Sunday, November 27, 2011

West End Grand Bahama Island

November 27, 11

So far today has been an interesting one.  Kirk fixed the mast  yeah for him being so smart.  The weather does not look any better for tomorrow than it did today or yesterday and a front is supposed to come through on Tuesday that is supposed to be a humdinger so we may be staying here for a few more days.  Being tied to the sea wall you meet lots of people and we have been invited for drinks by Ron who is from Baltimore at 4:30.  I guess they start early down here.  Not much else to write about.  A lot of this experience is the people you meet. 

November 26, 11

Set out around 9 am this morning to head to Lucanya.  The seas grew bigger and the winds stronger the further we got away from west end.  Kirk decided we needed to turn around after there were breakers about 8 – 10 feet.  He did not want to try for the inlet where we were headed with 10 foot breakers behind us so we turned around.  After a bit, he thought maybe we should try again and so we turned back around again. And the seas built steadily along with the wind.  So we headed back to port.  It was even more windy in here than when we left in the am.  We were pinned to the fuel dock by the wind and had a rough time moving the boat.  At any rate we are back in port safe and sound.  Met the couple in a cat further up the sea wall (he helped us get the boat moved) and had drinks and dinner with them.  Yeah ate the last casserole and turned off the freezer.   Kirk tells me that he found a decent weather report, at least on that matched the conditions we ran into today and that we are staying here another day.  Weather conditions are supposed to be same.  Advisories all over the place.

November 25, 2011

Sad day as kevin and Theresa leave.  Winds are still honking.  We went for a long walk around the development and checked out the ocean   After kevin and Theresa left we worked on getting the boat ready to head out.  Kirk has been working on a piece of the mast track for the main sail.  Big job

Thanksgiving day

We had a play day today.   Walked on the beach early with kirk.  Swam in the pool with kevin.  Watched the lobster man with Theresa and got three lobsters for 15 dollars.  The lobster man is a story in himself.  Goofed off.  Read book,   we all needed a day off and thanksgiving was the perfect day for it.  Unfortunately, the weather changed and the wind was blowing like stink and the water that was beautiful yesterday was all churned up, so definitely not a beach day.  We still had fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

norfolk to the bahamas

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We arrived in St Augustine yesterday.  Forecast is for heavy weather and were advised to take shelter.  So here we are.  The last five days have been a blur as I have learned that I am definitely not a sailor but I am a good sport.  For the first few days my life was watch from 8 – 12 and then sleep, then watch from 8 – 12 and then sleep.  I had a really good watch schedule as it let me get at least 6 hours sleep at a stretch which is a GREAT BIG deal.  My problem was I did not feel so great so it was all I could do to cover my watch and then relief   ahhh sleep.  It did get better as we went on as your body gets used to it.  I AM NOT COMPLAINING, just stating my view of the conditions.  No one else seemed to have near the problems I did.

Our boat did fantastic.  I wondered why she did not break into a million pieces from the pounding and beating that she took.  We were into the wind and waves the whole way from Norfolk to here and the ride was most uncomfortable at times.  It seems like when the forecast says winds diminishing and seas calming, they pick up like no other.  Some times the seas were so calm you could hardly believe that you were 30 miles out in the ocean and other times they were like a roller coaster.

Lots of fantastic sights like
Deep blue water
Dolphins swimming with the boat (kirk took video’s and if we ever get a blog they will be on there)
First morning watch I saw two sea turtles and 2 snakes.  Boy were the snakes fast zig zaggers across the water top.
Seeing dolphins swimming with the boat at night.  They are so social.  If they see you they come over to swim with you.  At night they leave a stream behind them like a wake of a boat.  In the blue water it is a light blue that is hard to describe.

We have had to motor due to the head winds and so we had to get fuel, so we went into bald head island.  That was a interesting stop with the ferry boats zooming from one inlet to another.  We got to rinse salt off the boat so that was great as the salt makes to the boat slippery as ice. Even the hand holds get so slick.  Makes it tricky at night. 

A few simple pleasures I noted in the log were

Only having salt on your food
Not flying off the head (toilet) unless you intended to
Clean unsalty clothes

Tricky things to deal with so far

Not jamming into things to avoid bruises  ouch I have a couple of good ones
Shipping channels at night around busy ports
Fog so thick that you could barely see the end of the boat and you had to clean your glasses every 15 seconds AT NIGHT. 
Watching a huge fishing boat disappear into the fog in a matter of 10 seconds.
Trusting the radar to get you around the fishing boats and ships
Inlets with breakers on both sides

Last night we crossed highway A1A  to go to dinner for all the jimmy buffet fans

Sad day coming up as we are losing Elizabeth as a crew member.  She has been fantastic and will be sorely missed.  Not sure of where she is going to fly out of yet but pretty sure she is not going to cross the gulf stream to the Bahamas as that might stretch into thanksgiving and she wants to be home for big fam turkey day .  thank you bif

Kevin and Theresa are sticking with us which is a God send.  Theresa and I have had night watch together from 10 – 12 and it has been a hoot.  One night I went face first off the seat onto the floor.  ( I must have dozed off,  bad bad bad)  she makes boring times bearable and fun times a blast.  Kevin is steady kevin and you just have to love him for that.  He has much knowledge and is always willing to share and teach and so that is fantastic.  Love and appreciate both of them so much.

You would not believe how busy you are when you aren’t sleeping.  There are a ton of things that have to been done.  A entry log for after each watch.  That was a hard one for me in the first few days cause looking down and writing was not a good idea. 

Time to work on laundry…  ahhh  clean clothes  yeah!

Friday, November 18, 2011

We had a lovely visit with niece Christin Litty and her friend Zach last evening.  Sat in the aft salon and visited drank wine and had great snacks prepared by Theresa.  Then we went into town to get a bite.

This morning was a peaceful one.  Outside was blowing 25 knots and kirk and I sat in the main salon and shared coffee and chatted. Perfect! We had to move the boat in 15 – 20 knot winds that had us pinned to a dock and that was a procedure, but with kirk and kevin’s expert planning we were able to get off and move to another slip. The dock hand or marina guy complimented me on my boat handling skills.  Whoowee   hot shot   There is a festival going on in town and on the grounds here in the marina.  We are going to town now.  Nice town.  Touristy but nice. 

 there are these crazy little shrimp here called pistol shrimp who snack, crackle and pop on the hull of the boat.  At first I thought water was running and kirk and I spent some time looking for the water and then ole mr,  smartie looked in I pad and found a post in a sailing blog about them.  It was posted by evans starzinger.  Small world.  Thank you evans!

Saturday, November 19, 11

Beautiful morning this morning.  Warm and sunny.  We moved out to a mooring ball. I did not do such a hot job of getting of the pier this time.  Had to do it all in reverse and the wind took the bow of the boat turning the stern back into the pier.  No hits so no harm just a little toooooo close. Had to go through the bridge and the bridge tender called me skipper,  I thought that was kinda funny.  He then called kirk skipper when we got through.  Is funny how you talk on the radio also.  Roger over etc.  whole new world and now more new language.  Also kirk just told me that if we got into the inland waterway the rrrr changes.  That is right on red returning.  It has something to do with north and south.

I am pretty sure we are going to be heading out tomorrow.  Oh fun in the ocean again.

Today kirk and I worked on fixing the port aft head.  Actually he fixed and I cleaned all the parts he brought out.  No room for more than one person.  We are now waiting to see if our fix job did the trick.  We poured some cranberry juice in the head to see if pink shows up anywhere. 

We are waiting for the shuttle to pick us up.  We are going to try to make it to the fort before it closes.  It has been firing off it’s cannons all day.  They are much louder outside of the bridge.

November 21, 11

We did have a lovely time in town.  Saw the fort and that was most interesting.  What was disturbing is how the natives were wiped out by the Spanish.  The Indians were demolished.  The same thing as in the us with the American Indian and from what I am reading the same thing in all these carribean islands.  Is rather disturbing about humans.  I guess not much as changed.  Bummer. 

We are now in west palm beach after a rough ride down from st Augustine.  I was no help as I got sick and was in my bunk for 12 hours.  It got really rough and I was not prepared and wham it hit me like a brick.  I am going to start on bomine tonight to see if that helps as we may plan to cross the stream tomorrow.  Today should be a get ready day.  Hopefully we will find groceries and laundry and get stocked up for the Bahamas.  We are anchored in front of mega yacht marina.  Billions of dollars worth of yachts just sitting there.  Whew  is mind boggeling.  I watching the sun come up and shine on the yachts and high rise buildings.  Pretty.  On the other side of where we are anchored (lake worth) are fancy homes and I believe a golf course.  Luscious green, palm trees fancy.  We saw huge (90 ft) fishing boats heading out of the inlet on our way in. 

Kevin and Theresa continue to be saints and are still with us. 

Everyone was exhausted last night so we had early dinner and to bed.  In fact we were all a little punchy.  So there was silly laughter which is good.

Even in this busy skinny channel we are in the water is beautiful.  I am so sorry for our bay

Can’t work on the blog cause no wifi.  Soon. 

November 22, 2011

Still in west palm beach.  Water is still beautiful.  That is a plus.  Unfortunately we have a rub mark on the dingy that caused an issue in the am,  we then decided that we would cross the gulf stream  tomorrow (Wednesday) as it looked like our best chance for who know how long.  then kevin and Theresa decided to stay to cross the stream with us and poor kevin was on the phone getting tickets out of Bahamas for over two hours.  Much stress in the am.

We then all set out to find groceries and get rid of trash.  That was a hoot.  We landed on the fancy side of the channel where a publix grocery store was to be carrying our trash.  Theresa had a big black bag of trash and I had a little one.  At one point she turned and asked me if she looked like a bag lady.  We found a trash can and got rid of trash only to find the publix was not opened yet.  Mission only partly successful.  So back to the dinghy where kevin and kirk were patiently waiting and more exploring down the intercoastal waterway in search of groceries.   We found a beautiful new marina that would have been lovely to stay if we had only known about it.  Problem was two skinny bridges with lots of current.  Was a ride going under them in the dinghy.  We hiked about 6 blocks, found a grocery store bought supplies and then carried them all back to the boat.  Got ice at this beautiful marina and back to the boat.   Had a great dinner on the boat.

November 23. 2011

We made it.  Pinch kirk, thank kevin and Theresa for hanging in there with us.

This was a great day.  The sail across the gulf stream was fantastic.  Best sail we have had.   Even had the sail up.  Saw tons of flying fish.  They are a blast to watch.  The water was that deep blue that you can’t describe.    Got into our slip at old bahama bay marina,  kirk checked us in through customs and immigration and we were set.  Washed some of the salt off the boat and then set off down the beach  ah beautiful of course I had to put my feet in the clear water with fish and crabs and conch and starfish  (heaven) to the beach bar to have a celebration rum drink.  Came back to boat cause of bugs and needed some food to soak up booze then to dinner and bed.  Kirk was so tired we thought he was going to fall asleep at the restaurant.  

november in norfolk

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunny day,  worked in the front starboard hull locker trying to figure out why it is always wet which involves getting down in there and cleaning out all the mold and mildew with Clorox.  Nice way to start the day.   I got it all cleaned up and dry as a bone.  Now we have to figure out how the water gets in.  ran errands getting supplies to better set the dingy when we are in the ocean.  We had a lovely dinner with Jane Spohn who lives here now at a local place down near Virginia beach.  That was a great change of pace.  So wonderful to see an ole buddy!!!!
Kirk still working on getting his email set up. Very hard as no connection on boat.

Big news  I ordered a alfa wifi antenna and it came a day early.  Can’t wait to check it out.  constant working on boat to get it ready to go in ocean.  Lots of stowing still to do.  Check all batteries etc.  kirk has made a list and it keeps growing.  I will be changing to email at as the work email is through Microsoft exchange server and it is a royal pain in the buttttttt. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 and Thursday November 3

Another sunny day.  Yeah   lots to do.  Looking like we are leaving on Saturday night or Sunday morning if the weather holds out.  waiting for confirmation from the people we hired for gulf stream crossing info.  That is exciting.  Kevin theresa and Elizabeth should be heading down on Friday.  All that has to be coordinated plus shopping for supplies.   Uuppss  change of plans.  Storm brewing off the coast of hatteras and heading east so we got word to stay put till Sunday.  The weather person said he would talk to kirk this weekend.  I do not think if have mentioned about being across from the navy yard.  We here trumpets in the am along with the star spangled banner and taps at night.  They even play the race piece like before a horse race.  Kirk did not believe me and then he finally heard it last night.  Today big ships went out and there are usually at least once a day helicopters flying around in the ocean I guess practicing.  I must say that I am impressed to say the least and as much as I hate the politicians and the correct crap that goes on, I am proud to be an American.  The songs they play are from before “political correct’ and all the other bs that has come about in the last 20 years.  Reminds me of when people were decent and you could depend on your neighbor, people stood by their word.  Enough of the soap box.  Back to work.  Todays project has been to make a dingy cover.  Yesterdays was chasing down and fixing leaks in the forward berth.  (think we may have finally solved that one)  I am sure others will pop up.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Much has happened, storm out in the ocean has now delayed us leaving until the 12th.  We are getting so much done on the boat.  Or should I say kirk is getting so much done.  I mainly assist when and where needed, clean out lockers, arrange things for stowing etc.  I did work on a dingy cover with sewing machine.  I am going to make a dust cover for the printer and a laundry holder in our bunk.  Not big deals but all have to be done.  Big news is that we bought a mac for me as my good ole computer just could not handle the load.  Bad news is that I am lost in the mac world but am learning.  We did get the sail back from the sail maker last Friday in anticipation of leaving yesterday.  Funny thing was when I asked him about the tear that we brought it in for, he said there was no tear so we had to open the sail out on his loft and show him the tear and I found another one as well.  he did a lot of fixing that we did not even know was bad, so we now feel good about the sail being ready to go.  Yesterday was sunny and I spent most of my day in the marina office trying to download and install programs on my new computer.  Oh my…….

We had a lovely dinner at the Spohn’s last night.  George cooked a turkey breast on the grill and it was fantastic.  Was such a treat.  We then watched the first half of the Ravens game with them.  That was fun!!!!!

Wednesday November 9, 2011

What started out to be a Monday turned out to be a toothday.  Poor kirk had a tooth pulled.  Better here than in the ocean.   We did get the genoa put back up and did lot of sail tape patches as we put it back on the boat.  That was between dentist appts.  Yesterday we worked on projects around the boat.  Rearranging and restowing.  Finally made a good dinner and that made kirk happy. 

This morning I finally got my current email to load on my new computer.  Oh what a relief that was.  So now I can be more communicative.  We are waiting for a fuel dock to open up as boats are piling in here like mad due to the storm.  We are also waiting to hear if they are going to move us.  Fog blew in about 10 and is burning off.  Lots of people walk their dogs down here and so I get to have some dog fixes which is good. 

We went to dinner with the Spohns to a Italian restaurant and was good food and fun time. 

Thursday November 10, Friday November 11, 2011

We continued to do chores on the boat getting prepped.  My email was still not working so we went to the apple store in downtown Norfolk and also to a guitar store and bought a guitar for our friend Mike ( whom we will meet up with along our path.  We worked on getting a dingy cover modified to fit our dingy.  Lots of work  but think we succeeded.  Best news is we got the go ahead for leaving on Saturday. So that set us in go mode.  Talked to kevin and theresa and Elizabeth about coming down on Friday.  Plans were set in motion.

Friday,  the crew arrived and we went about the boat.  Went to dinner at captain grooveys and had a good dinner.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

We left.  Underway kinda rough.  Dinner in oven.  My watch is 8 – 12. 

Friday, November 18, 2011


Tuesday October 25th

We got off the dock at Jay and Ginny’s around 8 am.  had a great sailing day.  Saw a navy submarine coming down the bay who thought they owned the bay.  Had a coast guard boat come up behind us and stayed off our stern for about 2 minutes.  He had is big gun man in the front of the boat.  Was kinda silly, but would have not been silly if they had fired that big gun at us.  Went into solomons island and got a free pump out and water at sandy cover marina on back creek.  Then went into mill creek and collapsed.  Got it together and made dinner with Ginny’s  delicious leftovers (thank you Ginny)

Wednesday October 26, 2011

Heard ding ding, ding ding so knew it was 6 oclock.  Waited a bit to see if any sun light but then just got up.  Kirk asked if this was the butt crack of dawn as I had been saying we needed to leave early as today was supposed to be a perfect sailing day.  Key words are “supposed to be”    Just like the weather people on tv the weather bouys also lie.  We left solomons with one reef in the main and quickly changed that to 3 reefs in both sails as the winds were steady at 25 - 28 with gusts to 32, but the seas were the real ride.  Our clean waxed boat (thank you Jay and Ginny) was baptized with salt water over and over again as were we.  Nothing like nice cold bay water in the face.  Wind pushed the waves and the boat and made for up and crash down only to get hit again.  Not to mention that both the wind and the waves were coming from where we wanted to go.  So it was a lot of hard sailing for about 6 hours and then at the mouth of the Potomac (where it usually is rough) things calmed down.   The inside of the boat looked like someone had shaken it like a rag doll.  Kirk stowed a lot of stuff while underway but not before havoc reeked in the boat.  There was pepper everywhere from the pepper shaker flying all over the place.  Talk about sneezing.    We came in the Wicomico river to  cockrell creek up to Reedville.  They process menhaden fish here and whoweeee  when the wind is not in the right direction it is very smelly.  We had a really nice dinner at the only place open and learned a new name.  we were asked if we were “boat people”   maybe by the way we looked or because it is such a small town and everyone at the restaurant knew one another.  Anyway  boat people we is.  Funny how this boat can make you so miserable when the conditions are bad and then when you finally get it all cleaned up and you take a quick shower it provides you with such comfort.

Thursday, October 27.2011

Once again, all the weather information was way off.  As we headed out of the creek and into the mouth of the Wicomico River, we discussed what to do with the sails.  I suggested 2 reefs as I was remembering yesterday and Kirk being the good guy that he is obliged me and put the main at two reefs.  Boy were we glad we did.  The conditions were worse than yesterday.  The waves were 4 – 5 and breaking over the bow of the boat and we had to stay clear of fishing areas so we were not at a good angle for the wind blown waves breaking over the bow of the boat,  another baptism   we worked hard and made some progress all the while watching and dodging freighters who were heading right at us till they turned on the red mark.  Problem was a couple did not turn right away and therefore we had to change course which meant a tack in 25 knot winds with 5 foot seas.  I learned a lesson on sheeting in such strong conditions.  Scary but we made it through.  We then flew on the next tack up to over 9 knots.  Too much sail up and conditions were making it very hard to bring sail down.  Decision was made to leave main up.  Roll in the genoa and motor sail with the main so we could control the boat.  We did do a much better job of stowing and the cabin was not a mess which was a blessing.  I did come down and check it out in the beginning and stowed a few more items.  We made it to mobjack bay and anchored in the east river waiting for the weather to show it’s hand.  Again both were exhausted.  Sailing is hard work.

Friday, October 28, 2011

After a slow morning (which was delightful not to be sailing at 7:30 am) kirk decided it would be best to weather the weather in Norfolk.  So off we headed across the bay for Little Creek just inside the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.  At first we thought this was not going to be so bad, but then the same ole big seas and gusty winds were with us.  The ride was not as bad as the previous days, partly cause I think we knew it should only take about 4 hours to motor to our destination.  We did not see much traffic until we were almost to our channel and then here comes a freighter.  Was hard to see with the rain but we had to alter course to stay clear.  While watching for the freighter I saw a porpoise right next to the boat.  Kirk said that was good luck.  Then low and behold it looks like two boats coming out of no where in front of the freighter.  Couldn’t figure out what they were doing in the channel.  Uuppsss  it was another submarine.  I have never seen a submarine in my life and now I see 2 in 4 days.  Then we got to listen to the sub calling out to all the other big ships and any other boat that was near it.  We were wondering what was going on with helicopters flying around all morning but thought it was navy seals practicing as their training base is across the creek from where we are tied.  I guess they were working with the submarine as well. kirk saw another porpoise as we were coming in and again said that was a sign of good luck.   so here we are all nice and tied to the floating dock waiting for the nasty weather.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Restless night last night as the winds and the shrouds were making the boat shake and that was a little discerning.  Kirk and I were both up at 4 and I asked him if it was time to get up and he told me no!!!  go back to bed and get some sleep.  Was a lovely lazy morning not having to get up and go.  We rented a car, got some groceries, went out to eat lunch which was lovely.  The weather here is “blowing like stink” as kirk would say.  Kirk busy investigating bildge water and I started a stew and working on an upgrade so I can get email and laundry.  Both the laundry and upgrade are at the marina office.  stew and laundry turned out well.  partial success on email.  Will have to go back to marina office for wifi to finish downloading all email and to send out email.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Finally can see some blue sky.  Cold but blue.  Met some interesting people yesterday while sitting at the laundry room.  Kirk has been working hard on the bilges being detective as to where the water comes from.  We have played gin at night.  Of course kirk is winning.  Feel badly for all the snowtober peeps back home.  Cold here in port bunk this am.  55 degrees.  Could not get my feet warm so I got up and made hot tea.  Boy how you learn to appreciate the simple things.  Did I mention the sea gulls that are here?  Must be 1,000 or so.  We keep chasing them off our part of the pier cause it is like walking through a mine field.  Also the boat has been a target of these dirty birds.  Kirk said he heard one land on the boat at 2 am and got up and chased it off.  I was sawing logs.  I am sure I look like a Halloween character shooing them off the pier by our boat.  Today was a great day as kirk (along with my help of course) figured out the bilge problem and then after two trips to hardware store and west marine it should be under control.  I got two pairs of boat shoes at west marine (on sale of course) so that was a deal for me.  I have been waiting to purchase, but after slipping on the steps due to the salt water everywhere in the big seas even while wearing my sea boots, I decided that a good pair of boat shoes would be in everyone’s best interest.  Kirk (the GREAT problem solver) has been hard at work solving problems with the boat.  We hope to move to the original marina on Tuesday and have wifi on the boat.  I did (with Bob Swarm’s help) finally get this good ole computer to connect to the wireless printer so that makes Kirk happy cause we can now print weather faxes when we are in the ocean via all the technology that he has learned about, purchased and installed.  I of course printed a picture of the family at Christian and Elizabeth’s wedding.  We all have our priorities.  I will tape it to the micro which has become the new “frig” for pics.  HA

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween  we are working on email and will work on the sail later this afternoon when it gets warmer.  May even have to get out the ole sewing machine.  The sail had way too much damage for me to sew.  Kirk found a sail maker about 15 minutes away.  Such a blessing.  This guy was the real deal.  He designs and makes sails.  He was very chatty and I learned a great deal about sails.  Really nice person.  Funny, I guess people are used to transient sailors around here as we have been asked “are you transients?”  tomorrow is stow stuff away in the boat, maybe buy me a new computer  maybe not, work on getting a blog set up and who knows what else will show up.  Is hysterical that by 7:30 we are both exhausted and ready for bed.  Kirk did not sleep well last night with allergies, but I have no excuse.  He is still beating me 90% of the time in
Gin.  We need to find a new card game.  Hopefully the winds will not be strong and we can move the boat over to another marina where we will have wifi connection.