Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blog slacker

Hello out there.
Yes, I still have a blog. I actually have a post ready, it just needs some photos to break up my ramblings. For the seven of you still following, it should be out this week but no promises. Oh wait, there are eight of you. Cool. I think my Dad signed on.

We are in a marina now. Hot as balls here. Not much of a breeze to speak of. The fans are running pretty much all the time. We have met some really nice people here so I think it will be a good time unless they find my totally drenched in sweat body repulsive.

I have to stop myself from turning on the anchor light every night. Our last anchorage was supreme. The quietest so far and not a soul around. Now we are surrounded by boats, cars, trains and planes. Quite a shock.

OK, I have to get the boat ready to sit by itself for a few weeks while we risk our lives on I95.

Have a nice day.

Cheers,
PJJB

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Morning Tea, Abacos

Morning Tea, Abacos

Morning tea posts are a written collection of current thoughts bouncing around in my head. Most of them are related to the cruising/sailing life. 











Blue water is now emerald water.

Powerboats have a lot of "Wooh!" girls on them.

Snorkeling is fun. We have not done much of it since we left but recently I poked around under the water off a beach and it was a good workout.

I found some new leg muscles. Oww

I have not yet been partially consumed by a large fish. Partially would suck wouldn't it? I mean, if it were a great white you saw about to snack on you it's probably the end right? So maybe offer your head for first bite and get it over with? No? Fight to the last bite?

In the Exumas, every time we attempted to hop in, there was a shark. No shit.

We used very little fuel on this adventure. The sails have been used and abused. Starting to show some wear. Our mainsail is ripped near the topping lift swage. Pisses me off.

How much are rigid boom vangs? Holy crap!!! Never mind.

Our Mack Pack is falling apart. Not impressed.

Debra loves to sew. I jest. She's very good at it but it's not going to be a hobby. We have a few sewing projects on the list. I will try to leave the boat when this happens.

Never run an electrical component close to it's rating. Go big or go home.

I have a nose for overheated electrical components.

I'm trying real hard to not be so paranoid but people are not helping me to not be so paranoid.

The other day during an electrical storm I actually sat under the mast in the salon. Maybe I'm not so paranoid because I'm getting stupid.

I need to walk the earth after a few days. None of this full week aboard crap. Deb could float for months it seems without pressing sole to ground.

Deb said she couldn't spend weeks at sea. Really now.

The bakery aboard Kelly Nicole is doing well. Flour power.

I've screwed up several meals now but Deb refuses to fire the chef.

Most of the people of the Bahamas are kind and easy going and that's why it pisses me off to see the occasional ugly American treating them poorly and embarrassing them in public. Not talking about cruisers.

We like the people of Eleuthera. So super friendly and fun. Can't say the same of other islands.

If I were the PM of The Bahamas I would insist on teaching our kids to not litter their Islands with trash. It has to start with the kids. So much beauty, yet so much trash at times.

The Bahamas should be solar powered. Someone call Elon.

The Internet is a great tool while out here cruising. Its a good way to keep in touch. Too bad it's so damn expensive.

When you come across a TV in the Bahamas they usually have some station from Florida showing the "News". Do we have to go back? Friggin embarrassing.

The sat system we have allows us to make calls, email and text. We can even post FB messages. What it does not do well is anything web related. It's really slow and that's a good thing. Too much Internet is like too much TV.

The Internet is slowly turning us into zombies, or maybe just socially inept individuals with neat little tidbits of useless information spoken or typed in cryptic shorthand and symbols.

Hieroglyphics - Formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logo graphic and alphabetic elements. LOL :)   _/)

The last time we bought water was in Chub Cay, and the last time we schlepped was Dinner Key, FL. The water maker was not cheap, but it's proving to be one of our best purchases. We still conserve water like it's our last gallon. A good habit.

Beer consumption is down. Too much sailing going on :)

Guinness is readily available throughout the Islands. It's a much stronger stout. Good, but you don't want too many if you have a long dinghy ride.

Eating peanuts while using a tablet is not working.

Remember how Gumby could walk into any book? What if he walked into 50 shades of gray?

Gumby,"Pokey do you have the key to these handcuffs?" Pokey,"Nope. You ever wonder why they call me pokey?"

Somehow I managed to lose 7 pounds. Now my head looks even larger.

We are slowly getting over our anchor bubble. Come on in. Get as close as you like! Pauly doesn't care! Paint job. Paint job. Paint job.

I bet our underwear hanging on the lifelines ruined a few anchorage photos.

Not having an ACL (hockey) is catching up to me. My knee explodes in pain after about 4 miles of walking. You would think not finding some place after 2 miles of walking would make you go back. Nope. I bet it's just around that bend.

Anchoring is becoming routine. If I was still paranoid I would expect an anchoring mishap to be coming up soon, but I'm not paranoid anymore.

I hate running a trip line on the anchor. Pain in the ass.

Lot's of people dive on the anchor to make sure it's set. What do they do in the ICW? It is nice to see it though. Just in case. Why wouldn't you if you could? Sharks. No, only a paranoid person would think that.

In Hatchet Bay, the boats that dragged had CQR's. Just an observation not an opinion. Don't get all fired up. Oh wait, one was a bulwagga(?). The boats that dragged were in the shallows. Weeds? I'm sure they initially laughed at us anchored in 25 ft. Ain't no grass in 25 ft.

I do think that any anchor will work just fine if deployed properly. I guess we're doing it correctly or we're pretty lucky.

We basically wear the same clothes over and over again. Time to clear out the wardrobe.

Less cotton, more nylon. I do think I have a slight allergic reaction to nylon though. Not as bad as latex or butternut squash. Weird eh?! Butternut squash will give me a rash up my arms and latex will make me itch badly. I know warped minds are trying to come up with a witty reply right now.

We are salty. Literally. We have to clean our glasses at least a few times a day.
Everything is rusting. Even the zippers on my shorts.

My fear of barbers has left  me with a huge fuzzball underneath my baseball cap. I finally got it cut. Dude took out the dog clippers and basically sheared me. Might have to buy some clippers for Deb. Don't trust her with sharps around my throat.

I've finally started wearing a proper hat to keep my ears from becoming pork rinds. The Sun is brutal down here.

I am craving a good cup of Coffee and a donut. There a DD or Timmy Ho's in the Abacos?

My pizza craving has diminished (thank you Tammy and Debra), but Thai food needs to happen soon. Going to have to wait until the states to satisfy that. Why no Thai in the Islands?

Here are the things I missed while in the Bahamas:

  • Fresh veg's. When you find them, eat them soon. They don't keep.
  • Electronics. Make sure all your cables and devices work together.
  • Micro Brews. We don't pound beers, so we like a variety of flavors
  • Restaurants with a menu you can order from
  • NY pizza. Home made is good but...
  • Strong tea. The Republic of Tea. Any black tea. NOT LIPTON!
  • Sweet tea in restaurants. I don't always drink beer.
  • Riding a bike. I love riding a bike but if I hit a Bahamian pot hole I'm a goner. I stepped into one and wrenched my back. Yes, I was checking out some booty across the street and not paying attention to the road.
  • Good cheese. They have some good cheese once in a while but when it arrives the French descend on it like locust and all you are left with is the cheese flavored wax. I think it's Bahamian govt cheese. I imagine the wine disappears as well.
  • Obviously family. Getting pictures and video of the grand kids are treasures.
  • Old friends. We've made awesome new friends but old friends are easy. Know what I mean?
  • Music. Good music. What's with the disco and 80's pop in the Bahamas? We went to a bar the other night and the bartender told us it was his fav song on right now. Friggin Madonna or some other knockoff. Really dude? He was old man dancing at our table. You know, where you just shuffle a little but you think you are really shaking it.
  • Hockey playoffs. Best time for hockey and I'm missing it.


Anchor lights - Use Them! We had a couple of boats near us without any lights. None! Maybe they were naked under the stars or something. Solar lights as anchor lights do not work. After having small powerboats rip past us in the dark we decided to light her up! We have a blue LED on the stern and another one going on the bow. I have noticed LED spreader lights being left on at night now. Beats getting a powerboat enema.

The LED at the top of the mast looks like a star. A couple of pirates pointed this out to me. Best to have a 2nd light.

This list is getting long

I am not a barefoot person while underway. I have the broken toes to prove this. Bring extra footwear. Been trying to buy flip flops in the Bahamas since we left. No dice. I actually prefer sneakers when underway because I'm always moving around and adjusting sails. I need to get a grip.

Do not vacuum up spilled Parmesan cheese. Your vacuum will smell like your sandals. Forever. I hate that damn shop vac anyway.

We need to stop wasting food. Too much goes bad before we eat it. I think we are over purchasing. This kind of falls under the chefs responsibility. Meal planning is key. Maybe I should start.

Too many pot luck dinners will wipe out your food stores. Can't we all just bring a snack and shoot the shit? Here, have some chips.

Our Nook books are starting to get flaky. They are the original. Time for a kindle. You ever read a horror novel during a major thunderstorm on a boat being tossed around at anchor? Scary shit.

Just about every seam that was sealed with 3M 4000/4200 has dried out from the hot baking sun and now leaks. Everything sealed with butyl tape is fine.

There's not a lot sealed with butyl tape.

The day of the dead macerator will come and I am not prepared. How much are hazmat suits?

You ever wander the street of a new town and not take pictures?

Because of recent failing in my electronics world I found myself enjoying the moment more when not recording it.

Is it wrong to want an electric guitar on a boat? The acoustic is annoying as hell to anyone in the anchorage and Deb. Might have to add another solar panel.

When I get good at guitar and everyone is blowing their stupid conch shells at sunset I'm going to fire up the amp and play Smoke on the Water.

Some days the boat is really small.


Cheers Peeps!
PJJB

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Grilled Cheese and Pringles

Lately I have been complaining about not getting off the boat. I can only just sit around so long. Deb on the other hand can be perfectly comfortable with reading a book for days on end, or puttering around with little projects. Not me. I need to put feet on the ground and walk around town, or the beach or SOMETHING! So, Deb surprised me by saying she would like to go out to lunch the other day. Wow. OK. Let's go!

We decided to go to a popular place in town. Nice little restaurant with a great view. They are open for lunch and dinner. We weren't sure of the menu but we can always find something to eat. It's a little tough being vegetarians in the Bahamas. Every menu is mostly seafood and very good seafood at that. I told Deb that I was going to start eating seafood again. I got an eye roll for that but I figure once in a while I will splurge and get some fresh crab or shrimp, maybe a fish. Change it up a bit. I'm not a militant vegetarian. I'm flexible. A flexitarian! 

We walk up the steps to the bright pink restaurant and we are greeted by the Chef. The Chef is also the Fisherman. Turns out he just docked the boat with his catch. Cool! Today will be the day Pauly eats seafood. "Sit anywhere you like" he says. We grab a table inside and he pours a beer for us. I asked him if he was open for lunch and he said, "I can cook you something." I asked him if he had anything on the menu for vegetarians. "Yes, I can cook some vegetables. Peas and rice. You know." Nice. We sat inside under a fan. Fisherman/Chef went into the kitchen. We sat for a bit. No menu around. Sat some more. FisherChef comes out of the kitchen and goes outside for menus he said. Good. I'm starved. FisherChef comes back without menus and vanishes into the kitchen. Dude comes back out and we get two more beers. I ask him what he's been catching lately. This guy starts telling me he doesn't eat the seafood he catches because it swells his joints. OK. What? He shows me his joints and explains the huge knuckles. Now I'm looking at my hands and the slightly arthritic knuckles look swollen to me. Are they going to get bigger if I eat some of his crab? I start to question my lunch decision. Maybe I'm not so flexible.

Captain Chef takes a seat at a table next to us and we discuss politics and the news of the day. We even discuss religion! Our opinions on many things are different but we nod our heads, shrug shoulders and carry on anyway. It's a good conversation and he's a good guy to shoot the shit with but I'm getting really really hungry now and another beer is going to get me really really stupid. Another woman walks in like she owns the place, and I think she does. Chef excuses himself and says this woman will take care of us. We talked with her and enjoyed her company and half expected her to ask us what we would like for lunch. Nope. She goes into the kitchen and is gone until Chef comes back and she says goodbye. What he hell is going on? Deb starts laughing a little and I'm looking all confused and about to ask if we could eat or should we move on. Another couple walks into the place and asks if they are open for lunch. "Sorry, no. Not today." Huh? Alright. This was fun but we need food. We ask for the check, shake hands and head out. We laughed all the way into town.

There is a take out place at the other end of town. We walk with a purpose because we are STARVING. Mind you it's about ninety degrees and no wind. The Sun was beating down on our sweaty bodies as we walked through the hot streets. On the way we pass the bar we were at a few nights ago. Some woman pops out of the grass hut like place and yells, "We have chicken and mac n cheese! Come on over!" We should have run over there but like an idiot I told her we were going to loop around after the market and she waved OK. I wasn't sure the bar even had a kitchen and I know last time we were there I never saw anyone eating and to be honest she seemed a bit drunk. We hit up the market and noticed the takeout was closed so we decided we didn't want to walk in this heat anymore and the mac n cheese sounded good. So off we went to the bar.

At this point we are probably severely dehydrated and maybe a bit loopy. We get there and step inside where the lady that flagged us down now tells us in a very slurred voice that she is sooo sorry but the kitchen is closed. I guess we looked dejected enough for her to say she would make us something. "You want chicken! What would you like?" Oh, it's OK. "You want ribs! I'll cook you some ribs."  No, really that's kind of you but we're vegetarians anyway, so we'll just grab something later. 

In a very loud voice she yells, "YOU DON'T EAT MEAT!" The whole bar stops to look. "No meat at all?! No chicken?!" Uh, no. We're fine. We'll just grab a beer and.."YOU DON'T EAT MEAT! What do you eat?!" We uh.."YOU SERIOUSLY DON'T EAT MEAT!" Now the whole bar is staring at us. Even the domino players are looking at us. Oye. There was a moment of silence and then everybody went back to their business and not ours.

The woman introduces herself and tells us she lives across the street. She met up with some Australians and drank way too much today. "I'm Irish you know. Yes, I am. I have a white father, but I got this beautiful black skin". She smiled while she rubbed her skin. I told her it looked good on her. She smiled big and then invited us to a BBQ with the Aussies at her place tomorrow night. "We'll have chicken and ribs and wait, YOU DON'T EAT MEAT?!" 
For crying out loud will she just let it go? I said we could bring something and she hugged us and smiled as her family came home and she said she had to go and that she was in trouble. We waved to her kids and husband, who was not exactly smiling back at us. He was definitely scowling.

We took the vegetarian walk of shame to the other end of the bar and ordered a few beers. The whole episode was so bizarre that we started talking and laughing about it for a while and several more beers passed by. Before you know it the sun was setting. Oh boy. We decided that any more brews on these empty stomachs would be hazardous to our health, so we took off for the dinghy. 

Now before you start thinking we are two town drunks, you must know that an empty bottle does not alert a bartender to ask if you want another. No. In fact, you could sit there all day without a refill if you do not make eye contact with them. Must be a Bahamian thing. So most of our time there was just talking and chatting until the girl behind the bar made eye contact and I gave her the peace sign. Sometimes she would walk by and smile at me and then look at the empty bottle. Just a nod. No words spoken.

You ever notice how good beers taste on an empty stomach? You ever notice how more potent those beers are? I think that's why the women of the family always tried to feed the boys before they went out on the town. "Have a sandwich before you go!", my Mom would say. You end up with a HUGE sandwich and now you're too stuffed to drink much. Clever they are. The salami breath worked wonders at keeping women away too. Thanks for looking out for me.

It was low tide of course so we had a long climb down the "ladder" to the rubber boat. I say ladder but most times its just rotted planks they found somewhere held together with one or two rusty nails. So us two dehydrated, starved but happy sailors took off for the boat and pretty much just fell onto the cushions exhausted. "We have to eat something." I murmured from my dizzy stupor. I laid there thinking about how at noon we set out to have us a fine lunch overlooking the harbor and ended up walking around town baking in the Sun without food or water until falling into the oasis of beer. 

It's tough to eat out in the Bahamas. We're finding out that if you want to eat more than takeout in some of the more remote settlements that you better make reservations ahead of time. They have limited stock on hand so they can't afford to waste any of it. Also note that menus are meaningless. I think they do it for fun. The best thing to do is walk in and ask what's good today. You may or may not get anything. Just sit back and enjoy the moment.

A few more minutes rest and I slapped a pan on the stove and pushed out a few grilled cheese sandwiches and opened a tube of Pringles. That was all I could accomplish at that point. It was an unintentional unhealthy yet fun and exhausting day.

Cheers!
PJ

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blah blah blah

I see that I'm repeating myself now on the blog. I do not get to see the blog after posting when I use this sat device. Otherwise I would have noticed I was repeating myself. I'll use that as my excuse. It could also be crazy old man babble.

I wonder how many blogs there are where you can actually see the person taking the slow train to Nutzville. Would readers try to help or would it be too interesting to stop? Let's hope I'm not on the crazy train just yet. Please accept my apologies for the rerun.

The problem might be the fact that I had zero alcohol intake yesterday. That's been remedied.
Cheers!
PJJB

This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using Iridium Mail & Web software. Please be kind and keep your replies short.

Slow lane

It's really weird doing regular blog updates instead of on our facebook page but this is how it's got to be without regular wifi. Kind of like the old days when there weren't any old people on FB. If we dropped the hook closer to town we could possibly pick up the restaurant where we ate the other night but it's pretty shallow over there. I let Deb pick out the spot to drop the hook now as I am too protective of the bottom paint on the keel. Deb doesn't seem to care. The difference between Deb finding a spot and Capt. Anxiety finding one is well, obvious I think. Deb will stress over the depths but keep it to herself. I stress over the depth and let everyone aboard know that -

"Uh oh, eight feet! Shit! Not going any further. I might be too close to that boat and I don't want to be behind a trawler or that Frenadian. Is there enough room here to let out 100 feet? If the wind shifts will we be too close to shore? What's the tide again? I'm not sure if this is the right spot. What do you think? Why is that guy looking at us? We too close? Maybe I should circle again."

Just so you know, I can find a decent spot as well, but I tend to talk too much about the process and we end up further out. It drives Deb nuts. In order to remain married I gave up the previous routine of me finding a spot, stopping the boat and telling Deb to hold position while I run up to drop the anchor. That was not working. The current process is good. Hand signals are all that are needed. Remember that we have a manual windlass. We can't just press a remote to drop the big boy. Some day.

We are slowly moving north along Eluethera. Today the wind is down under ten from the south. Don't feel like motoring so we will hang around. Tonight the wind picks up to 15 knots and hangs around until noon Monday. We will try to ride that wind in the morning and make it up to Hatchett Bay without disturbing Mr. Yanmar too much. We're at the point now where running the diesel in this beautiful environment seems like a sin. We love just lazily sailing along knowing we are in someone's vacation photo.

I'm not saying we will sail off the anchor. Nope. We watch people do this and botch it up all the time. We had a sailboat in a crowded anchorage next to us do this and drift downwind out of control past two nice new cats. The cat skippers did not look happy. I'm the one who wants a new paint job but they went the other way. You raise the mainsail and let it flog itself in the wind. You shout to be heard over the flapping canvas. You pull your boat to the anchor with your windlass. You raise your anchor and the boat sails away downwind until you jibe while running back to the cockpit. Dumb. Entertaining, but dumb.

We were at anchor the other day in about eight feet of beautiful clear blue water and Debra was entertaining thoughts of jumping in to cool off. While getting the cockpit in order after a sail, a six foot shark slowly goes past the hull. Deb yelled for me to come see and sure enough the damn thing was like close to the boat waiting for dinner to jump in. We both decided a cold beer in the cockpit would be better.

Both Deb and I are not big swimmers. We can swim but tend not to. I am more likely to jump in than Deb but that's not saying much. I do have to check on the zincs, so I'm going in sometime soon but the sharks really freak me out despite all the statistics I took at RIT.

Not sure I have anything else to talk about. Maybe a word about food. It's expensive here. Fresh veggies are scarce except in the bigger markets, which aren't that big. Not sure about meat. I wouldn't know. Some folks say it's reasonable. Before we left we bought some dehydrated veg's. We used some of them and they are great. Peppers, onions, carrots and celery can be scarce at times so we tapped into those. Items that are insanely priced? I love olives and pickles, but at $5 or 6 bucks I resist. A half gallon of heavy cream was $10. That's some very expensive creamy tomato soup I'll be making. Cheese is high priced as well unless you buy the "local" stuff which is basically cheese flavored wax. You don't have to fill your boat with food before you go. You can re-stock. You just have to dig into your pocket a bit deeper. I know when we get back to the land of plenty we will go crazy over a farmers market. Nothing beats fresh.

I guess our biggest surprise about this trip so far is the dryness. Very little rain. Desert islands. No birds. Only a few Dolphins. Plenty of sharks and rays. Few palm trees. Don't get me wrong though, the islands are beautiful. Just different than I imagined. One thing I can say though is that if you are looking for secluded beaches, look no further. Most times we had the whole beach to ourselves. Pretty amazing.

Not much else to talk about. Life is slow. Life is good.

Cheers!
P

Oh, you may have realized I do not have a speel cheeker on this app for the Iridium. Sorry aboot that.


This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using Iridium Mail & Web software. Please be kind and keep your replies short.