October was a really busy month for me...Lots of 'on call' days at the hospital, my birthday and a whirlwind four day weekend of provisioning! For my non boating-land living friends, provisioning is like grocery shopping on major steroids!!!! Have you ever made a shopping trip to stock up for 8 months???? Well that was my provisioning challenge. I had made lists, remade more lists, turned my lists into spreadsheets, rechecked my lists and spreadsheets and THEN went shopping. Now all women know you can never find ALL of the items you need at just one store, and this provisioning escapade was no different. I started out with online ordering from Target, Walmart and Amazon. Then with lists of necessary items in hand, went to Sam's and Walmart on Day 1. After multiple trips down our long dock in Stuart we had officially begun and were ready for Day 2. Sam's Club with Scottie (Oh NOOOOO!) is all I can say. Scott is a man that ABHORS shopping of any kind, so taking him to a place like Sam's Club on a Saturday was probably very poor judgement on my part. Anyway, two hours later we left with over 110 pounds of meats. (Vegetarians BEWARE! Carnivores are On Board!) After hauling all of the meat items down the dock, it was then time to repackage, vacuum seal and freeze. I exhausted all 44 quart-sized FoodSaver bags (how did I know that number was insufficient?!?!) and then used 2 entire FoodSaver rolls as well. We started this ordeal at 10am and finished at 5pm...Cocktail hour was VERY welcome!
Day 3 found us at Walmart...yet another mistake to have my "shopping-phobic" Scotty come to help. Despite his reluctance, he was a wonderful help and we finished with Walmart in under 2 hours! Back to the boat for more unloading and stocking. Final stop...Alcohol. Now some things in our life are on a "Need to Know" basis, and only my best of friends will ever hear the real scoop on our "Adult Beverage Provisioning". Let's just say the boat sits lower in the water after our alcohol provisioning! LOL We stocked hard liquor and wine. Scott is trying to cut down on carbs, so we opted not to stock Miller Lite until just before we leave for the Exumas. Although I provisioned for 8 months (2 months Key West and 6 months Bahamas) we felt no beer on the boat would be a healthier option while he was living alone in the Keys
November found me working in Indiana and then back to the boat for two more weeks to move to Key West from our "home" in Stuart, FL at Sunset Bay Marina. We waited...and waited...and waited...for a weather window until our friends Randy and Rochelle had to change ALL of their travel plans to accompany us on our voyage. They were amazing troopers and wonderful crossing companions. This was the first time Scott and I transited 35 hours with us alone "at the helm". We had no experienced training captain or seasoned voyager. We had ourselves and our trusting friends. After initial swells, the seas laid down and our voyage was comfortable. I'll just say that Miami shipping lane traffic is SCARY!
Key West was a blast! It was a real treat after all of the work leading up to our departure. We enjoyed our friends, partying on Duval Street and watching the International Speed Boat Races.
My return to Indiana brought many new challenges. My job is really becoming exhausting and I'm working LOTS of weekends, including the four days of Thanksgiving weekend, prior to my resignation January 16th. There are thousands of loose ends to address prior to our departure as well. In addition, we have invited my Mom to visit the boat in Key West in December, as well as my daughter, who will be visiting for Christmas through New Year's. I am really excited for the next 6 weeks to unfold...but I know that there is a LOT of work left to do between now and then!
October was a month of provisioning, completing 89 items of Preventive Maintenance (PM's), boat repairs, and chasing after contractors to finish their open items before we were scheduled to leave. I was very busy for the entire month. Paula handled the food and alcohol provisioning. No small task. However, once we were all packed and leaving I noticed there were NO beer supplies on board. An over sight? Recently she put me on a diet. Coincidence? Hmmmm?
Below is a list of items added, repaired, or enhanced:
Sat Compass repaired (Corroded and loose wires at antenna) Replaced Sat Compass Battery Dingy annual service Dingy control cable replaced Replaced Dingy Cover Added Garmin Chart Plotter and Fish Finder to Dingy Added Armstrong Ladder to Dingy (Paula loved it) Added two sets of Gahauer Kayak Supports (Love them) Added two new Kayaks. One blue and one pink (Guess which one is mine?) Added new Teak Table and Chairs for the cockpit Added new Gas Caddy with pneumatic tires for extra Dingy gas. (Learned this from James Hamilton) Replaced one Direct TV Receiver Replaced VHF Repaired Hailer Replaced bad Airmar 100 with Airmar 150 Refinished Cockpit Teak Railing Replaced and rebuilt primary Bilge Pump Added fishing gear Added large CO2 tanks for Soda Stream refills (Large money and space savings) Replaced ABT Stabilizer Screen in the Pilot House Added RD33 to the Flybridge Encompassed laptop with Odyssey Software into helm as a back-up Added software to allow iPad to operate Odyssey Chart Plotter from the Flybridge Replaced rear Thruster Solenoid Replaced Black Water Sending Unit Repaired Gray Water Auto Sensor Added side port access for both Sea Strainers (Great for the arthritic-contortion challenged individual) Completed 73 of the 89 PM's due (Windlass will be done in Key West and electrical PM's will be done by contractor in Key West) Started the conversion of halogen lights to LED. Started Wheelhouse a parts and maintenance management system (Excellent, I love it)
With the repairs, improvements, and provisioning complete we were ready to head for Stock Island Marina, Key West. We had 10 days of perfect weather in Stuart Florida and on the day before we were to depart a major cold front attacked Florida. It took 5 days for us to get a decent weather window. We finally left November 6th at sunrise. Our friends Randy and Rochelle arrived at the boat at 2:00 AM the morning of departure and joined us for the journey down to Key West.
The first four hours of the trip we experienced 4 to 5 foot swells and then the water laid down and we had a smooth trip the rest of the way. Unfortunately, we had strong currents against us most of the way. It was everything we could do to maintain an average speed of 7 knots. The trip took 35 hours and about double the planned fuel (Yes Dad that is a lot of fuel). The 8 hours we passed through the Fort Lauderdale and Miami shipping lanes were interesting and kept us all on our toes. Cruise ships, freighters, and commercial fishing boats everywhere.
After we arrived in Key West and were docked, shutdown, and the boat cleaned it was time for celebration. I opened the single can of Sands Light Beer from the past trip to the Bahamas and divided it into 4 glasses for a toast. Did I mention Paula did not stock the boat with beer?
The next few days Rochelle and Randy tried to kill me on Duval Street. I survived barely. The highlight was Rochelle's visit to "The Garden of Eden". I know everyone wants to know did she or did she not partake? Her secret is safe with me.
It is now Thanksgiving Weekend. I baked cookies (True story) and joined in on the Marina's Thanksgiving Potluck. Lots of turkey and champagne....
Paula will be back on the boat next week for a week.
The plan is to depart for the Exumas around February 1st.
Scott and Paula We share our individual views on experiences and travels...