Friday, December 28, 2012

Boatyard Work Just about complete

Didn’t realize it had been a month since I last posted our progress. Let’s just say we have been a bit busy. Where to start…..Well I am happy to report that the bottom continued to dry for another couple weeks after Tom our bottom guy had come to grind. He then returned and fared the bottom on one day, returned the next day and sanded it smooth. His job was done and now it would be left up to Dirk to do the rest. All we would need is some rain free days to start applying the 5 coats of barrier paint and 2 coats of black bottom paint. All in all we used 8 gallons of barrier paint and 3 gallons of Trinidad SR hard bottom paint. Several days later, and we have a bottom that looks as good as new. Dirk did a fabulous job on this as usual.
Tom fairing the bottom

Bottom done, just needing final sanding and paint

Dirk applying the first of 5 coats of the barrier paint

First coat of Bottom paint going on

Bottom job is done, along with the black boot stripes
In the meantime he had removed the old stuffing box and added a new PSS drip less box, plus he replaced the cutlass bearing, and replaced the shaft coupling. Just know that we hope he never has to do the shaft coupling again. Wow, what a pain, and 2 days to do it. It was so corroded in place that even when it was cut in half with an angle grinder it took two of us prying with a 5 ton puller. We actually broke an arm on the puller but after many choice words and threats it finally gave in and came off. Whew, fun fun, NOT…… While he was down in the same hole in the floor we replaced the exhaust hose from the engine. All 12 ½ feet of it. It is 3 ½ inches around and very thick which restricts it from bending much. We ended up feeding it in through the top hatch over the bed, into the floor area and up and under the bed to the rear of the boat. Yet another fun job you get to do while using 5 hands 3 feet and standing on your head all the same time. Believe me when I say, living on a boat is not all sun downers with pretty umbrellas and swaying in a hammock. It could happen but not often enough, at least not now. We are so ready to get back on the water and start heading south back to the Bahamas. But first, more work.
This doesn't look that big but trust me its 12 1/2 feet long and a bear to get put into place
If you read our blog when we first got Renegade you know how bad of shape the decks were in. We knew nothing of teak decks other than they leak. After doing some research and asking around we decided our best and easiest course of action was to scrap the decks of all the years of neglect and repeated coats of cetol. Pull out most of the existing caulking, re-caulk and apply some type of protective barrier. We had several people say to just let it gray. As much as the lazy part of me is screaming to do just that, the part of me that loves the rich tones of varnished and well cared for teak was what was calling us. So Dirk purchased a product called Teak Gard. It isn’t a varnish nor a sealer, it just gives the teak a nice look to it. You must clean the wood very well, apply 3 coats and it is suppose to last a season. Hummmmm What did we do wrong? Seems the high traffic areas wore off way too quickly and we were getting tiger striping going on. This season we discussed it and decided to go a different route to see if it would make a difference. More research, more questions and we have decided to apply what I spent so many months cursing. We decided to completely sand the decks down properly and apply the new Cetol they have now. It is called Marine Natural Teak and it’s not supposed to yellow like the old stuff. Dirk did the hard parts of sanding all the decks down, and what a mess that was. Still is, I finally caved and said I wouldn’t dust or wipe walls till we were out of the boatyard. I have gotten use to writing my notes in the wood dust, fiberglass dust that seems to carpet every horizontal surface I have down below. I have just about completed everything except the cabin top and one coat to the starboard side of the poop deck. (aft deck). I love the rich wood look it gives, it is a bit slick when wet so we need to be careful or put some good deck shoes on. We will see how well this holds up as we are just adding band aids right now. Our goal in the future is to have the decks removed and perhaps redone, but probably fiber glassed. We love the teak look but there is enough wood on the boat and it would solve so many other leak problems.
Not a very good shot but I will post one in the next blog when its complete. Here is the difference as we were working on it
Other projects have gotten completed such as, all the cap rails with the exception of the stern rail plus all the toe rails, (wood on the sides) has been done. Dirk redid the black boot stripe as the last time it was done it was done wrong and it was peeling off. Guess Renegade had blue boot stripes originally as that is what we uncovered. It was Dirks first attempt with rolling and tipping but it looks great and has a nice shine to it. For the non boaters it is the two black painted lines on the sides of the boat. The wheel finally got done, thank goodness. I was tired of looking at it and I hope I never have to redo it again.
The wheel, finally done.....
Christmas has come and gone, old man winter pokes his head in every so often just to remind us that the rest of the country is experiencing winter when we really have had a nice cold season so far. We spent the time with my sister and her family and Dirk took the opportunity to sew the new main and mizzen sail covers. I relaxed and helped cook Christmas Dinner which was mainly cooked by my brother in law. Christmas day was spent cooking, eating, eating and relaxing, sewing, and ummmm eating. Couldn’t help it, Standing rib roast with horseradish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, asparagus, corn casserole, and sweet potatoes. Dessert was key lime and pumpkin pie. Yummmm. The next morning I was met with fresh homemade scones with Devonshire cream made by the sister. We ended up leaving that day. Either that or we were gonna explode.

My sister and I
Dirk getting his Santa on

Christmas dinner, yummy

Homemade scones my sister baked. I love the fact that she loves to bake

Dirk's mom sent us a huge box of German goodies, time to hide this all around the boat so it will last.
So we came back to the boat on the 26th and today the 28th we are getting put into the slings around closing time in preparation of a Saturday launch. Dirk will do some final work under the boat where the keel was sitting on the blocks so we are busy busy. Trying to get the last of the big sanding projects done, cetol and varnish can be done anywhere. We decided our plan would be to head back up the canal back to Harbourtown Marina as we found a slip there that has a long enough finger pier for us. When we gave up our last slip someone grabbed it and they only have a few with a finger pier long enough for us. There we will finish up last minute stuff and continue to re provision the boat. I have started but found it was very difficult trying to organize when everything was torn apart. Caption Butters had his yearly exam done and had to be given a magic bullet so to say to have everything done. He is a very bad patient and for some reason has always hated the vet. This vet didn’t waste time and gave him a sedative which in itself can be a very traumatic experience. I was asked if he was part cougar as the scream he let out sounded as such. Once the sedative took effect his eyes were wide open but he allowed them to do anything they wanted. For a couple years he hasn’t had much done other than a visual inspection because he is such a bad patient. I had 3 year rabies shot done to save us trauma every year.  Every test that was needed for several years was finally done down to a temperature reading and he came back with a clean bill of health. His weight is always something we worry about as he is getting older and diabetes is not something I want to deal with in him. Everything checked out and we will continue to try and curb how much we feed him although the vet is surprised by how little we feed him. His weight is 19.5 lbs so he isn’t going hungry although we are strict about his food.
Butters doing what he does best
 Like I said we will go back to Harbourtown Marina, finish up some last minute task, re provision, and oh yeah I almost forgot…..Put in our new water maker. I will tell you more about it in the next blog but Santa decided that’s what we needed this year for Christmas. I’m not complaining. Till next time….

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Still In The Boatyard

So life in the boatyard goes on and on, and on. Neighbors have gone and new ones have arrived. It’s a nice little community but one I would like to leave soon. There is one person here who has lived on their boat in the yard now for eight years from what I hear. I guess for some people, things take time……We have been busy, well should I say Dirk has been mainly busy. I have been busy but I quit when I have had enough to take a much needed shower where as Dirk keeps plugging away till the job of the day is done. Lately it has been very windy with north winds blowing sand all across the boatyard. Not fun when you’re trying to varnish or when you walk around most of the day crunching on sand. This tends to peg my fun meter very quickly. Tom our bottom guy has come and gone on several occasions to check the moisture in the hull. Last week he came by and decided it was time to grind. He tented the bottom of the boat as to keep the fiberglass dust contained and disappeared under it for several hours.

Renegade tented and ready for grinding

Tom coming out for a breather completely covered in fiberglass dust.
After he was done he did say he noted there were still areas of moisture that would need to dry longer. Not a problem, we have plenty to keep us busy. Here are some of the things we have been working on.


After scraping and sanding but before recaulking

The center seat dissasembled and ready to be rebuilt

Center seat rebuilt and recaulked, just needing some finishing

The seating completed.
Our back seats still had years of old cetol built up on them as you can tell by the first photo. There is also a removable center section that can lift up so that you can get to the dinghy davits and off the back of the boat if needed. It had gotten so much water soaked into it that the seat was unsafe to sit on as it was collapsing. For safety we wedged a piece of wood in it and basically used it as a table. I spent a day taking the seat apart, separating all the teak pieces careful to label the back side so we would remember how to put it back together and cleaned all the old caulk and cetol from it. It took Dirk almost a whole day to reconstruct the seat, put it back together and re caulk it. I have to say though it looks great and to think we were just gonna trash it and replace it with a solid piece of wood. We really never see the wood as we have the very nice cushions that turns it into what I call the couch. Very comfy. 
Years of cetol to remove

You can see the wood grain once again
 The old pin boards and belaying pins, at least that's what I think they are called got removed stripped and now they shine like glass sitting next to the mast ready for ropes.

The wheel was removed and stripped. It wasn't in too bad of shape but when we were redoing everything else we want it all to match. Plus the finish is just so dark and yellowed that you cant see the beautiful teak wood grain. My fun meter was pegged on this project about an hour into it each time I worked on it. Getting into all those cracks and crevasses was not fun. I have yet to to any sanding on it but it is on my list to do.  
After scraping

After the gold was applied but before the varnish was applied on top

What a cold day this was and I had to stay perched on my step stool cause I was too short

Scroll work on port side complete. The blue tape doesnt stay...

Before and after
We also finished the scroll work on the bow of the boat. What a pain to scrape this. Dirk and I took turns with it. He did the final sanding, washing and I applied the gold paint. Took me several hours each side as I applied three coats to make sure it popped. Boy does it pop and we think it looks great.

We had a nice interruption in work one evening as we went and had dinner with an Italian couple we met 2 years ago in Beaufort N. Carolina in the boat yard. This was the first time they had been back to the states and their boat since they left. Now with a baby they have decided to cruise this season and made it to Titusville the other evening. We drove the 30 minutes north and met up with them. We only got to visit a couple hours as we were leaving town the next day and they were heading south for warmer weather. We are hoping next season to do some travelling with them. Great to see them once again. One thing about cruisers, we all travel in different directions but we always cross paths somewhere down the line. For Thanksgiving we headed to my sister’s house and Dirk took the stay sail with him to tackle the first of the new sail covers. He wanted to start with a small one, I say small but at 13 feet long it’s not too small. Thank goodness my sister has a large living room that can accommodate us and the mess we can make. 
Dirk busy sewing away

What a mess, thats all our junk

In a 24 hour period He managed to finish the sail and even had time to get all the components cut out for the spinnaker sock he is making. Me? I did some laundry, helped cook Thanksgiving dinner and relaxed.

Sometimes you just gotta….Today we made it back to the boat and the sail cover fits perfectly. Great job Dirk. I’m so glad he likes the sewing part because I hate it. One old nasty gray cover gone and only 2 more to go. To show how close we are to the port we see cruise ships come and go on a daily basis. Freedom of the Seas is one of the largest that dock here. This one is 1,112 feet long, I say that's a biggie. I can usually tell when its Sunday as that's the day she leaves. We can also tell when there is a north wind because we can smell the food they are cooking.

Since I have not posted many photos of Butters lately I have a couple to show what he has been up too.

Here we find him sleeping, well he looks pretty sacked out

Here he thinks he is being slick. The birds knew he was there the whole time but apparently didnt take him seriously
Its beginning to get colder with the evenings getting down to the mid 40's, day time is low 70's to mid 70's which makes it very nice to work in. Especially when the wind isn't blowing. I will post when we have more projects completed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Boat Yard & Boat Projects

We knew when we came back to the states this last season that there would be a time when we would have to pull the boat and get a bottom job done. We knew that going into the purchase of the boat, but we put it off a year in order to get other more important tasks done and since we were in a yard that didn’t allow you  to work on your boat nor stay on it we wanted them to get done with their task as soon as possible so we could take possession and begin the work we wanted to do. The bottom job got put on hold till now. We have been tending to many things while back here in the states that cruisers must attend to whenever possible. Some things however have taken longer than expected but none the less they are important. Thank goodness I have a sister that resides here in Florida close to our location that has a home with an apartment Dirk and I use whenever the need arises. I can’t express enough thanks to her and her family for what they have done for us and how much easier they have made our lives. But alas right now we are living on the hard along with several other folks here. It’s a nice yard with great guys working here.
Renegade in the sling being hauled out

Renegade in her temporary home ready for repairs
We are at the Cape Marina right down the road from where we were in Merritt Island. Now we are at Cape Canaveral right by the port where all the cruise ships dock. We decided that it was best for me to take Capt. Butters the cat off the boat and over to the sister’s house while Dirk and a fellow boater took Renegade the hour trip thru the barge canal, the lock and bridge. Once the boat was pulled Dirk would look at the bottom and make the final decision on what he wanted to do. Sandblasting or peeling of the bottom. Since the boat most likely would have to stay in a sling with no power and with all the noise we felt the cat would be better off away. Dirk and Mike from s/v Rough Draft had an early departure so as to get to the yard at slack tide and before the early afternoon winds picked up. The channel to the haul out lift is narrow and the tide rips through there so Dirk was a bit nervous. Once they got out of the marina Dirk noticed that they weren’t getting much forward speed at all and they actually had to throw the anchor out in the barge canal for Dirk to dive on the prop to see if there was something wrapped around it or what was causing the drag. Once he got down there he noticed that there was an inch or so of barnacles built up and ended up having to scrap them off. The marina we were in did not allow you to clean the bottom of your boat in the water, plus there were several alligators that hung around that deterred you from cheating.

This was after Dirk scrapped most of the prop in the canal. Talk about a barnacal fest.
Once he scrapped the prop and tried again he made good speed no problem. From what I hear Dirk pulled into the channel for the lift, turned around and backed into the sling like a pro. Good for him, I knew he could do it, but Renegade doesn’t back up very easily and it was making him nervous. Once he was in the sandblast pit they did a test to see how long it would take to blast the entire boat. Years of paint build up proved to be time consuming and it would have cost a fortune so they only blasted the running gear and thru hulls. Ah, the thru hulls, one big lesson learned if you have your boat blasted, CLOSE YOUR THRU HULLS…… Dirk didn’t know and they didn’t tell him. When he finally got on board after they were done and walked into the heads he was flabbergasted. The walls, the ceiling, the floor, the counter tops and every item in them was covered with a wet nasty pasty sand. Its almost as if they put the hose in the thru hull and blew trying to clean the lines out too. When Dirk said something to them they were like ummmmm you didn’t know to close them? Well if you don’t tell me, No. Well we do now and now we are warning you.

Sandy dirty mess on the counter tops, mirror and well everywhere

The ceiling and walls of the bathroom. Like I said, everywhere....
So once it was determined that blasting would take too long we decided the next step would be peeling. The reason we had her peeled was because she had lots of small blisters, what some call pox like chicken pox. During the survey they did see them and after popping a couple and smelling, you can tell where they are located. Ours were right below the gel coat and non were big so that is a good thing.  Its not something structural but something that needs to be attended to one day. Well that one day is here. Basically the guy comes out and has what I call the potato peeler, starts at the front and just peels the bottom from front to back removing all the old layers of paint and gel coat just getting to the fiberglass underneath thus popping the blisters. Then the boat is pressure washed to try and rid it of the salt. The more you wash it down with fresh water the faster it dries out. The boat then has to stay uncoated until all the moisture is gone. For some people this can take many many months. After doing a moisture reading he feels like it may be perhaps 2 to three for ours. We are hoping that with the cooler weather and drier air coming up that it may go faster but we won’t rush it. He will be coming out this Friday to do another reading and see how were looking.

Tom beginning the peeling

One side just about complete
In the mean time we are doing more boat projects. One of the first ones that Dirk did was to replace our freezer. After buying the boat last year and staying hooked to shore power till we did our shake down cruise we didn’t realize how inefficient our freezer was. It took way too much power and needed to be run several times a day and really didn’t keep anything frozen unless it was pressed against the plate. Not good. If you’re a reader of our last blog from our previous boat you know that we had gotten a small chest type 40 qt. Engel freezer that we kept in the vee berth that we loved. Very energy efficient runs on A/C & 12 volt. After researching several freezers and cold plates and different systems we discovered that Engel now makes a drop in self contained freezer. After doing lots of measuring we found that if we removed the extra insulation some previous owner installed and the shelf in the freezer that the Engel box would fit right in. Here is a bit of info right off the website.
Compressor can be moved up 3 feet away for remote mounting
    • Temperature controller can be moved to a remote location
    • 42 Qt Capacity
    • DC12/24
    • Power Consumption: 0.7 - 2.8 Amps
    • Incline Operation up to 30ยบ
    • Low Amp Draws – Even at Start-Up
    • Solar Compatible
    • 100% CFC-Free Compressor
    • Vibration Resistant for Extreme Conditions
    • Efficient Cooling Independent from Ambient
    • Interior Wire Rack

Here is how the unit is shipped, ready to drop in

I love the fact that it has a light and it froze these icecubes in great time
So now we have the refrigeration box and right next to it we have the engel drop in. In the vee berth we had brought the other 40 quart freezer/refrigerator that we will use as a backup. Probably stock it full of stuff before leaving for the Bahamas and this way Dirk will have room to store his fish and lobster once again. Last season he couldn’t really fish much as we had no place to store it. We have been doing other things on the boat such as sanding the teak we didn’t get to last season. The cap rail and both rub rails on one side have been sanded, cleaned and just ready to re-varnish. Just waiting on the Bristol to come in. Everyone is out of it right now but we found two gallons on line and will have it in a couple days. Dirk also ordered more burgundy canvas as he wants to sew new sail covers to match everything else. He also ordered a kit to make a sock for our spinnaker, a new hot knife to cut the canvas with and assorted odds and ends. I will post pics very soon on all the small assorted projects we are doing. While in the boat yard we have seen two rockets launched from the space center. One was an early morning flight which we almost missed but in the nick of time went outside to see it take off. Dirk had his zoom lens on the camera so he got some nice shots. Mine is just my point and shoot but it got a decent picture and it shows just how far away it was.

Morning launch, you can see what a great shot we have
Nighttime launch in hazy conditions

We actually have a nice view to the space center as we are fairly high off the ground with no obstructions around.  The other rocket we saw was the one that took supplies to the space station and it took off at 8:30 in the evening. Almost missed that one too but were watching TV when the countdown flashed across the screen. I caught it but it’s not that great of a photo. Still neat though. So while we are here in the boat yard I will try and post regularly to show the progress of whats happening.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting so Far Behind I Must Fast Forward

So between being so busy on one hand and incredibly lazy on the other, the blog sits neglected as I have gotten so far behind that it’s too mentally challenging to try and remember everything that took place. So in the interest of sanity I will do a quick recap of the rest of our time in the Bahamas before returning back to the states. I think I left you after our arrival into Rock Sound Eleuthera where we were to sit for several days due to very windy conditions. After that we left for Governors Harbor for an evening and then the following day we headed to Hatchet Bay where we would spend a couple days. This time it was more for enjoyment rather than weather. We always love Hatchet Bay for the Sea Glass hunting on the beach and the incredible folks at The Front Porch. Every time we are here we must have dinner as this place has some of the best food I have ever eaten. Gina and Francis are the owners and are always super nice. Any cruiser that we meet that has been there knows and loves them. If you have never been, it is a must stop as there are free moorings in the very protected harbor. At this point we are still traveling with Jens and Regula aboard s/v Emerald Mist and we still haven’t decided if we are going up to Spanish Wells, heading to Nassau, and then back to the states or heading north to the Abacos before making the jump back. Oh well we still have a couple days to decide. On the 16th we decided to head up to Spanish Wells and what else? Wait on the weather to calm down so we could make our next move. As we pulled into the channel we had heard that Bandit with the mooring balls was all full so we wouldn’t be able to go where we always did. Hummmmm. In the past we have seen people anchor just past the mooring field but we have heard the holding isn’t that great. After about an hour of trying to set,we finally found a spot we weren’t dragging too bad in as we backed down. We had heard one of the balls was to become open later in the afternoon so we would wait. At about 5pm we got a call on the radio, the ball was free. So we pulled anchor and picked up the ball happy to be secure to the ground. Bandit has gone up once again on his fees up to $20.00 per day. Before long it will be cheaper to pull into a marina in Spanish Wells. After sitting for 3 days here and after changing our minds back and forth we finally decided that the path we would take back would be via the Abacos. Our buddy boat s/v Emerald Mist had to go the route of Nassau as they had to take care of paperwork in order to enter into the US as they are German and Swedish. On the 19th in the early morning we pulled out of Spanish Wells and set our sights north. There were two other boats that pulled out behind us traveling the same direction so at least there was some company around. There is an area that is a large shipping channel you have to go through and we passed fairly close to a cruise ship. So close in fact Dirk got on the radio just to make sure they saw us so as not to have any problems. After an uneventful motor sail we arrived into Lynard Cay, dropped the hook and called it a day. The other boat that was travelling with us seemed to be having trouble setting anchor and since our dinghy was down Dirk offered assistance with checking it. They said they were fine. Hummmm famous last words. The next day the winds picked up and shifted leaving them anchored in front of us rather than behind us. We kept an eye out and sure enough we poked our head up one time and saw their boat dragging down besides us. Dirk went topside and the other guy was sitting in his cockpit “keeping an eye out”. How about firing up that engine and pulling anchor before your anchor crosses mine and drags mine. Finally they pulled anchor and re-anchored further up. With yet another front passing we sat for 3 days here. Dirk did get some conching in and we managed to dinghy into Pete’s Pub for a Blaster that ended up being several apiece. Whew…..We located our old Tybee Time signature from a couple years back but forgot to bring a marker to write our new boats name. Next time…..On the 22nd we headed on up to Marsh Harbor as our fresh meat supply was just about out and we had run out of veggies. Upon entering Marsh Harbor I was very surprised and had never seen so many boats in there before. I guess with the fronts coming by every couple days people were staying put. We dropped anchor perhaps a bit to close to some people we met in the Exumas but Dirk went over and spoke to them and they felt alright about it. We had to be as far out of the channel as possible but our rear was probably sticking a bit into it. Oh well, gotta do what you can. A day or two later a couple boats finally pulled out and we re anchored in one of their spots. I always feel better when we have good swing room as Renegade tends to dance a bit. She has a high free board which causes her to be pushed to one side, the anchor chain tightens and then she swings to the other side. We had a full day of very strong winds and even had a tornado touch down on the next island over. We and everyone else sat in the cockpits watching everyone else and making sure no one broke loose and drug. Finally when we had decent weather we actually took the dinghy into town and made a run to Maxwell’s grocery store. It was the first time we had been off the boat in about a week. It was time to stretch the legs. We even made time to go to Snapper’s one evening for dinner. After listening to the weather and trying to plan our escape we decided after 4 days of being in the harbor to make a run through the Whale and over to Green Turtle. The winds would be coming across the bay and the area we anchor at in front of the government dock was probably gonna be rolly so we elected to anchor on the other side. This would prove to be a problem as we couldn’t find any good holding and after several tries we gave up and headed to where we always go. We wouldn’t be able to make it into Green Turtle itself as we need high tide to get in and that was past so this would have to do. It actually wasn’t too bad and after two days we decided if we were going we had a short window coming up. This was the end of the line for Internet and phone so any weather we got was going to have to be Chris Parker and he doesn’t broadcast on Sundays. So we left Green Turtle after the last weather report on the Internet and made the trip over to Great Sale Cay. Normally we go into the south anchorage but due to the winds coming from that direction it would have been wide open so we anchored up in the north along with several other boats. Soon after we got there several left as this is the jump off point to the Gulf Stream if you don’t plan on going to West End first. Most people will travel the shallow banks at night and come daybreak you are hitting the Gulf Stream. That evening we relaxed and started mentally preparing ourselves for the trip back. We don’t have a problem making the trip by ourselves but it looked like there would be several boats joining us. The next day we went and visited with a couple, got their float plans and found that two of the boats would be headed into Ft. Pierce which was our plan. We made a trip over to the island and found the last of my Bahama treasures for this season. I found 2 or 3 sea beans and a couple shells. Yippie, I was a happy camper. Then it was back to the boat to put the dinghy up, put the fuel cans into the tank, and tie down and stow everything. Our plan was to pull anchor at dusk to begin the journey and as I prepped the food items Dirk went and had a nice nap. I hate that he can nap, try as I might I just can’t do it. At 7:45 pm several of us pulled anchor and set our sights west. After an uneventful motor sail we hit Ft. Pierce, anchored just a bit before sunset and called it a day, a long day at that. It ended up being about a 22 hour day, we were whipped. The next morning we headed north on the ICW and pulled over in Eau Gallie. Always seems like we plan our trips to end up at this spot. It’s always a nice quiet spot by the bridge and we have never had any problems. It was no different now and we got a great night’s sleep and made our final leg of the journey the next day to Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island. So here the boat sits while we do more work on her and take care of all the things cruisers must take care of while back on land. So forgive me for such a delay. I do hope to do better.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Busy Times

Wow, it’s been a while since I have blogged. So much has happened and many miles have been put under the keel since last time. Let’s see if I can catch you up without missing out on too much. When I last left off, our guest left us after 9 days of vacation. Of course we were battling winds every other day it seemed and so we sat in Staniel Cay for another two waiting on weather. Finally on the 18th of April we were able to pull anchor and head south. We headed on the outside with the hopes that we could land a Mahi Mahi. We hadn’t any luck while our guests were here. With our sights set on Galliot Cay we settled in for a nice sail. It was good to be on the move again although there was to be no bites today. The following morning we decided to go onto Emerald Bay and stay in the Marina there. We loved it so much last season that it was a must stop this season. The fuel dock is easy to get to so on our way in we slid on in and filled up the tanks before finally going into the slip. Great place to stay if you have never been before. The marina is not quiet finished so it’s only $1.00 per foot, per day. Electricity is extra and water is I think .40 cents a gallon. You can elect to have the no electric dock for that price. Since we had been running the engine all day there was no need for electric. We did find out the grocery store that was within walking distance has closed down but the liquor store next door is still open if anyone is interested. Free laundry was what I was after as I had not done laundry since we left the states. Aside from a few essentials that were washed in a bucket that is. So needless to say I along with everyone else had many loads apiece to do. Our plan was to pull in, get a nice calm night of rest as the marina is very protected and the following day I would do laundry and clean up the boat while Dirk did maintenance. Oh wait, before I continue on, I got so excited about the free laundry that I forgot to mention shortly before arriving at the marina Dirk landed a nice Mahi. The first for the season.

Mahi on the menu
So where was I……Oh yea, laundry, cleaning, and maintenance. I did decide that evening to go ahead and get a jump on the laundry as one washer was free when I checked it out. I’m glad I did as the next morning I got up early just for that reason and there was already a line of dirty clothes bags and ladies standing around in our laundry day garb (cleanest dirty clothing) chatting. This is the way we meet new folks and make new friends. Several hours later I returned to the boat with everything that wasn’t tied down washed and smelling fresh once again. After listening to the weather and realizing that if we stayed another day we would probably get stuck in the marina we opted to go ahead and pull out that afternoon and make the short sail on down to George Town. On our way into the harbor we spotted our friends and dock neighbors Don & Barb from Cortez on their catamaran Dulcinea and hailed them on the radio to say hello. Strange how often you run into people you know from everywhere. Since the winds were due to be coming out of the west we elected to anchor in Kidd Cove which is close to town and I could get some provisioning done in town without having to make the wet ride across the open harbor. That next day when we went into town it was very rough but we didn’t have far to go thank goodness. On the way back we did the best we could to avoid the waves but I still had to rinse everything I had in fresh water as my groceries took a good soaking a couple times. Three days later the winds calmed down enough that we were able to go back across the harbor and anchor at Volleyball Beach. Dirk would be a happy camper now as he could get back to playing volleyball and we would be a lot closer to the St. Francis resort for poker nights. We love playing Texas Holdem but it’s hard to find anyone to play with. The first night we played Dirk came in 4th and basically made his entrance money back. The second evening we played I came in first winning $50.00 and Dirk came in 3rd winning $20.00. Winnings always good but even when we don’t win it’s a cheap night’s entertainment. So for a week we sat and relaxed, visited and watched the races as it was the week of the Family Island Regatta.

Now this is relaxing, Renegade marked with the red arrow

A sea plane landed in the crowded anchorage and headed right for us

Drove between us and the swimmers before pulling up to the beach.

It's always cool seeing the boats using people as ballast flying around the anchorage. This year it was windy so there was some nice heeling going on and since we were anchored so close, they basically sailed right behind the boat.

Tidal Wave

Racing through the anchorage

On Friday the 27th our short time in George Town was coming to a close. Usually after the regatta most cruisers take that as a signal to make tracks north and back to the states or if heading south, it’s time to get going. We ran into a couple friends we met last year and had a sundowner get together. The Abby, Triumph, and us ran into each other several times last season and it was great to see them all again. We also met a couple new folks in George Town this year. It seems the Germans were in full force and Dirk would set off to meet this one or that one. He even got a couple of them together for a game of Skat. (a German card game that no Americans understand) I don’t know any… We ended up leaving George Town in the company of I think most of the Germans and headed to Galliot Cay. We anchored for one evening and then headed up to Blackpoint on the inside the following day. We did end up staying an extra day there as the All Age School was having a Bar-B-Que and we know its always the same thing, chicken, ribs, coleslaw, peas & rice, and mac & cheese. Oh and all the flies you want plus some. But we always like to support the islands whenever we can and it’s a night I don’t have to cook. I did take the time to do a couple loads of laundry here as it’s too easy not to take advantage of it when you can. Where else can you pull up to the dock, walk 50 feet and throw your clothes in the wash. At $8.00 for a wash and dry it’s almost a steal too. At least in these parts and this would probably be the last chance to wash till we returned back to the states.

Renegade from Rockside Laundry dock

What a nice view while washing clothes

On the 6th we pulled anchor and headed once again on the outside to make the trip up to our favorite anchorage in Compass Cay. Along the way we were fortunate enough to land another Mahi Mahi.

Yea, another Mahi
Once anchored, Dirk decided to take advantage of the slack tide to get some conchs. He and Jens from s/v Emerald Mist, yes a German, and our buddy boat since leaving George Town took off and returned with a couple in tow. When they returned Dirk set to the task of cleaning the Mahi and when he threw the carcass in we had plenty of critters coming in for a snack. We had about 3 good size nurse sharks, sting rays and 1 small real shark. I am not sure what kind of shark it was, perhaps a reef, or black tip. All I know is it’s the kind with real teeth that like to hunt.

Cleaning fish in paradise

Someone wants a handout
We decided to have Emerald Mist over to the boat for dinner and cooked the Mahi into fish fingers with a curried mayo on the side. Yummy. We decided to stay put for a couple days as yet again the weather was going to be nasty. So the next day the guys decided to do some spear fishing and ended up bringing home a Yellow Snapper and a big ole Hog Fish.

Nice Hog Fish
Yea…..Dirk and Jens cleaned the fish and Jens took it to his boat to cook it for all of us for dinner. What a great dinner it was. The next day a small Queen Trigger fish was gotten but put in the freezer to be made into a smoked fish dip as it was too small to make a meal of. I got a wonderful smoked fish dip recipe from a fellow cruiser that is simple simple and I will post it in my galley section. Its great with any fish.

Renegade anchored in our favorite spot
On the 9th we decided the weather was the best we were gonna see, so we made the all day uneventful motor sail over to Rock Sound Eleuthera which lays to the East of the Exuma chain. Of course we were getting stuck here for several days due to what else? Weather……So now I have you updated to at least another part of the Bahamas and I promise to try catching you up even further very soon.

Jens, Regula, and Dirk relaxing for dinner in Rock Sound