by Absolute Futurity
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The weather has been fine. Not great, but not rough. Too hot from noon until the Sun goes down. We went back to motorsailing yesterday evening, and are on the verge of launching the asymmetrical spinnaker to get back to just sailing again. The issue, we see a new low thirty miles in front of us with winds over 20 knots. We are now in true winds in the high teens. Maybe a bit too fresh for the spinnaker. For sure too fresh if the wind strengthens? We are not tentative sailors. We just don't court excitement over comfort and safety.
As for marine life, John found a flying fish in the galley this morning! How do those things get so high off the water? And how do they rifle through one of the few possible small openings? In early morning watch stupor, Barry thought the thing was just a fishing lure John was showing him. We hear they are good to eat, but nobody wanted to test the rumor.
If we failed to mention the pilot whales, we came upon a pod of them yesterday or the day before.
We are over half way to Bermuda. It looks good for a Saturday evening arrival, but that could change in a minute.
At 5/28/2009 12:09 (UTC) our position was 30°38.54'N 072°11.81'W
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
There has been some, but not much, excitement. As for marine life, we saw tens of manatees while still in the Banana River and Canaveral Canal. We saw a huge brown ray while still close to the beach. We regularly see flying fish.
As for traffic, in addition to seeing a few vessels mostly miles off, we saw a Navy vessel and were chased south a ways because of "operations that might be hazardous to our vessel." We should have wondered what operations. We learned later. Several hours after the Navy ship redirected us, a flash brightened the western sky, a great round white light rose into the sky, disappeared behind clouds, came out the top of the clouds, and continued directly overhead, racing off toward space! It was a spectacular rocket launch, punctuated by two sonic booms minutes after the rocket was gone.
The worst thing, most of the oranges have already rotted.
At 5/26/2009 12:43 (UTC) our position was 29°00.95'N 078°10.86'W
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Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
weather, knowing that I would be packing in just a few hours. But the
packing got called off because over night the weather had
substantially deteriorated. We would not be departing soon.
This morning I got up, began making coffee, and began looking at the
weather, knowing that I would be packing in just a few hours. Now I
am packed! One medium duffel has full foul weather gear including
boots, cold weather clothes, and a pair of slacks for the airplane
ride home. Yes, we may end up far enough north that it will be cold.
A second medium duffel has extra boat shoes, underwear, tee shirts,
shorts, short sleeve shirts. A small hand bag carries papers and
toiletries, cash and credit cards, cell phone. Hopefully I won't even
have to go into the first duffel except to get the slacks at the end
of the voyage.
Getting to the bottom of the second duffel will take more than a dozen
days. Jay Sea Dee actually has a washer on board, a luxury in a fifty
foot sailboat, but we likely won't be washing while offshore, unless
someone just wants to wash a favorite pair of nylon shorts in the
ocean. Jay Sea Dee carries plenty of water and has a water maker, so
rinsing with fresh water will be allowed. Once in Bermuda we will
freshen up. We will again when in the Azores.
Hopefully we slip lines tomorrow at first light! I am bored waiting.
It will take us about four hours to get to the ocean. Unless we see
something we aren't expecting we will be off.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
review, it looks like we will depart Sunday, although we are keeping
the possibility of leaving earlier open. Who knows how long it will
take for the big weather we are experiencing to dissipate?
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
the first day out:
CANAVERAL EAST WEATHER WAVE OBSERVATIONS
It ain't looking good for leaving Thursday. Even Friday may be on the
It will interesting to see whether the forecasters were accurate.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
To put the upcoming voyage across the Atlantic on Jay Sea Dee in
perspective, first, each and every leg is longer than any I have ever
sailed. The shortest leg is the leg from the Azores to Lisbon, about
800 nautical miles. The longest leg is the leg from Bermuda to the
Azores, about 1900 miles.
Second, I have never sailed a leg longer than I could have just
motored. Jay Sea Dee doesn't have enough fuel to get all the way from
Bermuda to the Azores.
Third, I have never been so far away from land as I will be. Being in
the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a recreational sailboat, my
friends, will just be a hoot!
Some people wonder why I am making this voyage. People have called me
an idiot. Thanks, Miriam. People have called me daffy. Thanks for
being kinder and gentler, Fred. In reality I just wish to put an
Atlantic crossing on the list of personal pursuits, accomplished.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Some of you have been following this blog or otherwise already know the latest about our journey on Charmed. I wanted to recap what a wonderful year it has been so far and where we are.
After the holidays last year, we departed Daytona Beach on January 1 and headed south to wait for a weather window to make the run to the Bahamas. This was basically to be our first trip to the Bahamas ... the first trip taking Charmed out of the country. We got to Miami Beach as quickly as we could, made arrangements through the Coast Guard to make our return back to the United States smooth and easy (which, believe it or not, it really was), watched the weather and then headed to a place called No Name Harbor, which is in the southern part of Key Biscayne, to get into our jumping-off position. In the meantime we had met up with our friends, Jenny and Charlie on Lady (http://www.AboardLady.com/), so we could travel together. At No Name, we also caught up with more friends on two other boats, Eva and Ed on Makai and Sarah and Phil on Spartina. All four of us left on January 11 at 3 a.m. and had a perfect ride over. We were lucky to get and take that weather window. We heard of others waiting for more than 20 days in No Name Harbor for the next weather window and finally giving up and never making it to the Bahamas.
We spent just over two months in the Bahamas, and there is much I could say. The short story is that we had a wonderful time traveling first with Lady and then also with our friends John and Jodi on Jay Sea Dee (http://www.JaySeaDee.blogspot.com/). We arrived and checked in at Chub Cay (pronounced "key") and then went down the Exumas, across to Long Island, down the Jumentos to Duncan Town, then back up the Exumas to Spanish Wells on Eleuthera and then up to the Abacos. It was an extraordinary trip and we met some extraordinary people. The weather initially was cooler and windier than we would have liked, but on those days when we could swim in the most beautiful clear blue water I've ever seen, we would forgot about the cool days. To look down in 10 feet of water and clearly see the sea life -- bright orange starfish, sea biscuits, etc.; and to snorkel with beautiful and colorful fish I've never seen before; all of that is something I'll never forget. My favorite place was Turtle Cay in the Abacos, probably because I loved the beach. I think I walked the beach three times, all while the tide was going out. That is the perfect time to collect sand dollars, sea biscuits, and sea shells. I'm not really a sea shell collector, but it became addicting. One day we also came across two types of live star fish (the hearty orange variety that is very hard, and the more spindly and flexible variety. http://svcharmed.blogspot.com/2009/03/star-fish-on-green-turtle-cay.html
This wouldn't be complete without a word about living on a boat. We feel Charmed is very comfortable and we had everything on board that we needed and wanted, and with room to spare so we never felt crowded. We knew grocery shopping was going to be an issue, not only because some places were so remote that getting groceries and/or getting the groceries we wanted would be difficult, but also because the cost would be high. Both turned out to be true, but we were prepared. We had not only provisioned well, but we had over-provisioned (we STILL have food left over). In American dollars, we spent only about $130 for additional groceries in the more than two months we were there. When you consider that Bahamian prices are at least twice as high as U.S. prices (realizing we actually spent and extra $260), we were glad to have provisioned so well.
The second potential issue for us was water. Most of the water available in the Bahamas is reverse osmosis water, and they (have to) charge for water (as high as $.50 a gallon), so we knew we would have to be especially diligent about our water usage or this expense could get out of control. Because we were able to monitor it (it was counted every time we filled our tank), for the first time I could tell how much water we used. On average, we used just 13.5 gallons per day ... total. That's primarily for washing dishes and showers and the like. We carried 260 gallons of water (a lot for boat standards) and so we could go some time without getting water. And there were places we were able to get water for free, too. It sounds extreme, but we really managed quite well. And there's nothing like a Bahamas Bath!
The food issue and the water issue (and let's not even get into the laundry issue!) may make this life sound burdensome to some, but really it just became another aspect of the journey ... the adventure if you will. And, after all, this was as much our job as it was our vacation, and we always tried to keep that in focus.
Anyway we returned to Miami Beach in March, spent some time there and back at Boca Chita with our friends, Jim and Laurie on Kismet (http://www.svKismet.blogspot.com/) before we headed south and they headed north. We headed to the west coast of Florida and docked Charmed in a slip at beautiful Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton and got her ready for sale as we planned for a return to life on land. We always knew this time would come, but it certainly is not without some regret. Craig and I feel we saw and accomplished just about all we wanted, probably me a bit more than Craig, although it still feels like it was just yesterday when we left.
And Craig has a wonderful last hurrah. He is joining John on Jay Sea Dee to help take Jay Sea Dee across the Atlantic (with two other guys) to Portugal. Once there, Jodi will join John with the plan that they will sail the Mediterranean for a few years (and I see a vacation in the Med in our future!). The plan now is for Jay Sea Dee to depart Florida May 20 and head for Portugal, stopping first in Bermuda and then the Azores. John has created a special blog just for this trip, and they plan to update it while they are under way. You can follow this adventure at JAY SEE DEE TRANSATLANTIC 2009. You can also track their position at POSITION REPORT FOR JAY SEA DEE.
We are thrilled that Craig has this for an end game. He always wanted to take Charmed across the Atlantic (not me) or through the Panama Canal, and the next best thing is to be crew on a great boat like Jay Sea Dee and with a great friend like John.
While Craig is gone, I'll be staying at our home in Florida, where my Mom lives, enjoying the company of family ... especially our almost-three-year-old great-nephew ...
... and friends again. We have decided to make Florida our home again, but this time we would like to live in Sarasota. Craig may have an opportunity there. I have some exciting ideas for myself, and while Craig is gone, I'll be mulling those over, taking at least one road trip (to North Carolina) and working on our Waves site (http://www.WmWAVES.com/). We are sad to leave behind a life that brought us so many happy times and so many wonderful new friends. We have learned so much, and we know that although life is always changing, it is never boring! While one era may be ending for us, we feel that we are just changing tracks and heading for the next adventure.
We think we'll stay in boating, but Charmed is more a cruising boat than a weekender, so we'll be looking for something much different when Charmed has a new owner. In the meantime, we'll certainly take her out and enjoy her as much as we can while she's still ours.
We hope you are all well and that you will share with us what has been happening in your journey.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Follow their adventures at: JAY SEE DEE TRANSATLANTIC 2009
See where they are: POSITION REPORT FOR JAY SEA DEE
Monday, May 4, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
After two years of extended cruising Debbie and I are landing on the
west coast of Florida, with intentions of making the
Bradenton/Sarasota/Tampa Bay area home again. From the starting point
of southern New England, we got down to the Florida Keys, then back up
to Maine. Then we did the Bahamas: the Exumas, the Jumentos all the
way to Duncan Town as far south as insurance allowed, the Abacos. We
did the Chesapeake the three times we passed it. In the middle of it
all we got to Bermuda and back, with great friends on their boat. The
adventure has been grand. Not as grand as some of yours, but grand
enough to last us until real retirement.
So Charmed will soon get a slip assignment in the Twin Dolphin Marina.
And as was always the plan, Charmed will soon go up for sale. Until
she sells, we will weekend and vacation on the west coast of Florida.
Once she sells we may think about an AE 33 or a J105 that will get
around the buoys on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons a bit
better than the IPs. Hopefully, we will still get to sail Island
Packets, cruising with some of you and delivering for some of you. IP
makes the best boats. IPers make the best friends!
(As a footnote, Debbie moves ashore a tad sooner than me. In May I am
off across the Atlantic, from Florida to Portugal via Bermuda and the
Azores as crew on an IP 485. Yee Haw!)
Craig and Debbie Roser
CHARMED IP 440.33
Lying Pelican Bay east of Cayo Costa
Saturday, April 4, 2009
failed, leaving us with a gauge on the engine instrument panel that
always read zero. It also turns out that Mastry is attentive and
provides wonderful service!
Once near Miami where we had reasonable access to marine services, we
called Mastry. A short discussion on what might be wrong left me
first thinking I would work on the issue myself, even though the
engine is in warranty. However, after studying connections and
guessing at the worst possible outcomes once I began removing things,
I asked Mastry to remain involved. A marvelous man came to the boat,
removed the sender, checked oil pressure with a mechanical gauge known
to read right, replaced the sender, and voila, all was back good! The
panel gauge on Charmed reads lower than the mechanical gauge that was
temporarily installed. It reads the same with the new sender as it
did with the original sender.
I am told Yanmars just don't have oil pressure system problems unless
something really goes bad, like getting salt water in the engine.
Charmed will continue to get new oil and new filters every 100 hours.
With good treatment and proper maintenance how many hours will she go?
Charmed IP 440.33
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sometimes forecasts are accurate. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes
you need a fair period of favorable weather to allow a series of small
voyages, or a longish voyage, to be completed comfortably and safely
Recently while lying Hope Town, Bahamas, we started closely watching
the weather, looking for an extended forecast that would allow us to
get the two hundred plus miles back to America comfortably and safely.
We had hoped to stop a few places along the way, maybe Lucaya, maybe
the Berry Islands. But the scientists put out a forecast that had us
wondering whether we might be day sailing in the Sea of Abaco for more
days than we wished unless we weighed anchor and moved directly on to
Mijami. Scientists were predicting two upcoming cold fronts spaced
several days apart.
After concluding we had "done the Bahamas" to a large extent, we
decided to depart Hope Town, and we decided to sail from Hope Town to
Miami in one fell swoop. Departing at 0900 Monday would mean we
should arrive Tuesday afternoon. We got the anchor down off the
Venetian Causeway at 1600 and cleared in by telephone by 1700! The
voyage and weather was as expected.
There was some risk we would encounter the first front while on the
Great Bahama Bank or on the Atlantic Ocean. We note that weather
often comes faster than forecast. Several alternatives existed if we
needed to seek cover. The worst situation would be if we got to the
Gun Cay Cat Cay Cut with winds having already turned North. Then the
Gulf Stream may have been impassable.
We had an easy out of the Sea of Abaco through the North Bar Channel
Passage. We had an wonderful crossing through the Northwest
Providence Channel, over the top of the Berrys, and over the Bank, and
we had a smooth Gulf Stream crossing. The Stream crossing was so
smooth we kept a close weather eye out for Billy Zane!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
While motor sailing a day or so ago we watched the oil pressure gauge
flicker from normal to 0 psig. You can imagine the circumstances when
this happened. We were one mile from entering the North Bar passage,
connecting the Atlantic and the Sea of Abaco. Seas were not breaking
in the passage, but swells were six to eight feet, and we were surfing
some. After stopping the engine we realized the oil pressure alarm
did not beep until the engine stopped. That was the good news. After
careful inspection we started the engine again. The alarm silenced.
Oil pressure read low on the gauge. The gauge continued to flicker.
Engine temperature and all else were normal. We motored on.
The oil pressure sender has one small black wire connected to it.
When engine is running there is 12 volts or more at the connection.
The oil pressure gauge reads 0 psig. Grounding the connection causes
the gauge to read 80 psig. I have to believe the sender has failed.
Charmed IP 440.33
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
on, the Bank side, or the Ocean or Sound side. The difference is in
how big and how deep the water is. The bigger and deeper water on the
Ocean or Sound side can be significantly rougher than the smaller and
shallower water on the Bank side. The wind direction and wind speed
are watched closely. How long it has been blowing from one direction
is taken into account.
A related issue is how to get from one side of the islands to the
other. Each navigable cut has particular characteristics. Some are
safe only in settled conditions. Some are safe as long as wind and
current aren't opposing each other. If wind and current oppose each
other a Rage can develop. Waves can be breaking across the whole cut.
Day before yesterday we took our best chance to get from Eleuthera to
the Abacos before upcoming heavy weather, a trip necessarily in the
Ocean. We entered the Ocean soon after 0700, knowing we would arrive
at North Bar Channel about 1400, hoping conditions would be right for
When we got to the cut, swells were big and wind was light from right
behind. We pointed Charmed right at the middle of the cut. The
swells were perpendicular to our path and not breaking. All good.
But we still were a twenty ton surfboard. Keeping Charmed straight
was the trick, avoiding a broach. Once through the cut and in the Sea
of Abaco, it was like we were sailing in a swimming pool.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
On our walk the next day into the town of Duncan Town, we saw another salt pond, and it was divided into rectangular plots by stones ... marking ownership.
The rest of Duncan Town, which has a population of less than 200, is clearly struggling economically. Nonetheless, there is a small grocery, a bone-fishing business and a school. And everyone we met along our walk greeted us with a friendliness that made us feel welcome. Debbie
What we found was that although almost all of these Cays are unpopulated, and we were told there would be no other boats here, the Jumentos have become more popular, and a few other cruisers are usually close by. We always found fellow cruisers in the same anchorage, some we already knew, and others we quickly became friendly with. This was worth the trip!
We arrived at the first cay, Flamingo Cay (i.e., paradise) at 2:30 p.m. I never knew that being in a remote area like this could be so enjoyable. A few boats were already anchored in front of one of the beaches and rather than crowd them, Charmed and Jay Sea Dee anchored off another beach just to the south. The day was sunny and warm, the water -- showing off in different hues of blue -- was crystal clear, and the beaches invited a lazy walk. The landscape of the Jumentos really is not so different from the Exumas, so I wondered what made this visit to Flamingo Cay so different and enjoyable for me. In part, it must be the weather. I am not a fan of the cold, and it was not only no longer cold, but it was also no longer too windy. For a long time I had been looking forward to jumping into the water and swimming and snorkeling, and with this warm weather and this clear, clean water, I could finally do it and really enjoy it. This calm, warm weather also makes longer dinghy explorations possible. It is also nice to be away from the sometimes constant chatter on the VHF radio. The VHF is really a cruiser's only means of communication in the Bahamas, so we generally have the VHF on and scanning the channels from dawn to dusk. In places like George Town and Long Island, it seems cruisers are always talking to each other about one thing or another, and so I welcomed the quiet we found in the Jumentos.
In any event, at the beach on Flamingo Cay, we found sea fans, beautiful shells, another sand dollar and even an old float from a fishing net. What treasures! Craig later dove under our boat (sitting in about 8 feet of water), and came back with more sea biscuits for Jodi and I. The boys then went spear fishing and all of us went snorkeling. It's amazing to be able to watch the varied and colorful fish, the living sea fans and other beautiful creatures in their own habitat.
Two days later we headed further south to Buna Vista Cay. Again, it was another beautiful day. On the way, John saw a small fishing boat and hailed it on the VHF. Fisherman Allan came back, and John asked him what he was catching. He had crawfish (which we know as lobster, but not like the Maine lobster we are more familiar with) and told John he would also be in Buna Vista Cay that night, so John asked him to stop by Jay Sea Dee. When we arrived at Buna Vista at 11 a.m., it was just us and Jay Sea Dee. Sea Star (Dan and Kathy) arrived shortly after us, and Jodi, Kathy and I went to the beach for a walk. As we walked south on the beach, we saw a small shark swimming north toward us and very close to shore. Kathy raised her camera for a shot, but that shark must have seen us at the same instant, because he turned left and sped away from us faster than I had ever seen anything swim. We also saw several live star fish in the water and within a few feet of shore. They were bright orange in color and probably at least eight inches in diameter. I have never seen star fish so big or so beautiful.
Back at the boat later, Craig and I put on our snorkeling masks and swam over to Jay Sea Dee and back. We were in only 8 feet of, again, crystal clear water, so we could see everything. I think there was a star fish every 30 feet -- really a spectacular find. After our swim, we dinghied over to Jay Sea Dee for dinner. For Valentine's Day, the boys cooked us a fabulous dinner and even did the dishes after!
While there, fisherman Allan came by with his fishing partner Randy.
Allan and Randy had already cleaned their catch and the lobster tails were ready for sale. Charmed and Jay Sea Dee each purchased 8 of these freshly caught lobster tails for $20. We were back to Jay Sea Dee the next night for a lobster dinner!! John did a great job grilling the lobster tails, and even I enjoyed one!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Fresh water on Charmed has rarely been an issue. We carry 260
gallons. In the states we made sure we could take on some diesel fuel
every week or so, and we would take on water at the same time. A sort
of tit for tat. We have never needed to conserve water, though we
probably should have just for the good of it. Now we are conserving.
First, water is not free here in the Bahamas. Second, availability is
a much different issue. Until now we have still easily been able to
dock Charmed and take on water and fuel. But today we decided to haul
water in the dinghy twenty gallons at a time to top the tank, just in
case we depart for points south where water will not be available, and
in case we cannot easily get to the one marina here in George Town,
Exuma Docking Services. Exuma Docking Services is a fair marina, but
they have no diesel fuel, and staying a night on the edge of the open
bay is not worth $2.00 per foot. We don't know what their position
would be if we wanted to just stop for sixty or eighty gallons of
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Last Sunday we had hoped to depart Black Point and get half way to
George Town. Then Monday would also be a short voyage. The winds
were forecast to strenghten over the next several days, we predicted
Monday would be a roughish ride, and we thought that if we didn't make
George Town Monday we would be stopped wherever we were for many days.
The voyage from Black Point to George Town would be best if we could
sail in Exuma Sound, on the ocean or out side. The maybe last twenty
miles to George Town must be done in the Sound.
At 0900 Sunday we stuck our noses out Dothan Cut, and found seas
breaking across the whole cut, from rock side to rock side. We had
planned our departure so our arrival at the next cut was slack,
knowing we would have fewer options if that cut was rough. We decided
against departing Dothan Cut for the Sound and sailed the inside, the
Exuma Bank, as far as we could reasonably go, before it all gets too
shallow. We made Cave Cay.
At 0700 Monday we departed Cave Cay Cut for the Sound for the final
leg to George Town. The cut was medium rough. The Sound was medium
rough. It would have been great if we had made better mileage the day
George Town is home to many hundred locals. There are two hundred
foreign boats here. There are two grocery stores. More liquor
stores. Two gas stations. One marina. Two laundries. One laundry
looks fair. The other laundry looks rough. We haven't fully
acclimated to George Town yet. Every morning we listen to Radio Free
George Town and imagine we will be in the know soon!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Cay. There is a great laundry here so while Debbie is drying, I am
blogging . . . .
The last few days have been an Island Packet vous with Jay Sea Dee,
Plan Sea, Morning Wind, and others nearby. Highlights include a
snorkeling marathon at Cambridge, guided by John of Jay Sea Dee.
First the Dundas Rocks, which are caves you swim into. Then the south
beach of Cambridge Cay. Then the Sea Aquarium north of Cambridge.
Then to the sunken airplane north of Cambridge. Five dinghies
schooled together for miles, zipping from one great sea floor to
another. We are happy to have a Yamaha 15! You can't do what we did
without having a dinghy that will easily take you five miles around a
Leaving Cambridge Cay was exciting. We dinghied to the cut that we
had to negotiate, to inspect, and all looked fine. By the time we got
the big boats, Jay Sea Dee, Lady, and Charmed, to the cut, conditions
had worsened. Seas were bumpy and bows were repeatedly buried for a
stretch of about 300 yards.
Staniel Cay was good for the Thunderball Club. Their specialty on
Friday night is grilled Ribs or Chicken, three dollar drinks from Pifi
during Happy Hour, and a pool table whose coin mechanism is broken.
Kathy of Morning Wind played pool for the first time in her life.
Jenny beat Charlie. Staniel Cay was also good for fuel and water, our
tanks are full again.
It looks like we may be off to Rudder Cay tomorrow, staging for a
Monday run to Georgetown. All of the recent sails have been very
short. The run to Georgetown will be a long half day in Exuma Sound.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
cold front would reach and then pass us last night. Winds are still
up so we have decided to hang here one more day. Tomorrow we should
have bright and clear skies and lighter winds.
But what's not right is the temperature! Last night we had to get
blankets out. Debbie is back to wearing her flannel pants. We wonder
how to get some of our Bahamas Cruising Permit refunded. It's only
fair if we have to suffer unseasonable temperatures.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
an Island, but within a mile of the mooring here is this little speck
of land. One side fronts the bay we are moored in. Another side
fronts a cut between the Exuma Bank and the Exuma Sound. Snorkeling
there was fun. Schools of fish could be watched in the cut. Nassau
grouper could be spotted around the ledges of the land and around the
coral near it. There were many different tropical fish. No live
lobster, but half of the shell of a dead one. The most interesting
fish on this snorkel tour were the lionfishes.
One fellow cruiser lies Georgetown anchorage and has line available
from a first stalled, then cancelled, project on their boat. We will
likely meet up with this cruiser in the next ten days to two weeks.
Another fellow cruiser lies Nassau and purchased line for us there.
We will likely slow our movement south in order for this cruiser to
catch us in some anchorage before Georgetown. In any event we should
have a new furling line, and then a spare before long.
The better news, the weather is allowing us to explore Warderick and
snorkel some. We will be off to Cambridge Cay tomorrow morning if the
cold front moves through tonight as forecast. Then it looks like four
or more days of lower winds, which would allow us to move or explore
the Sound or Bank side of the Exumas as we wish.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
76 37.942W, the center of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The Park
Ranger moved us this morning from Mooring 19, where she had put us
yesterday when we arrived. Mooring 19 is for boats up to ninety feet
The path from Chub Key was through Nassau Harbor to Rose Island, then
to Highborne Cay, then to Warderick. Weather has been only fair, too
windy and not enough sun. It seems a string of cold fronts is coming
at us one right after another. The next front may keep us hunkered
down here until Wednesday because of high winds. But it is a
beautiful place to be hunkered down. Today we walked two miles over
Hutia Hill to see the surf of Exuma Sound pounding the Cay. We
returned by way of Boo Boo Hill. We will do the beaches and snorkel
over the next several days if we sit tight.
There have been two boat issues that have caused some grief. The
first, our EPIRB went off for a brief period last Thursday,
unbeknownst to us. Only after a fellow cruiser dinghied over this
morning did we know friends Carey and Hayden were wondering about us.
United States Air Force Search and Rescue had called Carey. We have
been in close and constant contact with numerous boats and marinas by
VHF. It still took several days to get a message to us to call home.
We may need to rethink putting a satellite phone on the boat. I guess
if the EPIRB had stayed on, and if position information had been
transmitted, a search for us would have been conducted. Once back in
the states the EPIRB is going back to ACR for testing. We cannot
explain why it went off. The Air Force did tell us, false firings
happen all the time.
The second issue, our genoa furling line parted! The line was less
than two years old. It parted midway between bow and stern when the
genoa was reefed to about a second reef point. It looks like it was a
clean break. There was little chafe if any where the line broke, or
anywhere along the line. When it broke seas were about three to five
feet. Winds were twenty-something knots, gusting to thirty. No
pounding or bad motion. Nothing about the conditions would normally
cause concern. It was easy enough once the line parted to furl the
sail from the tail that I could put my hands on while at the bow. So
at this point we have a used furling line, borrowed from Sailing
Vessel Lady. We will be able to use the genoa when reefing is not
anticipated. Hopefully we will be able to replace the genoa furling
line, and get a spare that would work for any of the furling lines,
once we get to Georgetown.
In any event, all is well, very, very well!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Cay. With little to no wind for crossing from No Name Harbor to Gun
Cay, and then onward over the Grand Bahama Bank, we anchored out twice
before coming into the Chub Cay Marina this morning. Sunday afternoon
we anchored right in the middle of the Bank, early enough for a
refreshing swim in daylight. It was eery anchoring in ten feet of
water with nothing on any horizon but Bahama blue water. However, it
was beautiful and still all night with the added advantage of the moon
being full. Monday afternoon we anchored outside of the marina
harbor. No sense checking into a relatively high priced marina right
before closing. The Chub Cay anchorage was fair to good. Good
swimming. Safe enough, but with a constant gentle roll. We came into
the marina this morning about 0900. We were cleared into the Bahamas
and swimming in the Infinity Pool by 1100.
The idea is that we will sit here for just one day. With winds
hopefully changing as forecast to northwest or north, we will be in
good position to make Nassau, or even Allan's Cay tomorrow. We do not
intend to get off the boat in Nassau. We might just anchor in the
harbor, or anchor off Athol Island. We are thinking we have some
upcoming weather that we are going to have to sit through before making the
Sailing Vessel Charmed
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
was laid on the the deck and fired up. It works great. The card in
the laptop would not reach any network. The Radio Labs antenna
reached about a half dozen. Speed 3800 kbps down, 480 up. Much
better than Verizon broadband over the Motorola Q phones on board.
Charmed IP 440.33
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Debbie has done a fabulous job of provisioning. My contribution has been mostly as pack mule. There is no question we must think there are no sources in the Bahamas for food or drink, or the other goods we might consume in the next five months. If we put ten pounds of stuff on the boat, we put a thousand. We did read a lot about how to make this trip, and collected comment from those who have gone before us. When shopping we just always put one more, or two more, of whatever we were buying in our cart, especially if the item wasn't a perishable. We should have taken pictures. Thank God for the storage space on Island Packets!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The labeling is poor. The manual is horrible. There is not one picture in it. It will take some study and practice to get the most out of the radio.
The radio has an antenna connection, ANT. Maybe a reasonably priced external antenna can be located. It would likely improve performance.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Charleston Spar was kind enough to say they would fix the vang and return it promptly. They said reworking the vang was not a task easily done on the boat. The issue, how do you get a vang to Charleston, SC, from one city, and get it back in another city? The issue is one of location and timing, possibly complicated by weather.
At the time returning the vang was deemed necessary, Charmed was close enough to Hellier Yacht Sales to back track and leave the vang for them to return to Sparcraft. The Shaw's Cove Bridge blocked the last five hundred yards back to Hellier, but good friend Dan happened along in his dinghy while Charmed was floating in the New London harbor. The vang was delivered to Hellier by dinghy, then to Charleston Spar by UPS.
Once repaired, we predicted where Charmed would be when the vang was returned by UPS. Good friend Al in Fanwood, NJ, agreed to accept the package and work with us to get it to the boat while here in New York City. The vang was in a box 8 inches by 8 inches by 7 feet, and once received, Al started toward Newark Penn Station on one train. I started toward the station on another. The box was lateraled with just a few stares.
The logistics of getting this vang fixed and back on board were interesting. Getting it fixed and returned could have been done more simply. Most marinas will accept packages for transiet boaters, and there are always the stores offering shipping services. Though it is always somewhat of a challenge to limit the handling and expense of getting goods to boat.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
available. Locals may tell you there is enough water. But there
During the worst of the storm today, I am watching and watching.
Charmed and many other similar sized resident boats around me are
lying the same way to wind and current. All is well.
But then a smaller boat starts swinging on its mooring, and it gets
closer and closer to Charmed. The smaller boat is clocking around
with the wind. Charmed is not. When the smaller boat gets within
about ten feet I finally figure out what is wrong with the picture.
Charmed and the other bigger boats are anchored in the mud!
So I start the engine and slug my way forward about ten feet, still on
the mooring. Viola! Deep water. Charmed swings and starts hanging
like the other smaller boats. There are still a dozen boats
stuck here in the mud. Based on the size and style of some of them,
some are in here with six foot drafts. It is too shallow for
Charmed's five feet, except at mid tide or above.
and find a protected anchorage, mooring, or slip. Today was one of
those days for solo crew on Charmed.
Charmed was at the service dock of Old Lyme Marina yesterday and this
morning to have a professional look at her valves, injectors, muffler,
belts, etc. While Charmed's crew can do these things, crew has chosen
to have service performed by a certified Yanmar mechanic through most
of the warranty period.
Since service was completed in short order, thank you very much, Josh
and Mark, by 10:00 am this morning, it was hoped Charmed could make
Clinton before the upcoming round of severe thunderstorms. It was
just not to be. First, winds were up higher than was being reported.
Second, winds were from a worse direction than was being reported.
Seas, waves, were not bad, except at the mouth of the Connecticut
River, where the outgoing current opposed the heavy winds. However,
both seas and winds would buck progress. Making Clinton was struck
from the plan.
Back to Old Lyme was one bailout option. Essex and Hamburg Cove were
others. But North Cove looked so enticing. It was near by. There
were tall masts sticking up in it. A call to Old Saybrook Marina gave
some hope it would be deep enough. A call to Sea Tow gave a bit more
hope. Both advisors mentioned moorings with a yellow streamer were
free for the taking. Both suggested not going too deep into the cove.
Charmed landed on the fourth mooring from the channel entrance on the
centerline of the cove.
At thirty minutes before dead low, there is less than a whole foot
under Charmed's keel, and I am reminded of sailor friend Gil's words
of wisdom, "All the water over six inches under your keel is wasted!"
Regarding the reason for being near here, the service work, every
valve set on Charmed's Yanmar 4JH4 TE 75 hp Diesel Auxiliary Engine
had to be adjusted. It was noted all of the turbos are being found to
have come out of adjustment, and they should be monitored as requested