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CHAT AND CHILL April 25, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Well she got home and back to school. Not wanting to go to school the first day, but back to Chat and Chill. She found out about cruising kids and wanders why she could not be one. They could move on the boat with Grandma and Grandpa. I just do not think that would work. Love my kids, but I did my time with them. Now it is their turn. They seem to be doing pretty good without our being in their daily lives. The grandkid want to insure we are in George Town next year. She also had her mother try to explain why they do not have ropes hanging from the trees above the picnic benches in their park. It is hard to explain the wonders of attorneys and their desire for money to an 8 Y.O.

My son and his wife came for an extended weekend in the middle of the grandkid’s stay. They got in on Thursday afternoon. Friday we took a tour of the southern end of the island. Learned about the islands history including the salt industry and the drug industry. You remember the Columbian connection to our east coast. All these islands have little airports. They also have a lot of fast boats. The tour stopped at a good little restaurant for lunch. Other then that, as tours go this one was a little above boring.

Saturday we had a leisurely breakfast and walk over to the Atlantic side of the island we are anchored by. While here, the grandkid must have collected 5 pounds of sea shells. She found some shells I have never seen before.

My son went Bone Fishing, Saturday morning. The high spot of his trip. He caught 4 of various size. He was fly fishing. He has done some fly fishing before, but never for Bone Fish. I understand that you stand on the front of a big john boat and cast in front of them. Have to get close enough to get there interest, but not to close or you spook them.

Saturday afternoon we were going over to Chat and Chill. This was before the grandkid had seen the place. Good thing. If you recall, My depth meter went out a few week back. Well my son brought a new one to replace the old one. I figured it would take the two of us a half hour to do the job. You unscrew the old one from the bottom of the boat and screw in the new one. What can be so hard.

The old one would not unscrew. Not even a little bit. I did a good job when I put it in 19 years ago. My son would take a breath and dive under the boat and pry the flange loose. I and my son-in-law, on the inside would chisel and pry out pieces from the top. It was about 2 ½ inches long. It was not meant to be broken out. My daughter and daughter-in-law were our communication link between my son on the outside and my son-in-law and I in the bottom of the boat.

Finally it starts to break loose. Oh, I failed to mention that not only is it 2-1/2 inches long, it is 2 inches in diameter and 3 feet below the water line. Do you have any idea how much water can come through a 2 inch hole in the bottom of a boat. Yes, we are in the water. A lot of water. The first thing out of my son-in-law’s mouth is “we are sinking!!” About now the flooding alarm goes off. It is a car horn. It is very loud. I went and disconnected the horn and my son-in-law is stuffing rags in the hole trying to slow our demise.

The grandkid thinks she is going to drowned. Grandma gets to stop the screaming and crying that was about as loud as the flooding alarm. Her father then got angry at her for screaming. He should not have done that. Grandma, wife and sister-in-law got all over him for saying we were sinking in the first place and scaring the kid. He was pretty quiet for the rest of the project.

The water was coming in faster then the bilge pump could take it out so I set up a second bilge pump. That stopped the sinking, but there still was a lot of water coming in.

After cleaning the old calk out of the hole, the new transponder when in and did not leak. The wires were plugged in and it worked. Job done. Only 3 hours. It was now time to go back to the resort, clean up and head for dinner. Grandpa turned out to be the Grinch that stole Saturday.

I was happy with a new depth sounder, the son was happy with Bone Fishing and coming up close and personal with a 3-foot barracuda that had taken up residency under the boat. Son and barracuda got along fine. Both were inquisitive and after staring each other down, they went back to what they do. The ladies were happy to not be sitting in the park with the sun beating down on them. The grandkid did not know what she had missed, plus got the excitement of being on a sinking boat…, for a few minutes.

The son went home Sunday and the next few days we traveled George Town, ate in more restaurants, and got to Chat and Chill’s. This is a beach bar with picnic tables with ropes hanging over a couple of them. Also a tightrope, a big rope swing, volley ball courts, and a beach. The beach is also populated by sting rays. And a bunch of people.

The grandkid met a girl her age that is a cruising kid. Something the grandkid had never thought of existing. A real different lifestyle that has swinging ropes in it. She should see what you can do swinging from ropes tied to the mast. We also got the grandkid driving the dinghy.

NOW ITS OVER AND SHE IS GONE April 18, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Yep, and we are melancholy. When she came she was in the middle of a cold. Little did we know. Our daughter was also on the mend, maybe better then the granddaughter. The son –in-law was over a light case. He says this is the elementary school curse. As soon as you get symptoms of anything, you lift up your shirt and check for spots. You can hack, sneeze, sniff and still show up for work. Have a red spot and you better not leave your home. The end results. They were all back to almost 100% by the end of the first week. Now, they are back home and well, we, on the other hand are alive in Paradise with the Rock Mountain Cold. The germs did not get the playbook. One does not get sick in Paradise. This is the first sniffle since leaving 2 years ago. We even missed Chickengungha Fever. Thank goodness. That spelling is probably not right. But I know the symptoms.

As week 2 progressed the granddaughter was on the mend and a lot more fun to be around. Did not go sailing. Most of the time it was very windy. I did get her driving the dinghy. Also got her over to the beach bar, ”Chat and Chill”. It is on a beach with volley ball courts, a playground for the kids that have more used rope then a fleet of cruisers. They are tied up in the trees and the kids swing from picnic tables or jump out of the trees, hanging on for dear life.

My granddaughter is into skiing and rock climbing. During the winter they practice rock climbing at the high school wall. Not only is it vertical but also horizontal. That means you hang from the ceiling by your finger tips. She is waiting for spring thaw so she can get out on the real cliffs. I remember when she was in pre-school and repelling down cliffs. I thought then, “what could this lead too”.

At the playground, the older boys, 10ish are climbing a large tree, walking out on a limb while holding on the a higher limb. They catch the rope and jump off the limb. It is 10-12 feet in the air. Shoot, this is baby stuff for a rock climber. She goes up the tree with the best of the boys. They get to the walk the limb part and things slow. The difference in height between a 10 year old boy and a 8 year old girl is about 30%. The boys are balancing by holding on to this limb over there head. The granddaughter does get standing on the limb and catches the rope. She is hanging on to the trunk of the tree. That does not allow her to get out where one can have a clear swing. The upper limb is a good foot over her head. She chickens out, gives the rope to one of the boys and climbs down the tree. You think that’s the end , huh? Hell no. She goes back to swinging on the ropes from picnic tables and kicking off the trees. All the while she is studying that tree. The boys have another tree they climb and then cross over to the limb they jump from. That would put her 2 feet below anything to hold on to. Surprisingly, she did not try it. She was wearing a swim suit and the limb was gnarly, so she did not try scooting out on the limb. Back to swinging from the picnic tables.

I turn around and she is gone. She was playing with a cruising girl and they had built sand castles by the beach between swings on the ropes. The cruiser girl is on the beach, but no grandkid. Ah, grandpa knows. A little higher up the main trunk she is perched, rope in hand. The wheels in her head are in high gear trying to figure out how to get in position on the rope and get around the trunk of the tree while in free fall from her jump. The boys are up there saying, “na, that is not going to work.” She reluctantly give the rope to one of the boys and climbs down the tree. The wheels are still going and you know she is not done. Ah, but time at the beach has about ran out. She spend the last few minutes going off the picnic table and looking at that tree and limb. She was not defeated, only delayed.

Grandpa could have show here how to get out there without tearing up here legs, but grandpa is suppose to have wisdom at times. She will figure it out. The wheels are still spinning. And grandpa, well he had a grandkid driving the dinghy back to the boat and no scraped up, battered up grandkid.

The boys. They were impressed by her climbing the tree as fast as they could and getting out on the limb to the limits of her hand holds. There sisters do not do things like that. At least not that this grandpa has seen. They did not realize they had met a super fast downhill skier/ Rock Mountain rock climber…, in the making.

More stuff happened and I will add to it next week. It is Monday and the wind is blowing again. We are discussing where to go from here. Hope to get to Long island later this week. That is still under discussion.

WEEK TWO April 11, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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About 2 days into week one and the grandkid came down with a large cold. She got 2 days in the cold water and that did her in. About 3 days later the Capt. came down with his cold. Today is Monday and I spend most of it getting better. The Grandkid is pretty good and tomorrow it is back to shell hunting on the Atlantic side of the island.

One of the goals of the week is to spend some time at Chat and Chill. It is a beach bar with great hamburgers. There are beaches on 2 sides of the bar, picnic benches on 1/3 and trash on what’s left. Beside the picnic benches are 2 volley ball courts. There are also various swings and tight ropes for the kids that have no fear.

On Sunday during the season (Thanksgiving to Easter) there is a beach church that is held at the picnic tables. The kids clime up into the trees. There pews. Last Sunday, a girl dropped her song book which went sailing down and right over the man giving the sermon head. The girl about 12 turned beat red for the rest of the service.

There is also a conk shack a little further down the beach. He makes fresh conk salad. He will give you the inners of the conk and you can wade into the water and feed stingrays out of your hand. That is really not a smart thing to do, but I have never heard of someone being stung while feeding them. They will gather around you weather you have food or not. When they are not being fed, they glide off and land on the bottom and flop sand over there bodies. Now you can not see them. If you step on one, you get speared with their tail. Venomous tail. Oh yea, the favorite food of hammerhead sharks is stingrays. Yep, they are lurking around also. Ah, living in nature.

One day we hiked over the island to the Atlantic side. Looked for sea shells. We have taken a couple loads back to the resort. Still at least one more load to go. Tomorrow while at Chat and Chills we will go across the small bay to another trail to the Atlantic side. This area is a little more rugged and has a lot more shells. Great.

Thursday my son and his wife came for a few days. It was wonderful. He muled parts I needed for the outboard and the boat. The new prop for the outboard replaced the new one I got in Puerto Rico. That one had the same numbers on it but just did not have the torque. This one is the right one and moves us along like it should.

Saturday my son went Bone fishing in the morning. He caught 4. The high point of his trip.

We had the who family on the boat for lunch. I convinced my son to help install the transducer for my new depth sounder. 15 minute job. ½ hour max. Three hours later we have the transponder installed. Yes we did that with the boat in the water and opened up a 2 inch hole in the bottom of the boat. Cleaned out the old calk and installed the new one. Probably took on 200 gallons of water while doing this. My son did the diving, the two wives were communicators between the diver and my son-in-law and I in the bottom of the boat removing the old transducer . Beating it out would be a more accurate description.

This ordeal meant we did not make it to Chat and Chill. This made Dad the Grinch of the day. But I have a working depth sounder. Something one really needs when cruising the Bahamas.

Dad buying dinner was the least we could do.

Son and daughter-in-law were leaving Sunday afternoon. So we went and had a big Sunday Brunch at a local restaurant. It was very good.

Today the cold really got hold. I was feeling about 60%. The mate went to play with the granddaughter and make home made bread. I finished wiring the depth sounder and slept away over ½ the day. Feel like I might get over this cold fast and enjoy the rest of the kids vacation. Tomorrow is Chat and Chill, and finding shell on the Atlantic side, or Grandpa is fish bait.

SHE IS HERE WAHOO April 4, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing.
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Well some trips from Colorado can be a trip from hell. Frying from there to the islands get you an overnight at either Miami or Dallas. They got Dallas. Going through security even at 5:30 in the morning can mean standing in line. Not a hole lot of people traveling that early, but they just pull more inspectors off the line so it still takes an hour to get through. Then the plane is delayed. To the point that they will miss the flight to the Bahamas. Then you get a new plane. They roll it out from the hanger and put it in service. Oh, no radio in it. Just send a parade of techs to install and check out the radios. Finally off to Miami. They used to travel a lot. Along the travel they got to know about people who work and know the system. Before they leave Dallas they have arrangements made to get on the flight to the Bahamas. They do get to Miami and everyone scrambles off the plane and starts running to there next flight. Well, they get there and are greeted and shuttled off to there flight to the Bahamas.

They actually get in a few minutes early from the original schedule. Cool. They are tired and not happy with the being shuttled around for 9 hours. But, it all worked out for the best.

Today we ate breakfast on the boat and then off to the beach. That lasted till dinner time. Cool. A good day. The grandkid was very happy to spend today in the water.

Tomorrow a cold front is to pass through and bring strong winds and seas. That may cause us to take the water Taxies. That would be if it is to rough for us in the dinghy. Time will tell.

THE GRANDKID IS APPON US March 28, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Counting the days till Sunday. Then they get here in the afternoon. Sunday and Monday is supposed to be good weather days. Then we are to have a string of cold fronts like one has during the winter. One of the weather services even talks about tropical lows. My main man does not…, so far. That would really be a bummer if the weather turns that bad. It is hard and very wet getting across the bay. Depending on the wind direction, we may move over to town. Then all we have to do is get to the resort. We will figure it out.

In the mean time this past few days I have put the last coat of varnish on the hull/deck cap rail. Today I started putting on Bristol. I have 2.5 coats on and tomorrow will finish the Bristol I have in stock. With some luck I will have completed 3 full coats. That will last me till the fall when I can put on another coat or 2. I will also put a coat on the other cap rails.

The mate wants to be at a pier during the summer and have electricity and A/C. That will be different. If we re at a pier I can wood out the rub rail and refinish them. They are small and go pretty easy. I use a different coating on them and it is cheap and easy to apply. I put on 3 coats of the undercoat and 3 coats of the top gloss. Looks good for about 6 months.

I scrubbed the water line of the growth last week. There are areas around the stern and the rudder I can not get. I have an idea to attach my scrapper to a boat hook and try that. Probably loose another scrapper.

Beside my making the outside shine, the mate is doing a super cleaning job on the inside. You know how it is when your kids come. Got to show them up. Like Mom has not lost here touch. Now we are both neat freaks, so the boat does not need all that much cleaning. Just getting those corners that may not get a good job done during normal cleaning.

One of the problem with the Bahamas is that it is made up of a lot of little islands. That makes finding a marine store difficult, Other than Nassau, you are left with small stores attached to a marina. They do not carry all the brand products I use for cleaning and polishing. Remember the problem I had with getting Bristol. That will have to wait till we get back to Florida. There are other brand products that we have found do a good job while minimizing the elbow grease. I like them.

The other problem with the Bahamas is costs. Everything is really, really expensive. Groceries, paper products, marine supplies. Everything. They also have added a VAT tax this past year. It replaces their income tax. It is easer to collect. Just add it to the receipt and hit the tourists. Yes the people also pay the VAT when they buy stuff. I just do not like paying taxes, let alone someone else’s.

Six days and counting. That means there could be a week or two delays in the next spirited writing of this blog.

GEORGETOWN, ANOTHER WINDY SESSION March 21, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing.
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Let’s see. The first week here it blew gusting 30 kts. Last week it settled down to light and variable and pretty warm, except the water. It is about 75 degrees. You get your feet in the water up to your knees, landing the dinghy on the beach. The few steps going ashore and your feet are numb. I am afraid to get my whole body in it. I need to. Our waterline is getting scummy. That means the boat bottom is getting strange creatures growing on it. The scum on the water line is growing black patches. This is animal stuff. It is wormy and some have baby shrimp in it you can also find barnacles in it. All very small and living in this black patch that can be the size o a dime or bigger then your hand. You use a 4 inch sheetrock mud blade and gently scrape the bottom. The stuff falls apart. I wish it would fall apart when the boat is going through the water. The scrapper also works on the barnacles. Now the wormy things. They go looking for a new home. I am a very hairy person. They think they went to heaven. I where a long sleeve spandex type tee shirt. It keeps those critters at bay and keep the sun from cooking me .

If you recall, I said it was time to work on the boat. Back in late October and early November I wooded out the boat and finished with several coats of varnish. I then started coating all that with Bristol. A two part acrylic varnish. It is miserable stuff to work with. I ended up with all the Bristol there was in the Windwards and Leewards. For real.   Therefore I never finished any of the wood all the way. I got 4 coats of Bristol on the cockpit cap rail, 3 coats on the taft rail and none on the hull/deck cap rail. I was told to wait till I got to St Martin. They will have some for me. They did. The regional manager had them with my name on them. Now that is service.

I know have 8 coats on both the cockpit cap rail and the taft rail. I need to put a coat or two more varnish on the hull/deck cap rail before I apply the Bristol. Oh, and I do not have enough Bristol to put 8 coats on the rail. That’s OK. My knees,, hips and back will not last through 10 coats. It can wait till we get back to Florida.

Right know I am in a holding pattern this week. They get weather fronts like in the States. They come every 6-7 days. A little rain, maybe a thunderstorm and then 5 days of wind. Back to gusting 30 kts. There is one positive point. The windmill makes more electricity then we can use. We use the Vacuum cleaner, power tools, play the stereo all day and I am still looking for a place to tie into the local grid. They need it. You can be in a store and the power goes out for maybe 10 minutes of so. Hey, shop some more. The stores are all small and have lots of windows. No lights, no problem mon, no AC, you dream of course. Just no computer with the bar code reader and credit card reader. Now the marine stores, the most expensive places on the island, have backup power. No problem mon, just step this way and you can check out when your ready.

During the wind, I guess I might have to work on my electrical gremlins. I might get really motivated and attack them. Maybe.

The wind is howling away outside. The bay looks like the inside of a wash machine. It makes the inside of the boat bounce around. Walking from point a to b is funny to watch, scary for you to do. It is suppose to lay down on Thursday. The weather is on Island time also…, that means mayby Friday.

OLD CRUISING BUDDIES March 14, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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We are back in Georgetown Bahamas. This is a place we stopped for a short period as we all chased the clock going east a couple years ago. There are at least 3 major stopping areas for the cruisers going east. The first is Marathon in the Florida Keys. The second is Georgetown in the Bahamas and the last is Grenada. Many cruisers go to the Bahamas every year. The water is unbelievable. The country is English speaking and feels like home. There is a large cruising community that goes their every year and has for years. You have 1-month-old newbie’s and cruisers who are heading home to the States of Canada. Then there is the community that comes here year after year. All three areas have there own feel that is totally different from the others.

This time we met up with two of our boat buddies from Canada that are heading home. One of the couples we met in the Turks and Caicos 2 years ago and have traveled with them on and off as we visited the Eastern Caribbean. Tonight we had what may have been the good buy dinner if we do not run across one another in the next 2 months. We did not travel a lot together, but ended up in the same places a lot of times. Facebook is nice that we will be able to follow each other in the next chapters of our lives. They are in there middle 40’s and are already planning on there return trip. We hope they can meet there dream of returning in 5 years, It is a wonderful spot in the world.

Alright, back to geology 201. Hope you kept up. The Bahamas are basically coral on limestone that was pushed up by continental drift. If you look at my Facebook you will see pictures of layers of coral on top of layers of limestone. Limestone is the settlement of the stuff in the sea that as it get stacked on itself gets pressed into limestone. The islands are not very high, in fact there are many island one can stand on the bowsprit and see over the island. It is a beautiful country of thousands of islands set in the most beautiful water there is. If the water was 10 degrees warmer, it would be perfect. My opinion.

The pictures show the coral and the limestone. The beaches are almost as white as Pensacola’s sand and somewhat softer. It is a lime sand and not a quarts sand. A little finer between the toes.

Two and a half weeks till the grandkid gets here. We are getting excited. Even old Grandpa. We are straight across the bay from the resort they are going to stay at. It is less then a mile across. That will make it an easy trip back and forth. This past weekend we did two hikes to the Atlantic ocean. One was very easy the other we did with a clime to the Monument atop Monument Hill.

The rest of this week and the next we must work on the boat. It needs it.

FINALLY A WEATHER WINDOW March 7, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Not that staying in fancy marinas isn’t nice, but they are expensive. Besides the slip, you pay for water and electricity and the garbage when they catch you. This was only the 6th time we have stayed at a marina in 2 plus years. The boat is self sufficient for power and water. This marina is about 90 percent weekenders and day fishing boats. The water is very clean so making water is not a problem. The wind generator makes most of the electricity during the weather fronts with winds in the 20’s. Even with these wind events, there is very little clouds and rain. Therefore the solar panels are shutting down by noon because we are full up on electricity. Therefore the marina does not get to sell us there expensive water and electricity. The place is still ridicules.

So we were off again to the Turks and Caicos. The goal is to get to Georgetown for the grandkid by April 3rd. The T&C are about half way from the DR. That is one overnight. The weather looks like a dream come true for the mate. No wind, no seas. I have only seen really flat seas and no wind 2-3 times in my life, then they do not last long. The mate dreams of days of flat seas and no wind we can link together. Sure.

6 A.M. we are off. No wind and some 2-3 foot left over swells. As the day go on they die away. The night is beautiful with to many stars it is hard to figure out where the constellations are. We make good time and our fuel consumption is good. We get to the T&C about 2-3 hours early. Plan “B” was to continue on to Mayaguana Island in the Bahamas. Still no wind or seas and we arrive at Mayaguana about another hour early in the mid afternoon Friday. Plan “B+” was to go on to Long Island and hide in the Marina at Clarencetown. The weather window was to turn very windy Sunday. If we could get there we would be only 70 miles from Georgetown. We did have to stop at the marina to get fuel. 2 hours later we are off to Georgetown.

This is our 3rd overnight in a row. My mind is turning to mush from lack of a good full night sleep. Oh, my electrical gremlins are back. They come and they go. They have taken up residency in my oil pressure and water temp gages. They occasionally move them in unison. That really makes you wonder about there accuracy. Well more then wonder. When they do that, I check the engine with my laser temp gage. Engine is running below normal. That is OK, so am I at this point.

Sunday morning we can see Georgetown. The wind is starting to pick up to about 15 knots and a wind chop is starting to build…, 1-2 feet. We are running back and forth because it is 4 A.M. and one does not enter strange ports in the dark. Therefore, we go very slow and take in the little sail I have out. We start heading into the entrance about 7 A.M. and anchored by 8:30. 72.5 hours of engine time. Now I am here 3 weeks early and I can try to find my gremlins. First I have to service my poor old engine. It is past due on oil change, fuel filters, impeller and zinc. That will be a good start. Then I can clean the boat. Get back to my varnishing. If the 25-30 knot winds ever stop. In the mean time, the mate has died and gone to heaven because she got to Georgetown and will be here to see the grandkid. It will be a good time. Even I am getting excited.

ON TO THE TURKS AND CAICOS…, STOP. MAKE THAT THE DR March 1, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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We started across the Mona at first light. Pleasant SE breeze. You have to travel about 2-3 miles to clear the reefs of western Puerto Rico. The plan was to sail past the Dominican Republic and on to the T & C. The wind was to light to sail so we motor till about 0900. I then added sail and finally shut down the engine and sailed. It is amazing how little pure sailing we have done on this trip. Either to much or to little weather or being in a hurry and just run the rum line. The wind and seas fell directly astern of us and it was very nice for motor sailing. One gets across the Mona as fast as you can. It has a reputation for getting stormy very fast. We were lucky and the pleasant weather lasted all night and with a full moon. Can’t beat that.

The next morning found the wind and seas directly astern of us. We were off the east coast of the DR. Then the wind started to build. And the seas. I tied a preventer on the main boom and led it through a very heavy chock to a cleat. That lasted till about noon when the bolt holding in the one end of the chock broke. That chock took most of the strain during hurricane Ivan. So much strain that it was bent. But never broke loose. Time to shorten sail. Maybe past time. As the day moved on the seas and wind continue to build. Winds got into the mid 20’s and the seas averaged 4-5 with some 6 footers thrown in the mix. Our weatherman said things were only going to get worse through the upcoming night. He advised that seeking an alternative destination may be a good idea. I had already come to that conclusion. So we headed towards Ocean World Marina on the north coast of the DR. It is a nice marina but on the expensive side, especially if you do not know how long your will be pined in there. So here we are.

The plan is to leave tomorrow if possible. We have to check out and that is an ordeal. Can be very time consuming. You get to visit Customs, Immigration and a visit from the Navy. Then you get your dispatchio. There are fees to go with that also. If all went well we might get out by noon. We should have made the decision earlier in the day, cleared today and left at sun up. That is because we were planning on leaving either Wednesday of Thursday. We had all the time in the world, but let some nice days slip by as we moved towards the Bahamas. April 1 is Grandkid day in Georgetown. Houses rented, plane tickets bought. Money spent. We will give it our best without risking life and limb.

My work list grew a little and some of the items have been removed. The depth sounder that lasted after the near lightening strike, did not wake up after we turned it off. It does not put out a signal. That means you have no depth. The Bahamas are one of the last places you want to go and not have a good feel for where the bottom is. Sometimes the bottom is on top of the water. New depth sounder is on order.

Hopefully we can complete our trip to the T & C and move on to the Bahamas. The Navigator just told me Tuesday does not look that good anymore. She has never liked Wednesday, so it is back to Thursday.

STAGING FOR THE BIG ONE February 27, 2016

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Time to face the Mona Passage for the last time. I have always said that if I went west through the Mona Passage, I was not coming back. We are staged.

We left Salinas and sailed to Ponce and fueled up for our big move. The day had been very pleasant with no wind and swells on the quarter. So we rolled through the first part of the day.

After fueling we headed to Gilligan’s Island. I found out this time it has absolutely nothing to do with the TV show. I had been led to believe that some footage was shot there. Not so. It acquired its nickname from an individual who looked like Gilligan. The nickname stuck. No other claim to fame.

On the mainland there is a nice resort which has a bar with WiFi that we used. It also served a nice, but some what expensive lunch. We were going to use the WiFi and go back for dinner. We looked at the dinner menu, and just did not see something we just had to try. After the lunch prices, we could not afford the dinner anyway. We got our emails done and that will be the last WiFi for a while. We will not stay in the Turks and Caicos, just get fuel and move on to the Bahamas.

As we headed from Ponce to Gilligan’s Island, we had a frontal passage pass over us. The heaviest rain I can ever remember being out in. The wind hit 30 kts. and lightening. One of the strikes was close enough to knock out the auto pilot, radar depth sounder and chart plotter. I got the plotter going after rebooting. The radar and auto pilot came back in the morning. Either they got to wet or the lightening overloaded the boat electronics. That means big Gremlins to me. The loss of the auto pilot and radar would have caused us to return to Ponce and seek professional help with the electronics. Happily those major items came back to life. I have lost the depth sounder. That we will have to get replaced but to day it started to show some life. Not working, but things appeared on the screen. Not all make since, but stuff. It may have gotten to much moisture and maybe drying out for a couple day will bring it back to life. I believe that is what has happened to the other items.

After Gilligan’s Island we moved west and up the west coast of Puerto Rico to Puerto Real. A small town, with a protected harbor and a marina with WiFi. That was good because besides the weather man on the SSB, all my other weather come on the computer. The weather for crossing the Mona is on the edge for the mate. We will have a swell from the north and wind waves from the NE. Those waves could be 7 foot. But it will be with 11 second periods. That should make them livable. Today we moved to Mayaguez. It is an open roadstead at I believe the 3rd largest city on the island. It is very industrial and has no facilities for cruisers. It is the jumping off place to head west. We will leave before light and work our say out past the reefs and then be in the Mona.

Tonight we have some rap around waves coming in to rock us to sleep, or not. The mate is having second thoughts about leaving. That could leave us stuck here for a while. Hope for calming seas for the Nightwatch and crew.

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