Thursday, November 10, 2016

Headed south...finally

A quick update:

I got stuck with jury duty this fall and did not get out of it till about 2 weeks ago.  We finally started heading south last Monday.  Boat running well, and the weather is getting warmer by the day.  With the shorter days and slow boat, we have to be careful where we are by sunset, now about 4:30 PM, to be sure we can see where we might anchor.  We are in Cape May now, hoping to anchor just off the Coast Guard beach.

Turns out that this anchorage is full.  All the late folks are holding here till the weather settles down a bit.  We got a slip at Utsch's, a small mom and pop marina just before you enter the canal.  We now have heat without running the gen.  The down side of leaving this late in the season is that many of the restaurants are closed for the season.  It is cool, requiring a sweat shirt, but not cool enough to require a heavy jacket.  Temps range between 53 to 56.  The fleece sheets on our queen bed feel soooo gooood!!!!  We found a breakfast place, the only one open, not to far from here.  Sort of like an old dinner with feisty waitress and all.  Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee...$7.00.  Not to bad.  Other than that, we are sticking with John's diet.  So far, so good.

This is a major fishing town.   Lots of fishing boats, bait & tackle shops, and a wonderful ships store with SHIP size shackles, anchors, and other big stuff that West Marine doesn't have.  One thing that we are realizing is that neither of us know how to fish.  Seems stupid to be on the water and unable to get a fish out of it.  The place where we are moored is right next to a fishing tackle shop.  I mean right next to it, about 50 feet away.   Everyone here talks fishing...striped bass here, mahimahi over there, etc.  We talked to the owner of the shop and he is going to set us up with a trolling rig and all the accessories we need to start trolling!  He has a nice rod and reel and a shop full of leaders, jigs and other what not.  Sort of our Christmas present to ourselves this year.

While coming down the coast off shore of New Jersey, we listened to the the election results.  I think what this says is that Americans are fed up with the status-quo politicians and are willing to try anything new to change things.  Be careful what one wishes for!!

Weather is forecast to be better starting Saturday.  We will leave here at day break to head up to Reed Island.  Can't make it to the C&D canal in 1 day with enough light to see where we are going.  After that, we will head to George Town, but might spend 1 or 2 nights on the hook in the Sassafras river.

Headed to Charleston SC for Christmas and hope to get there by mid December.  If all goes well, we will head back to the Bahamas in January for 2 or 3 months.

Hopefully, we can keep this Blog up to date.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Been gone for a bit.  This is a test to see if all works as it did.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Type in what  you want, or copy and past.

Add caWardwick wells

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The past 7 weeks...

We have been negligent on keeping the blog up to date. It looks like the last entry was from Black Point in February.  Black Point was the last place we had good internet connectivity until we arrived in Savannah GA.  By then, we had lost the momentum in keeping the Blog going.

So, in a nut shell, here is what has been going on.  After Hawksbill Cay, we  headed to the west end of New Providence Island which put us in great shape to do a double over night passage to Fort Lauderdale where we intended to stay for several days, visiting friends and generally winding down after the long passage.  From the chart, I expected to find the New River in Ft. Lauderdale a lazy slow river through a swamp to a small marina.  Boy, was I wrong!!  The real estate value was about $10,000 a foot, and needless to say, both sides were covered with mega houses with mega yachts, and mega resorts. 

 We finally found our “spot” along the northern edge of the river, dodging mega yachts, water taxies, tour boats and a host of other things that float.  It turns out that this was also Fort Lauderdale’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade so we had a good view of the prep area of the parade vehicles.  Close by was a park with food stands, music, and lots of locals enjoying the festivities.  Eric, an old friend from San Diego, dropped by and took us home for a day.  We stayed four days in Fort Lauderdale before headed out to the ocean for another over night passage northward.

The next stop was Savannah, GA to visit the sister of my sister-in-law.  We stayed four nights at Isle of Palms Marina on the ICW, in the swamp but with nice marina facilities.   Cathy and Craig were perfect hosts, showing us around the local area, inviting us over for dinner for two nights, and a taking us on a trip to downtown Savannah.  We had to stop at River Street Sweets to pick up a weeks’ supply of Pralines, a southern candy confection delicacy.  We quickly discovered that pralines are like beer…no matter how many you have, it is only a one day supply.

At this point, we had been avoiding the southern portion of the ICW, partly to avoid low bridges, shoal areas, and to make better time in the open ocean.  We do like the overnight passages as long as the weather is calm and the sea state smooth.  From Savannah, we had heard that the ICW is beautiful as it winds through the low country marshy areas.  That may be the case, but it also has its share of shoal areas that we passed through with more than a little trepidation.  We did not hit bottom, but were not sure why not. After spending a night in Hilton Head we decided to resume our cruise north, once again in the ocean to make better time and avoid more ICW shoal areas identified in Active Captain.

Charleston Maritime Center in South Carolina was our next stop. This required an overnight stop in Bohicket River to allow us to time our entry into Charleston Maritime Center at slack tide the next afternoon.  We have been to Charleston before so we were looking forward to spending time with Peggy’s sister Val, exploring the many restaurants within walking distance of the marina, and doing touristy things such as tour boats and walking tours. The plan was to head north after a two week stay for a leisure trip up to Occoquan Marina in Virginia, just south of Washington DC.  We arrived in Charleston on March 24, and it is now May 12, seven weeks later.  We are still here.  What happened?

The answer is a long story that involved coming close to losing the boat due to fire.  After being at the marina for a few days, we came back to the boat one evening after having dinner ashore to find the boat full of smoke.  A quick search found that the bow thruster had somehow turned itself on and had run until it overheated the motor and all the wiring, switches and fuses that were in series with the wiring.  We were not sure what turned it on, but the bow thruster is only supposed to run for 5 minutes or so at a time.  The 200 amp fuse initially failed to blow which allowing the wiring to overheat and the switches and fuse holder to melt before finally blowing the fuse.  We were very lucky that Knot 2 Fast did not go up in flames, and then of course, spread to the boat next door to us.

After taking a few days to calm down, I researched getting new parts and a new motor, but of course the motor was no longer made and would require an upgrade to make the repair.  An upgrade would also require pulling the boat out of the water to install a new prop and tail piece.  Can anyone see where this is going?  So rather than heading up to the DC area, we headed to Charleston City Boat Yard where we have been on the hard for four weeks now. Florida Bow Thruster Company could not get to this job till May 13, and so here we sit until they can get to us.

The bow thruster in itself was bad, but being on the hard for four weeks has not been that bad.  To try to put a silver lining on this, it is the first time we have had time to really clean, varnish, repair and replace some the old woodwork and systems that came with Knot 2 Fast.  Recall that she is 28 years old and showing signs of neglect.  After much cleaning, scrapping, sanding, varnishing, replacing, and general upkeep, we are looking Fabulous!!!  There are lots of good looking boats here in the yard, but we are right up there with them in looking good.  Peggy is a machine when it comes to doing varnish and bight work.  It really shows!!  We have people frequently stop by to throw a compliment our way.  We love it and feel good about Knot 2 Fast.

So, what is next?  Not sure how many of you know this, but my dad passed away not too long ago.  The original goal was to have Knot 2 Fast in the DC area where the internment will be.  He will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, one of the last of the WW II vets.  Being that we are still high and dry in Charleston, SC, obviously we will not make it with the boat.  Instead we head up to the DC area on Monday with a car and the intent to stay there for two weeks, burying dad and cleaning out my sister-in-law’s house which is now full of dad’s stuff.

What is next?  Who knows, but a straw-man plan is to meet up with some sailboat friends in the Chesapeake Bay area and buddy boat up to Nova Scotia for a few weeks.  We might stay in Falmouth for the month of July to deal with jury duty and medical issues before heading to Nova Scotia and then back south to the Bahamas for the winter.   Anyone want to join us?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

4 more days to play

Weather rules.  We have been in the Bahamas now for about 3 months, but sadly our time here is coming to an end.  Part of the travels of K2F is also to explore the American Great Loop, a continuous water way around the eastern portion of the US.  Time to head back to the States to visit friends and generally start to head north up the East coast. 

 But did I say weather?  Yes!!  Peggy does a wonderful job of checking the weather when we have wifi or cell phone connectivity.  We left Emerald Rock in Warderick Wells to go to Highborne Cay where they have a BTC tower so we could do weather and perhaps email.  The tower was working this time, and after several hours messing around with the iPad, we finally got it working well enough to connect to the tower.  To make a long story short, the winds were forecast to pick up to 20 or 25 knots, and clock around from the North to NE, the East, etc., making for what might be bumpy ride across the Exuma Sound and eventually across the Gulf Stream.  I think K2F could handle it, but not sure about the two of us.  Winds wouldn’t let up for 4 days, so we had 4 more days to spend in the Bahamas.  Poor Bob and Peggy.  

In our hurry to get set up for the crossing, we overlooked some of the other Cays that we had heard good things about but not stopped at due to lack of time, but now with 4 more days, time to explore!  Hawksbill Cay here we come.  This is about 2.5 hours south of Highborne Cay, a small island a fraction of the size of Highborne, beautiful beaches, and not private as Highborne is.  A quick dingy ride ashore let us explore a high mountain about 100 feet tall with sweeping vistas of the island itself and off into the distance of other islands.  The sun was playing on the water, bringing  out the most vivid assortment of blues we have yet seen.  In the meantime, the winds were picking up making the short hop back out to K2F a wet dinghy ride.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Black Point Settlement, Great Guana Cay, Exumas

Laundry Day!  Carting our laundry ashore in the dinghy, we visited the laundromat at the respectable hour of 10:30am.  As described to us by many cruisers as the best laundromat in the Exumas, it was very clean and airy with 16 washing machines, a bunch of dryers, laundry carts, each with 4 wheels that all worked, a clean working bathroom with toilet paper and a cushy vinyl toilet seat, and an attached small store with cruiser oriented supplies like engine oil, snacks, hors d’oeuvre fixings, and to order chocolate cake, rum cake and brownies which also had a wall covered in no less than 1,000 boat cards.  Unfortunately the store was closed today but Bob got a sneak peek when the owner stopped in to check on something.  The laundromat being a very popular place on Saturday morning, nearly every machine was in use before we left.  While our laundry was washing Bob was harnessed to his return of required emails and I made a phone call to my mother on my gracious $1.00 per minute AT&T phone plan!  This was the first place since leaving Bimini that we’ve had internet and phone service.

The best laundromat (white building) in the Exumas has a grand entry and view of the bay.

Lunch at Deshamonds Restaurant took several hours as anything that is ordered takes at least an hour before being served.  And before that there is the hour or so waiting to order but if you are in a hurry then you should not be here.  Conch and fries for lunch was accompanied by two more Kaliks.  After all we are in the Bahamas and you can’t drink the water!  Our morning laundry excursion took 5 hours!
The biggest fly we’ve ever seen

Having gone ashore with all our water jugs, one 5 gallon, two 1 gallon, and one 2.5 gallon, we filled them on the way out at the free R/O water spigot across the road from the government dock.  As usual, nothing works 100% the way we think it should and the 2.5 gallon jug had a leak in the bottom so it immediately became trash.   That’s OK, we are on island time and are still seven gallons more than we had this morning.  Next time; Buy two each 5 gallon blue plastic water jugs.  On the good side, the Britta water filter has done a fantastic job removing the sulfurous taste and odor of the R/O water supplied on these islands.  A few slices of lemon in the water pitcher makes the water sweet and tasty. 

Freshly stocked Exuma grocery store

Rays and Sharks waiting for a hand out.