Monday, August 13, 2012

Boat Repairs

We are in the middle of multiple boat repairs and maintenance on the Missing Link. On the list to do is replace all seacocks and hoses leading to them, replace the water heater and hoses, replace the raw water pump, replace engine hoses and belts, change two hanging lockers to shelf storage, replace galley floor, and install a new marine radio.The most important repair is the replacement of the seacocks as the boat manufacturer had installed brass gate valves as seacocks, this was fine as long the boat was in fresh water but now that we are in salt water they needed to be replaced. This was demonstrated to me when I removed the head intake seacock, the gate was completely corroded away! You could turn the handle all you wanted to but you could not close it. The replacements I chose are the Forespar Marlon Seacocks as they are nonmetallic we should nor have any problems with corrosion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Huricane season preparations

We are now back in Florida and have the boat hauled and strapped down for hurricane season. We decided not to head North for the Summer and had the boat hauled at Westland Marina in Titusville as I have a lot of work I want to do in the boat, such as replace all the seacocks, repair the exhaust mixing elbow, change hanging lockers into shelf storage, replace the remaining rug that was on inner hull inside storage areas, and install a new marine radio. We are also recovering the cushions in the salon area. We do have a place to stay in Lake Wales Fl about 1 1/2 hrs away and I can stay on the boat while working on it if need be. The dry storage areas here all have water and electric right at the stern of the boat so it is convenient for working, cleaning, and rigging the boat.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Crossing Back to the US.

 We left Marsh Harbour Marina with Michael on Casey Dee Thursday May 3 at 9AM and Sailed all the way to Great Sale Cay. We were going to stop at Spanish Cay, but Chris Parker our Weather adviser said that Sunday afternoon might have squalls so we pressed on. After a quiet night at Great Sale we left at 8 AM and got to White Sand Ridge on the Little Bahama Banks and started looking for the charted 10 to 15 ft water but could find only 24 ft at the shallowest. On the way to White Sand Ridge I did catch and release a small Barracuda.
  We anchored around 9 PM  and planned to sleep there until 4 in the morning and then leave for fort Pierce. Chris was having trouble getting to sleep as it was a little roll and it was a good thing as around 11pm Chris heard water running and when she looked in the floor grate forward of the engine water was running in the boat. When she woke me I opened the engine hatch and saw that the intake hose from the thru hull had come off of the raw water pump. After closing the thru hull valve and cutting off an inch of the hose and reattaching it to the pump we went back to bed. As a side note if you have a 2GMF Yanmar engine the hose fitting on the intake side of the raw water pump does not have any barbs on it, it is smooth and not very long. That will be fixed!! At around 4am we raised anchor and started on our way for Fort Pierce. We were able to Sail for about 20 miles and then the wind began to drop and the waves dropped from about 1 ft to dead calm.
  That lasted until about 15 miles out where the wind picked back up and we were able to raise the sails again. We got to Harbortown Marina around 4:30, tied up had drinks and a meal at the marina restaurant

Good bye to friends.

After a Winter in the Abacos and flying home a couple of times we sadly say good bye to all of our friends at the Jib Room and Marsh Harbour Marina. One of the boats, Blue Caribbean with Sean and Norman left a day earlier than we did. They left for Ireland via Bermuda and the Azores, a trip of over 3400 miles on a Cape Dory 30. We had a wonderful time there and plan to stop there again next year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


We flew to Florida for 2 1/2 weeks and had a great time with family but the fast pace back home was overwhelming.We watched tv and had constant reports of crime and traffic accidents and wondered why we should return back home.The Bahamians are so relaxed and accepting of us,we got a hug when one of the workers returned from her vacation,so nice.I had a talk with a few Bahamians this week while relaxing in the outdoor Orchid Lounge here and asked what they feel is the reason for low crime and friendly atmosphere here in the Abacos.They feel that it goes back to loving mothers who have very high expectations of their children,they do not want to shame their mother and also were raised with the church an important part of their youth.
I will have a hard time leaving for hurricane season.Another reason is continued persistent wind,we missed a weather window to cross over while we were flying back and will wait again for possibly several weeks for another.
We meet so many interesting cruisers here and only a rare pompous fool. Last month we had a singlehander next to us who would keep the hatches closed and only surface very briefly for a hose down on the bow once a week,he had a ponytail atop of his head like a samurai.He grunted unintelligible greeting once in the several weeks being here next to us.So glad that he has left.
On the positive side we met a young doctor from Ireland and his wife just getting started in sailing.He is readying his Cape dory 31 for the sail back to Ireland having brought it here single handed from U.S.A.
It was a sad day when his wife flew home,it was nice to have a lively young lady here. I will worry with her as her husband and his friend navigate to Bermuda and to the Azores and then to Ireland.The mother in me today tried to talk him into leaving the boat here as a second home,can`t help but try to adopt these young cruisers.
We purchased a SSB radio in Fla. but will wait to install it this summer as we would have to pay duty to bring it here now.We get our weather via computer for our passage back to Fla.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Season of the Wind

  Sitting here yet in Marsh Harbor at The Marsh Harbor Marina,they make it hard to leave with great rates, entertainment and good old family feeling here. Last night the wind blew over 50 knot gusts for a few hours with lots of lightening and rain,of course Mike slept like a baby until I went on deck and found I couldn`t adjust the lines and we were banging the dock a bit. He woke up briefly and adjusted the lines and no damage. This winter was full of persistant winds of 20-25 knots with cold fronts more frequently than usual bringing strong gusts but no cold weather.
  We had strong wind on the nose going to Guana Cay for the Barefoot Man concert but finally a beautiful sail with no motor for the return trip here.The concert was really fun,we went two nights and had a blast. The Jib Room owners brought their boat too and they put on a yummy fish fry at the dock at Orchid Bay. They do so much for the cruisers here.
 We haven't done as much this winter but are always busy. I love to cook on board and grab new recipes off the internet to try, no spam and ramen noodle soup here. There is always boat maintainence including chasing rust off the deck from the salt water spray and watching for sun damage. Mike had to sew the dodger in places as well as the sacrificial sunbrella edge on the jib. The Sailrite sewing machine was worth the space it takes up. If bored we dingy or walk into town and sometimes pass the heat of the day playing Mexican Train Dominoes with other cruisers. Mike often shoots the breeze at the bar and since we switched this year to a cash only policy has drank more diet cola than rum, poor boy.
  I really miss my family this year so we decided to fly to Florida for my little sister`s wedding next month.We have learned that you can`t count on a good weather window and a deadline means trouble so we will bring the boat back across the Gulf Stream either May or June, we hope to catch some good sailing before then.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guana Cay, Abaco

We finally loosened the lines and sailed to Guana Cay Yesterday AM. This weekend is the Barefoot Man concert at Nippers Beach Bar here on Guana and we have a group of boaters from Marsh Harbor Marina who are going to get together here on Guana Cay for the weekend and have a great time. We will rent golf carts and explore the Island and do some bar hoping. It usualy gets croweded here when the Barefoot Man plays so we wanted to be here early and be able to get a prime spot to enjoy the concert. We left yesterday before everyone else because the weather was forcasted to have squalls today and tommorow AM. We are now at Orchid Bay Marina and will be here until Sunday and from there who knows.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sad Day

My Mom passed yesterday after a short fight with cancer, She was at home with my Sister Lu at her side and did not suffer.  Per her wishes we will not be having a funeral or services, please remember her in your own way and celebrate her life. We always had a great time as a family and I know we will all miss her.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Cruising Gear

Still tethered to the dock here in Marsh Harbor anticipating another trip by Mike to the U.S.A. as his mother`s health deteriorates.I have been thinking of more items that make our boat life easier.
1. a sailrite sewing machine that we used to ensure a full cockpit enclosure which protects my redheaded husband from too much sun and acts as a protected porch area adding space to our small boat.Mike has used the machine to restitch stress areas on our canvas and several sails from people who had rough crossings.
2. Spot  allows us to update position of the boat for our concerned family and has a panic button to give G.P.S. position to authorities in an emergency
3. St. Brendan`s Isle is our mail forwarding service,they scan our mail and we can print,delete or save mail and they will forward a package anywhere
4. Solar garden lights, we have several on the deck to allow safe night climbing on and off the boat.We use cheap ones from Harbor Freight and Home depot rather than pricy marine versions
5. Divers Alert Network,includes a policy for medical advice and medivac transfer if needed for a small yearly fee.The safety updates and beautiful diving magazine alone are worth the price
6. Step stool that folds,being short it allows me to get off the dock with all the tide changes as well as reach down into the bottom of the refrig
7. Lightweight clothing,we have switched to mostly very thin fabrics as laundry everywhere is 4 dollars to wash and 4 dollars to dry,I am too lazy to bucket wash all clothes,we really only need one pair of long pants and the light weight fleece jacket for cold fronts early in the season so most cold weather clothes were off loaded last summer
8. Travasack bedding,this is a sleeping bag concept with the sheets top and bottom that velcro in,have had ours 4 years with one extra set of sheets to rotate and love it,makes bed making a breeze.We also bought hypervent fabric as bottom layer to help wth condensation as well as Froli system that works as an innerspring followed by boat cushions topped with 6 inches of memory foam,we bought a king size memory foam topper from Walmart and cut it to size allowing doubling in the vberth
9. Sodastream machine, have had ours 5 years and love it,we make diet cola,root beer,cran raspberry sodas and never have to haul cans or bottles or dispose of the trash
10. A.T.M. card,the best local restaurants have cash only,Marsh Harbor has atms for Royal Bank of Canada and Scotia Bank that are safe and reliable.You also need cash for entry fee into the Bahamas

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cruising gear.

I have been asked a few questions about what gear we use on our boat, so I an posting a list of the gear we use. Just remember I probably like too many creature comforts and our list is not all "must have" equipment. We are not roughing it !  We spent a few years preparing for cruising, getting the boat ready, going to cruising seminars at the Annapolis boat show and West Marine, reading a lot of other cruisers blogs, and cruising forums on the Internet.

1.  Adequate battery bank           We have 3 group 27 batteries for the house bank  and one group 24 deep cycle for starting with a automatic charging relay between them.

2.  Solar Panel                           Ours is a 130 watt Kyocera panel with a Blue sky MPPT solar controller. I would like 1 more panel!

3.  Wind Generator.                   We have the Air Breeze wind generator. it does have as high of an output as the AIR-X but it starts charging in lower wind speeds and is self regulating.

4. Anchor windlass.                     We have a Lewmar PF 700 as that is what would fit on our boat. It is so nice to push a button to raise the anchor.

5. washdown pump.                     As you raise the anchor and Muddy rode it is indispensable to clean them for storage before your anchor locker is full of mud.

6.  Good anchor and backup.       I have a Manson Supreme with 200' of chain and 200' of 3 strand for my main anchor and a Lewmar Delta with 25'of chain and 250' of three strand for a backup. ( I have never had it all out but I sleep well )

7. Dock Lines                             At least 6 long dock lines and a couple of spring lines if your are taking a dock as you will be tying to pilings and not side tied to a floating dock.

8. Dinghy !!                                 Your dinghy will be your taxi and main transportation while cruising. A hard bottom dinghy is preferable as it tracks better, won't abrade through when you drag it ashore on beaches and coral. You also need an outboard large enough to move it along.

9.  External WIFI antenna.         We have a ALFA WIFI USB antenna ( $40. ) that will pick up a signal in most anchorages. There is some free WIFI , but you may have to pay to log on. Some marinas have free WIFI but not all.

10.  Engel Freezer                     It is nice to have Ice, freeze extra fish, lobster and frozen meat.

11.  Watermaker.                      We have a Spectra 150  It is not a necessity but it makes our life much easier for us, we do not have to carry extra water on deck, haul water when anchored out, and skimp on showers.

12. Pressure cooker.                 Helps to reduce fuel usage while cooking and tenderizes tougher cuts of meat.

13.  Extra containers for fuel and water on deck with a way to lash them down.

14. Racor 500 fuel filter with plenty of spares and biocide for suspect fuel.

15.  Oil change pump, plenty of spare oil and filters.

16.  Honda 2000 Generator.     Great to have so you don't have to run the engine at anchor when wind and sun don't keep up with the demand .  Also will run water heater for hot showers and small appliances.

A fellow Cruiser Tom on Dreamcatcher has some great tips and a good gear list and links. Here is a link to his blog;

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Marsh Harbor Marina & Jibroom Restaurant

I have returned to the Bahamas from Ohio and visiting with my mom, she is now stable and not in pain and in a nursing home being taken care of. Family is close by to her and we will be in contact with them while we continue our cruises. We are docked at Marsh Harbor Marina and will use this as a base while we spend the rest of the winter in the Abacos just doing short one or two day trips to the neighboring Cays and returning back here. The staff here has been great to us and constantly checked up on our boat and Chris while I was away. The marina is a small  68 slip family run business and they feel like family to us, we couldn't of picked a better marina to stay at. Marsh Harbor is a great place to base yourself while sailing the Abacos, there are numerous different Cay's all within a day sail from here and all of the provisions, fuel and transportation is nearby. The airport with daily flights back to the US is a short cab ride from the Marina so that anyone can fly in or out whenever they feel like. The weather has been perfect so far this winter with only one cool spell for a day or two. Chris has not had to wear a fleece jacket at all and we sleep with the hatches open every night. So maybe we will visit the far Bahamas next winter.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dock Life

The boat is tethered to the dock in Marsh Harbor at The Jib Room for a while.Mike`s mother has become gravely ill and he and his sister will take turns at her side,Mike anticipates going to Ohio next week.The owners here were very attentive to his need and came right away with a Bahamian cell phone for the boat.I will stay and boat sit and will have many dock mates who will help with any problems while he is gone.
We have had a couple of cool nights,in the 50`s but tonight is gorgeous with a blazing orange sunset.Mike hasn`t gone fishing here but helped a fisherman clean his catch and was rewarded with a nice strawberry grouper.
Marsh Harbor did have some hurricane damage including the town dingy dock but we have been allowed to use the wine store`s private dock in town.Of course he felt it fair to shop there and found a great Italian red wine for my pasta this week.They have relocated the Save A Lot discount store closer and can shop there or the provision company or big Maxwell's grocery.There are advantages besides the airport to Marsh Harbor but I really miss the travel to other islands.
The docks are not full,business is very slow in the islands.We got an excellent dockage rate that included electric,water and cable and they have clean showers ,pool and restaurant and bar.
Last week we shared a dock with a man who crossed over from Lake Worth with us.He came across in a 20 foot sailboat all by himself,he was at Green Turtle Cay with us then at New Years at Spanish Cay but got an email that his best friend was taken to hospice so he left across the Atlantic the next day.Not sure if he was courageous or crazy to solo sail across in a 20 foot boat.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Marsh Harbor Revisited

After a wonderful New Years Celebration at Spanish Cay we cut our stay short there due to a front that is forecast to come through tonight and tomorrow morning with high winds. We are now at Marsh Harbor Marina and Jib Room Restaurant, and will be here for a while as it is a secure place for the boat and I may have to fly home in the near future and there is a airport in Marsh Harbor. The celebration at Spanish Cay included a performance by The Barefoot Man, Prime Rib and Shrimp Dinner, Champagne, and a Fireworks display. We also won a gift basket loaded with goodies and a bottle of champagne for the best decorated boat. It couldn't of been better.