Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec 13, 2012 Miami

We are now in Miami off South Beach. Plan to go to Coconut Grove for a few days before before Dave and Jackie arrive and then will look for that weather window to get to the Bahamas. Chris Parker says there could be a time early next week but it could close up by Wednesday or Thursday.
Will just have to hope it lasts long or returns in time for getting to Nassau for Christmas but will not push the limits just to get over. The weather has been decent enough here, though the last couple days have been overcast and the solar has been falling short on our needs with only 245 watts of capacity... I may yet get that wind generator.

Lost of little projects have gotten done but now a slight issue with the Lowrance plotter and the AIS, Seems the plotter will not display AIS targets and it was originally doing that. And Lowrance help desk is no help. They clain that it never did even though it did for a few days and then suddenly stopped. Anyone have a clue??? Please help me...

So now I will enjoy South Beach and all it has to offer and then the Grove...

Will write more soon but it is now time to go outside and enjoy lifes little pleasures...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

We arrived in Vero Beach yesterday and will be here until parts we had made catch up to us... We left St Augustine and made a dash to get south where it is warmer. Now should be 80 degrees today.
We are staying inside until the weather improves out in the ocean, it is blowing hard out of the north for the last week or two and the water has been pushed inside with the tides being higher than normal and the bridge clearances pretty tight for some of the taller boats.
We only stopped overnight at Daytona and Cocoa and put in three long days to get here and will relax for a few days before we head farther south to Ft Lauderdale and Miami
Enjoying the warmer weather and will walk to the beach today...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A short update

I arrived in Green Cove Oct 31, 2012 and worked on the boat a week until Jeanne arrived. The bottom was done and the critters killed off and her new shelf installed. Then went to Orlaando to pick her up at the airport and to a friends place for the night. The next day we went to the boat where Jeanne asked why her palace was not ready for her comfort. Then another week of cleaning and sorting and she knew why...
But all is now well in our world. Another solar panel is installed. The AIS is programmed and installed but still to be wired in. New wind sensor is up on the mast top. Hull polished. Boat is launched and the machine shop is making parts for the new bow roller...
We left Green Cove Monday at 12:30 and arrived at Jacksonville Landing at 17:30. The next morning we left for St Augustine at 06:30 and arrived here at 14:30.
Along the way I installed the bracket for the AIS antenna and now need to run the co-ax for it. When that is done I will wire it up to power and the GPS.
Still chores to be done but at least we are on the move and heading south and soon to be warm again...
Now off to Sailors Exchange and the Oil Company outlet.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I know I have been a little remis on posting to the blog but here is an update, belated but hopefully in time to set a tone for this years adventure

Jan. 7 onward

Well I ordered a new radio online from Defender and am having it delivered to Exuma Markets in George Town. With any luck it should be in when I arrive there.

We are doing boat chores and snorkeling and spearfishing and otherwise just relaxing in Black Point. We out to catch lobster and fish one morning but had to cut it short when a grey reef shark started to check us out.

Jan. 8 we left Black Point at 07:30 for Big Galliot and after a nice motor sail we arrived at the anchorage and were the only boat there. We had the beach and our own private island for several hours. Later on four other boats arrived and had a drink with Skip and Carol on their boat. We planned to leave with them in the morning for an inside run to Lee Stocking Island. The tide was still falling and Skip ran aground twice and we pulled them off and decided to head out the cut for the outside passage. They stayed inside and had no other trouble and we had a nice sail once we got through the rage in the cut. Getting back in through Adderly Cut was tricky with the seas breaking on each side and us not sure exactly where the reef was but we kept a sharp lookout and made it in safely. We found Skip and Carol already there. At 09:30 on Jan. 10 we headed out for George Town and arrived at anchor off Monument Beach at 15:10. We had hurried south because my sailing companion of two months was heading out to Mexico in a few days to see her mother. The plan was for her to meet Jeanne and all have a final dinner together but Jeanne had her week off delayed so they never got the chance to meet. On Jan 15 I saw Chris off at the airport and was alone again in George Town. It was a windy and choppy day as I headed back to the boat alone. Jan 16 and Jeanne is now due to arrive in five days for a week-long stay. I am spending my time getting the boat cleaned up for her arrival and taking long walks on the beach and playing volleyball. I have noticed that I have lost a lot of weight and most of my stomach that had fattened up during the summer at home.

Jeanne had a great time here but it was way too short, I tried to show her everything there was to see and do but a week is just not long enough. We just had a relaxing time met other couples, walked the beach, played volleyball and went out for dinner a couple times. Before we knew it her time was over and I took her out to the airport and once more headed to the boat alone. Some boats are going to Cuba and I am giving that some serious thought. It is a lot closer to Cuba from here than it is back to the states and actually the short way back is almost along the Cuban coast. Well I have come this far…

Feb 17, 2012

Well we have been in George Town for several weeks, initially waiting on a radio, then so Jeanne could have a nice week on the boat. I am now getting ready to sail to Cuba. On Sunday Graham will arrive and if the weather window holds we will sail to Long Island. I will spend the next couple days preparing for the trip south. On Monday I will be officially in the tropics. 

George Town is great, you can get almost everything here, and my days are walks on the beach or snorkeling for fish and lobsters, beach volleyball, and visiting town or friends. It has been a great 3 or 4 weeks but it is now time to go and find new fresh places to see. I would recommend coming here with your boat and staying a while, but also to visit the other islands. Just sailing from place to place is pleasure in paradise. Cuba should prove to be an adventure, it is a 30 hour trip nonstop to Puerto de Vita from George Town but I will break it down to Long Island, then Flamingo or Water Cay and then Raccoon Cay. From there it is a pre-dawn start and once off the banks it is 40 miles to Puerto de Vita.

There is a frontal system to keep an eye on for after noon on Monday, but if the timing holds we should be arriving in Thompson Bay just in time. The tide is a factor as it will be falling and likely low tide when we want to transit hog cut so it will be off to the top of Long Island and in that way. Planning is always the key to a safe and pleasant passage.

February 21, 2012

We finally left George Town on our voyage south to Cuba, Graham is here and we have headed out to long Island, The weather looks good for the next few days. Graham’s luggage arrived the day after he did which delayed our start but at 07:00 we were pulling up the anchor. We motor sailed out and had a good but tight sail all the way to long island. We tried to anchor off Salt Pond the town but it was too shallow for our comfort. We went over to Thompson bay and dropped the hook. When we reversed the transmission started making a noise. I plan to disconnect the tranny from the prop shaft to determine if it is actually the transmission or the prop shaft and hub assembly in the morning when the sun comes up.

Well after several hours work I found that the hub on the back of the engine is stripped in its internal splines and will have to be replaced. The transmission input shaft is worn but should hold if I get a new hub. After several calls I located one in Nassau and have made arrangements to have it flown out here. It is used but in new condition and will cost me $600.00 plus air fare and I will have it in a couple days. Half the price of a new part from Volvo. In the mean time we’ll relax and Graham is renting a car to tour the island. We discovered that Greg and Janice on Glenice are here and they are stopping in to visit as they tour the island. I haven’t seen them since leaving Coconut Grove over a year ago on my first trip south. We toured the island and visited each end and the blue hole where they do the deep free diving competitions. It is the deepest blue hole in the world.

The boat is now repaired, yet again. Everyone in Salt Pond was very helpful  especially Les Harding a local business man with a construction and repair business who loaned me his torque wrench to complete the repair. It is now too late for Graham to sail to Cuba with us. We’ll just relax here until his plane leaves and then head south to stage for Cuba.

Feb. 29 2012

Graham has left and we are now sailing south to Flamingo Cay, we’ll stay there for the night and then head to Raccoon Cay. Arrived at Raccoon and are now well into the tropics. Very few boats come this far and being self-sufficient is crucial. Water food and fuel is hard to come by, and the wildlife pretty much owns the water here. Catching fish and lobster is much easier but the big sharks also abound.  It is March 4 2012 and we are departing at 17:30 this evening for Puerto de Vita, Cuba. We have waypoints in the GPS and are making a night crossing and will arrive in Cuba about dawn.  At 12:40 we are at 21*40.45N and 75*53.56W and 35miles from Cuba. It was a 14hour crossing with lightning on either side but we had a perfect 60 mile wide lane with great reaching conditions and the sunrise showed us the mountains landscape of Cuba ahead. Except for dodging a Russian freighter about 02:00 it was a pretty uneventful l crossing.  The water is over 7000 feet deep in the old Bahamas channel and we were entering the channel to Puerto de Vita at 07:30. Upon entering it is imperative to stay in the channel as outside of it it is very shallow.  And when at the marina you must anchor out until cleared in by the doctor under quarantine. Cuban officials are very strict to follow the rules but otherwise it is so much more pleasant than checking in to the US. They will take off their shoes if asked and are quite friendly in doing the entry procedures. We did have an issue with not having a document that listed the boat name but my translator help explain that the boats’ number was the official designation in our case. Monday March 5th we were in Cuba and ready to relax and see this new country. All in the fees were only $65.00 and we were in for three months.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dec 27, 2011 onward

Well it is now 1800 and the boat is repaired. I had the boat hauled out at Browns Boat Yard in Nassau this morning at 0800, and then checked for any damage. The keel was fine with just some bottom paint missing; the rudder had what looked like a split where the two halves joined at the bottom tip of the rudder. There was no evidence of any separation of the skins from the body of the rudder and just what looked like filler chipped out. So I cleaned that area out and then filled it with epoxy and micro-balloon filler, then covered the joint with two layers of axial cloth and roving to secure the joint. An improvement over the stock configuration. I went out for lunch to give it time to set up. Once that had all set I sanded it reasonably smooth and then covered the repair with bottom paint and the whole job was done by 15:00.

The tide was down by then and there is only 3 feet of water in the slip so we’ll spend the night on the hard and launch with the morning’s high tide. From what appeared to be a disaster we are now ready to go for under $300.00. Next stop is the Exuma’s…

Dec 29, 2011

We set sail from Nassau about 10:00 heading for Allen’s Cay. The day was overcast and the wind was supposed to be more north than it turned out. We were heading southeast but the wind was easterly so it was a motor-sail to Allen with the main up. About half way out it started to rain and the wind was a little gusty up to 17 kt. We eventually let out about 75% of the headsail but kept up motoring because it was a little tight and we wanted to get there before dark. We arrived about 16:30 and set the anchor in a nice patch of sand. About 20 minutes later Bolero arrived and anchored close by. After dinner we went over to chat over a couple drinks.

The next morning we headed out for Shroud Cay about 14 miles south. We arrived at 14:30 and took a mooring that we checked to see if it was secure. Shroud is a low island with extensive mangroves in the middle of the island but you can dinghy through all the way to the sea side to some excellent beaches. We then took a dinghy ride through the mangroves but had to cut it short as the tide was falling fast and I didn’t feel like carrying the dinghy out. Later I sent Chris up the mast to check and clean the antenna coupling. It looked good so I am still not sure why I don’t have much distance on my VHF radio. I will try calling boats I hear on the radio and see how far I can transmit.

We left early on December 31st for Staniel’s Cay to meet some of our friends for New Year’s Eve on the beach and arrived about 14:00 and are now tucked in close with about 90 feet of chain out in preparation for an expected front to pass through on the 3rd. This evening we joined in for hors d’oeuvres with several of the other cruisers. We met several other couples and had a fun evening and were back on the boat late after cruisers midnight, about 21:00.

January, 2012

Jan. 1, 2 & 3, we took the dinghy around and checked out the sights, watched the cruisers regatta and enjoyed roast pork dinner at the awards. And then just before nightfall, settled back onto the boat to prepare for the expected cold front. We knew it was coming which was why we chose this spot to anchor. I checked the anchor and it looked secure though not buried as deep as I’d have liked. I went to sleep early so I could be rested by 03:00 when it was forecast to arrive. The winds slowly built all night and the front arrived at approx. 04:30. The anchor held well and did not drag as far as we could tell. One boat had come in late and anchored just behind and to one side but the wind shift to the NW put him a few boat lengths off my stern. If we’d have dragged he’d have had some predawn company. The far corner of the anchorage looks pretty empty this morning and I think those boats have moved in closer to our end.

Come dawn though everything looks good, though there is one boat nearby without a mast, I will have to go over and talk to them later when things calm down and hear his story.

Well as forecast the secondary front has winds blowing 20 kts with higher gusts. It is supposed to blow 30 today before it calms down this evening. The waves in the anchorage are pretty choppy and if it calms a little we can go for a dinghy ride. And if it calms enough I will go get that lobster that Dejarlo offered us.

Well we survived the two day front with winds gusting to 30 kts. Dejarlo was leaving early and dropped off a nice lobster tail that we’ll have for tomorrow’s dinner. This morning was calm even though the wind threatened to go farther west which would have sent big waves through the anchorage. Our anchor held and we didn’t drag at all. We left about noon for Black Point and are now having a beer at Lorraine’s restaurant with internet access.

Time to relax and check emails and look for parts to get the radio back up to par…

Jan. 6 2012

We are still anchored in Black Point. I was going to go up the mast today but all our friends decided to go fishing so…. I managed to spear a lionfish and Skip got a wrasse and gave that to us so that was today’s dinner. Been a quiet few days, last night was happy hour at Scorpion’s and after a few there and a game of pool we went over to Lorraine’s for dinner. It was Carol’s birthday and Lorraine put on a nice buffet. There was another sailor there having a birthday and that just added to the evenings fun. Just another day in paradise…
I climbed the mast today to work on the antenna and wind instrument. Cleaned all the connections and theantenna bracket base but still no distance on the radio. On a hunch we tried a friends spare radio in the boat and it got out fine. So that means that my radio is dieing and will need to be replaced. So now to find an decent priced radio in the Bahamas... Just another day in paradise...