Archive for January, 2007

Entry for January 31, 2007

January 31, 2007

Another day and I’m just getting ready to fix some dinner, Mahi-mahi (fish) rice and veggies.. mmmmmmmm

Today was kinda laid back. We went into town and walked a few miles. Went to K-Mart (yeah, no Wal-Mart here) just to browse, Bill needed some special oil for the transmission. Couldn’t find it in K-Mart, but we did find it in Winn Dixie.. go figure.

After our town trip, we came “home” for lunch and decided to take a dinghy ride up a creek that connects part of the harbor with the ocean. It was really nice, some gorgeous houses and big boats along the way. At one point, I thought I saw something in the water and as we rounded the corner there was a huge Iguana sitting on the rocks. Really weird!! I didn’t know they actually swam in deep water. But I didn’t have the camera- shucks! There was an island that we motored around and I saw on a map that it is called “Gilligan’s Island” – and I thought that was just a TV show.. hahaha (but I didn’t see any shipwreck)

So for my friend Nancy, although you can’t be here now, this sunsets for you.. please plan on visiting in April.. we’ll celebrate our 50th’s together!! And we should be in the Caribbean by then! Hopefully!

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Entry for January 30, 2007

January 30, 2007

Hi Ya’ll, Its Tuesday afternoon and we’ve been invited to Rob and Sue’s for dinner tonight, nice.. I made an apple pie for dessert and some dinner rolls to take along. I haven’t baked in awhile so that was kinda nice being back in the kitchen, making a mess. I don’t want to be fattening us up with all kinds of goodies unless there’s a reason to be doing so.. just kicking back and enjoying the scenery, with a whole bunch of homemade munchies, isn’t such a good thing on our health. We’ve been trying to get out and walk a bit while we have access to land. Earlier today we did walk some, went to a wind generator place, also an inflatable boat place ( they sell dinghies there) and we’re kinda looking for a different one. Maybe something a bit bigger, with a bigger engine, you know it must be a guy thing.. hehe. That guy only had news ones available at this time, guess we’ll have to search the papers for a used one.

Bill got some information on a wind generator and did some research on line. Looks like a good one with about 200 amps a day output could be what we’re looking for.. Im sure that’s for future reference.

Bill ordered a bunch of stuff on line for replacing our holding tank, all the fittings and pipes/hoses, etc for enlarging the tank and replacing all the hoses, will improve the boat. It may be quite the job, I’m sure he’ll be explaining the process as we get the stuff and get going on that project.

The other day we went into a canvas shop, andwe boughtan extra long zipper to fix one of the “windows” in our cockpit. The zipper had originally been replaced in Deltaville, but had broken and although I’ve tried fixing it numerous times, the time had come to replace it. I tried using my sewing machine, but it just wouldn’t handle the heavy clear vinyl, so I borrowed Sue’s sailrite machine and zipped it right up…

The days are cooler, but still very enjoyable. Sunsets are beautiful and the moon, almost full brightens up the night. I do sometimes miss the beauty of the snowfalls and the trees draped with a “white blanket” but not the cold (sorry L) Time for din-din.. later folks!

P.S. I enjoy reading your comments as much as you guys like the blog, please keep them coming.

Entry for January 29, 2007

January 29, 2007

Yesterday we had some real excitement in the afternoon.  Our friends Gary and Dianna let us borrow their car for groceries so Rob, Sue, Laura and I took their Sebring convertible to the Publix market.  When we got everything back to the dock, Laura and I loaded up our groceries in the dingy and took everything back to the boat at the anchorage.  It was a challenge to move 20 or so bags of groceries from the dingy to the back deck, then to the cockpit, then to the galley.  When we had all the groceries below, I took the dingy back to the dock and brought back Gary’s car to his hotel.  On the way I stopped at West Marine (of course) and the gas station.  Gary brought me back to the City Marine and I dingy’d back to the boat.  On the way back out to the anchorage, I couldn’t see Second Wind and she wasn’t anchored that far from the marina.  I finally found the boat about 200 yards south of where she was supposed to be anchored.  While Laura had been putting away the groceries below, the wind changed and really blew hard from the north.  Our anchor didn’t like that too much and decided to stop holding.  Laura immediately noticed the boat was turned wrong and came upstairs to see our boat drifting by the other boats in the anchorage.

She started the engine and put the transmission in forward to hold the boat against the wind so she wouldn’t bang into other boats.  I showed up about 5 minutes later and thought we were very lucky that we hadn’t hit another boat or picked up other anchor lines with our dragging anchor.  Anyway, I took the helm while Laura pulled up our anchor.  We tried 3 times to re-anchor back in the same place but the wind was blowing too hard and the holding wasn’t good for the anchor.  We finally gave up and motored around the harbor looking for another good spot.  We ended up a couple hundred yards from Rob and Sue who were at the other end of the anchorage.  I called them on the phone and told them they had new neighbors and why.  Rob mentioned there was a pretty good spot right next to them so I went over and took a look in the dingy.  It was better than where we were so we started the engine, picked up the anchor (again) and motored over next to Mandate.  We are now sitting about 200 feet away Rob and Sue in a nice spot with not too many other boats around.   The downside is our Internet doesn’t work as well over here so we’ll probably have to take the computer into the dock for access. Also the TV isn’t any better than where we were – only 1 fuzzy NBC channel. Bummer.

It’s interesting that we had been anchored in that spot for almost exactly a week without any major problems.  I had stayed in the cockpit for hours during storms and the boat behaved herself very well.  Even last night we had thunderstorms and lightning so I stayed up watching us swing from about 5:30 am until almost 7 am.  We had a cold front go through this afternoon and while I was ashore bringing back Gary’s car the wind changed abruptly about 90 degrees and started blowing around 25 knots.  That much of a quick change was too much for the anchor and it unburied itself and the boat was running free.   Yikes!

Today we finished up some chores this morning and while we were cleaning up on deck I saw the boat Second Wish head out of the harbor.  She was the boat that had anchored so close to us 3 days ago that I pulled in some of our anchor chain so we wouldn’t hit them.  I’m sure the shorter chain contributed to our anchor pulling out during the high winds yesterday and in hindsight, I probably should have asked them to move rather than shorten our anchor lines.  Anyway, when I saw them leaving we figured there was a nice place to anchor now where we used to be and it had better Internet access and a shorter dingy ride to the City Marina.  We decided to walk to the grocery store for a few items we missed yesterday so on the way in we dingy’d past our old anchor spot.  It was very open now with Second Wish gone so we thought about moving back. 

It was a cool day for walking and we had jackets on.  Highs today were only in the mid-60s which was very cold for here.   We found a Chinese Buffet on the way to the grocery store and stopped for lunch to check it out.  Mmmmmm.  Their food was excellent.  When we dingy’d back to our boat, we saw that someone else had filled in the hole vacated by us yesterday and Second Wish today.  Just as well I guess. 

Back to the boat I stopped by Rob’s and talked about the computer access here.  He said he was trying out a long range Wi-Fi Internet box but couldn’t get it working.  I said to bring the stuff over and a short time later we were working on Rob’s, Sue’s and our computer in the cockpit.  I was able to get both of their computers working without the long-range adapter but it worked great on our computer.  We’ll buy it from them and use it when necessary.

I don’t know if I mentioned that there were a couple boats in the harbor called “Smorgas-boats” which cater to the local boaters.  They putt around in these small (25’?) electric boats delivering daily papers, coffee, Danish, sometimes dinner and also act as taxi’s.  Anyway, they sell these long-range Internet adapters to the local boaters for $100.  I found them on-line for $60-$70 so with tax and shipping $100 isn’t a bad deal.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll hookup my new stereo.  We’re looking forward to being able to play some of our CDs.  For the past 3 months we haven’t been able to listen to CDs – just local FM stations through a few speakers downstairs.  I guess it’s time we liven up this place!

Tommorow we’ll also try to get a picture of the harbor and post on the blog.  Tuddles….

Entry for January 28, 2007

January 28, 2007

Yesterday we worked on a few projects.   Laura worked on filling the screw holes in our aft cabin trim with teak plugs while I changed the watermaker seawater pump.  The new pump is quite a bit smaller with 1/4 “ hose fittings.  The old pump was huge with 3/4 “ fittings.  The vendor in West Palm sold us the pump with all the right fittings.  When I went to install it, the fittings didn’t work.  So, we jumped in the dingy and motored over to West Marine.  They have a dock at a local marina.  We finally found the fittings that would work but it’s quite a contraption.  The inlet side of the pump has a 3/8” pipe fitting going into a 1/2” hose.  This goes into a ½” elbow and another short piece of ½” hose which connects to a ½” to 3/4” adapter.  The ¾” adapter connects to a short length of ¾” hose which hooks up to the seawater strainer and shut-off valve.  The good news is there isn’t any pressure on the system as it just pumps water directly to the high-pressure pump on the watermaker.  Anything the watermaker doesn’t use gets pumped overboard.  Guess what?  It doesn’t leak. 

 

Rob and Sue are out of their marina and anchored in the harbor about ½ mile away from us.  I’ll try to get somewhere and take a good picture of the harbor to post on the blog.  It’s quite a sight with probably 250 boats anchored here.  Rob and Sue came over for cocktails and munchies to watch the sunset together last night.  There are several boats in the harbor with people that blow conch shells exactly at sunset to “honor the day” and it sounds very cool.  After sunset we took our dingys into shore and walked to a local pub where our friend Joanna was tending bar.  We were also supposed to meet Gary and Dianna there for open-mic night.  It turned out that Joanna called in sick and Gary wasn’t feeling well so they didn’t show up.  We stayed for a burger then dingy’d over to the other end of the anchorage to a place called The Chiki Tiki who had a small band playing.  They band was 2 guitar players who had cowboy dress but played mostly Caribbean music with a little country-western flair.  We had a great time listening to the music until the bar closed at 9 pm.  What’s up with that?

 

Gary and Dianna have offered to loan us their car for shopping and we’re probably going to take advantage of it today for groceries.  It’s been about 2 weeks since we’ve been grocery shopping except for an occasional milk / ice stop.  Everything is holding up well on the boat and our refrigeration is keeping the food fresh.  After several days of frozen veggies we are looking forward to fresh fruit and veggies after today’s shopping.

 

We received an email from Jack today who is in Nassau.  He is planning to be in Georgetown until around March 1st when he’ll be leaving for points south and the Virgin Islands.  We’re hoping we’ll be out of here in time to meet up with him in the Bahamas so we can cruise to St. Thomas together.  That will be fun but it all depends on our sailmaker now and how quickly they can get our sails back to us.

 

Entry for January 27, 2007

January 28, 2007

Ahhh.  Another day in paradise.

 

Yesterday we went to shore for laundry and I needed to find a new radiator cap for our main engine.  It had been leaking slowly and recently the leak has gotten worse.  I went to 4 different places with no luck and eventually took a cab to NAPA where I was able to purchase a replacement for $8.50 plus $9 each way for the cab.  Maybe next time I will rent a car….  We also brought to shore (2) 5-gallon jugs for gasoline.  One for the dingy motor and one for the generator.  I walked them about ¼ mile to the gas station then carried them back to the City Marina where we dock the dingy.  I guess the exercise was good and it saved us $4 from purchasing gasoline at the marina on the other end of our anchorage.

 

The winds continued to subside yesterday and last night was cool with a gentle breeze in the anchorage.  Excellent for sleeping on-board.  It might have been the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time as my blood hasn’t thinned out yet for the warm weather.  If it doesn’t fall below 70 degrees at night, I’m always very warm and don’t sleep well.  I hope my body will get used to it shortly.

 

This morning I watched the new radiator cap on the main engine closely as we ran it for an hour to recharge our refrigeration.  It started leaking slowly then eventually sealed itself.  When it cools down, I’m going to do a closer inspection of where the cap installs to see if there is anything else I can do to seal the leak better.  I hate to think of taking the heat exchanger off the engine and bringing it to shore for rebuilding.  That’s a big job and will leave our boat without any mode of transportation – the sails are at the sailmaker and our engine will be out-of-service.  Maybe it won’t come to that….

 

This morning I also changed the oil in the Honda generator.  It was due after the first 20 hours which we hit yesterday.  I was laughing as I picked up the generator and held it over a bucket to catch the old oil – quite different from changing the oil in a car or our main engine.  Filling it was quick as it only holds .42 quarts.  I purchased a gallon of oil for generator oil changes so it will last me about 9 or 10 oil changes – almost a year of running every day.  Cool!

Entry for January 26, 2007

January 26, 2007

Good morning friends and families. It is Friday morning in Marathon Florida and we’ve spent a very restless night. A large storm came by yesterday afternoon while we were ashore meeting friends for lunch. We waited until the big rain had passed then dingy’d back to the boat (we still were drenched). I spent the afternoon reading in the cockpit watching the dance of boats around their anchors in the blowing wind. Around 4 pm, one of the sailboats started swinging wildly and actually hit a big trawler. The people on the trawler worked to free themselves from the sailboat which was unoccupied. They got away and moved their anchor further away. I guess someone called the city marina and one of their boats came out and babysat the sailboat. It was causing havoc in the anchorage but far enough away from us that we weren’t worried about Second Wind. About ½ hour later the Coast Guard showed up in a 35 foot workboat and tied themselves up to the wayward sailboat. They either pulled in the sailboat anchors or cut them free (I couldn’t tell from here) and motored away with the sailboat to take it to a better place. Several of the people on the boats around them cheered. I was sad thinking about the owners of the sailboat who were going to come back out to the anchorage after a day ashore only to find their boat gone. I’m not sure what happened but my best guess is the sailboat had two anchors out and they became tangled in each other which didn’t allow the boat to point into the heavy wind. Instead, it wandered around the tangled anchors trying to kiss all the boats around them.
Last night the wind continued to blow and eventually started gusting to 35 knots. I napped most of the night in the cockpit listening to the wind and waiting for any bumps that I needed to look into. Early in the evening I felt a couple of those bumps. It wasn’t us hitting other boats but instead hitting the bottom. The wind had blown some of the water out of the anchorage (as it often does) and it was low tide. It didn’t seem dangerous so I turned on the depth sounder and watched as the water slowly became deeper over the next couple hours as the tide came in. About 2 hours later we were free again and our boat was swinging on it’s anchor like everyone else. Geez!
As I was typing this the poopie-pumper came by. We called them yesterday to schedule a pump out. The whole process took about 5 minutes from tie up to cast off. Pretty smooth and we got rid of all our smellies for $5.
We’re been at this anchorage for almost a week now. Our day consists of sleeping in until 7 – 8 am then I get up and do my engine checks on the diesel main engine. It’s just simple things like check the oil and water levels, look for any leaks or problems around the motor and check the belts. I then start the engine and turn on the engine-driven refrigeration pump. I turn down the temp in the freezer and refrigerator so it will run for a full hour. This is the morning “deep freeze” of our refrigeration. At the low RPM (1,100) required for the refrigeration pump, the alternator puts out 60-65 amps so we get a little charge into the batteries at the same time. While the engine is running we usually take our showers and eat breakfast. The engine will also heat our hot-water tank so we have hot water on the boat all day.
After an hour, we shutdown the engine and open the doors to the engine room so everything cools down over the next hour or two. We then work on projects around the boat. Sometimes depending on how low our batteries are, I will run the Honda generator for about an hour to put more juice into them. The generator will charge the batteries at around 70 amps so every hour is 70 amp-hours back into the batteries. Sometime later in the afternoon I will switch our refrigeration back to 110v and run it off the inverter (makes 110v from the batteries) for the rest of the day. Around 10 pm I turn off the refrigeration until I run it off the main engine again the next morning.
Sometime later in the day / evening I will run the generator for another 1.5 to 2 hours. This will make up for the battery usage during the day from our refrigeration, lights, etc. around the boat. It seems like 1 hour on the main engine and 3 hours on the generator are keeping up with our usage. This figures out to about 5 gallons of gasoline (for the generator) and 3-4 gallons of diesel (for the main engine) per week. Adding in oil changes and maintenance raised the cost some but overall it’s a pretty inexpensive operation. Oh, another piece of the equation is the dingy and motor. Since we are anchored, our only way to shore is the dingy which we have been using quite a bit. It looks like we’ll probably be using about 3-4 gallons of gasoline for that each week too. We have 20 gallons of gasoline in (4) 5-gallon plastic jugs so it works out pretty good. Today or tomorrow I’ll have an empty 5-gallon jug from the generator and the 5-gallon jug for the dingy will be empty too. I’ll take them both to shore in the dingy and refill them so we are back to full stocks.
Our projects have been getter fewer and smaller. I will be changing the seawater pump on our watermaker over the next few days – I purchased a new pump from the manufacturer in West Palm while we were in Nettles Island Marina. The old pump is rusted and falling apart but we’ve been using it for our 5-minute / day flush of the watermaker system. We haven’t been making any water because I’m concerned that the water in the anchorage isn’t that clean. The watermaker will filter out everything for the drinking water side but the dirty intake water will clog the filters quicker. Water isn’t free in the Florida Keys but only runs 5 cents / gallon. So if we fill up when we are completely empty it will only cost 10 dollars for 200 gallons of good drinking water. It will cost me more than 10 dollars in gasoline for the generator to run the watermaker and make 200 gallons .
Yesterday we pulled down our jib, main and mizzen sails. We rolled them up and tied them into bundles with small lines from our line locker. We then took them to shore in the dingy (2 trips) and the sailmaker came and picked them up. Oh, if anyone is interested, we decided on burgundy (instead of the grey) for the sunstrips and sailcovers. It may only look nice for 2-3 years before it fades but we’ll probably need a new jib and mainsail at that point anyway. The burgundy will match the bimini cover and stripes around the hull and cockpit. Woo Hoo!
The rest of our day consists of reading or dingy’ing to shore. Ashore we can go for walks, laundry, groceries or other shopping – usually several on each trip. We’ll probably go to shore later today if the wind dies down a little which would make the trip a little smoother in our little 8 ½ foot dingy. Also, I want to be very sure our boat is ok on its anchor with the projected wind direction so we don’t leave and come back to find our boat taken away by the “anchor police”.

Entry for January 24, 2007

January 24, 2007

We’re baaaaaack on-line!

Our computer is fixed (good as new) and we’ve signed up for wireless Internet in the harbor.  There isn’t a free wireless service here so we paid $40 for a month of access.  Not too bad I guess since it works fine from the boat.

We met the computer fixer-guy at Rob’s boat around 9am this morning.  I had called Dell two days ago and they sent the tech with spare parts.  The technician (Paul) said it was the first time he worked on a computer on a boat.  Rob’s boat is out of the water but Paul took the computer apart on Rob’s salon table.  It was cool.  Paul changed out the mother board, keyboard and power supply.  It works great now.

We also contracted today with a local sailmaker to rebuild our jib, rebuild our mainsail and build a new mizzen sail.  We originally thought we would need all new sails but the salmaker looked them all over very closely and said the only replacement he recommended was the mizzen.  The others could be rebuilt and the sunstrip replaced which would give them another 3-4 years.  YEA!  Our only dilemma is what color to put on the sunstrips.  The sunstrip is sewn onto the outside of the sail and is the only part that shows when the sail is rolled up.  It protects the sail from the U/V light which will eventually destroy the sail.  We have the option of burgundy (to match our binimi cover) or grey (to match our decks).  We would automatically choose the burgundy but it will not last as long in the sun and will fade over the next 2-3 years. The grey will hold its color much longer.  I think it’s going to be grey but we haven’t decided yet.  We have to let the sailmaker know in the morning so he can start ordering materials.  Vote on-line now at www.sailsecondwind.com (only $2.95 per vote – only kidding).

The sails will take 3-4 weeks so today we made preparations to stay here for a month.  We signed up for a month of wireless Internet (which I already mentioned), paid for a month of dingy dockage at the city marina and got a local library card (FREE DVDs!).  We’ll probably get a marina for the last week we are here so we can stock up and fix up before leaving for the Bahamas (finally?).  The only thing really on our list is to replace our holding tank in the forward head.  The holding tank “holds” the poopies so they don’t go in the water.  We can get the tank pumped out at local marinas and there is even a pump-out boat that comes around here in the anchorage for $5.  They are very proud of the fact they are trying to clean up the water and totaled 62,000 gallons of poop pumped from the boats in the harbor last year.

Anyway, our holding tank is only 10 gallons which is very small.  We’re probably going to rip out some of the walls under the forward bed and put in a 30 or 35 gallon tank – whichever will fit.  We also have a waste treatment systems in our aft head but it can’t be used in the Florida keys.  They don’t think it’s good enough for them.  We have that head sealed off and will be fined if the cops come by to inspect our boat and it’s not sealed.  We’ve heard most boats are fined $250. 

Laura is still on the high-track learning curve for the boat.  While we were in Key Biscayne, I gave her some lessons in operating the dingy and outboard motor.  She was a little wild at first but is getting better at it.  Good thing she is in an inflatable boat so she just bounces off stuff J.  She’s also learned how to operate the Honda generator and charge our batteries if I’m not around.

When we came here from Key Biscayne, it took us two days.  The first day was excellent with winds behind us and great sailing.  The second day was a lesson in more heavy weather sailing with 20-25 knot winds coming from our port aft quarter.  The waves built during the day and eventually were 5-6 feet high and constantly trying to turn the boat.  The autopilot couldn’t keep up with the waves trying to turn us so we self-steered and took turns throughout the day.  We were very tired when we got here and I think we both took naps once the anchor was down.

We came here instead of the Bahamas because Rob thought he had problems with his prop shaft and they had a knowledgeable boatyard in the harbor.  They pulled his boat out of the water and found the problems were not as bad as he thought (YEA!).  Instead they blocked the boat on land so Rob and Sue could spend a couple days repainting some of the waterway touches and have their prop repaired.  They have been working on the boat most of the day then taking their dingy here to sleep at night – the boatyard doesn’t allow live-aboards while the boat is on land.  It’s been working out alright but we haven’t seen them much.  It’s a little like having teenagers around.  They come in late and leave early.

Now that we have Internet on the boat we’ll be blogging more often and with more detail.  Typing any lengthy document on my phone was a real challenge.  This is much easier with a computer that works!

Hello from Marathon, Florida.  It’s beautiful here.  Come and visit!

Entry for January 23, 2007

January 23, 2007

Hello everyone. I’m writing this on my phone because the computer is beoke and supposed to be fixed tomorrow morning (ya gotta love Dell on-site support)
We are anchored in Boot Key Harbor, Vaca Cay, Marathon Florida and the weather is beautiful. We came here because of problems with Rob and Sue’s boat. They needed to hauled our of the water to check their prop and shaft. It wasn’t qs bad as they thiught so they will be going back in the water in a couple days.
We sailed down here in the most wind and waves we’ve tried yet. 20 to 25 knot winds and 5 to 7 foot waves. Yee Haa!! Our sails didn’t take it well and we had a sailmaker on the boat today checking them out. He thought only 1 sail needed replacing (our missen) and the others could be overhauled and last for another 3 to 4 years. This is excellent news since all new sails are about $10,000 (or as Rob would call it “about 10 boat-dollars”). If we have the repairs done, we’ll have to say here for about a month. That will still give us time to cruise The Bahamas and Virgin Islands before heading south for the summer
All is well here and it’s now been over a week since we had the boat at a dock. The new alternator and generator are doing their jobs well and we’re keeping the refrigeration cold and batteries charged. Yea!

Entry for January 19, 2007

January 19, 2007

We are in the Florida Keys (just barely) and I’m writing this entry on my phone because our computer is having issues and we haven’t seen Internet access in awhile. The A,Q and Z keys stopped working on the computer today. The marine environment is hard on this stuff.
All is well except we’ll probably be in the US for another week or 2. Rob found some issues with his prop shaft today so he’s probably going to get the boat hauled to repair it. This might happen in Marathon – about 80 miles south of here in the keys.
We’re currently anchored about 8 miles south os Miami near Key Biscayne. We had planned on staying around here until Sunday night when the weather looked favorable to a Bahama crossing. No worries mon. We’ll get there eventually.

Entry for January 15, 2007

January 15, 2007

We’re ready! I’ve completed the installation and checkout of the replacement inverter and it looks great.  I also shipped back the old unit so I can get my $900 deposit back (geez!). 

Yesterday we finished the aft-cabin ceiling and Laura only had a few touch up items today.  The picture is the finished product.  It looks awesome and I’m so glad it came out good.  It only took us 2 ½ months to tear out all the rotted plywood and rebuild everything.

The boat is 99.9% ready.  There are only a few last minute items we want to pick up at the grocery store in the morning and we need to secure a few items we haven’t found a home for yet.  It’s going to seem weird cruising again after spending 5 weeks here with a short, 1 week, break in the middle to drive home for Christmas.  But, I think we are a much better boat than when we pulled in here.  I told Laura that I thought we had done a pretty good job of making Second Wind into a good motorboat while we were in Deltaville.  It took us 1,000 miles without any major problems.  While we were here, we needed to turn it into a cruising boat that could be independent for weeks at a time.  I feel pretty comfortable we’ve done that with the new alternator (to charge the batteries quickly when we run the main engine) and new generator (to charge the batteries when we are anchored out).  There have been many other projects we worked here that will also help along these lines. 

We’ll be traveling south for a couple days so we can get down around Miami before crossing to The Bahamas.  If we get to Miami and the weather isn’t right for the crossing, we’ll continue to head south into the Florida Keys and spend some time there in the beautiful green waters.  That will also give me some time to checkout all the new items on the boat and see if I need to make “adjustments” before leaving the U.S.

The weather has been pretty nice here with daily highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the 60’s.  That’s much warmer than it should be here but we’re not complaining.  Today was slightly overcast but still warm.

We brought a cocktail up to the tiki-hut (captains’ lounge) and had dinner with the other folks in the marina.  One of the captains of a large yacht (92’) bought 50 pounds of fresh crab and they had 2 pots boiling them. Someone asked Laura if she liked crab and she said, “no”.  I reminded her it was the same crab in crabcakes and crab stuffing.  She tried some and sat at the crab table for quite awhile as she got used to tearing the legs and bodies apart to get at the sweet meet.  Mmmm.

Rob and Sue got behind today on their chores so they are not leaving until tomorrow morning.  They are planning on leaving at sunup so they should be in this area around noon.  We’ll plan on casting off around that time.

We’ll try to keep up on emails when possible.

Wish us luck as we cruise off to new horizons!!