The Search For Bright Waters

Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Ready for our Vacation Cruise

Well first great news, Our offer on the house was accepted! The house was listed at $94,500 when we found it and we got it for $82,500, a great deal! I know what your thinking, it must be a dump right, nope!

Click for pictures

It's a 3 bedroom 2 bath in Palm Bay, FL just 15 min to Satelite Beach. It's 1600 square feet with a 2 car garage and florida room on a quarter acre. It has nice hardwood floors and really cool built in shelves in 3 rooms. The master bathroom is straight out of the Hilton and even has a bidet'! We are really excited about it and think we got a pretty good deal. Once we go to closing we will fly down there to set it up and then hire a management company to rent it out for us.

In more boat related news we leave for our 10 day cruise next friday! There are still a few things to get done so we've buckled down and started working on the boat again.

Things to do in a week:

We finally have all the parts to install our new Racor 500 fuel filter.

We bought a Xantrex Link Lite Battery Monitor which will help us keep track of our electric usage while cruising since we don't have solar or wind power yet. Our friends John and Yvonne just installed one of these and it doesn't look to hard so hopefully we can knock it out this weekend.

And finally our Lofrans Royal manual windlass. This has been on our to do list for way to long and I finally dived in. Drilling the holes into our boat is mentally tough but I finally did it and the installation is going well. We decided to put the windlass in our anchor locker. We have a inch thick piece of wood as the backing plate underneath. Then we will drill three 2 inch holes that allow a PVC pipe to go from our anchor locker to below our v-berth. So then the chain will just feed down the PVC pipe and below where we sleep. It is far enough down the v-berth that our feet wont even touch the pipe, remember our v-berth is 11 feet long!

The lead pic is me enjoying an achor locker bath before drilling the holes.

So hopefully these three projects will be done and we can cast off prepared on Friday. We are heading south but other than that we don't really care where we go. Probably not any further than VA beach.


Friday, July 23, 2010

It's Always Sunny In Florida

Last weekend we took a lil trip down to Melbourne Florida for a three day weekend. Our good friends Missy and Josh live down there and were kind enough to let us stay with them. We had a great time visiting the shops and beaches and wildlife refugees.

Both nights we walked the beach we saw a huge 3 foot long sea turtle coming up to lay eggs. We also saw three alligators at a wild life refugee. We were about 40 feet from one, it was awesome! We were on a raised look out tho and had our car ready to go in case it tried to get wild on us, but it was a calm alligator.

We did some shopping at the outlets and went to Ron Jons surf shop which is huge and has a salt water tank in the middle with a 3 foot shark and a long eel in it. Pretty Cool.

Every where we looked we saw BBQ eateries and golf courses, I was in heaven.

But the main reason we went down there was to look at cheap houses! Yep, we are buying a house. The houses down there are pretty cheap and if we can rent them out, then it will pay for itself. Since we pushed the departure date back to Spring of 2011 (April 1st now!) we have some extra money and it will be nice to come back to a house when we finish cruising. Plus later in life we can rent it out and maybe cruise forever!!!

We looked at 22 houses and are in talks with a seller now. Wish us luck!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Small Sailing World

So Sunday while we're out sailing, there is this other sailboat next to us and the operator starts talking to us for awhile (made possible by incredibly slow boat moving speed), and as they veer away from us, they say 'keep up the good work on the blog'. !!!!!

Wow! So someone saw us and recognized us. that is an amazing feeling!

Then today, I am at work. We have a long-time vendor here, who's brother has gone cruising, and the vendor has shown us his brothers blog in the past. So his brother comes in today and we start excitedly talking about cruising. He of course is adamant that we need all this expensive stuff, and I tell him frankly, that we're not buying all that stuff, we're cruising with little money. He then proceeds to tell me in the Bahama's he met another young couple like us, and they were getting married the next day and his twin girls got to be their flower girls... sound familiar?

It was hobo sailors wedding!

Then I was starstruck because as you may know, I love hobo sailor.

Small small crazy crazy world.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sailing Grandmas

The week went by fast with not much getting done and soon our glorious weekend was here!

Saturday was my Dad's birthday so we went to Chick and Ruths in Annapolis for lunch. They were featured on the show Man vs Food and had a number of "eating challenges". My brother Jarret and I decided to go for the 3 lb cheeseburger. One agonizing hour later I had only 3 small bites and the bottom bun left. Jarret had slightly more left on his plate which was a personal victory for me. The challenge was to finish in an hour though. With the fame of the challenge out the window, my brother and I both tossed in the towel.

We spent the rest of the day at the mall where I sat in the book store digesting while Christine shopped with her sister Ashley and cousin Paige.

Sunday was the big exciting day though. We had invited our Grandmas out for a sail. We worried about it being too hot, too rough, or not enough wind, but when the day came it was perfect! There was about 10-12 knots of wind and it was in the high 80s with some clouds. The waves were less than a foot so nobody got seasick. Grammy and Maw Maw (their grandma names) had a great time aboard watching us show off our sailing skills and were very impressed with how far we've come. We went out early around 9am to beat the heat and sailed for about 2 hours just out and back. It was really such a perfect day!

Every other sailor must have noticed too because as we headed back in, boat loads (literally) of boats came pouring out of the channel into the bay. We were able to snap a few good shots.

We thought about going back out once our Grandmas had left, but we had already made plans. It's ok though, we will keep this one flawless day :)

more pics to come...


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July Cruise

On Thursday we finally got the correct size bolts to connect our throttle to the exhaust manifold. The engine is complete! All systems are go and we were ready for our 4th of July Cruise! Should we go north or south? We decided to let the wind choose. We got all packed up Friday after work and couldn't wait any longer so we left that night around 8pm.

When it came time to decide north or south, there wasn't much wind in either direction. Based on the possible anchorages and our time restraints, we choose to head north toward Rock Hall. We attempted to sail but the wind just wasn't there, and after an hour of putting along at 2 knots we turned to our engine to finish the night. It wasn't as serene as the first time we sailed at night under a bright moon. This time it was pretty dark and we were wishing we had bought a 2 trillion candle power spotlight.

You can kinda make out Nalas silhouette

We decided to anchor inside the West River for some protection and pulled in around 11pm. But as we got closer to our chosen anchorage we noticed an increase in crab pots. Christine stayed on the bow and directed me via flashlight as she spotted them. Once we thought we were far enough inside the river we tossed over our 44lb Claw in about 10 ft of depth. We were tired and the night was short.

The next morning around 6am we were awoken by a loud motor noise very close to our boat. Christine peered out through our hatch screen and saw a crab boat blaring its engine around us. The crabber started yelling about our anchorage so I hopped out of bed and stood out on the deck to see what was up. In day light we could see all the crab pots that we had been dodging the night before. The crabber yelled "This is the best anchorage you could find a**hole". I yelled back "You don't own the water, we can anchor wherever we want" I guess he felt he got his point across cuz then he just motored away to other crab spots away from us. We went back to sleep with one ear open until about 9am. Throughout the rest of the trip we found the crabbers remark funny and kept repeating it when in anchoring situations. "Hey a**hole, this is the best anchorage you could find!"

We already hated crab pots. They litter the bay, they are a dangerous hazard to all boats threatening to ruin our prop, and now they think they own the water. Has anyone else had run ins like this? There's gotta be a law limiting how many pots that can be put out.

The Bay Bridge

So off to Rock Hall we headed with more wimpy wind. After about one hour of poor sailing and 4 hours of motoring, we finally arrived at Rock Hall. We were early and there was only one other boat anchored so we had our pick of the best anchor spot. As the evening crept in more and more boats surrounded us. We were eager to use our new dinghy (Sawyer Jr, we couldn't think of a better name) so we strapped on the new outboard motor and headed into town!

Rock Hall is a pretty small town and it didn't take us long to get dinner at Watermans and then walk along their one street, Main Street. It was blazing hot so we got drinks at their one dinky grocery store and headed back to the mothership. When we got back to our boat, there were about 30 new boats around us. The anchorage was now full and everyone was ready for the fireworks! The Rock Hall display was pretty good and we could also see fireworks all around the bay coast, from Baltimore to Annapolis. We made lil forts in the cockpit to read and attempted to sleep their all night. But the boat began to rock pretty hard, so around 2 am we moved our slumber party back inside to the cozy v-berth.

Sunday we awoke peacefully and watched as the last few anchored sailboats headed out. Soon we were the only boat still anchored. We needed a shower so we jumped into the bay! Christine shampoo'd while I just splashed around and took pictures of our boat from the water. We noticed alot of barnacles and growth along our water line so I grabbed a brush and got a lil morning workout scrubbing them off. Christine took care of the black marks that were along our hull. Soon we had the starboard side looking pretty nice. Enough work, now lets play more! We spent a good hour swimming and hanging off the boat and even got a lil daredevilish as we jumped off the side from the top deck!

We built up an appetite so we cooked our steaks for breakfast, mmmmm. After a nap and some reading we headed into town. This time though, we brought our folding bikes. They were kind of a hassle to load and unload onto the dingy and we were afraid they would pop our dinghy, but in the end they were well worth the effort. Once back in town, we were able to easily stroll around all of Rockhall in minutes. Biking is much funner than walking, especially in this heat! We got ice cream and visited some stores and eventually dropped too much money on fishing supplies before heading back. As we have said before, we are the worse fishermen on the bay. After wasting $100 on live bait last year, we are now collecting lures that we can reuse and hopefully catch something.

We spent the evening fishing with our new toys and reading. But as dusk approached the wind picked up and we saw other boat sailing that made us jealous. We had spent Rock Hall and decided to take advantage of the wind to get a head start home. We lugged up the big anchor that had a tough hold (we still need to install the dumb windlass before my back breaks) and headed into the sunset. We had a beautiful view as we sailed around 5 knots. But as you know the sun sets in the West and our home was South, we weren't going in the right direction. After about an hour when it was all dark we decided to tack to head South. After a few unsuccessful times trying to tack we cheated and just pulled a long gybe. However, we are horrible at sailing to the wind and now we were headed East, the way we came. So we dropped the sails and tiredly motored an hour n a half down to Love Point on the Eastern Shore to find a spot to anchor for the night.

Nomy sleeping in the shade of our bikes
It's always a lil scary pulling into a new anchorage, especially at night! We really need to invest in one of those high powered spotlights. Well we had our eyes and the Garmin chartplotter telling us where to go. The chart showed some pilings to the right so I choose to anchor about 1000 feet from them in 15 feet of water. But as I slowly got closer to my spot I noticed a large darkness ahead. The sky was just bright enough to make out shapes and the treeline but this mass seemed alot closer than the trees. I immediately slowed down and hooked left as object grew into focus. We couldn't tell what it was exactly, but it was massive and we were too close. A ship? a building? a barge? We pulled a U and head back another half mile away from it and found another spot to anchor. Our anchorage was protected pretty well and our boat sat calmly as we slept soundly.

The next morning we were eager to get up and see what that obstruction was. It was TWO massive barges just sitting there unattended with no markings or lighting.  That doesn't seem safe.  Looking at our track from the night before i'd guess we were less than 100 feet from it before we turned!

During our morning fish and read I accidentally lost one of our new lures while casting, dang it! These things are supposed to last! We took a quick dip before heading out. Before we left Love Point tho, we decided to test out our new trolling umbrella lure since we were in a fish haven. After about an hour of doing a long trolling loop all we got was some good close up pics of that barge and we ran aground, twice. Christine ran aground first just slightly and I guess I was jealous cuz shortly after I ran aground even harder and was stuck for about a minute before we got off. Well no fish here, lets go get some real food.

On a side note, this was a trip high in injuries.  We both wacked our head on the boom, Christines was so hard she had to lay down to regain her wits.  I hurt my back trying to sleep in the cockpit and Christine cut her toe while hoola hooping on deck!  (it's harder than you think) But we're tough pirates ARRRGH!!!

Our next stop was the Bay Bridge Marina. They have the worst entering channel and we touched ground just like we did the first time we came here a year ago. We filled up our gas tank and rented an hourly slip while we got lunch. Now a year ago when we came here for our one year wedding anniversary we walked to Cracker Barrel. But we've upgraded since then and in 15 min, we had biked to Cracker Barrel! The food was so good we ordered some to go!

Once we left the Bay Bridge Marina we were finally headed home. We had attempted to configure the Autopilot while we were at dock but the wires were backwards and I wasn't in the mood to fix them so we hand steered home. There was a slight wind but not in the best direction and it was getting late so we motored the last 3 hours home from the Bay Bridge. We arrived home Monday just at sunset and took a LONG much needed shower.

Nala sums it up
All in all it was a great, fun, adventurous, relaxing cruise of a weekend. If real cruising is anything like this then we are ready! We got to relax while fishing and reading. We got to explore a new town and mix in some adventure. And we did some boat chores like cleaning barnacles. Even when we were frustrated with some difficulty, we just reminded ourselves that it sure beat sittin at work!

We hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

Click here to see more pictures