Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Exhumas

We landed in Bimini and got our paper work from customs.The dock we stayed at was a home to 5 foot Tarpon and 8 foot Barracuda.From there we left to the Berries and stayed at the east side of Chub Key Island.We went ashore to see a wrecked house and took a short walk and until we reached the jungle. As for the locals we only met one friendly Bahamian who directed us to a great coral reef and valuable information on how to catch Lobsters.

We then crossed to Nassau and though we didn’t get out of the boat as we were just transiting through, we were able to see Paradise Hotel.Then we went to the the Exuma Islands  where we met the docile Allan Cay Iguanas who will run up to you seeing if you will feed them.

We went spearfishing but there are thousands of beginners who are better at it then so I scared more fish then actually hit them. But Dad is a lot better at it then me and he nearly had a huge fish but it dove under the reef and we couldn’t reach it.

After that we went to Normans Cay and saw a huge sunken plane, it is said that at one point this Cay was overrun by drug lords and this plane was used to transport drugs around the island before it met its demise in this piece of paradise...Then we went to the beach and walked along the beach and climbed up the rocks and the saw the jurassic park like forest below. 

Later we took it easy and watched a movie. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bimini, Bahamas

We crossed the Gulf Stream!
Actually it was quite uneventful as the wind completely died out and the stream was almost completely flat.
Phyllis, in anticipation of a rough passage drugged herself and slept throughout most of the voyage which was too bad as this was the one time that offshore sailing (motoring) was very calm.
We have cleared the Bahamian customs with no issues and got our BTC mobile SIM card so that we can have more internet options.
We topped off with fuel and moved to the north east shore of Bimini island where the kids and I spend a couple of hours in the water collecting conch and learning how to spearfish. The winds are going to be still light out of the north tomorrow so we will make a run for the Berry islands (about 80 miles). We will be leaving around midnight so that we can arrive during a daylight.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Miami Beach living

We have been a bit quiet the last few days. It has not been because we don't have what to report, we just have been so busy with boat projects, school work, ordering last minute parts and provisioning, that the boat has not moved the last 4 days. One of the major projects that we accomplished was purchasing and adding more solar panels to our array. After a few days out cruising, it became apparent that we have battery charging issue and are simply not replenishing the used up amps back to the battery. We kept taking steps of minimizing usage, we stopped using the Engels portable freezer, and watched battery usage, but that was not enough. I have discovered that only one of my two alternators was working, so I replaced the alternators on the engine, but they charge only when we run the engines which we don't want to do unless we are actually going somewhere. Second discovery was that my battery charger only charges at 10 amps and it was taking just too long time to try and charge the batteries by running the generator and charging at 10 Ah. So I purchased additional 40Ah battery charger so now we can charge the batteries at 50Ah which is much faster. Here in Miami is a company "Sun Electrics" which probably sells the cheapest solar panels in the USA, so for two days I kept measuring and remeasuring my bimini area and finally bought two more large panels. We spent last two days drilling and cutting and wiring everything together. Well it looks like Friday is looking promising for crossing to the Bahamas. Keep your finger crossed and hopefully the next post will be from outside of USA!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Boca Chita Key

Boca Chita Key

We were at Boca Chita until Wednesday morning, our plan on Wednesday was to go explore the other islands in the Biscayne Bay. We had set our eyes on Elliot’s key a couple of miles away. So on Tuesday morning we took off, it was such  a pleasant morning. It was sad to leave Boca Chita because it was so convenient for us to be able to just jump out of the boat on to dry land and have the kids run around. So we untied the lines and  started our sail to Elliot’s key. 

The sailing was going fine the water looked very pretty, green…you could see the bottom…suddenly, Anthony said he thought we hit something…his dad said he didn’t think so but on further inspection we found  we had ran aground; oh boy! This was no good, well, we thought of different ways we could get ourselves out but to our dismay the tide was going out so fast and the water level was lowering too fast for us to be able to get ourselves out. We tried to pull the boat with the dingy, no couldn’t do, we tried moving our small anchor to deeper water and tried to provide stability that way, nothing! didn’t work. We tried everything imaginable nothing worked. 

While we were trying everything to get our boat out, our buddy boat Lady J spotted us and immediately realized that we had ran aground. They beckoned us on the radio asking if we needed help…They were gracious and turned around to help us so they returned to Boca Chita and tied up to the boat ramp and John the  boat captain came to our aid. Mirek and John tried to push our boat with the dingies but that didn’t work. So it was decided that we off load the diesel and the water and any other heavy stuff we had on board that was weighing down the boat so that it could become buoyant again once the tide came up. So we loaded some things on John’s dingy and our dingy and took them back to Boca Chita. In the meantime, we decided that the 100 gallons of water were weighing the boat down so we decided to lighten the boat by using some of the water to clean the boat(the irony of it LOL water is very precious on a boat) We decided that if we were going to wait for the tide to rise we were going to clean the boat. Salt water makes the boat sticky and it is not good for the long term condition of the boat. 

So we washed the boat, cleaned it till it sparkled; Did I mention that we were grounded for a loooong time? At about 3PM however,the tide started to come  and water level started to rise…We could feel the boat starting to rise and it was bouncing more and more and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be loose. So at about 5PM we safely made our way back to the Boca Chita dock, happy that we had not made any holes on the boat and that all crew was  accounted for. We spent a lovely evening at Boca Chita even though everyone wished we could have been able to make it to Elliot’s key. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bienvenido a Miami

We did it. The winds were 20 - 25 knots and clocking and for the next week it was supposed to be blowing from the east developing 8 ft waves with interval of 5 seconds apart. That is not comfortable sailing. Every morning the weather would calm down a little bit so we devised a series of plans. We got up before 5am and motored the rest of the way (about 26 miles) to Ft. Lauderdale. It's interesting to see the luxury yachts that people have docket in front of their even more expensive homes there. By 11am we reached the Ft. Lauderdale channel and decided to go for it. It was either a 3 hours of bad seas or a week spent in Ft. Lauderdale on anchor. I would have to rent a car and drive to Miami to pick up spare parts that were already waiting for me there. We decided just to go outside. Well, it was rough! We put 2 reefs into our main and just kept looking how much longer we have to go before we get to Miami. Finally we reached the Miami Governor's cut (the main channel) and we tucked ourselves into the Biscane bay. So here we are - in Miami. The first leg of our trip is complete. Now we will have to wait - perhaps more than a week - for the weather to cooperate and calm down so that we can make the crossing to the Bahamas. As I type this we are tied to a free dock in Boca Chita Key (a little island south of Miami) and everyone is having great time. It's time to get more boat projects done!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sunny Southern Florida!

We are currently anchored South of the Lantana bridge in Palm Beach after sailing for about 40NM, the thought had crossed our minds to sail offshore but after yesterday’s misery we decided against it. 

We woke up pretty early today, funny because when we were docked at OYCM(Ortega Yacht Club Marina) no one woke up early. Now, that has changed, since we are not staying late, latest we’ve been up has been till  9PM, yesterday Anthony was sleeping by 8:30PM. The other day I found Anthony up at 5:30am, sitting in the dark wondering what to do LOL…I kidded with him that he should wake up and start working on his math instead of twiddling  his thumbs lol but I just got a blank stare (oh well) he’ll just have to live and learn that the early bird catches the worm or that if he gets an early start with school work he has a much longer day to have lots of fun. 

We did a bit of school today, it was not fun, it was difficult to engage the kids….Jordan’s interest in school was like at -1, if there is such a level of interest. Anthony was so so…I have to review his work and see what he did today.  How to motivate the kids is a challenge for me but I hope I will be able to get ideas otherwise this is not going to be fun for anyone aboard Galaxy; feel free to give ideas:))) 

Today we travelled with a Canadian boat called Dartagnan and are anchored together by the bridge. It is almost dinner time as I type this blog entry and Anthony is making us some hot dogs for dinner as am too lazy to make something elaborate. Maybe the crews luck may change tomorrow and I will make something amazing for dinner:)))….One can only hope LOL! 

Surfing the waves

We are on the move again.
We left Vero Beach around noon right after Fedex delivered us some packages. The weather forecast was 15-20 knots with 3-5 ft waves. We decided to go offshore to do some downwind sailing. The only problem was that the actual weather was 20-30 of wind with waves 5-9 feet. We were for a sleigh ride. We put one reef in the main sail and no jib and the boat took off. We would frequently see Galaxy doing 12 knots surfing the waves. The wind generator was not able to handle all of that wind and one blade broke. Some pictures from the trip below.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanks giving!

Yesterday we made a short run to Vero Beach about 35NM (nuatical miles) where we are tied to a mooring ball.  It was quite windy on our way here we saw 35 knots of wind We even managed to put up the sails and our boat got up to 9 knots which is not bad at all...

When we came in we tied up at the station and got some water, we did not fill up with diesel as we still have half a tank and more diesel in our jars. There are washers and driers so maybe we may wash some clothes here. There is also a small club house conveniently located close to where the bus stops so you could just sit inside and watch for the bus; which worked really well yesterday because it was so chili and we needed to wait for the bus to go to Publix.

After tying to a mooring ball we  took a bus (they have free shuttles to various places)which is very convenient for us now that we don't have a car. We made our way to publix and to to TJMaxx, it was nice to get back on land after 3 days of being on water.

Today we woke up to a lovely yellow sun shining through and warming us up after a chili night. We are still at Vero Beach on a mooring ball, this marina is a quiet place, no wonder no one wants to leave.

 Someone at the marina organized a potluck....we probably will stay on the boat and have a Chowaniok style thanks giving dinner. The kids are out on the kayak, they are taking turns as we  only have one kayak. In the morning, Anthony and Jordan put the trash in the dingy and took it to the trash bin....Right now we are working on small projects on the boat.

Happy thanksgiving to all

view slideshow

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When it rains it pours!

 So last evening we arrived in Daytona after 58NM(nautical miles),  the sail to Daytona was beautiful I'd border on saying it was purrfect! Fast forward to today our 3rd day South and its like night and day compared to yesterday. Wow! We woke up early(6am) after going to bed at 9PM  everyone woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for the day. We didn't waste any time we fired up the engines and took off toward Cocoa Beach our intended destination. Boy! Did it rain or did it rain? It has been cloudy and rainy the whole day, lucky for us we have been able to stay ahead of the heavy front and have not been hit by any heavy rains or terribly bad weather but I tell you, it's like the sun just disappeared!

The boat has behaved itself today and so has the crew, it was so funny though today when Jordan logged into google and it actually took and then a second later something popped up on the screen and said internet was not available, you should have seen his face.. poor thing, I think he thinks its just a today thing, he doesn't quite understand that internet is going to become less and less available especially for watching Youtube videos and such...Right now we are watching the Incredible Hulk and will soon head to bed.

We are grateful we are here, anchored and safe and therefore bid you good night and leave you with this weighty words, "keep calm and chive on."

Monday, November 24, 2014

St. Augustine to Daytona

Today was a beautiful day. The sun was out the whole day but we had strong breeze directly from the south (which is the direction we are going), so we motored all day down the ditch (the ICW). Since yesterday, another boat called "Proud Mary" came behind us and stayed with us all day yesterday (anchored next to us) and all day today. Let's see if they attach themselves to us again tomorrow.

So we were exactly 1 day without any boat projects and before we started opening our spare parts bins and rummaging for parts. One of our engine started reporting that the alternator is not charging (It sometimes does that) and it would always go away when you wiggle some wires on the alternator (yeah I know - quite the remedy) - so after it started beeping in the morning I decided to "fix" it once and for all. (by cleaning the wire connectors). As I was tightening the last wire my wrench touched and shorted the circuit which was enough to instantly fry a couple of relays and send the rest of the electronics into a complete chaos. Long story short, I can start the engine now (with new relays) but everything else is not working (glow plugs seem to be toast, engine instruments are not responsive . . . ) It it going to take me some time to figure it all out. (But at least we can get the engine started!
Anyway, by now, everyone got into their routine. Only Jordan is not very happy that we are still not yet in the Bahamas and keeps asking several times a day how much longer we need to go.

Here are some pictures from today

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Anchors Away!

So finally the day has arrived….as most of you know we have been  hoping to travel for a while and while it has taken longer for that day to arrive it did arrive TODAY yay! 

Today, the crew of sailing vessel Galaxy  Mirek,  Phyllis and two deck hands Anthony and Jordan  untied from the docks of Ortega Yacht Club Marina a place we have called home for almost 2 years. Wow! I don’t think there are words to express the emotions, or thoughts that were felt today.  It was wonderful to finally leave but at the same time it was quite sad to leave behind so many people we have come to love and enjoy being around. Where can I start, the people of OYCM(Ortega Yacht Club Marina) are our friends, they have collectively helped to raise two outstanding young men, they have shared their ideas, fixed our boat(for days and days on end) and have been there helping us to send us away(lovingly send us away). We are thankful for all of you…

We are grateful also to our CC (Classical Conversations) family for helping us figure out this homeschooling thing, we are not there yet but we have a great foundation and it will help our kids stay educated and have a foundation to build on…Even though we will be off site I know we will continue sharing wonderful ideas.

We definitely cannot forget our Southpoint Community church family, we will miss you terribly but we thank you for laying a wonderful  foundation for all of us and we look forward to staying connected. 

Last but not least, our families scattered all over the world, we hold you so dear and near to our hearts, we know that you will be praying for us and will be waiting  eagerly for a phone call or a message from us. Thank you for supporting us we love you. 

Most of you have asked  where we are going or how long we will be gone…Well….we do not know how long we will be gone or how far we will be go.

Today we caught an outgoing tide and sailed down the St. John’s river. Then turned south via ICW and are currently safely anchored on Pine Island for the night.