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

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Staying Put for Awhile

Since our last communique, the next day since we had the golf cart all day Sunday we did some further exploring of Green Turtle.  The island isn’t that large but it still has a lot of places to checkout from the bluff near the old Bluff House Restaurant overlooking the Sea of Abacos toward the south and west, to the other side of the island on the north looking out onto Coco Bay, to around the corner on the northeast side looking out onto the Atlantic.  Pretty rough out there.  More on that situation later.

The roads here are semi-improved outside of New Plymouth where they are concrete.  Realize we are talking the width of two (2) golf carts.  Outside of the town they are somewhat rough plus the speed of a golf cart isn’t that fast.  Fortunately someone has marked the larger potholes so that you have time to either slow down or avoid them.  Otherwise it is like riding a bar room bull, not that we have ever tried that.  Oh, did I mention that you drive on the left here?

Yesterday we made a command decision to stay put here for a while longer.  This was decided because the wind will increase over the next few days from the north and east making a passage out into the ocean somewhat dicey.  No sense in taking a chance and since we are not in a hurry we’ll stay here.  Time to wash some clothes and soak up some sun.

Since we are on a mooring ball instead of at a dock we are relearning to be frugal when it comes to water consumption.  A tidbit for fellow Island Packet owners; on our Island Packet 37 one (1) inch of depth in the water tank equals ten gallons of water.  We learned this when we had to change the float on the water gage.

Electricity is another consideration.  We don’t have a problem in this area since we have a wind generator and a solar panel to keep our batteries charged and over the years we have learned to live within the power budget our system is capable of producing.  Living of the grid has its challenges but it can be accomplished.

We’ll try to embed a few photos this post to see how that goes.  We haven’t tried that.
And lastly we expanded our Overall Trip Map to include our entire 2016 journey from our departure at Cambridge, MD up through Gaithersburg, MD to visit our son and daughter-in-law Aaron & Jordan, down to Charleston for all our check-ups, and then down to Ft. Pierce via auto then  our aboard time getting over to here. 

Many thanks to Hayden Cochran for his help fixing the coding for this map as well as he and Radeen’s inspiration for this overall blog.  Theirs at is awesome.  They are dedicated cruisers and have provided a tremendous amount of support in a variety of ways to the overall Island Packet community.

Gerry & Larry

s/v Galileo

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Further Along

We departed West End at 6:30 am for the trek over to Great Sal Cay.  We decided to go up through Indian Cut which cuts off a whole lot of time from going up and around to get onto the Bahama Bank.  Of course it’s a nail bitter going up this way because of all the low spots in the cut and the tide which will force you to one side or the other because of the current it creates in the cut.  For you Eastern Shore folks think of the Ocean City Inlet when the tide is coming in or going out, but not quite so bad.  The thing in our favor was that we did this traverse on the rising tide and we had gone through there last year so we had a track on our chart plotter that guided us so to speak.  But we still had to be vigilant.  We still did not see anything less than 6.9 feet, pretty good since we only draw 4.5 feet.  You can see the bottom here everywhere so if you have a spotter on deck and go slow in the questionable areas you shouldn’t have any problems.

We had light winds over to Great Sal Cay so we motored the whole way arriving there at about 3:30 in the northwest corner anchorage area since the wind was forecast to be out of the south southeast overnight.  Anchoring in the wishbone area of Great Sal Cay would have been rough as some sailors experienced.  This northwest anchorage offered us the opportunity to leave early and get underway quickly on our path to Green Turtle Cay.

On Friday the ride to Green Turtle Cay was spectacular.  Winds and sea were in our favor.  We did run the motor in the morning to keep up our speed so that we could arrive in the mid-afternoon.  Around noon there was a cloud bank in front of us associated with the small frontal system that went through and it was really sucking in the air from behind us all afternoon.  We probably could have shut the motor down but at 2000 and 7.2 knots we felt like the little fuel we were consuming was worth it to enjoy the speedy ride.  Last year our transit to Green Turtle took two (2) days because the wind and waves were right on our nose at 15-20 knots and 2-3 feet, not a good situation if you want to make headway.

We got to try out our new whisker pole for part of the time.  That system works great.  Pulley and ropes everywhere controlling height. Length, etc. allowing even an old guy to get on deck and control it with no fear, except for falling overboard but we stay strapped in at all time on open water to either fixed hard points in the cockpit or the Jack Lines that run the length of each side of the boat that you attach your safety harness to before you leave the cockpit to go forward to work on things on the deck.

The new MackSail Sails, Stack Pack, and Whisker Pole worked great.

We arrived in the vicinity of New Plymouth around 3:30 and stowed our sails and got all our docking lines rigged for our slip at Leeward Yacht Club.

Navigating into Black Sound where Leeward Yacht Club is located was relatively easy at high tide which is the favored time to arrive here since the channel is a little shallow at low tide for our boat.
Checking into Leeward Yacht Club didn’t happen.  Whoever was going to leave didn’t get their part shipped in yet so there were not slips available.  Not to worry, we got a mooring ball from Donnie located also here in Black Sound so that is where we will be for the next few days.  Internet is not as easy to get to but we’ll survive.

This afternoon we rented a golf cart to explore the island and right now we are at the Green Turtle restaurant enjoying their internet service and later will have dinner here, one of our favorite spots on the Abacos.  Some of you know us foodies.

We will probably be here for a few days or so because the weather will be unsettled early part of next week probably until Thursday which will cause us some difficulty transiting an area called the Whale Cut.  So, we will stay hunkered down here enjoying the Abacos hospitality until it is safe for us to continue onward to either Marsh Harbor or Guyana Cay.

All systems are working great, especially the refrigerator.

Until the next time,

Gerry & Larry

s/v Galileo

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Crossing Success

Between NOAA Weather, Chris Parker of Marine Weather Central, and Marv’s Weather the information all pretty much agreed that today was the best day to go across the Gulf Stream.  Over the next few days conditions will deteriorate and then over the weekend (while the northeast may get another pounding) and all next week winds will shift around to the north and east and make crossing toward the East very difficult if not downright unpleasant.  Not wanting to experience that situation we opted to go today.

We positioned ourselves last night in Lake Worth as close to the inlet as possible where we could find a suitable anchorage, ate dinner, and went to sleep by 7:30 pm.  This morning we awoke at 3:00 am and departed our anchorage at 3:30 am.  Some had already left and others left afterwards.  Last year we departed from Ft. Lauderdale thinking that we could really get a boost from the Gulf Stream heading northeast toward West End.  Not so took 13 hours. Distance was something like 82 miles as I recall.  This year from Lake Worth at 57 miles straight across to West End took only 9 ½ hours. Much better all around.

Gulf Stream crossing was pleasant.  Nothing worse than a fall day on the Chesapeake Bay.  Light chop and long swells.  We alternated every so often and even though we awoke a 3:00 am this morning we were not tired when we arrived at 1:30 today.  We cleared customs, fueled, and got into our slip assignment for the night.

As always Gerry prepared a scrumptious dinner and we feasted aboard.

Out Spot Gen 3 device works great to provide the location information you see either on this page or through the “Overall Trip” link below the map on the right.

Tomorrow we will head on over to Great Sal Cay, then onto Green Turtle Cay the next day for a few days over the weekend.  We might have to wait there before we can cross over a location called the Whale Cut which requires you to go out into the ocean around Whale Cay and then on its East side cross back into the Sea of Abacos.  If there is any high winds coming in from the ocean this cut can be dangerous so we may have to play a waiting game.  Oh well Green Turtle Cay is a great place so that won’t be too bad.

Tomorrow we will be totally off the grid until we get to Green Turtle Cay.  No cell coverage between here and there (110 miles).  So, you won’t be hearing from us again probably until late Friday or sometime Saturday.

Weather is nice and pleasant, T’s and shorts and light shirts.  Plenty of sun and it is not expected to rain for the next week or so.

We will be in touch in a few days.

Gerry & Larry
s/v Galileo