Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Great little trip to Virginia Beach to deliver the old dinghy to it's new owner

We had a great day - all courtesy of a Craigslist ad we'd placed for our old dinghy.

The buyer had given us a deposit and we'd been texting about logistics of him picking up the dinghy for a couple of weeks.

Our window for completing this transaction was narrowing because of our last visits home and our impending departure next week for the Bahamas.  So we offered to take a little road trip to Virginia Beach and the buyer agreed that was a good idea.

So, off we go!

The drive was a nice one - a lot of NC countryside.  It was fascinating to see all the cotton fields.  I had no idea that there was so much cotton grown in NC.

We met with the purchaser (Clay) at his house on a canal in Va Beach - a lovely home!  He offered to take us on a boat ride and we said "sure"!!   He was a lot of fun - great conversations.

Cool channel - really a power boat domain as there were short bridges that keep the wind-powered boats away.    Clay and his wife have a Cabo Rico sailboat that they are currently re-furbishing.  They'll keep it at a marina close by with access to the bay and the ocean.

 He took us to a neat little restaurant on the waterfront.

Expertly tied up on the dock with a honking current.

Really enjoyed the day - and the fish tacos were wonderful.  Thanks Clay!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Another beautiful sunrise

Just another lovely fall day - amazingly warm and sunny here at Manta Central!

I don't often show the view in the other direction.  Lovely as well.

We're heading to Virginia Beach today to deliver our old dinghy to it's new owners.  Should be a fun road trip.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

More chores

Both Sojourn and What If are doing lots of last minute little (and big) chores.  Ed and Cathy having fun cleaning up their dinghy.  They've been in Annapolis for the late summer and their dinghy was their "daily driver" to get ashore in a not-so-clean environment.

And later Cathy re-stitched almost all the seams and made a patch for the dinghy chaps to make it last another few years. 

Meanwhile, we're still struggling with the sanitation system, ugh.  So no photos of that....

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Fun days

We've been treated to beautiful sunrises!   Wonderful fall weather.

We're doing a few last projects....one Duane has been putting off for a while.  Changing some of the sanitation hoses.  Yuck. Enough said.   (This is one of the new hoses, I tossed the old ones as soon as I could).

Fun having Ed and Cathy at our dock!  They're doing lots of projects too.

And we finished the evening with a "Friday Night Flick" at the Old Theater in Oriental.   A fairly silly recent Robert Redford movie.   Good fun and all you can eat popcorn included with your ticket.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Current Position

Note that I have the "current position" link working on the top right hand corner of the screen.  I'll try to keep this map updated thru our travels.  The red dot  will show the last updated position. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Final prepping

Beautiful sunset last night.

Took the boat over to River Dunes for a diesel fillup.

Beautiful fall day!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Position reports from the Bahamas

This year, I plan to send position reports most every day using my new Ham radio license. 

The daily updates will be real-time and will be sent thru a new Winlink.org email address and will just have an actual Lat/Long location and a short one-line summary of where we are so it won't take much space in your email. 

If you want to be included, send me a quick note to karenmccraw@gmail.com

Monday, October 21, 2019

Provisioning has begun!

I spent most of the day in New Bern today, at various grocery stores and Walmart.

My pocket is $600 lighter!  This is just a sample....many more bags and boxes were toted to the boat.

Amazing that I have somewhere to put it all....now ask me in 3-4 months - where is that can of Mandrian oranges? 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sailing Club year end meeting

We attended the Sailing Club Of Oriental (better known as SCOO) year-end meeting yesterday.  They do the meeting at this time of year since so many in the club head south for the winter.

The event was held at the Minnesott Beach Country Club.  The table set up for the officers.

A nice gathering, we're starting to get to know several of the folks.

After some socializing, the business meeting commenced.  Beth and Donna discussing the treasury report, I believe.

And awards were bestowed.  Jerry and Donna getting the first of their awards - the most active cruiser for club events.

We got our "1000 mile cruiser" award....and so did Jerry and Donna.  

 And finally, the "changing of the watch" ceremony where the new Commodore is installed for the coming year.  Good fun, food and friends.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fridge organizer

The large chest-type refrigerator on the boat is fabulous in that it stores A LOT of food.  But when I want something small, like a stick of butter or a block of cheese, it's sometimes a scavenger hunt to the bottom to find what I'm looking for.  

So, Duane took measurements and welded me a refrigerator organizer. 

I got a couple of plastic containers (Duane used these as templates for the welding).

Here it is in place.  Very nice.  Now I can just lift out the individual box with out all the cans and bottles collapsing into the vacant space.  I think I'll really like this setup.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Ham call sign

I finally got my ham call sign!  Now I can start communicating on the frequencies I want to on our Single Side Band (SSB) radio.  YAY!


Monday, October 14, 2019


We're at that point where we really need to whittle down the food in our home fridge and freezer.  I will completely empty them, turn them off and leave the doors open when we depart. 

I have two really big containers of pumpkin frozen from Keith and Denise's garden.  I set about using one of them today.

Thawed the frozen/cooked pumpkin and put in the blender to puree, a little at a time.

Made this wonderful pumpkin bread  Epicurious .  Just the right amount of spice and very moist.  One to snack on now, one for the freezer to decide later....

And of course, there's always left over pumpkin.....so I made some simple custard with the same spices ( cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, added some ginger).  

Into the already hot oven.

And a while later after baking for about 45 minutes at 350- it has commingled all the flavors and is a nice fall treat.


Sunday, October 13, 2019


We played a lot of dominoes with Now & Zen last year in the Bahamas.  I am a terrible player.  I don't know why, but I loose more often than not.  Fun anyway!

So last year we played on Now & Zen's boat because they had the set of dominoes.  I wanted a set for our boat too, so I ordered them on Amazon and had them shipped to Buddy & Sharon's address - they toted them to us when they visited in the Abacos.  (Thanks again!)

I like the pretty  wooden box, but it turns out to be cumbersome and in the way on the boat. 

Haha, note the scores from our last game still on the scorepad.  Duane, Leslie, Ralph, Karen. 

I have a solution for the cumbersome box of course.....another one of my bags make out of scraps from the fender covers.

Domino set ready to toss on the shelf in the boat.  Looking forward to our first game for this year's trip!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pretty views

While scurrying around it's nice to pause and take in the surroundings.

Last night after sunset taken from the boat.

And this morning at sunrise.  

Friday, October 11, 2019

Provisioning - freezing vacuum packed eggs

I'm getting started with provisioning for this year's trip.

Last year I froze a bunch of eggs.  Eggs are expensive in the Bahamas - I paid $5-6 per dozen often.  And in the least populated areas, we had trouble finding them if a mail boat had not delivered recently.

I was not particularly pleased with the texture of the whole eggs last year.  The yoke was sort-of hard and a strange feel.  I read online that the solution is to scramble the eggs first.  So that's what I did.

Took a  couple of days of freezing -  I only have 2 ice trays.  I put 5 or 6 cubes in and vacuum sealed - should be about 3-4  eggs - perfect for omelets in the morning.  I also did a few with just 2 cubes in case I have a recipe calling for a single egg.

So now I have 4 dozen eggs in the freezer - should be enough to tide us over at times when we can't get them fresh.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Small accomplishments

So I picked up the SSB radio up from the shop in Oriental.  He had done the programing change and tested it all good-to-go.

On the way home a pretty momma deer ran across the road.  She stood there a long time deciding when to leap.  Always fun to see how close you can get before they spook.

And we spent a good part of the day trying to get our modem talking to the SSB radio.....still working on it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Ticking little projects off the "to do" list

Just lots of little things to do now....

We took the SSB radio to the local shop for a software update - I wasn't allowed the update until I have my Ham license.   That's due to be ready sometime today.  Once we get that back we'll get the new software working that allows me to send/receive email and weather reports even far offshore.  (Theoretically most anywhere we'll be sailing).  So there's a big hole in our nav station right now.

Once we get the SSB radio back, we'll hook up our Pactor modem that we had serviced last year - and hope it all works together!!   One of the Ham examiners I met last weekend is an "expert" on the software I'll be using and he volunteered to come help me set it up.  How nice is that?

And on a completely different note,  periodically, we take a flashlight and peek in the bilges, just to make sure we're not filling up with water!    We had vacuumed them dry several months ago and they had been staying relatively dry and we do have alarm lights.

This time, the starboard bilge had a few inches of water in it.  Not enough to turn on the alarm.  Turns out the shower sump on that side had failed.....a quick shopping foray to Amazon delivered a new one.

It's always something on a boat!  Much easier when Amazon is two days away with parts.  Not so easy in the Bahamas.  Therefore we keep spares of LOTS of things. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

2 More Jerry Can Covers

Dreary cool day in Oriental.  

This year we're going to take a total of 6 extra fuel cans on deck.  Last year, we had 4.

Two more Sunbrella covers are needed since I like the cans to look nice!!

Easy-peasy sewing.  The two on the left are the new ones.  The one on the right is the pattern.

So we'll have 3 on each side.  We like this setup - only occasionally a problem as they do interfere with the cleats a little.  Easy to untie them and push them out of the way a bit.  Good insurance if we're somewhere and low on fuel in the tanks!