Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Settling In

As I wait for my job to start we are getting to know the area.  We bought a new ride that is awesome.  No more hot walks to the grocery store.  We are riding in style.
This is our $1500 1997 Ford Explorer. Hopefully it will last until December. It only has 260,000 miles on it.
In the meantime it is boat projects galore. We've already installed some new fans and led lights. We have a bunch of fabric coming for new sail covers as well as a new fancy electric toilet for our forward head.  We are also waiting for fabric to build a sun shade that covers  the whole boat.  It will hopefully keep the boat 10 degrees cooler.  I will have to report more on that after we actually make it and have it installed.

Yesterday we re-bedded the mast collar that has been leaking since we bought the boat. A rain squall at 6:00 a.m. this morning tested it and our efforts appear to have worked. No more old sweat pants stuffed around the hole where the mast comes through the cabin.

We've gotten to know a few other families already and everyone is having fun.  Although some of the kids will be leaving soon there are some here for the summer like us.  Samantha and Nicholas have already made fast friends as have Paul and I.  It is wonderful to have a friend that works at West Marine.  Yea! For the discounts.

The beach isn't quite the same as those in the Bahamas but it's still good. Nicholas and Paul took the dinghy out to a reef 2 miles offshore and shot a nice hogfish for dinner.  Samantha and I enjoyed the beach sitting under the palm trees for shade.  The kids went into the water but the sand at the shore is is more like mud and mush.  I tried to brave it out and put on a good face while my feet got sucked into the surface of unknown gook.  Ugh!  We may not be going to the beach as much as I thought.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Boot Key Harbor is the Place to Be

At least for now.

We have made a decision to stay in Marathon, FL for the summer and build up our cruising kitty.  This place has a great feel to it.  We are surrounded by fellow cruisers and many other kids boats.  Yea!

Next step is to start working.  So far I have been offered a position here at the outpatient clinic associated with Fisherman's Hospital.

Now we have to prepare for a hot, possibly buggy summer but are looking forward to every minute of it.

We will keep everyone up to date with our blog on how we outfit the boat and keep busy.

First step today was to pickle the water maker (we won't be needing it for a while) and then enjoy the pig roast. 

Nicholas and Paul bought fishing gear and are enjoying some fishing today.

Checking out new sun shades in Miami

Cool shades

New big girl sandals for Samantha and finally new clothes for the little people growing on our boat.

Blueberry pancakes made by Sam. Yummy!

Nick the Captain of Shambala for a day when cruising to Marathon from Miami.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Video from the Bahamas

Here is a link to some video we shot in the Bahamas this year.
We couldn't post it here due to file size.

Check it out:   Bahamas 2014

Under Way For Three Day And Three Nights

Yes, I am still smiling :)

The crew
We left Duncan Town, Ragged Island for a long journey back to Florida.  We decided to try our luck coming back by way of the Old Bahama Channel.  While underway for a long journey we put our dinghy on the foredeck and clear off the deck as much as possible.  The last thing we want is a line caught on something at night when you can't see a thing.  Everything else got lashed down or put away, including the trash can.  Every time I think we are sail ready we hit a big wave and something crashes to the floor.  It seems inevitable.
Day 1
The wind was out of the SE so we mostly sailed down wind.  At times we put just the main up, then tried just the genoa, then tried both wing and wing.  We tried all combinations except the cruising spinnaker because the wind was over 15 knots.  The kids kept busy with audio books, movies and just playing together in the cockpit.  Paul is teaching Samantha how to play BlackJack.  Nick and I played UNO.  The night was rough with a lot of rocking back and forth so no one slept well except Samantha.  As the sun set we must have run through a school of tuna because all three lines caught a good size tuna.  We decided to let the third one go. 2 tuna was plenty. 
Day 2
Paul and I decided to watch movies on the iPad so now our overnight passages are incredibly easier.  Who would have thought the iPad could entertain parents too on our long journey.  Being on a boat out in the big blue ocean is a lot easier than being on a road.  There are no traffic signs, speed limits, lanes you have to stay in.  Our biggest worry is looking out for other boats and avoiding them.  No problem.  We just have to remind ourselves not to get caught up in the movie.
Today we decided to cross the Bahama banks to take a short cut back.  We tried all sail combinations again today and ended the night with the spinnaker but quickly changed to the main and genoa before it got too dark.  The wind was again mostly SE to S 10-15 knots but seemed more like 10.  Lunch and dinner were tuna, Yum!
Day 3
Now we all just live life while underway.  I agree with a recent post from s/v Perry.  It isn't really comfortable but definitely do-able.  The wind shifted to the West.  This we know is a sign of a cold front moving in and we hoped for no big disaster to strike.  Meanwhile we were seeing more boat traffic.  Not much happening on in the Old Bahama Channel.  I am getting tired of all the different sail combinations but I understand that we left the Bahamas with approximately 40 Gallons of diesel so the more we sail the better we are.  Lets hope the winds stay fairly steady.
We are traveling close to a country that starts with a "C" and rhymes with tuba.  We are guessing the coast guard will most like board our boat looking for stowaways.  
Day 4
We arrived safely at 2:00 AM near Miami and dropped anchor in the same anchorage we left from in January.  The water was calm until 6:00 AM then the wind picked up so we decided to go into Dinner Key Marina.  We checked into the country by phone and our local boater numbers we got in Fernadina Beach after Thanksgiving last year.  Easy Peazy!
We got the dinghy down and set out for a day on land.  The kids were so excited and then we all got even more excited to see our friends on Quartet were at the same place.  Yea!
We have met a couple other kid boats in the harbour and are having a blast.  We played a game of soccer.  I loved it!  The older kids made a rule that Samantha and Nicholas had to touch the ball once before you could score.  They had so much fun that we are going to play again.

Now we are back in Florida to build up the cruising kitty.  Next plan is to head out this winter for the Caribbean. Yea!

Shambala flying the cruising spinnaker