Southbound 2012…We R OUT

Year #2…off to explore the BAHAMAS some more.
We did it! We left the docks on time!

OMG…why it so much work preparing to depart on a sailboat for a winter cruise of 8 months to the Bahamas? It seems like it should be no more effort than simply packing your bags for a two week vacation, but it is NOT, it is much more!

Imagine trying to buy almost all the food, paper products, cereals, canned goods, snacks, drinks and wine you plan to consume for the next 8 months. …”We need these …..”…”We need to fix this”…..”We need to buy more…   “Remember to bring”…..and so on. Next thing you know, you are stuck in this endless loop feeling locked to the dock. You feel as if you can’t possibly be ready, you will never be ready, you have too much to do. This loop needs to be BROKEN by simply setting a date for departure and then busting your tail to get it all done and get off the dock. JUST LEAVE, get going, you can almost always fix it later or buy it down the road.

A well stored boat. 10+ dock carts of stuff all
stored and put away. Island Packets hold a lot!

Well, that is what we did. Our boat was in the parking lot just 10 days ago. Within 24 hours after launching, we had guests for 3 days. Lucky for us, they are great friends and helped us get the boat ready for our sail. Provisions were bought and stowed, oil and fuel filters changed, systems all checked and the boat washed and cleaned up. We made a final run to home to check in with a few doctors and our house sitter, then back to the boat for departure. This process is hectic, stressful, and a ton of work, but it is so incredibly rewarding once you are under way!

The TRIP LOG is reset to ZERO
last year we logged 3,514+ nautical miles!

Underway on a coastal cruising sailboat can be very easy. Each person stands a one hour watch driving and watching the waterway. While off watch, you are free to read, write, and surf the web, pay bills, watch the stock market, send emails and write blog posts like this. Our normal transit day is 8-10 hours of running at 6 knots. This will push the boat about 50 miles. Do this for 20 days and you cover 1,000 miles, or Maryland to Florida. Along the way on this coastal trip, you anchor in some beautiful towns and walk, and explore the area. Again, life on a cruising sailboat doing coastal trips is really fun. It simply takes time and we have the time!

So, we are off the dock and we welcome you along for the ride. We will try to post reflections and insights and photos of the trip, sharing with you the life we are so lucky to be living. We are thankful for our health and our contentment….

Here are some photos of the start of our trip…you know I love to take photos…

We had a fun rendezvous with the “CALIFORNIA KIDS,” friends we
met in Miami and sailed to the Bahamas with last year,
Cary and Tom of IP 37 Dragon’s Toy.
Departing our HOME…the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
near Annapolis, MD

Sailing into Annapolis, we passed WOODWIND,
the mightly wooden schooner of Annapolis

Radeen arrives shore via OUR CAR….the inflatable boat down in the water.
This is our vehicle for the next 8 months. It is how we get to shore.

Patricia and Radeen. We enjoyed dinner with our boat buddies
Eric and Pat of IP-460 Cutter Loose. Like Dragon’s Toy, they are Caribbean bound!

Eric and Hayden sharing dinner at the Boatyard Grille’s
Full Moon Party in Eastport, MD.

The best way to WINTERIZE your boat….HEAD SOUTH
at 180 degrees and southbound we are for the next month+

Nothing like arriving Solomons and having the Wm. B. Tennison pass by
on a tour from the Calvert Marine Museum. 

SO….welcome to our travels south back into the Abacos and maybe into the Exumas. Thank you again for following along.

NOTE: Please leave us comments on the blog. They are emailed to us immediatly and we love to hear from our friends.

Living Contrast: House vs. Boat

Our Passive Solar Home, endless power, water and comfort
Left to the care of our Friend and House Sitter…Edward

Here we are moving out of our home and anticipating the accompanying change in perspective. Life on “land” as “dirt dwellers” vs. life on a “cruising sailboat” is interesting to compare. Now with one year of cruising behind us and with the second one on the door step, we can reflect and compare these two worlds.

Imagine you and your wife living on five gallons of water a day! That would be for showers, dishes, flushes, and boat washing….yup….5 gallons a day is our conservative usage and, when we splurge, we let it rip and use 7 to 8 gallons a day for the two of us. In our home, we have shower heads that flow at 5 gallons per minute! Take a 10 minute shower are  you have used 50 gallons of water! In two showers, our boat would be OUT of water. When living in a house, when do you ever think about running water? NEVER, it is endless!

Living on a sailboat at anchor in the calm

At home, the freezer is kept at zero degrees and the refrigerator is kept at 38 degrees. The water heater is holding 80 gallons of water at 140 degrees ready for anyone to use at anytime. Lights are left on, computer networks are up and running, printers are left on, cable TV boxes, night lights, outdoor lights, and deck lights are all left on for effects and for convenience. WHY? Because POWER is endless. When do you ever think about electricity usage in a home? NEVER. On a boat, we use 12 volt power, imagine living in your car and everything you run must plug into a cigarette lighter outlet. I challenge you to think about that and try it for one day.

2700 square feet is a lot of living area and allows plenty of room for every one to have “their own space.” Kitchen counters and the bar area flow into the open and well light living space. The dining room table seats 6 for dinner in actual chairs with backs, imagine that! Bedrooms have regular doors and closets for HANGING CLOTHES. Bathrooms are full size with showers one can actually walk into and close off. Toilets have a very unique feature with a flush handle and running WATER! What a concept. Compare this to living in the space of a walk in closet or the space of a small bedroom and you will begin to see the contrast.

Island Spirit sailing a nice breeze under autopilot


There is something very magical about the FREEDOM cruising provides. Imagine, waking up in an isolated creek, on anchor, hearing the birds as you proceed topside with a fresh brewed cup of coffee. On deck, you take in the sunrise or the early morning mist on the water as you imagine the day ahead. It is peaceful, quiet, calm, and relaxing. The two of you prepare a healthy breakfast and enjoy it while you plan your next passage or land side explorations. Once underway by sailboat, it is very beautiful; you may be traversing a salt marsh among great blue herons, or setting sails offshore for the next island get-a-way. There is no AM rush hour, no schedule, no beeping horns, no rapidly talking TV news caster or radio shock jock. There is peace and reflection. Calm discussions and planning. Listening and communicating. Dreaming and enjoying. LIVING…and when you drop anchor off a beautiful sand beach with turquoise waters, put on your snorkel mask and fins, and swim with tropical fish, you will know WHY you sail, why you left the house behind and why you left the rat race. There is no better life for us than exploring, discovering, and traveling with your best friend on a cruising sailboat….NONE…

SO LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN AGAIN….off we sail to the Bahamas…

P.S. We will NOT miss the SNOW in the Northeast…

Gene and Dianne

Island Spirit gets relaunched for 2012…Bahamas bound

We completed the helm install and ran Island Spirit out the creek for a sea trial. When all systems checked out, it was back to our home dock to clean up the boat and prepare for good friends Dianne and Gene to visit.

The boat was really dirty and a real mess as is common when storing your boat in the yard for a month and tearing apart major systems for repair. Lucky for us, it rained and stormed our first day back in the water so we had 24 hours to prepare the boat.

Dianne and Gene enjoy happy hour on Island Spirit

Dianne and Gene are like family, Hayden spent his teaching career with Dianne and Gene was a Technology Ed teacher like Hayden. We have sailed the Caribbean together and taken cruises and land vacations together. So, they would understand that the boat was a wreck, there were jobs still to do, and that we would most likely just do a day sail.

24 hours after launch, we are getting ready to travel

So, our 2012 Bahamas run began with this wonderful visit with good friends. We enjoyed cocktail hours, sailing and anchoring out in the creek for a leisurely lunch. Getting Island Spirit back into service is a lot of work, but cruising and sailing with friends is as good as it gets. Dianne and Gene are great boat guests and it is always easy to spend time onboard with friends that know how to live on a boat. Thank you, Dianne and Gene, for your help and for kicking off our 2012 season with a great time..

Photos of the visit…

Notice the GREAT Island Spirit cocktail napkins!
A gift from Amy and Brian….Thank you!
Gene is very determined as he sets the main sail

The Galley BEFORE as we begin to load the frig

The galley AFTER and how it normally looks

Gene helped to launched the AB 10VL, so we had to take it for a 25 mph spin out the creek.
Gene was amazed at the speed of a 15 hp Yamaha…hold on!

Hayden and Radeen enjoying happy hour

Great friends and long time teaching buddies…this is what 85+  years of collective public school teaching service looks like! We had great careers….now we are all onto other adventures….

Check it out…A BLIMP from the US .NAVY. How cool is that? 

Dianne takes the helm with ease, no problem, she has been here before 
Sunsert to the PORT BOW….means one thing….it is time to sail to the BAHAMAS!

Haul Out 2012

Radeen under the bow of Island Spirit

Island Spirit gets a lift out of the water at Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall, MD, for the first time since June 2011. She has been in the water for 15 months so it was time to clean her up and get ready for her second trip to the Bahamas! Hauling out is a big deal and it also represents a lot of work. Once “on the hard,” the term for being in the parking lot, the work can begin. Imagine waxing a tractor trailer and you can begin to feel the pain your arms and shoulders will soon be put through. You need a lot of Advil and other pain killers in order to sleep after a full day of holding a buffer at arm’s length and moving it up and down and side to side. There is no easy way to accomplish this; you simply must get up on that platform and get it done!

Hayden waxing the boat via a ladder scaffolding

After waxing the beast, you then get the pleasure of rolling heavy, nearly SOLID copper-laden paint with a paint roller that is on the end of a broom stick. Yes, you keep the paint roller 4+ feet away from your body, which means you contort into all kinds of angles just to hold up the copper-filled roller and press it UP under the curved hull. Sounds easy, right? Well, next year or the next time we paint, come on down and we will LET YOU have a try at painting the bottom of the boat. I am not sure which is more difficult, rolling the bottom with Trinidad Paint (the highest copper paint on the planet), or holding a buffer at full arm’s length. Each of these arduous tasks is what owning a cruising sailboat is all about. Lucky for most, this ritual is performed every one or two years, so it is forgotten about soon after the boat is back in the water!

Radeen helps paint the bottom, notice the stylish
cover ups!……nice!

Team Island Spirit is a TRUE team and always has been. We work on these jobs together with each of us doing our own various tasks. Yes, it would be much easier to simply write a check for this work, but the bid on waxing was $850.00 and the bottom paint was $1,000, so we don’t mind doing it ourselves to save these fees. The real beauty is that we are NOT working, we are retired, and we have the time to do this prep work. All the while, we are dreaming about and talking about all the places we will soon travel to via this wonderful boat.

Living the “cruising life” has been a dream and it is far better than expected. We have now spent one full year living our lifetime dream and we are looking forward to the next year. These challenges and jobs of being on the hard are a small price to pay for a year of cruising south. Bahamas, here we come…..

Here are some various photos of the yard work…

The Haven Harbour Marina travel lift picks up the 17,500 lbs with ease.

Job one….a marina employee power washes the bottom to remove slime and barnacles.

The travel lift is driven across the parking lot via a WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL.
Very cool to see. It is like a large video game!
Radeen always scrapes the bottom of the keel. She hates barnacles there, or anywhere.

Service job #1, remove the helm steering system for service.
Edson Marine wanted to see this helm after 12,000 miles.

We installed this system…so we removed it.
2.5 hrs to remove the entire steering system and shifter mechanism.

Bottom paint on day one. Day two, jack stands moved forward so we can paint those patches.

Trinidad Paint by Pettit, does this look like $300 per gallon? Copper has gone up!
Our boat needs 2 gallons of paint to coat the bottom.

To service the prop, we sanded it clean and re-coated it with 2-step Speed Prop.

Next, we sanded and repainted the boot stripe using a $5.99 can of Krylon Fusion Spray Paint in Navy.

Jobs COMPLETED in 4.5 days, time to go home and rest….

Next move, reinstall the Edson CD-i helm and below-decks steering arms, reconnect the shifter and throttle cables and get this girl launched, back in the water where she belongs. After that, share the joy with some good friends and load up, because we are SOUTH BOUND very sooooooon. Year #2 will officially begin at the end of this month. BAHAMAS, HERE WE COME……

Portland Pals

We had a lovely 5 hour drive to Portland and a delicious seafood lunch with my nephew and his wife who dropped us off on their way home to Seattle. Then we set off to make the most of our 1.5 days in Portland. After riding MAX, the light rail system, from our airport hotel to downtown, we used the street cars and found our way to one of the few stores open on Labor Day evening, Powell’s Book Store, . This famous store covers more than a city block, is 5 stories tall and has a plentiful and incredibly helpful staff. An amazing place! This was followed by shots of drinking chocolate at the historic Heathman Hotel’s Cacao,   Books and chocolate – what bliss!

Radeen, smiling and clutching her map of the store…a true necessity at Powell’s 
Even on a holiday, the Portland public transit system ran frequently and flawlessly. 
On Tuesday, we were treated to a grand tour of the city by our Bahamas sailing friends, Larry and Phyllis of IP-40 “Lark.” They bought a condo last year and plan to spend every summer here. We can certainly understand why they love Portland. It is very friendly, clean, interesting and has a great vibe. They find they don’t need a car because the public transit system works so well. (Watch out, we’ll be coming back sooner than you think!) 

We started the day meeting Phyllis so she could escort us via MAX to their neighborhood, The Pearl District. Larry amazed us with salmon and cream cheese omelettes and fruit salad with yogurt. Thus fortified, we started out on a full day of sight-seeing and sampling the city’s famous fare, including infamous & scandalous VooDoo donuts.

Our friends’ condo with a wetlands park in the middle of the city .
We enjoyed a guided tour of the lovely and surprisingly spacious Lan Su Chinese Garden.
This tram car is yet another mode of public transportation in Portland.
We enjoyed a stunning view of Mt. Hood in the distance and shared great stories on an outdoor terrace.
A walk in the afternoon took us to interesting old neighborhoods of NW Portland, followed by dinner with their son and his girlfriend. We enjoyed one of Portland’s famous brew pubs, Widmer’s Gasthaus and Brewery on the east side of Portland, across the Willamette River.
Saying good-bye at the MAX station. Thank you, Phyllis and Larry, for a wonderful day together! 

Oregon Family Visit

Custom Red Cedar Home Built by Radeen’s Brother
Destination Southern Oregon for a visit with Radeen’s family. Lee, Radeen’s brother, hand built this beautiful red cedar, post and beam home, over the last 4 years! Beginning with a set of plans and two other men to help when needed, he set out clearing the 5 acres of brush and sagebrush while preserving every tree as his property borders the National Forest of south central Oregon. The rest of the family drove in from California and Washington states sharing stories, photos, gifts, and fantastic meals ranging from venison to antelope to fresh caught salmon, with delicious desserts, including home made ice cream and wine/berry sorbets.
We toured Crater Lake, one of the most beautiful places on earth! Another day, we rode on a jet boat 36 miles into the Hellgate Canyon. Further highlights were shopping the beautiful towns of Ashland, home of the Shakespeare Festival, and Jacksonville, a gold rush town. We were constantly interrupted by the many wine tastings these towns offer!
Oregon is such a beautiful state, with only 3.8 million residents which is less than half the population of New York City! The peaceful vistas, massive mountains, and lush valleys make exploring the countryside breathtaking and very enjoyable. Such a contrast to exploring by boat and on the ocean. Thank you, Lee and Judith, for a dream visit and a wonderful family reunion. We look forward to many more!
Photo Essay of our Oregon Family Visit 

Radeen arrives in Oregon

Lee and Radeen on the interior balcony, overlooking the living room
Notice the beautiful red cedar interior walls!

Hayden and Lee in the front driveway

The back, SW view, where the upper deck and patio overlook the valley and off to the mountains

Lee is one of 3,000 licensed Falconers in the United States!
This is his trained Harris Hawk named Gaff.

Lee feeding his Harris Hawk with the bird on his leather glove.
Look at the tallons on these birds.

The bird will fly out for a loop, then return to his raised hand.
This bird is flown out into the wild to catch rabbits and wild prey!

Our jet boat ride into the Hellgate Canyon where there are rapids and waterfalls

Lee and Hayden at the outdoor lodge in the canyon

Lee, Judith, Radeen and Hayden…front row on the jet boat ride…very cool….very fast, 40 knots!

Lee and Judith have every bird imaginable, here is their pet hummingbird at a hanging basket

Radeen and Judith overlooking the valley near Crater Lake

A common valley scene with towering pines, a river and waterfall below

Crater Lake National Park….beautiful!

Wizard Island in the side / center of the lake

Crater Lake is 1,990 feet deep, the deepest lake in the USA!

Hayden and Radeen, at Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake was caused 7,700 years ago when the volcano erupted.
The ash volume would cover all of Oregon  8″ deep if spread out evenly over the state!

No photo of Crater Lake does it justice….it is far more beautiful than these photos show.

Crater Lake and Wizard Island
That far peak is the upward slope of the original mountain

Back home, this is the interior balcony of Lee and Judith’s home.
Beautiful! Notice the beams, steel brackets, and red cedar walls.

Darren and Jeanette, Radeen’s nephew and his wonderful wife

Hayden and Lee set up “FORT FRANKIE” for Lee’s Granddaughter, Frankie.
She read us a fireside story and we toasted s’mores…!

“Willie” the famous pack rat and chipmunk hunter. He is also used to flush rabbits for the hawk

“Pip” the bloodhound who is really great at chasing down  coyotes and rabbits.
These dogs work in tandem with the Harris Hawk.

Radeen, Tanya, and Judith, a great “girls” photo

Frankie Lee and Darren…”PaPa loves Frankie”
Frankie is a fantastic reader and did a great job with our fire pit stories….Thank you, Frankie Lee!

Hayden, Tanya, Jeanette and Lee after another wonderful meal and delicious wine.

Frankie Lee and “Willie” the great hunter

Frankie Lee, Darren, and Jeanette…beautiful…smart…positive…happy family!

The “BEAST” … a diesel tractor that is used for all the heavy lifting, snow plowing, sagebrush cutting, and more

S’mores anyone?

S’mores at “FORT FRANKIE” and story time by the expert reader herself.
Thank you for a wonderful visit…..WE LOVE YOU ALL….