Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day four, but who's counting?

Why count the days when there's no end to the journey?

We Christened the Kelly Nicole the night before our journey 

Yes, that's Dom going overboard.
Thank you Josh!
Deb might be counting the days this week. She is still trying to adjust to Life with Pauly. Me? I'm just happy to have company. Remember I spent quite some time alone in Rochester and in Jacksonville while Deb was working. I must have been quite the recluse because I picked up this habit of thinking out loud. So recently we came into an anchorage in Daytona Beach that showed 14 feet on the chart, but I was seeing six, sometimes five. "Five! Crap we're plowing! Oh shit now it's 4.8! How can that be? We're crushing crabs! Which way do I turn?! Shit, Shit, SHIT!" Hearing this from the captain does not instill confidence in his skills as a mariner. Deb was looking at me like I was an idiot. "The guide says the depths are less than charted. About 6 to 7 ft, Dear!" What? Oh yea, I sort of remember looking at that earlier. Our depth sounder is off by about .8 ft. I should fix that.
We found a spot to drop the big hook and we had the anchorage all to ourselves and some twenty empty sailboats and this guy.

We thought this boat was unoccupied as well but it turned out someone was in it. They quietly inched forward in the morning and pulled anchor and left. Never saw a soul onboard the whole time we were there and I was doing my best Gladys Cravitz on the whole anchorage. Very creepy. Maybe it's Dick Cheney's hideout. Some old guy with a long white beard rowing a dinghy through the anchorage looked over at us like we were doing something stupid so I asked if there was any deeper water around here. "Nope. All mud too." He stared at us a bit then rowed towards shore and disappeared. More creepy. I had the Mantus buried and had room to let out 100 feet of chain, so I did. We didn't go anywhere and we slept reasonably well.

Previous to this anchorage we stopped in Palm Coast. The Palm Coast Marina was nice, friendly and helpful and we met some nice cruisers there.
Not sure I like the jerry cans up there.
Now we are in the New Smyrna Municipal Marina as we didn't like the anchorages ahead for the wind we're getting. We will sit tight until this front moves through and then move further south.

The High and Low:

  • Anchor looks good. Came up fine with manual windlass and pry bar to get it on the roller.
  • Got a water system leak in the lousy fitting outside the boat for bringing in pressured water.
  • Engine smoked white big time on Saturday. Been fine since. Not sure.
  • Had to tighten v-belt. Was new. No rubber burning.
  • Found I wired the freezer on the wrong side of the shunt for the Link batt monitor. Thought I bought the first one with a small fusion reactor inside. Guess not.
  • Docking went well.
  • Bridges were cooperative and we got lucky with timing.
  • Have not been off the boat much except for some crappy little cafe with an excellent view.
  • I tend to express myself too much. "If we lose power here, that would really suck. A quick turn to port, pop the Genny and head downwind so we don't hit the bridge, or we stick it in the mud" should be kept to myself.
  • Deb has not killed  me yet.

We had an awesome Bon Voyage from Sabrina and Tom of SV Honey Ryder who are currently in the Islands but managed to get friends Dan and Jaye to send us off properly. Very nice. So much appreciated. We had a great time with Dan and Jaye and we can't wait to get together again with Tom and Sabrina for some Rum sipping. Thank you!

Jaye likes to point that sword where it would hurt the most I see.
For all that are wondering what the cruising life is like, all I can say is that it's fun, adventurous, nerve wracking, sphincter tightening, frustrating, tiring, relaxing, and happiness. It's what we expected and what we received so far. All this and it's only been how many days?


Goodbye St Augie

kind of a tiny fort

Landed a dock next to bird shit island. They sound like people at night.

St Augustine parting shot

Bridge of lions

How big are the bilge pumps in this thing. Cool ship.

Nice lots along the way.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sailed Away

Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

No more dreaming. This seat is now available.
A sincere thank you to all our family, friends, acquaintances and all you internet people for all the years of support for our "crazy" adventure. Listening and reading about our dreams had to be a bit too much at times, but you all had a hand in this, so if it all goes to hell you can feel just a little bit responsible ;)

Thank You

Paul and Debra
S/V Kelly Nicole

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Any day now..

With just some minor details to work out, we are pretty much good to go for the start of our cruising life. For those readers not up on the lingo, cruising is what old sailors do when they don't race anymore. Actually cruising is hard to define as many different people cruise in many different ways. You can cruise in an RV, motorcycle, bicycle, powerboat, horse and buggy, car, roller blades, plane, train, kayak, shopping cart or sailboat. You could also board a giant floating hotel filled with thousands of people motoring to distant shores, usually puking for various reasons from food virus, sea state or liquor. Cruising is a way for people to get out and about; to leave the mundane; to break away from the TV, the internet and working for the man. To get out there for some fun and adventure meeting new people in new places.

We are not strangers to cruising. We have sailed south from New York to Florida, but that was a five week delivery. I'm referring to our Lake Ontario days.
We have cruised to the Thousand Islands on the East end of the lake and to Toronto on the west end. Some times with the kids and sometimes without.
We have had twelve to fourteen hour days at sea. Yes, the great lakes are inland seas. Just ask Ted Turner*. The family has experienced nine footers off the bow in our Hunter 34 for a whole day and Debra and I have been in ten foot seas coming back from Toronto in the M44. This was a day when the Coast Guard said we must be the only people out on the entire lake today. I thank him for not saying idiots. The video does not show the wave height very well and we were not even halfway into the day of terror at this point, but it was the only time I could let go of the wheel. By the time we got near Sodus Bay the waves had doubled. Debra and I have both handled boats for hours at a time in heavy weather without autopilot. We still do this.

I have been racing in a gale with twelve foot seas holding onto the stays of a C&C 35 to remain aboard. The girls and I have even cruised down the Connecticut River in a Sunfish for forty miles, camping along the way. Actually it was a series of races for two days. We took second place one year, losing first by a crash jibe that flipped the boat in thirty knots of wind. As fast as I've ever gone in a Sunfish.

So, we are not without experience, but I must tell you that this upcoming adventure is making us a little nervous. We know when we untie these lines that we are officially leaving our previous existence, which for the last few years has basically been living in a floating house tied to a dock. We are boat people no doubt, but we have been static. Moving brings decisions, planning, weather watching, boat handling skills, and patience. We have had it easy for too long and change will come quickly. Are we ready? I think so. If we stay static any longer we might as well just get jobs and become the old couple on D dock. Ain't gonna happen! We will just have to force ourselves away from the dock and go with it. The longer we are out there, the more comfortable and confident we will become.

I am excited and itchy to get going, yet jittery. Deb feels the same way but perhaps a bit wary of what's in her immediate future. She knows it will be different without deadlines and commitments. A nice relaxed pace will be completely new to us. Sure weather will impact us but we will have time to plan for it and not get caught in a bad place. I think it's knowing that everything we have is encased in this fiberglass hull which is subject to mother nature's indifference, is what makes Debra a bit concerned. That and the fact that we are out of practice in our boat handling and sailing skills.

It's kind of a freak out knowing one bad decision could leave you homeless. Nice thoughts eh? On a positive note, there are so many cruisers out there with way less experience than we have and they are doing great. I think I would be worried if we weren't nervous. No one gets slapped harder than a cocky sailor.

We will let our kids know when we leave but I'm not sure we will post anything until we stop somewhere along the way south. To me it's bad luck to announce your departure but I am a little quirky.
Yes, we are going south while everyone else is going north. Why not? We hate crowds and I don't see the point in venturing into the cold evenings when it's the best time of year in Florida for boating. So we will take our time.
We are not riding out hurricane season down here. We plan on being in the Chesapeake for the summer, sailing our asses off while avoiding crab pots. Hopefully we will run into a few of you while we are up there. Not literally of course but I will tack to starboard just to piss you off so stay alert.

Because it is a new chapter in our lives I was toying with the idea of changing the blog title. Latitude 43 does not make much sense any more, but I guess it has some history and it is where we started from, so I'm really not sure I want to change it. If anyone out there has any suggestions for a new blog title let me know. A really good one might make me change my mind. Feel free to express yourselves :)

See you on the water!

*But it is Turner who is perhaps most famous for underestimating the race. Having never sailed the Mac before, Turner was warned that Lake Michigan can dish up some particularly challenging conditions at times. Having thousands of ocean miles under his belt, Turner’s reply was akin to a guffaw: “Yeah, I’m really scared.” Later, with his 12-Meter American Eagle and his crew bruised and battered in a fearsome northerly gale, Turner famously proclaimed, “I hereby publicly retract anything and everything I have ever said about inland sailing.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy Tanksgiving!

They're here!

Starboard side aluminum water tank
I should have taken a photo of both of the tanks but Deb and I were so excited to finally get them that we immediately installed one.

It's unbelievable how long we  have waited for these damn things to arrive in the shape we had asked for. We kept getting notices on the shippers website that the tanks were out for delivery but they never arrived. On the third day of this Deb had had enough, and called the shipping company. They had a hard time locating the truck that had our tanks, but they were sure they had them. Comforting. So Deb had them call me as soon as they found the damn things. We sat and wondered if we were ever going to have new water tanks or is this just one cruel joke the sea Gods were playing on us. It wasn't too long when Ralph called to say the tanks had been delivered to the yacht yard and they were sitting just inside the fence! Thanks Ralphie.

We practically ran over to the yard to find the skid. We tore off the packaging and I got my tape measure out and verified the dimensions before we unbanded the two beautiful aluminum objects that are kind of like gold to us now. Like kids at Christmas we had wide eyes and smiles. "They look good" I said.

I don't think anyone in the yacht yard ever saw us destroy and discard the packaging from the delivery. We were gone in minutes and the only thing that remained was an empty wooden pallet. We hauled the tanks to the boat on one of the marina carts. They made one loud hollow sound as we bounced on down the ramp. I guess it's not every day you see a couple hauling large aluminum tanks around. We got a few what the hell's from other boaters. Some lifting and maneuvering got these tanks eased into the bow. I had to make a few mod's to the space but basically they dropped in place.

We both deserved a cold one after the tanks fit the space.

Amazing how quickly Debra and I got these things in place. It's like if we didn't install them right away they might be gone in the morning and this would have all been just a dream.

Today I'll make the hose connections and lock these tanks in place. We are going to pour foam in the corners to secure them further. I know people get freaked out by foaming in tanks. The old tank was completely foamed in place since 1989 and it didn't move or rot. I don't have a lumber yard next door and a pile of woodworking tools conjure up my inner Bob Vila so I'm going to use some angle iron, neoprene strips, stainless bolts, and FOAM.

The best part of today is not the tank hookup, it's the visit from my baby girl! Nicole is on her way back from a conference in Orlando and is stopping by the boat today. The tanks will be put on hold so that they can have a place to sleep. Yes, I said THEY. Nicole will arrive with someone that we have not met yet, and will not meet until August.

Debra and I are going to be blessed with another Grandchild! :)

We've known about this for a while and are pretty happy about it. Nicole and Jonathan will make great parents and Mighty Mason will have someone to play with at family get togethers in the Islands, with the salty Grandparents.

Life is good.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Magic Truck

We are waiting patiently for the now famous tanks to arrive. I have a tracking number, and I have been keeping tabs on the delivery date all week. To my surprise I see the tanks are out for delivery which is great. What's not so great is that they are being delivered back in time.

Not sure how this will work. I can only hope that the tanks are correct and that the past me installs them properly. Can the past catch up with the present? Will I suddenly have new tanks? While the old me is installing the tanks and he happens to slice a finger off will the present Pauly lose a digit? Interesting questions. If this was Colorado I would light one up and ponder the possibilities.

I need to find that truck and go back to the time the previous owner was thinking about converting his water tank to a holding tank and knock him over the head. Wait, what am I thinking? Screw the tanks. If I can go back in time I'll just take the winning powerball numbers with me. Hello Hinckley Yachts. I'd like to place an order.

Present Pauly