Holy crap! Just about two weeks until we leave. I can’t believe we’re so close, yet we still have so much more to do! AGH!
Before I unleash a word tsunami here, I want to apologize for basically falling off the face of the planet since the last post 10 days ago. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging out there (whoever you are). I guess I really should be increasing the frequency of these things since we are practically swimming in projects that some of you may find pretty interesting. We catch ourselves at east twice a day doing something or having a conversation that makes us say “We should blog about this”. Not just to share it with you all, but to document it for ourselves that yes, our lives are f*cking crazy right now, yet we’re still having a blast doing it all. So, note to self: Stop being a such a grade A slacker with the blog!
So, what’s been goin’ on? Let’s pick up from our list of projects from the last post:
Medical / Safety
1. Schedule final doctor/dentist/eye exams while we still have health insurance
Check! Dentist is done (no cavities, need to floss more, yada yada). Eye doctor is tomorrow, where we’ll load up on a years worth of contact lenses so we can see where the heck we’re sailing (important). Since we don’t have vision insurance anymore, this is going to be an expensive trip. Physicals are scheduled for next week, where I’m sure the doctor will say we’re good to go. Matt already had an impromptu trip to the doctors last week, complaining of shortness of breath and numbness in his arm. After checking all of his vitals, including an EKG on his heart (!), he casually mentioned that we’ve sold everything, bought a sailboat and are a mere two weeks away from sailing south for the first time. She threw down her pen, gave him a glare and said it was STRESS that was making him feel this way. Go figure. Us? About to embark on a life changing journey for the first time ever? Stressed? Ha. Nailed it!
2. Complete our nautical medical kit
Done! And it is amazing. Hoping we don’t need to use half the stuff that’s in there, but if we do, we’ll be prepared. I put the stuff we would need to access in a small bin to store in our head (band aids, neosporin, Advil, eye drops, tums, etc), and the rest went into a big duffel (Matt’s old soccer bag, actually) that we can stow in one of our storage lockers.
Yes, those are instructions on how to use our head taped onto the wall. We’ve found that most landlubbers are unfamiliar with how to use a marine head, so the tutorial saves them the embarrassment of having to ask us for help “flushing” a bowl full of their own pee.
3. Complete our ditch bag.
Still working on this. It’s on the agenda for this week.
1. Install a new auto pilot
This is halfway complete. Matt has already installed the course computer electronic portion, and is working on rebuilding the hydraulic drive unit. Turns out the piston on our drive unit is no longer available, so we had to order it direct from France. It was going to take over three weeks to arrive, putting us past our departure date, so he had to upgrade the shipping to priority, for the small sum of $200. Seriously. Better be arriving in a gold plated FedEx box for that kind of cash. Should be in this week, so hoping we can get that done by the next post.
2. Re-Install sails and tune the rigging
These are being completed now and should be installed this week. So excited see these up!
3. Make new cockpit cushions and reupholster the helm seat
This turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated, and involved way more math than I was ready for. Matt is actually much better at sewing since he has a mechanical brain and can see all the parts that need to come together as a whole. I totally, completely and utterly suck at it, which has lead to many heated arguments on my part, because I failed to admit it until just now. (Waving the white flag, babe. I’m sorry). Since he’s busy being all handy with the auto pilot job, I’m leaning on our good friend, Mischelle, who has experience in making boat canvas, to keep me straight (and sane) with the cushion job. All foam and fabric is cut, piping is done, however, our little Singer sewing machine isn’t strong enough to sew thru multiple layers of heavy canvas, so we’ll need to either find a machine, or convince someone with a machine to actually do the sewing. This just added to the stress factor. Did I mention we only have two more weeks?
4. Troubleshoot generator
HUGE victory here. HUGE! Matt was able to get the generator working again, probably by working some sort of voodoo magic on it. It runs and no longer dies when a load is put on it, meaning that we can enjoy AC and the new ice maker that was a gift to us down, while in the Caribbean. We are going to be the most popular boat in the anchorage, since ice is like gold in the Caribbean. If the cruising kitty gets low, we can probably make a decent living just selling ice to other boaters. True story.
5. Make a spares list for all major systems.
On the agenda for this week, along with servicing the engines.
6. Service watermaker
We are putting this off until we get to Florida, since we can’t use our water maker in the silty, brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay anyway. While we’re headed down the ICW, there will be plenty of marinas to stop at and refill our water tanks, so this was bumped off the Before We Go list. We plan on spending the majority of December in Florida, and the Keys, so we’ll have plenty of time to tackle this project then.
Random Other Stuff
1. Install new stereo and re wire our cockpit speakers
Done! And we have satellite radio now as well. I’m giddy as a school girl with my AltNation and/or Lithium on all the time.
2. Figure out how to get Internet aboard
This is another thing moved to the December list while we’re in Florida. We’ll have coverage through AT&T down the East Coast (with the exception of a few spots along the ICW, and possibly if we head off shore after Charleston), so were going to re prioritize this as well. I’m sure we’ll meet tons of other cruisers headed the same way we’re going that have been doing this for a lot longer than we have. One thing we know about cruisers is that they love to solicit advice, and this will be one thing that we’ll actually listen to :)
3. Organize. Organize. Organize
We’re pretty organized with everything except for food storage. We have a small pantry now, but we’re going to need more space to store the bulk food we’ll need when grocery stores aren’t as readily accessible as they are now. We DO have lots of options here though, with a few storage lockers, bilges and plastic storage bins that are empty and waiting to be filled. Sometimes I forget that we won’t actually be in the Caribbean until January, so I think that I have to horde all of this stuff before we leave Annapolis. Not true. We’ll be making a long stop in Charleston in mid November and will be in Florida the whole month of December. I’m 99% sure they have grocery stores and Targets in both of these places. I’m going to provision, but not end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it type of provisioning.
4. Price out insurance for the Caribbean
Done! We were quoted a great policy thru Pantaenius, which will cover us throughout the East Coast, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, including hurricane season (with a higher premium of course), meaning we can stay down there for a full year if we wanted too. Other policies we were quoted either required us to be north of 30 degrees North (basically the FL/GA border) from June 1st – November 1st (aka hurricane season), or waaaaay south – like Grenada or below which is pretty much Venezuela, and we aren't sure if we want to go there.
5. Sell our cars!
I think we have both of our cars sold already! Just need to finalize the details of the transaction, turn in our tags and cancel our insurance. And just like that, we’ll be car-less for the first time in over 16 years. I really think that’s something that’s been stressing us out too…. we feel rushed to get every last little thing done because we’re losing our freedom to go wherever we want on demand. We’re looking at it as just being another part of the adventure! Hey, at least we’ll be saving on gas!
So, there’s a little update on where we’re at. We’re going at it hard this upcoming week so we can possibly relax and mentally prepare ourselves the last week were here. We’ll see how well that works out!