Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boat Decommission Begins... :(

Bye Bye St Augustine....for now....

As planned...we left St Augustine 3 days ago & yesterday afternoon we arrived at our stopping point for hurricane season, Green Cove Springs Marina. It's a bit depressing. Before I start whining let me say a few positive things. The marina staff is outstanding & they do whatever they can to accommodate your needs. The prices for mooring balls, long term storage, etc., are extremely affordable...some of the cheapest in Florida. There are so many boats here that things seem to run very efficiently. Here comes the whining. I hate it here. I guess I was expecting something different after all the great things we've heard about this marina. 1st of all...It is not a marina. It's a boatyard. A nice far as boatyards go....there are showers & a laundry. It's loud, busy, not in walking distance of any stores. There are tons of mosquitos too. We are now in the St John's River & the water is gross. It's brown & stinky. I'm glad we're pulling Malaika out of the water & she won't have to sit in this river while we go home. (to be fair...the water in the ICW & other rivers we've stayed in, is brown & stinky too...I just miss the crystal clear water of the Bahamas...spoiled.) Let me give you a 360.


One view from our boat...not too bad!


Turn your head slightly to the left and.....

Ok...a 180 instead of a 360. Who cares. After realizing that having a car here in Green Cove Springs is crucial we made arrangements to pick up our hooptee (piece of crap car) from St Augustine. Our good friend Greer drove 40 miles round trip to help us out. Thank You Greer!!!

1st stop...Auto Zone to find a fuel filter.

Once we got back home it was time to get to work. The next week we will be prepping Malaika to live without our constant supervision for a couple of months.

Starting to remove our sails. Stay sail...done.
Bye bye main made us proud.


Dang.....almost naked. :(

While Scott worked on the outside, I started on the inside. We have to basically tear the boat down & clean every surface before we leave her to face the elements without us.

Breaking down the Galley.


Every nook & cranny

We have about a week's worth of work ahead of us..then road trip to Arizona with a side stop in Memphis to visit family. It hasn't been all bad. Enjoy some pics from the trip up the ICW.


Flagler College in St Augustine
Passed this guy on the ICW...he started rowing in Key West....headed to St Augustine. Wowza.....that's a LONG way.


Pretty Florida ICW


The view from our boat in a random anchorage headed towards Green Cove


We don't share these waterways just with other sailboats!

And now...The Bridges Of Northern Florida ICW (Intra-Coastal Waterway)



One bridge after another.....


The next week will be filled with chores and then...the reward...heading home to see family & friends! Woo Hoo!!! I'll miss my Malaika though. Can't wait for November when we head back to the islands.

Love, Michelle, Scott & Jib


Monday, April 22, 2013

Rainy Days & Mondays....

The South mooring field in St. Augustine, Florida

Well, we have almost made it to our final boat destination for hurricane season. We are back in a favorite place...St. Augustine, Florida. Last year we kept our boat here for the summer while we went home to Phoenix to work. It's a wonderful place & we love this town!! However, this summer we are hauling Malaika out of the water. A task that is not possible at our favorite Hidden Harbor Marina & is MUCH cheaper about 20 miles northwest in a little place called Green Cove Springs. It will take us 2 days to journey up the St. John's river to reach our resting spot for hurricane season. We plan on leaving in the morning....IF the weather gets better. The weather has been terrible for 3 days. We were able to leave our boat for the 1st time in 2 days today, thanks to a shuttle that is provided by the marina. It was too rough for the dinghy.

Jib on the shuttle pontoon boat. It doesn't look that rough but trust me...look at Jib's ears blowing in the wind.


Scott & our friend Nancy from s/v Pegasus on the shuttle basking in the warm weather of the "Sunshine State"

One project we needed to address these past few days was seeing what kind of shape our car was in. It has been safely parked at our old marina but...would it run? Remember, this car is 25+ years old. It has at least 180,000 miles on it...the odometer doesn't work anymore so who knows.


There she & sound. And dead as a door nail. P.S. this picture was taken several days ago...when the sky was still blue.

So, despite our friend's effort to recharge the go. After 2 days on the boat due to we said..who cares. Let's get off the boat. We have great rain jackets & a shuttle. Let's get the car running. Thanks to our friends Aaron & Greer @ Hidden Harbor Marina for lending us your car this afternoon. Scott did some research & the cheapest place to get our new battery was....

I wasn't sure if I was ready. We haven't been in an American warehouse of "stuff" in months. We've been in the little ma & pop stores of the islands...where you get what ever is available that week. Where romaine lettuce cost $6...if they have it.



SOOO much stuff...SOOO cheap!! Definetely back in the USA.

I was a bit overwhelmed...and thankful that since we could only buy as much as we could carry (in our backpack) I didn't have to make too many choices. Whew. Gotta ease back into this...slow...

Scott changing out batteries. Notice how in this old beast, the ENORMOUS battery is in the trunk?
Scott turning over the engine....YAY!! It worked!

The good news is that the battery seems to be the problem with the car! It still sputters a little but Scott thinks that's a fuel filter problem so we should be able to fix that too. Now....if we can just get that A/C working......

Love & Miss everybody!!

Michelle, Scott & Jib


Monday, April 15, 2013

Welcome Home?

Give Peace A Chance

Wowza. Our 1st few days back in these United States have been packed full of adventure and now as we get the news out of Boston...sadness. WHY???? I'm very glad to be heading home to see our friends & families but if I had kids...I would just keep on sailing far far away. This place is just too crazy.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook know that last night we were confronted by a TORNADO!! OMG!! The "tornado" never actually developed but the high winds, torrential rain, & never ending lightning brought this sailor to tears.'s sooo scary when you live on a boat & the weather is out of control. There's nowhere to safe zone....just cross your fingers & hope for the best. And thankfully...that's what happened last night. The storm passed over & we were fine. Physically. Took some rum therapy to go to sleep.

42...and can still stop traffic. Bwahahahaha!!

We continued our trek heading north on the ICW along the coast of Florida today & are now in Titusville.

This is really a great place for boaters to hangout for a few days. We are on a mooring ball which for $15 allows us to enjoy all the marina amenities which include Internet, showers, great marina store, and BEST of all.....a DOG PARK!!!! Jib was in absolute heaven this afternoon after being stuck on the boat for several days.

Jib's new pit bull buddies.
Jib hates mooring balls...he growls at them. ?


We're going to stay here again tomorrow & go play on that island you see above. Island therapy is always good for the soul. :) and it's already been too long.

Love--Michelle, Scott & Jib


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back In The U.S. of A!!

Sunrise in Florida this morning

Well....we made it! It's so hard to believe we're back in Florida. Our crossing from the Bahamas was a little rough. Sometimes, no matter how many weather reports you look at things just don't unfold as predicted. The wind was exactly as we expected...12-18knots from the east..(which is great cuz' we're headed west). The waves however, were totally unorganized. They hit us from all directions which causes the boat to roll dramatically from side to side. I have one word...NAUSEOUS!!! Ugh. Scott did fine. He seems immune to sea sickness. I was sick for 10 out of 20 hours. Jib was a nervous wreck. Poor baby.

Bye Bye Bahamas. Things were nice & calm when we set sail for America.

After our 20 hour journey we were pretty excited to see all the high rises of the Florida coastline. Land Ho!! Our excitement was quickly zapped as we realized the inlet we needed to go through (Ft. Pierce) looked "kinda rough" .We knew from friends that this inlet could be tricky & we timed our trip accordingly with the tides. Didn't matter. I was looking with the binoculars & told Scott to go for it. I judged wrong. Way wrong. Oops. We basically ended up in a washing machine. That inlet is crazy!! All of a sudden, 10-12 ft waves with rock walls on each side of the channel. OMG! It was all I could do not to burst into tears. Scott said it was the most scared he's ever felt on the boat. I wish I had pictures to show you but Scott may have thrown me off the boat if I reached for the camera at that point. :) Obviously, we made it. We spent the past couple days recovering in Ft Pierce reuniting with some good friends. Today we motor sailed 50 miles up the intra coastal waterway (ICW) to Eau Gallie, Florida. Thunderstorms started about 30 minutes before our arrival to the anchorage. As soon as we dropped the anchor tornado warnings started blaring over the radio. Tornados. In Florida. Seriously? Grrr.....

Caught a small (small is relative..he did weigh 10 pounds) Mahi Mahi during the crossing. He was delicious.

So our trek home to Arizona is now in full force. We'll be making our way up the Florida coast for another week or so to Green Cove Springs where we will keep Malaika for hurricane season. Then a couple more weeks cleaning her up & prepping her for standing alone without us for a few months. After that's all done, cross country drive to Arizona. Whew! Still quite a journey ahead of us!

Love & Miss you !!!

Michelle, Scott & Jib


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Momma...I'm Coming Home


So...Scott & I have spent the last (almost) 24 hours at Grand Cay. This is our launching point back to the U.S. What a quirky, quaint, little town. There seems to be a mural painted on just about every building. We had a good time walking around this afternoon trying to spend our last Bahamian dollars....usually not hard to do because things are outrageously expensive in most of the Bahamas, but like Eleuthera....Grand Cay is quite cheap. Guess we'll have some dough when we come back in November! It's hard to believe this cruising season is over. Now another adventure begins. We need to get settled in Florida, drive across the U.S. to Phoenix where I will work for the summer, then....start getting ready for the next big sail. I love being a traveler. There is always a new adventure on the horizon.

It seems every building has a painted mural here in Grand Cay!



Malaika is setting sail in about 3.5 hours & crossing the gulf stream back to Florida. I don't especially love leaving at night but we have to time things so that we reach Ft. Pierce at (slack) low tide. It can be a tricky entrance....timing is everything. Should be about a 20 hour journey so this crew is checking out to go take a nap.

Conch graveyard
Like so many Bahamian towns...the Post Office & Police Station are all wrapped up in one pink building. Love it.
Bye Bye Bahamas...I'll miss you.

Love & Miss you. See you very soon!!!

Michelle, Scott & Jib