Friday, May 26, 2017

2017 Abacos Finale

Hello all,

Last input was through day 71.  This input takes us thru returning from the Abacos, closing up Galileo for the summer in Ft. Pierce, to our departure for places north toward Maryland (day 103).

Our last blog input was submitted while at the Green Turtle Marina waiting for a good weather window to be able to make it to Great Sal Cay and onto Ft. Pierce, Florida, but as most boaters know plans change.  The wind did not come out of the right direction, the engine impeller had to be changed half-way thru one of the days, and we decided to not make a night crossing without a full moon.

During the first day out of Green Turtle when the wind turned terrible on the nose we ducked into a new harbor that is being built on Abaco Island for ocean-going freighters.  Impressive, not on the charts, and being built by the Chinese for the Bahamians.  Unfortunately, they would not permit us to stay so off we went.  We stayed at Crab Cay/Angelfish Point.  A very nice private anchorage.
The next day we set sail for Great Sal Cay but then doused the jib and motor sailed with the main sail.  Started to hear more noise than usual from the water muffler which meant we had to change the impeller before proceeding.  Being close to Fox Town we anchored near town and waited a few hours for the engine to cool down so that we could accomplish that task.  Fortunately we found all the broken rubber impeller blades in the changeout process (always a concern to make sure coolant pathway isn't clogged).  After completing this task we were able to continue onto to Great Sal Cay and anchor right before dark.

The next day as we decided we wouldn't be making an overnight crossing back to Ft. Pierce, Florida we proceeded onto West End, Grand Bahama Island where we discovered a huge fishing tournament was about to take place.  We got the last slip.  Later that night we were able to buy tuna from one of the boats, enough for four (4) meals for each of us.  Yummy when fresh like that.

The following day (76 - April 28, 2017) we departed West End at 03:36 am arriving at the Ft. Pierce, Florida Inlet at 16:45 pm with strong winds and an ebbing tide.  Basically we arrived too early. Incoming tide wasn't supposed to start for another 2 hours.  Won't do that anymore.

The fishing lure we showed in our last blog input was not successful.  Oh well.

However, as we approached Florida we were welcomed by a huge pod of dolphins everywhere for at least twenty (20) minutes.  First small (young) ones then larger ones froliced all around us.  Nice.

Going into our marina we discovered that there was a huge dredging operation ongoing in the Intracoastal Waterway which made navigating around all the temporary marks a challenge.

Our 2017 excursion to the Bahamas was rewarding and relaxing.  We stayed longer this year (2 1/2 months) and met many interesting people and attended many community events.  We enjoyed our two (2) month-long stays at the Abaco Beach Club with the Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club gang, and on the mooring ball in Hope Town on Elbow Cay.

The weather was very enjoyable but breezy most of the time as the flag below shows:
Now that we were back in Florida, but with nothing pressing schedule-wise, Larry undertook some boat improvement projects over the next three weeks.  During that time Gerry visited with her Mom, brother and wife and their family in Indiana during which our daughter and granddaughter joined them for Mother's Day weekend.

Now we are on our way back to Maryland, We have stopped at our favorite town, Charleston, for the week to relax some more and take care of various medical appointments.

Here we are on top of the Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge with Charleston in the background.  Our first venture up to the top of this bridge.  Impressive.  Windy

Well, that concludes our 2017 Bahamas trip.  We are already making plans for a 2018 return.  See you then for more updates to the great adventures of Team Galileo.


Gerry & Larry

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Latest Galileo News from the Abacos - 4/23/2017

Ahoy Followers,

No we did not fall of the edge of the Earth.  Last time we blogged was day 34 of our adventure while docked at the Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbor.  Today it is day 71.  A lot has happened.  During that timeframe the weather has been fantastic.  Clear nice days and cool nights which are great for sleeping, even using a down quilt to stay warm at night.  Today is the first day it has rained since March 12th.  On that day we were able to collect 45 gallons of fresh water in 45 minutes it rained so hard.  Today is a nice gentle rain and after the boat gets rinsed off real good we may try to collect some today.

We hosted Gerry’s sister Clarine over March 17 th – 19 th.

As time was limited on the 17th we took advantage of the Albury Ferry Service and zipped over to Great Guyana Cay to partake of the Barefoot Man Concert at Nippers On The Beach.  This is an annual event that takes place there and it is a really laid-back atmosphere enjoyed by all as they try to re-live their younger days.  The Barefoot Man actually does not wear shoes hence the name.  His music style could be classified as sing-along Caribbean-calypso.  Here are a series of photos of that encounter.

The next day, the 18th, we again took advantage of the Albury Ferry Service to Elbow Cay and visited Hope Town for the day and walked the settlement and local beach.

Later that night we taxied over to the Jib Room to partake of their Saturday Night barbeque rib special.  Yummy.  Afterwards we stayed on to watch the famous Jib Room Limbo Man performance.  Crowd participation is always invited, but the main event is when Limbo Man performs.  Impressive how close to the ground he can get to go under the bar which for this part of his show is on fire.  He has been doing this for 44 years.  I know my knees would not be able to handle that kind of wear-and-tear.

As Clarine was scheduled to depart around noon on the 19th we had a leisurely breakfast at the marina restaurant and chatted in the morning before taxiing over to the airport.  All in all, hopefully, she had an enjoyable relaxing time here on our boat and was able to unwind some from her daily professional work grind.

While located in the marina at the Abaco Beach Resort Gerry was able to obtain home grown vegetables which she loves to use in our diet, and fresh baked bread that is available in town.  Her cooking is a real treat as my various raves have attested to in the past.

A few days later (on day 40 of our stay here in the Abacos) we departed from our slip and traveled over to Hope Town on Elbow Cay (a short distance of 5.7 miles) and settled in on a mooring ball.  We were fortunate to locate one on the first pass through the harbor in that the mooring balls there are on a first-come first-served basis and it is hard to get a free one sometimes.  As we arrived next to it, the boat that was attached announced they were leaving, so wa lah, problem solved.

We stayed in Hope Town on our mooring ball from day 40 thru day 65 which was Easter.  While there we were fortunate to renew old acquaintances as well as make new friends.  And there was a Farmer’s Market here as well every Saturday morning.  Additionally, homemade bread is readily available at Vernon’s grocery store which is a must visit here in Hope Town.  We were able to fully generate all of our electrical power this year that we required by the installation of another solar panel to augment our existing one, as well as having fixed our wind generator last fall, so being on a mooring ball is almost like being in a slip in a marina.  Besides, you get to use the dinghy to travel around the harbor from place to place or visit other boats.

After a few days in Hope Town, we noticed several large sea turtles swimming near our boat in the harbor.  On our ten thousand step walks to get great numbers on Gerry”s Fitbit, we would walk past these road signs left by past visitors from all over the world visiting Hope Town.  We especially enjoyed the ones from Maryland and Indiana.  We were able to buy Maui Maui and Wahu fish from a local fisherman which were delicious.  Life is great, better than good.

Other forms of exercise are used as well using either small sailing craft orkayaks.  The Abaco Rage, a vintage sail boat was moored not too far from our boat.

As you can tell sailing is an important element of life here in the Abacos.  A popular small dinghy that has been around for years in Hope Town is know as the Abaco Dinghy.  A number have been build over the years.  These days restoration of one is a prized activity.  New ones are hard to come in that Weiner Malone their builder is 90 years old and probably is working on his last one.

On this trip we also learned a new card game called Bezique.  As usual, we are evenly matched with each of us winning about the same amount of games, but who is counting.

On day 50 we traveled by ferry over to Man-of-War Cay to observer the dedication of a monument to all of the boat builders that have lived on this island over the last 100+ years.  Interesting heritage that through the dedication of this monument and celebration they are trying to preserve for future generations to be aware.  While wood boat building there has abated, numerous restorations of wooden boats build there are underway, as well as a thriving fiberglass boat production company called Albury’s, which builds small and large center-consoled runabouts.

While in the Sea of Abaco vicinity a valuable resource is the Cruiser’s Net that comes on vhf radio channel 68 every morning at 8:15.  Broadcast on this net is the local and long distance weather for transit planning, as well as community announcements from various organizations and businesses.  It is very helpful in assisting your daily planning.  Also, it offers problem solving opportunities amongst boaters as issues arise that need to be addressed.  It helped us tremendously in solving our dinghy outboard motor pull start cord and spring situation.  Someone out there no doubt has already solved your problem and will come forward to assist you if you ask.

Recently, on day 66 we departed Hope Town for the short trip back to Marsh Harbor and anchored to pick up some provisions for the boat in preparation for ending our stay here in the Abacos and undertaking our trip back to Ft. Pierce, Florida in the coming days.  (Another long wordy sentence Tom, sorry.)  We also discovered several true Bahamian foods, cracked conch which Larry likes, and a local dessert at the bakery, guava duff that Gerry likes as well as conch salad.

Since then we traveled over to Great Guyana Cay and anchored for the night and then here to the Green Turtle Marina for a slip to await some inclement weather expected over the next few days.  So here on day 71 we are planning with our charts, weather and tide information how we will travel the next 175 miles of our journey back to Florida hopefully this coming Thursday, April 27, 2017.  We were told earlier this week that if we trolled a fishing lure that was flashy behind our boat while going across the Gulf Stream we might be able to catch a Maui-Maui or Tuna, hence the lure below which we jury-rigged out of an old Hopkins fishing lure and a boat shammy cloth cut in strips.  We’ll see.

Until then,

Gerry & Larry

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Been awhile.  Been busy.  Sorry

Well the weather here has been nice.  Heard in some places back there it has not been so fun.  Sorry to hear that, especially since it sounded like everything was Spring-like.  Guess groundhog might have been right after all.  Even though it may sound warm here it still is chilly often times.  To combat the cool we are still taking advantage of our full enclosure.

Beaches haven’t been fully explored here by us yet, too cool, but we did run across a fella who was getting into the mood.

In our walking about the neighborhood trying to get in our daily FitBit steps we came across this bit of word play.

Another Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club event that we attended last week was there annual Margarita Madness which they hold at the Abaco Beach Club where we are staying in their marina.  Lots of camaraderie, fun, and libations on the beach.

Parked in the marina down the way from us is a Catalina in which Linda and Grieg Mitchell would be interested.  Nicely set-up for cruising.

We recently visited Elbow Cay by ferry boat to partake of their annual Hope Town Heritage Day celebration with awards for students and festivities, food and art for us visitors.  Try the Chicken Suosse when you go.  It's delicious.  Lime and green pepper chicken soup.

The other day a spectacular rain storm came through during which we were able to fill up our water tank with forty-five gallons of water in forty-five minutes.  It was a gully washer.  Afterwards there was a beautiful rainbow.

The other day we went on a road trip around Great Abaco Island and covered almost 200 miles.  Along the way we had lunch at Little Harbor’s Pete’s Pub.  While there saw a statue that has a striking resemblance to my significant other.  Also for Cindy and Alan we found a new sign that Alan can share with one of his former constituents that was concerned about a close-by deer crossing sign she didn't like for fear that they would then be crossing at her yard.

And, again another dazzling dinner by Gerry featuring lobster.

Looking forward to seeing Clarine, Gerry's sister today for a quick trip south from the snowy north.

Again, Happy St. Patrick's Day,

Gerry & Larry,
Team Galileo

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Galileo Feb 25, 2017 Update

Hello all,

Sorry that it has been a couple weeks or so that we since posted our progress.

Since our last report prior to departing from Ft. Pierce, Florida we were successful in crossing over from Lake Worth, Florida to West End on Grand Bahama Island on February 13, 2017 then the next day on to Great Sale Cay, then the following day to Green Turtle.  It was a great sail all the way from Great Sale to Green Turtle in company with two (2) other sailboats. And for part of the way for us, a pod of dolphins that numbered at least eight or more on each side of our boat.  As soon as I figure out how to capture a frame from the 5 minute video I will upload that in the future.

In the mean time here is a photo of our GPS status as we sailed from Great Sale Cay to Green Turtle in the company of Aria (an Island Packet 350) and Brown Eyed Girl (a Moody 38).  The winds were steady out of the southeast at 15 to 25 knot the whole day.  At the end near 3:30 they picked up to 30 knots (a little dicey dousing sails) before going into White Sound at Green Turtle to dock.

As indicated in the top left-hand corner above our speed was 7.1 knots.  A little unusual for our heavy cruising sailboat which is an Island Packet 37.  Also shown is our track on the right with Aria in the center and then Brown Eyed Girl to Aria's left.  All of us were very closely spaced for most of the day.  It was a fun ride or as they say a "salty sail" with great winds.  It was a seven (7) hour sail with no tacking.

We stayed at the Green Turtle Marina that night and the next waiting for the wind to settle down before progressing.  As we arrived on a Wednesday we took advantage of the Green Turtle restaurant's steak nigh.  Yummy!  On Friday February 16th we departed Green Turtle and were successful in crossing out into the ocean to get around Whale Cay and back into the Sea of Abaco on our way to Marsh Harbor.   This was our fastest transit over the last three (3) years from Lake Worth, Florida to Marsh Harbor due to the great weather we experienced along the way.  At Marsh Harbor we stayed anchored over the weekend of February 18th and 19th then progressed around to a slip at the Boat Harbor Marina at the Abaco Beach Resort.  We did this to be positioned to attend the Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club 2017 Commodore's Ball held onsite instead of paddling ashore in our dinghy with our Mardi Gras.

This RMHYC function was well attended with over a hundred present.  Lots of feathered masks and beads.  You didn't have to do anything to get the beads.  There were past out at the door by the greeters.

As usual Gerry has been expert in maintaining our diet as she alway is.  Because the weather has been nice and cool she experimented with making bread.  She used a modified recipe of Hayden Cochran bread from Island Spirit and it has been great.  She added whole wheat flour to Hayden's recipe.  Here is the result.

That's it for now.  We are off to the pool here to relax and catch some more rays

Gerry and Larry
Team Galileo

Friday, February 10, 2017

Getting Ready For Our 2017 Crossing to the Abacos


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.

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