Thursday, February 26, 2015

Location update. Eleuthera

Right this very minute we are sitting out a blow at anchor in Rock Harbor Sound at the south end of Eleuthera. We are kind of exposed a little but are in only seven feet of water. It's weird sitting here bouncing around in that depth. I keep waiting to hear the keel bouncing off the earth. That would be bad. They call it rock sound for a reason.

I couldn't decide where to anchor when we came in. The south looked attractive, but the chart said rocky ground. We would take less of a pounding but we might blow away. The shore near the town had better holding but in south wind we would feel it all. The wind was supposed to shift more to the east and then we would be in a good spot close to town. Hmm. I bounced this off Deb but she was staying out of it. Indecision may or may not be my problem. I decided to drop it close to town.

I wasn't the only one who decided on this spot but since that decision most all the boats moved to the protection of the south end. A tall ship from Boston came in this morning and dropped behind us. Kind of made me feel better. When we drag maybe we can tie up to them and sample some of their Sam Adams. I can't sample any of my own brews because the fridge died. All the food is now jammed in the freezer, which is now a small fridge.

The other day I noticed the fridge was at the same temp for hours. I also noticed the damn thing was running all the time. I checked the plate and it was at 30 degrees. Not good! We defrosted and cleaned it all out. I checked for leaks and found one fitting was not as tight as I expected it to be. The plate is acting like it doesn't have the proper amount of refrigerant. So now I'm on the lookout for some refrigerant here in town once the damn wind stops.

The fridge was running great up until that point. You would think there would be some gradual degrading. Damn. I have to sneek a beer into the freezer every now and then, but i have to eat something first so it will fit. We froze a lot of bread products. Guess I'll be a little dough boy pretty soon if I want some beers. Eat three bagels, chill two beers. Eat a brick of cheese, add another beer. Oh boy.

Tomorrow after a town visit, and hopefully a bar visit, we are going to test the watermaker. We were going to fire it up in Alabaster Bay but when I got into the dinghy that day the water looked like someone dumped a holding tank in it. WTF is the matter with people? A boat had just left so I suspected that maybe they purged. Maybe not. Maybe it was the towns doing. Who knows. Why dump your waste when you are going offshore within the hour? Can't it wait?

On a cleaner note - You should see the water!! Amazing. Simply amazing. Yesterday we saw the base of a cloud reflecting the blue of the water below. Beautiful. When I raised anchor last, there were baby squid swimming around. We also saw a small shark having dinner. Deb was going to pop in the water to wash her hair at that time. She changed her mind. We didn't think there would be any sharks in that shallow water but we were wrong. Rays, turtles, shark, squid, dolphin, starfish, all kinds of cool fish and even a whale were some of the creatures we've seen so far. One thing we did notice is the lack of birds. Very few birds around. No food?

We are in Rock Sound for a bit. Hopefully we can get the fridge going and then move on to the Exumas.

Updates are slow. I can update my personal facebook page, but FB removed the email capability for the S/V Kelly Nicole page or any personal blog page. Stupid. I guess I'll have to do more blog updates instead, or you can friend me on FB. I need more friends. I'm really a nice guy. Ask any bartender along our route.

By the way. I added up the miles since we left NY and it's getting close to 4,000 nautical miles. Wow.

Have a nice day peoples.
Cheers!
P


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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Morning Tea. Hatchett Bay, Eleuthra

The Morning Tea posts are a just a brain dump of random thoughts related to this cruising life. I have not done one in a while and that's because I have not had too much on my mind lately. We spent way too much time in Coconut Grove to have anything worth writing about. Don't get me wrong, we had fun, but it got old fast. Thankfully we had friends there to break up the monotony.







  • Coconut Grove/Miami is an expensive stop
  • The line between poverty and wealth is clearly defined and visible with just a short walk south.
  • Two cycle outboard engines are fairly reliable until they're not. Then you want to set them on fire.
  • It's better to buy a new carburetor then to spend a week cleaning an old one.
  • After you've been tied down somewhere for a couple of months it's tough to get going again.
  • We are so done with Miami. Always thought I was a big city person. Nope
  • Lot's of cruisers are social butterflies, floating from boat to boat for sun downers and dinners.
  • We are more like social owls. We sit and watch people. When someone asks about so and so we say, "Who? Who?"
  • We have met some really nice people along the way.
  • I'm concerned about the garbage we generate. No, it's not all beer cans and bottles.
  • Weather windows. What some call a window of opportunity I call a door to hell.
  • Our trip up the Miami river was exciting. Narrow with lots of bridges. Don't do it on a weekend.
  • Boat yards are like car repair shops. They always want to sell you something you do not need. When you decline you are now shit to them, which means you get launched at the very end of the day just before the last bridge closes for rush hour.
  • Instant oatmeal sucks
  • We watched the super bowl. Is it me or does the whole thing seem too polished and scripted?
  • We put away the TV for a long time.
  • People come into a mooring with all kinds of flags flying. What's up with the flags?
  • Why are pens so expensive? Must be the gel technology.
  • I switched from British breakfast tea to Irish breakfast tea. My pinkie finger was cramping up
  • I messed up my shoulder from pulling that damn starter cord on the outboard for a friggin week. Maybe it's arthritis. Maybe it's scurvy.
  • Fresh fruit and veggies just don't last aboard the good ship Kelly Nicole.
  • The Coconut Grove bus is only 25 cents to ride. It's like putting a quarter in a slot machine. Most times it's mixed fruit but every now and then it's totally bananas
  • The boat next to us has rounded Cape Horn. I feel so insignificant.
  • The boat on the other side of us has been sitting here 9 yrs. I feel so adventurous.
  • The rat race is a tough thing to purge from your brain. Some folks are still in it.
  • If I were raising a kid today I would steer them towards a skilled trade.
  • A cruising couple zoomed past me in their dinghy while I was working on installing the carb. Their wake caused me to stop what I was doing and brace myself. They waved and smiled despite my thoughts of drowning them.
  • One night a fishing trawler steamed through the mooring field trying to find the channel. They were apparently close enough to know they forgot the old spice that day. Drunk and stupid works for some.
  • The waterways are still safer then the highways.
  • Can openers just don't last. 
  • Everything aboard is showing signs of rust. Even my glasses, watch and belt buckle. Hopefully the plate in my head is OK, though I keep that well lubricated.
  • When we were day sailors, big wind was associated with fun times. Now that we are cruisers it's associated with sleepless nights and rough passages.
  • The cruising guides tell you if you enter this cut at the wrong time you will surely die. You get to the cut and think, "We will surely fking die." You go through the cut and you think, "Those assholes who write this shit should surely die!" Kidding. They should be fired instead.
  • I expected more palm trees in the Bahamas.
  • No pictures can do justice to the clear blue waters of the Bahamas.
  • It's way more fun sailing then motoring but sometimes you just have to burn some dinosaurs.
  • My engine makes me nervous just looking at it.
  • What is it with these Teva sandals and the stink?! No wonder dogs like me. My feet smell like their paws.
  • I want more solar panels. Another 200 watts would be perfect.
  • It seems some cruisers bring their entire life with them. A life of consumerism.
  • Never ask to borrow tools from the boat with all the toys. They never have tools. 
  • Canned asparagus is disgusting
  • The iridium Go is working out well so far.
  • We miss face timing with the kids. It's not enough to text or to just hear their voices. We need to see their smiling faces.
  • Our grandsons are growing like weeds. "Mom, Dad, Who are the old sun baked people that smell funny?" Those are your grandparents dear.


Been too long since I felt like blogging. Maybe I'll do more now that we are...

CRUISING THE ISLANDS!


Cheers!
PB

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We did it!

With the exception of the kids and Facebook friends, we have kind of vanished. Like us, the Wifi has vanished as well. Some peeps on Facebook kind of sort of know whats going on but the rest of you just reading the blog are a bit out of touch. So, let's get updated.

Way back on the Monday the 9th of February at about 1AM we left No Room, I mean No Name Harbor, and proceeded to cross the Gulf Stream with many boats. We had very little wind and what we did have was on the nose. We released carbon emissions into the atmosphere the whole way there and arrived at the Bimini entrance about 9AM. We caught up to the pack that had left about midnight and I was asked if I would like to lead them in. What? Um, uh, golly gee I uh...NO! So I didn't man up and I let Tammy from Dos Libras plow a path. I know I know. Hey, its a dog eat dog world. If she got hung up on a shoal I'm sure we would fret about it and try to help her and Bruce from the nearest bar. They would do the same for me. We did witness a rescue off the shoal at the entrance to Bimini. Some poor bastard hit one of the channel markers in pretty rough seas. I saw this guy out in the channel and I thought he was heading out, then I thought he was heading in. Maybe he changed his mind. Then
a few
of us were looking at him and that's when we realized he was in trouble. A local fishing boat went out to tow the guy in. He lost his steering and apparently slammed into the channel marker, cracking the bow and almost losing his head stay. We got him securely tied to the dock and he looked completely beat and confused. Sad to witness. Just a reminder of how shit can happen out here.
In Bimini we met some pretty nice folks and had us a happy hour and a pot luck. We also took a tour of the island by golf cart. Sixteen of us rented carts and drove around. We picked up some lunch out of a mini-van and bought some coconut bread at a local baker. The women selling lunch out of the van had some awesome mac n cheese. Being our first island in the Bahamas we wanted to see it all with the exception of south Bimini which we read enough about to know its not worth the trip. We also toured the Dolphin House, which is remarkable by the fact that the builder uses cast off materials or beach trash and cements it all into the walls of the two, soon to be three story structure. The dude has some amazing skills and is fun to talk to. The second floor rooms can be rented out for one hundred a night. Looking at it from the outside you would think the rooms might be a bit trashy but they were very nice and I think it would be a neat overnight stay.
Bimini was a nice stop and I'm glad we did it. If we had waited for the perfect window to cross we would still be in Florida getting aggravated and impatient. When we left Bimini we did so at low tide. Plenty of water and believe it or not I used my eyes instead of the electronics. The navionics charts on the Raymarine e7 are worthless here. We have an iPad with Garmin charts and we reference those.
We left Bimini heading north around North Rock and onto the Banks where we dropped the hook at Makie Shoal for a nice quiet night. Ha! We woke at 1AM to three foot waves and big wind smacking us on the nose and it was almost puke bucket time there for a while. Day break had us moving on under motor and jib but the wind was right on our ass. The seas were rolling us and nobody felt like hitting the deck to unhook the whisker pole to keep the genny flying, or dealing with the main beating itself to death all day long. The folks that went south through Cat cay had a much better angle and were able to broad reach the whole way.
Our night on the banks was awesome until the blow came through. We sat and looked at the amazing sunset and the bright starry night that fell upon us. We celebrated with a Rohrbachs brew from Rochester that our kids gave us and enjoyed a nice break from traveling. Earlier we had a nice dolphin encounter that I caught a video of. It was brief but at least I have a record this time. The last vid I accidentally erased. Only problem with this vid is that you can hear my Dolphin baby talk.
We blew through the Northwest Channel without an issue and made our way to Chub Cay to refuel and take on water. The Chub Cay anchorage looked brutal in the wind we had so we bounced into the Frazer's Hog Cay anchorage but could not set the hook. It was all rock. Moving on again we popped into the Bird Cay anchorage and found a relatively good spot. Once the wind shifted to the north we had a pleasant night with two other boats. In the morning we left with many others across the Northeast Providence Channel to Rose Island, which looked to be an acceptable spot to drop the hook and hide from the strong north wind.
What a ride! We flew both sails and rocketed across on a broad to full reach sometimes hitting 9 knots down waves which were building as the day went on. We were off course but making speed and the waves were comfortable. We knew we had to jibe over and head to Rose Island at some point but we misread the wind and ended up almost close hauled trying to get there. We did this for about 14 miles and the seas were still slightly behind us so it wasn't bad at all. When we got to Hanover Sound we saw breaking waves on the shoals that looked huge! Wild sprays of sea water were rising up around us but we managed to enter without anyone screaming or filling their shorts. We are currently on the hook south of Rose Island waiting to travel in the Banks to Eleuthra. Deb is not passing up another island chain apparently. In typical guy fashion I wanted to make tracks south to the Exumas but she's right. What's the rush?
The only thing I have to stress about now is the anchor. We didn't hold in what I thought was sand and as it skipped along the bottom it suddenly grabbed. Grabbed onto coral. I really really hope we can raise the damn thing. I'm not the best swimmer and do not relish the thought of diving on it. What am I going to do, grab it with two hands and pull it out of the coral? Might have to dive down and snap a line onto the bar and use the dinghy to yank it out. I really don't know.
The journey has been pretty nice so far. We have seen some amazing things. The water color and clarity can not be described. You have to see it to believe it. If I could wish for one thing it would be for the wind to cooperate and the damn fronts would stop rolling in. It could be a tad warmer too. I have to whine a little don't I? If I let you believe that this trip is like a Disney ride, more of you would be out here and I would never find a good spot to anchor. Yesterday was a god sail but I could see that it would have been a nightmare had the winds kicked up to about 25 and the swells increased. Quite often we would fall into a swell and the land and other boats would just vanish. Nothing but water and foam around us. We had her under control and sailing nicely but too many long trips like that will ear on you and the boat. We will try to keep the passages short and sweet from here on out.
Hopefully we get to some WiFi soon so I can update with photos. We have some good ones.
So long for now.
Cheers!
PJB



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We did it!

With the exception of the kids and Facebook friends, we have kind of vanished. Like us, the Wifi has vanished as well. Some peeps on Facebook kind of sort of know whats going on but the rest of you just reading the blog are a bit out of touch. So, let's get updated.

Way back on the Monday the 9th of February at about 1AM we left No Room, I mean No Name Harbor, and proceeded to cross the Gulf Stream with many boats. We had very little wind and what we did have was on the nose. We released carbon emissions into the atmosphere the whole way there and arrived at the Bimini entrance about 9AM. We caught up to the pack that had left about midnight and I was asked if I would like to lead them in. What? Um, uh, golly gee I uh...NO! So I didn't man up and I let Tammy from Dos Libras plow a path. I know I know. Hey, its a dog eat dog world. If she got hung up on a shoal I'm sure we would fret about it and try to help her and Bruce from the nearest bar. They would do the same for me. We did witness a rescue off the shoal at the entrance to Bimini. Some poor bastard hit one of the channel markers in pretty rough seas. I saw this guy out in the channel and I thought he was heading out, then I thought he was heading in. Maybe he changed his mind. Then
a few
of us were looking at him and that's when we realized he was in trouble. A local fishing boat went out to tow the guy in. He lost his steering and apparently slammed into the channel marker, cracking the bow and almost losing his head stay. We got him securely tied to the dock and he looked completely beat and confused. Sad to witness. Just a reminder of how shit can happen out here.
In Bimini we met some pretty nice folks and had us a happy hour and a pot luck. We also took a tour of the island by golf cart. Sixteen of us rented carts and drove around. We picked up some lunch out of a mini-van and bought some coconut bread at a local baker. The women selling lunch out of the van had some awesome mac n cheese. Being our first island in the Bahamas we wanted to see it all with the exception of south Bimini which we read enough about to know its not worth the trip. We also toured the Dolphin House, which is remarkable by the fact that the builder uses cast off materials or beach trash and cements it all into the walls of the two, soon to be three story structure. The dude has some amazing skills and is fun to talk to. The second floor rooms can be rented out for one hundred a night. Looking at it from the outside you would think the rooms might be a bit trashy but they were very nice and I think it would be a neat overnight stay.
Bimini was a nice stop and I'm glad we did it. If we had waited for the perfect window to cross we would still be in Florida getting aggravated and impatient. When we left Bimini we did so at low tide. Plenty of water and believe it or not I used my eyes instead of the electronics. The navionics charts on the Raymarine e7 are worthless here. We have an iPad with Garmin charts and we reference those.
We left Bimini heading north around North Rock and onto the Banks where we dropped the hook at Makie Shoal for a nice quiet night. Ha! We woke at 1AM to three foot waves and big wind smacking us on the nose and it was almost puke bucket time there for a while. Day break had us moving on under motor and jib but the wind was right on our ass. The seas were rolling us and nobody felt like hitting the deck to unhook the whisker pole to keep the genny flying, or dealing with the main beating itself to death all day long. The folks that went south through Cat cay had a much better angle and were able to broad reach the whole way.
Our night on the banks was awesome until the blow came through. We sat and looked at the amazing sunset and the bright starry night that fell upon us. We celebrated with a Rohrbachs brew from Rochester that our kids gave us and enjoyed a nice break from traveling. Earlier we had a nice dolphin encounter that I caught a video of. It was brief but at least I have a record this time. The last vid I accidentally erased. Only problem with this vid is that you can hear my Dolphin baby talk.
We blew through the Northwest Channel without an issue and made our way to Chub Cay to refuel and take on water. The Chub Cay anchorage looked brutal in the wind we had so we bounced into the Frazer's Hog Cay anchorage but could not set the hook. It was all rock. Moving on again we popped into the Bird Cay anchorage and found a relatively good spot. Once the wind shifted to the north we had a pleasant night with two other boats. In the morning we left with many others across the Northeast Providence Channel to Rose Island, which looked to be an acceptable spot to drop the hook and hide from the strong north wind.
What a ride! We flew both sails and rocketed across on a broad to full reach sometimes hitting 9 knots down waves which were building as the day went on. We were off course but making speed and the waves were comfortable. We knew we had to jibe over and head to Rose Island at some point but we misread the wind and ended up almost close hauled trying to get there. We did this for about 14 miles and the seas were still slightly behind us so it wasn't bad at all. When we got to Hanover Sound we saw breaking waves on the shoals that looked huge! Wild sprays of sea water were rising up around us but we managed to enter without anyone screaming or filling their shorts. We are currently on the hook south of Rose Island waiting to travel in the Banks to Eleuthra. Deb is not passing up another island chain apparently. In typical guy fashion I wanted to make tracks south to the Exumas but she's right. What's the rush?
The only thing I have to stress about now is the anchor. We didn't hold in what I thought was sand and as it skipped along the bottom it suddenly grabbed. Grabbed onto coral. I really really hope we can raise the damn thing. I'm not the best swimmer and do not relish the thought of diving on it. What am I going to do, grab it with two hands and pull it out of the coral? Might have to dive down and snap a line onto the bar and use the dinghy to yank it out. I really don't know.
The journey has been pretty nice so far. We have seen some amazing things. The water color and clarity can not be described. You have to see it to believe it. If I could wish for one thing it would be for the wind to cooperate and the damn fronts would stop rolling in. It could be a tad warmer too. I have to whine a little don't I? If I let you believe that this trip is like a Disney ride, more of you would be out here and I would never find a good spot to anchor. Yesterday was a god sail but I could see that it would have been a nightmare had the winds kicked up to about 25 and the swells increased. Quite often we would fall into a swell and the land and other boats would just vanish. Nothing but water and foam around us. We had her under control and sailing nicely but too many long trips like that will ear on you and the boat. We will try to keep the passages short and sweet from here on out.
Hopefully we get to some WiFi soon so I can update with photos. We have some good ones.
So long for now.
Cheers!
PJB



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Thursday, January 29, 2015

What the hell are we doing?

A quick update for all that are still following. You are still there right? I talk to myself enough, I don't need to be typing to myself as well.

We are still in Coconutty Grove waiting for a weather window and now a carbuerator for the ugly little outboard. We also had some issues with the ACA (healthcare) and they require some documents which are on the way. Unfortunately this shit will not arrive until the next weather window has evaporated. It pains us to read about people over there in the white sandy beach department having a good time while we sit watching a hi rise get constructed. 

Anyone who knows us understand that when we want to get somewhere we do it quickly so we'll see how fast we blow through the Bahamas in our attempt to get to the islands. Skip the Bahamas you say? We are not really skipping the Bahamas we are just not seeing all of it. When we decide to come back from way down there to the states again we will take a long tour of the Bahamas. Our goal when we set out on this journey was to get to the Caribbean. I'm pretty sure that if I have to do the ICW again in the spring I will quit sailing and join a commune of hippies in Portland Oregon smoking weed all day wondering what happened to the unicorns.

Getting south against the trades will be tricky and time consuming and that's why we need to get going if we want to be in Trinidad by hurricane season. So, that is where we stand.

There are no internets out here unless I go sit on a ratty couch in the maina office with other smelly sailors. I like my personal space so it's been a while since I updated and that's how it will be for a little while unless my social phobias suddenly vanish. Maybe I should have a few shots of rum before the couch sessions. I tend to get cozy with a little stimulation. Yes, I realize what I said there. Go ahead, take it out of context.

We will update once we get the clear to launch.
It will be our goodbye USA post.

Peace,
PJJB

By the way, this update was brought to you by Iridium GO! For just a thousand dollars you can still annoy people no matter where you are!

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