Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spanish Wells, Eleuthera

It's great to be back in the Bahamas. We found our own sandbar island to spend the day at.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Marathon to Spanish Wells, Bahamas

We had a great motor/sail just under 48 hours from Marathon, FL to Spanish Wells, Bahamas.
We lifted anchor at 10:00 AM on Monday February 23rd near the 7 mile bridge and started going almost due east.  The seas were confused and it was like sailing in a washing machine.  The wind was out of the south but getting lighter and lighter as the day progressed.  We made it to the Gulf Stream before dark and enjoyed the calmer seas and increase in speed because of the stream.  We aimed the boat east but Traveled northeast because of the stream pushing us along.  South riding rock, Bahamas was easy to transit in the dark but I wished I could see it in the light to enjoy the crystal blue water.  The sun rose and we crossed the banks making it near Morgan's Bluff, Bahamas by dark.  From there we took our time crossing the Northwest Providence Channel so we would arrive at Spanish Wells, Bahamas by daylight.  We arrived on February 25th by 6:30 AM and tried to anchor and check in by dinghy.  Customs required us to come into a marina to check in which allowed us to celebrate with conch fritters, (of course) ice cream, and get our wifi SIM cards from the local Batellco tower.
Overall it was an easy crossing and we are all so excited to be here!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Life Is Simple Again

We are now officially cruisers again.  This last week we sold our car to a nice couple and their cute little 7 month old girl.  They are new in the United States from Poland and trying to make a go of it in Key West.  I think our minivan will be great for them.

The dodger is turning out awesome.  It is amazing to be able to see out and still be protected from wind and waves.  Woo hoo!!  Paul also cleaned the bottom and paid special attention to the propeller because we plan on using it quite a bit in the next few days.  The growth on the bottom of our boat he claims is always changing.  This time is was more like a big beard growing with tubular worm like creatures.  Eeewww!

Today we motored though the mooring field of Boot Key Harbor waving good bye to all of our friends.  We feel so fortunate to have found such a wonderful place to make our home for the past 10 months.  There are plenty of kid boats to spend time with and everyone else is very cruiser friendly.

Now we are anchored out and testing the water maker.  Everything is a go for tomorrow.  We plan to cross over to the Bahamas.  We are stuffing everything into a lockers if at all possible or lashing them down.  I know that something will be moving around while we cross over but the more we get locked in place the better.  Problem being we have so so so so so much stuff!!!

Going to the Bahamas!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Almost Cruising Again!!

Time seems to be flying by here in Marathon, FL.  The kids are out of school and they can’t wait to start homeschooling again.  A lot has happened since the last blog post so here it is in a nutshell. 

We are getting closer to cruising again.  Yea!!!!

The month of January flew by, and we have a lot to show for it. 

The deck boxes are done and installed and they look like we bought them from the store.  Paul is an amazing builder.  He can dream up plans in his head, get out a tape measure and create the most wonderful and use full things.
Aren't they pretty!

The genoa (front sail) is repaired and back up with a new blue sacrificial cover.  I think it adds a nice accent to the boat (don’t ya think?)

We have more storage space with the cupboards in place.  We bought so much food this time that we have overflowed the capacity of all our lockers and new cupboards.  The minivan rode so low on the way back from Miami I was afraid we would have to call a tow truck.  Now our boat has all the provisions and is riding extremely low on the water line.  (especially the side with all the canned goods)

Meanwhile as with all boats there is daily maintenance and repairs.  Our refrigerator required new parts to keep running and we are so grateful to still be in a place where parts are easy to find and own a car to get us there and back. 

Our dinghy motor has been giving Paul a few problems with water in oil.  He has taken it apart and put it back together at least 5 times in the past month with new parts almost each time.  He ran it hard yesterday and today, the repair work is holding up.

Paul painted the inside of the dinghy so it looks almost new again and made a place for a bow light to attach, very handy.

Among all of his other chores Paul still found time to do the dishes on a daily basis while I was still a working girl. 

As of Friday the 13th I am no longer a working girl, I am now officially the homeschool Mama and will start school after I take a mini vacation myself.  Whew!

I’m keeping in shape with the neighbors at a 7 AM Insanity Workout session Monday through Friday.  It is just 30 minutes but I have to say, I feel the soreness all week long. 

The dodger is next on the list.  It was tough to see through our previous dodger.  The plastic glass was so fogged over we couldn’t see a thing.  This time we plan to clean it regularly to keep it looking as good as new. (maybe our two little swabbies can help)

Also next on the list is selling the minivan.  The weather doesn’t look good to cross for a few more days so we will keep it as long as we can to haul goods back and forth until we leave. 

We will be testing the water maker, testing the repaired sail, and getting back out into the open water very soon. 

We continue to enjoy time with friends we have met here in the harbor including MadSam, Orenda, Thin Line, Venus, Huntress, and Salsa. 

My plan is to post one more time before we cross over then it will be fun in the Bahamas after that.  Yippee!!!
Getting to work on the dodger.

Osprey near the dinghy dock

We got to close and scarred it away.  He was just trying to eat his fish in peace.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sailing in December

Picture from the hospital work party. 
Marathon weather has been mostly warm in the 80’s with some cold fronts moving through at times.  Seems that the city tries to make it feel like Christmas by celebrating every chance they get with lots of lights and Santa coming 1-3 times a week to somewhere in town.  He usually arrives on the back of a firetruck with lights and sirens to make sure he arrives safely.  Along with this there are lots of treats.  Treats from school, treats from the marina, treats from fellow boaters, and treats from family.  We are all pretty much sugared out, if that is possible.  

The marina has been especially nice to all the kids this season by opening up the marina for decorating stockings and old mooring balls that were painted green and red.  The stocking were hung in the marina and filled with all kinds of treats and toys for the kids by all the boaters and marina staff. 

Christmas on the boat was lots of fun.  Santa found his way and left presents with stocking stuffers.  It is hard to stay away from all the consumerism when you live in the United States.  After being in the Bahamas I have realized the amount of “stuff” that is readily available here is overwhelming.  “Stuff” being everything from boat parts, clothes, shoes, toys, etc.  The prices are considerably less here in the States compared to the Bahamas and the selection of items can be a bit mind boggling. 

Christmas Day we went for out for a motor/sail to anchor out for a couple of nights.  We haven't taken the boat out since Labor Day.  It felt so great to be back to cruising, even if it was only for 2 nights.   

Our countdown has started for our trip to the Bahamas and then to the Caribbean.  I will be blogging more about our preparations as we get closer and closer to our departure date.  The date itself is written in the sand, nautical term for we really don’t have an exact date yet.  Maybe in the next month or two? 

Be prepared, there are a lot of pictures to follow...
The beginning of the tear out for new cabinets.  Previously used as storage with large plastic bins.

The finished product.  Paul will install sliding doors to hold everything in while underway.  
Nicholas is at the hair salon with his fake reading glasses.

Samantha's winter picture.  Guess who is getting the snowball in the face?

Decorating their stoking for the marina.

Samantha's decorated mooring ball. 

Nicholas's decorated mooring ball.  (note to self, hot glue gun does cause burns on little fingers Oops!)

Playing Legos with cousin Timmy.

Hanging with cousin Mikel.

I still can't believe how old Mikel looks.

Fun time with Grandma Nee Nee.

Just one of the many beautiful sunsets here in Boot Key Harbor. 

Our Christmas tree on the boat. 

Orenda has their boat decorated. Notice Yoda and Mikey on their boom. 

Brenda from afar. 

The tree of knowledge with hanging mooring balls.



Where else but in Marathon, FL would you find Christmas lights with a lighthouse and a fish?

Or a pink flamingo?

Or a sea horse?

Manatee and her baby at the dinghy dock.

Nicholas has his own holiday artwork. 

Work celebration of Festivus.  For all of you Seinfeld watchers we started with the metal pole (no tinsel because it's distracting)

We had the airing of grievances (very funny), festivus miracles, and feats of strength.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October in the Keys

Another month flew by here in Marathon, FL.  The kids are enjoying school and playing soccer on the weekends.  Of course I (Staci) can’t say no so I am the soccer coach for their team.  It has been interesting, frustrating and rewarding.  

The holding tank Paul built is amazing and working flawlessly.  Everything else on the boat has been holding steady, no repairs needed.  In the meantime we have found new renters for our place back in Colorado and life is getting back on track.  

I am still working at the hospital in patient and out patient.  They are grateful to have the help especially now that the snow birds are flocking down.  Paul found work building Marathon’s Oversea’s Liquors across the street from the marina.  They are flexible with his hours and the kids school schedule.  The kids school is right next to Paul’s work, so all is within walking distance.  Both kids have straight A’s in school and are reading and doing math way above their grade level.  I attribute this to the homeschooling and can’t wait to get back to home school again. 

Now, about Marathon.  This is a small community with a major thoroughfare going through it.  Everyone passes through here on their way to Key West, the most southern part of the United States.  Strange things happen here in Marathon.  Some call it Keys Disease.  Paul is the one who gets to experience most of the craziness.  Here is a great example.  Yesterday the cable company (nationally known so will remain nameless) came to install cable to the building.  They needed to get the cable over the building so one of the workers pulled out a big black case out of the van.  Paul was waiting to see what kind of cool tool they were going to work with.  They worker pulled out a large bow and arrow.  They other worker proceeded to tape the cable onto the arrow.  The first attempt the worker pulled the bow back, set the arrow and the arrow fell out.  Second attempt the worker pulled the bow back and the arrow flew through the air but left the cable behind.  The arrow flew through the air towards Keys Fisheries Restaurant and Marina.  We still don’t know where that arrow landed.  The two workers quickly put away the bow and arrow and put their tools away and haven’t been seen since the incident.  There will be more to this story later I’m sure but suffice it to say this is how everything works down here.  

It has been tough to watch some of our other boating friends continue their cruise through the Caribbean but we know we will be there soon enough.  
Paul hard at work

Nicholas as a spy

Samantha as Frankie Stein (the daughter of Frankenstein.

The team Super Stars.  

Nicholas is matching the twins in the harbor.

Samantha's birthday was lots of fun for everyone.

Awards for straight A's and excelling in reading. 

Pumpkin carving put on by the marina. 

Happy Halloween!