Sunday, March 3, 2019

A chapter is closed

It‘s 3 years, since we have startet our adventure and headed to the Bahamas. Unbelievable, how time flies! Beside of short holiday trips to Florida, we did not had many chances to go to the boat. Keeping a boat in the tropics, thousands of miles away from home, is a very difficult task. And we felt it is a pitty too, the boat is on the dry and not where it belongs to. So we decided to sell her.

Finally, in december 2019, the sale was closed. Tranquilizer and her new owner ventured for new shores. Good luck and fair winds!

It was a great boat and we have invested a lot of time and ellbow grease to make our dreams come true. To let her go was not easy, but it was the right thing to do.

So, another chapter is closed. What will be next?

For now, we will not have another boat. Our work will not allow us to stay off for several weeks or months. But both of us are pretty confident, one day, we will continue exploring the Bahamas on a boat again.

In the meantime, we will do other things. Riding more on the motorcycles, go diving in the Keys whilst on holiday, and much more. How about having an RV and touring around? So many options...

Well, we will see, what‘s next.

Anyways, thanks for reading!

Maybe we will post here from new adventures in the future.

Stay safe and curious!

Your Crew

Beatrice and Marco

Monday, May 2, 2016

Long time no post

It's been a while, since our last post here. Once we got back to Stuart, we started to unload the boat. It's unbelievable, how much stuff we carried around. At least 3 full SUV loads were carried home, and the boat didn't look empty at all!

There is much to do, before a boat is ready for storage on the dry: toping up all tanks with water and fuel, emptying the waste tanks, removing all things, that could rotten during the storage, removing the sails, the soil cover, some lines, removing some electronic equipment, cleaning all parts from the salt, that has built up from the spray of the ocean, washing and deflating the dingy, flushing the engine, the AC-unit and the cold machine with special fluids to prevent them from corrosion, changing motor and gear oils, etc. Some of these tasks are tough jobs. Removing the sails can be hard work - I would estimate the weight of the sail clothes only at slightly more than 100 kilograms.

Last week, we gave Tranquilizer a special treatment - we waxed and polished the hull. In addition, the bottom got painted. Take a glance at her fantastic look!

When cleaning uno after a cruise, you will always discover some minor parts, that needs to be replaced mostly as a precautionary maintenance. Many things, such as an oil change, do sound to be an easy job. But on a bot, there are different routes in place... There is no way, on how you could bring an oil pan underneath the engine, to drain the used oil in to. There is very limited accessibility to every thing, especially for a guy like me! So everything takes considerably longer, than you would expect it from the experiences you might gained, while working on a car or motorcycle. But if you have done it once, you know the tricks and what tools become handy for some jobs.

But we wanted to spend all our remaining time in the boat yard. When ever we worked on the boat in the morning, we headed for the beach in the afternoon. The weather is just gorgeous. On some days, I went to the boat yard early. Beatrice followed later with the car. I took the Harley for the ride to the boat. It's always just pure joy, to ride the harley on the wide roads, hemmed with various palm trees.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Returning to Stuart

After a very restful night, we lifted anchor at 9.00 am and headed north on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

Windsong II in the morning at Lake With anchorage

We were lucky, that there was little traffic on the water and we could time our ways up, through the 6 bascule bridges just perfect, we never missed an opening. about an hour, before we got back to Stuart, we had a fantastic dolphin encounter at Peck Lake. The dolphins played in the bow wave of the boat, whent forth and back for quite a while. I slowed down and was scared, that they could be caught in the propeller. Due to the current in the narrow channel, it is not a smart thing, to bring the engine to a full stop... But these animals seemed to have experiences with boats and all went just fine. Once they were done with our boat, the whole dolphin family awaited the next boat coming along their way - Windsong II - to play some more.

We made it back to Stuart, docked the boat and started unloading all the stuff, we carried with us on the boat. This certainly will be an ongoing task for the next coulee days.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Crossing back to Florida

We lifted anchor at 4.00 am and sounded our way through the reef out on the open ocean. The night was not very restful. The short interval of the waves did not allow for a good sleep. It was role and bumpy. In addition there were a lot of questions in regards of the upcoming crossing. The weather forecast was ok, but we knew, we would not have a smooth crossing, like when we came to the Bahamas.

We got up at 3.00 am, having a short breakfast and getting ready for the day. Turning the navigation lights on, removing the additional lanterns, we have set out, to make sure, any fisher boat could see us out on the plain water. Of course we had to put on the life vests, safety harness etc.. Finally I did check the way points again, which I have dialed in in to the navigation instruments. Agreed, it would be very hard to miss the US coast, when crossing from the Bahamas, but we did not plan for a visit at Cape Canaveral or New York...

Heading for the bow to lift the anchor was some sort of work out. The waves caused quite a bit of movement on deck. So I had to make sure, I always could get a good grip at a line, a handle or the life lines, which run from the cockpit all the way to the bow.

One we headed for the ocean, it became clear, that the waves are higher than forecasted and the wind less, than it should be. Both worked against us. The waves were about 5 feet high and it was a kind of a cross seas. The wind could help stabilize the boat, as soon as the sails are up, but it was not enough wind to really help stabilizing the boat.

So we were looking forward to a bumpy ride over the Gulf stream. Although the autopilot provides a great support, you need to be at the helm a all times. There is a lot of commercial ship traffic in the Straits of Florida and you need to pay attention to the seas and the sails. Standing at helm for 10 hours, constant movements of the boat, after a night with little sleep, can be somewhat exhausting.

The "Gugelhopf" was just fantastic!

Just about two hours, before we reached the Lake Worth Inlet, the shackle witch connects the lower end of the jib to the roller furling system became lose and the bolt fell over board. The jib started to tear. I had to respond immediately. You certainly won't have an uncontrollable flying jib, approaching a very busy inlet! I ran down to the cabin, cut a piece of rope, made my way to the bow again (which was not an easy task at sea...), and latched the jib down to fuller again. Then I made my way back to the cockpit, furling the jib, to avoid any serious damage to the sail.

Land in sight - Florida, we're coming

Finally, after just 10 hours, we reached our anchorage at Lake Worth. We called the Customs and Border Protection Office, to prepare for immigration and customs for our selfs and the vessel. We lowered the dinghy, took Bob and Sherry aboard and headed for the immigration office at Lake Worth. The process can be easy or difficult, depending on how and where the boat is documented or registered. We had a very fast and easy process, while Windsong, as a Canada documented vessel hat to apply for a cruising permit. Finally we all got our paper work done and went back to our boats, laying down for a good sleep.

Especially Bob deserved it, his autopilot failed the day before the crossing. He had to hand steer during the whole passage and did a fantastic job!

The anchorage at Lake Worth, jump off point for many cruisers

Sunday, April 24, 2016

In the middle of nowhere

We planned our last anchorage in the Bahamas on the Bank, in the middle of nowhere. All around us, just water and the horizon. Only 2 miles west, there is the drop off, where the Bahmas Bank becomes the Atlantic Ocean. Within a few hundred Meters, the water depth changes from 3 Meters to over 800 meters. the color of the water changes from turquoise green in to a very deep blue.

So there we were. No protection at all. Very little information about this place was to be found. But it offered a perfect place to get a very early start in the morning, and heading out on the ocean.

Windsong II anchored out on the Bahamas Bank

Reflecting the past couple weeks

Our last sunset in the Bahamas - it's truly better in the Bahamas ...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mangrove Cay

The wind slowed down a little bis, and we left Great Sale Cay, heading towards Mangrove Cay. None of us has ever been there, and we did not really know, what will await us there. Beside of the wind protection, the holding of the anchor, current etc. are very important factors, making an anchorage a pleasant stay, or a horrible stop, with little rest.

Wen we got to Mangrove Cay, it was still a little breezy and the wind direction was not favorable for this anchorage either. We decided to stay, and see, how things are developing. At least, the holding seemed to be really good. The wind should shift overnights, to an even more unfavorable direction, leaving us totally unprotected. Luckily, at about 5 pm, the wind calmed down a lot and we had a wonderful and restful night at Mangrove Cay.

Beatrice baked a "Gugelhopf", a sweet treat, which will help us out on our crossing.

The sunset at Mangrove Cay was fantastic. Look at the heart shaped cloud, wishing us a good crossing and a coming back soon!

Sunrise the other morning
The next morning, we were listening to the weather forecast on Single Side Band Radio (SSB) again. Monday seemed still to be the day for our crossing.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Back to Great Sale Cay

Today, wed about 40 nautical miles to go. So we left Crab Cay early in the morning. It was a nice sailing - at first. Then the forecast 10 to 14 knots of wind soon became history. The wind picked up and we were sailing in 20 to 25 knots of wind. This wind helped us to cover the distance rather quick. But it was not what we wanted for the night. The wind direction was unfavorable for the anchorage at Great Sale Cay, the only anchorage in that area.

Like every day, I had the cuban line out, not expecting to catch a fish on our last couple miles in the Bahamas. But right at the Northern tip of Great Sale Cay, a Cero Mackerel hit the lure, and i managed to reel it in. This fish was about twice the size of the Mackerels, we caught the other day. I just managed to reel the fish in and send him off to heaven, before I had to furl the sails and getting ready to set anchor.
A beautiful and fantastic tasting Cero Mackerel

After cleaning the fish, Sherry and Bob rowed over in their dinghy. We had to discuss the weather and  our next moves. Of course it made good time to prepare the fish and serve another fresh fish snack.

We decided, to stay another day at Crab Cay, then to proceed to Mangrove Cay. The weather changed once more and a crossing on the Saturday was not recommended because of a front of thunderstorms and squalls. Sunday should bring wind from the north over the Gulf Stream, which would make for a very unpleasant crossing. So the crossing was postponed until Monday.

The two nights at Great Sale were a bit rolly and bumpy. Many cruisers anchored at Great Sale Cay and there was a vivid discussion on the radio, what the weather will be, when to cross, etc. Some fast moving boats can work with much shorter weather windows, the a sail boat or a trawler.