Monthly Archives: October 2015

Our First Official Visitor….

Let It Be, as a live aboard boat, had her first guest this week. Frank’s mom, Jackie, arrived on Tuesday, Oct.20th. I am so fortunate to have a Mom-in-law whom I respect, admire and love. Jackie is game for anything we suggest and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

We spent the first two days in the dock finishing a few projects (surprise!) and taking care of some necessities, like provisions.

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Frank and Jackie at the helm on the way to Culebra

Thursday afternoon we motored out, as what little wind there was went directly on our nose! We headed for Culebra, a U.S. Territory and one of the Spanish Virgin Islands.

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Approaching Culebra

We looked at a couple of coves but, with a north swell, the coves suggested to us had a bit too much movement.  We found a beautiful spot in Bahia Lynda, a little bay with a nice reef out front to break incoming waves.  We had rain every day while Jackie was here, but we still managed to have an excellent visit.

DSC00460The sun peeked out of the rain clouds just before it turned in for the night. 

Perhaps this post should be titled “Things mom’s do” but the things Jackie does are unusual. For instance, how many octogenarians do you know who carry ear plugs in their purse? Sure enough, Jackie was going to help Frank as he cut some starboard for the forepeak project and when he offered to get her some earplugs, Jackie said, “Oh, just a minute. Let me get mine from my purse.”  Impressive, right?!

Do you know any 80 somethings who carry earplugs???

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Even in the rain, Jackie is there with a helping hand and her own earplugs.

Still no wind, so we motored along the north side of Culebra and toured the beaches from the comfort of LIB.  A solitary dolphin came to play and swam along our bow in welcome. He left before I could get a pic.

We stopped at Cayo Norte where we had to beach completely to ourselves.  Captain, Frank and I swam to shore and spent an hour playing on the beach and letting Cap expend a bit of energy.

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Our own private beach for the afternoon.

Next stop was one of the prettiest I have seen – Tortuga Beach on Culebrita. Music and laughter from day charters and motor boats sharing the bay entertained us as we had lunch. We spotted several turtles and even a pair of Remora fish. The remora fish actually nibbled at Frank’s toes when he was sitting on the back of the boat. Thankfully these remora were not accompanying any sharks – that we saw.

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Image by In The Blue (www.intheblue.co.uk)

The two remoras we saw were about three feet long, so big ones!

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Tortuga Beach, Culebrita

By nightfall, all the other boats had departed and we had this lovely beach to ourselves.  We had a slight problem with the hot water heater and Frank was working in the port engine compartment when the rain arrived. In true motherly fashion, Jackie wanted Frank to be nice and dry while he worked. So she stood guard against the rain.

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Jackie gets soaked while keeping Frank dry.

We returned to Puerto Rico yesterday as Jackie had a flight out today. We are so thankful that Frank’s mom is willing to travel and visit us and we thank God that she has the health to do so! Safe travels, Jackie. We miss you already!!!

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Another view of Tortuga Beach

Front Porches, Rocking Chairs, Lemonade…. Not For These Retirees!

Whoever created the vision of retirement consisting of rocking on the front porch and watching the world go by certainly didn’t have the same ideas we have for our “golden years.”

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Gliding past St. John, USVI.

While we will definitely watch the world go by, it will be from the deck of our boat and the view will change often and not only because of the seasons.

For the next few weeks our “porch” will be remain in one place and will be topsy turvy as we begin and complete refitting tasks we deem “necessary” for life on board.

Our plan, which changes often, is to stay in Fajardo, PR until we finish our projects or until November 30th, whichever comes first.

Then we will sail back to BVIs to pick up a few items TMM is holding for us; but we will move on quickly.

I would like to spend a bit of time in the USVIs since we really have not explored them. The islands look fabulous and it’s always nice to be in the US.  Plus, I have yet to try Pizza PI pizza in Christmas cove and that is surely on my “to do, to see, to eat” list.

We plan on sailing back to Antigua in mid-December where we really want to meet up with our friends Amy and David on Starry Horizons.

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Amy and David, Captains of Starry Horizons.

We first met Amy and David way back in February 2014 in Ft. Worth, TX when Amy was running the Cow Town Marathon. At that time, Starry Horizons was just being built in France.  Since taking delivery of SH, Amy and David have sailed more than 8,500 miles and have accumulated much more experience than we have. You can read about Amy and David’s adventures in their blog, Out Chasing Stars.

Because we have the same model boat, it is really fun to compare notes with Starry Horizons.  Plus they are lots of fun and we are excited to sail and explore some anchorages together.

The only other set plan is to be in the Grenadines in February.  Frank has planned to meet some kiteboarding buddies there and LIB will be the home base as we move from one great kite beach to the next.  This will be a mostly “guys” week, but they are letting me hang around.

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Frank kiting in Antigua

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The front deck of LIB is a perfect kite drying spot.

I’ll get a chance to practice my kite boarding, but I have a feeling I will also play rescue support via Day Tripper.

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Our faithful, multi-purpose dinghy.

The two years we had LIB in charter, a few girlfriends and I enjoyed an annual sailing week in the BVI during the Fall.

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It’s always fun and lots of laughs wit this group.

Since LIB is undergoing so many changes right now, the girls trip could not be made this year. BUT the plan is to redefine our trip by expanding our locations. This all girl crew will join us somewhere this spring… I’m thinking the Tobago Cays and other parts of the Grenadines would be perfect!

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Photo credit to Three Sheets Sailing!

Our travel is now dictated by wind and weather which makes these plans less than firm, but it’s nice to have a vague idea of where we are headed.

From Charter to Live Aboard ~ Part II

It is so hard to believe that in February of 2012, we took our first ASA classes and began talking about buying a sailboat. By the 2012 Annapolis Boat Show we were narrowing our choice of boats and in November we began working with Tortola Marine Management (TMM) to buy our Helia.

Fast forward to October 2015; LIB returned from her last charter trip in August; our house in Texas is for sale and we have moved aboard LIB!

Frank moved aboard September 6th and began working on several projects. I joined him on September 24th and the time has flown since I arrived. We have managed to complete several projects on our list and many others are in progress.  I will post and update on our first project list separately. Here are a few additional projects worth mentioning but this is not at all complete.

Eyebrow Hatches

A helpful sailor on Cruiser’s Forum who calls himself “Helia 44” wrote a great post about the hatches he added to his Helia. I fell in love with those hatches and Frank made them happen! It was a huge and messy job that took days and created a ton of fiberglass dust inside and outside of LIB. Even days after the project was completed and we had cleaned up, we would find pockets of fiberglass dust that would sprinkle itself about with the slightest breeze. But we prevailed. Now we have these hatches that we can leave open even if it is raining because they are protected by the overhang from the bridge deck. This one was a total pain, but I love them. Thank you, Frank!!

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Frank added those two upper windows.

Generator

We have been extremely pleased with our Northern Lights generator and we want to make sure it continues to run well and reliably. Frank completed the maintenance items; air filter, oil change, check heat exchanger, etc. I attacked the rust spots that had developed on the enclosure of the generator. After removing the rust, I primed and painted the rusty areas and now the generator is looking much prettier. But more importantly my efforts should reduce the spread of rust and preserve our enclosure which in turn will protect our generator.

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Goodbye rust. 

Winches/Dinghy Engine

While I was in Texas, Frank serviced all the winches on the boat. Trust me when I tell you I made certain he was spelling with an “i” and not an “e!” (Kidding!)  He also took care of the maintenance on the dinghy engine. Now all parts are properly cleaned, changed, oiled and greased.

Bottom Paint

The very uninteresting but hugely important and expensive job of scrubbing the hulls and repainting the bottom of LIB was completed at Nanny Cay. We paid a pretty penny for a paint with an outstanding reputation for withstanding growth and we hope it will last us a solid two years.  (For those who want to know, we used Island 44 by Sea Hawk.)

Helm Enclosure

We thought we would wait on the helm enclosure for LIB, but we decided it was a well needed addition. Frank worked with the Doyle sail loft in Road Town and by the time I arrived, it was already made and installed. I think we will find the back shade screen one of the most valuable aspects of it. Some enclosures that are more aesthetically pleasing than ours, but this one will do what it was designed to do.

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Fewer back sunburns are in our future because of this addition.

What is currently in progress?

Replacing the LED light strips in the salon and add additional lights in the galley. Only about 65 percent of our factory installed LED rope lights are working. Our favorite BVI electrician, Dave Gibson, tells me the probable cause is too much current going from the 12V switch directly to my lights. So, I now have new LED lights in hand, but I need some 3 amp diodes to add current resistance. I’ll have to add a diode between each strip of the lights and the switch. (Say what?) The diodes should arrive in the next couple of days.  Wish me luck on this project because we sure didn’t cover electricity in my English or journalism classes in college!IMG_1639

A = V/R  right??

Lest you think we are all work and no play, let me assure we are finding time to enjoy ourselves. And I have to admit, while I am challenged by these new tasks, there is great satisfaction in accomplishing the tasks once they are finished.  And a shower feels fabulous at the end of a sweaty work day.  But here is proof that we are still able to enjoy the beauty around us!

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Sunset as we enter Great Cruz Bay, USVI

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Our first nightfall away from TMM as “cruisers.” 

St. John, USVI

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