Sunday, May 15, 2022

Vero Beach City Marina

 We arrived at Vero Beach on May 4th. The force was truly with us on that day. We signed up for a week, but we extended that to get through some bad weather. So, we ended up staying in Vero for 9 nights. The cruiser community has nicknamed Vero, "Velcro Beach", because it is a very comfortable place and people end up staying much longer than they had planned. We can see why. 

The first thing is the harbor is very protected from weather. We were there with some 25 knot winds from the worst direction and it was not bad at all. The second thing is that the marina staff is very helpful and pleasant. The marina has been here for a long time and the grounds are beautiful.

Large live oak trees out if front of the main building at the marina. 

Our first day there we needed a long shower and a walk. The showers are clean and private. We took a long walk to the beach. We could have taken the bus, but we really needed a walk. The walk was about a 2 mile round trip, but then we had to take a long walk on the beach.

Of course we need another picture of Kim on a beach in her stylish hat. She got that for free in Marathon.

The walk was a little longer than Kim wanted, but we really needed the exercise. That evening we took the dinghy to a local restaurant on the water. We really like to go to dinner in our dinghy. We could even look out the window at the restaurant and see SHIFT while we ate dinner and enjoyed some live music. 

We enjoyed some cold drinks. 

The next day we got clued in on the city bus system. It is a really nice bus system and it is totally free. We rode all over town. 

Vero Beach City Bus system is totally free.

I decided that we needed to do what Kim wanted to do to celebrate Mothers day. So, first we went to McKee Botanical Garden. It was OK, but the mosquitos were bad and the flowers really were not in bloom. Kim enjoyed it and that is all that is important.

The water flowers were the only thing blooming

Bamboo tree

Kim and a metal parrot

We then went to a mall and went to a movie. We saw the latest Marvel called Dr. Strange. It was pretty good and we enjoyed our time in the air conditioning. 

On mothers day we went to the Driftwood Resort and ate at Waldos. They had a very good live band that played old rock and roll. Driftwood was built in the 1930's and is one of the original building in the area. The place is built out of Cypress wood. 

The Driftwood Resort and Waldo's Restaurant 

We spent the rest of the 9 days doing domestic stuff like laundry and grocery shopping. We rode the bus somewhere just about every day. The last 3 days we were there it was very windy, but we could still get off the boat and go to town. It also got cool. We even had to put a blanket on the bed. 

Well that is about it for our stay in Vero. We really like it and would love to go back if it fits in the plans. As far as our future plans go...Well, we have decided that we are just going to head north as weather and desire allow. We may make it to Maine with the boat and we may not. I have promised we will make it to Acadia National Park in Maine either by boat or rent car. We will just have to see how it goes. 

We did finally leave Vero and Friday, May13. Come back to see how that goes and see what we do next. I will tell you now, it was very cool.  

Moving further North

 After stopping in West Palm Beach, we needed a couple of nights to get rested up for the next legs of our trip. I was a little disappointed in our decision to stop early, but the more I thought about it, I came to the reality that it was the right decision for many reasons. We do believe that if we listen, our path is there for us. The key is, we need to listen. I rested and checked the weather. It still was looking good to head back off shore and sail north. We could get back in the Gulfstream, but there was a big storm coming in from the north that looked dangerous in about 5 days. The storm was predicted to be very strong up in the Carolinas, but much less down in Florida. We decided that we needed a place to hide. I studied the charts and found the perfect place only about 65 miles away. We were heading to Vero Beach, Florida. 

After getting two good nights of sleep in Lake Worth, we needed to get up early to try to beat the worst of the incoming current in the inlet. We were up at first light. I got things ready and raised the mainsail with one reef in it before we raised the anchor, just to be conservative. (See I am learning)Then it was time to get the anchor up and we were moving. When we hit the inlet, we had some strong current and some big waves. My guess is a few of them were about 6 feet tall. We just motored right into the swell and kept making progress. SHIFT handled it like she always does and we were fine.

This is a shot as we were coming out the inlet. The left gauge shows Speed over Ground (SOG) we are only going 3.0 knots. That is from us pushing into the wind and waves. The needle on the middle gauge shows the wind direction and speed. You can see the wind is right on the nose. The far right gauge shows depth. The inlet is deep to allow big ships to come into the harbor at West Palm Beach. 

Kim also shot some video while we were going out the inlet. She also decided it was time to interview me. Click here to watch the video: Video Shot at Lake Worth Inlet

It wasn't long before we were able to bear off the wind that was right on the nose coming out the inlet and begin sailing. About 15 minutes later we had the motor off and we were making 6 knots in a northern direction. The swell was now on our aft starboard quarter. It was a comfortable ride. 

In this shot you can see the shore in the distance. We only sailed about 3 miles offshore. 

After a short time we had another sailboat just behind us. They stayed there for the entire sail, but never passed us. We had a very nice time for the entire 7 hour trip. We were headed to the Fort Pierce inlet. This inlet is notorious for having strong currents. I had checked the tide tables and was hoping to have a fast sail and miss the worst of it, but that was not to be. We arrived about an hour before low tide with a 2.5 knot outgoing current. We saw some large waves to either side of us, but we were able to miss most of it. We were making about 3 knots over ground, so it was a slow ride, but we made it in. Then we turned north on the ICW and headed for Vero Beach. We had a 13 mile trip after the 45 mile sail off shore. The cool part is that this section of the ICW is fairly wide. We had the same wind we had off shore and were able to put up the Genoa and motor sail most of it. The sail was giving us about 1 knot of additional speed. We arrived at Vero Beach at 6 PM. We had called the marina and knew they would be closed, so we anchored out about a half mile away. We had a very calm night.

Our view of the sunset from our anchorage in Vero Beach. 

That boat in the center of the picture above did cause a moment of concern. It is an unattended vessel and it has a very deep draft. It would swing like the other boats until it got to low tide and then it went aground and quit moving. The problem is we did not go aground and kept moving and swung right over by them. The good news is a neighboring boat warned us of the issue and we stayed clear of it. There are always challenges in this lifestyle. 

The next morning we moved into the marina and took on fuel, water and pumped out. We had traveled about 239 nautical miles and burned 15.5 gallons of diesel. That is only 15.4 nmpg. That is not very good. We had the motor on much more than we would like. 

The crazy thing about the mooring field at the Vero Beach City Marina is that when they are full, they require the boats to raft up. You see most of the mooring balls have two boats tied to them. I was a little uncomfortable with this arrangement, but I got some advice from the dockmaster and we went out and hooked up to mooring ball #8 along with a DuFour 382. The boat was recently sold and there is no one on board. We tied off to the DuFour and then to the ball. All went well and we didn't crash into them. 

This was our very close neighbor for our stay in Vero Beach. A DuFour 382 named "Painted Kite". We never met the owners.

So, now we are in a nice place to ride out the coming storm and to plan our next moves. In my next entry, I will let you know our plan and see what Vero Beach, Florida has to offer a passing boater. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Video updates from our trip from Marathon to West Palm Beach

 This is the link to a video compilation I put together from our trip from Marathon north. We were hoping to go all the way to North Carolina, but we were made aware that other plans were in our future. 

Click on this link to view video: Video Updates from Day 1 and 2

There is some cool sailing video in the middle of this one with just the sound of the sea, no talking.

I hope you enjoy it. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Departing Marathon heading North - The Storm!

 We left Marathon on Saturday, April 30. We had a good forecast and after checking the buoy reports, all looked good to head north. The plan was to come out of Boot Key Harbor and asses the wind strength and angle and determine if we could go out side and head directly to the Gulfstream or turn up Hawk's channel and sail in the protection of the reef. Hawk's Channel is a narrow piece of water that runs along the south shore of the Florida Keys. This is protected by sections of reef that reduce the ocean swell. There are breaks in the reef that allow a boat to get out to the open ocean.

Sunrise over Boot Key Harbor on April 30

Our neighbor, Stefan on Kokomo. We are ready to leave the calm waters of the harbor.

As we rounded the land of Boot Key, we had a wind angle and swell that told me that we needed to head up Hawks Channel. We were able to get enough angle to sail under full sails with about 15 knots of wind. We were having a nice sail and moving along nicely at about 6 knots. 

Sailing along Hawk's channel. It was not smooth, but we did get some protection from the ocean swell. 

At about 3 pm, I decided it was time to head out into open water. We had a good break in the reef and this would allow us to make it to the Gulfstream by dark. I had never experienced the stream before and would much rather see something new in the light of day. As we crossed the reef the water was an amazing color. We could see the contrast of the deep blue of the open ocean beyond. I had to start the motor to make the angle to get through the reef. 

The turquoise blue of the reef with the deep blue of the open ocean beyond. 

I wanted to get some sea room from the reef, so I kept the motor on as we tried to make some angle out to open water. We had to reach a point called "the elbow" which is where we can turn north and join with the stream. 

This is an image of the track of our trip. You can see the slight deviation to the east at Metecumbe Key. That is where we left the protection of the reef. 

After getting out into open water we started seeing our speeds picking up. We could sail at very tight angles to the wind and still go over 8 knots. It was amazing and fun. We were under full sails and then the sun went down around 8:30 pm. All was good at that point.

Our first sunset at sea. We were going faster than we had ever gone. The seas were about 4 feet and on our starboard bow, which made for a rough ride, but all was good.

Around 10 pm we started seeing lightning to our north. I was intermittently able to get weather and radar and it looked like the storms were going to stay west of us. I have radar on the boat and I turned it on and watched. About midnight we saw our first cell on radar. It was small and when we went through it we had some light rain and no wind.

About 1 am, I saw a bigger cell on radar. It was right in front of us, but it did not look any more intense than the earlier one. I decided to furl the genoa to be conservative. That reduces our sail area by almost 50%. We slowed from 9 knots to around 7 knots. We were on a starboard tack. That means we have wind coming over the starboard (right from the helm) side of the boat at about 15 knots. At about 1:30 the cell hit us. I was a bit shocked when it hit with a huge gust of wind that we estimate was over 40 knots. When I looked at the wind meter after we had regained control it was still blowing 35 and that had come down significantly. The crazy thing is the wind came from the port side. That means the sails slammed from one side to the other. The boat healed way over and things went flying. Kim was hunkered down in the companionway and released the mainsheet. That flattened the boat out and I was able to start the engine and try to power through it. I am not going to lie and tell you that we were calm. For about 30 minutes it was very hectic and there was a lot of yelling to be heard. Kim was much calmer than I was. The good news about the radar was that I could see the outline of the cell, I knew if I motored due north, we could get out of it. The rain was intense. Oh yeah, did I mention it was pitch black? It seemed to last forever, but in reality it was about an hour. The last half hour was not as bad because I had full control and I saw what I needed to do. Near the end the wind died to nothing. Yep, 0 knots. We still had waves and driving rain, but the lack of wind made it easier to deal with. Then it was over...

It wasn't long before we could see stars and the lights of Miami. We were only about 13 miles off of Miami. I thought we were further, but I went back and checked. The rest of the night was spent watching the AIS for large ships. We saw about 20 including a number of cruise ships. One passed only about 2 miles from us. We made sure we were plenty clear. I even got about an hour of sleep later in the night. 

The sunrise was a welcome sight. It is so much better when you can see the coming waves. 

Our first sunrise on this trip. We traveled about 150 miles in the first 24 hours. 

 All was going well, except I was pretty tired and the expected wind and swell shift to the SW was not happening. At about 9 am, the wind picked up to over 20 knots and was more in front of us. OH no, was the forecast wrong? A north wind in the Gulfstream is very bad. That is wind over current and that creates big waves. It was not long before the seas became very rough. SHIFT was doing a great job handling the rough seas, but her crew was not having fun. It was at this point that we were only about 20 miles off of a very good inlet at West Palm Beach. We knew we could turn west and be in a harbor in a few hours. Together we decided that was the right option. As soon as we turned the boat, the ride became more comfortable. We still had the push from the Gulfstream, but now the wind and waves were behind us. The motion was much better and there was no banging up and down as we went through the waves. 

We had no issue going in the inlet except we had an apposing current, so it took a while. I was very happy when we got inside and found a good place to anchor in Lake Worth. 

West Palm Beach inlet handles many large vessels including a ship that transports yachts. 

Happy, but tired skipper. 

Soon after we got the anchor set, I was in the V-berth taking a nap. I slept hard!

After dinner and just after dark, we started hearing loud booms. Kim jumped up and said is that fireworks? Well, yes it was. If you know Kim, you know she LOVES fireworks. It seems that this was a Mayfest celebration in West Palm and they finished it off with a very good fireworks show over the water. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures. 

Our view of West Palm Beach from our anchorage in Lake Worth. 

Well that is about it for this one. In my next entry, I will write about our new plan and where we go from here. I also shot some video updates during the trip, which I will post to my YouTube channel and post a link in the blog. I hope you like them and Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Quick Update

We left Marathon on Saturday, April 30, as planned. We sailed north up Hawks Channel to Key Largo then went outside the reef into open ocean. We hit the Gulf Stream about 7 pm. Our speeds increased to 7 to 9 knots SOG. All was good until we ran into a strong thunderstorm about 1:30  am. We had winds over 40 knots and driving rain. SHIFT took good care of us and we are fine. We sailed north at a very fast pace in rough seas. At about 8:00 Sunday morning, May 1, the wind picked up to about 20 knots out of the Northwest. The Gulfstream got very rough with big breaking waves. The forecast was for southeast winds, but we decided to divert to West Palm Beach. We arrived around 11 got the hook down in Lake Worth. We are not sure of our plan from here. We will rest and see what tomorrow brings. Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Gulf Stream

 We are still in Marathon, in the Florida Keys. It is time for us to get moving north. We have a plan to sail all the way to Acadia National Park in Maine. That is a very long trip and there are many ways to do that in a sailboat. I have been studying our options for a long time. I have also spent a great deal of time asking questions and getting opinions of the many much more experienced captains that I now get to call friends here in Boot Key Harbor. Many of them have been sailing the oceans of the world for many years. 

One option is to run the engine and motor up the Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW) all the way to New York. All of that is protected waters and is fairly safe. It is also slow and boring. The trip on the ICW from Miami to the Chesapeake Bay is over 1000 miles on the ICW. My first plan was to sail along the coast on one to 2 days hops. That is certainly doable, but it is rare to get the right weather, so there would be lots of waiting for the right weather to make the next hop. 

The third option is to take the express lane. The Gulf Stream runs up the east coast of the US from south to north. The current is about 20 miles wide and runs at 3 to 4 knots. We normally go about 5 knots on average, so that would increase our speed by almost double if we sailed inside the Stream for a portion of the trip. The stream is only 10 to 20 miles off shore between Marathon and West Palm Beach. After West Palm the Florida coast line curves west and the stream keeps going due north. As the coast of Georgia, South and North Carolina curves back east, the stream curves back east and gets about 80 miles off shore. It then curves around Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. I want no part of Cape Hatteras. The currents can be crazy and I will opt to go inland on the ICW for that portion of the trip. They don't call Hateras the graveyard of the Atlantic for nothing.

The problem with the Gulf Stream is that you must wait for the right weather. You can not travel in the stream with any kind of a north wind. The wind over the current creates giant waves and very dangerous conditions. I have been studying the weather for months and the windows of good weather are few and far between.

As I write this entry, I have spotted a perfect window to travel north. The first day is this coming Saturday, April 30. If the forecast holds, we will depart Saturday mid morning and head north up the coast. It is 170 miles to West Palm Beach. We should be able to make it there in under 24 hours. It is at that point that we will make a decision. We could duck into the Lake Worth inlet and rest and check the weather to make sure it is smart to continue. We may be able to get weather updates as we approach WPB. If the weather looks good and we are feeling strong, we could keep going. At any point we could divert west and hit one of the other inlets along the Florida coast. If the weather stays good we could sail all the way to North Carolina. With the Gulf Stream pushing us to speeds approaching 10 knots. We could make the 635 mile trip in about 3 days. It will be our longest sail yet, in both miles and time, but not that much longer than our 50 hour sail back in November from Pensacola to Tarpon Springs.  That sail was only 275 miles, so you can see the advantage of using the Stream.

Here is an image of the path and speed of the Gulf Stream off the coast of South Florida

This image shows the path of the stream further north.

We realize that by doing this big jump we will be missing many places that we would like to stop along the coast. Our plan this year is to get north by sailing as much as possible. We would like to be in Maine by July. Then we will take our time coming back south. It is during that trip back south in late summer and then after Hurricane season that we plan to travel in the ICW and see all of the sites along the coast. We will then try to get the boat to a safe place in the Chesapeake Bay or even further south by the first of September to haul her out of the water and have some regular maintenance done and as protected as possible from hurricanes. We will also take advantage of Hurricane season to get back to Missouri to visit the family.  

As I have written in my previous entries about our time in Marathon. This is a great community and we have been having a blast. We had a special treat this past week, when some friends from Houston that we met in Gulfport last year sailed into the Harbor. 

Brian and Gill from Houston on Moosetracks (an Island Packet 45) and Kim and I.

We were at Keys Fisheries, which is a cool bar/restaurant on the gulf side which has a great sunset. 

I also have been doing some fishing. Both Spearfishing and with rod and reel. We took our friend Camie out with us the other day and had a successful day. I speared two fish and we caught three on the rods.

Here I am fishing in the beautiful water. I was able to shoot dinner that evening.

I just thought I would include this shot of us. We do still like each other.

Well that is about it for this entry. Wish us luck and say a prayer for us. I promise to check in as soon as we arrive where ever we stop. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Time to Catch Up

 I am writing this entry on April 6th. My last entry was March 2nd. Normally when I don't make an entry in a long time it is because I feel that the life that we are living is boring and there is not much to write about. That is not the case in this situation. We have had a lot going on and not all of it has been positive. The result of that, is that our plans have had to change, and I have had a hard time getting motivated to write about it. 

Let's go back to where we were when I made my last entry. We have been enjoying our time in Boot Key Harbor. We have had a very active social calendar. We have been able to spend some quality time with some old friends and made many new ones. We just love this community. We were looking forward to our Daughter Shannon and SIL Brian along with three of their kids (Isabella, Will and Amelia) coming for a visit. It would be Will's first time seeing the boat. 

As with most visits, it was way too short. The weather turned out to be very windy, which made for some wet dinghy rides to the marina and back. Kim went with Brian, Shannon and Amelia to Key West, while I played Pickleball and Bocce ball with Will and Isabella. We had a great time while they were here, but really wanted to go to the beach and enjoy the warm water, but it was just too windy. 

Kim and Amelia in Key West at the most southern point in the US.

Brian, Shannon and Amelia at a beachside restaurant in Key West

Brian enjoying a quiet morning in the cockpit with his coffee. It was the day they were leaving. (I can tell because the water is smooth)

Shannon, Isabella and Amelia relaxing in the cabin. We all slept in the boat comfortably. 

Will in the captains chair. I sure do miss these guys. 

After they left, we had a full schedule getting ready to depart for the Bahamas. Or, so we thought. We had not had the boat in motion for a while so we made an overnight trip out to Looe Reef and Newfound Harbor. The reef was spectacular and the crystal blue water had us very excited to get more of it in the Bahamas. After the day on the reef, we had a calm night in Newfound Harbor and a great sail back to the harbor. 

Kim swimming in 40 feet of water. You can see the bottom like it is glass.

Kim after a good swim. Check out the color of that water.

A shot of the sunset in Newfound Harbor over the top of a neighboring boat.

I had a long list of things to do before we left. After our trip to Looe reef, I was doing engine checks when I noticed that the transmission fluid was darker than it should have been. I started looking for a problem and found that the shift linkage was not allowing the transmission to move all the way into forward gear. I spent about 4 hours adjusting and readjusting until I got it just right. I also replaced a bolt and nylock nut that was in the shift linkage with the correct clevis pin. 

Some of this problem was caused by the installing dealer in Mississippi. I then changed the fluid. I have consulted with the local Beta dealer that is located right here in the harbor and he is very concerned that the transmission has been damaged and may not be reliable. I have also talked to Beta US in North Carolina. They are confident in these transmissions, but told me there is not a sure way, other than removing it and disassembling it, to determine if it is damaged. One suggestion from the local Beta dealer was to get a laser tachometer and measure the RPM at the flywheel on the engine and compare it to the RPM of the output shaft. The gear ratio is 2.5 to 1, so the math should be simple. I completed that test and the outcome was excellent. There is no slip in the transmission, even under heavy load.  I checked the transmission fluid and it looked clean. 

Now the problem is we don't know if it will be reliable. If we went to the Bahamas and had a problem, we would have no help. We have made the tough decision to not go to the Bahamas this year. We are instead going to head up the east coast and see how it does. If it does fail, we could get help from North Carolina or many other service locations along the east coast. 

This whole situation is very frustrating. We made the engine and transmission change last year to reduce the possibility of engine problems, now we are back to worrying. The good news is that we are first a sailboat and the engine is our second mode of power. We do need it to come into most harbors and to dock, but if we are at sea, we can certainly sail back to land. 

This past weekend, us and two other boats left the harbor and went 15 miles to Bahia Honda State Park. It is a beautiful place and we had fun snorkeling, fishing and relaxing. That is until Saturday night, when we got hit with an unexpected thunderstorm at 1:30 am. We did not get much sleep, but our anchor held well and all was good. 

We enjoyed a cookout on a small beach at low tide.

Our three boats at anchor. It was this calm until it was blowing 30 knots. We all made it safely.

SHIFT at anchor

The following day we had more storm warnings. While we were preparing the boat I looked up and saw a waterspout (Tornado on the water) to our north. 

A waterspout and our friends MAC and Kim on "Kim's Crossing". The storm stayed north of us.

I let out more chain and put on our storm bridle. We were ready for whatever came our way. Just like bringing an umbrella to a baseball game. The wind dropped off to 5 knots and stayed that way all night. We had an excellent sail back to Boot Key harbor the next day.

The transmission worked perfectly and the fluid stayed clean. We are now preparing for our departure. We are expecting to leave the keys in later April when the weather looks right. As we get closer, I will try to stay motivated to write in this journal. Thanks for reading!,

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Major Project Completed - What is Next?

 We have now been in Boot Key Harbor for more than a month. We are really settling into a routine that includes listening to the cruisers net on the radio, then Pickleball in the morning followed by either Mexican Train Dominos or Bocce Ball in the afternoon. That is followed by a happy hour at a local restaurant/bar. We have been having a great time and making many new friends. Have I mentioned that we really like this place?

A beautiful full moon over the harbor on a still night. 

We got the call last Tuesday that On Board Rigging was ready to get started doing the power upgrade to our boat. The upgrade went on Tuesday, Wednesday and finished up on Friday at 8 PM. Dan did most of the work and he did an amazing job. They started by swapping out our AGM house batteries with 400 ah of Lithium batteries. That is how we were left after the first day. The second day, Gabe joined in the fun and installed a 400 Watt LG reflective solar panel. This panel actually gathers power on both sides and because it is hanging off the stern of the boat, when our dinghy is not there, we will get reflective collection off of the water. I was worried about the mounting of the big panel, but it is solid as a rock. Gabe also moved our two forward panels to get the rear one out from under the arch. I really like the mounting system he used on those as well. Dan installed the two new solar charge controllers and continued the rewiring of the battery compartment. 

Gabe working on moving our front solar panels to get better sun exposure.

This is a look from the cabin top of our solar array

Here is a look of what it looks like from the side. SHIFT is looking pretty high tech.

Dan came back on Friday and installed the wiring for the big solar panel and then installed our Victron Multi-plus Inverter/Charger. After he was done we ran many tests to make sure it all worked to his satisfaction. We tweaked the settings on the system and all looked good until the final test. We ran the generator in conjunction with the batteries to handle a very heavy load. It kept tripping out, so Dan then did a total rewire of the AC part of my main panel. It now works perfectly. He stayed until 8:00 pm to make sure all was good. I was very impressed by his work ethic. 

This is the Inverter/Charger. 

This is the main battery compartment. Positive and Negative bus bars at the top, a Smart shunt on the right and then the starter battery on top and two of the 4 lithium batteries on the bottom.

This is the second battery compartment. You can see one of the two Lithium batteries and then the big solar controller. You can also see the DC to DC charger that runs off of the starter battery when the engine is running to provide another charging option for the lithium bank. There is also another solar charge controller in this compartment.  

One of the really cool things about this system is that you monitor the system through an app on your phone. I love it!

We are now able to do things we could never do before. We can turn on the hot water heater and heat water with electricity that we got from the sun. We can toast bread in our toaster, we can use our microwave. I could watch TV all night if I want. (unfortunately we have no TV reception in this area.) I even run my CPAP off of my inverter all night and still have close to 80% of my battery capacity left in the morning.  No more going to shore to charge my external CPAP battery. This is truly a game changer for our life on the hook.  

I am sure some of the readers of this blog are wondering how much this all cost. Well that number is just shy of $9000 dollars. That really sounds like a lot of money, but we have heard of other boats paying way north of $30,000 for larger installations. This is expensive stuff to keep the crew happy. I look at this as another commitment to this lifestyle. We are loving it and this will make it even better. 

Now that we are done with this major upgrade, we are starting to think about what is next. We talked to our daughter, Shannon the other day and they were looking for something to do for Spring Break. They had been planning a cruise, but they decided to cancel that. I mentioned that the annual Seafood Fest in Marathon was going on the week of their spring break.  I was pleasantly surprised when she started thinking about it. Well, now they have decided to make a trip to Disney and then come down to the Keys. We are very excited to have Brian, Shannon, Isabella, Will and Amelia come for a visit. It will be a bit tight on the boat, but it will only be for 3 nights. Hopefully we will have some nice weather and we can go out for a sail or do some snorkeling. 

After they leave we will then start looking for a weather window to head to the Bahamas. We are hoping the government of the Bahamas will relax their COVID restrictions by then to make it easier to cross over. I will talk about what we are looking at in my next entry.