Sunday, January 31, 2010

Full Moon

What a gorgeous full moon we have had the past two nights. Even after dark, the harbor was sparkling and it looked almost like it was daytime.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Boo Boo Hill

The picture to the right on this blog is of us standing on the top of Boo Boo Hill in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. It was taken a couple of years ago when we took New Horizon down there to explore and snorkel. Boo Boo Hill is the highest spot in the Land and Sea Park, and the view of the azure blue water and white sand is spectacular. At the peak of the hill, a commemorative to drowning victims of a ship wreck just off the island was started, but now it is famous for the boat signs that cruisers make out of driftwood and put up there. We found a great piece of wood and painted our boat name on it, and then placed it among the hundreds of others, in a place that it would stand out.

Two days ago we received an email from another cruising couple who we have known for several years, who told us that they had just arrived back in the Exuma Park, and had gone on a hike up to the top of the hill, and our name sign is still there! You can tell that there have not been any major storms or hurricanes in the past couple of years, since it has not blown away. It made us think about the possibility of going back to visit it, and the rest of the Exumas, again next fall.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mother's birthday is tomorrow, January 26th. She will be an amazing 84 years young. Heck, she stays busier than we do. This is about the only way I can catch up with her, on this blog and through email. Dave always kids her about how often her garage door goes up and down, and the neighbors watching and saying, "There goes Marilyn in her car again!" In her spare time, she has been taking care of our mail and paying our bills while we are out of the country, and we sure do appreciate not only that, but all she does.

We both hope you have a wonderful birthday Mom!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inside New Horizon

Below are a few pictures of the inside of our 46 foot trawler. The first picture shows the main salon looking aft to our master stateroom, with walk around queen bed. After struggling with previous boats' V-berths and beds that had to be made up every night and taken apart the next morning, this was my dream come true. There is even a washer/dryer under the stairs to the left as you go into our bedroom.

The next photo is looking forward to the galley. You can see why it is going to be difficult to replace the refrigerator. The huge winshield provides lots of light and the center section opens up for ventilation, besides the two opening side doors. The lower steering station is located in the main salon, but we rarely use it, since we prefer to drive from the flybridge where the visibility is so much better.

The last picture is of the galley (notice the small refrigerator under the dining settee) and forward stateroom that we call 'the shed' since it is used mainly for storage. Both of the bedrooms have their own bathrooms aka heads. The hanging bungee cords are used to secure the fridge doors so all our food doesn't come flying out while motoring under way.

I am also including a picture of the sun deck, since this is where we spend most of our time. It is protected from the sun and even most rain storms. It is also where we keep our bicycles, gear for the windsurfer and sailing dinghy, and of course most important of all, Dave's tools. There is a huge 'wet bar' out here, that most people use for liquor and entertainment supplies, but ours is thankfully filled with spare parts and tools.

New Horizon may be a 1984 boat, but she is homey and her inside wood is gorgeous. We definitely couldn't be more comfortable than this!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It is hard to believe that about a week ago it was so cold that we barely left the boat. Today it was so calm out that we had to postpone the scheduled sailboat races. Instead, we came up with an idea to have a "VBIC", very brief informal cruise. News spread quickly and we had 20 club members show up for lunch at a restaurant on Man O' War Cay. Afterwards, about a dozen of us went back to the small island we were anchored off of, named Sandy Cay, for some watersports.

Several of us had kayaks, plus people were in the 72 degree water snorkeling, swimming, and one of the members even brought water skis! Dave has wanted to do go skiing for quite sometime, so he gave it a shot and stayed up for quite awhile. This wasn't an easy thing to do, since the skis were very short. He said it was really awesome being pulled through the crystal clear water.

Today was one of the best days we have had so far this season. It certainly makes all the hassles worthwhile and our problems seem petty.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Bring On Another Thousand

This appears to be the year for systems breakdowns. We seem to have one problem fixed and another one develops. Of course this should be expected, especially on a 1984 boat.

First this season were the decks leaking. Sitting in the southern sun all the time is really hard on a boat and eventually cracks in the fiberglass show up. When the rain water seeps in, it gets into the wood decks below and makes them soggy. Eventually this leads to leaks inside, followed by mildew accumulation and possible wood damage. This problem started, and was improperly repaired, before we bought New Horizon 6 years ago. The repair yard had put new plywood down, but did not seal the joints properly before fiberglassing over it. Now the joints are opening up, causing the foredeck to crack and more water trickling in. It would be a huge and extremely expensive job to replace all the decks, so meanwhile we try to take care of each particular problem spot.

The next issue we encountered wasn’t major, but just inconvenient. Our Satellite TV receiver box stopped functioning, most likely due to the salt air. Dave brought another one back with him when he returned from Glenville. Meanwhile I watched DVDs instead, and was actually glad that I missed all the constant Christmas commercials.

During our cold snap, I noticed that the generator sounded louder than normal and that there was less water coming out of the exhaust discharge. Dave investigated and found that the impeller was cracked and needed replacing, which we keep spares of on board.

Then, as I wrote about in a previous post, the watermaker pump stopped working. Thanks to our friend Carol, who patiently waited for the parts to arrive in NYC while she was there (they were delivered by UPS at 9 P.M. the night before she left at 7 A.M.), the watermaker is now working flawlessly and our water tanks are full once again.

Now we have a new dilemma on our hands. Our household style refrigerator has ceased functioning. The past few days it didn’t seem like things were as cold in the fridge, and the meat that I put in the freezer wasn’t frozen yet. Yesterday I started checking the temperature with Dave’s laser thermometer and it kept rising. Thankfully we have a spare small apartment size fridge under our dining settee, that we use when we first get on board and have very little food. I transferred as many items as I could, cramming it all in this tiny space. We actually have to put a timer on this refrigerator/freezer, since it doesn’t have as much insulation and runs almost non-stop. Now we have to figure out how to go about replacing the large fridge, since not only will it cost at least twice as much to buy one here, but we also will need to find a way to get rid of the old one. Plus getting the old one out of the galley and the new one in its place is very difficult, because it is such a tight area. I’m sure that project will be a whole blog post in itself.

We’re still only about halfway through the season so it looks to be a high ‘boat unit’ year, as we boaters call each $1,000 we spend. So let’s go!

“This is the money you could be spending.”

Saturday, January 16, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Today was the first in a series of Sunfish races for the sailing club. Since Dave is the Sunfish Fleet Captain, this was a huge event and 12 boats showed up, including all seven of the club's boats. While setting up the rigs on the beach, there was an artist that came down and made a painting of the boats lined up.
Some of the racers have even attended the Sunfish World Cup, so the competition was intense.

That's me in our dinghy taking pictures of the close mark rounding.

Have you guessed who won?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We just got back to our mooring in Hope Town after taking a short ‘walkabout’ cruise to some of the other islands. First we went to stock up on supplies in Marsh Harbour on the main island of Abaco. That is when we learned about the devastating earthquake in Haiti and the possibility of a tsunami tidal wave as far north as the Bahamas. We heard the next day that the tsunami watch was not in effect for very long and that BASRA (Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association) had sent a helicopter down to the lower Bahamas to check on the wave height. When they saw that the swells were only about 2 feet, they notified the Coast Guard and the watch was suspended.

After spending time in the ‘big’ city, we motored over to the island of Great Guana Cay and picked up a mooring in their settlement harbor. We joined up with 8 other boats from the Hope Town Sailing Club, who were on the first BIC (Brief Informal Cruise) of the season. 18 of us went to lunch at a restaurant called Grabbers.

Then the fleet captain had made arrangements for us to get a tour of the Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club being built on the northern end of the island. This is quite an elite development and when we arrived there was a 200ft. megayacht berthed there.

We had a bit of a tour around the marina village that they are building.

By the way, that is our cruising friend Di in the red coat, standing next to Dave. She is 80 years young and owns and captains her sailing catamaran, Caesar's Ghost.

We were also shown a 2 bedroom condo selling for $2.2 million, and then a 3 bedroom condo selling for $3.5 million! These weren’t even houses, and they were so close together that if you went out onto your ‘private’ veranda, you could just about shake hands with your neighbor.

Talk about opulence though. It sure was a sharp contrast and the exact opposite of what is going on in Haiti.

Wednesday night we also had what the sailing club calls ’heavy duty’ appetizers and cocktails on board Ankers Away, with 22 people congregating in their 48ft. boat. We even contacted some of our fellow Harbour Rats that are still in the U.S. for health reasons, via Skype, and sang the Harbor Rats Theme Song so they could join in the festivities.

We arrived back ‘home’ just in time for the wind to start blowing again, as another cold front approaches. Our watermaker parts have arrived and there are several other projects we need to do, so our walkabout had perfect timing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unexpected Guests

We had another sailboat race the other day and some unexpected but special spectators showed up to make the starting line interesting…

They especially like our bow wave and stern wake as we motor along and I never get bored watching them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Water Water Everywhere...

…but not a drop to drink.” We are now seeing how long we can make 200 gallons of fresh water last. Our watermaker pump recently died. It is amazing how we are in tune with all the sounds of the boat, and we both went running to see what happened when we heard the change in tone of the watermaker. The next morning Dave went into the lazerette storage area, where the watermaker pump is located, and pulled it apart to find two of the three nylon seals had fallen apart, damaging one of the tiny pistons.

Getting these specialized parts sent to us here in the Bahamas is a real challenge and logistical nightmare. Thank goodness for the internet! After making several phone calls to different distributors (back to the Batelco office again), we finally found someone that would work with us to get us the parts. He first emailed us a microfiche parts description page so we could choose exactly what we needed, then gave us all our shipping options. Luckily we have a friend going to NYC for a week and will bring us back this handful of very pricy parts, if they arrive at her house on time, of course. It will all be worth it though. Making our own reverse osmosis water is so convenient and gives us the independence that we enjoy. I am just so glad that Dave can maintain all these complex systems on board the New Horizon!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Another cold front has arrived. This one has been causing horrendous weather throughout the Southeast. My brother wrote this afternoon and said at 1PM it was 33 degrees in Daytona and the freezing rain had just stopped. He sent this picture of what my Yahoo weather was calling snow pellets.

Check out Tarwathie’s blog on the right of this webpage. Dick talks about how bad it has been in Vero Beach and how the cold has affected the turtles, fish, and pelicans. It will take them a long time to recover. Also be sure to read Mary Stella's latest post about the cold and the iguanas in the Florida Keys.

When the cold front came through here around noontime, the wind was blowing the rain vertical and the temps started to drop. Luckily I had anticipated the change and secured everything and closed up the boat to retain some heat.

I had also been to the grocery store earlier and don’t need to get food for awhile, in case the wind blows the predicted 25-35 mph for two days. Of course our grocery stores here in Hope Town are more the size of convenience stores in the U.S. This is a picture I took in the rain today of our Harbour View Grocery Store.

I was thrilled when I went there this morning and found that the freight boat had come in and they had restocked the shelves. The last time I was there, the food supplies were pretty depleted with some shelves and coolers almost bare. We’ve become used to making lists of items we want to buy, and then getting to the store and throwing the list away and getting what they have. Then we go to the other store in town, which is even smaller, and see if they have the preferred items. There is a real ‘supermarket’ in Marsh Harbour, the main city in Abaco, where there is a bit more choice and a better supply of fresh veggies, fruits, meats, and dairy foods (that is, if you get there within a day or so after the main freight boat from the U.S. has arrived. When the freighter comes in, supplies are loaded onto smaller freight boats, aka landing craft, and then brought to the out islands). Even the larger store is nothing like what we are used to in the States though. Once again it is all about adapting. “Don’t worry, be happy…you’re in the Bahamas, mon!”

Friday, January 8, 2010

Treasures From The Deep, Part Two

Besides shells and sea glass, you never know what is going to wash ashore. It is amazing how much trash and especially plastic seems to float in. Among the ‘popular’ items we have found are light bulbs and fluorescent light tubes, bread racks, hard hats, buckets, 5ft. long missile casings, fisherman’s longliner markers called “high fliers”, miles of ropes including huge ship hawsers, and lots of lumber. One thing that has always made me wonder is how and why do so many shoes float in? It is a really strange phenomenon, and we have never found a matching pair.

During one of our first trips to the Abacos in the late 1980’s, we were beachcombing and came across several interesting items. One was an abandoned ATV, most likely left by a drug runner(popular activity at that time), and another was a gorgeous purple glass fishing float that Portuguese fisherman used on their nets, but have long since discontinued. Now we just find either styrofoam ones, or sometimes plastic or even more rarely, metal round floats that wash up from countries all over the world.

The third and most exciting item that we found was a message in a bottle! It was in a small green glass bottle that I found way up on the rocks, still totally intact. The message inside had been written on what looked like a cruise ship itinerary and had the name and address of someone in Germany. We wrote to them and they replied in German. Thankfully my sister-in-law speaks a bit of German and so did her parents, so they translated that this couple had thrown the bottle overboard on their honeymoon cruise to the Canary Islands. It had taken two years for the bottle to travel in the currents, and land on the rocky beach where we found it. We kept in touch with them for a few years, but then lost contact. I still keep the bottle with the message inside along with the purple float, because it reminds me that you never know what treasures the sea will give up with each change of the tide.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Treasures From The Deep, Part One

Collecting shells has always been a popular past time while walking the beaches, but now this has expanded to collecting sea glass. Sea glass consists of pieces of broken bottles that have rolled around in the sand and surf, and they have a cloudy, brushed appearance with smooth edges. White, brown, and green shards are easily found, but it is a treat to find the rare blue, pink, and red.

Competition is fierce here in the Bahamas, so Dave and I tend to go to beaches that are more obscure and out of the way. One of our favorite is known for being notoriously dangerous in high winds and seas. It is called Whale Cay (pronounced KEY). The ocean side of this island is mainly rock, or more specifically iron coral.

In order to get from the northern Abacos to the southern Abacos, there are two options to get around the shallow sandbanks that are on the Sea of Abaco side of the island. The first option is to go out in the ocean through Whale Cay Pass, then back inside to the calmer Sea of Abaco, or there is another inside route called ‘Don’t Rock’, that has less water depths and shifting sands, but takes less time. Both of these routes can be extremely dangerous with breaking waves when the seas are high, as the swells meet up with the shallower waters and cause the waves to break(many boats have been wrecked here). However, in a small boat, like our dinghy, we can go to the beaches on the ‘bay’ side and walk over the island and check out what has washed onto the rocks on the ocean side. It must be a shock for boaters transiting to see people walking around, and probably think we are marooned there. The last time we did this, Dave walked one way and I walked the other. Glancing down I saw a piece of sea glass, but said to myself, “Oh, it’s just one piece, I’ll leave it.” I walked a bit further and then there was another piece, and then more and more. Of course there was no way I could leave it there. Then I had a quest to find something to carry it all back in, and actually found a container with a lid still intact, and filled it up. In fact we leave the container in the dinghy for future finds now.

After collecting different pieces in various shapes and sizes, we all find different ways to display them. Some people put them in clear glass jars and vases, others make beautiful jewelry, and then there are some of us who use them in crafts, such as different sculptures and sun catchers. I have made quite a few wreathes and even picture frames.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Keeping Warm The Fun Way

On Tuesday, the coldest day we have had so far this season, a small group of both women and men kept warm with a belly dance lesson given by Nancy from the boat Doris B.

Although most of the men seemed too chicken or embarrassed to try this great form of exercise, new sailing club member Bill, did try it out and was a natural at it.

Following the lesson, Nancy entertained us with a great demonstration of her professional belly dancing. Now this really heated up the guys! Nancy will be returning to HT in March and will hopefully agree to continue mentoring us in this fine art. Gee, I wonder if we need entertainment for our Commodore's Dinner!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


When the east coast of the U.S. is in a deep freeze, the temps get pretty darn chilly down here also. Thank goodness for the warm current of the gulf stream, since this temperates the weather. Even the cold front thunderstorms tend to lessen between Florida and the Bahamas. Today the forecast is to be a high of 60 degrees with 20-25 knot northwest winds. If we can hide out of the wind and in the sun, it's not too bad, but that wind goes right through us, and creeps into the boat through the sliding doors of the main salon. We do have a small electric heater that can be used while the generator is running, and we move it to whichever room we are in. Unfortunately the generator doesn't need to run that much since with the cold snap, the refrigerator isn't running that often, so the battery power isn't going down very fast. However, my other option is using the oven's heat, so I think it's a good day to bake bread and cookies. Mmmmmmm. It's not so bad after all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What DO You Do?

Quite often we are asked about what we do while we live on New Horizon. Good question! There always seems to be a way to pass the time and fun events to attend or take part in. You've seen the lighthouse decorations, sailing committee, underwater pictures and the conch horns, but here are some other events we have been to.

Every November we attend and volunteer at the Box Cart Derby on Big Hill. There is a huge turnout and it is a great fundraiser for the Junior Sailing Program.

Dave and I usually flip burgers and serve food during part of the day.

Christmastime is filled with caroling, parties, and even golf cart parades.

Every full moon we do a dinghy drift in the harbor. Everyone brings their own drinks and an appetizer to pass around as we drift with the wind around the harbor at sunset, maneuvering around the moored boats. This past drift was huge (22 small boats), since it was a special night celebrating the new year and the blue moon.

One day, our friend Bill, gave lessons on making splices in ropes and lines. You can see the guys really concentrating on what they are doing.

The new year was ushered in with a fantastic fireworks display at the stroke of midnight. The boat with the green light on in the middle of the harbor is New Horizon.

We are looking forward to new and exciting adventures in 2010, and telling you all about it in these posts.