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ONE WOULD THINK BEING ON ANCHOR WOULD BE CHEAP September 29, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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One would think. The generator’s new back end is covered by warrantee. Not freight, labor, and not import fees and taxes. That will be about as much as the new back end. But we are thankful for what is covered.

The wind has been around 10 knots, not enough for the wind generator to make any difference for the batteries. But things did make a positive turn mid week. I picked up the controller for the solar panels a week ago Friday and spent the weekend pulling wires and setting up the controller. Monday I picked up the panels and the man building the frame got started building. He only got a half day in because it was pouring down rain all morning. Tuesday he finished the frame and the supports for the davits. We got the bolt on feet all cut, drilled and installed. The feet for the frame will be welded to the legs and the whole thing will be bolted on. That will allow everything to be removed for hurricanes. Wednesday was install day. It was about 5 pm when we finished and to late to test the system. I got the wiring connections started and finished Thursday. We found that although the connections are the same, there not the same. China! The connections do not really fit together, kind of, but not good enough to make good connections. After fighting with these thing for the better part of a day, the frame builder came buy and said they may be water proof, but not moisture proof. After about a year the salt moisture is bad enough to corrode the inside and makes for a bad connection. A quick cut of the wires and I installed rings on the wire, bolted them together and schaaam! Good connection and the system works.

Just in time. My engine alternator is not big enough to charge up my batteries in less then 8 hours. That amount of hours at idle would do a lot of damage to the engine. Have to run a diesel under load.

The solar panels produce enough power to run the water maker, refrigerator, normal lights and fans and still put some juice into the batteries. That is what we were hoping for. Now we just need sunny days, or windy days till the gen gets here in 3-4 weeks.

The Grandkid and parents arrive Wednesday night. We are excited.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY September 23, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Well, it did not wait till Tuesday, it started Sunday. According to one of the local dock masters, we got 6 inches Sunday. All I know is that we made it to church without rain, by about 5 minutes. Then it rained all through church and Sunday school. Then it stopped while we got back to the boat in the dinghy. The dinghy ride was after I borrowed a bigger bucket to bail for about 10 minutes.

We had left some ports open and the mate was worried about the boat being half sunk. No problem. We had the awning up and the rain came straight down…, no wind. Thank goodness.

Monday I got the solar panels and have them stored on deck. My steel man caught Chick-V on Friday. This usually lays you up for 5+ days, high fever, vomit, terrible aches in all joints, a rash that itches like mad, and the desire not to eat and only sleep. He had a mild case and was back to work Monday. Although, he quit early and headed for the bed. He looked like he needed it. Today we had very heavy rain till after lunch. Here he came, we got the plates for the feet and cross members mounted. Put the frame in place to do final measurements for the legs and cross members. Tomorrow he will pick up all the pieces and go weld them together. Then back to us and mounting the frame and solar panels. Then I will do the final wiring and we should be making electricity…, I hope.

Chick-V. Not your girl friend. Although, his wife’s nicknameis “V”. It is a mosquito born virus that makes you very sick. It is an epidemic in the islands. There have been over 100 deaths. You can also have relapses for over a year. There is another mosquito born virus called Dungus something or other. Very similar, but not as bad. With Chick-V you only get it once. Big deal, you can have relapses forever. This is mountainous, tropical rain forest islands. You could not spray all the mosquitoes, ever. So everyone is resolved that you will get these sooner or later.

Oh yea, more news of the not so good kind. Our generator lost its bearing Sunday. Ran it to recharge batteries last evening. We did not know what it was, just that it was getting noisier. This morning I went into the engine room to check oil and the place is covered with dust. May be from the inside of the generator. That would not be good. Pray for us. With luck there is a bearing on the island. If so and his crew is all well, the mechanics will pull the old bearing that collapsed and replace it. While they have the bearing out they will be able to tell if anything happened to the inside of the generator. Pray it is OK. The fellow who runs the company doing the work thinks this will be covered under warranty…. The genset has a 5 year limited warranty. Limited is the key word. He is going to contact Westerbeke and see if it will be covered. Pray again. We are talking major bucks.

So know the main engine is running at idle to recharge the batteries enough to keep the frig running into tomorrow. Since Sunday there has hardly been enough wind to turn the wind generator. About a 25 knot breeze would be nice. That would keep us charged up from the wind. Have not seen that in about 6 weeks.

Waffle. Only for a while one day. Then you think about how much this solar stuff costs. Got to get a return on investment. If it works as advertised, that could be very short. Time will tell.

WAFFLING September 16, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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You can figure that our. This week was different. Early in the week we drug anchor. I would not mention that, but you are maybe the last to know. We get up around 6 a.m. or a little earlier. As we were getting up, we were hit by a wind wall from a squall. Not an uncommon event during the rainy season. After the wind wall, it calmed down a little and then picked up some. I am brushing my teeth and looking in the mirror and notice our neighbors boat going by. About that time the mate says “I think we are dragging”. I run to the ladder and whip open the hatch and sure enough, we are. Plus the rain is going sideways. A little faster then we were going down wind. I grab my rain jacket and ignition key and out I go. I get the engine going and shift into forward to stop us from continuing backwards and eventually hitting a power catamaran not to far astern. God was a good navigator. We had pasted between 3 other sailboats and never even got close. The first boat I noticed in the mirror had the husband and wife out in their dinghies running around us screaming that we were dragging. They had also tried to reach us by radio. We usually do not turn on the radio till the local net comes on at 7:30. Therefore, everyone heard but us.

As you might remember we have a manual anchor windlass. So I am out in my rain jacket cranking away bringing up 210 feet of chain, 3 inches per crank. Rain is still going sideways, oh and did I mention that all I had on under my jacket were my drawers. Now all know what I would look like in a Speedo. No big deal, that is what all the foreigners where anyway. No ladies do not get excided, remember the cruising crowd generally run from mid 50’s to late 70’s age wise. Not exactly movie star material.

So we are anchored about 1/8th mile from where we were originally. That was the excitement of the week.

As you know we have a stand up refrigerator in the boat. A true rarity in a sail boat. The problem is when you open the door all the cold falls out on your feet. Go to your kitchen and try it. Not very efficient. So we run the generator about 3 hours a day to restore the batteries to full charge. Besides that we make water. The water quality you start with determines how much water you going to get. In the Bahamas with its crystal clear water you make what the company said their unit would make. Here the water is clear enough to see the bottom in 20+ feet of water, but has enough sentiment floating to slow the water maker down by about 20%. Now the generator is running all the time the water maker is running, and the battery charger and the refrigerator and the water heater. Now the mate and I have not learned the true art of water conservation as have our friends who have to carry every drop to the boat by jerry can. They are very creative, we are very decadent. Fuel is expensive. Our water is getting expensive and it was time to look at ways to overcome the expense.

Our friend Stan, Stan you hear this, you were right. Solar Panels! Here in paradise, they are expensive. To install is very expensive. Even so, there is a payout period that is not all that long if your running the generator and going to cruise.

Another remedy is to carry your water. I am 70 years old with not the best back in the world. Lifting jerry cans from the dingy to the deck, over my head is hard. I carry about 15 gallons of fuel a week and lift them on deck. I would have to do that daily for water. Therefore, we looked at a large bladder to fit in the dinghy and then pump the water into our tanks. That would be fine here, but there were several places we passed that the water was not potable to other than the local population. That is why we have a water maker.

Now my thinking is if we are going home, what’s the need. We made it down here and did fine. Wrong I am told. If you go west you can sail, no motor like we had to coming east against the Trade Winds. Don’t have to run the big engine, don’t have to run the generator. You do not know what a blessing that would be. Big diesels on the other side of ½ inch of fiberglass are very noisy. Slowly drive you nuts. But such is life and we can stand the noise for the run back to the States.

The mate says that her friends and relatives say she is nuts for not taking some time and explore the islands after going through what she did to get here. Did I here that right? To make a long story shorter, we have ordered 2 large solar panels that will be installed Monday and Tuesday. Thursday I will pick up the controller and spend the weekend installing the controller and wiring to make them run.

It is the heart of the rainy season, so starting Tuesday we probably will not see the sun for a month. I hope not. The solar panels on a sunny day should produce enough electricity to run the water maker and produce about ½ the power needed to run the refrigerator. That does not count the wind generator or using the diesel generator for a short time each day. We could do that for breakfast, run the coffee maker, toaster, recharge phone, computers and heat water for the day. I can handle that.

More next week. Does it rain. Do the adds lie. Of course, but I mean really lie. Do people waffle the wrong way.

BUSY IN PARADISE September 8, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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This past week we got the radar working. The salesman for the company that did the work thought it was the wire, even though we had removed the wire and visually inspected it. It is Ethernet cable and has very small wires in the cable. Plus there are only 4 wires in this application.

The techs came back out and we took a test cable from the radar on the mast through the hatch and hooked it to the end by the mast connection. It worked. The tech was convinced that it was the coupling. The couplings are almost solid with a metal ring around them. You could drive over them and I do not think you could hurt it. The tech took the wire back to their shop to check it out. I think the wire got snagged either when they pulled the mast of when they put it back in. It is a small hole to put a large mast through the deck in the saloon and down onto the mast step.

There is only 1 man guiding the bottom of the mast. Only one because there is no room for any more hands. If it happened during this operation, it is possible the man never new it. He is busy guiding a large, heavy 60 foot piece of aluminum through a hole in the main deck and through the hole in the saloon deck that gives him maybe 1-1/2” clearance on each side. On the wire side there are 3 cables with connections hanging out the side of the mast about 10 inches from the bottom of the mast. After the mast has passed the saloon deck, it only has a foot to be lowered. The man has to reach the wires through another deck opening and move then out of the way of the mast step so they are not cut off. The mast slips over the mast step and slides down about 2” before it hits the base of the step. The step holds the base of the mast in place and is bolted to the keel. We will have a test on the technical terms in the morning.

Between the radar and the phone problems, the week was busy. The 4S phone, turned out to have a bad processor and is not fixable. When my son-in-law gets here we will allow him to see how far an apple phone can skip across the water. I had experience with 2 phones and the sea, but they were in free fall from my belt. Skipping should be fun.

Yesterday, after church and before Dominoes, I got set up to retune the rigging after the mast had been re-stepped. I always turn the rig myself. Know of to many rigs that were done poorly and went over the side. It took me all day to do it. I still think it is raked to far aft. Everything fits right below deck, but I just do not like the look. I thought I took a framing square with us. If I did, it is well stored, because I can not find it. It makes checking the rake of the mast much easier. Using the framing square and a combination square, I can get measurement and calculate the 3.5 degree rake I should have in the mast. Get it wrong as I think it is and the head stay does not fit right, which I do not think it does. Close, but not right. Oh well I have a month and a half before we start heading back to the States.

The granddaughter may be coming the end of the month. We will not know for sure till the 20th. Even so we are excited and planning things to do with the family.

Friday we went to the Monthly Jazz Jam at the museum. That was our 3rd one and in my estimation the best. Their guest performer was a music professor that played blues on a harmonica. The best I ever heard.

WATER PUMP, WIFI, PHONE, RADAR…, I DO NOT WANT TO THINK WHAT’S NEXT September 2, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing.
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Yea, one of those weeks. Lets start with water pump. The pump itself does not leak any more then the rest of the engine. Between the pump and the pulley is a housing that is a spacer that helps hold the pulley for the desired engine set up. This engine was designed in the 20’s for English double deck busses. It has been used in almost all imaginable applications. The British used it heavily during WW II. It is a sleeved engine that can be totally rebuilt piece by piece. There are still a lot of them around. This water pump is 17 years old if it was replaced at last rebuild. If not God only knows how old it is. The spacer housing is leaking a little water. Very little. But that is a bad sign. We were going to replace the seal, but they ended up with a whole pump. Because of where the engine is, the whole pump has to come off to service the seal. The pump is only $120 US. The labor will be more to replace the seal and probably less to just swap them out. We shall see,

WIFI. I mentioned last week what was thought to be the WIFI problem. I have 2 unlocked iPhones, a 3 and a 3S. We have had trouble with the 3S and have been using the 3. Rumor has it that it is hardly strong enough to pick up our WIFI band, where we are located. It has a hard enough time not dropping calls. Both these became critical when my son who is handling our mail and stuff moved. We have to change addresses of all important stuff. Most we could do on the internet, some we have to do by phone. I therefore went in had the 3S brought up to date and began using it. It worked ok, but would not hold a charge even with a new battery and got very hot when recharging. So it is in the shop. Talked to the repairman today and he thinks he has it fixed, but want to run it down and recharge it a couple times before he guarantee’s it. That will be good. Therefore, I get to go to town Thursday to pick it up. In the meantime we are back to the 3, which is running last night and this morning. I got all my radio licenses updated. Things may be looking up. Yes, the 3S is a far better phone then the 3, according to those in the know.

Then there is the non functioning radar. Tomorrow the tech is coming out to try a new wire and see if it is the culprit. I have my test gear ready to test the coupling, that he thinks is the problem. Hopefully by tomorrow afternoon, I will have a functioning radar. Then we have to sort out the bills. That will be the fun part.

I am ready for a break, other then the forward AC unit. It was laying down and dying before we left the States and I had spent probably to much to keep it running. I could not see buying a new expensive unit to have it sit on the boat for 1-2 years rotting away. Now with the thought of heading home, we will need it when we move back into a marina. So that is the next project.

Now if you are a close reader of this blog, you noticed the comment about heading home. Yea, can’t win them all. The mate wanted to only be gone for 1 year, and because of insurance requirements, it ended up being 18 months. I wanted to stay in the Windward and Leeward for another year just leisurely cruising around. That has become an ever increasing point of contention the last month or so. The good Lord has let me live my dream that I have planned and worked on for years, so now it is time to get the mate closer to the grandkid before the grandkid out grows us. Therefore we will head north November 1, weather permitting. Our plan is to see some of the islands we missed or ran through. We plan to get back for the start of hurricane season. Now if we are in the Bahamas that is July 1, and then only part of the islands. If it is the US, it is June 1. Almost all the hurricanes go through at least part of the Bahamas. Go Figure.

Back to getting the boat ready to go. Shoot, I have not finished the spring varnishing yet. It is the rainy season…, and they mean it. Daily, sometimes many times a day. The first one is between 3 and 4 AM. You can set your watch by it. Jump up, close all hatches and ports. By the time you finish dogging all of them it is over. Then it is steamy. It still is paradise.

OH OHHH August 27, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Tuesday we moved from our quiet anchorage to Prickly Bay to anchor for the night. The anchorage is know for its rollieness. Not to bad for this night. It also has the yard in it. It was nice to be underway for a change. The wind was light and the seas about 1-2 feet. The trip took about an hour and then we anchored in a crowded Prickly Bay. Everyone was to close for the mate, but that is always the case.

Wednesday we got underway for the yard about 8:30. It takes about 15 minutes to get there, and about half way the electrician and his helper met us. They came out to tell us we would be in the slip on the other side of the travel lift. This meant we had to change our bumpers and mooring lines. Not a big deal, just a pain in the behind. The good part is they were waiting for us. Now that is rare.

The morning went smoothly. We found we only had one of the three pieces of PVC loose. They wanted to replace it with conduit. They felt that the rivets would hold better then in PVC. I agreed. After lunch the electrician returned with the news that that size conduit needed would have to be ordered and was not a standard size stocked on the island. They re-rivet the PVC with huge pop rivets. But said they would not guarantee the job because of the PVC. They got done about 3 PM. I am ready or them to set the mast and we get out of there. But the crane crew is off setting up an asphalt plant. Things are not going to happen today.

We moved back to the anchorage. During the day there was not a puff of air and the inside of the boat got up to about 100 degrees. I believe if someone would have told the mate there was a plane leaving for Colorado in a half hour, she would have left me. It was terrible in the boat. I told her we would run the AC till I went to bed. It was nice, but what have I done.

The next day the yard crew was done by 11 and I had almost everything hooked up by noon. Still not a puff of air and the boat was just as hot as the day before. Well the mate is no dummy, she said she guessed we would run the AC that evening also. Cats out of the bag. She has decided if there
is no wind, the AC comes on. Since then we have had only one other day like that.

Well other then the overnight delay, one would think all went very well. So did I as we left. I noticed that as I turned on the Multi Function Display, there was no radar. That is not uncommon, one has to go to the startup wizard and let it find itself. Still no radar. The electrician has been out and did some troubleshooting. He pulled the cable out of the mast and we inspected it. It was in very good shape. He thought it was a coupling that went bad. I tested it, and it is perfect. Talking with the guy representing the contractor, he thinks it is the cable and wants to replace it. I want him to drop it down the outside of the mast and hook it up so we can test it before making a permanent installation. It is Ethernet cable and you usually have to buy a minimum 50 foot length. If it is not wrong, I do not want it. Right now it is beginning to look like I could end up with another healthy bill. Not good.

Recently, the tropical waves are passing by about every 60 hours. That means you get one day of windy squally weather followed by a blazing hot day of little or no wind. This pattern has to change or I will have very high fuel bill and no travel.

We are having WIFI problems in our anchorage. The mate has started to go to WIFI coffee shops to post her comments and pictures. Posting pictures from the boat has become impossible. There are two telephone companies in the island. One of them is moving up to G-4 technology. That is causing a reallocation of the island’s band width. We cruisers seem to be at the bottom of the groups getting allocated. Time will tell.

THIS COULD BE EXPENSIVE August 18, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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The chocolate Festival starts later in the week and runs through the weekend. Looking at the schedule, it does not look real interesting. You can manage to eat al lot of chocolate if you are so inclined. I like a candy bar, but one will do me for the better part of a week. Our weekend social calendar is getting pretty full anyway. Plus it is at a resort that is a very long walk or a 2-bus, bus ride. Not fun.

Now to the week that could poke holes in the cruising budget. On our way down we developed loud noises in the mast. The wiring that goes up the mast for lighting, weather instrument, radar all run in PVC pipe up the inside of the mast. I think it started breaking loose going across the Gulf. By the time we crossed the Monon Passage, a few squalls, always heading east into the Trade Winds and seas, the PVC started swinging around like wind chimes. But with a sharp clunk against the mast.

The solution is to pull the mast and reattach the PVC or get new PVC if it has destroyed itself. Tomorrow, we head over to the local shipyard to have the mast pulled Wednesday morning. It is then scheduled to be reinstalled Thursday morning. The crane costs are about 3 times what I paid at the shipyard in Pensacola. They then charge you to come along side the pier for a days rent, while they take out the mast then again while they put it in. Yep, 2 days rent. Now we could spend the night, but it is the rainy season and a river of sorts comes right beside the pier to deposit its mosquitoes. In these parts they carry Dungee Fever. That is some sickness that attacks your nervous system causing great pain for about a week. We will anchor out. In fact if we can get away fast enough, we will come back to where we are anchored. An electrician does the work. Should only take a couple hours, thank goodness. I get charged $150/hour for his labor. That is US dollars. I have a friend who is a contractor here, says the individual doing the work get about 15% of the charged rate. The rest goes to the company. Contractors do well. I just hope they do not have to replace the PVC. They could stretch that into a days work easy. As you can tell, I am not very optimistic towards getting my money’s worth.

Oh, by the way, it is 9 P.M., 84 rainy degrees with 100% humidity and no wind. No AC. The rain is light which means everything will be streaked with red dust from the Sahara Desert. The boat can be worse looking then when it started. Now a good heavy tropical rain will clean things off. Ok, most of you know we have heating and AC. At anchor you would have to run the generator to run the AC. We only run the generator to make water or charge the battery banks. That is already 3-5 hours a day. The mate has 2 fans, one in the galley/salon area and one in our stateroom. If you here a fan running, you know the mate is very near the fan.

CARNIVAL August 13, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Remember the 8:30 yoga class. That lasted one day. We have a male instructor that like the 6:30 time slot. Therefore, we got shifted back to 6:30. There was much protesting. Even his wife who is in our class complained and said she would talk to him. Well, Wednesday at 6:30, our female instructor was there, and no John. He has a pulled ligament and may be out of commission for awhile. Must have been a hell of a talking to he got. We are now back to 8:30. The breeze is up, the bugs have mostly left. Much better.

This week was Carnival. This included Pan Band competition, many parades, great costumes all from an island 12 miles long with a population of 100,000. I have not been up to 2 am in years. After the better part of a week it is almost normal. The first parade that kicked it off started at midnight. That is island time mon. That means maybe 1 am, or 2, or whenever. We did not do that one. I don’t even know anyone who went.

Our first event was the junior Pan Band competition. Our band came in 3rd. Then you realize things have a political twist to them. Like figure skating. The competition was to start around 1 pm. It was only an hour late. Good thing. There were thousands of people and only 1 ticket window. There was no line, it was just shove your way to the front. The ticket printer ran about as fast as a credit card machine. Somehow I got designated to get the 4 tickets for our friends and us. For 40 minutes I did battle with these 200+ pound women who were forcing there way to the front. There is no civility in women on a mission to buy something. They each have money stuck between each finger to pay for tickets for them and their family, friends, neighbor and anyone else that could get their money to them to buy the tickets. When they got to the window they would take a stance like a football center and maintain there place. These are the most laid back, nice, courteous people you will find. It must be a female gene thing. It reminded me of the news shots of the stores opening on Black Friday.

That event was sometime late last week. The next one was Saturday night with the senior pan bands. At the ticket window there were 2 very large military personal with big booming voices that kept people inline. Took less then 5 minutes to get tickets. Our band tied for first. They got not only their fans involved but everyone in the stands and the judges. These people love to dance and it does not take much to get them going. Great time.

I think we did 4 or so parades. 2 of note were the parade of lights. It went by us about 10 at night. And the last parade, which actually started on time. That is where judging was done for costumes, organization and performance. It was probably the best parade. They sent home the grandmothers and the ladies that were at the ticket line and left in the daughters. I’m sorry, but those women my age should not be in public in those skimpy costumes.

The parade of lights was something to see. One of the groups had durby hats with blinking lights all over the top. Another group of 400+ had Viking helmets with lit horns, that blinked on and off. Each group was led by a sound truck playing music very loud. These sound trucks were large 18 wheelers. They had enough wattage that when they went by it could move your body sideways. Never seen anything like it. My ears are still ringing. The mate is posting many pictures and videos on our Facebook page.

One other parade that you are part of is the Jab Jab parade. It starts 3-4 in the morning and runs till sunup. You where the least clothes as possible and will throw them away when it is over. First you get covered in used motor oil. That’s right. If you are there, you will be found. You get covered with oil, all over, and I mean all over. Next there are people who are covered with various colors of paint. They will come up and hug you, rub you, what ever. Now everyone looks the same. A mess. I was going to go but chickened out. The logistics of getting back to the boat and cleaning up was daunting. This was not an age thing. Every age goes and does the same thing. My friends said being drunk helps. This parade has to do with the spirits that move around in the dark. That is why it end at sunup. If I am here next year, I will go.

Next is the Chocolate Festival. I saw the advertising copy for last year. Had this attractive lady being covered in chocolate. We will see. That starts this weekend. This last ordeal was heave with beer. The next is chocolate. I am going to gain all my weight back.

MORE WEATHER August 5, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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That was a warm up storm. Now we deal with named storms. We are in Granada because the insurance industry thinks the odds of getting a hurricane are small. That is good. I have had my hurricane and that was enough. This was a tropical storm that went north of us and into the Leeward Islands. We are south in the Windward Islands. The storm was probably over a hundred miles away.

This past week Carnival Granada got going. Thursday we went to a neighborhood that has a Pan Band. That is steel drums. We watched the Junior Band practice and play the music they were to use Saturday in there competition. There were around 30 members ranging in age from maybe 5 or 6 to early teens. The smallest was a girl that stood on a milk crate to reach into the drums. Yes you beat on the inside of them. They are made from 55 gallon drums that haul oil, chemicals etc. The drum maker uses a torch and heats the bottom and beats a shape into it. They then heat and beat the edge to get the notes the proper sound. They then cut off the majority of the drum and get it chromed. They also have tenor drums that are about half the barrel. They also have base drums that use the full barrel, and are tuned to 7 different tones. The drummer plays all seven. They sound like kettle drums in an orchestra.

Saturday we went to the competition. They came in third. This weekend the professional players have their competition. I think we are going.

I have been asked how far we have traveled from Pensacola. Well I figured it out. Now remember sailboats do not go from point “a” to point “b” in a straight line. Well when I added up our distance, I figured we went in a straight line. We have traveled about 2500 miles. We have put 584 hours on the engine. That is about 5 years of use in Pensacola. We have gone through some major items that had to be repaired or replaced, and that continues. The latest is the battery charger seems to be putting out less then it should. Not ready to spend a boat unit yet, but am shopping for a good price. So far I have only found one and it is made in China and is considered junk. I have one other marine store locally to check.

Oh yea. I am doing Yoga. I started doing Yoga when I was in my mid 30’s. It always was good for my back. Through the years I would do Yoga and then stop for a while. So here I an 70 years old trying to twist myself into a pretzel. Three of the ladies of our Canadian boat buddies were trying to convince the Mate to go with them. The Mate naturally suggested I go since I have years of experience. Well the rest of the story is I am going to a 6:30 am Yoga class. The best news is they just changed the time to 8:30. There is less humidity, less bugs and more breeze at 8:30. I personally think it is also a lot more civilized time to be out exercising.

EXCITEMENT AT 1:30 A.M. July 28, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Yea, on boats things happen at inconvenient times. If you recall, I wrote of coming home to a boat dragging anchor to find out it was our boat. That was one of those times that things happened at a very convenient time. We just stepped on board.

Blissfully sound asleep at about 1+ a.m. Now everyone has heard the noise of wind in the trees. Now our boat is a ketch. It has two masts and miles of standing rigging to hold them up in the air. It also has miles of running rigging to control the sails when they are up. Those are our trees. Our rigging starts making sounds at about10 knots. As the wind increases so does the noise. Both at some mathematical factor I do not want to get into.

As an example, years ago we were living at a marina in Pensacola. The mate and I were watching TV when a storm came up and the rigging started making more and more noise. The remote control is in my hand as usual and I am on the ball hitting the volume. More and more I mash that little button and the TV responds with more volume. The good Lord responds with more wind. After a couple rounds and we still can not hear the program, I concede. God one, Ralph zippo. Guess I should have know that. The noise from the rigging was as loud as I had ever heard it. Maybe still the loudest.

1 am the wind is screeching through the rigging. The Mate who is super sensitive about dragging anchor, especially since it was only a few days before is also screeching about getting out and insuring we were not dragging. I am the one dragging and get on some swim trunks that happen to be the handiest clothes available. Out into the cockpit and it is cold. The wind must be coming from 60,000 feet and did not warm up at all on the way down. It is also raining sideways. I can see maybe 300 yards. Beyond that things were hard to clearly make out. I am surrounded by 5 boats, all within 150 feet. If you drag, that gives you no time to respond. I get the radar up and can not make out any boats in the anchorage. Did I mention it was raining. I played with the gain controls and only get to see better rain images. When the GPS is on it tracks every inch the boat moves. That gives us a track to see when anchoring and how much you move around the anchor. This will eventually draw and arch from the anchor to the boat. That is good. I also take bearing on something on land to give me a visual point to insure we are not dragging. This is best if it is on your beam (off the side of the boat). We are in the trade winds and they blows from the east or close to it, always. Well almost always. The wind was blowing very much out of the south. That put my anchor bearing on the bow. Now the bow is dancing around on the anchor plus of minus 20 degrees. Anchor bearing is totally useless. My GPS track is almost as useless. It has never drawn an arch in this direction.

One of the boats behind me has a buoy on its anchor. That is usually 15-20 feet away. Because it is the rainy season, we have kept the windshield and side curtains up. That allow us to use the cockpit when it is raining. The cockpit is the coolest place on the boat. Now remember the rain is going sideways. I can therefore stick my body out the back of the cockpit without getting wet. So with binoculars I am leaning out looking for that little buoy. Finally with a lightening flash, I spot it about where it is suppose to be. Thank God.

Believe it or not, I did not check the wind speed. The GPS gives me a lot of data including wind speed, and I was to occupied to check the wind speed till it had died down to 14 knots. A lady we were talking with the next morning said 55 knots steady. Now she is in the bay beside where we are anchored and they and not as protected as we are. They say. We have an island with 2 hills about 150 feet high. There is a valley between the hills that is maybe 20 above the water. The other side of the hills and valley is open water to Africa. Because of our protection we were still probably hitting 50 knots. It was screeching.

After that the week was pretty calm. Saturday night we hosted a cocktail party for one of our boat buddies that are heading home to Canada for a month or so to visit friends. We did a wine tasting thing with everyone bring a bottle of wine. It was a good time.

We did go grocery shopping and stop at the boat store for a few hundred dollars of repair and spare parts. Should be about restocked after the trip here.

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