Friday, February 22, 2013

Hurry Up and Wait

Our Destination

Waiting in Fort Lauderdale
Breaking away from Vero wasn't easy but it had to be done. So after 2 weeks a favorable and welcomed weather window opened and off we went.   A 6am break out of jail on Wednesday 2/20 plan was hashed with our fellow cruisers and off we went. That evening we arrived in West Palm and dropped anchor in Lake Worth to wait for our weather window for the crossing over to the Bahamas. But it looked like we we not going to get one for several days so the plan changed. The next morning we weighed anchor and sailed down to Fort Lauderdale to stage our crossing. Now I know where the top 1% hide their toys! Flexibility is the name of the game for safe cruising. We are now slaves to Mother Nature. Highs, Lows, troughs, isobars, north winds, south winds , all kinds of winds. You sneeze down here and the winds shift. It will drive you absolutely crazy so because I have no interest in going crazy I do the "King" thing and throw money at the issue. I hired a professional weather guru who gladly takes my credit card number and charges me $25 a call each time I want to hear his "professional" weather synopsis. Albeit it is specific to my routing and a one-on-one discussion about the weather. So today I pull the trigger and made the call. From my POV it looks like a good weekend to make a crossing and Chris my weather guru agrees although he warns the Saturday could be for the hard core sailers with South winds blowing 20-25 kts and 5/8' seas on the beam, Sunday calms down with the winds still from the South which is favorable for a Gulf Stream crossing and calmer seas.
Mega Yachts 

After witnessing the faces of the other cruisers reacting to the calmer seas we have decided to cross on Sunday. It all comes down to this. A good crossing equals a happy first mate and the next 3 months will be fantastic. A bad crossing could cost you a 1st class plane ticket home for your first mate leaving you alone on your F..... boat. For those who don't understand the complexity of crossing one of the greatest natural phenomenons on earth called the Gulf Stream try to imagine sailing a toy remote controlled sailboat across the Missouri River.  If you attempt it after a big rain storm dumped 4" of rain up river you probably would never see your little toy sailboat again. But if you wait until the river has subsided and no rain has fallen for a week or so and with some good planning you would probably be successful in sending your little toy boat to the other side  and live to see another day. Well to Mother Nature we are the little toy boat and the Gulf Stream is the "Monster" when she is angry. So you wait and you wait until you get the perfect pick six and go. Sunday looks like our window so the stage is set and we have a green light. We will weigh anchor Sunday at 5am and exit the Port Everglades inlet at 5:30 with a ETA at the West End, Bahamas at 3:30pm Sunday afternoon.  Stay tuned.
I have to add my two cents and tell you we are enjoying the sights along the way today we saw the JetLEvi which was right out of a James Bond Movie or Iron man the guy started his water jets and shot out of the water and flew around.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How's the boating life ?

  I was asked that question today in an email from a colleague at Barkley. I have yet been asked that question since begining our journey a couple weeks ago. I'm not really sure I'm fully qualified to answer that in the broad sense of the question but I can if the question is "How's the boating life for the Kings"? Actually it stumped me for the better part of the day and finally I decided to answer the question with a brief description of a Day in the Life. Here it is.

  I slept incredibly well last night. Apparently though some pretty rough weather according to Cherie.  I awoke around 6:30 before the sun, fired up the stove to prepare my morning coffee fix then poked my head out the companionway to check that we hadn't floated off into the mangroves during the night which we hadn't, so I slid back into the warm belly of Pura Vida to sip my Starbucks instant coffee and connect to the world via Google. The next thing I know I'm sipping on a dry coffee mug and my battery is down to 18% and surprisingly it's 10am. Ok time to start thing about the day ahead of us. Well about that time Cherie emerges from the "Captains Cabin"  adorns me with a sweet Valentines card, makes an incredible breakfast and like the scene from Pirates of the Caribbean she says, " Time to get to work swabbie".  We have to get over to the fuel dock to fill the water tanks, empty the waste tanks and give Pura Vida a good cleaning. So I jump up like a good hand and prepare the boat to move, drop the mooring and move Pura Vida over to the fuel dock, do our chores and motor back over to the mooring. Ok it's about 11:30 now. Next we get ready to go to the boating store to pick-up a couple of spare spark plugs for our dinghy outboard and swing by the grocery store to pick-up a few items. The bus to town swings by the marine precisely at 10 min past the hour. And they run this system like a Tokyo train so you better be there, they don't wait for you even if you are in their eye site. Or if your wife happens to be in the bathroom precisely at 10min past the hour which happens more times than you think but not today. So off we go to do our errands for the day. We're back at 2:30 which is perfect nap time. So lights out for an hour. Ok now it's 3:30 and it's reading time. Cherie gets horizontal below and loses herself in a juicy romance novel on her Nook while I assume my position in the cockpit and get in a few good chapters of my new murder trial novel. It's raining pretty heavy now so no beach today. So a good time to catch-up on a few boat projects that we have put off like we all do. Time to clean the strainer on the engine intake hose. Sounds simple but nothing is simple on a sailboat. The strainer is buried under a floorboard and wedged behind 3 sizable hoses. Anyway an hour later the strainer is cleared of debris and not surprisingly pieces of Jellyfish.  It's pretty gross to clean up pieces of any dead animal but Jellyfish are about as gross as it gets.  Ok it's about 5pm now so it's time to start thinking about dinner but first it's cocktail hour and like any good boater we never miss a cocktail hour. It also means it's time to run the generator for an hour or so to get a good charge on the batteries. So cocktails, dinner (Fish Tacos with fresh Mahi) and a noisy generator running and now it's 7:30. Turn off the genny and tune in the Jazz on our XM radio and tonights entertainment will be reading. Some nights it's cards or stones as we call them or some game out of our game inventory. Once or twice a week it's cocktails on a another boat or entertaining other boaters on Pura Vida. Nobody has TV so entertaining is common. So now it's 9:30 or 10 and it's lights out.

  So the boating life for the Kings is pretty sweet so far. We are never bored and everyday we exercise our bodies and minds. The incredible scenery changes every week or so and the anticipation of the next destination keeps us always searching for that next horizon. So the answer to the question is:  PURA VIDA


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Velcro (Vero) Beach

We got to say goodbye to all our new friends in Cocoa Village at the marina Superbowl party before we left on Tuesday Feb. 5th.  We were still waiting on one replacement part for our wind instrument coming from England which we thought it might have to catch up with up with us at another Marina along the way when divine intervention happened.  Trish our friend at the Marina office came running down just minutes before we left and had the package in hand.  We are heading south but for now we are stuck in "Velcro" Beach Marina. It's a good place to hang out on a mooring ball and test all the boats DC systems. It's also a excellent place to learn new habits. With no car we are learning to use the public transportation system, with no city water we are learning to conserve our water usage, with no TV(ugh) we are learning to entertain ourselves and with only batteries for our power needs we are learning to read in the dark. Umm, why are we doing this again?  But I have no worries because I got the best mate in the world in Cherie King! Example; We found a water leak but no worries Cherie had it fixed before bedtime, like we said the replacement part for our wind instrument arrived but now it needs to be installed on TOP of our 65ft mast, no worries I have Cherie King, up the mast she went and installed the new part, the dingy sprung a leak yesterday but no worries Cherie had it patched and back in the water by the next morning. I could go on and on telling "Cherie to the rescue" stories but we all know it anyway.

The real name of the beach is Vero Beach but since we are stuck here for a week while this weather front is moving up the northeast coast and bringing some strong winds plus big seas the name Velcro seems to fit.

Michael really is enjoying himself even when sitting playing cards in the dim light.  I have had him laughing with tears as I use some of my boating terminology, you know "thingy", "do dad", rusty thingy etc...

Anyway we are enjoying the weather and the new lifestyle on the boat.