Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Ship shape!

We haven’t had great internet so blogging has been a challenge.

After leaving the security of Jolly Harbour Marina we chugged around to Hermitage Bay with our new electrical system. Over the next few days we fiddled around with stuff, getting used to our new systems. Pam has managed to tidy the boat up so it is quite pleasant and the “garage” (the aft cabin) is becoming less cluttered. All the the parts and crap that were stored in there and the parts and crap that I brought down in my luggage have been installed, put away and generally getting to the spots where they belong.

Hermitage is quiet and that’s just what we needed to concentrate on our chores.

Ready to cast off

Party boat at Hermitage

Murphy with chaps

Back from the beach

After a couple of days, and realizing that we could exist off the dock we moved to Carlisle Bay, which has been another favourite place. Continued with getting things organized but had problems with their usually excellent internet.

Lots of turtles at Carlisle and Falmouth

So after a couple of quiet nights we decided to move to Falmouth Harbour with it’s wealth of services and shopping. Problem here is that there really is no good internet in the harbour so we have to go in somewhere and buy a beer to connect. Darn.

The Salty Dawg is a rally that starts on the east coast of the US and winds up here. The early boats have begun to arrive so there is plenty of activity as boats celebrate their 1500 mile journey. Lots of parties.

Columbia from Panama City Florida

One of the sides of the cockpit coaming was quite damaged by the Caribbean weather so we stripped the teak down to bare wood and are in the process of building back layers of varnish. We’ve managed to rig the sails the way we want for any upcoming passages and managed to test everything on our way to Falmouth. The nav computers are working well so we won’t get lost. “Captain Ron: If we get lost we’ll just pull in somewheres and ask directions.”

Time for Sodukos when the jobs are done

Mutton roti at Roti Sue's

So, the boat’s ready for a passage. But we’re not. We are excited about heading home next week to hug kids and grandkids. We’ll haul the boat so we don’t have to worry about whether it’s sinking in our absence and launch again when we get back. Not taking down any canvas or sails. Leaving some rum on board for libations when we return. 

After the New Year we’ll figure out what distant horizons are calling!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Pam Arrives! Woot, woot!!!

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope November has been good to you so far!

There has been progress on many fronts leading up to Pam's arrival on my 70th birthday, November 9th.

Left North Sound solo on Thursday, November 3.

Bye bye North Sound

Well hello Jolly Harbout

Landing at JH was fun. I radioed ahead that I was coming in solo and would need someone to help with the lines. The Dockmaster said he was working alone so good luck with that. Got in near the docks and dropped Murphy the Dinghy so he wasn't in the way to back into the dock. While I was doing that the Dockmaster found a yard worker and dropped him on the boat to throw lines. So we backed in, tied up and Bob's your uncle. Uncle Bob!

Headed over to the Epicurean Grocery Store and bought essentials for lunch.

Fried chicken, sauerkraut and beer!!! Mmmmmmm

Hooked up to power, turned on the AC and set about installing all the new parts to make Blue Pearl whole again!

Cleaned out the battery compartment and hooked in the new Victron Lynx power distributor. Don't even get me going on this lovely unit. Also, built a brilliant new battery box for the new starter battery near the engine.

Clean and shiny and most of these wires disappear

Lynx Power Distributor. This is a beast!

New starter battery box.

Got the propane repaired so I can make dinner!

Last year the propane system died and leaked away all our propane so I installed a new regulator and new hoses and we are back in business. Who wants spaghetti with sausage for dinner?! I do!!!

Got the new starter battery in place and checked it out. Engine starts like a dream and the alternator is charging it like a champ!

New starter battery in place

And then, when I didn't think it could get any better... Pam arrived at JH November 9th. In time to celebrate my 50th birthday! Whoop, whoop. What a great day! Did I say 50th? Will check the calendar.

My partner

Boat Scotch

My favorite sister, Donna, had Pam bring along a $2000 bottle of scotch for my 70th. Money well spent. I think that's what it cost.

Yachtie dinner at the Curry House

And then we had dinner with yachtie friends and they carried me around the restaurant on their shoulders 3 times singing Happy Birthday and He's a Jolly Good Roger. So I'm told.

Installed a new thingamajig to help charge the batteries while we are motoring. 

DC to DC Lithium Battery Charger

And I still need to connect the solar panels and dedicated windlass battery.  That'll happen tomorrow and Saturday. Getting help with putting the sails on in a few days and then a little last minute fiddling and tidying and we should be good to go for a little cruise. 

Heading out for the Panama Canal, whoot whoot! (Not happening says Pam!)

All the best!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Back to Antigua

Hello Again Dear Reader,

First post in a long while. I'm back in Antigua working on Blue Pearl.

When we left her here last April she was bruised and broken. Two years of covid-induced neglect made her basically non-functional. The batteries were dead, the navigation system wasn't working properly, the house water system was broken, the teak was peeling, the propane system leaked and it was just generally dirty. So we cut our cruise short and came home early.

With months to plan, I have arrived back down here with fixes to all of our issues... so here's hoping things will be better this time.

My plan was to arrive at North Sound Marina on Sunday, work like the devil Monday, launch and transit to Jolly Harbour Tuesday where the real work on repairs would begin. However, Tuesday was Independence Day and Wednesday was too busy so now we launch Thursday first thing. We'll see what "first thing" looks like.

In the meantime I've started working on the batteries and propane system.

Meals have been fun. I thought the local burger place would be closed so I stopped at a little grocery on the way and picked up a can of "Chopped Ham" (aka Spam, ) some bread and a cucumber. As I drove past the burger joint I saw that it was open. Should have stopped. 

Breakfasts have been banana bread that Pam sent with me and coffee.

Went to the burger joint on Monday but it was closed so I had more Spam. Yum. Tuesday was Independence Day so the burger joint was closed. I found a roadside take-away place (they are all over) and had Pig Souse. Today was another roadside place for a big lunch and it will be sardines and crackers for dinner. Really looking forward to a burger.

Tomorrow I will do a 15-20 mile run around the island to Jolly Harbour and tie up at the marina to get the big stuff done before Pam gets here next Wednesday.

The new batteries are AGMs for the starter and windlass. The new house bank is 2 280 Ah LiFePO4 batteries for 560 Ahs. 

Optima battery for starter and windlass

This is one of the 2 280 Ah batteries I built that will form the house bank

The new bits that will create an improved battery system

The propane system gets a new regulator and some new gas lines. 

Last April we plugged the drain hole in the well so over time it
filled with rainwater and floated the tanks. Bad.

Cleaned up with new parts but not yet completely connected.

Also installed a new port-side boarding ladder. Always wondered how we could get someone on board if the dinghy was up and blocking the aft ladder. Now we know! But will take some research to figure out how to deploy and stow.

New Mystic SS Boarding ladder

Our Covid absence led to some serious issues with our teak.
Wonder if this protective material will make a difference?

New engine control panel cover. Now you can see the instruments.

Haven't done much with rigging. That's for later.

Murphy the Dinghy - ready to load for launch.

So that's us so far. Lots of work to do at Jolly. Will report out on my progress. Looking forward to have it all bright and shiny when Pam arrives on November 9, 2022!

Cheers for now.

Captain Chaos