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Kiting – Again and Again and Again…

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Al, Jeff, Blane and Frank

Next up for LIB was the arrival of two more kiting buddies of Frank’s; Blaine and Jeff.  It was simply a blast having five kiteboarding fiends on LIB for a week. 

I will say this, as a host, assuming the wind is good, kiters are easy to have as guests! Here are the things we needed to provide:

  1. Good wind.
  2. A launching/landing location.
  3. Transportation to and from the launch area.
  4. Food, water, alcohol and a place to sleep – not necessarily in that order.

No need to worry about what the islands had to offer, these guys were focused on kiting every day. Fortunately the wind was strong enough for them to kite A LOT.  While Al was on LIB, he was able to kite 12 out of 14 days.  Jeff and Blaine were here for a week and they kited every day.

Even with all that time on the water, it was hard for these guys to stop at sunset!

I think I took five million pictures and 99.5% of them were kite pics.  (All kiting pics are posted at the end of this blog.) 

Here’s a peek into last week on LIB:

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Glad we chose a fairly large dinghy.

In this picture, I am taking the guys to shore at Salt Whistle Bay. Captain is along for a grass break and Hunter wisely decided to wait for the next shuttle to shore.

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Can you guess where they are?

We anchored in the bay at Salt Whistle, then the guys walked to the windward side for some kiting in the waves. Apparently it was a great place to practice ocean riding because the waves were pretty consistently spaced apart.

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Blaine and Al kite while Frank plays Rescue Ranger in the dinghy.

On days when the wind was light, someone would hang on LIB or shore with the dinghy available in case a rider was unable to gain enough power to go upwind. Frank rescued several folks but none of them were part of the LIB group.

Frank, Jeff and Al power napping between sets.

I’m not going to say life on LIB is hard, but I will tell you these guys managed to wear themselves out.  These three all crashed while Blaine experimented with bread recipes because my loafs were not browning or rising well. Turns out my recently purchased flour was “off” somehow, thus the taste was less than yummy.  New flour was opened and Blaine tweaked the Basic White Bread recipe so it would brown in our (not so great) oven.

It’s very nice to have a guest on board who just happens to own a food company! Thank you to Blaine of Bridgford Foods for sharing your expertise!

The last day we had a quick sail from Clifton, Union Island to Hillsborough, Carriacou. It was an easy sail and a restful way to finish the trip before taking everyone to catch the ferry to Grenada.

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Frank, Jeff and Blaine at the helm as we sail to Carriacou.

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Al and Captain enjoy the view while underway.

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Hunter prepares his board for packing.

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A little puppy time before Hunter leaves.

We are really lucky that Hunter was able to spend several weeks with us.  He and Clayton have grown up on boats so having another experienced and capable person on board has been very nice. The fact that H is fun, easy to have and willing to help makes it that much more enjoyable to have him with us.  This mom’s heart was very sad to see him leave. But I sincerely hope that he and his brother will manage to visit us very soon!

And now, on to the kiting pictures….

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Jeff and Blaine in Ashton, Union Island.

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Al scooting along.

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Jeff is catching some air in Clifton.

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Frank demos a grab.

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Blaine and Jeff share a five on the fly.

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Hunter mid-trick spotting the water.

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Hunter with Frank in pursuit in Clifton.

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Al boosting in Ashton.

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Blaine’s signature move.

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Jeff gets some height in Ashton.

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Blaine – using a plane in the boost contest is cheating!

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Hunter unhooked, mid spin, handle pass.

Let It Be seems oddly quiet with just Frank, Captain and I on board.  A few of my girlfriends were scheduled to arrive in a week, but several family matters came up and we had to postpone their visit.  I’m pretty sad about the delay, but hopeful that they will find another time to visit.

For the moment we plan on hanging around Carriacou, Union Island, the Tobago Cays, etc.  This is a beautiful area and there is more available than kiting, so we will have to explore a bit.

If you have favorite places or activities in this are, we would love to hear your suggestions!

Can You Say “Kiteboarding?”

Our friend, Al is here visiting which means that we now have three avid kiters on board. The result is that we are die-hard wind seekers for the moment.  Kiters love to see steady winds and, depending on what size kite they prefer, they like various wind speed ranges. Hunter likes winds in the 18-21 knot range so he can fly a 12 meter kite and do “unhooked” tricks.

Frank and Al prefer slightly higher wind speeds because they don’t unhook.

But regardless of the wind preference, every kiter I have met begins to gets jittery when the wind gets close to “ride-able” and once within a few knots of the range they begin watching the wind speed on the instrument panel like a dog begging for steak.

Here are several pictures of kiting for those who love the sport. I have taken a few shots from our different locations and those who don’t care about kiting can look to the background to get a feeling for the beauty of the islands and water.

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Catching air in Ashton.

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That is one jazzed guest.

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Frank executes a grab in Ashton

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Hunter scoots along in Clifton with Happy Island Bar to the right.

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Happy Island Bar

Janti’s Happy Island Bar. This great little island was built by Janti in response to two issues close to his heart: first a problem of too many discarded conch shells in town and second too few customers for his original establishment in town. According to the guide book, Janti worked for the office of tourism and decided to resolve the conch shell problem by building this little island in the Clifton anchorage. His island with the prefect view for sunset and sundowners does not suffer from a lack of customers. Gotta love a man who solves problems and makes something great from them!

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Frank cuts through the Clifton anchorage.

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Hunter ~ planning his next jump?

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The Method in Ashton.

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Love this pic of Frank in front and Hunter tricking in the back.

We have actually done some things off the boat. While anchored in Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, Al and I walked up the hill toward town. Since it was Sunday all the stores were closed, but we saw a very pretty Catholic Church and some rather stunning spots for pictures.

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Tobago Cays make a decent backdrop.

After six straight days of kiting, Al and Frank were ready to stretch their legs so they took a hike with me in Ashton.  This little town has more to offer than expected including the people who have been some of the nicest we have met along the way.

 

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This steep street leads to a great hike.

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Shaded and well defined, we enjoyed the hike.

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Overlooking Ashton on Union Island

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Goats wandered the town.

At first I thought I had turned into the pied piper and these four legged friends were going to come back to LIB with me. But they turned off into a nice green area between a couple of homes. I was told that because it has been a bit dry on Union Island lately, the locals allow the goats to roam looking for grazing ground. Not something I ever saw in Coppell, TX.

End of day seems to be the perfect time for a casual paddle or a swim before sundown. It’s pretty nice to throw on flippers and mask, hop into the water and watch the sea life as I get a little bit of exercise in.

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Frank, Captain and Al on a sunset paddle.

This week two more kiters join us on LIB, so I’m pretty certain you will be seeing a lot more kite photos. Sorry to be so myopic in our news, but this is the focus on LIB for the moment.

Let me know if you have any kiting questions…. with 5 men kiting on LIB this week, I am sure they will have (or make up) the answer! 😉

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Sunset from The Driftwood Restaurant, St. Vincent.

 

 

 

 

Zipping Down the Leeward Islands

The last couple of weeks we have focused on two things: looking for kiting wind and getting down to St. Lucia where we were picking up our friend, Al.

The result is that we have spent a good amount of time making southern progress but I don’t have a lot of photos to show.

We managed to have a couple of great kiting days off Green Island in Antigua before the winds slacked off a bit and we began sailing south.

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Hunter does a melon 180

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Frank looking casual as he rides.

From Antigua we sailed to Guadeloupe where we stopped overnight in Deshaies.  We first visited this quaint fishing village in June but this time we only stayed one night. It was fun to share it with Hunter and have him experience a bit of French culture.

Next we scooted down the coast to visit Vieux Habitants, Guadeloupe where we had heard of a beautiful hike that started near a coffee plantation and ended at a waterfall.  Unfortunately, between our unspecific knowledge and our poor French, we wandered most of the day and never found the hike. 

Still, we enjoyed the day as I had a chance to practice butchering my high school French and we had a picnic on the lawn of a pretty bed and breakfast on the edge of the river.

Sailing south on the western coast of Guadeloupe took us past the Pitons. I would have loved to stop, but it wasn’t part of our plan this trip.

The area looks absolutely beautiful, but I must say that the aggressiveness of the ‘boat boys’ makes me much less interested in going to The Pitons.

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As we were sailing past the area, two boats zoomed toward us and tried to convince us to follow them to their mooring balls inside the anchorage. Neither accepted our “no” and they brought their boats way too close to LIB for my tastes!  This was less than pleasant and is making me reconsider stopping on our way north. I will have to do some reading before I decide if I will stop when we work our way north again.

Anyone want to offer advice or opinions and/or experiences at The Pitons?

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Regardless of that experience, you can see the area looks fabulous!

Iles des Saintes was the next stop. We had a very pleasant sail to Bourg des Saints on Terre D’en Haut.

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Guadeloupe is easy to see on a clear day.

The anchorage was very pretty and on clear days Guadeloupe looked close enough to be just a long swim away…. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but it did look close!

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The anchorage itself was charming and the dinghy dock one of the best we have seen in the Caribbean.

Frank and Hunter tried to kite, but the wind was too light. So we spent a day tooling around Terre D’en Haut in an electric car/golf cart.

The views from so many places were so pretty it’s tempting to post too many photos…

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LIB in the foreground.

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A prettier picture of Bourg des Saintes.

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Cappy loved being free among the trees.

This stand of trees right by the ocean was shady and peaceful and I could have stayed here for hours just absorbing the serenity of it. 

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A colorful local.

We also visited Fort Napoleon which was built in 1867. The fort is well restored and held an eclectic assortment of displays. We began our tour too close to the lunch hour as the closing bells rang not long into our visit.  I especially enjoyed the models of old wooden ships and seeing the interior cross sections of what the ships held and how things were stored to balance the ship.

I’ll stick with Let It Be, her modern equipment and two engines, thank you!

We barely touched Iles des Saintes and I really hope we will stop for a week or so on our return north, but this trip we wanted to skip on down to St. Lucia so we could accomplish a few boat projects, re-provision and prepare for some guests to arrive.

Arrival in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia marked our first Windward Island as opposed to one of the Leeward Islands. Once again we experienced only a fragment of St. Lucia as we only afforded ourselves of the conveniences offered such as laundry, groceries, chandleries and restaurants. This stop was more of an opportunity to repair and prepare than explore.

Hunter continued to spend a good portion of each day programming, since that is his job. Frank and I set to work cleaning, crossing off maintenance items and generally preparing LIB for visitors.

The best part of our stay in St. Lucia was meeting up with David and Amy of Starry Horizons. You may have already seen the beautiful pictures David and Amy took for us as we left?! Kind of makes us want a drone too.

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LIB heading south to Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.

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LIB on the left and Starry Horizons on the right.

A rare photo of Frank, me and Hunter.

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David and Amy, these excellent pictures are much appreciated.

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Starry Horizon and crew.

We had a chance to have dinner and catch up with Amy and David because of their incredible willingness to accommodate our schedule!  Our time with them went much too quickly and Amy and I have since exchanged texts saying, “wait, I forgot to ask ….” or “Oh, I wanted to look at this on your boat…”   

I just cannot tell you how much I enjoy the company of the two people and how hard it is to know that from here forward our Helias will take us in opposite directions! 

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SH looks pretty in the fresh morning light.

I have every confidence that Amy and David will have an amazing journey on Starry Horizons and we will follow their blog, FB and videos faithfully!  Happy, safe and fabulous journey you guys. Our love and prayers go with you!!!

Next stop Vieux Fort where we pick up Al Young, the first of our 3 kiters to arrive.

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Sunset in Iles des Saintes

As always, thanks for reading our blog…. sorry the s-l-o-w internet has delayed my posts!

Bar~beautiful!

Barbuda has been described as a large version of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands.  At first glance this appears to be true. But I found the two islands very, very different.

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First view of Barbuda

Anegada has a lot to offer visitors and certainly caters to tourists in the usual BVI way, which I very much enjoy.

Barbuda seems to have chosen to remain staunchly independent of visitors and prefers to retain its’ local flavor.  My understanding is that the island is owned by the residents and if a company wants to build something, say a resort, the whole town votes to accept or decline the plan. So far it appears few, if any, outsiders have managed to develop Barbuda. The result is that Barbuda is unspoiled and beautiful, but it is also difficult to find services or restaurants.

When we walked through Codrington Village, few of the stores had signs so it was difficult to tell what was available. The grocery was pretty well stocked, but because there was no sign, I would have walked past it if a woman had not walked out with bags of food.

The children here have the freedom of roaming a hometown where everyone knows each other and they are safe to explore. I watched one boy upright a bike much too big for him and serpentine up the road; another child skipped into the grocery and asked for clothes pins for her mom; two young boys were gently scolded by a lady sitting on her porch as she reminded them their mothers expected them to go straight home from school. I felt like I was looking back to a time when computers and smart phones and stranger danger didn’t exist.

The water clarity and colors of Barbuda are beyond belief. Our first anchorage was Gravenor Bay. Navigating into this bay is tricky because there are a lot of reefs. It is very important to only enter when the sun is high and the visibility excellent, but once through the maze of reefs, the settled anchorage and amazingly clear water is worth the effort.

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Watching a storm from Gravenor Bay

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Another dramatic storm that passed beyond us

I tried to get a picture of how clear the water is by taking a picture while standing on the bow of LIB. You can see the coral and sand!

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The water is about 15 feet deep in this photo

We decided to move to Low Bay to see the NW side of the island and get close to Codrington Village.  We motored around Coco Point before raising the sails. To our delight, a few dolphins came to say hello! They didn’t stay very long, but we sure enjoyed seeing them.

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Dolphins swim under the bow of Let It Be

The 11 mile expanse from Palmetto Point to Low Bay is a beautiful beach where the sand is so fine you sink as you walk. We certainly didn’t walk the whole length but we did enjoy hanging out appreciating its’ beauty.

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Sand so fine you sink as you walk

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Captain is always up for a roll in the sand

As you can see, Captain dives right in to the beach scene. The more sand she can dig in and roll in and generally grind into her fur, the happier she is!

Moving to Low Bay allowed us hire a guide to take us on a tour of the Frigate Bird Sanctuary.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this tour but ended up thoroughly enjoying it. . Our tour guide, Clifford, took us to the sanctuary via his long boat, then he walked the boat through the area so we had an excellent view of the birds. Ornithologists estimate that there are 5,000 birds in this colony which makes it one of the largest in the world.  The pictures offer more than I can describe.

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The male Frigate enlarges his gular pouch to attract females.

In addition to inflating the gular pouch, the male Frigate rapidly taps the pouch to create a drumming sound which adds to his attraction.

Come on, lady readers, you think those pouches are pretty sexy, right?

Females do not have pouches but instead have a white chest.

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Young Frigates are downy white

When born, the babies have downy, white feathers which are gradually replaced by the black plumage. In the picture above you can see two very young Frigates. Toward the back you can see a Frigate that is a few months old; it has begun to grow some of its’ black feathers but still has a good deal of baby down on the chest.

Wind forecasts were beginning to pick up so we lifted anchor and headed back to Green Island, Antigua  to be in place for kiting should the predicted winds materialize.

Happily, the winds did blow and we arrived at Green Island with plenty of time to get in an afternoon kiteboarding set.

For the kiters out there, here are two pics…..

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Frank chilling as he heads back toward the beach

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Hunter boosts off the back of LIB to start his session

Next stop Guadeloupe.

Playtime in Antigua

It’s hard to believe that our son, Hunter, has already been with us for 10 days! We have had a great time so far, though I admit every day, at least once, someone says, “Wow, I wish Clayton was with us.” We are very thankful that Hunter has a job that allows him to visit and get his work completed.  We are extremely proud of Clayton’s dedication to his job and realize he would be with us if he had that flexibility.  Miss you C!

One of the first things we did when Hunter arrived was cut his hair! I have little to no experience cutting hair, so I was flattered and nervous when Hunter asked me to cut it for him. Here is the before haircut photo. You’ll have to look at the later pics to see the results.

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It was close, but my hair is still longer than his was.

Our days have been spent in a variety of ways, but the main focus is the wind and if kite boarding can be on the agenda.  Fortunately we have had four really great kiting days and there are plenty of other “toys” on LIB to keep us occupied if the wind doesn’t cooperate.

Last week we rode our bikes to Shirley Heights overlooking English Harbour but this week we hiked a trail that took us up a steep trail, past Shirley Heights, then out to the cliffs and back down to Freeman’s Bay where LIB was anchored.

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It is hard to capture the magnitude of the cliffs.

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LIB nestled in Freeman’s Bay

The paddle boards act as platforms to transport Captain to shore and explore a variety of places while getting a bit of exercise.

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Hunter and Cap about to go explore. How do you like the haircut?

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Frank usually has to balance Cap, but this time Hunter was chauffeur. 

All good boat tools have several purposes and our SUPs have lived up to that requirement. One afternoon when the waves were b-i-g, and the wind was light, Frank and Hunter headed out on the paddle boards for some SUP surfing.

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Best shot I could get from so far away.

Maybe you can get an idea of just how big those waves were if you look at the one building a bit further out. We are guessing some waves were 7 feet. The guys say they managed to catch a few waves and lots of laughs.

Lest you think Hunter’s arrival has crushed our coconut safaris, let me reassure you. Instead of abandoning our coconut searches, we have pressed Hunter into climbing duty.

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Why do I keep thinking of Mowgli from The Jungle Book?

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Frank displays the bounty.

But what about the kite boarding? Here are a few pictures to satisfy those dreaming of beautiful water and favorable kite winds.

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Hunter’s first launch from LIB – see that hair?

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Frank follows suit.

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Hunter makes a grab while Frank heads the other way.

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Hunter has already launched from the beach and Frank is on the way.

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Hunter demos another grab.

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Captain is on alert.

Captain gets her “shepherd” on and keeps a close eye on Frank and Hunter while they kite. I will admit she gets a little noisy and I wish she would be a bit quieter as she runs around the boat keeping tabs on her people.

Lest you think I just sit on the boat, I too have been kite boarding. I think I have finally gotten a better handle on this sport. My board skills already existed from wakeboarding, but flying/controlling the kite has given me some grief. Just yesterday I had a really great set, but Frank was there as dinghy support since I couldn’t ride up wind well enough to return to the starting point…. okay, that is an issue I need to overcome.  But I am definitely improving!

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Kites drying on the front deck as the sun sets.

Day’s end brings a gentle beauty that incorporates relief from the powerful sun, satisfaction of a day well spent and a bit of fatigue from a variety of play.

Sunset’s anchored in Nonsuch Bay are just stunning and differ greatly. Here are two; which do you prefer?

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Fire reds and ominous clouds.

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A mellow repose.

By the end of the day we are all pretty tired. Once the sun sets, we make dinner and when we finish, we are just about ready to roll into bed.

Next we set sail for Barbuda and hope the winds ramp back up to the kiting zone.

Jolly Harbour, Antigua – Take Two or is it Three?

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Jolly Harbour feels like the treasure at the end of a rainbow.

Jolly Harbour has been a very welcome anchorage after both of our passages from St. Martin. This time I was ready to return to Jolly because the surge in Nelson’s Dockyard made our lines squeak at night which made sleep a little difficult. Even though I really like English Harbour, I am such a light sleeper that the squeak kept me awake so I was ready for the quiet of Jolly Harbour.

Last June we visited Jolly Harbour, so we knew what to expect this time and we were not disappointed. The folks in Jolly Harbour Marina are very nice and always have a smile. Jenn was in the marina office again this visit and her warm welcome was appreciated.

One really nice change in JH is the upgrade to their internet signal. Jenn told us that in the past the marina had complaints about the wifi, so they upgraded the system.  Since then she said they have not had any complaints. We were on a mooring ball and had excellent wifi on LIB. Thanks for the upgrade Jolly Harbour!!

As you can see from the picture above, there are a lot of private homes with boat docks along the edges of JH which offers a different view and feeling from many anchorages. These quiet fingers are perfect for paddle boarding.

Last year we wrote about our visit to Sha Sade where Frank had his hair cut. This year I visited Shamone who gave me a manicure/ pedicure and even dyed my eyebrows for me. It was like a regular spa day!

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Shamone and Sadie’s store front.

The salon is in the building right next to the dinghy dock so the location is perfect for boaters. I will certainly go back the next time I’m in Jolly Harbour.

As most boaters know, Jolly has an excellent grocery and it is pretty easy to find familiar products. We were able to stock up on some essentials like M&Ms. 😉

Near the mooring balls their is a neighborhood with an open field and quiet streets which makes a perfect place for us to throw the frisbee for Captain.

She apparently thinks we should have gone there more often as she decided she would sleep in the dinghy between visits! She has only done this in Jolly Harbour, so I’m guessing this is one of her favorite anchorages.

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Yes, that black ball of fluff is Cap waiting for another trip to shore!

This time we left Jolly Harbour to head to Shell Beach where we picked up our older son, Hunter. What a great reason to head out.

The focus of Hunter’s visit is kiteboarding. Frank has been anxiously waiting for this opportunity to kite with Hunter right off of LIB.

Let’s hope these crazy winds keep blowing…

 

Friends, Christmas Cove and the BVI.

We were so happy to reach Christmas Cove, USVI and meet up with our friends Amy and David of Starry Horizons.  We first met them just after we had taken deliver of LIB and Starry Horizons was still in production in France.

While we have met Amy and David a few times on land, this is the first time we have been able to meet on our boats and compare our Helias.

We had a great time sharing dinner a few times, including a delicious dinner of tuna that Amy and David had caught on passage! Very fun to share time and their yummy catch!

We were able to share our “catch” of fresh coconut water, which is quickly becoming Frank’s specialty as he searches out low hanging coconuts anywhere we go!

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David, Amy and Frank share coconut water.  David likes his straight from the nut.

We spent two days snorkeling, sharing Pizza Pi, comparing post factory changes to our boats, paddle boarding and just generally enjoying time with these two awesome friends.  Then we had to say goodbye as we needed to report to TMM for some warranty work.

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Double rainbow in Christmas Cove

It was great to be back in the familiar and beautiful BVIs. Our first evening was spent anchored off Peter Island, one of our favorite spots!

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I love the water colors here and the lush hillside.

There were soooo many butterflies! I bet we saw 500 in a 24 hour period.

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Frank and Mark loosen the shroud.

A big thank you to Mark, of TMM,  for helping us replace our roller furler drum which had some issues with metals seizing.  Thankfully Facnor replaced this under warranty so we only had the cost of labor.  Again, a big thank you to TMM for helping us even after we were out of charter with them!!

After TMM we sailed around Tortola and spend a day or two anchored off Sandy Spit and Frank was able to kiteboard ~ a much needed play session for him!

We have not spent any time in Cane Garden Bay and decided to zip over there. It is a lovely bay and we enjoyed it’s beauty and the access to the white, sandy beaches.

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Cane Garden Bay at sunset

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My cute dog and very handsome husband out paddling.

An unexpected and fabulous event was meeting Frank’s cousins who happened to have chartered a boat in the BVIs. Unfortunately I failed to bring a camera, so I don’t have any pictures.  We spent a wonderful evening on their boat and had a great time catching up on each others kids and lives.  I really hope we are able to meet up with them all again sometime.

After Cane Garden Bay we spent a two nights on Norman Island just relaxing.  Then we went back to TMM where we picked up a wind scoop modification from the Doyle Sail Loft and worked with our favorite BVI electrician, Dave Gibson.  You will hear more about Dave and his greatness in another post.

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Sunset off Norman Island.

Now we are settled in at North Sound waiting on a weather window to skip over to St. Martin.  We know this will be a motor rather than a sail as we will be heading into the winds.  We hope to have winds less than 10 knots… but we shall see.

For now we will spend a few days enjoying Saba Rock, Bitter End Yacht Club and all the other great things North Sound has to offer.  Hopefully we will be lucky and have a nice light wind day to go to St. Martin this week.  In the mean time, this isn’t a difficult place to wait.

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Our “back yard” while we wait in North Sound, BVI.

From Charter to Liveaboard – Scheduled to Change – Part III

Well it has been weeks since I have posted, but between projects and a lack of internet, I have a valid excuse.

After almost three months of work, we are calling a truce on projects aboard LIB. We have completed a long list of items and now it is time to put some FUN back into the Meter!
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I thought some folks might be interested in what we have spent our time and effort on, so I will recap those things we have not covered in parts one or two.

Light Project – Done

I am very happy to say that this project went much better than expected! It took us two days, but we replaced the existing LED lights in the salon, we added LED lights to the salon especially the galley and we added a few lights to my “closet.”

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The galley is much brighter!

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So bright it looks like a department store!

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A lamp from Texas

In addition, Frank rewired a lamp from home and added a 12V plug so we can create a more “homey” feel on LIB.

Fuel Filter for Day Tripper – Done

We really like our engines to run well and bad diesel or gas is a quick way to cause problems. Last year we added a fuel polishing system to LIB and now we have added a fuel filter to Day Tripper. The last thing we want is our dinghy engine to fail us…. after all that is our “car” here on LIB.

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Organize the Forepeaks – Done

This project was very time consuming. We had a few (read 4) mis-hits on getting the boards properly attached which means Frank had to do and redo this project several times. Since drilling holes in the side of the boat is not an option, Frank had to find a way to attach the boards he used to organize everything in the forepeaks. He was trying to avoid using 5200 (think superglue on steroids) but in the end it was necessary. I commend Frank’s perseverance and the finished organization is fabulous!

 

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From big mess to very organized!

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The other one…

Water Heater – Done

Originally we thought the element on the water heater needed to be replaced, but after delving into this project we had to replace the whole water heater.  There was a leak between the heat exchanger on the water heater and the engine. Because the fresh water is pressurized, the fresh water was getting into the engine heat exchange and causing us to loose coolant from the engine into the engine compartment.
Not a good situation and one that required a whole new water heater.
In addition we changed the wiring on the water heater and removed it from the inverter. Now we can heat water using the engine or the generator.

Booster Wifi Antenna – Done

In an effort to improve our ability to obtain wifi signal, we installed a BadBoy Xtreme antenna. Our hope is that this antenna will improve our wifi signal and allow us to have more consistent communication while traveling. Obviously we have not mastered this or I would have been able to post more blogs. 😉

After a phone call today and excellent customer support from BitStorm, we have some internet at the moment!

White Stern Navigation Light – Done

When sailing at night, the stern nav light spewed a lot of white light into the cockpit effectively ruining our night vision. Following the example of Starry Horizons, we moved our light to the end of our starboard davit arm.

Evaluate Bilge Pumps – Done
We spent several hours washing out the port and starboard hulls with fresh water and checking how well our bilge pumps work. While not an exciting job, a necessary one and we are really glad we did since the impellers on both pumps on the starboard side were clogged by hair and debris!
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In addition to being gross, these hairballs could cause serious problems!

Commodorizer – Done
Frank added a commodorizer to each of our head seawater intake lines and they have made a very positive difference. Into each of these little devices we add a chlorine tablet which slowly dissolves and is added to our head lines. These eliminate odor and staining! We are very happy with this addition.

EPIRB – Done
We ordered, registered and mounted our EPIRB. And we pray we never need to use it!

Labeled  Electrical Boxes – Done

Labeled the outside of the electrical distribution boxes so we don’t have to open them to know which fuses are inside.

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Special thank to Frank’s Mom for doing this for us!

These little descriptions could go on and on, so I am just going to list other things we have accomplished!

~Changed inverter/charger from 2000 watt/80A to 3000 watt/120A.

~Bought and assembled a high capacity, portable bilge pump.

~Evaluated the main traveller and replaced both of the end stops and foot blocks.

~Removed the old caulk around the aft steps and put in fresh caulk.

~Added 12V plug to helm for charging tablet, phone, etc

~Added remote VHS to helm station.

~Changed fan on galley freezer.

~Placed DriDeck on the floor of the anchor compartment and the cockpit storage compartments.

~Added carpet to the paddle boards to make them less slippery for Captain.

~Added carpet to the bow hatch of the dinghy so Captain can grip better.

~Bought a small anchor for our dinghy, Day Tripper.

~Replaced our outdoor grill with a new one.

~Disassembled, inspected and lubricated our davits. This is an ongoing item as we do not think the shives are in good shape and we may need to replace those and the lines.

~Bought and installed a Lifesling II – used if someone falls overboard.

~Replaced one end of the shore power cord.

~Stripped the plastic coating off the lifelines and cleaned the stainless steel lines.

~Added clam cleats to the mast to make adjusting the lazy jacks easier.

~Added cleats on the mast for the flag halyard.

~Replaced non-working outdoor stereo speakers.

~Re-glued all door and cabinet veneer that was loose.

~Touched up scrapes and scratches incurred during LIB’s charter life using a painter’s marker.

Big Reveal – Cushions Are Finished!

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Love how bright these look in the cockpit.

We are thrilled with the cushions fabricated by Carol of Atlantic Canvas in Fajardo, PR.

After several tests, affectionately referred to as the “Cushy Tushy Test,” we settled on 4″ seat cushion and 3″ back cushion foam.

We love the happy, vibrant color of the cushions, as well as the comfort.

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Carol fabricated a back so the sundeck seat is more comfy.

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We had covers made for these large cushions in case we are slathered with sunscreen.

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Carol recovered our pillows to match the outdoor cushions.

Having lived in Texas for over 30 years, we just had to bring a little Texas feel with us, so we brought a cow skin rug and a cactus lamp.  Guess we just didn’t want to completely let go of Texas!

What do you think of the new look for Let It Be?

Thank you, Carol, for all your hard work and attention to details!

If you want the phone number for Atlantic Canvas, just let me know. Currently they do not have a website or I would have linked to it.

 

 

 

From Charter to Live Aboard – Scheduled to Change – Part I Update

Here is an update on the projects from Part I.

Hydraulic Steering – Done!

Happily, the new hydraulic steering has been installed on LIB and it is working very well.

As I mentioned, some people dislike the lack of feedback with a hydraulic steering, but there are some positives to this new system. First, the “wheel of death” has disappeared. By this I mean that when the autopilot is engaged, the helm doesn’t turn anymore. This makes it easier to mess with the navigation instruments without fear of loosing a finger as the wheel spins back and forth. Second, the rotation of the wheel from full starboard to full port is fewer complete rotations of the helm, thus the boat is a bit more responsive with less wheel turn.

Anchor Windless – Ooops/Done

Well, I must admit our ignorance on this one. (It was very kind that no one sent me a note telling me I was ignorant.)

The windless did not have to be adjusted to use it manually. Our lack of knowledge was on display here.  We received some better instruction after asking a third person and our windless does work manually. Phew, one project deleted.

Frank did some general maintenance on the windless itself to make sure it stays reliable. He removed the anchor chain, cleaned it and marked it every 25 feet with both zip ties and paint. He also reversed the chain so what was the boat end is now the anchor end.  (For non boaters, marking the chain every 25 feet helps us know how much anchor chain we have let out when anchoring.  Reversing the chain helps even out wear/usage.)

Windless Remote….this one has been tabled as we do not think we need a remote at the helm, at least for now.

Watermaker – Done!

Well, this one was a challenge. The instructions and part quality on the RO Watermaker have been excellent.  All the tiny spaces in our boat where we need to run hoses and “T” into lines – quite a challenge!  Thank goodness neither of us is claustrophobic!

This photo is just to show the fun contortions we practice when working it small places. Frank’s head is still attached!

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Squeezed into the space next to our generator to access the rear wall.

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The two membrane housings Frank was securing on the aft wall.

The customer support from RO has been fabulous. They accidentally sent us and AC boost pump instead of a DC one but they were very quick to send us the correct one! Plus if we have questions, they have answers. We have completed the install and think it came out well.  We have not “made water” yet as we are in a marina but we feel confident that everything is in order and will work well.

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Frank did a great job making a “box” for the control panel.

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Behind those AC ducts is where the RO membranes are hung.

Dive Compressor – No luck so far.

Well we placed the order for this compressor in June and we expected it to arrive in Puerto Rico by October 5th. But, the best laid plans don’t always work. We still have not received our compressor. Apparently the stainless steel cage for “our” generator was supposed to be sent air freight but somehow was put in a sea freight container.

Waiting on a boat instead of a plane would put delivery of our unit back to late November….. needless to say that does not fit well with our timing. We are working with the folks at CompressorStuff to get the compressor us before we leave Puerto Rico. Fingers crossed on this one.

*Fresh Water Wash Down – Done!

Since we are having so much fun playing with the water maker install, we decided to complicate it further by adding a fresh water wash down system to the boat.  This means we added yet another “T” to the water lines.  This new line runs to a hose bib in the anchor compartment and now we can clean the boat with fresh water. Pretty exciting!

This may sound silly to those who have not spent much time on the ocean, but trust me, it is necessary to clean the decks and wash off the salt that accumulates over time.  Plus, Let It Be looks a lot prettier with clean decks!

Cushions for LIB – Getting close!

I am beyond excited about our cushions! They are not finished yet, but Carol with Atlantic Canvas has delivered two seat cushions and one back cushion so we could make sure we are happy with the fabric, the foam, the attachments, etc.  I can tell you I love them already! Here is a sneak preview…

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Just a little tease. I’ll show you more when it all arrives!

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