Monday, October 31, 2016

We Passed the Safety Equipment Inspection

Breeze On went through her safety equipment inspection this afternoon. We ticked all of the boxes and passed without any issues to fix. George is so relieved. He has worked very hard reviewing the requirements and gathering and organizing the equipment.

Lyall and George during the safety equipment inspection

As we were washing the salt off of the enclosure panels a photographer asked if he could take our pictures and interview us for Chesapeake Bay Magazine. We agreed. Why not? Then we started measuring and marking the straps that will enable us to roll the panels when not in use. We added one snap when we were at anchor the other night. It enabled us to keep the egress door out of the way.

Egress door rolled and held in place with strap.

There are quite a few planned activities with this rally. There is a social event most nights and quite a few seminars. We have met some nice people at the social events and plan to attend most of the seminars.

Our berth for the week. We are parked right next door to event organizers, Andy and Mia on Isbjorn.
 
Our ARC Bahamas flag

 

Our marina on the left with the big ship across the river on the right.

 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We Made it to Portsmouth

After a lovely half-day of sailing on the bay yesterday, George calculated how much further to Deltavile, VA, our planned destination. At the time we were tacking back and forth past the Potomac River. According to his calculations, we still had 25 miles to go and it was already 2 pm. That would put us arriving in Deltaville after dark. Not a good idea when when going to an unfamiliar harbor.

So, we turned the motor on and headed for Little Bay, just north of the Rappahannock River. We had to dodge a few fish traps on the way in but we were safely anchored before dark. We got up before sunrise, raised the anchor and were motoring out of the harbor before dawn. There was just a tiny bit of light in the sky. George stood at the bow with a spotlight and watched for crab and fish traps. I tried to follow the convoluted course I had taken into the harbor.

Sunset in Little Harbor
Sunrise over the Chesapeake
 

 

We motored most of the day. Sometimes with the sails up and sometimes with the sails down. We did have wind most of the day but it was usually light and always on the nose. We didn't want to make the mistake of leisurely sailing as we had done the day before. We would have needed to allow more time for the trip if we expected to sail our way to Portsmouth.

The day was sunny and quite warm for late October. The best wind we had all day was when we were in the Elizabeth River. The river is not very wide and has numerous shipping terminals along the side. Three cargo ships, two tugboats and a dredging barge passed us going the opposite direction. We definitely would not have been comfortable sailing so close to all of that traffic.

We arrived at Ocean Yacht Marine Center in Portsmouth just before the office closed at 5 pm. We were able to fill the tank with diesel fuel before pulling into the slip. Now Breeze On can stay put until we leave for the Bahamas in a week.

We attended an Oktoberfest party on the dock in the evening and met a few folks in the rally. We spent most of our time chatting with a couple who are also going to Bahamas for the first time. Jean and I bonded over how nervous we are about the trip.

Tomorrow we will go through the safety check of Breeze On and wash the salt off of the boat. I will get to work making yet more changes to the enclosure panels and George will go through his own list. We both hope to get a good night's sleep.

 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

On Our Way

We threw the dock lines off yesterday at 9:04 am. We woke very early (too early, as has been the case for weeks), packed up and readied the boat. I put my favorite quilted vest in our collapsible wagon with the other last minute things to be loaded. I wanted to make sure I didn't forget it. A few minutes before we were to leave I looked for the vest so I could put it on. It wasn't on the boat. I returned to the condo and looked everywhere. It wasn't there, either. I gave up and came back to the boat. Just before we were set to leave George looked down into the water and shouted, "Bev, get the boat hook!" I couldn't imagine why he wanted it. He reached in and pulled out my soggy vest. Apparently, as we were loading the boat it had blown out of the wagon and into the water. Neither one of us had noticed it. At least I had my favorite vest back.

Ray helped us ready the boat and throw off the lines. Bobbie and Sue came to wish us a bon voyage. We exited the creek and immediately encountered winds in the 20's, gusting to 30. It was right on our nose so we motored for the first 2 hours. The water was really rough and waves would periodically crash over the bow. It was not a fun ride. We were very grateful, though, for the enclosure that was keeping us warm and dry. I guess it really was worth the time, money and effort.

After a few hours we were able to turn a bit downwind and that enabled us to sail. We unfurled the jib turned off the engine and sailed along at 6.5 kn. Not bad. It was also a much more comfortable ride. An hour later we turned South in the bay and raised the main with two reefs. The waves were not as choppy so it was even more comfortable.

We reached the end of our first leg, Solomons, and dropped anchor at 4:30. We cleaned some of the salt off of the windows, ate dinner and were in bed by 9:00 pm. It was a peaceful night with very light winds and we slept well.

We were up early again this morning and are now heading to our next stop, Deltavile, VA. The winds are 6-8 kn with calm seas. Much better than yesterday, in my opinion!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Almost Ready

It has been a whirlwind week of packing and making the final preparations for our trip. George and I have been on an emotional roller coaster. At times we felt panicked, hopeless and exhausted. Then we would feel optimistic and hopeful that everything would fit and we would be ready on time. The amount of work involved in getting everything on the boat in an organized way was astounding. George did the packing while I recorded the items on our inventory. We are hoping that the inventory will reduce the amount of time spent looking for things.

We have decided to postpone our departure for a day. We had originally planned to leave tomorrow morning but there are thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow night. We don't sleep well during thunderstorms while we are at anchor. We are already sleep deprived from lying awake at night with hundreds of thoughts going through our heads. We didn't want to start the trip with the guarantee of a poor night's sleep on our first night at anchor.

This is what the salon looked like a few days ago.

 

The galley

 

Some of the food packed under the aft berth. George is loading food into the "way, way back."

 

Full storage in the salon.

 

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Propane Locker is Done; Let the Packing Begin

The propane locker is finished and looks great. Chuck at Generation III did a fantastic job. We now have space for two 10-pound tanks of propane instead of just one 5-pound tank. Now, when one tank runs out of propane we can begin looking for a place to refill.

Chuck made this new door for the larger propane locker.
Inside the new propane locker with the 2 new 10-pound propane cans
 

We have one week until our planned departure date, October 27. We will use this time to organize and load the food and supplies on the boat. Our plan is to organize the food into three categories: accessible, semi-accessible and buried. The food that we will be using the first few weeks will be placed in the most accessible locations in the galley and salon. The items we won't be needing for a few months will be in the semi-accessible areas. The food and supplies we won't need until the spring will be loaded in the "buried" locations, which include under the v-berth, aft berth and what I call the "way, way back". The "way, way back" is in the stern and can be accessed by either emptying out the starboard side storage compartment, crawling through it and removing a small hatch, or crawling through the aft berth on the port side and removing a small hatch.

George in the starboard side storage compartment (also known as the "garage")
Some the the items that were emptied from the garage

As we load everything on the boat we are making a note of it's location on the inventory. It is a time-consuming process but we hope it will be worth it. I really hate spending time looking for things. I have also heard tearing the boat apart looking for something can be one of the most frustrating things when one first starts living on a boat.

We spent the day yesterday cooking for our passage and the trip to Portsmouth, VA. We made six casseroles that are now in the freezer and will be heated in the oven as we make our passage to the Bahamas. We also made three soups that are now in the freezer and will be warmed up as we make our way to Portsmouth.

Some of the things that will be loaded onto Breeze On
More of the food that will go on Breeze On
Empty lockers in the salon

 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Less Than Two Weeks to Go!

We are scheduled to leave in less than two weeks. Yikes! I have been busy gathering up medical supplies and developing the provisioning list. George has been busy installing and setting up the Iridium Go (satellite phone); installing the Seagull water filter for the galley sink; and buying and organizing spare parts.

 

The provisioning has been surprisingly stressful. I am trying to do it in a way that is similar to the way we do our weekly shopping, but that makes the process more complicated. As I mentioned in the last post, I first make a list of the menu items that we plan to eat.

I modified the recipes to incorporate freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. Then I estimated how many times we would eat that recipe while we are in the Bahamas. Then I used our Paprika recipe app to scale up the quantities and develop a shopping list. I used the shopping list to develop a spreadsheet. I also added staples that had been suggested by others and the toiletries that we use to the spreadsheet.

 

Next, we used the spreadsheet to write shopping lists for ordering online or shopping in stores. I often had to convert units (from volume to weight) which wasn't an easy process. I often felt overwhelmed and occasionally downright confused. I am hoping that it will all have been worth it. I have heard that the provisions should reflect what you normally eat at home. Also, by using recipes and scaling them up I hope we will have the foods we need in the quantities that we need.

We did not plan to fish while we are there so we did not plan for that. After we arrive, we may wish we had.

We have completed most of the shopping and I am now worried that we won't have room to store it all.

 

Just a small portion of the food we have purchased

Breeze On is now at the boat yard getting a new, larger propane locker. Up until now we carried one 5-lb. tank. Now we will have room for two 10-lb. tanks. We expect to get her back by the end of next week and then we can start loading her up and we will see what fits. Fingers crossed!