25 February 2017 | Samana to South Caicos Anchorage
24 February 2017 | Marina Puerto Bahia - Samana, Dominican Republic
22 February 2017 | Puerto Real to Samana, Dominican Republic – Overnight Crossing of about 180nm
17 February 2017 | Ponce to Puerto Real
15 February 2017 | Salinas to Ponce
14 February 2017 | Esperanza, Vieques to Salinas, Puerto Rico
13 February 2017 | Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas to Esperanza, Vieques
11 February 2017 | St Thomas – Charlotte Amalie
10 February 2017 | St John – USVI – Caneel Bay
09 February 2017 | Tortola – Road Town – Village Cay Marina.
08 February 2017 | Virgin Gorda – Bitter End Yacht Club – BVI’s
31 January 2017 | Sint Maarten
27 January 2017 | St Kitts Marine Works, Brimstone Hill, St Kitts & Nevis
25 June 2016 | Mornington, Victoria Australia
20 January 2016 | Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis
11 January 2016 | Currently Marigot, St Martin, FWI
27 December 2015 | Cockleshell Bay, St Kitts
27 December 2015 | Cockleshell Bay, St Kitts
25 December 2015 | Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis
19 December 2015 | Deshaies
It can't be that long between posts
22 July 2019 | Melbourne Australia/St Augustine Florida
I cannot believe it has been so long since the last post. We have had some highs and lows since we parked at Green Cove Springs in 2017.
Firstly, Reynolds Park Yacht Center was fabulous to deal with and we could not have wished for a more helpful and friendly place. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a different party to haul and launch the boat and that has been one of the worst experiences since purchasing our beloved 38 South.
As i had said in an earlier post I came back with my good friend JD and between us we managed to knock off a huge amount of work. Not only did we replace the rear cabin top hatches, we did the front cabin ones as well. we fitted new sumps with auto bilge pumps to the showers, cabled a new LED Tri-Color and Masthead light to the mast and we fitted folding mast steps tight to the top of the mast.
we arranged to have new Stainless-steel bracing fitted to the Bimini and Solar Panels and these were installed by a mobile Stainless craftsman named Thomas who managed to get rear steps up to the boom fitted as well. He fabricated a new anchor fair-lead to replace the old worn one and added one for a second anchor on the opposite side of the forestay on the front beam.
Even with the huge list of jobs we still managed a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center for JD, my second trip there and I still have more to see. I think we both went home exhausted but had achieved a great deal. certainly, I would not have achieved anywhere near the amount on my own and owe John a more relaxing trip next time.
The yard that hauled us had a mechanic if i can use the term so loosely onsite and we made the mistake of having him fix some oil leaks. The estimate was accepted and we left the boat in their hands. suffice to say the quoted amount came and went and we were left with a bill of twice what was quoted. Hard to believe it costs $2700 in labor to fix a stripped mounting bolt in an engine bed and that is only part of the saga. "read your contract" was the reply. The boat was there for more than 9 months and they chose a wet day to try and put the engines back in and bogged the forklift. they then charged me $300 to move the boat to a concrete pad so they could use the forklift in the wet and another $300 to move it back afterward. with any other of the 270 odd days to choose from they chose a wet day to do this work. seems we authorized them to charge whatever they wanted however I did have them refund those charges. I simply said that I had to pay for my mistake which was getting them to do the work on the motors in the first place but I was not responsible for paying for their mistakes. we were then treated like we were trying to rip him off. We were kicking ourselves for being so naive but put it down to a lesson learned.
We were going to have them sand and paint the hulls prior to splashing but after the experience with the motors decided that they could not be trusted with an estimate so i slapped a coat on in the interim. I could have ended up in a position of having to pay whatever they wanted as his word and estimates are worthless given the wording of the work contract.
The saga with the engines would not have been so bad but after we splashed the boat in March last year and left Green Cove Springs, we found that both engines were leaking oil still and i had both engine rooms full of oil after only a couple of hours. we were headed to Miami to pick up friends and and cross to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks which we did. every day I would lay out paper towels and clean up the oil once we were out of the Intracoastal Waterway and could sail, we had some reprieve from the mess. we had decided to return to the yard and challenge them on not doing the work that was (Over)charged for. essentially, they had removed both engines and stripped and replaced the seals and oil lines. funny that the one thing he didn't change was the rear main seal on both engines. That would be the ones he was told were leaking and needed to be replaced.
A year or more later and I still cannot reconcile the statement that "those oil leaks are not covered under any warranty as we did not replace the seals". How do you argue with that kind of logic. that's what they were paid to do
They offered, of course to haul the engines out and replace the seals. at around 2k extra. so the original $5,400 plus parts quote (estimated at $400) blew out to around $13,600, Parts were 2,500 of which more than $500 of that were new Racors that I had them add at the end. I also didn't include in that total the extra $500 I paid him to fix an oil leak at the injector pump also not covered by any warranty but I needed it done as it was a bad one. again, lesson learned.
As we were back up north again, we chose to move to St Augustine and hauled the boat at St Augustine Marine Center on the San Sebastian River. I must say it was a pleasant change to deal with some friendly and professional people again.
So there we are, we spent 3 months between March and May 2018 cruising and enjoying the sights of the near Bahamas specifically Bimini to Gun Cay and a leisurely trip back up north.
Our Cafe has interrupted the cruising for this year and we will be back to the boat hopefully in early 2020 to continue the journey. For now, we plan for our return and have a list of things to work on prior to leaving St Augustine. we suspect our next trip may be just around the Northern Bahamas and Berry Islands and back to St Augustine to store the boat again. We will head south to Panama the following year.
It feels good to have finally put pen to paper on this so to speak and laid out the trials with the so-called Mechanic and his boatyard masters.
On a lighter side, one job we did do was to install a new helm seat on the trip down to Miami. now we can both sit and relax at the helm and it is great to spread out on during a watch.
Once the list of jobs is settled and a date of return set, I will add some photo's to the album of our modifications and updates
13 October 2017
Just an update on the status of 38 South. September was an interesting month with Hurricane Irma's path to be right across the top of the boat. It meant a quickly assembled trip across to further strip and secure her for the pending bad weather. As it turned out it was a glancing blow and we received winds of less than 100mph. Damage was minimal in the area with only a couple of boats going over in the surrounding yards and some damage to unattended boats alongside the pier.
There was considerable water coming in through the gaps in the sliding door and window but the boat was dried out and secured again after it was all over.
There is a planned trip for some maintenance at the end of November, we are replacing both rear deck hatches over the top of the cabins, adding some additional stainless steel to the Bimini in the way of bracing and there are some items on the mast that require attention.
The ordering of parts has just begun to ensure they are sitting at Reynolds Park Yacht Center awaiting our arrival.
Mezz will be staying at home this time but it looks like I will have some company for the trip with our good friend John coming along as well to have a look and assist with some of the work. I suspect we will include some extra activities while we are there
Out of the Water
10 April 2017 | Green Cove Springs
Well we are now on dry land. This morning the mast was removed and the boat lifted from the water. we have now been placed in our "spot" until we return. we have been continuing the preparations to leave. The motors have been run on fresh water to flush the salt water from the heat exchangers and cooling system. The Saildrives have had the oil drained and refilled. One had water in the oil and will need some work on the shaft to fix it but we have 9 months to have that done. I will be speaking to the mechanic here at Holland Marine about some jobs while we are away, both motors have minor oil leaks that require new gaskets and seals. one can be done in the boat but the other one may need to be lifted out and worked on in the workshop.
The history of Green Cove Springs is quite interesting and I have posted some photo's in the gallery. With the adjoining airfield in its day was one of the biggest Naval Aircraft training establishments around. At the end of WWII it was used to mothball 600 surplus Navy ships of varying sizes, Apparently with the change of presidents the ships were moved to Texas by executive order of the president to his home town. there are 10 docks here and all are owned by Clay County. they lease out piers to different businesses but the infrastructure remains the property of the county.
Normally we are searching for a facility that can haul out our wide 21 foot beam and have difficulty finding them. not this place. the travel lift infrastructure we were hauled out with was built years ago to carry concrete beams onto barges, they were manufactured here and then delivered down river for new bridge works. I added a photo of the lift placing us next to another catamaran. he was straddling BOTH boats with me over one side. I must say that did impress me.
Packing up takes time
08 April 2017 | Reynolds Park Yacht Center - Green Cove Springs
Well the packing up seems so huge. there is so much to do. we have been getting organised with bags and such and will probably leave most of our stuff on the boat, clothes and the like. there only seems to be the souvenirs and my dive gear that has to come home. Our suitcases are like the russian dolls. all the stuff is in a small suitcase that is inside another suitcase to cut down on our bags. we have hired a car which is making it easy to get around and pick up things, like a trip into St Augustine to West Marine for a new nav light bulb and some fogging oil for the outboard motor. The sails came down and the boom off the day before we got here and they are packed away. Todays task was to prep the outboard motor for storage. we did not have a bin big enough to put the motor in to run some fresh water through it so we used the next best thing. that was the laundry hamper. problem was it had holes all the around it. a couple of large garbage bags later and it was now waterproof if not a little "bulging" places. the motor was washed down and fogging oil sprayed into the carby at mid revs which will coat the internals for storage. that only left the spark plugs to come out and a liberal amount sprayed directly into the bore. replace the plugs and a light spray over everthing under the lid and all was done. the motor is now stored in the front cabin. that left the dinghy to deal with. this was hoisted on a halyard onto the foredeck and given a little TLC with a some suds and a brush. with it sparkling we deflated it and lashed it onto the front beam updside down and secured. we will move over to the travel lift tomorrow (Sunday) and finish the cleaning and packing there. On Monday the mast will be lifted off and eventually stored under the boat for the time we are here. that will be convenient as I need to replace the deck light about half way up and also a sheave at the top, there is something loose in there and slaps the inside of the mast when it is windy so we need to investigate that as well.. Much easier working at waist height that swinging from the top of the mast. Once the boat is on dry land I can remove the props and store them in the boat as they are quite valuable and prone to theft. We have water in the oil in both Saildrives, when the oil seals were changed at St Kitts there were problems with the surfaces the seals ran on and we expected that they would leak. the surfaces have wear marks in them so they will come with me back to Oz to be rebuilt and will be refitted on our return. Both motors will be having some work done or may even be replaced if I win lotto..... lol
we have 3 more days then a road trip to Miami to catch up with some people before flying back to Oz to start planning the next trip.
This is home for the boat for the next year
06 April 2017 | Reynolds Park Yacht Center - Green Cove Springs
now that we are in the US, under the terms of our cruising permit we are required to make a telephone call in to Customs and Border Protection for a "Coastwise Movement" notification each time we move. For our run up the Intracoastal Waterway this has been an almost daily occurrence. travelling up through Stuart and Fort Pierce where we got fuel and stopped for the annual Oyster Festival in the park on the waters edge. we continued on up to Melbourne and pulled off into an anchorage. in the morning when pulling up the anchor we were surprised to find we had a second anchor on the tip of ours. I hooked it up with the boat hook and cleaned it up. it looked reasonably new with about 10 feet of anchor chain and the remnants of a knotted rope on the end of the chain. a little small for our boat but we may find a use for it one day.
We had planned to try and fit in a side trip to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral and we arrived in the town of Coco on Merritt Island on Sunday afternoon to pick up some groceries and stay overnight with the intention of sailing a little further to Titusville to get some info on the NASA tours. while on the dock tying up the dinghy we met a retired couple who were living on their boat in the bay where we had anchored. Larry and Rosie had lived in the area for the last 30 years and had sold up and moved onto the boat. They had 5 kids with one living in the area and had the use of a car (actually it was their sons F250 with a 450HP V8 which Larry wasn't afraid to use) they offered to give us a lift to the supermarket to pick up some groceries as it was a mile or so away. we got to talking about wanting to visit the space center and they said it had been years since they had been out to the cape and we arranged to have breakfast in the morning together and then they would take us out to the visitor center. so breakfast it was in a great little diner that they were regulars at and we felt quite at home. Larry was a retired airline pilot and had flown boeing and Airbus aircraft until the airline went under and they took early retirement. Rosie was in education but had also learnt to fly and held commercial tickets as well. They were the nicest, friendliest most generous people that we have met on our travels so far. After breakfast Larry fessed up that when we had made the days arrangements the previous day he had forgotten he had promised to take an elderly friend out for lunch and that they would not be able to come with us. rather than cancel they drove us out to the visitor center and dropped us of with instructions to spend as much time as we wanted to and ring Larry with half an hours notice and they would pick us up.
We had an incredible experience at the Space Center and in all honesty we really needed 2 days there to see it all. we did as much as we could including meeting an astronaut - Bob Springer who flew 2 missions on the shuttle Atlantis and was previously a a Navy Pilot with over 100 carrier landings who had also spent time at Mirramar for those who are Top Gun fans. We were a day too late getting to Cape Canaveral as they had launched rocket the previous day. Larry said they had retrieved the external fuel cell on a barge 200 miles out into the North Atlantic. apparently they calculate where it will land and had the barge there waiting. The GPS takes over and the tank landed on the barge. truly amazing stuff.
As the day came to a close we were back at the docks in good time and we bid farewell to Larry and Rosie, thanked them for their generosity and headed north for a couple of hours putting another 15 miles behind us for the day and spent the night.
After a day on the cape we decided to put in a couple of big days and and covered around 70 miles on the first day and around 50 on the second. both were quite leisurely with us just plodding along. by the second day we had arrived in St Augustine leaving only around 80 miles to go. we kept going until we entered the St Johns River at Jacksonville leaving only 20 miles to our destination. we had a day of heavy rains and electrical storms with lots of lightning which is quite un-nerving with big lightning rod sticking up above us as we sailed along.
As we got closer to the end we started dismantling the boat in preparation for storing it. with the rain we had the sails had a good wash and late in the afternoon yesterday after a good sail in warm sunshine we dropped them and they are now stored for the next 9 months.
In the US there are 10 weather channels on the VHF Radio and there were alerts going out all night for thunderstorms with Hail and 60mph winds in our area. we saw some more torrential rain and lightning all around us but no hail. Thank goodness we stripped the sails earlier. Today we motored the last 20 or so miles up the river to Green Cove Springs where we are now. It looks like we can get the boat hauled out on Monday and we will spend the next few days preparing her for a long stay without us. we have to clean everything down and prep the motors including the outboard for storage. the Mast has to come down as well and I have to disconnect everything inside it in the morning in preparation.
We have hired a car for a week and will use that to do what we have to here and then drive down to Miami next friday dropping it off at the airport when we leave.
Until next time :-)
In the US of A
31 March 2017 | Port St Lucie via West Palm Beach
Well we hired a golf cart and had a good look around which took the best part of a couple of hours. turns out some of the best scenery is over the hill about 300 metres from where we are in the Marina. we took some drinks across to the beach at sunset and sat and toasted the sunset with some snacks. This place is... well it is hard to find new words to describe these places we are visiting. they are some of the most spectacular places and the nicest people around. we had a knock on the boat this morning and bought a dozen crayfish for 50 bucks. it was Garlic Crayfish for dinner and crayfish sandwiches the next day for lunch, we still have some in the freezer still. We cleared Customs and Immigration in the afternoon and the next morning headed out early to cross to Florida. With little to no wind and glassy seas we made the 70 mile jump north west to Palm Beach through the Lake Worth Inlet. anchoring overnight just inside the inlet saw us off to US Customs and Border Protection in the morning to check in. Arriving at a little before 10am we were expecting to be on our way quite quickly. well this was not to be so. a little over 3 hours later and we emerged wondering what had taken so long. all we had to do was present the papers and get a cruising permit and stamp the passports.
We got back onboard and moved the boat up Lake Worth to North Palm Beach and unknowingly dropped the hook right outside Jack Nicklaus's house which fronts the lake. there were a lot of nice houses around so it was hard to tell who was who. a quick spot of lunch and we were off exploring, first thing on the list was a US phone SIM so we could get back online. we don't realise just how much we depend on being connected to just do the basic stuff. I had to organise to drop an engine part off to a guy from Stuart. we had bought the part and had it shipped down to St Martin and it turned out to be wrongly identified and would not fit our motor. there was the usual banking and of course facebook cant possibly survive without Mezz (and me as well really) posting stuff.
Well the Sim is sorted and we are online with a magnificent amount of data to share between ourselves. we decided to head out for dinner as it was our 32nd wedding anniversary and had a magnificent meal in West Palm Beach. picked up some groceries and back to the boat.
This morning before beginning our northward journey up the ICW we did a quick visit to West Marine and picked up a joker valve for the toilet. for those who know what that is will know the job ahead of me. if will not describe it for the rest.....
we purchased a couple of fittings and some hose to modify the shower on one side to be diverted into the holding tank. there are some "no discharge" zones around and at the moment the grey water from the showers goes directly overboard via the bilge pump hose and we need to divert one of them to go into a holding tank. that will allow us to use one of the showers in those areas.
There were also a couple of blue strip LED's purchased and now we have a lovely blue hue about the boat.
With the shopping out of the way we weighed anchor and headed north. i think there were 5 or 6 bascule bridges to negotiate and a couple of fixed bridges of over 65 feet. our mast is 58'6" which Mick and I measured in St Martin and then made a label up for the Nav station so we wouldn't forget. each Bascule Bridge encounter on the waterway consisted of a call to the bridge tender to log our intent to pass at their next opening they were timed well so that one opened on the hour and half hour and the next one opened on the quarter past and quarter to. as long as we could maintain a reasonable speed we were able to get through without a huge delay. we settled into cruising the waterway stopping for lunch in a wider area out of the main channel. we arrived in Port St Lucie in the town of Stuart and dropped the anchor for the night just off the waterway and have arranged to drop off the engine part first thing in the morning and then we will be on our way again. We were hoping to be stopping around Port Canaveral tomorrow night and would love to fit in a Kennedy Space Center tour.