Slow Sailing

11 August 2017 | Guadiana River, Portugal
04 August 2017 | La Linea, Spain
31 July 2017 | Marina Smir, Morocco
18 July 2017 | Granada, Spain
29 June 2017 | Pollenca, Mallorca
19 June 2017 | Mahon, Menorca
08 June 2017 | Ciudadela, Menorca
26 May 2017 | Soller, Mallorca
06 May 2017 | San Antonio Harbor, Ibiza
24 April 2017 | Ibiza, Balearic Islands
02 April 2017 | Valencia, Spain
21 March 2017 | Brittany, France
22 February 2017 | England
03 February 2017 | Valencia, Spain
22 December 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida
23 October 2016 | Real Club Nautico, Valencia
07 October 2016 | Valencia, Spain
26 September 2016 | Valencia, Spain
18 September 2016 | Toulon, France
01 September 2016 | Corsica, France

Back to the RV Build

10 June 2019 | Washington, NC
Heather
We've been back at work on our overland RV build for nearly 3 weeks now. It is a full time job that's for sure. It was a good trip on the boat from St Augustine back to Washington, NC with some great sailing. The moon was full so we had company all night (so much easier to see) and lots of dolphin during the day. I love the way I can hear them clicking & squeaking through the hull. We were giving them a good bow wake to play in. There weren't many ships or fishing boats so there was a decent amount of solitude and I hope we can find that same feeling when we get rolling in the truck to remote places. I do enjoy that aspect of passagemaking.


Its hard to believe that before we left we were wearing lots of layers at the workshop, running the little box heater off & on and wishing for warmer days. Six weeks elapsed and all has changed. Now we've had a long stretch of seriously hot weather with temps over 100, we've bought yet another AC (this makes 3, 2 in storage in Vermont) but there wasn't really a choice since we can't sweat our brains out all day at the truck and then do the same all night. We're really enjoying the birds, especially at the workshop because a mockingbird sits on the power pole close by and sings all day. We've made new friends on the dock and have enjoyed some nice dinners with Frank & Deb too.

We started out mounting the Maxx fan which is a great two way overhead fan that we'll have in the head area. It can remain open even if its raining and it also has a thermostat. The wires are run for the AC, the heat exchanger for the Webasto heater is installed and Jon spent some time wiring up the lithium battery bank. He built a platform for the shower pan and I bonded in and painted all the little pieces for that. Then he installed the pan. We ordered up a nice porcelain bathroom sink that we're really excited about, ordered an Airhead brand composting toilet (I can already see I will miss our boat head), and tried everything out in the little space- its tight but it all fits! Tomorrow Jon plans to start building out the cabinetry in the bathroom so we'll have storage space, a medicine cabinet with mirror and a counter for the sink. We have plenty of blue solid surface left from the galley counter so he'll use some of that for the bathroom. We plan to get a roll-up shower door that looks like it would be the best fit in there since we need something out of the way to make as much room in there as possible.

The stereo speakers are in and some of the LED lights. The speakers just barely squeaked by the window shade compartments- an oversight that we feel lucky to have gotten away with. It's hard to plan for everything that needs to be installed and make accommodations for it in the right order. The lights look really nice and sort of class up the place. The seating area needed a rail all the way around it to provide the framework for the cushions and that took a few days for Jon to make and for us to bond in and then for me to paint & varnish. That's 2 gallons of paint so far and 3 quarts or varnish. More to go. Oh and several tubes of caulk. There is a varnished ledge on my side of the seating area with some storage cabinets below that also allow access to the water tank hosing. It took a lot of time for Jon to get that all designed and built and then for us to bond it in- many pieces! We certainly know our way around a caulking gun now! Outside on the camper box, we installed the water tank fill and the shore power connection.





The panels that we bonded in over the winter to form the bathroom needed to have a door built and Jon had been dreading that somewhat because it was going to be a ton of work and something altogether new for woodworking skills. One thing about our boat is it has beautiful wood craftsmanship that you don't often see anymore. All of our door supports are rounded with many layers of laminated wood strips all smoothed out to make a real work of art. So using this example, Jon did similar on the door jam. It took several days and many layers of soaked wood (because we have no means to steam it) bent to shape and then wood glued in place but finally he turned it over to me to varnish. The door itself is white FRP and is in the line-up of things to finish. Because we want the RV interior to be really strong and well supported, we have been adding aluminum strips along the base of several walls, the bathroom being one to give them extra support from the bottom. I hate the sound of metal being cut, but I think this is a good idea too and each time Jon hands me a piece, I bond that in with adhesive. The cabin feels very tight and is certainly well insulated.

This past week we started in on doors. I will try not to go on & on about how beautiful a job Jon is doing on the woodwork, even with crap tools and a makeshift workshop setup. We are really trying to be thrifty where we can. But he is doing a stellar job. His table saw finally bit the dust and so we had to get a new one which seems to be the way a lot of our stuff is going lately- it seems like every day something else breaks. But he fixed my favorite little shop-vac! We've had that for almost as long as we've known each other I think.



The theme for the doors, of which there are a ton of them, is white FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) for the bed area, the bathroom and the lower closet/laundry area and then maple/walnut for the galley & sitting area. When we ordered the FRP panels for the camper box from Total Composites, they cut out the window and door openings for you based on your drawings and then send all the cutouts to you. That used to be standard practice but they aren't doing that now since we got ours. It made it a lot easier to assemble the box. So we can pull the shiny white plastic gelcoat layer away from the foam and use those panels for things like doors. Jon is using epoxy to bond them to good quality plywood on both sides and then make a flush door that sits into the maple framework we have bonded in for the cabinets. The edges of the plywood are visible when the door is open and make a nice look we think. There is a lot of work in each door because even once they're made, the hinges need to be cut in, mounts made for them so that everything lines up, the latch ring installed and a mount for the clasp for that and of course everything has to be painted and varnished. But they are coming along. And then in the past 2 days he's moved to the walnut doors so 11 of those are done so far and I have my work cut out for me getting 4 coats of varnish on them with a minimum amount of drips!

Thankfully we ran short on wood so had to make a trip to Raleigh a few days ago which meant we could do another bike path. Except this time everything was green and prettier. Afterward, we stopped at an upholstery shop and looked at fabric for the cushions. We chose a blue velour and think it will be nice against the wood and the blue countertop. I had wanted a different pattern but it was over 70 bucks a yard! We made a more modest choice. We like Raleigh and wish it was on the water so we could live there but be here.


We were all excited to have a reputable welder lined up for the many metal projects that need doing on the outside of the RV but unfortunately this guy is so popular (he does the welding for Pacific Seacraft which is right in town) that we're wondering if it is practical to think he will ever have time for us. It is critical to have things like a rim around the roof in aluminum that both protects and provides mounting points for the solar panels, understorage boxes that also incorporate mud flaps for the rear tires and a pretty significant rear tire rack/motorcycle mount/tail light mount for the back of the truck. We're hoping to get this going within the next few weeks, one way or another. When we first got back and I was getting the boat cleaned up from the trip and doing a mountain of laundry, Jon made cardboard mock ups for all the understorage boxes so we could visualize what needed to be done.

There have been so many decisions to make about what we want in the truck, where it should go and then ordering up all the little pieces to get it together. Jon's head is spinning most of the time trying to research things and get them ordered in time and we both just want this project done. But it is encouraging to install some of the things that we've been tripping over for months and anticipate what it will be like to someday use them!

My mom was able to find this photo from the start of our first cruise back in 1997 on the Cape Dory (also named Evergreen). I don't know where our youth went but we've had a lot of fun since then. We're excited to think there's more on the horizon. By then all the doors will be done!

Last Passage

15 May 2019 | St Augustine
Heather
We said goodbye to the Bahamas a few days ago and crossed over to St Augustine where we've spent the last couple of days hanging out waiting for a good forecast to head north. We've enjoyed our time here and were glad to move around after a few hot days underway. On the last day, we had a swarm of lovebugs come visit our boat while still well offshore. They like white and our deck was just perfect. It became a sort of nightmare as they piled up on every surface including us, doing it the whole time! But we kept our cool and took turns taking refuge inside the boat, then pulled up to the dock to wash them away. What a mess. We took 3 showers that day since we were so grossed out. I now really dislike love bugs!


Turns out there's great biking here at Anastasia state park because the beach is wide & long with firm sand. A ways out there was nothing but us, the birds and about a hundred discarded bagels, for some reason. We did a bunch of sites in town too like the distillery, and enjoyed walking under all the big old trees. We got to really feeling sunbaked in the Bahamas and craving shade. Its hard to find when we're underway and we sometimes use the shade of the sail on deck.

The weather did finally improve in the Bahamas and we had several days of light conditions which allowed the four of us to explore some really beautiful anchorages in the Exumas Land & Sea Park. We walked trails together, snorkeled, sailed and hung out on each others boats. There was a lot more life on the reefs within the park and the water was a mix of colors that is crazy beautiful.


Jon & I spent hours in the water poking around in the shallows, drift diving the cuts and exploring some of the deeper reefs. I love doing this together and it brings back so many memories of all the beaches & drift dives we've done over the years. Being in the park meant there was lots to see. We sure can't hold our breath like we used to and were recalling that our deepest free dive was to the bottom of a blue hole somewhere in the Bahamas which was 50 feet. A tap & go but still, how did we ever do that?


Lobster season is over and the females are carrying their eggs under their tails. We usually don't get to see this because we're not here in this season. In the park the lobsters are so big and unafraid they just walk around in the open. On one snorkel we came upon two in an argument, and Jon had to break it up!

All four of us were really missing the overall brilliant color & corals of the Pacific and also we were wishing there were more nudibranchs on the Atlantic side since we enjoy looking for them when lo & behold Jon found one. It belongs on the Pacific side though and according to the ID book, a few have come over in ship's ballast tanks and set up shop in Florida & the Bahamas. Nice to see one though.

I had to lift my fins for this reef shark that came over to say hi and we had nice views of several eagle rays and lots of turtles too. Most of the time we had a big barracuda following us around like a dog, not wanting to miss anything. Fun times.


As soon as we all got our snorkeling and pretty anchorage fix we felt ready to move on to our next respective chapters. Jon & I are anxious to get back to work on the RV build and get busy on the projects (well not really) we need to get done on our boat as well. We plan to put Evergreen on the market this summer as we feel ready to dive into a new lifestyle in the truck. We have been adjusting to this idea for quite a while and feel OK with it now. We hope to find someone who wants to pick up where we left off.

Our fridges were pretty much empty of produce so the dinners together were getting interesting- time to set sail for Publix! We are now restocked again- phew!

So another passage awaits tomorrow, two more nights underway, 4 days. Might be our last one for awhile. Should have a nice moon and good wind. As we were bucking current the other day and moving at 5kts, we joked that we have run marathons and a 50k faster than that which translates to: we can run faster than we can sail at times! Except for not as long, but still. We'll try to push that out of our mind. If all goes well we'll be back in our slip by Sunday and look forward to going out for a nice dinner next week for our silver anniversary!

Island Time

30 April 2019 | Black Point, Exuma
Heather
We are working our way up the Exuma chain having reached Georgetown last week where we turned around. It feels good to be taking miles off the return trip now. We've had a fair amount of unsettled weather. Last year when we passed through here it was a little earlier and things had already settled down and we'd hoped to nail that again arriving even later. I'm kind of tired of weather! Some people say cruising is about working on your boat in exotic places. I say it is sometimes about waiting on your boat in exotic places.

On the way to Georgetown, we stopped at Staniel Cay to wait out a blow. That place has changed so much over the years, now a megayacht & expat destination, and it always cracks us up how some domesticated pigs set up on a beach can draw so much attention. They're even pinned on Googlemaps! People from all over come to this place with their produce scraps (or in some cases top notch produce) to hand feed these pigs while wading in pretty blue water. They arrive on tours by speedboat from Nassau, short jaunts from adjacent resort islands, megayachts, normal sized private sailboats or sea plane. Yes, a sea plane maneuvers right up to the beach. Jon & I joke about what the pigs must be saying to each other late in the day when their bellies are full of strawberries & avocados. "It's your turn, I'm stuffed! No, you go, I haven't slept all day! I need a vacation from this!" Gone are the days of the sleepy little Staniel Cay yacht club that serves a slice of Pepperidge Farm pound cake for dessert when you make your dinner reservation and they tell you what else you'll be having that night. We did some drift diving at Staniel and it was nice to be in the water again. Plus, pig beach is a great anchorage in a blow.



Georgetown is always nice to pull in to because you can get things done like check in, get your phone working and fuel up. But this time it was made very nice by being there to greet Jan & Rich on Slip Away as they completed their last & biggest leg of their circumnavigation. We first met them in Mexico, then Maine, New Zealand, Australia, cruised through SE Asia together, then now. We'd planned to meet up in San Salvador for some scuba diving but the wind was too strong for us to get there or for any of us to stay there in the roadstead anchorage so we had to bag it. We got choked up watching them pull in and anchor beside us like old times. It was both the start of a few weeks of cruising together and most likely the last time for all of us too. We had a great first evening catching up and have had several more since now we're cruising together. Yay!


The four of us made a day out of checking in, doing some chores and getting some lunch in town. Jon & I walked all around on Stocking island, for us the best beach in the Bahamas, while they caught up on 2 months of having had no internet. The Georgetown Regatta started while we were there and it was nice to watch the boats sailing through the anchorage with their extra large sails and balancing crew. We saw the tramp steamer arrive with all the boats on deck a couple of days before. Its cute. In a country that seems hard to see a distinct culture compared to other more remote places we've been, the regatta is something that is their own thing, not related to tourism or cruising sailors and we like that part about it. I really like the Bahamian flag as well. It is turquoise, black and yellow. For the blue ocean, the strength of the people and the yellow sand. Jon appreciated spectating this time and not having to be rail meat like he did eight years ago when we passed through the Bahamas on our way to Panama.






After a couple of days, we headed up to Rudder Cay. It was such a great sailing day that it was hard to douse the sails when we got there. The anchorage view at Rudder gave us a subtle reminder of French Poly, minus the basalt spires. Jon & I went snorkeling that first afternoon in and around the pass on an incoming tide. We were looking for a school of jack like we remembered from our first trip here 22 years ago. We found the jack, but also an annoying reef shark that wouldn't leave us alone. We like seeing sharks; they are part of the reef ecology here but every once in a while we get one that makes us uneasy and this one kept hanging around, surging toward us and getting bolder and bolder as he kept coming closer & closer. Finally he came charging up from the bottom to within 10 feet of us and we had to get out. But the next day we went back with Jan & Rich and it wasn't there, but neither were the jack and all the other schooling fish.

We've been at Black Point the past couple of days and have stayed longer than we wanted because there's another batch of 25kt winds and lots of squalls. It's disappointing because we wanted J&R to see the best of the Bahamas which is under water. But its still been fun. And the water still glows despite the squalls.


We've been enjoying S. African wines and dinners together. We got lunch ashore yesterday and I was so looking forward to some Bahamian food. But it seems like nowadays here it is mainly the fryolator. It is a slow pace in the islands and there are all manner of houses in various stages of unfinished. So many abandoned resort starts and housing lots. Jon & I end up walking all over the islands using the roads made for these developments in search of exercise and time ashore.

So we hope to move into the Exumas park islands either tomorrow or the next day and we're hoping for some great snorkeling. We saw several mature conch today but we've made a moratorium on any conch harvesting because there seem to be so few and we'd rather see them alive. According to park literature, the ban on any fishing inside the boundaries has helped rejuvenate the reefs and re-populate the conch & fish extending way outside the park lines. So we're hoping to see much better reef life there. In the next couple of weeks we'll both be looking for weather windows to head our separate ways. I wonder where the next meet-up will be??


Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Hello! We are Heather & Jon Turgeon of S/V Evergreen. We started sailing in 1994 on our first boat, a Cape Dory 31, then sought out a Tashiba 40 that could take us around the globe. It has been our home for 19 years. We've thoroughly cruised the East coast and Caribbean and just completed our [...]
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EVERGREEN 's Photos -