Monday, January 28, 2013


    Sorry it's been a while since my last blog entry.....It's hard to post a lot about our "adventure" when we haven't yet left the dock!

Thanks PAT- for the send -off party!
To catch up, I retired in September from 35 years working as a Registered Nurse. After all those years, it was actually a sort of shock to my system - but once I got used to the idea of having little driving reason to awake each morning - I actually was able to realize how lucky I was to be able to retire! It's a very different way of life and it causes me to see myself in some ways that I fear delving into - like - I'm not really the "self-starter" I thought I was! But I am trying to be as productive as I can be without a boss directing my actions.    

............Whoa! What did I say? I forgot - I have a "Captain" and if I start to slack, the Captain cracks the whip and reminds me of our mutual goal and how much I need to do on my part to get us there. Thank goodness for my Captain! He does it all with the diplomacy and geniality of a well raised Brit!

So, what I have been doing daily is - readying our little ship for our voyage. This has been somewhat stressful for me, as #1- I’m not used to spending lots of $$$ on food, and #2 - It's a challenge stowing 3 months worth of provisions - with the hope that I will later know exactly where those f*%#ing canned peas are!

Where to put it all?!
    So provisioning is my job - and cooking- cleaning - laundry we both share - - And then -because Richard is so proficient at ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to do with our boat Partners - balancing the boat maintenance with me becomes inequitable - so I have my parts to maintain - Cleaning the teak interior - walls, floors - I polish all the Stainless (there's a lot!) and wash all the windows (they get dirty daily - but I'm not doing it daily) - assist the Captain with his projects-many take 2 people - or like a nurse assisting a doctor - I hand things to the expert - so he can get the job done easier; clean the life rings (they get dirty outside) and reading chart books and manuals to familiarize myself with the workings of the boat, as well as taking on-line seamanship courses for "rules of the road" and places I want to visit. Don't underestimate this last thing - the amount of information available is ENORMOUS and the more you read the more you want to research and read more!  

    My family members are concerned about WHEN we're leaving - WHERE we're going - HOW will they be able to get in touch with us - none of them being familiar with long-tem cruising. How can I tell them anything, when I'm not really sure myself?! once I realize - even I'm not familiar with long-term cruising - I've never done it before! But I know it will all unfold and we are both so excited to start the journey....

Pilot House Re-Do
    We have done many things to the boat to get her ready. We installed a Wi-Fi system via a Wirie Antenna to pick up a signal farther offshore; we had privacy screens made for our pilothouse windows and a Bimini canvas top made for our flying bridge - so that we can pilot the boat from up high to see the bottom of that clear Bahamian water! Richard made a "lookie bucket" glass-bottomed bucket so we can check the anchor without diving in! We replaced, cleaned and polished a myriad of dials and equipment, I sewed my bedspread to fit the contours of our tiny master bed - it's now much easier to make up neatly! I had the Pilot bench cushions reupholstered in a pretty tan ultrasuede, and gave myself an aching back after 5 days of re-painting and wallpapering our Pilot House. We installed a new Simrad autopilot and upgraded our navigation charts, got an AIS (which is an electronic for showing us all the other boats near us to prevent collisions) I bought tons of lock n lock containers to store all the things that normally come in boxes (pasta, cereal, sugar, flour, rices, etc) boxes and their glue attract bugs and cockroaches - Yuck! - Don't want them! Then I did a first run provisioning (food in the islands can be very expensive). Richard got a full run through of the engine maintenance from a professional who spent the day aboard training him (that's as much as I know about that!) We moved our dinghy up to the flying bridge and sold the rear davits in one day on Craig’s List. We gave her a good cleaning and bought a new 20 hp Tohatsu 4-stroke engine and she’s ready to take us exploring all the islands and to shore for supplies wherever we travel. We installed a hoist on our boom – the part of the mast that lifts the dinghy. Before that we had to do that by hand pulling all the ropes – so this is a big help for us! We sold Richard’s car and mine (mine being on the last legs of life anyway!) and added 400 feet of chain to our anchor (670lbs!) - And so much more that I can't even remember! But the days have been full, readying for the Big Event. When and where are the hard parts. We hope to cruise to the Bahamas to start and then on to the Caribbean. 

Our new Bimini!

    Installing our new autopilot became a sort of a nightmare project for us, because they couldn’t seem to complete the job. We can't leave until we have a shakedown cruise and get the autopilot compass gyro working correctly. Jim – our technician (a really patient man!) –is so busy – he can’t return until the first week of February!  So - I worry - and Richard gets upset that I do - because this is just the way of an older boat - no biggie. 

    Meanwhile, my daughter and her husband from Raleigh visited after Christmas and my granddaughter Grace came too - so we had one last time to be together before we cast off. Originally we tried to set the goal for Christmas in the Bahamas - but that didn’t happen, so I'm glad that we could be with family and good friends instead. After all – that’s what it’s all about anyway. 

     So this is a long “catch up” post but I will try to keep up the writing – as we are so close to leaving now and much is unfolding! Follow us in our adventure, and maybe you will find that this boating lifestyle is for you too!


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