01/26/2013, Jacksonville, Florida
It's been a long time since my last update so I thought I would post something to catch up. Bill and I are both back to work, unfortunately. We are settled into our apartment in Jacksonville. We have a new crew member "Swabby". He is a Yorkiepoo (half Yorkshire terrier and half poodle). He's a great little dog and he doesn't shed hair at all! He spent the first couple of months on the boat with us, not sure he will ever become a good sailor though. I think he likes the apartment better than the boat.
After over 2 years living on Walk A-Bout she is in need of some time out of the water, some much needed rest and repairs. She has now been pulled out of the water and in the work yard at Green Cove Springs Marina. If anyone out there is in need of a cheap place in Florida to store their boat this is the place. We are in the work yard, they allow us to do all our own work but also have the experts there if needed. The Marina is way down on the St. john's river which I believe will be a great hurricane hole.
We have come up with a long list of repairs we plan on doing over the next couple of years. We think the biggest challenge will be replacing all the sanitary and water hoses. I am totally convinced the designers of these boats never thought (or cared) about people needing to replace them in the future. From the minimal amount of info we have found on this subject we are going to need to take out teak walls and flooring to get to some of the hoses. The hoses have become so hard and inflexible over 30 years that you can't just unclamp them and remove them. If anyone out there has had any experience with this we would love to hear from you.
Other projects will be redoing the outside teak (once again). Getting someone to look at our standing rigging to see if it needs replacing. Getting the Perkins diesel engine looked at. We are hoping all we need is to have some gaskets and hoses replaced. Getting new lifelines. Lots of sewing for me to do: finish the new cockpit cushions that I started over a year ago (foam for them is very expensive), new settee cushions, new dodger, new mainsail cover, binnacle cover, winch covers and repair our headsail. Lots of other things that need replacing i.e. batteries, led lights, running rigging, etc.
Walk a-Bout has been a great boat for us, as a 30 year old boat she got us where we wanted to go with really the minimal amount of mechanical problems. On our 2 year voyage we had more issues with our outboard motors and dinghy than with the boat. Our last dinghy was beyond repair so we cut it all up and threw it in the dumpster.
We recently got together with some of our old sailing buddies - Mike and Francie on Anan Cara and Dean and Chris from Rubiyat. Dean and Chris are back home in Michigan with Rubiyat on the hard but came down to Florida in a land yacht for a short visit. Mike and Francie are still on their boat spending the next several months on the gulf side of Florida. Another cruising couple that we keep in touch with are Paul and Gaynor. They are back home in New Jersey. Luckily their boat made it through Hurricane Sandy untouched. Our dive buddy and Erie Canal helper, Craig, is still enjoying retirement, his new Gold Wing motorcycle and is in St. Pete for a few weeks staying at a marina working on teak refinishing on several boats there.
About all the news for now. I plan on taking pics of work on the boat as we go along and will post them here.
I wanted to say hi to all our former boating buddies back in Silver Bay - we miss our summers there and all the good times on the "booze cruises" aboard Destiny, trips to the Apostle Islands, sitting out on the docks having a sundowner or two, hanging around the fire ring on those many chilly summer nights and good friends. Dan and Pam, we got your voicemail the other night - something about looking for your dinghy buried in the snow??
Cheryl, Bill and Swabby
06/04/2012, Jacksonville, FL
It has been over 2 months since my last update. So here is a short synopsis:
Left Walk A-Bout on a mooring ball at Dinner Key and flew to Australia. We stayed at my sister and brother-in-laws home in Berkeley Vale (north of Sydney on the Central Coast) for 5 days. Did a walk down memory lane at Bondi Beach where I lived as a teenager. We then left Berkeley Vale for a road trip north to Queensland. We went outback on the way up and stayed at some great pubs in small towns. We then cut over to the coast and stayed a couple of nights in a town called 1776. Unfortunately, that is where our trip came to an end. Received a call that my 87 year old mother had some health issues and I needed to fly back to California. Sharron and Ray drove us to Brisbane and Bill and I flew back. I stayed with my mother for 3 weeks and Bill headed back to the boat. Even though it was a much shorter trip than we planned we had a great time while it lasted.
We left Dinner Key a couple of days after I returned and headed back up the ICW. We stayed a couple of nights at the Hall of Fame Marina in Ft. Lauderdale while Bill flew to Atlanta for a job interview. We met up with friends Paul and Gaynor on Meridian and stayed one night in Stuart and again in St. Augustine with them. They are headed back to New Jersey, their home port.
We are currently at the Marina At Ortega Landing in Jacksonville. It is a very beautiful marina with a pool and club house, wonderful showers and free laundry. Publix grocery store, West Marina and several other stores and restaurants are only 4 blocks away.
Out friends Mike and Francis on Anam Cara were here for almost a week getting all new rigging on their boat after almost getting de-masted on their ordeal leaving the Bahamas. We had a wonderful time with them. They plan on spending the summer in New Bern.
My daughter Laura was here for a week then headed to San Antonio Texas where her new home will be.
Had our first named Tropical Storm last week - Beryl. We feel very safe here since it is about 25 miles from the coast on the Ortega River. We had more rocking and rolling during thunderstorms we have been through than Beryl.
Still have not decided what our plans will be in the coming months. We don't know if we still stay here for a while or ??
03/21/2012, Coconut Grove, Florida
We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale for about a week, as usual waiting for a weather window to move on. From there we traveled down the ICW to Biscayne Bay. We are sitting on a mooring ball in Coconut Grove (south of downtown Miami) with Small Craft Advisory currently in effect. Weather is my life - ready for a change.
Bill and I are leaving on a vacation, yes vacation from the boat. We leave for Australia (plane not boat!) at the end of the month. We will spend a little over 3 weeks in Australia then a week in New Zealand. My sister Sharron and her husband Ray live in Berkeley Vale which is on the central coast a couple of hours north of Sydney. We will be there for a few days then the four of us will travel up to Queensland in their car and do the touristy things up there for a couple of weeks. Back to Berkeley Vale for a couple of days then my sister will join us for the week in New Zealand. Should be a really fun trip.
When we return to the boat in May we will move back up the ICW. Looks like we will be going to The Marina At Ortega Landing in Jacksonville. Bill will then start the job hunt which will then determine where we go from there.
Bill and I both bought iPhones when we came back from the Bahamas. Apps are addictive! It has given us something to play with while we sit rocking and rolling on a mooring ball. We tray to get off the boat every day but without a dinghy motor we are way too far out from the dinghy dock to row and we are at the mercy of the shuttle launch as to their schedule when we can leave the boat. With the winds so high right now they have
03/05/2012, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
We had a wonderful 4 months in the Bahamas but we are ready for a change. We arrived back in Florida after a 30 hour sail from Nassau. Glad that part is over.
Reflections on the Bahamas - Would we do it again? Absolutely! The Bahamian people are very friendly and never gave a moments thought to either our personal safety or the safety of our boat or dink. Who would want our leaky dinghy any way!
We are not positive what we will do next except that we are planning on going to Australia and New Zealand for 5 weeks (by plane not boat!). After that, still up in the air. We are currently in Ft. Lauderdale, a chilly 55 degrees, heading today down to Coconut Grove.
02/21/2012, Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Just a quick update - batteries are not the best but we decided to head to Eleuthera anyway. We had a great crossing, motor sailed most of the way, light winds, low seas. It was about an 8 hour sail. We should be here for another couple of days then head up the west coast of Eleuthera. I'm sitting in front of a gas station getting internet. Hey, when cruising you take advantage of the wifi where ever you can get it!!
02/17/2012, Highbourne Cay Marina, Exuma
We are having battery issues; they do not want to hold a charge. We decided to head to a marina to use the electric hook up to "cook" the batteries, hoping equalizing them will fix the problem. If problem solved we are going to head to Eleuthera tomorrow, looks like a good weather window to go the 40 miles. If problem is not solved it means the batteries are shot and we will head to Nassau to see what the cost is to replace them. We are also having head issues. We just replaced it about a year ago and it's already falling apart, something else that needs replacing.
Weather has been a little chilly, actually wearing a sweatshirt this morning. One of the things we have noticed is the lack of wild life here in the Exumas. Except for Warderick Wells in the Exuma Land and Sea Park we have seen very little fish or birds. When we were anchored off Stocking Island we would see sea turtles fairly often but very little fish or birds. At the fish cleaning stations at the marinas there is usually sharks hanging out below looking for people to through in the fish carcasses. We have seen some really big Nurse Sharks at Staniel, Sampson and Highbourne marinas. By big I mean 8-10 feet.
I will post again once we get to either Nassau or Eleuthera.