Saturday, January 27, 2018

We’ll call this our Lucky Trip to the Bahamas of 2017.

After the Big Thanksgiving parties at Indiantown Marina, the kids coming to visit, and everything on Kasidah finishing up as planned we got lucky with a good 4 day window of weather and tides in our favor. The tides are at 3 locations that we needed a high tide; 1st The cross roads of the ICW and the St Lucie River, there’s a known and shifting shallow spot (Called the hump) that we usually bump or even worse, get towed off. So we like a good high tide to cross it, Luckily high tide was at 11 am on Saturday giving us a 2 hour window or more to cross it. 2nd The West Palm inlet leading out to the ocean is best to leave on an ebbing tide, (outgoing) The current in that inlet can be as strong as 3-4 knots and being a small heavy boat that at best can push 6.5 knots it can take you ½ - 1 hour to get out that sucker and if a large ship is coming in it gets even worse. Luckily On Sunday morning Ebb tide started at 6 am, we were planning to leave just at sunrise. 3rd The inlet or channel in the Bahamas where we go to has been having issues with filling in to a point of 3 ft at low tide, we draw 6 ft and need a high tide to get into the inlet. Luckily on Monday the high tide was at 2:08 pm giving us all morning to sail 26 miles from west End Bahamas to the inlet.

We left Indiantown Marina on Friday Morning after Thanksgiving with our son-in-law Jeremy and headed to Stuart and Sunset Bay Marina.
Jeremy at the wheel passing a good sized tug on the way to the Lock

 The trip involves the one lock which if your timing is wrong and arrive there having to wait for the lock to cycle from up to down and then back up again with boats in both directions it could take better than an hour. Luckily it was open and we motored right into the lock being the 3rd boat in to be lowered. Amy and the kids watched us come in and leave from shore at the lock and got some photos of us. The rest of the trip was as smooth as could be ending as we picked up a mooring ball in a pretty empty marina. At $35, plus tax, per night just for a mooring ball, yeah no wonder right. We put the dinghy in the water and motored to the office where Amy and the kids meet us. We had a nice meal at The Pelican Restaurant and said good-bye to them all.
$35 per night at Sunset Bay Mooring Field 

They went back to Indiantown Marina and moved their RV to another Campground in Hobe Sound. Arline and I went back to the boat, played some cards and called it a night.

We didn’t need to get up too early to head down the ICW toward North Lake Worth because of the timing at the cross roads. Our timing put us there about a 1½ hour before High Tide, Arline was a little nervous and wanted to slow down. But as we rounded the last corner we saw a Boat US Tow boat pulling out of a little bay. I hailed him on the VHS and told him our depth and concern about the hump. “Captain I’m Just in front of you right, I will do some soundings as we go through together, Just stay in the middle, follow me and we’ll be fine” Captain Woody was right and we had about 4 ft under our Keel. We felt pretty Lucky again. At the first bridge “Hobe Sound Bridge”, we were in contact with Amy and Jeremy with the kids by phone. They were on the bridge to watch it go up for Grams and Pop Jon. We saw them wave and hope they had a good time.

There are a couple of bridges where the distances between them put Kasidah’s speed at her max and we really had to push her while the tide was against us but we made them all. Pulling into the anchorage we had enough time to walk Blue twice, have a nice dinner, and I think we watched a movie. We felt really bless to be this lucky.
North Lake Worth Anchorage

Decal we put on for the Grand Children 

The morning of the crossing we got up before 5 am, walked Blue and put the dinghy away for the crossing. I take the motor off and tied the dinghy with several additional lines. We were expecting some waves and the last thing I wanted was that thing to start moving back and forth on the davit rig. The anchor came up in the darkness and we motored down the last of the ICW toward West Palm Inlet, Peanut Island and the real adventure of our crossing. Arline was up on the bow with the million candle power spot to look for markers as we headed south. The sunlight was just starting to come up as we rounded the last bend in the ICW when,…..the engine started to sputter promising to quite! Luckily we were 100 ft from the fuel dock at Riviera City Marine. I hit the emergency fuel pump switch on our “Filter Boss fuel polishing system” to add extra fuel pressure to the engine and we made the dock without an issue. The Tide was just starting to go out so a 180 turn and our nose was to the current and the reverse prop walk to port set us on the dock like a boss. No need for panic at this point but what the hell was going on was the big question.

As Bob Bitchin would say with a diesel; It’s either fuel, fuel, or it could be fuel, and it was fuel. We have two tanks, a main tank of 40 gallons, and a day tank of 9 gallons. I have a valve to pull fuel from either tank and another valve to return fuel to either tank, and the option of 2 filter to go through. I even have a vacuum gauge and warning light to show if one of the filters gets plugged. No lights, no warning on a gauge to indicate a bad filter but I still tried the 2nd filter. Stated the engine and it quite after a bit. I changed the filter on the engine itself, nope. Then I checked the fuel pump on the motor and saw that no output was there, tah-dah. I had always assumed that if the electric fuel pump on the engine stopped the second pump and switch I had would push by it. I guess that’s something I’m going to have to work on. After a little troubleshooting I found a loose connection at an engine harness. I proved to myself that the fuel pump was now moving fuel to the engine, put it all back together, a quick power test at the dock and we were off just as the dock master was about to say you can’t stay there. Lucky again.

Our trip to West End is always a full day usually arriving at dusk or in the dark. We spent about 1 ½ hour at the dock and knew our arrival would be in the dark thinking around 9 pm or so. We’ve been there many times and have tracks on our GPS system into the harbor so we felt fine leaving this late and continued.

Going out the West Palm inlet was as predicted with an outgoing current of 2 knots, we flew out into the ocean in minutes. The winds couldn’t have been better being from the NW around 12-20 knots. With the gulf stream and crabbing to point at West End the wind was on our beam which Kasidah LOVES. The waves were 2-4 ft with and occasional 5 or 6 ft, and  at least 7 seconds between waves it was real sailing. We each steered for 2 hours just because it was great sailing and we thought the auto pilot might not keep up with the larger waves close to shore in a little shallower water.  We were doing really well and making up time to West End. About 2 hours out all that sloshing around of fuel in the tank the engine had that sound of changing RPM, we did clog a fuel filter. We had the warning light and vacuum gauge to confirm it. Even a visual of the filter showed it was ugly. Luckily with the “Filter Boss” switching to the 2nd fresh fuel filter is just flipping 2 levers and away she went.

Lunch and the autopilot was put to work,…Excellent!!! We were fishing, napping motor sailing and kicking the clock in the butt showing an arrival time just at dark kicking 1 ½ hour or more off our crossing time. Then with 2 hours left I heard it again,.. that faint change in the engine RPM. A quick look below didn’t show anything at all, kicking on the extra pump did nothing, and then it stopped. It cut our speed by only 2 knots but we didn’t have all sails up. It’s still fuel for sure but why. After about 10 minutes for some unremembered reason, as I was thinking about the main fuel tank gauge showing still quite near full after 18 hours of running I checked the day tank in the cockpit box, which is only checked by taking the cap off and looking into it. It was empty, bone frigging empty!!! But the valves are set for the 40 gallon main tank. Okay this is simple bad valve. Move a few hoses around to eliminate the valve in question and get fuel to the day tank with transfer pump, make sure it‘s pulling and returning fuel to the day and we‘re off running again, and she ran the rest of the way to West End no issues, arriving just after dark about 6:30 pm. So with all the trouble and delays, but with great wind, waves and a very gentle Gulf Stream current we had the best crossing period! We did have one fish in the middle of the Stream which was a small Barracuda which got thrown back.

Too late to check in at customs so we set about the task of getting ready for the following days trip to Silver Point Inlet. High tide was at 2 pm so we wanted to leave by 9 am. So to the fuel issue at hand now; The Day tank if full would be more than enough fuel to make our trip to Silver Cove, but it wasn’t so how do I fill it. Move more hoses around, switch valves and hope that what ever was wrong would get set back. Nope! I had 10 Gallons of fuel on the deck in Jerry cans. I only needed to fill the day tank and leave stuff alone because she ran fine the last 6 hours. And so she did run fine all the next day.

Up early the next day I used the internet to check in with folks and wait for the customs office to open, There’s a new customs building and 2 new people for a total of 4 people I had to go though. They didn’t open till 9 and at 9:10 they still had to stick their breakfast pockets into the microwave before they could start my paperwork. They have a cashier now too and she’s got 4 new stamps. It was the longest check-in ever but we were off by 9:45. Once out into the ocean the wind was quite behind us and I really didn’t want to waste 3 minutes to head up into the wind to hoist the main and another 3 minutes to take her down once there, so the big head sail came out on her own and we were again flying, great sailing. As we rounded the corner near Freeport the wind shifted as predicted was close to on the nose. A little bit of running away from land just with our stay sail pulled in close till we had a good line to the inlet and we arrived right at high tide. We had a couple of friends in boats come out to guide us in as the channel had again been compromised by storms and our 6 ft was going to be an issue again. There was a bit of confusion as to when high tide was and one boat with a depth meter read 5 -5.6 ft at a long, low, new spot. Arline said “What the hell, lets go for it, this is all we‘re going to get for tide and water today”. Easing  our way into the calm water Arline was up on the bow trying to read the water but it was very sandy, ¼ way in and I feel Kasidah touch and she comes up out of the water just a bit and starts to slow down. “Go!!!” is Arline’s command, “Which way?” was my next question thinking right or left. “FAST!! FLOOR IT !!! GO GO GO JUST GO!” I gave Kasidah all the fuel she could get and she moved straight though, we pushed thought 100 foot of very soft sandy stuff and we were in deep water, YEAH!

Blue waiting for mom to come back from shopping

New underwater light, and new LED lighting on the bow and in the cockpit.

We are at the same dock as last year and very few people were here, friends here all greeted us to catch lines, let the tennis and fishing begin.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Let us 1st apologize for being a year between posting on the blog here. Time goes by so fast and we’ve been so busy making time go by even faster.

The season of 16/17 in the Bahamas was our best year fishing, diving, tennis and so much more, Arline went back to the states twice to watch Gwen and Cal for 9 days each time to allow Amy to do some Air Force reserve work and Jeremy to do some traveling for work. Blue and I stayed on the boat.
Cal and Grams snowman
This guy had an 8 ft wing span and was around us for a while.

I watched a 110 foot sailboat get set as a dive spot (AKA Sunk) and then dove it three times. Everything worked fine on the boat, the trip home and putting Kasidah away was easy.

The summer of 2017 was Jae Bee’s busiest and best to date allowing us to buy a newer van and leave a bit early that fall and budget some work on Kasidah. Traveling south we stopped at the kids and grandchildren and my family in CT.

Image may contain: car and outdoor

Now to the present, fall of 2017. 

We did a lot of work on Kasidah this fall as we did budget for it and needed several big things done. We unstopped the mast by hiring a crane and help from some other boaters we had that thing down in 17 minutes. From the time the crane pulled in and set the outriggers to the point that I paid him,…17 minutes.
Gayle and Julia two of my best and favorite go to and fix it boaters, Trust them more than you can imagine.  
I think it was 5 minutes at this point with out set up,...we were so ready!
I watched another mast come down by the pros that took over an hour. We are keel stepped and the step at the bottom of the mast was in bad shape. It is a 6” piece of steel I beam glassed onto the top of the lead keel. “?” 

The shoe, boot, step that the mast sits on and was reused, and the old steel piece in the background.

This is the old steel piece and the new piece
After I bought a new tool and cut it out we had a new one made from steel again. A sister boat did the same thing this fall and we stopped to see his job, he had one made out of Stainless Steel. That cost him a lot just for the Stainless Steel pieces. I thought if this steel lasted 40 years I’ll just do that again and for an 1/8th the cost, yeah I’m fine with that. Since nothing is level or square on a boat for the most part it was very nerving for me to get the thing back into the exact same location, and how close did it really have to be.

Installed new mast step and fresh paint

Very happy with the out come of this big project

While the mast was down it was time to update the standing rigging. At 1st I was going to hire somebody to do it so I didn’t have to worry about how it turned out. But a few things changed my mind, the company I thought about using had a reputation for being over time and budget. I’d heard stories where it was promised in 2 weeks which turned into 6 weeks and a thousand dollars more, pass on that thank you. I started calling a few shops in the area that did rigging and talking to a couple of other boaters that had done their rigging over. Some went to using mechanical or swagless fittings. Swagless fittings are very strong and you can make them up on the boat.
Closer look at the new fitting
Swagless fitting on it's way together

Old Swagged and wire on the left New stuff on the right,
See the Difference 

 They are very expensive, you can reuse them at the 10 year refitting again. Or we could have a shop just make swaged fittings with new wire copying the old rigging. Again I’m pretty sure the old rigging was well over 20 plus years old, notably over sized for our boat and life style, so again I’m good with that. Best deal around was to drive the old stuff to the Fort Lauderdale West Marine, were we have a discount card as a business, and do the swaged fittings. To top it all off, it was a 2 day turn around, and the shop has it’s own cell number that they actually answered and texted with commits and notes. There was a question after we left the shop and I was able to take a photo of the questioned area and text it back to him. I did have to use 2 of these swagless fittings to make up at the 2 rollers for the head and stay sail. Problem solved.

We are very very happy with West Marine work, product, expertise, and advice as there were a few changes to the rigging that I wanted to and had to make, it would be very technical and boring, trust me it would put you to sleep. The fittings are bigger, the wire is heavier and it was all perfect.

During the time we waited for the work on the mast step glass work to cure and other things to come in Arline wanted some of the nice new peel and stick tile in the head and Galley to brighten things up. The bathroom was easy so we continued to the area around the sink in the galley. The only little thing was that the faucet is very close to the wall and we really couldn’t just slide the sticky tile behind it,…so the faucet needed to come out. I always wanted a newer faucet that had a little height to it so that’s fine.
Some of the crap that had to come out 

New sink area is really stunning 
The faucet was not coming out because the sink is very deep and the old faucet fittings behind were 40 years old galvanized to copper…so the sink needed to come out. Of course new fittings for the drain would dress it up too as long as the sink is coming out that’s going to be easy. Have you ever done a sink and know about the bolts underneath that hold it down to the counter, well there are two that were buried in insulation around the refrigerator area, so that needed to be peeled away, Oh I’m doing this now. To get at all these screws I had to also take off and out the Alternator of the engine, the engine raw water strainer, the fresh water foot pump, the fresh water pressure pump, the regulator for the alternator, I also had an oil change pump under that needed to come out. While I was under there the platform that the pumps are on was rotted so I cut that out and put a new one in place and then just put the simple tile up and put everything back together. We started right after breakfast on one day and finished around noon the next day,….But it looks frigging GREAT!!

We changed several other things in the cabin, a picture here and there, the mast is now not Brilliant White in the cabin, we went with a soft brown to blend in with the colors below, and some flowery stencils with birds on it. We got rid of the furnace or heater that was hanging on the mast, not having it there really opened the area, we replaced it with a small catch all basket. I re-worked a brass ships bell which I loved but lost 4 minutes an hour and nobody could sleep with it running so I removed the German movement behind the face plate and installed a battery operated made in China movement behind it for 9 dollars .
Simple stickers on the mast add a warm touch 

There was some rebuilding and painting of lockers, Arline had to spend about a week on the wood on the outside of the boat, oh and our new cockpit table. During the month in the work yard you settle into a pattern with other boaters working on projects sharing meals, cocktails, and there was even this tree of knowage where you gather in the heat of the afternoon, beer and rum brought out the best of answers. We felt we did a lot of projects on the boat in the amount of time we were there. Some boats have a huge full refit and have been working hard for a year. One project turns into another and it goes on and on. Others been there for years and years, the maximum time we know of is SIX years in the work yard on the same boat, they’ll never go sailing I’m sorry to say.  Several, no many boats in the work yard just live there on their boat pretending to work on the boat as it’s still cheaper than rent anywhere with free electricity and WiFi. Unfortunately that makes for a backup trying to get into the work yard.

Gwen and Pop Jon shaking it up. 

Indiantown Marina puts on a hell of a party week leading up to Thanksgiving with food, band, and beer on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday nights plus a big Thanksgiving Day Meal of course with wine and Beer and a small dinner music duet. It’s been a few years since we stayed for one o these weeks but with all the extra work on Kasidah we were there. Plus Amy and Jeremy with their new lifestyle of living in an RV came and stayed at the marina in and RV site for a week of parties. Cal and Gwen had a great time and it really was great for them  to see the marina and all the people we talk about and make Kasidah float.
Thanksgiving Day

Cal and Gwen at Lion Safari Park 

We have, as of this writing, moved away from the marina and started our trip to the Bahamas,..We're in the Bahamas and had an adventitious crossing,....If you call the motor quitting in the Gulf Stream an Adventure then hang on for the next post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Two weeks here and Lovin it!

I thought I would put some more photos on of our first two weeks here.
Early morning on our crossing

Love all the birds

At the channel just chillin
Blue hunting for crab.
Our friends place, besides some down trees the place fared well. 
Jon followed this guy around for awhile

We have decided to stay here for most of the season then head down to the Berry's to visit some friends and Sara then maybe on our way back to the States this spring head to the Keys since a lot of our good friends are in Key West and Marathon for the season.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sitting in ORYC all alone.

Super moon
We had a weather window come up so we decided to take it and head to ORYC. It looked like a motoring window but that's fine with me just to get across the gulf stream. The forecast was for 3 to 5 ft waves and Southeast winds becoming South in the afternoon only around 10 knots, it never seems to be the same as they predict!

We had a great crossing with west winds in the morning and south winds in the afternoon, waves under a foot and a swell which was very far apart. This was one of our best time crossing to date.

We stopped in at West End for customs, the place really got hit hard by the hurricane and they have no radio, no electric and no water but customs was there to take our three hundred dollar. They are not open yet so dockage was free and since we were only going to be there for about 8 hours so that was a good thing.

We brought some relief stuff over so after taking that off the boat Jon came back with all our paperwork, we got all the time we asked for.

Instruments at night

We woke up around 1:30 am and untied the lines at 2:00 heading around the island to make Silver Cove Inlet at high tide which was about 7:30 in the morning.We had the super moon to help us out the channel at West End since the storm took out the channel markers. It really was a night night to be out as we followed the coast on a close reach the wind came around too and we had wind the whole time.

As we made our way across Freeport entrance we had to go around the cargo ships that are there unloading oil which was no problem; then we came up to a large tug towing a barge on a long cable. We could see his red port light on the front, the 3 lights indicating a tow behind him and the red green on the barge, but could not see his green knowing that we had passed his bow. AIS was not picking him up and he did not answer our call. Jon felt very confident in his course and felt we were close enough to shore where the tug wouldn't go, but when they shined one big ass light on us I panicked, because the only other time I saw this was with a sailboat that was not giving way to a tug with tow. Everything was fine and passe the tug just like Jon thought. The reason we couldn't make his green light was because he didn't have one!  "Welcome to the Bahamas mon".

The Breach

We made the channel at 7am and called Rick and Liz on the Radio, Rick and Liz have a home inside the channel and had brought their 52 foot sailboat in the week before, he offered to come out and guide us in.

Very Narrow channel

The channel had changed so much and part of the channel rocks jetty had been breached near the tree line which changed the whole flow of the water. Sand and rocks were in the channel with lots of debris on both sides. Because of the super moon we had no problem getting in and making our way to the dock.

Only a few boats are here and four Timeshare units are occupied. ORYC took a pretty good hit and lost some roofs, all their telephone poles, trees are gone, and Esters little bar at the pool has vanished. The fencing around the tennis court has been severely damaged too. There are many projects and lots of people working here, things get better every day.

Berny's place still up and running 

Tennis court damage
Giant Porgy

Breach at Running Mon channel
Boat damage at Knowles

We have been out on dinghy and by bike to see some of the damage the Hurricane did and all we can say is, WOW.!    

Channel rocks just inside Running Mon with-in the markers,...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Finally on the boat for another season.......

                       Just realized that we haven't updated the blog since we left New York.
Cave exploring
Cal loves his chicks
Amy with the kids

Our trip down the coast to Florida started with a stop in Pennsylvania to see Amy, Jeremy and of course the most important ones; Cal and Gwen. We stayed there a week and I really hated to leave them because I
know how quick they grow up.

We had a blast with them and even managed to play tennis and go explore a cave one day. We helped paint their dining room and put in a garbage disposal, which is not the first of installing one of these.
Cal loves his sister.

Next we traveled to Connecticut to spend some time with Jon's mother also visiting his sister and brother.

We had a blast playing "Cards Against Humanity" with his sister Kathy and husband Bob. Jon even had time to wire their new hot tub for them and take a soak one night.

Ari and Jill
Getting train to Boston
Then off to Boston to visit Jill and Ari for a week. We planned on helping install a new floor in the basement and some painting. I must say that it came out really great. We also took the subway into Boston with them and did some site seeing and had dinner "Thanks Jill and Ari". Ari put together a personal network for us so we can store all our stuff on our own cloud, accessible from our computers, which is working out great.
At this point we started back tracking, first back to Connecticut where we realized Hurricane Matthew was heading right for the Bahamas and then for Kasidah. So our over night stop at Amy and Jeremy's turned into almost a week's wait. Amy and family were at the outer banks vacationing and so we were there till we knew what this puppy was going to do.

We watched the weather and  saw our fears were coming true, it was not only heading for our to favorite island in the Bahamas, but also looked as it was going to be dead on to hit Kasidah on Friday, the same day we were scheduled to be moved to the work yard. We called the marina and found they were all getting ready for the worst. We would have to wait it out to see when to head down not even sure we would have anything to head down to.

By Thursday morning Mathew had shifted just a little which spared the Berry's from a direct hit but was looking more like Grand Bahamas would get hit bad. We've seen photos since then and this place really got hit hard.

When it hit Florida it stayed right on the coast which saved any real bad winds from hitting Kasidah but really made a mess up the entire coast into North Carolina.

Jon Garrett and James
As the storm got closer to Florida emergency evacuations went out Amy and Jeremy decided it was time to end their vacation and head home. So we stayed till Monday and got to spend a few more days with the grand kids.

Our trip down was a little off track, all the flooding and many hotels were booked, but it was not a bad trip at all.

Stocking Boat
Moose during a cookout.
We arrived at the boat and as always we're nervous when boarding Kasidah the first time. We never know from one year to the next what we will fine.

To our surprise she looked fantastic; with only a little green on the decks, no mold or mildew down below and besides a few tree frogs no bugs. We had a great visit from Jon's nephew, who is a chief on a 170 ft private yacht. He came up to stay a night with a co-worker from Scotland.

 We've done all our cleaning, most repairs needed, and are just waiting to be splashed.
We are still not sure of our plans, we will finish shopping and head to Stuart and try to decide there.