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November 2010
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December 2010


As EW and I began to explore a bit this morning, we heard a splash and a breath and realized that this creature was visiting. We love seeing dolphins. How wonderful to see one up close and personal.

Later in the morning, I was cleaning below while EW was cleaning on deck. "You have to see this!" he said. I went up on deck to watch a dad and two little girls standing where we had this morning, interacting with the dolphin. There was communication, mutual intterest and - on the human side - photos.

This afternoon we played and walked over to the beach to try out our new snorkle gear. Yes. We went swimming. We are cruising.

Life is good.

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EW Watching His Line

EW has -- for the first time on the cruise -- let out the fishing line. He's promised to catch dinner. He's as anxious as a child on Christmas Eve.

I'm skeptical and mildly interested. Course if he catches one I'll be thrilled.

I am standing firmly behind him in this regard I will not fish and I will not clean them. I will cook and eat them.

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Moon Over Miami

Well not quite. But definitely moon over Fort Lauderdale. We did not
leave town today.

We got a late start.

We needed to get diesel and water.

The marina we chose didn't offer a pump out.

They did offer really bad advice and told us that every bridge from
here to Miami was a lift bridge and we could go down the waterway,
anchoring in Lake Hollywood tonight.

Right. We did go through the Las Olas bridge to the town dock for a
pump out. (long story). While there I checked the charts. There are 65
foot tall fixed bridges down here. (We are at least 66 feet from the
waterline) Lake Hollywood is only 4 or 5 feet deep. (We draw 6.2
feet.) Don't trust folks on the dock.

We returned to Lake Sylvia for the night. At low tide this afternoon.
And got stuck. Sigh

Safely off and anchored before sundown with gin and tonics on deck. We
definitely deserved them!

Miami tomorrw -- but first we'll set the alarm for 2 AM so we can
celebrate the solstice and view the lunar eclipse.

What the hey ... We're cruisin'

Smaller is Better When You Live Aboard a Boat (Or, Cathy Was Right)

Ever since we moved aboard the La Luna eight and a half years ago, our friends have been very supportive. One friend tickled us because she kept looking for things that would “fit” our new lifestyle and came up with bread mixes that only needed one ingredient, coats that zipped into a pocket, and a travel towel from L.L. Bean.

I have to confess that I was not enamored with that travel towel. In private, we smirked a bit and exclaimed “But this is our home! We use regular towels!” Indeed, when our plush green towels started showing wear, we purchased even more plush white and buff towels, 60 inches long. We even had a set for guests.

Then Margo (world cruiser and one of the folks I listen to with rapt attention) said, “You know you can’t take those towels when you cruise, don’t you?” EW was more stricken than I and I was struck dumb. “Really?”. “No, you can’t. They will take ages to dry in the tropics and will  mildew.” Ick.

So I did some research on microfiber towels. (You know where this is going, don’t you?) I found the towels on Amazon for a good price, but the size I wanted didn’t have hanging tags and then I found the same towels just down the road at L.L. Bean. EW and I took a short road trip before we left Maine and picked up two sets of microfiber towels so we have a set for guests. They really do dry us well, and they dry very quickly. They’ll be easy to wash out on the boat when we are far from a laundry-matt.

And they take up a lot less space. Here are two lovely plush towels with two lovely flat micro-fiber towels on top of them. PC120098

And here they are with one vacuum bagged plush towel. EW wouldn’t let me get rid of them, so they’re stored under our bed. This is supposed to be a long cruise and I wonder if they will still be usable (or important) eight years from now. PC120099

From Maine to Florida in 60 Days and 15 Projects (Sort of)


We left Maine on October 18, sailed (and powered) over 1500 miles to reach Fort Lauderdale. This evening, December 18, we will leave Florida for the Bahamas. After 1500 miles in 2 and three day passages down the U.S. Coast, we will travel for fewer than 20 hours to reach a foreign country.  EW says we have been “on a delivery” taking the boat from one place to another, fixing and installing things as we go. We’ve had fun (and a lot of it) but we’ve also done a lot of work on La Luna – some planned and some decidedly not.  We know we will still fix and install items once we leave the states. Boaters everywhere have heard the phrase that cruising is the opportunity to fix your boat in the most beautiful harbors in the world. All of them. But things will be different from now on. EW has agreed to – and proposed – some new guidelines for our cruising lifestyle.

So – in addition to reaching St. Augustine in time for Thanksgiving with CK and UA and their family, and reaching Fort Lauderdale to see our son, Mo (formerly known as Favorite, he’s now given permission for me to use his name here) what have we done?

As we sailed down the coast:

In Cuttyhunk EW fixed the bilge pump. Definitely not planned but the high water alarm is quite the wake up call!

In Portland, Cuttyhunk, and in New Jersey, EW worked on the furnace, which apparently repaired itself as we moved south. (To you who think we don’t need it anymore, there has been a cool spell in Florida and we also use it to heat water year round. It’s a wonderful thing.)

In New Jersey he installed the new wash down pump as the old one had been shorting out. I would switch on the windlass and the wash down pump, go on deck and raise the anchor, washing the mud off of the chain. During our first effort at leaving Sandy Hook (muddy bottom) I had to go back below to restart the wash down pump 4 times. He put the new one in. Eventually that one will include a fresh water option and a faucet for salt water at the galley sink. All in good time.

In Hampton, EW installed the Wind Generator and the hoist for the dinghy outboard. He also ran wires for the Single Sideband and GPS. I pulled old wires out, and as you may recall I didn’t like that job. Prior to that he had a major unplanned project in Hampton when he discovered broken bolts on the auto pilot hydraulic ram.

In Hampton he also changed the oil and he changed it again in St. Augustine.

And also in Hampton, EW installed the old fresh water pump because the new one died. However, when he called ITT Jabsco, the wonderful customer service person arranged to have a new pump sent to us. We got it in Florida.

At Cumberland Island, and during our wonderful visit in St. Augustine we took a break from major projects but EW still managed to install a new gasket on the aft lazarette and I repaired the jib.

In Fort Lauderdale, EW completed the projects required by our insurance: installed floor anchors, installed GFI protected outlets, screwed down the bunks and settees, and covered the 120 volt breaker panel. He also devised and installed a system to hold down the sewing machine so it doesn’t bang around, and he serviced the main sail outhaul winch.

As part of the bolting/screwing the settee covers so they won’t fly around if we tip (don’t worry, we don’t plan to tip that far!) EW kindly and expertly made modifications at my request. There will be a post with photos. Can’t believe I didn’t think of this 8 years ago.

In Fort Lauderdale, I installed new shelving in what had been two hanging lockers in our stateroom, and repaired the sail again. (This time on-deck where I could see the entire leech.)  PC160127

Also in Fort Lauderdale EW and I repaired the chock that had been pulled out during a docking fiasco in St. Augustine. This project took 12 sailor hours (in lieu of man hours) and generated some spectacular bruises on my body. I’m the one who gets to squeeze around the furnace. EW’s on-deck tasks required brute strength and the ability to work with 5200 adhesive sealant without getting it where it doesn’t belong.

At nearly every port, but particularly in Fort Lauderdale, we divested ourselves of more clothes and stuff. PC150123 This photo is a dinghy full of clothes and items destined for a homeless shelter. I had already gotten rid of a million plastic hangers and a large cooler. Now that we think it is warm enough, I vacuum bagged the cold weather clothing we are keeping and stored them under our bed.

If you’re a boater, you know how much mess is generated by each of these projects. Sometimes on-deck projects (such as the chock repair) don’t require any space below decks. More often projects, such as running wires, involve the master stateroom, engine compartment, chart table and galley. To that add all the tools and parts that get laid out (or scattered) in the main salon and you’ll realize that a lot of our time at anchor or on the dock has been spent in a boat that was cluttered, to put it mildly.

In Hampton, I took this photo. This is why we took pizza to a neighboring boat for dinner. No one was setting foot on La Luna. 077

Each time we stopped, we (or EW) would undertake a project. Each time we left for the next port, we had to spend hours getting the boat ready for sea. In Fort Lauderdale, EW did most of the project work and I ran errands. We also provisioned for the Bahamas. So we added a new layer of mess with $500.00 of food and $100.00 of beer (EW’s contribution.)

I had a hissy fit.

We spent two days cleaning the boat, and the result is amazing. We have our boat back. We even have room for guests as the forward cabin is no longer full of things to be installed or stored. Anything that requires a home has one. Anything that needs to be installed is in the pilot berth. We have our boat back, just in time for cruising.

And the new guidelines for projects, now that we will be cruisers?

1. Work on the boat and write in the morning.

2. Swim and snorkel.

3. Be a tourist.

4. Sundowners and dinner.

I’m looking forward to it!

Makin' Do

We have been on the computer at Southport Raw Bar in Fort Lauderdale since 10:30 AM.

Have worked with support in France to fix MaxSea software; consumed coffee, lunch, and beer; installed charts for the Bahamas and Caribbean; consumed more beer; emailed; tweeter; blogged; found someone who will take the last of our winter clothes to the homeless; and relaxed. It's been a good day.

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The Cruising Life: It's Not Always Fun in the Sun

This has been an interesting week. Much of it has been good, but some of it has been frustrating and I must confess that my normal good humor seemed to disappear for hours at a time. The reality is that all of the problems are solvable. 

Our navigation software is down. Since the manufacturer and the support team are in France, it is a bit of a challenge to contact them. They needed me to download a debug software, and we didn't have reliable wifi on the hook. So we are at Southport Raw Bar before they open. They charge boaters $10.00 to tie their dinghy -- and give you a receipt for $10.00 of food and drink. Not a bad deal, actually.  We may scoot back to the boat to complete some high priority tasks and come back later today for dinner. 

So, getting things like this done takes longer. Getting a lot of things done takes longer. But we get to enjoy people and experiences that we'd otherwise miss.  Essentially, I still need to learn to chill. Chilling is easy here today. Back in the fleece jackets as it was in the 40's this AM.

The must-do projects include stowing the provisions we took on board and stowing a lot of things that have been left out while EW has worked on Boat Projects. We will have to come to an understanding about taking a one or two day break between projects as major projects encompass main salon, galley, and master stateroom, leaving me no place to go but on deck and no way to so my projects, clean, or cook.  It makes me testy. Very.

So. Today we will get everything stowed. We will. It will happen. Then we will come back here and reward ourselves.  I can get behind that. Funny how we all let little things get us down. In the general scheme of things none of these problems matter.  We will soon be cruising in the Bahamas. We are moving forward to fulfill our dreams. That is what matters. 

I have notes and photos and will write posts to catch you all up on a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends in Jacksonville, and fun times in Fort Lauderdale. Life is good. Best to all of you.