Around the world with S/V Zephyr

The adventures of Bill & Tracy as they fulfill their lifes dream of sailing the world. We've dreamed of this for years and now is the time while the health is still good and there is money in the kitty to make it come true.

28 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
27 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
26 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
25 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
25 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
25 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
23 April 2017
23 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
22 April 2017 | Lindbergh Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
20 April 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, USVI
18 April 2017 | Francis Bay, St. John, USVI
18 April 2017 | Francis Bay, St. John, USVI
15 April 2017 | Saba Rock, BVI
14 April 2017 | Key Bay, BVI
14 April 2017 | Benure Bay, BVI
13 April 2017 | Benure Bay, BVI
13 April 2017 | Benure Bay, BVI
10 April 2017 | Benure Bay, Norman Island, BVI
09 April 2017 | Benure Bay, Norman Island, BVI

There's treasure on them thar beaches!

28 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
Bill/overcast with sprinkles
As I wrote in the last post, we are back in Brewers Bay waiting for the Carnival season(all of April)to end so we can go back the a quieter Charlotte Amalie. We tried yesterday but we're greeted by so much noise and what looked like chaos, we turned around, went to the Crown Bay fuel dock and spent a bunch of money($592.00)to get our diesel and gas tanks filled. I checked my receipts from earlier fill ups and I was wrong in yesterday's post. It's cheaper in Trinidad to get fuel. Since we are hoping to avoid another trip to Trinidad(hurricane season)it's just as well that we got the fuel here. We even put a biocide in it to kill any bugs that might decide to grow in it and Stabil in the gasoline.
Today, we launched Puff and headed for shore to off load several bags of trash that we have been accumulating since we left Francis Bay weeks ago. There is a nice park there along with a very nice sandy beach that's pretty much a place for locals to hang out. It even has restrooms and showers to get clean when you're done playing in the sand and water.
Once done on shore, we returned to Zephyr and loaded up our snorkeling gear and headed for the north shore of the bay. Lots of rocks and that normally means decent coral. As we neared shore, we saw something red up off the back off the rocky shoreline. Gas tank maybe? We didn't know but once our little anchor was down, Tracy put on her gear and took off for shore. Sure enough, it was a nice, slightly dirty five gallon can for gasoline. Looked in good shape so she brought it back to Puff so we could take it back to Zephyr. There's gold on them thar beaches!!!
We did some snorkeling (not that good really but good for exercise), climbed back in Puff and returned. It was about time for lunch(nice hamburgers)and running the Yamaha generator to recharge the batteries. Once lunch was done, I grabbed the "409"cleaner, a sponge and a screwdriver and went to work on our new gas tank. Apparently, back in 2009, the EPA made it mandatory that portable fuel tanks be made so they won't leak or spill. This is one of those cans. It's something new for us so I had to do some research on the internet to see how the heck these silly things work. It used to be you unscrewed the nozzle, took it out, reversed it and screwed it back on and poured. Not any more from the looks of this thing. There are plugs and fittins and all kinds of springs involved in this new "save us from ourselves" filler spout. Luckily, the internet is full of ways to get around these new regulations for spouts and I utilized what I saw on the internet and now our "new" 5 gallon tank will fill my outboard and generator with no problems. No more fittings and springs. It nice and clean now too with the help of "409" and some sponges. I even poured in some fresh water and am letting it evaporate before I put it in storage for filling later. I already have five spare tanks for gas so this one is sort of an extra but you just don't say no to a free tank.
As the forecast told us, we would have some rain(90% chance), it rained just after lunch making us put up a tarp over the generator so it could run and eventually, when it got really windy and the tarp was full of water, it got properly covered and shut off(not in that order). Once the rain was past us(at least for a while)I restarted it and now our batteries are nicely full.

A slightly misplaced post with an update attached.

27 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
Bill/sunny with winds
Misplaced post so it's a little late.
I think it was back in 2014 when we were in Singapore, we purchased our Iridium GO so we could communicate with the outside world as we made our way up the Sumatra Straits, across the Indian Ocean past the Maldives, Seychelles and Madagascar. We needed to make be able to send and receive emails, post blogs and most important get updated weather forecasts. We do have a "Sailmail" account but we'd heard stories about not being able to connect to the post in South Africa, hence the Iridium GO and it was a wonderful addition to our electronics. We've had an ICOM 802 SSB radio ever since we left the US and it's been great but we needed the certainty of getting through to the outside world. Once we got to the Caribbean with internet at every island we stop at, it's not so important so we canceled our subscription($129 per month)and went back to normal ground based wifi/internet and it's worked fine. Over the next month or so, we will be making our way back south toward Grenada and we again needed to be sure we could reach the outside world and them us. Rather than restart the Iridium, I dusted off the ICOM 802 and went about relearning what I'd forgotten over the last three years. We'd changed out computers too so that made it a bit more difficult. It took some time and patiences but I'm back with the ICOM and it's working fine. I can receive and send emails as well as posts to the blog you are reading. I can also subscribe to weather for where we are. The biggest problem is receiving it. While the SSB is a great system, it really works well at night and early morning. Other than that, it's hard to get through to the servers. It's just about 0900 and I could get through but just barely but everything came through just fine, it just took a bit longer in the transmissions. We've stowed away the Iridium GO till when we may need it but as of now, we have our ICOM 802, plus where ever we need as we hit every island we pass.
It now Monday morning and it overcast and we've had some sprinkles as each front passes. The planes are still taking off from the airport but we hardly notice them any more and that's after only a few days. We've got 17 other boats sitting here in the anchorage with it's blissfully calm water as the wind howls around us making the generator quite happy as it spins on the stern. Not such a good day for solar panels(don't have any anyway). Forecast is for more rain through the day so we will have to see how it goes. We've still waiting for another package from Defender as well as the return of our scuba tanks after getting recertified(takes about a week so they told us). Guess we will see.

It's now Thursday, April 27 and we just got back to Brewers Bay after a trip to the fuel dock at Crown Bay Marina. We'd planned on heading back to Charlotte Amalie this morning but after pulling up the anchor and heading back toward town, as we approached a small cut that we go through close to town, we were assaulted by music of such volume that we changed our mind and turned around and decided to just get our fuel tanks filled. We'd originally planned to go in on the way back from shore but with those plans derailed, we called the fuel dock to see if there was space and were advised that it was empty(it's carnival, remember) and just to come in. So Tracy took off for the deck to put on dock lines and fenders while I steered the boat. Once she was done, we took Zephyr in and were greeted by the fuel dock master who took our lines and got us nicely tied up. I've worked with him before when we needed some of our jerry cans filled. A very nice man and lots of help getting tied up to his dock. The dock master handed me the fuel nozzle and an absorbent pad while Tracy went below deck to pull up the floor boards and open the tanks so she could see how they were filling. We don't have one of those fancy measuring gauges in our tanks. We just stick a wooden dowel in through the inspection hole and see where the fuel is on the stick. It works fine and there is nothing that can break or need replacing. I took the nozzle and opened the through deck for fuel and started pumping away. We didn't bother to use our "Baja Filter"(filters out water and debris from the fuel) as this marina pumps a ton of fuel every day so the chances of them having bad fuel are minimal at best.
We knew our tanks were getting down there but we wanted to wait till it was almost time to leave before we filled them. As we are in the final stages of departure prep, it was time. In the end, we took 169 gallons of diesel and filled three jerry cans with gasoline for the outboard and generator. Diesel was $3.15 and gas was $3.92. Both prices some of the cheapest we have seen in years. Diesel in Tahiti back in 2011 was over $8.00!! This was cheap so we filled the tanks full but we forgot to fill our four jerry cans so we will be making another trip in in a few days.
In talking to the dock master, and discussing the Carnival in town, he says he stays away since most of the businesses are closed. We're in the last few days of it(ends on Sunday at midnight)with parades every day and bands starting at 1800 all night long. We made the decision to just return to Brewers Bay, drop the anchor and wait it out. There is no big rush for us to get out of here. The package from Defender is due in this afternoon but they will hold "General Delivery" for two weeks so it's no problem and the scuba tanks can get picked up anytime. We have plenty of food so that's no problem either and can get more when we do return on Monday. Meanwhile, the wind continues in the low teens so the wind generator is spinning it blades nicely and it's nice and sunny.

About time to head back to Charlotte Amalie.

26 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Bill:partly cloudy and breezy
It looks like our time here in Brewers Bay is drawing to a close. USPS says our package could be here tomorrow plus we heard from the company that was trying to get our scuba tanks hydrostated but since it's Carnival month, the man that owns the company that was to do the job isn't at work and isn't answering phone calls or emails. So it looks like we won't be having it done till we get to Grenada. The sad thing is that we emptied both tanks to have them checked but they are out of date so no one will refill them. We always like to leave with some air in our tanks just in case. Not this time we guess.
It's going to be an expensive trip back to Charlotte Amalie since we will be stopping at the Crown Bay Marina and getting our fuel tanks filled. I'm figuring close to 180 gallons of diesel at $3.19(what it was last time I was there for gasoline). We'll be getting three gasoline jerry cans filled at the same time. Fuel of any kind is cheaper here than down south. It won't be cheap but it will be far cheaper than getting it in Grenada.
We did a few small jobs today. Our Force 10 stove has been acting up recently in lighting from the electronic igniter. It's happened before so I took our my screw drivers and needle nose pliers and went at it. It's not a hard job as long as you know what you're doing. I only made one mistake. Inside the igniters are small springs that get compressed when you push in on the knob. I'd forgotten that so when I took the first igniter apart, one of the springs jumped out of where it belonged and promptly disappeared some where in the galley. Now our galley isn't that big but with flashlights and magnifying glasses, we were down on the floor looking everywhere for it. Every thing got pulled from the area- nope. The trash bag was searched- nope. The inside of the oven was checked since the door was open- nope. It was no where to be found. Tracy came up with the great idea of taking one of the really small springs out of one of our really cheap flashlights and using it. I unscrewed the light, pulled out the AAA battery holder and ripped out one of the springs. It took some bending and cutting but it seems to work fine. Lucky! I checked and adjusted the other two igniters ( three burner stove) and put it all back together again. I pushed in the knobs and now they work just fine. We've used the igniter knob for the oven for quite some time as it always works and also powers the igniters on the top of the stove as well. Job done.
It's been nice here in Brewers Bay with good holding, good winds but almost no chop as we are protected by the long airport runways berm. The wind generator is doing its job. The cats are enjoying the peace and we are getting some jobs done. Now, unfortunately, it's time to head back to Charlotte Amalie, do some more provisioning, pick up the empty scuba tanks and the box from Defender and be gone as soon as the weather and winds cooperate. As of now, we plan on heading straight to Grenada instead of island hopping down the chain. The wind angle will be much better for the trip. Hopefully we will get some northeast winds for about four days and we are in. Keep your fingers crossed. We are.

Once there was a boat that should have exploded.

25 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
Bill/cloudy and overcast
Way back in the beginning of our adventure, we were berthed in Newport, Oregon waiting to head back to Port Townsend to start our redo on Zephyr. While there, we replaced our old three burner stove with a new Force 10 stove. A nice piece of equipment that has been great aboard. As we did the installation, we took a look at the propane line that went into the back of the old stove and would go to the new one. A simple rubber hose. Nothing special about it. Only thing, it didn't look that safe so we went to one of the local pipe fitting stores and were told we needed a new style of hose that was made of metal that would flex as the stove flexed when we were underway. No problem. We bought it and installed it when we did the stove. All safe and sound. Once we finished the refit in Port Townsend, we headed back to Newport as we headed south. Along the way, Tracy got quite sick. After a day or so, she was fine as we pulled into Newport. Once settled in, we turned on the stove to make some tea. Nothing lit. We checked the tank in storage out on deck and found it empty! We'd filled it recently so that made no sense. We started checking and the new "special" hose we bought for the stove had snapped sometime along the way south flooding the boat with propane!!!!! Into the cabin(Tracy sick) as well as the bilge and probably the engine room as well. It was amazing we didn't explode! I took off the "new" flexible hose and reinstalled the old simple rubber hose with two clamps at each end. It's been that way for years now and it's still doing just fine.
Flash forward to about five months ago. To use the stove, you have to turn on one of the circuit breakers in the electrical panel that turns on the "Fireboy-Xintrex" propane solenoid valve. It's got a propane sensor under the floor boards sniffing for propane. It also is electrically hooked to the solenoid that turns the gas on and off at the tank. So you turn on the circuit breaker, then the main switch on the unit and then turn on the burner all to get propane inside the boat to cook on. Several months ago, we started getting false alarms at the main unit that the Sensor under the floorboards was detecting propane. We pulled up the boards, stuck our nose down there and smelled nothing. We even put a fan down there for better air flow and still the alarm went off. I took out the spare sniffer and stuck it on and still the alarm went off. We deduced that the main electronics had to be bad. I got on line and ordered one from Defender and had it sent to our son so he could bring it down. Today was the day to install the new unit.
How hard could this be? Take out the old, cut the wires and install the new. Piece of cake right? I started with the basics. I took out the old "new" sniffer under the floorboards and installed the brand new one. I turned on all the appropriate switches and low and behold, the lights lite on the unit saying it works. OK, out on deck to install the solenoid and wire it in. Once that was done, I returned to the galley and we had flames on the stove. Only problem was that the light on the unit that says the valve is open wasn't lite. OK, time to change it out as well. Out came everything in the cabinet in the galley and in I went. Four wires on it so I wrote down(beats trying to remember)where each wire went and cut the wires. The electrician that had installed it had had to add some wire to each of the existing wires to make it to the bus bar so I just cut those wires and used them. Unscrewed the main housing and pulled it out.
Now it's not that I'm paranoid, I prefer to think of myself as simply "careful" so each electrical connection was nicely crimped into one of the butt connectors that's covered in shrink tube. I made all the connections and checked and rechecked that the unit still worked before I ever pulled out my heat gun to shrink the tubes and seal the joints. These connectors are very hard to get apart once you use the heat gun on the shrink tube. At each turn, it worked just fine so back out on deck to do the electrical leads to the solenoid on the propane line and then stow our two propane tanks. Back to the galley to disconnect the wires from the bus bar so I could crimp the butt connectors and the heat shrink the tubes. Then back to the cabinet to run the wire back where they started adding zip ties to fittings screwed inside the cabinet and to the buss bar to get connected. Then in goes the main unit and it get screwed in as well. After each step, I made sure to check that all was still working well(like I said, paranoid). In the end, about two hours from start to finish but we now have a safer boat that shouldn't explode due to a propane problem. Now we have to remember that we have to turn on the main circuit breaker, then the Xintrex control unit and then the burner to get fire.
As I was doing this, Tracy was working on getting the gunk out that had accumulated between where our prop shaft and transmission are under the floorboards. Grease, oil, bits of this and that plus of course kitty hair made for a real mess. Scrapers, 409 cleaner, brushes all came out plus a tub to put what ever she got out as she bent over the hole in the floor boards where she had pulled up the panels. Take our eight years on board and all in the previous owner gunk and it was filthy. It took her a while but it's all nice a clean or at least cleaner than it was.
I've attached a picture of the Fireboy-Xintrex S-1A Propane Detector so you can see what we were installing.
See the previous two posts for pictures of the solenoid and sniffer.

Propane solenoid

25 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
Bill/cloudy and overcast
Here's a picture of the solenoid that's joined into our propane line. It's hooked up electrically to the main unit so should it detect propane, it will shut off the gas. If any part of the entire unit should malfunction, it shuts off the gas and has to be removed if you want gas back at the stove. Since it's outside though inside the propane locker, I made sure to coat it with Corrosion X to stop salt water from attacking it. The last unit, while fine was covered in a good bit of rust and corrosion.

Propane sniffer

25 April 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
Bill/cloudy and overcast
Here's a picture of the propane "sniffer" that goes under the floor boards "sniffing" for propane all the time.
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shin Fa 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado
Crew: Bill & Tracy Hudson
About: We've been sailing since the early 80's on lakes in New Mexico and Colorado and finally took the plunge and bought Zephyr.
Extra: We moved on board in April of 2008 and have been working and sailing her ever since. Up to Alaska and down to Mexico and across the Pacific to Fiji. We're now in the Caribbean in Grenada after making the crossing from South Africa 7 months ago.
Home Page: http::/
Zephyr's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 54 of 54
The electrical connection with switch for the new Spectra Watermaker.
Our new watermaker--it still needs the hoses run but we are getting closer to getting the job done.
La Panga Restaurant and Marina Palmira office
You put your trash out in trash cans by the curb.  Here, they put it in raised steel containers to keep animals out of it while awaiting pickup.
OK, sounds like a restaurant I want to try.  Nothing wrong with a skull on the sign.
Boats in Marina Palmira.
Bigger power boats in Marina Palmira.
More boats in Marina Palmira.
Marina Costa Baja
Looking West from the marina.
Looking North towards the hotel La Fiesta.
Boats at Marina Costa Baja.
We sat for quite a while just watching the sun go down and see all her changing colors.  Each night provided a whole rainbow of colors.
La Fiesta Hotel.  Nice place and just about empty.
Matt getting some relaxation at the pool.
They stroll the docks each day.
Along the sidewalk at Marina Costa Baja.
Looking down from above.  Boy, it
The view from the top of the mast of the marina.
Out into the bay.
The "Beach Club at the hotel.
More of the Marina and the hotel.
Pangas along the beach at Los Muertos.
The dingy dock at Los Muertos.
Looking out from the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Pelicans and the pangas along the launching ramp at Los Muertos.
The Sun glinting off the bay at Los Muertos.
What used to be the Giggling Marlin restaurant.  Now El Carbon.
Rock walls out by the dingy dock at Los Muertos.
One of the flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.  Look closely.
More flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.
The Eastern end of Los Frailes.
Ensenada de Los Muertos.
The ceiling of the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Blue goes hunting.  She knows there is something on the barbecue grill
With her toes spread, she is weaving on the life line.  The camera is still, she is not!
At anchor in Los Frailes.
The anchorage in Los Frailes.
At the pot luck dinner along the beach in Los Frailes waiting out the wind.  The wind won!!
Our new Fender Step.  It will make coming into dock much easier.
Our new Spectra 200T watermaker.  Now all we have to do is find the time to install it.
The Immigration Office in Ensenada, Mexico.  At least it is all in one building now instead of spread all over town.
The big flag by Baja Naval Marina.  An easy land mark to navigate to.
The Port Captain
The Mexican courtesy flag flying from our mast spreaders.
Celebrating crossing into Mexico.  The white wine had gone bad so we gave it to King Neptune instead.
Looking towards Ensenada Harbor.
25 Photos
Created 22 November 2013
Around Kudat and the Penuwasa Boat Yard
39 Photos
Created 18 November 2013
Up the hills till an opening shows up in front of you and then see if you can get down into it. Not always.
36 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
Some photos of our diving on the reef.
30 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
Our trip around the north end of Borneo
20 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
10 Photos
Created 23 October 2013
Our trip around Malaysia starting at Tawau.
36 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
51 Photos
Created 13 October 2013
Our trip from Tawau around the top of Borneo down to Brunei.
6 Photos
Created 9 October 2013
13 Photos
Created 6 October 2013
24 Photos
Created 6 October 2013
Pictures of our dives off Musket Cove Marina
20 Photos
Created 7 December 2011
Avea Bay on South Huahine and on to Raiatea Island.
39 Photos
Created 25 July 2011
Our arrival in Tahiti through Huahine
91 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Getting Zephyr ready to go.
37 Photos
Created 28 October 2010
My three days getting not only knowledge and some self confidence but nice and dirty.
8 Photos
Created 26 August 2010
Heading South from Escondido.
23 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 30 April 2010
An old salt factory.
33 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
Incredible sandstone
17 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
A great place to spend time exploring.
48 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante
25 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 30 April 2010
47 Photos
Created 14 February 2010
Our continuing adventure as we head North farther up the Sea Of Cortez.
47 Photos
Created 22 January 2010
8 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Our visit to the famous "Mushroom Rock" bay.
12 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Art and statues along the waterfront as you walk through downtown La Paz, Mexico
13 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Still heading South but now in Cabo San Lucas
24 Photos
Created 8 December 2009
Making our way South along the coast of Mexico
25 Photos
Created 28 November 2009
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