December 13, 2012
Upon arrival in Palm Beach, I headed out to Colorado to visit some family – my stepson Mike, niece Robin, niece Vicky and husband Mark, and my brand new great-niece Sophia who had just turned one month old! It was a wonderful visit, aside from being too short. Sophia is adorable – what a surprise! Vicky and Mark are handling everything like pros and Robin is enjoying being an aunt. Vicky got me started on Words with Friends and now all of them are regularly humiliating me! I also caught up with our good friend Kathleen and her daughter Florence for lunch in Boulder. Meanwhile, Bradley headed back to Virginia for a memorial service at Arlington Cemetery for a family friend and a visit with his family, including grandson Tyler. Upon returning to Florida, I visited my sister Joan and husband George in nearby Vero Beach. Joan and George are also cruisers and they took me to a small island surrounded by mangrove trees where we went ashore for a hike and exploration. We found some interesting bones and a few washed up treasures and had a nice time.
We returned to Shear Madness to begin preparations for departing to the Bahamas. There were plenty of little projects to complete – getting our satellite phone set up and tested, fine tuning some of our electronic equipment, fixing a couple more leaks, servicing our davit (crane), ordering some spare parts to add to our inventory, and having the boat washed and waxed. Taylor has been working hard and learning a lot about care and maintenance of a boat! It’s really nice to have an extra hand on board. He’s also enjoyed being in Florida where he’s had a chance to catch up with some of his classmates from the Chapman School of Seamanship.
Since we had a nice beef brisket in the freezer, we decided to do a Hannukah dinner on board and invited our friend Bina who lives nearby on Singer Island. It was a fun night and fortunately the brisket turned out really well! We’ve also had a chance to catch up with some fellow Nordhavn owners. Linda and Douglas from Aries Too invited us over for a fabulous dinner and another night we went out to an oyster bar for another great meal. We headed up to Jupiter to see our friends Tom and Marlene. The guys who waxed our boat said they had seen another boat named Shear Madness in Jupiter and sure enough, it turned out Tom and Marlene knew them! After a great dinner at the new Yacht Club in Admiral’s Cove, we met the owners of the other Shear Madness, Mr. and Mrs. Shear! It’s a beautiful boat, a 90-foot Ocean Alexander. Braun and Tina from Ocean Pearl and David and Susie from Last Mango are also here at Old Port Cove marina and it’s always fun to catch up with them.
The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity trying to ensure we are ready to go. I’ve already made several trips to Costco and Sam’s Club to fill the freezers and fridges with as much as possible as we plan to be gone for 3-4 months. We’ve been trying to finish up all the remaining projects so that by this weekend we can top off the fuel tanks and head out to anchor. Then we will depart for West End on Grand Bahama where we will check in with customs before heading on to Staniel Cay in the Exuma Islands. From there, Taylor will fly home for Christmas and our friends Alan and Kathleen will fly in to cruise with us for ten days. We can’t wait to get back to cruising mode with plenty of time for relaxing!
We have a new toy – a SPOT satellite tracking device which will track our location even when we are out of range for other tracking options such as marinetraffic.com. You can click here to see where we are. Right now, it just shows us at the marina, but soon it will show us moving east to the Bahamas, so you can check it anytime. Just don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a plot every day – we do have to remember to press the button every 24 hours to tell it to plot our location. Once we are on Island time, we may not do that too diligently!
Note that you can REPLY to this email but be aware that doing so will post a public comment on the blog. To send a private email click here. Once we reach the Bahamas we will have more limited internet and phone service, so we may not be quick to respond and may post only short blog updates with limited photos. An article I wrote about our lightning strike has been published in Passagemaker Magazine’s Online Edition.
For some technical issues, scroll down below the photos.
WordPress Update – congratulations to Mike L. and to Sue M, who were the winners of the T-shirt and polo shirt for helping to debug the WordPress problem with Comment Replies. Thanks to all of you (more than 30!) who replied – it turns out there were actually two separate problems. The first involved YOUR replies to blog updates where they were not being properly posted as comments. That seemed to be fixed with the last post; however I am then supposed to be able to reply to those comments via email and that wasn’t working. WordPress kept trying to claim the problem was not on their end, but with my ISP. I wasn’t buying that – below is an excerpt from my exchange once I finally got elevated to an “engineer”:
WP: “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that this message ever reached our email servers So, I suspect something is wrong either with your email client or the email server that you are sending through. Please contact your ISP
Kathy: Sorry, but I can’t agree with that. The reason the emails are not reaching your server is because the “REPLYTO” address that is shown in the message headers coming from your servers is incorrect.
WP: I’m one of the engineers who looked at this issue with Ryan. I realize this is a frustrating situation, but unfortunately we’re positive the issue is not on our end.
Kathy: I have recreated this problem using two different service providers, one using an Exchange server and one not. What I noticed is that for the three comment replies that DID post, the REPLYTO generated by WordPress included comment+rfk537 and for all the ones that did not post the +rfk537 was not included
WP: Your last email has led me on a path to find a possible bug in our system. I’m still investigating but will let you know once I have figured it out.
WP: I think I have fixed the issue
Kathy: Great! Thanks!
Leaking Deck Drain Hose – despite all the work done on our anchor lockers in Deltaville, we were still getting some water in the forward bow compartment (inside the boat) during heavy rains. The problem was finally found – a hose in one of the deck drains seemed to be badly corroded and leaking. So when water entered the drain, instead of traveling overboard via the hose, it was leaking along the way. Replacing the hose, a job that should have been simple, turned out to be a nightmare! The hose runs behind cabinetry in the starboard guest cabin and there was simply no way to access it. In addition, The hose was secured to the wall with fasteners and no way to access the screws to undo them. After many hours, a fair amount of swearing, and cutting holes in the cabinetry, the bad hose was finally removed and replaced. It was very frustrating to see the quality of hose used and to find that it had been installed with no thought given to future maintenance and access requirements. We’ve found that we are not the only Nordhavn owners who have been frustrated with some of the lack of access to plumbing and hoses.
Wave Wifi – this unit allows us to access wireless wifi networks with an amplifier and antenna so that we can create a boat-wide network when we are in range of a wireless network. Our unit was not working very well – it could barely see networks that our laptops would easily pick up. We dropped it off for service and found it had a bad amplifier. It’s all fixed and re-installed and working great!
Autopilot and electronics – we’ve adjusted some of the NMEA input from Navnet to the Autopilot and had no further problems. I’ll report more specifics later.We also had the new FU25 unit installed on the flybridge. Wouldn’t you know, the new unit is just slightly larger than the old one, meaning the existing screw holes wouldn’t work and Brian had to drill new holes in order to get it installed. We hate drilling holes in the boat!!
Snubber lines – we have had two new snubber lines made, one for normal conditions and one for heavy weather. I will take photos when we use them in the Bahamas and include in a future post.