Saturday, May 23, 2015

What a great season we had!

Visiting with Cal

new deck and bench we built for our friend

Hooking up GPS and Radar for Roger
 We are back in New York trying to figure out how the season managed to slip away so quickly and
Fixing electrical problems and a fish finder for Dave
now getting things ready for next season.
We have been working for a few weeks and are very busy with residential jobs and service work on several boats, which is great to be on the water while working this summer.
Since its been awhile I figured I would try to recap a few things since the last post.

One of Blue's favorite beaches

Catch of the day
We had so much fun this season Fishing almost everyday either from our faithful dinghy or on Raymond's Power-cat. We managed to catch fish almost every time we went out.
Better luck next time

Raymond's new enclosure

We had a great time with Raymond fishing the whole south coast of Grand Bahamas and enjoyed all our dinners with him.We helped him with a new sunshade enclosure for his lower deck and Jon helped with some electrical and mechanical issues.

Gifts from other cruisers
Jon checking systems out

Hermit crab invasion

One day we spent with Duncan and Cathy on their Trawler "Two Scots" and traveled to Peterson Cay which is a Nation Park of the Bahamas. We jumped in the dink and went to shore for lunch, as soon as we opened the coolers and pulled out the sandwiches the hermit crabs started marching in from all direction for lunch.It was unbelievable how many there were. One managed to attach to my ear(don't ask) and man I will never try that again. It was a great day as always with out Scottish friends.

Jon chillin

Another day we went with our friend Tom on his cruiser to fuel up in Lucaya and explore the canal systems. As we cruised throw them we got some history of the houses and people there.

We brought our dive gear to the boat this year so we ended up doing a few dives and it was all worth bring our gear.
We saw eels,turtles,flounder,sharks and thousands of different fish in all sizes,shapes and colors. Once we ended up seeing two very large turtles mating and as they were preoccupied they ended up right under us.
It was breath taking to see these beautiful creatures right under us.

Some of our cruising friend (Hank and Diane) arranged a tour of the Sands Brewery so we went along on that. It was very interesting to see the plant and how all the bottles get ready for distribution. 
Tap room
Tapping at the tap room
When we got to the Tap Room the tour guide had us try all the different beers and told us what they did to make each different. I don't drink beer but I did end up liking Sands Light. After she was finished she told us she would have to leave us there and do another tour. What was she thinking!Leaving around 30 cruisers in the tap room to fend for ourselves. Forty five minutes later she arrived back to escort us to our taxis. This was one time I'm really glad no one was driving.
we gave gifts to all our friends

Jon trying to stop time

Now it was time to head back to the States, we ended up with a three or four day window so we departed at the crack of dawn on a high tide and managed to drop anchor just inside West Palm at sunset, the trip was smooth sailing all the way. The next morning we pulled anchor and traveled on the outside with another cruising couple "Jamie and Janice" to the St Lucie inlet which we have never done because they say you should have local knowledge to travel it.It was very easy and well marked. The only issue was having Border Patrol come up next to us as we were entering it but after a few questions and answers passed back and forth we were allowed to proceed. After entering the inlet Janice radioed to remind us it was low tide, the problem with low tide is at the cross roads which is where the ICW and the St Lucie river meet tends to shoal in and at six feet we bump whether its low or high and always depends when they dredged last. Well we bumped once backed off tried the other side bumped again backed off and the the center really did it, we were aground right in the miidle with many boats just flying by as if we were a marker instead of a boat stuck in the sand. we called Boat US and he said he could see us and would be there a two minutes. They sit right there because so many baots get stuck every day. Now thats a business that won't slow down anytime soon.
We finally got off and thanked him and of course our Boat US card. Off to Stuart to spend a week on the mooring ball before heading to Indiantown to put Kasidah away for the summer.
While in Indiantown we met up with our friends Jeff and Lana, they are the people we met in The Berry's the first year there when our engine blow. Jeff and Jon hit it off right away and have been friends since. They had a house in the Berry's but just recently sold it. We will miss them in our future visits to the Berry's. 
Getting Kasidah ready for the summer months went well and with no rain she went away nicely.
We hope the summer season goes by just as fast so we can return to Kasidah.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Friends near and far........

End of February here in the Bahamas and another month till we start heading back. Lots of our family and friends have had a winter to talk about.

 Lots of snow, and long spells of very cold weather. It been cold here but then it’s all relative now isn’t it. By cold I mean 60’s in the day and low 50’s during the nights. The winds have been very high here too and mostly from the north so fishing, diving and snorkeling have been spars this month.  We’ve had two visitors from the cold this month and really had a great time with them.

Jon and Marguerite came at the beginning of the month and stayed on the boat. They used the aft cabin and claimed it to be great sleeping. We moved all our stuff from the garage as we call it and turned it into a bedroom. Hell even I was impressed at how it cleaned up and once the freezer was out it was even roomy.  We rented a car for the week picking them up at the Airport and had a cold rum drink waiting for them. We made a trip to West End where boaters usually check in from the states, we hit several beaches and of course Port Lucaya where all the little markets are. We took them out snorkeling in our dinghy only once because the weather just wouldn’t allow it.  But we did a little cruising in the canal system here looking for fish and Lobster from a local that goes out as often as he can in his paddle Kayak (Not Allen, another fellow Perry). We scored some very good sized lobster, enough for two meals for the four of us and a good sized Hog fish which was a full meal for the 4 of us again. One of the better nights out was at the Sand Beach Bar meeting Alex and Mary there for drinks and dinner.

 Jon and Marguerite treated us all to drinks and some wings done up just right, Thank You! It’s called the Sand Bar because there is only Sand for flooring in the building; I guess you could call it a building. A visit to Flamingo Marina and Taino Beach Resort in the middle of the week had a double purpose, we had a slip booked for a week in the middle of February when our 2nd guest where coming so we wanted a look and other boaters we knew from ORYC where there with grand children, so we could use the largest pool in the Bahamas and a it has a great beach. For most of the meals we ate on the boat saving a ton of money for all of us. It seems we all like eating out less and less everywhere we are. Food and drinks are usually overpriced, and the food is just so so compared to how we eook on the boat. They felt the visit would indeed keep them going through the rest of the winter and maybe even till their boat gets back in the water.  They made it home to some really cold weather and work. We look forward to visiting them on their boat this summer and anchoring out somewhere for a night.
Dinner music by Kevin

We had a week to ourselves and then our other guest from the cold came for a visit. Kevin and Tamera came from Tully our old home town where we raised our kids and had our business. We’ve known them for a long time but only see them a few times a year if that. She was the kids dance teacher when Amy and Jill where very young. They stayed at the Flamingo marina and Motel, we took a trip with Kasidah and had a slip in front of their room. Again we rented a car picking them up from the airport with a cold rum drink. The first few days there was nice weather and they spent some good time at the big pool. It took them 3 days to get towels from the resort for the pool; I guess Kevin walked about 2 miles one day getting the run around from the front desk at the Motel to the front desk at the Resort across the street to the laundry room then to some other place without a towel to be found. Finally we found him at the pool with a drink and no towel. Arline had towels on the boat for them. About Wednesday they found a mother load of towels in their room, enough for the week I guess. We took the water taxi from the Motel to town one night for a really nice meal at Agava Restaurant, Thank you. 

On Friday we brought Kasidah back to our slip at ORYC so they got to sail on Kasidah. It was a bit cold but we had a nice easy trip and even took out one of our sails and turned the engine off, even had out a fish pole for a bit. 

Kevin and Tamara, like us, enjoy hanging out where the locals hang out. So the highlight was the $2 bar, which we love and go to a few times. Beers are cheap, and Burgers are like $8, right across the street for the ocean, just a shack but they do a nice job. We were sitting at lunch with our Sands beers and burgers when a young well dressed young man walked in pointing at our beers telling us that’s a great beer. He is a sales rep for Sands made here on the island; he had a nice Sands shirt on too. Steven asked if we had done the brewery tour yet, and we really had meant to do it but Kevin had an ear infection after snorkeling with me 2 day before so a quick Dr’s visit and drug store stop left us a little short on time that day. Normally there is an $8 charge at the door of the tour to cover all the beer you can drink policy, but we muscles a photo of Steven with Kevin and Tamera while he gave us the name of the lady at the door and promised we could get in for free or was it a golf-shirt would be there for us. Finishing our meal and several beers we noticed Steven putting up a poster for a Sands Sponsored Party at the $2 Bar on Friday night 4-8 pm. 2 Sands beers for $5 and you get a free Sands Light beer a DJ with Music too. 
We got there with another couple Duncan and Cathy, it’s only 1 mile from our Marina so I made a few trips with the car to get us all there. They had tents out where you get your free Sands light and we find Steven manning the booth. He was very happy to see Kevin and Tam spending a good length of time talking over the VERY LOUD MUSIC, I don’t think Woodstock had as many speakers as there were at this party. As Steven gave you the free Sands Light he also had Shots of something for you and he did them with you, Arline even was talked into 2 shots of some spiced whiskey, oh yeah.  We danced in the street, and did I mention Tamera has a Dance
Tamara,Kevin and Stephen. Stephen is from Sands brewery.   
Studio, she had choreographed a dance to every song they played that night. Michael Jackson, Cindy Lauper, Clarence Carter and Smoken, (You Tube it). What a blast we had, all night there was only a hand full of other cruisers and then all locals who where dancing and laughing with us. I must say that the people who waited on us and the owner, I assume, made it a very nice night. They saw you walk in with your hand in the air with $5 in it and by the time you got to the bar your beers where there. If you made a detour to the bathroom when he saw you come out of the room he walked them over to you. They had people picking up bottle and cans outside to keep it neat and safe. The food was very prompt, good and prices right. We ordered Wings and fries, they came out to take our order and again when it was time to eat finding us a table inside, when the food showed up there had to be a gallon container of fries. The owner saw me looking for something though the crowd, saying “Hot Sauce” to him, no way he could have heard because of the crowd and music, but he knew what I wanted and met me half way across the room with it. We will visit the $2 Bar again before we leave next month. Kevin and Tam left the next day and got snowed in at Philly over night with a canceled fight home. We hope to see them this summer at their camp on the St Lawrence.

This is a Century Tree Plant, it grows the bottom part for about 20-30 years and then in its final year
it shots up 20-30 feet with the flowering top and sends its seeds out I guess and then dies. There is one near our boat and we’ve been watching it grow with out knowing what it was till it was pointed out to us, I will try and keep an eye out for the flowers at their peak if we are here long enough. Really a beautiful plant!

We hope to do a lot of fishing and diving in the next 3 weeks and then start looking for our window to get back to the states. Our Grandson Cal is growing and crawling now, eating and eating and becoming so aware, Arline can’t wait to get to see him soon.

Thank you all for watching.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy New Years from the Berry Islands

Great Habour Cay will always hold a special place in our heart that’s warm and dear to us. 

Our 1st year there was when just 5 miles out of the marina our engine over heated severally and needed to be rebuild, and just before Christmas. So we spent a month there waiting for parts and doing the work on the engine. While there we meet many of the American landowners, and became friends with everybody that worked at the marina. We were invited out to go fishing and then there was The New Year’s Party and the friendly/helpful mechanic that helps us rebuild Kasidah’s engine.

Our 2nd year there we stayed just about the whole winter season, with the highlight being when Amy and Jeremy come for a weeks visit. We really got to know the island and all of its history, as we explored every place on the island we could. All the while some of the best times were when other boaters would come in, we’d spend time with them, explore and share our knowledge of the island with them.

The 3rd year we were going to stay only a while but we ended up nursing our dog Sara for a few hard weeks until she passed away in Arline’s lap. We buried her on one of the most beautiful isolated beaches we've ever been to or seen. We've never seen anybody there and its a few miles from the marina by dingy. So now we call it Sara’s Beach.  We made some good friends that year as many of us were there, but then tragedy hit the island when the communication towers came crashing down leaving the island in a total lock out. With family and kids in the states we like staying connected through the internet. With out it we couldn't stay so we followed friends to Grand Bahama and found ORYC very comfortable for the rest of the year.

Our catch on the way over
The next year we only visited for a short while from Grand Bahama. We were blown away by the reception of visitors from the friends on GHC. Weather windows and other factors set the visit to only a week. We did get to fish, look for conch, and visit Sara’s Beach. But it was nice to get back to ORYC and the pool, real food stores, and more than two restaurants to choose from.

We were really looking forward to our trip and visit this year to GHC.

Female Mahi Mahi
We left ORYC at the crack of dawn on New Years Eve Day, right behind another sail boat, Claus and Rosie. It was a good sail, again the wind was close to on the nose and we could have sailed the whole way,…but we had a time schedule to get in by dark, so we had our motor on to push us and extra knot making 6.5 or better shaving 3 or more hours off the trip. We actually passed another sailboat out this trip. Fair is fair, we both were motor sailing.    

Yum Yum
 Fished all the way there and caught a Mahi Mahi only 3 hours out of GB. It was really a good fight, While cleaning the fish we had some "Fresh as could be meat" in the cockpit and then for the next few nights had it different ways.

From strong trees grow strong trees

New Palms growing at Sara's site

We visited Sara’s Beach and found it in good shape, the palm tree we planted last year had taken to sprout and had grown an impressive about. We wanted to transplant another one this year so we started looking but couldn't find any coconuts that had started to sprout. We did find a good sized palm tree that we were able to pull up and take in the dinghy. As you can see from the photo of it in our dingy it came from a great palm tree and was one of only a few that had taken. From strong trees grow great trees. We dug a hole to place it in and watered it. We hope that when we are in our 80’s we can look at some satellite image and see the tree on Sara’s Beach.

Brought our dive gear
out conching with Claus and Rosy
catch of the day
We hit our favorite snorkeling spots and got Lobster and fish, then we went to a shallow area and got some conch. There wasn’t too much to do this time on the island, the Beach bar had been rebuilt and looked great. We used our bikes and went to the southern end of the island, sharks creek. One of the most beautiful array of colors between the shallow and deep water, sand and tress we’ve ever seen. We also speared Lion Fish. They are not native to the Bahamas and you are asked to kill them when you can. they are poisonous if you touch their barbs, and they have many. They eat large amounts of small fish, have no natural enemy in the waters, so they are not quick to move and easy to hunt. After you cut the barbs off with a pair of scissors they are just another fish, We caught several of them, cleaned and fried them up. Very good eating!! Check out the video we used oh "How to Clean"
Lion fish for dinner

After a week of biting no-see-ms, favorable winds and tides, and the need for another Mahi-Mahi in our cooler we decided to head north and then back to the pool, and hot tub in Grand Bahama.

how to take the poisonous barbs of
No fish on the way home but a nice well timed trip  and a welcome party at the dock for us.  


now it's a regular fish

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas 2014!
Kasidah has been in the Bahamas for just over a month now. We’ve settled into our winter and taken care of some boat chores. I have to apologize about the last story’s editing. Some of the story got mixed up from the copy to the posting or something and it really left some gaps while reading it and it jumped all over the place. I’ve fix it so it makes a lot more sense now.  

Jon and Kevin chillin on Kasidah
December will go down as the month of charger problems,…not for us but fellow boaters. We met Dan and Judy this year and he posed a question to me about battery voltage while running his engine. He has the same kind of Alternator and 3 stage regulator that we have so I felt confident about listening to his questions. He had us over for Rum and wine and shows me the voltage reading while running the engine. 16 volts to the batteries!!….WOW slow it down! That voltage will cook the batteries and kill them in no time. A few more readings the next day, a bit less rum and we decided the regulator has to be bad or at least programmed wrong. I read up on the programming and tried to get it to a different battery setting but still had the voltage too high for the batteries. He ordered the new one from Defenders and with $100 for shipping and customs it was here in 3 days,…Thanks FED EX. The best part of the new regulator is that it’s a lot easier to program and yes it did fix his high voltage problem. They left a few weeks ago and are in Georgetown in the Exumas.

Jon helping out Raymond 
Our good friends Duncan and Cathy on 2 Scotts had a bad crossing from the states. They have a good sized twin engine trawler and somewhere in the crossing they had to shut down one of the engines when it over heated, no big deal when you have a spare engine right. Then the voltage on the batteries was dropping and he lost all of his instruments and running lights. He made it into West End under celestial navigation, his compass and some luck. He cleared the blocked intake which lead to the over heating and got the engine running and batteries charged and made it to ORYC. Once here he figured the alternator on the one engine that stayed running wasn’t charging. Duncan is a pretty clever guy and looked at it for a few days but could not get the regulator powered up and he asked me to look at it. We found that the regulator did not have power to it to start the whole process. The power for it comes through a couple of safety switches on the engine. We found a wiring diagram for the engine and worked through it figuring that the alternator was new, it was different than the other one, and that it could never have worked. He tried to talk himself into the fact that he’d seen it light up before, but all I could do was go with the obvious,…..It Never Could Have Worked, not wired like this, and he swears he didn’t move any wires. We move the wire to a better spot on that engine circuit and now it’s charging.

Kate taking over the helm for our ride back to the marina
Raymond on a power cat was having a problem with his gen-set and inverter on his boat. The generator would start but quit when you took off power to the glow plugs. Found the wiring diagram and a bit later figured it was the remote start-stop control that was disabling the local controls on the generator. His inverter was shutting down with what he thought was a high voltage alarm, but that wasn’t the case. It had to have been over heating, because it caught fire. He ordered a new one. We’ll see who’s paying attention or reading our stories now. So all is good in the battery department for friends here at ORYC.

Strawberry Grouper
And finally I’ve met Mike, he is here for a week,..he flew in on a single engine Cessna,…his batteries aren’t charging. Trying to figure out how to make the jump from marine to aviation,….It’s got to pay more right?

Raymond took us and Kate, of Kate and Chris, Her husband Chris went back to Australia to work for a bit, out fishing. We trolled all morning and Kate had a bite for a big Mahi Mahi and got it close to the boat. This was about a 4 or 5 ft fish and put up a good fight, he got close enough to the boat for Raymond, Arline and Kate to see it, I missed the sighting of it. Later that day we fished on the bottom and the girls got some fish.

Blues new umbrella
Thank you gifts from cruisers for Jons help
Birthday party for Diane
Dinner at the gazebo and one to many JD drinks
A few days later Arline and I were out in our dinghy fishing, one of our favorite things to do here, we were trying a couple of different spots and depths. One spot was just around 90 ft of water and our anchor wouldn’t hold so Arline pulled the anchor in and when it got to just below the dinghy, like 3 or 4 ft in the water, Arline screams and says “Wholy crap look at those fish!” I only saw one but it was about a 3 ft Mahi Mahi circling our dinghy checking out the anchor, they travel together so I’m sure they were there. I saw him circle again it was absolutely beautiful! He was going so slow I was able to cast out in front of him and reeled it in hoping he’d go for it but he wasn’t interested. We trolled around the rest of the day looking for these guys. We were in the right area and depth but,…Nothing. Not sure how we would have gotten the thing in the dingy, but we wouldn’t have given up on it.

Spear fishing lands Jon 36 bucks
This trigger fish decided to take a piece of Jon
Jons new dive skin
We’ve taken care of several chores on the boat; changed out a locker hatch, rebuilt the dinghy motor mounting bracket on the back of Kasidah, once again some of the conduit in the mast came lose during our crossing. This requires a trip up the mast to each area that the conduit is fastened. There are 2 small holes in the mast at each spot that you pass a wire from one hole to the other around the conduit on the inside and install 2 pop-rivets which you wrap this wire around to hold the conduit in place, simple right. Nope. While sitting in the chair trying to get a solid wire around a conduit and back out the other ¼inch hole, it’s harder than you think. But I have a couple years of experience at fishing wire and got 6 or 7 places done in just a ½ day. We also re-bedded the deck snaps that hold the Dodger down, these had been just screwed into the deck and a few had started to show signs of letting water into the deck core. I drilled these out and then used my Dremel tool to dig out any soft wood of the core. I was very happy to see that water hadn’t traveled very far at all, also happy to find real plywood not Balsa wood near the mast and the rail for the head sail cars. Filled these holes with G-Flex epoxy and just as it was setting up pushed the snap screws into the epoxy for a great looking finish, strong as could be and no leaks anymore, and the fittings cover the hole so you can’t see the different color epoxy.
Dan.Judy,Raymond, Jon and I at the two dollar bar.

Raymond and I heading out to fish near West End
Wonderful fishing trip
The routine here is pretty boring, Coffee and a dog walk followed by tennis at 8 am with a group of people for close to 2 hours a couple of times a week, then breakfast and internet checking of news, family and friends and a stop at the free ice machine to fill the cooler for the day’s needs. No need to check the weather here, upper 70’s in the day and 60’s at night. If it’s blowing from the north we go fishing or snorkeling, exploring with the dingy or head to a beach. Blue usually goes with us so we’ll always stop at a beach for her to run and play. We sometimes bring a light lunch in the cooler with enough ice for the fish bucket if we’re lucky. Once back at the boat we wash off stuff and head to the pool and or hot tub, there’s never an issue finding a chair by one of the pools or people in the tub, and good conversation is always the rule. A small lunch means a good dinner and depending what night it is there might be something happening on the resort side how ever we find ourselves there less and less. Karaoke night is sometimes a fun night to watch people sing, NO WE DON’T. The boaters here have their favorite songs and are proud to sing them week after week after week,….Every once in a while a resort person will come in and really nail something and surprise all. We might also get together with another boaters for dinner or drinks and stories. If it Blowing out of the south it’s too rough out there to get into the dingy so we’ll get on the bikes and get groceries if we need them, or ride into either Port Luyca or Freeport or if it’s really hot we’ll go to a beach with the cooler and Blue. Once a week we’ll try and eat a late lunch out, we have a couple of favorite places where the locals eat so they are priced right, usually we get away with $20 or so. If we eat out or hit a beach we’ll again still head back to the pool, but dinner is usually very light or some snacks like cheese, popcorn and a movie on the boat. Sometimes we don’t go anywhere but to the pool, we’ve got a couple of games we like, Backgammon, cribbage, for get it, or some other card games, and we’ll take our music and drinks. If it’s cooler and we haven’t played tennis in the morning we might play in the afternoon.  See I told you it was boring,…of course boat needs supersedes all other activity.

I’m sure you’ve all seen on FB that Cal is getting bigger; Amy says he’s about ready to take off crawling, and this is where the fun starts. 

Christmas dinner is with all the boaters and I think there will be about 45 of us. We hope everybody had a great Christmas and your New Year is Prosperous.

Thank you all for following our adventures.