End of Season Report

Hello everyone,

Last night Murray was working on his log book and did some end-of-season calculations. On our 2003-2004 cruise, we used 160 gallons of diesel, ran the motor for 192 hours, traveled 1500 nautical miles, made 500 gallons of fresh water, used 40 lbs of propane and 48 gallons of gas ( for the dinghy and generator ).

The water was all of our usage from Dec 23rd until April 7th ( in the US we get free water from the marinas by filling jugs and hauling them back to the boat ). We showered daily unless it was too cold to shower in the cockpit. The water was not rationed but, of course, taps were not left running. Our monthly usage averages out to be approx 140 gallons. How does that compare with your household usage? Of course we have one advantage in that we flush our toilet with salt water.

The 40 lbs of propane cost us about $40 US. That took care of all of our cooking needs from the end of Oct 2003 until the end of April 2004 ( 6 months ). During that time, I made a hot breakfast daily and baked bread, muffins and even cookies as needed.

The gas ran our car ( the dinghy ) and supplied all of our electrical needs for the six months. Of course, the generator was supplemented by the solar and wind power but there is no charge for that. Once you buy the equipment that is. The maximum paid for gasoline in the islands was $3.30 and, if that price was paid for the total gallons, our car and electrical power for the six months cost us approx $160 US.

We have not mentioned the $300 for a cruising permit to travel in the Bahamas. This was a huge increase over the previous charge of $100 and caused many cruisers to re-think their travel plans. We have also not calculated the many dollars spent to keep the boat in tip-top shape. It has all been recorded and, if anyone is interested, we can give a yearly average of maintenance expenses at a future date.

So, those are some numbers that you can relate to and compare with your household costs for the same period. How do we measure up?

Today, Murray is re-assembling the pedestal in the cockpit ( it is where the steering wheel, gear shift and accelerator are mounted ). A friend helped him paint it the other day and now it looks brand new. It was not a job on the list but you take advantage of paint and spray guns when they are offered! I am washing down all of the woodwork in the boat with a vinegar solution to retard the growth of mildew while we are gone. Also organizing our clothes etc for packing. We will load the car ( the real car this time ) on Sunday as we will be hauled out early Monday morning. Once the sunshield is in place and all of the final jobs are done, we will head north.

In case I haven’t described it before, the sunshield is a screening material that cuts 60-70% of the sun’s rays but allows the wind to blow through. Thus it does not create a danger during high winds. We drape it over the spinnaker pole attached to the mast up forward and it is cut to go around the rigging. The seams are then held in place with wire ties as the awning is shaped around the boom and the stern arch. I do have photos of the boat enclosed in this material and will post them on the website.

We sure look forward to meeting up with all of you in the near future. Until then, hugs

Heather & Murray

Across Once Again

Hello everyone,

We have safely made our fourteenth crossing of the Gulf Stream. At just before 9 AM on the 6th of April, we hauled our anchor at Great Sale Cay, Abaco and headed for White Sand Ridge, an opening to the sea. It was approximately 50 miles to this waypoint and we motorsailed the whole distance.

The last 5 to 10 miles on the shallow banks were very exciting as Murray caught 5 fish! Three were edible cero mackerel and 2 were barracuda. He cleaned them in the cockpit as I made myself scarce. With the stress of a coming crossing already affecting my stomach, I did not need the added scent of fish guts! Once the fish were safely in the freezer, I started to feel better again.

The ocean was relatively calm with swells catching us on the beam. Once we hit the Gulf Stream, the waves became rather erratic and we had the washing machine effect. The main sail steadied us somewhat, even though there was not enough wind to fill it often. The full moon rose soon after sunset and gave us enough light that we could see our shadows on the deck.

The night was fairly uneventful, with only one close crossing with a freighter. We took turns below decks, trying to sleep. But that was almost impossible with the sail slatting back and forth and every can in the lockers adding their clank and roll to the cacophony. Step Three, with Nancy June and Peter aboard, dogged our heels the whole way across as they did not have radar and had never entered Canaveral before. It was very nice to know that another vessel was close by and we maintained radio contact all night long.

Just before daybreak, we neared the Florida coast and the lights of Canaveral. Using the radar and computer charting, we entered the harbour before dawn and docked at Cape Marina to re-fuel before 7 AM. Once we had walked to Customs and completed our paperwork, we cast off again and headed to the ICW and north to Titusville.

Step Three went into the marina the next day and prepared to haul and store in Florida for the first time. They prevailed on us to stay and assist them with their preparations. Also, the long Easter weekend was approaching and we do not like to travel on weekends due to the increased boat traffic. Titusville is a good place to wait. We did laundry, got a few supplies along with fresh oj and helped Step Three as much as we could ( including eating the steaks and lobster in their freezer ).

Monday morning dawned stormy with high winds and rain. So, we waited until things seemed to clear and hauled anchor at 11 AM, headed for Daytona Beach.

Another nasty sky greeted us this morning, but we headed out anyhow. Winds are gusty and we are motorsailing northward, taking advantage of the wind and saving fuel.

Tonight we will anchor just off the ICW in a cove ( Pine Island ) past St Augustine. From there, we are one long day from Green Cove Springs Marina. Once there, our work will start. There are no big jobs on the list this spring, other than the cracked water tank that must be removed and repaired somehow. I have some sail and canvas repairs to make as well as other sewing. Then, clean and prepare the boat for summer storage.

Our winter was not great with high winds, many fronts and my health problems. But, we were together mostly and there was no snow! How can we complain too much.

Many hugs and we look forward to seeing you all soon, Heather & Murray