Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weather or Not

We intended to make our way north much faster this year. Weather forecasting has been the issue, this has been the most diffucult six months, weather wise, we have yet to experience. Lots of systems headed this way and that. Weather guessers just couldn't agree about what exactly would happen so we played it safe and stayed in nice protected waters and anchorages. We spent some time in the Sassafras River and some time in Annapolis. We took advantage of a good weather window to travel to the Delaware Bay.

We got to experience this beautiful sunrise as we approached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

We spent one rolly night anchored mid bay and headed to Cape Henlopen, a harbor of refuge near the town of Lewes. The Cape May/Lewes Ferries run through here and have facilities that include a restaurant and bus service to outlet malls and "historic Lewes, Delaware". They also have festivals and concerts from time to time. We got our anchor down and battened down the hatches for an approaching thunderstorm. Sustained 40 knot winds with 50 knot gusts made it very interesting. Our wind instrument froze at some point and the Cape May Coast Gaurd station 15 miles away reported 80 knot gusts! Yikes!

Here are pictures the festival we went to. A dress made of seaglass?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

At Last!!

At last we are moving again! We are headed north to get out of the Florida heat. We took a quick trip to Fort Pierce to stage for our long trip on the outside. We were fortunate to meet with our friend, Tim. He is on a sailboat heading south so was able to have a quick dinner with us ashore in Fort Pierce. We made it an early night because we were heading offshore in the morning. We'll go as long as we can till weather or fuel runs out.

It is nice to have our new Code 0 sail pictured below for the light winds. We sailed into the evening hours on the first night.

Had a great sunrise too.

This was our longest trip in the ocean so far. Because we were able to sail enough we could do a 3 day, 2 night trip! It really was beautiful and we enjoyed every minute. One night, while Ed was just coming on watch, he heard a clatter at the back of the boat. It was a flying fish that had landed on deck. Ed picked him up and threw him back into the sea. Hopefully it was soon enough that he survived his ordeal. On my final watch, just after sunrise, I looked at the side deck to find another flying fish...not so lucky this time.

As it turns out we ran out of both good weather and fuel around Beaufort, SC. A beautiful southern town to visit with the added benefit. Our transplanted neighbors from our Beverly Hills, MI neighborhood live in the area now. We had a great visit with Nancy, Paul and Andrea. The weather really turned here. Big winds and storms kept us here for almost a full week.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Trouble comes in threes

We were out on the boat shooting some video. On the way back to the mooring field, we started feeling a vibration. I throttled back and put it in reverse to see if we picked up something on the prop. That didn't help. We limped back to the mooring and the vibration got real bad but did get the boat tied up. Looking all around I noticed the prop shaft was loose. Hmmm. Transmission problems. Brought out a mechanic and he confirmed, we needed to replace the 30 year old transmission. We were in good hands and had him do a few other maintenance items.

We took a slip in the marina to do the transmission work. While there prepping for the transmission replacement, I noticed the bed felt hot. No, not from Chris. Under the bed is our 900 amp battery bank. One of the batteries was smoking and gurgling. Not good! I pulled all sources of power to the batteries and texted my marine electrician friend Rod. The other batteries that were wired in were continuing to feed the runaway battery. I took it out of the loop. My laser heat gun read 160 degrees! Rod advised that if one went, after 8 years, others would soon follow. Soooo, time to pull the 6 100 lb batteries out and buy a new set.

The good news was how easy it was to do! The battery box is directly below a large hatch. The hatch is directly below the end of the boom. The end of the boom swung perfectly over to the end of the finger pier. Easy up, easy over easy gone!

Ready to hoist

Up thru the hatch

Over to the dock

Away they go

Oh yea, threes. I picked up a job in Miami for Harken, a sailboat equipment manufacturer. They saw drone work I did and wanted something similar. So I went off to practice with my drone before the shoot. Flew four flights and all went well. On the fifth flight, the drone just decided to decend on its own. It sleeps with the fishes. That was Sunday. Had to borrow a car and run to Ft Lauderdale to buy another one Monday for the shoot Thursday. Sigh.

Oh, it's warming up now so I fired up the fairly new air conditioner. No joy, it blew hot air. So much for threes. At least the bees are gone.

Livin the dream!

Friday, March 25, 2016

How we've BEEn

You haven't heard much from us lately. We are safely moored in Stuart, Florida. It has been an odd winter both weather wise and otherwise. Skipping the Bahamas this winter was always the plan. It turns out that we made a wise decision. Big weather in the Bahamas this year including a derecho that caused lots of damage made it a good year to skip. What is a derecho? The dictionary describes this weather phenomena:

derecho (/dəˈreɪtʃoʊ/, from Spanish: derecho [deˈɾetʃo], "straight") is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms. Derechos can cause hurricane force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods.

This was an especially bad wind year in the Bahamas because a good portion of the big winds came from the west. Most of the popular anchorages are exposed to the west and a lot of boats ended up on the rocks, dragging anchor in the strong west winds.

We had some strong winds here, as well. Below is a picture our friends took of Freedom rocking and rolling during a wind storm.

I had my sewing machine out on the table and we heeled so much my heavy machine slid across the table!

Weather wasn't the only drama we experienced. Enjoying a nice calm, sunny day on the mooring and honey bees started showing up in the cockpit. I looked outside and suddenly there were thousands of them swarming around our boat. We got all the hatches closed but now felt trapped inside our boat, unsure what to do. The bees all landed on the blades of our wind generator which was off at the time. Ed decided to turn it on to see if that would shoo them away. Instead they just moved to the body of the wind gen.

We googled 'swarming bees' and came up with a local bee keeper and gave him a call. He told us that they were likely just passing through on their way to finding a new hive location. He felt sure that they would move on in 24 - 48 hours and if not he would come collect them. Sure enough. ....they were gone within 3 hours! Wow....that was quite a buzz.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's a Hard Knock Life

We are taking our time heading south this year. The weather has been great. We had one REALLY cold night otherwise it has been very mild. We took the Dismal Swamp route again....lots of thumps to the keel (our hard knocks) but always a beautiful, scenic route with the nicest people along the route.

Looking back at our route along the swamp.

The water is colored by the peat underground and makes a foamy tea when agitated.

Besides the very narrow channel, there are 3 bridges that need to open and two locks.

The narrow channel is made narrower yet. This pic might help explain the hard knocks....logs and limbs lying on the bottom.

South Mills bridge opening for us and the power boat in front of us.

Tieing to the lock and heading down. There is a lock tender both human and dog!

The human tender.

The dog tender.

Some great swampy sights.

At the end of it all is Elizabeth City.

They have a happy hour for cruisers every weekday. The Mayor talks about all that is available for cruisers in his fair city. Wine, beer, cheese and the slips are free. They even provide a rose for the ladies.

We enjoyed a Homecoming parade that passed by our slips and a great night at the local Cypress Creek restaurant.

A great way to travel even with all the hard knocks!

Friday, October 16, 2015

North to South

So, we hussled north to enjoy time with our friends in the Chesapeake Bay and enjoy the boat show in Annapolis.

It's starting to cool off, you can tell by the morning fog.

We left Norfolk, VA and sailed the Chesapeake Bay overnight to visit with friends in Baltimore. So much fun was had in Baltimore that there are no pics!

Passing the last lift bridge into Norfolk.

Beautiful sunsets on the Bay.

We stopped to visit friends, just outside of Baltimore.

A pair of Endeavours. is getting cold. Time to head South!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What Season is It?


After one of the worst lightning storms the sky at sunset looked like this in Fernandina Harbor.

In Stuart we had rain storms almost every day, some worse than others.

Storms are not the only thing slowing us down (we are sitting out a storm in Georgia right now). Storm forcasts have kept us in place. Hurricane Erika at one time or another was going to head right up the east coast, head in at Miami, Stuart, St Augustine, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Each change in the forcast had our own corresponding change....go north, go south, go west. We are glad that Erika dissipated! Now we get the nasty rain storms that remain.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island is the southernmost barrier island in Georgia. The island is a national park with 36,000 acres of forest, beaches, freshwater lakes, and saltwater marshes.

This year they have sheltered 582 sea turtle nests.

Sea Turtles are endangered. Each nest has about 100 eggs. Survival rate of turtle babies are 1 in five!

The island has beautiful live oak trees and abundant wildlife including wild horses. In the 1800s the Carnegies had a number of mansions on the island.

This Carnegie mansion is in ruins on the island.

We spent a number of days anchored here to explore the island while studying the Hurricane Erika forcasts. This hurricane has had some of the most convoluted forcasting. We had many plans set and then changed and set again.

We took our bikes and rode during the cooler mornings.

Boardwalks take you over the dunes and salt marshes towards the beach

Foliage around the beaches