The best way to take your mind off the summer heat is to occupy yourself with a worthy project or two. Our chosen project is to re-do, re-novate, re-store and re-place the galley! The picture is of the galley as it is at the start of the project. It is nearly 26 years old and is, as they say, "a bit tired."
The guys from Huckins Yard are doing the de-construction and re-construction. We are very excited about having them do the work as they have an excellent reputation and we have seen their work on our friend's Bruce and Gina's boat.
As we enter the demolition stage what we hope to accomplish is to:
1. replace the countertop with Corian
2. replace the sink and faucets with stainless steel
3. replace the face of the cabinets, doors and drawers with formica
4. enclose the watermaker in a removable cabinet
5. add a Corian spice rack behind the fridge door
6. add a Corian backsplash behind the sink and counter
7. cover the bulkhead near the stove with formica
8. replace all the hardware handles, pulls and hinges with stainless steel.
Stay tuned for more chaos!
OK, so our luck with Tropical Storms is not all that good. We made our way to Jacksonville in order to have the galley re-fit and arrived just in time for TS Debby! Not much wind but LOTS of rain---25 inches in 3 days. One hundred year flood rains. Anyway, in my attempts at making lemonade out of soggy lemons: as anyone who knows me knows how much I love shoes so I was able to pick these beauties up at a "flood" sale! What a hoot.
We settled in at the Ortega Yacht Club Marina, a modest marina with pretty good rates. It's about as close to Huckins Yacht Yard as we can get. Why is that important? They are the yard who will remodel our galley. However, there is a bridge between us and them that we can't get under, unless we unstep the mast which we are not doing. So, it makes the carpenters daily trip to the boat shorter = less $$$.
We are cued up to start de-construction this week! Exciting (to us).
We spent another long, hot day motoring to Titusville City Marina. The last time we were here was in the winter of 2007. After the marina was hit by a hurricane, they rebuilt their docks but otherwise it looks the same. We are pausing here for about 2 weeks.
Don is flying back to Texas and will pick up his car from his mom's house, swing by Houston to see friends and do some business and head east. Why do we need a car, you ask? We are cruisers....we should relish long, hot walks to the grocery store and laundormats!
Well, here's the plan: we plan to head from here to Jacksonville. New friends (Bruce and Gina on Dreamcatcher) we met in the Bahamas had their galley refit by a yard in Jacksonville and were very pleased. So we will head up there and get a quote and see what happens! Exciting stuff. You don't get to change much on the interior of a sail boat and we have put the 'cosmetics' at the end of our refit list. So the fact that it is time to spruce up the 25 year old galley is tantalizing!
After Jacksonville we will head up to Myrtle Beach, SC to work with the irascible but talented guy who crafted our bimini and enclosure. It's been six years and, well, it's just worn out.
So, we will have a productive (if expensive) summer and if we are lucky will get these important refits finished in time to do a little cruising on the east coast before heading south in the fall.
After a long HOT day of motoring up the ditch and getting attacked by tons of love bugs we arrived at one of our favorite stops--Vero Beach City Marina. AND we found our old friend Harry Wheaton there. Harry is a retired mounted policeman from Nova Scotia. We met Harry in 2007 and made fast friends. He is the nicest man who has a very colorful past (and present!).
He is a singlehander who takes his 32 ft boat to the Bahamas most winters and spends hurricane season in Vero Beach. He had just come back from Belize and Mexico this past season.
Harry had an illustrious past as a royal mounted policeman and is quite famous in Canada and Nova Scotia. He rose to the rank of chief detective and solved a murder many years after it happened. He got an innocent man (a Native American) released from prison. The result of his work and techniques resulted in a major overhaul in how the judicial system works in Canada to this day. They even wrote a book about him.
You'd never know it though, Harry is humble and self-effacing and a real charmer.
Anyway, I was so excited I forgot my camera so you'll just to take my word for it. Definitely worth spending an extra day in Vero Beach to go to lunch with Harry! Meeting fascinating people is a major reward in this crazy lifestyle of ours.
After entering Lake Worth Inlet, we cleared Customs and Immigration via phone (first time we didn't have to shlep to an airport) using the new program called Small Vessel Reporting System. What a breeze!
We made our way north to the Old Port Cove Marina in Lake Worth on a recommendation from our friends Drew and Stephanie on LaVita who had recently stayed there. All the many times we anchored just off the marina, we never thought to stay there, thinking it was cost prohibitive. Come on, Tiger Woods keeps his mega yacht there and there were 25 Nordhavns there (really high end trawlers)! But the price was great and the marina complex is located in the middle of a cluster of high rise condos. The photo shows a few of them but after the peace and serenity (and flatness) of the Bahamas it was a reality shock to be in a concrete canyon.
After spending a few days in Exuma Land and Sea Park and Highborne Cay recovering from William's passing we headed to Nassau. We intended to spend a few days there, catch up on boat chores and be tourists but the weather was dreadful. Walking on the muddy streets in the rain was a dreary affair. The marina we stayed in was surrounded by razor wire (as were all the area businesses) and guarded at night so we didn't go out at night. And we didn't get any siteseeing in either. The photo is of the famous Atlantis Hotel Complex...this is the closest we got to it!
I had boycotted Nassau for the last 38 years and upon arriving I immediately remembered why. The harbor was filled with fast moving vessels of all descriptions throwing monstrous wakes at all hours. We rolled in our slip at all hours of the day and night. It was great to walk a mile to the big grocery store and resupply all the foods we had been missing. Don was even able to score some NA Beer....something he had been searching for since we got to the Bahamas.
After about 4 days we were ready to go but TS Alberto was heading up the East Coast. One morning at 6:30 AM I spoke with Chris Parker (marine weather forecaster) on SSB radio about the next suitable weather window to South Florida. He said "if you don't go now you may be stuck in Nassau for 1-2 more weeks." Even though it was not our ideal weather window in both type of conditions and duration, we made the boat sea ready and left an hour and a half later! The photo is of the famous Atlantis hotel...this is the closest we got to it as we passed. by exiting Nassau harbor
The first 2/3 of the trip were benign, although a motor sail. About 3 AM we exited the Great Bahama Bank and entered the Gulfstream. For the next 3 hours it was a little rolly from the 3 ft northerly swells that the Tropical Storm, hundreds of miles away, sent our way. Not enough wind to sail but enough seas to roll. Ugh! Then the winds built to about 25 kts from the southwest and a cross sea started up.
Soon we had about 3 ft seas from behind us and the northerly rollers had built to 5 ft. THEN the squalls started. It was raining quite hard for the last few hours. So much so that even though we could identify an 883 ft north bound freighter on AIS he could not see us on radar due to the rain clutter. Good thing we talked to each other on the VHF radio and missed each other.
We arrived at Lake Worth Inlet around 10AM. Total trip was 187 nm, our average speed was 6.9 kts, total time underway was 26 hours. It was a wild ride but at least the uncomfortable part was over quickly.
Welcome back to the US. :(