Best Purchase Ever

One of the many things that we had shipped to Matt’s house in Ft. Lauderdale was a little rolling cart from Ace Hardware.  It seems pretty sturdy and claims it can hold up to 150 pounds.  Thus far, we have been very pleased with its performance in Ft. Lauderdale (for our final provisioning) and here in Bimini to get diesel and gas. 

Ft. Lauderdale

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The gas station on Bimini 

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After topping off the fuel tank and getting extra gas for the dinghy, we are going to head to the Batelco store to see about getting a sim card for the phone or our internet jetpack.  Not sure if it will work out, but here’s to trying!  

We are then planning on leaving tomorrow morning for the Berry Islands after stopping at the bakery for some more of their amazing guava rolls.  

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Made It- Part 2

Once Mitchell cleared us in with customs and immigration, I got to replace our yellow quarantine flag with the Bahamian courtesy flag on our starboard spreader.  Every time we enter a new country, we will do the same thing with the flag of their country.   It is at that point that I’m allowed off the boat for the first time.  Before that, only the captain is allow to disembark to clear in.

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After putting on bathing suits, Mitchell and I headed out for a quick snorkel at a nearby beach.  We didn’t venture more than 20 feet from the dinghy on the beach, but were able to see the bottom in about 15 feet of water.  There were tons of mini-fish, a few larger ones, and 3 sting rays that blended in with the sand pretty well.  This is the first time we got to use our underwater camera.  It ended up taking decent pictures and the videos turned out amazing.

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Sunset at Brown’s Marina

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We ended the evening with our friends from Journey and Adament.  Drena and JR had invited all of us over to share a freshly caught fish dinner with them.  JR had caught a 20 pound wahoo fish about an hour after they left Miami yesterday.  (Mitchell was a little jealous, but I have a feeling he is going to catch some fish really soon.)  It turned out to be a wonderful end to a exciting day!

Made It

After a beautiful day of sailing, Mitchell and I pulled into Brown’s Marina on North Bimini Island.  We left No Name Harbor (near Miami, FL) this morning at 4:45 am.   The first two hours were spent in the dark with the jib up and motor on.  The crescent moon and the stars kept me company while Mitchell napped in the cockpit.  Once the sun rose, we were able to put up the main, turn off the engine and I got to take a nap.  The remainder of the morning and afternoon were spent in peace; doing an average of 5 kts (that’s good) with only the 2 sails up.  Along the way we got to see a bunch of man-of-wars and flying fish.  [Unfortunately, the only fish Mitchell caught was the fish icon on our sonar.] We pulled into North Bimini with about 15 other sailboats, including our friends on Journey and Adament from Vero Beach. Mitchell is currently checking us in with customs and immigration as I type.  As soon as he returns, we are going to do some swimming!!!

Sailing in the dark.  You can see the moon and our red and green navigation lights.Image

Both sails up!  Check out those red and green telltales (strings).  When they are flying straight back like that, you know you have the sail trimmed properly.   DSCN1209

Pulling into North Bimini Island

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Raise Your Right Hand

Once we leave the country, we (Natalie and Mitchell) promise to do our very best in finding WiFi so that we can keep you updated with our adventure.  However, please remember that we will no longer have cell phones or an internet jetpack.  Therefore, we will have to hunt down internet cafes and buy calling cards. 

That means that we might not be able to inform you of the exact time of our arrival in The Bahamas.  Do not panic!  As soon as we shower off from snorkeling and finish our girly drinks, we will figure out how to get some WiFi and phone cards.    

There also might be times in the future when we are not near WiFi/cell phone towers, but will want to send you a quick update.  Thanks to my wonderful sister (love you Megan), we can use our SSB radio to send text-only emails.  Megan will then copy and paste them to the blog.  In fact, this blog post was created (almost) exactly like that.  It was a practice post emailed to Megan who then put it on the blog.  Way to go little sis!

We love and will miss all of you.  Feel free to shoot us email updates from time to time.  It will help us feel less home sick! 

Bahamas and Boat Update

Believe it or not, we are planning to leave for The Bahamas on Monday.  The original plan was to leave from Ft. Lauderdale.  However, we are now planning to sail to Miami tomorrow and leave for Bimini from there since it will be easier than dealing with the current and bridges on the New River in Ft. Lauderdale.  

Once we arrive in Bimini, we will make way for Alice Town which is on North Bimini Island (map).  At that point, Mitchell will hop off and check us in with Customs and Immigration.  We will then have permission (hopefully) to explore The Bahamian Islands at our leisure.  

While waiting for all the packages to arrive and a weather window for our crossing, Mitchell and I have been busy working on more boat projects.  Here are some pictures of just a few!  

Mitchell built us a jerry-can-holder-board-thing.  The two red cans are for dinghy gas; the two yellow ones are for boat diesel; and the blue ones are for water.  This was my favorite of all the projects because the colors look so pretty.  

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New stanchion base and jib furler block.  These had to be replaced due to our incident when leaving Vero Beach (see Crisis Averted).  Project manager: Mitchell Rutkowski

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I created and then stained (three coats) and polyurethaned (two coats) the board under the sink for both bathrooms.  Our old ones were warped and wouldn’t go all the way down so water would get behind them every time we showered.  

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Least favorite boat/life project of all time … scraping the Treadmaster off the decks.  Had we known how difficult this was going to be, we probably would have bought a different boat.  That little machine I’m using is a vibrating scraper that’s REALLY loud. When using it, you feel as if you want to poke your eyes out.  The good news is that I only have 23 more sections to scrape.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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“New” propane locker lid.  The old one was rotted through because moisture had gotten into the wood filling so Mitchell created a new one.  Take note of the nice new locking device that was purchased since Mitchell lost the old one overboard while trying to put it back together!  

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Random photo … we finally captured one of the 7 manatees that we’ve seen on camera.  This one was a baby manatee that was a few docks down from us.  

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How Do We…

I bet in the back of your mind you have been wondering (1) how do those salty dogs shower? (2) where does all their poo go? (3) how do they cook on a boat that’s constantly moving? and (4) where are the diet cokes, steaks and cheeses located so that they are kept cold?

Well, I’ve taken a few pictures over the past few days (since we’re still tied to the dock in Ft. Lauderdale) to explain just that! 

On the days that Mitchell and I are on anchor (which will be almost every day), we will shower on the boat.  If we’re not feeling up to showering in the rain on that particular day, we can use our solar shower up on deck.  When not in the mood to scare the neighbors with either of those methods, we can shower down below in the bathroom instead.   Since we don’t have a separate shower stall in either of the bathrooms, this means sitting on the toilet lid to lather up and rinse off.  To aid in the process, our sink has a long hose attached to the sprayer (similar to the ones found near kitchen sinks).  After showering, the water in the toilet is flushed into the holding tank and the water under the grate in the floor is pumped overboard.   

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As previously mentioned, when we flush the toilet, everything in it goes into a holding tank.  This tank is then pumped out through a hole up on deck.  And that’s exactly where the fun beings!  Usually a ‘pump out’ takes place at the fuel dock, where the marina has a nice little machine to suck everything out.  Well, not in Ft. Lauderdale at the city docks.  Here, you get to do it all by yourself via a rolling cart that attaches directly to a sewer line at our dock. 

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The other hose is taken to the hole in the deck of the boat that leads to the holding tank.  Once in place, Mitchell yells for me to turn the cart on.  It is then that the magic happens and everything gets sucked out, all the while Mitchell is asking himself “why the hell did I buy a boat?”  When the little sight section of the tube looks clear, the machine is turned off and we get to do it all over again since we (yes-lucky us) have two holding tanks. 

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Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s talk about cooking on a rocking boat.  Our lovely stove/oven combo is what we call ‘gimbaled.’  What that means is that when the unit isn’t locked into place, it swings freely and is able to move back and forth with the boat allowing you to cook while underway.  To aid in this process, we also have pot restraints which hold the pots and pans in place on the stove top.  It is because of these safety features that Mitchell can cook me delicious meals and I can make him French press coffee each morning! 

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We have a love-hate relationship with our refrigerator/freezer.  Mitchell and I love the fact that the boat came equipped with a frigoboat© but hate how hard it is to get things in and out of the space.  The unit consists of a small (cereal box sized) freezer located in a really big insulated box that is about the size of a large cooler (roughly 30in X 12in X 30in).  The freezer keeps things that have already been frozen frozen and keeps the refrigerator area coldish.  The only way in or out of the fridge or freezer is through one of two lids on the top.  That seems like a really good idea until you have to attempt to organize it so you can find what you are looking for in a timely manner!  

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Fully stocked, all clean, well fed and pumped out … it’s now time to head to The Bahamas.  After looking at the weather again today, I think we will be able to head over Sunday, Monday or Tuesday!!!!  Keep your fingers crossed … so you don’t have to keep reading boring posts like this one anymore.  

 

Ft. Lauderdale in Pictures

Christmas on Sea Major (a month late) when Matt (my stepsister’s boyfriend) delivered all the packages that we had had sent to his house in Ft. Lauderdale.  Thanks Matt!!!

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Mitchell in the process of fixing the stanchion base that broke after leaving Vero Beach.

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One of MANY mega-yachts that motored past Sea Major on the river (with a tow boat on both their bow and stern) … take note of the helicopter on the top deck of the first picture and the dinghy garage on the bottom deck of the second picture.

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The Riverwalk 

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Ft. Lauderdale is often called Venice of America

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We are waiting for one last shipment to arrive.  When it does, we will head to a nearby anchorage and await good weather for our crossing over to The Bahamas (so much for making it there by Christmas.)  

 

A Visit From Mom and Tim

Mitchell and I have spent the past three days running last minute errands and exploring Ft. Lauderdale with my mom and step-dad.  Since the two of them were on the other side of the state, they decided to stop by for one last visit before we left the country.  While here, Mom and Tim let us kidnap their car to do some final provisioning.  When we weren’t driving around town, our time was spent walking along the downtown riverwalk, discovering local restaurants and touring the New River (in Sea Minor) with Mom and Tim.  

Sea Major‘s current location at Cooley’s Landing on the New River right in the heart of downtown Ft. Lauderdale, FL (map)

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The Downtown Riverwalk

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The Pirate Restaurant 

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Our Tour Guide

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We enjoyed their visit and really appreciated using their car (as it is the last time we will have use of a car for a year and a half). 

 

 

Velcro Beach Strikes Again

After spending a WHOLE MONTH in Vero Beach, our friends, JR and Drena, finally left today. They wrote up a very cute blog post list about the time spend there; some of which included Mitchell and me.  If you would like to read it and see a few of the pictures we were in, click here.

 

  

It’s A Sign

Looks like we need to get out of Ft. Lauderdale!  This is our horoscope for today (both of us are sagittarius) …

 
Today January 18, 2014  
 
Can you get out of town — really, really far out? If not, don’t worry about it, but if you can hit the road or at least make plans to travel far away, your place in the world will get a lot better.