Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016 "Town Day" chores in Marsh Harbor

We listened to the net this morning and I asked for information about the Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club.  At the end of the net, someone from the boat Double S answered my questions.  He was the commodore of the yacht club.  It is a social club with several events and discounts at several restaurants and marinas.  We had heard it was about $30 per year to be a member.  Well, it’s $150 to join and then $30/year.  We’ll have to think about that.  The social events are at Boat Harbor Marina in Marsh Harbor.  And we don’t plan to be here all winter.  But we’ll check out the website before we make a decision.

I also did some reading in our guide books about the area.  The general information for checking into customs and immigration just lists what cities have a Port of Entry, fees, what documentation you’ll need, etc.  The information about Marsh Harbor says to go to a marina and custom’s and immigration will come to the boat.  Opps!  Missed that part.  At some time, we will ask a marina if we would have to get a slip, or if we could tie up for a free or for a fee just to clear into the country. 

Late morning, we went to shore with a list of things to do.  First we took in 2 bags of garbage.  A dumpster was added right by the dinghy dock.  We used to have to walk about a block in the opposite direction of town.  Then we headed to a hardware store.  On the way, we saw Da Bes Yet bakery.  Dave had been there a couple times last year, but I hadn’t been there.  We stopped in and bought a coconut cinnamon roll and bread pudding to take back to the boat.

They had a sign to “Top Up”, which means you can put money on an account and add data to your phones.  We had put our old SIM card from last year in my phone, but hadn’t been able to activate it.  She told us we would have to go to the Bahamian Telephone Company-BTC- to do that.  We remember waiting forever in line at the BTC office last year.  So Dave went to the hardware store and I went to BTC, and he would join me there. 

At the BTC office, a very helpful woman helped me.  I told her that I had a SIM card from last year, wanted to activate it and put money on an account to add data.  She asked when I last used the phone, which was June 2015.  She informed me that if it has been inactive for 3 months, it is cancelled and I’d have to buy a new one.  That was the first time I had heard that, but that explained why we couldn’t activate the old one.

So I stood in the cashier line to buy the SIM card for $16 and put $100 on an account.  You can buy 2 gig of data for $33.  You have 30 days to use it or lose it.  If you want to purchase more data, you have to use all of the 2 gig first.  If you add data before the 2 gig is used, you will lose any remaining balance.  That can be frustrating.  If we need to update something, it may take more than 2 gig.  We know of a couple places where we can get free wifi or $5 for all day.  So that’s what we end up doing.  I also found out that phone calls and texts come out of the money we have on the account.  I can receive texts for free, even from the US, but it costs me to send one.  So we learned a few new things.  And I picked up a Bahamian telephone book.  Not sure how much we’ll use it, but it has some good general info in it, too.  The same helpful lady helped me put the new SIM card into my phone and activate it.  Dave was going to meet me here, so I sat in the only chairs, the customer service waiting area.  Of course, when he arrived, he thought I was still waiting to talk to someone.  He was pleasantly surprised to find out I was finished.  Before leaving, we decided to get a SIM card in Dave’s phone and add money just for phone use, no data.  There have been times when it would have been nice to be able to call each other.  So we went for the convenience.  The money on that account has to be used in 90 days or you lose it.  So he only put $30 on his account.

After finishing business at BTC, we went out for lunch.  We tried a different restaurant, Island Family Restaurant, in the same strip mall as the Kentucky Fried Chicken :(  We both had the daily special, coconut fish sandwich, which was very good.  They had sheep’s tongue souse on the breakfast specials menu, so Dave wanted to come back just for breakfast.  After our meal, he asked our waitress if that was a special only today.  She said, no they have it everyday for breakfast and lunch.  Now Dave wished he had ordered it for lunch.  I guess we’ll be back. 

We split tasks again.  I went to the grocery store to buy milk.  And Dave went to a second hardware store.  The first one didn’t have what he wanted.  The second one was on our way back to the boat.  And they have a picnic table outside where I usually wait for him. He needed about a foot of copper tubing, but had to buy 10 feet.  And he wanted a cord to attach our Honda generator to our 30 amp boat circuitry.  He thought he was going to have to build one, but they actually had that cord in stock.  He needed a saw blade to cut metal, but they had a variety of sizes.  So he would have to check that back at the boat and return later. 

We were back to the boat by about 2:30 and had our sweet treat and milk.  Boy, we used to stop at a bar for a drink.  Times have changed. 

Dave went to work with the parts he bought to connect our Honda generator to our boat’s electrical system.  After a few attempts and not connecting, he decided to head back to shore for the blade he needed and to get fuel before it got late.  He needed to fill our diesel jerry cans.  It’s best to keep the diesel tank full to avoid condensation in the tank.

At the fuel dock, the person working there told him our fuel cans are aging and deteriorating.  When they go, the handle breaks away from the top of the can and you have fuel everywhere.  So I guess we’ll be buying more cans while we’re here.  Maybe 2 now and 2 before we head back to the US. 

After doing a search online about Honda generators, Dave figured out what he needed to do to have the Honda generator run our electrical system through our boat’s 120 volt circuitry.   Initially, he was turning on the generator circuit breaker.  And he realized he needed to be turning on the shore power circuit breaker.  Because the source of the power would be similar to plugging into the power pedestal at a marina.  He tried it, and it worked for the 120 volt outlets.  It was after 8:00, so he didn’t want to run the noisy generator very long.  He’ll test more things tomorrow. 

January 25, 2016 Marsh Harbor Customs and Immigration

This morning, we moved the boat to the harbor of Marsh Harbor.  Dave took off by dinghy to walk to the Customs and Immigration office.  We were there last year to extend our Immigration permit after the original 3 months.  So we knew where it was located.  It’s a new big government building inland at least a mile from shore.  And our guide info says only the captain should go ashore to clear customs.

During Dave’s 30 minute walk, he passed his favorite bake shop and the hardware store.  But you can’t stop to do anything until you have cleared customs. Dave went to the same office we were at last year and told them that we just arrived and would like to check in. 
Officer:  What marina are you at? 
Dave: We’re anchored.
O: You have to go to a marina and we’ll come there. 
D: That’s not going to happen.  We are anchored and don’t want to pay for a slip. 
O: Just a minute.  O comes back: Where is your boat anchored?  
D: Right out from ferry dock.
O: Just a minute. O came back: How many crew members are there? 
D: My wife and I.
O: Is she with you?
D; No, we understood that only the captain could come to shore
O: Just a minute.
Officer comes back Dave: Do you want to see passports and take our money?
O: Yes but you need to go to custom’s first. 
D: I thought this was customs and immigration.
O: No, this is  only immigration. you need to go to custom’s first.  She started giving him driving directions back towards the shore.
D: I’m walking.  Is it located on the water?
O: It’s too far too walk! 
Dave politely told here: I just walked here and I’m walking back. 
O:  After you clear custom’s, bring your wife back here for immigration.
D:  What if custom’s takes too long, and we can’t get back here before you close?  Can we come back tomorrow?
O:  Just a  minute.  O comes back: Go to custom’s, take care of that.  They’ll call us, and we’ll come down there because we have to see your boat. Here’s some paperwork, have it filled out before they call us.

Dave left there feeling like he was the first person to ever check into immigration in Marsh Harbor.  Especially since the Officer had to keep asking what to do next.

Dave then walked to custom’s, which is down at the water’s edge.  We thought that was an old custom’s location and everything had moved to the government building.  It made sense that custom’s would be by the water.  Dave came to where he thought the Custom’s office was and found a building called Marsh Harbor Administration. He asked someone where the Custom’s office was, and he said to go through the door on the back of the building.  OK, so it was that building.  A Customs sign would have helped.  Dave walked in and found 3 holes cut into a big mirrored window/one way window.  He rang a bell and someone came up to hole to speak to him.  He had a hard time hearing them and understanding their accent.  So he put his ear up to the hole.  He felt like he was staring  at the wall like he was a blind person not knowing which way to look. 

He told them he would like to check in and the questioning started all over again. 
O: What marina are you at?
D: We’re anchored in the harbor.
O: Well you’ll have to bring the boat here.   How many people are on board?
D: Just my wife and I.  If I have to bring the boat here, will the dock be able to handle a 5 ft draft. 
He heard one lady giggle and say “he has a 5 ft draft”.
By now Dave was trying to look through the hole and see all the people.  So an officer came out, said it would work fine, There were tires out there on the dock, and we should be fine.
Dave walked back to the dinghy dock to come back to the boat.

When Dave arrived, he let me know nothing had been accomplished.  He explained that there were two offices but saved the details until later.  We got the boat ready to move and I filled out our paperwork.  We tied up to the dock, which is designed for cargo ships.  Dave had to climb about 5 feet above our deck to get on the dock. 

Inside he had to fill out the customs forms.  They ask about your “stores”-groceries and clothing, dinghy, our 2 outboard motors and serial numbers, etc.  The customs officer didn’t know anything about the fishing endorsement to use a Hawaiian sling, for spear fishing.  But someone spoke up to explain it to her.  They explained that you just write it on the fishing permit.  That was something we found out in our guide book.  And we had it last year.

When the immigration officer came to the customs office, she took all the paperwork for me and Dave.  Dave asked “would you like to meet my lovely wife?”  He knew she would have do crawl done to the boat and back up.  She asked where I was.  And when she found out I was on the boat she said, no she didn’t need to see me.  But at the office, she said she did and that she had to see the boat.  She said the 3 month vs 6 month permit was up to the officer.  And she doesn’t like giving more than 3 months.  We’ll have to go to another immigration office with in 4 days of the end of the 90 day permit to renew it for another 3 months.  That will be April 24 and we hope to be in Georgetown in the Exumas.  What a hassle. 

Dave came back to the boat, we went back to our anchorage and broke out the liquor.  Dave then told me all the funny details of the day.  We celebrated with a couple cocktails in the cockpit.  We are now officially on Bahamian time.

January 24, 2016 Day at anchor Boat Harbor

Wow, were we ever glad that we moved.  The wind blew all night, but the boat was much more stable.  The only problem was some kind of alarm on shore, like a car alarm, going off about once an hour. 

Dave got up early and played with the Single Side Band radio.  He can use headsets, so it didn’t wake me :)  He couldn’t get Chris Parker’s weather and was disappointed, until he remembered it was Sunday and he takes the day off.  So he listened to a few other people having conversations, mostly old guys in Florida talking about weather, movies, fishing, etc.  He spent some time using the different buttons to see what he could discover and improve his use-he called it “radio play”. 

I was up in time for the cruiser’s net at 8:15.  I kind of get addicted to listening to it.  It’s like your life line to what is happening in the area.  Or your daily newspaper for cruisers.  And you may recognize another boat and contact them after then net.  The couple that helped us last year with ideas for our run away engine contacted the net about something.  Now that we know they are here, we’ll look for them and thank them again.   He was a diesel engine mechanic for airplanes and was curious if his knowledge transferred to marine diesel engines.  So he may want to know how everything turned out.  

After the net, I tried calling Harbor Inn and Marina to ask about reserving a mooring ball.  After a few attempts and no answer, another cruiser, Will, came on to tell me they probably couldn’t hear me from where we are.  But he gave me all the information I needed about the mooring balls.  We met him last year the day of the sailboat race.  So it was nice to visit with him and gain some local knowledge.

Dave started a corned beef roast early this morning.  So we had a great lunch of corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage.  It is actually only in the low 60’s, so a warm meal was awesome. 

I decided to do one load of laundry today by hand.  First of the season. Not everything was dry by the time we went to bed.  So our salon became a laundry room.
full moon rising

January 23, 2016 Red Bay to Boat Harbor

Well, that was a rough night.  Neither one of us slept very good.  Our anchor held, but we still didn’t like the position.  Mid morning, we decided to sit outside in the cockpit with our side curtains up to protect us from the wind.  When Dave saw another sailboat out on the Sea of Abaco, he thought it would be OK for us to be out there, too.  We decided to move the boat for more protection from the north.  We anchored here for protection from the west, but the shoreline angled to the north west.  So when the wind started swinging from the west, to north west to north east, we were much more exposed to the north wind, which sent us towards the shore with rocks.

We talked through how we wanted this to go.  Once Dave had the anchor up, I needed to head away from shore immediately and not let the wind push us back towards shore.  Dave went out on the bouncing bow in 20k wind to raise the anchor.  As I was watching him, I thought about how smart it would have been for him to be wearing a life jacket.  But we were only in about 10 feet of water and close to shore, so I didn’t panic.

We left Red Bay/Water Cay about 10:15 am and motored to the south side of Marsh Harbor, not the inside harbor.  In strong winds, you can’t always trust that your neighbors in the harbor know how to set an anchor.  A 100% jib sail fills the space between the mast and the forestay.  If it is larger, it is a genoa, or jenny sail.  We have a 150% genoa and used 100% today to sail in the strong winds.  The wind was generally between 25-30k with gusts into the upper 30’s.  There were 2-4 ft swells with white caps.  On the net they called it meringue.  We actually enjoyed the ride. 
love the color of that water

We anchored between the Boat Harbor Marina and the Marsh Harbor Boat yard (where we had work done last spring) by 1:00 pm.  As we approached the shore, the wind decreased to about 15k and the seas were much calmer.  Wow, what a difference. 

Dave napped, I read, then we started a Harry Potter marathon tonight with popcorn.  We have all the movies and may watch them all this week.  We were also looking forward to a good night’s sleep. 

January 22, 2016 Single Side Band Radio contacts

Friday, Jan 22
Dave was up early enough to catch Chis Parker on the Single Side Band radio at 6:30 am.  I was up in time to hear the local Cruiser’s Net on the VHF channel 68 at 8:15.  They always give a weather report.  Saturday sounds the worst with winds out of the west at 25-35 k with gusts to 50k.  They had community announcements and business advertisements.  I was the only one for “open mike”.  I asked if anyone knew where the custom’s office was at Treasure Cay.  We were told it was a short taxi ride to the airport for Custom’s.  We knew it would be a taxi ride in Marsh Harbor, so we’ll probably just go there on Monday.  The larger office can give you a 6 month permit instead of a 3 month. 

We had a lazy day of cooking and logging maintenance in a new data base we started this year called HanDbase.  This is what the people who operate Active Captain use.  They like it because everything is in their phone.  It’s hard to trust that you won’t lose the information, but a written log can be lost, too.  We had some rain off and on, but not the winds we were expecting. 

Gloria and I had arranged to contact each other on the Single Side Band radio at noon today, just for the experience.  At noon, I heard her calling me on the frequency we had chosen to use.  I could hear her, but she said I was faint.  They were having a storm there and so it may not be transmitting very well.  But at least she knows we made it and we connected.  Then I sent out a couple e-mails through our SSB radio.  I let Brian Killion and Cheryl Ulmer, our float plan people, know we were settled and why we moved beyond Green Turtle Cay.  We also sent one to Gary to see how things turned out.  He made it back to the US by 6:00 am and Tow Boat US took him to the marina he had left Wednesday morning.  He was having his fuel polished to remove any debris and hopefully that will take care of his problems.  And he thanked us for our help.  We really hope to see him in the Bahamas soon. 

The wind started kicking up around 10:00 pm to 30k.  It was coming out of the north instead of the west and our stern was heading to shore.  Not good. 

January 21, 2016 Memory Rock to Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas

When I started my watch at 1:00 am, there was a cargo ship coming up behind us, which was unusual in this shallow water.  Our AIS said it was called Bahama Express and only had a 10 foot draft.  There was a sailboat practically beside us, which had the light we had been following.  After Dave went below, I called our neighbor on the VHF to say hello.  The name of his boat was Flip Flops.  They were from the UK and had been living aboard for 13 years.  They sailed to the US, down the Caribbean, to Venezuela, back to the Mediterranean, across to Nova Scotia and were starting over again.  I gave him our brief history.  They were headed to Green Turtle Cay, so I said I hoped to meet him there.  We passed him and didn’t see him again.
this is when I wish I had a better camera

About 3:30, the cargo ship passed by us.  About 4:00 I could see the light off of the north side of Great Sale Cay.  I could see another light that was also bright, I thought it was another boat not far in front of us.  I used a strong light to try to see the ship.  But it ended up being a planet that was really bright and close to the horizon.  Later Dave said he had also seen one and thought the same thing.  5 planets are supposed to be visible along the horizon for about a month.  When we passed Great Sale there was NOT a light where one should be.  The light I saw must have been another boat or a planet.  Good thing we are following the charts and not just the navigational signals. 

Dave woke up around 6:00am.  I told him I had been following the light at Great Sale Cay for the past 2 hours, even after we passed the island:)  We had breakfast together and watched the sunrise.  Then I headed to bed and slept until 10:00.  The east wind was blowing at 15k, but the seas were calm.  Dave had let out the jenny sail and we were motor sailing at 7.5 k. 
Good Morning Bahamas

At 10:00 am, it was Dave’s turn to nap.  I took us down the Sea of Abaco to Green Turtle Cay.  I woke Dave to help bring in the jenny and anchor.  We were anchored by 12:00 noon, 2 hours before our estimated time.  26 hours total from anchor to anchor. 

We had lunch because we figured the Customs office closed over the lunch hour.  After 1:00, I went to shore with all the necessary paperwork to check us in.  Dave had raised the quarantine flag before we reached Memory Rock.  When I reached the Customs office, there was a note saying they were closed and to call “this number”.   And sorry for any inconvenience.  Well I didn’t have a phone, so I walked to the nearest store, a bakery, to ask for help.  I explained that I had planned to buy something after checking in to customs, but they were closed and left a number to call.  If I bought something from her and had change, did she think the pay telephone outside the Customs office/post office would work.  She didn’t think it would.  I then asked if she could call them for me.  She just gave me her phone to use.  I reached a lady who asked if I could come back tomorrow.  I explained that we wanted to check in and then leave to anchor in a safe place for the storm that would arrive tonight.  Was tomorrow my only option?  She said that if was and they opened at 8:45 am.  So I said I’d see her in the morning.  I looked over the baked goods, which were very picked over.  The lady said they would have fresh baked bread in the morning.  So I told her i would stop back after checking in with Customs in the morning and thanked her for her help. 

Back at the dinghy dock, the wind had pushed the dingy under the dock.  It took several tries and lots of sweat to bring it out and around to where I could climb down to the dingy and board it again.  You have to climb straight down a ladder to the dinghies at most docks in the Bahamas.  It was after 2:00 by the time I returned to the boat.  We didn’t really want to be anchored at GreenTurtle Cay in the morning.  The wind was supposed to pick up tonight.  So we decided to continue south and check in at Marsh Harbor or Treasure Cay. 

We left Green Turtle Cay about 2:30 after putting the dingy back on the davits leaving the Lehr motor on the dingy.  We motored past No Name Cay and out the Whale Cut.  The Whale Cut can be dangerous in high winds, but it was navigable today (probably not over the next few days).  Outside of Whale Cay, the waves hit us broad side and rocked us side to side.  But back through Loggerhead cut and across the Sea of Abaco, the seas were calm again.  We motored to a bay we anchored in last year, Red Bay.  It is along the shore of Great Abaco Island halfway between Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbor.  There is a point that curls out to the east, so we will be protected from the south and the west.  We were anchored by 5:45 and planned to stay put until Monday.  You can’t go ashore or even fish until you have checked in with customs.  We were OK with just hanging out for the weekend.  We are just really glad to finally be here.  We had a hot supper, I had a shower, and went to bed early. 

January 20, 2016 Gulf Stream crossing from West Palm Beach to Memory Rock

Before leaving this morning, we listened to Chris Parker’s weather one more time.  And it was a go!!  We had to take the Mercury outboard motor off of the dinghy.  I started breakfast, but came out to help Dave when it was time to lift the motor off the dinghy and put it on the motor mount.  Then he finished tying up the dinghy on the davits. 

Dave called Lawnmower headquarters to thank them for their trouble one more time.  He told the guy that answered the phone, but he said the manager was right there and he could talk directly to her.  She got on the phone and sounded a little sheepish when she answered.  Dave thanked her again for all her trouble.  She let out a big sigh of relief and said she was worried that he wanted to return the generator and she’d have to come pick it up.  They both had a good laugh and she wished us gook luck on our trip. 

There is a bridge close by that only opens 15 minutes past every hour.  So we pulled anchor at 10:00 am and made it to the bridge for the 10:15 opening.  We reached the inlet by 10:50.  There was a 10k north wind with 2-4 foot swells.  By about 11:30, the wind picked up to 15k and stayed that way for the rest of the passage.  Now we had 4-6 foot swells with 2-4 foot waves on top of them.  We raised both the main sail and the jenny along with running the engine.  We had a NE wind now, so we sailed at 120 degrees SE to take advantage of the wind.  Plus the gulf stream usually moves you north once you are in it.  About 3:30, the wind shifted to the east, which was right on our nose.  So we took down the sails and motored directly to Memory Rock.  The Gulf Stream is about 20 miles off shore and we weren’t feeling any affect from it.  The wind continued to average 15k with 20k gusts.  The wind and the current were cancelling each other out, which also created some rough water, but we were now considering ourselves “salty sailors” and were enjoying the ride.  Only a few things hit the floor in the cabins.

About 4:30, we heard our friend Gary call the marina at Westend, where he was headed for the night.  They switched to channel 10, so we followed and eaves dropped.  They were about 15 miles off shore (about 3 hours away) and their engine had failed.  They were under sail and he was wondering if he would be able to sail into the marina.  He was told that would be difficult.  So Gary asked if they had any towing service.  They did not.  Gary had a number from Tow Boat US for a towing service in Freeport and would the marina call them for him.  Gary waited on channel 10 while he called.  The marina came back with the information that the tow service was about 30 miles in away in Freeport and would charge $450 an hour to meet him there, help him, and return to Freeport.  So Gary asked him about anchorages in the area.  The marina didn’t think they would be very good in the rough weather we were expecting.  It was past closing time by now, and the marina no longer answered his calls. 

So now we stepped in and called Gary.  Gary explained that he had changed his Racor fuel filter and filled the cup wth fuel.  Dave asked him if he had primed the fuel to get the air out.  He hadn’t.  We have the same Yanmar engine, so Dave directed him to a thumb lever on the fuel pump to prime the fuel.  That didn’t help either.  So Gary decided they would sail back to the US, have Tow Boat US bring them in, do what was needed for repairs and try again next week.   It was tough for him to go back, but we agreed that the US would be the cheapest place to repair anything OR to even find service.   

At 5:50 we heard him call the USCG.  They answered him, but Gary couldn’t hear them.  So we relayed the call for him.  We contacted the USCG on his behalf.  Basically, Gary just wanted them to know they were on their way back to the US, and would the USCG contact Tow Boat US so they would be aware that he would need their services in the early morning hours.  The USCG also asked for a description of their boat, their location and how fast they were traveling.  It felt good to be able to relay the information for him.  And Gary really appreciated our support. 

We were at Memory Rock about 8:00pm in the dark.  We had been following the light for Memory Rock for the past hour.  But as we approached the line of rocks that separates the ocean from the Little Bahama Banks, Memory Rock was just to the left of us and NOT lit.  The light ahead of us was the stern light of another sailboat that we had seen early in the day.  We passed through the bank of rocks south of where we had gone last year, but it was an easy passage in the dark.  Last year we arrived at sunrise and I was able to stand on the bow and watch for rocks as we weaseled through the rocks.  This turned out to be just fine. 

Dave had been at the helm most of the day, but he was OK with me taking a nap now that we were on the Banks.  The depth averages 15 feet.  And it was basically a straight shot to the north side of Great Sale Cay over the next 8 hours.  The wind was still 15 knots, but it was pretty calm on the Banks.  So I was able to sleep in our v berth rather than making a bed in our saloon area.  I slept until 1:00am and relieved Dave.

Dave "checking the depth of the water"

sunset over the US

raising the quarantine flag in Bahamian waters

January 19, 2016 New Honda Generator

Dave was up earlier than me and listened to Chris Parker’s weather forecast.  When I got up, he had to repeat the recording for me.  Chris Parker recommended leaving during the day on Wednesday and sailing straight through to Green Turtle Cay by Thursday evening.  That is exactly what I said last night!!!!  Boy did I feel smart.   A friend of ours, Gary Krieger, was listening and actually called in to ask a question.  We had always heard that you shouldn’t cross the Gulf Stream in a wind with a northern component because the wind will fight the northern flow of the Gulf Stream.  So why is he saying it is OK to cross tomorrow?  He explained that a 40 foot boat that weighs 40,000 lbs should be able to cut through the waves at the winds that we will have.  So we’re going with it.  And so is Gary, but he is stopping at Westend and staying at a marina during the rough weather. 

So after breakfast, Dave went to work on the electrical issue with the Gen Set.  First he had to take several things out of the starboard lazarette that are stored on top of the generator   He opened up the generator, took all the wires apart, cleaned and lubed them with protection (No-oxide), tightened the belt, checked the air filter and changed it, checked for leaks, and checked for corrosion.  With the generator running, he turned on the circuit breaker, then each of the 4 switches with waiting between each one.  The indicator lights for each switch were dim, and the voltage gauge read low, which is what he had been noticing that prompted his concerns.  He shut everything down, waited a few minutes, then repeated the process.  He turned on the switches one at a time and they were still dim.  As he stood there cussing, he would go back and forth with the switches and over time, the lights became bright and voltage was up.  It was like it just needed some time to catch up. The on/off switch was faulty, too (wouldn’t shut off automatically). He cleaned up the connections and that worked much better.  So then he called Next Gen.  The service man asked if the rpms of the engine were different or if it changed when Dave saw the change in the brightness of the switches.  That was all normal.  So he said to check the Hertz to see if it was the electrical generator vs the diesel engine of the generator, but we didn’t have a hertz meter.  And even if we had the meter, whatever wasn’t working would then have to be fixed.  By now it was 3:30 and Dave decided to move on to the next option-buy a Honda generator, since we wanted to leave for the Bahamas tomorrow.

Dave first found a Honda dealer, Lawnmower Headquarters.  He called them to see if they had one on hand and how late they were open-until 5:00.  They did have a Honda EU2000i that he wanted.  He was at the city dock by 4:00.  He tried to take a taxi to the Honda dealer, but the taxi driver needed an address.  He could tell him the name of the restaurant he was standing outside of, but that wasn’t good enough.  So he gave up on them.  He also looked at the bicycles you could rent from a stand, but you had to sign up ahead of time online.  All this took about 30 minutes.

Dave called the Honda dealer back and told them he wasn’t going to be able to make it there.  Was there any way they could deliver a generator to him?  He was then transferred to the manager.  He explained again that we live on a boat, he is standing at the dock with no transportation, and we want to leave for the Bahamas tomorrow.  She said they could deliver one, but then she was hesitant about getting his information to be sure he was legitimate and the amount of the transaction (about $1000) was also a concern.  She wanted to e-mail him a form to fill out.  Well that wasn’t going to happen since he was standing on the dock with no way to receive an e-mail  He told her that he would just have to go to Home Depot to get one of their brand of generators.  The lady said that we wouldn’t like it.  And Dave agreed.   We had owned a EU1000i in the past and really liked it.  So she asked him to have a couple forms of ID and she would deliver the generator and finalize the transaction in person with a portable credit card reader.  They filled it with gasoline and oil and made sure it was running OK before they delivered it.  The manager and another young man showed up at the dock, took his credit card, his driver’s license, and Dave asked if she wanted any other bearded pictures of himself.  Then voila, we had a generator.  He didn’t have any cash on him, so he wrote her a $20 check as a tip.  He was back to the boat by about 6:00, just as it was getting dark and damn cold.  We haven’t figured out how we are going to connect everything to the generator, but Dave will make it happen. 

In the meantime, I went to the public library about noon to use their wifi for about an hour.  Then I met Gloria and Mike at the theater to see “The Revenant”.  It was beautiful to see on a big screen, but it wasn’t a “feel good” movie.  The story was based on Hugh Glass and took place in the Dakota Territory.  But it wasn’t filmed there.  It would have been boring to show the land scape along the Missouri River.  It was filmed in Alberta, Canada instead. After the movie, Gloria and Mike gave me a ride back to the boat about 4:30.  Dave wasn’t there, so I called him and found out what he was going through, but I didn’t get the full story until later. 

Once Dave returned with the Honda generator, he had to put everything back into the lazarette on top of the generator.  We will deal with storing the dinghy in the morning. 

January 18, 2016 dental appointments in West Palm Beach

Our “local knowledge queen”, Gloria, gave me the name of a dentist within walking distance that her daughter used to work for as a hygienist.  Both Dave and I were due for cleanings in January and thought we’d go to a dentist in Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas.  But since we were here for a couple days, I thought I’d see if they had an opening.  Luckily, I called right after they had received a cancellation for 2 people at 2:00.  So we took the appointments.  

After the appointment, we saw this "fruit" hanging in a tree.  The one one the ground was as hard as a potato and a rough texture.  Any ideas as to what they are would be appreciated.  We think we have ruled out breadfruit.

Of course that threw off Dave’s plans for tearing apart the boat to chase down the electrical problem.  After our appointments, we went to Publix grocery store one more time. 

After we returned to the boat, I wanted to discuss our options for crossing.  The plan was to leave about 10:00pm Wednesday, arrive at Memory Rock about sunrise, then cross the Little Bahama Banks on Thursday and anchor at Great Sale Cay by Thursday night.  Then sit out the high winds expected on Friday and Saturday.  So I asked why we couldn’t leave in the morning, get to Memory Rock before sunset, then travel through the night and all day Thursday and get further and tucked in to a more protected area before Friday.  Our other option is to wait until Sunday.  So we decided to sleep on it and decide in the morning.

It had turned into a cold evening, so we broke out the comforter that we haven’t used since last February in Georgia.  But we can’t complain.  Our families are suffering 35 below windchill in MN and WI.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 17, 2016 Bolt repair

We knew we would get some crazy weather again about sunrise today.  I woke up after 7:00am to strong winds and a rocking boat.  Checking our weather sources, it sounded like a repeat of last Friday with gale winds and tornado watch until 8:00 am.  On Friday, we had the engine running and Dave was outside watching for any problems with our boat or other boats.  About 7:30, the winds really kicked up and I panicked.  Time to wake up Dave.  He could tell it was rough out there.  BUT within about 10 minutes, the worst was over.  I felt stupid for waking him up.  But he was ok with it.   And I guess I had more confidence in our boat, because I didn’t bother to back the dry bags today.

Dave took on the project of replacing the bolt on the Lehr motor mount while listening to football.  The old bolt was a stainless steel bolt in an aluminum bracket.  The stainless steel bolt had broken because of corrosion.  And it was locked in place in the aluminum in two places.  So Dave had to drill it out with his DeWalt drill.  He has been happy with DeWalt.  The batteries are rechargeable  and can be used in our shopvac, jigsaw and drill. 
workbench for new bolt from the threaded rod

Today he took the 3 foot threaded rod to his “work station” over the garbage can in the galley and cut the rod to the size bolt he needed.  If he cuts it outside, the metal dust settles and ends up rusting in the cockpit.  He first used the jigsaw, but realized he needed a metal cutting blade.  I heard him say to himself “that would have been handy to know yesterday” (when he was at the hardware store).  So he changed to sawing it by hand with a saw blade.  He likes his Stanley saw blade holder.  It is shorter and lets you get into small places.  After sawing the bolt to length, he used our Hanson tap and die set to clean the threads and remove the burs.  Then he used a grinder to remove the sharp edges.  Our galley became a mini machine shop.  Now I see why we have all these tools on board. 
machine shop
hand saw

tap and die kit

The bolt was frozen into two separate places on the transom mount, so he had to move on to drilling out the other piece.  When he placed his new bolt he covered it in Lanocoat to keep it from corroding and freezing up again.  This was another thing that was good to notice here vs in the Bahamas.  Luck of a Fool!
broken bolt frozen in to mount

Tonight we ran the generator and water maker again.  Dave isn’t happy with our electrical system on the boat.  He is noticing the lights on the panel for our generator are dimly lit.  So he is going to check into that before we leave.  He is hoping it is just some loose connections, a 5 minute job, but you know how that goes.  By the time you get warning signs of a problem, it is usually a bigger project. 

January 16, 2016 Himrich visitors

We had been in contact with a good friend of about 30 years from South Dakota, Lorraine Himrich, over that past couple months.  She and her family were going to be in Boca Raton/Ft Lauderdale for a wedding and wondered if we would be anywhere in the area.  Well of course we thought we’d be in the Bahamas by mid January!  Over the past couple weeks, I had been sending her names of restaurants to try, but still thought we’d be gone. 

Well, the weather window we thought we would have for tonight fizzled out.  So we made plans to meet this morning.  They had a family gathering Saturday afternoon, but came to West Palm Beach in the morning.  We finalized the plans last night and they were to be here about 9:00am.  I woke up this morning at 7:00 to hear someone on the shore singing the Star Spangled Banner then a lot of announcements over a loud speaker.  Somewhere in there I heard the work “marathon”.  So I googled it and found out there was a half marathon and a 5 K with the starting line right at the end of the city dock where we were to meet the Himrichs.  Now I was panicked thinking there wouldn’t be any place for them to park.  But it was supposed to be over by 10:00, so we went ahead with our plans.

They arrived about 9:30 and we met them at the city dock.  It was Lorraine, her son Aaron, girlfriend Anna, daughter Galen and boyfriend Kyle.  They were all in their 20’s.  Lorraine’s husband, Mark, was a classmate of mine in dental school.   But he passed away about a year ago after surviving a stroke for a year. 

We gave them a tour of our boat and talked about our life on the boat.  Then we sent the 4 young ones out in the dinghy to let them rip around in the sunshine.  Aaron and Galen practically grew up on fishing boats, so we trusted them with the dinghy. 
Aaron, Kyle, Anna and Galen

After about an hour, we all went to shore to have appetizers and Bloody Mary’s.  They are on vacation and needed a little “hair of the dog”.  We went to Brandley’s right on the shore and sat outside in the sun.  They were loving it.  It’s super cold back in SD and MN right now. 
Lorraine and Anna, who better to share a bucket of beer with than SD friends

We talked about going back to SD this summer for a family reunion in the middle of the state.  So Kyle asked where that would be.  I said Miller, which led into “no way, my mom is from Miller!”  Come to find out, I baby sat his mom, Pam Engelke.  Small world.  He just couldn’t get over that he had been sitting on a boat in Florida with someone who knew his mom.

After they left, Dave walked about 1.5 miles each way to Hall’s hardware store.  It was an old style hardware store.  Dave said “it beats the shit out Home Depot.”  He walked past a couple upscale useless stores and was happy to find this one.  He needed a stainless steel threaded rod.  He had to buy a 3 foot long rod, but he can use it to make any size bolt and have leftover for future projects. 

I took our laptop to the West Palm Beach city library to work on the computer.  I planned to walk to the St Ann Catholic church about 3 blocks away for the 4:30 mass.  I looked at my phone at 4:25, quickly shut everything down, packed up and practically ran to the church.  I was just a little late.  But halfway through mass, when I went to kneel, I got a cramp in my leg, which didn’t last long.  That’s what you get for sitting on a boat for a week and then trying to cover ground in a hurry. 

After church, I picked up a pizza to go and Dave met me at the dock.  We headed back to the boat for another evening of football.  Wow, what a game between Arizona and Green Bay!!  We’re sad that Green Bay is now out, but what a game with injured players.  26-20 in overtime. 

Lights on the bridge returning to our boat

January 14-15, 2016 Gale and tornado warnings WPB

Still in a holding pattern.  Did lots of cooking, napping, reading, etc.  I googled where Jimmy Buffett  lives and found his home on a map and on Google Earth.  It is about 1/2 way between where we were just anchored and where we are now.  But it’s not on the shore, so we couldn’t dinghy over to say hello.

On Friday we had some excitement.  About 1:30, Gloria called to see if we were listening to the local weather.  We weren’t.  She said a straight line squall with winds 60-70 mph were expected to hit our area at 2:00.  As soon as I hung up with her, our phones sent us a weather alert with a tornado watch for our area.  We let out more chain for our anchor, took in our hatch scoop that brings air in but keeps out the rain, and tucked up any cushions we had in the cockpit.  Dave had already tied up our dinghy on the davits last night.  Dave started the engine to be ready in case we had to move our boat.  There were other boats in the area.  And one by us was moving and resetting his anchor.  You never know if another boat will come loose and head towards you.  By 2:00, we could see a black wall of clouds moving our way.  And then we were hit by heavy rain.  I went below and got a couple dry bags.  I packed our laptop, my purse, and Dave’s wallet in one.  In another I packed our bathroom shaving kit/toiletries and a change of clothes for me.  When you look around, you figure everything is replaceable. 

We did rock and roll, but it wasn’t bad.  Dave said our wind indicator didn’t show anything over 30mph.  He said one advantage of the wind was not having to feel the wake of the big boats that go by.  We were glad we were at the boat to prepare it for the worst.  The first time we were on board with a tornado watch, I wondered whether we should go to shore to a shelter.  But we just decided that “if it was your time…….”.

January 13, 2016 West Palm Beach city marina

Liz and Craig, from Brunswick, came by the boat today.  I heard Liz yell “Mary” and went outside to visit.  They were moving to a marina in the area.  But hearing her call my name reminded me of being a child and someone calling you to come out and play.

Today we moved the boat south a few miles to be near the city docks in West Palm Beach.  We caught the 1:15 opening of the Flagler Memorial Bridge.  We anchored on the east side of the ICW near where we anchored last March.  There is another boat from Brunswick, GA here, Gloria and Mike.  They gave us their local knowledge on anchoring here.   They are from this area and spend a lot of time here over the holidays with family.  They are planning to leave for the Bahamas soon, too. 

We usually anchor with our bow pointing into the wind.  We had a north wind but a strong south flowing current.  So I think our boat rotated 360 degrees while we were trying to set our anchor.  Dave finally put out a chunk of chain, waited about 30 minutes for it to settle, then went back out to back up on the anchor to set it. 

Gloria, Liz and I were the main net controllers for the cruiser’s net this summer in Brunswick.  So it is fun seeing them again. 

Dave put the dinghy in and put the small 2.5 hp Lehr propane motor on the dinghy.  It’s much easier to handle, and we didn’t have to go far.  About 4:00, we headed to shore to take our garbage to a public trash can and to get groceries. 

There was a Publix grocery store about 3-4 blocks inland on a free trolly route.  We decided to walk there, but took the trolley back.  There is every kind of restaurant imaginable and a big shopping area with a movie theater all within a few blocks of the shore.  We were impressed.  The gang of teenagers with skate boards even looked clean cut. 

When we got back to the dinghy, Dave realized a bolt in the transom mount that holds the Lehr motor onto the dinghy was broken.  So when we got back to the boat, Dave researched where we could find a hardware store.  That will be a project over the next couple days. 

January 11-12, 2016 Lake Worth waiting game

Monday, Jan 11
Well, after listening to Chris Parker’s forecast, we are preparing to settle in for the week.  The next crossing without a north wind component (which fights the Gulf Stream) isn’t until Saturday.

Bob and Olivia, back at Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach called to see if we were still here and if we wanted to come back north to join them again.  Dave asked “aren’t you tired of the human barnacles?” 

It’s amazing how much dust and hair accumulates on this little floor space.  I guess if you were in a house, it would spread through out the house.  Just random thoughts going through my head.  I bet anyone reading this can’t wait until we have adventures at sea again. 

Tuesday Jan12
Dave checked the hull again, mostly the prop.  It looked pretty good, but he coated it with Lanocoat to see if it will stop the growth of barnacles on it. 

I started a new book.  This waiting game to cross is strange.

A catamaran from Brunswick came into our anchorage today, Liz and Craig.  They left St Augustine at 7:30 yesterday morning and came all the way here on the ocean in about 28 hours.  That sure beats 5 days on the ICW.  Their mast is too tall to go under the 65 foot fixed bridges.  That’s the problem with bigger boats.  They said they didn’t plan to be on the ICW much.  They have spent several years in the Caribbean.  And now they are heading to the South Pacific.  We hope to follow in their wake someday. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 10, 2016 Football Playoffs

Again, we’re in a holding pattern.  I cleaned the heads again.  And Dave started a new project.  Over this past year, Dave has removed any coating on the teak of the rub rail.  Now he is starting on our seating in the cock pit.  It the words of Heidi Zeller Crawford “there is always something to do or work to be done”.

We enjoyed listening to the football playoffs.  We are Packer fans, but had to cheer for Minnesota against the Sea Hawks.  What a disappointing last minute of the game.  But we loved listening to the Packers win their game.  So this is a plus for not leaving for the Bahamas. 

We made a football dinner of bratwursts and broke into our beer stores for the Bahamas.  A case of beer is $50 in the Bahamas. 

January 9, 2016 Lake Worth Inlet traffic

Well, when you are ready to leave, but can’t, you’re not sure what to do in the meantime.  I enjoyed coffee out in the cock pit this morning.  There is all kinds of traffic in the inlet.  There are big and small private sailboats and motor boats to both extremes.  There are huge racing sailboats.  The distance from our deck to our boom is about 3 or 4 feet.   We could see full grown people standing under the boom and still clearing it on the race boats.  There was a tour/pirate boat making the rounds on the lake a couple times called the Black Sparrow.  The kids were having a great time.  There is a dredging outfit sitting here that is active during the evening hours.  There is also a Water Taxi that we see in the area.  Not sure if it makes a round of stops like a bus, or if you call it for a point to point delivery.   And at sunset, we watched a cruise ship leave the port. 


We listened to Chris Parker’s morning weather forecast.  He still thinks there will be squalls in the evening until maybe Tuesday.  But the wind will change to the North, which makes it rough in the Gulf Stream that is flowing north.  So we will watch everyday and see what looks good.

We enjoyed listening to the football playoff games on the radio.  That’s one advantage to still being in the US.

This evening, a storm moved over us with thunder and lightening.  We had one of those loud, instant lightning/thunder experiences which brought back memories of our lightning strike last year.  Luckily everything was fine.  But we were glad we weren’t out in the ocean and experiencing that. 

January 8, 2016 Sailor's Solutions

Happy Golden Birthday to my great niece, Claire, who turned 8 today.  She and her bother Garrett have been a real joy in our lives. 

We spent the day getting ready to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.  I made a pasta salad that I like to eat underway.  It’s just ham, carrots, celery and mayo.  Bland for your stomach, but a meal all in one.  I also tucked away loose ends in the galley.  That involved cleaning out the refrigerator, too. 

I washed out the microfiber clothes that we used yesterday.  I’m really searching for what I did today.

Dave took the motor off of the dinghy and remounted it on the stern on his newly reinforced motor mount.  I help by lifting the motor using a winch as Dave directs it into place.  He ran the rest of the gasoline out of the motor and flushed everything with fresh water after it was mounted.  Then he tied the dinghy onto the davits and lashed it tight to keep it from swinging.  Dave called the owner of Ocean Marine Systems Davits out of Canada to see what our davits could take.  He said it can handle the weight even with the motor on the dinghy.  But you need to lash it tight to stop any sudden jerks.  With the wave action, we don’t like the weight swinging on the davits.  So we take the motor off.  If we drag the dinghy behind, it slows us down.  We just have to be ready to cut it free in an emergency.  A captain told us early on that if you need your dinghy as a lifeboat, you won’t have enough fuel to get you to a shore, so you may as well not have the motor on the dinghy.  That’s a reality check. 

Dave cleaned up all of the utensils he used yesterday cleaning the hull and put everything away.  He really likes a wire brush similar to a large pipe cleaner to get into the through hulls.  He picked this up through Sailor’s Solutions.  He has been happy with the products they carry, especially our Hooknife for emergency cutting of lines, our Smart Lock that goes on our outboard motor, and or LED cockpit light.  He cleaned the raw water screen for the generator before running it again today to finish making water.  We had stopped yesterday before our tank was full because we wanted to leave and visit our friends. 

Dave ran a hand line inside our boat from the mast at the forward part of our saloon back to the handles on our companion way.  Our Beneteau 423 has a nice spacious salon/saloon area that gives the boat an open feeling when below.  But in rough water, there is a lot more space to bounce off of the walls.  So running a line gives you a nice hand hold when moving around inside the boat at sea. 

We checked the bilge and didn’t find any water, so we’re pretty confident we found the small leak from the water maker. 

All day we continued to check several weather sources.  And after pulling everything together, we decided not to leave tonight.  Our main source, Chris Parker, was predicting squalls up to 30 knots.  And the radar showed lots of nasty activity off shore between Fl and the Bahamas.  And one of our newer weather sources has alerts for the area and one of them was waterspouts off shore directly east of us.  Those are similar to tornados on the water.  That kind of sealed the deal for me.  So now we are looking at Tuesday the 12th, but we’ll see what happens in the meantime.

Friday, January 8, 2016

January 7, 2016 Airline Hookah System

Today we moved the boat to the south side of the Lake Worth Inlet at the Port of Palm Beach.  We thought we would anchor near Peanut Island on the north side of the inlet, but it was really crowded over there with boats on mooring balls and a dock for the state park.  And the plan is to leave from our anchorage at night in the dark.  So it just felt too crowded for our comfort level. 

We moved to the south side of the inlet, where we have anchored before.  There was plenty of room here.  But the water was 25 feet deep, so not sure was any warmer than at the norther end of the lake.  

containers being loaded, which we don't want to see floating below the water line
We heard from two different friends from the past this morning.  Our friend, Torben, from Denmark called us through Messenger on Facebook.  He had tried last night, but we were’t online, so we missed him.  Dave and I were both awake about 6:00 am, so I checked to see if he had designated a time to call.  He saw that I was online and called immediately.  It’s always fun to visit with him.  He and his girlfriend are planning to visit us in the Bahamas.  So it was good to decide on a date.  Now I’ll send him more information via e-mail. 

Then we heard from sailing friends, Shelly and Miami Phillips.  We met in Marathon, FL in April 2014.  Then we were both in Wilmington, NC that summer.  Shelly recovered our cushions for us inside our cabin.  They were on their way to Lake Worth and would arrive today.  We would love to see them, but if there is a chance to leave tonight, we have to stick with our plan.  So we stayed in touch throughout the day.

Once we were anchored, Dave set up our hookah system to clean the hull.  We have the Airline Hookah system.  It is an air compressor with hoses so Dave can basically scuba dive to clean the hull.  We preferred this brand over the Brownie because the mouthpiece swivels and doesn’t pull your mouth/head to the side if the cord is tangled.  And it has an attachment for the cord to hook to your waist.  That also keeps it from pulling out of your mouth.  He started that about 2:00 and it took about 2.5 hours.   He said the prop was really bad, so it was a good thing to have done before we left.  He described it as a growth of barnacles in the shape of a prop.  We will sail much smoother now.  So even though we don’t have to mow the lawn, we have to scrape barnacles and a carpet of growth off the hull.  And how often depends on how fertile the water is that we are in.  Sitting in one place doesn’t help. 

Our Airline hookah system is run off of electricity.  So we have to run the generator for it to work.  Even though it takes room to store on the boat, it is still better than having dive tanks on board (or paying someone to clean the hull).  Tanks can run out of air and have to be refilled.  It’s not easy to find places to refill the dive tanks.  Some systems use a gas powered motor, but we didn’t want to store it with gasoline involved.   So this was the best for our needs.  It does take up space in our guest cabin, but we’re ok with that, too. 

he wore an old t-shirt over his wet suit to keep the barnacles from tearing it.  Same with the hat, it protects his scull

While Dave was cleaning the hull, I cleaned our radar screen and the isinglass on our dodger.  Both of these surfaces scratch easily.  So I used microfiber cloths and soapy water.  The isinglass has stains that have to be polished out.  But that is a job that can be done sitting in blue water in the Bahamas. 

After cleaning the hull, we continued to run the generator to make water.  I’m sure our neighbors were sick of us by now.  But we had a nice surprise of new neighbors-Shelly, Miami and Ryan Phillips decided to anchor near us!!  We took our dinghy over to their boat and visited for a couple hours.  It was really fun to see them again.  They are on their way to Marathon, FL, but may come to the Bahamas in May after some other commitments. 

We had been debating over leaving today or tomorrow for the Bahamas.  We were getting different opinions from different sources.  But since Dave was tired from cleaning the hull, we didn’t think it would be good to leave until he was better rested.  We hope the weather holds of us to leave tomorrow.  And staying allowed us to spend time with our friends.  Shelly and Miami anchored near us, and we took our dinghy over to visit for a couple hours. 

January 6, 2016 Good-bye to Bob and Olivia

Today was supposed to be heavy rain all day.  But around noon, it let up.  So Dave started cleaning the hull.  He just moved the dinghy around the boat and cleaned what he could reach.  Then he took our 2.5 gallon gasoline tank to North Palm Beach marina to fill with gasoline.  We had stopped there for diesel fuel when we first arrived and Dave forgot to tip the dock master, Jeff.  So he felt good going back and catching him this time.

We plan to leave this anchorage and move closer to the inlet tomorrow.  Dave also wants to go into the water there to finish cleaning the hull.  We think it will be more shallow and hopefully clearer water in that area.  Less current would be nice, too.  

After he returned, we decided to go to shore to say good-bye to Bob and Olivia.  When he sat the gas can on the swim platform, he noticed it was leaking around the top somewhere.  It is an older one, so had probably cracked.  We were glad we saw this before leaving.  There is a West Marine not far from the marina, so Dave planned to walk there.  Of course, Bob wouldn’t hear of it.  He had to drive him there. 

We had a nice visit for about an hour.  It was hard to say good-bye.  We have really enjoyed their company and their hospitality.  They aren’t going to the Bahamas this year.  They are going to move their boat back up to Stuart, FL and go inland on the waterway that crosses the state.  They will take their boat out of the water and store it there from April until October.  They are returning to their home in Michigan and preparing the house to go on the market.

We hope to see each other in the fall of 2016.

Back at the boat, we reviewed several weather reports.  They have been going back and forth on whether Thursday or Friday would be the better day to cross.  So we are going to be prepared for Thursday, and we’ll see how it looks tomorrow.

Janurary 5, 2016 projects North Palm Beach, FL

Today I took laundry to the marina laundry facility again.  I’m not sure what we would have done for 2 weeks if we didn’t have Bob and Olivia as such gracious hosts.  We may have started doing laundry by hand.  I also was able to catch up on my blog.

Dave worked on projects with his new parts that he bought yesterday.  He mounted our stern dinghy light onto the 4 foot PVC pipe.  Next he will have to make a mount on the stern of the dinghy.  He plans to use a fish rod holder for it to can stand in.   Of course that will come in handy as a fishing rod holder, too.

Dave has been debating on whether to have fresh water or sea water for our wash down at the bow.  Today he disconnected the wash down pump from the fresh water.  He will change that to sea water in a future project.  After cleaning your anchor and chain with sea water, you can always get a bucket of fresh water to do the final rinse.  The way it is set up now, we waste a lot of fresh water rinsing mud and seaweed off of our anchor and chain that just came out of sea water.

Then he spent some time on the SSB getting weather forecasts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 4, 2016 North Palm Beach errands

This morning, Dave rearranged out aft cabin.  He changed it from a guest room back to a garage.  At least we can make room for at least one person to sleep there.  And being a teenager, Devyn appreciated having a place where she could sleep in while they were here this weekend. 

About 1:00, we went to shore via Bob and Olivia’s boat.  Dave has been having trouble downloading the updates for our charts with the sketchy wifi we get at the boat.  So he brought both our mac and PC to update at their boat.  After he had one running (only one 3 prong plug), we joined them to run errands. 

We went to Home Depot.  Dave needed 4 feet of  PVC pipe to make a taller pole for our light on the dinghy.  The way the aft white light is now, it shines in your eyes.  So he is going to mount that higher.  And it will be easier for others to see.  Well, you can by PVC in 2 foot or 10 foot sections.  So we bought the 10 foot, had them cut it, but had to take both pieces with us.  They wouldn’t even throw away the 6 foot section for us.

He also needed a drill bit, a socket and a brass fitting.  We decided to pick up another car charger for our phones.  I think we left one in the U-Haul truck we rented to help Dave’s mom move. 

Then we went to Walmart.  We had a few odd items we needed, like replacing expired medications in our first aide kit.  Then I picked up only a couple bags of groceries.  We are pretty well set to go to the Bahamas, so it is mostly perishable items that we are consuming before we leave.

We went back to their boat and Dave started the other update on the other computer.  While he was doing that, I taught Bob and Olivia how to play Left, Right, Center with 5 dice and 5 quarters.  There is a game you can buy called LRC, but you can use regular dice too.  For those that are interested, you start with 5 quarters each.  The first person shakes all five dice.  They pass a quarter to the left for each 6 they roll, a quarter to the right for each 5 they roll, and put a die in the center for each 4 they roll.  If they roll a 3, 2, or 1, those are safe.  Then the turn passes to the left.  Each person rolls the same number of dice that matches the number of quarters they have, but 5 is the most you would roll, even if you had 8 quarters.  So if you only have 3 quarters, you only roll 3 dice.  It continues until there is only one person with dice.  They still have to roll to be sure they are safe.  If on their last roll, they have to pass to the right or left, the game continues.  If the last roll if a 4, the money goes in the center and a new game is started with double the winnings.  Or you could divide it our and start over-make your own house rules.  If their last roll is a 3, 2, or 1, they win the money in the center.  What makes this game so fun is that you could be out, but get back in if someone passes you a quarter.  They really  liked it.  We played 3 rounds.  I won the first round.  The second round ended with the last quarter going in the middle.  Then Bob won the last round, so he won a double pot.  Of course he loved it.  Since they didn’t have any dice on their boat, I left 5 with them. 

Then we decided to go over to the Sandpiper restaurant on the marina property for their happy hour.  We had a couple beers, their firecracker shrimp and smoked fish dip appetizers.  Of course, they knew Bob and Olivia by name. 

It was probably 6:00 and dark by the time we returned to our boat.  We have an LED light hanging in our cockpit that automatically comes on at dusk.  But we didn’t have our anchor light on or a light with us in the dinghy.  So we are glad that we anchored close by. 

Janurary 3, 2016 Church and other boats anchored out

Jan 3, 2016
This morning, Dave took me to the dinghy dock landing about a mile from the catholic church.  It thought I was doing good getting there at 10:50 for the 11:00 mass.  Then I saw the sign out front say the mass was at 10:45 and when I reached the door, they were singing the processional hymn.  Good thing I over estimated the time it would take. 

After church and walking back, Dave picked me up.  It really felt good to go for a walk.  We stopped at another boat in the anchorage that we recognized.  The boat belonged to a man we met in the Abacos last winter.  He was crew for us in the race we participated in.  We visited about an hour about where we both had been since last April and what our future plans were.  He is going to help crew a boat with a couple he met from England.  They just passed through the Panama canal.  He is going to join them there then sail to the islands in the south Pacific with them.  There are all kinds of opportunities out there. 

Ok, here is a funny story of another boat in the anchorage.  While I was at church, Dave was sitting in the cockpit working on the computer.  He noticed a power boat anchored up wind from us that was dragging anchor and heading towards our boat.  He was about to sound a horn to get the boater's attention when he saw a guy come up buckling his pants.  He moved the boat further away from us and reset the anchor just by dropping it straight down, not really setting the anchor, and headed below again.  Well Dave figured the guy was just going to the bathroom and stopping only long enough to do that.  Well it started dragging anchor and moving near us again, because he didn't really set the anchor.  All the while, Dave sees his head popping up occasionally to check where they were positioned.  Pretty soon the guy comes up again bucking his pants and right after him a lady appears.  They bring up the anchor and take off.  I guess this is where you have a "quickie" on Lake Worth.

January 2, 2016 Good bye to good friends

After a a casual morning, we went to shore about 10:30 with the Killion’s small amount of luggage.  Bob and Olivia had friends at Sanibel marina near Cape Coral that called yesterday to discuss their boat problems.  Their air conditioner’s sea water pump had gone bad.  Bob had a spare and wondered if Brian and Jackie could take it home with them.  Then their friend would pick it up.  No problem.

Then to be sociable, and as a thank you for letting the Killion’s be their guest so they could park at the marina, we all played a game of Chase the Ace for $1 per person.  The Killions had fun learning the game.  But it was taking too long to play it to completion.  So we decided to let the person with the highest card win with the next hand.  Olivia won!  She seems to be so lucky with this game.  And she gets such joy out of playing it (and winning). 

We were going to go to Walmart and lunch before the Killions had to leave at 2:00.  Since it was now a little later, we just went out for lunch.  Then they dropped us off and headed home. 

We headed back to the boat and hung out with no brain projects.  Dave sat outside to try to get a better wifi connection and updated charts.  I worked on clearing up my photos.  After going though so many extra hard copy photos before moving aboard, I am trying to stay on top of deleting photos on my phone and in the computer.  Plus it takes up so much storage on either of them.

Brian ended up delivering the part to the friends in Sanibel.  They had to pick up a car that was being worked on and he was close anyway.  He enjoyed touring their $480,000 boat that was for sale.  It was a power yacht with 3 cabins, a full kitchen, full living room and a huge navigation area inside.  It's fun to see how some of these people live.

January 1, 2016 Lake Worth, FL

Happy New Year!
Being good examples for 17 year old Devyn, we went to church at 11:00.  Afterwards, we stopped at Publix to pick up something to grill on the boat today, plus a few odd things I needed.  We went back to the marina and visited with Bob and Olivia for about 30-45 minutes.  They are such gracious hosts. 

We had thought about taking the boat somewhere today, but by now it was about 3:00.  So we decided to just stay put and enjoy each others company.  We grilled brats and chicken to cover a couple meals since our timing was so off already.  The guys enjoyed talking boats and whatever.  And the girls enjoyed playing games and talking about whatever.  I introduced them to Tenzi, a new game I bought in SD in November.  It is a dice game with 10 dice per person.  Jackie had the great idea of putting a towel over the table.  It cut down on the noise, but also the dice didn’t bounce off the table.  And since we were playing in the cockpit with an open walk trough transom, it cut back my worrying about a die going overboard.

December 31, 2015 Change in weather and plans

Dave listened to Chris Parker’s radio broadcast this morning.  He usually predicts the worse case scenarios.  We discussed the pros and cons.  After feeling equally good about staying vs going, we decided to stay.   The vision of our heavily provisioned boat pounding the waves at anchor wasn’t very pretty.  If we were wrong about staying, oh well.  We would get to enjoy another week in Florida.  If we were wrong in deciding to go, we could damage our boat or our bodies.  We are anxious to get there, but there was nothing we had to be there for THIS WEEK.

Dave had just talked to Brian Killion in Cape Coral, FL yesterday to tell him we were leaving.  We give them our “float plan” whenever we are moving the boat.  And Brian said “if you change your mind for any reason, let us know.  We’ll come spend New Year’s with you.”    So…Dave gave Brian a call about 9:00.  About a half hour later, Jackie called to work out the details.  They couldn’t leave until later, but would still make it tonight between 8 & 9:00.  We have spent New Year’s Eve with the Killions for YEARS.  We went to their home in Cape Coral the last 2 years.  And before that, they would come to our home in Rapid City. 

Now we had to ask Bob and Olivia for another favor.  And yes, it would be no problem to register them as guest of theirs so they could park in the marina parking lot and access our boat through their slip.  We really owe them.

I spent the day going through our ditch bag.  We purchased a Sirius Signal this year.  It is a battery run light source that replaces the flares.  It can be used several times when you see a  boat or airplane.  A flare is lighted and over with the chance that no one saw it.  The food and water are in good shape.   We checked all the batteries in our VHF radio and GPS and our spare batteries and added batteries for the Sirius Signal.  We replaced Dave’s prescription drugs with new ones.  I put our medical kit in a ziplock bag.  Funny the things you think about each time you go through it.  We’re going to add sunglasses and hats now that there is more room.  And we’re going to add an additional strap that would easily attach to the life boat.  Because this bag would sink to the bottom of the ocean with me hanging on to it.

I am also putting together a list of things we would take if we had time to gather things. Then you don’t have to think about it at the time.  We have a dry bag that we could add phones, wallets, passports (we already have copies of them in the bag) clothing, extra food and water.  The movie “the Jerk” comes to mind.  “and all I need to take is this, and this….”  You have to know that everything on the boat could be lost, and you have to wrap your head around that and be ok with it. 

Our navigation area (nav station) has a counter top meant for laying charts or a computer for navigation.  Well, when we are stationary, this becomes a work bench.  There are tools and parts for whatever Dave is working on at the time.  But when we are moving, this table gets cleared off.  It looked a little dusty in the corners, so I decided to clean off the surface.  That let to “what’s in this compartment” and this one, and this drawer.  So the 5 storage areas were gutted and cleaned.  You know how you have those drawers that collect all kinds of things that you don’t want to take the time to put away in the proper place?  Well, now that’s done.  I don’t think they’ve been organized since we moved aboard 2 years ago. 

We went to shore to pick up Brian, Jackie and Devyn Killion about 8:30 pm.  We came back to the boat and visited until midnight.  Then we went out on the deck of the boat and watched fireworks all around us.  Lots of people were shouting Happy New Year and used noise makers from the surrounding condos.  But the coolest was the trumpets that sounded from some of the big yachts in the marina. 

Happy New Year!!