Wright Away Sails Away

Going where the water is warm and clear.


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Crossing

 

We are back in the Bahamas!  

We spent several days creeping our way from Satellite Beach south, spending a few nights in Sebastian and a few more nights in Vero.  True to Vero Beach’s alternative name of Velcro Beach, we stayed one night longer than planned but we got to see good friends one more time, it was a good few days. The plan was to keep slowly working our way down to Lake Worth (Palm Beach) and wait for a weather window to cross, there wasn’t one forecasted for at least several more days, but when we got the report Friday afternoon it surprisingly showed a calm as calm can get crossing starting that night! After some deliberating we decided to go ahead and take it before it closed out.  We went from mosey mode to mission mode pretty quick!  We spent probably at least an hour going over everything to make sure everything was secure and wouldn’t go flying after everything else on our pre-departure checklist was complete. We don’t necessarily have full faith in forecasts.  

The extra care in stowing everything extra securely was for no reason.  We left at about 2:30am under a bright moon and barely a wisp of wind and a flat sea-which became even flatter as the day went on.  It was more like a car ride than a sailing trip, we just sat there and drove.  Keith had a large white bird come land on the dinghy while I was napping and toward sundown we had two curious little finches join us and provide us entertainment. They had no fear and fluttered and hopped on and in everything including climbing down into the anchor locker and inside the cabin.

At sundown we were treated with a spectacular full moon rising on our bow. A treat, indeed.  At about 2:00am and still a good mile away from Great Sale Cay, where we planned to anchor, we called it “close enough” dropped the hook and dropped into our bed.  In the morning we were greated to clear waters as far as we could see–felt like coming home.  We carried on after coffee and tea to the un-inhabited cay of Allens-Pensacola.  We had the anchorage to ourselves and took a long awaited for swim around the boat.  We didn’t go ashore since we hadn’t cleared in yet, not that there would be anyone to know or care. We didn’t want to clear in on a Sunday so sailed to Manjack the next day and anchored again so that we could sail over to Green Turtle Cay first thing on Monday morning.

I’m glad we waited until Monday, we had the nicest Customs officer who had the discretion of charging us either $150.00 or $300.00 for our cruising permit based on the length of our boat.  Under 35 feet is $150.00, over 35 feet is $300.00-we are 35.1 feet.  Sometimes we’ve gotten charged the lower amount, but recently they have been asking us for the larger.  She chaharged us the lesser so it was pleasant way to start the morning.

Once we were cleared in, we stopped in to say hi to some of the shop owners, got our cell phone data topped up, and put the final touches on our hurricane plan for this area.  Then it was back on the boat, back to Manjack, and out to the reef! Keith had a hogfish for us after being in the water for less than three minutes.  I am serious. I love being married to my Aquaman!

^^ The Gulf stream about as flat as it gets.

^^ Kai usually has to stay in the cockpit underway but it was so calm we let him enjoy the extra breeze on the deck for a bit.  Still tethered in of course.

^^ I was wrong, it can get even flatter.

^^ I see a beach!!!

^^ Relaxing after a long, uneventful crossing.

 

^^ Beer-battered fish tacos in the making.

^^ The other morning I almost stepped on this little crab.  I was not on the beach-he was inside our boat! He is now back swimming in the ocean.


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Out of Hiding

We took “hiding out for the hurricane season” too literally this year.  We’ve been living in hiding for the past three months.  It was our own choice-but still. We broke free this week and feel ecstatic.  Remember us mentioning that we found a cheap slip to keep the boat (the boat only, no persons living on the boat) and that our plan had been to bounce around between anchorages and the slip for the summer?  Well, once we plugged in to shore power and turned on the AC that plan disintegrated.  It is really hard to walk away from AC in a Florida summer!  The downside was that we lived in hiding, complete with all the windows blacked out and sneaking Kai out for walks. To our surprise we weren’t booted out, but living in a dark (albeit cool) cave takes its toll.  I NEED to see the sun to be happy, so the past few days of living on the hook with all the hatches wide open has been refreshing in everyway.  That, and the excitement to get underway again has us feeling good. (It also means that I can revive the blog writing. For, now, obvious reasons I had to refrain from advertising our status)

Actually our first two days of living on the hook didn’t include very many open hatches as we had Hermine passing safely to the north of us but she still gifted us with some gusty squalls and lots of rain.  It was kind of funny that at first having the boat tied up in the slip was nice in that we got the welcomed break from always worrying about wind and finding the right anchorage.  I would say we were definitely ready for that break and for the past few months it hasn’t mattered to us one bit where the wind blew from or how hard. On the first night back out on the hook we had plenty of wind and squalls to pay attention to-but enjoyed it.  Oh, and we didn’t go far either, we just anchored out in front of the marina.  (you can see our old slip in the photo below) 

Once Hermine moved along, we did do a short two day sea trial down to Sebastian inlet with our friends on Nessa and Anywhere.  The routine of dinghy rides, dinners in the cockpit, and beachcombing is starting to return us to a state of normalcy.  Keith had done some major maintenance on Wrightaway the past few weeks including replacing the transmission and realigning the engine along with a whole host of other mechanical projects so we wanted to do shake-down before we hopped off into the Gulf Stream.  Everything was a thumbs up and we are a GO!

So…what’s next?  Well, it is still peak hurricane season and there is still a lot of activity out there even if there are no immediate concerns so we are going to take our time and wander south at a creepy-slow pace until we feel a little bit more confident about the season, even then we will stick close by to some good hidey-holes in the Abacos (Bahamas) until we are really confident about the end of the season.  Then what?  Well, this trip will be a little different in that the previous trips we always knew that we would be heading back to Florida in a few months so we were always doings loops and circles.  This time we are headed out and not looking back!  Unless of course we change our mind, it could happen.  But the plan is to keep on moving this time—so excited!!  We will hit the parts of the Bahamas we loved, or missed, on previous trips and soak up some more of the gorgeous water and plentiful fishing there then head on to the islands of volcanos and rainforests and maybe even monkeys.

^^Nessa

^^Anywhere

^^ I love the stowaway pigeon on top of the mast.

^^ the old Dragon Point house on Merritt Island.  Not much left of it.


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Water Maker Installation

The project of the year is complete!  So, remember when I wrote about yoinking out our practically new and still functional water maker to replace with a different water maker?  (you can read about our reasonings here) Well, we finally did. Whew, It was a process!  But we are very excited with it.  Here is a little recap of the install project that has been keeping us busy the past few weeks:

Step 1:  Unpack and Uninstall

Like kids on Christmas, we giddily collected the six boxes containing the new Cruise RO Seamaker 20 water maker from our friend’s house (Thank you for being both our post office and storage unit!) and piled them onto the boat. Giddy slowly morphed into nervous once we no longer had room to take two steps or even sit in our boat any more.  Holy Crap, there were a lot of really BIG boxes! Are you sure we can fit this thing on board?!  We lived in a mess for a bit. At least removing the old unit was simple; 4 bolts, 3 hoses, 2 wires and one hand and it was out and onto eBay.  Buh-bye Katadyn.

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Step 2: It doesn’t fit, Oh, yes it does!

We thought we had planned out exactly where we were going to put all the parts months ago while still floating about in the Bahamas.  Only about an hour into the project we realized the membrane wasn’t going to fit where we thought it would, nor the pump.  Not because the size specifications were wrong, but we didn’t account for enough space for the hoses that had to attach.  At this point, I will be honest and say I had some serious doubts whether we could get this unit on the boat, at least without sacrificing our storage spaces, which we really couldn’t afford to do.  This was the most difficult and time-consuming part of the whole project.  We spent a lot of time- many, many day- just staring, both at the space we had to work with and the parts that needed to fit in it.  Sometimes we pulled out the tape measure and would remeasure the same spot again.  Nope, still won’t fit.  Besides physically fitting somewhere other than our storage lockers we really wanted to keep it accessible, not just the filters that need frequent maintenance, but we wanted to be able to see all the fittings and pumps just to keep an eye on things.  It was a long road, but in the end I am actually glad it didn’t fit in the original spot as I think our final installation was superior choice.  Keith made all the pieces fit, without losing storage, it’s easy to access the filters and they are in a place that’s okay when water gets sloshed when you changed them (because water always gets sloshed).  To boot,  I think it’s pretty tidy of an installation, at least for being in a workroom.  He built out two false walls to mount the control panel and filters on.  This allowed all the hoses to be neatly run behind, yet easy to get to if needed.  The pumps, the boost and power pump, were built into an awkward little nook that allows for great ventilation, easy access, and if they ever do spout a leak they won’t damage anything as they are on raised mounts and the water would just drain into the bilge.  In the end, it fit in just perfectly.

The messy “BEFORE” photo:

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The slightly less messy “AFTER” photo:

Here is what you are looking at:

 

Step 3:  Plug and Play

Once Keith figured out where all the main pieces were going to go it was time to connect them all together.  Cruise RO uses Mur-lock fittings, it was Keith’s first time using them at first he thought it looked like at lot of places to introduce potential failures and he didn’t think he’d be a fan of the push locking mechanisms, but after getting into the project he grew more confident with them- and they were easy to work with.  Note, all the high-pressure fittings are Swageloc fittings.  There were plenty of full color diagrams and photographs in the 57 page installation manual, so it what was pretty straight forward of a job.  It still took a while primarily due to cramped spaces.  When I mentioned to Keith “maybe not plug-and-play like the Katadyn,” he said “no ,it is, there is just a lot more plugging and playing”.  

Behind all those connections is the 12v boost pump and raw water strainer.

The membrane fittings.

The control panel

The back of the control panel (behind one of the false walls)

The saltwater filters and the fresh water back-flush carbon filter housings.

It’s a difficult photo, but the pumps.  The boost and high pressure. The orange line is because we just used it to pickle the membrane.

 

Step 4:  Time to  make water…..lots and lots of water……….and lots of phone calls.

The original plan had been to wait until we sailed the boat down to Fort Pierce (by the inlet with fresh ocean water) to try out the unit.  But, we were excited and slightly impatient to see it work so made a quick change of plans and we decided to fire it up in the river (I’m going to come back to that point in a minute).  We read and re-read the instructions for initial startup before finally flipping the first switch. Step one was to make sure there were no leaks in any of the fittings when the boost pump was turned on. Immediately we had water-spraying in the workroom!  Obviously there was a leak; it was easily resolved. No big deal and take-two had no more water leaks. The instructions for the process were very clear but we still had lots of questions and concerns through the process.  Things like should we be seeing bubbles in the flow meter, should the flow valve be closed all the way to achieve pressures…)  We called Cruise RO  just to confirm what we were doing.  When you call the phone is answered by Rich Boren, the guy who made the water maker and owns the company so he knows everything there is to know about it- no phone tree, no transfer, no tech guy following a flow diagram.  Just another cruiser who can answer all your questions immediately. Crazy-good refreshing customer service. We ended up calling six times, pretty much at every step we had another question.  We felt kind of ridiculous for calling so much, we were just trying really, really hard not to do anything to mess up and hurt the membrane before we got started and make sure we understood everything we were doing (I’m going to come back to that point in a minute). Rich was very patient and held our hand the whole day.

During this initial run the water being made was not being dumped into our water tanks, the point was just to get the pumps broken in and everything set so we had the outlet line just draining into the bilge.  The old water maker just made a “dribble-dribble-squirt” kind of flow so we were surprised by the hose when it started whipping around and had to be clamped down once it started making water. It was kind of like a firehose without a fireman at the end.  More water everywhere :) We were trying to collect it in containers and buckets because at this rate dumping it into the bilge didn’t seem smart.  Neither of us could get over how much water we were getting, not that we were calculating it (I’m going to come back to that point in a minute), but it was much more than we had envisioned!  We could barely keep up with emptying the buckets! 

Somewhere between our excitement, following the checklist, dumping buckets and buckets of fresh water,  phone calls, and trying to be so careful we overlooked one very big detail.  Thankfully Rich helped catch it for us.  On our last phone call of the day to Cruise RO Keith mentioned our high flow rate readings to Rich, who in turn immediately said we needed to  address that.  Since we were running in brackish water we needed to adjust the flow rate as to not exceed the maximum rated output to avoid damaging the membrane.  Crap.  We were running at nearly twice that!!  No wonder we couldn’t keep up with the buckets! In hindsight, in the first pages of the manual, listed as #4  of things never to do in BIG bold red print it says  “In brackish water, such as in an estuary or river, never allow the product water production flow rate to exceed the units rated output.  In such cases, simply turn down the system pressure or RO membrane damage will occur.”  In all of the excitement, we both overlooked the fact that since we didn’t go to the inlet as planned, and we were still in the river that warning did in fact apply to us now. We were so focused on the two pressure gauge readings that even though we had both briefly wondered out-loud about the flow-rate meter readings, we hadn’t done the quick math of what the reading should have been. Our mistake. We now have that noted on our checklist! Fortunately, we didn’t damage anything, and besides, it’s always good to stress test a new piece of equipment right? 

Once we got through he initial startup and got the flow adjusted for the brackish water, everything ran perfectly.  All the switches and gauges that at first seemed intimidating to me, made sense and not overly complicated at all and Keith was happy with his install.  The real treat was testing the water with the TDS meter.  We had a reading for under 200ppm, a huge improvement from the Katadyn.  We did “pickle” (preserve for non-use) the unit after we got everything running smoothly and I think we will wait until we are in clean, salty water next month to run it again.  We can’t wait to see what a difference the Cruise RO makes in our cruising comforts, safety, and cruising range.  Water, water, wat-er!

 

If you are installing or thinking of installing a water maker at some point, I’ve included a few more notes below:

DIY vs CruiseRO:

Before we made the purchase, several people commented that you can just buy all of the pieces individually and make your own water maker.  True, we didn’t see the value though.  And, now, after installing the Cruise RO we would never consider it.  For one, there are a lot of pieces.  I wouldn’t want to have to research, locate, ship, assemble them all one-by-one.  Second, with the Cruise RO all the figuring has already been done for you and written in it all out in a well-done manual.  It sounds like a small thing, but having all the warnings and reminders already laid out for you is big, and may prevent some expensive errors- even having the standard operating instructions already put together is a huge value. Finally, being able to make a phone call when something isn’t working right-or you just have a question-any day of the week is worth it alone.  We really appreciated this on our start up day! The warranty is another consideration. 

 

The CruiseRO kit:

We were very happy with the kit and units and the quality of all the parts.  Our only frustration, and it’s very basic, came in the lengths of hose provided.  Additional lengths of hose are available when you order the unit so that you can locate each part (pump, membrane, panel..) separately.  Even spacing ours as close as they are Keith was continuously running into the problem of not having enough green hose to run it where he wanted to. We would strongly recommend ordering extra hose (its cheap) even if you are installing all the parts in close proximity, it might just make it easier.  There were plenty of extra fittings left over.

 

TDS meters and ppm:

Our old unit (Katadyn powersurvivor 40e) didn’t come with a TDS (total disolved solids) meter and we later figured out why. The Katadyn considers it’s normal operating TDS values to be under 1500ppm.  The WHO (World Health Organization) sets the upper safe limit at 500ppm. Yikes! No reason to use a TDS meter when it is always in the red zone. Had we known this little fact maybe we probably would have never purchased the unit.  The RO water is our sole source of drinking and cooking water-I’d like it to be in the “safe” range. The Katadyn manual actually states to taste the water.  By the time you can taste salt in the water, it is at kidney damaging levels!!!  The CruiseRO produces water in the 200’s range and states to call the company if levels reach 500-it is an indication that something is wrong.  We were thrilled to test our first run at under 200ppm. 

 

Specifics on our install:

First, if you are interested in the specifics about the unit we installed, you can check them all out on the Cruise RO website.  

We Googled to see how other people had installed their units when we were in the designing stages.  Each boat is so different that I am not sure it is helpful to include too many details about our install, but here are a few more specifics in case you are doing the same that may help:

Dedicated through-hull:

We called Rich to ask if the Cruise RO needed it’s own dedicated through-hull as we knew some other manufactures will consider the warranty voided if it is not provided its own.  It is not required for the Cruise RO BUT…. Rich explained the needs and even has a YouTube video addressing this question.  We have ours Tee-d into the head intake, just like he has his.  This saved us a haul out and another hole in the boat.

Water tanks:

We have integrated fiberglass tanks that I have never felt comfortable drinking from, they have been sealed  with an unidentified coating so we use that water only for bathing.  With our old RO system, we just used three 2.5 gallon jugs and filled them up directly from the water maker.  It took almost 2 hours to fill each jug.  With the new unit they would be filled up in just minutes so we needed a new process to collect and hold the RO water or we were going to be kept very busy while the unit was running.  To solve this, we installed a third water tank.  It is fed directly by the water maker and is higher than our main tanks.  When it fills up, it then starts to flow into the main tanks by gravity (we don’t have to do a thing).  This new small tank, which is in the galley, has a spout for filling our water jugs for drinking and cooking.  That part of the system still works well for us so we are keeping it.  The additional perk to having the third tank is that the back-flush of the membrane uses water from this tank instead of the main tanks.  The membrane is sensitive to bleach and this water will have never been treated- it still goes through the required charcoal filter. It sounds complex, but it actually simplified things for us.  The main thing was to make sure everything was properly vented as backpressure will damage the unit.


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Check

Yep, we are still around, just been a little offline I guess.  We are still in Florida and still working on the project list and still making plans for where we are going next.  While we have been enjoying being surrounded by friends and family but haven’t had much “boat-y” things to report, therefore, the silence. Sorry.  We do have some very “boat-y” things on the horizon though. 

I did just have a birthday, one of those “Big-O” birthdays.  Gulp. And, since birthdays and bucket lists just seem to go hand-n-hand, I took a moment to look over mine. It had been a while. And, yes, I actually write down my list.  I am a list lover and if you only keep one list, I think this is definitely the one to keep.  To my surprise I had, without even realizing it, accomplished my #1 item, ‘’TO GO CRUISING FOR ONE YEAR”.  It has been my #1 since I’ve had a list and probably way before that. YAY!!!  YIPPPEEEEE!!!  HIGH-FIVE!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!

Oh, wait……..If I cross it off the list what am I supposed to do next?! What is my life goal?  What is my NEW #1 item? But I don’t want to cross it off the list.  I want to do it again!  Can I put it back on the list?  Maybe I can fail it on a technicality, maybe the months spent in the boat-yard last summer shouldn’t count. Maybe I can just edit the “one year” part, I obviously hadn’t dreamed big enough when I wrote it.  

After a bit of debating (with myself) I decided to cross it off the list, mark it as accomplished. Besides, the best part of having a list is getting to cross things off it and I don’t have many items crossed off of it yet. Also, it feels fantastic to cross off your #1 Bucket-list item (believe me, try it!). At the moment I still don’t have a new #1 (the actual list, other than #1 is in random order).  I am OK with that for now. Cruising is still what I want to be doing, and now it is just how I am going to continue checking items off that list.  Not all of them, I mean I have things like “GO TO ALASKA” and “SCOTLAND” on the list.  I don’t have the desire to cruise our little boat to those not-warm places. And, um,  “OWN A GOAT” doesn’t seem to jibe to well with the living on a boat thing too well either. Fortunately things like “LEARN SPANISH”, “BUILD AN ELABORATE SAND CASTLE” and “BE INVOLVED IN A REEF RESTORATION PROJECT” seem to be perfectly suited for my current lifestyle so dilemma solved.  Now, let’s see how many I can cross off this year!  I am feeling excited! 

Of course, I also just added a few item too.  After seeing Lisa’s pictures from the Galapagos, I couldn’t help but add “SWIM WITH A SEA LION”.  Then, after seeing Rochelle’s pictures from Austrailia, I added “SEE A WILD WALLABY”.

 

The Bucket List:

  • Go cruising for one year
  • watch baby sea turtles hatch
  • swim under a waterfall
  • hike in a rainforest
  • be involved in a reef restoration process
  • learn Spanish
  • run a 5K
  • build a tiny cottage
  • own a goat
  • save a wild animal
  • cross the equator
  • go to Alaska
  • go to Scotland
  • coast to coast road trip
  • sail ICW and go to NYC by boat
  • go camping again
  • go deep sea fishing
  • ride in a helicopter
  • Make a friend in a another country
  • eat a meal entirely from my own garden/yard
  • ride a train
  • sell a piece of handmade jewelry
  • find an old shipwreck artifact on the beach (doesn’t have to be valuable)
  • go to New Zealand/Australia
  • zipline through a rainforest
  • look into a volcano
  • see a wild hutia
  • go to Cuba
  • scuba dive
  • teach a class
  • go white water rafting again
  • finish a 5 year journal
  • write a poem
  • jump from a cliff into deep water
  • ride a horse on the beach
  • go the Jumentos and Ragged islands
  • go to the San Blas Islands
  • make a long-lasting difference in a strangers life
  • see a wild monkey
  • get a hot stone massage
  • learn to give a great massage
  • go to Hawaii
  • design and sew (and wear) an outfit
  • do 100 pushups (I don’t remember writing that one!)
  • build an elaborate sandcastle
  • build a snowman
  • pick a bucket of blueberries again
  • visit Cat island
  • pan for gold or other gems just for fun
  • swim with a sea lion
  • see a wild wallaby

Keith, who does not share my love of making lists, doesn’t have an actual bucket list.  But I know if he did renting a scooter and touring the Dominican Republic would be on it, I think he’s going to get to mentally check that one off the list soon! 

You may have noticed riding a scooter is not on my list. If you watched me ride a bike you’d understand.  Though, I bet building a sandcastle isn’t on his list.  Marriage is a sweet compromise :) 

So, what is your #1 item on your bucket list? Share! Is this the year you cross it off?

It was a good, good year!  And we ate a lot of fish!

 

 

 


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Claustrophobic

Our first night back we decided to get pizza delivered.  We were too tired to search out a good local place so just ordered from Dominoes, our friends have been giving us grief over this but it was hot pizza, delivered….this was exciting stuff for us!  Keith handed me his wallet and I waited for the delivery man, when he arrived I handed over the money and at the same time it dawned on me it was a Bahamian bill.  A quick scrounge through his wallet and all I could find was pretty pink and yellow and blue money-no green.  We didn’t have a single American dollar on us. The very, very sweet and patient delivery man kindly explained we could just phone in a credit card.  No problem, except we don’t have an American phone either, he let us borrow his.  We exchanged a healthy tip for his time and help and we tiredly stumbled back to the dinghy with our still hot pizza.  

We spent the next few days hanging out at Vero Beach, mostly catching up with good friends.  We also made our first runs to Walmart and Publix.  Consumer choices overload!  Gahhh! I hit the produce section a little heavy and we had one hell of a salad.  Our main topic of conversation has been what were we going to do now that we were here.  We found ourselves totally without a plan (yes, still).  We checked out all the local marinas and reaffirmed what we already knew, a slip for the entire hurricane season was NOT in the budget, a mooring was (maybe) but the bugs and lack of breeze in the mooring field was unappealing and besides you don’t get much for your money besides a dinghy dock and access to public transportation. Staying anchored out was always a solution but I had my heart set on a water hose, something I haven’t seen in eight months.  Keith had his heart set on AC since we can’t go swimming in this water.  We finally came up with a workable solution.  We got a part-time slip.  It’s actually the same cheap slip we rented for ten years before we went cruising and before we move aboard the boat.  It’s part-time because it’s not for liveaboards.  But we can tie up, use the water hose, run the electric (and AC) while we are working on projects, and run about town from it. Some of the time we will spend anchored out or doing some local cruising. We were all hyped up. Finally, we had a plan!

We sailed on up to Satellite Beach to claim our new part-time parking spot! It’s a short sail, only a few hours, but as we got closer and closer we both got less and less enthusiastic.  Everything was familiar, the same buildings, the same derelict boats anchored out, the same brown muddy water we worked so hard to sail away from just one year ago.  The closer we got the shorter the time we spent away felt.  Until Keith said, “it’s like we were gone for a long weekend”.  We pulled into our slip, and tied the lines.  They weren’t even adjusted before we both said “I don’t like it”.  It felt claustrophobic, we almost untied the lines and left right then. We haven’t had the boat in a slip in about a year, the pilings felt too close, the dock too.  We were surrounded by the same five boats that were here when we left three years ago, I could lean over and touch them.  Even our least favorite anchoring buddies were never this close! We have rows of condos that now overlook our cockpit.  We both had a moment of anxiety and frustration and doubted if we should even rent the slip at all.  The only thing we were sure of was next year this wasn’t where we planned on spending hurricane season!

A few days of a water hose and AC and we are coming around. It was also nice to be tied up and relatively unconcerned while we were under a Tropical Storm Warning from Collin, not that being anchored out would have been an issue, still.  Continuing to have a VERY full social calendar has kept us happy with our plan at the moment too.  We’ve missed our friends, we are happy to see them all again.  Right now we are soaking up our fill with them, tackling the todo list, and making a game plan for our next cruise.  Spoiler-it doesn’t include coming back to Florida for a good long while!  But, since we are here, let’s have some fun!

**sorry there are no photos with this post, I’m having technical difficulties­čśŽ  I’m sure I’ll be all straightened out soon!

 


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Gulf Stream Crossing

 

We are back on the other side of the stream.  The crossing was easy, as expected.  We motored almost all the way, as expected.  We did run into a choppy 5 foot swell on the west side of the Gulfstream that lasted about three hours, maybe from Bonnie?  I’m not sure but without enough wind to put up a sail to stabilize us we got a little rolly.  A gallon jug of cooking oil got dislodged (because I didn’t have it where it belonged), it hit the floor and blew off the lid.  We got oil sloshed up on both sides of the galley and all down the “hallway”.  Kai looked like a cartoon character running in place when he tried to get past.  It provided the only incident of the trip, other than that is was beautiful flat waters.  Keith caught two Mahi-Mahi but they were too small to bring onboard, he caught a tuna that is being eaten for dinner tonight with friends.  We had a very brief visit from about eight spotted dolphins, I don’t ever remember seeing spotted dolphins on the bow so that was cool.  The mellow, relaxed mood dissolved as we approached the Fort Pierce inlet; we had forgotten to take into account that it was Memorial Day weekend.  The inlet was a madhouse! We had planned on anchoring near the inlet but didn’t feel like partaking in the party so, much like the decisions made the day before, we just kept going.  We picked up a mooring in Vero instead. That’s the place that has the free bus that picks you up at the dinghy dock and takes you to the grocery store. And while we need a grocery store, it was 31 hours after our spontaneous decision to cross and we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Good crossing or not, we were tired. 

^^ The few moments that there was enough breeze to put up the sail!

^^ Keith topping off the diesel- we motored the whole way!

^^ Like a lake (except those three hours when it wasn’t)

^^ I love that when dolphins see you they will stop what they are doing, swim over and say HI and play in your wake, even if it’s just for a minute.  These ones were very vocal, I heard their squeaks and clicks the whole time they were around.

^^Dodge the boats!!!

Now, to figure out what to do with ourselves now that we are back where we started from.  We haven’t a clue yet!

 


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Alone and Restless

The band of boys has piece by piece disassembled; all being called back home to commitments, businesses, their women.  Although,  not before getting a couple more dives, dinners, and excursions to Grand Cay and Green Turtle Cay! But now we are left on our own again.  We didn’t think we’d find our selves back in Green Turtle again, nor Manjack, but here we are floating in familiar harbors.  Maybe too familiar…we just got asked to “chicken-sit” for a few days by the couple that owns the house here at Manjack. Guess they figured since we practically are living there anyway….why not.  While we have no idea what we are doing next, the thought of committing to staying in one place for four or five days proved too much and we declined.  The one-day-old baby chicks almost got me though. It’s not like we haven’t stayed in Manjack for more than a week at a time before, but we are restless and incredibly indecisive at the moment.  We get this way when we don’t have a clear plan and what is in front of us isn’t grasping our fullest attention.  We go through phases like this every once in a while, they can prove dangerous because we start brainstorming and daydreaming and spontaneous decisions are often made in moods like this. Like, hey, lets sell everything and go cruising! Eeeks, we have a good thing going, lets not mess it up! 

^^serious sun protection

^^Grand Cay

 

^^John and Keith seeing Tom on his way home

Right now all we really need to decide on is when to go back to Florida.  We don’t have to go back until the end of the month but to our surprise we are kind of ready now.  Maybe its because we’ve already made the list of the projects we need to complete and upgrades made in preparation for our next leg of this cruise that will be taking us less familiar waters and we are eager to move forward.  Or maybe it was the little taste of having our friends so close that we want a little more of that.  Of course as soon as we’ve agreed to this and start looking at weather windows to cross, we flip and decide to squeeze out every bit of the last remaining days in our favorite playground.  We know as soon as we get to Florida we are going to miss being able to slip into the cool, clear water to cool off so I don’t fully understand this motivation to move on at all.  We don’t even have much fish in the freezer-we can’t head back yet!  Still, oddly, our mindset is on getting this list started and completed.  What happened to my procrastinating nature!?  The other dilemma is once we are in Florida, how long before we can escape again?  Can we really make a quick jaunt back to the Exumas-do we want to spend hurricane season in the Exumas?!  We don’t want to spend our cruising kitty sitting in the brown waters of the Indian River, do we?  NO. Definitely NO.  Maybe, and this is where those crazy thoughts started to creep in, we should find a source of income during the hurricane season while in Florida to offset the costs while not cruising.  Believe me, none of the ideas proposed required submitting a resume!  Anyway, we are a boat without a heading at the moment. 

 

Update- later that night……

So, in need of a little focus on what is right in front of us we made an impromptu jump from Manjack late this afternoon and sailed up to Powell Cay, only about eight miles a way, but it’s someplace new with lots of long beaches for walking and new reefs for diving. It was too late in the evening for either when we got here so instead we took a dinghy ride around the island and and found a small cay for Kai to claim as his own.  This should keep us entertained and focused for a few days.  Maybe tomorrow we will put a few fish in the freezer  :)

 

 

Update-next morning…….

Well, over coffee and tea this morning we changed our plans once again after playing a long game of “What do you want to do–I don’t know what do you want to do”.  We are Florida bound.  Still in my pajamas, we pulled up anchor and started the sail to Great Sail Cay where we will jump off from tomorrow towards Florida.  We still can’t put our finger on it, we are just feeling like its time to go.  With Tropical Storm Bonnie to the north and a Tropical Wave to the south, the gradient winds have completely collapsed and it looks like we should be in for a slow, but mellow, motor across the Gulf Stream.  See you on the other side (as long as we don’t change our minds again)!

  

Update-a few hours later (Sunday 3:15pm) …….

We got a few miles from Great Sail, looked at each other and said to each other almost in unison “should we just keep going tonight?”.  If guess when we are ready to go, we are just ready to GO! We did stop the boat for a few minutes allowing us to check things over bow to stern and do a few last minute preps. We are underway now and hopefully can reach the last bit of Bahama cellular data signal to post this.  On our way to Florida, see you there tomorrow!