Thursday, August 29, 2019


According to Google Earth I am presently sitting - as the crow flies - 875 miles from where Kintala sits on stands, strapped to big concrete blocks, and stripped of pretty much everything on her decks. That’s what we do when a hurricane is inbound though, in this case, we had to pay for someone to do it for us. Eight hundred and seventy five miles is a bit far for the commute back and forth to the job. We contemplated Deb renting a car and driving to FL to get the boat ready for its latest dance with possible 100+ m/p/h winds, but I was against the idea for many reasons. The first is I just didn’t want her driving toward a storm when all the smart money was driving away. No boat is worth getting hurt over. By the time she got there, got the boat prepped, and got the hell out of dodge, Dorian would be hard on her heels; hers and about a million other people trying to get out of the way of an inbound Major Hurricane. We’ve done that already with Irma and Florence, (for Michael we stayed in a nearby hotel but still off the boat). Such trips can put a damper on one’s mood that lasts for months and bash a serious dent in one’s bank account. It was less expensive to pay someone else to do the job for us. Staying out of Florida for the next few weeks is a good idea as well.

Dorian AS OF 8-29-19
Kintala will survive or not, we have done everything that is in our hands to do. But Daughter Eldest and Family are also in the strike zone, living on a dock in Stuart FL. They don’t have the choice of pulling the boat. All they can do is prep it, tie it to within an inch of its life, and get the hell out of dodge themselves. The problem is that no one is sure yet which way is the way to run. Some of the tracks have the storm hitting mid-state and turning north. In which case running north would be silly, the storm eventually chasing them down wherever it is they end up seeking refuge. (Another reality we learned with Irma.) Other tracks have the storm hitting the south part of the state and crossing over into the Gulf. In which case running south would be even sillier. The storm would simply run over whatever hotel one had chosen in which to cower in place, and likely still strong enough to offer a good pasting to those who choose poorly. So they prep and wait for the last minute starting gun on which way to run. Them, and about a million other people who may also be trying to get out of the way.

And I thought living in MO would take the worry out of hurricanes. Tornadoes, floods, and some of the world’s craziest drivers? Those are things that can, and will, make for some tense moments. But hurricanes? I was hopping to be done worrying about hurricanes, at least for as long as we remain on shore. Instead we will wait out the week with the same uncertainty that has visited us on four different occasions; Joaquin, Irma, Michael, and Florence. We worried about Hermine for less than a day. Born out of a small batch of storms out in the Gulf, it was given ZERO chance of becoming a hurricane. It did so anyway, landed on us while we were tied to the dock in Snead Island, and dropped a small tornado which tore the mast off a boat sitting just a hundred feet or so off our bow. All that happened in about 24 hours.

When we go back on the water, being far north when the hurricanes come, and far south when the nor’easter’s blow, will be the only schedule we plan to keep. It is also a prime reason for looking at a trawler to replace Kintala. (Assuming Kintala will still be an option come next week.) Being able to move at a constant 6 or 8 knots, making 80 to 100 miles in an easy-to-live-with day (even on the ICW), dry when it rains, warm when it's cold, and maybe even cool when the temp is in triple digits? I am starting to wonder if those are not as important to keeping the suck factor down and the fun factor up as having EPRBS, life vests, and an AIS on board.

Throwback Thursday - Favorite Places Series - Green Turtle Cay

Wandering and wondering

After just 2 nights in Manjack we made a nice little sail to take a mooring ball in the Black Sound side of Green Turtle Cay. A forecast for just a little bit of weather bringing west winds prodded us to bail. When the inbound weather turned up carrying more wind and rain than expected, we decided it was a pretty good move.

Gillum Bay on the Atlantic side of Green Turtle Cay

Green Turtle Cay is another one of our favorite places, the little town of New Plymouth being the quintessential Bahamian burgh. There are a couple of little stores that are well stocked. (We found milk, veggies, and ice-cream all in one store!) It is also a better place to be than on anchor if a boat project doesn't go as planned. A nice “plan B” since we had a couple of small issues to address.

A walk on the beach with our friends Lesley and Hartley from S/V ATSA

A pin hole leak has appeared in the engine exhaust, a patch and clamp should see us back to the States without a hitch. The old GPS that gives our AIS its position information refused to power up. Taking it apart uncovered a spot of corrosion on the power switch inside. It seems to be working now, which is a good thing. Night runs without the AIS can get spooky. The big concern was the water pump leak, which was definitely getting worse. A new seal in the old pump and the old pump installed in place of the new looks to have that problem solved. It appeared that the drive pulley was brushing against the front seal just enough to cause the leak, so please forget everything I said about Jabsco pumps and water leaks. We also tightened up the staysail halyard and life lines, and cleaned at least two layers of grime off the hull.

The ever present single flip flop
When not working on the boat we spend time in town. As is our normal experience in the Abaco Islands the people are open, friendly, and curious. Much to my surprise I discovered they are having their own election, but no one seems to talk about it much. Government here, it seems, has no need to be the center of attention of every news cycle. They don't tweet, spend a lot of money on TV advertising, and don't seem to stoop to the gutter politics that Americans respond to with such enthusiasm. Virtually every Bahamian national we have talked with finds that to be both a puzzle and a disappointment. They want to think better of us, but we are not making it easy. The Customs Agent who checked us in put it this way, "You guys are really embarrassing yourselves."

Beautiful plants and pine needle carpet on the path to another bay
We Americans like to think of ourselves as a good people, better even, than pretty much everyone else on the planet. But we flock to the atrocious, deeply flawed, and petty for leadership; as if the quality of someone's character is utterly irrelevant to the kind of leadership they will provide. This calls into question the quality of our own character, since we find these people acceptable. Well, some of us anyway. There is good reason to think that most of us know better, and tried to avoid having the current resident move into the White House.

Unfortunately the “some” who went the other way may be too many. After all, sometimes, when a person dies, most of their body's functions are still working fine. Its just the lungs that fail, or the kidneys, one little valve in the heart goes bad, or a tiny bit of blood leaks into the brain. Perhaps a few bacteria invade through a minuscule cut  on a finger or toe. In any case something small starts a cascade of failures, and brings about the demise of an otherwise healthy being.

From woods to brilliant turquoise water
It might be that America's body politic will survive this current fever, and I find it easier to be a bit more optimistic from this side of the Gulf Stream. We are among some of the most beautiful islands on the planet, islands filled with folks just going about their business without drama queen theatrics. Most days the sun sparkles on clean water. Both sunrises (of which I see few) and sun sets (those I normally catch) are spectacular reminders of just how much wonder fills this little corner of the cosmos. This is a place that overwhelms huge egos without effort, marking American's latest dalliance with authoritarianism and hubris as childish, petty, and (frankly) pathetic. But there is some hope that this current disease will not overwhelm all of our systems. If we are lucky our body politic will heal and, in the process, pick up a few anti-bodies to help fight off  future infections with similar DNA.

Just in case you get lost on your walk...
In the mean time Kintala pokes her bow in here and there, stops for a few days to hide from some weather or to hang out in a pretty place for a few extra days. Jumping through the Whale will be next, making our way into the southern part of the Abaco Islands. It has been a while since we visited Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbor, and it will be good, healthy even, to see them again.

While not a spectacular photo, it's an important one. It's the last photo that my Fuji S1500 will ever take (after many years of faithful service in the harsh marine environment). I tripped coming into the cockpit after taking it and dropped the camera on the cockpit floor. It was old and needed replaced, it had glue and screws holding it together, but I've lost a good friend.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Favorite Places Series - No Name Harbor and Bill Baggs State Park

Continuing with remembering the best places we've been, No Name Harbor is one of our favorites. I know a lot of people don't like it there because it's so crowded, but we just love to find our anchor spot in the middle of the week and then just wait for the party to start. We think often of the harbor with fondness. Part of the harbor charm is the access to Bill Baggs State Park, so I've included two posts here that cover both the features.

No Name Harbor Pics and Vids

 Since we're leaving for the Bahamas in the morning I thought I'd use up some of our data to give you full size pics from the last two days and a video. Enjoy!

Miami in the rear view mirror after leaving the Miami Marine Stadium

The little kid sailing class. It was howling 24 kts and these little kids were out in the middle of Biscayne Bay

We tacked back and forth across this charter Beneteau Sense 55. Tim was in love.

The Key Biscayne Yacht Club had their annual gala today. The boats were rafted up 5 deep on the wall at some point.

In all the times we've come to No-Name this is the first time we ever tied up to the wall for a day.

More party pics
Instead of the view from my galley window in a picture, tonight you get a video. 

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Walkabout

The main reason that we went into No-Name Harbor yesterday was so we could take a hike down to the lighthouse here in the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park without worrying about the boat being by itself on the outside. We got up early and headed down the well-shaded walkway along the shore and I have to tell you that this was one of the neatest places we've been to yet. I'm going to let the pictures tell you the story, but if you're interested in learning more about the history of the lighthouse (which is fascinating) you can check out the Wikepedia article on it.

There's wildlife all over the park. I happened to catch this fisherman just as a wave broke on the rocks below him.

The park is extremely well maintained and clean. There are a string of solid concrete fishing piers along the shoreline and picnic areas all around with charcoal grills and clean bathroomsThe place was pretty much wiped off the map by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 so a lot of the stuff is pretty new, including most of the trees. There used to be some non-native pines here but they were all destroyed by Andrew and replaced with native vegetation.

We're nuts about reading history signs. If you don't like them, just ignore. From the point at the South end of Key Biscayne you can see Stiltsville, a group of homes and businesses built on stilts way out in the water during prohibition so that their owners could gamble and drink. You got to love American creativity.

The lighthouse has been restored on several occasions. Some of the removed parts are on display at the entrance to the lighthouse part of the park.

The walkway to the lighthouse

The lightkeeper's house. No air conditioning back then, and mosquitos that look like something out of Star Trek. They had to sleep under heavy blankets even in the summertime just to keep them from biting. No screens back then either.