June 22, 2011
Bradley completed his training and passed his exam for the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Yachtmaster 200 Ton Offshore license. As he will tell you, his test was MUCH harder than mine. It was a longer course, lasting three weeks and encompassing both classroom instruction and a written test, plus on-boat instruction and a practical on-the-water exam. One example – while in a channel with several large ships around, the examiner threw the “man overboard” dummy into the water and Bradley had to execute the rescue procedure. He of course did this flawlessly. There was plenty to learn in a short time, but he passed with flying colors and we are now both certified – he with a British license and me with a US Coast Guard one. We’re both ready to be done with school and start the cruising life!
While I was back at the boat and Bradley was still in Florida, my friends Jamal, brother Jaylen, mom Dannielle, and grandmother Caroline came for a visit. We had a lovely time sitting on the flybridge and talking about upcoming cruising adventures and when they will come join us for some sea time! Jamal and Jaylen would make great deck hands, if we could just pry them away from their interest in horses (Jamal) and football (Jaylen) and Dannie and Caroline would be a real pleasure to have aboard.
Our good friend Neil, who is Australian but we met in New Zealand but who now lives in London, was in town with his significant other Suzy for a visit with Suzy’s friends. Neil came for a visit on Shear Madness and helped me to bring aboard our cow (vegetarians may want to skip to the next paragraph). A while back Bradley and I had bought a “Beef for a Year” package at a charity auction. It was advertised as 300 pounds of beef, equating to half a cow. However, it turned out to be an entire cow, donated by a beef farm. That’s a lot of meat! But fortunately we have plenty of freezer space on board, so we brought half the cow to the boat and the other half to our house in Virginia. We’ll be eating lots of steaks and burgers in the months to come! One more reason for you to plan a visit!
One half of our cruising partner couple arrived from New Zealand this past weekend – John Lovatt who has successfully executed his long term leave from the NZ Air Force. Our crew is now 3/4 complete and John’s wife Leanne is set to join us on August 11. Since John has arrived, we’ve been busy preparing the boat for departure from Solomon’s Island. This week, we had to have an evaporator on our Sub-Zero refrigerator replaced. We were a little concerned since the refrigerator is not movable, but Donnie the tech did a great job and the fridge is back in service. We’ve also diagnosed a problem with our inverters (power units) and ordered the part required to fix it, hopefully for arrival before we depart from here!
The biggest problem we’ve been facing is the dreaded Mayfly. A small little bug, it has become our most hated creature. There are thousands, maybe millions of them all over our boat where they leave an awful green residue, then die and bake on. For the past two days, Bradley, John, and I, along with our friend Susan, have been cleaning the boat. Yesterday we got half of it done – in addition to the Mayflies there was plenty of dirt – but today everywhere we had cleaned had been Mayflied again! Funny thing – as we’ve been trying to move more of our stuff aboard, we keep joking about needing a bigger boat. But as we are cleaning it, we are wishing for one just a wee bit smaller! It really is a lot to clean! But we’re confident that when we are all aboard all the time we’ll be able to stay ahead of the game! It seems nobody told the Mayflies that it’s now June!
Tomorrow we await the arrival of Bob, a generator/diesel specialist who will be onboard for several days of training, and then will join us on our journey south to Palm Beach, Florida where we will be doing an upgrade of our electronics systems, computers, and entertainment system.