Monday, April 29, 2013

Weather window arrives next week...will we be ready?

Two dinghies are passing each other, next to our boat. The one guy says to the other one that is headed towards him, "You look unhappy. Did you buy a boat?" We get that joke, having experienced the ups and downs of boat ownership.

With a working generator and engine, we had basically been waiting for a weather window to get back to the Bahamas. It seems that winds from the west are few and far between this time of year. We also wanted to get one of our fuel tanks cleaned out but that could wait if necessary.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Forcible eviction

Ft. Lauderdale Air Show. No U.S. military this
year due to budget cuts but we had great seats.
Matt replaced the tank selection valve in the fuel line, which solved the air leak issue. Since nothing is ever straightforward, he had to go to several different locations all over Ft. Lauderdale to find the proper fittings that could convert the new American valve to be used with the old metric fittings and lines. All of this was on foot, over the course of 4 hours in the heat and humidity, while dragging around a couple of boat friends that didn't realize what they were getting into. So after the Bataan death march concluded, we have finally have two working engines.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to troubleshoot a generator without really knowing what you're doing

Yawn alert for those of you who don't care about mechanical stuff.

Our Northern Lights generator, which (when it works) provides us with power for our water maker (and dive compressor) and a backup power source on cloudy days, was sick. When we started running it in the Bahamas to desalinate water, it would run for about 15 to 20 minutes and then stop. It wasn't clear whether or not it was overheating.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Music on the beach

The other day we headed to the beach, which had a large section closed off and stages set up for concerts. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kenny Chesny were some of the big names (definite country bend to the event). The docks were filled because of the concert. Here's a conversation Matt had when he was looking for the guy in charge of the docks:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tow, tow, tow your boat

We ran into a sailboat here in Lake Sylvia that had gotten itself into a bit of a pickle. The man, his pregnant wife, 2-year old son, and infant had been towed to Lake Sylvia because their engine wasn't working and their dinghy had been stolen (the one in the picture was donated to them). Apparently there was no money for a marina or engine work.  The sailboat was a new endeavor: an escape from a previous life and meant to be a fresh start.  The only problem was that they had virtually no sailing experience.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weebles wobble but they don't float free

It's hard to tell from the picture, but this is the entrance to Lake Sylvia with two sailboats stuck on a hump at low tide.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ooh ooh, that smell, can you smell that smell?

Notice the blue gloves. I think if I had that job, I might want one of
those for my whole body (including my whole head) because
you never know what could  escape and slime you. But that's just me.

We had our holding tank pumped out today. For those of you without boats or RVs, "holding tank" is an innocuous sounding name for a disgusting box of fermenting excrement that accumulates over multiple days (in our case, 10 days, 4 people--if you get the picture, then I apologize). We are too close to land to dump our human waste, so it goes into the tank.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Powered by the sun...or not

Since we left the dock over a month ago, all our power needs (other than the engines and cooking) have been met with solar panels. This includes our freezer, fridge, toilets, lights (mostly LED), and various tech toys (auto-pilot, AIS, laptop, pads, phones). We have been off the grid and, we are coming to find, we have been spoiled a bit.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Young, drunk and half-naked

No, not us of course. Since we're clearly not young.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kids say the creepiest things

Here is an exchange that I (Jen) had with the boys last night at bedtime.

Mark: Mommy, when you die I want to put you in a jar so I can look at you whenever I want. [Followed by a big hug and and kiss.]

Conrad: How is all of Mommy going to fit into a jar?!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Back in the US of A

No more deserted beaches for now
We are back in Ft. Lauderdale after a month and it feels like we just left. Spring break season is winding down and it seems so crowded here. It's nice to have cheap, plentiful produce and all the modern conveniences that life here offers. But we feel like we have unfinished business in the Bahamas. We are looking forward to getting our engine and generator fixed up so we can head back for another month or so.

If you feel like getting away from it all, you can buy a
fixer-upper in Bimini...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sea hares

We discovered these things after accidentally dropping the dinghy anchor on one. It is a sea hare or sea slug After Matt asked what they were, a woman pulled him over to the side to whisper the local name for them out of earshot of the children--sea pussy. We wanted to know if they were edible and the answer is a resounding "no". Apparently they have poisoned dogs who ate them. Before we knew what they were Matt kept saying just poke at it with your finger, they're harmless. Um yeah, you touch it.
It's not clear whether the ink is a defense mechanism or just the slug equivalent of peeing its pants from fear. Yes, we stopped torturing them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Living off the land

We returned to Frazier's Hog Cay and again tried to get some of the best conch in the Bahamas. However, when we got there it was closed. Foiled again (a few days later we did get some and it was amazing). But we hit a conch bonanza and found a ton on our own.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Snorkeling, Kid Snorkeling

Here is a video that we took while snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, where scenes from the James Bond movies "Never Say Never Again" and "Thunderball" were filmed, as well as "Splash". Unless you are a strong swimmer, they recommend you go at slack tide because at other times it completely fills with water. As you can tell from the video, at least a couple of us are in the "not-a-strong-swimmer" category right now. Unfortunately, the video doesn't give the best view of the tons of colorful fish.