Moon Dancer on the Move

12 October 2014
27 May 2014 | Panama City, Panama
06 December 2009 | Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
29 November 2009 | Grenada on the hard in the yard.
19 November 2009 | St Lucia and The Grenadines
27 October 2009
29 September 2009 | St Georges
20 September 2009 | Chaguaramas, Crews Inn

12 October 2014
Nellie Kellett / Nirvana in Las Perlas
Hi again, I have not worked out how to post more than one pic on my blog so here is the photo of Moon Dancer in Las Perlas.
Its such a peaceful place with super nice people too..

Moon Dancer on the move??? NOT

12 October 2014
Nellie Kellett / Finally a calm day after a week of bumpy seas at anchor
Hello again,

Its been a while and honestly I would rather live my life than write about it and it seems every time I sit down to write, something needs doing NOW or its all of a sudden dinner time and I have not planned ahead..Oops..

That having been said to explain my long absence here we go.
We enjoyed a wonderful Panama Canal crossing after several weeks in Shelter Bay Marina. We were joined by our close friends from home and sailing buddies from the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Our advisor was the best. He and the crew bonded immediately when the advisor turned out being a golfer. Normally you change advisors after you land in Gatun Lake but our advisor decided to stay with us and guide us all the way. It was great to see comerardery and great joy. I made sure each of our friends got to drive the Dancer through the canal locks. They loved it. Our evening and morning on Gatun Lake was filled with good food, good friends. The next day was special because our advisor provided us with local information thereby enhancing an already wonderful experience.

My step daughter was able to capture a photo of Moon Dancer transiting the canal at the Mira Flores lock.. We are the dark blue boat on the right.

On the Pacific side we are anchored at the La Playita anchorage.
The La Playita people are super helpful and rent out a well maintained (the ONLY safe) and safe dinghy dock that costs about 35 dollars a week.. A small price to pay for safety and if you saw the alternative on the Las Brisas side of this area you would be shocked.

SO,, here we are and here we seem to much for cruising.
We are making great progress on the boat but its taking a long time. I ordered a two drawer refrigerator/freezer that I planned to plug into the existing slot after months of rotting food and an inadequate system. They delivered a double freezer! STUCK. It was delivered to the anchorage, loaded with four guys and a halyard and no way to know it was not a refrigerator until I emailed asking where the thermostat was. Oops, they said. They did however offer an amazing deal on a double drawer matching refrigerator if I agreed to keep the freezer.. So a quick "plug in" job turned into a tear the galley apart, remove the old 110 freezer and tons of flammable sprayed in and old foam and a mess beyond imagination, not to mention the freezer is too big and now I lost more than half of the little bit of galley counter space.. ARRRRRRRRRRRR!

Ok,, the silver lining is that I now have a very functional refrigerator and freezer with great access and capacity and all of it 12 volt..All it took was a significantly over budget project (oh yes,, I forgot to mention all the new tools my husband now needed to complete this job ;-) , a totally trashed boat for more than a week, and me, trying to work out how to make this new galley configuration a workable space while picking sawdust off my eyelashes.

Now the fun part is that we have all 12 volt systems only to find out that our new LifeLine battery bank ( thousands of dollars paid just 10 months ago) is failing!!! Yes Failing.. We are trying to get Lifeline to replace them but I am thinking LifeLine AGM was the wrong choice for a live aboard cruiser environment. They require full charging each time you use them and an 8-10 hour conditioning charge once a month.. if not they fail in one to two years...UN FREAKING BELIEVABLE!

How about some good news,, you are thinking by now.. OK here it is.
We finished the construction of the new Freezer space with the help of a retired cruiser living in Contadora Island in Las Perlas of Panama. It was whale mating season and we were entertained almost daily by breaching Humpbacks that were often so close to the boat the splash could be felt on board.. One night I was lifting the dinghy when I heard the Humpback blow in the dark and could hear its path in the night sea. It was wonderful. I closed my eyes and knew exactly where it was and which way it was heading. That was magical and I will always feel that connection to the whale.
Contadora Island is a friendly, safe and beautiful place. I was at peace there. Here is a photo of us at anchor in Las Perlas..Nirvana...

My new refrigerator is wonderful.. We no longer have to eat all the veggies asap to avoid major spoilage and I don't have to brave the shopping mania of Panama City and the rip off artist taxi drivers and the horrid grid lock that is Panama City.. I can shop once a week for whatever is missing and still make fresh and wonderful meals with unspoiled food.. Also we are saving $ as the waste is next to nothing..Yea!!!

My husband built a new shelf system in the forward shower which we were using for storage. We were just piling "stuff" in there but now we can use the entire shower and access everything safely..He did a great job and its beautiful.. Did I mention the new table saw and work bench he needed for this work? Yes indeed, everything comes at a price and my entire boat was covered with mountains of saw dust, but if it makes him happy, I'm OK with that.

We had great slip covers made of bed sheet fabric to protect our new upholstery in the salon and I found a canvas guy who is refurbishing our canvas which was on its last leg.. We can now put the covers in the washer when they are dirty and also get a few more years out of our canvas. All good.

I learned how to repair our Bow Thruster and all about electrical engine repair..To this day my husband is surprised that its still working perfectly. This was after three "qualified" mechanics spent hours and cost plenty trying to get this working. Frankly, after the last mechanic said he had not read the schematic data I email him, I just got pissed! No way he was more competent than I so I attacked the job. I now know that all it takes is perseverance and reading and a commitment to quality installation of every component. It took me 4 hours in a hot, hot bow locker to re-do all the loose connections with double water repellant insulation, attach loose parts, test, replace as needed specific parts and clean all connections..

While waiting to transit the canal we ordered a new main sail and had all the salon and main cabin upholstery redone with custom pillows and all .. The main is fantastic and the boat interior is much nicer..

At the end of the day the delays are excessive but the improvements are significant, I have learned allot and we will benefit from all our accomplishments for years. I am posting a photo of Moon Dancer in the Panama Canal (dark blue sailboat) and hopefully, if the band width allows, the video of the whale show off my beam in Las Perlas (forgive the potty language on the video, we were so excited!)

Long Time No Sea

27 May 2014 | Panama City, Panama
Nell Kellett/ Rainy Season
Well, its certainly been a while. So much has happened and yet so little.. I know, a riddle,, We spent six months in beautiful Bonaire, diving and spending time with great friends. It was wonderful and probably the best Hurricane season ever.. Yes, my life is measured in Hurricane seasons.. We took on two crew members and continued on to Curacao to pick up a new dinghy then continued on to Aruba for a week of Casino and Ice cream for Phil.. Designer window shopping for me.. All good.
We prepared for our crossing from Aruba to Panama, a trip that is known for some pretty treacherous waters.. It was a bit bumpy and one of our crew members decided that this was not for him.. The other stayed but it was clear that he was not committed to the lifestyle.
Phil and I thought the trip to Panama was fine. A little bumpy but overall a good passage. We found out we needed a new main so we stopped at Puerto Lindo, Panama to visit with old friends and order a new main sail.. I found a new friend as well,,a sloth.. He is so cute and affectionate.. Loved it...We stayed about a week in Puerto Lindo and proceeded on to Shelter Bay Marina on the Carib side of Panama. As soon as we arrived in Shelter Bay Marina we started preparing for our next chapter.. Life is great...

The Best Meal EVER!

06 December 2009 | Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Captain Nell
Although I try to stick to our sailing adventures on this blog, due to slooooow and inefficient work practices at Spice Island Marine, we are still at the Alamanda Beach resort on Grand Anse Beach, I know,,this does not sound much like suffering and except for the dent in my budget, it is not.
We expect to splash on or before this Friday so we decided to take the weekend off and explore our surroundings. We found Jenny's Beach Place, located on the northernmost end of Grand Anse Beach. It is a bed and breakfast spot. They advertised a Roast Pork, Yorkshire Pudding and Veggie Sunday Lunch. Phil started craving this traditional English fare the moment we saw the sign. My past experience has been that English food has never been impressive however Jenny's chef prepared one of the finest meals I have had in a long. long time. The pork was tender and juicy and came with a light and very tasty gravy along with a little cracklin on top. The meal came with an amazing cauliflower au-gratin, shaved cabbage, crispy fresh lighty sauteed carrot slices and roasted new potatoes. The Yorkshire pudding was fresh and light and a lovely golden brown. Everything was presented beautifully. The portions were generous yet not "super sized" for those Amercans used to huge portions of mediocre food.
I'll post a photo later however we enjoyed a perfect Pina Colada and excellent home made Carrot cake as well. Everything was great including the large cup of hot and fresh coffee that ended our lovely Sunday afternoon Lunch.
All of this was enjoyed in a covered outdoor table with a beautiful ocean view. I would highly recommend Jenny's for Sunday Lunch. Come early as it gets full by 2pm and lunch starts at 12:30.
I spoke to some of the patrons and each one was a repeat customer ordering this Sunday Lunch special.
If you are in Grenada on a Sunday, don't miss Jennys.
Bon Appetite!!

Anticipated Float Plan

29 November 2009 | Grenada on the hard in the yard.
Captain Nell
Hello friends, We have received several emails from friends regarding our anticipated float plan and any potential off shore sailing opportunities.
Our plan is as follows: If the boat is splashed before Dec. 10th we are sailing non stop to Antiqua to meet friends due to arrive on that date. If the yard cannot make that deadline we will splash when everything is completed and enjoy meandering northward, exploring all the islands on the way to Antiqua and Barbuda.
We then plan to cross the Caribbean sea to the ABC's for some excellent, SCUBA, fishing, snorkeling, hiking, pina coladas and local cuisine. We are working on getting approval from our insurance provider for our intended sail westward to Cartagena and Panama. The specific dates will be provided as we get closer to accomplishing these goals.
Next hurricane season we will be in the Panama area. Hurricane season is the only solid target. We were in Nova Scotia our first hurricane season, in Trinidad and the Windward Islands this past season and in and around Panama the season to come.
We are sailors and seldom remain anywhere too long. We love the challenge of sailing, testing our mettle and exploring new places and making new friends.
Phil and I are truly at peace when out at sea. Moon Dancer performs beautifully when her sails are balanced and she is on the heel..
We look forward to sharing these off shore passages with our competent sailor friends.
At this juncture however, all our energy is currently directed toward getting out of the yard and splashing the Dancer!

Family holiday and good times

19 November 2009 | St Lucia and The Grenadines
Nell Kellett - HOT Days Cool Nights
Under super short notice we chartered a Bavaria 46 as our boat is still on the hard and our UK family was due to arrive in St Lucia for a sailing vacation. Freddie, our 4 year old grand son is marvelous and when asked what the best part of this vacation was he named six items as being the best and finally said it was his best holiday ever. Freddie loves swimming and sailing and was a delight to have on board and with whom to share all mother nature's gifts such as the Milky Way, shooting stars, satellite spotting, Turtles, Iguana, fish of all kinds and great sailing winds. We hosted an early Christmas Dinner on Happy Island and a family dinner at a lovely beach resort in Rodney Bay. Unfortunately the boat was due back today so Phil and I sailed her all night and set up the family at a very nice resort for the remaining two days of their holiday.
William, our 11 month old grandchild, cried every day. He did not have room to roam freely on the boat so the holiday was a bit hard on him. I expect that he will be better about it next year. He loved swimming so there is hope for him yet.
We have moved into a hotel near Grande Anse beach in Grenada and plan to be at the yard every day to monitor the work on our boat. The manager at the yard seems a bit overwhelmed and I cannot aford delays due to inefficient time and resource management.
Weather is good,, hot but nice at night. Our hotel has given us a great price and it is not too far from the local transportation services.
I have been very busy lately and don't forsee a rest until our boat is finished.
I guess the fun is over for now.. I am sending my best wishes and a warm hello to all my sailblog friends from Nell and Phil Moon Dancer.

Vessel Name: Moon Dancer
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana 55
Hailing Port: Coconut Grove FL/ York UK
Crew: Nell and Dr. Philip Kellett
Nell is a former airline executive, current USCG licensed Merchant Marine Officer and lifetime traveler. Her son and daughter-in-law are cruising on SV Estrella in Mexico. Philip is a retired MD and holds a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean qualification. [...]
Extra: Moon Dancer is our cruising home. We are starting the next phase of our life traveling, sailing, SCUBA diving and fishing. Most of all, we are looking forward to all the great new friends and memories that await us on this wonderful life journey.
Moon Dancer 's Photos - Main
Just a few photo from our time in trinidad
No Photos
Created 2 October 2009