Friday, February 10, 2017

Getting Ready For Our 2017 Crossing to the Abacos

Hi,

Well it has been a whirlwind week from departing from Maryland in the winter, through spending some relaxing time in Charleston where Gerry continues to impress the medical community with her outstanding progress to date, to getting here in Ft. Pierce, FL where we have been enhancing the boat and provisioning her to get ready to make our crossing to the Abacos.

Before doing so we spent some high quality time with Shana and Josh and Sabin and his new sister Marina.


It is amazing how attentive she is to everyone and just at 3 1/2 months old.  She is a cutie.

We augmented our power capability this year with the addition of a flexible solar panel.  So in addition to our 135 watt Kyocera panel and Air X Wind Generator we now have an additional 100 watts of dc power to keep us electrified while off the grid.  In addition we added a dc to dc Power Converter to up our 12.6 volts to 13.8 volts for our Single Side Band HF radio for better transmit capability hopefully.  (We continue to be hf radio challenged to get it to perform.  Hopefully, this will lead to an improvement.


It is amazing how much stuff it takes to get ready to leave.  Here is this year's load.





While here in Ft. Pierce got a new car for Gerry to run around in.  That's here leaving Publix.
Not!!

So looks like we will be departing Ft. Pierce tomorrow sometime for Lake Worth, FL with an crossing attempt on Monday, February 13, 2017.

A few days after we get across we will give you all another installment of our 2017 Abacos adventure.

Till then

Team Galileo
Gerry & Larry

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Safely Home

We departed Green Turtle Cay this past Tuesday, April 19, 2016 for Great Sal Cay to position ourselves for a Gulf Stream crossing later in the week, either Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.  As Wednesday didn’t look favorable we decided to wait until Thursday to depart around 3:00 pm for an evening crossing of the Gulf Stream to get a favorable incoming tide into the Ft. Pierce, Florida Inlet.  We also wanted to have the advantage of a full moon for better nighttime visibility.  After listening to the Thursday morning weather report we decided to change our plan for a nighttime crossing of the Gulf Stream to a daytime crossing so delayed our start time from 3:00 pm to 12:47 am Friday morning.  Got a few hours rest prior to departing, woke up at midnight, got ready and pulled up anchor, set our mainsail and took off across the Little Bahama Bank in the dark heading toward the Gulf Stream.  We crossed over into the Atlantic at about 09:40 about 13 minutes later than our plan.  Captain Larry inadvertently slowed down thinking we did not have to be at this waypoint until 09:47 am.  He was properly chastised. Later in the day when the winds really kicked in we were able to make up this time easily.

We got to the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream around noontime and began to pick up a boost in speed for the next four (4) hours as we crossed the Gulf Stream, sometimes as high as 8.5 knots ground speed or more especially closer to Florida.  Around 14 miles east of Ft. Pierce Inlet the Gulf Stream speed thrill stopped but then the winds really started picking up and our speed did not drop off too drastically.

As we approached Ft. Pierce Inlet you could see a threatening thunderstorm that was then drenching the south end of Hutchinson Island so we doused our mainsail and continued to motor into the inlet.  The storm did not hit us as it went out to sea behind us but the winds got brisk for a while there, once up to 30 knots.  

As the incoming tidal current flow was at its peak going into the inlet as we had planned our arrival to coincide with it was a sweet quick ride up into Ft. Pierce Harbor, after which we turned south and headed over to our boat slip here in Harbour Isle Marina arriving at 7:45 pm.

As novice ocean sailors it was a challenging nineteen (19) hour trip but an excellent learning experience.

Here is our last Bahama sunset.


We hope you enjoyed keeping up with our 2016 trip to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas with this blog site. It was a pleasure communicating with you all in this fashion.

Stayed tuned for further adventures.


Gerry & Larry
Team Galileo

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Picking Up the Bread Crumbs - You Can't Come Back Unless You Leave

Well everyone our 2016 Abaco's adventure is about to end, sadly.  It certainly was nice.  Weather for the most part has been excellent.  There was the 'great squall' that came through while we were in Marsh Harbor but we were able to weather the storm so to speak.

Since our last input we spent two (2) weeks on a mooring ball in Hope Town on Elbow Cay here in the Abacos.  To extend our horizons we rented a golf cart for a day and traveled south to Tahiti Beach.  It is located on the south end of Elbow Cay.  When the tide goes out a very large area of exposed sand occurs for families and everyone to enjoy.  Someone reported over the Cruiser's Net seeing a large shark there during the week that measured 5 feet from its dorsal fin to its tail fin.  Interesting, but we didn't see anything like this while we were there.  They say you shouldn't swim in these waters before 7 am or after 5 pm to avoid them.  While there, we used Larry's beard trimmer to trim both our haircuts.  So we are leaving part of us here.  A saying here is "sand in your shoes, will bring you back to the Abacos."  Here's looking forward to 2017.

While here frequented Captain Jack's for bingo twice with our friends Barb and Doug from Melinda Kay.  Dined at the Harbor View Room of the Hope Town Lodge.  Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall would have gone there in their time I sure.  Reminds one of a scene from Casa Blanca.

Enjoyed the  pool and deck lounge area at the Hope Town Inn and Marina as well soaking up more sun.

As the weather looks like it is shaping up for a good set of conditions to cross back over the Gulf Stream back to Florida later this week, we departed Hope Town last Friday in order to be able to transit the area called the Whale Cut that we told you all about on our way out here.  Presently we are anchored in White Sound here in Green Turtle Cay.  We will move west Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and expect to be in Ft. Pierce shortly after dawn on Friday, April 22, 2016.

Until then, enjoy the enclosed photos,


Gerry & Larry
Team Galileo














Monday, April 4, 2016

Abaco Update

Yes, we haven’t provided an update for a while.   We apologize.

Those of you who have been checking our blog maps though may have noticed that we have moved about since our last report.

But, a word about Marsh Harbor.  It is a much larger town as opposed to the others we have visited.  While not as diverse as cities in the U.S. they do provide access to a variety of services and goods such as a large grocery store (smaller version of a Harris Teeter or Giant), banking, hardware marine stores, etc.  No Walmart or Sam’s Clubs however.  So you can imagine we did take advantage of these to replenish certain items like fresh meat, eggs, veggies, milk, cash, etc.  It’s not all sand over here.

We again met fellow boaters here and there while getting in our requisite 10,000 steps while walking about motivated by our Fit Bit watches that record our various physical activities daily.  Thanks Josh for suggesting these to us.

While in Marsh Harbor Gerry experimented making bread with rapid yeast; something she hadn’t used before.  Worked great and quickly, and we have been enjoying it daily.

Another Marsh Harbor experience was living through the storm of 2016, our first squall.  About 8:30 at night last Tuesday for about 2 hours the wind whipped up to 35 knots and once blew at 50 knots for a few minutes. The whole boat shook and shook for a while, felt like you were on the end of a whip.  It was raining sideways so hard you could not see anywhere.  You did not want to go outside.  We kept looking at each other asking when it was going to end.  Fortunately everyone in our area of the anchorage did not drag their anchors so we all stayed in our relative positions.  A few weren’t so lucky and a couple of boats came in contact with each other.  One had to cut their anchor chain to remove themselves from the pickup.

The next day on the Cruisers Radio Ne there were numerous reports of lost items.  A lot were recovered later in the days, found floating in the harbor or blown ashore.
We finally departed Marsh Harbor last Thursday under motor and travelled down to Little Harbor, Abaco.  It’s a small harbor somewhat the size of Cambridge, MD, our home port.

While there we visited Pete Johnston’s Gallery.  A local sculpturer whose works are displayed in a wonderful southwestern style building which is quite a contrast from the local island architecture.  He is an accomplished sculpturer in his own right having trained under his father, Randolph Wardell Johnston who had done some famous works displayed internationally.  Quite an accomplishment using a remote foundry virtually in the middle of nowhere and completely off the grid.  Everyone in the area is powered by solar energy.  You should see the size of the batteries used.  It was impressive.
Pete Johnston also has Pete’s Pub there in Little Harbor, a wonderful stop for libations and fabulously delicious food which we absolutely enjoyed.  The best fish we have had in a long time, ranking right up there with Charleston’s finest restaurants.  Was too good to pass up.  We had lunch and dinner there on Friday.

On Friday afternoon, Radeen and Hayden Cochran of Island Spirit arrived in Little Harbor after having crossed over from Royal Island, Eluthera and together we had dinner catching up with each other’s experiences since we met here in the Abacos last year.  They are pretty prolific bloggers and maintain a very informative blog at http://www.islandspirit35.blogspot.com.

On Saturday morning as the weather report looked favorable to sail back north to Hopetown both the Cochrans and we took advantage of that weather window.  It was a nice downwind sail for the most part up here to Hopetown, at least for a couple of hours.  We motored the last hour up through White Sound since it is shallow at the entrance and it was low tide.  Although the chart has it marked as 4.5 feet in one spot, the lowest we all saw was 5.2 feet.

Upon arriving at Hopetown we both were able to locate mooring balls in the harbor to secure our boats.  Our friends Barbara and Doug Lienhard were able to help us secure the mooring ball next to them.  Later in the day we enjoyed each other’s company at the Hopetown Inn and Marina swimming pool and later had dinner together at Captain Jack’s, a local Hopetown favorite.  Wish us luck there when we go play bingo with them on Monday night.  Grandma would have enjoyed that.  Real (large) cash prizes are offered.

Last night Gerry fixed an even better fish dinner than Petes, pan searing a fresh wahu fish that we bought at the fish cleaning station here at the Hope Town Inn and Marina.

Well that’s the latest.  We plan on staying here at least a week or so before we start heading back.
Here are some more photos:


Enjoy,

Gerry & Larry
Galileo









Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hello All from Marsh Harbor

We extended our stay at Orchid Bay Marina on Great Guana Cay to nine (9) days; partly because we wanted to enjoy the amenities of the marina, enjoy their Sunsetters restaurant, and be able to attend the Barefoot Man concert over the weekend.  Another reason was the wind really picked up from the wrong direction over the last couple of days there and it would have been extremely tricky to get out of our slip without rubbing our dingy that hangs off the back of the boat into the pilings in our slip.  And lastly since we weren’t able to fix our Wind Generator the last time we reported in, so we made another stab at that effort which unfortunately again did not fix its problem.  Time for a replacement.

Met a couple from Nova Scotia, Marianne and Paul Cochrane who have a boat just like ours, same year, and for 10 years just like us.  They have made a lot of nice improvements, Gerry and Marianne shared their boat ideas and Paul and I shared our various boat improvements.  We joined each other on their boat Knot-Ha-Gan for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails one evening and later on our boat another evening.  Nice conversations.  We saw one another at the Barefoot Man Concert at Nippers and chatted there as well.   They like us also keep their boat in Ft. Pierce, Florida when they return to Canada.  They do spend more time in the Bahamas than we do, but they like ourselves like the convenience of not going all the way north back to home port.

We also saw old acquaintances from the boat Melinda Kay, Barbara and Doug Lienhard who we met in 2015 going down the ICW in South Carolina and Florida.  They recused Linda and Grieg Mitchell from dragging their anchor one terribly windy night out on the ICW.  Caught up on our experiences since then.

Kai Nau whose great uncle has “Now or Never” in a slip across from us here in the marina joined us with Paul and Marianne to solicit ideas for a novel entrepreneurial interest has would like to pursue.  Bright young man to be remembered.  His great uncle and great aunt circumvented the globe over in the 80’s and 90’s.

Below are some photos of our continuing journey.

Gerry & Larry
s/v Galileo











Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Upon Arrival at Orchid Bay


Hello Again

Our apologies for not providing an update in a while.  Had a couple of instances of life in paradise getting disrupted.  One had to do with the computer we are using to operate this blog and the other had to do with our Wind Generator which assists our Solar Panel in keeping our batteries recharged when the engine isn’t running.  Aside from these two inconveniences we have been enjoying ourselves here in the Abacos.

We stayed in Black Sound at Green Turtle Cay from Day 6 through Day 14 of our journey.  The constraint that kept us at Green Turtle so long was the wind conditions out in the ocean which caused high sea states in the vicinity of the next islands south called No-Name-Cay and Whale Cay.  To get past Whale Cay, because the water behind it is too shallow for our boat, you have to go out into the ocean in front of Whale Cay, go about 2 miles down the length of the island out in the open ocean, and then cut back into the Sea of Abaco.  For those of you familiar with the Ocean City, MD inlet when the tide runs in and out of there, you know it gets pretty rough.  Multiply that a couple of times when it is windy and add to it the big rolling seas that come across from Portugal and this inlet can become treacherous, so one pays religious attention to the conditions in the Whale Cut before attempting a passage through it.

While at Green Turtle we enjoyed the local food, had some great conversations with fellow boaters, did some souvenir shopping, and just generally relaxed.  It’s a very small world when a boater from a couple of boats over knocks on your hull and asks if you are from Cambridge, MD.  Turns out he lives about three blocks away from us there and we pass by his home on our daily walks.  Tom Fisher and his wife Kayla were aboard Canberra owned by Rich Morrical and Nancy Wohlsen of Oxford, MD.  The girls will fly back to the states and Tom and Rich will bring Canberra back to the East coast over the next couple of weeks. Our house sitter in Cambridge Amy Meekins knows Tom Fisher; their children went to school together.   Also met Dan and Martha Bliss who keep their boat in Swan Creek right around the corner from Rock Hall, MD.  Our next door boat neighborshere, Patrick and Di Walton of Resolute IV from Canada, were very informative about the Abacos and their sea going adventures in this area as well their exploits into the Caribbean.  When they return home to Canada every year they keep their boat on the hard here in Green Turtle at Abaco Yacht Services, a full service boat yard for any size boat.

Noticed a boat on a mooring ball near us that reminded of us Bruce Franz’s Dickerson 41 but this looked more like a larger Gulfstar.  Name was Jet Lag owned by a retired FedEx pilot for 30+ years.  Looked nice.  He keeps it here year round. A picture is included  below.


You may have noticed we talk about weather somewhat in our conversation with you.  How does one keep up with weather here in the Abacos?  Well that starts by arising early like 6:00 am to listen to Chris Parker, everybody’s weather guru, on 4045.0 MHz on our Single-Side-Band HF radio, and then later in the early am various cruiser radio networks on the VHF radio.  And then there is the internet from Barometer Bob to NOAA to Weather Underground and on and on and on.  So, there is a lot of information available to make very informed weather related decisions.

Without our Wind Generator operating we had to run the engine for battery recharging a couple of times.  The tests that the Air-X Wind Generator manual suggests indicate that the brushes inside the unit may have become clogged with material that sluffs off these brushes as the unit runs.  We will have to lower the Wind Generator mounting pole, remove it, and open it up and look inside.  We did this two years ago and removed some stuff then had it rebuilt.  Should have lasted longer.  Oh well.  We will see what its dilemma is when we open it up.  More on that at later.

Another aspect of using a mooring ball instead of a dock for your boat besides no wall plug is not a water hose.  We have a ninety (90) gallon water tank.  Making sure the gage works properly stays uppermost in this regard.  It’s not hard to remove the gage to check it.  In this process learned that one (1) inch of water depth in the tank equals approximately 10 gallons of water, so as a fallback position could always use a ruler.  We slupped a few gallons from land when we used the dinghy to go ashore just to make sure we were okay.  Gotta shower.

Finally this past Sunday March 13th on Day 14 at about 10:30 am with a favorable tide and light winds we were able to depart Green Turtle and make the transit over to Great Guana Cay.

We arrived at Orchid Bay Marina (of Marty and Mariam Bagshaw fame) and took a slip for a week.  

Time to have plenty of electricity and water while we sort out computer and Wind Generator issues as well as attend the famous Barefoot Man Concert later in the week at Nippers.

Upon arrival noticed a Grand Banks 42 (like Larry and Nan Moser’s) that had made the Great Loop.  (The journey up the East coast, through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, around the Gulf, then back to the East Coast.)  Now that’s some serious travelling.

We have been using Rolando Sosa’s secret spice that is saffron based that produces a nice flavor and color to couscous and rice.  Yummy.

Monday we attached the computer issue with the Geek Squad from Best Buy.  Don’t know how we’d survive without them on our Windows 10 laptop.  Took about three (3) hours to resolve, but as always they were successful.  Don’t know what occurred to create the issue but it really hung up our e-mailing and Google Chrome usage with this particular computer.

Yesterday we summoned up our courage to lower the pole that supports the Wind Generator, remove it and open it up to see what awaited us inside.  Lo and behold it wasn’t material that had sluffed off from Brush wear, but grease!  Where that came from is a mystery, since the bearing that was replaced during last year’s rebuild is supposed to be sealed.  Repair shop doesn’t know either.  Oh well, took the slip rings and brushes out and cleaned them all up and put it all back together (not a large feat, but not a small one either).  Replaced it on pole and wired it back into system.  Haven’t started it up yet but confident it will work.  Pictures below.




Today relaxation and beach.  Thursday St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  Friday Barefoot Man at Nippers.  Saturday Spare Rib night at Sunsetter’s here at Orchid Bay Marina.  Somebody’s got to do it.



 Gerry & Larry
s/v Galileo