Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It's hard to believe it's our 3rd Thanksgiving on Malaika. This year we find ourselves in Stuart, Florida. We've been here since last Saturday. It's a great place to hang out while we wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. We actually leave from Lake Worth, Florida which is 20+ miles south but Lake Worth sucks if you have to be there for awhile. It is not a cruiser friendly place. There is nowhere to get to shore. That matters because sometimes the "weather window" can take awhile. Our 1st year, we waited for 2 weeks there. Anywho....Stuart is awesome! We've been livin' large hanging out in a mooring ball.

Our boat is tied to that ball in the water which is anchored to the bottom

We rarely splurge on things like mooring balls, marinas, etc...but sometimes....we indulge. The great thing about a mooring ball is, it doesn't matter how much the wind blows...the boat is secure. AND so is every boat around you, so nobody drags anchor. The bad thing about a mooring ball is they cost money. $20 per day here in Stuart.

Rain Rain...Go Away!
We're not the only ones waiting for a weather window.....

The weather has been awful for almost a week. Windy & rainy, so it's been nice to just go to sleep at night & not have to worry about our boat, other boats, etc. We'll be doing that for the next 6 months so we're chillaxin' now. Buying the mooring ball also allows us to use all of the Marina facilities. Showers, laundry, bikes, free bus to Walmart & all other stores in the area....

Cruiser Bus!

The Marina is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner today. They provide all the turkey & ham & only ask cruisers to bring a veggie or dessert dish. Over 100 people signed up so it should be quite a feast!! Very excited. I opted to bring a dessert cuz' I LOVE using my new oven.

Sometimes the galley seems so small when land lubbers better appreciate all your counter space today!
Whalla!! Pumpkin cream cheese bread & cupcakes!

So on this Thanksgiving Day I just want to say I am soooo thankful for all the blessings God has given our family. We have a very blessed life & are so lucky to have the family & friends that we have. You all enrich our lives & make us feel so lucky. Thinking of you, missing you, and always....loving you.

Michelle, Scott & Jib

P.S. Happy Happy Birthday to Alan tomorrow!! Hope you have a wonderful day Dad!! We love you so much & are so thankful for everything you've done for us. You're an awesome Dad & the best father inlaw a girl could hope for! ;)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rafted Up, Rained In, & Running Dog Wild!

Here comes Jib! 1st day off the boat in 4+ days....Does it show?
Whew! It's been a crazy 36 hours. We started out yesterday with great weather & a beautiful sunrise (motor) sail down the ICW.
Things were awesome for about 4 hours....and then the latest cold front/weather system rolled on in.
Finally tucked in at Vero Beach mooring field.
Rain, rain, & more rain. As I write this blog, it has been raining now for 28 hours with brief intermissions here & there. It's really not that cold--70's with 100% humidity---just wet. We've never been to Vero Beach but have heard many great things about it. In fact, people call it "Velcro beach" because cruisers often end up staying longer they ever expected. While the Marina/mooring field are awesome...I don't really see the attraction. Grocery stores, boat stores, etc. are only accessible by bus, which does stop at the Marina every hour so, that is a convenience. And I must stress that the Marina & it's staff are great. There are awesome showers, huge dinghy dock, trash dumpsters, & laundry. I guess, for Malaika, it's much easier to be able to walk to stuff...then we can take Jib too. I can see why people like it here but for velcro.
Did I say massive?
As I write "no Velcro" I have another bonus at Vero to tell you about. There is a MASSIVE dog park within walking distance of the Marina. There was a break in the rain this morning so we jumped at the chance to get jib off the boat....literally
Jib jumpin' into the dinghy

Woo Hoo! So excited!

Jib with his new buddy
We me a few dogs at the dog park & Jib ran & ran & ran. He was happy, happy, happy!!!
Hey!?! How'd this coconut get here?
So, we also met a pit bull today. We always do at dog parks. She was sweet & played with the other dogs briefly. I looked over & her owner was strapping a weird harness on her so I went to take a look.
I talked the owner about it...apparently "weight pulling" is a competitive sport with pit bulls. So, this 1yr old pup was training today. She did have a lot of muscles.
I think that's weird. Again, she was well behaved & seemed sweet but....why weight pulling? She didn't look like she was having any fun. Unlike the 2 Golden Retrievers in the park. We'll stick with ball chasing & coconut eating.
Notice both dogs tongues are hanging out....they want that ball so bad they can taste it!
After the dog park we walked over a mile to the beach only to find out..No Dogs Allowed!! Grrrr.....Florida beaches are not dog friendly. It sucks. So we trekked home just in time to beat the next down pour. And I do mean down pour. Within a couple of hours our dinghy was FULL of water.
Notice the floating flip flops
Scott had to get in and bail out like 30 gallons of water. It was unbelievable how much water dumped on us in a few hours. So, even though I said no Velcro for us...we're staying another day as the weather looks crappy tomorrow too. Hmmm....maybe there is something to this Vero vortex.
Malaika rafted up with our buddies Dan & Laurie on s/v Glory Days
So, maybe one more day here, then headed south again to Stuart, Florida. Another new place for us and all the cruiser's say it's an awesome place to hang out while waiting for a weather window to take off for the Bahamas. Plus.....several good friends are already there... Yay!!
Love & Miss everybody mucho!!
Michelle, Scott & Jib

Monday, November 18, 2013

And...We're off!!!

Beautiful day heading south on the ICW

So we finally made it off the dock!! Yay!! We had planned on leaving Friday....then Saturday....then Sunday. Things always pop up right before you're ready to go. Thursday night we realized we just had too many little things to do to leave Friday. Saturday morning our refrigerator started acting up & Scott ended up working on that for half the day. He had to replace the pump. Sunday morning the toilet wasn't working properly. Grrrrr!!! Scott worked on that before we went to church & we decided we're going no matter what. And we did. Since we stayed till Sunday we decided to go to Mass one more time at the beautiful Basilica, which also allowed us one last stroll through beautiful St. Augustine.


We got home from church & started the engine. Time. To. Go!!! First stop...fuel dock. And our first encounter of the season with a mega yacht.


Leave a light on for us St Augustine...I'm sure we'll be back sometime

We just took a short trip (3 hours) to Ft. Matanzas. We started this tradition of going a short distance on our first day out last year & really enjoyed it. It gets pretty stressful the last few days before you untie the lines so keeping the first sail short & sweet works of us. Just felt great to finally be on the move. Distance was not a goal yesterday.

First night on anchor at Ft. Matanzas

Today we had a lovely day strolling along the ICW. The weather was nice, we made good time. We went about 50 miles in 7 hours. Lots of boats heading usual we were passed by many power boats. (All very polite today! :)

Besides just being on the move...the other excitement of the day was that we were BOARDED by the Sheriff's department in Daytona. They zoomed up beside us & were on our boat within 30 seconds. They wanted to do a "MSD" inspection. (Marine Sanitation Device).

In other words, they wanted to inspect our toilet. I've explained before that our toilet is connected to a holding tank. When we're at least 3 miles out to sea we can dump our tanks directly into the water. When we're inland it is federal law that it all goes in the tank. We even have to have a lock on the valve that opens to the outside. That's what the police are looking for....That you have that valve locked with a padlock or a zip tie. No cheating! And if you do, it's a pretty hefty fine. We were locked of course & the police were on & off our boat in like 3 minutes. It was still a little weird when they appeared. We were like "whoa! Where did you come from?" " whoa! You just hopped on my boat! " Jib growled at them when they pulled up next to us. He never growls so that was strange to hear. The poo cops gotta do their job too & they were very nice.

Jib seems to be enjoying moving on the boat again. However...we are struggling getting him to go to the bathroom on deck. He wouldn't go last night or this morning. Once we got anchored this afternoon we all went out on deck. It was a "potty" stand off. We weren't going to stop till he went. Over the course of 2+ hours we must have said "good boy Jib..go potty" a thousand times. We're trying to train him to go on the side deck instead of on the top deck. He really didn't want to do either after spending the summer ashore. After 29 hours total....We surrendered and he went on the top deck.

Malaika's crew

So 2 days in things are going ok. Looking forward to trekking south. We're expecting crappy weather the next 2 days. :( Big winds & a cold front. Never a dull moment!

Congrats to Marci & Jim on s/v Island Jim who reached the Bahamas today! Have fun guys!! Glad you had a safe passage.

Love & Miss everybody

Michelle, Scott, & Jib


Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's GO Time!

Sails on....check!

The time has come!! We are setting sail on Saturday! Yay!! We'll make our way down the ICW (intra coastal waterway) to Lake Worth, Florida which is our launching point to the Bahamas. It will take us over a week to get there cuz' we're not in a rush, & then we'll have to wait for the perfect weather window to cross to the Bahamas. So...we'll still be in Florida for a few weeks BUT we'll be on the move. We are so excited!! We've been getting Malaika ready for months & now it's time to go. So many projects & now we get to go have some fun. Here's a few pics of what we've been up to this past week....

We pulled off the anchor and ALL the chain to inspect it & remark it. All 275 feet of it. We have to mark it so when we drop our anchor we know how much chain we have out. The depth of the water determines how much chain we put out, sooo...every 25ft, we have a marker on the chain. (All our cruiser friends know this stuff of coarse but our friends & family don't....gotta explain this anchoring stuff.. ;)

You can see here which part of the chain spent more time in the water....


We hired a diver to clean the bottom of the boat....lots of marine grossness starts to grow on the bottom of the boat after a few months in this river. The boat does not run efficiently if there is a lot of "growth" on the bottom so it needs to be cleaned. In the Bahamas, this is a project Scott does. We just can't bring ourselves to voluntarily jump into this we hired somebody.

On Tuesday I spent 3 hours & $600 at Walmart provisioning the boat. Grocery shopping is my least favorite household chore. I hate it. After THREE hours in Walmart I was pretty much fried. However, we now have enough food & supplies to last us for months. Then...the real chore...putting all of it away in an organized manner in lockers behind the couch took hours.

We also had the upholestery for our settees (couches) dry cleaned. It sure was a lot easier removing the foam than putting back in. Ugh. Don't want to do that again for awhile.

43....that's me! Here's to another good year! Thank you God!

Yesterday we celebrated my 43rd birthday. Despite 30mph winds & COLD temps my hubby made sure I had a really fun day. Together we finished putting away all the provisions & then bundled up to go hang out in St Augustine. We don't have much cold weather clothes. We had to dig deep in our lockers to find jackets, hats, etc. They've been stowed away for 2 years & smelled very musty....thank goodness for Febreeze!!

1st stop....San Sebastian Winery

We stopped into the winery to catch the FREE wine tasting. Turns out, they were having a sale. By one case of wine, get one free. Happy Birthday to me.

Next stop....the water's edge.

We walked around our beloved St Augustine for awhile & settled on a place for lunch. "Scarlett O'Hara's". It's a pretty popular place in St Augustine...especially with the college kids, but it was afternoon & we'd never been there & we were really cold so we thought we'd check it out. Total SCORE!! We were pretty much the only people in there & got a table for two in front of a fireplace directly below a huge painting of Miss Scarlett herself. Yay!!

When we got home from our lovely afternoon, our friends were hanging out at the Marina. They heard it was my "day" & wanted to say Happy Birthday! So nice!! Thanks Dan & Kathy! Our friends Dale & Karen from s/v Jessie Marie opened a bottle of champagne & everybody toasted my birthday & good friendships. My friends Greer & Aaron gave me a wine picnic basket/bag which will come in so handy in the islands. Thanks guys!! I loved it! Later in the evening we went to another wine tasting that was packed with about 100 people. It felt like my big birthday party! Fabulous day to say the least.

Thanks honey for an awesome birthday!

Tomorrow we have a million little things to do and's time to go!!! Woo Hoo!! It's officially the start of the trek south. Can't wait.

Love & miss everybody!!! XXXOO

--Michelle, Scott & Jib


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Just The Two Of Us

Hi everybody! Like the title's just me & Jib this weekend on the boat. This is a picture of us on our way to Eleuthera, Bahamas last January. I'm clearly the photographer in the family because this was the ONLY picture (out of hundreds) that I could find of just me & Jib. Hmm...we'll have to work on that.

Anyway...Scott left early Friday with some buddies from the Marina to transport a boat to Ft. Lauderdale. He should be home tomorrow afternoon. So it's just me & Jibby. It's been raining pretty much non-stop for 12 hours so Jib & I are kinda stuck in the boat feeling like a couple of mushrooms....poking our heads out every now & then when it stops raining for 2 minutes.

Working on a "delivery". I think it's a bit of a man-cation too.

The Marina has been very busy....the migration south is in full force now. Boats are coming & going almost everyday. We LOVE St. Augustine & Hidden Harbor Marina but all this activity is getting us really excited to start our own migration. We'll probably be leaving in 2 weeks. So meanwhile, we keep plugging along getting Malaika ready for the islands. Most of the big projects are done. Just little things now. We will put the sails back on this week....I can't wait cuz they are down below with us right now taking up WAY too much space & making it impossible to organize the inside of the boat. It's not all work though...we've been having fun too. St. Augustine has no shortage of festivals & things to do. Last weekend we went to a "maritime" festival. It was so fabulous we went again the next day. The highlight of the event was a boat race with boats that were made the day before.

Day One...building the boats



The cutest boat was the "Damn Good Beaver"


My favorite was the "JunCanoe"

I'm also happy to report that Jib has recovered perfectly from his knee injury!! Yay!! We were looking at a $2500 surgery if his ACL was torn. Looks like it was just a strain. He hasn't limped in days & is climbing the ladder out of the boat again. Whew.

We've been shopping quite a bit too...getting new gear for the season...finally using all the gift cards from our wedding. Yes, it's been four years. What can I say...we're not big shoppers but we are grateful for the gifts & it's been so fun ordering stuff!!

Scott's ready for some new fishing rods too.

One of Scott's favorite new toys is a sewing machine. Sewing machines are a nice luxury to have on a boat. You can do canvas work, repair sails, etc.

Scott also made a beautiful wood case to store it in. I'm not allowed to touch the sewing machine.

He's made a lot of cool stuff for the boat...practical things that we needed but I did convince him to make me some new pillows.

So....things are in motion. Malaika is almost ready. And so are we...

Love & miss everybody!!!