Thursday, December 31, 2009

Julie's Birthday

Most people don't even know they are celebrating Ms. Proudfoot's (AKA my sister Julie's) birthday tonight but all over the world they do. Here in Vero, we will be lucky if we are able to stay up past 9pm. I talked to several other cruisers and they too plan to sleep thru the celebration...sorry Julie.
Today we had a treat and went to a movie at the mall. Meryl Streep starred in "It's Complicated" and Florrie and I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I think tomorrow is laundry. Such is life.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pelicans and Potluck

Anne, Lew and Florrie at the potluck.
This morning we watched the "pelican show" from our deck. We're at the south end of the Vero Beach mooring field, about 50 yards east of a mangrove and Australian pine island. The birds take naps after fishing in the early dawn. There was a Great Blue Heron, an egret, some smaller blue bird and an osprey, all within a few feet of each other. It is so funny to see half a dozen pelicans roosting on the same fluffy tree, making it bend almost to the water! About 8:30 they all take off and we don't see them until the next day, not in so many numbers anyway. There were over a dozen pelicans roosting in the area this morning.

We are very happy here. I love the sunny weather and all the wild life. Occasionally a dolphin comes into this mooring field to fish or just investigate us all. We are warm enough and are quite content to just hang out here for awhile longer.

Boaters are an amazing bunch of people. They really sieze the moment. In the past two weeks Lew & I have had more social life together than we have in NJ in 6 months. If anyone wants to get together, it is NOW... not two months from now, when someone's social calendar permits. We all know that we might not be able to spend more time with each other because everyone is on their way somewhere else. This morning a lot of boats left, going south. Yesterday our friends on Wilde Mathilda left. We have enjoyed their company so much and I wonder if we will catch up with each other someday in the future. I hope so. Their boats name, in German, is pronounced Vil-dah Matilda. It sounds like the beginning of an Ogden Nash poem.

The Christmas Day pot luck luncheon was so much fun! We were really lucky that the 40% chance of rain only gave us about 7 minutes of running for cover. More than 80 people from about 38 boats all brought their best recipes to share. Thanks to the folks on Kumbaya, who have a printer on board, we had an official signup sheet. That is all it takes to get such an event started. At about noon, Barbara from Laughalot, Sarah from Wilde Mathilda and Marge from Winfield Lash helped decorate and organize the varous dishes as they began to arrive.

The "buffet" was set up on the clothes washers and dryers. People could file through from one side of the building to the other. It was really very civilized. Then we all dispersed and found places to sit under the gazebos or in the lounge or on the various benches around the marina. For those of us who enjoy such marginal chaos, this was a wonderful event. A few boats had arrived the day before and were so glad to find out that something was going on to celebrate. We all miss our famiies and it helps a lot to enjoy happy company for awhile.

Of course such an event is not the cup of tea for some people. Probably less than half the boaters at the Marina participated, though some dropped in to say hello. Many flew home for the Holidays and will begin to return over the next few days. There will be a lull before whatever happens on New Year's Eve. For now, we all seem to be getting back to boat "fix it" chores.

We hope you all had a happily memorable Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cold on Harmony

I know the northerners will give no sympathy and the southerners won't admit it but it gets cold in Florida. Went and checked the west coast even down to Key West and it is cold everywhere down here. In Vero it got down to 39 degrees last night and the Keys were not that much better. Thank goodness the sun is now least until Thursday...and it should get into the high 50s today and a little warmer tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harmony in Vero

Happy Birthday, Melissa
Happy Birthday...yesterday...Sarah

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One adventure after another

From Vero Beach Municipal Marina,Thursday Morning.
Well folks, we finally made it to Vero Beach Municipal Marina.  We're rafted near "Puff" the boat of our friends Kathy and Dave, from Sayerville NJ. Considering that Harmony left Keyport early in September, it has taken over three months to go the distance it would take about 24 hours to drive.  This is not what people imagine when they think we are going "cruising". 
The past four days have given us a season's worth of adventures already.  Lew described the fog very well. We considered staying put until the fog completely cleared.  However, we really wanted to reach Dave & Kathy before they left "Puff" here to go north for Christmas.  Harmony as a good GPS system, so we decided to risk boating traffic and go south from our anchor spot in the Mosquito Lagoon.
By the way, the lagoon is well named.  Even in weather so wet you'd think the little critters couldn't fly, we killed seven buzzers during the night.  I think we got them before they got us.  The fog was too dense to see the birds that are abundant in that area.
It was a bit tense motoring just on the instruments but if Honeywind can do off the coast of Maine in fog, we figured we could.  We had far less to bump into than that rocky coast.  All we had to do was stay on the GPS line of the ICW.  That's all.  
We pulled up anchor at about 10 AM and headed on our way.  It felt like some clipper ship from "Master and Commander" was going to emerge out of the fog at any minute!  That's silly, of course, because the Lagoon is about four feet deep in most places, except for the dredged canal marked by red and green buoys.  We couldn't see from one marker to the next but when we got closer, the next one would emerge like a very still ghost.
We saw a number of local fishermen in their little 17' boats.  I guess fog is good fishng weather.  Thank heavens a power boat was coming out of the Haulover Canal, where we turn west through a narrow island out ofhe Lagoon, into the Indian River.  Totally unexpectedly the fog lifted completely when we went past the Bascule Bridge in the middle of the canal.  All of a sudden there were clear skies.  We looked back behind us and it was as if the bridge were holding the fog at bay. 
Across the expanse of the IndianRiver to Titusville, there was more fog but it was less dense.  It felt like we might be in an airplane flying through the very tops of cumulus clouds. It was a magical seascape.  Here and there there were glows of different colors as the sun reflected through thin clouds off denser ones farther away.  Hundreds of birds were sitting on sand bars, waiting for better flying weather maybe.  
We made it to Titusville about 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon. We were making good tme!  Even in the fog!  We got the fuel we needed, some simple groceries, and a pump-out.  Ready to keep going south in the now-clear weather, we found out that the swing bridge just below Titusville was broken! The Bridge Tender couldn't tell when he'd be able to open the bridge for the boaters.  It might not be until 5:30 - after dark!  Oh No!
Fortunately he was able to open it briefly.  Now the nerve wracking suspense was, would we be able to make it through the NASA (Addison Point) Bridge before it closed from 3:30 to 5 for Cape Canaveral commuter traffic?  Harmony was leading two more sail boats.  We all kept going at our fastest speed, which varied for each of us.  Harmony and Wide Matilda made it. TaTo got stuck on the other side.  NASA runs on a very strict clock!
Having anchored the night before near Wide Matilda in the fog and having been near her at a couple of previous bridge openings, we had some radio contact but no real meeting.  Tuesday evening, both anchored in a broad area of water that was not particularly protected but seemed fine.  We finally met Les  and Sarah when they dinghied over to us, joying drinks and noshes on deck as sun set.
The nights had been calm so far, which made for peaceful sleeping.  And that's what we got - until 3 AM when the anchor alarm went off!  Harmony had dragged quite a way away from the other boat.  Lew and I "did the deck dance", succesfully resetting the anchor and going back to sleep... until 5:45 when the alarm went off again. This time we said "the heck with it".
For the second morning in a row we took off in most unusual (for us) conditions.  In the pre-dawn dark, we relied on instruments again to get us down "the ditch" until we  see the markers.  The wind picked up to about 15, which helped us go almost 8 knots with the jib up.
You think the adventure was over?  Read on...
We surprised "Puff" by getting here at about 1:45.  We were tired but so happy to get a mooring right near our friends.  All we had to do was get our dinghy in the water and motor over to them.  Lew untied and lowered it and started the engine just fine.  Imagine our surprise when, as soon as I let the line to Harmony   go,the motor konked out! We were pushed by the wind back down the mooring field!
Lew was trying to row us but the wind was too strong and the oars kept coming out of the locks.  He got us near enough another boat for me to hang on.  I "walked" us around that boat and it's buddy on the mooring, finally getting up to the mooring ball a hanging on for dear life.  Thank heavens for cell phones.  We called Dave, who jumped in his dinghy and towed us back .
The end of this saga (so far) is that we had a wonderful evening with Dave and Kathy and Tom&June-their buddies on their mooring.  Today we will take it easy and maybe even get our motor fixed.  We're warm and safe and glad to be here.
(by Florrie it is extremely diffcult to correct spelling - sorry!)

Hotmail: Trusted email with powerful SPAM protection. Sign up now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

8 AM on Harmony

Picture the color light gray. Then picture youself surrounded by light gray. Thats us in pea soup FOG. It did clear up last night to a beautiful starry night. At least about 4 AM. But by 6, you could barely see the mast head light from our bunk so it was back to sleep for awhile. NOAA weather reports a "fog advisory" for all of central Florida so drivers take extra caution. We could go down the ICW by GPS except that it is very narrow and there is some commercial traffic. Do not want to meet a tug with no room to move. Parts of the channel have 2 feet debths on either side. So it takes an extra day or two to get to Vero. Oh well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mosquito Lagoon

View Larger MapThe fog began to clear about 10:45 so we took off. Got to Mosquito Lagoon when it socked us in again. Pulled about 1000 feet east of the channel and set the hook...about 3:15. We will stay here tonight and set out again, hopefully, tomorrow.

Daytona in fog

Another great picture from National Geographic.

Yesterday we left St. Augustine heading south. Got a late start (8:40) but averaged over 6 knots with the usual troubles. Arrived in Daytona about 4:30 and anchored just south of Memorial Bridge with about 20 other boats.
View Larger Map

This morning we got up about 5, Florrie misread the clock as 6, to heavy fog. Not going anywhere until that burns off at least enough to see the next mark.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

pogo Xmas

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker 'n' too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloupe, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!

Dunk us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an' polly voo!
Chilly Filly's name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!

The picture came from National Geographic

Friday, December 11, 2009

Harmony at the dock

We are still in St. Augustine and at the dock. It has been rainy, windy and cold with fronts coming by every 2 or 3 days. I know we will get no sympathy from those from the north. Only one more package expected from West Marine and, if it warms up by Sun/Mon, we will take off for the Municipal Marina at Vero Beach for about 3 weeks. And now back to my book: Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (a birthday present from Florrie).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St Augustine

We arrived here yesterday morning...41 degrees and drizziling. Yuck. The sun came out in the afternoon but it didn't do much for the temperature. Luckily we are at a dock and have electricity and a heater for the boat. Woke up this morning with dew dripping on my face from the hatch. It doesn't look like it will warm up much until Tuesday when it will also rain (NOAA says 30 per cent chance). Florrie keeps asking about why we are here and do I really want to live on a boat. Bad times make good stories.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Norfolk to St. Augustine at SpotAdventures

Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging

We (crew of Terry Parker and Gordon White) started out in Norfolk, Va when MOAA predicted a nice weather window with winds from the NW. Of course the actual wind was from the SE and on the nose. But if was light so we continued on down the Virginia coast past Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks NC. The wind did swing around to the NE and we had a nice sail/motor-sail for awhile. The starboard engine (that is the good one) overheated and we went on the port one while trying to fix the starboard one. The engine was pumping plenty of water so it wasn't the water pump or impeller. Finally we figured it out that the fan belt had broke. No problem. I had asked Florrie to pick up a couple of spares and they were on the boat. Sure! They were too small. We did gave one of these "link" fit any size belts which did actually work and around Cape Hat eras we went. The wind picked up and we got to sail...up to 10 knots down the 3 foot waves. After a few hours the wind died and we put on the engine again. Broke the belt several times. After about four hours working on it we were off Cape Fear and it seemed like a good idea to go in and get the engine working. By this time it was about 9 at night and we were 7 miles out. I didn't want to come in to the Cape Fear River at night so we Hove to. For those who don't know, heaving to is when you have the jib on one side and the main on the other working against each other. The main fills and drives the boat up into the wind where it luffs and the jib catches on the other side and drives the boat backward. You maintain this see-saw motion while the boat is pretty much sideways to the waves and end up going down wind at about 1/2 knot per hour. Effectively you are stopped and if the waves are not too steep, it is quite restful and comfortable. We stayed like this for 5 hours while I got some sleep. I woke up with what I thought might be a solution. The belt was about 1 inch short even with the alternator loosened all the way so I forced the belt over one of the pulleys with a couple of screw drivers and it was on with a little play. Tested it out and it worked like a charm. Set up the sails and we took off for Charleston at 8 knors. We had a nice motor sail and got into a slip in Charleston at about 7 PM. Tied up the lines and 15 minutes later the skies opened up and the Nor'Easter began. You remember...the one which joined up with Hurricane Ida and tore up the coast of the Outer Banks, Hatteras and Virginia Beach with 77mps winds and 18 foot waves.
We sat it all out while watching the weather channel at the bar and thanking our lucky stars. Three days later it was over and we took off about 6:30 AM. Got some fuel and rode the tide down the Charleston River to the ocean and headed SW in a light SW breeze. The trip to St. Augustine took 28 hours of ocean motor sailing. We could have sailed but I wanted to make sure that we got into St. Augustine during the daylight hours. Good thing as the shifting sands at the entrance means that they have to keep moving the markers and they are not on any of the charts. On top of that, NONE of the entrance markers have lights. We made the 1:30 opening of the Lions Bridge and motored up to Oyster Creek Marina on the San Sebastian River just behind St. Augustine. I left the boat there and hoped on a train from Jacksonville to Newark, spent the night at home and then drove to Maine for my Niece's wedding.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catamaron Harmony. More on the trip

This link takes you a Google Earth map of our trip south showing the "check ins" we sent to the wives and a small section of the track where we were doing over 10 knots at times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Charleston, SC

Click on the title to see us. Use the "satelite" function.
We left Norfolk on Saturday and went outside around Cape Hateras. On the nose for the first night with a bang bang here and a bang bang there.... The waves would go between the hulls and up hitting the underside of the boat and slaming under the table in the salon. Cleared the papers, etc off the table quite quickly. Not a fun night but then it swung around some and we had some pleasant motor sailing. Had some enging problems on Friday night so we hove to and rested for a few hours to regroup just off Cape Fear. I figured it out while asleep and during my 12-3 watch fixed the engine and we were on our way. Winds on the quarter and speeds down the waves up to 11 knots. Got into Charleston about 7PM, after dark trying to find the correct lights among the hunbdreds of distracting lights. Finally a good nights sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2009

FW: Check-in/OK message from LewHill SPOT Messenger

> Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2009 18:45:39 +0000
> From:
> To:
> Subject: Check-in/OK message from LewHill SPOT Messenger
> LewHill
> Latitude:36.92223
> Longitude:-76.18909
> GPS location Date/Time:11/06/2009 13:45:54 EST
Click the link below to see where I am located. or on the title of this message:,-76.18909&ll=36.92223,-76.18909&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
> Message:I'm doing fine. Just letting you know where I am.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catamaran Harmony getting ready for the trip south

Looks like it is all coming together for a departure on Nov.2 or 3 (knock on wood). Harmony is in Norfolk getting new struts fabricated and installed and we have new insurance with Travellers at 1/2 the cost of BoatUS and I have crew as of today. Want to get as far south as possible before I have to fly up for my niece's wedding in Maine. WHEW!
Oh yeah, we got the external track for the main which makes it much easier to hoist and lower. I can even do it with the drill winch handle. Even got new sumbrella for the jib leech. Although it is 2 weeks until we take off, "on the road again" keeps running through my head. Can't wait.

Hotmail: Powerful Free email with security by Microsoft. Get it now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Message on trip from Keyport to Norfolk

Click on the link above to see a map of our location

Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 19:55:49

I'm doing fine. Just letting you know where I am.


Nearest Location:Ocean City, MD
Distance:17 miles west of us

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Our terrible summer

It has been one stinking summer. I have spent most of it sleeping with very little energy. I think this email from Florrie says it all.

Yesterday we went to Dr. E, the eye doctor who did the original cataract surgery. It is the first time he's seen Lew since the ER on July 16th. He said that Lew's eye is looking really good and he scheduled tentative dates when Lew can have the last surgery. Actually there will be a second one to take out the stitches. Now we have to wait for Dr. U, the retinologist, to say it is ok. Lew sees him on Monday. It looks like Lew will have the last surgery on either the 9th or the 16th of Sept. That is the good news.

The not-so-good news is that, because the third surgery is more invasive than the others (thanks to "issues" with Lew's eye), it will take ANOTHER 8 weeks to heal! That means we won't be able to move the boat south before November 4th at the earliest. I can't begin to list the ways this scrambles our "plans" for the fall. All we can do is take one little step at a time, fixing what doesn't require lifting of anything more than 30 lbs. We may be going down the ICW in the cold, behind the boaters' "migration" that will start from Norfolk on Nov 4th or so.

By the way - Lew's right eye also needs cataract surgery! But we can't do anything about that until this one is all healed, of course!

This has NOT been the summer we planned!!!! >:{


Hotmail® is up to 70% faster. Now good news travels really fast. Try it now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Changes to Florida Anchoring law


Thought this info (below and printable version attached) from BoatUS might be of interest to you.

Bess and Bill



Achoring Information

for Florida Cruisers

For several years, certain local cities and counties in Florida have been restricting the length of time that

boats are allowed to anchor. Legislative changes were made recently to Florida statute Chapter 327 which

should increase the boater's ability to anchor within Florida. Some changes take effect July 1, 2009, and

others on October 1, 2009.

Unfortunately, many local law enforcement personnel appear to be unaware of the changes.

Boaters continue to be told by some officials that they are subject to anchoring limits.

Below is a summary of the anchoring portions of the law with citations.

We recommend that boaters carry this sheet with them when cruising in Florida.

Courtesy of Boat Owners Association of The United States

What is a live-aboard vessel?

The definition of "live-aboard vessel" has been changed, effective 7/1/09. Active cruisers who live on their boats

with no permanent residence on land are no longer considered live-aboards and, therefore, their anchoring

cannot be regulated by local governments. It is no longer relevant that the vessel is a boater's "legal residence";

that term has been removed from the statute.

(from Chapter 2009-86, section 6)

327.02 Definitions of terms used in this chapter and in chapter 328.—As used in this chapter and in chapter 328,

unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the term:

(17)"Live-aboard vessel" means:

a) Any vessel used solely as a residence and not for navigation;

b) Any vessel represented as a place of business, or a professional or other commercial enterprise; or

c) Any vessel for which a declaration of domicile has been filed pursuant to s. 222.17.

Can my anchoring be restricted by local governments?

Under state law, boaters who use their boats for navigation (even if only occasionally) will not have their anchoring

restricted by a local city or county outside of permitted mooring fields. Cities and counties will be expressly forbidden

to "enact, continue in effect, or enforce any ordinance or local regulation … regulating the anchoring

of vessels other than live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of mooring fields."

Although local governments are allowed to regulate anchoring within the marked boundaries of properly permitted

mooring fields, there are currently a few such locations. These are Key West Mooring Field (149 moorings);

Ft. Myers Beach Mooring Field (70 moorings); Fernandina Beach Municipal Mooring Field (20 moorings);

Miami — Dinner Key Mooring Field (still under construction).

(Existing FL law) 327.60 Local regulations; limitations —

(2) Nothing contained in the provisions of this section shall be construed to prohibit local governmental authorities from

the enactment or enforcement of regulations which prohibit or restrict the mooring or anchoring of floating structures or

live-aboard vessels within their jurisdictions or of any vessels within the marked boundaries of mooring fields permitted as

provided in s. 327.40. However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of

such mooring fields of non-live-aboard vessels in navigation.

(Effective 10/1/09) (from Chapter 2009-86, section 14)

(3) However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields

of vessels other than live-aboard vessels as defined in s. 327.02.

What about the new mooring field pilot studies?

Over the next few years, the state will work in 5 geographic areas (two each on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coasts,

and one in the Keys) to test new anchoring and mooring concepts with both live-aboard and non-live-aboard

boats. They want to promote more mooring fields and public access to Florida waters, and to deter improperly

stored boats. Cities or counties in this program may regulate by ordinance the anchoring of all vessels outside of a

mooring field. However, this ordinance may only take effect after significant input from stakeholders and approval

from the state FWC. Any ordinances passed and the pilot program itself expire on 7/1/14.

The pilot program will be fully implemented over the next two years. No city or county has been accepted into

the pilot program – the application period has not even opened yet. It will take several months before the first

location for this program is selected and more time after that for an ordinance to be developed and approved.

As these locations are chosen, we encourage local boaters and boating groups to join the public stakeholder process

and help the cities or counties develop reasonable programs for locals and transient boaters. As of now, there

are NO enforceable anchoring ordinances outside the marked boundaries of mooring fields anywhere in Florida.

(from Chapter 2009-86, Laws of Florida)

Section 48. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in consultation with the Department of Environmental

Protection, is directed to establish a pilot program to explore potential options for regulating the anchoring or mooring

of non-live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of public mooring fields….

What about boating restricted areas?

As of 10/1/09, local governments will only be allowed to create "boating restricted areas" (including but not limited

to restriction of vessel speeds or restriction of boating traffic) for public safety reasons. They must be approved

by FWC and the USCG before they are enacted and can only be put in certain areas. Until a uniform waterway

marker is placed in the water, the area may not be enforced.

These areas may include boating restricted areas located:

• Within 500 feet of any boat ramp, hoist, marine railway, or other launching or landing facility;

• Within 500 feet of marine fuel pumps;

• Inside 300 feet of any lock structure;

• Within 300 feet of any bridge fender system or a bridge span;

• Where vessel traffic presents problems of congestion or vessel safety.

(from Chapter 2009-86, section 13) 327.46 Boating-restricted areas.

(1) Boating-restricted areas, including, but not limited to, restrictions of vessel speeds and vessel traffic, may be established

on the water of this state for any purpose necessary to protect the safety of the public if such restrictions are

necessary based on boating accidents, visibility, hazardous currents or water levels, vessel traffic congestion, or other

navigation hazards…..

The 2008 version of Florida law may be read online at:

Please note that the compiled Florida Statutes, which will include these changes will not be available until this

fall. For a copy of Chapter 2009-86, law of Florida (house bill 1423) as signed into law and filed with the Florida

Department of State on May 27, 2009, go to:

Reviewed by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, July 2009

The Nation's Leading Advocate for Recreational Boaters

Hotmail® is up to 70% faster. Now good news travels really fast. Try it now.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boat Insurance

I have been investigating the wonderful world of boat insurance. (Click on the title above and see an excellent resource from Blue Water Sailing magazine listing many.) Some of the insurances make no sense to me. Two of them will cover you in a hurricane in Cuba or off Cape Hatteras in August but not in most of the Bahamas in February. One defines "coastal" as anything offshore without touching another country. Going to Europe is fine until you enter a country there. Many have restrictions as if hurricanes never get above the Florida/Georgia border. So far, for the same coverage, most of them have been around $1600 plus or minus a little except for Boat US which is almost double. I have yet to find any which will simply insure me in the Bahamas for 6 months.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spot Messenger

I just got the Spot ( which allows you to "check in (with lat and long), call for help but not an emergency, call for 911 with geostat to the emergency responders anywhere in the world including the Coast Guard. It connects through satellites and sends an email for checkins and can track progress over 24 hour periods. Right now there is a 100% REBATE of the purchase price. See their site for details.

We went to visit Melissa and Jeff yesterday. Click on the title above to see what Spot sent us. Zoom on the area near the Green Arrow (our lat and long) to see a street level shot of their house.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We got all excited about the "opening" of Cuba until I checked it out.
According to the US State Dept.(click link above):
"In addition to the appropriate general or specific license, persons seeking to travel to Cuba, via aircraft or vessel, must obtain a temporary sojourn license from the Department of Commerce. Temporary sojourn licenses are not available for pleasure boaters. Additional information is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce at Pursuant to an Executive Order issued after the 1996 shoot-down incident, boaters departing south Florida ports with the intention of entering Cuban territorial waters also must obtain permission in advance from the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard provides automated information at 1-800-582-5943."

Monday, June 1, 2009

FW: Yesterday

Lew & I worked on the boat Friday. Today I'm doing things at home.
I never get as much done as I'd like when I think of things in the AM. However, I did take a walk of a little over a mile and I will be going to exercise class in about an hour. I guess that is good enough.

We had a fabulous time yesterday afternoon with Jim & his two women. Riley is 4.5 and such a hoot!!! We all went over to the boat for a little while. Yesterday I spent about 10 minutes finishing up one small project there then enjoyed Sarah & Riley. Then us girls left the guys there with Jimmy being hauled up the mast to retrieve part of the torn jib. It made for entertaining photos but what a lot of work!
When all that was done, we enjoyed dinner and cake here in honor of Jim's 38th birthday last week. It was a great day!

Thought you'd like these pictures.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Abacos video

This is a short utube video of the Abacos

Hotmail® has a new way to see what's up with your friends. Check it out.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

FW: For the Blog?

What Capt Lew does on his days "off".

Hotmail® has ever-growing storage! Don't worry about storage limits. Check it out.

Friday, May 8, 2009

RE: arrived home


      After you left, the fog came in so we decided to stay another night at Annapolis.  The next morning was rainy but no fog so we left.  We motored up the Chesapeake and, when we got a little wind, I put up the jib.  It soon ripped at the attachment to the halyard.  Luckily, I was able to furl it, as it had started to slip down.  Now it is stuck and won't come down or up or out.  It unfurls a little then won't budge.  Time to climb the mast.  Anyway, we got as far as Summit North Marine...1/2 way through the C&D Canal...for the night.  Off again early the next morning to catch the tides.  While going down the Delaware River, I got several weather reports which suggested that we go directly home rather than do an overnight the following night.  We rounded Cape May with two other boats.  They went into Cape May and we kept going.  Scattered showers and cold accompanied us but no thunderstorms and no high wind (we had a reefed main up for the night just in case).    We got to Keyport about 3 the next afternoon (20 hours from Cape May) to find that the launch service hadn't started yet.  Brought the boat to the dock and offloaded into Florrie's car.  Took a rowboat behind us to the mooring, found that the chain painter was not installed yet so we made up a bridal, and rowed back to the dock.  Came home and spent an awful long time in a hot shower.  I guess there are certain advantages to a home on land.  
  Florrie left at 6 AM the next day for Maine and I slept most of the next day.  Now the sun is out...not in our Delaware forecasts at all.  I am putting off going back out to the boat for a few days. 
  Oh, I almost forgot.   The refrigeration has been working really well since we are in colder waters.  

S/V Harmony

Subject: arrived home
Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 21:57:13 -0300

Hi Lew
,Just arrived home everything OK, wondering how you guys are doing and your progress?

Hotmail® has ever-growing storage! Don't worry about storage limits. Check it out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Norfolk to Charleston

Click on the title to see us. Use the "satelite" function.
We left Norfolk on Saturday and went outside around Cape Hateras. On the nose for the first night with a bang bang here and a bang bang there.... The waves would go between the hulls and up hitting the underside of the boat and slaming under the table in the salon. Cleared the papers, etc off the table quite quickly. Not a fun night but then it swung around some and we had some pleasant motor sailing. Had some enging problems on Friday night so we hove to and rested for a few hours to regroup just off Cape Fear. I figured it out while asleep and during my 12-3 watch fixed the engine and we were on our way. Winds on the quarter and speeds down the waves up to 11 knots. Got into Charleston about 7PM, after dark trying to find the correct lights among the hunbdreds of distracting lights. Finally a good nights sleep.

Look what we missed by going outside

SC: Myrtle Beach - ICW Closure - Mile 347.3 to Mile 365.4

Due to the wildfires we reported on earlier this morning, the Coast Guard is shutting down the ICW between Miles 347.3 and 365.4.

The Captain of the Port of Charleston is establishing a Safety Zone between the U.S. Highway 501 Bridge (Mile 365.4, 65-foot fixed vertical clearance) and the Little River Swing Bridge (Mile 347.3, 7-foot closed vertical clearance).

No vessels my enter this area without permission of the Captain of the Port of Charleston, but vessels already on the water are allowed to exit this zone.

We will publish more updates as they become available.

Gary Reich, Managing Editor

Monday, April 20, 2009

catamaran Harmony update

When last we left our intrepid adventurers they were at anchor at Treasure Cay, Abacos, Bahamas. They moved onto a dock at the marina to stage the next event. That night a thundersotrm came through with the most spactacular display of lightning ever seen. This lasted for about an hour. The boats still at anchor did a few deck dances with boats dragging and resetting anchors in the middle of the night. We slept soundly at the dock. The next day we got supplies and had our last Grouper sandwiches. Florrie left the next morning as did Patty McGraw so Emery McGraw joined me to bring Harmony home. We left on Thursday and motor sailed 5 hours to Allan/Pensicola Cays where we found a totally deserted island with a large anchorage protected from the north. That night we did the deck dance as our anchor dragged. Nextg morning we sailed to Great Sail Cay with anothe large anchorage. Lots of people there going different places in Florida. We left about 7AM and went along the northern banks. While on the way we joined two other boats: Kokamo and Los Gatos, also cats who were going where we were going...Cape Canaveral. We left the banks about 7PM and headed across for the Gulf Stream. Seas were confused with NE and SE Rollers. About midnight, we were in the GulF Stream when the wind swung to the South and built to 25knots. At one point we were surfing down the small (2 to 3 feet) at 13 knots. For those who don't know boats, that is really moving...our cruising speed is about 7. We brought in the jib and slowed ourselves down. When I came on watch, the wind had died and we were down to below 4 knots. We motor sailed into Cape Canaveral where we went to a dock for $10, I called custome and checked in, Emery got a cab and check himself into the country/ He is a Canadian so he couldn't use the Boater's Option (a must for all US cruisers leaving and entering from Florida. After getting checked in and becoming legal, we motored across the lock to the Indian River and up to Titusville before the thunderstorm came thrugh. Just befor it hit, we anchored on the South side of the Titusville Bridge and decided not to push any farther. So we are hear for the night with stuffed Spanish Mackeral (caught yesterday)for dinner. Gotta eat something with our dark and stormies (rum and ginger beer) then quick to bed cause I only got 3 hours sleep last night.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Urgent Message from Theresa and Rai

Rai and Theresa,
   Thanks for your concern.  My wife will be flying back on Thursday and I will be joined by a friend who is an excellent sailor for the trip north.  It looks like a front will pass over us Thursday night and there will be a weather window on Friday afternoon (at least that is what 3 out of 4 weather models predict).  If so we will go across the banks between Treasure Cay to a spot (Memory Rock) about 15 miles north of West End, Abacos and ride the Gulf Stream as far north as possible.  Sat and Sun are predicted to be mild winds from the right direction so we will continues sailing until it looks like we should get into port for a frontal passage.  Once we are within 8 miles of shore, we will have internet for weather.  Within 20 miles, or so, we can pick up the NOAA weather predictions. 
  All these places can be found on Google Earth, if you have it.  If not they are probably on Mapquest.
  If you want to see the kind of weather information we rely on check out , or Http://  In addition, we have XM radio and can get the local weather reports from all the major cities in the US and we can listen to Chris Parker (4045), weather guru and Herb (12359) on the Single Sideband (short wave)radio. Both of them provide weather information for cruisers.  We will also check in daily with the Cruisheimers net on the SSB (6227). In case anyone else is worried, I am putting a copy of this email on the blog.
S/V Harmony

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dragging the anchor

So there we were...(this is the way boaters start a story)...talking with some friends on their boat at the dock when Gary, whom we had met two days ago, saw me and called: "Lew, your boat is dragging." The boat was out in the anchor field. He assured me that two other boats had dinghyed over and had reset the anchor. (A really good reason to have the motor controls in the cockpit) Anyway, we called on the VHF and all was ok so we got some ice and left for the boat. We thanked the other boats while a very large turtle swam around us, and checked the anchor. They had reset one anchor and set a second which had been accessible on the deck. Then along came Siggi 2, a trawler that we haven't seen since the Dismal Canal in Virginia. They recognized our boat and are now anchored nearby. We are all getting together later this afternoon for cocktails on Harmony. Such is the way of cruisers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A day out on Catamaran Harmony.

Today we went for a dinghy ride about two miles south to a small cove. While there we fished for about a dozen for dinner..and watched the hammerhead sharks and rays. Went ashore to clean the fish and back for a nap. It is a tough life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Great Guana to Treasure Cay

It was Friday and the first front had come and gone.  We went up to the dock for fuel and water and then went off to Great Guana (home of Nippers beach bar) for Saturday and Sunday lunch.  Brown tip was playing at Grabbers. We left and went to the dock at Treasure Cay to sit out another frontal boundry.  It came on Monday night.  First the wind came out of the South at 30+knots.  Then, about 3AM it switched to the West with rain.  It is now 10 to 15 degrees colder with the wind still out of the West at 30.  AND, we are in one of the most protected harbors in the Abacos.

Rediscover Hotmail®: Get quick friend updates right in your inbox. Check it out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Harmony in Marsh Harbour

We are at anchor in Marsh Harbour waiting for another front to come through. Here it is blowing 5 to 10. Outside the harbor it is 20 to 25.
Shelling at Tahati Beach.
Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Catamaran Harmony back in Great Guana

View Larger Map
We left Elbow Cay yesterday and had a slow sail, jib only, to Great Guana. The map is interactive so feel free to manipulate it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finally back again

Not a good beach for swimming but...

This is the trail of the shuttle shot as seen from Elbow Cay about 150 miles east of the launch. The bright cloud was produced when the first stage separated.

We haven't had internet for a while so it is time to recap. After hurting my back, took off anyway and went down to Cracker Ps on Lubbers Cay for lunch then over to Tilloo Bank for a dinner with Honeywind and Talley Ho on the beach. Next day was resting my back at anchor then on to Pete's Pub where there is also a foundry for brass, bronze and gold casting (but his gold had been stolen a few weeks ago). Rum is really good for my back! It still hurts but who cares. Anyway, back to Elbow Cay and Sea Spray marina to wait out the first of two front's coming close together. Rain all day yesterday and some more expected today. All just a part of boating.

You can look up all these places on Google Earth.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seaspray Resort at Elbow Cay

Cold Front - what it means …

First there are a couple of days of clear skies and sunny weather. The sunlit ocean glitters like turquoise fabric. It feels like it's going to be lovely forever. Then the winds begin to kick up. Sand gets into your eyes and teeth if you walk the beach. The palm trees, instead of being full and round on top all make fans far to one side. The gentle rustling of their fronds takes on a more frantic sound. The boat creaks on her lines and we check for chafing before we go to bed. The east wind has picked up from about 20 knots to 40 and has clocked around to the south and west. Along the horizon, lightening punctuates the starry night. Half asleep, we check the lines again, hoping none of the dozen ropes that tie us securely to the dock will let go. Maybe it is the rain coming through the hatch over the bed that wakes us and we make a circuit inside the boat, closing anything that is open and putting towels under the old hatches that leak.
Daylight comes. The sky has turned gray with occasional patches of blue. The front is passing but it drags behind it the cold. The temperature has dropped about 20 degrees. Yesterday's sleeveless t-shirt is traded for long sleeves with a sweatshirt over that. Only Lew still wears shorts, Florrie is back in blue jeans. Today is for staying snug and warm inside, at least until the front passes and the post card weather returns.

Only yesterday we walked the beach under the cliffs and found many of nature's treasures. Limpets almost as big as the palm of your hand chew their way into the rugged limestone rocks. The surprise was that limpets have "feet", hundreds of them, making a fringe like a feather boa all around their single shell. Small gray crabs scurry along the rocks as the tide brings in new morsels to eat. Snails scatter all over the rocks and in the tide pools, looking like marbles from a distance.

Most of the rocks are jagged and treacherous. No boater wants to run aground on that. Over the decades and centuries, the tides wear the rocks into washboard-like ripples. One area of the beach has been worn down into that kind of hard pan which is also treacherous because it is so slippery. The tide washes around the rocks, making pools that flow back and forth with the current. Bubbly seaweed with little leaves breaks off from somewhere in the deep and floats in the shallows. Sunlight glitters on the droplets of water carried by the weeds, making tiny prisms that focus brilliant "stars" on the sandy bottom. The small ripples of the current make a pattern of light like the texture of the eroded hardpan. Everywhere there is a soft pink cast to the sand, evidence of the crushed red coral that the relentless waves bring to the shore.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Elbow Cay, Abacos
Sea Spray Marina
Hello from Harmony
We are now at a new marina and might be able to put an update on the blog. Everything changes with location and the weather. However, if we pay extra for it, we might get the internet now and then.
We left Marsh Harbour about 10 AM Friday morning and had a lovely but slow sail down the Sea of Abaco. We took a little side trip, motoring into Man O War Cay, just to see that lovely harbor. It is considered the least changed of the islands or cays around here. It was well worth the visit. Instead of the hustle and bustle of "city" life in Marsh Harbour, everything seemed so peaceful and simple.
Then we put the jib back up and sailed to Sea Spray Marina in White Sound on Elbow Cay, which is the next island east of our old dock, only five miles as the crow flies. However it took us four hours to get here because we were doing only two knots and had to go around the point that protects Marsh Harbour from the east. Coming in at low tide was fine but Florrie was nervous because the depth was only six inches under the keel. She'd prefer at least three feet of water. Getting our 21.5 foot wide boat into the slip that is only about four inches wider was another minor adventure but we did really well. No bumps or scrapes. Amazing.
What a spectacular place this is. We're in a very protected harbor, waiting out the next cold front that is supposed to be a doozie. But for now all is calm and gorgeous. The sky is clear, the air crisp and we hear the constant roar of the Atlantic Ocean about 200 yards away - on the other side of the cliffs. Yesterday afternoon we went to the top of the cliff and marveled at the crashing waves. It is a dramatic scene that Florrie hopes to capture in paint before we leave.
Today we've had a chance to do a little exploring. There was a fund raiser for the Volunteer Fire Department in Hope Town. That's a town filled with colorful homes. The architecture is similar to Cape Cod but without all the gray. Imagine such houses in soft pastels with contrasting trim. The yards are full of bouganvilla and other brilliant flowering shrubs. We watched as a hummingbird kept chasing large butterflies off of "her" flowers. Of course there were a few curly tail lizards scurrying out of our way.

Our "plan" to go to the Exumas changed with the weather. There are just too many cold fronts coming through every few days to be able to make the four day trip comfortably. There are harbors along the way to spend the night but not any we'd want to have to hole up in as different fronts come through. This has been the coldest winter in the Bahamas, we hear from those who come every year. That's too bad because we would have liked to see friends in Staniel Cay. Maybe next year. Being here is not really a hardship though. Tahiti Beach is a reasonable walk to our south. Delightful Hope Town is a short golf cart ride to the north. The restaurant here is well recommended. The marina is well run by very accommodating people so how

S/V Harmony

Hotmail® is up to 70% faster. Now good news travels really fast. Find out more.

Friday, February 20, 2009

FW: Marsh Harbour

We're finally on the move south.  We left Treasure Cay dock yesterday about 8:30 Am and were here at HarborView Marina by noon.  We even got to SAIL - what a concept.  Of course the wind was from the wrong direction so we were heading for Great Guana Cay... Finally we took down the jib and motored west to this marina but it was really nice for a couple of hours.
Lew and Emery McGraw have decided that Em will help Lew get the boat home startin April 18 or so.  The McGraws are leaving Honeywind here for the summer season.  The guys will both enjoy the trip I'm sure.  Em will help get the boat as far up the ICW or coast as possible then fly to Canada by April 30.  We may need some help after that.
I will fly home the end of April.  Earlier, Patty will fly from Nassau to Canada so she doesn't have to go through customs and immigration twice.  Makes sense to me.  That is all a long way off but it is good to have it figured out.  For now we're just enjoying sometimes crummy weather in one of the most beautifuul places on earth.
We're 12 miles south of our last marina.  Harbourview Marina is where we spent the first part of my trip last winter.  It is so much calmer now - no Christmas hubub.  We'll be here for a week.  It is hard to get emails because to get them on the boat is an extra expense.  (no cable either but we do have electricity which is lovely.)  So we wait until the office is open and their emails are up and running to do this.  
We are in "Paradise" but every time the weather changes or we change marinas, all the simple things like emails and showers have to be done in a new way!  It keeps us on our toes, literally!  Tee Hee.  Someday we might actually get a photo of the ordeal of getting off the boat when it is low tide.  Lew's legs are longer than mine so he can navigate the dock and its ladder a lot easier than I.  So far I haven't fallen in.  So far!  :-)

Windows Live™: E-mail. Chat. Share. Get more ways to connect. Check it out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Catamaran Harmony Reacher

The "Jamacan Afterburner", a lightweight reaching sail.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

curly tails

Now that the winds have died and the clouds have gone, the lizards are sunning themselves everywhere!  They are as small as your little finger up to sizes that would fit from finger tip to wrist, with some tail left over.  As far as I know, the Bahama Islands are the only place that has this kind of lizards.

Monday, February 9, 2009

FISH! on S/V Harmony

On Saturday our charter boat dock neighbor, "Low Profile", went out fishing.  They came back with such a haul there were critters all over the dock.  Because their customers could not take everything home in their suitcases, we were given our first fresh-caught fish of the season, already filleted.  Thank you fishing guys!
Sunday evening we invited Honeywind over for one of the most superb dinners Florrie has ever cooked.   The pointy nosed fish are Wahoo - very nasty teeth on those.  The snubbed nosed, colorful fish are Mahi Mahi, also known as Dorado or Dolphin.  Clearly they are not related to the mammal "Flipper".  The chubby little fish is a Tuna, the only one they caught so we didn't get any of that. 

For you recipe lovers here is how four of the fillets were prepared:  In a 9x9" glass dish; less than a cup of light olive oil, the juice of one lemon, 4 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 Tbsp of thyme and salt & pepper.  Marinate the fillets for 2 - 3 hours.  Saute in 2-3 Tbsp butter in a large skillet, using some of the marinade if needed.  The trick was to time the fillets because they were of different sizes.  Served with curried rice and waldorf salad.  Oreos for dessert.
This recipe would work for any fairly dense meat fish like swordfish, maybe even salmon steaks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Treasure Cay Tree Trimming

Palm Tree Trimming
Along the dock the coconut palms are at least 40 - 50 feet tall. The marina yard crew wheeled a large wheel barrow and brought a very long ladder for this project. However, only one man climbed the ladder then shinnied up the rest of the tree trunk, with a machete, to trim off the lower fronds. When he chopped off the clusters of coconuts they hit the ground like cannon shot. Then he carefully tossed his machete to the ground and came down. It took about 20 minutes to trim each tree and cart the debris to a pile for pick up.

Green Trutle Mini Vacation

Green Turtle Cay
On Wednesday morning we took a taxi to the Treasure Cay Ferry over to Green Turtle Cay where Loyalist settlers arrived around the time of the Civil War. New Plymouth is a typical Bahamian town, well worth the cold, choppy, windy half-hour ferry ride. Here's a mini-vacation for you. The pictures include the colorful houses as well as sculptures of a couple of the settlers' family members. Our ferry came at 3 PM to take us back to "the mainland".

Florrie &