
We have been working on the boat to get her ready for our first cruise. We are sailing for two weeks to Key West and the Dry Tortuga's in May and want everything done by then.
We (Steve) raised the boom 6" and then the Bimini, Steve needed more headroom. Davits are on the back for the Dingy and Solar Panels are complete, and so is the Water Maker. The old stove was removed and a new Cooktop installed. We also have a new Hot Water Heater and Freezer.
I re-sanded much of the exterior teak and applied Penofin Marine Oil. I had wanted to use this the first time but Cabot's was easier to find. While I am not unhappy with the performance of Cabot's - I will now be able to compare and see if Penofin impressed me. I did re-apply the original oil after 6 months but it is such an easy task and I anticipate having to re-apply the Penofin as well.
We just purchased our life raft and SSB Radio. The SSB is a Sailor's equivalent to a HAM radio and is used extensively for communication with other boaters in the cruising community and for weather broadcasts.
The next big project is the least amount of fun. We are re-finishing the deck and coach (cabin) top. Steve sanded the coach roof last spring and put a coat of primer on, it needs another coat of primer but first we are sanding the decks. This is a lesson in patients!
We have enjoyed many days sailing and several overnight stops during this winter season while we are working on the boat. This is a fabulous boat and we will try to take as good care of her as she will of us once we set sail for the adventure of a lifetime.
March Update- Thank Goodness - the deck and coach roof are done. I really did not enjoy this project but now that it is done and my back is recovering I have to say, 'It Looks Great!' Pictures are in the photo gallery.
May Update- The shakedown cruise went well and details are in a separate entry.
July Update - Steve just completed the new refrigeration System.