Sunday, February 18, 2024

Movin' On Up

Well Hello Friends and Family!

We are now Marina Queens. (Folks we met over the years who were too cheap to tie up at a dock always spoke disparagingly about "Marina Queens." 

At the dock!

In order to get the broker on the boat, get some repair work done and to show the boat to prospective lucky new owners, we have to be on the dock. So we don't get dolphin visits now that we've moved.

Now that wasn't supposed to be easy. No dock spots to be had. But, we had a stroke of luck as I happened to check by the office and they had a sudden, unexpected vacancy! So here we are... looking down our noses at those poor slobs out in the mooring field. 

Now, when we get the urge to have a shower, go for a walk, or check the treasures on the "free table," we just swing our legs over the side, jump onto the dock and walk leisurely down to the marina complex. It's a nice place. If it wasn't so damn cold and rainy it would be a nice place to hang out for a while.

By the dinghy dock, in front of the marina complex

Where we used to park on our visits in from the mooring field

We have arranged to have a rigging guy to come and sort out a problem with the reefing system. But not for a couple of weeks from now. Also, a fibreglass guy to repair some minor damage caused on our delivery up from Antigua. Install a new autopilot (who we will still call Otto, of course) and finally a small repair to the mainsail. 

So we sit and wait. These guys are busy and we are trying our best to be patient. And we clean, declutter, do small bits of varnish. Also Wordle, crosswords, solitaire and sudukos. There are some nice walks around when the weather suits.

Looking aft

The main salon

The galley - where Pam creates genius meals!

In the meantime, we are in the process of getting Blue Pearl listed for sale (sob.) Everyone who walks by heaps praise on the condition. 

"Nice boat!"

"Beautiful boat!"

"Love Island Packets. This one looks awesome!"

So we are hoping someone will fall in love... as we did. And that will be that. I envy them.

We are missing our family and friends and really looking forward to getting home. Expect that will happen before the end of February.

Cheers for now!

Capt. Chaos

Monday, February 5, 2024

Need a Holiday

Hello Friends and Family,

I feel negligent that we haven’t posted more regularly but we are really living our most boring life right now with very spotty internet. 

We’ve made the decision to sell the boat and so there are so many things to put in place.

It’s not like a used car lot. We’ve got to find a place to moor or haul so the broker can show interested parties. Also, there are a couple of boat issues that need to be remedied before we are good to pass it on to new owners. Finding the parts and services is challenging and time consuming.

The weather hasn’t been wonderful. We had 3 weeks of cold, moist and cloudy days and then last week was nice. That gave us a chance to do a service coat of varnish all around. We will continue with that while we wait for our final fixes. But it is forecast to rain for the next 3 days so we are busy doing crossword puzzles and reading. We need a holiday from our holiday!

Too wet to add another coat of varnish

Clearing out 15 years of accumulated junk has been educational. Many treasures have gone on to local marina “free tables.” Stuff that has value, stuff that we thought we might need, but now just clutter that needs to go. Our “treasures” seem to be well received. We put them on the free-table and later see folks walking out with our junk and a smile! 

The boat has never looked better. The shelves are clean and empty and the cabin looks like a promotional sales brochure.

Island Packet 38 for sale!

Escape to the tropics!

Eat street pizza in Stuart

Looking forward to catching up back at home when this phase is done!

Cheers for now.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Down the St. Lucie to Stuart

Hello Again!

Travelling down the St. Lucie is always fun... more fun when the autohelm is installed and working... but fun even when you have to steer. Lots to look at and cool to see how it changes from rural to urban, from $ to $$$$.

Captain Chaos at the helm

Country living along the St. Luci

Home with a skiff

Watching for alligators

One of many interesting marine machines

One of many, many bridges. Taller than our mast!

Coming up on the lock
Dropping 13 feet.

Modest patio with mosquito netting.

Nice little trailer part.

Poor Murphy. We mentioned that he is showing his age. One patch is working fine. The other didn't last and I tried it again today we'll see how that goes.

In the meantime we are having conversations with yacht brokers and cleaning up; throwing away all the junk we've accumulated over the past 15 years. It is looking better with every trip, carting treasures of the bilge from Blue Pearl to the free table at the marina. I'm harbouring a fantasy that we'll get it looking so great that we'll decide to keep it for another 15 years.

Take care!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Winter in Florida

Hello Friends and Family,

We hauled Blue Pearl here at Indiantown Marina in Florida last April after a legendary transit from Antigua. Just arrived back here on Monday, January 8 after a nasty journey from Abbotsford. A long time for a boat to sit in the elements. 

Our plan is to escape the gnarly January/February weather at home and enjoy the brilliant, warm Florida weather. Hah! I shouldn't complain since temperatures at home have broken the bottom out of thermometer bulbs. But it's not that nice here either. It's cold. And it's rainy. When we wake up in the morning we are cold and damp. Sometimes it gets a little warm, but not often. That's going to change, right?

Glorious sunny Florida day

We have some cleanup and a couple of glitchy things to fix after last year's 1400 mile trip so we've been sitting alongside in the Marina putting up canvas, clearing up and waiting for parts and service. Local tasks include new topping lift shackle, jib halyard snarl, reefing line snarl and auto helm repair. We had dropped off our autohelm unit to have some minor repair work done last April. Last week the mechanic dropped it off and said he couldn't fix it. Nine months to discover that! So there's that.

Stripped threads. Should be a simple fix, right?

A young guy came in as crew on a boat on Sunday. Chatted about fixing boats. Conversation moved to climbing masts and presto... our topping lift shackle and jib halyard snarl were fixed. In exchange, we gave him a lift into Stuart to rendezvous with his rental car. I'm waiting for all the other problems to disappear as easily.

Murphy the dinghy is showing his age. One inflatable chamber is flat as a pancake. I've done 2 patching sessions. Will check result in the morning. Hoping to get at least one more season out of old Murph'.

Good Old Murphy

Hoping to leave in a couple of days to secure a mooring ball in Stuart at the Sunset Bay Marina. Maybe a month? Our plan is to enjoy some respite from the winter weather at home and do some maintenance on the teak. Maybe tidy the old girl up (speaking of Blue Pearl, of course) for a possible sale!!!

We'll see.

Hope you are all well!

Thanks for following along.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Why, hello there. Thanks for staying with us through the season. We are on our way home to loved ones.

Finished up our preliminary "put-away" details at Stuart. Took the sails down, found places for everything, got rid of a few "treasures?" that we've been hauling around and generally tidied up.

Mainsail on the deck

Lunch in the park on our last day - Conch salad and conch fitters!

Then we travelled up the St. Lucie River, past the lock and into Indiantown. The weather has been interesting; lots of afternoon thunder and lightning storms that make for nervous glances at the sky. A couple of nights ago we watched a boat 2 over get struck by lightning... and we were sad for them but happy it wan't us!

Captain Chaos without Otto the autopilot

One of many bridges

Into the lock

Ready to float up 14 feet

Lots of company in the lock

Tied up, ready to haul

Worked with Captain Dennis to get Blue Pearl a new insurance survey and to source a hard-to-find part. Also connected us with some services that we will need to put Blue Pearl into pristeen condition for next year. 

Boat Whisperers Alex and Jesse guiding us in

And off to our perfect spot on the hard

So this has been a journey. Saying goodbye to the Caribbean and looking forward to... not sure what! The boat is secure and in a good place. Looking forward to whatever comes.

And we are so excited to get home tomorrow!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Dear Follower!

Nice to connect again.

We've been at Stuart for a week now and our adrenaline levels have returned to normal. We were blitzed after our 24 hour over-nighter from Great Stirrup Cay to the St. Lucie Inlet, not knowing how it was going to work with the train bridge and whether there was room in the anchorage. Highly stressed and overtired. Not great.

Found a parking spot close to town

Happily, it all worked out and we are able to settle into normal boat problem solving and getting ready to put her on the hard. 

There is a shuttle bus that runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to nearby stores and services and Sam the bus driver (before retirement he was the general manager) is fun to be with and doesn't mind going out of his way to make sure you get what you need!

Sam's Shuttle Bus!

Six pack of beer fits in the basket

Company while you wait for the laundry

Dinghys and the mooring field

We've been to Walmart, Boat Owners Warehouse, Mack Sails (that one was out of the way!) and Publix. When we're not with Sam we've used the loaner bicycles to zip up for more tonic or shrimp or whatever. And we've wandered into old town Stuart on the River Walk to enjoy ourselves at the many restaurants and stores. It's pretty great!

Cracked Conch at Lola's

Gimme oysters and beer, for dinner every day of the year...

One of the many little issues was a broken "bob-stay" that fastens under the deck to pull down where the stays'l stay pulls up. That little bit of boat bling cost $350... and it gets mounted in the chain locker where noone will ever see it. I might buy another one and hang it on the wall at home!

Beautiful new stays'l bobstay

We stay pretty active getting Blue Pearl ready for storage and it gets very hot in the afternoon to we try to be strategic about "when we do what." Also, trying to find ways to remember what goes where when we get back!

Great facilities...

Stay Classy!

This tree lights up every night after dusk as we are enjoying our rum and chocolate.

On Monday we will leave Sunset Bay Marina and head up the St. Lucie River. About 5 miles out we go through a lock that raises us by 10 or 12 feet. Then another 15 miles to Indiantown Marina where we will overnight and then haul on Tuesday. Overnight in Stuart's Quality Inn and then again in Fort Lauderdale's Holiday Inn Express. Thursday morning we fly direct to Seattle and then bus home to Vancouver.

Very excited to see family and friends!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Highs and Lows and Highs

Oh My Goodness Faithful Reader, I’ve got so much to report!

After leaving Long Island with the newly Les-refurbished heat exchanger I was on a high, until I learned that it was still overheating and losing coolant. Never mind that Pam was coming to finish the trip. We were going to be stuck in GeorgeTown for months and miss the upcoming coronation of what’s-his-name. Oh no!

So in preparation for major engine surgery, I took out Les’ carefully repaired heat exchanger so I could order in a new one and WHAT IS THAT? a broken hose clamp in the most obscure part of this troublesome YanPart. So I finished putting it all back together a hour before Pam arrived and the next day we set out to finish Blue Pearl’s epic voyage from Antigua back to Florida. With Les’ amazingly rebuild heat exchanger.

Back together - going to last?

Fish cleaning - guts to the sharks!

The first day was uneventful. The engine purred and did not overheat. There was no wind so we fought with the sails but essentially motored all the way up to Black Point. Found a nice place to anchor and had an early night listening to fun music and yelling from the beach bars.

We left in the morning knowing that a nasty front was receding - but wouldn’t you know it, we preceded the receding. And got drenched and tossed about. And Otto (the Auto pilot) refused to work in those conditions. Any who could blame him? So we completed our second 40 nm leg hand steering to Pigeon Cay near Shroud Cay. 

Got up the next day after a rolly night, for another cold, messy, rainy day to West Bay in New Providence (where Nassau lives.) For the fourth day in a row we set out bright and early, this time for Great Stirrup Cay 50 nm away. If you’ve been on a Norwegian fun cruise in the Bahamas you will know it as “Fantasy Island” or “Cassius Cay” or any one of the wonderful promotional names for places like “Goat” and “Stirrup.”

I wonder if we could borrow that?

Enjoying the Bahamas

Our last day was a doozy. Great Harbour (on Great Stirrup) to the Saint Lucie inlet near Stuart, Florida - a 150 nm overnight run. The 70ish miles up to Grand Bahama is unremarkable but when it gets dark and you meet up with many cruise ships, tankers, freighters it becomes challenging. And doing it at night without an autopilot is really difficult. I got caught a couple of times going so far off course that I just did a 360.
Passing north of Stirrup - or Coco Bay

All those red arrows are cruise ships, freighters and tankers near us

Got to the inlet and then proceeded 5 miles against a tide to get to the dam bridge that is closing tomorrow for a month. So today was our last best chance of getting here and just as we approached it opened to let the last group of boaters in and out of the bay. So we circled once and proceed through. And Pam said, “Don’t let the bridge hit you on the ass on your way out!"


Will we fit?

Through the troublesom railway bridge

But here we are in Stuart, Florida - where it seems everybody has a boat that make ours look like a dinghy. Where does all this wealth come from?

Pam has been a trooper. Getting blasted by rain on a boat with a number of issues where sleep is a rare commodity she comes up with goofy jokes or ‘remember-whens’ to lighten the mood. What a girl!

So I’m going to ask her soon what kind of bigger boat she wants to buy and where she wants to sail next!!!

View from Sunset Bay Marina sailors lounge

Via con Perro