Friday, December 28, 2012

'Twas The Night Before.....

'Twas the night after Christmas, when all through the boat, not a creature was stirring, not even a goat! (sorry, it's the only creature I could think of that rhymes with boat) When all of a sudden, Scott rose out of bed, to see a boat dragging down on us directly ahead!!

Yep. For some reason, we can't figure it out yet, (I think it may have been a Divine intervention) Scott woke up at 11pm & went out for a look see. We do that sometimes at night just to check on things. What he found was a sailboat dragging 5 feet off our bow. EMERGENCY!!!!!! We got our mega watt spotlight & were blasting it at their windows, then we used our fog response. There was no response because the owner's weren't there! AHHHH!!!!! Bigger emergency!!! I tried calling the beach club on the radio. There was a band playing & I thought they could announce which boat was dragging & the owner's could come help save our boats. No response. I'm so scared at this point my hands were shaking. Meanwhile, Scott is trying to fend off 25,000 pounds of sailboat....I mean this point he had his hands on her stern trying to push her off our bow as she was starting to swing into us Our fog horn & radio calls did get the attention of other cruisers & just as our boats were about to collide, Cam, our friend from s/v Te Amor, zipped in between the boats with his dinghy & acted like a giant fender. Thank God! And Thank You Cam! Scott was going to do the same thing with our dinghy but our stupid motor dies if it goes faster than idle, so that would have been useless. It happened so fast there wasn't any time for us to pull our anchor & move. Seconds after Cam arrived 3 other guys were there in their dinghys pushing her off to our side, we moved our boat forward a little & whew...crisis diverted for Malaika. However, the boat is still dragging, now headed for another boat! So, Scott & the other guys surrounded her with the dinghys & like little tug boats, they pushed her onto a dock & tied her up. The owner's returned at 1:00am. At 3am I went out to check on things & they were moving their boat!! I screamed at them "Don't you dare anchor next to me!! You almost hit us!!" Scott was so proud of me. They didn't respond but they did go straight to the marina so at least we didn't have to worry about them. I'm not being truthful when I say "owners". This was a rental boat. Renters do not have good reputations with cruisers. We all cringe when one anchors next to us. Some of them are good sailors but many of them are not! We saw these idiots anchor earlier in the evening. They only put out 35-40 feet of chain (not nearly enough...we have 90 feet out) & they never backed down on the anchor to make sure it was set. Then they promptly hopped in their dinghy & left the boat. We should have said something then. I won't be quiet next time. I did email the rental company to tell them all about it. Grrrrrr....


Scott & Cam....Sailors AND tug boat captains!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great time at the cruisers potluck. Thank You John & Sylvia from s/v Drakon for putting it all together!

Thanks John! He's the one who kinda looks like Santa!
We even had live music!

Santa & Mrs Santa come to the Bahamas too!
Another Santa paid us a visit in the wee hours of the morning. Thank You Sally! It was like finding a present on Christmas morning!

On another note, our macerator & dinghy motor continue to give us much grief. Scott took the macerator apart for the 4th time yesterday & now thinks it may be a power issue. Ugh. Poor Scott. Now today, Scott is really sick. I think handling all that poo has actually made him physically ill. He washed his hands in bleach....but that's just so much bacteria up close. No gloves. Please say a little prayer for Scott to feel better. The dinghy motor runs as long as we keep it in idle. We will deal with these issues when we get back to Marsh Harbor.

Don't ya just love Scott's hat?! He made it from palm fronds.
For now, we are looking forward to New Year's. Scott & I are splurging New Year's Eve & going to the big party at Bluff House Marina. It was our Christmas present to each other. Then, on New Year's Day we're going to the Junkanoo! Yay! Can't wait!

Love & miss everybody! This is the 2nd time I've written this blog today. I was trying to post the 1st one & somehow erased it! Hope this one goes through.

Love, Michelle, Scott & Jib


Monday, December 24, 2012

This Blows

Jib is waiting for the storm to roll in...check out his ears

Jib's ready & waiting for the Big Blow....and here she comes!
This week we had some weather here in the Abaco's. A cold front came through on Thursday and brought some big winds for just over 24 hours. We had sustained north east winds at 25-30mph with gusts to 35-40. In boating world, we call that "a big blow". It makes for a long day because even though we are safely tucked into Green Turtle Cay, there are still things to be on alert for during storms like that. Ok, there's like one major concern and that is your anchor dragging. Or worse....someone else dragging into you. So, everybody knows when a big blow is coming because we all check the weather several times a day, talk about it on the radio, etc. Everyone chooses a harbor to "hide" in & wait it out. It's part of cruising life.

Within seconds of the front moving in, we were getting pounded here in Green Turtle..


When this particular front hit, we had a major shift in the wind which causes all the boats to make a big dramatic swing on their anchors as the boats turn into the wind. A lot of times that's all it takes to displace your anchor and next thing ya know....your boat is literally dragging across the anchorage. Not a good thing in the middle of a big blow.

The green boat at the top of the screen has started to drag. It's pouring down rain with winds at 30mph
They're headed straight for us!



All this before noon. This event carried on for over an hour because as he was dragging, his anchor snagged on the other green boat's anchor & was now in danger of dragging them both along...right into us. Thankfully, the boats involved in this nightmare are very accomplished sailors and did all the right maneuvers to avoid a collision. They ultimately had to tie a buoy to their anchor & release it. We all have more than one anchor so he used his backup & reanchored somewhere else...which wasn't easy in the storm & took him several tries. I felt sorry for them. While many things can contribute to an anchor dragging, like inexperience, or using an anchor that is too small for your boat, the truth is, it can happen to anyone & when it's happening to you, it sucks big time. 4 boats dragged that morning & had to reanchor. We dragged once last September (in Georgetown, South Carolina) & it was terrifying. We now have a 60 pound Manson anchor & (knock on wood) have never dragged again. The winds kept howling for the next 24 hours so it was a LONG day and night. We were up many many times during the night checking on things.

Time to chill on the beach yesterday after the big blow with a couple of "Tranquil Turtles" from our favorite Bluff House Beach Club.
View from the Bluff House Beach Club


So everybody is all recovered & rested up from the storm. Today is Sunday so Scott & I were going to go to church. There is not a Catholic church here but our friends recommended the Anglican church in town. I looked it up, their services started at 11am. We had a nice leisurely morning & then set out for church. The dinghy ride to town is about 15 minutes. We never even made it out of White Sound before our dinghy motor started really acting up. It's been acting up for awhile but today was bad. We had to turn around & limp back to the anchorage.

We drifted to our friends boat (John & Sally) on s/v Liliana to seek mechanical advice
We ended up getting towed back to Malaika


Scott has been trying to fix our motor for awhile but nothing is working. We've asked everyone we know for advice. We usually get the same response..."I've never heard a motor make that sound". Ut oh.... So, now we are essentially without a car. :( The real depressing thing is, I think we may have to buy a new motor. Cha Ching $$$$ !!! It's ALWAYS something! Grrrrr!!!!! THIS BLOWS!!!

We do have some fun stuff planned for Christmas & New Year's and the good news is we have enough friends here in Green Turtle that we won't have to miss anything. Our friend John already offered to pick us up tomorrow to go to a Christmas Eve brunch sponsored by s/v Blue Rondo. I'm choosing to just have fun for Christmas and we'll deal with the motor on the 27th. Everything shuts down for Christmas Eve, Christmas, & Boxing Day so there's nothing we can do about it now.

Hope all is well with everybody that you're all having a wonderful Holiday Season. We miss home so much right's not easy to be away at Christmas...even when you're in paradise.

Scott hung some Christmas lights up the mast to try & satisfy my Christmas needs. Thanks honey! I loved it!
LOVE this coconut bird house
I apologize for the wackiness with the blog margins & picture captions. Have no idea what went wrong. Took 4 hours to post this blog. Happy Christmas Eve!!

Love & Miss everybody!!!


Love, Michelle, Scott & Jib


Thursday, December 20, 2012

F. A. Q. 's

Today I thought it would be fun to do a blog about our most frequently asked questions. As you can imagine, we get A LOT of questions about our lifestyle. Quitting your jobs, selling everything you own & moving onto a sailboat (when you've never sailed before) tends to generate a lot of talk. So, here we go.

The #1 most frequent question we get is...."WHERE DOES JIB GO TO THE BATHROOM?". Yep. Not "where was your favorite place?", or "what's the scariest thing that's happened out at sea?". Nope. So many people want to know where Jib poops.

The answer is Jib does his business on deck. We lower a bucket into the water for a good rinse off & we also have scoopers. It's easy. It only becomes a big clean up when Jib swallows too much salt water which causes horrible things to happen to his GI tract. That usually requires the bucket, the scoopers & a deck brush. Luckily, he does that less & less. We are lucky that Jib has taken to this method so easily. Of course, he moved on the boat when he was 12 weeks old so that definitely helped. Jesse would have no part of it. He was nine when we moved on the boat & there was just no way we could convince him to go on deck, which meant several trips to shore everyday. Jib did need a lot of encouragement after living on shore all summer. He held out for 24 hours a couple of times. So when he did go, we had a big celebration & treats & within a few days it was like a lightbulb went off & Jib was like "Oh yeah! I remember!"

# 2 on the list "HOW CAN YOU AFFORD IT?".

Because Scott & I are only 40 ( well, ok...he's 40, I'm 42) this question also comes up a lot. We always tell people..1st of all, we're "semi-retired". Can we afford to never work again? No. However, because we are in health care we can work anytime, anywhere(in the U.S.) HUGE bonus. We also really did sell EVERYTHING. Except for Scott's med school loan (which we'll be paying forever) we have no debt. The other thing that makes working a few months out of the year possible is that Scott & I live CHEAP! We rarely splurge on things like fancy dinners, new clothes, fancy anything. Our expenses are usually around $1000/month. Unless of course we're doing boat projects...precisely why we have to keep working! There's always something!

Nope....We don't get bored.


This one shocks me. Boredom rarely occurs & it usually starts setting in when we are stuck inside the boat for a few days due to weather. Most of the time we are very content with our life. We go to the beach almost everyday! We read, listen to music, go hiking or explore a new island, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, spear fishing, lobster hunting. We meet people from all over the world almost everyday. It's an amazing life that we feel blessed to have & no....we don't get bored. If we do, a new boat project develops.

Under the sea today during the lobster hunt


This one's easy. Um....No. We do not miss working. I miss all my friends at work. I mean, don't get me wrong....we love delivering babies & many of our patients have had profound effects on our lives. Scott still gets goose bumps every time he delivers a baby. It's sort of EPIC to be a part of new human life. You have to have a certain level of passion to do that kind of work & we do is not all about work. After almost 20 years in health care, we've learned that life is precious & it's unbelievably short. We do plan on trying to get involved with Doctors Without Borders or some similar type of organization & getting back to our health care roots. It's very easy to become jaded when you work in this arena. Especially in America.


I'm not going to lie, sometimes a 38 foot sailboat feels REALLY small. Yes, we get on each other's nerves sometimes. I challenge any couple to try 24/7 together for months & months. Believe'll find out if your relationship has what it takes to make it to forever. If we're having a bad day together we do just find ways to do our own thing & it eventually passes over. Mostly, I think we both realize we just have to get over it because we do live in 38 feet & tomorrow when we're sailing somewhere...we need each other!

The truth is...this life isn't for everyone. But for's everything we thought it could be and so much more. Follow your dreams....whatever they are & I promise you will be happy.


Michelle, Scott & Jib



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Home for Christmas

Home away from home...Green Turtle Cay
So, Scott & I finally left Marsh Harbour. We never intended to stay for a week but as usual our plans are etched in jello. We really wanted to be in Green Turtle for the holidays for a couple of reasons. There is an AWESOME "cruiser's potluck" here on Christmas day. All the cruisers in the anchorage make a special dish & come together to celebrate Christmas. It was the 1st gathering we went to last year in the Bahamas & now has a sentimental, familiar feel to it that we felt was worth making a 4+ hour sail to be a part of. We also want to spend New Year's here because Green Turtle Cay has the BEST Junkanoo (carnival) EVER!!!! We went last year & had such an amazing time. A Junkanoo is like a parade on steroids. It's amazing.

Christmas on the Sea of Abaco
So we left Marsh this morning with a fresh updated weather report & everything looked/sounded good to cross "The Whale". The Whale is a small passage, it's actually " a cut" from the Sea of Abaco out to the Atlantic Ocean. It is too shallow to just cross wherever you want in the Sea of Abaco, so sometimes you have go out to the ocean & come back in through "a cut". There are well charted, established routes to get around here.

The chart of our back yard
The Whale is a small cut but it can be unpassable in the wrong weather. It's important to know the conditions. So, we're having an awesome sail...engine off, cruising along at 6.2-6.9 knots with a sweet southwest wind. Great sailing day. As we approach The Whale we see a squall is coming. Of Course!! We met each other at the entrance of the Whale. Thanks Mother Nature!

Entering "The Whale" just in time for a squall

Peace out squall! Malaika always takes care of us!

Malaika's mainsail from the view of our new sunroof
We tucked in safely to our beloved Green Turtle Cay & headed to the beach.

My boys guiding us in to Green Turtle

The Captain is resting after today's sail. No chair needed.
Nothing like a face full of sand to end the day! Glorious as far as Jib's concerned.
It's great to be here. I miss my family & friends so much during the holidays. Green Turtle Cay makes it hurt a little less.

Love & miss you all so much. XXXOO

Little note to our families....still trying to call using our iPad (skype) but having trouble with connections. We will probably get a phone....the phone company is only open on Thursdays so hopefully we will get it figured out by then. We miss hearing your voices!!!

Michelle, Scott, & Jib


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mass Adventures

What an adventure we had getting to church today! The Bahamas are predominately Christian but the only Catholic Church in Abaco is in Marsh Harbour. We went many times last year & figured out after our first visit that there is a bus that is provided by the church & they will pick you up at certain stops every Sunday & then bring you home too. It's obviously GREAT for us since we don't have a car. It's a bit too far to walk & if we took a taxi (which we did the 1st time) it costs us $7.00 each way.
The beautiful alter at St. Francis De Sales
Scott tying up the dinghy in his Sunday bests
Our church journey starts with a short dinghy ride from the mother ship to one of the public docks where we will walk to one of the "bus stops". There aren't really any designated stops...I think if you look like you're dressed up a little & are just standing on a corner on the bus route (which is a circle through town) the bus will stop to see if you need a ride. There aren't too many folks dressed for church standing on the street corner at 8:15 on Sunday morning in Marsh Harbour so I suppose we are easy to spot. Today as we were walking I spotted an elderly Bahamian man, clearly dressed for church & asked if he too was waiting for the bus. YEP! He was so we waited with him....but the bus never came....none of us had a watch but we knew mass was starting soon so we decided to start walking that way & maybe we would run into the bus or someone would give us a ride. We were standing at the main intersection in town for several minutes when we heard "honk honk" from a truck. Scott & I immediately recognized the driver .... He is the church bus driver. He shouted from the window, "there's a problem with the bus!" He promptly pulled over & Scott & I piled into the back of the truck. Our new buddy hopped in front & we all cruised to church.

In the back of the pick up racing to mass!
Scott thanked our driver for using his own truck to give church goers a ride & he casually said "well, of course, I am the bus driver!". It was a great mass & in the year we've been away, we could tell this church has really become a closer knit community. It was great. So after mass we start walking to the truck....& so did half the congregation. There were about 25 of us piled into the back of the pickup! It was great!

Scott squeezing in the pick up with our church buddies
Another beautiful Sunday. After church we went home & picked up Jib to take him to his "church"... The beach.

Jib never tires of the beach....
Jib is a very accomplished diver now. He can hold his breath for 8-10 seconds now while searching for treasures in the sea....usually a stick.

Life can happen anywhere! Even in stone.
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We sure do miss our family & friends as Christmas nears. Love you guys. We've been trying to Skype without success so far but will keep trying.

P.S. I have no idea why the 1st paragraph of this blog is in blue or why it's n the photo caption but oh well! Sometimes the blog has a mind of its own.


Michelle, Scott & Jib


Friday, December 14, 2012

Tangled Up In Poo

Malaika has returned to the thriving metropolis that is Marsh Harbor! The 3rd largest city in the Bahamas. Marsh Harbor doesn't have much to offer as far as scenery, diving, snorkeling, or beaches, is unmatched in the Abacos as far as groceries, boat supplies, bars, restaurants, entertainment, etc. It's a great place to reprovision the boat.

Sunset in Marsh Harbour
It's been a little busy here on Malaika the past few days. When we were at Treasure Cay a few days ago my friend Matt from Gone Global Adventures helped me get Internet service on my iPad. We went to Batelco...the phone company here in the Bahamas & got a sim card & whalla! I have Internet service anywhere in the Bahamas for $30 per 40 days. It's AWESOME! Last year we paid $100/month for service that worked "most" of the time. My friend Brittany from s/v Great Mysterious also helped me figure out a ton of stuff about posting my blog from the iPad, pictures, new blog apps. Thanks so much guys!

So...remember how happy we were to have the macerator installed? That thing that pumps the poo from our holding tanks out to sea? Well....we already had a macerator malfunction. Grrrr!!!! Of course, we don't realize there is a problem until the tank is full & we're out sea ready to dump it. Scott turned the switch & nothing. The motor was trying to run but couldn't & after about 6 seconds it would shut itself off. Uh oh. That can mean only one's clogged somewhere. Gross. Poor Scott. He had to take it apart....which means getting up close & personal with poo. Sometimes living on a sailboat is so NOT glamorous.

Scott is about to dive in & see if the thru hole where the macerator dumps out of on the outside is clogged. I think his face says it all.
It was not clogged externally. Once he took the macerator apart we found the problem. It was hair. My hair. It had wound around the blades in the pump & was preventing it from churning. I guess I'll have to start wearing a hat or something while in the loo. Sorry honey.

We'll be hanging out in Marsh Harbor for a few days & then island hopping over to Hopetown. Tonight we are going to a "rake & scrape". That's a band that uses things like saws, spoons, bells, bongos to make some awesome island tunes. Very excited for that!

Jib investigating a Conch
This is what the whole conch looks like. Looks super gross but fixed up like a ceviche....yum. Also, battered up & fried "Conch fritters" ....a Bahamian classic!
Love this sign
Under the sea....
Love & Miss everyone.


Our hearts are breaking as the news comes in regarding the school shooting in Connecticut. Our prayers go out to all those children & parents who are in their darkest hour. Mother Mary....pray for us now.....

Michelle, Scott & Jib