Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seeing Red ....

Well those of you who were impressed with all the work we did in May during haul out had better hold on because that is nothing compared to the list we have before we head out for the new season.  Some of the projects are routine maintenance but many others are not.
Pictured above is Tropical Breeze sporting her new red bottom paint.  Also, the new main cover we ordered in May was completed and we had the task of installing it and also putting the main back up.  Not something we want to do every day as it took both of us to move the folded main sail out on deck. 
After that was the first rough fitting of the hardtop we are having built - Dave is SOOOOOO excited!!!
And one of my favorites, the start of the removal of the old flooring so that we can install new.
Stay tuned for more adventures.......from the boatyard!!!
The Admiral    

Monday, December 16, 2013

Running a Little Late....

Fear not dear friends.....we will be blogging again this season.  We are just getting a bit of a late start.  Please check back again soon for the 2014/2015 season.

The Admiral

Blog posted under orders of the Captain.  =)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Haul out ....

Projects.  Projects.  And more projects.  That would be the theme for haul out this year.  The list was huge.  In addition to the general maintenance and storage we needed to haul out one of our fuel tanks so that we could ship it off to a welder for repair.  The tank was not leaking but the baffles within the tank had come loose and were moving around in the fuel tank.  This was a particular pain since that fuel tank is just behind the wall at the head of our bed allowing us to hear the periodic sloshing back and forth. 
But of course, you can't just hoist out the tank.  First the windlass had to be dismantled and removed.  Then the anchor box had to be unbolted and removed.  This of course, was too big to fit through the hatch so the Captain had to sand down one of the walls of the box so it would fit.  Only then could we pull the fuel tank from its resting place.  While the Captain maneuvered the heavy loads, I manned the winch and using the halyard hoisted the windlass, anchor box and eventually the fuel tank from their hole.  Once everything was on deck it was quite the site.  Stuff was just everywhere.
With the fuel tank repair complete we decided to pump the fuel from the starboard tank to the port tank and filter it.  While doing this we discovered the starboard tank also had a baffle broken so once we had the port tank back in and loaded with fuel we hauled out the starboard fuel tank and took that over to the welder. 
Ah and this was just one project.  In addition, we took the anchors and chain over to a galvanizer to be galvanized - they are absolutely beautiful now.  We varnished the wood entry step and kitchen floor - also now stunning.  Sanded and painted a rusty spot on the oven door.  Cleaned all the stainless.  Took down the main sail - a first for us - so we could have a new sail cover made.  Removed the solar panels from the bimini, removed the bimini and will take down the bimini frame so that a hardtop can be constructed.  This also included the need to make 4 small holes in the ceiling of the kitchen and salon.  And while I am not happy about having holes in the ceiling of the deck house, I am rather amazed at the beefy construction Dave found while making the holes.  Quite amazing!
The Admiral
PS - For all the other Admiral's out there, you know I wouldn't allow holes in the deckhouse without getting something out of it.  I'm promised a complete interior paint job and new flooring to be installed this fall.  Yippee!!!
PPS - For all our followers, this will be my last post for the season.  Please return in the fall to check out how all our projects went and to join us for another season aboard the Breezer.

Grand Cay ...

We left Treasure Cay early one morning, went through Don't Rock passage and then hoisted the sails for a tacking battle up the Sea of Abaco.  After a busy sailing day we found shelter from the winds at Allan's Pensacola.
The next day was another early start.  The northwest winds were still unabated and we made great time headed toward Grand Cay.  That is, until we made a final turn toward the north and west to get to Grand.  The slower speeds, however, enabled us to do some fishing and I was able to catch a big fat mutton snapper.  Though only 28" long, the fat guy would allow us to enjoy several great meals.
It was our first trip to Grand Cay - and it will not be the last.  The small community boasted many nice colorful homes all well maintained.  Walking along the single lane golf cart sized street through town everyone we passed - adults and children - said hello. 
The marina bustled with tourist traffic.  As many power boaters appear to come over from central Florida for a day or two clear into the Bahamas and then fish before returning to the US.  We met one such group at Rosie's Restaurant  where we had dinner.  The group of 5 guys came over from the US., cleared in and spent the balance of the day fishing.  For the day they caught several mahi and a 110 lb tuna.  One of the mahi Rosie's kitchen had cooked up for dinner and they shared some of their catch with us.  I tell you there is nothing quite like fish dinner when the fish has been pulled from the ocean about 3 hours beforehand.  The group would spend the night in hotel rooms on Grand and then return to the US the next day.  They'd fish while in route. 
Our plan was similar.  Only being in a sail boat our time at sea would be considerably longer.  Also, our destination would not be central Florida but one big hop to northern Florida.  We left Grand the following afternoon hoping for light winds.  They were light.  Very light.  Too light and we eventually forgot about the sails and motored our way back towards Florida.  The nice thing about no wind is that the ocean was still.  At one point it was so calm there were no ripples on the water at all.  The Captain took this opportunity for one last attempt at fishing and caught a really nice 46" mahi for his efforts.  Gotta love it!

With the slow going we would be at sea 42 hours before our arrival back in Florida.  It was another great winter season, but the weather is warming and its time to head back to the midwest.

The Admiral

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Treasure Cay ...

At Treasure Cay we walked the beautiful sand beach before stopping for frozen mango daiquiris.
The Admiral

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hope Town (Part 2) ...

Back on shore we walked along the streets and beaches if Hope Town.  The houses are mostly quaint and brightly colored and while I probably should have taken photos of them, instead the Captain and I found the fence line along the Atlantic beach with all its ripples and rolls a bit more interesting.  The same held true for an electric pole at the southern end of town.  Can you imagine being the person to climb the pole and correct a problem - where would you begin.

The Admiral

Hope Town (Part 1) ...

A trip to the Abacos would not be complete without a stop in Hope Town.  We enjoy it because it is so different from any other place in the Bahamas.  It has a large influx of tourism while maintaining a very village-like feel.  It is compact with golf cart sized streets and pedestrian alleyways allowing you to get around all the homes.  The basin is full of mooring balls and marinas and, because of Hope Town's popularity, usually full of boats as well. 
We went into town with the plan of climbing the steps to the lighthouse one afternoon.  That trip would take us 6 hours.  Not because it took us that long to climb the 101 winding steps to the top but because once we were there we realized that the harbor below was full of friends that we had not seen in a while.  The first stop was David on Windchyme, followed by Dick and Ann on Nati, then Robin at On Assignment and finally Bob and Sharon on At Last.  What fun!
The Admiral

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Arrival in the Abacos

On arriving in the Abacos we opted to remain anchored near some of the southernmost less populated islands.  This rewarded us with peaceful beaches and beautiful water to laze about. 

On one pleasant day we dinghied over to Little Harbor.  We enjoyed the bronze casting gallery and then took in lunch at Pete's Pub.

The Admiral

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fishing ...

Well the Eleuthera's definitely shaped up to be our lucky fishing haven.  We departed Governor's Harbor at 6:45am and by 7:00am the Captain reeled in a nice 27 1/2 inch mutton snapper.  It is one of our favorite fishes to catch as it yields a great amount of meat.  We were hopeful that as we cruised along another fish would snag our line. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
But the next day things were looking brighter.  We left the Eleuthera's and headed into deep water as we cruised up to the Abacos.  Along the way my rod hooked a fish but as we brought in the fish the 60 lb line broke and we lost the fish, lure and line.  Bummer.  A while later the Captain's rod hooked a fish.  As he reeled it in he also experienced a broken line - this time 100 lb line, lure and fish were lost.  Hmmmm.... what are we attracting???  It was just about the time we were going to call it a bad day when the Captain's rod hooked another fish.  This time we saw it - a nice mahi.  We successfully brought it aboard - all 38 inches of it. 
Well, I guess its time to shop for more fishing gear.
The Admiral

Fish Fry ...

While in Governor's Harbor we popped into the Eleuthera Tourist Information office and inquired as to what there was to see.  The representative told us three times that the Friday night fish fry was a must see.  Given that, we decided that we'd better check it out and found that indeed it was a must see.  Music, fellowship and good eats were had by all.
The Admiral 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Governor's Harbor ....

After several delightful days in Rock Sound we decided to move on to Governors Harbor.   Aptly named as it was the original capitol of the Bahamas.  Today the community boasts of its pink sand beaches on the Atlantic shore.  Dave and I walked to the Atlantic side of the island and found the former Club Med property.  While the resort is now long gone having suffered damage during a hurricane many years ago, the beach remains beautiful and the grounds interesting as the foundations and swimming pool for the old resort remains. 
Beyond the pink beaches it was great to see many of the homes being restored in the area.  It is unusual as Governors Harbor has many of the concrete homes that we've seen throughout the Bahamas but they also have many old wooden homes as well.  It was many of these wooden structures that we saw being renovated.
The Admiral
PS - Of course, since we broke down and bought fish there was only one thing that would happen.  Yep - we finally caught a fish.  A nice size black grouper - yum!

Rock Sound ...

The Eleuthera's - what a place!  After weeks in the Exumas enjoying the remoteness of being one with nature and finding the limited markets struggling to get their supply shipments in, it was great to arrive in Rock Sound Eleuthera where we knew the markets (yes, more than one) would be plentiful. 
With groceries taken care of and a much needed stop at the post office to send a letter back to the US we bummed around.  Town features a large ocean hole which is also the swimming hole for the locals.  We had seen this on our previous trip.  What we hadn'r experienced, however, was the cave that other boaters encouraged us to go check out.
We walked along the main road until we found the preserve for another smaller ocean hole.  Walked along the trail around the hole and found a ladder.  Once down the ladder we found the very tall cave.  Trees had grown from the floor of the cave and had found the periodic openings in the cave ceiling to grow through into the sunlight.  Despite the holes in the ceiling there was still plenty of space for the bats to find dark corners in which to hide.

Back at the dinghy dock we found some local fisherman selling their catch.  Pink snapper - pinkfish - they called them.  A bag which included six fish sold for $10.  Given that we haven't had any success catching fish ourselves we considered this quite the treat.

The Admiral

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Little San Salvador ....

During our trip two years ago our favorite island was Little San Salvador and this trip it did not disappoint.  On our arrival the Holland America Niew Amsterdam was hoisting anchor and would provide us thirty six hours of privacy.

I know it seems strange that our favorite island could actually be the private playground of one of the major cruise ship lines, but it is true.  I think it is because few sailors go here and the beach is impeccably maintained by the on-site staff who have no problem with us coming ashore when a ship is not in port.

We bummed around the beach and playground before taking up our favorite pastime of just sitting and swaying in a hammock.

The Admiral

Iguanas ...

Our next stop was Bitter Guana Cay.  We went ashore to view the iguanas and were delighted to find a more rugged terrain than what we've found on many of the islands.  Quite different.
From there it was onto Blackpoint Anchorage where after over five weeks I delighted in being able to do laundry.  No provisions here though as, like what we've heard at many of the settlements, the supply ships have been delayed in the US making provisioning stops few and far between.
The Admiral

Monday, April 1, 2013

Groceries ....

There has been lots of issues with mail and freighter traffic not making its way to the Exuma islands as of late.  At Sampson, we found the marina out of diesel and most groceries as they hadn't seen a supply boat in weeks.  Reports were that further down island most locations were out of gas and we heard on the radio that Blackpoint settlement's supply boat did not arrive as expected.  So when we arrived at Staniel and heard the Pink and Blue stores were both fully stocked, having received supplies the day before, we were excited. 

On the walk over we bumped into several cruisers carrying bags and bags of groceries.  This caused us some concern as the stores are not that big.  Once we arrived our concerns abated as we found lettuce, tomato, onions, bananas, oranges and even eggplant, squash and broccoli.  Fresh fruits and veggies - HEAVEN!  Dave even spyed some - you guessed it - ice cream in the freezer of the blue store.  The clerk offered us plastic spoons which sealed the deal and we enjoyed ice cream on the walk back to the dinghy.

The Admiral

Pig Invasion ....

At Big Majors I pulled the organic trash I had been saving in the freezer and we went ashore to feed the pigs.  They saw us coming and came out to greet us.  Unlike our prior stop at Big Majors  (2011) we were careful this time and made sure that we kept the dinghy in deep enough water so that the pigs couldn't get leverage and try to hop in.
Our friends Steven, Kristen, Edwin and Daniel weren't quite as fortunate.  They land their dinghy on the beach and one of the pigs bit Steven in the bum.  Ouch!
The Admiral

Sampson Cay ...

At Sampson Cay we found something truly unique for the Northern Exumas....a restaurant!  After several weeks of cooking and cleaning we declared a kitchen strike and ate out!  Quite the treat!
The Admiral