Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Great Bahamas Bank

20 Jan 2015 07:01 Sunrise 
The Great Bahamas Bank is a table of shallow water, 15-18 feet deep, extending 50 NM at its widest point and it measures about 180 NM north to south. For us, it will be about 82 NM to cross from North Bimini to Chub Cay a distance greater than we could safely cross in daylight. Many cruisers sail the Bank over night, many don’t.  We find its just no fun sailing all night, exhausted at the end. If we don't have too, we just won’t do it. Not only that the winds are expected to become to light to sail, and we have been playing the sails up sails down game already more than we hoped. 

 Anchoring in the Bank is not difficult, many do it, It’s just we haven’t, so I am a little excited. We of course checked all our different weather resources and will safely be snuggled into an anchorage somewhere around Chub Cay by Thursday some time, when the weather is expected to begin picking up. 

Sails up, Sails down. I guess its true when they tell you that you will motor more than sail. 

20 Jan 17:48 Sunset
If I look in each direction this evening the clouds are as different as can be.  All day their have been heavy clouds and little sky but now the clouds have opened and the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen is off our stern. 

21 Jan 2015 07:00 Sunrise
Our night on the Bank was uneventful, and in the morning light we both agree that we would go this route again. The wind was low and the waves calmed through the night. My only wish was that there had been a full moon instead of new, can you imagine watching a meteor shower or a comet out here. We knew there were two other boats in close proximity (5miles), but when the night fell we could see seven mast lights. 

Man the ocean can be a fickle bitch and her friend mother nature likes to play right along, but please don’t tell them I said that, I don’t want them to be mad at us.  As a side note is the wind masculine or feminine? Hmm let me know. Watching weather, talking weather, listening to weather is a full time chore. Marc and I have made weather and route planning over coffee between six and six thirty our morning ritual. Because of this we have found out that there will be some nasty weather that may hold us up in Chub Cay until Tuesday or so, so we have decided to move on to West Bay Providence Island for the night then scoot across to the Exuma Cays on Thursday. We don’t want to have to hurry to meet the kids and are ready for a rest. Chub Cay will have to wait for our trip north in April. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Dolphin House Bimini Bahamas

Its always nice to meet up with other cruisers and an added bonus when they want to share the little gems that they have found on their past explorations. Happily, we met up with Brad & Anne friends from the SV Anneteak.  Sometimes I have to remember not to be so darn North American,I had read the guides and saw the comments on The Dolphin House and really paid no special attention to it, assuming it was a typical North American touristy stop, but happily Brad & Anne shared this hidden treat with us and the crew of SV Willamia Les & Kim. 
The dolphin house is the private home and work of art for the Island of North Bimini’s official poet, historian and author Ashley. Ashley lives in the lower level of the house and often rents the second floor to students and tourists, but  graciously will share a tour of the house for a small donation. He started building in 1993 when his heart was touched by a wild dolphin. Ashley said that he has tried to create the whole house with what has been “given” to him. 

My pictures and words cannot do justice to the hard work and ingenuity of this man. He combs the shores for bits and pieces of treasures found in the flotsam and jetsam. Shells abound, cast off mosaic tiles from resorts. Licence plates, hair brushes, a cast off flip flop. His wall art tells stories and themes. He talks of hurricanes and the treasures gathered from the four or five he and the house have experienced and the resiliency of his home.  Never tiring he is working on his secluded garden, gathering seaweed for mulch and the beginnings of a new third floor are evolving.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Blue View Is Learning New Skills All The Time

First of all I would like to Wish a Happy New Year to everyone. I know it's been a long time since I wrote a post but I've been crazy busy.  Linda has been doing a great job keeping up with the blog and I don't want to bore you by duplicating, so here's my view since we returned to DevOcean on Nov 14th.  We were expecting to launch within a couple of weeks but, as you know from Linda's blog we had some issues with leaking windows, leaking water tanks, leaking dinghy, soggy interior, engine maintenance,  replacing anchor rollers, fridge (again) and more. So as usual cruising plans must be flexible, we finally  launched six weeks later.  We often get comments from our friends saying such things as "What a life just cruising and visiting, it must be so wonderful". It is, but we have to pay the Piper. Not only do we have to maintain our boat but, it has become even more work because as a cruiser DevOcean is being used constantly so you never stop repairing and fixing.

Now to the point of learning new skills.  As you know being in the ocean and cruising you have to be self reliant. Take my nemesis, the fridge.  This thing has been causing me headaches from day one, I thought I had her all fixed. Wrong!  We got back to DevOcean turned the power on and found our fridge running but not cooling.  After recharging it in Mexico it was working pretty good. What's the problem?  After some digging I found a leak and the freon was all gone, I fixed the leak and recharged her again.  It's now working great but there is a lot of frost and condensation on the piping.  What's wrong now! More research but the company has gone out of business, darn! I've read blogs, forums and read some more.  Maybe I have too much freon. I drain some and makes it a little better, drain a little more, success! This took the better part of the day, let's keep our fingers crossed.

We were so busy getting ready to launch that some things were left for later.  One of them was the outboard for the dinghy. We stopped at an anchorage, set the motor on the dinghy and she won't start.This doesn't sound like much but this is our car. Without the motor you have to paddle to shore and back and sometimes the wind, current and waves makes it near impossible to get there.  This little Mercury four stroke, 4 hp has been another of my issues since we bought her brand new, I'm not a mechanic but I do have a pretty good understanding on how engines work, so here goes nothing.  Check spark! OUCH numb fingers I know I have spark. Check Gas? Lots of gas but plug is dry.  Hum, Ok we have gas up to the carburetor. Darn as I said I'm no mechanic.  I talked to a few people and I'm told we should ad additive to our gas on small engine as it plugs and gunk's the carburetor.  Great, it's not running anyway, so what the worse thing that can happen?
I Carefully remove the carburetor and take it apart trying to remember every part screw and setting, then clean it all and readjust the float. Put it back together and I don't have any extra parts,that's a good sign. I Install the carburetor and the engine starts on the first pull running like a top.  Woohoo I looked like a dumb ass doing the happy dance in the dinghy and almost fall overboard. This only took the entire day again but as I said I learn something new all the time.

This is the cruising life and I love it. It challenges me all the time and keeps me young.

Blue View signing off.

Dear Ellinor

11 January 2015                       
1,000,000,000 No Seeum Lane
Big Mud Creek, ICW Florida  

Dear Ellinor

I would be amiss if I didn't send you a note and tell you all about our adventures to Big Mud Creek, near Fort Pierce. As you know I am manatee crazy, we’ve had a few around, but I want to have front row seats to a mother nursing her calf or a sighting like our friends had at the end of the St Johns River where you can view 50-200 in the same area. Your advice of the warm water at the nuclear plant was sure to put us on the path for manatee sighting success. 

When we searched active captain there were no markers or reviews, our charts showed no anchorage and when we questioned about the stop the local knowledge was limited. So sadly, we set a different course and decided to forgo Big Mud Creek. But, as we traveled up the ICW and approached the entrance we spotted the passage, thought what the heck, adjusted our course, slowed the boat to give it a go. 

Now some people may think us foolish, but we believe that always taking the beaten path is monotonous and sorry if I get a head of myself, but if everything always goes right what good stories would we have to share. Seriously, life is just so short to always play by the rules.

Carefully we navigated the channel up to the markers for the nuclear plant. Marc, “What does it say on that marker?” Me, “I think no trespassing, but come on it can't mean us” In full fairness to us the writing was very small, only on small markers. 
On Our Way In
Nuclear Plant 
As you know from being there it is a beautiful cove, there were lots and lots of birds and I just knew there would be manatee a plenty. We decided it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission so we went on. NOAA was posting small craft warnings, gusting winds, thunder & lightening so we decided that if questioned we would beg coverage from bad weather. Ignorance is bliss.  I have to admit I was a little scared but excited. There is something to say about being naughty!
On the shore near the plant we saw a truck driving away, all was good. We anchored at 15:30, did odd jobs, and I started supper. At 17:38, sunset Marc went outside to ensure the lights were all working well. On shore there was a man in uniform, arms a waving, demanding Marc’s attention. The wind was rather strong and Marc feebly  attempted to play wind deaf but ultimately Marc jumped in the dingy and went to the man that had now multiplied into two M16 armed men. Marc was told nicely without question that we must leave and leave now. As you can see I tried to candidly snap a couple pictures but honestly I just wanted to have my captain back safely so I tried to take them secretly 
Marc and the guards

So, I turned off the supper, we pulled anchor and in much too dark a night we headed off 7.7 miles in 25 Knot head winds to the Jensen Street bridge. We did make it by 19:30 a little wetter than we would have liked, a little later than we usually travel, adventures are never perfect, but boy did we have fun.  Tomorrow we are off to Manatee Pocket, we heard that there are manatees a plenty and no armed security guards.   
Wet & Wild
Much love I know we will talk soon 

Marc & Linda Faubert
The Sailing Vessel DevOcean
Probably The Luckiest Two People You Know

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Whole Wheat Seed Bread

My idea of the closest thing to heaven is fresh baked bread, sharp cheese and a glass of red wine. Luckily baking bread on the boat has been a pleasant go to on cool days along the ICW, a success when I served it at a sundowner in Cuba and a quick way to please my captain. I wanted to share my new favourite bread recipe that is full of flavour, easy to make and delicious. BTW the recipe isn’t long I am just wordy. As with any new task it may take some time, but if you are accustom to making bread you can whip this up in no time.  

Whole Wheat Seed Bread
Makes Two Loaves

Combine all the seeds in a small bowl
1 tablespoon caraway seeds 
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon quick cooking rolled oats
1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Ok, so you don’t have all these or you have something else, its all good, use what you have. 
Set aside 2 tablespoons of the mixture to top the bread

Scald milk add the quinoa and oats
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup quinoa or bulgur
1/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats
Let stand, until your yeast is ready and it is room temp

Combine the water, honey. Sprinkle the yeast over top and let stand 10 minutes. Stir the yeast until dissolved
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon honey or sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

Transfer the milk mixture to a large bowl, add yeast mixture and seeds minus 2 tablespoons for topping. 

1 beaten egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, really any oil will do or butter I just like coconut oil 
1/4 cup molasses, I love the flavour of molasses in bread and tend to be generous in my measure but honey or sugar will work as well
1/4 cup strong coffee or bland old tasting water
Now beat the heck out of this. If you have an inverter plug in your mixer turn on your
favourite 70’s song and whip it good, whip it real good. 

2 cups plus of all purpose flour until a soft dough forms and you can turn it unto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. 

The trick to good bread is breaking down the gluten. You cannot screw up bread. The more you beat, bang, knead bread the better it will be. When my children were young I would wash there little hands, pull up a chair and let them rip, bang and tear to their hearts content. Now when I’m home I would put it in my mixer and go make a bed. On the boat I knead and knead a lot. 

Place the dough in a greased bowl, again I use coconut oil, cover with parchment or greased waxed paper and a clean tea towel and let rest about an hour until doubled in bulk. 
When it has doubled punch dough down and knead for about one minute. Divide into 2 portions. Shape each portion into 8” rounds. Place onto a greased cookie sheet. Cover with your parchment and let stand about 30 minutes or until almost doubled. 

1 egg 
1 tsp water 
If you don’t want to waste an egg I have used milk. Brush over loaves. Score the top of the bread with a sharp knife and sprinkle with remaining seeds. 

Bake 350 F 30 minutes until brown and hollow sounding. Cool on a wire rack. 

In the propane oven on the boat I find I can’t put both loaves in at once so I use 2 sheets and cook them separately. Also, after playing around I find bread bakes better placed high in my oven.  

This recipe came originally from Company’s Coming Breads and I have tweaked it to my own preferences. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Banana Creek Anchorage

Banana Creek anchorage was just a little gem of an anchorage. I don’t know if it was the beautiful sunny warm weather, the dolphins herding mullet off our port side, manatees snorting, or the entertainment from watching the rowing club/school train. 
Little Currents Baby Sister 
I think this is the first swing bridge since leaving Little Current

I wish I had thought to grab my camera sooner but I was so fascinated, the dolphins would swim in a semi circle closer and closer to shore herding fish into a tight area, then you would see a scurry of fish jumping as the dolphins had their dinner. Repeating this process again and again.  

Titusville Watching The Launch A Comedy Of Errors

We had been on the hook for eight days so it was time to fill the tanks, enjoy hot showers, fetch fresh milk and work on a couple of land jobs that needed our attention, so we scooted into Titusville (Marc insists on dropping the u). I always rate marinas on how clean the bathroom is and if there’s copious amounts of hot water. Marc’s rates marinas by the dockage and how close a marine store can be found. Titusville Municipal Marina was a great little marina. 
Titusville Marina

Our plan was to complete our tasks and head back to the ICW the following day. So we scrubbed the boat, scrubbed ourselves, scrubbed the clothes and where planning our route when we met Nicky & Marc of the sailing vessel Arial from New Brunswick. Marc told us that there was to be a launch at Cape Canaveral on Tuesday the 6th 06:18. 

Watching a NASA launch definitely changed things. We decided that on the next day we would head to the Cape Canaveral lock to anchor and get a close up view. Woo who, so excited. The next day we woke to grey skies, gusting winds and white caps. Our planned anchorage and birds eye view was out. 
Our View Of Cape Canaveral 
I Ran The Bridge!
Plan number two, stay in Titusville for the extra day, and watch the launch from here. Titusville is sort of parallel to Cape Canaveral and easy to see with the naked eye. Nicky and Marc had rented a car and asked if we wanted to join them at a popular viewing sight. Of course, be ready to leave by 05:30. We are ex military, 05:30 easy, peasy. I check the batteries on the cameras, Marc charges up the go pro, we gather coffee mugs and paraphernalia, lay out our clothes, prepare the coffee so we just have to flip on the burner in the am. We were so prepared it would have made any boy scout master proud. Marc asks “are you going to set an alarm?” I respond yes, Marc decides to set one too which creates a lively but funny conversation about how I never sleep in, and how his confidence in my ability to wake is such a fleeting characteristic that he consistently complains about it.
People Taking Pictures Of People Taking Pictures 
Waiting For Launch
 I SLEPT IN! Marc’s alarm doesn’t go off, my alarm doesn’t go off. It’s 06:05 and the launch is at 06:18. We quickly try to dress, I ask Marc to take a camera and head to a viewing area a ten minute jog away.  Out he goes, I scramble minutes later to catch up, grab my camera and leave. The next hour becomes a comedy of errors with me forgetting the memory chip for my camera, me getting lost, Marc and I not finding each other and Marc’s desperate search for a restroom culminating into a scrubbed launch. I hope we do better for the rescheduled friday morning launch.  

The Launch Was A Scrub But The Morning Was Amazing 

Marc Manatee Watching