Wright Away Sails Away

Going where the water is warm and clear.


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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 difficultiesšŸ˜¦  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!

 


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Sewing Smashup (Part 1)

 

Just before we left Florida in October I placed a seemingly mishmash order from Sailrite for all of the items I was missing in order complete my outstanding list of sewing projects. One more zipper, a different sized snap, a few more yards of fabric…. I was confident now that I had all my supplies,  I’d for-sure get my projects done.  Silly me, even with the number of weather days we’ve had I haven’t made it through my list. Most of my to-do items have to do with shade and ventilation, something that has not been a concern of mine it the last few months, and so they are still to be done.  But I did get a few done—YAY!  ….and now that I’ve got the momentum going…watch out!

Cockpit Beanbags:

 

Our cockpit has a few ergonomic challenges and since we spend so much time sitting/lounging/napping there I made us a set of beanbag wedges.  Wa-la  instant comfort.  I used Sunbrella so they can just stay outside (and stay clean).    They are excellent for wedging yourself into a comfy spot when on a rolly passage or finding just the perfect angle for reading a book. Only I should have made three; Kai likes them too.

**I learned from the last beanbags I made that the beans get compressed and they have to be occasionally refilled so this time I added YKK Zippers and just put a stitch through the slider to keep them from accidently opening.

 

Seatbelts for the Jerry Cans:

We have a lot of jerry cans on the deck and we found that we were not always very diligent with retying them to the rails every time we used them so we’ve lost more than a few sun covers and occasionally had the cans go sliding across the deck during a squall. (Not so shipshape of a situation) To make it easier and quicker to keep everything lashed in place all the time I made webbing straps with buckles.  Since making them all their very own seatbelts we haven’t lost a cover or can.  We will still lash them with rope for any crossings, but we always double everything up then anyway.  On the same theme, I made two straps on the stern rail to clip up the davit lines.  We use these a couple times a day and it just makes it faster and easier, I guess neither of us were speedy knot tiers because now the lines are always secured. 55 cent buckles that hold up to the sun, gotta love the little things!

**I used the polyester UV resistant webbing

 

New Zipper for Wetsuit:

One of my wetsuit tops came with a metal zipper slider and since we don’t have the luxury of washing our dive gear down with freshwater after each use, it corroded out. A new YKK plastic zipper—and all is new!

 

Puppy Proof Fish Hooks:

Our little Kayla (our previous pup) once got a fish hook in her mouth, it is an experience that I would like to never repeat.  Kai has an understandable obsession with the lures on Keith’s fishing poles and though we store them where he could never reach them, I though it would be safer for him, and maybe us, to have safety covers for the hooks.  A scrap of fabric and a strip of Velcro was an easy solution.

 

Multi-talented Sailrite:

I love my Sailrite, it does the tough stuff like stitching the double layer leather chafing patches on the bimini extension or sewing through the outdoor carpet strips used to protect the enclosure glass.  But it also does the delicate stuff-like dinner napkins.  We don’t use paper napkins on the boat but the cloth ones I had were looking a little worn out and stained so I made us a few more sets with some remnant material.  While I had out the remnants bag, I stitched together a few new toys for Kai; they don’t have pet stores out here and while I had a big stash of toys for him before we left, he has gone through them all already.

**Just a note to other cruisers/to-be cruisers: While in George Town we heard several cruisers asking over the VHF radio if there was anyone with a Sailrite Machine they could borrow. Sorry, I did not let my precious machine go for a dinghy ride across the harbor in someone else’s boat.  I also heard almost as many calls for people needing needles because they had used their last one.  So, if you are headed out and have a Sailrite onboard, I’d suggest ordering several extra packets of needles of different sizes and different weight threads (you never know-you might want to make something other than sails too).  The machine is amazing, but it doesn’t do a thing without thread and needles.


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Rolling Out the Welcome Mat

The Boys are back in ‘Breasted!!!!  Welcome John, Johnny, and Tom!  I said it in the last post, Double Breasted and friends just go together.  We sure were happy to see you sail over the horizon!!!  

Actually Keith was so anxious to see his friends he took the dinghy over to Grand Cay with the excuse of taking in the trash and buying a loaf of bread so he could be there as they pulled in to clear customs.  Both boats were given a labored clearing in procedure, something we have not experienced in the Bahamas before.  They had to bring the boats to the dock and were boarded, it took them several hours to clear in.  It took us less than 15 minutes when we cleared the last time and have never been boarded.  The customs lady that boarded the boat told them they were only allowed 1/2 case a beer per person.  Uh Oh. News to us!!  In the end nothing was done about the cases stacked up in the boats and they eventually got their permits.  Time to play!

The weather has cooperated in ways we had forgotten were possible and it has been a couple days of paradise.  Paddle boarding, bone fishing, diving, bonfires, and simply hanging out together.

 

^^They boys came over loaded with exotic provisions like fresh fruit, American beer (as already noted), paper towels, and the rare box of Cheese-it’s!  That is an entire bowl of fresh fruit on the tablešŸ™‚

^^ Hey, John, where’d you go?  Thought you were bringing us some cardboard?

^^ Sundowners on Nessa.

^^ I finally speared my first mutton snapper and my biggest fish yet. (Does my goofy grin give away that I was happy?) That fish took every breath I had and one more that I didn’t think I had to bring up.  I got a poor shot on him and he swam off with my spear around the corner of the coral head.  I caught my breath and dove down to grab him and he swam off again into a crevice going so deep my entire spear disappeared into the reef.  It took a while to find him again in a hole on the other side of the head.  I had to reach in a hole and pull him out (I really don’t like reaching into things, too creepy).  I sure was happy to share him at dinner, though.

 

 

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