Would you want to to sail around the world with your family on a sailboat?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crossing the Line

Early this morning we crossed the equator. It was about 5am, the nearly full moon had just set and the sky was filled with bright stars not quite familiar. The milky way in the southern sky was prominently running in the wrong direction, or I should say different direction than what I'm used to. We looked for Mark Twain's "blue ribbon stretched across the ocean" but it must have been too dark. I didn't get to Kodak it. We were visited by a representational King Neptune complete with toga and seashell studded crown. We then opened that vintage port from 1994 that we bought in Brooklyn and have been saving for a very special occasion. After first giving an offering to the sea, we all had a drink. River's sip was followed by a " "yuck" and "that burns". Stephen's only comment was, "Strange.". We also offered up some freshly baked chocolate chip snickers cookies that Rivers and I mixed up earlier in the day and that I baked during my 12-4am watch. We were then declared greenhorns no longer but true deep water sailors. That was followed up with cheering and silly dancing. Today I think we'll get our sea water dunk, it was too chilly last night.

Starting off on the Pacific

We left Panama two days ago and are heading to the Galapagos Islands. Our first sailing experience on the Pacific has been peaceful. Light winds, glassine seas, little swell have been our conditions so far. Unfortunately, we have been unable to sail much and have had to keep our motors running. We'll see how long our fuel holds out. The calm seas have been great for mammal watching. We have seen many pods of various dolphins from a distance. Their antics have kept us entertained with their high jumps into the air. I've never seen dolphins in the Atlantic jump like that, but the Atlantic dolphins would often play in our bow wake but these guys have kept their distance. We think we saw some whales flapping their fins in the air but it was too far away to be sure.

Today we had chicken curry using the curry paste I just bought. Yum. I think we'll have curry roti for lunch.

There is a bird flying around me. He's very tired and desperately wants to land on the boat but won't for some reason. Poor little guy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Now I can post!

I finally added the blogger app so I can easily post with my mobil devices. I'll post some tomorrow. It's time for bed now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Good deed for the day" or "how to get a free meal"

Well we had some excitement today. Our friend's sailboat dragged his anchor while a squall piped up this afternoon. He was on shore looking for a place to watch a baseball game, When a thunderstorm started building. We were rushing around rolling up the sunshades when Arthur said, "It looks like someone's boat has broken free." Sure enough it was free and it just happened to be our friend Paul's boat and it was quickly drifting into the main shipping channel. Arthur, Stephen and I quickly jumped into the dinghy and took off. Arthur climbed on and threw down the extra anchor with all the scope it had. With all the huge military and commercial ships that come through, the channel is at least 50 ft deep. While we were trying to secure the boat in 30 plus knot winds and choppy seas, Arthur noticed a very large barge and tugboat coming our way. With the winds howling and the boats bucking like broncos, we abandoned his ship, jumped back into the dinghy and raced out of the way to see what would happen. Thank goodness the second anchor sort of held and the sailboat didn't keep drifting in front of the barge. About that time we started to get pelted with rain. We went back to the boat - this time keeping an extra careful lookout for traffic- and tried to start her. Later we found out that this didn't work because Paul disconnected the battery to charge it. While we were trying to decide what to do, we were slowly dragging towards a big dredging operation. We didn't want to sail it in those blustery conditions into the wind if we didn't have to. Especially with Arthur's weak recovering arm. About that time, a tug from the dredging operation came and gave us a tow to the anchorage. By the time we got back to MG, we were soaking wet and Stephen and Arthur had stinky river mud on them from the anchors. Our friend finally got his message from 45 minutes earlier after everything was safe and secure.

Well we did get dinner out of it and it taught us that it's a good idea to pass out your boat card when meeting people. You never know when you'll get that emergency phone call.

Sorry for any typos. I'm trying to post this from my little phone screen and it's hard to proof read

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh no, where are we going to go now!

After being hoisted out of the water, seacock and through-hull replaced, put back into the water, hoisted back out of the water, through-hull rebedded, back into the water, Arthur proceeded to thoroughly break his arm. Now all our Atlantic crossing plans are canceled. Poor guy is in so much pain. The doctor didn't set it, he wants an orthopedic doc to set it tomorrow. I'll post a better update then

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Will we ever get out of here????

We have been here at Jarrett Bay for a long time (way too long) and the end is finally in sight. We are still waiting for our replacement glass to be installed in the hatches. They were promised for last Friday/Saturday and now we're told Wednesday/Thursday. After the glass is installed in the frames it will take two more days before we can hang them. If we travel, it will have to be the dreaded Intra Coastal Waterway not offshore as we prefer. The ICW is actually a beautiful safe way to head down the east coast, but it makes a 4-5 day trip into a two week affair and with how quickly hurricane season is approaching we don't have the time. One good thing, the Spectra watermaker dealer is coming tomorrow with a new membrane and our rebuilt Clark pump. That actually worked out amazing well. Who would have thought you could have a pump sent to California, have it rebuilt, and sent back to North Carolina in 7 days!!! We were told it would take 2 to 3 weeks just to rebuild it. Spectra got it and rebuilt it and resent in one day. Thank you Spectra!

The latest drama is a suspected broken through-hull valve for our main head. The handle moves but it doesn't seem to open. At least it's broken in the closed position for safety's sake but I can't seem to not wish it was in the open position. That would make life easier. It could be that there is a clog somewhere. If it is the through-hull, I'm afraid we're going to have to be hauled out again. We just got in. I don't want to go backwards!

We did have a great success today. We had a problem with our reefing system that we were dreading and really had little hope of fixing. Just to get to the problem we had to remove all the salon seat cushions, take out a 150 pound battery, cut away the corner of the battery box and open a watertight hatch. After that we were ready for a nap not squeezing into a storage space under the seats and below the floor. The problem seemed hopeless until our friend Chris from s/v Tribe came by to say hi. Not only did he have great idea but he just happened to have the perfect part in his left over parts from his old rig. After more contortion tricks upside down on my back arm shoved into a little hole ....(I'd rather not re-live it) I managed to get the new pin back in the sheave and a cotter pin in to keep it from falling out again. I "let" Arthur secure the pin(I never can get those wires pulled apart right). It's fun watching someone else contort.

Well I am ready for bed. Please excuse any typos as I am trying to type on my iPhone. The computers seem to be taken. We really need to get a fourth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Sinking of sailboat Rule 62

   While Morning Glory is far South from us,  Arthur and I have been keeping a close eye on hurricane formation and heavy weather that may come North to Beaufort, NC where she is.  This last hurricane Tomas especially caught our attention because it delayed the start of Caribbean 1500 Rally.  A boat from our yacht club, s/v Ilene, was participating this year and we were very interested in how the rally would handle the forecasted weather.  Behind the hurricane was a VERY nasty front with forecasts of high winds and large swells.  Mixing that with a Gulf Stream crossing sounded like a potential ass beating or worse.    How many stories have we read about races gone wrong because caution and and forecasts were not taken seriously.   There was a few days window between fronts and the race took advantage of it.  It looked like boats sailing to the Caribbean should make it in a day or two before the front,  and the boats sailing straight to the Bahamas would JUST miss getting pounded by high winds and heavy swells.  The first thing that I thought was what if someone has mechanical problems and lags behind.  Then not only do they have to deal with a broken rudder or  mainsail traveler, but they would have to deal with bad weather...  Unfortunately this seems to have happened and the cost was not only a boat but the life of a 46 year old woman.

    I have been trying to piece what happened but there is little news.  Rule 62 started out heading for the Caribbean but then diverted to the Bahamas.  The other boats heading to the Bahamas had already arrived safely because of their direct route.  According to various cruisers nets, Rule 62 was having trouble with their auto pilot and had the exhausting job of hand steering.  Other cruisers reported hearing them try to trouble shoot their problem over the SSB radio.  I also heard that two of the four crew members were seasick.  They decided to divert to the Bahamas this is where no one knows for sure what happened.  By this time the front had hit the Bahamas and the ocean was raging along the Atlantic side.  It looks as if they tried to make it through the North Bar channel by Lynyard Cay Saturday night, November, 13 when their boat was swamped.   Two members were washed overboard and recovered.  They then deployed their life raft and tried to row to shore when another wave overturned the raft. Three of the members made it to shore but Laura Zekoll is still missing a presumed dead.   I just shake my head in amazement at the poor judgement that lead to this tragic development.  How did this happen?  Why was this mistake made?

     Sailing in the Bahamas is one most beautiful places, but also one of the most technical.  Many lives have been lost on the dangerous reefs over the centuries.  There are some simple rules everyone should follow there.  Number one is to never enter a cut or harbor at night.  These cuts are dangerous and every factor needs to be considered. And NEVER attempt one during an ocean rage.  What led them to make this decision?  Was it exhaustion and sickness.  Was it lack of seamanship?  How did they not know the conditions?  When you're traveling with the waves you often can't see them breaking until you see them breaking behind you, but the forecast said they were there -and very wicked.  Why did the rally not advise them?

     The death of this woman is haunting me.  I think about the night we arrived in the Bahamas.  We had three days of rough weather and decided to cut our trip a little shorter by going to the Abacos rather than farther to San Salvador.  We arrived just before sunset and knew we shouldn't attempt entering March Harbor.  So I spent that night sailing back and forth fighting currents and waves.  We had made a big mistake of throwing our watches off.   The last day was nice and instead of taking turns sleeping every 4 hours we enjoyed so time together fishing and cooking our fish.  That made for a very rough night.   I extended my shift as long as I could so Arthur would be rested enough to navigate through the reefs to safety.  Having 4 able seaman (8  and 10 year olds don't count) would have made all the difference in the world.  But then again, what if they got very seasick and I had to take care of them and the kids.  That would probably be worse than just the two of us.  I would like to discuss that with other offshore cruising sailors.  So if anyone is reading this, give me your thoughs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's been a long time

It has been a long time since I updated my blog.  I'm sorry to all those people who are interested in our grand adventures.  The end of our sailing season was filled with friends and fun.  Arthur did a good job of blogging about it in his blog http://svmorningglory.com (click on "content" on the sidebar to see our adventures last winter) He tended to update his blog while I was cooking dinner (the only spare time he had).  We had so much fun in the Berries and in the Exuma Land and Sea Park that I really didn't have time (not to mention no internet access).  He can also update his blog by the satellite phone due to special compression software associated with sailblog.

Once we returned to the states, we traveled North to Beaufort, NC -the place where we started- just in time for hurricane season and Stephen's 5th grade graduation.  We spent the hurricane season on land in NY building the cruising kitty and getting the house closer to sell or rent.

Now all my time is taken up by homeschooling the kids and my "spare time" is spent cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.  I have no idea why any parent would choose to homeschool without a darn good reason!  It is a full-time job without pay.  I can't wait to get back on the boat.  There is much less cleaning (fewer room and less space has it's advantages) and a lot less laundry.  The children should also have more incentive to finish their assignments quickly when the beach is calling.   The kids are doing well with homeschool.  They are learning more than they would at public school but kids need socialization.   That is my biggest challenge.  I thought we were only going to be here a month or two so I didn't sign them up for any activities, and now I am regretting it.  Rivers' favorite activity -catching feral kittens and taming them- is done for the season and we've found homes for all the kittens but one.  Stephen's favorite activity -playing on the computer- is taking way too much of his time.  He is TRYING to get as much time in as he can before the limited access on the boat.  That, of course, is a bone of contention.

Everyone has been asking what our plans are.  Keep in mind plans and boats don't go well together but this is what I've come up with so far:  We will be taking the 11 hour drive down to Beaufort over Thanksgiving to do as much work as we can.  Mainly maintenance and adding some updated electronics and improving the SSB (right now we can't run the autopilot and the SSB at the same time).  Arthur loves his gadgets and improving things.  We would like to get Morning Glory back into the water around Christmas, and the kids and I will move onboard.  Arthur is working and will be using his frequent flier miles to spend time with us.  I forgot to mention the new satellite communication system we will installing over Thanksgiving which will allow for long weekends together.   We'll see how well this works out.  My original plans were to move back on the boat at the end of August - like I said, plans and boats don't correspond.

If any one has any questions or comments or if you want to know more about something, please comment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Did we really just fit through that???  It was a tight fit not to mention a bit nerve racking, but we safely made it in to see our friends s/v Nathaniel and s/v Las Sirenas anchored in the harbor around Staniel Cay

Thunderball Grotto

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