Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Catching Up

Welcome to the world of Spotty-to-Nonexistant internet!  I know it's been awhile, blogging buddies, my defence....  Well, when one just can't get online, one just goes fishing instead.  So now that we have the chance, let's catch up.

After feeding the fish off Chubb Cay for several hours, both by offering them my expensive pre-rigged ballyhoo as bait, and by hooking and thereby disabling fish for the sharks to eat, we gave up in disgust. No fish for supper that night.  We are living nicely off stored provisions thank you.

We moved from the Mako Shark and Baracuda-infested waters off Chubb, to the rich fishing grounds near Spanish Wells.  Locals call this area the "Jerusalem of the Bahamas".  Are they referring to streets paved with gold in the Heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation?  The waters here are teaming with fish of all kinds.  Captain B spotted a surface feeding frenzy as we made way.  Although the action dissipated as Steadfast approached, we got two strikes at once when our lines trolled thru the midst.  The bigger fish broke the line on our starboard side.  The port reel screamed as the line peeled away.  Even after cranking down the tension, I kept loosing line like crazy.  That fish was headed for the briny deep and wasn't taking no for an answer.  Sparing you the blow-by-blow of the fight, suffice it to say, I reeled in a 35 pound Yellow Fin Tuna.

We are riding a mooring in the harbour of Spanish Wells once again.  Last winter, we sat here for three weeks.  Such a delightful place!  The beach here is one of the best--Jerusalem again.

We are biding our time, waiting to cross to Nassau.  We will pick up guests for a week of cruising from Atlantis on down thru the Exumas.  In the meantime, Captain B is addressing an issue with the battery bank.  It seems that two of our five have given up the ghost.  We are experiencing shorter periods than we'd like, without either shore power or the generator working.  Captain has become a "Watt Nazi"!  Anything that uses electricity has been unplugged, from the ice maker to my electric toothbrush.  I draw the line at the deep freezer on the fly bridge, but he turns off the refrigerator at night.  Good Grief, Charlie Brown!  You'd think we were roughing it, or something.

Until we chat again, make sure your dingy is securely tied at night, wear your sunscreen and don't forget your hat.  Blessings.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Moving Away From Chaos

Welcome Aboard Steadfast!  
We'll be cruising the sunny, southern seas for the next three months.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

Our boat looked like this photo for the first three days we were on board last week.  CHAOS!  It even got worse when the engine room hatch was left open for periods during the messiness and when we unloaded 6 trolleys of provisioning that needed to be stored away for the winter.  TOTAL CHAOS!!!

As I related last year, the calculations of how much food and WINE we need to carry with us challenges my higher math skills, or lack thereof.  It behooves me to lay in more, rather than less, in case of miscalculations.  Heaven forbid we should have to ration the wine!

Provisioning has been completed.  The first man-project has been completed too.  Captain B has been cogitating over this particular project for about five years now.  He spent the major part of November and December researching, consulting and amassing the various bits and pieces needed to make a good job of it.  Let me explain:  Steadfast was built in 2001, before "lift TVs" were standard construction in boats.  For the past 13 years, we have made-do with securing our movable TV for sea crossings and pulling it out for use as needed.  We've had "TV-envy" for a long time and Captain B took it upon himself to change that.

He cut a hole into the top of the cherry wood credenza.  GULP.  

He rigged a lifting mechanism and installed a brand new TV.

He did such a great jog with his cut-out, he could reuse it, hinged, to cover the hole.  When the TV moves up into the usable position, it automatically opens the lid.  Yeehaw!  Steadfast is now as up-to-date as the big, newer boats.

Speaking of which, let me show you my new kitchen.  New appliances that is.

Our refrigeration units had given up the ghost by the end of last season.  The stove had been a dud since the beginning.  I LOVE my new kitchen.  Yes, I tried to replace the Microwave to match, but no stainless mics were small enough to fit and this one still works.  I'll keep my eyes peeled to spot a good one eventually.

I've planted my winter garden.  Yup, I cheated just a little....I bought things ready-to-go from the Home Depot garden department.

The Amaryllis I brought from home.  I didn't want to miss seeing them in bloom.

After provisioning and gardening, my next job prepping for the season, was to check the safety equipment.
We bought a new Ditch Bag with Tether  (in case of an abandon-ship crisis).  We replaced all the flares and the air horn.  I need to put some high-energy food replacements in there yet.

The 5 fire extinguishers are all full and charged.  The life jackets inflate and stay that way when blown up.  I replaced two automatic inflation cylinders, cleaned the jackets and re-folded them.

Now our boat is clean and tidy.  brag, brag, brag.

Oops!  You weren't supposed to see that.

We have moved further south from Stuart, positioning for the next weather window to cross the Stream.  We are in West Palm Beach at the Palm Harbor Marina.  This marina was rebuilt four years ago, after languishing as a slum for several years.  Clean, modern, super friendly and hospitable--upscale and very nice.  Tonight we have been invited to a complimentary cocktail party, put on by the staff.  

It has rained, heavily, and the winds have been high every day since we arrived in Florida.  Current forecasts look hopeful for a Sunday crossing.  It's a wait-and-see kind of thing.  Wish us luck, smooth seas and great weather.  We'll talk again on the other side.

No more chaos.