Changing Course

After arriving in the Dominican Republic, we realized that the dangers of dysentery, extreme heat, and dehydration that plagued early expeditions to the New World are still very much a threat today.  That said, the thought of spending an entire summer in the heat of the tropics, waiting for the next South Pacific cruising season, makes me want to cry.  So at this point, we can either press on south to Trinidad or head for cooler climates in the north.  After extensive deliberation with the crew, we have decided to head north, maybe back to Maine.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the tropics — right?!   

A fellow traveler once said “… it occurred to me that sometimes the best adventures require quashing the plans you’ve made and creating new ones.” (Turf to Surf 

When Mitchell and I embarked upon this journey back in July, we had originally planned on spending 2 years on the boat; making our way to the South Pacific.  We have had an amazing first year; full of adventures, people and places that will forever be remembered.  But due to a few events (some in our control and some not), we got too far behind schedule to sail to the South Pacific.  Therefore, with a sizable portion of the budget left, we have decided to take a short cut. 🙂  After making a U-turn in the Dominican Republic and sailing back to the United States, Mitchell and I planning on temporarily “abandoning ship” to fly to New Zealand.  [It’s a good thing we have our winter clothes onboard!]  

Thanks for joining us on our travels thus far!  We hope you enjoy the remainder of the journey back to the United States and our upcoming land adventures in New Zealand. Cheers!  

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Picture Post: Our Final Days in the DR

On Saturday we flagged down one of the local buses and headed to downtown Puerto Plata.  Once there, we explored the Fortaleza San Felipe.  This fort was built in the 16th century near the port of Puerto Plata to protect it against pirates and was later used as a prison.

Fortaleza San Felipe

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Hanging out with the donkey

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A short walk across the street landed us at a local restaurant where we enjoyed lunch on the patio and discovered a new way to keep your beer cold!

A Dominican Republic Beer Koozie (took this one for you Erik)

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After lunch, we visited the amber museum and learned that some parts of Jurassic Park were filmed in the Dominican Republic.  Mitchell and I then stumbled upon the Mercado where the locals go to buy groceries and fresh produce.

Mitchell bought (and carried around) a watermelon for me!

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Back along the waterfront near the fort, Mitchell and I were pleasantly surprised to learn that we had ventured downtown on the same day that the carnival was being held.  In the DR, the carnival is a cultural celebration in which the streets get blocked off.  It is similar to a summer festival in the states.  The festivities include a parade with elaborate costumes, music, dancing, food and other street vendors.

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Loving the adventures that the DR has to offer, Mitchell and I decided to sign up for the white water rafting on Monday.  This time a small air conditioned bus (yay!) picked us up and took us to the city of Jarabocoa which is located at the base of the José del Carmen Ramírez National Park.   There we were handed wetsuits, life jackets, helmets and assigned to a fearless rafting guide.  We then practiced the commands while sitting in the raft on land; “forward, backwards, stop, and GET DOWN” (and either hold on tight or boogie – Mitchell is still unsure).  Once in the water, we plunged headfirst over rapids, got stuck on rocks and enjoyed the beautiful mountains of the national park as we made our way down the winding Rio Yaque del Norte.

*Disclaimer- since we were busy paddling or hanging on for dear life, we don’t have any action shots…sorry!

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Our fellow rafters

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Beautiful flowers at the ranch where we ate breakfast and lunch

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Back on the boat, we have been working on sanding the decks, recovering from a stomach bug, canceling our stolen credit card and dragging out the air conditioning unit that we’ve only had to use the week after we bought the boat in Rhode Island last July.

We are currently watching the weather and waiting for another cold front to pass.  Once it does we will leave Ocean World Marina for … ?

 

DR Adventures: Week One

After the white sand beaches of the Bahamas and the bitter disappointment of South Caicos, Mitchell and I have decided to enjoy the mountains of the Dominican Republic while tied up in the marina and play tourist for a few days. 

On Monday, we went on a Jeep Safari to Salto de la Damajagua National Park.  We paid our money and hopped into the back of a modified flat bed truck which took us through the countryside west of Puerto Plata.  Along the way we got to stop in one of the towns for a drink and to see how the people made carvings out of petrified wood and limestone found near their village. 

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Our jeep

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The driver then took us to the park where we were handed lifejackets and helmets.  We were a little surprised since all we were told ahead of time was to wear watershoes and that we would get to swim near the waterfalls.  Not knowing what to expect at that point, we were soon very pleased with our hike through the woods and over two wood-rope bridges.  

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After wading through tons of little streams, we finally came to the first of 27 waterfalls. It was then that we discovered why we were provided with lifejackets and helmets; we were about to climb up and slide back down 7 of the waterfalls.  The guides used a clever variety of methods to get all the different tour groups to the top of each fall.  Some areas had rickety old wooden ladders; others had footholds in the rock and ropes to grab onto; but my favorite were the ones where you were boosted up by a guide standing at the base of the waterfall while the man at the top grabbed your lifejacket and pulled you the rest of the way!  To say the very least, it was certainly an adventure.  As we made our way upstream, we wadded through canyons and swam in deep pools of water.  Once at the “top,” we turned around and made our way back down; sliding down or jumping off each waterfall along the way.

The first waterfall

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Swimming through a canyon

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Mitchell sliding down a waterfall

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The combination of the hike through the woods and the journey up/down the waterfalls were more than we had ever hoped for when signing up for the jeep safari.  The forest was absolutely beautiful and the water kept us cool during the hot part of the day. 

Back in the jeep after lunch, we made one last stop at another village where they grew coffee and tobacco plants.  We got to sample the coffee while we watched two men make cigars. We learned that the tobacco leaves take at least 45 days to dry and there are three different leaves that grow on the tobacco plant.  The top leaves have the highest nicotine content and are mixed with the middle leaves to in different proportions depending on whether you want a strong or mild cigar.  The bottom leaves which have little flavor and nicotine are then used for the wrapper.

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Our second adventure of the week was horseback riding for a full day.  This time it was only the two of us on the tour.  The guides led us up mountains; through villages and streams; and under canopies of trees in the mountain forest.  We stopped at a little village restaurant for lunch and then galloped back to the van after a lovely day spent exploring the Dominican Republic countryside by horse. [At the beginning of our trip I tried to explain to Mitchell that the difference between trotting and galloping is in the speed and motion.  Trotting is more bouncy at a slower speed while galloping was more up and down at a fast speed.  At the end of the day Mitchell suggested I change my descriptions – trotting is merely uncomfortable while when galloping you need to hold on for dear life.]

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A mother hen and her baby chicks

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Más rápido!  Más rápido!  

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Our view from the top of one of the hills

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Cofresí and Puerto Plata

Our first few days in the Dominican Republic have been a whirlwind.

Friday, March 14th

We started the day by setting out for a quick morning walk.  Instead of a half an hour stroll, we got shanghaied into a full day tour with a local guide named José.  It began with a lovely walk through the countryside on a dirt road on which we got to see goats, pigs, chickens and turkeys.  José then took us through a small town and gave us a tour of a middle school once I told him I was a teacher.

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After walking for about an hour, the three of us hopped on a local bus and headed into the large town of Puerto Plata.

The town square was build to celebrate their Independence.

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Making cigars

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We ended the day with a ride to the top of Pico Isabel de Torres in the Teleférico (cable car).  The ride up and view from the top was simply breathtaking.  It was by far the highlight of our day.

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Our view of Puerto Plata from the top of the top of Pico Isabel de Torres

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Going through a cloud

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The Jesus statue at the top of the mountain

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Saturday, March 15th

The following morning began again with a small hike up the mountain next to the marina.

This was our view of Puerto Plata (Port of Silver) from the top of the mountain. It was named this by Christopher Columbus when he sailed into the bay as the sunlight reflected off the water so brilliantly that it resembled a sea of sparkling silver coins.

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We then got suckered into a tour of the resort next to the marina with the promise of getting to use the facilities for a whole day- golf cart, food, drinks, beach, and more.  As it turned out, that was only the case if you signed up for the club membership and gave them $8000.  Needless to say, as soon as the lady found out that we were unemployed she said “let’s just get you back to the marina.”  While waiting for us to finish our complementary drinks, she had a change of heart and took us on a small tour of the grounds and to one of their 7 beaches.  There we were given more free drinks, crepes and oysters so that she too could have them for free (she made the comment that “I’m just using you to get free stuff”).  Classy!  But no worries- Mitchell googled the place and found out that you can stay there for only $100 a night and an extra $50 per person will upgrade you to the “all inclusive” rank!

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After leaving the resort, we had lunch at a local restaurant, cooled off by the pool and end the day with a walk on the beach.

Sunday, March 16th

Having enjoyed our hike up the mountain the day before, we decided to make it a morning tradition.  This time we made it to the top and even got a free rain shower on the way down.  The road up was lined with beautiful rental villas and expensive houses built by expats from America and Europe (you could tell by their flags).

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Since the past two days had been so busy, we decided to spend the rest of Sunday at the marina pool.

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For dinner, we were driven into town by a New Zealand man who is staying at the marina.  He took us to a local steakhouse where we had amazing steak dinners.

South Caicos and DR Passage

Not much to write home about in South Caicos except … (1) They do have really cool flamingos that hang out in the old salt pans.  (2) We purchased a used outboard for Sea Minor off of the Canadians on the sailboat next to us after ours died and Mitchell had to row in and out of town twice (he’s super buff now).  Keep your fingers crossed that this one keeps running!  And that’s about it.  In the end, we paid $150 to clear in and out of the country, and to anchor in South Caicos which is the equivalent of downtown Detroit for two nights.     

Row, row, row your dinghy…

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Pink flamingos [for Lara’s mom]

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After seeing all there was to see in the day that we were there, Mitchell and I left South Caicos at noon on Wednesday in hopes of making it to the Dominican Republic before a cold front came through.  Our 24 hour journey wasn’t nearly as peaceful as the 48 hour one from Long Island to South Caicos, but it could have been a LOT worse. 

The passage that we had to make is known to be one of the most difficult in the Caribbean because the wind is usually on your nose.  That means that you can expect to be bashing into waves and are rarely able to sail (since the wind is right in front of you).  Both of these proved to be the case for our trip over.  However, since the wind wasn’t very strong (10-15 kts), we were lucky and didn’t have too large of waves (4-6 ft). We were able to motorsail at 6-7 knots a lot of the way headed due south and were able to turn east in the morning when the winds clocked to the south-west in advance of the approaching front.  

As we approached Hispaniola, one of the largest islands in the Caribbean Sea, the mountains rising straight up out of the sea took our breath away.  It reminded us how much we miss hiking and camping in the cool mountain air.  However, that enthusiasm was tempered by the thought that we were the only boat for miles and only 50 miles offshore from Haiti.  🙂

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After 23 hours of listening to the constant hum of the motor, we gladly turned it off once we reached the government dock at Ocean World Marina.  Clearing in with customs and immigrations was extremely easy as they both had offices at the marina.  The marina is located in the small town of Cofresí on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.  It is a few miles west of Puerto Plata. 

Once we moved Sea Major to a slip, we headed straight to the pool since I was having a heat emergency once again.  The rest of the evening was spent eating and catching up on some much needed sleep.

Ocean World Marina, Hotel, Casino, Restaurant, Water Park and Marina Animal Park

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The view from our sailboatImage

 

Made It Again

After a much bumpier ride than our 48 hour passage to Turks and Caicos, we have finally made it to the Dominican Republic.  I will write more later … after showers, food and sleep.  

Our Two Day Passage

We finally made it to the Turks and Caicos Islands after a 48 hour journey.  Mitchell and I left Clarence Town, Long Islands (The Bahamas) on Saturday morning at 10:15 am and had the anchor dropped in Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos by 10:15 am on Monday morning. 

Our original plan was to stop at Providenciales near North Caicos Island, but since we were making such great time, we would have arrived WAY too early (around 10:00 pm) and would have had to kill about 8 hours doing circles outside the channel.  Similar to in The Bahamas, you have to enter/exit harbors, cross shallow sand banks, and go through channels during daylight hours so that you can see the numerous coral reefs through the water.  We also figured this would put us closer to where we needed to be to jump to the Dominican Republic. 

Having never done a two-day overnight before, both of us were a little nervous going into the passage.  As it turns out, the worst part ended up being the first few hours during which we took 6-12 foot waves on the beam.  We soon figured out that we were in the Equatorial Current which, like the Gulf Stream, flows south to north.  Since the wind was coming from the NNE it was blowing against the current and creating really big waves that came in pairs.  Luckily, we were out of the Equatorial Current by early evening; making great time with the NNE wind and doing up to 8 kts at times. 

We had wonderful wind for the remainder of the trip and coming from the direction that we needed.  Of course there were a few times that the wind would completely die and we would have to turn on the motor (which had to be done to charge the batteries anyway), but we really couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The waves also died down after a while and became 3-6 foot ocean swells (which are not as steep as other waves).  For most of the 48 hours we were able to maintain at least 5 kts; sometimes going as fast as 8 kts and as slow as 2 kts.  In the end, we covered about 200 miles which is only slightly less than the amount of miles we covered in all of The Bahamas over the course of 6 weeks!

The highlights along the way were:

●watching the sun rise and set

●getting to fly the spinnaker when there was too little of wind to keep the genoa full

●seeing the moon rise and set (it gets REALLY dark once the moon sets)

●not being run over by the two cruise ships in the middle of the second night (I called them on the VHF to make sure they could see us on their radar!) 

●seeing the bioluminescence in the water alongside the boat

●not being able to count the stars because there were too many

●getting to see Venus move from the horizon to high in the sky (I thought it was a boat at first.)

●Mitchell successfully fixing the autopilot when it broke (in the middle of the day- thank goodness) … this time some screws had wiggled loose. 

●being visited by some dolphins and a duck (The duck landed on our bowsprit right before sunset on the second day and stayed there the whole night; leaving only after Mitchell shooed him off once we anchored in South Caicos and I had discovered all the bird poo on the bow.) 

Our “bed” while the other person was on watch.  We took turns doing 2-4 hour watches so the other person could get a little sleep.  To do so, we put up the lee board on the salon couch to cradle the person so they wouldn’t fall off as the boat rocked back and forth.  

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Sunset- Day One – I was hoping to see the green flash.  Take note of the life jacket and tether Megan! 

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This was our view once the moon set.  You can see our running lights on the bow and kind of make out the bottom of the jib.

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Sunset- Day Two

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Donald our duck

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Doing a little preening while watching the sun rise on day three

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Once arriving in South Caicos, we showered, ate and slept.  We are in town right now checking the weather on a computer in the library.  And everything looks good!!  We will be shoving off from Cockburn Harbor and heading due south towards the Dominican Republic where we have just made a reservation at Ocean World Marine Park and Marina for a little off-the-boat vacation time!! Look for another update once we have arrived at the marina after putting another 110 miles under the keel.  

Made It

After exactly 48 hours , we made it safely to the Turks and Caicos.  I will post more details as soon as we get internet access!  

Goodbye Bahamas

Yesterday was spent anchored at Clarence Town while a cold front passed through.   We spent the day on the boat after Sea Minor died on us, yet again, on the way into town.  Over the past week Sea Minor (our dinghy) has conked out 4 times … which leads to us having to paddle back to the boat.  Sounds like a fun change and a good workout- NOPE!  Sea Minor  was not meant to be a row boat.  As a hard bottom dinghy, she is way too heavy; her oar locks don’t function properly; and the wind/current usually make it even more difficult to paddle or row.  [This is where kayaks would come in handy!] 

In hopes of repairing our only way to shore, in the past week Mitchell has: replaced the spark plug; added new gas; tore apart the carburetor (which we had replaced in RI); checked the fuel filter; checked the fuel pump; and added fuel cleaner.  This wouldn’t be the end of the world if this was a onetime thing, but it keeps happening.  Sea Minor’s 4 hp Yamaha outboard has died on us so many times since we left Rhode Island that we’ve lost count.  The reason we haven’t thrown in the towel yet and purchased a new outboard is because we spent $600 (to have a new carburetor put in and the rest of it serviced) immediately after buying Sea Major.  The guy at the Yamaha repair shop told us not to buy a new one and just get this one fixed – he is lucky that he lives so far away or I would give him a piece of my mind.  So for the time being, the outboard is back up and running after Mitchell spent the morning tearing it apart.  If it continues to die on us, we are going to have to pony up the dough and buy a new one in the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. 

To do so, we need to get moving!  Our current plan is to leave The Bahamas and head straight for Turks and Caicos shortly after I publish this post.  We are hoping to sail the 205 nautical miles (236 miles) from here (Long Island) all the way to Providenciales, Caicos Islands (map) in one shot.  Doing 4 kts, this will take us 51 hours and at 5 kts we can do it in 41 hours (so start praying for about 15 kts of wind for us).  Being that this is the farthest Mitchell and I have ever done without stopping, we have agreed to stop at one of the many islands in between here and there if needed. 

FYI for our families … Once we arrive in Turks and Caicos, we will no longer be in The Bahamas.  This means that we will not have cell or internet service anymore.  Since Turks and Caicos is such a small country (compared to The Bahamas), we probably won’t buy a new SIM card and data plan.  We will attempt to find WiFi so we can send out a blog post, but please know that we might be unsuccessful.  If that is the case, it will be about a week or two before we get service again once we make it to the Dominican Republic.  Moral of the story: Stay calm and sail on!  

Boat Safety 101

A while back, my friend asked us a question regarding boat safety.  It got me thinking that we should write up a post about some of the safety equipment that we have onboard.  Mitchell and I know that you might still worry about us, but hopefully this will help assure you that we’ve done our research and have taken as many precautions as possible.

Navigation – chartplotter, GPS, depth sounder, radar, anchor drag, autopilot

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One of our first upgrades to the boat was a Garmin chartplotter.  This device has been one of the most important tools on Sea Major as it contains digital charts and a GPS device.  When turned on, it represents Sea Major with a little boat icon on the digital charts allowing us to see exactly where we are located.  Also connected to our Garmin chartplotter is a depth sounder, radar and autopilot.  The depth sounder detects how deep the water is under the boat.  We can then compare that to the depths that are marked on the digital (and paper) charts.  When purchasing the chartplotter, Mitchell also opted to get the Garmin radar and autopilot so that they could communicate seamlessly with the chartplotter.  We turn the radar on when sailing/motoring at night, in the fog and during storms.  It sends out a signal and allows us to see boats, land, storm clouds, and waves that we might not have noticed with our own eyes.  When the signal bounces off of something, it shows up on our chartplotter with an orange blip.  By tracking that orange blip, we can tell which way something is traveling.  Another feature of the chartplotter that we love is the anchor alarm.  This alarm can be set to any distance and will sound if you move out of that circle letting you know that your anchor might be dragging.  (My genius of a husband had the great idea to buy an extra power cord for the Garmin so that we could set it next to our bed and look at it immediately if the alarm went off instead of running up to the cockpit each time.  We sleep a lot more peacefully nowadays!)  The final addition to our electronic navigation arsenal was a Garmin autopilot.  Captain Morgan (that’s his name) is like a third crew member (and recognized by some insurance companies as thus).  As soon as we safely pull up anchor and leave the harbor, we turn on Captain Morgan.  Since he is linked to the chartplotter, we can simply touch the screen at our final destination and he will steer us there.  When our destination is not a straight shot away, we simply point Captain Morgan towards the place where we will need to turn.  When he is at the helm, one or both of us is/are still on watch and looking for objects in the water, other boats and constantly checking the chartplotter for depths and location.

Reference Books

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On Sea Major, we also carry an abundance of reference books.  We (well mostly Mitchell) have/has read the majority of these books on storm tactics, maintenance, navigation, etc.  The books that haven’t been read cover to cover are ones that are used for reference when situations arise.  The books have been written by the sailing gurus that present at all the workshops at the sailboat shows (like Jimmy Cornel, Larry and Lin Pardey, Beth Leonard, John Vigor, Chapman, etc.).

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The red bag in the picture is called a ditch bag.  It contains emergency equipment, food and water in case we ever need to abandon ship.  The bag itself floats and would be put in our dinghy (or life raft if we cross the Pacific Ocean) if Sea Major is sinking.  The blue bag is a medical kit that has been created specifically for offshore sailing.  When compiling the supplies, it was taken into account that we might be days or weeks away from medical treatment.  (Mitchell is dying to use the skin stapler.  Thank God he’s a doctor!)

Medical Books

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The books that you see in the picture were all recommended as some of the best offshore medical reference books.  These, like our medical kit, assume that we might not have immediate access to medical treatment.

Navigation- paper charts and cruising guides

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To supplement our digital charts on the Garmin, we also have paper charts for everywhere we cruise.  These are used to plot our course and can be used to compare depths and landmasses with the chartplotter.  In addition to paper charts, we also carry cruising guides for all the areas we visit.  These are similar to travel books, but have been created specifically for cruisers.  They provide us with information about the anchorages, marinas, moorings, clearing in procedures, available services and sketch charts for each location.

Mr. and Mrs. Fix-It: Tools and Spare Parts

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Knowing that things break, we carry an assortment of tools and spares.  (I now know the name and use of more tools than I ever did back on land!  My favorite tool is the needle nose pliers.)  Before leaving the US, we ordered spare parts for the majority of the important systems on board.

Generator

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This little gem, our Honda 2000 generator, provides us with power when we can’t get it elsewhere.  It runs on gasoline and can be used to power devices that require up to 1600 watts.  This is what we used to run the scraping tool, the sander, my iron (for sewing projects) our space heater and can be used to run our little room air conditioner if we are dying of heat (which hasn’t happened yet).  We love this little thing because it is SO quiet and it’s great on gas.

SSB

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Another item that we added to Sea Major, was a Single Side Band (SSB) radio.  This device uses radio waves to allow communication with other boats, emergency personnel, and land based facilities.  It is on the SSB that we can also receive weather reports and send simple text emails when not near internet towers. By bouncing the radio waves off of the ionosphere, the SSB radio is capable of transmitting and receiving worldwide (on a good day).

VHF

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Similar to the SSB, our VHF radio allows us to communicate with other boats, land based resources and listen to the weather.  However, this is a short range radio and only transmits on line of sight.

Handheld

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In addition to the VHF, we also have a handheld VHF that has GPS capabilities.  We can take our handheld VHF with us in the dinghy in case we get in a pinch.  [It is on the handheld that I called Mitchell in St. Augustine when I took the dinghy to shore by myself and ran into the bridge.  I was able to call him on Sea Major from the Sea Minor to tell him that I was ok.]

EPRIB and smoke/CO detector

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The neon green object in the picture is called an EPRIB.  This device can be used to transmit your exact location to rescue personnel in case of extreme emergency (aka- your boat is sinking or has sunk and you are in your life raft).  The round white object to the right of our EPRIB is our CO and smoke detector.  The smoke detector portion works TOO well.

Storm Jib

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This is a sail that can be put over our existing jib (the front sail) in storm conditions.  Since it is a lot smaller than our normal jib, it gathers less wind and allows for a more comfortable (less heeled over) ride.

Life Vest, Tether and Strong Point

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Before we even purchased Sea Major, Mitchell had purchased us brand-new life vests and tethers.  The life vests are rated for offshore sailing and will inflate automatically (or manually).  The yellow tether is used to clip our life vest (aka- our body) to the strong point (aka- the boat).  We put our life vests/tethers on anytime there are more than 2 foot waves, in storm conditions and at night.

Life Sling and Flotation Device

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If someone falls overboard, the flotation devices are immediately thrown to them.  We have 2; one on either side of the boat.  These are each attached to a 100 foot floating rope but are not tied to the boat so that the person can reach them as the boat is turning around.  The life sling (white rectangular bag) is used to hoist the person back onboard.

MOB pole

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The man-overboard-pole is thrown into the water right after the floatation devices in the event that someone falls in the drink.  This allows for better visibility of the person in the water while turning the boat around.

Jack Lines

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These neon orange flat “ropes” can be run from the bow (front) of the boat to the stern (back) of the boat.  They can be attached to cleats or run through handholds near the centerline of the boat.  In storm conditions, the person (Mitchell) who has to go out on deck to do anything (ie. put up the storm jib) uses them to clip his tether onto so that he is attached to the boat at all times.  The goal in sailing is to keep the people on the boat at all times!  The jack lines help do that.

Fire Extinguishers

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We have a total of 7 fire extinguishers onboard.

Binoculars

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Our waterproof marine binoculars were one of the best purchases ever.  They are 7 X 50 and were on sale at West Marine (yay!).  They allow us to see things more clearly as we enter harbors or marinas.  In addition, they increase visibility at night.  Mitchell also likes to use them to spy on other boats in the anchorages!

Yacht Log

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This is a log book that you are supposed to keep when boating.  It is used to record our time, position, heading, speed, helmsman, wind and weather.  We write down all this information about every hour or so.  This is done just in case something happens to the chartplotter; then we at least have some idea of where were we located in the recent past.

Drogue and Para Anchor

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Sorry about the internet photo – I was too lazy to dig out the rest of our storm gear to take a picture.  Our drogue and para anchor are used to slow the boat down in storm conditions.  They are attached to either the bow or stern of the boat and drag through the water to decrease the speed.  They can also be used as parachutes when jumping off the top of the mast!

I hope that helped!  We love you all and want to reassure you that we don’t have a death wish!  We try to take every precaution as possible and we don’t leave the harbor if conditions are going to be bad out there.  We are constantly checking the weather (which means wind and waves- not temperature) and talking to other cruisers.  In closing, we leave you with this image that Mitchell found on the internet which shows you cannot prepare for everything!

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