Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Saturday, March 28, 2015

We Are Not In Panama......

Last weekend we were given a great going away party by some of our friends in Cozumel...  Leaving is, without a doubt bitter/sweet...  We will miss you all so much..












We left Cozumel on Monday, March 23rd at 14:30 (2:30pm) and intended to travel to Panama via La Providentia and perhaps San Andreas, with an overnight stop at Swan Island (owned by Honduras but uninhabited, except by 6 navy guys).
Shelley at the helm...

Our NEW outriggers!
Our first catch off the new outrigger!

beautiful sunsets


As we passed the southern tip of Cozumel we knew things weren't going to be easy, as the wind was 15-20 knots out of the SSE....  the very direction we wanted to go....  We went on long tacks windward until midnight, the decided that with a 3 knot current also against us, this plan would take till Christmas to get anywhere....  We decided to pull in the jib and motorsail with the main & mizzen close hauled... At least we were going in he right general direction now....

Twenty-two hours later we began to hear a "chirping" noise from the freshwater pump on the engine... Instead on shutting down, we decided it wasn't too bad and we could continue on and monitor things closely....  About 6 hours later we knew we were in real (motor) trouble, as the bearing was completely gone and was destroying the pulley cover....

We shut the engine down and I spent about 4 hours replacing the water pump (we had a spare)... however the pulley cover was so damaged we could no longer run the engine...

At this juncture, we decided that since the wind was still SSE, we needed a new plan.  La Providentia was not the kind of place where we thought we could get replacement parts, and getting to Panama (another 800 nautical miles) was risky with no engine....

We looked at what countries were a beam reach or better so we could sail all the way and flipped a coin between Grand Cayman Island (expensive) and Roatan, Honduras (Cheap)....

Roatan it was, and all  day Wednesday we sailed at 6-7 knots with a sweet 15-20 knots of wind right on our beam.... During the day I spent about 6 hours building a spacer that might make the messed up pulley cover work with the new water pump....  It worked! But by now we were well on our way to Roatan and we are still not sure how long my "McGiver" fix was going to last... As night fell we anticipated arriving on Thursday morning sometime.  We shortened all our sails anticipating the stronger winds predicted in our morning forecast....  Around 22:00 I went to bed and was woken by a bouncing boat at midnight.  When I asked Shelley what the wind speed was she reported that the meter was reading 10 knots, with gusts to 12....  But she was a little suspicious it was broken....  when we measured the wind on our hand held wind meter, we confirmed our suspicions that the wing indicator on the boat was on the fritz....  The wind was blowing 25-30 with stronger gusts!

We scrambled and dropped the mizzen and almost completely furled the jib... We seemed OK, so Shelley went off watch.  An hour later I saw a Cruise boat northbound on our AIS.  I radioed them for updated weather and he told me the wind was steady 40's with gust to 45!

I rolled up the rest of the jib and put the second reef in the main....  Just after this we got knocked down for the first time... Everything from the port side, including our books, spare sails and folding bike (all bungied down) flew across the boat...  Shelley was tossed out of bed and we did our best to tidy up...  While we were tidying up we considered heaving too, but decided to press on...

With Shelley now up, I tried to catch an hours sleep, but wasn't down an hour when we got knocked down for the second time!  Everything that flew before went again, and this time all my tools went flying as well.... This time we didn't tidy up....  Our reasoning was that if everything was already on the floor it could fall any farther....

A few hours later dawn came along with less wind...  In the last few hours before we reached Roatan, we put back everything that flew, and made notes about how to improve our tie down system.  We went back to full sails and entered Roatan under sunny skies and 15 - 20 knot winds...

After we arrived at Fantasy Island Resort, we were warmly greeted and settled in.  A local agent charged us $40 and took care of ALL our Immigration and Customs... All we had to do was sleep on the boat....

It is now Saturday and our life is back to normal... The boat is getting cleaned up and we are loving this beautiful country...  Following are a few photos from the last few days...

Our new home....

lots of critters


A beautiful pool

Our back yard....
Our sideyard  and relaxing spot for the month

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sorry, Its Been a While....

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We have been sadly reticent in our blogging over the last few weeks..... I could share a litany of excuses, but the truth is we have been really busy having fun....

Our friends, Mike & Margaret have taken some time off the island, so Shelley and I have been house sitting and helping out where we can at the dive shop....  We are now ready to move on from Cozumel.  On Monday we plan to finish our paperwork and leave Cozumel and then head for the Poco del Torros region of Panama....

On a sad note, we fried our SSB radio which was going to leave us stranded.  We use our SSB to communicate at sea, so it is a vital piece of offshore equipment.  After we discovered that the radio was sick, we found a service center in Florida, but had to somehow get it there.... Fortunately, Mike & Margaret were going to Florida and so we thought this should work out really well.....  So we thought...  The service center is located in Tallahassee Florida in northern Florida and they were flying into Fort Lauderdale, so they sent it via Fed Ex overnight with "priority" next day delivery before 8:30am.  

The next morning we called the repair place to learn the radio did not arrive!  After getting the runaround on the phone from Cozumel to USA, we learned that the idiots sent it from Fort Lauderdale to Memphis Tennessee in a snowstorm, where it got delayed with NO APOLOGY or compensation.....  Did I mention they charged us $148.00!!!!!!!! for an 11 pound small box...  In the end, it arrived on Monday (3 days later) and was quickly repaired but missed its ride back to the island with Mike & Margaret...  In the end, we shipped it to Oklahoma for $24 where our good friend, Terri was kind enough to bring it ith her on the plane to Cozumel this week....  The great news is, we installed it today and it is working fine....  FYI the repair cost almost $700 plus shipping.... All because a waterline blew a hose clamp near the radio..... We won't be letting that happen again...


On a happier note, we now have a fully functioning watermaker and now produce 20 gallons of water per hour.... cool... A few weeks ago, Mike and Margaret took a bunch of people out for an afternoon cruise on their boat, Winning Ticket....  A fine time was had by all....






 Our friends, Andrea and Mike....
 Troy & Denise


On a trip, I speared a good size Lionfish....



If that wasn't fun enough, Troy and Denise took us with Ann (his mom) to the fisherman's colectivo where we feasted on more lionfish and lobster heads...


 Last Sunday, Shelley and I took Dillan around the Island and we met up with friends at a "Doggy Day at the Beach"

 


Last week Kloster Beer went on SALE!  Troy bought half the "mountain"...  The price was about $2.75 for a 6 pack.... At home, the same 6 pack would cost almost $12.00





On the island we have a "Sams Club"  last week we went out for pizza....

But most days we just cook on the boat.... We do have a great back yard....






A few days ago, I set up my new flash system and took a few test shots.... Not bad... I think...








More soon.... Likely from Panama... Cheers!