Friday, December 30, 2011

Nelly Chronicles Part 9

Nelly Chronicles
By The voice of Nelly narrated by Mike "Daubie" Daubenberger

Miami!!!  We have arrived.  Well, my people have arrived.  I've been stuck on the boat ever since we got here until just now.  My first thoughts were, Yes, finally a chance to get ashore and strut my stuff on south beach.  Little did I know my trip would be confined to a cage and doctor visit.  I didn't even get to visit the shopping mecca that is Lincoln Road!!  Well I had been hearing complaints from my owners all day about the cost of my existence.  First it was the vet visit in Port Townsend $60 then it was the new carrying cage and medications $100.  Did I mention the medication gives me the runs!!  Next it was the importation permit for the Bahamas $10 plus postage.  Well maybe my people should have mailed it a little sooner so it would get there in time.  Anyone who knows anything about the Bahamas know that the mail is slow.  A month and a half is not nearly long enough to get mail the 600 miles from Charleston to the Bahamas!!  Well what did they have to do today?  They had to Fedex another copy of the documents to the Bahamas with a $15 money order.  How much did it take to mail this single piece of paper?  55 dollars!!  I don't think they were ready for that.  Next they had to fax the documentation to the same place in order to get the permit before our Saturday departure.  Saturday departure to the Bahamas.  YES!!   Another $10.  This brings me to the doctor visit.  The straw that almost broke the camels back.  Yes, another doctor visit.  Well I'm not sure what your visits to the doctor are like but mine start by having a huge probe shoved up my butt.  NOT COOL!!  Next they grab my insides through my fur to make sure nothing is wrong.  What like I'm not going to complain.  You're tying my intestines in knots.  Lastly they stick a couple huge needles in my hind quarters.  Not fun.  And what do I get from my parents?  Pity? No.  Complaints?  Yes.  They complain about paying $155 for the torture treatment that they just put me through.  Well I can tell you they were getting a deal!  The US government spends way more money torturing people at Guantanamo.  Yes complaints.  They start off by calling me the most expensive cat in the world then they start coming up with ways for me to pay off my debt.  Cuddling up to them in the morning is worth $2, acting cute $1,  using the screen in the litter box $3, spraying litter on the boat $-1.  Then they start laughing that the debt is too big and I will never pay it off.  They don't know how cute I can be!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Time in Nassau

We arrived in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, on Christmas Eve.    We were the last ones to arrive at the dock (out of the half dozen or so other crossers that we traveled with from Chub Cay) and I’m not sure what to blame our slowness on particularly.  It may have been due to us deciding to sail with the engine off for at least half of the crossing with fluky shifting winds, while others motor sailed.  Or it could have been because we were delayed by an hour by our BIG CATCH of the day, a giant mahi-mahi that we caught mid-day and we spent almost an hour reeling in under sail, while our boat was spinning circles around the fish. Either way, we arrived last at the dock, much to our racing dismay, but we did arrive prepared to feed the whole fleet a delicious Christmas Eve dinner of the freshest, tastiest mahi-mahi. 
Everyone brought out the chairs and tables to the dock as Mike filleted the fish in minutes.  The other men watched in awe and attempted to put in their two senses on how it should be done, while Mike, to all the men’s envy, was already finished with the task!  Yep, that’s my husband!  He can catch, identify and fillet a fish better than any man or woman out there, except maybe, my sister Stacy.
We feasted that night, as the other sailors brought: rice, salad, cole slaw, beverages and the like.  Mahi-Mahi is definitely one of the better tasting fish and I’d have to say it’s my favorite so far.
The next day in Nassau was Christmas day and Mike and I had planned to Skype with our families and then join in on the potluck turkey dinner at the dock.  After which we were to head out to the Atlantis Hotel and finish out the night heading to the Junkanoo festival (which doesn’t get started until 1 in the morning!).  Since we arrived after dusk, we did not have to purchase tickets to the aquariums at the Atlantis and it was actually a lot more fun and eerie seeing the sharks swim above you in the aquarium at night!  Dancing with the stars above as we meandered through the underwater tunnel.  We went over with our friends Tom and Deb and it was a difficult task staying awake until 1 am until we walked down Bay Street for Junkanoo.  A spectacular parade of men and women in elaborate, colorful, feathery costumes dancing down the streets with full marching bands in full dress following.  What a sight!!!   

By 2:30 am the festivities were just warming up and crowds were growing ever bigger.  We unfortunately, could not stay awake much longer and headed back to the boat by 3 am to crash out.  A cruisers life is defined by early mornings and even earlier nights.  At least ours is.  Tomorrow was Boxing Day another Bohemian holiday and all the shops would be closed and people resting from the night of festivities.  We arrived in Nassau at the right time and couldn't have had more fun.  An amazing Christmas treat!!  Thank you Nassau now its on to the deserted islands of the Exumas!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Fishing Tale

A Fishing Tale
Written by, Mike Daubenberger

Ah, the fish tale.  I will start by saying I’m not much of a fisherman.  My patience is lacking.  I like to fish but the fish don’t typically like my lure.  Just like the ladies most of my life.  Well, now I have my good luck charm.   Sara, of course, and as we move deeper into the Bahamas, the tale continues to grow and the space in the refrigerator continues to shrink. 
During the crossing to the Bahamas from Miami, we lost two Wahoos.  Goliath's, I will add.  One took all of our line and the lure.  We also landed black fin tuna and returned it to the sea.  Little did we know we were just honing our skills.  Next is was time to try our luck spear fishing; 12 lobster and a queen trigger fish in two outings.   Not bad!!! 
Black Fin Tuna

Later we fished the banks as we crossed over to the Berry Islands.  Approximately 70 miles.  Now, fishing on the banks can be a risky proposition.  This is because the typical fish caught on the banks is the Barracuda.  Some of our readers may know the Barracuda from the Portland club the Barracuda and it’s about like that if you catch one you better let it go.  For those of you of you that don’t know the club, the Barracuda is a strong, extremely sharp fish carrying disease.  Yes disease, ciguatera fish poisoning.  It attacks the nervous system.  On to the fishing.  The first fish we caught was slightly bigger than our lure.  An 8 inch Jack.  Excellent eating but hardly worth the effort.  Our next fish was a small Cero.  Similar to a Sierra Mackerel but better eating.  We kept this one.  
On day two of the crossing we struck it big!!!  An 8 pound Mutton Snapper over the banks.  Now that’s a big snapper for over the banks and great eating too!!  What luck!  Snappers of that size normally reside in the depths, not in ten feet of water where we found him.  Time for ceviche!! 
Mutton Snapper
Two days fishing on the banks and no Barracuda.  What luck!  We moved into the depths of the sea as we crossed into the tongue of the ocean.  From 12 feet to 2500 feet deep in a quarter mile.  We decided not to fish for a while since I still had a fish to clean and we had fish to eat.  But as we continued, my mouth continued to blab and we had announced fish for ALL when we arrived.  Why not try our luck?  We put the lure back in.  A purple jig with a hunk of snapper.  Delicious!!  Not long after we hear the reel whining! Another fish!!  It leaps.  A huge Wahoo - 38 inches.  We get her aboard and give her a big drink of our finest alcohol.  Shes passed out drunk, then dead.  Time to head in and live up to the expectations of our traveling companions. 
The next crossing is our trip to Nassau the capital and largest population center and biggist tourist destination in the Bahamas.  Not sure why so many people would want to visit Nassau out of all the choices in the Bahamas, but they do.  We are here for Junkanoo.   A crazy day on  Christmas night and also Boxing Day full of parade and party, starting at midnight!!  We leave early, 7 am, and start fishing immediately.  Three hours later our fish hits.  We see it jump!  A leaper, a Mahi Mahi!  Great fighters and even better cuisine!  We get her in - 28 inches.  30 minutes later the fish is cleaned and in the fridge.  The lures are back in the water and offers have been made to buy the briquettes. 
                      Mahi Mahi
 Another three hours and zing the line goes!!  It’s a big one!! And on the little pole.  The one with the janky reel.  Well, broken reel!  We brought two reels and one pole down from Washington.  Gifts from Sara’s grandparents Dave and Marilynn.  These poles have seen it all in Alaska and beyond and by all accounts appear to be quite lucky.  The pole the fish is hooked on is a salmon pole.  Light for this region and the reel is exhausted from all the fish it’s caught.  It may now be dead, but we are not going to let this fish go.  A huge Mahi Mahi.  
54" Mahi Mahi (aka: Dorado, Dolphin)
We see it jump and twist a hundred yards out.  It is huge and it is beautiful.  The tale fin looks like a shark as it drives through the water.  Sara mans the pole as I hand over hand work the line in.  As the fish gets close, the fight gets more spirited.  I grab the helm as Sara fights the monster.  We are doing complete circles with both sails up and the engine running.  1,2,3,4,5,10,30 circles, the fight is almost done, the fish is close and the gaffe hook is out.  I gaff the fish and Sara runs for the Alcohol.  I have her halfway up the boat and Sara tries to douse her gills with alcohol.  The fish flops, the boat rolls, and the alcohol drops into the water!! Oh no!!  Shes getting off the hook!  I gaffe her again and drag her onto the boat.  Sara runs below for the Bourbon.  We pour a quarter of the bottle down her gills as I try to restrain her and she tries to beat the boat to death.  Victory comes to Mike and Sara.  Tonight we dine on a 54 inch Mahi Mahi along with everyone else at the dock!!  What a Christmas Eve!!      

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nelly Chronicles Part 8

Nelly Chronicles
By The voice of Nelly narrated by Mike "Daubie" Daubenberger

Well, its been a while since the old one left and I must admit I've gotten lost in the siblimity of it all. I went in to this trip with a goal of weekly journal entries, I guess you lose focus when your on vacation.

Since my last entry I can list three events of note that have occurred. First my people finally came back with a bathroom fit for a princess. I wondered if they would ever get my point. Who would think that I would have to use the facilities twice in their bedroom before they got my point. These people!! I digress, as for the new litter box, it is perfect, beige my favorite color, deep with lid and door and an air filtration system. Who would buy a litter box without a filtration system?  Can you believe it took them three tries?  They finally got it right.

Second we celebrated Thanksgiving on the boat or at least my people celebrated thanksgiving on the boat.  They cooked a feast including turkey, green beans, acorn squash, mashed potatoes, bellini's, and more.  Well what do you think they cooked me? Nothing!  Not a can of tuna, not a can of cat food, just a cold bowl of kibbles.  These people!  Did they think the pilgrims came to America without pet companionship.  Well if my history serves me correct and I believe it does, the pilgrims did come with cats and what did they get those cats for thanksgiving?  Live winged birds!  Can you believe it live winged birds!!  Now thats a feast!! First you get to play and then you get to dine.  Those were the days!!

Third we finally made it to Fort Lauderdale!!  I had really been looking forward to seeing the sights in Fort L.  The beaches, the huge houses, the canals, the bronzed tom cats, and of course the parade of boats light show.  Well as we entered the city I think my people got a little excited as well.  They completely forgot to check the log to see how much fuel we had left.  Well I had been keeping track and and for the last 30 minutes I had been trying to warn them to no avail.  I would nudge, meow, stand on the fuel filling hole but what would they say?  I think Nelly needs to go to the bathroom, is the door open , or I think Nelly is hungry, does she have any food?  Well I did everything I could short of filling the tank up myself but they never got the point.  When the thing sputtered to a stop, did they figure it out? No, Mike said they couldn't be out of gas, that they should have at least 5 gallons left.  5 gallons!! Who was he kidding?  He didn't even know where we had filled up last, Saint Augustine,  he thought we had filled up in Titusville, 150 miles down the road.  I hope the the wind keeps blowing because if we're going to depend on the motor and my people's mechanical abilities, we will surely be lost.

Well that updates the trip to date.  Wishing for sailing until next time.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tragedy Strikes again at Gun Cay

Heading out of Alice Town, Bimini
Stayed at the dock the first night at Blue Water Marina
After a day in Alice Town and a night at anchorage in South Bimini, we headed further south and anchored at the infamous Gun Cay to seek shelter from the forecasted 25-knot east winds and to get further south for our crossing of the Banks to the Berry Islands.   I say infamous only because this is the same island that Mike anchored at with his family over 17 years ago during the night of THE STORM.  On their second night in the Bahamas after returning from clearing customs they anchored off of the east side Gun Cay.   As they arrived so did a horrendous storm with winds gusting above 70 knots that almost took the boat away!  Mike has told the story several times now; so I feel I can somewhat recap the aftermath.  The bimini and dodger had to be slashed as they were acting as sails pulling the boat precariously close to the lee shore.  The dinghy was cut loose and ended up on the rocks. The two anchors they had set out were tangled up and they were barely able get them back on the boat before being washed up on shore.   I’m not sure if this was a horrifying or exciting experience for Mike, but it’s a good story now, especially since everyone survived and so did the boat.

Some of the lobster we enjoyed at Gun Cay
So, why Mike felt he needed to return to this same spot, I’m not quite sure, except that it is beautiful, with white sandy beaches and a great location to snorkel and spear lobster.  We caught over 12 lobsters while anchored out there for two nights.  To get back to the story, though, that night, while we were protected from the east wind, we were not protected from the swells coming in from the Gulf Stream.  While at anchor, our boat was being backlashed by the large swells, which continued to increase in size.

By midnight, we were awakened by our boat rolling side to side and our gear crashing around the boat.  Even stuff that had been stowed was flying out of their spots and rolling around on the floor.  By 4am we couldn’t take it any longer and we moved the boat closer in, trying to escape the rolling that ensued.  We slept for another 3 hours, but the tragedy of it all was the morning to follow, when I found our i-Pad laying on the ground, the screen smashed to smithereens.  This was our main source of navigation and a $900 purchase!  Ugh.

Leaving Gun Cay to cross the Banks to the Berry Islands
Of course, we do have backup navigation systems; they are just not as fun and easy to use.  So after an hour of mourning for the i-Pad, we buried it in the chart table and pulled out the hand-held GPS and paper charts.  We were going to have to use our 2.5” GPS and charts to plot our course for crossing the Banks to the Berry Islands.  On a bright note, our boat was not in peril, nor were our lives, but our sleep was disturbed and unfortunately the i-Pad lost its life in this tragedy at Gun Cay. 
New navigation tools - paper charts

Lesson learned, non-skid does not keep stuff from falling off tables, do not trust it, especially in rolling situations.  Stowing your valuables is VERY IMPORTANT, even if it is not rolling out.  Note, going from a 10” I-pad touch screen to a small cursor screen, is a cruel reminder of what happens when you don’t properly stow away your gear or keep insurance on it.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

South Beach Miami

We spent 4 days anchored at South Beach Miami, waiting for a weather opening to cross into the Bahamas.  It was a surreal location, anchored outside such a huge city.  We enjoyed the downtown shopping strip known as Lincoln Rd (even though it was just window shopping) and watching the kite boarders on the beach.  We spent our last few days getting ready and last minute supplies before our BIG CROSSING to the Bahamas.
Sailing into Miami

Arriving in Miami at dusk

Anchorage for 3 nights at South Miami, waiting for weather to cross to the Bahamas

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Crossing

December 17, 2011 - Log Entry - The BIG DAY - Crossing into the Bahama
Hanging out the night before the BIG CROSSING!
0000 -  Bedtime, after last minute calls to family and stowing of gear and looking at charts and weather
0255 - Alarm goes off, ugh
0330 - Engine on, wake up Justin, say goodbye's, untie from his boat
0345 - Off to the Bahamas!!  Ballyhoo in tow (looking to catch dinner)
Life Harness on!  Safety First!
1000 - Fish On!  Not enough time to tighten the drag and it gets away with our lure, bait and all the new fishing line.  Mike sees it jump after it gets away and says it was a 4 foot Wahoo!  It leaves me a souvenir, burning my fingers on the line, ouch.
1100 - Fish On Again!  This time the other pole.  It turns out to be a 2 lb. black fin tuna that we reel in not even realizing it is there at first.  Unfortunately, we release it before discovering that it is an excellent eating fish.  Luckily our friends, Skip & Carol on Rapsody, caught a 40 lb. mackerel, so there will still be fish for dinner.
Mike with his black fin tuna
1130 - Another Fish On!  It's a Wahoo again, but it gets away, fortunately it doesn't take the lure and the line this time!
1200 - First sight of the ISLANDS!  It has been a great motor cruise across the Gulf Stream.  Very comfortable, not too rollie or choppy of a ride and NO SEASICKNESS.  Sun is out and Mike and I are lounging as the auto-pilot does all the work.
1245 - Mike hoists the yellow quarantine flag until we clear Customs in the Bahamas.  We are using Han's yellow shirt for the flag.
Mike hoisting the quarantine flag - Han's yellow shirt.
1330 - Enter channel into Bimini, crystal clear waters, can see the bottom as if you are looking through glass, cannot describe how beautiful it is!!
1400 - Arrive at Blue Water Marina.  Get help with dock lines and Mike goes in to clear Customs.
Tanqueray at the dock in Bimini at Blue Water Marina.
1600 - Walk into town, which is literally one one-lane road.  Visit beach on west shore.  Most beautiful beach and water that I have ever seen!

WE MADE IT!!!  Sun is out, water is beautiful, white sand on our feet, fresh fish for dinner, conch in the freezer and rum in our cups.  What the life!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nelly Chronicles Part 6 & 7

Nelly Chronicles Part 6 & 7
By "Daubie" Jim Daubenberger

At last I have a plan. I can't believe it has taken me so long, but finally I know how to get rid of the old one. Today while I was performing my mid morning meditation it suddenly came to me. I will use my "Cat Powers" to drive him from the boat. Every time he gets comfortable I will lay down across from him and give him the evil eye. It has worked for eons for my predessessors. No human can withstand for long the "cat eye". He will fold in no time, I predict. There will be no respite. Here he comes, I begin immediately.

Part 7
Well, I've done it at last, the evil old one has packed his bags and I have complete access to the back of the boat. I think I'll move in back there as soon as the stench of him is gone. His blankets are pretty comfortable, the best part is that I can sneak back where none can find me and if they leave the locker door open, I can escape to the outside.

Well, thank the great cat for smallis favors. The old one is out the door, but this has been the most miserable two days of the whole cruise. We have been safe and sound at the dock since yesterday morning and I have been locked away down below the whole time. My people have been off galavanting, they come back full of laughter and sunshine and I have spent my whole day, the sunset feeding time and the morning sunrise sitting on the top step with my nose pressed tight against the laxau watching those miserable, shiny black grackles land right in my cockpit and strut about as if they owned the place. I'm going crazy I have to get out there. I'm going to have grackle fricasse if I can just sneak past my guards.

There's also some big yachts out there that need exploring. And there's the rub. I think my people thinkk that the people on those yachts don't want me there. Or maybe they're just jealouse cause I can get on those big yachts and hang out. I'll bet some of those big yacht people would like a cat. They've got plenty of room for a big litter box - hmmm. Maybe I should move up,, wonder if I should go power or sail.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lake Sylvia

Yes, that is our sailboat, the one that looks like a dingy, on the right.  We rafted up to our friends, who were on a 45 foot ketch, named Even Song.  This was my first experience rafting up to another boat and it is a lot of fun being able to jump from boat to boat and not have to climb into a dingy, possibly get sprayed with salt water and/or get stuck out in the middle of the harbor with your outboard not starting (these have been some of our experiences so far!)  Nelly especially loved the extra space to explore and canvas to jump around on.  

Lake Sylvia is the free anchorage in Fort Lauderdale, a quiet escape from the busy city and mega yachts.  Here you can actually meet boaters on similar size boats as yourself.  We spent 2 weeks in Fort Lauderdale outfitting our boat for the Bahamas.  Boat life is a lot of fun, but it is not always fun and games, especially in the beginning!  So, if you think we are just relaxing in the warm 80 degree weather drinking gin & tonics (what other drink would we have, with a boat named Tanqueray!) with nothing to do, see the list that I've provided below of what we have done these past two weeks while at the dock in the Riviera.

1.  Bled the engine
2.  Installed new/working refrigeration
3.  Changed out all the inside lights with LED lights (energy conservation for our 2 small house load batteries)
4.  Installed an outdoor cockpit LED light
5.  Hooked up the auto-pilot
6.  Bought a spare anchor and anchor rode
7.  Strengthened the dingy davits
8.  Re-bedded multiple fittings
9.  Installed a new battery charger and inverter
10.  Fixed carburetor on dingy outboard
11.  Provisioned the boat with a year supply of food and supplies
12.  Stowed all the new supplies
13.  Bought several spare parts in case something breaks down in the Bahamas (i.e. fuel filters, oil filters, hose clamps, wire, hose, you name it, we have it!)
14.  Installed salt water pump (this is to help with conserving fresh water when doing dishes)
15.  Change fuel filter

So, don't feel too jealous of us just yet.  After Saturday when we cross into the Bahamas you can start feeling jealous!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


We've been in and out of several marina's and small port towns already and I keep getting asked the same question, "Are you a transient?"   I looked up the definition of transient and found the meaning to be:

  •  A.  a guest or boarder who stays only briefly

  • B.  a person traveling about usually in search of work

  • C.  a temporary oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load 
  • D.  a transient current or voltage

C and D are amusing to me, since I'm an electrical engineer by study and in my work/cubicle life, I run thermal & transient stability studies on the power system for the West Coast High Voltage Transmission System. 

But now, having taken the year off to sail the Intercoastal and down to the Bahamas and possibly beyond, "transient" has a new meaning.  I'm not in search of work, well, at least not yet, I am lucky to be on sabatacle and have my job back at the end of the year, but I am a guest or boarder who stays only briefly.  Wikipedia defines transient slightly different, "a term used to describe the wandering poor, better known as a homeless person, bum, hobo, etc.". 

This definition better fits Mike and I as we are definitely wandering and quickly working our way to being poor! A friend asked us the other day, "How do you tell the difference between a homeless person and a boater? A boater doesn't have greasy hair." Well, I'm sure going to make sure I wash my hair now! Both Mike and I are beginning to show signs of grease. Uh Oh!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Nelly Chronicles Part 5

The Nelly Chronicles Part 5
By "Daubie" Jim Daubenberger

These people are just not that easy to train. How many times do you think I'll have to crap on their bed before they learn to provide me full access to a clean litter box? I mean really how hard is it. They thought I would be satisfied to poop on a screen poised above the litter and I have to say I tried the arrangement and found it completely unsatisfactory. Then it got really stormy and the door to the room they call a "head", what's that all about, and locked me out of the litter box again. When a girls got the runs she needs access. Well, I jumped up into the forepeak, but before I could bury the evidence in that damn quilt I got busted. Everybody threw a fit of course, and I had to have a time out outside which was just fine with Me. So now we're stuck out in the anchorage with howling norther making waves against the current. It's a little rough this morning. I had to pee really bad and I let them know. I also refused to use that screen contraption they're so fond of. Finally they took it out and hallalooya, put my box out in the cockpit. Finally I'm getting them trained a little.

Rumor has it that the old gieser is leaving tomorrow. Well there's some good news. I'll have Mom & Dad all to myself. I vever trusted that old guy he was too weird. He was always giving my parents advise about cat related things. I think he's the one that suggested putting the screen in my litter box. Hell that's the only dirt on the whole damn boat and they cover it up with a screen just to make their lives a little easier. Well, I showed them, I turned their whole bedroom into a litter box.

It's a constant battle training these humans. First I become little miss b*@!*, then when they do what I want, I cozy up to them and purr a little. They'll get it eventually, just a little more training. It's exhausting work, but what else do I have to do, I'm a cat.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Imagine going to the supermarket, well, first imagine walking 2 miles to get there, and then proceeding to buy all the non-perishable food that you can think you'd possibly need or want for one years time. Well, I can tell you from personal experience that one shopping cart is not enough! Try more like 3 carts, full to the brim, and once they are organized and bagged it's more like 4 carts.

Five hours at the grocery store is, for most normal people, an unbearble amount of time to be buying food. We literally walked down every aisle and hoped that there would be enough cans of pears, dried fruit, tuna, salami, canned vegi's or pasta sauce in stock. You know you are from a 'Different World' (i.e. a boater), when you are pushing multiple grocery carts and people start staring at you like, "Is there some Apocolypse that I didn't hear about?". Well, that's what you call "Provisioning" your boat for a year sailing trip.

Then trying to figure out where you are going to fit all this food you just bought in your 32-foot boat that's already crammed with gear, clothes, spare parts, tools, that is the true test. We stowed the food under seats, in plastic bins in the aft cabin, in lockers and shelves and in little nooks and crannies that you wouldn't even know existed, all places that the food will not spill out when the boat is heeled over sailing.

Before our big provisioning excursion, I had been doing some of my own "market research" via other sailers. I asked them questions on the types of meals they cooked on their boat, what non-perishable foods they recommended, anything they wished they had brought more of and how they provisioned their boat in a place where food is not as easily accessible as in the U.S. nor as cheap. I got some great ideas from numerous people and Mike and I began writing out our Master shopping list.

Luckily, in my favor, I grew up with a mother who is an all time bargain shopper, spends hours in the grocery store and provisions her house on a weekly basis for the 'Apocolypse'. We never lacked on choices for cereal in the morning or food in the cupboards. So, with that notch in my belt, I did not miss a beat when we started buying everything on our list and more as we began filling cart after cart of food. Thank you Mom!

What I learned from this shopping extravaganza is that you can rest assured that Mike and I will be eating well this next year, even if it is from a can!!! We will be catching lots of fresh fish, lobster and conch to add to our provisions. If you like food, look for future meal descriptions and pictures in our Boat Food page.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Isle of Venice

If I was asked to describe Fort Lauderdale in one word, I'd have to choose "Venice". I never would have thought that would be the word of choice to describe a place in Florida, but it's true. Fort Lauderdale is an intricate system of canals, waterways and bridges that run up and down the whole city. Beautiful, multi-million dollar homes, yachts and sailboats line these canals, making it even more impressive!

We've been here now for over a week and have been staying at a small dock in one of the canals, where we've been able to work on repairs, outfit and provision our boat before crossing over to the Bahamas. The road leading here is named Isle of Venice (how fitting)!

It's an amazing location, sooo much better than an actual marina for many reasons. First, it's way cheaper, only $150 for the week and that includes the pools, bbq grill, shower and laundry facilities. Second, every single person at this dock is friendly, willing to offer a helping hand, and provide advice or spare parts to help us get ready for our voyage. Some are also heading South, others live on their boat, but will not be traveling this season, but all of them have great stories and advice and are fun to be around. And last but not least, we have some of the best hosts in all of Fort Lauderdale here (Justin & Will) who have taken us on countless trips to West Marine, let us use Port Supply (big savings), helped us with projects on the boat, driven us to the grocery store numerous times, and shared dinners with us in the evenings. Of all places to be preparing a boat, this is it! Plus we are not stuck out in an anchorage where I can not get to shore to go for a run and release some of my bottled up energy!

On a side note, my first experience running in Fort Lauderdale almost got me arrested! Only our second day here. We had anchored for two nights at Lake Sylvia and Mike and Justin were planning to take the dingy carburetor apart to try and diagnose it's problem, I decided to go for a run. So, I had Mike drop me off at a small bridge on the canal and I got off and ran for an hour. It was a great run, hot and humid, but it felt good to move my legs again after 5 days of traveling on a 32 foot boat and not much shore leave.
Anyways, I was waiting at my drop off point to be picked up and all of a sudden a cop car backed up with her lights on and began asking me for my name and information. I was a little confused, "Is it illegal to run in this town?". I gave her my name, well my maiden name, that's not really a lie, right? And she gave me a warning and went on her way.

In the meantime, I'm wondering if she's going to write me a ticket or take me in. I hope not, that would really ruin my day and my great run. I tell her I'm from out of town and didn't realize this was not a spot to get onto land, I just wanted to go for a run, geez! Finally, she rolls away and Mike returns on the dingy, which he had turned around when he saw the cop. What was he planning on doing? Let me get arrested? At least I could have called him for my one phone call! Thankfully I made it back to the boat, but it's nice to be at a dock slip now where I won't get arrested when trying to get onto land to run. Who would have known you could get in trouble by trying to stay in shape! Well, it was worth it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nelly Chronicles Part 3 & 4

Nelly Chronicles Part 3 & 4
by "Daubie" Jim Daubenberger

I need to go back and straighten out a little detail that I'm quite sure will be misinterpreted if others tell the tail. My people have been putting a lid on my "box" when they don't think I'll be needing it. If they're put off by it...just think how I feel. Anyway, the other night Mike put it in their "poopy bathroom" and closed the door, then he went to bed. The old guy, to his credit, suggested I might need to use it, but Mike said no problem, I could hold it for 12 hours.

Well, about 3am I had to go, I mean bad, so I went up forward and tried to wake my people. NOTHING. I pawed at Sara, I was getting frantic, finally I couldn't hold it any longer. While I was burying it in her blanket she woke up and told Mike I needed the "litter box". (Too late babe). He got up and set it up but the deed was done, or should I say the "peed" was done.

So they threw all thier bedding in the "cock pit" (still haven't seen that rooster) and moved into the bunk in the salon.

The old guy woke up an hour later, guess he had to pee too, and gave them one of his blankets, and that's why I got shore leave, cause they needed to do laundry.

Part 4
Okay, I've had it now!! Just when I was getting the hang of it and starting to feel ok about the the whole motor thing and the no land thing and the litter box that moves around and gets a lid on it half the time, just as I was beginning to get comfortable. They get up this morning, almost before daylight, clammer around banging about making all kinds of racket, start that infernal machine, which I have to tell you every damn time it starts I have to take a serious shit, and off we go again!

When I look out, I see that those other boats are all going down the channel we were in yesterday, but my people are going the other way. I try to point this out but they just laugh like they always do...isn't Nelly amusing. How condescending, and all the while the Idiots are going the wrong way.

Suddenly, the boat is moving very strangely. It's trying to fly, I think, and there's no land in front of us. This is not funny!! An hour later I can't see land anywhere, the lid is on my box cause, I took a big dump...and frankly I'm a little nervous. I think I'll eat something. I want to lay down but everything is moving. I have had it with this program. I should have stayed at home with Susy, she understands me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hello Fort Lauderdale

Poot, poot, poot, pshee....engine dies. Turn the key, poot, poot, pshee. Crap! We just went through our last bridge of the day, number 10, and are now in bustling downtown Fort Lauderdale, looking for a marina or anchorage to pull into, when our engine dies. Now we are looking for anywhere to drop an emergency anchor before we drift into one of these mega yachts cruising by us or get swept aground. Time is wasting, and that we do not have. We immediately hoist the jib to keep up some speed and control over our boat.

I'm thinking to myself, do I activate the SPOT emergency help message? Hmmm, how will my sister or Hans help us right now if they receive this Help message. I wish it connected directly to Seatow right now, so they would be at our side in the next few minutes.

Mike is dashing around the boat hoisting the jib and preparing the anchor, while in search of his Seatow card. I'm at the helm, maneuvering through the traffic and trying to get us to a reasonable location that Mike spotted on our charts, off the main channel of traffic where we can drop our anchor. We find the spot, what we later hear called "The Bermuda Triangle", to drop anchor, it's about 8 feet of water.

We've tried to re-start the engine a few times and realize it's not going to start. What went wrong? We couldn't possibly be out of diesel, we haven't been running the engine long enough, so we think. But I run the numbers and it's been 38 hours since our last fill up. That should give us at least 20 hours left of fuel, but we've been running it 500 rpm's faster and maybe we are burning through more fuel than usual. Yes, that is it. We've run her dry! And we've tried to re-start a few too many times, so now we have air in the fuel lines.

Next question, how to bleed the fuel lines? We use all our lifelines, watch Youtube videos, phone a friend, phone family, process of elimination...we still can't get it working. Luckily for us, Seatow shows up 2 hours later and tows us to a free anchorage. He says it's a good thing our anchor did not drag because just 100 yards behind us is such shallow water that people are walking around in waist deep water! Seatow says he's always towing people with no draft that have run aground here, hence the name "Bermuda triangle". That was a close one.

We arrive at the anchorage just a mile away with Seatow escort (how classy) and here we meet Justin, our neighbor, on a 42 foot ketch. He was in Fernandina on his grandfathers sailboat, Oba, in front of us at the dock a couple weeks ago and remembers our boat, so he comes over to say hi. We find out quickly that he's quite the handyman and he also just returned from the Bahamas a couple months ago from an 11-month trip. He says he'll stop by later that evening and help us bleed the lines. We also discover that Justin knows way more than just bleeding fuel lines and he's willing to help us while we are in Fort Lauderdale, teaching us Boat 101 Maintenance. How lucky are we?! He knows how to install a working refrigerator, get the good discounts, fix the holding tank, and fix a dinghy carburetor, just to name a few of his many skills! We are most likely staying in town for awhile now, in our free anchorage, at least until we learn as much as we can from Justin. What a nice guy. We will hopefully see him again in the Bahamas as he's on his way south again in January!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We set sail at 8am this morning and no longer than an hour into motoring, we stopped the engine, hoisted the sails and sailed 7 hours straight at a clipping 7.0 knot average. You are wondering how fast that is? Well, 1 knot equals 1.14 miles per hour, so that was a good 8 mph. I know that doesn't sound very fast, I mean, I could probably run that, but sailing at that speed on a 32 foot vessel, well, that is moving!

Plus, today is Thanksgiving day and we have not been to a grocery store in over 3 days and we are planning to cook our big meal today! Luckily before we left St. Augustine I had gone on a legendary grocery run (1.5 miles out), running there and trekking the way back with 50 lbs. of groceries that I had to balance between two bags, one which ripped along the way. Thankfully, Mike met me half way and helped carry the bags back, if it weren't for his help I would have had to leave more of the groceries behind, due to weight constraints on my carrying behalf (2 smashed bananas were, unfortunately, left behind).

Being Thanksgiving and all, we thought we would have a short travel day, giving us time to prepare the big meal, but that did not happen. We were on a beam reach! This is the best point of sail for any sailboat and we were not going to stop until dusk, even if it was Thanksgiving! We made a good 60 miles, plus Mike said it was a family tradition to go out sailing on Thanksgiving. So, at around 3pm, I thought it would be prudent to start prepping the food and at least put the turkey in the oven.

This was my first solo Thanksgiving meal preparation and I was a bit unsure how I was going to get it all together, especially given the fact that I was cooking in a galley (this is the boats kitchen and also means a 3x4 foot area, which leans at least 20 degrees at most times and usually is rocking and rolling, especially when you are trying to prepare food and consists of only one pot and one pan and a handful of miscellaneous kitchen utensils). Thank goodness for the oven gimbal (this is the hinge on the oven that allows you to cook at an angle when the boat is heeled over)!

I had the following ingredients to work with: 3 lb. frozen turkey, white potatoes and sweet potatoes, acorn squash, biscuits, green beans, pomegranate, and champagne.

What I made was a baked turkey breast rubbed with salt, pepper and indian curry cooked in our one cast iron pan along with diced acorn squash served with mashed potatoes, using lots of butter and evaporated milk from a can, baked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar, sautéed green beans with an olive oil, garlic, apple cider & soy sauce dressing, and bellini's, a pomegranate infused champagne.

The meal turned out great! Most food on a boat does taste great, even if it's not, it's kind of like camping, where all your food tastes 10 times better, same thing here. So I think it would have tasted great to the real world as well, but it was definitely satisfying to Mike and I. I'll post pictures of it soon. Bon Apetite!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The hairy armpit of Florida

Grandma Marilynn, Aunt Terri, Me

That's how my aunt Terri refers to Palatka, Florida. It use to be an old mill town, but once the mill shut down during the down turn of the economy, so did most of the town. We met Mike's cousin, Denise and John, for a couple hours in Palatka and had to go to the Quality Inn to get a cup of coffee! Sad.
Tyler, Me
My aunt, uncle and cousins live in Palatka, so Mike and I received the full 20 minute tour of town on ground and above. My cousin, Tyler, is a pilot and he flew us around Palatka and St. Augustine, where we saw our boat still anchored in the harbor. This was a relief!
View from plane of our boat just North of Bridge of the Lions in St. Augustine
It was our first time off the boat for the night and it's a little unnerving leaving the boat because you worry about it like a child! I know that sounds funny, but in the back of every sailors mind the questions arise, "Am I dragging anchor?", "Is the bilge filling with water and need to be pumped out?", "Did another boat drag anchor and hit me?", "Is the wind/current too strong?".

We had a great early Thanksgiving dinner with the family, then received our last haircuts for potentially a long while, from my cousin Holli. Afterwards we rushed back to St. Augustine marina to catch the last water taxi back to our boat. Whew, we made it and all was okay with the boat and the cat!
Holli, Bailee, Me, Rylee