Posted by: suliere | April 14, 2013

Lesley Squeals

I have a secret to tell today.  It is quite the case that when abroad anywhere out of the UK Lesley point blank refuses to drive any cart yet she is probably the worst back seat driver ever and often squeals at various junctions etc.  (Lesley  – of course this has nothing to do with Paul’s driving skills!)   She also squealed last time we hired an electric golf cart,  a biggie in Spanish Wells.  Well this time after the tiny amount of traffic here had died down to almost nothing I actually persuaded her to drive the buggy – this proved to me that she even gives a little squeal as we take off with her driving so the squeals are nothing personal. (Lesley- just  fun and pure delight with a hint of fairground  nervousness!)

Squealing Around the Island by Golf Buggy

Squealing Around the Island by Golf Buggy

We made our way to a little fest organised for the children’s Junkanoo  or carnival fundraiser. There wasn’t much going on or to film so after a brief wonder around we went to the nearby supermarket to top up on a few items.  We found everything we could need and more as it was very well stocked though some of the items were on the pricey side.  It was then time to go in search of dinner from one of the 4 places on the island offering food.  We had tried two and been somewhat disappointed so headed to number three.  Very similar menu and we found something to our taste but were not talking haut cuisine here.  Spanish Well is a wonderful place for many things but eating out isnt one of them

Paul gets into the Groove at the Junkanoo Fundraiser

Paul gets into the Groove at the Junkanoo Fundraiser

Children have fun in the boats and on the beaches

Children have fun in the boats and on the beaches

I do not think I fixed anything on the boat today but I did  more planning for the crossing of the bank to the Exumas. The last ten miles will be about 5 pm and its the last ten miles when there are scattered coral heads. I am told that with 1.5 metre draft(5ft) following the solid line Explorer charts routes should be Ok for us….. we sail on Monday morning – get fuel at 8 am and then head off.

Suliere on her Mooring in Spanish Wells

Suliere on her Mooring in Spanish Wells

A bit of thunder and lightening around tonight – I wish there had been more rain to wash down the salt of the boat.

The sun goes down on Suliere

The sun goes down on Suliere

The beaches here are simply fantastic and also pretty deserted…… simply wonderful scenery.

Captivating Beaches

Captivating Beaches

Time to Stand and Stare

Time to Stand and Stare

We Watch the Water Change Colour as the Clouds Move and  the Light Changes.

We Watch the Water Change Colour as the Clouds Move and the Light Changes.

20130413 Bahamas Spanish Wells Eleuthera Golf Buggy Day 114

Peaceful Places for Contemplation

20130413 Bahamas Spanish Wells Eleuthera Golf Buggy Day 113

Natures Own Inimitable Colour Palatte

Sand Between Our Toes

Sand Between Our Toes

Anyone Interested......?

For Sale -Anyone Interested……?

Posted by: suliere | April 12, 2013

Accepting when things do not work

We have a Tank Tender system fitted to Suliere – its s standard fit by St Francis and reads the levels of the fuel, water and black waste tanks. We gave in on the black waste tanks last year – the tiny tubes reading the pressure head simply clog up so we installed a tank full indicator that works well and tells us when to stop using a tank. Whilst the water levels have always read well the fuel levels have been hit and miss and today I cannot get the starboard fuel level to read at all. I will try to clear the clogged pipe later today by using a hand pump to clear the tube but hold out little hope.

I now have to accept that all the Tank Tender system is reliable for is water tanks and will have to have a different type of gauge installed on the fuel tanks when laid up in the hurricane season.

Posted by: suliere | April 12, 2013

Spanish Wells – A Different sort of place

The wind would not play ball and would have been on the nose to the Exumas so we diverted to Spanish Wells instead.  The wind was varying between 30 degrees and 45 degrees so we had to have an engine on at low revs to stop the speed falling too low when the variable wind swung in tight and dropped. We had reserved the one and only mooring that could take our boat but as moorings are often just taken without being approved on VHF we had to make sure we made it as early as possible.20130411 Bahamas, Spanish Wells Eleuthera 6

We made it and snatched the mooring – a bit of a new procedure for us with the bowsprit out and the bowsprit/reefing lines for the Screacher also out. Lesley had a close shave with two fingers almost being trapped as she was dropping the mooring loop over the cleat and the boat was moving back in the wind but she escaped with just some sore bruising.

20130412 Bahamas spanish Wells Eleuthera Mooring 3

Stunning View towards Eleuthera from the bow

Views from our mooring

View over Spanish Wells from the stern

Then, in order to take her mind of those sore fingers, I offered to take her out for a meal so we put Slurpy in the water and motored 150 yards to a nearby dock …. it was about 5.30  pm and the place was deserted. All the shops shut up. We walked on until a passing chap on a golf cart (the preferred mode of transport here) advised us of a place called Norma’s and we walked on in the he hope of finding it…. and walked on until another chap in a passing golf cart in giving us to find it offered to give us a lift there … which we accepted.

'Fine dining' at Norma's made great memories.

‘Fine dining’ at Norma’s made great memories.

Normas turned out not to be a restaurant but a take-a-way. There was nowhere else and so we ordered chicken and sides and set about waiting.There is just one person taking the orders and doing all the cooking – a sort of one women operation for everything. Whilst waiting 4 very nice Canadian tourists turned up in their golf cart and also ordered. Frankly., I do not know how long we waited but it was a long time as all the food was cooked from scratch. We found a table around the back of the take-a-way and settled down to eat our food there. After we had finished the Canadians were still waiting so we said cheerio and started the long 2 mile walk home with rain being threatened. After about 15 minutes walk the Canadians drove up and offered us a lift back to the boat which we accepted……… so a lift both ways and a pleasant memory.

Breathe in Slurpy!

Breathe in Slurpy!

Woke up thus morning to find the entire stern view blocked by the bow of a large oil carrying ship some 2 feet from Slurpy sitting peacefully slurping away behind Suliere. They had just squeezed in a turn and managed to do so with an incredibly low tolerance ….. Otherwise a very nice and safe mooring – being on a cat the passing traffic is hardly noticed.

We have done so much motoring with the trip to Nassau and to here in Spanish Wells that we really should top up with fuel before heading down island. So we plan to fill up with fuel here before departing in a few days.

Mooring supplied by ‘Bandit’ on VHF 16. We phoned ahead on 1-242-333-4695 to make a reservation.

Posted by: suliere | April 10, 2013

Wind always on the nose!

Ok, today I fixed another issue – the port temperature gauge on the engine never registered anything on the trip to Nassau. I understood the problem. In fact it had started in the trip from Cape Town and always seem to return no matter what the fix. S this morning I set about making a proper job of the two connections (one to each helm) and its now working and should stay that way.

tomorrow we planned to head to the Exumas, well Alan’s Cay to listen to the sound of those 6 ft iguanas calling each other at night – a bit spooky we are told. However for days ahead the SW wind is yet again 15 knots on the nose. So we now leave to Spanish  tomorrow. We have been there before by ferry from  Eleuthera and liked it very much so this time we go by boat. Suliere should draw 1.25 metres but we think with all our stuff on her plus 2.5 tons of water and fuel she is drawing more like 1.5 metres  or 5ft. So we have to watch some approaches there.

My next job today is the once for all fix on two hatches that have leaked on and off for 3 years. Yes Suliere was 3 years old last month. She is now a well sorted boat with very few issues left to deal with and a host of major improvements.

After feedback from those watching Suliere The Crossing video we have now decided to edit in far more off the gritty details of how we sail and live on Suliere.

 

 

 

Posted by: suliere | April 9, 2013

We are away at last!

Left Ft lauderdale Sunday morning  – very eventful , in particular dealing with a video in the new river and making a wrong turn to run aground! Ten minutes to get off but it seems no damage done – Lesson – do not mess about too much with video when in narrow channels. even at 5 knots it is not a wise thing to do but the grounding is actually on video!

Leaving Lauderdale Marine Centre Destination Nassau, Bahamas

Leaving Lauderdale Marine Centre Destination Nassau, Bahamas

SE 3rd Ave Bridge opens for us, 5 bridges in total.

SE 3rd Ave Bridge opens for us, 5 bridges in total.

Making our way along New river

Making our way along New river

Finally 17th St Bridge  opens and  we're off out to sea.

Finally 17th St Bridge opens and we’re off out to sea.

This was followed by the predicted 15 knots on the nose = about 22 knots apparent and the gulf stream had not settled down so it was so lumpy that Lesley truly turned green – a sort of near incredible hulk green. For the first time in my life I was truly sea sick. We had some issues and I had to work below decks – not wise in that lumpy a passage! We were taking the through the night deep water route to Nassau with 11 cruise ships in sight at one time!

Night came and our starboard steaming light failed -we were motoring but used the mast combined sailing light.

Approaching Nassau

Approaching Nassau

Our first day had two problems to solve – the iPad data card when the iPad sim card slot would not open with the little pin tool supplied by Apple with the iPad. Thye computer shop chap opened it with his iphone pin and agreed that the one supplied with the iPad was too thick and could not work! There were no pins for sale so he gave us his own!!! Now we could go to the BTC shop for the data card.

We went to the BTC shop to set up my nee iPad with a data chip – on offer for $20 for one gigabit of data with a 30 day limit. But you need a smart phone to activate it so we hope my S2 UK phone will manage that. There Lesley asked a chap about where the chandlers where and he phoned around – 5 calls to try to track down a supplier for our replacement LED starboard nav light. One shop said they sold the make but only had red or black lights!! I tried to explain there was no such thing as a black light but gave in and said we will go there anyway to try and figure it out. This chap then offered to drive us there which he did. The fact he drove the wrong way down a one way main street upsetting the traffic before he did a nifty turn off down a side street was neither here or there – just part of the charm of this place 🙂 At the shop we found the exact light freest abroad nav light in black plastic – the exact model!

Of course this the old nav light was not easy to get to and when I managed to squeeze under the washing machine and get to the forward  hatch it was not  wired to be replaced. More journeys to chandlers and eventually we have the replacement all installed and working …… so all in all a great day and made good because of the very friendly people that we met.

Walkabout in Nassau

Walkabout in Nassau

The local market offers some interesting foods such as salt fish...

The local market offers some interesting foods such as salt fish…

 

Or perhaps some crab?

Or perhaps some crab?

Starbucks for internet connection and a Frappuccino or two!

Starbucks for internet connection and a Frappuccino or two!

 

 

Posted by: suliere | April 6, 2013

Checked Out At Last

I have been in the USA almost 6 months ….. 6 months is the limit of my visa. Suliere has been in the USA 11 months, 12 months is the limit for her to stay ……… so we needed to check out today to be met with a bit of a surprise.

Walked into there main Everglades office for the check out and they said we should just go, no  paperwork, not even removed the cards from our passports that were issued when we flew in …. in fact just go!!! So i told them we were UK citizens and needed to check out us and the boat to prove we had complied with all the regs……. same advice – just go but when you get somewhere you can post back the passport cards! I still persisted so they removed the passport cards and had us fill in the departure details on the back and they kept them. I asked how we prove the boat has left but she simply said there was no need…. I pointed out the 12 month cruising permit and she said well go next door but is not open until Monday! Next door was locked with a sign saying all private boats to check out next door which is where we had just come from!

So we have no check out proof for Bahamas, not required for USA citizens but is for us!

I am struggling to see how the USA authorities monitor sailors/permits.  In reporting from state to state we were having to explain the rules to each state because they did not know them and all they said was if anyone questions you just tell them that Fred (or whoever the name of the official was) said it was OK.

Cooker broke down with a shorting, burnt out relay yesterday but Just Catamarans came to the rescue in the last few hours of the day with a partial fix that allows us to use it. The relays have to come from Italy hence that will be done on our return to the USA end of June.

Otherwise all is OK as I amuse myself with some great apps on the iPad. RealTidesHD is a great app – tidal curves at any point not just primary or secondary ports. So you can see what happening in a small cut – when it best to pass through/swim etc.

Another cruiser (who we had helped with lithium battery advice and who has them installed with massive 260 amp alternators that can deliver a minimum of 400 amps charge rate) gave us a very handy device – its a sim card cutter. Its like a stapler but cuts sim cards for phones/ipads down to any size. In then islands local cards vary in size and this device solves the problem. I had never heard of them. they cost a few dollars – just put sim card cutter into Google to find.

Just a few off jobs remaining today before a civilised departure about 9 am in the morning.

 

Posted by: suliere | April 4, 2013

OK …… I gave in!

All ready to go and the winds look good for Friday.

After hearing how two friends using a data card for 30 bucks in their iPad kept in touch all the way down to ragged island with news, emails,weather etc I at last gave in and bought an iPad. There are some great apps like being able to point to any cut Orr place on the map and have the tidal curve calculated – that’s even for places that are not secondary ports, In fact so many useful apps that I am really glad I bought it. I have an AT&T card in it at present but can put in a local card if needed

Posted by: suliere | April 1, 2013

Change of Plans

Ok – phoning immigration in Key West it is clear that it is illegal to go from the USA to Cuba. This applies to all nationalities.

Its also not possible to return from Cuba to Key West. In fact if you go to Cuba you are not allowed in the USA for at least 6 months!

So we are now heading for Nassau in the Bahamas – all in one trip from Lauderdale. This will be an overnighter. We then check in at Nassau.

After that we  that enjoy about 6 weeks going down the Exuma’s to Ragged Island after which we look south for any big islands. Should we find any really large islands we will spend about a month there before returning back to the Bahamas to Bimini and then check in/out of the Bahamas again. Returning to Lauderdale by 30th June – we then leave Suliere in the care of Just catamarans and head home to the UK.

 

Posted by: suliere | March 30, 2013

The Cruising Plans

We leave about 6am Tuesday or Wednesday so that we can clear all the bridges before they close for the morning rush hour – then is down to past Key largo where we start to have decent anchorage options. Over the next day or so we head to Key West. We plan to take the Hawk Channel route.

After clearing out in Key West we set a course that will be 203 degree true to Cuba – this of course is weather dependent as we shall be crossing the Gulf Stream before arriving at The Hemingway Marina. The plan is to leave just before Sunset and sail through the night to arrive about 9am at the marina.

Then we aim to hire a car to explore Cuba for a few weeks before working our way in hops to marinas down the north coast so that we have the shortest route from the last marina to Ragged Island where we shall check into the Bahamas. We then work our way up and through the Exumas back to Lauderdale come 1st July.

As USA dollars have a 10% penalty in Cuba we wanted UK pound to exchange and so using debit cards we collected dollars in cash and headed to a Travelex to exchange the dollars to UK pounds. Walking in I just thought, given there were so many Cubans in Florida that they may have Cuban currency – worth asking I thought……. I was wrong, not only did they not have them but the mention of Cuba stopped any currency exchange at all – to UK pounds or anything else!!! The manager explained we needed USA government permission to exchange any currency in the USA if we were going to Cuba. We even told them we were going to the Bahamas first then possibly Cuba but would take residual pounds home to the UK but no – we had mentioned Cuba and so all business was refused despite being UK citizens and even if at anytime in the future Cuba was to be a destination. I even explained that I could go to the next Travelex and buy pounds and they agreed but because the word Cuba was mentioned as a possible future destination they could not do it!!!!! I now know the world is getting madder all the time. 🙂

 

Posted by: suliere | March 25, 2013

Anchors and Cruising

Sorted out my second anchor today – its a large Fortress  – its now assembled and in the front sail locker with its ten metres of chain and rode. So far it has not been used and we are not really looking forward to setting two anchors. The idea is to set one from the bow then slide back in the current twice the normal distance to manually drop the other – after which you haul yourself to the half way point. Our concern is fouling the hull with the rode/chain as we swing in the other direction as it were. So far the Rocna has coped superbly with changes in direction where there was room to swing.

Checked over a few things and ordered some software to make it faster loading waypoints into Raynarine Chartplotter using Navionics chips.

Switched on and tested the two mast cameras – they worked ok. I forget we had these when entering that foggy harbour on the way down Chesapeake.

We plan to sail down the Hawk Channel to Key West and then its over to Cuba with an overnight trip. After Cuba we aim to come back to Lauderdale via the Bahamas as it seems that some USA officials do not like even foreign boats returning direct;ly from Cuba.

So do we wait until the rush is over just after Easter or head out just before Easter …. we will decide that in a few days.

Lesley says she is now going to start posting here with photos etc – she is the one who takes all the stills.

Thats it for now.

Paul

 

 

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