You know I always write behind. I like ideas to foment and percolate for a bit before I put electrons to a screen. And now, for me this is hard. I don’t know why. I feel like a man without a country. While I understand day to day existence in the US for most of my friends has not changed much, the feel we get from international news and US news is that the US is no longer the land of Lady Liberty. That and the two hurricanes: Harvey having already laid waste a large portion of Tx and Irma rearranging many places we’ve been and creating damage and havoc to the people we love and care about. My feelings are best described in another post written by a fellow cruiser who has followed us across the Pacific and is now in Australia (Escape Velocity).

As a child I was never effected by the cold. Skiing, tobogganing, hiking, hunting, etc all provided adventures during the winter months. As an FYI, in NZ it is winter now. And while boat work continues this is not an adventure.

All suspect paint removed.

Simon is our painter. He’s been doing an excellent job but I do find some things don’t go as I foresaw them. In the end those may well be to our benefit as he is the expert and I a lay person. He and his crew removed all the paint from the deck. He removed much of the hardware from the deck. YUCK! Some primer remained and then he re-primed everything and sanded. We had a mis-communication which may result in our new non skid not looking the way I envisioned. We’ll see. W/ and I now have a new process to deal with contractors. W/ will take notes. I will send the key points to the contract check to ensure they are in the contract. In the end, nothing effects the integrity

Deck Primed and Sanded

of the paint or the work. It is only an esthetic change and most likely I will be the only one noticing. But; when you pay a bucket of $$’s to a contractor you want it done right first and if possible your way second.

We’ve ordered new LifPo Lithium batteries for the boat. I do hope they will be delivered this month. BJ on Evenstar has a thorough discussion on them. Along with that we’ve contracted for an arch on the stern. Here we will add solar which will free us up from needing to run the generator day and night in the tropics. When helping Quixotic with their refrigeration I was able to secure a larger holding plate for the freezer. I hope I can get 24 hour hold over but will be satisfied with 18. We will have two of the largest hold over plates Seafrost makes in the freezer. In the cooler waters of NZ I expect we will get 24 hours. In the tropics we’ll see.

Clew Ready for New

We’ve contracted with Calibre Sails to repair our sails and make a new main. Dave looked them over and felt the Yankee Jib and staysail just needed some repairs, a new Sun Cover a couple of patches and stitching replaced. We did order a new Tanbark main sail. It will be flatter, have full battens, a loose foot, and hollow roach as well as being a 40 cm shorter in the foot. To do this we’ll cut the main boom down. This will protect my head as well assist in balancing and driving the boat better. Besides a sail maker Dave is also a sailor. He built new sails for Serge and JoAnn on Spirare. Serge is a pickier sailor than I am so with his recommendation at this point we are quite satisfied. And too, remember we tore up our mainsail track coming down here. We have the replacement track and after painting the mast will install it.

All of this work is occurring while we are off the boat. W/ has been great finding house sits for us using Kiwi House Sitters. We’ve had 4 sits so far and I doubt we’ll do more. We plan on moving back aboard in 2 weeks. We’ve cleaned and inspected the rigging of Elysium. We’ve painted the spreaders. We sewed about 2/3’s of the new dodger. Here I screwed up and didn’t order enough fabric from the states. None was available in NZ. Now we wait while I order and have shipped some more. However, it is all coming together and I am looking forward to getting back on a bed that rocks me to sleep.

Old Dodger ready for replacement

While much of this is going on we’ve worked hard on getting fit. We’re members of Anytime Fitness; one of the best gyms we’ve been associated with… ever. There are 2 caveats: 1) I miss the Nautilus machines and 2) having all the weights measured in kg makes fine adjustments especially for W/ difficult. As we get stronger we’re to increase the weights 5% but often the 10 kg or 22 lb’s is way more than the 5% increase needed.

We’ve worked in a comfortable tennis schedule too. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. For the most part our games are back on track and the play for W/ is excellent. She fits right in the middle of the play and it provides her a lot of opportunity to grow and learn. I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks to join a mens group having been playing mixed doubles. Finally I’m about 100 % healthy, and slowly losing weight.

I was up to 230 lbs once back in the states and that SCARED THE HELL out of me. Currently I’m at 205 and still want to loose 10 more lbs. I think 195 will work fine. 🙂 Just think how much faster the boat will be with all that weight gone. 🙂

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

2 Panama

Black Fin Tuna
Black Fin Tuna

Veteran cruisers will tell you that an overnight passage is just as tiring as say a 3 day passage.  You spend a day getting ready, you leave and your sleep schedule is out of whack, your feel for a moving boat is out of whack, and your eating style is disrupted. Then you arrive, same anxiety with one’s landfall in a day as one landfall 3 or more days down the line, you find a place to anchor and you spend a day resting and getting the boat back to a comfortable livable condition. You clean up and put things away. Wash the boat if you can, wash the jacklines, the foul weather gear, the safety harnesses. Fold and cover the sails, coil and store the sheets. We wipe down the cabin floor as no matter how we try, salt from the feet seems to work it’s way to the cabin sole.

So we made it to Snug Harbor where we dropped the hook in 40′ of water. A long way down.

On the way across we started out motoring the first day as the winds were light out of the NE. About 5 hours outside of San Bernardo’s, Colombia we felt we had enough breeze to put up some sails. We shut down the engine and heaven descended upon us. The quiet, the movement for all intents and purposes of a boat mimicking life. The sails are doing their job and pulling approximately 40,000 lbs across a 150 nm stretch of water. We were sailing about 4 kits but we didn’t care. The water was relatively flat like a lake and we were going towards our destination at a comfortable speed with an easy motion.

I put out two fishing lines. It was time to feed the Mahi-Mahi.  For the last 1,000 nm’s they’ve been attacking and taking my plastic lures.  I was hoping on this trip to catch one at the theft and haul their rainbow colored bodies aboard to feed the ships crew for a few days.

As the day wore on and we continued to pull away from the South American Continent the breeze slowly increased to a pleasant 10-15 kits. So too did the boat and we were now in the Indianapolis speed zone of 5-6 knots, the speed of a good runner. Once we reached the 5 kt range we heard a zing of the line on our reel.  I race as fast as I can on a moving boat to grab the rod in hopes of landing this one. The Mahi makes a couple leaps out of the water trying to shake the hook free and then peels off more line, and I’m excited. W/’s been cranking in the other line; although two fish landed would be great we have enough difficulty landing one fish at a time.  She’s a large one!  I let the line run out and then just about the time W/ has the other lure cranked in my line goes slack. DAMN!  There goes Dinner, Lunch, Dinner, Lunch, Dinner, etc. She would have fed us for a few days.

So after a few of my selected choice words issued towards the kingdom of fish I put the one line back out and crawled below to grab another lure. I’ve now given the fish about half a dozen of the plastic lures to feed on.  I wonder if I have heavy enough line (80 lb test) and I’m wondering if I should replace it a little more often. RIght now the line has been on the reels for about 3 years. But this is not the place to do that so I file that info in my dusty cranium and dig out another lure. Rig it and release it. We’re cruising along now about 6 kits and the lures are doing their wonderful dance to the surface and then they dive a foot or so beneath it trailing a stream of bubbles a couple of meters long. We both go back to our tasks, reading, day dreaming, and just watching in awe the deep royal blue of open water. We’re settled in for the afternoon.

Zing!  Zing!  One reel runs out quickly and then stops, 2 seconds the other line takes off.  Another fish. Again the same dance, I race and try to make sure we don’t loose this one. The line is peeling out faster then ever and I’m afraid it will get to the end and then snap. Slowly I increase the drag on the line as the Mahi endeavors to steal more and more of it.  Feeling like I’ve been at this 1/2 an hour but knowing that it’s been most likely 5 minutes, I have him stabilized with about 10 wraps of line left on the reel. Since W/ now has the other line  pulled in she’s at the helm.  As we’re traveling too fast and the fish is fighting for his life (Yeah, it looked like a Bull Mahi – Mahi to me when it jumped) she points the boat into the wind a bit to slow it down while I begin to reel the beast in. We spend close to twenty minutes more, luffing the boat, falling off, luffing, falling off and all the while I’m inching the line in and bringing the succulent dinner to the boat.  He makes a couple of more runs and peels out some line but I’m slowly winning!  Or so I think.

As we finally get him closer to the boat I can see his figure down in the water and W/ has the gaff ready. She luffs the boat up a bit more so I can reel some more line in and he takes off across the stern dragging the line to the other side of the boat. I carefully hand the pole across the back of the boat to myself not wanting to get the line tangled in the windvane or rubbing  across the backstay.

He’s now swimming beside the boat about 40 feet away and I have W/ turn the boat to bring him more astern, he obviously hears me and shoots off towards the bow and under the boat. I feel the line drag across the bottom of the boat and fear the worse. Another fight lost with a fish, another lure gone and one tired puppy; me. But; he’s still there and pops up by the stern and I still feel him on the line. Hurray!  I begin to keep the line taught and he makes another mighty stab towards freedom.

The line goes slack, I scream, and we begin to sail towards Panama again.  What have I to show for all this effort; 5 blisters on two hands and a long story to tell.

I’m so tired the rest of the day we don’t trail any more lures. With the blisters on my hands I don’t think I could actually reel the fish in and with as much as Mahi’s  fight and no fighting chair I don’t want to risk losing the pole, and I don’t want to risk losing W/ over the side.

We have a delightful sail till about midnight when the breeze starts to abate and by 3 am we’re again using the Iron Genny (engine) and motoring towards Panama.

As the sun rises we begin to search for land. We’re scanning the waters edge intently when I see fish leaping out of the water. Yesterdays loss is becoming a distant memory and with a new day comes new visions of capture. More fish jump (Black fin Tuna) and so I trail just one line. Less then an hour later we hear a zing of the reel and I go to crank in what ever we have.  I don’t know what this one is, I suspect it was another Mahi- as it peels out line quite fast and then boom it too was gone.  I may be stupid but I don’t like giving up. I dig out another lure (I’m going to need to get some more) and sent it back into the deep blue. We spot Land and yell the required mantra “Land – Ho”, we’re motoring, we’re fishing – maybe best to say we’re feeding the fish plastic lures. and we’re hopeful. Hopeful that we’ll soon be cleaning a nice catch and then look forward to rest.

Zing!  Again we go through the land a fish dance. Since we’re motoring it is easier for W/ to slow down, motor forward, and turn the boat. We don’t need to be concerned about the sails and gybing or luffing and popping as the wind fills them in.  I slowly make progress and we bring the fish to the boat. W/ has the gaff ready but as I see it’s a Black Fin Tuna and only a few pounds so he’s close enough to the boat I swing him aboard.  W/’s ready with the Rum (we kill the fish with kindness – He dies in a drunken bliss) and we pour it directly onto his gills. I filet him and toss the carcass back to Neptune for further consumption. Nothing goes to waste in the ocean.

By noonish we’ve made landfall and are motoring towards Snug Harbor hoping that the name fits. We find a calm place to anchor, drop the hook, take care of some projects on the boat and immediately begin our R n R.  We’ll clear in when we get to Porviner in a couple of days. For now the stars are calling and the cow is ready to jump over the moon.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Eatin Crow

First let it be said that I’m a meat eater. Never had crow in the physical sense but it wouldn’t kill me.  Yet last night I had to eat some crow.

W/ had said her Yoga instructor was explaining  that Buddha had a large stomach not from food but from inhaling deep down. I’d been under the impression that to inhale the muscles of the diaphragm relax and to exhale they contract.  I thought an Iron lung only added pressure for the occupant to exhale and then normal air pressure would cause them to inhale.

As kids swimming in a friends backyard pool we had tried to hide underwater in the game of Marco Polo by breathing through a garden hose. Anyone that has tried this “trick” understands that it is  physically impossible to inhale even a few inches below the surface of the water without a pressurized air source (aka Scuba or Hookah). So for 40 – 50 years I firmly believed  that the process of inhalation was due to the diaphragm muscle relaxing and exhaling was the muscle contracting.

After both of us; IB and I, put forward our conceptual understanding we eventually came to an impasse, one  that he was willing to bet pick slips on.  I,  knowing first that I only bet on sure things and second that as a scientists nothing is sure; I graciously refused. So after diner and drinks we took taxi’s our respective ways back to our homes (boats). Their boat was hauled in the yard and we were at the infamous Club Nautico.  There upon both of us set out to finally place the cross in the others heart. We hit the internet and began to search for the answer.

His cab was faster, or he was closer to home when we left. By the time I had made my first query  the phone rang.  “How’s that crow taste”? I got the address of the page he was looking at and indeed it seems that I was mostly, maybe grossly wrong, at least about the diaphram. Seems that there are quite a few  muscles responsible for respiration in humans. So I’m eating crow, I’m still learning. I hope it never stops (both the learning and the breathing). 🙂

So Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

The Difference betwen Men and Boys is the size of their…..Mistakes!

Yep, ok; toys too. But mistakes  seem so much grander when we age.  More then that I always believe I did follow the “manual”. Dirk on Lison Life always said “RTF…M”  Read the F….. Manual. You can figure out what the F means. And at times like this I’m haunted by the old saying of the 3 most dreaded words an adult can hear at X- mass time:  “Some Assembly Required”.

I figured I’d read it and re-read it and read it again. But as in a test I remember taking in oh say 8th grade about “Directions”; obviously I’m still that way.  The Directions test goes on to about 20 easy to answer qsts like; what your name, what is today’s date, what kind of clock is on the wall. I thought I had died and gone to test taking heaven. I could do this and I was good at answering these questions. The last question was more of a statement; when finished yell, Finished and Stand up.  Maybe not those words exactly but something to that effect. So I was in the top couple of my class, I yelled and stood up as did most of the class.  But really I wasn’t in the top ten, more likely the bottom.

I skipped the “Directions”. In the directions was the sentence “Read the following questions, when you get to the end, turn your paper upside down and put your head down”.  Had I read the directiions then I wouldn’t have made a fool of myself in the 8th grade, math class. I’m still making a fool of myself.

We left about 10 ish am, traveling loosely with IB and Becca on Passport to Bonaire, NI;  part of the ABC’s. Were were to skirt along the N coast of Venezuela and then make Bonaire in about 3 t0 4 days. Things were going as well as could be expected on this 400 nm passage. The first day is always tough, getting your sea legs, getting use to a different sleep schedules (we keep someone awake on the boat offshore 24 hours per day, getting use to different foods (quick and easy) and cleanliness (we’re not entertaining the Queen so we don’t need to change our shirt 3 times a day).

Things were going smoothly, the windvane was steering nicely, we had enough wind and in a favorable direction the boat was moving with out to much unwanted motion, what more could we ask for?

About 10 pm we blew out a shackle on the  windvane. I just couldn’t believe it. So I go and dig out a replacement shackle (yeah we had one)  and I hang over the transom in the dark and I get the shackle on with the clevis pin and a new retaining circle clip. Hook up the windvane and set it back up.  Then I retire. It’s W/’ s watch. About 15 minutes later we hear a “ping”; the boat always seems to make weird noises at night and we keep moving. A bit later ( I can’t sleep) I stick my head out the hatch and W/s hand steering. She said we had a wind shift.

Missing Oar in Water
Missing Oar in Water

Ok; I go to reset the sail on the windvane and look down, there is NO OAR in the water!  None! Nada! Zilch! Impossible!  I go and tell W/, I’m dazed!  I can’t think straight! Never could but that doesn’t matter.

Imagine you’re driving along and coast to a stop with your car. The light turns green and you put your foot down on the petal, the engine roars and you go no where. What the…….. . You mess up traffic, get out of the car and look under the hood. The engine is there, the transmission is no more. It’s gone. It is not laying in the road 10 m back, it has simply disappeared. That’s how I felt.

The oar that powers the windvane is gone. I know where it is. It is 9,000 feet down on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Some may think I’m a god, others may think that I think I’m a god. No matter. I’m not nor have ever professed to be. Even if I was a god I couldn’t dive down 9,000 feet to get the oar and then once on the bottom I would need to see it. No light down there, no locater beacon. It’s gone. Done, Over, it is no more.

What this all boils down to is that we now have to steer by hand. Sailing a boat and steering by hand for short periods of time is fun. Short; an hour, maybe two, but  3 1/2 days by hand. Ouch!  That hurts. What can we do. It’s dark, We’re tired. Not much we can do. Time to sleep; tonight we’ll hand steer, we’ll use the stars and our compass. And I’ll look at solving the problem in the am.

Go Slow
Go Far
Stay Long

Antigua Bound

Yep, we’re in Antigua, Jolly Harbor to be exact. After a few days at Grande Case, St. Martin; we motored around (it’s only 5 nm) to Orient Bay were the action was happening. This is described as the “French Riviera” of the Caribbean and indeed if I can imagine the Riviera since I haven’t been there; it was. Besides the lack of clothing on the beach there were things happening all around. Over 10 jet ski’s at any one time, two boats pulling the parasailers, wind surfers sailing by, snorkelers mosying by, and of course beach restaurants all along the shore.  We hung there for a day and thought the anchorage wouldn’t be too bad for the evening. We were farther out than we would have liked but the new motor on the dinghy made trips ashore much easier for

Wendy's New Ride
Wendy's New Ride

W/. Once all the boats and jet ski’s stopped the anchorage actually got worse. Waves broke over the reef on one side and curled in the channel on the other and the net result was more roll and less pitch. With the evening wind slacking we ended up with some slightly uncomfortable roll (not St. Thomas like 🙂 ).

The following day we were to sail to St. Barts and hang out at a park then that evening head out to Antigua. The prior evening when I had risen about midnight the winds had shifted slightly N or NE. Great, the following evening should that happen we might actually get to sail some to Antigua. What a treat that would be. 🙂

Leaving Orient Bay we unrolled the Jib and floated along at about 3.5 kts.  Not fast but hey! We’re not motoring. However the sail wasn’t to last for long. When we slowed to around 2 kts (slower then a stroll on land) we rolled the jib in and started the Iron Genny (the engine). We motored the last 8 nm to St. Barts and picked up a free mooring at the park. The time waiting we watched the boats come and go, watched hikers climb the hills in the park, watched the charterers cruise around 10 to a dinghy, took a nap, and readied ourselves to leave soon after midnight.

Midnight arrived sooner then we would have wished. We set up the boat for leaving and slowly motored out of the harbor and then turned S for rounding St. Barts. Again we tried to sail, tried motor sailing and eventually rolled up the sail.  We kept hoping for the breeze that the gribs said would be and for the winds that the evening before we had but obviously Mother Nature just chose to not read the weather reports! We were cursed with burning more fossil fuels. On goes the engine and forward towards Antigua we traverse.

We motored slowly at first mostly 4-5 kts attempting to keep the spray down and because it was still dark. The current didn’t help and although the data shows the current at only .4 kts against us I think there was more. As daylight approached we added speed to the boat and cruised the rest of the way between 5 – 6 kts.

Still not fun. Although we didn’t take on much water; hardly any, we kept up a  steady misting of salt water. So in essence we were building up a layer of salt on the decks. The mist would hit the boat and instead of taking the salt and running off it would evaporate and leave a salty surface behind that was actually as rough as the non skid. Fortunately we hid behind the dodger for most of the trip (except for fishing).

I’m tired of motoring and I’m tired of reading and I’m tired of doing Sudoku. So I hang out a couple of lures. Two hours later I’m watching as one pole looks to bend then it stands right up. Damn, I check the line and it’s flying free. Damn. I discover I had way too much drag on it and the line broke at my knot on the swivel. DAMN! Ok, there goes 10 bucks. Get another lure out, another swivel, tie it on better ( I hope) and let her go. This time I check the drag and make sure it will drag.

About 5 hours later we’re coming up on the banks and have watched Antigua grow off the horizon. I’m getting ready to pull the lines in because mostly on the banks the fish that one can catch ain’t the fish I want. About 60 seconds before I summon the energy to move my behind from the seat aft the dodger the new lure I put out goes ZING!  Wendy rushes to slow the boat and I rush to the  line that now has a fish. As the boat slows she hauls in the other line (we don’t really want two fish at a time again) and I notice that what we’ve caught is a Barracuda. DAMN!  We don’t eat those because of the potential for Ciguatera. So we haul it aboard, using a pliers and leather gloves I take the hook out and then slide him / her over the side for the ocean to do with it what it will. It will either survive or be a meal for a larger fish. Out of the three parties; us, the fish, or the fishes main course, one will be happy. But now the Barracuda has torn up another skirt on another lure. Not a good day fishing.

Easy Clearance
Easy Clearance

Clearing in in Jolly Harbor Antigua was sweet. Although the guide said that the officials were there till 1700 we had arrived too late. We made the dock by 1630 and were informed that Customs had already left but we could stay tied here and it would be ok if we ate ashore. W/ was happy. We tied up, cleaned up, and then Jim and Cheryl arrived on Orion. They were Antigua regulars and had just arrived from Guadaloupe and needed to clear in too. So they tied on the other side of the finger pier and we shared some stories w/ them as well as bored them with ours.

The following am we cleared in with Customs, Immigration and the Port Captain. We’re now good to go. So out to a mooring we motored to finish getting the boat ready for Antigua. Mike and Jenny (from Annopolis) are down on a chartering / diving vacation so we’ll see them on their return.
Good times; Soon come.

Fair Winds

And on the Third Day…

We’ve been blasting along. First day 24 hour run was 160+ nm and the second day was 150+ nm.  With that we’ve been pleased. However; W/ still isn’t up to snuff. She’s taking Stergeron @ 15mg twice per day and still not feeling like she can eat or function down below.  On the advise of Persephone she tried a bowl of Oatmeal, on the advice of Lison Life she opted out of the can of beer. Funny Germans!  However of our good fishing / cruising companions Don and Terry – Don too recommends beer to settle the ills of sea sickness. I couldn’t talk her into any beer. 🙂

So with her feeling slight we ambled along towards warmer climates, clear water, and NO MUD on the bottom.  But as dawn alighted we heard a clinking sound somewhere up our mast. When you’re on a boat, in the middle of the ocean (we’re now 300 miles from the nearest land) your senses are hyper  alert to any different sounds. And this sound was different; much like someone at the top of our mast taking a spoon and randomly taping a nonsensical tune.  Out come the binoculars and I begin to scan up the mast and finding what I can’t believe.  I was just up the mast a few weeks ago and every time I go up I look things over.  I NEVER noticed anything wrong with the spreader lift; but indeed it was the upper stbd spreader lift that let go. It was swinging around pinging on the mast and the spreader, once in awhile it would tap the head of the sail (we had our main reefed to the first reef) then wrap up on something for a few minutes and off it would sail again swinging to and fro bouncing off any object it came in contact with.

We reported our situation  on the am net and said we were considering sending me up the mast to tend it but haven’t decided yet. Well;  at sea we need to consider how critical the issue is and how much a possible accident of our body is worth so in this case we had decided that all that was going to happen was cosmetic and there was no potential mast failure from it. The spreader was siezed to the shroud anyway so we decided to leave it (much to our peril as we later found out). Eventually the spreader lift found a home wrapped up around the stbd shroud and stuck in our one baggy wrinkle we have on that side. It stayed there for about 4 days. Lucky us.

After the net we went to run our generator. This powers the boat by recharging the batteries and pulling down the cold plates in the refrigeration / freezer. Damn and double Damn. About 1/2 way though the charge the compressor shut down and the generator was running hot. I shut it down as W/ checked the water flow (none) and then pondered (really cursed quite vociferously) then finally sat down and looked at our options.  We can get by without the power as we have a large frame alternator on the main engine that we can run for a couple of hours a day to charge everything up; but then all our frozen goods and any perishables will need to be thrown overboard. I didn’t want to do that. We have this boat because it’s comfortable and to drink warm water, and eat canned food isn’t what I wanted. So to the drawing table I went and then I spent most of the morning rerouting water lines  so the generator would get the cooling water it needed and take care of it’s job. (Some may remember that we too have 12v refrigeration/freezing capacity but when we’re traveling over 4 kts it won’t work – the pump won’t draw water in faster than the boat wants to pull it away).

Impellor on Genset
Impellor on Genset

Now to run down this problem it wasn’t going to be easy. While we made sure when we installled all systems that we could get to EVERYTHING; that did not mean that while on a boat offshore going up waves, down waves, twisting around waves anything would be easy. First I had to check the hardest piece; is the impellor still 100%.  To do that I took off the cover plate and to avoid twisting with a mirror held just right I took a picture of it (I love digital cameras)! Luckily the picture showed that the impellor was 100% intact and I could then make sure that water was getting to the generator and air wasn’t coming in from any other avenue. So I cut the line to the 12v water cooled compressor, eliminated the salt water pump in the galley . Moved the intake higher up the food chain or lower in the water chain and then try it. Fortunately after about 4 hours of work we did get it running with cooling water and were able to charge the batteries and the refrigeration / freezer. Whew!

Night Watch
Night Watch

As the evening wore on we again settled in the life of a cruiser offshore. W/ still feeling under the weather and I exhausted from being a plumber in a cramped space while on a Disneyland ride. But; and this is a big but!  We’re in warmer waters; we’re heading in the right direction and with any lucky we’ll be there before Thanksgiving.  As a note: this pic I think was taken in the next couple of days while motoring. The seas actually this evening were running 2-3 meters, in the pic they’re less then 1 m.

Fair Winds

St. Michael’s, MD – NOT a Saint

We spent some time in St. Michael’s. It is a local cruisers hot spot and in some respects it was. But; in the respect of a full time cruiser it’s not!

St. Michael's
St. Michael's

The place had a weird vibe to it.  First we tied the dinghy up to the dinghy dock at the Maritime Museum. There we were  told that to tie the dinghy up would cost $10 PLUS we both had to buy tickets to the Museum for a day!  Another $32!  $42 to tie the dinghy up!  And at a Museum that is to focus on people using the water. Oh, we could have gotten a family membership for about $100 bucks; total cost, and then tied the dingy up each day for the 5 days we were there. YUCK! Although they’re said to be one of the best museums on the Chesapeake, because of their atttitude and support of boaters we just didn’t go there. The watermans Museums we’ve enjoyed most have been in Beaufort and Solomens.

Saturday Mike and Jenny showed up on Namida; we rafted up and  had a great time with them. We walked the town and found the back side entrance to St. Michaels. It wasn’t as crowded but entailed a 1/2 km dinghy ride to get to the dock and I know W/ would not want to row that too much. On the way there we discovered the laundry. The laundry is another important find for full time cruisers. The laundry is closed, as in out of business. There is no place in town for laundry except if you take a marina slip at St Michael’s Marina for; get this, $3.50 / foot  on the weekends. That means to dock our boat and do the laundry we would be paying $147 / night.  Now get this; they had a restaurant and if you wanted to eat at the restaurant and bring your boat you had to pay $10 / hour for the privilege of eating their food.  They did have a washer and dryer. W/ asked if we could use them and the snooty dock master said “Maybe” if they’re not crowded during the week. Oh’ they’re so special. NOT! Obviously we didn’t eat there or dock there.

But there was a silver lining, Justines. They had listed on their menu  that the Shakes and Malts were the Best in the Chesapeake. And indeed they were. I had one every day. Fortunately; we didn’t stay long enough so I won’t be in need of my Red Suit come Xmas.

Fair Winds

Progress … you think?

Yeah; though we’ve (I’ve) been quiet on the blog, things have been getting crossed off the list. The roller furling is completed and the sail back up. New sheets (5/8″) are installed. The 1/2″ seemed a little light pulling this boat. The mainsail is back on. The dodger is on and there are only a couple of things Canvas Creations needs to fix. One additional cost from them will be adjusting the mainsail cover so it doesn’t drag on the dodger.  Three of the four pieces of metal fabrication we had made are installed. We’ve still a page of stuff left to do; but things are getting done. Right now while I work so hard typing W/’s washing the boat. In case you think I really am so mean (yeah right) she loves to do that, she hates the dirt on the boat and constantly boats get dirty. More so when you’re tied to land as you can’t really leave all the dirt in the dinghy. Just so you know it’s by her choice to wash the boat.

Elysium in Green Turtle, Abaco
Elysium in Green Turtle, Abaco

As you’ve no doubt seen I’ve made a little change in the blog. Sid on Antares drew the pic one afternoon (Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas) before sundowners. We liked the sketch so I digitized it and use it on the masthead of the blog. Such a natural artist, and an all round great guy (not as great as his mate Janet however; 🙂 ) The last blog page was to generic and this one is closer to what I want. However; it looks like to get what I really want I’m going to have to code it myself. I hate doing that since I’m more of a hacker in CSS but to get what I want I’ll have to dig into the bowels of  WordPress more.

Til then, I’ll stumble along with what other programmers have provided out there. And all the while we’ll be trying to get the boat back to sailing shape. We’re almost there. Once we leave here we’ll look for a yard to haul out in. We have three projects to have the yard do, and then we’ll wax the hull (I need my brother in-law here 🙂 ) flip the prop lock (I somehow managed to get it on backwards) and enjoy the place we end up. Right now it’s looking a little like a yard (Campbell’s) in Oxford, MD on the Eastern Shore. We’ve never been there and are thinking that it might be nice. We’ve also had two really good recommendations for it. Also on the short list is Zahniser’s in Solomons and then another yard in Deltaville. We’ll see. First though is going to Oxford; see the town and check out the yard.

In the mean time we’re enjoying time with some old and new sailing friends. Dave and Lisa from Hullabaloo brought the family by for a cookout; Jenny and Mike  (on another Westsail) swung by trying to make me feel bad for having another B-day.  My goal is to collect more B-Day’s than anyone else. 🙂

While some may be pondering my new found optimism anyone can find us (Thanks to Dirk pushing me) on the web using W/s ham call sign KI4ZVB. Dirk you may remember is the less then noble half of Lison Life . He kept pushing me to get the dot on the web and now I’m sure he’ll push  us to get it moving. 🙂  So if you’re bored and want to see a real type A check out their blog. If you want to see a Type ZZZZ, just stay tuned to ours. LOL

Till next time;
Fair Winds

Yep, It’s 2009 !

A few years ago W/ made a resolution to get to 2 cultural events a year. Of course when she said that was her resolution it included me. Well; culture in the islands isn’t about going to the “Theater” or the “Opera”. Culture is what ever special event the island has, in this case, it’s called a Junkanoo. So she MADE me go. And although I dragged my feet…. a little; remember I have to live with her and compared to living on land in the states it is a rather smallish area – a boat; so eventually I too got into the dinghy and went to observe, eat, and imbibe.

I will say I was impressed, the costumes were classy, the beat although rather simple in nature had a primal quality to it that spoke to ones soul and the drinks were welcomed. I missed recording of the event and should I happen upon another I think I’ll do my best to get one. But I did manage a few pics and so to help you waste your time you too can see what culture is in the islands.


I awoke this morning to a calm. I slept well and actually rose at around 7 am. Checking the boat over I looked over the stern for our dinghys and saw only one. “Wendy, our inflatable is GONE! I yelled. Immediately I hopped into our hard dinghy and rowed over to a fellow cruisers boat. I noticed his companionway had been opened up so I told him; Bill, our quandry and he threw some clothes on and we went looking, and looking, and looking.

The good thing about Marsh Harbor is that it is basically land locked. Anything floating free and being blown by the wind will arrive at a shore. In this case it should be the western shore.

Bill and I went along the western shore for about a mile and a half. We went dead down wind a little on both sides of where we think she went. No luck. ]

I can’t believe our Abaco Cruise will be over this early. I’m not staying in the Bahamas without a good diving platform and I’m not coming back to the Bahamas if I have to go to the state and buy a new one.

We get back to the boat just in time for the Abaco Cruisers Net. We break into the net – after all it is about Cruisers helping cruisers and describe the situation. Immediately after I hop back into Bill’s dinghy to go to Rainbow Boat Rentals. I was going to rent a 20′ boat to go up the coast to find the dinghy. As I’m traveling across the Bay; Peter on Grace yells out “They found your dinghy”. A tow reported seeing it up on the shore just past the little Cays.

So I hop into Peter’s inflatable and we run out to where it is to be. Can’t find it. Look on both sides of the bay by where we thought it was to be. Back to the boat.

There we again break into the net to try to contact the tug boat captain and find out where he saw it. Success in contacting him but where he says he saw it we found an old dinghy (not ours on the shore). About this time Kevin from Puffin comes by in a hard bottom dinghy that has more range. So we take off again.

We travel up the coast about as far as I could imagine it would be; in waves about 60 cm, and then veer in towards shore. As we close I see a Bahamian standing on the shore and as we get closer it looks like an inflatable with grey chaps by him. We found the dinghy but no engine.:(

We talk to him. As Kevin begins to ask him questions I go and look into his truck parked near by. No engine. He hasn’t seen any engine. He was just trying to move the dinghy up on the beach for protection. (The two front floor boards are removed and water is sloshing around in the dinghy.) If you ask me he was trying to take it apart to haul it off.

So now we have a dinghy and no engine. Remember the dinghy was new and the engine I had just purchased 3 weeks earlier in Green Turtle. We look nearby in the woods. It can’t have gone far if we just timed it right.

We found it was in a newly developing park and one of the restrooms was locked w/ no one in it. We checked the other rest room and the engine wasn’t there. The window was partly opened so we were able to reach in and open it some more thinking it would be in there for safe keeping for someone to pick it up later. No engine.

I look around more in the woods and an individual from Ace Hardware drives up and immediately begins to turn around and leave. I hail him and we talk to him. No; he hasn’t seen anyone with an engine but he would watch for someone. There is nothing in his truck for delivery and there is nothing there for him to pick up; unless the engine is still around.

About 10 minutes later a man on a bicycle appears. We ask him about the engine and he said “I hid it in the woods so no one would theft it”. He showed me where and in I go while Kevin engages him in conversation. I can’t find it. I’m getting a little agitated. I come out and Leroy comes in to show us where. The engine and the fuel tank is sitting about 150′ back into the woods. We carry it out and set it by the dinghy.

I tell Leroy how grateful I am that he was honest and I want to reward that honesty but I don’t have any money. We discuss where to meet so I can reward him and agree by the Union dock (Public Dock) in the town in a couple of hours.

We put the engine in Kevins boat, tie a bridle to my dinghy and tow it to the Jib Room ( a great cruisers marina in Marsh Harbor).

On the way we call Patty at the Blue Dolphin head of the Cruisers Net and she calls the Police to inform them of the recovery.

They met us by the Jib room and take a statement advising me not to give the guy any reward till after they confirm what was going on. They ask me to help and I agree.

Wendy and I went to meet the engine-finding Bahamian at the Union Dock. The Constable advised us to call him when the “guy” was there and he would come by. He said not to pay him anything but to stall. A fellow cruiser took a picture of “Leroy” and I shaking hands. (Yes I now know his name). Wendy went into Rainbow Boat Rentals to supposedly get change so I could give him some money. She called the Constable.

When the Constable arrived he confirmed that this was one of the three gentleman that had shown up gave him some statement about his rights. After talking to him for a few minutes he loaded his bicycle into the trunk and took the Leroy away.

We now have everything back. The dinghy has a hole in it. We’ll need to patch it. We’ll get a lock. We’re quite saddened that stealing has too been an export of the US. We’d cruised 25 years ago all thoughout this area and no one had really heard anything of any stealing. In the last 4 years it is being discussed all to frequently.

And to Jack and anyone else; no, we’re not giving up cruising because of something like this. But we’ll be much more cautious in Paradise. Remember; the difference between adventure and adversity is attitude.

Fair Winds